The travel world is made up of industries within industries, with so much happening in the realms of tech development, guest demographics, marketing and sales innovations, digital strategies and much more.
On any given day trusted leaders and experts are offering their thoughts on one issue or another. It’s easy to miss or overlook very valuable insights as a busy hotelier, but it’s important to catch as much as possible, in the event you find the perfect piece of advice or information for your business.
To make things easier, SiteMinder scours the web for recent, insightful quotes from all the right people, pulling them into one handy digest.
Here are five key soundbites we found fascinating in the past week or two:
Sojern urges travel marketers to be active on Facebook
The importance of reaching an audience on Facebook is frequently written about, but when senior leaders in the industry give advice on the topic, it’s time to really take notice.
Here’s what Sojern’s VP of Product, Mat Harris, had to say: “You need to be on Facebook today, not just because of what Facebook can do for you, but because of where we know Facebook is going as a platform.
“Facebook is inherently cross-device, it’s inherently tuned to people, so it’s definitely people-based advertising. As an advertiser, whenever you’re running a campaign on Facebook, you’re going to reach individuals with the message they need to see regardless of what device they’re on. Because Facebook can tie all of that together for you.”
Marriott puts safety first with new alert devices for 5,000 hotels
Marriott is setting the standard for safety higher this week with the announcement that alert devices for housekeeping staff will be issued to 5,000 managed and franchised hotels. The devices will help staff discreetly summon help if they’re feeling harassed, need support, or notice a guest in distress.
Erika Alexander, chief lodging services officer, The Americas, for Marriott International explained more: “I’ve spoken with housekeepers who describe the feeling of walking into a guest room and not knowing what’s on the other side of the door. Realising they now have a device right at their fingertips is automatically empowering and it reminds them they’re not alone. I hear the relief and confidence in their voices, I see it in their faces. Not only does it make them feel better, it makes their families feel better about the work environment they’re in. That’s why we’re doing this.”
Responsible Travel questions the authenticity of today’s travel experiences
There is a worry that popular and picturesque destinations, like many in Europe, are being overrun by tourists. The fear has grown more so in recent years thanks to new technologies and platforms like Airbnb, Uber, and other internet-enabled travel conveniences. These, coupled with larger cruise ships, cheaper flights, and the impact of social media sharing, have driven an increase of travellers flooding to Europe.
Justin Francis, chief executive of Responsible Travel, worries that the image of a trip is becoming more important: “It’s a level of tourism which is degrading the enjoyment that residents have – but it’s also degrading the tourist experience, because the tourist who is endlessly queuing behind backpacks of hundreds of other tourists is not discovering the real or the authentic place.
“You can’t talk about overtourism without mentioning Instagram and Facebook – 75 years ago, tourism was about experience seeking. Now it’s about using photography and social media to build a personal brand. In a sense, for a lot of people, the photos you take on a trip become more important than the experience.”
Jerry LoProto believes success with guest loyalty lies in neighbourhood charm
Guest loyalty in the hotel industry can be very hard to capture, because it’s difficult to understand exactly what will bring customers back. Certainly, in the modern era where travellers have so many options, a one-size fits all approach is doomed to fail.
Jerry LoProto has spent 15 years at the Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace in Chicago. Currently director of sales and marketing, he has some opinions on why his property has enjoyed a lot repeat customers: “I believe one of the key elements that continues to bring loyal guests is our property’s neighbourhood charm that is appealing for many different types of travellers. We love building a relationship and a sense of familiarity with our guests to truly create a ‘home away from home’. Remembering names and interactions that acknowledge that guest’s repeat business is important.
“If you spend a lot of money with a company, you want to be recognised and appreciated. But it’s more than that. It’s the experience that keeps people coming back. One of the other ways we show our guests that we value them is be making them feel special. It’s the little things that count.”
Hotels should focus on driving memorable experiences
Millennials are the fastest-growing travel segment accounting for 70% of all hotel guests in the world. And an increasing number of them are looking for memorable moments during their travel adventures.
Joe Pine, management advisor to Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial startups, says these moments need to become the focus: “Businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that memory itself becomes the product.”
Ram Gupta, an independent hotel consultant for BCG Global, reminds hotels to think beyond free wifi: “When you offer sun hats or complimentary cold drinks to guests as the lounge by the poolside, they’re far more likely to appreciate that gesture than a selection of pillows to choose from. Other things you can consider are giving away passes to a play, a concert, or a game happening in the city. Or, you could make the hotel car available to them as they go shopping. Such amenities not only enhance their travel experience but also make for a much better tale to swap with their friends than wifi, pots of coffee, and exquisite bedding.”