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    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

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Article by Larry Mogelonsky

New York ADR Dilemma

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited 18 July 2018
Like most every other role at a hotel, being an owner or investor has never been easy. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in New York City where exorbitant construction costs mixed with steadily increasing wage rates, maintenance and depreciation can make the break-even point higher than practically any other locale on the continent. Thank goodness this is reflected in the average daily rates.Regrettably, the Big Apple may have a rotting core. Drawing from STR data, in 2017 the citywide ADR was $256 per night. This alone is no cause for alarm, until you compare it against the ADR posted for 2012 and 2013 which was $258 and $266 per night respectively.How could that be? Can you name another product or service that has anti-inflationary characteristics like this? I highly doubt a statistical fumble could account for such a nonnegligible drop. In this world-class destination with historic occupancies pretty much unchanged around 85%, there must be another series of events that have caused this market decline.As I always believe that the simplest answer is the most likely one, my hypothesis is that this all boils down to supply and demand - probably the first principle you learn in any economics class. Prices go up when demand exceeds supply and the reverse happens when supply outstrips demand. So, if prices are dropping - even if the year-over-year isn't immediately palpable - it would indicate that supply is increasing. But with hotel occupancies holding steady for the past for past five years, where is the extra supply coming from?Following this train of thought, next would be to review the number of rooms that have come onto the market. Based upon data from NYC & Company, there were about 116,000 rooms in the city as of the end of 2017. But with another 20,000 rooms expected to come on board in the next three years, why would a series of investors spend the necessary funds to bring this enormous batch of new inventory into a declining market?Looking for possible answers to this, my next thought is that hotels are starting to feel the effects of the home sharing economy, the largest provider therein being Airbnb. According to Inside Airbnb, as of April 2018 there were roughly 49,000 rooms as well as full residences available across the five boroughs. That works out to about 30% of the total room stock including traditional hotel properties as well as alternate lodgings.Obviously, this is not the only factor at work here. For instance, many hotels in New York City have started taking advantage of a local government-incentivized practice to house the homeless. Paying a flat $220 per night per room, it is now estimated that as much as 5% of the traditional rooms stock (about 5,500 guestrooms) have been taken out of the available 'visitor' inventory through this approach. However, reducing gross availability should, in theory, force up ADRs. Alas, this has not occurred which reinforces my conviction that we are seeing erosion due to the rapid proliferation of the home sharing economy.That's my hunch. Now I open this up for a broader debate. What's your hypothesis for this NYC ADR dilemma? On a more personal level, have alternate lodging providers impacted your bottom line?
Article by Dan Skodol

The Secret Sauce to Profitability for All-Inclusives: Understanding Total Guest Value

The Rainmaker Group 17 July 2018
The evolution of all-inclusive resorts reads a lot like the fairytale of Cinderella. From humble beginnings catering to a dollar-stretcher crowd - with mediocre buffet food, mid-level accommodations, and events centered around boisterous pool activities - to today's transformation into a bright, rising star in the hotel industry. From 2011 to 2014, demand for all-inclusives rose from 8 to 14 percent,1 and now they are one of the fastest growing segments in vacation lodging. Hundreds of all-inclusive resorts now span the globe, moving beyond beachside havens to include ski resorts, wellness retreats, and exotic cultural destinations. Fueled by improving economic conditions and shifting guest expectations, all-inclusives now offer posh accommodations, diverse cuisine, and an ever-expanding array of amenities and services for guests of all ages and preferences.Look Beyond Traditional KPIsWhile occupancy and package revenues have traditionally been key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor when seeking to boost profits at all-inclusive resorts, it's much more beneficial for hoteliers to focus on increasing their ratio of customers with higher Total Guest Values. Total Guest Value comprises the revenue a customer brings in from all resort profit centers, less all costs associated with that customer, including package and acquisition costs. With these insights at their fingertips, hotel revenue managers can more effectively target a resort's most valuable guests, as well as accurately forecast demand, optimize revenue, and drive higher profit margins across all customer segments.When considering Total Guest Value, it's important to understand that the type of traveler vacationing at all-inclusive resorts has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. No longer made up of budget-conscious vacationers and party-seeking singles, the new all-inclusive clientele skews toward multigenerational families, adventure seekers, health-and-wellness aficionados, luxury vacationers, and Millennials - who are making all-inclusives one of their top choices for destination weddings and honeymoons.2In the past, a primary disadvantage of all-inclusive resorts was the inability to upsell guests to generate additional revenue. All-inclusive vacationers were happy to lounge poolside and enjoy the standard one-size-fits-all menu of activities found at nearly every resort. Today's customer expectations have changed dramatically. All-inclusive resorts now offer a staggering array of ancillaries and luxury services to guests who are more willing to splurge on activities and experiences beyond their initial vacation package purchase. While traditional packages might include hotel, airfare, transportation, food, and beverage as fully covered, many all-inclusives are now adding upsell options such as entertainment, kids-zones or adults-only spaces, local excursions, and upscale restaurants. As a result, overall Total Guest Values are on the rise, and they're bringing all-inclusive resort profits right along with them. Targeted On-Property Upsells Boost Total Guest ValueIn order to improve profitability, it's important to capture data and analyze on-property guest shopping behavior at a granular level. Because guests typically pay for their packages several months before traveling, by the time they're on site, they feel comfortable indulging in ancillary purchases that will make their vacation more special. They're more likely to spend extra money on a nice bottle of wine, private dinner, personalized services, or even the work of local artisans on display, knowing they won't experience sticker shock at the end of their stay.All-inclusives gain incremental revenue by offering air and land transfers, and higher value/higher margin packages, such as wedding packages. Length of stay is another metric to consider, because in general, the longer a guest stays the higher their Total Guest Value. Guests who stay longer may be more likely to leave the resort. And with the all-inclusive model, every missed meal, or drink that's not consumed, ends up positively impacting a hotel's bottom line.One of the most notable changes between the old all-inclusive model and the modern one is the improvement in dining and drink offerings.3 Bland buffets have been replaced with high-end restaurants that partner with Michelin-star chefs. Today's resorts offer authentic, locally sourced cuisine, and premium spirits in handcrafted cocktails. "Foodie" guests can be tempted to pay additional for dining upgrades and special programs like chef-led trips to local markets, fishing with local fishermen, or learning the finer points of tequila making during a tequila tasting.Personalized amenities and bespoke experiences appeal to travelers across multiple segments. Luxury-seeking guests will savor state-of-the-art spa treatments and personal butler service. The growing resort-within-a-resort concept4 has gained a solid foothold in the all-inclusive luxury category. Guests are willing to pay for more deluxe accommodations with special views and on-demand shuttle service, as well as exclusive access to private restaurants, lounges, and unique areas of the property.Off-Property Experiences Meet Customer Desires Back in the day, travelers were fine with staying put within the resort gates for a week. Now travelers want more from their vacations, wishing to explore their surroundings through uniquely local, experiential activities.5 These excursions are rarely included in the original package fare.Sophisticated all-inclusive hotel operators are revamping activity offerings. Resorts can either create their own excursions or partner with off-property tour companies to bring in incremental revenue streams by providing culturally immersive excursions and outdoor adventure activities such as ziplining, scuba diving, and hiking.In addition, a growing desire for deeper meaning from travel experiences has led to surging demand for volunteer tourism, or "voluntourism."6 According to a Conde Nast Traveler "Readers' Poll," 47 percent of respondents said they are interested in volunteer vacations and 98 percent of those who had volunteered were satisfied with their experience. All-inclusives that develop traveler philanthropy programs experience a win-win-win. They not only help their local communities and increase guest satisfaction, but earn repeat visits as well. Many voluntourism guests return each year, visiting local communities to witness the difference they're making.The all-inclusive approach has shown that it consistently delivers strong ROI, with sector growth expected to increase between 5 and 7 percent per year.7 And when it comes to factoring Total Guest Value into the revenue optimization process, the impact on profits is clear. Today's all-inclusive guests are more than willing to make spontaneous travel purchase decisions for customized regional experiences and top-tier ancillaries.Revenue Management and Marketing should closely partner to capitalize on these opportunities to bring in high-value guests. They can work together to segment their business by looking at factors such as point of origin, booking channel, lead time, room type, and any other indicator that helps identify their most valuable guests. Revenue management should forecast future demand from high-value segments and identify ways to ensure that these guests have access to inventory at any given time.All-inclusive hotels can leverage their high-value demand by aligning amenities and services with guest preferences and spending habits to provide authentic traveler experiences that strengthen relationships with customers, inspire greater loyalty, and help to maximize bottom-line revenue.SOURCES:1Levine, Irene S. "All-Inclusive Resorts Are Back -- But Can Boomers Really Save?" Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 20 Mar. 2014, 2Covey, Claudette. "All-Inclusives: The Millennial Appeal." TravelPulse, 5 Nov. 2015,"Global Hospitality Insights: Top Thoughts for 2014." EY, EY Global Hospitality & Leisure and EY Global Real Estate, 2014,$FILE/EY-Global-hospitality-insights-2014.pdf. 4Friedland, Lois. "All-Inclusive Resorts Cater to Guests Seeking 5-Star Service." Global Traveler, 15 Apr. 2013, 5"Free Skift Report: The Rise of Experiential Travel." Skift, Skift, 16 Jan. 2017, 6"The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends and Statistics." Center for Responsible Travel, 2013, 7Myers, Nagle, and Johanna Jainchill. "The All-Inclusive Evolution." Travel Weekly, 7 Oct. 2015,

Hotel operating agreements: The modern-day dinosaur Featured Articles 17 July 2018
Hotel operating agreements have failed to keep pace with operating realities and industry landscape, creating misalignment between owners and operators.

Making the leap from tech dependent to tech savvy

Tnooz 17 July 2018
Patrick Fisher of Thomson Reuters notes in a recent blog post that, “As technologies become more and more pervasive across industries and functions, companies as varied as Goldman Sachs, Exxon, GE, Citi, and Walmart are all becoming technology companies as well.”
Article by Alan Young

How Everything We Learned in Kindergarten Can Impact the Hotel Technology Industry

Puzzle Partner Ltd. 17 July 2018
There is a great deal to be said about attending Kindergarten. It is the beginning of one's educational journey that will hopefully have a lasting impact on his or her life. If the career journey you have chosen is within the hotel technology industry, then the impact of Kindergarten will likely be even more significant. I am not suggesting that at the tender age of 4 or 5 you will start to code the next great guest engagement platform. Nor will you be given the educational value that will ensure you fully understand API's or XML Schema. However, at the core of what we learn in Kindergarten are some guiding principles that will always impact the hotel tech industry. First, let's take a look at the basic curriculum framework for Kindergarten which focuses on some very basic elements of communication, the understanding of community, and continuous learning. Below are the main components of today's Kindergarten classes:Aesthetic ExpressionCitizenshipCommunicationPersonal DevelopmentProblem-SolvingTechnological CompetenceSpiritual and Moral DevelopmentI would like to concentrate on three key sections to delve a little deeper into their impact on the hotel technology landscape.CommunicationCommunication is at the core of hospitality industry, whether it occurs during the booking process, on-property or any point during a trip. It is the bedrock on which the hotel industry stands. If we don't communicate effectively with our guests and exceed their needs, then we will likely lose their trust and business. Communication at the technological level is also paramount to the industry's overall success or failure. We have embedded a myriad of systems into the hotel operations world, and if these systems do not communicate with each other, there can be catastrophic outcomes that detrimentally affect the hotel's operations, profits, and relationship with their guest.Problem-SolvingProblem-solving may seem basic, however, in our industry, it can be quite challenging. The demands of our guests tend to drive the development of solutions and platforms that will address their needs. Today's guests are much more difficult to read and often quite fickle. Mobile has entered the fray and is now the primary tool for guest engagement on a daily basis. The industry has jumped at the challenge to address this mobile-centric environment by developing a plethora of guest engagement applications, guest communications platforms and almost everything else under the sun. Have we solved a problem or developed one? The core of problem-solving is understanding the issues that are affecting the guest or the industry at large. Sometimes we do this in a bubble and develop what we think the guest will need - without ever asking their opinion. I sincerely wish that more technology providers invested time interviewing guests and asking them questions that are genuinely relevant to the application or solution development. Grassroots problems-solving through the use of real-world market intelligence is key to the success.Technological Competence Having technological competence included in as part of the Kindergarten curriculum is quite an eye-opener. In our advanced, connected world, children are much more in tune with technology. Such immersion will bring an amazing amount of knowledge and insight into our industry in the near future. Whenever I am traveling, I see children everywhere glued to their smartphones and tablets where they are continually learning unless of course, they are watching movies, but I guess it depends on the movie. In our unique industry, we must always be learning to innovate. We need to learn from our guests, from our peers, and from our mistakes, but most importantly, learning is a constant. We, as an industry, need to cultivate young minds and support them so we can create the most relevant and useful technology to our guests.I personally don't remember very much from my earlier years, but I do understand that those years had an enormous impact on my life and career today. The people around me, the teachers, the mentors, my parents and siblings, all influenced who I am today. Each and every day I am learning from people within our industry, and I thank them for publishing provocative articles, developing great software and for being innovative. It all started with Kindergarten.

72 Voice-Search Stats, Facts, and Tips [Infographic]

MarketingProfs·Requires Registration 16 July 2018
Here's everything you wanted to know about voice search compiled into one infographic—created by SEO agency advisor SEO Tribunal—which includes a timeline, usage stats, device comparisons, and more.

Half-year report card: How is 2018 faring? Featured Articles 16 July 2018
We’ve officially hit the halfway point of the year, so it’s time to take stock.

To succeed in driving direct bookings, invest in it Featured Articles 16 July 2018
There’s a lot of talk about driving guests to book direct, but it takes more than lip service to make it happen. Hoteliers must actually invest both effort and money to make it work.

7 tips for operationalizing analytics

The Analytic Hospitality Executive | SAS 13 July 2018
One of the biggest challenges we’ve been hearing from customers lately is that they need help operationalizing analytics to extend the value of their modeling efforts. In many cases, they’ve hired smart data analysts who can transform data and create sophisticated models, but their work is used for a single purpose and then it sits on a hard drive somewhere.
Article by Terri Miller

Voice of the Guest: How Data Informs the Hotel Guest Experience

Concilio Labs, Inc. 12 July 2018
What makes an exceptional guest experience? This is the question hoteliers find themselves continuously striving to answer as they work to refine (and evolve) their service offering. However -- this is also a question that can garner countless different answers, depending on which guest you ask. The better question for hospitality experts becomes, what tool or methods can provide hoteliers with critical insights if they had the opportunity to ask every prospective guest what matters most to them? In other words, how can hoteliers capitalize on the fruits of an individual conversation they can't actually have, but need to in order to understand how to provide exceptional, personalized service? Genuinely effective hospitality marketing involves the recognition and understanding of each guest's needs and desires, frustrations, values, travel behaviors, and more.Data is the answer. Data, collected at various touchpoints of the guest experience, and beyond, provides hoteliers with access to the Voice of the Guest--let's call it the VoG. With the right strategy in place, VoG allows you to hone in on important data segments and translate a wide variety of guest opinions, objectives, and expectations into actionable insights for your property. A recent study shows companies using the voice of the customer data have almost ten times as much annual company revenue growth those who do not utilize VoG data. According to the same study, they also have much higher employee engagement and customer retention rates. For hoteliers specifically, this means improvements in guest satisfaction, loyalty, spend, market share, marketing ROI, and more. VoG: Beyond the Feedback Survey It's important to note true VoG extends beyond reviews, surveys, and questionnaires. While these are handy resources to obtain an overview of some aspects of the guest experience, they don't provide the type of intuitive insight we're looking for when we refer to VoG. Why? Because guests may not always be able to effectively communicate what they want through the structured, solicited confines of those tools in a way that is actionable to a hotel. A quick online survey could potentially send a hotel into a damage-control mission over a one-off problem that isn't an actual trend for guests at that hotel. Ultimately, solicited data (while still at times useful) is limiting and can be easily misinterpreted or manipulated to fit agendas that may not be valuable to a hotel long term.Further, most feedback surveys provide information post stay--hoteliers looking to attract guests to their hotels want access to that data ahead of time. Think a proactive marketing approach, versus a strategy that is always reactive in nature.The best approach involves taking those direct requests and recommendations from guests and combining them with the insights revealed through guest behavior. VoG allows hotels to understand each guests' needs, track all feedback in one place, conduct competitive research, and continuously monitor data in an actionable manner. Information isn't of any value to a hotel without context--that's merely the "what" without the "why." Instead, VoG enables hoteliers to understand what guests do, and why they do it.Information + Context = Actionable Value Using various outlets such as social media and online channels, documented guest data and preferences, and booking behaviors to create a comprehensive guest profile, hotels can see the complete, bigger picture. Hoteliers are empowered to effectively anticipate guest needs, answer guest requests, communicate in a personalized manner and deal with any issues that arise in a more proactive way.Ideally, with the right technology in place, hoteliers can access a user-friendly dashboard that displays guest insights derived from a wide range of sources (reviews, OTA's, booking channels, social media, and more). Using this information--which can include direct reviews, search behaviors, stored preferences, social media habits--hoteliers gain a truly holistic view of their guest.A CRM such as the one just described, a Guest Intelligence platform, allows your entire team access to a wealth of guest-centric knowledge, including interactive views of reservation and guest profile data. Moreover, hoteliers can utilize a tool that assigns a score to each guest--better clarifying the way in which they should prioritize guest interaction. This score comprises various indicators, including (but not limited to): social influence, travel behaviors, and demonstrated loyalty, allowing hoteliers to identify those guests who deserve special attention. Armed with this information, hoteliers are better equipped to offer each guest relevant offers and communications, at the right time and through the right channel.Hoteliers today are in a unique position, as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, AI, popular online channels and communication streams provide more access to guest-specific data than ever before. Capitalizing on VoG, your hotel can build stronger, personalized relationships with each guest, while better identifying problems (even before they happen) and systematically specifying your marketing efforts and investments.Are you ready to see (and understand) the person behind each reservation?

Marketers Should Know: How Influencers Generate Revenue [Infographic]

MarketingProfs·Requires Registration 12 July 2018
Marketers who work with influencers may be interested to know that there are more ways to work with your famous partners than simply sponsoring social media posts or using affiliate links.

New York ADR Dilemma

Larry Mogelonsky 12 July 2018
Like most every other role at a hotel, being an owner or investor has never been easy. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in New York City where exorbitant construction costs mixed with steadily increasing wage rates, maintenance and depreciation can make the break-even point higher than practically any other locale on the continent. Thank goodness this is reflected in the average daily rates.

How to Use Data to Build a Profitable Resort

Hotel Online 11 July 2018
When I became a Director of Architectural Projects in August 2016, it was to provide our owners with a more data-driven approach to resort construction. How existing resorts are operated and how new properties are developed must keep pace with both technology and planned growth. Your project managers, working directly with resort owners, should create cohesive brand standards.
Article by Margaret Ady

From Tech Dependent to Tech Savvy: How Hotels Can Get Ahead of the Curve

apaleo GmbH 11 July 2018
Patrick Fisher of Thomson Reuters notes that, "As technologies become more and more pervasive across industries and functions, companies as varied as Goldman Sachs, Exxon, GE, Citi, and Walmart are all becoming technology companies as well." Hotels may not be peddling technology, but they are profiting off of their ability to offer guests innovative technology solutions as well as their ability to use technology to do better business. Even if hotels aren't ready to be labelled technology companies, hotel operations have evolved from an industry that once utilized technology to a technology-dependent industry.However, as Futurecast notes, a tech dependency doesn't necessarily mean the users are tech savvy. Even when it comes to digital natives/millennials. Adapting technology to our needs can be a challenge even for those immersed in it. Perhaps this is why hotels are more tech-dependent than ever but most will report they are lagging behind the tech curve.So how can hotels move from laggards to innovators? Here's a look at what tech savvy companies are doing to stay ahead of the curve.Review the budgetTech-competitive hotels dedicate budget to technology. 71% of hotels that consider themselves innovators will increase technology budgets in the coming year, according to Hotel Technology's 2018 Lodging Technology Study. Hotels that do not reallocate the technology budget will fall behind the curve. Increasing the technology budget does not necessarily have a negative impact on the bottom line. This shift will is likely increase efficiency and will, over time, have positive revenue ramifications across departments. Consider this when budgeting.Source -- Hotel Technology: 2018 Lodging Technology StudyReinvent the central technology systemFor many years now, the PMS has been the heart and core system for most hotels. As the 2018 Lodging Technology Study notes, "The PMS has truly become the central hub of hotels, being tasked to do a myriad of different functions." While in theory this sounds fine, in practice it presents problems. In trying to tout all-encompassing feature lists, PMS vendors develop poorly implemented functionalities that would be better developed by app developers specialized in these areas (think upsell, mobile check in, BI/reporting, etc.). But most PMSs do not connect with these third party applications, so hotels are stuck with their PMS's functionalities or none at all.Hotels that want to drive their technology forward will need to rethink the requirements of their PMS and reinvent how it is used within the context of the hotel's full technology stack. Tech-savvy hotels will search for lean PMSs that offer a fully open 2-way API. This allows the hotel to use core functionality from its PMS and add additional features by connecting its favorite apps and micro-services at the click of a button. The hotel can then grant these apps access to the information stored in the PMS and write back data to the PMS so that all technology works together seamlessly. Approaching the PMS this way creates the most innovative scenario hotels have seen to date. It might initially feel risky to make the jump, but what's riskier is relying on proprietary, closed legacy systems that don't innovate at all.Self-disrupt to innovateSelf-disruption - not to be confused with self-destruction - is when companies find ways to evolve or completely overhaul their current mode of operating before another company beats them to it. A good example is when Apple knowingly killed its iPod sales with the iPhone. It is common practice at major tech corporations, and Gartner reports that by 2020 five of the top seven digital giants will self-disrupt.Hotels can get ahead of technology by doing the same. Self-disruption will mean different things for different hotels. For a traditional, single property hotel, it may begin with switching to a native, cloud-based PMS in order to create operational efficiency, train new staff faster, and access data on mobile devices while on the go. For a hotel with tech-savvy business travelers, it may mean connecting new technology that allows for faster (self) check-in - or better yet, setting up the infrastructure to run a staffless operation. For Marriott, this meant introducing voice technology, with the recent announcement of Alexa-enabled rooms. The opportunities are endless, but one thing is clear: hotels that take the time to reflect on guest needs and self-disrupt will succeed in an already saturated market. Technology, guest access to it as well as operational innovation, will become one of the things that differentiates hotels and drives guest loyalty in the coming years.Say it out loud, "My hotel is a technology company"In fact, almost all companies are technology companies now. Even at a coffee shop, if the Wi-Fi is lousy or the POS hiccups every time the tablet is spun around to get a signature, the business will suffer. Hotels that embrace the fact that they are as much a technology company as they are a hospitality organization will inherently put technology at the center where it needs to be. Let's face it, marketing runs on technology, reservations run on technology, revenue management runs on technology, as does F&B, the spa, the gift shop, housekeeping. You get the drift. Hotels that aren't actively prioritizing technology and actively working to change the entire organization's mindset will lag behind.Recruit and hire tech-savvy leadersWhile it shouldn't be a pre-requisite for every executive team member to have worked in Silicon Valley, hotels do need to hire at least one staff member who handles technology. By this, I do not mean hardware. Not the person who makes sure the computers run. I mean a high-level developer, tech lead or CIO who can review and consult on proposed technology purchases. One who can speak to the true assets and drawbacks of the technology. One who can see if it integrates with the rest of the tech stack. This way the hotel will know when a vendor says that they integrate fully that they actually mean it (because, loads of companies say they do, and it's not always true).It may seem odd to discuss forward-thinking technology without mentioning the latest buzzworthy tech like AI, VR and blockchain, but this emphasis on individual technologies is how lagging hotels have gotten where they are - just trying to keep up with the next thing. It's time for hotels to take stock of how they budget, prioritize, implement, and innovate with technology, which requires a philosophical change at the senior level. One that says, Technology is as much our priority as hospitality because it is required to deliver the experience our guests expect. Instead of piecemeal tech solutions doled out to different departments based on who's most in need, hotels must create a holistic technology strategy, one guided by hospitality principles but led by technology know-how.
Article by Georges Panayotis

The hotel business rebuilds servuction

Hospitality ON 11 July 2018
What if it was all for nothing? What if living an unforgettable stay experience, which one will absolutely want to repeat, depended only on impalpable elements? A functional and attractive aesthetic product is now the bare minimum to attract and retain customers. While it is absolutely necessary, it is not enough. For the customer, these services are self-evident. Comfort, ergonomics, a sense of security are essential to good accommodations.But it is necessary to have a more global and far-reaching vision with a broader focus; offering an accommodations product now means providing a universe, a whole that can meet all needs, all expectations and adapt to all rhythms and lifestyles. Materials and products are now accessible to more and more consumers, and is becoming increasingly difficult to surprise a customer. If you are not fortunate enough to own or operate an exceptional property that conceals hidden treasures of craftsmanship, like the Lutetia, which resuscitated paintings and moldings created more than a century ago when the property was created, or other properties that are in an exceptional architectural setting, then it is necessary to invest in other ways to stand out.The key to good performance now lies in the success of the customer experience through services, staff, attitude, posture, practical and comprehensive socialization tools that become a genuine sindrofos or travel companion - like Sancho Panza was for Don Quixote- for the guest. A faithful servant available via his or her smartphone that is ever present, from morning to night and even at night. The host must be reachable at all times and able to meet immediate needs or even anticipate them in the same way that a butler would have done more than a century ago; the host must also be able to provide guests with suggestions that can meet their needs.After all, how can you judge a successful design? How can we hope to build spaces that enchant both Middle Eastern and Asian clientele at once? How can we cope with the overbidding of products and services? Rather than focusing on a battle lost in advance for most institutions, it is better to invest resources in digital tools that are adapted, efficient and readily available. Book a meeting space, find a restaurant selected and certified by the hotelier, plan an out of the ordinary excursion, live like a native thanks to advice on the best bar in the area, know the weather; meet other customers at the property and why not do business with them: this is what makes the difference. It is by putting everything at the client's fingertips that we will build a lasting relationship with them, and it is through this lasting relationship that profits will be maximized.We must not forget the central role of staff, whether or not they are in direct contact with the client, because accommodations are like beehives where each person has a crucial role to play. Employee training is decisive for the success of the stay. Everyone must have a strong service culture but also carry within them the values of the property in order to be able to translate them into their actions, decisions and attitude. To succeed, therefore, the hotelier must be dedicated to his customers and also take a staff-centered approach to retain and push staff towards excellence.Current and future technologies offer us boundless possibilities, the only barriers between a hotel owner and his customer are those of our own creativity. In an environment that is constantly changing and undergoing profound transformations, it would be delusional to want to do without soft skills and invest only in hard because it would mean completely missing the foundations of customer relations. The business of hotel establishments will undergo its own mutation as well, since a good part of the service will be provided by applications whose ownership will not be associated with the business. The battle is just beginning, some operators are investing heavily to create these ecosystems at the level of their own brands. After the mutation that has taken place in digital distribution, the next stage will occur within staff and ecosystems created by applications. The revolution of hospitality is still in its infancy.

Is GDPR Legislation Coming to U.S. Hotels?

Hotel Online 10 July 2018
Privacy legislation is dominating the news cycle these days-and it's unlikely to slow down. Now, as U.S. companies are adjusting to the requirements of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, the State of California has introduced new laws that will apply to California companies or companies doing business in California.
Article by Ava Lee

9 Ways Blockchain Technology Is Emerging As A Game-Changer In The Hotel Industry

Ava Lee 10 July 2018
The blockchain technology is slowly and steadily carving out a prominent space for itself across different industries. Ideally, blockchain can be recognized as a decentralized, invulnerable ledger system that keeps track of economic transactions that can be implemented to record anything that holds value, other than just financial transactions. What was initiated as the foundation of the cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin, the advantages that blockchain brings to the table has been successfully integrated with the hotel and hospitality industry.The blockchain technology brings a path-breaking approach in the ways business processes are carried out, according to the developers who are creating platforms that use cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers to enhance the hotel booking systems, review websites and more.While a blockchain may not provide the solution for every challenge that is encountered by the hotel industry, but blockchain-based systems do present efficient solutions for several aspects of the industry. So let's throw light on how the blockchain technology benefits the hotel and hospitality industry, and its application.The advantages of blockchain technologyUsing blockchain technology in the hospitality industry presents several advantages, with the most evident one being the aspect of security and stability. For example, all the information becomes decentralised and easily regulated, and the database would be online at all times and reduces the risks in case of cyber threats, all of which are significant when it comes to maintaining financial transactions through digital platforms.Additionally, the blockchain can be beneficial for accessing and storing information, and prompting better collaboration within the operations and ultimately enhancing the overall travel experience for tourists and consumers. Presented below are some of the ways blockchain proves advantageous for the hotel industry.1. Helps in garnering better revenuesBy adopting the blockchain technology, the hotels can share their catalog or inventory and other properties online with all the potential consumers. This enables the businesses to be more visible to the people. This, in turn, results in more exposure to the hotels and subsequently helps them to accumulate more revenues.2. Safe transaction facilityOne of the most prominent perks of blockchain technology is the seamlessness of transactions. Since all the global currency system or bank accounts are precisely integrated, it makes carrying out the transactions a lot convenient. In fact, this comes as a blessing in case of settling the payments of overseas transactions.3. The convenience of booking a hotelThe system of decentralization of the database in blockchain simplifies the travel and hotel booking processes. With the help of the technology, people can automatically check the availability of accommodation or transportation and pay for the services directly. This would reduce the dependence on travel agents.4. Establishing real-time collaborationAll details relevant to the hotel and hospitality industry can be managed efficiently by the blockchain technology. The details can be passed on to many organizations, and they can work together to provide a greater customer experience.5. Helps in maintaining transparency in supply chainLarge organizations within the hospitality industry generally follow the franchise model where the quality of different supplies is immensely crucial to maintain the reputation of the brand. The blockchain technology opens up the opportunity to maintain absolute transparency in case of supply chain and make the whole process simple.6. Assists in enhancing the user experience through loyalty programsLoyalty programs enables the consumers to access all their points quickly. Such policies of loyalty benefits don't involve any gimmicky promotion strategy, and the tokens are offered to the tourists in a digitalized manner. In this case, the hotels, airlines, car rentals, and tour guides can form the blockchain network for their consumers to redeem their loyalty points from the partner organizations.This hospitality industry has often been considered a sensitive business in terms of satisfying the consumers. The integration of blockchain technology will definitely allow the hospitality industry to provide an unmatched customer experience, and also make the backend processes more seamless, and establish the brand value.7. Creating smarter contracts between hotels and travel agenciesThe implementation of blockchain technology in the hotel industry also allows the formation of smarter contracts for both minor and major transactions. Hotels and travel agencies, for example, could strengthen their business relationships with smart contracts on blockchain systems.Like the legal contract, a smart contract between hotels and travel agencies would incorporate the contractual provisions that are predetermined by both the parties.Anytime a transaction is underway; it is saved and shared on the blockchain. When the transactions are recorded, the payments can be settled immediately. Not only would it simplify the transactions, but would also further boost the sales of a room through better liaisons between travel agencies and hotels.8. Establishing digital identificationBlockchain technology can resolve the issue of identity theft. In hotels, restaurants, airports, tourists are generally required to present their ID as proof in order to get through the security checks while boarding flights, booking hotel rooms, or while consuming alcoholic beverages. Such processes often give rise to identity theft of the consumers.As a credible solution to this issue specific digital IDs can be provided, or alternatively, driver's licenses, birth certificates, passports, social security numbers, and evidence of identification can be saved in the blockchain system, and people can be given permissions to check and verify the personal details.Much like the QR codes, the digital IDs can come with cryptographically-secured codes that provide the validation of one's identity without actually looking into the personal details of a consumer. Other than warding off the likelihood of physical IDs or personal details, digital IDs that are saved on a blockchain could also reduce the risk of forgery.9. Keeping track of the guestsThe implementation of blockchain technology in hotels is bringing a colossal transformation in terms of keeping track of the guests. With the blockchain platforms, hotels can stay updated right from the time guests set out from home for the airport to when they check in to board the flight and even upon arrival at the hotel.This procedure of tracking helps in increasing the efficiency, and decreases wait time while the check-in process is underway and hence make it convenient for the guests to travel in a hassle-free manner.Now many may argue that tracking the guests' movements would mean meddling with their privacy, but the process of tracking will only be initiated after the guest's authorization, and ultimately the consumers will be able to regulate the degree of information that they wish to share with hotels or other members in the network. Hence, the blockchain technology has the potential to offer seamlessly integrated services without intruding into their personal space.Even though these processes have only been underway and hasn't been fully implemented yet, but that day isn't too far away when the technology will completely take over the mainstream operations in the hotel industry.

Oracle Hospitality And The Loyalty Divide

Larry Mogelonsky 10 July 2018
With Oracle Hospitality having the largest market share of any property management system (PMS) in the world, when they move the world listens. Fortunately, I was invited to share in the experience of their annual partners conference, Oracle Industry Connect, held in New York City in mid-April.
Article by David Lund

Hospitality Financial Leadership - Why Hotel Brands and Franchisers Secretly Love the OTAs

The Hotel Financial Coach 10 July 2018
I know we all hear the battle cries every day in our industry, but what's really going on with hotel brands, franchisers, the online travel agents and their war over commissions and fees? In this piece, I am going to expose an angle that I think needs some light. It gets back to a fundamental understanding of how our industry functions based on its evolved structure, with brands and owners. I also believe this is a good lesson in hotel business strategy, to understand what underpins the relationship between the warring parties and what drives the business model with hotel franchisers and brands.The first thing to know about hotel management companies and franchises is they make the lion's share of their revenues and resulting profits based on the hotels in their portfolios generating revenue. Fees based on revenues are what drive the hotel brand's business model. They also make money on reservation systems and other services, but normally these are on a cost recovery basis. The brands tell their hotels that the services they provide are on a cost-return basis and largely they are. Very little profit is generated by the brands from their other services. On the flip side--when you look at the way the fees are calculated--is a simple total revenue or total room revenue times "x" to produce the fee.What really matters most to the brands is getting their hotels to produce more revenue. The more revenue the better. Not profit, revenue.The second thing to know is that management companies and franchises make little or no money on the profits their hotel owners make. Unless the agreement with the hotel has profit sharing or an incentive fee component built in, the hotel owner does not share any profits with their brand.The third thing to know is fees paid to the brands by the owners are in no way linked to the hotel's profitability. Whether or not the hotel is profitable has zero impact on the calculation of the fees or the requirement to pay these fees every month.I don't know about you, but I see a problem here. The problem I see is the brands make hay on the backs of their hotels whether the sun is shining or not. Not unlike a stockbroker who makes fees on your entire portfolio regardless of their performance with your investments. Some might think this is OK and the way it should be, but I see it as offside.Let's look at the impact the online travel agents have had a big hand in. For almost the past 20 years the OTAs have been turning the hotel and travel world on its head. They have built systems that allow any hotel to sign up almost universally without any upfront fees and instantly market their hotel around the world to the ever-growing planet of the traveling public. This, in my opinion, is the single biggest positive development in our industry ever. Hotels always have used travel agents and what has happened in 20 years is more and more business has moved online--where today the individual hotel consumers' world is virtually all online.Shopping for a hotel room online? In general, we can thank the OTAs for this phenomenon, they created it. How does all of this online activity benefit the hotel brands with little skin in the game?Here are some revenue factsAccording to a Cushman and Wakefield report, room revenue in America has grown from $70 billion in 1998 to a whopping $150 billion in 2017. That's more than a 100 percent increase in 20 years. Here are the numbers that make this up: supply in 1998, 3.9 million rooms; 2017, 5 million rooms; RevPAR in 1998, $50 and in 2017 it was $81.Now let's look at feesThe typical hotel management fee of 3 percent of total revenue and a franchise fee of 5 percent of room revenue will be used in this exercise. I know these are estimates but bear with me. We'll be blending the two together and using a conservative 4 percent of total revenue as a gauge.The total fees charged to owners in the past 20 years has more than doubled as well. No surprise, revenue doubles and so do the fees. Fees in 1998 at $70 billion equal $2.8 billion. Same 4 percent of revenue in 2017 equals $6 billion.The first real question and my point is this: How much of the increase in room revenue in the past 20 years has been because of the platforms and systems built by the OTAs? The simple answer is lots of it.The second question: How much investment was incurred by the hotel companies to get consumers to use the OTAs and ultimately spend more and thereby generating more fees for them? The answer is quite simply - A Big Fat Zero. Someone else built the OTA monsters and the brands are the number one recipient of the benefit with no investment.Would hotel companies minus the OTAs have invested the cash necessary and revolutionized the travel industry? I think not. They are management companies and they are capital light. That's their strategy. Put their name on the hotel, and let the owner invest and drive the guest experience, brand promise and fees.I'm not saying OTAs do not have some faults and some hotels may rely on them too much, but the fact is they have had a big hand in revolutionizing the travel world and that is very good for brands and owners.No wonder hotel management companies and franchisers secretly love the OTAs. Anything that drives revenues their way is what works.When something or someone else does this for them, it's golden.

Hospitality Financial Leadership: Why Hotel Brands and Franchisers Secretly Love the OTAs

Hotel Online 9 July 2018
I know we all hear the battle cries every day in our industry, but what’s really going on with hotel brands, franchisers, the online travel agents and their war over commissions and fees? In this piece, I am going to expose an angle that I think needs some light. It gets back to a fundamental understanding of how our industry functions based on its evolved structure, with brands and owners. I also believe this is a good lesson in hotel business strategy, to understand what underpins the relationship between the warring parties and what drives the business model with hotel franchisers and brands.
Article by Mark Lewis-Brown

Discounting is for Dummies - Part Three

Vertical Booking USA 9 July 2018
One of the best - and worst - things about the hospitality industry is how much most hotels have in common: they're offering relatively similar products and have a great deal of competition within their immediate marketplace - other hotels, alternative accommodations and the OTAs - which, in most cases, leaves hoteliers waging an uphill battle to profitability.But instead of thinking outside of the box when it comes to boosting direct bookings, decreasing the cost of acquisition and increasing overall RevPAR, most hoteliers continue to follow the old-school playbook (which probably smells as musty as my Great Aunt Tessie at this point) every day, every month and every year, hoping and praying for a different result.Making an already difficult, competitive and complex market even more so, technology - and consumer demand - continue to evolve at a lightning-fast pace with the coming-of-age of the newest generation of travelers: Millennials (cue groans here!).So, obviously, that's the bad part of our current shared experiences. But, wait... it's not time to run for hills just yet!Let's not forget all the good happening in the hospitality industry now: legislations are changing that help hotels win back market share from the OTAs, Airbnb began allowing hotels to list their rooms on the site (giving hoteliers a new sales channel) and we, as an industry, are learning, each and every day, how to improve our operational strategies and, as a result, boost our bottom lines. Today, hoteliers also have access to a smorgasbord of operational technology that helps boost direct bookings and RevPAR, without even lifting a finger. Three cheers for automation!All that is to say that today's hoteliers have a great opportunity to use innovative, out-of-the-box reservations, revenue and channel management strategies that will differentiate your property from the hundreds or, even, thousands of direct and indirect competitors in your marketplace - which is the subject of our article, the third and final part of our Discounting is for Dummies article series. (If you've fallen behind on your reading, read Part One and Part Two here). Today, we will examine how automation - using technology that you may even already have - can help boost your property's bottom line: more specifically, I will share tips and tricks that will help your property leverage the power of your CRS to improve your direct booking conversion rates AND boost your RevPAR.Of course, we all know what a CRS is: it is the hub connecting all your distribution channels - including your website, metasearch engines, the GDSs and online travel agencies - to your property management system (PMS). You may (or may not) also be familiar with the top benefits of a CRS:An effective CRS gives your property access to ALL your distribution channels through a single platform, making it quick and easy to manage inventory, pricing, the property's website, among many other valuable features.A good CRS grows as your business does. Whether your property gets a huge influx of reservations at one time (because of a special event) or because your property continues growing in popularity over time, your CRS should adjust its performance accordingly to ensure that it is as productive as possible - no matter how meteoric your growth becomes.Your CRS can make it much easier for your property to handle complex reservation requests (hello, bleisure travelers!) with no extra muss or fuss.But, there is one additional, lesser-known benefit of using a CRS: by using a sophisticated, integrated, well-rounded CRS solution, your property can increase your direct booking conversation rates.**MIC DROP**Just kidding, I'll pick it back up to tell you how to get your CRS started on boosting your direct bookings, TODAY. By adding these built-in CRS features into your reservation management strategy, your property will quickly see the impact that it can have on your property's occupancy, ADR and RevPAR.So, let's get started now with the first CRS feature that you should leverage NOW:FEATURE: OTA Rate Comparison Pop-UpThe new and largest generation of travelers (read: Millennials) are primarily looking for a great travel experience, BUT they also prioritize value, as they often travel for much longer periods of time than previous generations did. Unfortunately, most consumers believe that the room rates on the OTAs are much lower than offered through properties' websites, making it unlikely that a Millennial will book directly without double-checking rates offered by the OTAs and metasearch engines.But there's an app (platform?!) for that!Your CRS can enable OTA Rate Comparison Pop-Ups to potential guests who are checking the availability and pricing of your rooms on your website; the pop-ups show real-time rates from the top OTAs and metasearch engines, making your potential guest comfortable that he/she is getting the best rate on their upcoming trip - and making them more likely to book directly.This feature also benefits hotels; using OTA Rate Comparison Pop-Ups is a great way for your revenue management team to ensure that the property's OTA room rates automatically match the lowest rate, while remaining in parity.FEATURE: Persuasive Messaging & TaggingWhile shopping online, have you ever seen a message in the corner of your screen saying: "Hurry, there is only one more of this item in stock!" If you're like most people, you will click BUY immediately; the fact that it is almost out-of-stock made you realize that you CANNOT live without it. The Persuasive Messaging & Tagging feature shows a potential guest that others are looking at and/or booking rooms, at that exact moment (social proof) and that the property is so popular that they are almost completely booked (scarcity). The combination of these two psychological triggers are powerful ones, and ones that your CRS can help your property leverage to boost direct bookings. This strategy is especially effective when marketing to Millennials; experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out) is highly effective at driving action, as "the majority of adult Millennials stated that they want to say yes to everything due to the fear of missing out (as shown in a study done in the US and UK)." And, the best part of using FOMO to boost direct bookings: vacations and travel are the one of the most FOMO-inducing experiences for Millennials, making this feature is a MUST if you want to boost bookings with this valuable demographic. FEATURE: Secret, Locked DealsThis feature helps hotels to use the psychological trigger of reciprocity, in which the property gives the potential guest something special (access to lower rates) in exchange for their email address (and permission to add them to your email marketing list). Secret rates make potential guests feel like VIPs, which makes them more likely to book with you AND it gives you the opportunity to market to them regularly (a good way to increase repeat visits - the most profitable ones for hotels!).FEATURE: Abandoned Cart Recovery Strategy Like in the retail industry, this feature encourages guests who are about to abandon the reservation to complete the booking, using a fully customized pop-up message. Simple but also, highly effective! FEATURE: Competitor's Rate CheckerAre you always competing for guests with one (or many) direct competitors in your city? Looking for an easy way to compare their rates without having to search each property's site manually? The Competitor's Rate Checker feature makes it easy for the revenue management team to monitor the rates of your pesky competitors, in real-time, from the main online distribution portals; this enables rate changes on the fly and an increase in occupancy because your rates will continue to beat the rates of those dorks over at INSERT COMPETING HOTEL NAME HERE. FEATURE: Metasearch Management ToolConsumers LOVE metasearch channels, as they are the OTA equivalent of the OTA Rate Comparison Pop-Up feature that we discussed earlier: they allow potential guests to see ALL of the available rates on ALL of the OTA sites and, therefore, feel more comfortable knowing that they got the best room rate possible. But, I would bet than many hotels don't feel the same way about metasearch channels. Managing, monitoring and updating rates on the OTAs, PLUS the metasearch engines can get tiresome; after all, revenue managers are already spending, what must feel like one million years, looking at data, making calculations and updating rates across all these channels. Having a Metasearch Management Tool integrated into your CRS allows the property's revenue management team to manage, monitor and connect with the top metasearch engines, all from one simple platform. Rates and availability are pulled from the booking engine and sent to the metasearch platform, with all clicks directed to the booking engine on the property's website. Metasearch, managed! FEATURE: Alternative OffersMost hoteliers and revenue managers focus on two opportunities (during the consumer booking cycle) to boost revenue: when the guest chooses their room type and then once they have checked-in, with the possibility of buying additional services or food and beverage on-site. But how many hotels are thinking about the opportunity to upsell (beyond the basic: "Want a fancier room? No? OK.")? I'll tell you, it's not as many as there should be. Major key alert: upselling is a huge revenue booster and your CRS should integrate functions that automate upselling for every customer who moves from looking to booking, via your booking engine. Instead of just offering a fancier room (as ALL hotels do, and which most customers rarely consider because it's so unnecessarily expensive), the Alternative Offers feature in a CRS can automatically suggest special promotions for guests who choose to stay for additional nights and/or can offer bundle packages during the room selection phase of the booking cycle (among many other upselling options, designed according to your property's business goals and amenities).Upselling is basically free money, so shouldn't you have a CRS who will handle that for you, with no muss and no fuss? (Hint: the only right answer is YES!!)FEATURE: Flexible Date CalendarMy favorite airline booking tool is Google Flights; using their calendar feature, it's never been easier to compare rates and determine which days make it most affordable to fly. Today, there are so many travelers (i.e. digital nomads and business travelers) who have the flexibility to choose their travel dates to decrease their overall spend - instead of making decisions based on a set date of travel, as was traditionally how people booked flights. Until recently, there was no tool that allowed travelers the same flexibility when booking a hotel stay; now, sophisticated CRS solutions can show potential guests room rates for a specific date range on a calendar, making it easy for them to find and book the least expensive stay possible - no extra clicks required! Now, I know that was a long one article so thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end! Let's finish this article with one very simple question: does your CRS offer all these revenue-boosting features? Once again, the only right answer is YES!!

Four Steps to Developing a Holistic Approach to Measurement

MarketingProfs·Requires Registration 9 July 2018
Now that we're halfway into the year, marketers should not only have their annual goals set but also well on their way to accomplishing them. And if those goals were set thoughtfully, they align with the brand's initiatives and with industry trends.
Article by Michael Toedt

GDPR complaints are on the rise. Are you prepared?

Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. GmbH 9 July 2018
As an indicator of what is to come, let's look at what's been happening outside of the hospitality industry. Regulators in the UK, France, Austria, and across Europe are reporting a sharp increase in data protection complaints and breach notifications since the GDPR came into effect. The majority of these complaints were filed against tech giants like Google and Facebook.Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, the head of French data protection regulator, CNIL, told Politico: "The general public is interested about all the transparency obligations, consent and all the new rights."What does this mean for the hospitality industry? Should hotels be concerned? Only time will tell, however, with maximum fines up to EUR20m or 4% of a company's global turnover - whichever is higher, hotels must be prepared if complaints come their way.So how can hotels prepare? First, they must have a proper way to manage all guest data. Since most hotels use multiple different systems that all store guest data in different formats, this can quickly become a burden. One way to simplify the storage of data is to centrally manage all guest data in one system. In this scenario, if a guest requests that his or her data is retrieved, edited, or removed, the hotel can simply fulfill the request at the click of a button.Centralized data management has further benefits for hotels. It allows them to truly understand their guests and use their data in meaningful ways. Imagine the possibilities when data from a hotel's PMS, POS, WLAN, newsletter system, Outlook, booking engine, channel manager, questionnaires, website etc. are all in one place. The possibilities to personalize marketing, upsell communications and guest services are limitless. Centralized data management transforms data into revenue.Learn more about how to leverage your hotel's data in the post-GDPR landscape in an all new webinar hosted by Michael Toedt, Managing Partner and CEO at dailypointTM. The webinar will cover:What the new GDPR regulations areWhat the implications are for hotelsBest practices for hotels to handle the requirementsHow to simplify compliance with all your data in one, centrally managed sourceFurther operational benefits of central data managementThe webinar will take place on July 13th at 10am CEST in German and at 11:30am CEST in English. Register now, as space is limited.

What can Michael Chui teach you about AI?

The Analytic Hospitality Executive | SAS 6 July 2018
Are you still learning about artificial intelligence and researching how it can be applied to your business scenarios? In a recent Harvard Business Review webinar, moderator Angela Herrin had an opportunity to discuss the value of AI to organizations with both Michael Cui and Brain McCarthy of McKinsey. Their discussion covered best practices for successful AI deployments and predictions about the future of AI.
Article by Shep Hyken

Strike the Balance Between the Digital Experience and the Human Experience

Shepard Presentations, LLC. 5 July 2018
There needs to be a balance between the digital and human experience. A total digital experienceis not always possible. If a customer needs support, a chatbot may not have all the answers. The best chatbots have been programmed to understand when it doesn't have an answer or the customer is confused. At that point, the chatbot moves the customer from the digital experience to a human experience, as it seamlessly switches you to a human to continue the conversation. That's the way it should work - just at the right point, moving to the human experience. That's balance. There are other forms of digital experiences. Zappos is the online retailer that makes it easy to connect with a customer service rep. They know customers will have questions, and even though they are an online company that sells off their website, they make it super-easy to connect with a human.And, sometimes the experience moves from human to digital. For example, I may call to talk to a support rep. Maybe I have a "how do I do this" type of question. The customer support rep can simply tell me and walk me through the steps, and that may take some time. So, maybe a better option is to send me an email with explicit instructions. Or, maybe send me a link to a video that shows me, step-by-step, how to accomplish what I'm having trouble with.So, how does a company strike a balance between digital and human? The answer is knowing where to cross over between digital and human - or the other way around. And, that point of the crossover is when there is friction. At the point of friction is the right place to switch. In the examples I just provided, there was a point of friction. The chatbot knew when to flip me over to a live agent. The customer support rep knew I would have a better experience watching a video tutorial. Once you know the point of friction, you can strike the balance between the digital experience and the human experience, giving your customers the experience they deserve.
Article by Divya Bhat

5 compelling reasons why you should make guest experience your hotel's niche

Hotelogix 4 July 2018
I'm a hotel guest experience junkie (enthusiast, if you will). And I can guarantee you that those who know me well, will nod wildly- for different reasons. Some of them will agree because they've seen me fight for my right as a customer, one too many times. And the rest, because they've spent countless hours listening to me talk about how important it is to be customer-obsessed, in this day and age!Bottomline is- I am passionately and unapologetically committed to this revolution called guest experience management. And as a hotelier, you should be too. You should embrace it so hard, that it becomes synonymous with your brand, aka your niche.Some of the most successful brands in the world credit their success to their customer-centric culture. In the hospitality space, enhancing guest experience is more important now than it ever has been in the past. Now, because we at Hotelogix strongly believe in the mantra of "What is measured, is managed", we thought it is best if we took a stat-based approach in this blog- to show you just how compelling the case is. Here you go- 5 tips with relevant stats that will push you to make guest experience your niche.1. Want to increase your profits? Treat your guests right."70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated." (Source)That's right! Treating your hotel guests, the way they should be, can actually bring in more business for you. Because that's the one thing people look forward to! And for hotels, this starts even before the check-in happens! Right from the moment they start their search for a hotel, you should stand out for them. Their engagement with you should be consistent across all touchpoints- be it in the discovery phase, at the booking phase, pre-arrival, while checking-in, through their stay, at check-out and post departure. You cannot promise them the stars in your description online and then give them anything less during the other phases. Be modest in your approach- that's ok, but be genuine with your service. Genuine service will always translate into more satisfaction. Or if you think elaborate & personalized hotel guest experience is your thing, then go ahead and blow their minds off with it. Point is, to do it consistently throughout their journey with you. Because, like we saw- if it feels right, they will give you their business.2. Modern day guests are not going to tolerate shoddy service.A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price or product-related. (Source)This is golden. With the amount of information (and power) available to the new-age guest, no hotel can afford to lag in their services. In fact, offering a guest experience that is superior to what your competition offers is one of the easiest ways to improve your hotel's reputation- online or offline. This stat shows that customers, or in the case of the hospitality industry- guests, are more tolerant if the problem they face is product-related or price-related. These are negotiable. But their impatience to deal with service-related issues is steadily on the rise. Not only will shoddy service result in loss of business for you, it will also tarnish your image. You'll then have to start thinking of ways to handle your Hotel reputation management. And it keeps getting worse from there on. The smart way to go about it all is to offer impeccable guest service, which will only ensure that your competition doesn't steal your guest.3. Guaranteeing stellar hotel guest experience will pay (off), literally!55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience (Source)If we were to go by this stat, there is absolutely no reason for you to not want to make guest experience your niche! Look at it! People don't mind shelling out more money if they know they are in safe hands.This stat is most applicable to the hotel and airline industries. Can you imagine how much you stand to gain if you could offer your guest a "guaranteed good experience"? This is your cue to redefine your hotel's guest experience strategy. Upsell, Cross-sell or just give your guests a premium experience throughout. And make sure your staff is aligned to this too, so they can convince potential customers to upgrade to a better (more expensive) room. But the crux of it all still lies in delivering a great experience.4. Be present where your guests are- on the mobile!By 2018, mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search. (Source)Omni-channel guest engagement has become so important in this day and age that if you aren't present everywhere, you are sure to lose out on business. A strong online presence is non-negotiable now, given how rapidly mobile is taking over the world.Not only does this mean that you need to have a superb online marketing strategy, it also means that you should engage with your customers (potential ones, included) across all online channels - OTAs, social media, review sites, your own website. Be proactive in your engagement in order to stay relevant.Even in areas of business that aren't guest-facing, mobile is a great idea. Like investing in a hotel PMS with a mobile app. It helps you stay on top of things, no matter where you are!5. Unhappy guests can cost you dearly!96% of unhappy customers don't complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never come back. (Source)A dissatisfied guest will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. (Source)We've told you what you stand to gain by taking your guest experience up a few notches. But here's the deal- you will be penalized for bad service- and it will cost you a bomb. Hotel Reputation Management is heavily invested in these days and no hotel would knowingly wish to ruin their reputation.Let's consider the first stat here: a massive chunk of unhappy guests will not complain about the bad experience and most of them will never return to you. The stakes are just too high for hotels in such cases. This is why being proactive in guest feedback management is mandatory, so you get to know what they thought about their experience with you. Enhancing guest experience is one thing, but constantly trying to work on guest feedback is another. Both together ensure holistic guest experience management.The second stat brings to light the absolute power of guest reviews. A guest who has had an unpleasant stay with you is sure to tell anywhere between 9 & 15 people about the experience. And if it were me, I would never go to a hotel where someone I know has had a bad experience. I'd rather take my business to a place that has good ratings, even if the ratings are given by strangers! This is the damage negative reviews bring along. For every single person that is unhappy with your hotel's guest experience, you stand the chance of losing up to 20 potential guests. The business implications of this is staggering. No hotel can afford these odds.But with the right approach, you can turn tables around and make sure that every customer creates customers by word-of-mouth marketing. By ensuring that your hotel's guest experience management strategy is best-in-class, you are sure to reap the benefits of positive reviews and customer loyalty.What's more! You'll no longer have to worry about "how to manage hotel reputation" ever again!Speaking of customer loyalty, here's a bonus stat:It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one! (Source)Do you see how making guest experience your niche correlates to long-term success? We'd love to share with you other ways in which our product can help you up your game when it comes to hotel guest experience and hotel reputation management. Feel free to reach out to us if you want to know more!Now here's a Hotel Management System that could also help you out in making Guest Experience your niche! Try Hotelogix Now!

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