Technology
Paul Lachance
  • Technology
  • As Hotel Brands Go Digital, Asset Management Must Not be Overlooked
  • Hotel executives are starting to catch on to digital technology as they strive for better customer experiences across the board. With powerhouses like Hilton and Marriott leading the charge, competitive hotel brands are raising the standard for guest experiences in the digital age. A recent study by Hospitality Technology found 57 percent of hotels plan to spend more on technology across the board in 2017 than they did in 2016. And while improving customer engagement and enhancing payment and data security stood out as the top priorities for many hospitality industry decision-makers, it appears far fewer are considering a critical investment: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). Read on...

Benjamin Jost
  • Technology
  • Learning About APIs
  • The technology ecosystem in the hotel space is changing at a rapid pace. In some cases, companies seem to be appearing from nowhere, offering a brand new solution that solves a problem many hotels didn’t know that they had. In other cases, companies with extensive track records in other markets are performing pivots, taking everything that they’ve learned in their history and trying to apply best practices to the travel industry. Read on...

Matt Naeger
  • Technology
  • Five Tips for Driving More Digital Bookings
  • Travel industry marketers are setting their sites on the customer, following in the steps of other industries such as retail and using digital platforms to strategically target and message across the customer journey. The advances in customer experience we see today are the result of platform and technology availability. Knowing customers like to be treated as individuals is not a new concept in customer service. Not long ago personalized treatment was reserved for face-to-face conversations and luxury experiences. Digital has evolved, but the concept remains the same. Read on...

Mark  Heymann
  • Technology
  • How Mobile Technology is Changing the Hotel Business
  • Mobile technology has pervaded virtually every aspect of our lives, and travel is no exception. As people turn to their mobile devices for assistance with an increasing number of daily activities, the hotel industry has responded with apps designed to streamline processes from checking in to accessing one’s room. Starwood Hotels & Resorts pioneered mobile room keys with its SPG Keyless product in 2014 and since then several other major brands have followed suit. There are also apps today that enable SMS two-way communications between guests and hotel staff, facilitating a wide range of interactions, including late check-out requests, room service orders, and restaurant recommendations. Read on...

Allison Ferguson
  • Technology
  • Win the Connected Traveler with Connected Loyalty Strategies
  • Travel today is a highly aspirational, emotional, and educational experience. However, today’s experience is largely a digital one, which is evolving our roles as hoteliers and marketers at the very pace of innovation. We must constantly use people-based marketing to re-imagine how we connect with travelers and inspire them to connect in return. Here's some very effective tips... Read on...

Ravneet Bhandari
  • Technology
  • 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...

Matt Schvimmer
  • Technology
  • Texting Makes Real-Time CRM a Reality for Hotels
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a tried and true method of connecting with guests and customers across a number of platforms including websites, social media, apps, live chat, email and phone. Selecting a CRM software solution is notoriously laborious and the software itself has the reputation of being expensive and hard to implement. Hotels and hospitality organizations who operate at a local level, and thrive on the relationships they have in the community, need a nimble, real-time CRM solution to engage with their guests and be responsive to their service needs. Although mobile technology has certainly equipped hospitality teams with more on-the-go solutions such as apps and responsive websites, customer relationship solutions that are truly real-time for both the organization and the guest, have not been available. The widespread adoption of texting and ubiquity of mobile devices has now made real-time CRM a possibility. Read on...

Jeff Navach
  • Technology
  • Leveraging Vertical Search to Go Direct
  • Hotels find themselves in an uphill battle as they seek to increase loyalty to their own brands and recapture market share from OTAs. Many hotels are increasingly embracing digital advertising, recognizing it as a critical channel to acquire consumers directly and compete more effectively with OTAs. But as hotels expand their digital marketing presence and ramp up advertising budgets, they would do well to consider some creative approaches that can help level the playing field and turn the tide in their favor. Read on...

Michael Coughlin
  • Technology
  • Using Paid Search Engines to Maximize Returns
  • Since its infancy in the late 90s and early 2000s, paid search has been a highly effective tactic for capturing would-be travelers that are actively exploring travel options. There’s seemingly no better way to attain a new hotel guest than by delivering an ad promoting your hotel when someone is searching for “hotels” in your market area. For instance, if you are promoting hotel rooms in Las Vegas, you would likely deliver relevant ads to people searching for keywords such as “Las Vegas hotel,” “Las Vegas hotels,” and “Vegas hotel reviews. ”According to Prognosis Digital, 79% of people that book hotels online search for that particular hotel on a search engine before buying. Thus, having a presence on search engines is essential for any hotel. Read on...

Katarina  Puckett
  • Technology
  • How to Improve Hotel Bookings with Local SEO
  • In the drive to increase bookings, hotel owners sometimes overlook a key component that can have a dramatic impact on their online visibility: local SEO. Search engines rely on a variety of signals when determining your hotel website’s position and visibility in search results. Local SEO strategies cover three of the top web ranking signals that Google and the other search engines consider: on-page signals, citations from well-established, respected local directories, and reputable backlinks. When you correctly and proactively apply these local SEO strategies, you strengthen your hotel’s business profile and help establish your website domain authority. Read on...

Michael Coughlin
  • Technology
  • Video Content: A Crucial Enhancement for Your Future Marketing Success
  • With rapid advancements in technology, video content is taking over the internet. Whether it’s through social media platforms, apps, or news publications, companies can miss out on valuable branding opportunities without a high quality video narrative to leverage on these networks. In an industry where building human relationships is of utmost importance, hotels must adapt to this growing medium. Well-produced videos help brands connect with consumers emotionally thus creating genuine brand loyalty. In the offline history of advertising, we’ve seen media consumers migrate in large droves from reading newspapers in dull black and white text, to reading magazines and newspapers in full and vibrant color, to consuming radio and TV advertising that bring brands to life. Read on...

Katarina  Puckett
  • Technology
  • How to Create an Effective Hotel Web Design to Boost Direct Bookings
  • Hotels now face stiff competition from the OTAs as well as from other hotels. To succeed in this challenging environment, hoteliers need to develop an effective hotel website that blends the latest design trends and online marketing strategies to appeal to prospective guests. By incorporating essential hotel design, functionality, and reservation features such as SEO strategies, incentivizing pricing strategies, and web analytics, hotels can use their websites to gain the competitive edge. Discover everything you need to know to create a highly effective hotel website design, so you can successfully increase direct bookings and regain control of your hotel brand. Read on...

Bernard Ellis
  • Technology
  • Hey, You, Get Off of My Cloud!
  • After cautiously testing the cloud computing waters for almost twenty years, the hospitality industry has been diving in head first lately, and for the most part, made nice, controlled entries with minimal splash. And for the majority, the dive was followed by a graceful, controlled float to the top. Others, however, found themselves disoriented, bumping into other swimmers, and gasping for breath. The cloud is indeed like a community pool in many ways, but after reading this article, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to quickly find your lane and swim faster laps than ever. Read on...

Tammy Farley
  • Technology
  • The Democratization of Sophistication in Hotel Technology
  • Data is more plentiful and available than at any time in history, yet some of the most crucial information for hotel operators has been accessible only to large organizations with deep pockets. Today, however, new technologies are disrupting established markets with analytical solutions that are more affordable and flexible, offering excellent capabilities to hoteliers who could previously only access such tools through their parent brands. This article takes a look at key qualities of some of the data and analytics tools that make the technology more approachable than ever. Read on...

Matt Naeger
  • Technology
  • 5 Tips for Driving More Digital Bookings
  • Travel industry marketers are setting their sites on the customer, following in the steps of other industries such as retail and using digital platforms to strategically target and message across the customer journey. The advances in customer experience we see today are the result of platform and technology availability. Knowing customers like to be treated as individuals is not a new concept in customer service. Not long ago personalized treatment was reserved for face-to-face conversations and luxury experiences. Digital has evolved, but the concept remains the same. To both the traveler and the marketer, customer experience is differentiation, timing, relevancy. Read on...

MAY: Eco-Friendly Practices: The Value of Sustainability

Eric Ricaurte

In 2011, we visited the 10 hotels contracted in the room block for the Greenbuild conference in Toronto. As part of their award-winning sustainable event program, the conference organizers embedded green practices into the contract language for these hotels, who either had to comply with the requirements, explain their reason why they couldn’t implement them, or pay a $1,000 fine. Part of our consulting work was to gather the data and confirm some of the practices on-site. Read on...

Susan Tinnish

Hotels brands have actively engaged in large-scale efforts to become more environmentally friendly. Individual hotels have made great strides on property. Many significant large-scale eco-initiatives s are most easily built initially into the infrastructure and design of the building and surrounding areas. Given that the adaptation of these large-scale changes into the existing asset base is expensive and disruptive, hotels seek different ways to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. One way to do so is to shift the focus from large-scale change to “small wins.” Small wins can help a hotel create a culture of sustainability. Read on...

Shannon Sentman

Utility costs are the second largest operating expense for most hotels. Successfully reducing these expenses can be a huge value-add strategy for executives. Doing this effectively requires more than just a one-time investment in efficiency upgrades. It requires ongoing visibility into a building’s performance and effectively leveraging this visibility to take action. Too often, efficiency strategies center on a one-time effort to identify opportunities with little consideration for establishing ongoing practices to better manage a building’s performance ongoing. Read on...

Joshua Zinder, AIA

Discussions of sustainability in the hospitality industry have focused mainly on strategies at the level of energy-efficient and eco-friendly adjustments to operations and maintenance. These "tweaks" can include programs to reduce water usage, updating lighting to LEDs, campaigns to increase guest participation in recycling, and similar innovative industry initiatives. Often overlooked—not only by industry experts but even by hotel operators and designers—are possibilities for hotel design and construction that can make a property truly sustainable from the get-go. Read on...

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.