Rob Kall
  • Technology
  • The Upside and Pitfalls of User Reviews on Your Own Website
  • Online travel reviews are nothing new; they have existed in one way or another for over 10 years. Sites without user reviews may become less common over the next few years, as consumers rely more heavily on others' experiences before making a decision. So how can hoteliers take advantage of this growing trend to bring in more business to their property? Easy, include customer reviews directly on your site. This article explains and analyzes the pros and cons of posting consumers' reviews of your property on your own website. Read on...

Drew Rosser
  • Technology
  • Next Generation Technology: Trendy term or actual practice?
  • Next Generation Technology: Trendy Term or Actual Practice? Well, it is a trendy term like most trendy marketing terms it is being used to sell something rather than to identify actual practice. Is there Next Generation technology development going on? Absolutely. However, you wont hear too much about it until it's being pushed out in user testing or Beta versions. Anything that is out there now isn't Next Generation it's Now. Make sure you do your due diligence when in the market for technology. Don't get sold on trendy titles. Read on...

Pedro  Colaco
  • Technology
  • Three Key Success Factors for an Independent Hotel's Website
  • Many independent hotel managers are unhappy with the amount of business generated by the websites. This should come as no surprise as only 14% pursue a structured online strategy. Yet, embracing e-commerce is the best opportunity for independent hotels in the downturn of 2009/10 as online bookings continue to grow and travelers show a healthy appetite for booking directly at the hotel's official website. This article tackles the issue of how independent hotels should create a structured online strategy to ensure e-commerce success for their official websites. Read on...

James Filsinger
Tina Stehle
  • Technology
  • Top Five Reasons to Automate Inventory and Procurement
  • In the current economy, it's more important than ever to conserve resources and cut costs. One of the best ways to streamline operations is to automate inventory and procurement. Hotels that do so typically report savings in the range of 5 percent to 15 percent - through efficiencies as well as direct cost savings. The operational benefits of e-procurement are numerous, including reduced inventory levels, improved auditing and financial control, elimination of paperwork, enhanced staff efficiency and shortened delivery time. Today's systems take inventory and procurement to an entirely new level with automated e-mail bids, the ability to route purchase requisitions for approval via e-mail or PDA, electronic invoicing, budget tracking, business intelligence functionality and more. In this article, I outline five top reasons to automate your hotel's inventory and procurement system. Read on...

Mike Kistner
  • Technology
  • Disrupting the Old Order: Five Trends Affecting Travel, the World’s Largest Business
  • Travel is expected to slowly but surely continue on its road to recovery through 2012, shifting gears as it encounters inevitable bumps along the way. Independent hotels, mobile adoption, distribution, hotel merchandising and partnerships/integration/alliances played key roles during 2011. So which trends will help shape travel in 2012? There are many, but the following five are especially important.. Read on...

Kristi White
  • Technology
  • Core Profit Center: Your Website
  • Over the past 10 years, the web has become a powerhouse for growing business. For the hotel industry, it has changed all the ground rules, from how you interact with your customers to how you drive bookings. Ten years ago, hotel chains started investing in online virtual brochures. These sites were designed simply to lay out the product and drive customers to call centers. As the sophistication of the web platforms increased, rudimentary booking engines were laid into the websites. No one anticipated that this electronic brochure would soon be a key business driver. Read on...

Mike Kistner
  • Technology
  • The Top Five Website Failures and How to Fix Them
  • Never before in the history of our industry have hotels had so many opportunities to market and sell their room inventory. Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google, mobile, online, GDS and traditional voice, among countless others, present infinite opportunities to increase exposure for a property on a global level. However, there is one tool that remains crucial regardless of the channel you’re selling through, and that is the hotel website. Many hotels, especially independents, have only scratched the surface with the foundation of their online presence, inadvertently making serious errors that may in fact be hurting their chances to sell. Following are the five website failures hotels make, along with how to fix them. Read on...

Drew Rosser
  • Technology
  • From the Other Side: A look at How Guests View Rate Distribution & Online Experiences with Hotels
  • There is no more important time than now to make sure that your rate distribution and online experience is understandable, uses good imagery and the descriptive terminology speaks to your target audience. Too many hotels use poor images on their booking engines and tend to create rate and room type copy as if they were selling to hoteliers and not to the general public. Look at your online presence from the guest's point of view. Are you really selling yourself the right way online? Read on...

Paolo Boni
  • Technology
  • Improving Conversions Starts with Reaching and Engaging Consumers
  • As travel shopping continues to fragment within the online space to a myriad of channels, devices, and platforms the role of the hotel marketer is becoming increasingly complicated. Today, audiences are jumping from online travel agencies to review sites to social media and so on, using their smartphones, computers and tablets to do so. This makes for a complex web of touch-points for hotel marketers to explore and take advantage of. Success requires balancing a number of priorities and activities that make up a hotel’s greater marketing strategy. Included in this strategy are activities that convert website traffic to bookings on the hotel’s own website and third party websites. Read on...

Daryl Stokes
  • Technology
  • Top Eight Network Technologies to Invest in for “Hotels of the Future”
  • What will the hotel of the future look like? Today, most hotel guests rate connectivity as the most important amenity. But this means more than just Internet access. Hotel guests want to always be connected. Hoteliers are spending a great amount of resources on network technology and applications as they are on other amenities. Hotel customers expect the same online convenience and customization they have in their homes. Nearly every traveler equipped with laptops, iPad and smart phones, they also expect their hotel to be place of ubiquitous connectivity. This "hotel of the future" is as much an information management center as it is a place to have a good night's sleep. Managing that type of critical information flow is not easy. This article will outline seven technologies that will deliver advantages for hotels. Read on...

Ian  Millar
  • Technology
  • The Future Techno Guest: Technology is the Most Demanded Amenity in the Guest Room
  • Technology has reached an evangelical level; a recent documentary by the BBC has shown that some people today react to technology the same way some people react to religion. Seeing photos of apple products or the Google logo activated parts of their brain that is only stimulated by attending church and praying. And people addiction to technology is only growing and very fast. What will be the future technologies that our guests will require, what should we be providing. Will YouTube on the hotel TV be enough? How will guests interact with the hotel, most probably it will all come down to the Smartphone, so what effect will that have on our future operations? Read on...

Tina Stehle
  • Technology
  • Five Smart Technology Purchases
  • The economy is finally showing signs of recovery. And while that gives hoteliers good reason to be optimistic, it's still critical that they make smart technology purchases, choosing solutions that will help decrease costs (or at least keep them in line), streamline efficiency and enable the property to realize a competitive advantage. Some of the newest technology has a big 'wow' factor, but the return on investment may not justify the expense. Fortunately, there are exciting software selections that can help position your hotel for success and provide a fast ROI. Following are five technology purchases that can help your property stay ahead of the competition in 2011 and beyond. Read on...

Mike Kistner
  • Technology
  • Hotel IT Departments Fight for Relevance
  • I recently had to give a prediction for the future of IT in the next five years to Computerworld magazine for their list of premier leaders in IT. They asked me to offer my boldest, most out-on-a-limb prediction. Mine was that the traditional IT department operating in a specific industry will cease to exist as IT will continue to migrate towards the community model. If you work for a major hotel company in an IT position, the nature of your job will change, period. Read on...

Michael S. Wasik
  • Technology
  • Guest Habits Change
  • In the sixth century BC, Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed "Everything changes but change itself." Twenty-six centuries later, it's still just as true. It certainly applies to today's hotel customers. Travelers, whether business road warriors or families on vacation, are more selective, value conscious and well-informed than ever before. They also have a whole new set of expectations. Hotels have a unique opportunity now to embrace and benefit from this new customer reality. Read this article to learn how you can capitalize on it in ways that will differentiate your property's brand, rise above the competition and increase customer loyalty. Read on...

MARCH: Human Resources: Inspiring a Journey of Success

Sandy Asch

Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and especially Millennials, who now make up more than 50 percent of the workforce, want a sense of purpose at work. It’s clear that today’s workforce is increasingly concerned with doing good. People are tired of just showing up every day to perform a job. They want lasting fulfillment at home and at work. In his book, Drive, Daniel H. Pink suggests that we are in a time where individual desire to have a positive impact in the world often ranks higher than pay scale when selecting a job. Millennials, in particular, want to feel like their work has real purpose, and they want to be home for dinner. Read on...

Whitney Martin

As new properties explode on the scene and traveler choices abound, hotels know they have to pull out all the stops to make every guest experience a positive one. Are staff friendly are courteous? Are rooms clean? Are meals excellent? Are bills accurate? We rely on our employees to execute their jobs, not just correctly, but with enthusiasm. And, if they don’t, business suffers. We do our best to hire good people (in a competitive market), we give them a little training, and then we HOPE they create raving fans. Ever heard the expression “hope is not a strategy”? Read on...

Joyce Gioia

Worldwide, the hospitality industry is going through a transformation. In response to workforce shortages, many employers have looked for---and found---ways to reduce staff by using automation. Despite this trend, there are continuing shortages of skilled workers from front line housekeepers to general managers. Hospitality leaders are looking for and finding innovative ways to find the talent. This article will give you an overview of what’s working for general managers and their human resource professionals to find the people they need to staff their properties. Read on...

Paul Feeney

A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that close to 3 million people voluntarily quit their jobs a couple of years ago, a 17% increase from the previous year, proving that opportunities for employees are abundant and we have shifted back to a candidate-driven marketplace. Why is this important? Employee retention should always be of utmost importance, but requires awareness as to why employees leave to begin with. Numerous statistics show that the #1 reason people quit their jobs is a disconnect or poor relationship with their boss or immediate supervisor or manager. This shows that turnover of staff is mostly a manager issue. Read on...

Coming Up In The April Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Guest Service: The Personalized Experience
In the not-too-distant future, when guests arrive at a hotel, they will check themselves in using a kiosk in the lobby, by- passing a stop at the front desk. When they call room service to order food, it will be from a hotel mobile tablet, practically eliminating any contact with friendly service people. Though these inevitable developments will likely result in delivered to their door by a robot. When they visit a restaurant, their orders will be placed and the bill will be paid some staff reduction, there is a silver lining – all the remaining hotel staff can be laser-focused on providing guests with the best possible service available. And for most guests, that means being the beneficiary of a personalized experience from the hotel. According to a recent Yahoo survey, 78 percent of hotel guests expressed a desire for some kind of personalization. They are seeking services that not only make them feel welcomed, but valued, and cause them to feel good about themselves. Hotels must strive to establish an emotional bond with their guests, the kind of bond that creates guest loyalty and brings them back time and again. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. It’s leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing which guest enjoys having a fresh cup of coffee brought to their room as part of a wake-up call. It’s the small, thoughtful, personal gestures that matter most and produce the greatest effect. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.