Technology
Hilary Murphy
  • Technology
  • Optimizing the Use of New Technology
  • The challenge of optimizing IT investment is relentless for the hospitality sector. This article reviews some of the salient issues that impact on optimizing new technologies by revisiting the determinants of technology adoption and then by sharing some of my research into Strategic Technology Relationships in the Hotel Sector, conducted earlier this year with the hospitality technology managers (CIOs and IT Directors) in the major European hotels. Finally, some suggestions are proposed for the future optimization of technology in the hospitality sector. Read on...

David Chin
  • Technology
  • The Bottom Line of Next Generation Technology in Hotel Rooms Today
  • Historically, the hospitality industry hasn't exactly been the leading hotbed of technology. Earlier this millennium, the best you'd usually find was billing and room reservation systems linked using the room TV as a display. And guest services tended to be centralized with terminals at reception and in restaurants. Now, IT is everywhere. In-room mini-bars are connected to IP networks that add purchases to the bill 30 seconds after a cold beverage is lifted from the fridge. The flat screen TV offers streaming music services with soothing screensaver photos. Even the room key has become part of a technology link that allows guests to buy food in restaurants and access voice mail and wireless Internet portals. And a new generation of gadget-minded and gear-toting business and leisure guests are forcing hotel operators to continuously -- and at warp speeds -- adopt new information and entertainment technology systems. Read on...

Jacki Kelley
  • Technology
  • Leveraging the Internet to Drive Key Objectives
  • The Internet has revolutionized the way consumers make travel purchasing decisions. In fact, according to a recent comScore Media Metrix study, more than 55 million consumers used web searches to research travel throughout the month of July 2006 alone. Moreover, the majority of those who conducted a web search booked travel online. According to Forrester Research, the Internet makes up one quarter of all travel sales today and is projected to grow to just under 50 percent by 2010, making Travel second only to computer software and hardware when it comes to overall category growth. Lodging companies have made significant strides in harnessing the Internet to leverage distribution and make it easy for consumers to research, compare and buy from their desktops; however, when it comes to building brands on the Internet, opportunity exists. With broadband penetration projected to reach 83 percent of U.S. households by 2008, the opportunities to leverage the medium, engage consumers, drive preference and manage channel distribution has never been greater. Read on...

Naseem Javed
  • Technology
  • Why Not Brand For An Entire Century?
  • Now a new routine emerges as savvy marketers enjoy Cyber-Branding using Network Solution's latest offer of $1000 USD to secure a domain name for an entire century. Wow, it's a bargain of the century...it's only 3 cents per day. Right now, it's the cheapest license in the world, providing the registration rights to your URL, the only gateway to your websites and the only key to your cyber-branding in this global e-commerce. Right now, the global cyber-branding is the only game in town when it comes to global marketing. Is there a catch? Yes, right here. If you are only spending only three pennies a day on a URL but thousands on promotional branding each day, then the question is; how good is your domain name? How does it fit your marketing and PR strategy? How is it building your corporate image? Do you really know where you will end up on this long 100-year journey? Is there a plan, or just blind chasing blind? Is your team mentally prepared for this long marathon? In short, it shouldn't be a wild goose chase, rather a proper road map. Read on...

Mark Holzberg
  • Technology
  • Converged Networks in Hotels: A Cost Effective Solution to In-Demand Guest Needs
  • In this increasingly competitive industry, a critical point of differentiation in guest services is technology. Are you able to offer the types of digital, Internet protocol-based services that your guests want, including wired and wireless high speed Internet access (HSIA), telephone service, HD TV/video service, and a variety of room controls? There is a cost-effective solution to providing what guests want today and also accommodating needs that will likely arise in the future. It's called a converged network. Read on...

Tina Stehle
  • Technology
  • Self-Service Opportunities: Six Rules for Maximizing Kiosk Value
  • Self-service technology continues to evolve and play a larger role in everyday life. Consumers routinely purchase airline tickets, buy groceries and scan bar codes using self-service technology. Guests also increasingly use self-service kiosks to check into hotel rooms around the world. There's little doubt that consumers are comfortable with the technology. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Self-Service World revealed that less than 1 percent of respondents scored themselves 'low' regarding comfort level with self-service options. And the self-service trend is predicted to continue. Read on...

Paul van Meerendonk
  • Technology
  • Why Investing in Hospitality Technology is Investing in Good Business
  • As the wider hospitality industry continues to face a slow recovery, savvy hotel owners and managers should be looking inwards during this time with a view to ensuring that the technology they use to help run their facilities are best suited for the roles they have to perform. Whilst many international hotel organizations have used the economic downturn to adequately plan for the future through improved levels of technology and staff investment, many others are not heeding the warning signs and are instead shedding costs wherever possible - which can lead to disastrous consequences. Read on...

Robert  King
  • Technology
  • Going Digital: A Marketing Platform That Makes Sense
  • Today's quickly-changing marketing environment turns traditional approaches on their ear, with guests calling the shots, dictating the timing and preferences for communications and engagement. For marketers, this customer-driven, fast-paced environment mandates a new approach to optimize engagement - the points of contact with the brand - and maximize the guest's lifetime value. But most traditional database-driven marketing solutions fall far short of these goals. That's why savvy marketers are turning to sophisticated relationship marketing.but no relationship marketing strategy will work without the right digital marketing system. Read on...

Donald R. Smith
  • Technology
  • Internet Marketing Overview: Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) versus Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Many hotel companies prefer a CPA model since it can be tracked to an actual stay; thus, the individual hotels pay for actual business received. CPA is a lower-risk option than CPC and much easier to manage, however, both have benefits depending on the needs of the company. Regardless of the distribution model used, it is important for hotel/hotel groups to carefully analyze the ROI before and during each campaign. Within the next five years, online advertising will take the majority the advertising budget so the pressure is on now to figure out which distribution model works best. When deciding, a key success factor will be working with online companies that understand each model and have experience successfully implementing them. Read on...

Maurice Martin
  • Technology
  • Thinking About Global Sourcing? 5 Steps that can Bring it all Together
  • Today's savvy consumers not only compare your brand and your online offerings with your competitors; they compare you against every other site on the Internet. New capabilities are emerging every day on the big consumer sites that the hospitality industry will soon have to emulate. Hotel brands must produce and maintain an integrated offering that neatly presents all properties and services, while providing a best-in-class user experience. Customers expect that offering to include advanced features: online reservations, loyalty program redemption, local restaurant recommendations, tickets to attractions, smart profiles and much more. The demands on IT organizations are rising dramatically yet few hoteliers maintain the internal resources to stay competitive on a rapidly changing e-commerce playing field. In fact, many IT budgets remain flat or are in decline, forcing companies to turn to lower cost delivery models like offshore development as a cost-effective way to augment staff. But is this model really viable? Read on...

Naseem Javed
  • Technology
  • Avoiding Cyber Oblivion
  • Today, there is a major shift in thinking on how to build a major corporate personality. To play the game, one must clearly figure out the secret powers of e-commerce and the role of new technologies in contrast to traditional print and old-fashioned, mass-advertising driven models. During the last century, mega corporations throughout the world followed the prime rules of building corporate image and name identity in the strictest sense. Their goal was simply to achieve an elite, world-class image by having their name and logo brightly displayed on skyscrapers in every city. They ran massive advertising campaigns to promote their identity and claimed ownership to specific colors and designs, all in an effort to create a single visual global icon. They used every opportunity, from naming stadiums to sponsoring parades.The objective was simple: to demonstrate their exclusive power and their domination by big image. Read on...

Didi Lutz
  • Technology
  • Hotel Hi-Tech Evolution: Will it Pass or Pass By?
  • Clearly, we all take for granted the immediate access to information with just the click of a mouse. Email has replaced snail mail, most face-to-face contact, and it is beginning to substitute voicemail. "Google" has become an action verb synonymous to finding instantaneous information. Nowadays, dinner can be ordered without picking up the phone. Anything from theatre and baseball tickets, to golf clubs and contact lenses, even groceries are available to purchase via the Internet. Essentially, everything has been converted for online use. There are many interesting theories on the evolution of technology and the socioeconomic impact it has to nearly every industry. Hoteliers read and analyze opinions and case studies to help them make the appropriate technology decisions for their property, whether it involves installing a complicated Wi-Fi system, an innovative computer in the business center, or just a simple guestroom analog phone. It pays to be ahead of the game. 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.