Friday, May 29, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/29/15


Food tourism putting under-the-radar destinations on the map


A new type of traveler has emerged in recent years, the food tourist. This traveler chooses destinations primarily based on local cuisine. This trend has given a boost to locations that may have formerly been overlooked, at least by leisure travelers. Destinations such as, Kentucky & Tennessee (whiskey), Carolinas & Texas (barbecue), and Connecticut & Indiana (chocolate) among others are seeing increased tourism because of local food and drink specialties. Full Story Here:


Nearly Seven In Ten Americans (68%) Have At Least One Leisure Trip Planned For Summer 2015


A Harris poll recently released states that nearly seven out of ten (68%) Americans are planning at least one leisure trip this coming summer, during the period May through August. Three years ago the figure was 60 percent and was 66 percent last year. This amounts to a steady growth rate for summer vacation trips in the U.S. in recent years. Additionally, those planning on summer trips expect to spend $1722 during their travel on average. Full Story Here:


STR: US hotel results for week ending 23 May


According to figures from STR, the U.S. hotel industry had another good week, between 17-23 May. The industry showed positive numbers for the three key performance measurements, over the same period last year. Occupancy was up by 1.4 percent to 71.4 percent. Average daily rate rose by 4.7 percent ending at $121.96. Revenue per available room climbed by 6.2 percent in attaining $87.10. Full Story Here:


Bright Outlook For Hotels This Summer Travel Season


TravelClick has released the results of its North American Hospitality Review (NAHR). Numbers so far this year indicate a bright outlook is in store for North American hotels this summer. Three out of four of 25 markets that were measured had increases in occupancy, while 90 percent are reporting average daily rates are on the rise. TravelClick is urging hoteliers to be mindful of this situation and act accordingly by continually gauging themselves against their local competitive set. Full Story Here:

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Special Interest for Travelers

Did you know you could turn an old iPhone or iPad into a motion-sensitive webcam home monitoring device? Now you can travel around the world and enjoy peace of mind while monitoring your home or office.

There’s a simple innovative solution that costs nothing.  Go the App store and download the free “Presence” App on your old and new IOS devices. Judging from the star ratings, a number of people have found the App useful and amazingly effective.

Try it on your next trip away from home.  Why worry about security back at your castle? Fire up the App and watch your property.  


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/22/15

Hospitality’s First Hackathon Postponed Until Later This Year

Hospitality’s first ever Hackathon has been postponed to a later date, most likely later in 2015. The event was scheduled to take place the two days preceding the upcoming Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) in Austin, Texas on June 15-18. Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) cited lack of available space for the postponement. The annual HITEC event is drawing record attendance this year and Hackathon organizers want the industry’s first to receive the level of exposure and attention it fully deserves. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 16 May

According to figures from STR, Inc., the U.S. hotel industry continues to see positive numbers, as compared to the previous period last year. Industrywide, occupancy was up 0.5 percent to reach 70.3 percent. Average daily rate rose 5.2 percent, ending the week at $122.10. Revenue per available room increased by 5.7 percent, attaining $85.80 by the end of the week. Full Story Here:

Average Daily Rate Growth For U.S. Hotels Expected To Accelerate In 2016

PwC US has revised its projections regarding the U.S. hotel industry for the remainder of 2015 through 2016. The stellar performance of the industry during the first quarter of 2015 has resulted in upgraded expectations for U.S. hotels over the rest of the year and next. In year-over-year figures, the industry saw revenue per available room rise by 8.0 percent. PwC is predicting this will continue, resulting in a 7.0 increase for the year 2015, and is expected to further grow by 6.1 percent in 2016. Full Story Here:

Adobe report predicts summer travel spend to increase to $65 Billion

With its release of the annual Digital Index Travel Report, Adobe projects spending on summer travel will rise to $65 billion. This represents an increase of seven percent over the period between Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2014. Adobe’s report studied more than 15 billion website visits to major U.S. travel, airline and hotels from 2013 until 2015. Also 3 million social media mentions were examined as well. Full Story Here:

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership

If you Google “types of leadership,” you will see definitions and labels for about 20 different styles of leadership.  One of those types is Servant Leadership and that will be the focus of this entry.  At it’s foundation, Servant Leadership put the needs of subordinates first.  It is a style of leadership that is built on trust, loyalty and fairness.


Organizational Framework

While Above Property leadership pursues many types of leadership, Servant Leadership is one that is present all day every day.  As a technology company, it is the creation of software and the ability to operate it that enables Above Property to be successful.  This is only accomplished by supporting the individuals and the processes that allow that to occur.  At the end of the day, by putting the needs of the team first, organizational success is achieved by serving the individuals within the organization.



When a leader decides that he or she should serve their subordinates, it is counterintuitive?  On the surface, yes, but that it where other types of leadership get melded in.  A true leader has the confidence to support the organization from the bottom up as well as from the front.  Running a technology company is also very different from running a pure process oriented operation.  A technology company often brings together multiple complex components to drive a value added solution.  Individuals who work on those complex components must be supported to ensure success.


For the Tool Box

Whether you are an individual contributor, manager, or executive, consider Servant Leadership as an item for your leadership toolbox.  As I began this entry stating there are many different types of leadership styles, Servant Leadership is one of the most satisfying for both the leader as well as the subordinate.  Above Property fully recognizes that great organizations practice effective leadership to drive success. 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hotels And The Business Traveler - Part 2

The rebounding economy has lead to the return and rise again of the business traveler, and their influence upon the hotel industry. Hoteliers, in order to capitalize on the increased spending on business travel, need to keep their fingers on the pulse of this vital market segment and anticipate its needs. Although becoming an ever more diverse group, there are a few industry elements of crucial importance to all business travelers in common. Consistency of guest experience, loyalty programs, and quality of reviews, are the most crucial. These were covered in the first part of this blog. However, there are a number of hotel technology related wants and needs of business travelers now.




1 - Wi-Fi

Many surveys find that the majority of business travelers put free Wi-Fi service right to the top of their list of desired hotel amenities. As a growing number of hotels are embracing the concept, a significant segment of business travelers will not stay at hotels that charge guests for the service. Business travelers in particular feel the pinch of Wi-Fi charges because they have to include Internet charges in their expenses they turn into their company.

Another issue encountered by business travelers is the reliability of the Internet connection at the hotels they stay. Between work and home, most people have become quite accustomed to high-speed Internet service. Hotel Wi-Fi; due to sometimes limited bandwidth, can really frustrate a tired traveler, who is away from their home. However, it isn’t always hotel budgeting issues causing the slowdown, as local Internet providers often lack sufficient bandwidth themselves.


2 - Hi-Tech Self Check-in

This does appear to be the way of the future all across the hotel industry. Busy business travelers in particular would appreciate having the ability to skip right past all the other steps of checking-in, to entering their room with their smartphone without having to see anyone first. Keyless entry and mobile apps which enable guests to self check-in via their smartphones, are just beginning to be made available by hotels to their customers or will be soon. Many more are expected to follow, going forward.

Probably the biggest influence upon the hotel industry is the growing importance of the millennial generation. They represent both the present and future of the industry. Hoteliers must meet the needs and match the expectations of business travelers of every generation in order to earn their loyalty and continued business.  


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Hotels And The Business Traveler - Part 1

All indications seem to point toward steady growth in business travel during 2015. Growth has been extended over the course of the last several years as the economy has rebounded and is expected to continue. For example, the Global Business Travel Association predicts that spending on business travel in the U.S. will rise by 6.2 percent during the current year. With this growth in business travel, it is essential for hotels to be both perceptive and anticipatory of the needs and desires of the business traveler in 2015. Hoteliers must gain an understanding of this crucial market segment, in order to best leverage it going forward.


Hotel Marketing For The Business Traveler

Business travelers are now an evolving demographic that is becoming extremely diverse. The Millennial generation is taking their place in the business world, as the largest generation at present; Millennials are having a profound impact for change upon the hospitality industry. Hoteliers will greatly benefit from taking into consideration the needs and wants of Millennial business travelers. Traits of this generation, such as their connectivity, willingness to share across a multitude of social networks, and taste for trendy designs, are transforming the hotel industry. Millennials are also much more likely to mix a business trip with leisure time activities, although this a growing trend certainly not limited to Millennials.

Older business travelers are, generally speaking, much more experienced at working from the road and are usually more prepared, spending more time in trip planning. Some of these more experienced travelers may be tired of life on the road, having to travel more frequently than they care to. These business travelers are seeking to feel at home, or as familiar as possible, wherever they stay.

Despite this, most business travelers, regardless of demographic, actually enjoy traveling for work and consider it a perk. There are things they all appreciate to be commonly found in the hotels which they choose to stay, and will wield an influence on their booking decisions.


1 - Brand Consistency 

Business travelers are away from home and mainly looking for a comfortable, consistent guest experience, without any surprises. It is extremely important to the business traveler to feel familiar with every aspect of their stay.


2 - Loyalty Programs

Hotel loyalty plans are critical in keeping business travelers coming back, once their business has been gained. Guests can be encouraged to sign up and earn loyalty points by rewarding them with points whenever they “check-in” on social media or post a review of the hotel.


3 - Excellent Reviews                                                                                                                   

Studies have shown that reviews are the most important and influential factor for business travelers when selecting a hotel. Business travelers are looking to learn from the experiences of their frequent flyer peers. They are less influenced by a single negative review than a leisure traveler might be, as long as the hotel responds correctly and rectifies the issue.

In part 2 of this series, we will look at hotel technology changes and improvements that are influential in gaining the loyalty of business travelers.  



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Friday, May 15, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/15/15

Hospitality Industry's First Hackathon Introduced by HFTP at 2015 HITEC
In what will be one of the first such events in the hospitality industry, the upcoming Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) in Austin, Texas will host a HITEC Hackathon. Prior to the conference up to 100 invited technology developers will take part in a 48 hour competition, each will be given a specific hospitality industry technology problem. The goal of the competition is to further the development of disruptive and innovative hospitality technologies Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Increases 1.3% To 67% Week Ending May 9th - 2015
Statistics from Smith Travel Research (STR) indicate the U.S. hotel industry had a positive week of 3-9 May 2015, over the same period last year. Occupancy rose by 1.3 percent to reach 67.0 percent. Average daily rate gained 4.8 percent in attaining $120.59. Revenue per available room increased by 6.1 percent ending the week at $80.85. Full Story Here:

Hotel Prices Near Pre-Recession Peak
According to figures released by Moody’s/RCA Commercial Property Prices Indices report, hotel property prices are nearing their pre-recession peak. In the last 12 months, prices have risen by 33 percent. In the first quarter of this year, investment sale prices of U.S. hotel properties increased sharply by 68 percent, reaching $12.9 billion; as reported by Real Capital Analytics. Full Story Here:

Positive Outlook for Summer 2015 Leisure Travel As Older Generations Lead the Charge
A national survey by D.K. Shifflet & Associates indicates that it will be a positive summer for leisure travel this year. Leading this optimism are the older generations of travelers, Traditionalists and Boomers. Boomers report their intention is to increase both the number of travel days and spending by 8 percent. Traditionalists are increasing travel days by 9 percent and spending on travel by a full 10 percent. Younger generations report they will be a bit more travel thrifty this summer. Full Story Here:

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Meeting Guest Expectations With Hotel Technology - Part 2

Hotels are always seeking ways to improve the level of satisfaction experienced by their guests, whenever they stay with them. This has never been more important than now, considering the explosion of review websites. There are a variety of approaches any hotel can take which will enhance the customer experience while improving their comfort, providing more convenience, and adding value. Hotel technology is an area many hotels are now currently investing in, to that end. Mobile technology and the ubiquity of smartphones among travelers is but one opportunity which is being leveraged by hoteliers, but there are nonetheless other technologies with room for improvement.


Hotel Technology


  • Wi-Fi Improvements


Travelers today have become highly dependent on utilizing their mobile devices to the fullest of their capabilities. This applies as much to leisure travelers as it does to business travelers. Access to the Internet is seen as a necessity, not a luxury. Hotels need to recognize this fact or suffer the consequences. Wi-Fi in their rooms, in addition to common areas of the hotel, is a top priority for travelers. Many now will not book a stay at a hotel without high speed Wi-Fi throughout the property.


  • Network Security


Furthermore, the security of that Wi-Fi network should be trustworthy and safe for use. This requires testing and evaluation of the network on a regular basis to ensure the safety of the guest’s personal devices. This improvement will instill trust in the hotel and make the property seem the more logical choice among a crowded field.


  • Lobby Technology/Facial Recognition


Hoteliers are offering their guests new platforms for communication, service, and convenience in hotel lobbies. This is a trend that has been building for some time and is reaching fruition in the form of lobby touchscreens and facial recognition technology. Operated as if they were oversized mobile devices, these touch screens provide hotel guests with pertinent travel related information such as airline and flight information, news and weather, and local attractions and recommendations. Additionally, hotels have begun implementing self check-in technology in the mode of lobby kiosks, for those guests preferring to go immediately to their room.


Facial recognition is another area of technology showing promise for the hotel industry. Cameras linked up with biological info analyzing software specifically designed to identify human individuals, based on their physical features. In use for some time by law enforcement agencies and retail stores to spot known criminals and shoplifting as it occurs, the technology will provide hotel guests many service and convenience advantages. For example, guests can be greeted by name immediately upon arrival and staff can anticipate their needs in advance.


Hoteliers to significantly raise their customer satisfaction levels can leverage these technologies. However, in the case of younger, millennial generation travelers, these are becoming expected standard features of hotels they prefer to stay with. Going forward, hotels will need to adopt such technologies to keep up.  



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Monday, May 11, 2015

Meeting Guest Expectations With Hotel Technology - Part 1

The hospitality industry is continuously striving to raise the level of satisfaction their guests feel during and after every hotel stay. A key tool available to hoteliers in this regard is the growing number of ways hotels can offer technology-based conveniences to their guests. Guest expectations are rising as new and more capable mobile devices become available to the public. Many hotels, particularly mid-scale properties, are increasing their technology budgets in order to implement a variety of technologies designed to enhance the guest experience while meeting their expectations.


Hotel Technology


  • Mobile-based customer solutions


Mobile-based hotel technologies are where many hoteliers are spending their increased technology budgets. As mobile technology advances, so does the expectation on the part of hotel guests that a hotel will accommodate their needs. Many hotel customers come with the expectation of fully utilizing all the capabilities of their devices while away from home. In a survey of travelers conducted in the fall of 2014, Software Advice found that 60 percent of consumers are more likely to stay at a hotel, which offers mobile conveniences such as mobile check-in and mobile room key.


  • Mobile Payments


Mobile payment is another technology growth area for hoteliers. A problem for hotels in this regard is the reality of multiple standards without any stand out payment provider. This has slowed adoption of new forms of payment offered to hotel guests. The most likely solution is going to be hoteliers offering multiple mobile payment options to their customers.  Apple’s Apple Pay is the most promising solution in this segment.  That said, mobile devices have to ensure security as well as NFC (near field communication) capabilities, which can only be found in the latest generation of smart devices.


  • Mobile Workforce Management


Mobile technology can also be implemented by hotels in the area of hotel operations and the management of personnel. The daily tasks of running a hotel, many of which are time-sensitive, can be more effectively scheduled and managed through mobile workforce apps that give staff the ability to mark off assignments as they complete them.

In part two of this blog series we will look at other technologies available to hotels that are not mobile based.



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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Is Catering Lunch the Right Decision for your Business?

Many companies are now providing lunch for their employees at least a few times per week. There are many reasons to do so.  At Above Property, we cater lunch five days per week and employees tend to really enjoy it, but variety is key. Below are some simple ways that will help make catering easier as well justify the decision to cater lunches, especially if you’re a technology startup.


  • First, find some catering companies that cater lunch in your area and ask them some questions, such as whether they deliver.  For those restaurants that don’t deliver, we use, to organize a lunch order.  It’s really easy for the lunch organizer to enter a restaurant with it’s menu into LunchBox, and send out an email to the employees notifying them of the restaurant choice of the day, with a link to order. For the employees, they review the menu, enter their choices and save their lunch order.


  • To add variety to your lunches, find companies that offer delivery services for different restaurants that don’t deliver.  For example, you can order multiple meals from them, but they don’t deliver the food. We use, in our area.  Another delivery service offered around the country is, They provide a list of participating restaurants that they offer pickup and delivery services.


  • Create a spreadsheet with all of the restaurants; whether they deliver; their phone number and address; what types of food offered; their website address; if they have a minimum; and take some notes, such as, who to ask for when placing the order, and if the food was well liked by you and your employees. Sharing the spreadsheet with everyone in the office allows others the option of adding to the list.


  • Like most things in life, variety is also key with catered lunches because your employees will quickly get tired of the same foods.  We’re still adding to our list as often as we find new restaurants. When you or your employees are out shopping or out with their family on the weekend, ask them to take note of restaurant options.


There are many reasons why it’s a great idea to offer lunch each day. Here’s just a few.


  • Employees appreciate getting a variety of lunches brought in for them everyday. If everyday is too much, even a couple of times per week are great! Well fed people equals happy and productive people.


  • When you and your employees have to come up with eating choices every day, that eats into (no pun intended) everyone’s time. Therefore, productivity goes down, especially in a startup software company where producing software is key. “Every time a programmer has to stop what they’re doing in the middle of a programming session, they get ‘out of the zone.’ It can be difficult for them to get back ‘into the zone,’ according to Aaron Shepherd, CEO at Above Property, a long time programmer for many years.


  • Some catering companies and restaurants will send you discounts or coupons if you order frequently from them.


  • It gives employees, managers or owners a chance to chat, ask questions or discuss projects with each other while eating in a casual setting, which might not happen otherwise.

So, if you’re thinking of starting to cater lunches for your company and you have the extra cash flow to do so, just start. It’s a great morale booster!


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/1/15

Kathmandu hotels deal with quake aftermath

The recent, devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal has left area hotels undamaged, but desperate to account for all of their employee’s safety. The quake has resulted in the loss of almost 4,000 lives and left over 7,000 with injuries. The Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee was structurally unaffected by the massive tremor and guests were unharmed. The Crowne Plaza is now serving as a central hub for aid agencies and has donated $100,000 toward local aid. Full Story Here:


US Hotel Occupancy Up 4.3% To 69.8% Week Ending April 27th - 2015

The week of 19-25 April 2015 was positive for the U.S. hotel industry, in data reported by Smith Travel Research (STR). Compared to the same period last year, occupancy rose by 4.3 percent to reach 69.8 percent. Average daily rate increased by 6.5 percent, ending the week at $120.07. Revenue per available room climbed 11.0 percent, attaining $83.86. Full Story Here:


Traveler insights and trends explored with Virtuoso’s first Generational Travel Study.

A study released by Virtuoso, reveals insight into the demographic differences between generations of current travelers. The research was conducted over the course of six years and studied the spending habits of all the age groups that make up travel today. Additionally data provided from focus groups, interviews with travel experts, and information gathered by partner Wealth Engine, were combined with the raw data from the study, to compile the study results. Full Story Here:


Five things to know: 30 April 2015

Q1 results from the hospitality industry have begun to be released. Positive results are generally being reported by the industry. For example La Quinta Holdings reported revenue per available room was up by 8.2 percent; average daily rate rose 4.3 percent; and occupancy improved by 233 basis points. Full Story Here:


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