Friday, July 29, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 7/29/16

5 Takeaways From June’s U.S. Performance Data

With the year halfway gone, it is prudent to examine the current state of the U.S. hotel industry. STR, Inc. has produced an infographic illustrating the top five takeaways from the industry’s month of June 2016. Growth is slowing in some of the most critical measurements. Demand growth, most significantly, is only 1.6 percent. This is compared to the first half of 2015, when the figure stood at a full 3 percent. Full Story Here:


STR: US hotel results for week ending 23 July

Compared to the same time period last year, the U.S. hotel industry reported mixed results for the week of 17-23 July 2016. Industry wide, occupancy dropped 1.1 percent to 78.2 percent for the week. However, average daily rate actually climbed 4.1 percent, reaching $130.83 by week’s end. Also revenue per available room was higher as well at 2.9 percent, to finish the week at $102.24. Full Story Here:


Infographic: 10 Ways To Win With Social Media Marketing

Hospitality and the travel industry are favorite subjects across the public’s social media channels. Travelers want to build social connection with the travel brands they love. Social media can provide valuable information to social followers of travel companies. This informative infographic offers a recap of some important foundations of an effective social media marketing campaign for hoteliers. Full Story Here:


Medical Tourism Industry Poised For 25% Year-Over-Year Growth By 2015 

A rapidly growing travel segment is the medical tourism industry. A study was just released by VISA and Oxford economics which puts the value of the industry at an astounding $439 billion. The research also projects the growth rate for medical and health-related travel to be at 25 percent year-over-year for the next 10 years. The value of medical travel could reach the amazing figure of $3 trillion by 2025. Full Story Here:





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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hotels And The Summer Family Travelers

The family traveling together has been and will always be a significant market for the hospitality industry. Yet family and multigenerational travel are trending as we see the large demographic of Baby Boomers including their grandchildren in their travel plans and hotel stays, which only enlarges the family travel segment. Even so, many hotels only pay lip service to this market by offering little more than the “kids club” with video games and coloring books. With summer travel season upon us, there is much more that can be done by hotels to leverage this valuable hotel travel demographic.

Many families travel and stay in hotels in groups that are too large for standard size hotel rooms. This creates difficulties both financially and in the family structure. High priced suites are often out of the question. Many hotels charge extra for roll in cots and force the family to pay full price for a second room. Any hotels truly seeking to be family friendly should consider discounted second rooms and offering the extra beds free of charge.

Hotels that are serious about gaining increased hotel bookings from family travelers should offer the types of services they really need. Babysitting services are greatly appreciated by parents who need a little time to themselves. Entertainment for kids is essential in this regard as well. Kids get bored easily in a hotel room, so providing game rentals, in-room movies, books and board games for children can help keep the kids busy when in the hotel. This will go a long way in alleviating stress for their parents as well. Free shuttle service to and from area attractions, shopping, and restaurants make for happy family travelers who don’t have to pack the kids up in the car and fight traffic in unfamiliar surroundings.

A few little amenities can go a long ways toward earning the hotel brand loyalty of travelers with families. Common baby items such as strollers, high chairs, and bottle warmers can be made available either for loan or rent. Having these items on hand can lessen the heavy load for traveling parents. Hotels with pools should keep on hand a complimentary supply of the types of things kids like or need when swimming, such as, water wings, floats, pool noodles, etc., which are inexpensive. Making these amenities available to hotel guests will make them smile and will be remembered when it comes time to make hotel reservations in the future.

A family appreciates having certain food related items right in their own room. If parents buy their kids some drinks, snacks, food to be eaten in the room, it is nice to have a small refrigerator to cool them in. A coffee maker and a microwave in the room will please everyone as well. Child safety must be paramount in regards to all of these appliances also, keeping them out of reach of little ones. Hotels with a restaurant must have a plentiful amount of high chairs and booster seats for the comfort of children and parents. Awareness of food allergies and offering alternatives such as gluten-free items is essential. And offering the kids coloring and activity books with crayons is an expected amenity.

Family Friendly
Finally, the most important thing hotels can do to earn and keep the loyalty of family travelers involves no cost to the hotel. It is in adopting an attitude of service to children and treating them equally as well as the paying adults. Hoteliers seeking bookings from family travelers should truly make families feel that the hotel wants their return patronage. This will make family travelers remember the hotel and come back again and again.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

PMS Web Design For Hotels

Central to all hotel property data management systems is the Property Management System or PMS. Vital to the day-to-day operations of any hotel, the PMS is a completely essential piece of the hotel management software suite. However, traditional property-based, on premise PMS systems are extremely difficult to maintain and upgrade. New rollouts and modernizations come at a very steep price in terms of training time and technology integration with existing systems. Frequently, these upgrades are precariously built upon ancient and unwieldy data management systems. Considering how integral they are to hotel operations, these systems are in need of complete replacement, rather than yet another ponderous upgrade.

Faced with using antiquated technology in the course of performing their jobs, hotel staff is required to navigate complex menus and wade through irrelevant options just to retrieve information which should be readily available with a minimum of clicks. Much of the hospitality industry has put their emphasis, rightfully, on improving the customer’s online booking experience. However, this has come at the expense of hotel employees, which in turn detrimentally affects customer service levels.

Through the utilization of cloud-based technology, this critical tool is now available to hotels of all sizes in a highly cost efficient, yet scalable manner. Hotels, from the smallest independent to the largest worldwide chains, would greatly benefit from a PMS system hosted in the cloud, rather than residing on premise. Hoteliers have much to gain and little to risk in adopting a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) PMS computing solution which offers access from any authorized device. A major advantage of these systems is that users can access cloud software from anywhere, using any device with an Internet connection, including mobile phone, tablet, or a laptop. Cloud software is designed entirely with the end-user and their skill level in mind.

A cloud-based PMS can revolutionize day-to-day hotel operations. Every facet of property management can be monitored and directed from the cloud. Property maintenance, tracking and ordering of hotel inventory, and human resources can all be better administered through cloud technology driven, SaaS platforms. The significantly lowered costs and increased efficiency will ultimately drive the hospitality migration to SaaS and cloud technology. Storing, maintaining, and accessing data through the cloud offers hoteliers significant savings while improving the levels of customer service offered to their guests.

The Above Property Property Management module recognizes the multiple roles today’s front desk personnel are required to perform. Our familiar User Interface leverages Above Property’s vast library of open API’s to deliver real-time information in a clear and efficient design. The Property Management module is a cloud-based HTML5 web application that includes offline capabilities through a small on-property appliance. Operating in a fully distributed cloud environment, the Above Property Property Management module can integrate with existing systems as well as take advantage of the full suite of complementary modules within the Above Property Travel Platform. 

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 7/22/16

STR: US hotel performance for Q2 2016

The second quarter of 2016 saw the U.S. hotel industry post positive numbers in the three key performance measurements. When compared to the second quarter of 2015, occupancy was nearly unchanged at 0.6 percent for the resulting 69.4 percent. Average daily rate was 2.9 percent higher at $124.47 for the quarter. Revenue per available room climbed by 3.5 percent to reach $86.33 at the end of the quarter. Full Story Here:  


The Potential Economic Impact Of Brexit For London, The UK And Europe

The recent vote by the United Kingdom toexit the European Union has resulted in an uncertain economic future for Britain. PwC has revised its projections for the U.K. downward in response to this development. PwC expects growth of GDP to be 1.6 percent for 2016 and 0.6 percent in 2017. This is a reduction from the previous projection of 1.9 percent and 2.3 percent, prior the vote to leave the EU. Growth is expected to return after narrowly averting a recession in 2017. Full Story Here:


STR: US hotel results for week ending 16 July

The week of 10-16 July 2016 ended with mixed results being reported by the U.S. hotel industry. Compared to the same time period last year, industry wide occupancy dropped 1.4 percent to end the week at 77.5 percent. Average daily rate however climbed 3.4 percent to attain $128.12 by the end of the week. Revenue per available room was higher as well, rising 1.9 percent to reach $99.33 at week’s end. Full Story Here:


Travel And Hospitality Brands Miss The Connection With Travelers

The travel and hospitality industry fails to fully engage and connect with travelers across all social media platforms, according to the report entitled State of Social Engagement 2016. Released by Lithium Technologies, the study found that travel brands do not respond quick enough on social media to customer concerns. They usually respond by focusing upon only one channel, at the expense of all the others. Furthermore, when customers come to brand social media for either support or assistance of any kind, all they usually find is sales information. Full Story Here:


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Friday, July 15, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 7/15/16

2017 Global Travel Price Outlook Identifies Key Risks For Global Market

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has published research which points out risk factors for the worldwide travel industry going forward into 2017. The report, called the 2017 Global Travel Price Outlook, indicates the performance of emerging markets, geopolitical risks, Britain’s uncertain future in the aftermath of exiting the EU, U.S. interest rates, and the global price of oil as forces shaping the future of the hospitality industry and the world as a whole. Full Story Here:


Google adds new hotel deals and flight tracking features

Google announced they are beginning to roll out a series of updates designed to help travelers find the best deals in airline tickets and hotel accommodations. These updates will identify and bring up results with significant price reductions, leading to two times as many bookings for those flights or accommodations. Users will also have the ability narrow results further with a variety of filters. For travelers with flexibility, the results can identify different times and dates for even further savings. Full Story Here:


Hotel guest satisfaction plateaus as “perks” become standard expectations: J.D. Power study 

J.D. Power has released its 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Survey. The report is based on the responses of over 63,000 hotel guests in both Canada and the United States, gathered between May 2015 and May 2016. The survey reports that customer satisfaction has risen for the fourth consecutive year, but only by a small amount this time. This may indicate recent improvements made by hotels offering greater value may be now taken for granted and expected by hotel guests. Full Story Here:


US Hotel Occupancy Down 6.4 Percent To 67.4 Percent Week Ending July 9th 2016

Mixed results were reported by the U.S. hotel industry for the week of 3-9 July 2016, according to data released by STR. As compared to the same period in 2015, industry-wide occupancy dropped 6.4 percent, finishing at 67.4 percent for the week. However, Average daily rate improved by 1.3 percent, ending the week at $121.11. Revenue per available room was also down by 5.2 percent, to end up at $81.59 by week’s end. Full Story Here:


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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Adopting Technology For Hotels With Wearable Tech

Technology plays an increasingly pervasive role in our everyday lives and continues to become ever more personalized. The advent of wearable technology has brought devices down to an even more personal level. Nearly everyone has a smartphone. However, by being worn on the body, wearables actually take technology to a new level of personal interaction. And since travel is an extremely personal experience, hospitality and wearable technology are a natural fit.

Since wearable technology is most likely a given in the hospitality industry’s future, there are a number of ways in which these developments can best be leveraged by hotels. Likewise, closely integrated with these devices is mobile pay technology, which gives users the ability to pay with merely the swipe of a phone, tablet, or smartwatch for example. A number of hotels are utilizing wearable technology to empower their guests to put away their wallets and keys while staying at the property. Wearable devices can be used to perform common hotel functions such as unlock guest room doors and pay for food and beverages or hotel services, or even check-in and out. Guests can also be enabled to see details of their reservation, view loyalty points status, or get directions.  

Wearable technology can also be guest facing as well, enhancing the hotel staff’s ability to provide exceptional customer service. Both front desk personnel and concierges can improve the level of personal service through the use of augmented reality and facial recognition technology in these devices allows staff to individualize the attention given to hotel customers. For example, concierges can deliver truly personalized travel experiences tailored to the tastes of their guests. Additionally, wellness programs can be complemented with wearables. Bracelets, which monitor guest sleeping patterns, can be distributed to customers to assist them in optimizing their sleep time. These same bracelets, can be used for functions that can be filled by the Apple Watch as well.

Naysayers have reported how sales of the Apple Watch have fallen off, however this is not any indication of the future growth potential for wearable technology going forward. Early adopters have bought-in initially, and in time the public at large will buy-in as well. Whether it’s with the Apple Watch, Android Wear, Pebble, or some other device, wearables are undeniably the future. As time progresses and Millennial travelers who are most excited about these technologies come into their prime traveling age, hotel implementation of wearable technology interaction will become the expected norm, rather than a nice feature.

It is inevitable that, in time, wearable technology will become as ubiquitous as the smartphone. Its adoption by the hospitality industry can only improve the travel experiences of all hotel guests, while streamlining many hotel operations.


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Friday, July 8, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 7/8/16

Global hotel pulse: America’s news
Hospitality industry experts are predicting hotel occupancy in the U.S. to remain virtually flat through 2017. In turn, this will slow down the growth of revenue for hotels industry wide. Widespread panic across the hotel industry like in a recession is not expected however. Growth in supply having finally caught up with demand is the reason given. The first hotel operated by an American company in over half a century has opened in Cuba. The Four Points by Sheraton is located in Havana and is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Full Story Here:

What do guests actually say when they leave negative hotel reviews?
Hospitality CRM tech provider Ryan Solutions, recently completed and published their study of 5,000 recent poor hotel reviews. The analysis is designed to give hoteliers an idea of what is really being said by hotel customers in their reviews. Cleanliness, staff, and comfort led above all other concerns in importance to hotel customers in the report. Full Story Here:

American leisure and business travelers: Current trends
A recently completed travel survey by Choice Hotels has found, among other things, that 72 percent of travelers this summer are taking to the roads by car to their destinations. 58 percent state they would like to visit Cuba once the embargo is completely lifted, but not in the first year. Nearly one out of ten travelers claim their main motivation for travel is to brag on social media about it. Almost half, at 42 percent say they enjoy staying in a hotel because they don’t have to clean the bathroom. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 4.8 Percent To 71.5 Percent Week Ending July 2nd - 2016
The week of 26 June through 2 July 2016 was positive for the U.S. hotel industry. In year-to-year comparison, industry wide occupancy rose by 4.8 percent to 71.5 percent for the week. The average daily rate climbed 3.6 percent to attain $123.97 by the end of the week. Revenue per available room was up by 8.6 percent as well, reaching $88.64 at the end of the week. Full Story Here:

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pros And Cons Of Hotels Or All-Inclusive Resorts - Part 2

The long hours and hard work endured by most people in making their living is a tremendous incentive for them to try and get the most out of vacation time. For some, the total relaxation and carefree style offered by all-inclusive resorts is just the answer to relieving the stresses of everyday life. For many, particularly those who value choice, new experiences and maybe a little adventure; the traditional hotel provides all that is needed to make their vacation enjoyable.  


Advantages Of Hotels

For travelers who prefer to vacation freely within a destination, without the financial commitment of an all-inclusive resort, hotels are clearly the best choice. Hotel guests can eat wherever and whenever they choose. Their meals are not included in their stay, but they have the freedom to explore the unique culinary delights of the local area. A little research or inquires to a hotel concierge may be required, but travelers staying in resorts don’t get to sample much local fare. Also, if the guest decides to stick close to their temporary home and the hotel has dining available on property, that option is open as well.

This choice option goes for beverages as well. Hotels may have their own bars or lounges on property, but in general, they are also located near a wide variety of local drinking establishments. A resort may have limited choice in varieties of alcohol available to their guests. Additionally, entertainment can be rather limited at all-inclusive resorts and may not be of the highest quality. Access to better nightlife than that available on resorts is a distinct advantage of the traditional hotel, for vacationers so inclined.

The level of service provided at top notch and even second tier hotel properties is easily comparable to the all-inclusive resort. For example, hotel room service can be easily reached at a moment’s notice to cater to the needs of their guests with food and drinks. The concierge awaits at their beck and call to inform a guest about the best area restaurants and other local information. That high level of service standard instills in guests the comfort and security that familiarity and met expectations can bring. Being that many hotels are but one location in a chain can also contribute to that sense of security in its certainty. Most resorts assuredly do not have an edge on the traditional hotel in regards to excellence in service.

For travelers wishing to experience the local area, its sights and attractions, culture, cuisine, and history will undoubtedly find the traditional hotel more suitable to their needs. Resorts can frequently be somewhat isolated compared to hotels since the resort is the destination itself. The adventurous or sight-seeking traveler may end up feeling a bit restricted while staying at a resort.

All things considered, the hotel provides the sort of carefree and relaxing atmosphere conducive to recharging one’s batteries while on vacation. Hotels offer an advantage over resorts to travelers preferring a greater sense of freedom and independence during their time away from home.  

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pros And Cons Of Hotels Or All-Inclusive Resorts - Part 1

Most people today work hard and long hours to earn a living. Many get or take minimal vacation time. These facts mean that most vacationing travelers need to make the most of their time off. A big decision lies ahead of them: where to stay? In many parts of the world, including many of the most frequented locales, there are two basic choices when it comes to hotel accommodations. The choice between a hotel or an all-inclusive hotel resort can depend on a variety of factors including the vacationer’s preferences and what they are looking to get out of their vacation time.


Advantages of All-Inclusive Resorts

Very generally speaking, all-inclusive resorts can make more sense for the budget-conscious traveler. Cost is the main reason for the existence of all-inclusive resorts. Resorts charge a flat fee that covers not only lodging but food, beverages and sometimes even entertainment as well. For the traveler who cringes every time they have to pay for yet another meal or drink, the all-inclusive resort vacation can be decidedly more to their liking. The resort, by presenting most expenses the guest will incur upfront, lets travelers have a more accurate picture of how much their trip will ultimately cost.

Resorts usually offer great quantities of food that are readily available. Although there might not be the most impressive gourmet dishes on the resort’s buffet, it should have plenty of it. The same goes for drinks as well. Large amounts of alcohol are served at resorts and some travelers enjoy ordering drinks all day long with nothing more than a band on their wrist. Nightlife on a resort may not be the most exciting, but many resort guests are not seeking excitement to begin with. The resort offers travelers a place to get away from the stresses of their everyday life and just decompress, which is highly appealing to some people.

The resort provides vacationers a safe place, without risk, where the guest never needs to even leave the property. Most resorts afford the traveler opportunity to enjoy wide-ranging amenities, usually spread out across a large area. For those who have no need or desire to explore the surroundings and culture of a destination, a resort can afford the perception of getting away without the guest feeling confined.

For vacationers trying to escape their everyday reality and just relax, an all-inclusive resort might be an excellent choice. For those seeking more of an experience on a vacation, the hotel may be much better for their trip. In part two we will explore the advantages for staying at a hotel for travelers.  

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 7/1/16

81% Of Travelers Say Their Smartphone Is Their Number One Travel Accessory published the results of a global study of 9,200 travelers called Mobile Travel Tracker, which reports 81 percent of travelers consider their smartphone their most important travel accessory. Furthermore, 51 percent say their mobile devices are the most important information source while traveling. 71 percent have searched with them for restaurants, 59 percent for tourist attractions, and 56 percent for maps and directions. Additionally, 31 percent of these travelers choose their hotel accommodations based on whether free Wi-Fi is offered. Full Story Here:

Choice Hotels Examines Americans’ Summer Travel Habits

Choice Hotels International has released the findings of their summer travel survey of American travelers. The survey found that Americans’ struggle to find time for vacation is very real, over 40 percent say they have hotel loyalty points they can’t use. Over 60 of the travelers surveyed said their vacation plans are made around their loyalty points. 57 percent save their points towards their upcoming summer vacations. Many business travelers, 62 percent, will add combine work and leisure time in a business trip in order to get time to vacation. Full Story Here:

New Study Identifies What Apps Business Travelers Use And Why

A new study published by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with Sabre Corporation, has found that globally more than seven out of ten business travelers prefer to manage their own travel with mobile technology while on the go. Travelers from the United States lead this trend at 78 percent using self-service technology for travel management. These same tech driven business travelers like to get personalized travel options, but are reluctant to give up too much personal information to get it. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 25 June

The U.S. hotel industry experienced occupancy levels which were almost flat for the week of 19-25 June 2016, when compared to the same time period last year. According to figures published by STR, Inc., industry wide occupancy was -0.1 percent at 76.8 percent for the week. Average daily rate, however, was up by 4.5 percent to reach $128.04 by week’s end. And revenue per available room was positive as well, climbing up 4.4 percent to $98.29 for the week. Full Story Here: 

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