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Pamela Barnhill

The ability to provide a rich selection of goods and services for potential customers has aided the rapid growth of peer-to-peer platforms. Airbnb, one of the most successful of these, defines itself as "a social website that connects people who have space to share with those who are looking for a place to stay." Because of its rapid growth and popularity since Airbnb's launch in 2008, hotel industry leaders worldwide have been attempting to answer the Airbnb challenge. With each discussion comes a variety of responses and platforms, some accusing Airbnb of unlawful practices and others praising Airbnb for its innovative platform. Read on...

Simon Hudson

When guest satisfaction scores started to slip in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the town made an unprecedented move by offering customer service training to every single resident in town. The program, initially involving four four-hour sessions over the space of a month, taught the very latest in customer service culture using many Disney examples of 'going the extra mile.' This article takes a closer look at this initiative and focuses on how service providers in Steamboat both benefited from, and built on this initiative to exceed guest expectations. Read on...

Benjamin Jost

Each day, hotels across the industry put themselves at risk of losing hundreds, or even thousands of dollars… simply by doing nothing at all. These hotels, many of which are a few simple actions away from nearly doubling their pool of potential customers, fritter away opportunities because they don't know how to address the concerns that previous guests have shared on the internet. But inaction can be changed, and new revenue streams can be opened. Read on...

Simon Hudson

The sharing economy is having a disruptive influence on the lodging sector, with evidence that Airbnb's entry into some markets has had a quantifiable negative impact on local hotel revenues. Can hotels compete with this new phenomenon without compromising on price? I believe they can. Recent research suggests that the sharing economy appeals to consumers not just because of price, flexibility, and ease of use. Consumers are also attracted by social benefits; guests of Airbnb for example, enjoy interacting with their hosts in an 'authentic' setting, and even gain local connections with the host's help. Read on...

Yvonne Tocguigny

Is it possible for your hotel to attract millennials and boomers? Yes. It's a solid strategy. But building a brand, and generating the optimal messages for each group requires nuanced understanding of what each generation cares about and how they make decisions. The writing-duo of Yvonne Tocquigny, and her daughter, Laurel, tell hotel executives what they need to know to bridge the branding gap between generational age groups. Is it possible to build a hotel brand with appeal to both the millennial and the boomer generations? Where are the commonalities and the differences when it comes to brand loyalty in hotels? Theoretically, if you know where the points of intersection and differences lie, you can broaden the relevance of your brand and capture more market share. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson

Unlike money, time isn't fungible; no matter how long or hard we try, we can't make any more of it. So while we might be able to reallocate our time, we can never increase our supply. That is why time is becoming such a luxury; why we value it so much. In fact, it may be the ultimate luxury. But while it may be a luxury for every one of your guests, different generations view it differently. It is a major differentiator. In this article, you'll see how the three major consuming generations - Baby Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials - view time in their own way. Read on...

DJ Vallauri

As hoteliers, how do we define "customer service" and how does it play into our daily hotel operations? The answer leads us to wonder if customer service can be considered as a competitive advantage for hotel operators. In this article, I share my thoughts on how hospitality customer service can be leveraged to drive new and repeat business into a hotel. When you think customer service in hospitality one brand comes to mind that epitomizes the meaning of great customer service, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. They have successfully used customer service as a marketing differentiator within the hospitality luxury market place. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

There's nothing like warmth, when it comes to hospitality, that blanket of welcome that surrounds a guest or customer when caring and proactive efforts cause greater comfort to happen while making frigid moments forgotten. As guests contemplate their seasonal choices for leisure and business travel in the new year, global warming may be a genuine environmental concern but global warming takes on new meaning when through the eyes of hospitality and a meaningful service emphasis. In this case, warming the hearts of guests and customers is a weather proof strategy for all seasons in the arena of Guest Experience Management. Read on...

Chris Campbell

In a 2012 feature article for The Week magazine entitled "Confessions of a Hotel Insider," Jacob Tomsky, who describes himself as having "worked in hotels for more than a decade," wrote down some of the standard front desk lies. Like: "All rooms are basically the same size." And: "My pleasure." For any executive or staffer who has seen or handled his own share of guest interactions, Tomsky's list is worth a chuckle. Some may even nod in agreement and admit to being guilty as charge Read on...

Bonnie Knutson

Today's guests are more sophisticated, more experienced, and certainly more demanding than ever before. They expect the best overall experience, which is why the American Marketing Association revised its definition to: "Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." While your promotional strategies make the brand promise, it is how you keep the promise - i.e. how you deliver - that matters most. With the proliferation of all things social media, how you deliver the experience is more important than ever before. No longer is it word-of-mouth, but it is now world-of-mouth. In this article, you will find out who should be the guest experience's chief cheerleader in your hotel, and four critical metrics that you need to measure, monitor, and manage your hotel's guest experience. Read on...

Judith Jackson

The race is on! How can you differentiate your hotel or resort from other attractive, well positioned and advertised properties? All you have to do is bet on the senses of sight, sound, smell, hearing, and touch to keep your property on the inside track. And if your guest offerings include a spa, that could be your sensory triple crown. Science has proven that the human limbic system, located deep in the middle brain, is the seat of memory, learning and emotion. Turn that on and your guest will never forget walking into your lobby and being seduced by the subtle fragrance of sandalwood. Let's explore ways you can have your lobby, amenities, food and spa "kidnap" guests' senses from the moment they step into your sensory haven…and, upon checkout, begin planning their return. Read on...

Benjamin Jost

As a whole, the travel industry has been clawing its way forward to improve customer experiences. Many hotels have experimented with implementing various digital platforms and adding personalized factors to their communication systems to facilitate these improvements. Taking a step back, however, we need to first understand "customer experience" before we can address challenges therein. Throwing technology at the problem may seem like a simple solution, but instead, it's only adding complexity and muddying the waters when it comes to creating clear, and obvious paths to improvement. Read on...

Pamela Barnhill

The ability to provide a rich selection of goods and services for potential customers has aided the rapid growth of peer-to-peer platforms. Airbnb, one of the most successful of these, defines itself as "a social website that connects people who have space to share with those who are looking for a place to stay." Because of its rapid growth and popularity since Airbnb's launch in 2008, hotel industry leaders worldwide have been attempting to answer the Airbnb challenge. Read on...

Tema Frank

It's easy to obsess about your Net Promoter Score (NPS). It's simple to get and it's a number your executives can grasp. But focusing too much on your NPS risks sending you off in the wrong directions. It can be misleading, and it doesn't answer the all-important question of why people have given the score they have. Read on to find out the hidden downsides of the NPS, what it doesn't tell you that you really need to know, how it can mislead you, and why sometimes it shouldn't be your top customer experience improvement priority. Read on...

Judith Jackson

After the first stay, does your guest remember your property as "The Hotel Rescue"? Is your guest more refreshed when leaving than upon arrival? When you planned your guest facilities and services, were they designed to be genuinely unisex? Does everything in the room work - like thermostat, wall plugs and light bulbs? Is the clock set to the correct time? Is the television remote easily located? If the answer is yes, have you checked all of them lately? 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.