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Roger G. Hill

Traditionally, we define luxury hotels as five-star resorts with sleek design, top-notch amenities, and expensive accommodations. At the most basic level, a hotel or resort experience is most luxurious when it offers indulgences and unexpected touches, and hotels often create lavish environments with sumptuous d'ecor and attentive service. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, technology, if properly applied, can help a hotel owner take both d'ecor and service to the next level. Every hotel, from an exclusive beachfront resort to a country bed and breakfast can use technology to create luxury. Read on...

Sanjay Nijhawan

All of us who work in the hospitality industry are aware that the needs and expectations of guests are ever increasing and changing. Guests are our job and as companies we need to adapt to ensure we are offering the best level of service and keep guests coming back. An area that has seen the biggest and speediest change in the last ten years in my opinion is that of the technological needs and expectations of the guests. Ten years ago it was enough to offer in-room movies and a small business centre with internet access. Now that offering sounds possibly dinosaur. In a bid to 'keep up' and be a market leader, hotels especially within the premium sector, have fallen over themselves to shout about their building wide Wi-Fi, i-pod docking stations as standard in all rooms and automated check in services. In reality many are merely paying lip service to having these amenities and don't actually have the systems in place to support guests' requirements. Read on...

Kristi White

Travel 2.0 means business. It is not like Web 2.0, which is primarily defined by social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook and Flickr. In Travel 2.0, additional sites such as TripAdvisor, Google Maps, Virtual Tourist, and TravelPost empower consumers with interactive tools to research hotels and plan their trips, comment on their recent stays, and interact with other like-minded consumers. Savvy hospitality operators are embracing all aspects of Travel 2.0 - and beyond - because of its ability to drive business, build community, and empower guests. What are the best ways to leverage it? Here are five strategies... Read on...

Tina Stehle

Property management systems have come a long way since hotels began implementing them in the 1970's and 1980's. At that time, the primary goal of a PMS was to automate basic processes such as housekeeping and reservations. Now, as we approach 2010, new architecture makes PMS integration with other systems easier than ever, and guest-centric functionality is moving property management solutions from static entities that merely track reservations and perform check-in and check-out to dynamic systems that enable hoteliers to predict guest behavior and realize a competitive advantage. What, exactly, do these next-generation property management solutions have to offer? Read on...

Kristi White

For years, making decisions in revenue management and, to some extent, hotel management has been ruled by gut instinct. Revenue managers and hotel operations executives frequently justify their rate setting decisions by saying, "I have a feel for the market" or "I know what the market will do." Yet when asked for a concrete example of how they knew this, they usually have no answer. Smooth economic times are behind us and while their return is inevitable, today we must navigate challenging waters. How can you make the move from instinct-driven to data-driven business decisions? Here is a proven a six-step process... Read on...

Drew Rosser

There is no more important time than now to make sure that your rate distribution and online experience is understandable, uses good imagery and the descriptive terminology speaks to your target audience. Too many hotels use poor images on their booking engines and tend to create rate and room type copy as if they were selling to hoteliers and not to the general public. Look at your online presence from the guest's point of view. Are you really selling yourself the right way online? Read on...

Didi Lutz

Clearly, we all take for granted the immediate access to information with just the click of a mouse. Email has replaced snail mail, most face-to-face contact, and it is beginning to substitute voicemail. "Google" has become an action verb synonymous to finding instantaneous information. Nowadays, dinner can be ordered without picking up the phone. Anything from theatre and baseball tickets, to golf clubs and contact lenses, even groceries are available to purchase via the Internet. Essentially, everything has been converted for online use. There are many interesting theories on the evolution of technology and the socioeconomic impact it has to nearly every industry. Hoteliers read and analyze opinions and case studies to help them make the appropriate technology decisions for their property, whether it involves installing a complicated Wi-Fi system, an innovative computer in the business center, or just a simple guestroom analog phone. It pays to be ahead of the game. Read on...

Tina Stehle

Self-service technology continues to evolve and play a larger role in everyday life. Consumers routinely purchase airline tickets, buy groceries and scan bar codes using self-service technology. Guests also increasingly use self-service kiosks to check into hotel rooms around the world. There's little doubt that consumers are comfortable with the technology. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Self-Service World revealed that less than 1 percent of respondents scored themselves 'low' regarding comfort level with self-service options. And the self-service trend is predicted to continue. Read on...

Mark Holzberg

In this increasingly competitive industry, a critical point of differentiation in guest services is technology. Are you able to offer the types of digital, Internet protocol-based services that your guests want, including wired and wireless high speed Internet access (HSIA), telephone service, HD TV/video service, and a variety of room controls? There is a cost-effective solution to providing what guests want today and also accommodating needs that will likely arise in the future. It's called a converged network. Read on...

Naseem Javed

Now a new routine emerges as savvy marketers enjoy Cyber-Branding using Network Solution's latest offer of $1000 USD to secure a domain name for an entire century. Wow, it's a bargain of the century...it's only 3 cents per day. Right now, it's the cheapest license in the world, providing the registration rights to your URL, the only gateway to your websites and the only key to your cyber-branding in this global e-commerce. Right now, the global cyber-branding is the only game in town when it comes to global marketing. Is there a catch? Yes, right here. If you are only spending only three pennies a day on a URL but thousands on promotional branding each day, then the question is; how good is your domain name? How does it fit your marketing and PR strategy? How is it building your corporate image? Do you really know where you will end up on this long 100-year journey? Is there a plan, or just blind chasing blind? Is your team mentally prepared for this long marathon? In short, it shouldn't be a wild goose chase, rather a proper road map. Read on...

Naseem Javed

Today, there is a major shift in thinking on how to build a major corporate personality. To play the game, one must clearly figure out the secret powers of e-commerce and the role of new technologies in contrast to traditional print and old-fashioned, mass-advertising driven models. During the last century, mega corporations throughout the world followed the prime rules of building corporate image and name identity in the strictest sense. Their goal was simply to achieve an elite, world-class image by having their name and logo brightly displayed on skyscrapers in every city. They ran massive advertising campaigns to promote their identity and claimed ownership to specific colors and designs, all in an effort to create a single visual global icon. They used every opportunity, from naming stadiums to sponsoring parades.The objective was simple: to demonstrate their exclusive power and their domination by big image. 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.