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Kristi White

In the hospitality industry, hotels allocate guest room inventory across multiple channels to optimize guest room revenue. As an industry, we typically do this very well for transient business. However, when it comes to group revenue the discipline is not always the same. Group revenue for many hotels is an integral part of their business plan but all group revenue should not be treated equally. Smart hoteliers leverage data to know the difference between available revenue and preferred revenue. With the help of strong group and meetings dataset, hotels can leverage these insights to improve sales productivity, make smart revenue choices, and ultimately optimize profitability. READ MORE

Jeff Hart

Jeff Hart, General Manager of the Los Angeles Airport Marriott explores the evolution of hotel club lounges and the everyday ways in which they can elevate their spaces and offerings. Hart discusses tactical tips and strategies that hotels can take to stand out and provide a unique experience for guests. From concierge access to exceptional views, and stellar food and beverage, hotels are finding that guests are willing to pay a premium to have access to a heightened hotel lounge experience, and Hart dives into simple touches and more modern renovations that show the unique ways in which they can level up their spaces, offerings and approach. READ MORE

Rod Clough, MAI

Sales of economy hotels in 2019 registered a healthy level, despite a decline in the number of limited-service hotels that sold during the year. Approximately 10% fewer hotels sold in 2019 than the number that traded hands in 2018, according to Real Capital Analytics (RCA). This decline was attributed entirely to a dearth of major portfolio transactions, while individual property transactions increased slightly for the year. The U.S. economy continues to hold strong, showing great resiliency. The overall strength in consumer spending and confidence has benefited the U.S. hotel industry, driving this healthy transactions market as hotel demand remained at heightened levels. READ MORE

Ford Blakely

Mishaps are inevitable in the hospitality industry. But these mistakes don't have to be fatal. In fact, the strategies you put in place to respond to service missteps can become some of your strongest tools to win customers and drive revenue. However, recovery is impossible when you don't know where problems lie in the first place. Recent research shows that only 1-in-4 hotel guests say they'll report any issue that impacts their experience. This is worrisome news for hotel operators. But there are ways to overcome these blind spots and create service recovery strategies that boost your reputation and bottom line. READ MORE

Christine Samsel

Many employers are implementing or expanding paid parental leave policies. Christine Samsel, shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, reviews the challenges of implementing and administering such policies, from avoiding discrimination and gender stereotyping to differentiating between pregnancy/childbirth-related medical leave, on the one hand, and baby bonding and parental leave, on the other hand. Her article also provides recommendations for employers on considerations in auditing or expanding existing leave policies. Read more… READ MORE

Bill Caswell

Many hotel brands invested heavily in customer experience (CX) and loyalty programs without a cohesive business strategy. As a result, today they are having trouble measuring the return on their investments. Loyalty programs are hard to measure because they were expanded to include infrequent travelers, offering them perks earlier in the customer journey. Many hotels also plunged substantial dollars into CX without fully understanding their customers – or how to recoup their investments. As hotel brands plan for the future of their loyalty and CX programs, it is important to learn from past experiments. READ MORE

Justin Arest

Justin Arest, co-owner and managing partner of Kixby, a boutique hotel opened in Midtown Manhattan in November 2019, describes the current hotel landscape in New York City. He shares how hotels can attract urban travelers in 2020, particularly in the trending Midtown neighborhood. Arest explains the core elements of a successful city hotel, drawing from his own experiences working in every department of a Manhattan hotel beginning at the age of six years old, overseeing the Hotel Metro for over a decade, and leading its recent renovation and rebranding into the modern and sophisticated Kixby last year. READ MORE

Russell LaCasce

As more and more consumer dollars are spent on dining and drinking out, the competition has only continued to increase. Restaurants, more than ever, need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to being informed on trending ingredients, styles and experiences, and choosing which to incorporate into their unique concepts. From flavorful small plates and chef-driven dining experiences to menus that highlight digestifs as an integral part of enjoying a meal, Executive Chef Russell LaCasce of Hotel Valley Ho in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona is sharing some of the top culinary trends to look out for in 2020. READ MORE

Rod Clough, MAI

Although legislation is working its way through Congress to raise the bar on how resort fees are communicated to consumers, these fees are unlikely to go away anytime soon. As consumer awareness evolves regarding these fees and the amenities included, it behooves a hotel owner and management team to be on the forefront of communicating the charges in the most direct way possible and to offer the best array of benefits for the dollars spent. We recently surveyed 50 resorts to uncover not only what their resort fee currently is, but what they offer to the consumer for this fee. READ MORE

Mark Natale

It is so much more impactful when the whole symphony plays together vs. one instrument. That's why, integrated brand development agency Smarthinking Inc. believes that it is most effective when a company's branding aligns with the experience found within the establishment, giving consumers a full experience. Mark Natale, Smarthinking Inc.'s chief executive officer, says that to be successful, you must take the time to define your brand terms. In his authored piece, he details the crucial questions you should be asking yourself in order to create an unforgettable hospitality brand. READ MORE

Mario Candeias

Even amidst sanctions and geopolitical challenges, entrepreneurship and fearless economic savviness play a role. Espinas Hotel Group has been consistently redefining the shape of Iranian hospitality ever since inception, two decades ago. Experiencing multiple development phases, it is now positioned and poised for growth, both domestically and abroad, ready to expand the worldwide famous Iranian authentic and secular hospitality values. The development growth rate will accelerate, with the professionalization of management and branding. It took Hilton 20 years to grow out of Texas, its birth State. It will take Espinas less to exponentiate its local and global footprint. READ MORE

Jeff Crabiel

Looking for a way to break out of business as usual during meetings and events? The Westin Nashville's General Manager Jeff Crabiel illustrates how breakout sessions don't have to be energy-draining, cliche-ridden exercises. From meditation sessions to immersive activities, creative partnerships can rescue a meeting from the ordinary, transforming the overall experience into something unforgettable. These fresh and unique approaches won't just improve your events – they'll attract more events as well. Crabiel also shows how these partnerships don't necessarily require heavy lifting on the part of the planner. Often, the best partners can be found right in your own backyard. READ MORE

Jessica Blotter

Sustainability has become a deciding factor for individuals purchasing travel and accommodation and travel companies are adapting their offerings to meet their needs as reflected in the recently released 2019 Amadeus study: Making a Positive Impact on Travel. From reducing plastic in hotels, decarbonizing, and creating strategic partnerships that generate a positive community impact, Jessica Blotter, the founder of California-based KindTraveler explores 10 adoptable strategies today's hotelier can employ right away to not only advance sustainable travel in 2020, but also create marketing opportunities as well as reduce operating costs. READ MORE

Kristi White

Taking a page out of Gary Chapman's bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages, The Secret to Love that Lasts, Kristi White, VP Product Management at Knowland, takes a look at how the various hotel stakeholders – from Owners and Operations Teams to Group Sales Managers and Revenue Managers communicate and connect. And what better month to do this than in February - the month of love. In this edition, Kristi explores the "love language" of a revenue manager. Is it Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time or Physical Touch? Read this compelling take on how to better connect, work and align with your revenue manager for achieve a long, healthy and profitable relationship. READ MORE

Hicham Jaddoud

Hospitality organizations may spend tremendous amounts on improving the guest experience, but they still have ways to go in improving their employee turnover and training. The hospitality industry has a culture of high turnover and lack of training due to different internal and external factors. Experiential learning and customized training programs may not only support employee retention and improve morale, but ultimately provide a positive guest experience, drive repeat visits and increase profitability. From an employee's perspective, there is the added benefit of creating a pipeline of promotable employees. From the guest perspective, better-trained employees are going to deliver better on the company mission statement as well as the brand standard. READ MORE

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Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.