Library Archives

Brenda Fields

Are companies like Amazon and Apple setting better examples of great customer service than the hospitality industry? There has been a sharp decline in the hospitality industry in basic customer service with more reliance on technology, resulting in impersonal or rote customer interactions. Many times, calling a hotel requires extreme patience because of all the sales and reservation messages and the numerous prompts before getting to the right area, if lucky. This article will address what great customer service is from the guest perspective and the value of general managers setting the standards. READ MORE

Euan McGlashan

What do artificial intelligence and delicious craft beer have in common? On the surface, not much, but look a little deeper and you'll discover these are part of two trends that will impact hotels in 2020. Emerging technologies and food and beverage programs are transforming the guest experience, and hoteliers should take note. In the new year, we'll also see increased sustainability efforts (goodbye, plastic), more niche loyalty programs and brand-affiliated hotels, and properties catering to the bleisure traveler. This article covers five trends that will shape the hotel industry in 2020. READ MORE

Mark Ricketts

Select service hotels are one of today's most popular and successful hotel asset classes, attractive to investors, developers and property and asset managers, as well as guests. For more than a decade, they have accounted for more than 60 percent of planned builds in the hotel development pipeline. This strength is reflected in favorable construction windows, labor costs, flexibility in offerings of food and beverage services and other amenities, and gross operating profits. This article discusses factors for success in select service today and some of its development challenges and opportunities. 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

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

Jennifer Corwin

As the battle between traditional hoteliers and alternative lodging providers heats up, the major players are experimenting with how to jump into each other's markets. It is a two-way street. Airnbnb is moving forward aggressively to fill traditional hotel rooms, while major hotel brands offer up luxury homes to capture a greater share of the travel wallet. In this article we explore how established and emerging brands stay true to the "experience promise" that remains critical to achieving customer satisfaction objectives and loyalty -- even as travel behaviors evolve. READ MORE

Bill Caswell

Across industries, loyalty programs are a virtual battlefield where the fight for customers is happening. From airlines to retail chains, credit cards and hotels, companies are competing aggressively for business by offering loyal customers better perks than rivals. The ascendance of loyalty programs represents a unique threat to independent hotels, however. The challenge is redemption. Large hotel chains allow travelers to earn and redeem points at thousands of properties globally. Big hotel brands don't hold all the cards, however. As independent hotels figure out loyalty programs, they are better positioned to implement them effectively and deliver world class service. READ MORE

Mark Allvey

Niquesa Travel is dedicated to providing clients with hyper-bespoke travel experiences, aimed less at where they want to go and more at how they want to feel while there. It believes that travel should be transformational, attending to each desire or need of guests. These intensely personal requirements demand an exemplary level of client care; gaining their confidence and intuiting their needs to curate the experience that they are seeking. Mark Allvey, Managing Director and Founder of Niquesa Travel, outlines its approach to guest service which goes above and beyond the expected from the outset. READ MORE

Keiko Sutton

The women of today have begun to shift public opinion on who is able to travel alone-studies have shown that accommodations booked by female lone travelers has increased by 45 percent in recent years. As women continue to venture out into the world for solo travel experiences, safety precautions remain a major concern. Throughout Japan, this issue has been remedied by women-centric travel and experiential accommodations. Taking women's comfort into consideration, sleep capsules are being utilized in hotels that exclusively serve women or offer the option of gender specific floors, offering women necessary privacy and safety in their own spaces. READ MORE

Steve Cohen

Artificial intelligence will never replace the warmth and welcome of personal interaction; however, in the hospitality industry, it can be an effective tool to enhance the guest experience. AI can help smooth out touchpoints and anticipate guests' needs. While the guest is at the center of any hotel or resort experience, AI can also benefit brands with back-of-house efficiencies like improving supply chain, staffing, scheduling and more. Used correctly, AI has the potential to vastly improve the hotel guest experience. It is a tool that can make hospitality brands more profitable, but only as a complement to the human touch. READ MORE

Priyanko Guchait, PhD

This article introduces a new service recovery method called Stealing Thunder - a proactive strategy to handle service failures which can have a significant impact on customer loyalty and trust. Stealing thunder implies the service provider identifies a service failure first and takes the initiative to report the failure to the customer before the customer has identified the service failure. When proactive service recovery strategies such as stealing thunder are used, there may not be a need to offer monetary compensation to customers following a service failure. Recommendations are provided to managers about incorporating "stealing thunder" in employee training. READ MORE

Mark Ricketts

The desired outcome for any hotel is maximum occupancy and ADR, smooth operations, productive and motivated staff, and realistic return on investment. However, all this is dependent on having a continuing stream of guests pass through our doors and keeping them satisfied, so that they come back in the future and recommend us to others. But how do we achieve the guest satisfaction needed to achieve those goals? This article considers some basics: what are the imperatives of genuine customer satisfaction and how might we achieve them. READ MORE

Rocco Bova

In recent times, loyalty has become more and more difficult to attain. Many hotel companies have been through incredible challenges to retain and create new loyal customers. The birth of new ''brands'', to capture new segments, has never seen this scale before. Even loyalty programs are being re-invented to keep the interest of users and more so, to attract the new and future generation of travellers (here I am not going to talk about only Millennials). Since its inception, in the early 80's, loyalty programs have witnessed many changes. So where is loyalty going? Read on as we discover what is happening in the world of loyalty and my personal insights about it. READ MORE

Patrick Connolly

Today's consumers are demanding more personalized services and unique experiences than ever before. This continues to create rapid change and heavy competition across many industries as they struggle to meet these new challenges, and hospitality is no exception. But how do you keep pace with the ever-changing demands of your guests? Although certain technologies can help you plan for and anticipate these needs, it's your people that will make the most difference. Learn how Holiday Inn Club Vacations engages, invests in, and provides its team the skills and knowledge to be one of the fastest-growing timeshare companies in the industry. READ MORE

Nancy Obstler

"My pleasure." Though just two words and three syllables, this simple phrase can serve as the cornerstone for a hotel's delivering on a great guest experience. I have found that by training associates to not only say but to also consistently live this creed can make a difference in the success of a property. So, how do we develop quality hotel associates to try to be better every day? How do we make guest service a priority of every hotel associate's job function, regardless of the department in which they are engaged? 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.