Technology
Paolo Boni
  • Technology
  • Online Merchandising: Steps to Capitalizing on Travel Websites
  • Today's travelers are choosing hotels that inspire them and effectively articulate why their rooms and amenities are 'worth' the price. But hotel listings on travel sites are typically lackluster and undifferentiated with unclear value propositions. The challenge for hoteliers is this: successfully conveying their hotel's unique value on the sites travel shoppers use to research and compare hotels online. Hoteliers can capitalize on their presence on travel websites by applying online merchandising techniques and using visual content to their advantage. Read on...

Kristi White
  • Technology
  • Sink or Sail? Moving from instinct to data-driven decisions
  • For years, making decisions in revenue management and, to some extent, hotel management has been ruled by gut instinct. Revenue managers and hotel operations executives frequently justify their rate setting decisions by saying, "I have a feel for the market" or "I know what the market will do." Yet when asked for a concrete example of how they knew this, they usually have no answer. Smooth economic times are behind us and while their return is inevitable, today we must navigate challenging waters. How can you make the move from instinct-driven to data-driven business decisions? Here is a proven a six-step process... Read on...

Hillary S. Bressler
  • Technology
  • Five Steps in Utilizing Google Earth for Your Website SEO
  • Since Google Earth launched, millions of Internet users have traveled the globe in search of everything from Mount Kilimanjaro to their childhood homes, all from the comfort of their own computers. But, this popular satellite-based application is far more than a way to pass the time at work. When integrated into a website, Google Earth is a powerful tool that can boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and support the overall marketing strategy. Read on...

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...

MAY: Eco-Friendly Practices: The Value of Sustainability

Eric Ricaurte

In 2011, we visited the 10 hotels contracted in the room block for the Greenbuild conference in Toronto. As part of their award-winning sustainable event program, the conference organizers embedded green practices into the contract language for these hotels, who either had to comply with the requirements, explain their reason why they couldn’t implement them, or pay a $1,000 fine. Part of our consulting work was to gather the data and confirm some of the practices on-site. Read on...

Susan Tinnish

Hotels brands have actively engaged in large-scale efforts to become more environmentally friendly. Individual hotels have made great strides on property. Many significant large-scale eco-initiatives s are most easily built initially into the infrastructure and design of the building and surrounding areas. Given that the adaptation of these large-scale changes into the existing asset base is expensive and disruptive, hotels seek different ways to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. One way to do so is to shift the focus from large-scale change to “small wins.” Small wins can help a hotel create a culture of sustainability. Read on...

Shannon Sentman

Utility costs are the second largest operating expense for most hotels. Successfully reducing these expenses can be a huge value-add strategy for executives. Doing this effectively requires more than just a one-time investment in efficiency upgrades. It requires ongoing visibility into a building’s performance and effectively leveraging this visibility to take action. Too often, efficiency strategies center on a one-time effort to identify opportunities with little consideration for establishing ongoing practices to better manage a building’s performance ongoing. Read on...

Joshua Zinder, AIA

Discussions of sustainability in the hospitality industry have focused mainly on strategies at the level of energy-efficient and eco-friendly adjustments to operations and maintenance. These "tweaks" can include programs to reduce water usage, updating lighting to LEDs, campaigns to increase guest participation in recycling, and similar innovative industry initiatives. Often overlooked—not only by industry experts but even by hotel operators and designers—are possibilities for hotel design and construction that can make a property truly sustainable from the get-go. Read on...

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.