Don't Just Sit There!

The Economy Won't Fix Itself and Nor will the Fed.

By Steven Ferry Chairman, International Institute of Modern Butlers | February 05, 2012

Just from my recent experience with batteries, I have to say, "Thank goodness life is not made in China." The cell phones my carrier mandates are made in China. After two months, the first battery could hold no charge. The earlier phones were made elsewhere and lasted seven years. Similarly, the 17-inch Apple laptop made in Taiwan and purchased eight years ago is still going strong with its original battery operating at 70% capacity. The Chinese-made 17-inch Apple laptop bought two years ago is already on its third battery.

Some of us prefer to pay for well-made products that operate effectively, yet when we try to buy a cell phone, landline phone (or almost anything else you care to name) that has not been made in China (usually with as many short cuts as possible to maximize profits) it proves practically impossible. The ubiquity of it all makes for a grim shopping experience.

Extrapolating into the hospitality world, imagine if hotel ratings were adjusted so that two-stars were reported as five-stars because occupancy rates were insufficient in "higher-end" hotels to justify the service levels of "old-style" five-stars.


China is not the target of this little question, by the way-it takes two to tango: if the West did not demand cheap, then manufacturers would not close down their US and European operations (and economies) and move to the Far East. One could say the same about street drugs: No demand, no traffic from Columbia, Afghanistan, etc. We have brought these conditions upon ourselves.

Take the current economic collapse. China didn't create that, although the new US Treasury Secretary, Mr. Geithner, implied as much recently regarding their alleged currency manipulation and factual underwriting of the US housing boom with their subsequent excesses of cash. No, it was people like Mr. Geithner who did, simply by being ignorant of the fundamentals of economics, espousing instead theories so arcane and abstruse as to turn a simple subject into a cult with membership only for the cognoscenti (knowledgeable). Again, my intent is not to target or finger point individuals when it has been a group effort that has led us down this path. Instead, my gnarly (knobbly) fingers are pointing at the lack of a manual for life that highlights fundamentals; in this particular case, regarding economics.

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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.