Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mobile Apps For Hotels - Part 1

It’s a given, hotels of all sizes, both independents and chains, should have a mobile presence. How that reality should be brought to fruition can often be a difficult question for hoteliers. Hotels are compelled by the growing expectations of the traveling public to continually improve the guest experience. Mobile apps, if effectively implemented, offer hotels another tool in their efforts to bolster customer loyalty at their properties. The decision whether to build a native app that guests can download, or utilize a web-based app should be based on careful analysis. The various advantages and disadvantages of both will be explored in this two part series.

Native Apps

The 21st century hotel guest demands greater control of every facet of their guest experience and a native hotel mobile app can enable them to do so. With a hotel app downloaded to their smartphone or tablet, guests can select from among commonly variable choices such as, room size and bed type, to customizing the room temperature and even selecting food and drinks for the mini-bar. This can occur all in advance of their stay if they so desire from a mobile device armed with an app from the hotel. Guests can even skip the front desk lines and go straight to their room with mobile check-in and mobile room keys.

A hotel can offer their guests a higher level of customer service utilizing a hotel app. Guests may not be fully aware of all the services and hotel amenities available to them during their stay. The app can be a useful tool to keep guests informed of any special events taking place on the property. Hotel apps should highlight special services such as a spa, restaurant, golf, skiing, and shopping, along with any associated special deals. This will make the hotel guests feel at home and like special “insiders”.

There are also downsides and disadvantages to building a native hotel app. They are costly to build and maintain, requiring a sizable commitment on the part of hoteliers. There isn’t a “one size fits all solution” either. Each mobile platform requires its own unique app, for example, iPhone, Android etc. A native hotel app requires commitment on the part of the customer as well. Hotel guests must sacrifice precious device storage space in order to download the app.

Native mobile apps can ultimately provide hotels and chains increased direct bookings when a user-friendly and free mobile app is offered to their guests. Giving hotel customers an in-house mobile app that they feel comfortable with makes sense for hotel brands that are striving and committed to winning over their customer’s brand loyalty. In part two we will weigh the pros and cons of building a web-based mobile app for hotel guests.  

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 1/27/17

Tripadvisor reveals best US and Global Hotels with 2017 Traveller Choice Awards

The travel planning and booking site, Tripadvisor, has released the results of their annual Travelers’ Choice for Hotels awards. In the 15th year of Tripadvisor’s compilation of millions of user reviews and ratings, the site has showcased 7,612 hotel properties in 109 countries. The United States lead the way with the most featured hotels at 171. Italy had 162 hotel properties, while France had 158 recognized as award winning. Full Story Here:

Steady Growth Projected For U.S. Hotels In 2017 And 2018

STR and Tourism Economics have published their first hospitality projection of 2017, which predicts steady growth but at a slower pace for hotels in 2017 through 2018. The U.S. hotel industry is projected to see a 0.3 percent decrease in occupancy at 65.3 percent, with a 2.8 percent increase in average daily rate to reach $127.34 for the total-year, and a 2.5 percent rise in revenue per available room at $83.20 in 2017. Projections for 2018 are for a 0.2 percent decrease in occupancy at 65.2 percent, ADR up by 3.0 percent at $130.95, and RevPAR higher by 2.8 percent at $85.36. Full Story Here:

Los Angeles hotel market the big winner in 2016

According to figures published by STR, the Los Angeles hotel market in 2016 lead the U.S. in demand growth. L.A. hotels experienced a revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth rate of 11 percent. Following in order behind Los Angeles were Norfolk/Virginia Beach at 8.2 percent and Nashville with 8 percent RevPAR growth rates. Faced with a supply increase and oil industry difficulties, the Houston market saw the biggest declines with RevPAR falling by 13 percent and occupancy down 6.2 percent at 62 percent. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 21 January

Figures published by STR indicate the U.S. hotel industry posted positive performance figures for the week of 15-21 January 2017. Compared to the same time period last year, industry-wide occupancy was up by 0.3 percent to reach 56.3 percent for the week. Average daily rate climbed 4.6 percent to end the week at $122.34. This resulted in a growth rate of 4.9 percent in revenue per available room at $68.87. Full Story Here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Seeing the Future 10 Years Ago

As we move further into 2017, it’s interesting to look back in history at an event that was astonishing at the time and clearly prophetic.

The controversial event occurred on December 13, 2006, when Time magazine announced their annual choice for "Person of the Year."  Can you recall who it was? Most of you will not.

"You" were chosen in 2006, as Time magazine's Person of the Year. Time recognized the millions of people who contribute user-generated social media content to Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and the multitudes of other websites featuring user contribution at the time. If "You" were chosen today we would have to consider the contributions to countless new social network sites including Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and Google+.  No one will argue the significant role social media, both positive and negative, played in the 2016 US presidential election.

Some weeks before the announcement, Time decided to ask the users in a poll "Who Should Be Person of the Year?" After several weeks, the poll winner by a wide margin was Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, with 35% of the votes. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came in second. Yet Time decided to ignore those results and did not mention them in the announcement of the Person of the Year. As it turned out, both alternatives were clearly eclipsed by the continued growth in social media making "You" a good, insightful choice.

Today there are 3.5 billion Internet users worldwide; up from 1.9 billion users just five years ago, and approximately 2 billion of "You" participate in social media networks, which has doubled in the past five years from 1 billion.

Whether you agree or not with Time's choice, you cannot dispute the role and influence of social media. Smart business owners, organizations, and corporations seeking to connect with the social community have eagerly embraced all social media has to offer.