Editorial Board

Mr. O'Rourke

Tom O'Rourke

President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality

Tom O’Rourke is an innovative and forward-thinking leader in the hospitality marketing industry. Entrepreneurial by nature, he founded O’Rourke Hospitality in 2001 and grew the business to become what it is today; an award-winning hospitality marketing firm specializing in hotel website design and development, Internet marketing, SEO services, and mobile marketing. His innate ability to see new possibilities and generate fresh ideas, combined with his passion to bring these ideas to fruition, differentiates O’Rourke Hospitality from more traditional agencies. Leveraging over two decades of marketing experience, Mr. O’Rourke architects strategic marketing plans resulting in increased ROI for luxury resorts, hotels, restaurants, spas, and golf resorts. His hands-on approach and his keen ability to combine strategy and execution, makes him popular with his current clients and continually attracts new accounts. O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing currently supports world-class brands including Marriott International, Renaissance Hotels, Trump International Chicago, Shangri-La Tokyo & Philippines, Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Arizona, The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel Israel, Sebel Pier One Australia, Ireland’s Blue Book, Landmark Hotels London, and OB Sports Golf Management Arizona. O’Rourke also caters to a wide range of boutique and independently owned hotels and resorts. Always open to new technology, Mr. O’Rourke saw great marketing opportunities for hotels in mobile. He recognized that the smartphone market was growing at a rapid pace and it would become imperative for hotels to meet their guests’ increased service expectations. After much research, it became evident that mobile apps were the best option because they are cost-effective, popular among smartphone users, and allow for interactive features. Mr. O’Rourke partnered with DeCare Systems Ireland, and together they created SmartstaySM, a mobile app platform that can be customized for hotels. Smartstay was recently launched in March 2010, and is now the leading hotel app. Hotels in over 9 countries and across 4 continents have created their apps with the Smartstay platform. Prior to opening O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing, Mr. O’Rourke partnered in the growth and development of two very successful and innovative enterprises, honing his ability to move a concept into a reality with dramatic results by applying solid business practices – market research, product development, sales and marketing resource deployment – and a high level of creativity. Energy services company, KBC in metropolitan New York, where Mr. O’Rourke was the regional director of sales and marketing, was a classic demonstration of how those elements are best combined for success. By matching comprehensive market research to product development and the implementation of a strategic, targeted sales business plan, Mr. O’Rourke secured results for more than 100 metropolitan New York-Long Island companies, producing energy cost savings of 50 to 75%. In the second venture, Mr. O’Rourke partnered with an architect and an interior designer to bring a new lighting technology to market. As Marketing Consultant, starting from a zero base, he developed the territory, staffed the sales team and arranged strategic alliances that built revenues to $4 million per year. Mr. O’Rourke continues to grow O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing and is working with partners across the globe on innovative projects in mobile. He is continually developing the Smartstay mobile app platform and working to expand it into other hospitality verticals including restaurants, casinos, cruise lines, and events planning. His insight into upcoming trends, combined with his strategic thinking, has made him a leader in hospitality marketing. Mr. O’Rourke is often asked to share his ideas with Hospitality and Marketing MBA students at Universities including The Roosevelt University, Chicago, and The European Center of International Hotel Management, Paris, France. Please visit http://www.orourkehospitality.com for more information.

Mr. O'Rourke can be contacted at 978-465-5955 or Tom@ORourkeHospitality.com

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.