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David Ashen

In the sea of ready options, limited service properties that define who they are get noticed. No one wants to choose a hotel by price alone and there's no need to. Because a place has reasonable prices, no longer negates the presence of good design. In fact, some guests even leave inspired to replicate the look of a hotel's public spaces or furnishings in their own homes, the hallmark of engaging, aspirational design. Like the new Hyatt Place near Cleveland, complete with spacious rooms with mini-refrigerators and free Wi-Fi; complimentary hot breakfast and Starbucks coffee; beer, wine and mixed drinks; a fitness gym; and eco-friendly heated indoor pool, today's limited service brands are pushing the envelope while staying affordable and providing guests with a memorable experience. Read on...

Scott Acton

According to IBISWorld, the theme park industry has grown strongly over the past five years to more than $18 billion at a 5.4% annual growth rate, largely driven by the operators securing intellectual property rights to major film franchises and entertainment, bringing films and characters into exciting new features and experiential rides that have been driving revenue and increasing profit margins. These theme parks have long known what intrigues customers and keeps them coming back, and smart hoteliers are now catching on to this trend. Let's take a look at how theme park attractions are impacting the hospitality industry's growth by infusing the elements of the big screen into the guest experience. Read on...

Raul Jose Gutierrez

There is no doubt that the bar is constantly being raised; the global explosion of new businesses, innovative new ideas and the strive for domination from heavy players such as Marriott have created a cycle of competition that pushes all businesses to get extra creative if they wish to have any kind of relevance in the market. Regardless of the industry, a strategic alliance will give a company competitive advantage and the opportunity to enter a broader range of expertise and resources. Partnerships should come about not only for the obvious benefits of expansion but to offer distinctive product lines and skill sets that differentiate them from the competition. Read on...

Deborah Forrest

Hotel lobbies are undergoing an exciting evolution. Architects, designers, hotel owners, and operators are re-thinking hotel lobbies and transforming them into active social hubs that are becoming the heart of hotels. With flexible designs, professionals are creating spaces that support work and play, dining venues and bars that morph throughout the day, communal tables with computers, library settings for quiet reflections, and game rooms for pure play. Read on...

David Ashen

The shift in calling a public area an art gallery first and a function space (pre-function) second was interesting to note. That's because, particularly during the last 10 years, art has become a necessary part of the story for all upper-end, boutique hotels. This is especially true in the United States, where there is scant opportunity for the display of notable, public art. Thankfully, hotels have been filling that niche, bringing excellent art to the general public and making it accessible. Now, quality art is not a nicety; it's an expectation. Read on...

David Ashen

There was a time in America, before the proliferation of national chains, when every town had an independent, family-run hotel. With the rise of soft-branded properties and increasing demand for guest stays in properties reflective of local culture, David Ashen, partner and founder of interior design and brand consulting firm dash design, takes a look at the rising popularity of independently, locally branded properties and their how they—and the hospitality industry—are meeting the desire for venues with local color. Read on...

James Coleman

You have probably read the reasons why you should update your hotel's bathrooms. And you're now certain that your bathrooms should be upgraded to save space, please your customers, and give more aesthetic appeal to your hotel. However, choosing to upgrade your bathroom isn't as simple as calling your interior designer and telling them to overhaul everything in your bathroom and hoping for the best. After all, a complete upgrade for the sake of aesthetic might only waste your money when done improperly. You might also end up changing something and displeasing your customers, especially if you don't know what they want Read on...

David Ashen

In the U.S. more than one-third of the workforce has worked remotely. No surprise there. If you haven't or don't sometimes telecommute, chances are that someone you know has or does, at least occasionally. Gallup, which shared the 2015 statistic that 37 percent of workers in the nation have worked off-site—that up markedly from the 9 percent that did so in 1995—also found that the average worker telecommutes twice a month, with 46 percent of remote workers doing so during regular work hours. It's no wonder. Mobile technology has opened the way for on-the-go business owners, executives and others to work remotely while keeping connected with colleagues and clients. Yet, working solo has its limits. Read on...

T. Dupree Scovell

Over the past few years, the notion of being "alone together" seems to be influencing just about everything we do. From restaurants to office buildings to hotels, the landscape is changing to accommodate this reality. While we tend to accredit this trend to millennials, the reality is that this is not just a phenomenon for those under 35; it is actually a cultural trend that appeals to almost every demographic. Take restaurants for example, a few years ago only the "cool-kid" establishments were bold enough to have communal seating and now, nearly every McDonald's has a large communal table right next to the ketchup dispenser. Read on...

Deborah Forrest

Transforming historic buildings for hotel use, particularly luxury hotels and boutiques, presents certain challenges and rewards. Buildings that meet the requirements for historic tax credits can be attractive to developers. In addition, retaining an existing building and repurposing it for renewed use is more sustainable than demolishing and rebuilding and the case for adaptive use becomes even more compelling. Creating the identity for a new hotel in an older building repurposed as a hotel brings challenges, especially when the desire is to establish a sense of authenticity. One approach is to develop a curated art collection tied to the location. Read on...

David Ashen

When designing today's hospitality venues, whether they're fully outfitted resorts, boutique hotels, or beach side bungalows, hoteliers are finding ways to streamline design and simplify the guest experience. Muted colors and minimal furnishings in combination with earthy textures, expansive views of the outdoors, fresh scents and liberal doses of natural light not only foster a sense of peace but also help today's travelers set aside everyday distractions for the serenity that simplified living provides. In this article, David Ashen, partner and founder of dash design, explores how today's hoteliers are making the most of the trend to simplify. Read on...

Lawrence Adams

As the Architects and the Interior Designers, ForrestPerkins transformed an iconic downtown office building into a vibrant mixed-use property featuring a 326-key Westin hotel in Downtown Dallas. The adaptive reuse of One Main Place to hotel use required paying strict attention to the historic elements of the building in order to satisfy the requirements of the National Park Service and the Texas Historic Commission for achieving federal and state Historic Tax Credits for the owners. Repurposing this important downtown building has given it new life and has contributed to the burgeoning renaissance of Downtown Dallas. Read on...

Keith Simmel

It's no secret: People today want to spend time in urban cores. They want to live, work, play, travel and experience a city's unique culture. Developers recognize this trend, and they are seeking to develop in these hot urban neighborhoods. As such, in many cities, real estate is limited, prices are going up and developers are thinking outside of the box. This often means old buildings getting new uses, new buildings getting multiple uses, more walkable, pedestrian-oriented projects and other positive changes for our cities. Hotel owners in particular are getting creative. More and more owners are developing dual branded hotels to double offerings on a single property. Read on...

Scott Acton

Millennials have become the fastest growing consumer segment in the hospitality industry. Therefore, changes in quality and experiences provided in hotels across the nation are essential in ensuring greater competitiveness and overall success. Millennials, who are heavily reliant on technology and seek non-traditional features in services provided, are looking for a different approach to hospitality; with immersive lifestyle experiences their main priority, resulting in a rising demand for special visual imagery and more comprehensive sensual engagement. Accordingly, it is necessary for the hospitality industry to adjust to this new trend in consumer preferences, demanding that hotels put substantial effort into creating a new environment, appealing to consumers' five senses. Read on...

Paula J. Azevedo

Think of a hotel brand, and it's a sure bet that far more than its logo will come to mind. From the initial booking of a room, to interactions with the valet, bellhop and reception desk staff, to the overnight room's comfort plus amenities, and right through to the check-out process, hotel brands are banking on providing an enhanced guest experience, overall. Certainly, the design of a hotel matters to its brand, but design alone cannot sustain a brand. It can, however, elevate the experience from start to finish. Read on...

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Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.