Sales & Marketing
Brenda Sandoval Valdes
  • Sales & Marketing
  • The Power of Content Marketing, Viral Videos, and Social Platforms
  • In today’s technology dominated society, the days of hotels and resorts creating brand loyalty through old-fashioned classic mailers, television commercials, and print ads are all but obsolete. In a world where tablets, computers, and smart phones stream blogs, social media, and videos that are readily available and at the customers’ disposition 24/7, today’s travelers are more knowledgeable and particular about the content they process and the brands they choose. Amidst this endless streaming of information, opportunities have emerged for hotels to share their messages across a multitude of direct platforms. Quality content has always been important, but now with the rapid evolution of markets and the overload of information it is more essential than ever. Read on...

Sherry Heyl
  • Sales & Marketing
  • 5 Steps to Maximize Your Influencer Marketing Program
  • Despite all the recent hype around influencer marketing, it is really nothing new. In fact, I ran my first influencer marketing campaign for a large brand in 2006. We did not call it influencer marketing, it was called blogger outreach, but the premise was the same. We developed relationships with bloggers who had a large following and wrote about our niche. In this particular case, it was about cars. At the time the goal was to increase awareness. Our efforts were similar to a traditional media pitch and blogs were seen as “new media.” Read on...

Leora Halpern Lanz
  • Sales & Marketing
  • How Do Hotels Fill Those Last Available Rooms?
  • Hoteliers, marketing directors, and revenue managers in particular are continuously learning how to put the pieces of the puzzle together when it comes to creative and effective options for selling out room nights. Numerous challenges arise with the plethora of new distribution technology, which complicate the process of directly reaching the guest, or even controlling a hotel’s presence on the variety of brand and third party websites. Read on...

Ravneet Bhandari
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Your Guests' Booking Habits are Changing, Yours Must Change Too
  • The only consistent aspect in the way people plan travel is that it’s constantly changing. Each decade brings new ways for customers to connect with the hospitality experience because of both changes in technology and customer behavior. Think about it this way, the industry has come a long way since a sign out front touting air conditioning and color TV were enough to attract a customer; that is, if they could find you. It wasn’t all that long ago when finding a hotel meant pulling off the road because you saw a sign, or by researching a potential stay by utilizing thick books published each year by Mobile or AAA. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Creating a Sense of Place in Your Hotel
  • Sense of Place has become one of marketing’s more recent hot buzzwords. It’s been used to promote everything from a national park to a housing development. And, yes, it is also used to promote hotel bookings. The truth, however, is that we can’t really define the phrase so we don’t really know how to leverage it effectively. Trying to define it is akin to what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said in his 1964 test for obscenity, “I shall not today attempt further to define [it]…and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so, but I know it when I see it…” In this article, you’ll read about the three keys to making sure your hotel has a sense of place, not placeness. Read on...

Bhanu Chopra
  • Sales & Marketing
  • How to Eyeball the Competition
  • The hospitality industry worldwide has witnessed disruptive growth over the last few years. With an explosive influx of all kinds of hotels, both big and small, competition is at an all-time high. However, this is great news for travelers as they are spoiled for choice, with a variety of options to choose from. Combine this leverage for travelers with the internet emerging as a strong search and transaction channel, and with the role of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) getting stronger each day, hoteliers are now under immense pressure to ensure high visibility across all leading online platforms with an aim to drive a maximum number of bookings. Read on...

Emanuel Baudart
  • Sales & Marketing
  • How AccorHotels Uses Data to Enhance the Customer Journey
  • A guest’s social media is an opportunity for hotels to work better and more efficiently to target and enhance the guest experience. Coupling the data that guests give through social media with the data we have from years of growing AccorHotels, we are focusing on using the right tools to best access the guest. At AccorHotels, we are moving away from the transactional model of hospitality and focusing on building relationships through social engagement and bolstering the benefits of our loyalty program. In order to do both, we’ve invested in building better tools for our hotels to succeed on the promise of hospitality – great service, attention and comfort. Read on...

Wendy Blaney
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Why Call Centers Are Still Effective
  • In a world where almost everything is done digitally, it is important to remember how impactful a two-way conversation can be for consumers interested in booking travel. There is no denying that it has become easier and easier to plan trips online, and purchase products almost instantly – yet there are still many customers who want the personal touch and assurance that they truly understand what it is that they are buying. They want someone to provide direction, answer questions, and give them “insider” information. This is especially true for a dynamic destination like Atlantis where there are an abundance of options. Our guests aren’t just interested in a resort, they are seeking a coveted, catered experience. Read on...

Mustafa Menekse
  • Sales & Marketing
  • The OTA and Hotel Relationship - Then and Now
  • Though it seems that online travel agencies have been a part of the hotel booking landscape for eons, the reality is that just 25 years ago, brick and mortar travel agencies were the norm. Travelers would visit an agency for trip planning advice, printed brochures, and to speak with actual travel agents to assist in booking airfare, hotel accommodations and rental cars. Travel agencies had the knowledge and information about the destination and, of course, the tools and connections to book hotels and flights to begin with. The support these agencies provided put traveler’s minds at ease, especially for international trips. This was the foundation of why OTAs are in existence. Read on...

Scott Weiler
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Who Owns the Guest? Easy - No One
  • A guest of a hotel or chain books with an OTA. Terrific for everyone, right? The OTA is grateful for the transaction, and hopes to get a nice share of that customer’s travel bookings for years to come. The hotel is happy to get a (let’s say) first time guest. Sure, they paid a commission for that booking, but the GM and their team is ready to do their stuff. Which is to say – deliver a great stay experience. Now what? Now it’s a battle of the marketers! Read on...

Wendy Stevens
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Tech Boom or Tech Bust?
  • From digital room keys to wireless internet, the hospitality industry continues to embrace new tools and technologies that promise to enrich the guest experience. Advances in technology also open up possibilities behind the scenes for hospitality sales and marketing professionals—online booking services, social media channels, and hotel review sites are reshaping the sales and marketing landscape in important ways. But are all of those changes necessarily a good thing? Are there limitations to the power of technology, and inherent trade-offs and compromises that need to be taken into account? Read on...

Joe Currie
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Who Owns the Business Traveler Hotel Booking Experience?
  • Being a business traveler is not about choosing between Tahiti and Maui for a dream vacation; it is about the luck of dodging an air delay and narrowly catching a few winks of sleep at a hotel before a morning meeting with a client. Business travelers do not have the luxury of choosing time or location, but they do have a choice when it comes to their hotel booking, and the entity that has the most influence over that choice in accommodation ultimately becomes the owner of it. Read on...

Bill Linehan
  • Sales & Marketing
  • It's Time to Re-imagine the OTA / Hotel Relationship
  • Channel management is a practice that allows hotel companies to cast a wider net to capture more market share. How you manage various marketplaces defines your customer acquisition strategy. RLH Corporation recognizes cost of distribution differences between direct and third-party channels, and we always promote direct bookings. However, an important component of increasing direct channel traffic and conversion is to leverage OTA site traffic to promote brand awareness. RLH Corporation takes a contrarian approach to OTAs – a customer acquisition strategy where we fish where the fish are to capture, convert and retain ongoing relationships with consumers. Read on...

Tara K. Gorman
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Guest Data: An Asset or a Liability in the Age of Cybersecurity?
  • When guests checks into a hotel, there are plenty to mechanisms to protect their physical “stuff”, but how can they be sure that their personal information is protected? This is the question hotel owners and operators are keenly focused on in the aftermath of cybersecurity breaches in the hospitality industry. Guest Data - an Asset or a Liability in the Age of Cybersecurity? will explore whether guest data is an asset or a liability by exploring the rules and regulations that govern privacy and security, steps that hotel operations can take to ensure that they are in compliance with privacy and security requirements for guest data, and privacy considerations. Read on...

Allyson Fredeen
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Making an Impression with Website Merchandising
  • Upon graduating from Colorado State University’s department of Design & Merchandising in 2004, I had no idea that my undergrad learnings would come into play during my hospitality career, over a decade later. Nor did I realize I would depart from the fashion/retail industry for the hotel business. I will always remember one of my professor’s lectures on what merchandising really is: having the right product, at the right time, in the right place. It sounds quite simple, but putting this philosophy into action is more complex. Read on...

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NOVEMBER: Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive

Brian Obie

When people arrive at a hotel they have usually traveled a long distance. They are typically tired and stressed to some degree or another depending on how easy or difficult the journey. When they finally come into our driveway and understand this is where they should be – with the valet right there ready to greet them – they get the sense that they can finally relax. There’s a huge sense of relief. They now can begin their business trip or holiday with the family knowing they will be rested and renewed. Read on...

Rob Uhrin

When you think of the word resort, what comes to mind? Upscale amenities such as white sandy beaches, luxury pools, first class dining and entertainment and the ultimate spa experience to name a few. The word “resort” probably does not conjure up images of urban cityscapes, or streets filled with busy pedestrians in business suits. There is a new class of resorts coming to the fore in the hospitality industry right now called urban resorts. This article will explore this new type of transformational city design and how to achieve it. Read on...

Vince  Stroop

In a time when experiences are moments-long and shared over Instagram by many users, it is hard to top the surprise factor when it comes to creating a new destination. Nor should we, as hotel designers, try. With the pace of changing trends that is being communicated to us by branding agencies, designing the next new thing can be tempting. But I am not sure that’s what guests genuinely seek. And judging from the rise of Airbnb, I may be right on my guess that guests want memorable, meaningful experiences, not more selfies. Read on...

Michael Tall

An urban resort is a property that connects guests to the unique and vibrant elements within a city and outside the hotel. The hotel itself acts as a concierge service, forming a direct link between the local community and those guests who crave localized and authentic excursions. With no signs of slowing down, the urban resort trend is here to stay, and hoteliers can successfully capitalize on this growing segment by keeping the guest experience in mind. At its core, an urban resort is a respite from daily life, offering guests the freedom to choose between relaxed disconnection or active participation within the local community. Read on...

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.