Hospitality Industry Management Update: “5 Ways to Improve Responses on TripAdvisor”

Leisman cited data form a Phocuswright poll of the TripAdvisor community of travelers that found 84% of U.S. users agreed that an appropriate managementonline engagement response to a bad review “improves my impression of the hotel.” Six of 10 users (62%) said seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally “makes me more likely to book it (versus a comparable hotel that didn’t respond to travelers).”

It’s funny observing the disparate number of policies hoteliers employ regarding reviews on TripAdvisor. Company A insists on responding to every comment, while Company B tells its managers to reply only to the bad. Company C takes a different tact entirely: It doesn’t respond to any.

Those are the broad buckets. Nuances and further variation exist at each stage along the spectrum. And each company that employs them insists theirs is the only and obvious approach.

Some variety might be warranted. One hotel is often not like the other, so I understand a degree of unique plans that appeal to unique bases of demand, product offerings and location types.

But clearly there are some hoteliers who, despite their best intentions, are engaging with guests on TripAdvisor in a manner that could prove potentially harmful to further review rankings and thus future bookings.

In cases such as these, I find it’s best to go straight to the source for the prescribed best practices. In this case, that would be TripAdvisor—or more specifically, Heather Leisman, business VP of industry marketing.

This topic was top of mind for her. TripAdvisor recently released a report which examined why travelers write reviews. The top reason? “To share useful information with others” and because “they find reviews helpful, so they want to give back.” (Who knew the TripAdvisor online community was so altruistic?)

For more: http://bit.ly/1cgseQT

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Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “Best Tips for Creating Fast, Reliable and Secure Wi-Fi Networks”

Wi-Fi is a business driver that enables a comprehensive guest experience. Soon, hotels will leverage the power of Wi-Fi to expand on loyalty programs,Hotel wifi integrate with the in-room TV, and take part in other customer-engagement strategies such as location-based promotions and time-based offers.

Yaroslav Goncharov, CEO of Hotel Wi-Fi Test, has had a front row seat to the rise of Wi-Fi in the hotel industry. “It’s become a key amenity,” he says. “Some studies even claim it is second only to a comfortable bed.” At a time when basically every handheld device features Internet connectivity, guests place immense value on reliable wireless networks. This means that top-notch Wi-Fi services have changed from a nicety to a necessity.

When it comes to best practices, nothing trumps capacity. “While bandwidth growth has always been an issue for hospitality IT departments, the additional demands of Wi-Fi have accelerated the urgency,” says Alexandra Sewell, executive director, emerging markets, Comcast Business. She notes that many hotel guests carry two or three mobile devices, and they expect to be constantly connected when they travel. “And without the proper network capacity, Wi-Fi will be slow and frustrating,” she says. Kirk Hylan, owner of INsite Networks, a San Francisco IT company, says there’s no rule of thumb when it comes to determining how much bandwidth a hotel property needs. “With bandwidth, it’s really a matter of how much your pocket can afford because guests will use it all.”

“Technology is evolving faster than most of us ever imagined,” says Doug Gehret, general manager at Hilton Orlando. “We must be proactive to remain relevant.” Gehret’s hotel recently upgraded to the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and now touts its high-speed data rates (up to 10 times standard Wi-Fi) as a key selling point in promotion material. With the AC Wi-Fi standard now over a year old, hotels that haven’t upgraded may find themselves falling behind the competition. And a property’s Wi-Fi speed isn’t a secret anymore, as third-party reviewers like Hotel Wi-Fi Test provide free, easily accessible ratings of wireless services that potential guests may use when choosing hotels for their next stay or event.

For more: http://bit.ly/1K5JHXO

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Hospitality Industry Crime Update: “Hotels Work to Curb Harrowing Trend of Sex Trafficking in Metro”

“O’Meara, an attorney, is Nebraska’s new human trafficking coordinator. He wants people to be aware so victims can be rescued…”What happens is the victim is convinced byTrafficking-620x330 the trafficker (that) the only value the victim has as a human being is the ability to make money through commercial sex acts for the pimp,” O’Meara said…Omaha’s upscale Magnolia Hotel was the first to train hospitality workers to spot sex trafficking.”

Local law enforcement is trying to educate hotel workers to recognize signs of sex trafficking. The hope is to rescue women often caught in a cycle of abuse, violence and neglect.

“I was petrified to go outside,” Melissa said.

She said that for more than three years, she was forced to sell herself for money.

“The brain-washing, psychological games — it takes years,” Melissa said.

She wants Omaha to know that prostitution is slavery, with a pimp in charge of every move.

“I just wasn’t allowed out of his sight,” Melissa said.

Her message is the same one shared as part of a new pilot program in Omaha, which trains hotel workers to spot and report sex trafficking.

For more: http://bit.ly/1Jtnwg7

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Hospitality Industry Conference Update: “Hospitality Law Conference”

Hospitality Law Conference

Presented by Anderson Kill and Petra Risk Solutions: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at The Cornell Club in New York

Hospitality Law Conference

For more: http://bit.ly/1RdDoqn

 

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Hospitality Industry Management Update: “Airbnb Grows to a Million Rooms, and Hotel Rivals Are Quiet, for Now”

In Austin, Tex., each 10 percent increase in Airbnb listings resulted in a 0.35 percent decrease in monthly hotel room revenue,airbnb according to a study by Boston University. Less expensive hotels and those focused on leisure travelers were most affected when Airbnb developed in their area, the study found.

By any measure, Airbnb’s growth has been stunning since the company was founded in 2008. It now has more than a million rooms available in homes, apartments and even former barns — more places to sleep than hotel giants like Marriott and Hilton.

Despite this growth, though, the big hotel chains, at least outwardly, have yet to take substantial action to counter the potential threat from the upstart lodging service.

One reason is the strength of the travel market over all. Spending on hotels this year is projected to be even higher than last year’s robust outlays, according to Douglas Quinby, an analyst for Phocuswright. Other reasons include the ingrained habits of travelers, particularly older ones and business travelers on expense accounts, who see no reason to change their ways.

For more: http://nyti.ms/1zWgiir

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Hospitality Industry Management Update: “5 Social Trends Hoteliers Can Leverage”

“Everything is being rated and talked about, he said. And much of that is being done on mobile. For example,20150504_AmericInn_Levine he said a lot of hoteliers will say they aren’t interested in Twitter—but that’s where their customers are talking about them. Thus, hoteliers need to monitor it and join in on the conversation.”

A picture of a pet cat with a slice of bread on its head. A person standing in front of a waterfall and capturing a photo that makes it seem as if he or she is vomiting said waterfall.

The above two examples “broke the Internet,” according to Daniel Levine, director of The Avant-Guide Institute, a global trends consultancy for travel and consumer marketing, based in New York City. But they were short-lived fads and certainly not things to build a business plan around.

But building a plan around social trends? That might be the golden ticket.

“Trends are not specific to any one industry. Trends are what people are thinking and feeling, and they’re looking for these same trends to be answered in every part of their lives,” Levine said while speaking during the recent opening general session of the AmericInn 2015 Convention & Tradeshow held at Bally’s Las Vegas.

In other words: Hoteliers can adjust their operations to sell the answers to these trends, he said.

“The beauty of trends is that they resonate with people for reasons they may not even be aware of. They’ll go and beat a path at your door if you’re answering these trends in creative ways,” Levine said.

Here are five social trends hoteliers can capitalize on.

For more: http://bit.ly/1F91w8D

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Hospitality Industry Conference Update: “Northern California Hotel & Lodging Conference”

CH&LA and AAHOA have once again partnered to present the annual Northern California Hotel & Lodging Conference.  This year the event is moving back to the DoubleTree San Jose.  Each year this event gathers together over 300 hoteliers who enjoynorcal-button-highres the free educational seminars, updates on industry topics and to attend the trade show.

The show will include the usual abundance of networking opportunities, general session luncheon, and of course the trade show, the largest of its kind in Northern California.  Over 100 vendors will be eager to show off the latest industry products, many who offer special rates and discounts for this conference.  There will also be a reception in the trade show at 4:00 pm, with appetizers, soft drinks, no-host bar and lots of networking.

For more: http://bit.ly/1zkW1gW

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