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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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

Pamela Whitby

Is "Challenging Assumptions" the key to cracking customer experience? Booking.com thinks so and others do too. Love them or hate them - and yes hotels over the years have had a pretty tetchy relationship with booking.com – but few could dispute how successful a company the Amsterdam upstart has been. 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. READ MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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Coming up in May 2020...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Creative Innovation

Being eco-friendly is no longer a fad. It is an urgent planetary need and hotels are actively doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint by implementing sustainable, green practices. In addition to the goodwill derived from doing the right thing, hotels are also realizing the benefits to their business. A large percentage of Millennials expect hotels to be eco-friendly and will only patronize those properties that are proudly conforming. Consequently, more hotels are realizing that sustainability is a key element in a successful branding strategy. In addition, going green can lead to a more profitable bottom line, as savings on electricity, water and cleaning materials can add up. Also, there are other advantages that come with being an eco-friendly business, such as government subsidies and tax and loan incentives. As a result, many hotels are finding innovative ways to integrate eco-friendly practices into their business. Geo-thermal energy systems, along with energy-from-waste systems, are being used to heat and cool the property. Passive solar panels, green roofs, natural lighting and natural ventilation strategies also assist in energy conservation. Low-flow water systems and plumbing fixtures make a contribution, as does eco-friendly hardwood flooring, and energy efficient televisions and appliances throughout the property. In addition, some hotels have implemented in-room recycling programs, and only provide all-natural, personal care items. One hotel has actually constructed a bee-keeping operation on their grounds. Not only is this good for the bees but the hotel also produces products from the operation which they sell. This kind of creative innovation also holds enormous appeal to guests. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.