Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sustainability For Hotels - Part 1

The global community is increasingly embracing a philosophy of care and concern, followed by action, regarding the Earth and its environment. Green initiatives and their implementation are becoming the anticipated standard for hotels worldwide. The expectation of the traveling public is for hoteliers to conserve precious natural resources, while leaving behind a minimal footprint, and being responsible corporate citizens of our planet. Data from many sources; including TripAdvisor,, and PhoCusWright; overwhelmingly demonstrate this to be a reality.

Attitudes regarding sustainability among travelers are being transformed, as awareness increases of the impact we humans have on the changing climate of our planet. Younger Millennial Generation travelers in particular are demanding sustainable accommodations from the hotels in which they stay. Millennials more than any other generation lead the way in eco-consciousness and will enthusiastically support, with their growing spending power, brands who operate in a sustainable manner.

Hotel guests who have made lifestyle choices based on green practices at home demand continuity when they travel. They are not willing to compromise the values, which have infused their lives. This applies to all travel segments, including luxury travelers. In the past, luxury travel could quite often become an exercise in overindulgence. The prevailing view being that luxury and sustainability cannot possibly co-exist. But, today’s luxury traveler is in many ways re-defining the meaning of traveling in style. Closely linked to the wellness travel movement, sustainable luxury is now reflected in the evolution of resorts sometimes featuring smaller accommodations in spectacularly pristine locations, surrounded by the natural environment.

Hotels, which adopt sustainable practices going forward, will also benefit in a number ways beyond satisfying the demands of customers. Hotel operation costs can be reduced significantly by cutting waste through the lowering of consumption of energy and precious water resources, for example. Sustainable hotel operational practices can also encourage customer loyalty by improving the overall guest experience, thereby reinvigorating the hotel brand.

In part two we will take a closer look at the specific measures hoteliers can implement in order to create a more sustainable hotel experience for their guests.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Hotels And The Wellness Traveler - Part 3

Health And Fitness

Many people are now making their physical health, fitness and state of mental well-being the central focus of their lives. They are seeking to live a healthier existence in a number of ways, including how they eat and by maintaining a regular exercise routine, even when they travel. These shifting lifestyle priorities among travelers and consumers at large are beginning to be reflected in changes to the amenities offered and services provided by hotels.

A recent development being added to some hotels is the “healthy hotel room” concept. For a number of years now hotels have been expanding the size and scope of their on-property fitness facilities, including 24-hour availability. Equipment available to guests in some hotel properties rivals the best of commercial gyms. However, many in the traveling public have made such a tremendous commitment to their daily health and wellness routines that they expect more, and are willing to pay for it. This even includes in some hotel properties in-room fitness equipment. But the healthy hotel room is much more than exercise equipment.

These healthy rooms infuse wellness design elements, with guest personalization technology to create accommodations with the guest’s well being at its essence. Incorporating technologies including, customizable special lighting and air purification systems, with aromatherapy and therapeutic spa-like bathtubs for example. Some healthy hotel rooms also feature ergonomic furniture, built-in physical training equipment, and circadian lighting. The last feature is designed to influence melatonin levels in the brain in order to assist guests with jet-lag recovery and any other sleep issues they may be experiencing.

A pivotal tenet of the wellness movement is the dietary requirements of healthy eating on a daily basis. The demand for freshly prepared organic food, combined with the necessity for some individuals to have very particular diets such as, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, has driven many hotels to make restaurant menu changes. Hoteliers are taking a cue from their customer’s expectations and changing menus to include healthier food choices, or in some cases completely eliminating unhealthy food from the premises. Any hotels with hopes of leveraging the healthy eating habits of their guests can begin by sourcing locally produced culinary specialties, which celebrate their locale.

The best way for hotels to capitalize on the wellness traveler is to provide guests what they are increasingly demanding, an opportunity to continue practicing the health-conscious lifestyle choices they have made in their lives when they travel.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Hotels And The Wellness Traveler - Part 2

The Wellness Experience

The global travel phenomenon of wellness tourism is tailor-made for the luxury hotel segment and the growing emphasis by hoteliers on bringing their guests authentic experiences. Although wellness travel has been around for some time, an emerging trend among a number of innovative luxury hotels is to create a completely immersive wellness experience.

In one form of wellness experience provided by hotels, guests progress through a series of interconnected chapters and stories. These become stepping stones along a transformative wellness journey for the traveler comprising an amalgam of art, music, performance and literature all in concert with wellness classes, fitness training and spa treatments. In some examples, the journey even involves a progression through different properties. The key in these wellness treatments is to create a sense of transformation toward well-being in the traveler’s journey. This is in contrast to many wellness programs which can sometimes feel a bit disjointed to the participant.  

Empowerment Through Wellness For Women

There is a movement of empowerment for women through wellness which is running parallel with what has become known as the fourth wave of feminism. Women’s wellness travel is prescient in that it has grown in the light of developments in our global community at large. As a result, a number of for-women, by-women wellness travel and tourism related businesses have been established in recent years. Luxury hotels in particular could build mutually beneficial partnerships with these companies in harmony with the movement.

The Science Of Happiness

Another facet of wellness tourism, which is gaining traction, is in response to the analysis of the level of happiness found in an individual, or even an entire nation. Destinations offering travelers an opportunity to digitally disconnect with the world, while building true social connection, are springing up. These destinations are proudly providing no Wi-Fi, but do provide their guests the chance to escape the cares of everyday life and reconnect with nature and their inner-self. As a result of the published results of the annual World Happiness Report, there is also growing interest in the philosophies of the nations which rise to the top of the report on a regular basis. For example, the Danish philosophy of “hygge” which is loosely translated as a feeling of coziness and contentment.

In part three we will continue examining the wellness tourism movement by looking at the health and fitness aspects of wellness travel.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/11/18

Consumers spend $5.2 billion annually in fraudulent and misleading hotel booking transactions

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has published the results of a new survey conducted with Morning Consult which reports 23 percent of consumers have been mislead by third-party travel resellers. This has resulted in 28.5 million hotel stays being impacted and $5.2 billion in fraudulent hotel bookings during 2017, according to the study of 2,201 adults conducted online February 26-28, 2018. The AHLA is urging consumers to be cautious because 39 percent of travelers report they book hotel stays through third-party websites.Full Story Here:

Travel Trends Index: International Sector Powers Strong Overall Finish to Q1

According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Trends Index (TTI), travel within and to the United States rose by 3.4 percent year-over-year in March. Growth in international inbound travel lead the way with an impressive 11 percent surge in international visitors in March 2018. Domestic travel grew at a more modest level of 2.6 percent for the month. The TTI is projecting overall U.S. travel to rise by 2.2 percent through September 2018. During that period the international sector is forecast to grow by three percent. Full Story Here:

Study: U.S. Vacation Days Hit a Seven-Year Peak

New research published by Project: Time Off has found U.S. workers are increasing their usage of vacation days. According to the study, 17.2 vacation days on average were taken per worker in the U.S. during 2017. This amounts to an increase of nearly half a day (0.4 days) over 2016. Vacation usage is at its highest level since 2010, when it was at 17.5 days of vacation taken per worker, on average. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 5 May

STR has reported that the U.S. hotel industry posted positive performance figures for the week of 29 April through 5 May 2018. Compared to the same period last year, industry-wide occupancy was +0.5 percent higher at 68.2 percent for the week. Average daily rate rose by +2.7 percent to end the week at $130.14. Revenue per available room was up +3.3 percent, finishing the week at $88.77. Full Story Here:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Hotels And The Wellness Traveler - Part 1

A growing number of people around the world are making lifestyle changes, choosing to focus on improving and maintaining their health as well as comprehensive wellness. Of course they take their lifestyle choices with them when traveling, creating in the process one of the most important of travel trends, the wellness traveler. While this trend is not new by any means, it is gaining momentum, with some travel industry experts predicting as many as one in five travelers will book a wellness trip during 2018. Accordingly, any hotels that are looking to best leverage the wellness traveler must realize it will require more than a small but nicely equipped gym and a sauna.


Spas have been a popular amenity, and great revenue generator for the hotels that provide them for their guests. As the wellness trend has grown it has resulted in larger numbers of people seeking health and wellness solutions in every aspect of their lives, including hotel stays, and this has brought hotel spas into even greater prominence. Driven by the stress of their lives, many of these hotel customers are looking for much more from the hotels they stay with. These travelers are increasingly planning their entire trip around staying at hotels that offer spas, well-equipped gyms, and healthy food choices as members of this relatively new traveler segment.

The rapid and sustained growth of wellness tourism has proven this trend to be much more than a mere passing fad, and a powerful driver of hotel revenues. According to the Global Wellness Institute, in the most recent year for which they have figures, by 2015 the global wellness industry had become a $3.7 trillion business. Wellness tourism also grew at a rate of 6.9 percent between 2013 and 2015, which is twice the rate of overall tourism during the same time period.

The increased level of interest by the traveling public in health and wellness, specifically spas, has made it more profitable for those hotels that have made the investment in facilities and staff. Going forward, the trend should only continue to grow, providing another opportunity for increased revenue and higher profits for hoteliers.

In part two we will continue to examine the wellness tourism phenomenon and how hotels can maximize revenue generation from the wellness traveler.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Hospitality News For The Week Of 5/4/18

North American hoteliers spring into second quarter of 2018 with continued growth

According to data published in TravelClick’s April 2018 North American Hospitality Review (NAHR), hotels in North America have experienced continued growth in the second quarter of 2018. Across all travel segments bookings are 2.7 percent higher, while average daily rates are up by 2.5 percent. Growth is largely being driven by the group travel segment experiencing a 7.5 percent surge in bookings, average daily rate 3.8 percent higher and revenue per available room up by 1.6 percent. Across all segments, revenue per available room is impressively 5.3 percent higher as well. Full Story Here:

Conte Nast Traveler Unveils 2018 Hot List of the World’s Best New Hotels

Conte Nast Traveler has published their list of the hottest new hotels around the globe. The 2018 Hot List recognizes 102 hotel properties around the world, two dozen of which are located in the U.S., as the hottest new hotel openings. The 2018 Hot List is a review and selection by 37 editors of the magazine of their favorite new hotels that have opened during the last year. The competition is among big brands that are matching their new properties to fit the region in which they are located. Full Story Here:

Study shows travel websites should tighten cyber security

The digital security company, Dashlane, has published the results of a study they conducted that analyzed the online security offered to users by the travel industry. The 2018 Travel Website Password Power Rankings is the first for the company and evaluated 55 of the most popular travel-related websites on five key password security measures. The analysis criteria for a perfect score was requiring passwords to be at eight characters long, a combination of different character types, sending activation emails to users and the requirement of two-factor authentication. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 28 April

Mixed performance results were reported by the U.S. hotel industry for the week of 22-28 April 2018, according to data published by STR. In year-over-year comparison with the same period last year, industry-wide occupancy dropped by -0.6 percent to 69.8 percent for the week. Average daily rate was +2.3 percent higher to finish the week at $130.40. Revenue per available room was up by +1.7 percent, reaching $91.05 by the end of the week. Full Story Here:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Multi-Generational Travel For Hotels

In the process of sustaining an effective hotel marketing effort, it is vital for hoteliers to take into account the unique differences between generations of travelers. But what about when multiple generations, the parents, their children and the grandparents, choose to travel together as a family? Or maybe even a group of friends of widely spaced ages decide to vacation together. Multi-generational travel, as a category unto itself, has surged in popularity so much in recent years that it has become the fastest growing leisure travel segment.

A central factor driving this trend is the expanding geographic spread of families today. Not just nationally, but globally as well, an extended family can now easily be scattered by career demands for example. When vacation time comes many want to spend that precious time together and traveling as a group opens up greater possibilities for a shared family experience.

The cost of extensive travel, prohibitively expensive for many in the past, has become increasingly affordable to many families. Also, the desire for togetherness is inspiring many of the older and/or more financially secure family members to completely bankroll or significantly subsidize the multi-generational family vacation. As family members age, particularly Baby Boomers, they long to travel to bucket list destinations and share them with the rest of their family, building cherished memories in the process.

There is also a new sub-trend of multi-generational travel that is gaining momentum called “skip-gen” vacations. This is when the parents stay home while the grandparents take their grandchildren on a trip with them. Grandparents may have more time and resources than the parents to invest in travel with the grandkids. This can offer the parents some precious alone time while allowing grandparents to strengthen connections with the grandchildren through shared experiences.

Hoteliers can best leverage the multi-generational travel trend by emphasizing in their marketing efforts the family-friendliness of the hotel accommodations and property. Highlight the diversity of experiences the destination may offer travelers of all ages as well. Additionally, hotels should always strive to build partnerships with local companies that can provide guests with activities such as tours, attractions, and entertainment that are appealing to people of all ages.

Multi-generation travel is a burgeoning trend from which hotels can greatly benefit with a targeted marketing campaign in order to drive increased revenues.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Hospitality News For The Week Of 4/27/18

Strong outbound tourism demand from traditional and emerging markets in 2017

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the top 25 source markets increased spending on international tourism during 2017. The growth was lead by the United States, which spent $12 billion more on international travel over the previous year. China spent $8 billion more, while the Russian Federation increased foreign travel spending by $7 billion, followed by Brazil with $5 billion more than the previous year. China is the leader in international travel spending with a total of $258 billion spent on international travel. Full Story Here:

Hackers can turn room cards into untraceable master keys

Researchers announced this week that they have uncovered a major security issue involving hotel room key cards and the ability of hackers to compromise them. Last year Finnish researchers for F-Secure discovered the issue and reported it to the Swedish security firm Assa Abloy regarding their Vision by Vingcard system. This system is used by thousands of hotels worldwide. Hackers were able to access any hotel room with a old card, essentially creating a master key. Full Story Here:

U.S. News & World Report Ranks This Year’s Best Summer Vacations

With the 2018 summer vacation season approaching, U.S. News & World Report published their latest rankings of the world’s best summer vacation spots. For the U.S., Boston took the top spot because of it providing living history and is the hometown of the most famous baseball team, the Red Sox. In second place was the family-friendly beach town of Seaside, Oregon. In third place was Steamboat Springs, Colorado that offers many outdoor activities. Internationally, Paris was number one with its many iconic sights, followed by Florence, Italy and Boston again at number three in the world. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 3.1 Percent To 70.1 Percent - Week Ending April 21st - 2018

Compared to the same period last year, the U.S. hotel industry posted positive performance figures for the week of 15-21 April 2018. According to data published by STR, industry-wide occupancy was up by +3.1 percent to 70.1 percent. Average daily rate climbed +5.4 percent higher to finish the week at $131.15. Revenue per available room rose up by +8.7 percent to $91.89 by week’s end. Full Story Here:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hotels And The Solo Traveler - Part 2

The emerging trend of solo travel around the globe is increasing in awareness by the hospitality industry regarding this unique traveler segment. Not as commonly seen even just a few years ago, the growth in the numbers of solo travelers are largely the result of life-style changes and demographic shifts. The solo traveler is clearly here to stay and their numbers will only expand over time. For hotels looking to leverage this increasingly valuable traveler, hoteliers must reach out and meet the solo traveler at a number of key points.

Make Them Feel Welcome

Giving solo travelers a welcome feeling can begin with hotel marketing content, specifically visual imagery. On the hotel’s website and social media platforms for example, there are probably images of couples and families enjoying their stay. But be sure to also include some images of solo travelers experiencing the hotel property, its amenities and local area as a destination as well.

Many solo travelers are not seeking complete solitude during their trip, just freedom. Hotels can hold occasional on-property events and informal receptions for solo travelers. Also, the property itself can be made welcoming to solo travelers seeking social interaction. Comfortable and open common areas, lounges, bars and restaurants in the hotel can encourage socializing. In addition, just like other traveler segments today, solo travelers are seeking authentic experiences in the destinations they travel. By making the hotel property equally welcoming to locals, guests can be given some degree of immersion into the cultural flavor of the hotel’s locale.

A large number of solo travelers are also a big part of another current travel trend, health and wellness. Many are in the midst of transformational, life-changing moments and solo travel is but one part of this experience for them. Offering healthy dining options, fitness and yoga facilities, and even instructional classes are further ways to appeal to the solo traveler seeking a healthier life.

Offer A Promotion

Solo travel has long been hampered by the financial penalties imposed on lone travelers. The “single supplement” often demanded by travel-related companies, including some hotels could be prohibitive. The policies regarding single-occupancy, which can impact the solo traveler, are beginning to loosen however. Going forward, the shear numbers involved in solo travel will hasten even more changes. Hoteliers can get ahead of the trend however by offering special promotional rates for solo travelers.

Safety And Security

For many solo travelers, particularly with the majority of them being women, safety and security are top priorities. And so it should be for the hotel as well and plainly apparent to all, which will provide these travelers and others a more secure feeling during their stay.

The rapid growth in recent years of the solo travel trend makes this segment an important one for hoteliers to consider in their marketing efforts going forward.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Hospitality News For The Week Of 4/20/18

STR: US hotels set Q1 performance record

According to data published by STR, the U.S. hotel industry set a new record for first quarter performance in 2018. The three key industry performance figures were the highest ever recorded for a Q1 since STR began keeping track. Compared to the first quarter of 2017, industry-wide occupancy was +0.9 percent higher at 61.6 percent. Average daily rate was up by +2.5 percent to $127.37. Revenue per available room rose by +3.5 percent to $78.46. Supply and demand set new records as well. On the supply side, 460 million room nights were available, while demand resulted in more than 285 million room nights sold. Demand grew at a higher rate,+3.0 percent, than supply at +2.0 percent. Full Story Here:

Majority of global online travel buyers visit TripAdvisor before booking a hotel or flight

TripAdvisor published the results of their “Path to Purchase” study of how travel is researched and booked online by consumers. The research, conducted by comScore, found that during the second and third quarters of 2017 TripAdvisor reached 60 percent of all travelers globally, while for the U.S. alone the figure was 67 percent. The study also found that on average travelers take a month or more to plan and book their travel. During the travel planning period the most visited site by consumers is TripAdvisor, followed in order by, Trivago, and Expedia. Full Story Here:

U.S. Hotels Operating at Highest Level of Efficiency Since 1960

For the eighth consecutive year the U.S. hotel industry experienced increased profits in 2017. This coming despite slowed revenue growth, according to the 2018 Trends in the Hotel Industry published by CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research. In the survey, total operating revenue rose by 2.0 percent for the average hotel in 2017. Properties in the survey saw their gross operating profits increase by 2.2 percent by limiting the growth in operating expenses to only 1.9 percent. Full Story Here:

US Hotel Occupancy Up 6.1 Percent To 68.1 Percent - Week Ending April 14th - 2018

Positive performance figures were posted by the U.S. hotel industry for the week of 8-14 April 2018, according to data published by STR. Compared to the same period last year, industry-wide occupancy was +6.1 percent higher at 68.1 percent. Average daily rate climbed up +5.8 percent to end the week at $130.57. Revenue per available room jumped +12.2 percent higher to reach $88.95 by week’s end. Full Story Here:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hotels And The Solo Traveler - Part 1

The solo traveler is beginning to receive some acknowledgement from the travel industry. Whether by life status or choice, in the last few years the number of people who travel alone has grown tremendously. The solo travel segment is even creating some industry buzz just by the numbers involved in the trend. Although solo travel is by no means new, it has become increasingly mainstream, partly because of shifting demographics in addition to a number of other factors.

In the U.S. alone, single people now makeup the majority of the adult population. The fact is many people are either waiting to marry later in life, divorced, or lost their spouse due to death. But people of all age groups, marital statuses, and nationalities are solo traveling now. Because of the internet people are much more informed about the world around them, both near and far, than in previous decades. This gives them the confidence needed to get on a plane and fly around the world or across country alone. And with the world waiting for their personal exploration, many individuals have no intention of missing out on what the Internet has to offer them.

What is really driving this trend forward currently is the number of women, particularly those over 50 years old, who are solo traveling in ever-growing numbers. These female solo travelers are seeking the freedom to explore, without having to compromise their dreams because of friends, family or partners. And this segment is not limited to single, divorced or widowed women only. Many women who have partners at home are now choosing to take vacations apart from their significant others and are traveling solo as well. Whatever their motivations and inspirations for traveling solo, there is a significant number of women with the inclination and financial means to travel the world on their own terms.

The trending solo travel market represents a substantial portion of both today’s hotel revenue and tomorrow’s, as the segment continues to grow. Hoteliers should leverage the solo traveler by reaching out to meet their travel needs. We will explore those needs and how hotels can best capitalize on this important travel development in Part Two of this series.   

Monday, April 16, 2018

Generational Travel For Hotels - Part 4

Generation Z

With the oldest members of this generation just entering into adulthood, Generation Z truly represents the future of travel. But their influence has already been and continues to be felt across all segments of the travel industry. Many people mistakenly think of them as Millennials, a potential problem for hoteliers who may make that oversight. Generation Z is fundamentally different in a number of distinctive ways.

Comprised of young people born between the late 1990s and the 2010s, Generation Z as a group has no memory of a world, which is not digitally connected by the Internet and social media. This fact is at the core of their upbringing and has profoundly impacted their short life experience so far. Equally significant in shaping this generation has been the reality of growing up and approaching their adulthood in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This has made Gen Z particularly budget-conscious. Also, because they are so young and new to the workplace, they have not reached their prime earning potential yet. Research from Expedia Media Solutions has found that over 80 percent of Gen Z takes budgetary constraints into consideration when planning travel, with over 90 percent seeking the best deals possible.

Gen Zers have been influencing the travel and vacation plans of their parents, who are largely Gen Xers, for quite some time now. Many of this generation still travel on their parents’ dime, but directly impact the travel decisions of their families. Generation Z itself is also the most social media-influenced generation of all with nearly 90 percent stating so, according to Expedia. In this generation’s experience, rather than becoming electronically connected at an early age, Gen Zers have always been connected.

This makes technology truly a part of the Gen Z makeup, rather than merely a nice convenience. They trust the information they gather across social media and make their decisions accordingly. Therefore, since they are the most likely of generations to seek travel information online, it is imperative for hoteliers to reach out to Generation Z in this manner. Preferred social channels for this generation are Snapchat and Instagram since they mostly view Facebook as being for older folks. But more importantly for hotels, their social network choices are an indication of what motivates them, visual stimuli. Travel for Gen Zers offers exciting possibilities to capture and share unique moments and experiences through images.

Generation Z is truly committed to traveling and seeing the world around them. Despite their young age, only Millennials spend more days per year traveling than Generation Z. Like other generations of travelers, they are seeking authentic experiences. But Generation Z does so with an unmatched sense of adventure maybe, in the end, due to their youth.