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Tom Engel

The hospitality industry is abundant with more than 270 hotel brands globally. Nevertheless, this whopping number is not stopping Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and Hilton from expanding their portfolios with even more new brands. Theoretically, broadening the supply of brands is favorable for generating revenues from various distribution networks, loyalty programs and supply channels. But just how useful, helpful or even good is all this for the customer? Has the hotel industry gone mad by over-saturating the market with brands that are not all that different from each other? Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk

Today's hoteliers face mounting pressure to increase their hotel profitability. From acquiring brand new customers to driving repeat business and loyalty, making the right operational decisions and running a hotel with optimal efficiency continues to be an ongoing challenge for top hotel executives. However, with increased scrutiny focused on the best ways to drive total hotel profitability, what exactly do the industry's c-suite executives need to know about revenue strategy and profit optimization? Read on...

Lily Mockerman

Revenue Management is a quickly developing and growing field as it strives to adapt to changing trends and technology. There are still many opportunities to enhance the true potential of this discipline. Whether in the areas of metrics, departmental cooperation, technology and social trends, or multiple revenue streams, there is much for revenue management professionals to tackle on any given day. The future of Revenue Management will quickly be defined by those with the vision and ability to harness the evolution of each of these areas. Read on...

Heather Stone

Understanding and addressing the reasons behind, and risks associated with payments processing is a critical issue in the hospitality industry. This introduction to payments fraud provides critical knowledge for anyone dealing with accounting, payments, or vendor relationships. In this article we will explore how this new evolution of technology, which automates the entire procure-to-pay workflow process, dramatically reduces the risk of fraud. For hotel executives this payments-related fraud is especially troubling with security breaches at global hotel chains making headlines in recent years. Whether the fraudulent activity happens as an insider threat or through the use of a hotel room, it is happening on a daily basis. Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk

Today hotel guest options, incentives and choices are ultimate reflections of an overall brand strategy. However, choice shouldn't be a message embodied only within the vivid description of a brand promise, its contemporary lounges or the high-tech amenities and ultra-modern guestrooms. For organizations with a unique portfolio of hotel brands, choice also needs to be a primary theme that permeates into every one of their properties' revenue strategies—and it needs to be supported by advanced revenue technology. Read on...

Bob Lowe

Every hotel needs to accept credit cards as a payment method, and to do that you need a credit card processor. As you select a processor, you should look at what they can do for you and how you will connect to them, because not all are created equal, and the choice you make could have a far- reaching impact. First, will you connect directly to them or connect through a switch, gateway or other intermediary? You may be constrained by the choices your property management system (PMS) or even your hotel brand offers, but it's good to explore those choices and make the decision that works best for you. Read on...

David Lund

Flow Thru, this is my abbreviation, is a catch all phrase that measures how much made it through your business comparing one period to another. What made it through, from revenues to profit. Another term to describe this measurement is retention. A good analogy to grasp the concept of flow thru is to compare it to your paycheck. Imaging I give you a $1000 a week raise. The question then is how much will end up on your pay vs. how much got eaten up by higher taxes and other deductions. The same goes for additional revenues in your business. If revenues are $50,000 higher this month than the same month last year, how much of the $50,000 will make it through to the profit line. How much will flow? Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk

There's arguably no other four-lettered word that has made quicker—and more impactful—moves in the hospitality industry than "data" has. With the ascension of the Internet igniting a brisk evolution of big data, the hospitality industry now orbits within an increasingly interconnected and technologically-savvy world. Keeping ahead of the curve in the midst of the Internet of Things (IoT) means hotels are not only evolving in how they meaningfully connect with their guests, but they also have to develop short- and long-term revenue strategies to capitalize on the new industry data and insights available to them. Read on...

Ravneet Bhandari

Together, big data and machine learning provide the most accurate information from which to base pricing on in the entire history of the hotel business. Setting rates is no longer a guessing game. Leveraging the newest tools on the market gives hoteliers the most accurate forecasting data ever seen. The invisible becomes visible and that porridge is suddenly cooked to perfection ever time. Today, pricing with confidence means making decisions based on reams of previously undetectable information. Valuable data we never realized existed because it was invisible to us. We've had the illusion we've attained perfect pricing, but that wasn't the case at all. The good news is, though seemingly more complex, finding confidence in pricing is not as difficult as it seems. Read on...

David Lund

Do your hotel financial statements give you the information you need to effectively manage your hotel? Are you able to see if your profits are where they should be in an enhanced top line statement? Do your statements measure flow thru? Do you record your rooms business by proper segments and track the rooms occupied, rate and revenue in each segment? Do you record customers served in F&B and do you separate meal periods? Do you record liquor, beer, wine and mineral sales on your financials separately? Do you measure labor productivity in your financials? Do you record hours of work in your financials? Do you have payroll segmented by management and hourly classifications? Do you have a separate supplemental payroll and benefits statement? Do you track arrivals and departures? Read on...

Tom Engel

As an American working with colleagues in other parts of the world, nuances about collaboration in the business is key. This takes experience, savvy and know-how. Hotel investment decisions, opportunities in the Middle East and opportunities for those from the Middle East looking elsewhere are shared from the eyes and insights of a seasoned hotelier and hospitality-focused financial advisor. Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk

Big data has been a starting player on the strategic revenue roster for years. In fact, years before big data exploded into something like a phenomenon, hotels were increasingly incorporating industry data into their revenue technologies and strategies. The opportunities afforded through the effective use of big data have grown to such an extent that today's flourishing hotels must increasingly leverage larger amounts of available data to seize their most lucrative revenue opportunities. Read on...

David Lund

Do your hotel financial statements give you the information you need to effectively run your business? Do they have an effective summary statement with departmental profits, flow thru analysis, proper room segment statistics, labor productivity, do you have payroll segmented by management and hourly classifications, do you have separate supplemental payroll and benefits, do you track arrivals and departures? Most statements I see do not have most of these critical elements. They're lacking these incredibly effective elements that can easily be added. How would these elements add insight and value to your business? Let's explore this Read on...

Lily Mockerman

Analytics continue to be one of the most-discussed topics in the Revenue Management industry and as the backbone of any solid revenue management discipline, this makes sense. With that said, how do we really use analytics, and why is this measurement so important to building a solid revenue management foundation? Perhaps the most obvious answer is that humans - the drivers of revenue management - measure experiences through perception. This may not be intentional, but we are emotional and irrational creatures by nature. Analytics help us take an unbiased approach to our business in more rational and data-driven ways. Simply put, analytics give us the foundation needed to arm hoteliers with the ability to price efficiently and effectively without experiential bias. Read on...

David Hogan

Even though it's been almost 18 months since the U.S. migrated to EMV smart-chip based payment technology, many businesses - for various reasons - are still hesitant to get on board. Many hotel property management system products don't support EMV acceptance, even though almost 80 percent of credit cards are now issued with smart chips. In fact, credit card issuers prioritized which cards were issued with chips first, which included high-limit international or travel cards - the types of cards being used often in hotels. Without the ability to accept EMV transactions, business owners - including hoteliers like you - are seeing liability shift chargebacks for which there is no defense. Read on...

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Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.