What You Can Learn from a Thousand Articles Written
By Larry Mogelonsky, Managing Director Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited
My first published article on hospitality debuted in early March 2011 and just last month we rolled out our sixth book entitled, "More Hotel Mogel" (October 2020). The purpose was the same as it still is today, even in the face of so much uncertainty from the pandemic. In each article, I offer a morsel of education and inspiration for hoteliers based upon what I've gleaned from my ongoing consulting work for hotels, resorts and technology firms.
Reflecting upon what I've reported on and what trends I've noted, it's fascinating to see how those stories developed over the years with many still evolving as we speak. Flipping through the pages of the five books I've composed on hospitality management, I felt that it was time to look back on what we've experienced over the past decade and what we can expect over the next few years (all in no particular order).
- Hotels sell experiences, not just accommodations. Exquisite food and beverage, spa, wellness, golf and other ways to involve the guest in your property have all become critical factors in business success. Moreover, the need for local activity partners is all the more critical to marketing and brand loyalty.
- The local community is your breadwinner. Thinking of your lobby nowadays as a living room and how you welcome your neighbors will pay big dividends. Now more than ever, your 'hyperlocal' constituency is a vital important source of business as well as word of mouth generation for incoming travelers.
- Does a brand name mean anything anymore? More than a dozen new brands were launched over the past nine years. Can you name them all? If you can't then do you think your guests will be able to? All this reeks of customers having too much choice in what I refer to as the 'paradox of choice' as well as a lack of deepening brand relationships or 'brand dilution'.
- Marketing gets repositioned to the digital realm. Right or wrong, traditional advertising has run its course. For most hotels, channels like newspapers and magazines have become too expensive. Broad-based advertising is narrowcast while measurement and analytics have sadly taken the place of bold positioning and strategy.
- The OTAs have moved from enemy to invaluable channel partner. I am not sure if the average reduction in OTA commissions was a result or a precursor to this attitudinal change. At the same time, metasearch is also a strong factor in any rate decisions.
- The mobile world has taken over. These days, who would even consider a website that is not mobile friendly? Now we build for mobile first, other screens second. Instrumental now is to have a speedy, intuitive mobile experience to best assist during the travel research and booking phases of the customer purchase pathway.
- The sharing economy has grown at a monumental rate. When I started this journey of the pen, Airbnb was basically a couch-surfing platform for millennials. Now totally mainstream, this distribution network, and others like it, has over 10% of the worldwide marketplace and more rooms available each night than the sum of all the major chains combined. With such inventory, when Airbnb sneezes, the world quivers.
- There's a tech for just about everything. Highlighted from the recent wave of IoT-based innovations, shiny new toys abound like room keys or in-room safes that respond to smart phones, thermostats that recognize your guests' movements to help save on the energy bill and a host of other applications that synchronize operations with your PMS. The beauty of technology, and why I continue to be a big proponent of it, is that all these vendors have the potential to save hotels on costs as well as improve the guest experience to offer a key point of product differentiation.