Planning Out of the Downturn: Key strategies for long term success

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | November 17, 2014

Following a tumultuous 12 months in the hotel and hospitality industry, things finally seem to be improving (or at least levelling out) as guest numbers grow and RevPar begins to stabilise. Importantly though, hoteliers are entering the crucial stage of adapting their 2010 strategies to prepare for any market rebound or sustained improvement in operating conditions.

While many hoteliers were operating under a “busy hotel is a successful hotel” mantra throughout the economic downturn, which sacrificed guest revenue - it is important to note that 2010 will not purely be another year of doom and gloom.

According to a survey of more than 1400 business travel managers at the recent Business Travel and Meeting Show in the UK, 27 per cent of travel budgets look to be increased this year and more than a third of business travel buyers will actually increase their amount of travel in 2010.(1)

Smart hoteliers need to recognize new opportunities now and as shell shocked Executive Teams around the world sit down and finalize their strategies for the coming 12-18 months, they need to ask themselves - how will they avoid making 2010 the year of missed opportunities?

While significant losses were sustained in many of the large hotels around the world in 2009, it’s important now for savvy hotel owners to throw themselves into new opportunities and change their discounting habits to emphasize value over price.

A recent report from global management and consulting firm, Accenture, contended that mass-discounting during the Global Financial Crisis had hindered rather than helped the hotel industry during the weaker business conditions, saying that:

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.