Editorial Board   Guest Author

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 September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.