The Key to Unlocking the MICE Industry for Hotels

Global Distribution Systems

By Jason Lewis-Purcell Vice President, GDS, SiteMinder | September 24, 2017

A lot is said about maximizing hotel revenue per available room, but what of revenue per available square meter?

It is a broadened mindset that may be needed from any hotel that aspires to attract the world’s several million business travelers to their property but doesn’t quite know where to begin. Indeed, as Hotel Analyst’s Katherine Doggrell recently observed: “MICE has been a thorn in the side of the sector since windowless rooms with biscuits were invented. Any hotel worth its salt has to have them, but selling them is ... hardly an efficient process. Dead space in which many go to die.”

What many hotels fail to realize is that behind every business traveler is a corporation. This means in essence that every booking is a lead to pursue bigger sales – from ancillary spend to, of course, group meetings.

According to the GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast, global business travel spend approached $1.3 trillion in 2016 to represent a 3.5 percent year-on-year increase. Spending is also expected to accelerate over the next three years, advancing 6.1 percent in 2018, followed by around 7 percent growth in both 2019 and 2020.

Closer to home, in the U.S., for every percentage change in business travel spending, the local economy now gains or loses 74,000 jobs, $5.5 billion in GDP, $3.3 billion in wages and $1.3 billion in taxes. HotelsCombined estimates business travelers contribute $111.7 billion to the U.S. tourism industry each year, while, in the UK, Expedia estimates 60-65 percent of the 1.5 million meetings and business events that take place each year take place in hotels.

The stats are certainly aplenty and are evidence of the need for hotels to ensure the corporate market appears in their business mix. And, amongst the many ways, undeniably one of the most effective – albeit often-overlooked solutions in today’s digital age – is the global distribution system. The GDS.

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.