Your Guests Are Just Not That Into You

By Ric Leutwyler CEO, EventSpark | December 27, 2015

Dear Hotelier, I know it's hard to hear, but your guests are just not that into you...

In the movie, He's Just Not That Into You, a young woman is regularly disappointed when she misreads signals from men. These days it seems that many hoteliers are either missing or mis-reading signals about how the ever changing nature of our mobile experience is affecting guest expectations.

We start off a little behind the curve in the hospitality industry when it comes to the pace of change in technology. The majority of brands are still using a CRS (central reservation system) that has its foundation in a decades-old platform. Only a small percentage of hotels have begun to leverage the flexibility and mobility of true cloud-based solutions. And yes, we still have hotels holding on to tube style televisions and charging for wi-fi access.

Economics certainly play a big role in this. The costs add up quickly when you are talking about making changes across dozens or hundreds of rooms. And hotel chains have to consider the impact of changing standards across hundreds or thousands of hotel owners. When money is available there is usually a long list of design and FF&E related upgrades that must be considered as well.

Hoteliers are used to making these kinds of decisions they just aren't used to making them in the face of a mobile revolution that seems to be changing guest expectations faster than a housekeeper can change the sheets.

Oh, the good old days - when all we had to worry about was how much to charge for long distance calls from the guest room phone. As mobile phones became more prevalent and cellular service plans more reasonable, we thought that losing long distance revenue was the big hit we would take from the these trends. Little did we know that this was the "easy" part.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.