Nor1 · 10 Jul
In the competitive race for guests, Airbnb fares better every year. As of April 2019, Airbnb had demonstrated a 45% increase in bookings year over year and a 62.5% increase in arrivals (iPropertyManagement). This success is due mainly to the company's use of machine learning (ML) technology to optimize their search and booking process. Airbnb has invested heavily in crafting a personalized and highly streamlined guest pathway, and as Inc notes in an article aptly titled, Airbnb's Biggest Weapon Against Hotels: Machine Learning, "Airbnb's investment is paying off." The article points out the company's impressive increaseand the platform's ability to get more people to make bookings, more quickly.
Nor1 · 26 Jun
A night of playing board games has become a visit to the escape room, going to the park with the kids has become a trip to the climbing gym, and beers out with friends has turned into themed tours of local pubs, notes Forbes. Though millennials' insatiable desire to do things rather than collect things has led the surge in the experience economy, the desire for experiences certainly isn't limited to just one generation. Retirees flock to birding retreats and families are just as likely to be found on zip lines in the Yucatan as they are building sand castles on the beach. While Airbnb has played a substantial role in creating the experience economy, hotels are where it all began. But hotels have long positioned themselves as a product—differentiating themselves from one another according to thread counts and room size more than how the guest will feel and what they will do.
Nor1 · 7 May
When those in the hotel industry talk about selling hotel rooms, the conversation frequently turns to a diatribe on direct bookings—the great need for them, how to get them, how much money to spend on them, and how to keep them. If this industry is to evolve, the direct-booking debate also must change. Brands now dedicate substantial marketing budgets to this effort, and in general, the results have been flat. In 2018, 67% of guests booked via the brand channel. In 2015, it was 68%, according to the annual J.D. Power & Associates North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Survey (Skift). This two-decade-old conversation has run its course, and now channel strategies that support direct bookings are firmly incorporated into every revenue management and marketing strategy.
Nor1 · 30 Apr
Amazon frequently receives credit for successfully employing machine learning to engage consumers and drive sales with its well-known recommendation engine, which generates 35% of the company's revenue, according to McKinsey. However, competitor Walmart has a surprising amount of machine learning activity going on behind the scenes. For instance, Walmart created a facial recognition system that allowed the company to pinpoint customers who were unhappy about waiting in line. The system alerted sales associates that new lanes needed to be opened, which increased customer satisfaction and helped the retailer to manage employee workflow more efficiently. While hotels are, in some ways, worlds away from retailers in terms of the scope of operations and product, the hospitality industry can learn from the experience of retailers when it comes to machine learning, positive customer service, and merchandising.
Nor1 · 9 Apr
Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University famously sold jam on a street corner to test the concept that consumers can have too many choices. She observed that when she offered two dozen different flavor options, consumers purchased fewer. But when she trimmed her offerings to just six, her sales went up. This experiment has been referenced quite a bit in the conversation about choice overload. Experts like Iyengar and psychologist Barry Schwartz have explored at length how Western culture is obsessed with offering a wide variety of choices. The clear effect of so many opportunities is fatigue, which leads to the classic paradox of choice as theorized by Schwartz and abandonment of shopping altogether.
Nor1 · 26 Mar
In 2013, Amazon filed a patent for what the company calls "anticipatory shipping." The idea is that Amazon uses predictive analytics to know what consumers want before they want it. As a result, the company can have products pre-shipped to nearby warehouses, ready them for delivery, and when the consumer presses the purchase button, have the shipment there faster than ever before. According to some sources, Amazon might deliver the product before the consumer has ordered, but the concept is centered on ensuring products are in the right place at the right time. Increased speed in accurate decision-making equals greater revenue potential.
Nor1 · 12 Feb
What's the goal of every guest check-in? It's more than delivering the guest a room, but for many years that's how check-in has been treated - as a means to an end. But no matter how a guest checks in, via mobile or at the front desk, check-in should be so much more. It is the beginning of the on-property experience, and it can tell a guest so much about what her stay will be like. If she's checking in via mobile, the experience can make or break her feeling of trust with the property based on the seamlessness or friction of the mobile experience. Should a guest check-in via the front desk, every aspect of that interaction has meaning. Is the agent kind and welcoming? Doing a job or creating a relationship? Does the agent offer more than the opportunity to take a credit card and return with a key card and a map?