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:
Is the most expensive hotel suite in America really worth it?
At $75,000 a night, the Mark Hotel in New York City is now offering the most expensive hotel suite in America. While the penthouse isn’t new it is the first time guests can rent the space, after extensive renovations and a private letting period to a family for 16 months.
While the Mark offers amazing amenities and features such as round-the-clock room service, 80-foot sailboat charter, complimentary bicycles and pedicabs etc, this is not the real reason people will pay such high prices.
Olivier Lordonnois, general manager for the Mark Hotel, elaborates: “We have heads of state, very wealthy business people, and celebrities renting this space, and they could care less about a Bentley at their disposal 24/7, as they often have their security in tow, or their own motorcade.”
Instead, Lordonnois and his team work with the guests to understand what might really wow them. If one is interested in astronomy, a telescope will be erected on the terrace.
“It is a lot more work on our side to find these special amenities, but they are certainly a little more genuine.”
There is where you might find the secret to success.
If one is interested in astronomy, a telescope will be erected on the terrace
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Voice is the next real game-changer within the industry
Google’s head of search, Ben Gomes, tells us to put headlines about robots and self-driving cars aside for a moment and consider that a better understanding of common language is crucial to the future of the internet.
“Speech recognition and the understanding of language is core to the future of search and information,” he said.
Voice recognition is now built into Google’s search and its AI voice assistant and has become essential in developing countries with low literacy rates.
“Many languages in developing nations have never really had common keyboards – I studied Hindi for 10 years, but I wouldn’t know how to type it – so voice is much easier to use than typing,” Gomes explained. “[Soon] You’ll be able to ask much more sophisticated queries and in more sophisticated ways. You’ll actually be able to carry on a conversation with Google.”
Hyatt Hotels Corporation announces new global careers program for young people
A concerning amount, more than 40%, of the world’s youth are either unemployed or living in poverty. In the US alone there are 4.9 million Opportunity Youth – people aged 16-24 who neither in school nor working – who are disconnected from the economy.
With the launch of RiseHY, Hyatt will seek to change this.
Here’s what Malaika Myers, chief human resources officer at Hyatt, had to say: “We understand the challenges young people face, and Hyatt hotels are uniquely positioned to be part of the solution. Hospitality is one of the few industries where entry-level opportunities often lead to fulfilling, life-long careers that can change the trajectory of someone’s life.”
“Hyatt hotels will harness the power of technology in ways our industry has never done before to scale career opportunities, bringing awareness to hospitality careers, setting candidates up for success from the start, and expanding training programs as a path for employment,” she said.
On a lighter note…
The world of hotels naturally brings with it a large array of different personalities, experiences, and stories. Sometimes it’s fun to reflect on the smaller moments hotel managers and staff have with particular guests.
Take this hilarious account for example, submitted anonymously, where a guest gets more than a little frustrated:
(I work the front desk at what is considered to be one of the more “upscale” hotels in the area. Most people who book with us tend to be on the wealthier end of the financial spectrum, and some are well aware of this fact, to put it kindly. I have just gotten in for my shift at 7:00am on the fourth of July, and I immediately witness this interaction between a guest and my coworker who has been there since 4:00am.)
Guest: “Do you have any newspapers today?”
Coworker: “I’m sorry, sir, we haven’t received any today. We don’t get papers delivered to us on holidays.”
Guest: *in a very frazzled tone* “Well, can I buy one from you? Is that an option?”
Coworker: “Well, no, we unfortunately don’t have any papers anywhere in the hotel today. There are a few places just a block or two away that may be selling newspapers today, though.”
Guest: “This is outrageous! I spend this much money to stay at your hotel and you don’t even give me a newspaper?! It is your patriotic duty to provide me with the news, and you have just failed as an American by not doing this!” *storms away*
A quick source of truth about a guest experience
At times, it can be impossible to think about what will make yours guests happy; it seems some people just can’t be pleased. At others, the concept of guest satisfaction is a very simple fix, with a formula based solely around being empathetic.
Miami-based Eric Jellson is Area Director of Marketing and Strategy for Kimpton Hotels, Florida and the Cayman Islands. He has some advice on the topic:
“Every hotel is four walls…you can’t change that. What really separates us from the rest is how we treat people, not just our guests but our employees.”
“We find ridiculously personal experiences with which to surprise our guests that nobody else does. We don’t script our team – certain brands have very specific ways they want you to talk to a customer, but we don’t. We just try to be genuine. The whole core of hospitality has to be from the heart, not a playbook. We find people who want to take care of people,” said Jellson.