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    HITEC DUBAI

    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    December 5–6, 2018
    Dubai, UAE

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    April 10–11, 2019
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    HITEC MINNEAPOLIS

    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    Minneapolis Convention Center

    June 17-20, 2019

Article by David Millili

Getting to the Core of It: What Plate Tectonics and Guest Engagement Have to Do With Each Other

runtriz 19 November 2018
The hotel industry has talked ad nauseam about what guest engagement means, how it looks, what the methods should be. We know that it's not the one-way communication with a guest that the hotel industry long embraced, but, instead, a dialogue that creates emotional involvement and generates trust. A mechanism for earning a guest's loyalty via a combination of experience, service, and relationship. And this loyalty is more important than ever. According to Gartner, existing customers will account for 80% of future revenue. Consider also that a simple 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company's profitability by 75% (Bain & Co). Or that on average loyal customers are worth 10x more than their first purchase (Martech). Every effort that goes into guest engagement and loyalty results in future revenue.However, for all the strategizing, there's been much less focus on what's at the core of guest engagement. The focus has been on outcome, and what it looks like when or after it's executed, as well as on the tools you can use to boost engagement. But successful guest engagement is about more. We need to step back even further and talk about the core. In other words, what fundamental principles drive successful guest engagement. To achieve sustained loyalty, strategies and tools must be based on core principles.Think of it like this planet we occupy. We don't often think about the blazing hot core of the Earth, but it's essential. The movement of metals in the core creates not only our magnetic field but also plate tectonics. The next layer, the Mantle, is the thermal and mechanical force behind plate tectonics--the engine, so to speak, or the tools. This means that what's happening at the center of the earth and in-between, of course, has massive ramifications for the lives we live out here on the crust. We must build up in layers; focus on the core, first, rather than the outcome to achieve the desired results. Core principles should guide tools, which in turn, generate guest engagement, which leads to long-term loyalty. So what are the core principles we must understand in order to employ the right strategies and tools toward successful guest engagement?1). Cohesive guest-centric experienceLoyalty is the result of a fundamentally guest-centric operation. The way this plays out in terms of personal guest service, frequently dictated by category, receives tremendous attention; however, what of the digital experience? The guest-centric experience begins with a true digital centralized hub. This is not so much about the tools that you use to reach guests, but about the core system where they integrate so that the guest has a seamless, consistent experience. A guest-centric digital execution looks like a system where various tools from outside providers integrate into a centralized hub with point solutions powering back-end capabilities. For instance, Runtriz offers the guest-facing platform that supports many point solutions from outside providers, such as mobile keys.2). Proactive communicationThe hospitality industry focuses narrowly on personalized guest communication--designing messages around everything we know about the guest. Of course this is essential to guest engagement; however, proactive guest communication is equally important. Hotels must do more than merely understand who the guest is and what he likes. In addition, properties must deliver the right message at the right time. So often marketers find themselves realizing there's a need time and pushing out offers in a reactive way, scrambling to fill the gaps. Proactive communication requires the delivery of a relevant message that matters (personalized to the guest, that is) during an appropriate window of time. Hotels must necessarily leverage all digital mediums to reach the guest wherever he is, including mobile and text. Whether the guest is at home prior to the stay or on-site or post-stay matters a great deal in determining when and how the message should be delivered.3). AuthenticityThere's a move to make hotels more authentic on the whole, as guests have expressed greater interest in the localized experience. For some hotels, this looks like affiliating with a well-known local restaurant or hanging regional art. These things add character, but authenticity starts deeper, with the way hotels communicate, both digitally and in person. Honesty is paramount--don't overplay your property nor offer packages and promotions that don't provide real value. Speak to guests as though they are friends, not customers. Avoid constantly asking for something (e.g., revenue). Further, untether your staff from their desks. Make them more mobile, so that they can move around and respond to guests in an unfettered, authentic way. Give them leverage so that they can respond to guest problems on the spot with solutions that are reasonable and responsive (offers, complimentary amenities, and so forth). Allowing guests to do the basics, the things that don't require a staff person--check-in, checkout, booking local (authentic) activities, room upgrades--via digital means only increases the opportunities for an engaged one-on-one interaction.These principles must be at the center of any hotel operation intent on the guest engagement that we know earns long-term loyalty. We know our guests are in a constant state of evolution. What they want today will be different in a few months, and the tools by which we deliver what they want will change, which makes it even more essential to visit and revisit the core of guest engagement.

5 Surprising Ways Direct Bookings Deliver the Greatest Value for Travelers Looking for an Exceptional Experience

mycloud HOSPITALITY 18 November 2018
How can Hotels Increase their Direct Bookings? Similar to you, I noticed trends where Hotels started to become fiercer telling customer there is more value in Direct Bookings.

Dometic Reintroduces Basic Line of Minibars

green lodging news | By Glenn Hasek 18 November 2018
Dometic reintroduced its Basic Line of minibars at the BDNY show November 10 to 11. These minibars are manufactured in Europe.

Urban Solar Releases Streamline Solar Series

green lodging news | By Glenn Hasek 18 November 2018
Urban Solar announces the release of an all new solar lighting product line, the Streamline Solar Series. To meet the demands of a growing commercial solar lighting market for a compact and aesthetically-pleasing area lighting solution, the Streamline Solar Series is the first system in Urban Solar’s lineup to incorporate lithium-ion battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries are long-lasting, recyclable and can be replaced by the user at the end of their lifecycle.
Article by Jason Q. Freed

Best Quotes from Center Stage at Phocuswright

Duetto 16 November 2018
Of all the travel industry conferences, no one could argue that Phocuswright is among the best at getting today's brightest and most influential leaders on stage. The conference kicked off this week in Los Angeles, and if you're not there you can stream most of the sessions on the conference website. We're paying closest attention to what the hoteliers and hotel intermediaries have to say, of course. Here's a rundown of yesterday's highlights from the stage.Maud Bailly, Chief Digital Officer, AccorBailly is in the midst of leading Accor's digital transformation, focusing on streamlining and personalizing the entire guest experience, from booking through on-property and post-stay. She's got big ambitions and she's not afraid to move quickly, testing constantly and scrapping ideas quickly that aren't improving the guest experience. Her challenges are making everything simpler yet at the same time creating experiences that speak to travelers across the globe, when sometimes Western travelers prefer a different experience than Eastern travelers, for instance.Richard Holden, VP of product management, GoogleRichard Holden, VP of product management at Google, discussed the search giant's continued and strengthened mission of providing users with the knowledge and answers that will best help them make decisions. Pressed on whether those answers should come from Google, which has inserted many of its own products at the top of search results, Holden said the company is confident they are striking the right balance between providing organic information and results that deliver traffic to the company's biggest advertising partners. Holden discussed the evolution of Book on Google, a product that allows travelers to reserve airfare and hotel rooms without leaving Google's site, admitting the product name could be misleading and hinting its name may soon change.Jeff Ma, who joined Duetto in October, is best known for his role on the MIT blackjack team, where he and his colleagues used data-driven decisions to play blackjack more effectively and often beat the casinos at their own game. He talked about how data-driven decision are the best decisions, and that there are analytics out there can help entire industries be more successful. Hotels, he said, are just on the cusp of taking all the available data they have - which is now stored in the cloud and easily accessible - and analyzing it to make the most profitable pricing decisions.Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of Oyo RoomsEverything about Oyo is unique, particularly the facts that their founder and CEO is 24 years old and that their business model has evolved from an asset-light marketing and distribution company to a business that is providing capital and tools to renovate poor-performing assets. Agarwal described that evolution by saying his company went out offering distribution strategies to many struggling economy hotel owners, but when they saw the opportunity to help those owners improve their businesses (while generating some returns in the process), it became a no-brainer.Steve Hafner, CEO, KayakHafner is never one to beat around the bush or mince words, so his appearance on stage is always a crowd-pleaser. He tells it how it is, even if that means throwing his own company under the bus by pointing out their challenges and failures. Regarding Kayak, it's clear that Hafner is bullish on the metasearch space, suggesting there's no real advantage for a traveler to bypass metasearch sites and go directly to on OTA. That said, he also readily admitted that Google has the largest advantage in the meta space and could spell trouble for everyone else.RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESPredictive Analytics Ace Jeff Ma Joins Duetto6 Things You Might Not Know About Google TravelThe Blueprint for Taking Business Back from OTAs

Lessons learned from a real-world AI implementation

The Analytic Hospitality Executive | SAS 15 November 2018
When describing their business model, our customer, Epipoli (one of the leading gift card companies in Europe), tells the story of the ancient Limoncello makers of Italy. Limoncello is an intensely lemon-flavored liqueur famously produced in Sorrento, the Amalfi coast, and the island of Capri. The drink started as a local tradition, but quickly spread to the rest of Italy and then to the rest of the world.
Article by Linchi Kwok

HX: The Hotel Experience 2018 and BD

CAL Poly Pomona 15 November 2018
Over the Veterans Day weekend, I attended the HX: The Hotel Experience 2018 and the BD | NY: A Boutique Design Trade Fair with a group of students from the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona at the Javits Center in New York City. Also known as the "Hotel Show," the HX: The Hotel Experience 2018 is often perceived as the largest hospitality trade show in North America.What did the HX: The Hotel Experience 2018 entail? There were four components in the trade show, including HX: The Marketplace, HX: The Conference, Boutique Design New York (#BDNY), and the STR Market Study Competition. Attendees of the HX Marketplace or Conference also had access to BDNY, one strategy that helps trade shows attract more participants.HX: The Marketplace - there were more than 300 exhibitors in this part of the trade show, a place where buyers and sellers met. The exhibition hall also featured three designated areas for 30+ education sections under three areas of HX: Onstage Hotel, HX: Onstage F&B (food & beverage), and HX: Onstage Tech.HX: The Conference - this conference featured one general opening session and 15 breakout sessions that focus on three areas: Future Trends, Technology, and Operational Excellence. There were also over 50 HX: GenFWD education sessions tailoring to hospitality students.#BDNY - this was the marketplace designated for over 750 manufacturers or representatives of the suppliers for boutique-design products in the hospitality industry, such as furniture, lighting, wallpapers, artwork, flooring, bath, spa, and etc. It is expected 8,000 interior designers, architects, hotel owners, hospitality business operators, and purchasing executives will attend this trade show.STR Student Market Study Competition - this competition was hosted and sponsored by STR (Smith Travel Research); it also took place during the "Hotel Show" at the Javits Center. Since its debut in 2015, STR provides the real market data of a destination to the participating programs usually in few months before the competition. Then, the students in the participating programs (usually in a team of three to five students) will analyze the data on their own and present the results of their analysis, along with their recommendations in the competition. The judging panel will decide and announce the winning teams based on their evaluations on the students' presentations.The trends revealed at the HX: The Hotel Experience 2018I found similar trends from the HX: The Hotel Experience 2018 to the ones I observed at the HITEC Houston 2018 and CHRS2017. For example, many products are designed to enhance guest experience and improve the efficiency of operations.I was also surprisingly pleased to finally meet "Sally - the robot who makes perfect salads" on the exhibition floor. I used Sally as an example of the automatic services emerged in the hospitality industry when the concept debuted in April 2017. I am glad I was able to touch the machine in person and speak to the manufacturing team.The trends revealed at #BDNY: A Boutique Design Trade FairIt appeared to me that most products displayed in #BDNY had contemporary designs with bold colors, reflecting the recent lodging trends. First, more roof-top bar concepts/designs were popping up on the exhibition floor than the past. Then, I also noticed more booths were set up by two or more suppliers rather than by a single supplier. For example, a booth that showcased a roof-top garden design could feature six suppliers --- one provided the carpet, another supplier designed the ceiling, and the others set up the rest of the bar.Another interesting observation - More hotels are charging a destination or resort fee nowI stayed in a boutique hotel in midtown Manhattan during this trip. I was informed by the hotel chain that a $25 per night "destination fee" plus taxes would be added to my account. Such a destination fee, however, also comes with the following benefits:$25 daily food and beverage credit that can be used inside the hotel$15 daily laundry creditSelf-guided audio tour at Grand Central (up to two guests)Big Bus City Tour Ticket (at a value of about $60 per adult or $50 per child)According to a friend of mine who is also working in a boutique hotel in Manhattan, it has become more common now for the hotels in the New York City to charge a destination fee --- "One (hotel) started it, and the travelers still paid for it. Then, everybody else followed." It is not surprising to see hotels are expected to collect a record of $2.93 billions extra revenues in fees this year.Such an add-on destination or resort fee can definitely push travelers to spend more money inside the hotel. It could turn out to be a good value for those who will actually use the services. For the travelers who need not use those services every day, however, such fees can only contribute additional net profit to the hotel.Did you attend this year's HX: The Hotel Experience 2018 and/or the #BDNY? What do you think of this year's trade show?In another note, what do you think of the fact that more hotels are charging resort or destination fees? Will more hotels follow?
Article by Bernard Ellis

Are You Unknowingly Running an Exempt-Employee Sweatshop?

Lodgital Insights LLC 14 November 2018
This is the very essence of why people travel on their own dime. Visiting a full service hotel's public areas can be one of the most efficient ways to get a sense of a community's culture-how they celebrate, how they mourn, how they work, how they play--and many of us first got into this industry because we wanted to be in the middle of all that, and have our fingers on the pulse of our communities.But it can work both ways. in these polarized, chaotic times, hotels now offer a front row seat to witness all the dynamics that increasingly divide us. List any of the major issue of the day, and there are likely to be people in the building whom it affects, be it the immigration controversy, income inequality, racism, ageism, sexism, homophobia, and the list unfortunately goes on. Our older colleagues and guests will say these things have always been undercurrents that were hiding in plain sight, but now the ugliness and tension that have come to dominate our politics are also now quite at home in hotel employee cafeterias and breakrooms, and even front of house.Participants in this diverse workplace have been discovering that they have even less in common with each other than they thought, not to mention with the guests who increasingly seem like they come from a different world, and who to a growing extent, can't seem to get out the door fast enough to seek their unique travel experiences off property.While all this broader tension has been fomenting over the past year and a half, it has perhaps overshadowed another undercurrent of deep division, anger, and bitter disappointment that has affected a certain group of people: the new Fair Labor Standards Act overtime regulations that were supposed to go into effect on December 1, 2016--but didn't. 1 For those of you who don't know what I'm referring to (and clearly you don't work in HR), these were the rules that were to nearly double the minimum salary an employee had to be paid before being ineligible for (also known as "exempt" from) overtime pay.Before I go any further, I should explain why this issue is so near and dear to me. Most of the life-long hospitality professionals now reading this will distinctly remember a significant career milestone: the day that your new name badge began to include your last name and job title. It may have also entailed turning in your ugly polyester uniform to the laundry one last time, and finally getting to wear the business attire of your choosing. Most significantly, the transition usually involved moving from being an hourly employee to a salaried one, otherwise known by the now familiar term "exempt."Hmm, "exempt." Almost every other use of the word "exempt" I can think of is a positive one. It usually means one is excused from some sort of unpleasantness which still befalls most others, such as having to pay sales tax, or take the written driver's exam. Coming from that perspective, when my own milestone day finally came, the only aspects of being an "exempt" employee that were on my mind were a.) no longer having to wear a uniform, and b.) no longer having to punch a time card and worry about being a minute too late-or too early!When I got back to the front desk on that special day, brandishing my new name tag, and jingling my new cashier bank keys, a couple of my self-appointed mentors at the time, Nancy, the crusty-yet-loveable sixty-something telephone PBX operator, and Walter, the unflappable, know-it-all bell captain who was even older, both looked at each other knowingly, then shook their heads. "I wish they'd stop taking advantage of these nice kids who come through here," she said. "It ain't right," he agreed. "Son, I'm sorry to tell you this, but you just got yourself a royal screwin'."I wasn't an idiot. I knew I was no longer eligible for overtime pay. But I was taking home ten percent more money every week, and there were rarely opportunities to make overtime pay anyway. They carefully saw to that. What would I really be losing? Any semblance of a life, as it turned out. Any time someone called out sick, guess who filled in? The night auditor was out on another bender? "Thank goodness you're smart enough to handle the audit." Holidays? "I'm so glad to have someone of your maturity there to be manager on duty." OK maybe I was an idiot.What bugged me most was that the hourly employees I was filling in for weren't getting paid, but neither was I. Anytime one of my employees no-showed, it was a windfall for the hotel. My requisitions to bring in more part-timers to buffer against these outages? Denied. "We don't want to bring people on, when we're not sure we'll have enough hours for them to keep them happy." Groan.So fast forward almost thirty years, when the Department of Labor under the Obama Administration decided to address the issue, it caught my attention. The existing threshold of $455 per week, or $23,660 a year, had only been updated once since the 1970's, and the new rules called for it to double to $47,476 year, which was the 40th percentile income level in the country's poorest census zone. But pressure from business groups, our own industry playing a major role, led to lawsuits from 21 states opposing the regulations.Less than ten days before the regulations were set to take effect, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction that put them on hold. Employers cheered, and many of their employees who had been told to expect raises to meet the threshold, had them rescinded. So, to be clear about the status quo that remained, let's say a line-level manager making the threshold of $23,660 was required to pick up a couple of extra shifts. Not a big deal? This would now be a 56-hour work week, so he would effectively be paid only $8.12 an hour. Perhaps your organization is more generous or has market conditions that require paying $30,000? Great, so now the manager makes about $10 an hour, not even minimum wage in ten states.In opposition to the regulations, Brian Crawford, vice president of government affairs at the American Hotel & Lodging Association, had warned, "With roughly half the hotels in the U.S. owned and operated by small or independent property owners, this regulation could force many hoteliers to reduce hours and flexibility or cut jobs in order to stay in business." Now the very survival of the business was at stake! Whether that's hyperbole or not, one thing that became clear from the high level of resistance our industry mounted, was just how prevalent the practice actually is. Andria Ryan, partner at national labor and employment firm Fisher Phillips, was more sympathetic, saying, "Most employers don't want to cut pay, but they can't afford to give thousands of dollars' worth of raises. "And it's not all the employers' fault. Ironically, there were even affected workers who were relieved when the regulations didn't kick in. For some, offering to work longer hours without extra pay-or just going ahead and doing it-- is the only way to stand out from the crowd, show commitment, and position for future advancement. Others feel that without being around all the time to keep an eye on things, they would only come back to more work and bigger problems. I'll admit I've been guilty of both of those positions at times. On the other hand, we've all known long-hour martyrs who really just hung around because their lives at home were less interesting, and work offered an environment where they felt more respected. One even said, "I don't have the energy I used to, so if I earn a reputation for long hours, then I won't be expected to be working as hard every single minute I'm here." What better cure for low energy, than working more hours?Either way, I think it's safe to assume that all these extra hours are not being worked by employees who are at the top of their game, or motivated by the business's best interest. Moreover, more time hanging around after hours also means more time to potentially suffer an injury and incur workmen's comp, or be tempted by opportunities for embezzlement, or be exposed to harassment and other workplace crimes that are more likely to happen after hours.Though the Obama Department of Labor appealed the court's decision before leaving office, it was not expected to be picked up by the new administration, since for them the regulations were thought to hold, well, no appeal. And for 18 months they hadn't. But in July the administration released a request for information, surveying stakeholders for more information. "Listening Sessions" are occurring in select cities in early September. The line of questioning in both forums is hinting that the new administration definitely intends to raise the threshold, just by a more modest amount, and the Regulatory Agenda that was just released promised a new rule proposal in October.4 Implementation of such a new rule might not be required for another year. Like so many other unpleasant changes, it will at least be held back until after the midterm elections. Or perhaps it will be discovered that the new rules have popular support, and be rushed out before them. Either way, they are coming.So what's to be concluded from all this? Before the end of this term, it's likely that potential labor costs will significantly increase due to more salaried managers being eligible for overtime. That's on top of whatever labor cost increases you have already had to accept due to historically low unemployment levels. And because of that low unemployment, even if you wanted to spread the work over more employees, there might not be enough qualified applicants to fill your requisitions. As for those employees who are so dedicated to the business that you can hardly get them to leave, unless you're willing to pay them the new threshold, they now need to be told to leave. The existing law is very clear that an employer can't turn a blind eye to employees working more hours, even if of their own volition.In figuring out how to solve this for the future, it may be wise to look to the past. The original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which passed in 1938, was not actually to provide a way for people to work harder and get out of debt, but rather to discourage employers from requiring overtime, and consequently depriving employees of health, family time and their overall work-life balance. The intent was also to spread the work across more workers. 2 It was still the Great Depression, after all, and it had not yet become customary to offer health insurance, retirement savings plans, and the other benefits that we take for granted today.Unlike today, a new hire incurred little in the way of overhead and fixed costs. Inflation was far from being a concern at that time either, so the salary threshold was not pegged for any automatic adjustment. It is widely assumed that any future regulations won't have the same flaw. To put it plainly, many forces are at play moving toward the same outcome: that exempt employees will no longer be a source of cheap labor, and overtime will no longer be a source of fast income. But what about the manager who feels she can't be effective without the ability to be omnipresent? And by the way, what happened to all that additional technology-fueled leisure time we were promised was coming when we were kids?As you usually can guess my articles will conclude, the solution to all this lies in your IT department. There, as they've probably been struggling to deal with the demand for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies from both employees and guests, they've witnessed first hand the irreversible blurring of work and leisure that has occurred over the past ten years. The popular complaint is how much work has "leaked" out of our tablets and smartphones into our leisure time. But, let's consider the new class of professionals who are responsible for harnessing the benefits of social medial for their employers.This work has them in the both the back and front ends of social media sites day in day out. While there, like all of us, they are likely to see postings made by friends and family, content targeted at their known interests, advertisements tempting them from header to footer. Is it even conceivable that these harried folks don't ever take a detour to consume some of the personal content that constantly tantalizes? Of course not. Does that make them bad people or less competent employees, also of course not. Think about all the other employees who are not only allowed, but are encouraged or even required to surf the web and engage with social media to do their jobs: sales, HR recruiters, purchasing, concierge, revenue management, marketing, PR, in other words, almost the entire organization, in the course of their business, deals with constant attempts to lure their eyeballs over to personal content.And for those rare souls whose position does not require any interaction with social media, can we not assume that many will be led into temptation for no other reason than the notifications simply wouldn't leave them alone? So, the dirty little secret is out, leisure activities are happening during the workday-they are happening a lot!There are probably GM's out there who are still trying to "keep people from playing" by blocking Internet access to as many workstations as possible. But as more Software as a Service business applications are delivered via a browser, this is becoming less and less feasible. The Genie is out of the bottle, and try as they might, employers will never have workers full focus and attention ever again.But in the same vein, most employees feel they will never have a completely free evening, or weekend, or vacation ever again. Instead of resenting all of these intrusions, isn't it time for employees and employers to embrace them instead? The control-freak manager can go home, and interact with later shifts via FaceTime or Zoom. The angry customer who demands to speak to a manager? Same way. Border security, medical exams and psychiatric evaluations are now done this way, so I think it should be able to handle the interaction with a guest who is upset about his lousy dinner. And it should be easily doable in forty hours. The exempt employee sweatshop you may have been unknowingly running, can now be shut down for good.Reprinted from the Hotel Business Review with permission from http://www.hotelexecutive.com/

Protecting your business against data breaches

Click by booking.com 14 November 2018
Data thieves are increasingly targeting hotels, thanks to the sheer volume of personal information collected from guests. When a reservation is made, a hotel will take information including names, phone numbers, addresses, card details and even IP address information when a guest books online. Once a guest checks in, additional data may be collected, such as CCTV footage and personal information including medical conditions.
Article by Terri Miller

Are You Driving Positive And Profitable Guest Relationships?

Concilio Labs, Inc. 14 November 2018
Welcome to the "Age of the Customer." As we witness the ongoing rise of digital trends, hyper-personalization, and value-driven marketing initiatives, we realize that it is increasingly the customer, not the company, driving business decisions. So, how can businesses get to know their customers? By spending time where their customers are--online. Social platforms and online mediums represent a thriving hub of valuable data, providing a wealth of customer insights. In a time where understanding customers is the primary key to a company's survival and subsequent success, tapping into data streams is more integral than ever before. This is particularly true in the hospitality industry, as a hotel's success can be directly attributed to their ability to provide value in the form of a positive and unique guest experience. In fact, in a recent survey, more than half of the travelers interviewed said they were happy to provide personal information if it meant getting relevant deals, discounts, and personalized service. This really comes as no surprise. Look to the success of ventures such as Airbnb, a travel platform that has truly mastered the modern art of consumer personalization and mobile functionality. However, the concept of guest personalization extends far beyond email and message interactions. It should drive all aspects of the guest experience that a hotel provides, making data one of the most valuable currencies available to hoteliers. Don't believe us? At a recent EyeForTravel tradeshow, 67% of representatives indicated customer loyalty could be improved by investing more in data, analytics and the resulting opportunities for personalization. Of course, the need for a data-driven and personalized guest relations strategy can be a double-edged sword as well. Hotels cannot fulfill that need without quality, actionable data. Moreover, with such an influx of data now available to hotels via online channels, the demand for an insight-driven data platform to unlock meaningful insights becomes paramount. Why? Because data can't provide any value to hoteliers unless it is properly collected, intelligently applied to various segments of the guest experience and made accessible to staff and other systems. Think of it this way -- the data is the lockbox, and the data platform provides the code. It is one thing to understand your guests and quite another to be able to act on that data. So the question becomes; how can hotels utilize various data streams through a centralized platform to drive more value into their guest relationships and inspire long-term guest loyalty?Utilizing a cloud-based platform that combines various data streams to act as a centralized hub of guest insights, hotels can effectively shape their guest engagements with information from multiple systems (PMS, CRM, POS, etc.). Your hotel is producing and receiving an enormous amount of data at any given time across various tools and touchpoints. An effective data platform isn't meant to act as a copy or snapshot of existing, standalone data. Rather, it should be an integration across all platforms used by the hotel to provide a collective profile of each guest. While the hospitality industry has notoriously fallen victim to the creation of data silos in the past, due to legacy systems lacking integration capabilities, modern technology prioritizes seamless, cross-platform integration. This integral update to a traditionally limited infrastructure puts hotels in a position to provide carefully curated value to each and every guest. This, in itself, can mean the difference between a hotel simply addressing a returning guest by name and looking up the details of their stay, and having the data-backed advantage of automatically setting default preferences for their room and preferred upgrades. Further, hotels with a native app can change the in-app, user experience to recognize that the guest is physically in the hotel and make leisure activity suggestions based on what they know about the guest. In some cases, hotels reward their most frequent and valuable guests with specialized access to amenities, upgrades, or even 'personal ambassadors' that help to manager travel needs and have a deep understanding of what that guest values. Let's consider the case of a returning business traveler -- with the harmonization of their guest data into a collective profile could help hotel staff to anticipate their needs before they arrive on property. This could include even seemingly minuscule gestures, such as altering them of close-by Wi-Fi enabled work areas, free conference rooms or spare charging docks for their handheld technology. With insight-driven prompts (for personalization, upgrades and cross-selling opportunities) built directly into a data platform, your staff can easily provide an enhanced experience to guests, every time. Why is the curation of a personalized experience so important? Providing value to guests is rewarded in revenue and repeat stays. Further to those memorable guest service interactions, hotels can utilize guest data to target their marketing campaigns and offers in a truly intelligent way. With communications that are specifically tailored to each guest and their preference set, hotels not only show that they are paying attention but empower their revenue opportunity through enhanced guest interest and engagement. With modern, insight-driven data and largely affordable platforms finally available to hoteliers everywhere, hotels no longer have the excuse that personalization is too expensive or beyond operational reach. Personalization and data-driven guest engagement isn't just a thing of the future, it's here and now -- and hoteliers finally have the tools to use it to their advantage.
Article by Donna Moores

5 Reasons Why Businesses Will Need Chatbots in 2019

Handmade Writing 13 November 2018
Terms such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and connected clouds are largely spoken of and discussed among professionals and ordinary people, following the evolution of technology. Another major concept taking dominance in the business world is the use of chatbots.What are Chatbots?In simple terms, chatbots are AI-based programs, which through the use of a chat interface can provide real-time interaction with users or customers of a company. The purpose of a chatbot is to provide proactive assistance to users and replace the necessity of human communication to provide responses to question from customers.Using machine learning, chatbots have the ability to provide relevant and accurate information immediately, omitting the need for a real human to research a question or make a customer wait in case of uncertainty.Chatbots have gained a massive importance in business in recent years and companies from a range of industries are turning an eye towards this alternative way of communication.Let's look at five reasons why businesses will need chatbots in 2019!Reducing operational costsWith competition growing every year across most industries, among the top objectives of companies will be the reduction of expenses. Implementing chatbots as part of your business strategy can bring savings of up to 30% as shown by reports from Chatbots Magazine.The reductions are mainly provided by eliminating the investment in employees or agents, tasked with the role of responding to queries 24/7, 365 days of the year. In addition, in order to provide relevant and useful information to inquiries, human employees will need to be trained for a certain amount to time and will require upgrades to their knowledge base when necessary.With a chatbot, once the information has been entered into the data pool that is used, it is available at all times and can be easily changed.Better User EngagementIn order to create loyal customers, a brand must communicate in a way that provides top user engagement on all levels. Customers are often put off by long and irrelevant conversations with agents, who sometimes fail to comprehend the given inquiry.The use of chatbots reduces the risk of this scenario as the "robots" will always interpret the given information by the customer, one step at a time. Chatbots' responses will, therefore, be entirely related to the information that the user has provided and will avoid emotional responses typical for a human.Trendy BusinessRegardless of the area of your business, customer interaction is essential. Research reveals that in the last couple of years, messaging applications and the social network had an equivalent role in reaching users.Customer behavior has shown that chat is a preferred form of communicating with a company as it is free, quick, and easier than making a phone call or visiting a store or office physically. Research also shows that most smartphone users are not likely to download new apps very often and prefer using known platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. This opens an opportunity for businesses to integrate a chatbot into their Facebook page, for example, and establish a true bond with their customers.Chatbots are turning into a must have and soon, companies who have failed to see this will be perceived as outdated.Understanding customers betterAlthough the major role of chatbots is to communicate with users, this is not where their capabilities end.Chatbots can effectively be used to collects valuable data and insights on high or low performing pages of your website, for example. They can also be used to collect information from customers. For example, your chatbot can start a conversation with a user from your landing page and ask them to fill out a quick survey to find out what they think about your brand, products, or services.Marketing products become easier and more efficient with chatbots as they can also gather and analyze buying patterns and behaviors, providing useful product suggestions to customers.Opens up international opportunitiesThe best thing about chatbots is that they use information, which has previously been provided by a programming specialist and requires no additional investment for learning, not only business information but other languages, for example.You can easily "train" your chatbot in becoming a polyglot and being able to have a conversation in different languages, making it extremely valuable for a business that operates in different countries. It will also eliminate uncomfortable situations of a human agent failing to acknowledge cultural differences associated with different parts of the world as the chatbot will always respond in a rational and information-based way.Implementing AI backed chatbots in your business in 2019 will almost be a must, especially if you are striving to maintain a modern and technologically advanced business model.Written by Donna Moores from Handmade Writing
Article by Matthew Brown

Choosing the Best Help Desk Software for Your Business

TeamSupport, LLC 12 November 2018
Far too often, companies are forced into a solution that doesn't meet the needs of their business. You don't want to use an exhaustive enterprise tax software for your individual filing, nor does a corporate audit business want to be forced into using software focused on personal finance. The needs of a consumer and business are unique and very different.With this said, let's look at how these specific needs apply to a different type of software - help desk software - so you can determine whether a B2C or B2B software better fits your goals and objectives...B2C focuses on contacts, B2B on contacts AND companies - This is one of the most vital and important distinguishing factors between B2C and B2B help desk software. Solutions built primarily for B2C teams will place all their focus on each contact and moving their issue towards resolution. Help desk software built for B2B will focus on contacts, but it was built at its core to focus on companies and business relationships. The difference is that a B2B solution truly monitors the customer health of every single business relationship, not just an individual contact here and there.B2C must resolve issues quickly, B2B must provide the right answer - While timeliness is important in B2B as well, the consequences for being wrong are much more severe than its B2C counterpart. If a wireless company loses a single consumer because of a mistake they don't blink an eye, but losing a 10,000-user contract is of critical concern. This means that choosing a help desk software built for B2B is essential because you need to get the right answer, right away. This type of software makes it easy to loop in people from other departments to expedite the resolution process.Click here to download our infographic comparing B2B and B2C customer support!B2C relies more on self-service and mobile, while the personal touch holds more value in B2B - There is certainly still value and demand for more "high tech" solutions in B2B (and it keeps growing), but generally B2C remains the innovator when it comes to help desk technology. With this said, B2B customers often skip the chat bot that B2C consumers love and reach out to their designated representative instead. Simply put, a B2B customer doesn't have the time to mess with automated chat bot responses to get the right answer, and instead they opt for an individual at the business that knows their company and understands their needs. Businesses don't want to call a general hotline and wait on hold for twenty minutes to get an unfamiliar agent, instead they want a single point of contact that they can reach out to at any time.In short, B2C help desk software emphasizes simplicity and immediacy, with a focus on singular interactions. B2B help desk software, on the other hand, places more importance on providing the right answer in a personable way to maintain a positive customer relationship. We hope this analysis helps in selecting the software you need!
Article by Lauren Hall

Hotel Buyouts, Online Bookings and Other Trends Redefining Groups, Meetings and Events Industry

iVvy 12 November 2018
Our world and the technology which shapes our experiences is always changing. In a perpetual forward motion, companies across all industries are fervently working to stay ahead of the curve and avoid playing a game of catch-up in the eyes of modern consumers. Automating business processes, incorporating new methods of digital connection and integration, enhancing customer service and personalization. These are all integral components to the staying power and success of companies in a predominantly digital age. As I like to say -- If you're not keeping up with the trends of future buyers, if you're not visible, you're invisible. Consumers want to give their business to those companies which respond to their needs quickly (or better yet, anticipate them) and employees want to work in an environment that is both user-friendly and highly efficient. This is where the adoption of new technology comes into play, as we witness the way in which new platforms and tools are continuously shaping and re-defining industries across the globe. To bridge the gap between the current offerings and customer expectations, companies need to rethink their business models, making them digital-ready. The hospitality industry is no exception, especially when we look at the multibillion-dollar meeting and events industry. Attendee expectations are continually evolving to demand events and meetings that are more experiential and robust in nature. In fact, recent reports show that hoteliers are rapidly embracing digital transformation to forge more efficient and personalized relationships with meeting planners, create unique and tech-forward experiences, expedite the booking process, optimize group sales and lower the overall cost of group acquisition. So, what are the trends currently shaping the groups, meetings and events industry, you might wonder? We're here to tell you. Hotel Buyouts Much of what constitutes a successful meeting or event in the modern age is the creation of a memorable or otherwise meaningful experience for attendees. Studies show that 80% of planners report their role involves more experience creation and 75% of respondents report experience creation will become more important. Especially in the case of luxury programs or events, the trend of doing a "complete hotel takeover" has become predominant over the last two years. Why? Because this is often the best way for an event planner to entirely customize a meeting or event. With no obstacles to arranging special things (in other words, having complete planning freedom) along with complete dedication from property staff, it's much easier to create a 'one-of-a-kind' experience for attendees. Think -- free reign of the property, complete privacy and exclusivity, customized signage and food and beverage spreads, and event highlights and total flexibility, opening up so many possibilities to planners.Wellness is Taking Over Wellness travel has gained a great deal of momentum and consumer interest over the last few years -- especially amongst the millennial market. However, this emerging trend is also making waves within the meetings and events industry, as we see increased emphasis on attendee wellness. This can include considerations such as organic, locally-sourced catering and dietary options, meditation sessions, fitness experiences, spa services and more, to create a more holistic and wellness-focused meeting/event environment.Seamless, Digital Booking While the process of vetting venues, booking and confirming meetings and events was once notoriously laborious, industry leaders and technology providers have finally caught up with the digital solutions needed to remedy a formerly flawed system. Modern planners require a booking process that is fast, efficient and transparent -- meaning they want to access all information required to easily vet a property, at their fingertips. Luckily, the creation of digital booking tools specifically catered to the group booking segment, answers this demand. Really being online for group business means allowing planners to take action. To make real, qualified decisions with an online group booking tool in place, properties can achieve global visibility, create quotes and contracts, show live availability, accept instant bookings or RFPs, provide 3D tours, automate email campaigns, and even offer F&B and AV add-ons. Think -- everything a property needs to manage, market and report their venue with one login, and everything a planner needs to book exceptional locations confidently. This creates an enhanced customer experience for planners who are looking to plan and confirm memorable events in a timely manner and translates to an improved experience for event attendees.Going Local Whether planning an event or meeting for a corporation, planners are often looking to create a personalized experience for attendees that also includes the exploration of local attractions. With this in mind, hotels which offer insights and suggestions for local excursions or hotspots and establish partnerships with local businesses to provide exclusive deals and packages, become especially attractive to modern planners. A survey conducted by Google Consumer Surveys found a majority of respondents (61%) prefer booking locally. Attendees are now demanding more immersive, authentic and unique experiences, and their company executives are demanding a stronger business case to support those experiences.Embracing New Tech Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality have become notable buzzwords across seemingly every industry, meetings, and events included. Virtual reality is straightforward to implement during events, as anyone with a mobile device can tap into that experience. Virtual reality can also be used for marketing and promotions such as virtual tours and product demos. Moving into 2019, we are likely to see a continued rise in virtual speakers, 3D visualizations, virtual meeting places, digital handouts and more. Further, on-demand AI will act as registration assistance and virtual concierge or assistant to attendees to curate a more personalized experience. Chat AI and events app can also be integrated to ensure attentive support and on-going connection, shareable moments and increased social reach.Sustainable Events Sustainable travel and events have been a trending idea lately, with many notable brands publicizing their shift towards a mindset of increased social responsibility and consideration. As such, many of the companies and individuals seeking event/meeting space in 2019 will have expectations regarding the sustainability of said event and the venue in which it is held. Properties and planners can appeal to this demand by offering paperless event formats (aided by digital replacements) and supporting local businesses by using them as suppliers and partners for events.How Hotels Can Stay Ahead Of course, with all of these trends in mind, it becomes increasingly important for hoteliers to invest in both guest-facing tools and new gen sales and catering systems to ensure their property is equipped to appeal to the modern planner as well as operational demands.Modern venue management technology benefits hotels, too, with more qualified leads landing on sales laptops and an increase in total conversions. Ultimately, holding on to legacy sales and catering solutions is detrimental on many levels. Partially due to their inability to be updated and modified, legacy systems hold back innovation, resulting in significant losses. Moreover, outdated, cumbersome software is less efficient, which has a negative impact on staff productivity and profits. At the end of the day, it's all about hospitality. How can hotels be more hospitable to group planners? Improving service, making online transactions more efficient and enjoyable, and leveraging technology to free up sales staff to focus on high value interactions that drive greater satisfaction and revenue.More and more hoteliers have realized their traditional venue booking and management methods are no longer effective and that it is time for a change. At iVvy, we are proud to be on the forefront of the technology that is leading that evolution.
Article by Brad Grimes

AV Solutions Make the Hospitality Industry More Hospitable

12 November 2018
Audiovisual technologies are quickly becoming a mainstay of many hospitality environments. Whether guests are visiting a hotel, restaurant, or cruise ship, today's tech-savvy travelers expect video displays, touchscreens, and mobile connectivity to be abundant and useful. In a world full of screens, here are some ways hospitality brands are using AV technology to offer guests exceptional experiences.Go Big or Stay HomeAt the Westport Social, a 13,000-square-foot bar and gaming lounge in St. Louis, Missouri, patrons are treated to a television viewing experience found in few locations, especially indoors. The main bar has 20-foot ceilings, so instead of the usual wall of televisions, the owners installed three 16-foot-long by 9-foot-tall LED video displays that are clearly visible throughout the room. The result is a more refined design aesthetic that eliminates the clutter created by having TVs everywhere, while still ensuring each patron can see the action.With a narrow,1.8mm pixel pitch (the distance between the center of each LED), the displays provide a high-definition image over a massive area like the ones used for billboards and stadium screens. The picture can be viewed from any angle and distance, with superior brightness and color contrast compared to standard televisions.Although the end user experience is great, the greatest feature of this audiovisual barroom experience may actually be how the system is controlled. Using a simple iPad interface, employees can instantly select any display and change the channel and turn all 15 displays on and off with a single button.Dedicated restaurant and sports bars, such as Buffalo Wild Wings, require equally simple controls for their complex networks of 50-plus televisions, which handle more than a dozen audio and video feeds. The fast, simple control of the whole network is crucial to daily operations, as workers can respond immediately to customer requests to change channels or direct audio from a specific television feed through a tabletop speaker.Stephen Sullivan, President of Antsul Group, which operates eight Buffalo Wild Wings locations in New Jersey, understands the importance for his businesses to cater to every customer."Compelling AV is the main attraction," Sullivan says. "We're not only competing with every other bar who's got Monday Night Football or a UFC match-up, we're also competing with watching the game at home. We have to offer bigger sound and better picture quality than our competition, as well as your house. We sell buffalo wings, but we also offer a unique audiovisual experience."Make it PersonalThe need to offer guests compelling AV experiences also extends to other hospitality venues. Hotels of all sizes and aesthetics are leveraging the latest AV technologies to deliver unique, memorable experiences that provide guests with useful travel information while reinforcing branding and communicating a high level of customer service.At the Sofitel Paris Baltimore, a 19th-century townhouse hotel located near the Eiffel Tower, a recent renovation maintained the building's historic charm while adding a thrilling new welcome to guests: a 100-square-foot interactive "Welcome Wall" in the entrance hallway."Because they were renovating the hotel, the owners wanted to create something new and exciting that would make a statement every time a guest returns, and I think the digital Welcome Wall really achieves that goal," says Alexandre Simionescu, Managing Partner and Creative Director of Float4, designers of the Welcome Wall."It's not meant to be subtle. It's meant to really attract attention and initiate interaction in a way that is not invasive. After their interest in piqued, guests notice that it's interactive and are excited to actually touch the wall. The Welcome Wall is there to break the ice."The Welcome Wall showcases playful, digital artwork that responds to human movements while also offering a "photo booth" experience and virtual concierge through which guests can explore Paris via an interactive map. Hotel staff can then help guests use the map to create personalized two-hour tours they can download to their smartphones and use as a guide through the city. The size of the wall wows guests, the interactivity keeps them involved, and the novelty of useful technology instills positive memories of the hotel brand.High-Tech Takes to The High SeasInteractive experiences don't have to be huge to be compelling, however, as evidenced by new options offered on leading cruise ships. The MSC Meraviglia, for instance, offers an abundance of tech-advanced features to its passengers. With a total of 114 touchscreens located throughout the deck, guests can book dinner reservations, spa appointments, and theater tickets with just a few clicks, then swipe their personalized RFID smart bracelet received at the start of their stay -- which contains all personal information -- thereby saving time and frustration.Meanwhile, since 2012 Disney has outfitted two ships, the Dream and Fantasy, with "Magical Portholes," round LED displays above the bed that show a real-time ocean view from cameras mounted on the ship's exterior, based on each room's specific location. This creative addition gives the interior's windowless cabins a much-needed feeling of space and connection to the outside world, allowing guests to wake up with the sunrise, or turn it off if they desire.Of course, this being a Disney cruise ship, there is also the occasional famous cartoon character who pops up on the screen, adding whimsy to an already kid-centered cruise. After the success of the Magical Portholes, both the Dream and Fantasy cruise ships added virtual "windows" in the Skyline Bar that use digital displays to turn the walls into skyline views of famous world capitals.Disney's creative use of displays and live cameras began a trend that found its way to eight current Royal Caribbean ships that now feature "virtual balconies" in the interior rooms. An 80-inch HD display that reaches nearly from the floor to the ceiling is affixed to the wall and dressed up with curtains to simulate a real window. Just like the Disney ships, each room gets a different view from on-board cameras, depending on which wall features the display.It's clear that hospitality venues of all types are increasingly looking to the latest audiovisual technologies to provide guests with meaningful interactive experiences. To remain competitive and relevant, hospitality operators should stay informed of continuing technological advances that can be used to differentiate their brand and provide a better guest experience.

Do independent hotel loyalty programs actually work?

Hotel Tech Report 10 November 2018
The hotel industry has moved into the era of soft brands unofficially started by Hilton through the DoubleTree brand. The initial idea was to find a way for the Hilton development team to help owners of subpar hotels (ones that didn't meet brand standards) plug into Hilton's distribution network and (and consequently for Hilton to earn franchise fees from a larger pool of the market). This evolution progressed as Marriott launched the Autograph Collection and eventually turned into an arms race with Starwood's Luxury Collection and acquisition of European based Design Hotels. The trend has allowed hotel brands to grow faster in a world where they are asset light (no longer own property).
Article by Jos Schaap

On-Demand Service and the Culture of Convenience: What Are Guests Really Looking For?

StayNTouch Inc. 8 November 2018
We aren't just living in a mobile age -- we are living in an 'on-demand' economy, and it is revolutionizing business models and the corresponding consumer experience across every industry. With digital platforms and apps empowering instant gratification, paired with efficient and intuitive technological properties to cater to a personalized and data-driven experience, the supply which meets the demand of customers is readily available, 24/7. The modern consumer has become accustomed to the ease of uninhibited access to messaging, e-mail, social media, e-commerce, and general online functionality through the use of their mobile device, tablet, laptops and more. Of course, with this access comes a learned preference for fast and convenient service. In fact, reports studying consumer behavior surrounding the adoption of online grocery shopping noted "convenience of delivery" as the primary motivator. Studies also show that 58% of consumers consider 'the ability to find what I want quickly and easily' as the most important factor that determined which brands win their business. Further, Harvard Business Review Centre notes that the number one factor in delivering a great customer experience is not delighting customers, but reducing their efforts. Consider this the 'culture of convenience.' This becomes especially apparent within the hospitality industry, as we witness the ways in which guest expectations are rapidly evolving with convenience and personalization as paramount factors to success. With this in mind, it's more important than ever before for hoteliers to focus on yielding to guest demands and desires for convenience and control, across every touch-point of service. Is Your Online Experience Accountable? According to Forrester, 66% of customers think that valuing their time is the most important element to consider to provide a good online customer service. Further, 53% of customers will abandon a mobile site that takes over 3 seconds to load, and for every second delay in mobile page load, conversions can fall by up to 20%. While digital platforms (PMS, CRM, apps, self-service kiosks and more) open a world of opportunity to connect with both current/prospective guests and provide immediate access, this can only be effective if the tools are virtually foolproof. Essentially, getting on board with the digital trend doesn't just mean buying into technology that almost or sometimes meets demand -- it needs to offer the complete experience to every guest, every time. If your property offers self-service kiosks, for example, is the platform user-friendly? Does it offer seamless load times and effective communications and prompts? Does your mobile check-in system work most of the time or all of the time? Does your PMS effectively empower your staff to offer guests the best possible experience? Ultimately, it is every hotelier's responsibility to effectively vet digital solutions and ensure they are investing in technology vendors that not only offer robust and tested platforms but on-going support and scalability. So, as a hotelier, ask yourself -- can you rely on the technology you have in place? And if not, what's missing? Because the ongoing curation of a reliable, seamless online guest experience will undoubtedly be integral to a hotel's success both now and in the future. Empower Your Guests With Choices No two guests are the same -- whether they are traveling for work or leisure, with family, on a wellness vacation or in town for an event --guest preferences and corresponding service expectations vary. As such, it's ever-important to offer guests a choice in service to ensure your service offering is entirely accountable to each individual guests' needs and expectations. While many guests may prefer the traditional, high-touch interaction with hotel staff at each touch-point of their stay, others may opt for a more low-touch, digital-forward experience. In fact, reports predict that by 2020, customers will manage 87% of their customer relationships without interacting with humans. So, while in-person engagement will never cease to be an integral part of the hospitality experience, the curation of a truly efficient and intuitive digital guest experience is equally paramount in the modern landscape. Find New Ways to Enhance Guest Experience s You can thank the likes of Uber, Lyft, and Amazon Prime for inspiring the on-demand economy. People expect not just information now, but the actual products and services too. Hotels must cater to how guests' demands are evolving to design fast, frictionless, mobile-centric experiences that engage today's increasingly impatient travelers. Considering that 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service, but only 8% of customers agree, there is a significant disconnect between brands and their customers, and a missed opportunity to establish long-term loyalty. By increasing customer retention rates by just 5%, hotels can increase profits from 25% to 95%. Bottom line; guest service translates to revenue, and utilizing the power of intuitive digital platforms will enhance a hotels' ability to maximize that revenue opportunity. Leverage Technology That Drives HospitalityThe solution? Invest in a mobile hotel management system that offers mobile access and cross-departmental communications to enhance productivity, seamless interfaces to centralize guest data from all touchpoints, revenue-enhancing features like rate management, channel management, group management, and marketing capabilities like automated up-sells, integrated booking engine to drive direct bookings, and more. With data-backed insights making personalization easy and frictionless interactions while on the property, guests can trust in your hotel for a unique and memorable experience -- one that keeps them coming back time and time again.A recent study by H2C revealed that only 38% of respondents plan on staying with their current PMS strategy, with cloud solutions and integration (e.g., with CRM technology) as driving factors for a strategy shift. When asked about their biggest concerns with their existing PMS, 30% of respondents say lack of support from their PMS vendor, with more than half (57%) of hotel chains rating their PMS vendor as average or poor for their support services. When it comes to guests, only one-third (38%) said they could use the PMS in a 'guest-facing' way, be that managing bookings or letting them access hotel services.So how do you provide guests with what they want in the emerging era of on-demand service and the culture of convenience? Ultimately, by giving your staff the tools and technology they need to optimize services, which includes an innovative, modern PMS backed by a responsive support partnership, they can better provide your guests with everything they want, every stay, to keep them coming back! To learn more watch this complete mobile guest journey "THE NEW WAY... TO HOTEL!"
Article by Binu Mathews

Hotel Technology Implementation and Support Challenges in Emerging Markets

IDS Softwares 8 November 2018
The ability to provide implementation and support services in the local language is a key challenge. Africa alone has a high linguistic diversity with 1500-2000 spoken languages. Of the 890 million Africans, about 17% speak an Arabic dialect, 10% speak Swahili, 5% speak a Berber dialect, and about 5% speak Hausa. If your staff will need to field customer service calls from countries of Africa, South Asia, ME or the Mediterranean, they need to find ways to counter the language barriers over the phone.Fortunately, modern technologies such as global intranets, video-conferencing etc. contribute effectively to the bridge the gap created be geographical distance. However, even these advanced communication tools often falter when it comes to language barriers.It's these differences in language and culture that have made it notoriously difficult for businesses to effectively branch into emerging markets; thus, supporting customers in local languages becomes inevitable. With all this in mind, it is crucial for:(a) Companies to ensure staff has the right skills to converse effectively(b) To make sure that they have trained locals(c) Have invested in direct offices(d) Have also invested in training and building up resourcesAnother challenge that businesses face can be found in the multiple statutory needs of doing business.For instance, within Africa & Middle East alone, we have multiple statutory requirements ranging from Revenue Authority certifications, Fiscal printer interfaces, VAT compliances, Police & Tourism interfaces and more. These requirements are also evolving and are privy to frequent enhancements. With this in mind, a deep understanding of local statutory laws and certifying authorities is necessary to deliver the right hotel technology. To develop a local knowledge base, it's important to participate in the decision-making process -- meaning hotel technology providers need to adopt strategies to stay more local and shed the "one size fits all" approach.It's also interesting to observe the way in which emerging markets span across different time zones. From Africa to SE Asia we have 10 to 12 time zones. With hospitality being a true 24/7 operation, technology providers need true 24/7 support to manage these markets and to counter challenges stemming from difficulties in reaching target customers.Ultimately, having country-specific operations, supported by locally developed capabilities and talent leads to stability in your business. To make sure emerging markets are successful, you need long-term technology players who demonstrate investments in local resources with a commitment to support globally with 24/7 availability.

Four Considerations Before Investing in AI for Marketing

MarketingProfs·Requires Registration 8 November 2018
The use of artificial intelligence is growing quickly, especially in marketing. Industry leaders, bloggers, and many others are discussing the dramatic changes AI could bring. In fact, cmo.com found that 15% of enterprise companies are already using AI, with an additional 31% planning to start in the next year.

Surviving outside of peak season

Click by booking.com 8 November 2018
One of the biggest trials for any hospitality business is dealing with a fluctuating demand throughout the year. Seasonal destinations like seaside towns and ski resorts often rely on operating at full capacity during their peak period to help them through the quieter times. But there are ways to attract a steady stream of custom all year round. So what can hoteliers do to keep occupancy buoyant in the off-season?
Article by Shep Hyken

Be as Easy as Ordering a Pizza

Shepard Presentations, LLC. 8 November 2018
Back in my college days, I remember how easy it was at 11:00 at night, while studying for a test the next day, to order a pizza from Domino's. I just picked up the phone and in less than thirty minutes, it was delivered. Today I do the same thing. I pick up the phone and order a pizza - but I don't have to... pick up the phone.Technology has taken us to a new level of pizza ordering. Picking up a phone to order a pizza is an option, but it's so old school. You can order online or use an app on your smartphone or tablet. Or, you can just use a voice command and order with Alexa or Google Home. And, once you order your pizza, you can track the order. You know when your pizza is being prepped when it comes out of the oven and when it's on its way. Domino's has made it easy - as in convenient.And, if you've been following my work, you know about my fascination with convenience. I wrote the book, The Convenience Revolution, and identified six "Principles of Convenience," one of them being delivery. I included Domino's as a case study in the book, but guess what? I didn't include them in the chapter on delivery. I included them in the chapter on technology.In 2008 Domino's was struggling and their brilliant leadership turned the company around. They recognized their pizza wasn't as good as it could be, and publicly stated it needed improvement. So, they improved. They also revolutionized their process and started building technology into the customer experience. The Domino's ANYWARE concept allows their customers to not only order the pizza with the toppings they desire but to connect with their neighborhood Domino's by more than ten ways, with more to come. They include:Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Zero Clicks, Text, Twitter, Ford Sync, Smart TV, Voice and Smart Watch. And, of course, you can still order using the traditional "land-line" phone.Consider that while some people still use the phone, a younger generation experienced these new apps as they were being released and have decided they don't want to use the phone anymore. And an even younger generation has never ordered a pizza with a phone, and they simply won't.The point is that even a pizza company recognizes the necessity to reinvent its processes to keep up with the times. Beyond being a better pizza, they wanted to make it easier on their customers, and that's what every company must do. Study what Domino's has done. What are they doing that you can do in your business? What can you do to be more convenient for your customers?

As Accor hits 1,000 in APAC, Issenberg ponders China softening, tech impact and talent

mycloud HOSPITALITY 8 November 2018
What does it take to grow a hotel group to 1,000 properties in Asia Pacific? Well, if you ask Michael Issenberg, CEO, AccorHotels APAC, it takes time and investing in people on the ground, helped of course by a handful of acquisitions.

Hoteliers adapt to guests' in-room streaming needs

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles 7 November 2018
As guests bring and use more mobile devices during their stays, hoteliers are tasked with ensuring bandwidth is strong and connectivity is seamless.
Article by David Lund

Understanding Flow-Thru

The Hotel Financial Coach 6 November 2018
A good analogy to grasp the concept of flow thru is to compare it to your paycheck. Imagining I give you a $1,000 a week raise, the question then is how much will end up as 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?"It's great that you increased the rate and overall revenues in my hotel, but what I really want to know is how much you will keep and give me in profits." - Anonymous hotel ownerManaging flow thru in your hotel is a key attribute to understanding the profit model for your hotel. The reason it is so important to understand is the different characteristics that emerge when revenues go up or down in different departments. Measuring flow thru by department and by the key driver is the basis for understanding your hotel's real financial results and most importantly its financial potential.Here are some motherhood questions to get your flow thru imagination going.The overall revenues year-to-date are up by 1.3 million dollars. How much should flow in GOP?Occupancy is up over last year by 5% and the rate is up $15 as a result. Room revenues are up $720,000. How much should flow in room profit and GOP?Restaurant average check is up by $2 and as a result food revenues are up $10,000. How much should flow in F&B (food and beverage) profit and GOP?Liquor revenues are up over last year in my lounge by $7,000. How much should flow in F&B profit and GOP?Banquet food sales are $50,000 higher this month than the same month last year driven by higher volume and average check. How much should flow to the F&B profit and GOP?The way we calculate flow thru is straightforward:Step one - Subtract the revenues from two different periods.Step two - Subtract the profit from the same two periods.Step three - Divide the difference in revenues by the difference in the profit.All the revenue streams in your hotel have two attributes: pricing and volume. Understanding the difference and measuring the impact is the key to understanding and measuring departmental flow thru.Measuring flow thru to the prior period is normally a stronger comparison than measuring flow thru to budget or forecast. The reason being when we compare the flow thru from one real period to another real period it is more of an apples-to-apples comparison. When we compare flow thru to the budget we are comparing a real result to a projection.A word of caution, when comparing the flow from one period to another it is important to include any events that may have had an impact on the results. This is where a good memory and a great monthly property commentary come into play. Let's say that last year in the month of May we had a great group month, off the charts because of a citywide. That fact will skew the flow thru to this month. Being able to articulate the impact of past and current events is very important.Negative flow is also an important concept and calculation to master. When revenues decrease, we want to be able to mitigate the impact to the profit lines. We want to be able to retain the profit loss. If we do not act, we run the risk of losing 100 percent or even more of the lost revenue in the form of decreased profits.Rooms FlowThe rooms department is the engine in 99 percent of the hotels in the world. The greatest contributor to performance is rate and then occupancy. If my rate goes up $10 over the same month last year and I sell 18,500 rooms this month, the same amount as last year, my room revenue just went up by $185,000.The question is: How much should I be able to keep as profit?What we need to examine is what else would need to increase to compensate for the additional room revenue. This is the magic in the hotel business as very little needs to go up when my rate grows. Whether it is a transient increase or group the impact is largely the same, i.e., Very Good!Depending on my segmentation, I may need to spend some of this increased revenue on third-party commissions. I also may need to spend more on my reservation expense from my brand, depending on the mechanics of the chargeback. Other than these two cursory items no additional expense or payroll in the rooms department need be spent.Other costs that will be impacted by the increased revenues are credit card commissions, centralized fees, and management fees. A good rule of thumb is I should see 90 percent of any additional revenue flow in rooms profit and 85 percent in GOP that result from the increased room rate.Your hotel manager may take it upon himself/herself to spend a little more this month to catch up on some cleaning or other expense but it is not directly related to the increase in rate.On the other side of the equation is occupancy. Let's say my hotel this month saw an increase of six points in occupancy over the same month last year. This resulted in an additional 300 rooms sold and an additional $45,000 in room revenue. The question is how much should flow? With occupancy, it is a bit more complicated.Every time I sell a room I have both fixed and variable expenses associated with the sale. Taking the 300 extra rooms, that is an average of 10 more per day. I do not need huge amounts of additional resources at the front desk in reservations or in guest services. I will, however, need additional room attendants and housekeeping labor. I will consume more amenities, guest supplies and probably should pay higher commissions to third parties and more in reservation expenses to my brand. I will also pay higher credit card commissions, centralized fees, and management fees. So, as a rule of thumb, I should see 85 percent of any additional room revenues from increased occupancy as increased rooms profit and 80 percent in increased GOP.F&B FlowWhat is the increase or decrease in F&B revenue and where did it come from?In the food and beverage department, we need to have a much bigger calculator to see what happened and what the results should be. We want to be able to measure the increase or decrease in all the dimensions that drive our business.Profitability characteristics are very different from food sales and beverage sales. Within food sales the profitability of all the different meal periods, as well as distinguishing the relationship between outlet sales and banquets, is key.What would you rather have, dinner revenue increases or the same revenue increases from coffee breaks? Would you like to see sales increase in your outlets or in banquets - what would have a bigger impact on profit?With beverage sales, the profit margins for liquor, beer, and wine need to be understood as well as the portion of our outlets vs. banquets. When we look at the average customer price for food we also need to understand the contribution margin. It is nice to see the average cover increase but what profit do I make from the different type of sales inside my F&B operation?All of this looks complicated on the surface but it really is not. With a little analysis and some patience, we can build a model that will help us see the optimal picture for profitability in our F&B operation. With this picture, we can strive to create the optimal recipe for our food and beverage success.That is the key: Understanding what the optimal mix is and getting our sales and conference services people selling that. Getting our outlet managers and servers to understand what items have the biggest contribution to profit and have them sell accordingly. If we were selling cars, we would know the model that generates the biggest margin, and the accessories that drive profits. Our business is no different. Flow-thru and its impact is at the heart of understanding this profit model.Minor operating department flowSame principles as above: What is the difference in the top line and how much did we make in additional profits? This is valuable information for spa, golf and retail operations.The last part is sometimes the most important - in this case, it is non-operating department flow. I cannot tell you how many statements I see where there is a nice hit on the top line revenues only to have most of the potential profits chewed up in non-operating departmental creep.Administration costs, sales and marketing and maintenance flow needs to be measured and managed. If you cannot readily see this you are missing a powerful tool.Creating the flow thru measurements in your financials is relatively straightforward. Pulling out the numbers you want to see, like the change in revenue and the change in profit from the two different periods and dividing the two, is it. Display these on your financials and you will have a whole new understanding of your business and be much more effective in your ability to hold others to managing their departmental flow thru.Mastering flow thru is the key to the hotel profit maximization.Understanding where we win and pointing the team, the sellers, the operators in that direction. Creating alignment around the business model.

Aprehend Now Available to Fight Bed Bug Infestations

green lodging news | By Glenn Hasek 6 November 2018
Aprehend, a mycoinsecticide developed by researchers at Penn State University, may now be the best weapon available on the market to manage bed bug infestations, which have surged in recent years. And, that’s just the kind of tool the founders of Centre Hall, Pa.-based ConidioTec want the pest-control industry to deploy in the fight against a seemingly relentless and insecticide-resistant nuisance.
Article by Chandra Chakravarthi

Hotel Budget Planning: What to Examine for 2019

Sertifi 6 November 2018
Hotel budget season is the perfect time for you and your team to evaluate the need for new technology. However, before you move forward with purchasing new software, take a step back, and look at your existing budget. Should you reduce spend in one area and reallocate that money in another area? Do you need to increase your overall budget? These are normal questions to think about. One of the best investments you make for your team and hotel is in new technology to maintain a competitive advantage.I recently went through the process of reevaluating my own personal budget when I became a first-time homeowner. Making the transition from renting to ownership meant a new set of responsibilities. I took a closer look at my current budget and determined where I needed to curtail expenses and shift money around to purchase additional items. Additionally, I kept in mind that whatever I bought should be a long-term investment without compromising on quality and what I liked aesthetically.If you're still focused on hotel budget planning, here are 5 key factors to examine so you'll have a successful upcoming year.1) Look Around Your IndustryWhen it came to furnishing my new home, I looked to the current home decor trends to determine what I'd like to invest in. Some trends were timeless, but there were other ideas that I knew would never suit me. While I'm still on the fence about which specific style I'll incorporate throughout my home, it's been helpful doing the research because I'm learning about colors, patterns, and how best to utilize different spaces. I want my home to grow alongside me so when the time comes to sell it, the home value will have appreciated.Regardless of what industry you work in, it's always a good idea to pay attention to what's trending in your respective space. Those trends can dictate where your hotel's team should concentrate their resources and efforts to better communicate and connect with your guests. If you want your hotel to be viewed as an innovative property, then it's essential to keep investing in new technology that enhances the guest experience and increases your team's efficiency.For example, AI technology is continuing to weave itself into different areas of our lives and will continue to fundamentally change the customer service experience. As of this year, 15% of American adults indicated that they've used a chatbot to interact with a company. Several hotels have embraced chatbot technology including the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, AccorHotels Mercure brand, and Intercontinental Hotel Group's Hotel Indigo providing a quicker, on-demand guest experience. Chatbots aren't likely to replace human interaction though. Instead, hotels can utilize this tool for handling repetitive customer inquiries freeing up staff to focus more on creating personal connections.2) Receive Guest FeedbackWhen I was in the process of purchasing my home, I subscribed to several different interior design and home decor blogs as well as online furniture stores. The amount of emails that I received was exciting, but also overwhelming because everything sounded like a wonderful idea to me. Additionally, I received all types of advice from friends and family. Their feedback has been valuable because some of the tips are relevant to my current situation. And some of the other feedback will be beneficial when I move again the future.Guest feedback is another source to examine during the hotel budget planning process. While some feedback may not be insightful, there will be instances when you extract some valuable information that helps determines where to invest in new technology.For example, let's say that your guests have commented on how the check-in process is inconvenient because they can't do it using their smart phone. Today's hotel guests are tech-savvy and heavily rely on their smart phones to perform day-to-day tasks. Considering that the average person checks their phone every 12 minutes, offering mobile-check can be a worthwhile investment. Keep in mind that when you offer an electronic method that it's user-friendly, so it isn't disruptive to the guests. And continue offering the existing method as well. Going back to the check-in example, there will always be people who prefer face-to-face interaction so offer that option alongside mobile check-in.3) Find Out Your Hotel's Goals for the Upcoming YearBefore you can determine what technology, you want to invest in, you need to have a clear understanding of your hotel's goals for the upcoming year. Here are a handful of questions you can ask yourself and your team: What areas can you improve the guest experience? What are the KPIs your team measures their success against? What are your departmental goals? Do these goals align with your hotel's goals? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can decide whether a new software solution is essential in helping you attain those goals.Another way to identify your hotel's goals is to look at your Property Management System (PMS). There should be historical data residing in there, such as your previous year's bookings and revenue numbers. By reviewing historical data, you can forecast some realistic revenue goals that you want to achieve for the upcoming year.Of course, relying on historical data and analytics isn't enough. Initiating interdepartmental collaboration and meeting with your team will help you determine what's a priority for the upcoming year and what can be put on the backburner.Additionally, think about your existing hotel technology stack. Does your hotel use several different software platforms that aren't seamlessly connected? Take advantage of software solutions that integrate easily into multiple systems to reduce operational inefficiencies. Ideally, look for tools that integrate into your PMS to reduce manual processes. Investing in hotel technology will give your property a competitive edge in an oversaturated market.4) Improve Current Business ProcessesWhen I was filling out the paperwork to buy my new place, it was a manual process that consisted of printing, scanning, and faxing various documents. At times, it was time-consuming and disruptive because I had to go out of my way to send this paperwork back to the realtor and lawyers I was working with.There are some manual tasks that can be crippling to your productivity, which in turn impacts the guest experience. While that varies with each organization and department, take time to evaluate the manual processes that exist within your team. See if there is a way to take a specific process and automate it so that your team can focus on more pressing matters. Productivity isn't the only advantage in streamlining processes. Repetitive tasks can lead to human error but automating certain tasks can reduce the likelihood of that occurring. For example, rekeying guest credit card information is a manual task that can be eliminated if you have a payment solution that integrates into your PMS. Or let's say your hotel uses paper-based credit card authorization forms. There's a lot of administrative work that goes into sending and receiving paperwork. Your team can create a more seamless process by choosing a technology solution that digitizes those tasks.5) Conduct a Security AuditOne area that your hotel's team should continually scrutinize is where there's a possibility for a data breach. As technology continues to evolve, so does the likelihood for cybersecurity threats. According to the Verizon's 2018 Payment Security Report, the hospitality industry fell behind at 38.5% for maintaining PCI-compliant standards. It's up to your hotel to keep cybersecurity high on their radar, and you can do this by investing in software that protects credit card data, so your team doesn't have to store it on-site or in emails. All it takes is one incident to lose the trust of your guests and create a negative perception of your hotel which could result in a loss of revenue and potential new sales. Take proactive steps to combat any potential threats. While it's easy to convince yourself that it couldn't possibly happen at your hotel, the unfortunate reality is that anyone can be exploited.ConclusionInvest in tools that help your team be proactive versus reactive. Take time to research what's going to provide a better guest experience, improve internal workflows, and enforce PCI compliance and security. It's easy to get drawn in by all the available solutions out there but find a tool that will benefit both your hotel and customers. Ultimately, investing in the right technology is what will propel your hotel forward.2019 Hotel Budget PlanningIs your hotel still busy with budget planning for 2019? If you're looking to propose a business case for new technology, then download the business case template for this hotel budget season and beyond.DOWNLOAD THE BUSINESS CASE TEMPLATEThis post was originally published on Sertifi's blog.
Article by Paul van Meerendonk

Training, Maintaining & Elevating Top Hotel Revenue Management Talent

IDeaS 6 November 2018
Ah, the good old days. It used to be so simple. Then the initial wave of OTAs hit, bringing every poor revenue and reservations manager to their knees with endless channel updates. The internet-generated floodwaters soon followed as data became more and more essential. Now we have visibility into transactional data, we know where bookings come from (and why), we know what prices our competitors are selling at, we know our review scores and online reputation, and the list goes on and on. And what about the whiz kid? Is he still up to the challenge? Did he stay afloat in the sea of new data sources? Even more concerning: is he even still working at the hotel? Perhaps he went off to work for one of the OTAs!How we find, manage, and retain top talent at revenue-managing hotels has changed dramatically since the big-data boom began. It's important that we continuously strive to provide ongoing education and support in this competitive job market. Blended learning approaches are key to accommodate varying levels of expertise, job roles, and employee age groups. On-demand, quick learning tools are especially relevant as high-turnover rates necessitate faster uptimes of skilled, productive employees. Beyond that, career trajectory and a clear pathway for upward mobility must also be considered to attract top performers. Properly training, maintaining, and elevating talent is essential to achieving an ongoing return on investment in your people, technology, and processes.Wade into the Talent PoolLet's first look at what should be your company's number-one asset: the people who work there. While promoting from within presents many benefits, it is rare now to find a reservation agent or manager who has the skills required for modern-day revenue management. All the good ones have either been taken or have moved on to bigger and better things. The revenue managers of tomorrow may need to come from elsewhere. If we start at the beginning, our obvious choice would be to seek talent straight out of college.Fortunately, several top hotel schools have risen to the challenge, offering advanced degrees in hotel revenue management. University hotel programs have long been a reliable source of industry up-and-comers, and now they are a great place to find eager and knowledgeable hotel revenue managers. At a recent HSMAI event in Amsterdam, several young graduates took to the stage and showed off their abilities in front of industry leaders and veterans. It was a good indicator that, as academic institutions ramp up their courses and degrees to match revenue management needs, concerns about a shortage of able-minded workers will ebb away. This is not to say, however, you should rely solely on fresh graduates to fill open positions, but you may find it to be one of the most efficient routes.Give Your Talent the Best ToolsSo, let's say you've found your next whiz kid or even assembled your dream team of revenue-management professionals. Now you must make sure they have what they need to deliver. This is where investing in the right technology plays a pivotal role. Advanced revenue management software, applications, and tools have significantly changed the way revenue managers can work with and leverage data. What became an impossible job for one human to handle in a deep sea has become a manageable and rewarding profession thanks to technological advances and science-based software engineering. Now modern systems will do all the heavy lifting-even managing the upkeep of OTA channels. College degrees in visual basic or advanced analytics are no longer necessary.So, if the machines are so smart, do we even need to find talented people to operate them? Well, not so fast. Automation and machine learning don't replace the need for skilled revenue managers, but rather, they enable bright, analytical minds to devote more time to doing what they do best, enabling strategic, forward-looking initiatives that will enhance a hotel's profitability even further. By leveraging the best revenue management systems, revenue managers of tomorrow can position themselves as recognized business leaders with the knowledge and insights to make key decisions and inform organization-wide planning.There is of course a need to be able to steer and direct technology systems so they behave in ways that align with your revenue strategy. Regular systems training is, therefore, essential, particularly as today's platforms are improved and updated frequently, and the revenue manager needs to stay on top of the latest developments so they don't become outdated by their own tools.Technology has not stood still in this aspect either. While we haven't attained the ability to upload knowledge directly into a person's brain, a la The Matrix-"I know kung fu," anyone?-research into the psychology of how humans learn and process new information has made a big impact on how educational resources are designed right within our systems. Gamified learning levels have replaced dry, step-by-step tutorials, and moment-of-need, hands-on, "show me" training has streamlined the process significantly.The advanced learning programs included within some of today's leading systems allow revenue managers to quickly pick up what they need to know to make an immediate impact. These learning systems are often complemented with instant online insights and videos into revenue management concepts and best practices. With the right technology investments, revenue managers are never short of sources for ongoing education and performance improvement.Chart a Course for SuccessBeyond technology and analytical skills, revenue managers need to also be able to interpret what these systems are doing and be able to communicate this with the rest of their organization. These soft skills don't always come easy. A balance of analytical intelligence with communication know-how, as well as a knack for business strategy, will make for a truly successful revenue manager.Empowering talent is key to retaining it. Therefore, when nurturing revenue management skills, it is important to assess current proficiency levels to know where development is needed in these areas. For some, this may mean growth in communication skills. For others, it may mean a focus on developing strategic expertise. Regular assessment of capabilities and application is therefore essential to lay out the development plans of revenue management talent of various backgrounds and skillsets.Of course, revenue managers need to see themselves as valuable contributors not only in the present, but also in the future. One of the challenges that has plagued the industry for years has been the lack of a clear career path and promotion potential for revenue managers. Sure, some revenue managers can and have become general managers and taken on a wider scope of responsibilities, including more client-facing and customer-service focused areas. However, this is not the most natural path for many revenue managers, who often prefer back-of-house analysis and strategy over front-of-house guest relations and overseeing quality of service. It is therefore essential that other opportunities exist to entice revenue managers to stay with your hotel and feel motivated to go above and beyond.Luckily, this is also an area where changes in the industry have benefitted the field of revenue management. Consolidation has accelerated the growth in clustering and centralization of revenue management services. Revenue management service centers are now commonplace, and these dedicated department and service offerings have also ensured additional positions and opportunities of growth for revenue managers. High-performing revenue managers can now move sideways and upward all within their expanding area of expertise. This development has also attracted greater strategic and analytical talent to the industry, which has had a positive impact on overall business performance.Faster than anyone expected, the data tsunami brought a treasure-chest of opportunity to our shores. Now, training, maintaining, and elevating revenue management talent effectively will not only allow us to exploit these opportunities, but it will allow us to grow the industry leaders of tomorrow. Nurturing natural talent is important, but make sure the next whiz kid at your hotel also has the best possible technology and resources he or she needs to get up to speed quickly and find lasting growth with opportunities for improvement. With the right people and tools in place, the revenue manager role will evolve to drive profitability in more ways than ever before, and with the right planning and vision, the revenue managers of tomorrow may go boldly where none have gone before.Reprinted from the Hotel Business Review with permission from http://www.hotelexecutive.com/

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