The Gig Economy: What Hoteliers Need to Know

By Dana Kravetz Firm Managing Partner, Michelman & Robinson, LLP | February 10, 2019

Call it what you will – the gig economy, sharing economy, freelance economy, on-demand economy, platform economy, [fill-in-the-blank] economy – the nuts and bolts of how we go about accessing people and services has changed dramatically in recent years. Want a ride? Grab an Uber. Hungry? DoorDash delivers. Need groceries? Instacart to the rescue. With just a couple of taps on a smart device, our every wish can seemingly be granted.

This genie-in-a-bottle approach to commerce extends beyond everyday consumers and into the corporate sphere as well, especially when it comes to staffing. Worldwide, an ever-growing force of independent workers available for short-term engagements is just a few clicks away. No doubt about it, the phenomenon most commonly referred to as the gig economy is shaking up "business as usual" across industries as technology transforms the manner in which companies – hotels and resorts included – fill vacant positions. And while this can certainly be a boon for hoteliers, the shifting employment paradigm is not without potential pitfalls.

The Modern Labor Pool

To best understand the rapid-fire expansion of the gig economy, it is important for hotel and resort management to be mindful of the playing field when it comes to labor. The numbers are compelling – Census Bureau data suggests that millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Which begs the question: what is that generation looking for in a job? The answer is rather clear – flexibility and work-life balance, this according to a slew of reports, including relatively recent ones from MetLife and PwC.

For better or worse, millennials want choice when it comes to work, like when and where they do it, a conclusion only reinforced by Forbes reporting that reveals the majority of workers in the U.S. will be freelancing by 2027. The good news is that the gig economy enables and facilitates this independent and entrepreneurial trend line, something the hospitality space (restaurants in particular) is now harnessing for its own gain – and for good reason.

Leveraging a Flexible Workforce: The Pros for Hoteliers

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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.