Technology
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...

Tina Stehle
  • Technology
  • Next-Generation Property Management Solutions Deliver Results for Hotels and Guests
  • Property management systems have come a long way since hotels began implementing them in the 1970's and 1980's. At that time, the primary goal of a PMS was to automate basic processes such as housekeeping and reservations. Now, as we approach 2010, new architecture makes PMS integration with other systems easier than ever, and guest-centric functionality is moving property management solutions from static entities that merely track reservations and perform check-in and check-out to dynamic systems that enable hoteliers to predict guest behavior and realize a competitive advantage. What, exactly, do these next-generation property management solutions have to offer? Read on...

Kristi White
  • Technology
  • Travel 2.0: Power Tools to Build Your Business
  • Travel 2.0 means business. It is not like Web 2.0, which is primarily defined by social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook and Flickr. In Travel 2.0, additional sites such as TripAdvisor, Google Maps, Virtual Tourist, and TravelPost empower consumers with interactive tools to research hotels and plan their trips, comment on their recent stays, and interact with other like-minded consumers. Savvy hospitality operators are embracing all aspects of Travel 2.0 - and beyond - because of its ability to drive business, build community, and empower guests. What are the best ways to leverage it? Here are five strategies... Read on...

Paul West
  • Technology
  • Technology Choices That Can Impact the Bottom Line
  • We are well into 2010 and perhaps still facing many decisions on whether or not to pull the trigger on possible technology purchases. So, if technology purchases of any kind can be made, then it is more important than ever that hotel companies make sensible choices with these purchases while still keeping a close eye on the bottom line. Therefore, what should be the guideline for selecting technology that is right for the times? Once that is determined, then the next question to answer is "What would be those best types of technology choices that are most likely to impact the bottom line and thereby influence a more positive cash flow for an operation?" Read on...

Sanjay Nijhawan
  • Technology
  • Meeting the Growing Technology Needs of Guests
  • All of us who work in the hospitality industry are aware that the needs and expectations of guests are ever increasing and changing. Guests are our job and as companies we need to adapt to ensure we are offering the best level of service and keep guests coming back. An area that has seen the biggest and speediest change in the last ten years in my opinion is that of the technological needs and expectations of the guests. Ten years ago it was enough to offer in-room movies and a small business centre with internet access. Now that offering sounds possibly dinosaur. In a bid to 'keep up' and be a market leader, hotels especially within the premium sector, have fallen over themselves to shout about their building wide Wi-Fi, i-pod docking stations as standard in all rooms and automated check in services. In reality many are merely paying lip service to having these amenities and don't actually have the systems in place to support guests' requirements. Read on...

Roger G. Hill
  • Technology
  • Technology That Creates Luxury
  • Traditionally, we define luxury hotels as five-star resorts with sleek design, top-notch amenities, and expensive accommodations. At the most basic level, a hotel or resort experience is most luxurious when it offers indulgences and unexpected touches, and hotels often create lavish environments with sumptuous d'ecor and attentive service. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, technology, if properly applied, can help a hotel owner take both d'ecor and service to the next level. Every hotel, from an exclusive beachfront resort to a country bed and breakfast can use technology to create luxury. Read on...

Tina Stehle
  • Technology
  • Next Generation Property Management Systems
  • Thirty years ago many hotels were implementing their first Property Management Systems (PMS). Its main role at the time was to automate processes that had been handled manually. As the PMS has evolved, hotels have utilized these systems' capabilities to increase efficiency and maximize profits. Initially, this was accomplished primarily through interfacing and more recently, via integration and seamless communication. The complexity of our systems has increased and tech-savvy consumers are driving development. So, now that the PMS has evolved beyond merely managing our information, what will the Property Management System of tomorrow look like? Read on...

Maurice Martin
  • Technology
  • Adopting Rich Internet Applications: What it is and how your hotels can use it
  • Most hoteliers realize the importance of their Web face to their customers and the extent to which customers interact with the brand through that medium; therefore, we should always invest in the best possible experience for our visitors. Rich Internet Applications provide the potential to take that experience to the next level. The best way to decide if Rich Internet Applications are right for you is to recognize your current Web site's unique problems and identify optimum opportunities for improvement. Read on...

Mike Stacy
  • Technology
  • Most Popular Destinations by Group Type
  • There are many elements that go into planning a group getaway; whether it's a group business trip, a family reunion, a friend's getaway or a destination wedding. For each of these groups the questions of where to stay and what to do will vary. What is the anatomy of a great destination for a group trip? The answer is simple, the right city for the right group of people. Equally important is the right accommodation and service for the group. Some of the most popular types of traveling groups are Corporate, Family Reunions, Friends Getaways, and Destination Weddings. The following is an exploration into these groups and some of their top destinations. Read on...

Tina Stehle
  • Technology
  • Hotels Can Benefit From Self-Service Kiosks
  • Enhanced customer service, reduction to staffing costs, and a better utilization of hotel resources are just some of the hotel benefits obtained by successfully implementing self-service kiosks. Many customers are already accustomed to using self-service alternatives for airline check-in, rental cars and supermarket check-out. Today, customers are demanding the same convenience and ease of use in the hotel check-in process. Read on...

Mark Tapling
  • Technology
  • The Hospitality Divide: How New Technology Is Making It Bigger
  • Why has guest experience accelerated in importance over the past several years? Some say it's the build out of local markets where location and price have reached their zenith. Oversaturation is the death knell for many an operation. But there are still others that realize a focus on guest service and the guest experience has the potential to negate many of the affects of competition, location and price. In fact, many are finding that they can significantly increase revenue by focusing on guest service. Read on...

Tina Stehle
  • Technology
  • Improving the Bottom Line with a Document Management Solution
  • Success in hotel operations means reducing costs and improving operational efficiencies while enhancing guest satisfaction. The most visible benefit of deploying a document management solution is an immediate reduction in manual processes and volumes of paper. Companies that choose to deploy a document management solution gain a rapid return on investment. The costs savings are easy to see: dramatic decreases in the time and labor required to search for and retrieve documents, increases in work capacity and productivity and reduced physical space demands for filing paper copies of documents in offices and off-site warehouses. Read on...

Jacki Kelley
  • Technology
  • Changes in Consumer Media Consumption
  • We all know the Internet has changed the way people consume media. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would dispute this. But lately, the conversation has evolved to include Web 2.0 - a second-generation of Internet-based services that let people collaborate and share information online in new ways. But to understand the true value of this shift, let's talk about Consumer 2.0 - at the heart of Web 2.0. 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.