Top 3 Emerging Risks for Hotel Management

By Kurt Meister Senior Vice President , Distinguished Programs | August 26, 2018

When it comes to mitigating risk in the hospitality industry, it's time for a wakeup call – and not the kind you call the concierge to schedule. Seismic events like the horrific Las Vegas shooting, a multitude of large-scale point-of-sale (POS) attacks and the #MeToo movement have reframed the dialogue about how hotel owners and operators can best keep their guests, their data and their employees safe.

Here's a look at emerging risks within these three areas, and tips for how hotel owners and operators can rise to the challenge:

1.    Hotel Security: Balance Convenience With Safety

Last October's Las Vegas massacre – where a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel – taught the industry many lessons. The biggest one: Hotels can no longer ignore what happens behind closed doors.

One of the earliest changes Vegas hotels made after the tragic event was revamping longstanding "do not disturb" policies by preventing guests from hanging the once ubiquitous placards on their room door handle for more than 24 hours. Major chains like Hilton and Disney went one step further by replacing "do not disturb" signs with "room occupied" placards.

In addition, many hotels nationwide – at the urging of industry leaders – now insist that a hotel employee enter every guest room at least once each day.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.