Friday, December 18, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/18/15

Latest Lodging Forecast Extends Record U.S. Occupancy Through 2017

The December 2015 edition of Hotel Horizons, published by PKF Hospitality Research and CBRE Hotels, reports the recent record occupancy levels set by the U.S. hotel industry will continue through 2017. High occupancy levels should continue despite supply changes expected over the next two years. Since the global security situation is unpredictable, recent worldwide events did not play role in the company’s projections and could change the projected outcome. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US results for week ending 12 December

Compared to the same time period last year, the U.S. hotel industry recorded positive results across the three most important measurements during the week of 6-12 December 2015. Occupancy rose by 0.1 percent to reach 58.3 percent. Average daily rate climbed 3.0 percent to $115.42 by week’s end. Revenue per available room was up by 3.2, attaining $67.26 for the week. Full Story Here:

 

The Global Hotel Industry and Trends for 2016

2016 is projected to be a year of growth for the global hospitality industry, particularly in the U.S. Killarney Hotels put together an interesting infographic with predictions for hotels in the coming year. Worldwide the hospitality industry is projected to rise to the level of $550 billion in 2016. If this prediction holds true, industry wide revenue will have grown by nearly $100 billion in just five years time. Full Story Here:

 

Luxury Institute Survey Shows Affluent Travelers Rankings Of 40 Global Luxury Hotel Brands

The 2016 Global Hotels Luxury Brand Status Index was released by the objective and independent, Luxury Institute. In a study conducted with 3,900 affluent travelers around the globe, the top five brands are Four Seasons, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Grand Hyatt, and InterContinental. The survey measured and ranked brands based on quality, exclusivity, social status, and self-enhancement. All brands were scored on a scale of 0-10. Full Story Here:

 


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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Content Marketing For Hotels - Images & Videos - Part 1

The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” still rings true today. The highly visual nature of the hospitality industry, combined with the public’s increasingly visual orientation and short attention span, make it critical for any successful hotel to include rich imagery and video content in all their marketing efforts. For hotels, high quality images and videos power up engagement while giving customers the confidence boost to complete their booking online. This is true for both the hotel’s website and its social media marketing efforts.

 

Images

It is a well established fact that including images with social media posts drives up engagement. According to figures from Twitter for example, photos in tweets increase the number of retweets by 35 percent. Furthermore, TripAdvisor reports that even one photo raises the chance of a completed booking by the incredible figure of 225 percent. These are significant engagement and booking improvements. Given the influence of images in energizing any hotel’s online marketing efforts, there are a number of ways in which to accomplish that outcome utilizing photos.

 

Showcase The Hotel and Its Features

Highlight what makes the hotel a great place to stay. Make people who view the photos feel like they are part of what they are seeing to evoke an emotional attachment. Potential guests want to see what they are getting when they book, so what they need to see is the hotel property as a desired product. Images should include the guest rooms, amenities, meeting facilities, food and beverage offerings, along with the lobby and exterior. All images should picture real people, acting authentically in order to foster credibility and build trust. They should also be of large enough size so potential guests do not have to strain their eyes to see them. The pictures should showcase the hotel’s unique selling points and what makes it stand out from its competitors.

 

Images and Calls To Action

Photos can be used as powerful tools in directing prospective customers toward calls to action, drawing them further down the booking funnel. Including images with guests as the subject and having them gazing toward the content being targeted or in line of sight of it, users will naturally be directed toward the desired content. It is a natural human tendency to look in the direction others are looking. This can be a powerful technique if executed subtly.

Ultimately, the images used in a hotel website or social media marketing posts must meet the overall marketing objectives of the hotel property, while also being pleasing to the eye. In part 2 we’ll look at making videos for hotel marketing purposes.

 


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Friday, December 11, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/11/15

Tourism Megatrends: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Future Of Tourism

Tourism is growing worldwide and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This is according to a study released by Horwath HTL. The study identifies ten factors currently shaping the future of global tourism. The growing number of senior citizens with the time and money to travel is cited as a driving force behind these travel increases. As is the immense number of Millennial Generation travelers coming into their time, a growing middle class worldwide, and the evolution of technology. Full Story Here:

 

Terrorism And Turmoil Biggest Deterrents To Tourism

While tourism is growing worldwide, there are deterrents to growth as well. Terrorism, conflicts, and health concerns are among the influences toward travelers making or changing their plans. The CMO Council and AIG Travel published their report on the opinions and concerns that drive consumers to alter their travel arrangements. One result of negative world events is the rise in travel insurance taken out by travelers in the event their trips are cancelled or ruined by outside forces. Full Story Here:

 

Guests willing to share data in exchange for personalized hotel service: study

A study recently released by Sabre Hospitality Solutions and Forrester Consulting has pointed out the public’s willingness to give up their personal information to hoteliers, in exchange for a higher level of personalized service. The research shows how, despite almost two thirds of leisure travelers having no hotel brand loyalty, hoteliers are missing the opportunity presented by customer personalization. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US results for week ending 5 December

Positive results were attained in two of the three most important hotel industry performance indicators during the week between 29 November 2015 and 5 December 2015. This is according to industry wide figures published by STR, Inc. The industry wide average occupancy fell by 0.4 percent, as compared to the same period last year. More positively, average daily rate climbed 1.8 percent to reach $116.51 by week’s end. And revenue per available room rose 1.5 percent to $66.37 for the week. Full Story Here:

 

 


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Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/11/15

Tourism Megatrends: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Future Of Tourism

Tourism is growing worldwide and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This is according to a study released by Horwath HTL. The study identifies ten factors currently shaping the future of global tourism. The growing number of senior citizens with the time and money to travel is cited as a driving force behind these travel increases. As is the immense number of Millennial Generation travelers coming into their time, a growing middle class worldwide, and the evolution of technology. Full Story Here:

 

Terrorism And Turmoil Biggest Deterrents To Tourism

While tourism is growing worldwide, there are deterrents to growth as well. Terrorism, conflicts, and health concerns are among the influences toward travelers making or changing their plans. The CMO Council and AIG Travel published their report on the opinions and concerns that drive consumers to alter their travel arrangements. One result of negative world events is the rise in travel insurance taken out by travelers in the event their trips are cancelled or ruined by outside forces. Full Story Here:

 

Guests willing to share data in exchange for personalized hotel service: study

A study recently released by Sabre Hospitality Solutions and Forrester Consulting has pointed out the public’s willingness to give up their personal information to hoteliers, in exchange for a higher level of personalized service. The research shows how, despite almost two thirds of leisure travelers having no hotel brand loyalty, hoteliers are missing the opportunity presented by customer personalization. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US results for week ending 5 December

Positive results were attained in two of the three most important hotel industry performance indicators during the week between 29 November 2015 and 5 December 2015. This is according to industry wide figures published by STR, Inc. The industry wide average occupancy fell by 0.4 percent, as compared to the same period last year. More positively, average daily rate climbed 1.8 percent to reach $116.51 by week’s end. And revenue per available room rose 1.5 percent to $66.37 for the week. Full Story Here:

 

 


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Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/11/15

Tourism Megatrends: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Future Of Tourism

Tourism is growing worldwide and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This is according to a study released by Horwath HTL. The study identifies ten factors currently shaping the future of global tourism. The growing number of senior citizens with the time and money to travel is cited as a driving force behind these travel increases. As is the immense number of Millennial Generation travelers coming into their time, a growing middle class worldwide, and the evolution of technology. Full Story Here:

 

Terrorism And Turmoil Biggest Deterrents To Tourism

While tourism is growing worldwide, there are deterrents to growth as well. Terrorism, conflicts, and health concerns are among the influences toward travelers making or changing their plans. The CMO Council and AIG Travel published their report on the opinions and concerns that drive consumers to alter their travel arrangements. One result of negative world events is the rise in travel insurance taken out by travelers in the event their trips are cancelled or ruined by outside forces. Full Story Here:

 

Guests willing to share data in exchange for personalized hotel service: study

A study recently released by Sabre Hospitality Solutions and Forrester Consulting has pointed out the public’s willingness to give up their personal information to hoteliers, in exchange for a higher level of personalized service. The research shows how, despite almost two thirds of leisure travelers having no hotel brand loyalty, hoteliers are missing the opportunity presented by customer personalization. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US results for week ending 5 December

Positive results were attained in two of the three most important hotel industry performance indicators during the week between 29 November 2015 and 5 December 2015. This is according to industry wide figures published by STR, Inc. The industry wide average occupancy fell by 0.4 percent, as compared to the same period last year. More positively, average daily rate climbed 1.8 percent to reach $116.51 by week’s end. And revenue per available room rose 1.5 percent to $66.37 for the week. Full Story Here:

 

 


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Work-Life Balance Tips

Each year during the holidays it can be very difficult and stressful to balance the things that need to get done on the home front, while still getting your tasks done at work. Here are some ideas for balancing the two without too much stress.

 

  1. Start your shopping earlier in the year, say October or in the beginning of November. You can do a little bit of shopping on your breaks (online) or over lunch.
  2. Make an effort to get a holiday item done each day, that way it doesn’t all pile up at once.
  3. Prioritize both work and home items that need to get done during the holidays. Figure out what needs to be accomplished and backlog the less important items until after the New Year.
  4. At this time of year there can be so many distractions. Make up your mind that for certain hours during the day you will stay focused and not let distractions pull you away from what you’re trying to get completed. For example, from 9am to noon you will work on a particular task while at work without allowing any distractions to get in the way.
  5. Scheduling and planning work duties and personal down time will make you stick to your plan. Schedule dinner and a movie with your family or some holiday activities.
  6. To brighten the mood around the office with some holiday cheer, bring in some holiday treats and do a little decorating.
  7. Make sure you get enough exercise during each week to help keep your stress level down over the holiday season. If it’s too dark after work to go for a walk, go for a short one after lunch. Many people do their best creative thinking while going for a walk, and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.
  8. Get plenty of rest. Skip a few parties (it’s ok to say no sometimes), and get to bed at a decent hour most nights. It will keep you healthy and less stressed, which in turn will be beneficial for getting all of your tasks and commitments accomplished during the holidays.

 

From all of us at Above Property, we wish you a happy, healthy and stress free holiday season.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Content Marketing For Hotels - Social Media

The hospitality industry has a distinct advantage, in regards to content marketing, over other industries. Yes, it is the job of a hotel to provide shelter to travelers, but most hotels offer so much more to their customers. Particularly for leisure travelers, hotels are always connected to some degree with fun and relaxation or even adventure. Given a positive experience, hotels clearly make a pleasurable association in the minds of their customers. Hospitality can be a visually stunning industry as well. Hoteliers have access to a plethora of relevant content, which is tailor made for sharing across a variety of social media networks. Hotels and social media marketing are therefore a natural fit.

Given their association with fun, hotels instill in many people a desire to connect with them online. However, there are an ever-growing number of social platforms and it is crucial to reach the hotel’s proper audience. Take the time to research which social networks the hotel’s prospects are present and begin posting only on those platforms. In the course of reaching out to engage with the public via social media, take care to treat every social network as a unique platform. Never just blast the same identical message across all the possible channels simultaneously. Social media posts should always be crafted with the individual style singularities of each network in mind. It is also always important to remember the original purposes of social media, connection and engagement.

Social media does offer an excellent opportunity to share a hotel company blog. Be sure it is relevant, informative, and helpful to its audience, as opposed to blatantly broadcasting the latest company marketing message. For example, if presented in an informative manner, a wide variety of social networks can be appropriate for providing information regarding services available on the hotel property at additional cost. Up-selling customers is just one of many ways social media can be leveraged properly, while helping future guests plan their vacations.

It is imperative to seek out which social networks the hotel’s guests spend their time. However, there are a few platform choices which are rather ubiquitous or vitally important to any hotel and need to be included. Facebook, which would be the largest country on earth if it were a nation, is always an important choice because of its sheer size. Google Local will help the hotel be found on searches and literally put it on the map as well. Additionally, the Google platform provides an excellent showcase for the hotel’s basic contact information, reviews and star ratings. In all posts the importance of including images and/or videos cannot be overstressed. This is because of increased engagement with the audience and the higher visibility to search engines.

Social media content marketing is crucial to the hospitality industry because of the presence of its customers on social networks, while simultaneously being completely advantageous to hoteliers due to the higher visual nature of hotels and travel brands. 


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Friday, December 4, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 12/4/15

2015 Holiday Booking Forecast {Infographic}

The holiday travel season here, Spring Engage has released their 2015 Holiday Booking Forecast in the form of an infographic. According to the report, 58 percent of Americans will be traveling over the holidays with 48 percent of those making other arrangements instead of staying with relatives. Many of those travelers seeking accommodations will book their stays last minute, with half of all bookings taking place after December 14th. Full Story Here:

 

The Hotel Yearbook launches third annual look at hotel technology trends

The Swiss company, Wade & Co. SA has published its annual report called The Hotel Yearbook 2016. The report features a compilation of expert opinion and future insights regarding trends in technology innovations for hotels. In its third edition, The Hotel Yearbook 2016 gathers the prescient forethought on a variety of topics including revenue management, Big Data, and meta-search from a number of hotel industry executives. Full Story Here:

 

Insights that reveal new hotel search and booking trends.

Sojern has published its Hotel Insights Report which examines the intentions of both business and leisure travelers around the world. General observations from the study include the growing trend in last minute bookings, particularly among Europeans and Americans. The study also includes an infographic entitled Sojern’s 2015 Hotel Insights, The State of Hotel Search & Bookings. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US results for week ending 28 November

As compared to the same week last year, the U.S. hotel industry experienced positive numbers the week of 22-28 November 2015. Industry-wide occupancy was higher by 1.1 percent to 49.5 percent. Average daily rate climbed 2.4 percent to reach $104.15. And revenue per available room finished the week higher by 3.5 percent to $51.52. Full Story Here:

 


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Content Marketing For Hotels - Personas

The hospitality industry must maintain a credible online presence in the face of intense competition with online travel agencies (OTAs) for direct hotel bookings. This is in order to keep pace or even gain a slight edge on the OTAs. Hotels have an advantage when compared with other industries in that their business is to provide, not only a place to stay the night, but a pleasurable experience for travelers. Potential customers of hotels are very receptive to compelling and relevant content offered by hoteliers due to the nature of travel. Effective hotel content marketing should be founded on a strategy designed to successfully guide prospective hotel guests into the digital booking funnel, without directly selling to them.

 

Know Your Guests

Effective hotel content marketing begins like any other marketing campaign with a clear strategy, by truly understanding your brand’s intended audience. Unfortunately many hotels and chains seem to lump all past guests and prospects into the same box and try to appeal to all of them. They disregard the unique wants and needs of even the most basic of traveler personas, business or leisure. Researching to uncover the various traveler categories or ‘personas’ is absolutely essential in gaining a knowledge of who exactly are the people paying money to stay on the hotel’s property. It is just as important for the hotel to essentially determine what its own persona will be. This is needed to fully understand itself and what categories of accommodations are provided for the guests.

It is crucial for the hotel personas to be more specific than business or leisure, for example. Various traveler types such as: Millennial (18-34) Generation, single female, who is very active, but mixing business with pleasure. Or another example, Baby Boomer (51-67) couple visiting their children to catch up with the grandchildren. Even within the business traveler segment there are many different sub-categories. Research can uncover the many personas that spend time at a hotel.

Once the proper audiences have been identified, then highly specific marketing messages may be crafted to reach out and appeal to each one. To begin, visual content must reflect the makeup of the hotel’s audience. When the different groups sign on to the hotel’s website, they should identify and feel some connection with the people they see there. Also, research can uncover what services, amenities and activities the varying different personas will find attractive.

It is just as vital to gain some sense of the cultural makeup of the audience as well. Maybe they speak a language not commonly spoken at the hotel and its environs, and would appreciate being reached out to in their native tongue. All of these questions are relevant to any discussion designed to fine tune a hotel’s content marketing strategy. 


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Friday, November 13, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 11/13/15

The importance of travel & tourism to the global economy

Hospitality supplier Nerval has put together an infographic illustrating the importance of the travel sector to the world’s economy. A few examples include the fact that one out eleven jobs worldwide are related to travel or tourism. In 2013 9.5 percent of the world’s economy was contributed by travel and tourism. The travel sector outperforms the wider global economy in terms of growth 3 percent versus 2 percent for the rest of the world’s economy. Full Story Here:

 

Hotel loyalty isn’t ‘intimate’ I don’t mind

A report published by MBLM has the loyalty level of hotel customers ranked near the bottom of all U.S. brands. U.S. hotels fell to the bottom of loyalty ranking, behind automotive, retail, tech and many other industries. Among hotel brands, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Hilton and Holiday Inn were in the top ten travel companies. Among all U.S. industries, Apple, BMW, Toyota, Amazon, and Harley Davidson were the top five. Full Story Here:

 

Social media a powerful global influencer in holiday choices: VisitBritain report

A report published by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency of the U.K., highlights the important role played by social media in influencing the vacation plans of travelers. The survey questioned visitors from the U.S.A., Germany, India and South Korea. 89 percent of travelers from all those markets combined stated they used social media at least once in the vacation planning process. Nearly 70 percent acknowledged the influence of content posted by friends in making travel plans. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US results for week ending 7 November 

Once again the U.S. hotel industry recorded positive numbers in the three most important performance measurements, the week of 1-7 November 2015. According to figures from STR, in comparison to the same period last year, occupancy was higher by 0.2 percent to 66.4 percent. Average daily rate climbed by 3.1 percent to reach $120.73 for the week. Revenue per available room rose by 3.3 percent to end the week at $80.23. Full Story Here:

 


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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hotel Marketing Personalization

There clearly is a trend, empowered by emerging technologies, to personalize the hotel guest experience on-property. Driven by the Internet of Things and mobile technology, hotel guest personalization has become a powerful tool for hoteliers to build brand loyalty and garner increased direct bookings. But some hotels are missing out on an opportunity, which is to use their hotel website to personalize the hotel’s marketing message.

 

Dynamic Content Personalization

 

Usually referred to as “Dynamic Content Personalization,” this tool leverages readily available data that hotels already have on hand. It compiles it in such a way by creating individualized marketing messages based on past guest information and current interests. Personalized content appears to website users when the website recognizes a past site visitor, then tailors the web pages for the individual user. In this way, the website user finds information which is highly relevant for them. This in turn leads to a higher degree of conversions of potential guests into direct bookings on the hotel’s website.

Content personalization is built around tracking past website viewing history, both on the hotel website and elsewhere on the Internet. This can include past online purchases and any reviews which may have been written by the user, combined with demographic and purchase information available from any past hotel stays. Even the geographic location of the user is taken into account. Taken together, this data can result in a truly customized website experience for users.

This has only been made possible by the disruptive innovation brought about by the gathering of big data in a scalable way. Information on past guests and hotel loyalty program members is easily available to hoteliers. And when combined with the online user data, gives hotels a powerful advantage over the competing online travel agencies and metasearch engines for booking customers directly.

Some ways in which a hotel website, armed with such data, could put it to best use may include:

 

  • Recognizing the user’s IP address, and adjust the website language for visitors from another country. Also, specific promotions and offers can be tailored to an international audience.

 

  • Based on data available to the hotel, the website may detect that a website visitor is a business traveler. In which case they would see content specifically geared to that travel demographic. Hotel amenities such as, on-property meeting facilities and the free high speed Wi-Fi connection would appear, for example.

 

  • In the case of the website recognizing a leisure traveler, the content displayed might include stunning visuals of the surrounding area with regard to the hotel’s address. Offers accentuating the pleasurable relaxation available to hotel guests through the hotel’s spa and the delightful dining possibilities that await them are examples of content customized for that demographic.

 

Disruptive big data collection technologies, through dynamic content personalization, have given hoteliers the capacity to choose their website content and match it to specific hotel market segments. This is a potent means of driving direct hotel bookings in the crowded travel space.

 


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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Guest Personalization For Hotels - Part 2

The growing high expectations of the twenty-first century traveler provides hoteliers with new opportunities to build customer loyalty through the personalization of the hotel guest experience. In addition to the personalization made possible through mobile apps, smart technology applied within guest accommodations can further improve the guest experience.

 

Smart Technology

The implementation of smart or “connected” technologies, sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things or IoT, is transforming the in-room guest experience. The connected technology enables guests to control, either through their own mobile device or one provided by the hotel, all aspects of their hotel room. Environmental controls, such as lighting levels and room temperature may be set by the guest to their preferences. Services including ordering room service or requesting more towels can be accomplished by simply touching a screen.

The guest’s setting preferences may be saved and then be reverted back to hotel selected standardized settings upon check-out. Whenever the guest arrives at the hotel for their next stay, these preferences can be re-set and returned at will. These technologies can be even further enhanced with the utilization of voice and motion activation. Smart technology, through sensors in the room, can tell hotel housekeeping staff when a guest is not present in a room in order to prevent awkward intrusions. Additionally, sensors will inform front desk staff when the guests have checked out.

Travelers are now bringing their own entertainment content with them on their mobile devices. They desire television access to their various content services such as Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Smart televisions provided in-room will enable hotel guests to access their digital content. Added benefits such televisions offer is the elimination of external cable or satellite boxes and greater control for the hotel of content they provide. Some hotels are also revamping their in-room telephone systems with voice over IP (VoIP) phones. These also offer further options for guest personalization.

Hotels themselves also benefit from the implementation of these various smart technologies. For example, a hotel can garner substantial savings through the energy efficiency offered by smart thermostats and sensor technology, which detects the presence of hotel guests. The trend in hotel guest personalization is only going to grow as the demands and expectations of hotel customers are raised by the expansion of smart technologies. Hoteliers would clearly stand to greatly profit from their adoption and integration.  


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Friday, November 6, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 11/6/15

Expedia To Acquire HomeAway, Inc.

It was announced that Expedia, Inc. has agreed to acquire alternative accommodations provider, HomeAway, Inc. The deal, which includes all of HomeAway’s brands, is reported to be for $3.9 billion in cash and Expedia common stock. HomeAway, a worldwide leader in vacation rentals, brings 1.2 million properties to the online travel agency. Full Story Here:

 

US Hotel Occupancy Up 1.2% To 62.3% Week Ending October 31st - 2015

The U.S. hotel industry ended the week of 25 - 31 October 2015 higher in all three key performance markers, as compared to the same period last year. Occupancy climbed 1.2 percent to reach 62.3 percent. Average daily rate increased by 5.1 percent, up to $120.46 for the week. Further, revenue per available room was 6.4 percent higher, to end the week at $75.06. Full Story Here:

 

Hotels market to expand at 4.0% CAGR due to exponential growth of travel and tourism industry

The worldwide hotels market, estimated in 2014 to be worth $534 billion, is projected to reach $702.7 by the year 2021. This is according to the “Hotels Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 20121” published by Transparency Market Research. The hotels market, segmented by star ratings ranging between non-rated to 5 stars, features 3 star hotels leading the market with $179.07 billion. These 3 star hotels are forecast to maintain their market dominance in the projections. Unrated hotels are projected to be the fastest growing, reaching $32.8 billion by 2021. Full Story Here:

 

Hoteliers warn of ‘rogue’ sites tricking guests

The two trade associations representing hotels and online travel agencies recently battled it out with words traded back and forth regarding the safety and security of OTA websites. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) reported that OTA’s trick consumers into thinking they are booking directly on hotel websites, when in fact they are not. The trade association cited a report they commissioned by GFK Custom Research. The study found that hotel bookings through OTA’s are often corrupted, inaccurate, or even nonexistent. Full Story Here:

 

 


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Monday, November 2, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 10/30/15

ReviewPro releases its 2015 Top Luxury Hotel & Brand Report

ReviewPro, a guest intelligence solutions provider, released the results of their second annual report of the most highly rated luxury hotels and brands around the world. The report is based on reputation scoring and is compiled from guest reviews from a variety of online sources. TripAdvisor is the largest source of these online guest reviews, providing 28 percent of the total number of online guest reviews. Guests at luxury hotels posted an average of 836 reviews per hotel during 2015. Full Report Here:  

 

STR: US results for week ending 24 October

Industry wide, U.S. hotels performed well for the week of 18-24 October 2015, recording positive results. As compared to the same time frame last year, occupancy rose by 1.7 percent to reach 70.6 percent. Average daily rate climbed by 4.6 percent to $124.76 by week’s end. Revenue per available room increased by 6.4 percent to close the week at $88.08. Full Story Here:

 

Millennials Want to Travel More for Business, Embrace Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) recently released the results of their Business Traveler Sentiment Index. The study found that members of the Millennial Generation are almost two times more likely to travel for business than their Baby Boomer counterparts. Additionally, the research went on to state the importance of conducting business in person, according to Millennials. A solid majority, at 57 percent, believe face-to-face meetings will never be replaced by technology. Full Story Here:

 

US Hotel Occupancy Up 1.4 percent to 71.3 percent For Third Quarter 2015 

The three major hotel performance yardsticks indicated positive growth in year-to-year measurements for the third quarter of 2015. Occupancy increased by 1.4 percent to stand at 71.3 percent for the quarter. Average daily rate climbed 4.5 percent to reach $122.66 for the quarter. And revenue per available room was up 5.9 percent to $87.47 for the third quarter of 2015. Full Story Here:

 


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Guest Personalization For Hotels - Part 1

The twenty-first century hotel guest approaches their hotel stay with high expectations. The convenience offered by technology in our everyday lives has built up the anticipation that this will carry over when we travel. Travelers now expect and demand a hotel experience customized to their needs and tastes.
Mobile technology offers hoteliers an exciting means to meet the expectations of their guests with an exceptional level of personalized service, previously not possible. Smart technology additionally provides the hospitality industry yet another opportunity to deliver, particularly in-room, customized guest experience. Both personalization opportunities require a commitment on the part of hotels to invest in their customers through the provision of these technologies.

Mobile Appssd
Today’s traveler wants greater control of their hotel guest experience from start to finish and hotel provided mobile apps empower them to do so. With a hotel app downloaded to their smartphone or tablet, customers can chose from among common variables such as, room size and bed type, to customizing the room temperature, as well as selecting food and drinks for the mini-bar. This can occur all in advance of their stay and prior to their arrival from a mobile device armed with an app from the hotel. Also, these preferences may be kept in place and be waiting for the guest upon their next arrival, either at the same location or another in the case of a chain.
Hotel guests with a hotel app can skip the lines at the front desk with mobile check-in. Various hotel extra services and amenities, such as spa treatments, may be ordered by the hotel guest directly from their mobile device. Another feature frequently made available via mobile hotel apps is concierge services. Through such an app, the hotel guest is enabled to access updated information regarding upcoming on or off property events, local area attractions, concerts, and sports, etc.
Of course, such personalized service and convenience comes at a price to the customer, in the form of personal information disclosure. Customers have been balancing the benefits against the risks. Hotel guests don’t mind as long as something is to be gained for their benefit. Customers have been balancing the benefits against the risks and are much more willing to provide various preferences, and even gender data. However, they are inclined to be much more cautious regarding any personal finance and credit card information.

In the next part in this series we will see how hoteliers can transform the hotel guest experience in a highly personalized way through smart technology.          


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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hotel Website User Experience

The advent of online travel agencies such as Expedia and Booking.com have been highly beneficial to the hospitality industry, but that benefit has come at a growing cost to hoteliers. The fees charged by the OTAs have risen as the booking choices available to the traveling public have shrunk. This makes it imperative all the more, for particularly
independent and small chain hotels, but large as well, to enhance their hotel websites to garner as much direct bookings as attainable. This will result in reduced fees and greater revenue earned, while additionally, increasing customer loyalty and building up the brand’s image. Here are a number of common features found on highly successful hotel booking websites.

Simplicity
Visitors to a hotel’s website should be greeted by a homepage that is the epitome of simplicity. Uncluttered and only featuring what is necessary to draw the potential guest into the booking process. The reservation box, the page’s call to action, needs to be prominently displayed where the potential guest's attention will be naturally drawn, so they can be converted into a booking customer. Other items on the home page should include a large image and possibly a brief introduction that highlights the hotel in an attractive way. A phone number should also be provided to funnel those potential guests that would prefer to speak with someone to book their travel.

Persuasion
Every hotel has unique features to be displayed in the focus viewing area. Whatever makes the hotel stand out from the crowd of its hospitality competitors and encourages direct bookings should be displayed where it will catch the potential guest’s eye. High quality images can make a profoundly persuasive statement and influence the purchasing decision.
The “make a reservation” box, once clicked, should take the user to a page that compliments
the hotel’s facilities, accommodations, and amenities. The traveling public wants to see what they will get for their money and get some sense of what it will look like once they arrive. Also, it is critical for the website to provide extra encouragement for the potential guest to book now and not wait. Text in the booking pages should include remaining inventory and the number of rooms booked, to create a sense of urgency to the potential guest.                                                                                   

Trustworthy
It’s absolutely essential to instill a sense of trust and credibility in the eyes of the user, before they will book on the hotel’s website. Travelers have come to trust the large online travel agencies and the hotels they represent. If the same trust can be established, the goal is to shift the booking to the direct hotel website. In addition, the payment process must be as secure as possible with all the necessary security measures in place. Never ask for more information than is absolutely essential to complete the reservation.
Encumbering the potential guest with long online forms does not lead to a pleasant online experience and will most likely result in booking abandonment. Requiring many unnecessary personal details of the user may be good for marketing purposes, but is ultimately interferes with the goal of booking the traveler.
Hospitality is a highly competitive industry, especially in light of the plethora of online booking channels available to the traveling public. The user experience at your booking site needs to be pleasant.


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Monday, October 26, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 10/23/15


US Hotel Occupancy Up 3.3% To 67.9% During September 2015
The month of September 2015 was a positive one for the U.S. hotel industry, according to figures released by STR, Inc. As compared to the same period last year occupancy rose by 3.3 percent for the month, reaching 67.9 percent industrywide. The average daily rate climbed by 4.6 percent to $122.02. And revenue per available room was up by 8.0 percent, attaining $82.82 for the month of September 2015. Full Story Here:

US business travel spending growth slows in 2015
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) released its outlook report for the end of 2015 and into 2016. The growth rate in U.S business travel spending is projected to slow going forward through 2016. A number of factors have combined to create this scenario, including global economic uncertainty and inflation predicted to remain flat. Full Story Here:


STR: US results for week ending 17 October
The U.S. hotel industry posted positive numbers for the week of 11-17 October 2015, as reported by STR, Inc. Occupancy industrywide was up 1.8 percent to 71.8 percent. Average daily rate climbed 3.6 percent, reaching $123.77. And revenue per available room increased 5.5 percent, ending the week at $88.91. Full Story Here:

Stock declines temper industry cycle peak
Despite the hotel industry posting consistently positive numbers in the most important performance measurements, stocks of U.S. hotel companies have declined during the year. Equity analysts believe other factors are in play and the industry’s performance in general is not to blame. Experts point to the volatility and decline in the stock throughout 2015 as negatively influential on the hotel industry, regardless of actual figures. Full Story Here:


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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mobile Payments For Hotels

The rise in use of mobile devices among travelers naturally has led to the popularity of mobile bookings and the creation of websites which enable users to book via mobile. A further progression of this trend and natural evolution in technology is mobile payments. Travelers are now using their mobile devices to not only search for and book, but pay as well for their hotel accommodations. Hotel guests use their mobile devices largely for convenience sake while traveling. The customer expectation now is for hotels to meet their needs through convenient connection with them on their chosen devices.
Concerns over security have kept consumers from adopting mobile payments in the past, but this is now rapidly changing. Mobile payment adoption is really taking off with the trend being led by the restaurant industry. This is largely since the appearance of Apple Pay in late 2014. Another issue has been the many competing payment platforms, with a winner yet to emerge into the standard. The form of mobile payments which has proved most popular is the “mobile wallet.” Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet/Android Pay are clearly the leaders in this technology, but there are other popular platforms as well, and it is conceivable that consumers may want to continue to have choices. Hotels would be wise to adopt several platforms in order to be responsive to the needs of their guests.
There are a number of advantages to be gained by hotels that offer mobile payments to their guests. Not least of which is the satisfaction of hotel customers as a result of the improved guest experience. Hotel guests can avoid having to wait at a front desk counter for payment, either at arrival, departure, or for any additional hotel services they may purchase. Furthermore, mobile payment streamlines the process for mobile check-in and room key access, another growing customer expectation of hotels. Highly beneficial for hoteliers are the implications for building customer loyalty as well. Hotel loyalty programs can be fully integrated with the mobile wallet systems of their customers and rewards can be directly sent to the guest’s mobile device.
The hospitality industry should incorporate the necessary technology to enable the processing of mobile payments for hotel guests. Research has shown how the number of travelers carrying mobile devices that are loaded with mobile wallet apps are steadily on the rise. The excellent customer service of this new technology can result in higher guest loyalty, which should be motivation for hotelier to implement mobile payments.  

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 10/16/15

Industry keeps wary eye on Google’s moves in hotel booking
Because of Google’s tremendous clout in the search engine realm, the hospitality industry is keeping careful tabs on the search giant’s moves in the online hotel booking space. Google has launched its hotel booking feature called, Book on Google, and plans on stepping up the booking capabilities while also increasing the amount of online content available through it’s booking tool. Thus far most hotel searches bring up results linking to online travel agencies, rather than Google direct booking. Full Story Here:

STR: US results for week ending 10 October
The three key performance yardsticks for the U.S. hotel industry were all higher the week 4-10 October 2015, when compared to the same time frame last year. Occupancy rose by 0.5 percent to reach 71.7 percent. Average daily rate climbed 4.5 percent to $125.23. And revenue per available room was up by 5.0 percent to attain $89.85 by week’s end. Full Story Here:

New Study Reveals American’s Attitudes Towards Vacations
Globus released the results of a new study that gauged the mindset of Americans regarding their vacations. The study found that Americans consider travel more important than many other life experiences. 97 percent of respondents stated they feel they deserve a vacation, while 91 percent stated their desire to vacation more often. 85 percent claim travel makes them happier and 70 percent think vacations mold them into better people. In the age group 55 and older, 47 percent lament not traveling enough. Full Story Here:

[Infographic] Uncovering the Millennial Mindset: Choice Hotels Reveals New Travel Study
A new study, revealed through an infographic, has been released by Choice Hotels International detailing the travel attitudes of the Millennial Generation. The study reveals the top ten travel trends of the 18-34 year old age group. A few examples include: 33 percent of Millennials would postpone the purchase of a home in order to take a dream vacation. 59 percent state that online ratings and reviews influence their travel decisions. 69 percent would prefer freebies, including snacks, breakfast etc., over loyalty points and rewards. Full Story Here:


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Friday, October 9, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 10/9/15

Hotel etiquette study ranks what rankles fellow guests
A recently study, released by Expedia, named the most annoying behaviors encountered by hotel guests involving their fellow guests. The Expedia 2015 Hotel Etiquette Study ranked inattentive parents to be the most troublesome at 67 percent. Hallway hell raisers were a close second at 64 percent, and complainers who give the staff trouble and berate them over trivial matters rounded out the top three at 54 percent. Full Story Here:

Nearly Half Of U.S. International Business Travelers Use Extended Stay Accommodations
Among American business travelers abroad, almost half have stayed in extended stay accommodations in the last 12 months. This is according to a study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). The research found that members of the Millennial Generation are the most frequent users of extended stay hotels outside the U.S. Additionally, the study also states the majority (60 percent) of business travelers book their stays themselves. Full Story Here:

It’s all optimism at The Lodging Conference 
This week The Lodging Conference has been held in Phoenix, AZ. The positive numbers posted by the U.S. hotel industry this year has many of the industry’s leaders holding an optimistic outlook for the future. The expectation, in general, is that the hospitality industry’s prosperity is expected to last over the next two years or more. The reason given for this continued growth is the willingness to travel among the nation’s consumers. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 3.4% To 68.8% Week Ending October 3rd - 2015
During the week of 27 September and 3 October 2015 the hotel industry in the U.S. posted positive numbers. When compared to the same period last year, occupancy climbed 3.4 percent to reach 68.8 percent. Average daily rate (ADR) rose 8.0 percent to $124.96, and revenue per available room (RevPAR) was up by 11.6 percent, reaching $86.01. Full Story Here:


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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hotel Digital Booking Funnel - Part 2

With competition coming from many sources now, online travel agencies and metasearch engines for example, it is extremely critical for hotel websites to be updated with a number of potential improvements. In order for hotels to keep their website direct booking platform ahead of other competing channels, these upgrades should be implemented as part of an overall digital marketing strategy. Here are a few more steps hoteliers can take in this regard.

User Experience
How the users, who are potential hotel customers, experience the hotel through its website is probably one the most important factors in determining the site’s success in driving direct bookings. Also the influence of traditional SEO techniques in determining search rankings is waning, while search engines are increasingly rewarding the human side of web design. The hotel website needs to be clearly laid out and easily navigated, while engaging to the user. Social media buttons, in addition to clear call to actions should be readily available from all website pages. Website performance is critical as well, users will not be converted into customers from pages, which load too slowly.

Content
In order for the hotel website to be engaging for the users, they must find the content within it to be relevant to their lives and the purpose they are on the site to begin with. Hotel content should enhance the user’s experience in such way that they are naturally drawn into the booking process, while their purpose is empowered with useful topics such as accommodation, amenities and on-property facilities as well as local area information. Content should always provide value to the website users. Additionally ensure all content, particularly images and video, looks professional across all user platforms including mobile, laptop, and desktop.

Personalization
The user experience is further enhanced through the personalization of content. Through the analysis of the user’s demographics, past search, web viewing and purchase history, content can be tailored to the interests of the user. For example, if at some point a potential hotel customer researched information about a particular travel destination, they would then see offers from the hotel for that exact location. This results in a highly personalized and relevant website experience for each individual user.
Despite the overwhelming advantages online travel agencies may seem to have over a local hotel website, the hotel can counteract them to a degree by implementing a smart digital marketing strategy. Any hotel has its own advantage as well, of being local and therefore having the ability to better respond to the changing needs of their customers and the local area.


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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hotel Digital Booking Funnel - Part 1

With the competition for hotel bookings of travelers around the world gaining intensity, hoteliers are battling with online travel agencies for every booking. Over the course of the last few years, OTAs have garnered an ever-increasing share of the hotel guest revenue dollar. However, there are a number of areas for potential improvement on hotel websites, the hotelier’s most valuable asset in the digital booking funnel. These improvements, if implemented as part of an overall digital hotel marketing strategy, could stem the tide of OTA booking encroachment. In this series we will examine some of the steps hoteliers can implement.

Mobile
The use of mobile devices by travelers isn’t just some trendy thing that will go away over time, smartphones and tablets are the reality of the present and future. A clear majority of hotel bookings now come as a result of an online purchase and over 25 percent of online bookings are made via mobile as well. It is therefore imperative for hotel websites to be responsive in design to compete in today’s travel market. This means the hotel website must respond and conform to whatever device the user is attempting to access it from online. Since Google is now using mobile friendliness as a factor in determining search ranking, engaging the mobile travel market is now required of all hotels going forward.

Social Media
The online world lives in its connection through social media. A robust social network presence is the most powerful tool of brand awareness available to any hotel’s digital marketing efforts. However, the absolute ubiquity of social websites has created the problem of social media marketing campaigns becoming drowned out among the plethora of other competing messages for the user’s attention. As a result, the days of social media providing a free marketing outlet are gone forever. True visibility is only possible with paid advertising campaigns on a variety of social platforms. Additionally, social media offers a great opportunity for hotels to foster and build connections with their customers through relevant content.

Local
Being part of the travel industry, it is vital for hotels to take control of their local presence online. The staggering number of mobile users makes the enhancement of a hotel’s website to leverage local search crucially important. According to Google, fully 80 percent of all local searches will end with the user making a purchase. Potential customers must see a hotel’s website at or near the top of local search listings in order to fully take advantage of a mobile optimized website.
In part two of this series we will examine further steps to be taken by hoteliers to better compete for direct online hotel bookings.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 10/2/15

North American Hotels Experiencing Heavy Business
The North American Hospitality Review (NAHR) was released in September 2015 by TravelClick, and the review states hotels are experiencing high numbers of advance bookings in the third quarter of this year. This indicates hotel industry performance should continue to be higher, compared to the same period last year, for the remainder of the year and into 2016. Industry wide numbers have all been significantly higher in 2015 and this should continue, despite the recent state of flux in worldwide markets. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 2.3% To 70.3% Week Ending September 26TH - 2015
During the week of 20-26 September 2015, the U.S. hotel industry posted positive numbers yet again in figures when compared to the same period last year. Industry wide occupancy climbed 2.3 percent to reach 70.3 percent. Average daily rate rose 4.9 percent to $122.56 for the week. And revenue per available room was up by 7.2 percent, ending the week at $86.17. Full Story Here:

Hotel & Lodging Forecast 2016
Hotelguru.com has made their predictions for the hospitality industry in 2016. This comes in advance of next week’s The Lodging Conference. Usually Hotelguru waits until after the conference to make their predictions, however this year’s strong numbers made the projections easily made without conferring with other hospitality experts. It is now expected that the next twelve months will be the best ever recorded by the hospitality industry. Full Story Here:

Coffee is key to business meetings
Hilton Worldwide released the results of a global study of business meeting preferences by business professionals. Over two-thirds still prefer face-to-face meetings and most think the meetings are more productive when coffee and/or tea is served. This is particularly true in the U.K. and China where 61 and 58 percent respectively think this to be true. In the U.S., 71 percent of city dwellers said coffee was important to successful meetings. Full Story Here:


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Friday, September 25, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/25/15

Google Accelerates Moves to Become Leading Hotel-Booking Player

In the wake of the Department of Justice decision to allow the Expedia acquisition of Orbitz to go forward, Google has begun making moves to position itself as a leader in hotel booking. Google is now offering hotels right inside Google search and has shut down its Google Hotel Finder. The search giant is also changing its pricing model to allow independent hotels to pay for search listings by commission, rather than pay-per-click. Full Story Here:

 

Luxury Branding ranks the world’s most popular hotel brands for 2015

Luxury Branding released the results of their independent analysis of 2.25 million traveller reviews on TripAdvisor to come up with a ranking of the most popular hotels in 2015. The London-based consultancy named The Ritz-Carlton, owned by Marriott International, the most highly rated by TripAdvisor. Surprisingly, other well established names such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, and others failed to make the top ten. Full Story Here:

 

US Hotel Occupancy Up 1.7% To 72.0% Week Ending September 19th - 2015 

According to data from STR, the U.S. hotel industry posted positive numbers in key measurements for the week of 13-19 September, when compared to the same period last year. For the week, occupancy rose by 1.7 percent to reach 72.0 percent. Average daily rate climbed 3.7 percent to $123.89. Revenue per available room was up 5.5 percent to end the week at $89.15. Full Story Here:

 

The Secret Of A Hotel’s Lost And Found: G6 Hospitality Reveals Results Of “motel 6 Items Left Behind” Survey

 A new survey by G6 Hospitality shows the items most commonly left behind by guests in their hotel rooms. Over half (54 percent) will admit that they have left personal items behind when they checked out of a hotel. 35 percent will drive back to the hotel to re-claim the items at lost and found. Clothing and toiletries lead the pack at 42 percent, as the most commonly forgotten belongings, Millennial Generation members are the most likely to forget something when they check out. Full Story Here:

 

 


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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Driving Hotel Bookings With Experiential Marketing

Travelers today are expecting, in many cases, much more than a relaxing time during their vacations. They are seeking to fully immerse themselves in their travel destinations and its surrounding culture in new and exciting ways. This trend is being driven by travelers in pursuit of unique adventures and their desire to find truly authentic local experiences while on vacation.

The experiential traveler is a direct result of the public’s easy access to destination information via the Internet. The rise of the sharing economy and the various alternatives to traditional accommodations available to travelers today has fed into this trend as well. No one is more knowledgeable regarding a particular location than a local who lives there and opens up his or her home to visitors from elsewhere. However, these travelers also provide an opportunity for hoteliers in search of fresh approaches toward improving the hotel guest experience.

 

Hotel Activities and Events

Hotel hosted events and activities, geared toward showcasing the local flavor, are precisely the type of experience vacationers seek. For example, hosting a cooking event led by a local chef will connect a hotel’s guests with the cuisine of a destination much more effectively than menu changes at the hotel restaurant ever would. Nature or historical walks hosted by a local and experienced guide will provide further connection as well. Another possibility is for the hotel to organize a musically oriented evening steeped in local folk traditions. Hotel guest attendees should be encouraged to actively participate with performers, as opposed to passively listening and watching. The many possibilities are as limitless as the hotel destinations are themselves.

 

Hotel Art

Hotels across America and around the world are discovering the power of artwork to convey a sense of locality and destination to their guests. Hotels can fill their common areas and accommodations with the works of local artists, while the art can become a destination unto itself. Many hotels are now hosting art auctions and display sales as well. Travelers can sometimes be enticed to book a hotel with the possibility of acquiring valuable artwork from the local artists there.

 

Hotel Mobile Technology

Mobile technology can enhance and improve the overall hotel guest experience dramatically. For example, hotel apps can become an extension of the hotel’s concierge services, particularly when the guest is off the property and out enjoying the locale. Apps can make recommendations based on local experience for everything from local food and drink to entertainment and culture.

Other customer service options available to hoteliers through mobile technology briefly include room set up, mobile check-in and out, and the use of a smartphone to open hotel room doors. All of which are appealing to the tech savvy, experiential traveler of today who is likely extremely comfortable with technology. 


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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hotels And The Senior Traveler


The “Baby Boomer” generation is now reaching retirement age, and advances in medicine are helping this generation,  sometimes referred to as the “Silent” generation, live longer and more active lives. There has never been a time with more senior citizens making up our population than right now. And many of these seniors have plenty of time on their hands, combined with financial abundance, enabling them to travel freely. This amounts to a sizable market of potential hotel guests. Many hotels have tried to earn the patronage of the senior traveler merely by offering “senior discounts,” forgetting that it might take much more to earn and keep the patronage of the most experienced of travelers.
Making hotels more appealing to a rapidly aging population should be centered on changes in attitude and the training of staff to be more sensitive to the needs of seniors. Instilling an awareness in hotel staff that human capabilities, such as strength, stamina, hearing, sight, and balance decline with age. And an appreciation of these facts is important in anticipating the needs of seniors. This is crucial for providing outstanding hotel service to those guests.
Another factor to be taken into consideration is the way most seniors, Baby Boomers in particular, dismiss the facts surrounding their age. They do not like being treated as seniors, despite the reality of their age, because they still think of themselves as young. Hotel marketing to seniors should appeal to their attitudes and sensibilities, not their age. Marketing efforts focusing on how the hotel stay will provide enrichment, wellness, and fun, will make those appeals stronger. In addition to the anticipating needs, be sure to provide an excellent quality of service to seniors.
Hotel rate pricing is another point which seniors are often misunderstood by hoteliers. Conventional preconceptions view seniors as frugal and that they only seek the least expensive way of travel. Nothing could be more untrue in reality. Seniors, being seasoned travelers, know what they like since they research travel extensively and have experience. What they are really seeking is to receive value for the money they spend on travel. In this regards as well, it is best for hotels to be very clear and forthright about any ancillary hotel charges seniors may incur while a guest.
Seniors, particularly Baby Boomers, will encompass significantly increasing numbers of hotel guests going forward in time. Finding the right hotel marketing message is imperative for hoteliers who wish to leverage this growing guest market.  


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Friday, September 18, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/18/15

Why the DOJ approved the Expedia/Orbitz deal 
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) gave the go ahead to Expedia to proceed with their acquisition of Orbitz, an online travel agency rival. This despite widespread opposition from the hotel industry, led by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, which fears a duopoly of only two leading online travel agencies; Expedia and Priceline. Among the reasons given by the DOJ is the current evolution-taking place in the industry with recent entrance of TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking and Google’s Hotel and Flight Finder. Full Story Here:

Business Travel Bookings Are Higher Than Or On Par With Last Year
A survey of 392 leading corporate travel specialists by Travel Leaders Group, found that over 80 percent of them stated their business travel bookings are either higher or the same as the same time period in 2014. The results were published as part of the 2015 Fall Travel Trends Survey of 1,152 travel agent experts. Almost 70 percent reported their clients added a hotel reservation onto their travel itineraries. Additionally, an over 68 percent majority report their clients book “Luxury” or “Upper Upscale” category hotel accommodations. Full Story Here:


STR: US results for week ending 12 September 
All three key performance measurements declined in the U.S. hotel industry for the week ending 12 September, according to figures from STR. When compared to the same period last year, occupancy was down by 6.4 percent to 63.8 percent. Average daily rate dropped by 1.2 percent to $116.07. Ending the week at $74.03, revenue per available room slid down by 5.5 percent. Full Story Here:


Today’s Traveler: How Online Travel Is Changing {infographic} 
Spring Metrics put together an infographic illustrating how the traveler of today is booking their travel. The infographic shows how travelers are overwhelmingly shifting to book travel online. For both business and leisure travel, hotel websites lead online travel agencies as the preferred booking method. 96 percent report beginning the travel planning process on search engines. Full Story Here:


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Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to compete with large hotel chains

Until recently, small independent hotels simply could not compete with large name brand hotel chains. That is all changing now.
In recent years there has been a shift in hotel trends as more and more people are booking their rooms online and relying on online reviews rather than just sticking with brand names that they know. Millennials are seeking a more one of a kind and personalized experience that large chains cannot provide. With this change in mind, small independent hotels should try to take full advantage, by providing a much more personalized experience that the Millennials are craving.
There are several ways to connect with your hotel guests to give them a more unique memorable experience. Ideas such as, creating partnerships with local companies and using local farms for the produce for the meals served in your restaurants or room service. Having a true connection with your local area and city will give your guests an experience that they might not get from larger chains.
Independent hotels should also have a large web presence, with a user friendly website, and interact with future and past guests on social media. By doing this, you make guests feel very important and that you care. Don’t forget to ask them for online reviews, and when reviews are given, respond to them quickly, whether it is a good or bad review.
You should also partner with online travel agencies (OTAs). This will allow guests to book their rooms, fights, tours and activities all in one convenient spot making it easier for them, as well as OTAs to market your hotel to a lot more people.
And finally, provide exceptional customer service and encourage your employees to go above and beyond. By doing so, you are providing guests with better service than large chains can provide and showing your guests that you are loyal to them.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Generational Marketing For Hotels - Part 4

Generation X
Sometimes referred to as the “Lost” or “Forgotten” Generation, members of Generation X are gradually transitioning into their middle age and gaining some respectability. Born between 1965 and roughly 1980, they are now mostly raising families and in the prime of their working careers. Being much smaller in size, as compared to those that came before and after them, they are often overlooked in many ways and by more than just hoteliers. Despite being third in population size (roughly 60 million) to the brash Baby Boomers and hip Millennials who came before and after them, this would amount to a serious oversight by hotel marketers.

They Care About Family
For the majority of Gen X’ers, raising a family is their number one priority at this time. This should always be a central tenet of marketing to this demographic group. Since much of this generation’s current travel plans revolve around family vacations, considerations such as security and value, combined with fun, should be emphasized in targeted marketing efforts aimed at Generation X.
Another important factor to Gen X’ers is their careers, in which by providing for their families this generation is in their prime. Generation X, along with Millennial business travelers, is also mixing work with pleasure to a much greater extent than those who traveled for business before them.

They Care About Their Health
With middle age rapidly descending upon them, Gen X’ers are becoming increasingly health conscious. Amazingly, they are thinking of their health to a larger extent than the Baby Boomer generation before them. This generational trend can be best leveraged by a hotel which offers healthy choices on the restaurant menu and provides exercise and training facilities, in addition to offering cooking and Pilates classes for example. Presenting a weekend getaway as beneficial to health and well-being, will strike a chord with the Generation X traveler.

They Care About The World They Live In
Generation X has traditionally had a strong commitment to the earth’s environment and issues surrounding the welfare of our planet. But as they age, Gen X’ers have taken that care for their world a step further. They seek to protect and nurture more than the environment. This extends to every aspect of their lives, homes, and their savings as well. Generation X seeks safety and security for their world, any hotel marketing effort that taps into those feelings can win over the Gen X’er. Promoting water conservation programs, on towels and toilets by example, will show that your hotel shares their same sensibilities.
Generation X travelers are highly loyal, but in a different way than the generations before and after them. Largely skeptical of closely following brands, their loyalty can be earned however, the old fashioned way. Gen X’ers will return again and again to hotels, which provide excellent service, facilities, and value.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/11/15

Which are the world’s top 10 hotel brands?
Leisure Travel magazine released the results of their reader survey, a part of their World’s Best list, of the world’s favorite hotel chains. The top ten were, in order: 1. Oberoi, 2. Aman, 3. Peninsula, 4. Rosewood, 5. Four Seasons, 6. St. Regis, 7. Auberge, 8. Belmond, 9. Mandarin Oriental, 10. Ritz-Carlton. Each of these chains share one thing common, each of their properties offer a unique hotel experience for their guests. Full Story Here:  

Hotels gearing up for 2016: Strong advance bookings provide positive long-term outlook.
Instead of focusing their efforts on capturing last minute hotel bookings, as the summer winds down hoteliers seem looking ahead to 2016. This is according to information provided in TravelClick’s Twelve Month Outlook (August 2015 - July 2016). TravelClick reports that committed occupancy is 2.2 percent higher compared to the same period last year, while average daily rate for already booked reservations is up by 3.4 percent. Full Story Here:


Infographic: Hotel software purchase trends
In a random survey 385 hoteliers conducted between April 2014 and June 2015; STR, Inc. uncovered trends in the purchases of hotel management software. The results were published in an infographic. 77 percent of hoteliers want an online booking engine in their hotel management system, while 75 percent need reservation management. The number one reason given for changing software was that their current system is missing features they need. Full Story Here:


STR: US results for week ending 5 September
The three key indicators of hotel performance were all up for the week of 30 August to 5 September 2015, according to figures released by STR, Inc. As compared to the same period last year, occupancy was 7.5 percent higher at 63.6 percent. Average daily rate rose by 6.6 percent, to reach $115.73. Revenue per available room climbed by 14.6 percent to end the week at $75.58. Full Story Here:


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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Work Day Time Management Techniques

Getting as many tasks done in your work day can be very difficult with all of the distractions that occur on a given day.  We notice with our business that there are days in which the distractions are endless.  But with some small changes, it’s possible to get all of your goals done for the day, with some time to spare. Listed below are some good habits acquire.

  • When you first get to work, prioritize and plan your tasks that you would like to get done that day. Try and get the most important and difficult ones done while you’re fresh in the morning (if you’re a morning person).  Don’t procrastinate, which with more difficult tasks people tend to do.

  • Schedule a begin date and an end date for your tasks. This way you won’t get bored or spend too much time on one task.  We use a task manager tool, called, Rally. It’s great for keeping track and scheduling tasks, and for updating the time spent on those tasks, and checking to see how the company’s tasks are coming along over a period of time. Also, turn your cell phone off or on silent if it’s too distracting for you.

  • Plan on some interruptions, as they are part of work life. When you are in the middle of an important work session or when there’s a crunch time, close your door and tell others that you can’t be disturbed for some amount of time.
  • Don’t let Facebook, Twitter, internet searches, emails, etc. distract you for too long. You can always schedule some time for them during a break. You should always make sure you allot some down time or small breaks. After your break, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and get more done.
  • You need to produce good quality work, but try not to be too much of a perfectionist. Many of us spend way too many hours out of a day making something that we’re working on perfect, and second-guessing ourselves.
  • Organize your workspace, which will make it easier to find things.
  • Delegate work, if you’ve taken on too much work. Other co-workers would be happy to help out if they have extra time.
  • If you’re old school, use a day planner, or if you’re more tech savvy, plan the day or week on your cell phone calendar or Google calendar by adding new events/tasks.

With all of our very busy lives these days, finding a little bit of extra time to reward ourselves at the end of a difficult task or work day is a great thing. If you implement even just a few of these time management techniques you’ll get more done, and have time for some breaks in your work day.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 9/4/15

Hotel Industry to Labor: Overtime Increase Too High, Too Fast
In response to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed overtime rule changes, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has stated the changes come too fast for the industry and are too high as well. The DOL has put forth increases in overtime eligibility from the current $23,660 salary figure to $50.440. The AH&LA is urging restraint from the DOL in this regards, stating small business owners will suffer as a result of the implementation of these increases. Full Story Here:

STR: US results for the week ending 29 August
Hotel industry wide occupancy decreased in year-to-year measurements for the week ending 29 August. STR reported figures indicating a drop of 2.7 percent in occupancy, to 64.8 percent. However, average daily rate rose by 1.5 percent, to reach $115.95. Revenue per available room was down by 1.2 percent, to end the week at $75.16. Full Story Here:

Hotels.com Releases Hotel Price Index results for the First Half of the Year; U.S. up 2%
Hotel prices in three key regions of the world have surpassed their levels of the pre-financial crisis of 2008/2009, for the first time since that period, according to figures released by Hotel.com. Industry wide prices in North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America have climbed during the first half of 2015; with the U.S. leading the way with a 2 percent increase. The improvement is attributed to more people traveling, consumer spending increases, and currency fluctuations. Full Story Here:

ADR Growth Expected To Drive US Lodging Performance In Remainder Of 2015 And In 2016
PwC US has updated their forecast for the rest of 2015 and into 2016 for U.S. hospitality industry. Industry figures indicate solid growth in U.S. lodging this year will continue for the short-term future, into next year. PwC projects an increase in revenue per available room of 6.9 percent for the end of 2015. 2016 projections are for a growth level of 5.9 percent in revenue per available room, according to PwC US. Full Story Here:


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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Generational Marketing For Hotels - Part 3

Millennials
The first generation to have grown up with internet technology being an intimate part of their daily lives is in the process of coming of age. Some of the Millennial Generation are even parents themselves already. Millennials, sometimes referred to as Generation Y, were born between 1980 and 2000 and therefore grew up under constant barrage from the incessant advertising and marketing efforts of brands during the last 35 years.
Millennials make up the largest current generation, according to U.S. Census Bureau the number is 83.1 million. Millennials have not even arrived at their peak earning years or reached the pinnacle of their life’s potential disposable income yet. They literally are the future of travel and in order for hotels to garner the patronage of Millennials, they must appeal to their sensibilities.

Technology
Millennials have been using digital technology as long as they can remember. It is second nature to this generation. Mobile devices are especially significant to Millennials and seen as a necessity, rather than a convenience, as is the case with many members of other generations before them. Having a hotel website that is, at minimum, mobile-friendly is fundamental to any hotel marketing effort seeking to appeal to Millennials.
Offering hotel apps for mobile devices is another step in targeting this market, and will certainly interest other generations as well. Mobile device enabled check-ins, virtual concierge services, and the selection and ordering of various hotel amenity services, are all possibilities available to hoteliers that Millennials will find highly endearing.

Engagement
It isn’t enough for a hotel to be merely present on social media. Millennials demand engagement and interaction with the brands that wish to get their business. An active and vibrant social media campaign featuring regular posts that offer attractive images and videos showcasing not only the hotel and its amenities, but other relevant information of interest as well. Millennials desire to truly experience their travel destinations and view hotels within that context. Highlighting a hotel as part of the larger local surroundings and culture will prove exceedingly charming to members of the Millennial Generation. Richly compelling and visual content is a highly effective path to engaging any hotel’s Millennial audience.

Authenticity
Having been exposed to intense marketing campaigns literally their whole lives, Millennials respond best to what they perceive to be authentic. Rather than indifferently absorbing the advertising from brands pushing their products, Millennials insist that companies meet them at their points of need and respond to their desires. The payoff for brands that follow through is the Millennial Generation’s penchant for enthusiastically referring them, and reviewing the companies they love.
Millennials are growing up with a high degree of social responsibility and will acknowledge through their patronage and referrals any brand that authentically supports shared causes.  Millennials believe in transformational action, as opposed to merely paying lip service to social causes. Companies that truly are making a difference in society with their actions are heartily supported in kind by the Millennial Generation.

In the last part in this hotel generational marketing series we’ll take a look at the so-called “Lost Generation” otherwise known as Generation X.


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