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Juston Parker

The hospitality industry has been affected by many devastating events in recent years. The attacks of September 11, 2001 struck fear in travelers, and the airlines and hotels responded in unprecedented ways that completely changed the way we traveled. SARS fears reached to multiple continents as people feared the spreading epidemic. The war in Iraq and the increasing terror threats reduced attendance at the Olympics in Athens to unheard of low levels. Hotel occupancy and Revenue per Available Room or RevPAR (a key indicator in the hospitality industry) were expected to be at record highs but dropped to record lows. Read on...

Juston Parker

To group, or not to group, that is the question. It doesn't take William Shakespeare to pose the quandary facing many hotels of how much group business is good business and when does a group pose a risk to maximizing revenues at a property. To begin to answer this, we must first uncover the principles that hospitality pricing has always been under. Hotel Revenue Management has been and many times, still is, under the "department" of sales and marketing and the Director of Revenue, most of the time still reports to the Director of Sales. The Director of Sales has a mandate to fill the house and most sales managers focus on group business, so therefore the thought is "if we want a sales team, we want them to sell and they need to sell group". This then leads to the thought of "take group business and then if we get the transient to fill in the holes". These thoughts are fundamentally unsound and cost many properties hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read on...

Juston Parker

Is it possible for a hotel to "create" demand? Is this just a myth used by Directors of Sales to try and stimulate the troops? When it appears that there is just no one wanting to visit your property, can you really "flip a switch" to drive people to your product? It is possible to create demand where there is none. First we need to uncover what is demand and how can it be managed and even stimulated. Read on...

Jean Francois Mourier

Historical pricing, excessive reliance on comp set analysis, 'push' marketing tactics and a reluctance to embrace new media, are all part of the outdated business model still being clung to by many hoteliers across the globe. If anything positive has come out of the current economy, it has been to show the lodging industry how ineffective these strategies are compared to more forward-thinking, efficient models being used by leading properties worldwide. These initiatives are available and ready for your hotel to implement - all that's needed is a willingness to look beyond the tried and easy methods and to embrace the newest tools available. Read on...

Tina Stehle

Competing in the hospitality environment has never been more challenging. The number of vendors and products is overwhelming. Competitors are constantly looking for a marketing advantage. And hotels within your competitive set are likely to be utilizing business intelligence more than ever before. In this environment, hotels that succeed must do more than merely 'keep up' with the competition. They must be able to identify guest trends, recognize problem areas and develop strategies that increase profitability. They also must be able to react to market changes quickly and efficiently. Sounds good, but how do you make it happen? With 'data analytics,' which uses guest and operational information to predict future trends and stay a step ahead of the competition. Read on...

Jean Francois Mourier

As the hotel industry struggles to keep its proverbial head above the deep recession waters, the matter of effective revenue management becomes more critical than ever. Hoteliers want to know, in such a depressed climate, what revenue management strategies will work most successfully? Well, you asked for it, and you've got it. This article outlines the new revenue management model and the steps that every hotelier needs to take right now (and we do mean, right now!) to survive and thrive during the recession. Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk

To understand the benefits of revenue management, it is important to understand just how far the technology has come in recent years. This article covers the early days of revenue management in the 1990's, where its primary focus was single and independent hotels to the 2000's where it has continued to evolve to deal with the advent of the internet and third party booking sites. For hotels to use their revenue management technology to its full potential, they need to understand its ongoing ability to keep pace with the ever changing hospitality industry. Read on...

Robert Gilbert

Like housing prices, there seemed no end in sight for maximized hotel rates, spurred by ever-increasing demand. But the economy moves in cycles. Every peak overlooks a valley. And so it is in the hospitality industry. However, many managers never have encountered low demand or zero growth. What can they do maintain revenue? There are a number of strategies that properties can use to maximize revenue during the downturn. Robert A. Gilbert, president and CEO of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), outlines advice for revenue managers. Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk

In recent years there has been a steady increase in the use of internet sites by customers, especially the use of third party booking programs to assist them in planning their holidays. This has helped to dramatically change the way in which hotels manage their room rates and occupancy levels around the clock. In 2008 alone, it has been estimated that 40% of all hotel bookings will be generated by third party internet booking sites. A figure of such potential magnitude as this obviously represents a large slice of a hotels potential clientele base. As the majority of hotels are continuing to embrace this new technology, many are forgetting to ensure they have the correct revenue management support in place beforehand. Read on...

Max Starkov

With more and more revenues in hospitality being generated from the Internet, predictions over the next three years from now will see the Internet contributing over 20% of all hotel bookings and convincingly surpassing total GDS bookings. With such an industrial shift toward the web, hoteliers need intelligence tools to measure performance against its competitive set on direct and indirect channels outside of the GDS. Hoteliers are in search of Internet intelligence reports that make sense. Here's what sales & marketing, and revenue managers should be asking in order to competently formulate their online pricing and inventory control strategy... Read on...

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.