Friday, December 15, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/15/17

American Express Travel Reveals Emerging Trends and Top Ten Destinations for 2018

American Express Travel has published the results of their 2018 Tourism Outlook: The Exploration of Today’s Modern Traveler. The survey found that for the first quarter of 2018, international bookings are 44 percent higher than for 2017. 25 percent of American travelers surveyed said they enjoy learning about history, art and cultures around the world. The results further support a growing interest on the part of American tourists for international travel. Full StoryHere:

Majority of U.S. Winter Vacationers Undeterred by Recent Natural Disasters

The independent marketing communications agency Eric Mower + Associates published the results of a recent survey of winter travelers. The study indicates U.S. winter travelers are not changing their planned trips to areas impacted by recent natural disasters. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and the wildfires in California are not influencing any changes to travel itineraries in the U.S. to any large degree, according to the survey of 754 U.S. adults. Sixty-five percent of the respondents report no change in plans at all. Thirty-five percent stated Florida is their winter destination, which was damaged by Hurricane Irma. Full Story Here:

What hoteliers need to know about net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled this week to overturn a previous decision regarding broadband internet. The ruling reclassifies broadband internet as an information service rather than a part of telecommunications. This decision, which is likely to face many court battles before it is to take effect, would make it a service to be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Since 2015 broadband internet has been regulated under the FCC as a utility. The result of the ruling is likely to drive up the cost of internet service by its providers. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 2.7 Percent To 60.7 Percent - Week Ending December 9th - 2017

In year-over-year measurements the U.S. hotel industry posted positive performance figures for the week of 3-9 December 2017, according to STR. When compared to the same week last year, industry-wide occupancy was +2.7 percent higher, ending the week at 60.7 percent. Average daily rate went up by +4.0 percent to finish at $125.07 for the week. Revenue per available room went up as well, rising by +6.8 percent to end the week at $75.97. Full Story Here:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Voice Command Technology For Hotels - Part 1

This year has seen the beginning steps taken by hoteliers and travel agents to implement technologies which will have a profound impact on the hospitality industry. Voice command, or recognition technology is rapidly becoming pervasive in homes everywhere and is a perfectly natural choice for hotels as well. In the industry’s quest to personalize the hotel guest experience, voice command technology will be a major factor going forward. In addition, the technology is simultaneously transforming how travelers book their hotel stays at the beginning of their experience, before arriving on-property.

As with many other guest-facing technologies, the adoption of voice command by hotels is being largely driven by the expectations of travelers who are becoming increasingly comfortable with it in their own homes. Home devices, such as Amazon Echo and smartphone applications including Apple’s digital assistant Siri, will become as ubiquitous as mobile phones going forward. A number of hotels and chains have been early adopters of these technologies, giving them an edge in personalizing the experience of their guests.

In the guest room itself is where hoteliers are looking to best utilize voice command technology and it is being implemented in a variety of innovative ways. Foremost is the virtual concierge, a popular hotel application for the digital assistant. By strategically placing one of the devices in each room, hotels can offer guests an alternative to calling down to the front desk. With specific commands of their voice they can access any hotel services, such as ordering room service or making dinner reservations for example. The hotel can even customize a voice greeting upon the arrival of each guest as well.  

Another use for this in-room technology is to allow guests to adjust and set the controls for temperature, lighting and entertainment with voice commands. This is nothing more than an extension of already existing technology which allows guests to make these same customizations via their mobile devices. There are a few things to take into consideration in regards to the implementation of voice command technology in any hotel. Voice command technology is cloud-based technology and requires a cloud PMS interface or property level system in order to perform. The technology also requires specific commands to each specific function and appropriate command instructions must be provided guests. Additionally, placement within the guest room is crucial to proper functioning and should be in a central location in order to hear commands from different directions.

In part two, we will look at several more hotel applications for voice command technology.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/8/17

U.S. Travel Trends Index - Domestic Leisure And Business Travel Continue To Thrive

Despite a report last week indicating a 3.9 percent decline in international travel to the U.S. through the first half of this year, overall travel in the U.S. up for October according to the latest Travel Trends Index (TTI). In year-over-year tracking U.S. travel rose by 3.6 percent for October 2017. Most of the growth in U.S. travel is coming from the domestic leisure travel segment which accounted for a 4.2 percent growth in October. The U.S. Travel Association predicts a modest rebound for international inbound travel during the early part of 2018. Full Story Here:

Seven Ways Hotels Will Change in 2018

A panel of hospitality industry experts and insiders is predicting seven ways in which luxury hotel brands will change in 2018. The predictions include the addition of new fees in major markets, turndown service will become optional in luxury hotels, and guest rooms will become more technology  connected. Further, changes will entail front desks receiving a makeover, brands appealing to the values of their guests, the rise in importance of wellness, and hotels selling experiences more than just rooms. Full Story Here:

Fitch’s 2018 Outlook for U.S. Lodging: Fitch Predicts Uninspiring Growth, with Some Upside Risk from Brighter Corporate Outlook

Fitch Ratings is predicting a stable 2018 for the U.S. lodging sector with a continuation of modest growth. Revenue per available room will experience single digit growth of 0 - 2 percent through the coming year. Average daily rates will be higher, keeping RevPAR modestly positive. Supply is forecast to exceed the growth in demand, leading to a modest decline in occupancy industry-wide. Full Story Here:

STR: U.S. hotel results for week ending 2 December

Positive industry-wide performance numbers were posted in year-over-year comparison by the U.S. hotel industry for the week of 26 November - 2 December 2017. According the figures published by STR, occupancy climbed up by +1.3 percent to 56.6 percent for the week. Average daily rate edged +0.2 percent higher to finish at $117.82 for the week. Revenue per available room rose by +1.5 percent to end the week at $66.71. Full Story Here:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/1/17

Inbound U.S. tourism drops, industry promises action

According to data published this week by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Travel and Tourism Office, inbound tourism during the first six months of 2017 has declined by almost 4 percent when compared to the first half of 2016. Although the complete figures for 2017 will not be known until later in 2018, indications are not good at this point. The 3.9 percent decline in international tourism is driving an increase in global promotions by U.S. travel companies. The efforts are being made in response to internationally unpopular U.S. government policy changes. Full Story Here:

AARP: More Baby Boomers Want Relaxing Getaways in 2018

AARP Travel has recently published a new survey indicating members of the Baby Boom generation are expecting fewer barriers to leisure travel in 2018. Additionally, they report a desire for more relaxation during their vacations in the coming year. According to the survey, Boomers will take four or five leisure trips in 2018 and spend $6,400 on average. This is compared to Millennials ($6,800) and Gen Xers ($5,400). The number of Boomers taking most or all of their vacation time is expected to rise in 2018 from 59 percent in 2017 to 68 percent during the year to come. Full Story Here:

PolyU Study Urges Hotels to Engage the Facebook Generation

Researchers at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University are urging hotels to make greater use of social media in the evaluation of their own performance. A study was conducted by the researchers of hundreds of reviews of New York hotels on the TripAdvisor website and found the hotel features found to be most and least satisfying and dissatisfying. These reviews will greatly aid hoteliers in their efforts to gain a better understanding of their customers, according to the researchers. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 1.4 Percent To 51.4 Percent - Week Ending November 25th - 2017

In year-over-year results the U.S. hotel industry posted positive performance figures during the week of 19-25 November 2017, according to a report by STR. When compared to the same week in 2016, industry-wide occupancy was +1.4 percent higher at 51.4 percent. Average daily rate rose by +2.0 percent to finish at $109.99 for the week. Revenue per available room climbed up +3.4 percent to end the week at $56.52. Full Story Here: