Cultural Diversity - A World of Opportunity

By Andrew Freeman President, Andrew Freeman & Company | November 19, 2010

Cultural diversity is no longer a lofty idea for the future and wishful thinking. Nor is it something regional affecting select sections of the country. From vendors to guests, staff to neighbors, cultural diversity is here, it is now, it is universal. Revisiting existing strategies and tactics and implementing new ones to accommodate true cultural diversity and inclusion in your hotel is not only socially responsible, it is just good business.

You may be in a place where cultural diversity is taken for granted or where it hasn't yet become prevalent. Recent statistics should give you some idea of the changing make-up in the United States' population. Based on the 2000 U.S. Census, numbers show that whites made up 69% of the American population, Latinos and African Americans each made up 13%, and Asian Americans accounted for the remaining 4%. By the year 2050, predictions indicate whites will make up only 50% of the population, while Latinos will grow to 24%, African Americans will increase to 15%, and Asian American will double to 8% of the population.

These numbers are made all the more significant when the same predictions indicate that the U.S. population will grow from 280 million in 2000 to 420 million people by 2050, with women continuing to outnumber men. Immigration plays a major factor in this growth, especially in the Latino and Asian American populations, contributing 35% and 60% to their communities' growth respectively.

It has also been long recognized that Americans are getting older. By 2030, it is anticipated that one in five Americans will be 65 or older. This remains about the same as it is today for white/non-Latinos, but the projections show a much lower ratio for African Americans (one in seven), Asian Americans (one in six) and Latinos (one in ten).

The years 2030 and 2050 seem a long way off, so how do these statistics affect your hotel's operations and marketing efforts today? They are already affected: As a point of comparison, the 1950 U.S. Census showed that whites made up almost 89% of the population, African Americans accounted for almost 11% and all other races were less than 1%. The rapid change in the make-up of the American population is clearly a steady trend and looks to continue what is already well underway, which means that the typical "one size fits all" way of operating and marketing a business is no longer an effective way of running a business.

Simultaneous to these rapid population shifts are the equally steady changes in technology and communications. Fortunately, today's increasingly sophisticated technology and the widening spread of Internet use make it easier to research information about potential markets, organize and share information in a way that's useful and effective, and then confidently target a very select group of customers in a much more personal way. You may find you efforts are focused on a select population of customers, but they are much more qualified and loyal, generating greater revenue for you at a lesser cost.

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.