Guest Habits Change

By Michael S. Wasik Chairman, CEO, Interim CFO, Roomlinx Inc. | January 29, 2010

In the sixth century BC, Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed "Everything changes but change itself." Twenty-six centuries later, it's still every bit as true.

Everything changes, and that certainly applies to today's hotel customers. Travelers, whether veteran business road warriors, or families enjoying leisure travel, are more selective, value conscious and well-informed than ever before. They also have a whole new set of expectations.

When it comes to handling change, Heraclitus maintained that there are two ways people generally react: they fear, resist or try to ignore change, or they endeavor to understand, embrace and find ways to benefit from it.

Hotels have a unique opportunity now to embrace the new customer reality and capitalize on it in ways that will differentiate their property's brand, rise above the competition and develop customer loyalty. To explore how to take advantage of this opportunity, let's start by examining more in-depth how your guests' habits and expectations have changed.

Today's New Traveler

Coming out of an economic recession, your guest is cost-conscious and more careful in his spending choices. He's been conditioned by recession-driven discounts and rate reductions to expect more for his money. He's very likely to be an informed comparison shopper.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.