Library Archives

Mike Kistner

At the 2009 American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), the overriding sentiment seemed to be relief, relief that we had survived the devastating downturn that hit in September 2008. Never before had we clung so tightly to the numbers to understand our fate - the depth of the downturn, the damage to demand, incredibly shrinking rates. Six months later, we began tracking data from billions of monthly hotel shopping transactions to track industry performance, and ultimately, help the "survivors" understand the road to recovery. Like the major lesson in rate-cutting we all learned post-September 11, 2001, the last three years have taught us some incredibly valuable lessons. READ MORE

Naseem Javed

The Western economies realized decades ago that small and medium enterprises are really the main drivers of the economy. While big businesses are necessary to preserve and maintain structure within the economy, surely they have considerable problems of their own. Mega corporations of the earlier era have increasingly lost their edge to smaller, nimbler organizations, which have spouted all over the Western landscape. The Middle East is now a new turning point for SME's to begin a grassroots revolution. READ MORE

Clyde Guinn

All the lodging metrics appear to tell us that 2006 was a remarkable year for the industry. On average, room demand has steadily increased month over month and room rates and occupancy are up from 2005 - yielding a third consecutive year of revenue growth for U.S. hotels. And, it appears that each sector from full-service to limited has reaped the rewards. With such a rosy outlook it is easy to forget that industry performance is cyclical. Experience demonstrates that meteoric growth cannot be sustained and will eventually soften or even deflate. In addition, the country's economy has historically experienced a recession in the early part of each decade and clearly the lodging industry will be adversely affected in the likely event that history repeats itself. What does this mean for hotel owners and operators? READ MORE

Bruce Fears

This year is going to be one of the most exciting times in the meetings and conference industries to date. With all the changes taking place, it can also be daunting if you're not on top of the competitive arena. The following article outlines some of the most significant trends and opportunities in the industry as projected by myself and my team at ARAMARK Harrison Lodging, a leading provider of professional services to 50 conference and corporate training centers, specialty hotels, national and state parks, resorts and other tourist destinations throughout the United States. READ MORE

Kevin Williams

The U.S. has grown accustomed to being a top destination in international travel, but recent data shows that the number of foreign travelers visiting the country is declining. Although this year showed a slight increase in foreign travel to US markets, it is not enough to offset the sharp losses we experienced after September 11th. While the travel industry is making small progress, greater initiative is needed to revive our status in the international community. With the domestic economy faltering, the travel industry should be more aggressive in exploiting the dollar weakness to its advantage and bringing more foreign money to American shores. READ MORE

Neale Redington

In a recent New York Times article, it was reported that a 74 year old traveler spent the past several years on various adventure vacations, including climbing the 19,300 foot Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro and pitching a tent in a sandstorm in the Gobi Desert. She has also traveled to Mongolia, Madagascar and Peru in recent years and is planning trips to the Andes and Ethiopia. What does this mean for the travel industry? Increasing longevity creates new economic opportunities in the near term. According to a U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, consumers age 50+ have accumulated more wealth and have more spending power than any other age group in history. In addition, they spend more than $1.7 trillion on goods and services each year. READ MORE

Edward Donaldson

Over the last two years, the value of the US Dollar has significantly declined against foreign currencies significantly deflating Americans spending power abroad. The hotel and travel industries have been among the hardest hit by the drop in the dollar value as exchange rates have kept Americans from traveling to places where the dollar was once king and spending was frivolous. In today's market, room rates and occupancies have been drastically affected by the global economic condition. Small Luxury Hotels of the World sees 65% of their global business originating within the United States, thus making it crucial for member hotels to react to the current economic situation and reach out to the US traveler. With both the British Pound Sterling and Euro at their highest levels in decades, the challenges of hotels in the international markets are not only to maintain business levels but continue growth within them at the same time. READ MORE

Robert Mandelbaum

Immediately after a catastrophic event such as Hurricane Katrina, the thoughts of hotel owners and operators go in many directions. First priority is the safety of the guests and employees. Once the human situation is secure, attention then turns to rebuilding the facilities and services of the hotel and getting "back to business." READ MORE

Naseem Javed

The corporate teams that are overdependent on research averages often see their marketing fail at a spectacular rate. Their new product introductions seem caught in a revolving door -- what's in and what's out based on "researched" hypotheses that have little to do with actual market behavior. Interest in surveys that purport to identify averages and norms is so great that the myths this type of research spawns are sometimes floated as sophisticated branding and marketing strategies. READ MORE

Robert Mandelbaum

Changes in supply and demand patterns are the two factors that cause shifts in the hotel industry cycle. Currently, most hotel owners, operators, and analysts are bullish with regards to the short- and intermediate-term outlooks for the lodging industry. On the demand side, occupied room nights continue to climb despite rising gas prices and multiple hurricanes. Barring an unforeseen catastrophic event, our PKF Consulting/Torto Wheaton Research Fall 2005 Hotel Outlook forecast calls for growth in demand each year from 2005 through 2008 at a 2.5 percent compound annual growth rate. READ MORE

Naseem Javed

Giving consumers the tools for aerial scanning and three-dimensional mapping of the world -- allowing them to fly by their neighborhoods or make a detailed inspection of far away places -- is radical. Air Google makes it possible to inspect hotels and vacation destinations, conduct market research, spy, carry out competitive surveillance, hunt for a job, trade property, study ecologies, jog trails and fish streams, among at least a million other things -- virtually. Silicon Valley's current enfants terrible - Google's brilliant duo -- have given the global populace wings to soar over towns and cities, and the flights include everything except peanuts. Fasten your seat belts. 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.