These days, brand behemoth Marriott International is less often referred to as an industry pioneer. As it has grown in size, the company typically lets other companies break new ground and then adopts, adapts and sometimes enhances whatever innovations evolve from the pioneers.
The hotel industry, like so many other business sectors, is on the cusp of profound change. Connectivity, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and the data all these new innovations produce are set to change the way hotels function, according to Bret Greenstein, VP of IBM Watson, Internet of Things.
Anybody who’s been to my house or Duetto’s offices would know I’m a huge “Star Wars” fan, but lately, the conversations I hear about artificial intelligence and how it might disrupt hotels and casinos remind me more of “Blade Runner.
At a busy intersection in the heart of Sydney’s central business district stands the Tank Stream Hotel, one of the newest international players to join Australia’s thriving hotel industry. Owned by Malaysia’s IGB group and within the St Giles Collection of hotels, Tank Stream Hotel is the group’s only representation in Sydney, although a second one in the Pyrmont district is due to come online within a year.
The digital revolution has given independent hotels a place on the world stage, but it is often hard to find them beneath the dominant marketing presence of the online travel agents. For many individual hotels and small chains, driving web traffic and direct bookings is a vital part of their marketing mix.
The UK hotel market has been on a roller coaster ride in recent years. First, there was the 2008 recession, then the 2010 European debt crisis, before London saw a raft of new hotel openings for the pre/post Olympics period (as well as enjoying a successful Games).
As expected, once Marriott International implemented new guidelines that in general require guests to cancel reservations 48 hours in advance of arrival, other mega brand companies are making similar moves.
A new survey from well-respected research firm J.D. Power shows another reason hotels need to encourage direct bookings from customers: Travelers who book through a third-party distribution site, such as an online travel agency, are more likely to experience a problem and to be less satisfied with their stay than those who book directly.
We talk a lot about Open Pricing and more specifically the value of yielding room types dynamically. We’ve written whitepapers, produced videos and created plenty of slides that illustrate these concepts, but last week I saw firsthand why this is so important and the revenue opportunities too many hotels are missing.
Hotel occupancy might be cited most often when hospitality experts are trying to gauge the industry’s health, but at the property level it is not the be-all, end-all for revenue managers trying to grow the top and bottom lines.