Hotels Redefine Hospitality

The hotel industry continues to redefine hospitality as society changes. Some of the trends to watch for are co-working, providing experiences beyond the hotel and local means serving locals. All revolve around the concept of hospitality rediscovering its roots. Hospitality is not just about serving the people who need a bed for the night. Hospitality is being redefined as serving all the needs of the guests and reaching out to local residents to also serve their needs.

Co-working Spaces in Hotels

Co-working spaces are of interest to people who work remotely and don’t have a company office. But they are also popular because people like the energy that results from working together. Hotels are responding by adding more communal spaces rather than assuming that people want to work in their rooms.

 

 

Experiences Beyond the Hotel

People want local experiences when they stay in a community. Rather than just have a concierge that tells people what to see and do, hotels are starting to create their own experiences that they can then sell to visitors. Local isn’t just using local art for decoration and local food in the kitchen.

Hotels Serving the Locals

While hotels are creating tours to gain more revenue from guests they have traditionally ignored the local community. They may have contributed to local charity. They may also book meeting rooms for local organizations. Now hotels are considering how they can extend hospitality by providing services to the hundreds of business people who work in the buildings around the hotel. This includes use of a hotel room for freshening up before an evening event, use of the gym facilities or package delivery.

Halal Hotels

Make Mine Halal!

Any group that follows a religious belief that prescribes certain behaviors for daily living may have unique needs when traveling. This is true of conservative Muslims that follow halal practices, a set of rules of what is permissible and what is not.

 

While not every Muslim will feel the need to do so, some want hotels that reflect their beliefs. As a result, there is a growing number of hotels that promote halal tourism.

Halal Hotels

These hotels do not serve alcohol, serve halal food, have separate recreational facilities for men and women. Other ideas for making conservative Muslims feel at home are providing prayer rugs in the rooms and having staff dress conservatively. Why do so? It is estimated that by 2020 11 per cent of travelers will be conservative Muslims.

Growing Tourist Segment

This is a market segment worth over $200 billion. Turkey already has 40 hotels that cater to this segment. In 2016 the annual conference dedicated to halal tourism attracted attendees from 30 countries including Western countries as the need for such hotels is not just confined to Muslin countries but anywhere a conservative Muslin may wish to go.

Hotel Fitness Centers – Guests Say They Want Them But Then Why Don’t They Use Them

Hotel Survey Findings Aren’t Always Accurate

Hospitality organizations know they need to conduct research on what people want. But sometimes the results of a survey differ from what people actually do. For example, a survey was conducted on what amenities people want when they visit a hotel.

A majority of survey respondents stated that fitness was important to them and that they wanted to able to work out while on a trip. So hotels have been busy installing fitness centers, which are costly not just for the initial design and equipment but also the ongoing expense of  maintenance.

But Don’t Use Them!

The survey results were that 46 per cent said that they would use the fitness centers. However in reality only 22 per cent of guest use them. The higher end the hotel, the less likely people are to use the equipment even though they said they planned to do so.

Gap Between Research and Reality

This gap between survey results and actual behavior occurred with other amenities. While 66 per cent of guests want free WI-FI, only 42 per cent use it at the hotel. This is true even with bottled water. Fifty six per cent of guests state they would drink it, but only 49 per cent do.

Conduct Observation Research!

The report’s conclusion? That hotels would be better served by observing the guests actually usage behavior than relying on survey results. People do not always act the way they say they are going to do.

Video Email

No One Wants to Read an Email Anymore

A hotel, attraction or event understands that they must have a message that resonates with their targeted visitors. They may spend considerable time researching to get just the right words that describe the benefits they will provide. But what if no one reads the email? Video email may be the answer!

Calls to Action Work!

Potential visitors want information and the hospitality industry makes the request process simple. Calls to action are embedded on websites and social media. It is quick and easy for an interested potential visitor to request an email with more information.

But Emails Aren’t Read

The problem is that even though the information was requested it is not read. Why? First, people are busy. Second, the desire has passed. Third, no one wants to read.

As we have become to increasingly rely on visual communication, people have less patience with the written word. The old saying, that a picture is worth a thousand words has always been true, but now even more so.

Video Email Gets Action

It is known that having the word video in a subject line increases the open rate. The new forms of video email marketing have the video play immediately when the email is clicked.

The reader/viewer can immediately see smiling visitors, beautiful scenery and exciting action!

Happy – or not – Valentine’s Day!

Happy (or maybe not so happy) Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day has now gone global. What was once considered just a Western holiday is now celebrated in many countries. How important is Valentine’s Day? A research study in the US found that 53% of women would end a relationship if they did not receive a token of love on the day!

Alone on Valentine’s Day?

However not everyone is involved in a romantic relationship. For these customers, the emphasis on romantic love can be a bit depressing.

Here’s how the hospitality industry can help!

Hospitality Industry Events

Host Special Single Events. But be sure to keep it upbeat! No one wants to come to a pity-party.

Market Self Appreciation: What better day to offer a special offer at a spa! While everyone else is having a romantic dinner, singles can enjoy pampering themselves.

Focus on Others: Have a Valentine’s event that focuses on love of the community. A charity event that provides for those less fortunate can put romantic disappointment in perspective.

Sponsor a Seminar: A talk on goal setting can broaden the single person’s perspective and also provide an opportunity for singles to understand they are not alone.

Never Ask: Are Your Alone?

And, hotel personnel please remember – don’t ask “only one?” or “are you alone?” when a single person approaches! After all, no one asks a couple “only two?” or “aren’t there more of you?” Treat single customers exactly the same as a couple!


International Tourism Strategies is now offering a customized English language and guest relations training program for hotel employees at all levels in providing excellent customer service.

As the hotel industry expands there is a need for trained staff. However, many potential employees need extra help in learning to give excellent customer service.

Working with the hotel I provide a customized program to train hotel staff to understand how to communicate and serve across language and cultural differences. Lessons are based on the vocabulary needed by staff so that they can both provide and sell the hotel’s services

Millennial Traveler: Myth vs. Fact

How Are Millennials Really Different?

Because they spend so much time online we might think we know all about Millennial traveler preferences. Everyone in tourism seems to be focused on attracting the Millennial traveler. They are children of the digital age, born between 1982 and 2004.

Millennial Travel Myths

We do know that these travelers are confident and goal oriented. We know that they view travel as a necessary part of their lifestyle. Not a pleasure to be earned. Because they travel frequently, they are targeted by many in the tourism industry. To successfully attract Millennials you need to understand myth vs. fact.

Myth: All that is needed is social media marketing.

Fact: It is the content, not the media, that gets their attention.

There is nothing new about social media with this group. 97% are already posting their own travel stories online.

What they want is to find travel stories by peers that have a human connection. Over 50% of Millennial travelers were inspired to take their last trip because of something they saw on social media!

Myth: They are online bargain hunting.

Fact: They are online experience hunting.

This group has money to spend if they can be convinced that they will get a personalized experience.

60% of Millennials would rather spend money on an experience than a possession. To them, travel is a social experience and what they want  is to interact both with other travelers and local residents. The lesson learned, sell peer to peer using stories of local experiences.


Question: What stories are sharing online?

Getting the Sale for Your Tourism or Lodging Business

Getting the Sale Takes the Personal Touch

Customer Service DilbertIt is often front desk employees who have the most impact on a service business. They are often the customer’s first and last contact. In the hotel and tourism industry, management has two priorities. First to keep customers happy and, second, to maximize revenue by getting the sale.

To do so, front desk and customer service personnel should be trained to handle the following scenarios. While these scenarios are focusing on potential guests, they apply equally to any other type of creative or cultural service.

Call In’s

customer-service-feelingPotential customers will first check for rates and prices on multiple online sites. If they cannot find prices listed for the specific hotel or product they will check competitor’s prices for comparison purposes. They will then call, email, or text to verify the price. At this point an incentive for booking or purchasing immediately needs to be presented. If not, further research might lead to losing the sale.

24/7 Service

customer-service-24Many potential customers are researching products and prices when their schedule allows, not during regular business hours. This might be late at night after the kids are in bed or early mornings at the gym. They may also be living in a very different time zone. There must be an employee who responds to these inquiries whenever they arrive.

Up-Selling

upsellingMany customers are fixated on price. Their concern for finding the best deal should be respected.

However, if they are informed that for a small increase in price they can receive a much higher level of service, they may agree to pay more! The skill needed is to present the information attractively without making the customer feel pressured.

Ensuring that you and your employees can meet these challenges is critical to business success!


QUESTIONS FOR TOURISM MARKETERS TO CONSIDER

What incentive do I have to encourage closing a sale?

Do I have service packages available at low, medium and high price levels?

If I can’t be available personally 24/7 do I have a system that can respond to any inquiries with information as to when I will be in touch?

Newlyweds on Honeymoon

What Newlyweds on Honeymoon Want: Lots of Action Outside of the Hotel Room

Newlyweds OlderWant to know what happens with newlyweds on honeymoon? It’s changing. A study of what newlyweds in Canada, Mexico and the US desired in a honeymoon experience conducted in 2010 and then again in 2015 found significant changes in this short period of time.

Couple ActiveThe researchers state that much has changed because of three social trends: rising wealth, digital connection and emphasis on wellness. What has also changed is the demographics of newlyweds as they are now older, better educated and have already traveled together as a couple. So it is not surprising that the standard view of newlyweds rarely leaving their hotel room is outdated!

Because of these changes, while on honeymoon they want to schedule as many activities as possible. They want a nice hotel but also the opportunity to hike, mountain climb, ski and to fly fish.

Let Them Eat More Than Cake

Wedding CakeThey may have had a cake at their wedding, but on the honeymoon, they want healthy food so they can stay on their diet. How much has changed can be seen in these statistics. In five years the number of newlyweds who go running on their honeymoon has increased by 60 percent. But it isn’t all sweating it out, 50 percent are also booking spa appointments to relax and decompress after an active day.

They Still Want a Comfortable Bed

Honeymoon BedTo meet these trends hotels are now helping honeymooners pre-book activities, offer healthy menus and lend equipment needed for activities. Some things do not change for honeymooners; 50 percent say their experience would have been improved with a better quality bed .


Questions For Tourism Marketers

How can a local honeymoon market be targeted?

What type of pre-booked experiences can be offered?

How can lodging providers be encouraged to improve the quality of their beds and bedding?


Now Available for Speaking Engagements: Attracting Today’s Technologically Connected Traveler

With the second edition of Tourism Marketing for Cities and Towns almost completed I will again have to time to speak. Please click below for presentation information.

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