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Aron Ezra

Gamification, the use of game-like elements to make promotions, loyalty programs and staff training more engaging, is experiencing a resurgence in the hospitality industry. After initial missteps, hotels are using a new breed of games to boost their customers' spend per visit, increase market share and motivate their staff. Not only does gamification open a world of possibilities for making the industry more profitable and productive, it makes the guest and employee experience more fun. By focusing on the brand new metric of "enjoyability," hospitality companies are tapping into a rich new source of data, differentiating their brand in a crowded field, and driving extraordinary results. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson

Developing a positioning strategy may seem like a daunting task. After all, there are countless how-to books written about it. Industry magazines are awash with articles about how this hotel did it or that hotel did it. And then there are the presentations at industry conferences, corporate meetings, seminars, webinars, ad infinitum. Not to mention the many consultants out there. All of these sources are valuable and can provide significant insights into marketing your hotel. But the sheer numbers of resources that are available make the whole thing seem mind boggling and complicated. It's not. It's not because there are basically four - and only four -- positioning strategies any hotel can adopt. Think of them as your marketing's Four Strategic Aces. In this article, you'll read about the four different strategies and why your hotel should adopt only one. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson

This article is designed to help anyone in the hotel industry answer the challenge of hotel marketing in the 21st Century. It is built on my belief [1] that marketers have overly complicated the marketing process, [2] that marketing is dynamic, constantly evolving to meet the changing needs, wants, and expectations of people and organizations, and [3] that the reasoning behind the AMA's newly revised definition is right on target. In it, you'll read about the three legs that are necessary to support the marketing milk stool for hotels in this increasingly fragmented and competitive global environment. Read on...

Maite Velez-Couto

Effectively communicating brand messages to current and future guests remains an essential business strategy for any hotel. More and more, companies are turning to influencers to reach a broader audience and help boost sales. But not every brand or hotel has mastered the complexity of these partnerships nor are they really sure how to best measure their success. Although there are three basic elements to influencer engagement - plan, research and measure - the key is in the nuances. Read on...

Laurence Bernstein

Re-brand; re-fresh, re-position, re-frame, re-articulate, re-contextualize - an entire universe of "do-it-again-branding" to confuse, confound, and just plain con hotel owners, operators and marketers. The reason is not complicated: Branding is an ongoing process, and as tastes competitive environment changes, so must the hotel's brand change. The question is: how much does the brand need to change, and how profound does the change have to be. In other words, is a re-brand, re-positioning, refreshing, re-articulation or re-what? In this article we look at the differences between the re's and when which is appropriate. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson

No consumer characteristic exists in isolation. They exist in various profiles which the marketing industry calls lifestyle segments. In other words, knowing your DINKS, SINKS, and HENRYS will help you keep heads on your beds. In this article, we are concentrating on HENRYS - those High Earners, Not Rich Yet folks. Specifically, smart hoteliers will hit bullseyes in 4-Ss - Status, Service, Story, Smarts - with this market. The takeaway for every hotel brand will be this: HENRYs are important and have the potential to drive your revenues. The key to capturing and keeping this market is finding the sweet-spot between class and mass. And as you see, I'm a firm believer in hotels not looking to other hotels for ideas. Rather, look outside the industry for ideas that can be adapted and incorporated into your story and experience. Read on...

Tema Frank

When it comes to success in the hospitality industry we tend - quite rightly -- to focus on staff and guests. But there are five other categories of people who can influence whether your hotel succeeds or fails. It is easy to forget about them, or even to see them as a threat to your profitability. But if you treat them right, there are many ways they can help you. Building strong relationships with them - even surprising ones like competitors - can end up helping both your organization and theirs. In this article we'll explore who these oft-overlooked allies are, why they are important to your business, and how you can win their support. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson

No matter how hot storytelling is in brand marketing and building, it is often misunderstood. One of the world's greatest brand storyteller, Guido Everaert, reminds us that good brand storytelling is not about the language, it is about creating and telling stories in a compelling way. It is about finding the right metaphors, and structure in which to tell your story. By doing so, you create a part of life and generate a story that is unique to your brand and, more importantly, can easily be readily remembered. In this article, you'll learn about the Storied Six of telling your hotel's brand story. Read on...

Lizz Chambers

Sales associates often operate on the periphery of hotel organizations with their sales methods and negotiation tactics shrouded in mystery from the rest of the team. Their efforts are nonetheless instrumental towards bringing in meetings and group business, and better communication is necessary with other on-property operations to ensure that guest service is never compromised. Ten strategies have thus been outlined to both heighten internal communications amongst different departments and increase sales performance. Read on...

Lorraine Abelow

Though the phenomenon of Americans retiring in Latin America began 25 years ago, it has accelerated in recent years. The 50 plus category is actively searching for safe and secure places in which to retire. Resorts located in the countries in this region can attract those searching for places to relocate by enticing them to use the comforts and resources of your hotel as a base, while they explore the region and its living options. By reaching out to this exploding market through a comprehensive marketing program including sales and public relations program initiatives, you can build customer loyalty. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson

Just like people, brands need to be carefully nurtured and managed, and just like people, they get old and tired and need reinvigorating. In today's State of Brand world, every hotel owner/manager has to perform a regular health check on the hotel's brand. I don't mean just looking at occupancy levels, rack rates, or even food and beverage revenues. I mean fully understanding the health of your brand image, internally and externally. This means doing regular refresher sessions on the state of your brand for all key leaders to ensure that they are passionately connected and understand who they are and where you are going as a hotel. In this article, you'll see how the State of Brand has evolved over time and where it is going in the near future. Read on...

Pamela Barnhill

Does a brand have certain attributes? Do legacy brands include their new "soft" brands? Are so-called collection companies brands? With so many extensions and iterations, it's only natural to pose such questions. Is a brand a legacy brand or does it include the newly created soft brands? What about the collection companies, are those brands? Read on...

Tammy Farley

When it comes to rate shopping, most properties and management companies know they need it - and they need it now. This article outlines the advances that are being made to make rate shopping faster, friendlier and more flexible by illustrating the state of the art, citing case studies of successful users. Read on...

Robert Festinger

In the dictionary, rebranding is defined as the changing of a company or organization's corporate image. In reality, for businesses that are rebranding their hotels, the term exudes a much less simplistic picture. It can be a daunting task, even one that seems overwhelmingly complex and trying. But irrespective of how challenging the overhaul of a brand might first appear, it's not impossible if approached methodically and with an outlined strategy. In the end, it's a worthwhile undertaking for establishments looking to reinvent themselves in their respective markets. Which brings me to the first most pivotal point: understanding your market. Delving from that comprehension into the personality of your hotel will help prepare you, step by step, for a successful transition by creating an identity that resonates. So, how exactly is it done? Read on...

Laurence Bernstein

Soft Branding is the new "it thing" in hotel marketing. Much has been written about how it works for developers, owners and operators, but the more important question is whether and how they work for travelers. In this article we look at the fundamental structure two of the brands that are successful in the soft brands space, and view this in terms of consumer's functional and emotional needs. The answer, from a consumer point of view, might surprise you. Is soft branding the answer to everything? Read on...

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.