Hospitable by Nature and Intelligent by Design: Technology Solutions for Hotel Executives

By Rahul Razdan CEO, Ocoos | April 12, 2015

Hotel executives face a challenge and an opportunity, both of which have their roots in the disruptive power of technology.

At one extreme, there are the makeshift, room-for-rent social entrepreneurs – the men and women who offer overnight accommodations (courtesy of a spare bed, couch, futon or floor) to travelers in a major city – while at the other end of the spectrum there are conventional hotels and resorts.

The latter, despite their more spacious and inviting arrangements, including housekeeping, room service, plush decorations, magnificent views and in-room entertainment; among these conventional hoteliers and high-end, five-star brands, there is a keen need to more effectively reach potential guests and adapt to this hyper-competitive environment.

The only way to achieve that goal and increase occupancy rates, without succumbing to downward pressure from less traditional players in this space, centers on two concepts: Design and data.

That is, hotel executives must invest in creating websites that capture the respective identities of the companies they represent – these sites must be as distinctive as the properties they depict, and as distinguished as the people they celebrate – so they can enhance the loyalty of existing patrons and win the attention of prospective travelers.

All the while, the principles of design must complement the power of data; the information hotel executives can readily access and analyze, to determine (and refine) the efficacy of a particular marketing campaign and customize appeals on behalf of specific individuals to developing new leads and consolidating control of certain industries.

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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.