How World Events Can Effect Revenues

By Juston Parker President & CEO, Parker Hospitality Group, Inc. | June 15, 2010

On September 11, 2001 at approximately 8:46 AM local time, American Airlines Flight 11 strikes the North Tower of the World trade Center in New York City. Immediately following at 9:02 AM, United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the South Tower of the world Trade Center. 9:37 AM, American Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Then at 10:06 AM, United Flight 93 goes down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

On December 26, 2004 at approximately 7:58 AM local time, the strongest earthquake in 40 years and the fourth largest in recorded history struck deep in the Indian Ocean off Indonesia. This quake spurred one of the most devastating Tsunamis known to man, leaving in its wake an unfathomable loss of life and complete devastation. Areas from Indonesia to Kenya across the Indian Ocean basin were affected, and reports are still unclear about the death toll, which has been estimated in excess of 250,000.

On July 7, 2005 at 8:50 AM local time, 3 bombs exploded in the London Underground within 50 seconds of each other. Then at 9:47 AM, a fourth bomb exploded on a London bus. The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four suicide bombers, injured approximately 700 and caused a severe disruption of the city's transport and mobile telecomunications infrastructure.

On October 1, 2005, between 6:50 and 7:00 PM local time, 3 large bombs were detonated in the resort towns of Jimbaran and Kuta, Bali, Indonesia. 23 people were killed in attacks near western tourist spots including the Four Seasons Hotel Bali.

On April 16, 2007, a lone gunman opened fire at Virginia Tech University killing 33 people and injuring 15 others. This apparently random act in a small community rocks the foundation of security causing many to evaluate their safety anywhere with the feeling of, "if I can't be safe in school, where can I be?"

The hospitality industry has been affected by many devastating events in recent years. The attacks of September 11, 2001 struck fear in travelers, and the airlines and hotels responded in unprecedented ways that completely changed the way we traveled. SARS fears reached to multiple continents as people feared the spreading epidemic. The war in Iraq and the increasing terror threats reduced attendance at the Olympics in Athens to unheard of low levels. Hotel occupancy and Revenue per Available Room or RevPAR (a key indicator in the hospitality industry) were expected to be at record highs but dropped to record lows.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.