Think Local, Go National

How to Give Travelers What They Want: Authenticity

By Pat McBride Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The McBride Company | October 30, 2016

The mission of hotels has evolved over the years, from simply providing guests with a comfortable, safe place to sleep to offering a destination that provides much more than shelter. At today's hotels and resorts, visitors have a place to conduct business, enjoy good food and drink, socialize and escape from life's everyday pressures. But travelers often seek something more now, and a new trend has distinctly emerged. Many visitors no longer want to escape. They want to explore and dive into the local atmosphere. Today's travelers desire to experience the culture, attractions, food and neighborhoods of a destination more than ever before.

For instance, if you're a Chicagoan traveling to San Diego, you truly want to experience the Southern California lifestyle. If, however, you're a Chicagoan with an obligation-free weekend at home, then you're likely to seek some of the best experiences your city has to offer – deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs or maybe a little live blues music at one of the city's great bars. In other words, the out-of-town traveler and the local are in pursuit of just about the same thing – an authentic local experience.

Can a hotel really deliver the local experience? The answer is yes. We have seen the rise of a new breed of boutique hotels that have attempted to capture the local vibe. Some have had success, and others have fallen short. To capitalize on the more adventurous nature of travelers today, the hotel developer needs to strive for a deeper understanding of the homegrown scene and what travelers want out of their visit.

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Photo: Eileen Escarda

Producing a Heightened Experience

It can be helpful to imagine you're producing a movie when designing a hotel. A great movie has the ability to transport an audience from the theater into the film. Hoteliers need to think of hotel properties in the same light if the goal is to create environments where travelers feel immediately immersed in the fabric of their "temporary hometown." In this film, the hotel developer is the producer and the designer is the director. Both are responsible for pulling together important elements to deliver a heightened local experience for guests – the stars of the film.

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Coming up in October 2018...

Revenue Management: Getting it Right

Revenue Management has evolved into an indispensable area of hotel operations, chiefly responsible for setting forecasting and pricing strategies. Because the profession is relatively new to the hotel and hospitality industries, a clear-cut definition of what exactly Hotel Revenue Management is has only recently emerged - Selling the Right Room to the Right Client at the Right Moment at the Right Price on the Right Distribution Channel with the best commission efficiency. Though the profession can be summed up in a single sentence, that doesn't mean it's easy. In fact, it's an incredibly complicated and complex endeavor, relying on mountains of data from a wide range of sources that must be analyzed and interpreted in order to formulate concrete pricing strategies. To accomplish this, Revenue Managers rely on an array of sophisticated technology systems and software tools that generate a multitude of reports that are central to effective decision-making. As valuable as these current technology systems are, much of the information that's collected is based on past historical trends and performance. What's new is the coming of big, data-driven, predictive software and analytics, which is likely to be a game-changer for Revenue Managers. The software has the capacity to analyze all the relevant data and predict occupancy levels and room rates, maximizing hotel profitability in the process. Another new trend that some larger hotel chains are embracing is an emphasis on Booking Direct. For Revenue Managers, this is another new channel with its own sales and costs that have to be figured into the mix. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address these developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.