Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.

Library Archives

Federico Pilurzu

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas strives to protect the environment and educate guests about its importance, all while providing world-class service in a paradisiacal setting. Travelers are getting savvier and are taking into consideration their carbon footprint while booking their vacation and even business trips. They are also thinking about the impact they have on the local community with over tourism becoming an important global issue. Cala Luna is proud to hold the highest Sustainable Tourism certification (level five) from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. Their sustainability efforts include solar energy, sustainably-farmed produce, bamboo straws, beach cleanups, and more. READ MORE

Dan Bornholdt

Sustainability is more than a buzz word; it is one of the most important issues currently facing our world. For hotels, it's doubly important because of its significant impact on the business' reputation and bottom line. This is why savvy hoteliers have turned their focus on making improvements to conserve energy and water. Sadly, towel & linen reuse programs have become so ubiquitous in hospitality that it has lost its meaning –or worse, it has gained a bad rap among clients don't understand them, see them as a marketing ploy or aren't informed enough about its underlying environmental cause. Do these programs really make a difference? Can they be done better? READ MORE

Ranjit Gunewardane

The most effective decisions regarding sustainability in a building facility are made in the early design and pre-construction stages. Traditional Computer Aided Design (CAD) planning environments, do not support the possibility of such early decisions. Energy and performance analysis are typically conducted, if at all, after the architectural design and construction documents have been produced. This lack of integration into the design process leads to an inefficient process of retroactively modifying the design to achieve a set of performance criteria. In order to assess building performance in the early design and pre-construction phases realistically, access to a comprehensive set of information regarding a building's form, materials, context, and technical systems is required. READ MORE

Taryn Tuss

Hotels that set ambitious sustainability goals must address unique infrastructure, operations, and purchasing challenges, often without a road map. Those that succeed find the effort is worthwhile, enjoying water, energy and cost savings, increases in corporate bookings, and higher staff morale. But to get there, staff report the need for technical training, access to local networks, and support systems for solving problems. Where to begin? In an interview with eco-certifier Green Seal, the Fairmont Chicago's Colleen Sweitzer offers a firsthand account from a property that has reaped significant business benefits from its sustainability achievements. READ MORE

Janet Gerhard

The hospitality industry has always been subject to external threats. The depth of this shake-up is hard to comprehend, and many experts are predicting a recovery to be years in the making. In some instances, it includes re-evaluating or abandoning your existing brand identity. With the uncertainty of group travel, luxury big box hotels must attract new customers. And while those properties with smaller footprints feel safer, some won't survive. The winners and losers are far from being determined but how you show up matters. Marketing in the age of Covid-19 means planning for the comeback and positioning your hotel to shape the new normal. Short-term that means reassuring the public of the cleanliness and safety of your hotel and taking this opportunity to own your brand voice. READ MORE

Vicente Ferreyra Acosta

Thinking about the direct link between travel and environmental awareness can sometimes be a complex issue, given that there is little understanding of the impact of travel and the opportunities for tourists to leave a positive impact on destinations, although these opportunities are on the rise, they are minimal. This article explains a concrete and applicable example from the perspective of hospitality and how to travel sustainably, while generating environmental and social benefits. READ MORE

Matthew Babiarz

Hotel operators are facing an unprecedented challenge. How should marketers approach this period before and after operations have slowed or ceased, and stay-at-home orders are in place? Are there opportunities? Are there any positive indicators as to what can be expected when things return to normal? In this article, we demystify the impact of the pandemic crisis, examining the macro-factors and the analyzing the effect on search and social media channels. We also share how hotel marketers can prepare for the rebound, providing inspiration from the top-performing hotel brands and best-practice tactics for maximizing recovery and return on marketing investments. READ MORE

Evan Snively

If you take a moment to look around and reflect on your own life, you might recognize a strange thing happening – at a moment when we are physically apart, our families, neighborhoods, and cities seem to be growing closer than ever. Your brand has the opportunity to do the same with its customers. And there is no better weapon in your company's pandemic response arsenal than its loyalty program. However usual strategies will need to be adjusted, and decision makers who hold an understanding of the human condition, informed by behavioral science, will have a massive advantage when navigating the critical decisions to come. This article is a cheat-sheet for those decision makers. READ MORE

William J. Sander

Between the global pandemic and the teetering economy, the hotel industry is in the midst of interesting times. As these issues play out, it is important for hotel management to remember that, at heart, success still revolves around the culture of guest service. William J. Sander, CEO of Seagate Hospitality Group in Delray Beach, Florida, reflects on that culture with perspective gained from three decades in the industry and two recessions along the way. READ MORE

Nancy Loman Scanlon, Ph.D.

When I began this article on climate change resiliency practices it was not with the expectation of finishing it under a "stay in place" order with hotels and restaurants closed, parks and beaches cordoned off and overnight curfews. Today as I look out over a view of Miami Beach, all hotels are closed. In the downtown and airport areas of Miami some hotels are open, classed as essential. Tourism attractions are closed and six very large cruise ships are tied up to the docks in the Port of Miami. Whether land bound or floating, Miami's hotel and cruise industry has come to a halt with a huge question mark about when they may again open their doors and set sail. READ MORE

Probal Lala

Keeping pace with trends and innovations in technology is imperative for most businesses today. This is especially critical for hotels in their quest to personalize and elevate guest experience, increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. Hotels are turning to evolving technologies like voice assistants to make it easy for guests to do everything from adjusting lighting to ordering room service, and equipping rooms with mobile app digital key access technology to deliver faster, more convenient guest access. On the operations side, robotic technology can handle repetitive tasks, improve guest interaction and provide predictive maintenance technology to ensure guest room systems and devices are optimally maintained. READ MORE

Jan Peter Bergkvist

We all know and feel deep down that living in harmony with nature is a better option than today's linear way of take – make – dispose in combination with our over consumption of yesterday's energy. Let's face it, the main barriers stopping us from going 100% sustainable are in our minds rather than in society as such. Steve Howard, former chief sustainability officer at IKEA said once that "100 percent sustainable is an easier goal than 80 percent or 50 percent, because once you set your mind to an ambitious goal, everyone gets on board and does what needs to be done." READ MORE

Scott Hale

Text *MORE* if you'd like to keep reading! Just kidding. Please don't text me. When text messaging became a popular way for folks to look really busy pounding a Morse code into their flip phones and Blackberry devices, I opted-out. I introduced a simple rule: if you send me more than one text in five minutes, I'm calling you. I still live by that rule. That's the exception; messaging rules the world. Short message services and messaging platforms continue their worldwide proliferation, affording your guests an impressive communicative artillery. They've got lots of options to attack, so, while defense could win championships, proactive messaging will win you off-the-charts guest experiences. Text *STOP* now if you'd rather not learn more about engaging guest communications. READ MORE

Matthew Lobach

According to a joint report published by the UN Environment Programme and the International Energy Agency, buildings and construction account for 39% of global energy-related emissions. Operationally, due to their setup of one day leases, hotels invite millions of people through their doors on an annual basis, and therefore have the opportunity to not only cater to guest needs in a sustainable way, but also align themselves with global strategies to engage and educate guests on how collective actions can pave the way for a sustainable, connected, and inclusive future. READ MORE

Megan Pope

It's no secret that technology is critical to creating a hospitality experience that guests will want to return to again and again. Not only does technology improve the guest experience and help hotels stand out amongst their competition, but it can also open opportunities for additional revenue streams by allowing properties to capture detailed data on guest preferences. Two recent technologies in particular, the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice-controlled tech, should be in every hotelier's toolkit as they look to make future tech investments. This article discusses the application of these innovations, and how first impressions matter when it comes to creating a personalized in-room experience. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2020...

Hotel Spa: Back to Nature

As the Wellness Industry continues to expand, hotel spas are also diversifying, placing a greater emphasis on overall well-being. For some spas, this means providing clients with all-inclusive packages that include fitness classes, healthy dining, and offsite leisure activities, in addition to their core services. For example, spas near ski resorts are offering packages that include lift passes, pre-ski yoga sessions, after-ski dinners and spa treatments. Other spas are offering packages that include massages, saunas, mineral baths, hot springs, and recreational hiking and snowmobile activities. These kinds of spa offerings are also part of a "Back to Nature" movement that encourages guests to get out and experience the healing qualities of nature. One such therapy is the Japanese practice known as "forest bathing" which has become popular with spas that are near wooded areas. This practice relies on the ancient power of a forest for promoting a sense of health and well-being. Other spas are incorporating precious metals and stones into their health and beauty treatments - such as silver, gold, pearls and amber. Silver ion baths relax the body and mind, reduce fatigue, and restore energy balance. Gold keeps skin radiant and can even treat various skin diseases and infections, due to its antibacterial qualities. Amber is used to calm the nervous system and to relieve stress. Other natural products and therapies that are increasingly in demand include sound therapy, cryotherapy, infra-red saunas, and even CBD oil, which is being used in massages, facials and foot scrubs, providing a new form of stress relief. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will document these trends and other new developments, and report on how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.