Allocating Translation Resources and Budget to Stay Competitive

By Angel Zimmerman Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Sajan | September 01, 2013

The hotel industry is already global by nature. Guests come and go, hailing from dozens of countries every week. In your quest to gain a competitive advantage over other hotels, you may be considering expanding your international presence. Introducing your hotel brand to additional markets successfully requires localization-adapting certain facets of your business to local markets.

If you have a budget in place to further expand your hotel's global footprint, the next step is to figure out how to allocate your budget. Where should you get started with your localization prioritization strategy if you are unsure how to proceed?

Apportioning your financial resources prudently is critical. To create the most long-term impact for your hotel brand, you will need to invest in strategic localization options that offer strong competitive potential. Strategic investing can certainly pay off, as InterContinental Hotels Group has demonstrated with the Holiday Inn hotel chain's growing success in emerging markets and worldwide. The chain recently launched its 60th hotel in China as part of its strategy to target around 20 international markets. A lot of that iconic brand's success is due to strong, consistent international and domestic branding, which is founded upon successful localization. No matter what part of the world a traveler winds up in, he or she knows what to expect from Holiday Inn due to its consistent brand identity.

For hoteliers who aren't sure which forms of localization will provide the sharpest competitive edge, it makes sense to start with proven advice and solid strategies.

Determine Your Goals

Before you can decide which avenues to pursue with localization, you need to first identify your business goals. These will be specific ways for you to build a strong brand presence-or strengthen and adapt your existing brand in key markets. Your defined goal directly correlates to the vehicle for achieving it. As an example, if a hotel chain wants to increase hotel bookings in Thailand and finds that their website is buried in a sea of competing properties in web searches, the marketing team would do well to consider multilingual search engine optimization, or MSEO, as part of its strategy.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.