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Saeed Kazmi

Hotel business centers are changing because hotel guests are changing - and the result is that hotels are finding creative new ways for their on-the-go guests to stay plugged in. According to industry trends and surveys, today's guests can be classified into three broad categories - Boomers; Generation Xers; and Generation Y travelers, or millennials. They think differently and they travel differently. For hotels to properly serve these three groups, hoteliers must properly understand who they are and what they want. This column examines the differences between Boomers, Xers, and millennials - their characteristics, their preferences, and especially their technological expectations. Read on...

Ashley Stevens

According to a recent survey by the World Tourism Organization, there were over 940 million international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2011. Almost 60 million of those travelers are coming in to the United States. This presents a huge market that hotels in the US should be sure to target in any online sales strategy. International travelers tend to book early, stay longer, and rarely cancel, all attributes that make international travelers ideal candidates for staying at your hotel. In order to reach these travelers as they start their online planning, your hotel must make a conscious effort to target them in the channels they use the most. Read on...

Craig Ziegler

Ten to fifteen years ago, the need for Wi-Fi connectivity in a hotel was based on the guests' needs for basic data and voice transfer. Today, multiple technologies are converging thus creating a major stress point on bandwidth allocation. Bandwidth that was once more than sufficient is no longer efficient. With the ever- increasing demand for bandwidth via guests' personal devices and desire for video transmission, hotels must analyze the metrics between costs and ROI. The debate now becomes… does the hotel offer it free of charge, thus "eating the cost for the increased demand", or do hotels create incremental revenue through various streams to help cover the cost increase in bandwidth to deliver this content? And, if the hotel wants to increase its revenue streams, in what unique ways can it be supplemented? Read on...

Ashish Gambhir

Understanding what guests are saying about their stay at your hotel and what is influencing their perspective enables your marketing and operational executives to determine what steps need to be taken to ensure the best experience possible. Mining and analyzing online feedback and summarizing massive amounts of raw text via an intuitive dashboard alerts your executives to operational and marketing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities per every hotel, region and brand. At a glance, these real-time summary views provide a strategic look at where you are now, where you need to be going, and what needs to be done to get there. Read on...

James Filsinger

If hoteliers want growth, they can no longer rest on their laurels and depend on traditional established customer bases. They must look to expand into new markets. Broadening international customer bases is one way to do this, and it can be easier than some think. Harnessing technology is one way to work smarter, not harder, in order to attract a new global customer base and keep them coming back. Read on...

Mike Kistner

Travel is expected to slowly but surely continue on its road to recovery through 2012, shifting gears as it encounters inevitable bumps along the way. Independent hotels, mobile adoption, distribution, hotel merchandising and partnerships/integration/alliances played key roles during 2011. So which trends will help shape travel in 2012? There are many, but the following five are especially important.. Read on...

Mike Kistner

Never before in the history of our industry have hotels had so many opportunities to market and sell their room inventory. Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google, mobile, online, GDS and traditional voice, among countless others, present infinite opportunities to increase exposure for a property on a global level. However, there is one tool that remains crucial regardless of the channel you're selling through, and that is the hotel website. Many hotels, especially independents, have only scratched the surface with the foundation of their online presence, inadvertently making serious errors that may in fact be hurting their chances to sell. Following are the five website failures hotels make, along with how to fix them. Read on...

Paolo Boni

As travel shopping continues to fragment within the online space to a myriad of channels, devices, and platforms the role of the hotel marketer is becoming increasingly complicated. Today, audiences are jumping from online travel agencies to review sites to social media and so on, using their smartphones, computers and tablets to do so. This makes for a complex web of touch-points for hotel marketers to explore and take advantage of. Success requires balancing a number of priorities and activities that make up a hotel's greater marketing strategy. Included in this strategy are activities that convert website traffic to bookings on the hotel's own website and third party websites. Read on...

Jason Guest

Guest wireless is growing by leaps and bounds as today's guests are bringing laptops, tablets, smartphones and even wireless-enabled gaming devices -- all in one room, and sharing a single broadband connection. Additionally, revenue-drivers such as video-on-demand are being cannibalized by on-demand movie streaming services. How can today's hotel keep up? Read on...

Tina Stehle

The economy is finally showing signs of recovery. And while that gives hoteliers good reason to be optimistic, it's still critical that they make smart technology purchases, choosing solutions that will help decrease costs (or at least keep them in line), streamline efficiency and enable the property to realize a competitive advantage. Some of the newest technology has a big 'wow' factor, but the return on investment may not justify the expense. Fortunately, there are exciting software selections that can help position your hotel for success and provide a fast ROI. Following are five technology purchases that can help your property stay ahead of the competition in 2011 and beyond. Read on...

Michael S. Wasik

In-room entertainment is becoming the focus for many hoteliers and I expect the attention and focus on this aspect of the guestroom to increase in the coming year. Technology continues to be developed at a rapid pace and it is tough to keep up with all the cool gadgets, software and online trends. With the proliferation of media now available online, the in-room entertainment options offered in hotels will need to shift in order to keep this amenity from becoming a cash drain. The convergence of entertainment options (free-to-guest programming, internet, VOD, etc) will be sought after as well. Keeping up with technology can be difficult as a hotelier, but by including a system that utilizes your existing TVs and allows access to the Internet, you can stay ahead of the curve and adapt as technology shifts. Read on...

Mike Kistner

I recently had to give a prediction for the future of IT in the next five years to Computerworld magazine for their list of premier leaders in IT. They asked me to offer my boldest, most out-on-a-limb prediction. Mine was that the traditional IT department operating in a specific industry will cease to exist as IT will continue to migrate towards the community model. If you work for a major hotel company in an IT position, the nature of your job will change, period. Read on...

Paul West

We are well into 2010 and perhaps still facing many decisions on whether or not to pull the trigger on possible technology purchases. So, if technology purchases of any kind can be made, then it is more important than ever that hotel companies make sensible choices with these purchases while still keeping a close eye on the bottom line. Therefore, what should be the guideline for selecting technology that is right for the times? Once that is determined, then the next question to answer is "What would be those best types of technology choices that are most likely to impact the bottom line and thereby influence a more positive cash flow for an operation?" Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk

As the wider hospitality industry continues to face a slow recovery, savvy hotel owners and managers should be looking inwards during this time with a view to ensuring that the technology they use to help run their facilities are best suited for the roles they have to perform. Whilst many international hotel organizations have used the economic downturn to adequately plan for the future through improved levels of technology and staff investment, many others are not heeding the warning signs and are instead shedding costs wherever possible - which can lead to disastrous consequences. Read on...

Robert King

Today's quickly-changing marketing environment turns traditional approaches on their ear, with guests calling the shots, dictating the timing and preferences for communications and engagement. For marketers, this customer-driven, fast-paced environment mandates a new approach to optimize engagement - the points of contact with the brand - and maximize the guest's lifetime value. But most traditional database-driven marketing solutions fall far short of these goals. That's why savvy marketers are turning to sophisticated relationship marketing.but no relationship marketing strategy will work without the right digital marketing system. 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.