Friday, May 26, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/26/17


Google confirms it’s rolling out new reviews format for hotels

The search engine giant, Google, is rolling out a completely new user interface and feature set for local reviews of hotels. The changes made to the user interface make it  more graphical in nature. The new features include some third-party review listings  appearing in a carousel, an improved and more colorful review overview section, and a type of travel based detailed review section. Google states their intentions for the changes are to make it easier for people to make informed travel decisions. Full Story Here:

Summer brings influx of travelers more willing to spend

Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the unofficial beginning of the summer travel season. This year U.S. hotels are expecting the summer to be especially busy for a number of reasons, mostly economic. People are feeling better about spending money on travel because the overall economy is improved and gas prices are reasonable. AAA National is projecting 40 million Americans  will be on the roads traveling more than 50 miles from their home on Memorial Day weekend. Full Story Here:

12 Months Of Challenge & Change in Hospitality [Triptease Infographic]

Triptease has produced a very interesting infographic summarizing the stories and events influencing the hospitality industry in the last year. The top stories include the rise of Airbnb, the transformation of Google’s mobile first approach to search results, and the Millennial generation becoming the most frequent business travelers currently. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Flat At 70.6 Percent - Week Ending May 20th - 2017

According to figures published by STR, the U.S. hotel industry reported mixed performance results for the week of 15-21 May 2017. Compared to the same week last year, occupancy was reported as flat at 70.6 percent. The average daily rate was 1.5 percent higher at $127.91 for the week. Revenue per available room was also up by 1.5 percent, attaining $90.26 by week’s end. Full Story Here:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The New Hotel Revenue Model


The hospitality industry has existed, in one form or another, for centuries. The needs of weary travelers seeking shelter and rest have always been adequately met by innkeepers using time-tested methodology. However, the acceleration of change in the 21st century is forcing even one of the oldest of industries to move forward and progress. Hoteliers have traditionally based their industry around the unit of a room available and its price. As the industry is evolving, a new hotel revenue model is emerging. One which is based on the value of each customer, not just the accommodations in which they stay.

Over the course of the last two decades or so hotel revenue managers have attempted to maximize the profits for their hotels through supply and demand analysis. These efforts, enhanced by disruptive technologies and driven by hotel guest demands, are steadily moving the hospitality industry toward a guest-centric revenue model. The true valuation of each hotel guest is the future of hospitality and the industry’s new revenue model.

There is a growing expectation among travelers from their favorite hotel brands to know and anticipate their every preference or need. Valuable information is gathered on each guest at every step of the booking process and during the hotel stay. Hoteliers have access to the data required to effectively offer a truly customized hotel experience to each of their guests at all points of the stay. This data is collected during the course of everyday electronic interactions with guests, giving indications as to their preferences. A guest revenue profile can then be created around the potential revenue which can be earned from an individual customer. This information in turn can be utilized to ensure the right offers are made, in a timely fashion, to the right guests.

Revenue management optimization via cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems offers hotels nearly infinite data points to be applied to the revenue management equation. Such state-of-the-art software tools empower hoteliers with the provision of valuable customer data. This data is gathered, analyzed and delivered to revenue managers in order for them to have the relevant information they need to offer hotel inventory at the most optimal rate possible at any given moment.

Armed with these cloud technology-driven systems, hotels can offer truly personalized content to their web and mobile customers. Uniquely personalized content built around the tracking of the user's past viewing history, on the hotel website, apps 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, while enriching the guest revenue profile for hoteliers.

Inline Revenue Management®

The Above Property Inline Revenue Management® module allows real-time pricing and availability adjustments based on occupancy, seasonal trends, forecast, weather, booking pace and competitive data. Each transaction is processed in real-time through the Above Property proprietary pricing engine. Maximizing your revenue through careful management of forecasting, availability controls, groups, and distribution is crucial in today’s hospitality marketplace. The Above Property Inline Revenue Management® system gives you all the tools necessary to put your revenue management techniques and strategies to work. Operating in a fully distributed cloud environment, the Above Property Inline Revenue 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.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/19/17


Cuba opens to US hotel brands, with strings attached

The first ever South American Hotel Investment Conference Cuba was held in Havana this week. The purpose of the conference was to plan how the investment and promotion of Cuban international tourism will progress going forward. The Cuban Ministry of Tourism seeks foreign investment in and management expertise for its hotels  and other tourism projects. This will be accomplished through partnerships with Cuban companies and the government of Cuba. Full Story Here:

U.S. Travelers Need Time Off More Than Ever: Survey+ Finds Half are More Stressed Than a Year Ago [Infographic]

U.S. travelers are experiencing more stress than they were a year ago. This is according to a survey sponsored by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. In fact, the stress is bad enough that more than a third (37 percent) are canceling or delaying vacations due to the stresses of travel itself. Many Americans (67 percent) are becoming overwhelmed by the information overload of too many travel choices as well. 62 percent of U.S. travelers believe that finding accommodations with more room and privacy would help make travel less stressful. Full Story Here:

Infographic: US indie hotel performance strong

An infographic published by STR illustrates how independent hotels in the U.S. have been on a path of solid growth over the course of the last year. Factors driving the growth includes demand exceeding supply, with growth in rates pushing up revenue per available room by 4.6 percent in February for example. The infographic breaks the country down by regions and indicates average daily rate, occupancy and revenue per available room for independent hotels across America by region. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up Slightly (0.1 percent) To 67.9 Percent - Week Ending May 13th - 2017

Mostly positive performance figures were posted by the U.S. hotel industry for the week of 7-13 May 2017, according to published data from STR. Occupancy was up only by 0.1 to finish the week at 67.9 percent. Average daily rate was 2.1 percent higher, reaching $125.64 by the end of the week. Revenue per available room rose as well by 2.0 percent to end the week at $85.34. Full Story Here:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hotel Properties And Their Local Communities


At one time, hotels were the very centers of their local communities. They were bustling with activity, both local and transient. Somewhere along the way the hospitality industry chose to largely focus on accommodating travelers from out of town and less on the local populace. Some hotels have made attempts more recently at bringing the local community onto their property. This has come mostly in the form of locally sourced products provided to guests. Due to the highly competitive nature of the industry and the added expenditures hoteliers face in OTA fees and other expenses, particularly upscale and luxury hotels are beginning to re-discover the ready made market in their own backyard.

There is no denying the beneficial impact of hotels on their surrounding communities; examples include jobs, which can lead to careers for motivated individuals, tourism bringing in cash-flow to other local businesses, and the tax revenue generated for government coffers in the area. For these reasons and more, hotels are a welcome addition to the communities in which they operate. However, there is considerably more opportunity for hoteliers to serve their community and in doing so, benefit the hotel as well.

A growing number of hotels are offering membership programs allowing local residents access to hotel facilities and amenities on-property for a fee. Hotels need to be conscious of not interfering with overnight hotel guests stays. These programs bring greater exposure to hotel properties locally. Hotel amenities such as spas, fitness centers, and golf courses are often enthusiastically used by local residents when they are given access to them without a room number. In turn, the hotel increases ancillary revenues and drives up brand loyalty among the local patrons.

An added benefit is the rise in revenue gained from the greater exposure for other hotel amenities such as food and beverage. Some hotel properties are even promoting cooking classes featuring their talented chefs, selling artwork created by local artists displayed in their rooms and common spaces, and offering local products alongside hotel items in gift shops. Additionally, hotels offering meeting facilities could garner more bookings for their conference rooms from the greater exposure gained.

By marketing locally, hotels can become centers of ongoing revenue streams, lacking the extreme peaks and valleys of tourism seasons. All while endearing themselves to their local community.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/12/17


Hotel Industry Stares Down Expedia and Priceline

The American Hotel & Lodging Association(AHLA) is stepping up its efforts to publicize what it sees as a duopoly over the hotel industry by Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc., according to documents acquired by The AHLA is attempting to persuade government officials of unfair practices of the online travel agencies. The association says consumer choice is hurt and small businesses suffer under the current situation. Full Story Here:

Eye on Hospitality: Increase in Tourism a Boon for Restaurants and Hotels

According to projections from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), 78.6 million international visitors are expected to enter the United States in 2017. The NTTO sees steady growth in international travel to the U.S., projecting over 94 million visitors by 2021. A 28 percent increase is the expectation between 2015 and 2021, according to the NTTO, boosting confidence within the hospitality industry. Full Story Here:

U.S. Travel Industry Jobs Show Healthy Growth During Trump’s First 100 Days

Job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector has surged recently with 55,000 jobs created in April 2017, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The travel industry was the top sector in the U.S. for jobs growth in the month of April. This represented a 2 percent growth rate at 15.8 million jobs in the industry, compared to the same month last year. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 3.3 Percent To 67.9 Percent - Week Ending May 6th 2017

Positive performance figures were posted by the U.S. hotel industry during the week of 30 April to 6 May 2017, according to STR. When compared to the same time period last year, industry-wide occupancy rose by +3.3 percent to reach 67.9 percent by the end of the week. Average daily rate climbed up +2.4 percent, to attain $126.67 by week’s end. Revenue per available room was +5.8 percent higher at $85.96 for the week. Full Story Here:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Predictive Intelligence For Hotels

Hotels gather an immense quantity of data specifically pertaining to each individual guest staying at their property. At every step of the hotel experience data points are collected, which if properly utilized, can provide hoteliers with useful insight into the preferences of each guest. As has been discussed in earlier blogs, much of this data may be trapped in essentially useless data silos.

The key is in effectively managing data by fully integrating all systems into a cohesive platform. This is absolutely essential for the production of data points to be of any value to hotel marketers. Predictive intelligence weaves these data points together to create a fabric of the digital guest journey. The result is a truly relevant depiction of the hotel guest experience, both on and off the hotel property.  

Also known as predictive analytics, the resultant marketing intelligence is a great deal more specific than traditional hotel market segmentation. Predictive intelligence builds effective hotel content marketing by creating a true understanding of the hotel brand’s intended audience for its marketing campaigns. Hotel products and services can be genuinely personalized by effective utilization of the intelligence gleaned from the guest data. 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 and leisure. Utilizing tools, such as predictive intelligence, to uncover the various traveler categories or ‘personas’ is absolutely essential in gaining knowledge of who exactly are the people paying money to stay on the hotel’s property.

Once the proper audiences have been identified, then highly specific marketing messages may be crafted to reach out and appeal to each one. Visual content must always reflect the hotel’s audience makeup. For example, when the different audience personas sign on to the hotel’s website, they should identify with and feel some immediate connection with the people they see there. Predictive intelligence can help uncover what services, amenities, and activities the varying different personas will find appealing as well as more effectively sell those products to them. Making the right offers at the right time to the right customers is the goal.

Social Relationship Management

All-In-One Social Marketing Solution

An effective social media strategy is a core component in today’s “voice of the customer” world. The Above Property Social Relationship Management module lets you control and monitor your messaging within the Above Property Travel Platform. Dynamically execute marketing campaigns tied to inventory or occupancy controls. Easy-to-use, the Social Relationship Management module integrates several essential online marketing tools.

Operating in a fully distributed cloud environment, the Above Property Social CRM module can integrate with existing systems as well as take advantage of the full suite of complementary modules within the Above Property Travel Platform.

  • Blogs and press releases

  • Social network channels

  • Marketing writing assistant

  • Coupon creation and distribution

  • Web analytics

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ancillary Revenue For Hotels

In the never-ending challenges faced by hotels to maximize the return from every guest who stays under their roof, there is much effort by many hoteliers to encourage direct booking. As effective as those measures may be, there is still much more which can be done to offset GDS and OTA distribution fees. Some hotels in fact are increasing revenues in highly creative ways, as opposed to more traditional methods. Hotel restaurants, room service, pay-per-view TV and mini-bar sales for example are ancillary revenue-drivers that have served the hospitality industry well in the past. But the extremely competitive marketplace of today requires a greater level of innovation than the former methodology of bygone times.

There are several prerequisites to the endeavor of generating greater hotel ancillary revenue. There must be an effective revenue management strategy already in place to begin with. The nature of the market prevents merely raising room rates as the simple answer. In light of that fact, several essential questions must be asked regarding the nature of the hotel property which requires some inward reflection. To begin, is there anything that sets the hotel uniquely apart?

For example, a hotel’s location within a destination can impart the property with certain advantages which can be capitalized on. A hotel can partner with attractions and local events to put together tour and event packages to offer to hotel guests. Another question to ask, what unique features, services or amenities offered by the hotel stand out and bring guests back again after drawing them to the property to begin with? These kinds of self-examination questions can readily provide ideas for ancillary revenue generation solutions.

Hotels with restaurants can offer guests an opportunity to attend cooking classes with their chef. This is an example of an idea that elevates the hotel dining experience while generating ancillary revenue for the property. Many hotels feature pools and workout facilities. Offering hotel guests private yoga or workout classes at those on-property amenities can be a way of monetizing them.

An upgraded room or suite does not necessarily have to mean a larger one physically. Some hotel guests are willing to pay extra for such things as luxury bedding and high quality toiletry items, or even welcome baskets stocked with wine, cheese and other snacks. Another idea is to feature the work of local artists in each room which guests can purchase through the hotel. This is positive for everyone in that artisans gain exposure for their work, travelers can bring home a true souvenir from their stay, and hotels gain revenue by bringing artist and patron together.

In seeking to garner ancillary revenue, the concept for hoteliers should be, to think of the hotel as much more than merely a place to stay, but someplace that offers the possibility of an experience unto itself.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/5/17

Hotels Reap More Profits But Aren’t Yet Winning the Direct Booking Wars

The 2017 Trends in the Hotel Industry report was recently published by CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research. The report shows profits in the hospitality industry rose in 2016, despite only small increases in occupancy (+0.2 percent) and average daily rate (+2.5 percent). Industry-wide total operating revenue was up by 2.4 percent, while gross operating profits climbed up by 3.7 percent. Hotels experienced cost increases in commissions paid to travel agents, OTA’s and others of 6.8 percent in 2016, indicating the efforts by hoteliers to increase direct bookings are note having the desired effect. Full Story Here:

Breach at Sabre Corp.’s Hospitality Unit

Another hospitality industry data security breach was disclosed, this time by Sabre Corp. in their quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the filing, Sabre stated they are currently investigating unauthorized access to payment information in a subset of hotel reservations processed through the company’s SynXis Central Reservations System. According to Sabre over 32,000 properties use the system. The filing went on to report that the unauthorized access has been stopped and there is no evidence of continued unauthorized activity. Full Story Here:

4 Insights For North American Travel This Summer - By Marissa Rasmussen

Sojern published its latest Global Travel Insights Report regarding North American travel this summer. Nearly half (46 percent) of all travel searches for the month of June this year are for longer trips of more than 12 days. The two top departure dates in June 2017 have been June 1 and June 30. The top most searched travel destination for this summer is Seattle, alongside London, Orlando, and Chicago. Many people appear to be seeking long weekends away this summer as well with 21 percent searching for a Thursday departure and 22 percent searching for Friday. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 29 April

Positive results were reported by the U.S. hotel industry during the week of 23-29 April 2017, according to data published by STR. Compared to the week of 24-30 April 2016, industry-wide occupancy was up by 3.7 percent, at 70.3 percent. Average daily rate climbed higher by 5.1 percent to reach $127.50 for the week. Revenue per available room rose 8.9 percent to end the week at $89.65. Full Story Here: