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Steven Ferry

We tried unsuccessfully on several occasions over the years to give independent QA providers standards for the butler service being offered by (463) luxury hotels around the world so they could incorporate those standards into their own and help raise butler-service levels in the hospitality industry in a way that our small organization could not, on its own, achieve. All to no avail, but we learned as the years rolled on: Many five-star properties asked us to conduct mystery guest assessments of their butlers, and some even of their whole properties. In doing so, we were asked to assess against internal hotel/chain standards, as well as those of other QA providers. Finding they fell short in various aspects, we were compelled to create our own standards... Read on...

Simon Hudson

It is common knowledge that to develop a strong service culture, organizations in the hospitality sector have to invest in training initiatives. But training for a service-oriented culture requires more than a single program or class - training needs to be ongoing in order to avoid apathy on the part of employees. This article will focus on the training initiatives of three tourism destinations - Telluride and Aspen in Colorado, and Northstar in California. From interviews with management and those involved 'behind the scenes', the article will show that it is the continuous training of employees that differentiates these resorts from the competition. Read on...

Andrew Dyer

With 2018 underway, we know that travelers will increasingly be looking for ways to extend their business trips into personal vacations. Not only does this cut costs for many travelers since they are already there for business, but it enables them to get out and explore more places than they would get to otherwise. With "bleisure" rising in popularity this year, it's imperative that hotels take advantage of this growing trend and put strategies in place that target the appropriate demographic, boost occupancy levels throughout the year and encourage guest loyalty. Let's take a look at how hotels can help convert business travelers into bleisure travelers. Read on...

Justin Effron

Hotels spend a lot of time, money, and resources to ensure the satisfaction of their guests. Commercials insist that a certain hotel knows what their guests want before they themselves do, or that they offer customizable amenities to keep their guests feeling right at home. But are these tactics more lip service than customer service? Is there a better way to build customer loyalty? For a growing number of hotels, the answer is "yes," and surprisingly, their focus isn't on the customer at all. The following article presents three reasons why customer satisfaction shouldn't rely on pleasing guests, where the focus should be, and the most effective way of doing that. Read on...

Michael Schubach

When one thinks about the word "personalization," many images can be conjured. Perhaps it's a monogram or engraving to signify ownership of an object. Or maybe it's home decor: the artwork and memorabilia that make the space your own. Some people might be reminded of their desk at work, loaded with little time-killer toys to amuse oneself during those occasional hiatuses of inactivity. What may not have made your list of highly personalized experiences is a hotel room - or even a hotel stay. Odd, isn't it? Especially now that the hospitality industry's newest, most popular mission is to provide not just the bed and the bath but the "beyond" - the unique guest experience. Read on...

Benjamin Jost

As we enter into the planning period for 2018, you might be talking about revenue forecasting, occupancy rates prediction, holiday promotions - but have you factored in the winning guest feedback formula to operate a hotel successfully? This "winning formula" is one I've written about before, but here, and in my two upcoming articles, I'll be sharing specific details on how to use this formula in your 2018 planning, in order to see greater success next year. By now, you probably want to know what this formula is. Read on...

Lily Mockerman

When beginning the search for a room, guests already have certain ideas of the class of hotel they'll consider, amenities that they expect, and the price they're willing to pay. They also have an idea of how the room will be used, special considerations they will require, and how they want the experience to play out. Hoteliers need to be able to anticipate these guest expectations, even though the value perception for one guest is totally different than another, to be able to not only meet them but exceed them, and to align prices with the potential guest's budget. Read on...

Benjamin Jost

While it's unlikely that Mary and Joseph left a scathing TripAdvisor review after being turned away at the Inn in Bethlehem, hotel reviews have been around, in various forms, since the first hotel opened its doors. As with many other human activities (relationships, journalism/information sharing, etc), "reviews" have become digital. And like those other activities, entire ecosystems have sprung up to support this new channel. Read on...

Benjamin Jost

In a recent interview, Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer, Nathan Blecharczyk, said their future goals lie in "becoming a platform for the entire trip, so no longer just about accommodations…really trying to reinvent every aspect of travel." I believe hoteliers need to think along the same lines: how do we reinvent the travel experience - from search to booking to providing a top-notch experience on-site - to not only compete with the likes of Airbnb but also to achieve your hotel's top goals? Read on...

Allison Ferguson

When I travel for business, I often return to the same city frequently - and when I do, I usually check into my favorite hotel. No matter how many times I return to that hotel, however, the front desk agents always treat me as if it's my first stay. They acknowledge my platinum status, certainly, and welcome me by name. After that, however, the desk agent will ask for my photo ID and credit card - just as they did the last ten times I checked into the same hotel. Read on...

Pamela Whitby

For successful tech companies building a solid and loyal customer base is far less about trusting your gut than having the right data and testing and learning from it. Flattened company hierarchies are also seen as important in getting the best from teams and, as a result, building more successful customer relationships based on personal preferences. So in a turbulent and highly competitive market, should hotels should start thinking more like tech companies to take back control? Read on...

Benjamin Jost

When does a hotel customer become a "guest"? Is it at the point where they book a reservation? The moment they walk through the doors into the lobby? Somewhere in between? Our team at TrustYou set out to identify the guest experience through the lens of guest communications, running a survey and observational study that encompassed nearly 1,000 participants. We identified the likes and dislikes of these guests. Along the way, we found some very interesting numbers relating to how travelers like to communicate with their hotel, and how these communication methods impact satisfaction levels. Read on...

Allison Ferguson

As a frequent business traveler, I get clear value from my hotel loyalty program membership. My room is ready, I have check in and out flexibility, and usually free breakfast and wifi. I get points on the room spend (paid by someone else) that allows me to accumulate points for free nights, which I usually use for leisure. When traveling for a family vacation, however, the impact of my membership is less tangible. When I travel for business, the hotel loyalty program captures my interactions well and rewards me for my loyalty. When I travel for leisure, however, the program often does a poor job of capturing my total spend and delivering a differentiated experience. That's because hotel loyalty programs are designed to build relationships with road warriors rather than vacationers. Read on...

Lisa Carr

The hospitality industry is always evolving to meet the needs and expectations of its customers. Companies are also evolving and competing to deliver the best service in the industry. For the Lodging team at Walt Disney World® Resort, who welcomes millions of visitors each year, this couldn't be truer. As a Housekeeping Director at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, people often ask me how my team helps create the world-class service Disney is known for around the world. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Whether it's a conference center, a local restaurant or a leading international hotel, customer experience management needs to be in play and top of mind for business leaders, the hospitality industry and their teams. Each touchpoint, each point of customer contact will contribute to a comprehensive series of events that will yield the final experience impression. Leaders must understand where any one experience begins and where it ends. They must understand all the spheres of influence on those beginnings, endings and everything in between. They must understand that everyone on their team will or will not impact emotional connections in a positive, negative or indifferent way. Read on...

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Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.