Briefing: Guest experience is better with latest tech

In a new report from Zebra Technologies, 66% of hospitality guests said that they have a better experience when hotels use the latest technology. Mobile phones and location technology are at the forefront of technology developments in hotels. Smart phone uses range from unlocking rooms, to receiving text notifications about room readiness, to receiving location based offers. The report found that 40% of guests currently use hotel apps and 70% of guests want to use technology to speed up the service they receive.

In these videos four experts discuss upgrading experience with technology:

For a long-time, hospitality businesses have been seeking to create more personalised experiences for guests through technology. The results of Zebra’s 2016 Hospitality Vision Study suggests that guests today are interested in receiving personalised treatment across the room, entertainment, and concierge elements of their stay. 86% say they are interested in having a room selected based on personal preferences such as room/window location and bed configuration. 81% say they would like to receive a personalised list of restaurants/ activities and directions, and 70% say they would be interested in receiving location based coupons and specials.

Hotels are starting to look at what they can do when they have the ability to track their guests’ locations. 74% of surveyed hotels/resorts are planning to implement location-based technologies within the next year. They would be able to track a location when the guest has a hotel app on their phone that they give permission to access their location data – in the same way that a map app uses the phones location to show a route. Then the hotel can send messages and offers that are more relevant to the guest at the time, and would know whether the guest is inside the hotel or out-and-about.”

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Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: No two career paths are the same

There are a great many people who have worked their way up the hospitality ladder to success, but there are also many who find their career path takes them into hospitality through less conventional routes. A recent survey shows that the number one reason professionals would seek a new job in 2017 is that they need a more challenging position. When seeking this challenge, people can find unexpected opportunities.

The week our experts discuss their career paths and how they got involved in hospitality:

According to Korn Ferry, challenge is the overwhelming driver of change with 76% of people stating this as the top reason to seek a new job. There are several other elements that can also influence a professional seeking new employment. The other factors stated in the study are; the professional’s efforts not being recognised in their current job (9%), the professional not liking their company (9%), or their boss (4%), and compensation being too low (5%).

Making career leaps to follow opportunity can involve changing industries or even countries. One very attractive element of the hospitality industry is that it offers great opportunities for travel and working abroad. HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey found that 43% of millennials who have moved aboard were motivated by finding a new challenge, and 49% of expat millennials say they find their work more fulfilling in their host country than it was at home.

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Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: Personal touch still key to good service

In this digital age, more and more customer service interactions are taking place online and through multiple channels. This means that the hospitality industry’s practice of good service needs to adjust to accommodate all touch points. Northridge Group’s recent study found that over half of consumers (55%) need to use two or more communication channels before an issue is resolved. There is no substitute for personal responses, listening skills, and swift problem solving, regardless of the channel.

Hospitality experts discuss good service:

Where there are digital touch points these need to be properly monitored. But across industries, companies are terrible at being responsive online. Super Office’s, 2017 Customer Service Benchmark Report states that that 41% of companies do not respond to customer service emails.

This report also found that; “80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service, in fact only 8% of customers believe they are actually receiving excellent service.” This is a reminder to all not to be complacent. In hospitality, where service is paramount, companies should always be checking in on their customer’s opinions about there products and services, and adjust where they are found to fall short.

Northridge’s study has once again shown that great service can be a truly differentiating factor with six in ten consumers (58%) going out of their way to buy a product or service from a company if they know they will receive excellent customer service.

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Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: Data culture creates new risks

Data has become a key tool that a hospitality business needs to perform at its best. Now businesses must recognise the importance of using the data they have in a responsibile way. A misuse of data could be a risk to a business and could destroy trust between it and its customers. The latest research by Accenture has found that 83% of executives agree trust is the cornerstone of the digital economy.

Four hospitality experts discuss how they work with data:

As these videos show, in hospitality data can help deliver better service, and help understand how products can be marketed. It is very beneficial to embrace this in your business and culture. Technology systems in the industry are getting better at gathering and uniting data. But there is still a way to go for optimum use.

New risks arising from data use should be present in the mind of any business that take data on. According to Accenture; ‘81 percent of executives agree that as the business value of data grows, the risks companies face from improper handling of data are growing exponentially.’ And ‘80% of executives report strong demand among knowledge workers for increased ethical controls for data.’ Risk can come out of using customer data in ways they did not agree to, or unethical use of insights taken from data.

A report form Sabre suggests that with all that data use requires continual refinement as more sophisticated computer programs are created to automate data analysis processes and more and more objects become able to capture data as the “Internet of things grows”. Sabre say that “we’re still several years away from having a robust understanding of how this degree of information will change how we conduct business.”

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Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: Developing Hospitality in 2017

There are a great many exciting new hotels due to open around the globe in 2017. One interesting example is The Silo Hotel in Cape Town which is being built as part of a clever project to turn an old grain elevator into a beautiful contemporary art museum with the hotel on the floors above. It will be great to see what new trends, styles and products emerge as brands make new plans.

In these videos hospitality experts discuss product and brand development:

The way that consumers are connecting with these innovative products and brands has also changed. Social media is vital to brand marketing but many consumers are wary of direct advertising on these platforms. The Connected Life study by Kantar TNS’ found that consumers aged 16-24 are more likely to take recommendations from online personalities that brand owned content and 26% of consumers are actively ignoring social posts or ads from brands on social.

Many brands will be expanding into new geographical regions in 2017. Anantara is taking its luxury brand to Europe and opening Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort in April 2017. While Hilton will be opening the first of it’s Curio branded hotels in Italy. The 101-guestroom La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort Siena is set to welcome guests from March 2017.

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Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: The value of thoughtful recruitment

Recruiting new ways of thinking into your business can be very advantageous. A study by Delloite says that ‘diversity of thought’ within a team can ‘help increase the scale of new insights’ and ‘guard against overconfidence’. Teams that hold a variety of skillsets, identities, and backgrounds will challenge each other and encourage learning and innovation. Whoever you choose to bring into your business, ensure you are supporting them to achieve their best.

Our experts look at the importance of thoughtful recruitment and training:

The advantages of having diverse teams, beyond the immediate social importance, is noted in various studies. McKinsey found that ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to financially outperform competitors. While a study in a PNAS journal revealed that traders in diverse markets were better at accurately pricing stocks.

When recruiting new employees you should consider ‘what they can bring to the team’, and also what they can bring out in a team and what you can bring out in them. Think about more that filling a gap and relying on old habits and assumptions, but really look at how they can fit in the business and work to help them develop, as discussed in the above videos.

A drive for recruitment and upskilling in the industry is needed this year is especially in light of Brexit, which could see UK hospitality businesses losing many of their valuable staff. BHA say that “Assuming that 10% of the EU workforce (70,000) leave the sector and/or the UK each year and the industry’s total headcount grows by a conservative 1% (45,000) annually, the annual recruitment need is for over 100,000 people.”

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Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: The battle for bookings pivots on tech

According to Hipmunk, an online travel company, one-half of millennials say they’re “travel hackers”, meaning they know the best way to get a good travel deal. Research from Google states that only 23% of leisure travellers are confident they can find all of the same hotel and flight information on their smartphone that they can on their desktop. In the battle for bookings consumer behaviour is being swayed by on-going technological changes, opportunities for efficiency and value, and curiosity about new products.

In these videos experts discuss booking technology:

While the booking portals that travellers are using are changing, booking a holiday is still generally considered a big ticket purchase and requires a lot of consideration, planning and saving. Infact research from WordPay found that in the US, 72% of people still use instalment-based payments for vacation packages.

This also means that travel researchers are using multiple devices to ensure they have the best deal. A report from Google shows 94% of leisure travellers switch between devices as they plan or book a trip, and two thirds of leisure travellers double-check prices on a desktop after shopping.

More and more websites and opportunities for ‘travel hacking’ continue to appear. A website called Dream Cheaper is now even offering to help find travellers a better deal after they have booked.

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Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: How entrepreneurs are changing hospitality

Recent research shows that entrepreneurs are opportunity-motivated and innovative. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Entrepreneurial Employee Activity (EEA) is highest in the innovation-driven economies. Norway, Australia and the United Kingdom report the highest EEA rates, at 8% or more of their adult populations. Start-ups in the hospitality industry are demonstrating new and exciting ways of doing business.

In these videos experts discuss entrepreneurship and innovation:

Becoming an entrepreneur has become an increasingly common aspiration in recent years. Beyond simply finding a job to pay the bills, more people are seeking to find a worthwhile calling to dedicate their time to, and those that do are admired. 69% of entrepreneurs stated they chose to pursue an opportunity as a basis for their entrepreneurial motivations, rather than starting out of necessity.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 68% of working-age adults perceive high status for entrepreneurs in their societies. In the UK the percentage is even higher with 79.2% of people giving a high status to entrepreneurs, while 57.8% see entrepreneurship as a good career choice.

The 2015/16 Global Report from GEM results are based on data from 60 economies in the Adult Population Survey (APS) and 62 economies in the National Expert Survey (NES).

If you’ve been sent to this page and you’re not yet on the circulation list to receive these regular briefings and you would like to sign up, you can do see here. It’s free.

Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: Ownership structures are changing

This month, easyHotels announced the signing of a new franchise agreement for a 54 room hotel in Reading. Franchises make up the bulk of easyHotel’s rooms with 1,512 franchised rooms, verses 390 owned rooms. The hospitality industry is seeing a clear increase in franchising and management agreements, which means a separation of roles across businesses.

In these videos four hospitality experts discuss franchising and owner/ operator relationships:

The new easyHotel is an existing hotel that will be converted during 2017. The company’s expansion strategy is largely based around franchising. This agreement brings easyHotel’s total committed development projects to 1,658 rooms under development, 576 of which are owned and 1,082 are being developed by franchise partners.

Franchising and management agreements allow hospitality companies to expand quickly and diversify their porfolios. Elegant Hotels Group plc in Barbados recently signed its first ever management contract, which is also its first hotel outside of Barbados. Hodges Bay Resort & Spa by Elegant Hotels in Antigua is currently under construction and is expected to open its doors in mid to late 2017.

Similarly, earlier this year Compass Hospitality Group, one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing hospitality management companies, took on operations of its first hotel in Scotland; The Columba Hotel in Inverness. The hotel has 82 rooms views of Inverness Castle across the River Ness. The hotel is owned by Singapore based Seacare Hospitality.

If you’ve been sent to this page and you’re not yet on the circulation list to receive these regular briefings and you would like to sign up, you can do see here. It’s free.

Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

Briefing: The importance of strong leadership

A new survey from Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has uncovered the work, challenges, and concerns of senior Revenue Management professionals. It found that critical thinking was considered an important or very important management skill by all respondents, as was business acumen by 98% of respondents. What else is required to be an effective manager and how much of a difference can the right leadership make to a business?

In these video, experts discuss leadership and management in hospitality:

The HSMAI survey shows that there is a desire from Revenue Managers to have more control to push businesses forward; the top-rated responsibilities the respondents said they would like to add to their duties were Sales and Marketing, and Strategic Planning.

The HSMAI survey found that revenue management professionals currently spend on average 5.5 hours per week on Human Resource Management, 14 hours on Strategy, and 5.6 hours on Technology Application.

The survey also covered the challenges that the Revenue Managers faced. The most challenging aspects of the revenue managers position was found to be; advancing the thinking & decision making in related disciplines, and elevating the strategic application of data throughout the enterprise.

If you’ve been sent to this page and you’re not yet on the circulation list to receive these regular briefings and you would like to sign up, you can do see here. It’s free.

Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.

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