Welcome to the first issue of Pillow Talk for 2015.
I took a few months off from the newsletter due to a busy schedule and a self analysis of what I want to accomplish in 2015.
As we approach the middle of 2015 – so much has happened in the industry. OTA’s are back in the news fiercer than ever, industry disruptors such as Airbnb and Homeaway have grown tremendously, Uber is fighting legislation insisting that its drivers have additional insurance when operating in the service capacity as well as drivers undergo a through background check.
However, despite all of these ‘changes’, we must remain focused on the number one issue – running a profitable hotel.
This month the focus is the OTA sector – which we all have a love /hate relationship – but one cannot argue the dominance they command. However, with strategic finesse, you can have a balanced relationship with the OTA.
Female travelers account for almost 50% of travel in the US. It is an ever growing segment with its unique needs.
I have outlined a few tips based on my travel this past year.
More and more travelers will use online reviews of hotels before making a final selection. I am one of those individuals. So how do you protect your hotel’s online reputation – follow the tips below as a guideline.
The mid-point of the year is also is good time to reflect the accomplishments of the first half of the year and to determine if your goals are on target – or if you need to reassess. I know I have – and I am in a much place because of it…
In This Issue
What is Pillow Mint Partners
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
How To Protect Your Online Reputation
Tips On How To Reduce Reliance On OTA’s
What Female Travelers Seek
LLA Events – Save the Dates
New Hotels – Genre Hotels
Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here
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On a daily basis we often ask, “How should I respond to a negative online review”? As
well as “Do I need to respond to positive reviews”? We have to accept both the positive and negative reviews. Though we love it when we get a positive review, we must equally embrace the negative review and seize the opportunity to improve.
The challenge that hoteliers face is that today guest feedback is no longer private. Hotel guests are writing about their experiences on social media and sites likeTripAdvisor and Expedia. It is a proven fact that prospective guests are reading these public reviews before they make their decision to book the selected hotel. I do when I travel. According to a TripAdvisorstudy, 93% of travelers say online reviews have an impact on their booking decisions.
According to a TripAdvisor study published September 2014, responding to both positive and negative reviews offers additional benefits: Hotels that respond to over 50% of their online reviews increase their likelihood of receiving a booking by 24%, compared to properties that did not respond to guest reviews.
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When I re-entered the hotel world after my decade long stint at Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, I quickly learned of a ‘new’ phenomenon known as the OTA. OTA’s was just gaining recognition in the early 2000’s when I left the hotel world and entered the Bureau world where I predominantly focused on building the group market.
Upon my reemergence into the hotel world, it was time to play catch up…in less than a decade everything I knew about hotel revenue management changed and I had to relearn. I quickly researched what an OTA was and its impact in today’s economy. I absorbed as much knowledge as I could.
What I found out was that hotels have an unhealthy reliance on OTA business – especially independent boutique and lifestyle hotels. In many cases, these hotels do not realize the huge impact these OTA room nights have on the hotel’s bottom line. Margins of up 30% are quite common especially when developing a promotion with an OTA such as TravelZoo.
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2014 was the year of travel for me. I made 13 trips and stayed in a variety of hotels nationwide. Every hotel was different as well as the amenities they provided in the guestroom. What I realized is that overall many independent boutique and lifestyle hotels need to take into consideration their female traveler.According to research conducted by Judi Brownell, Ph.D., and professor at Cornell University in the Management & Organizational Behavior Program, shows that women are the fastest growing market of business travelers in the United States and account for nearly half of all business travelers.In addition, her research uncovered that only 27% of hotel managers surveyed indicated that their business made accommodations for women travelers, while 60% of respondents indicated that this was of burgeoning importance in the travel industry.
Hotels are constantly fretting over operating costs. What they do not realize is that while they may be cutting corners, these cost measures may cost occupancy and loyalty. If you fall into the premium/ luxury segment or an independent operator, I recommend that you consider the suggestions below for these are what I look for when I check into a hotel:
- Feeling Safe in the Hotel: This is the most important item. We want to feel safe when traveling. There have been many occasions when I was given a room with an adjoining door – a complete no -no!
- Or when the front desk agent says, “You are in Room 123″, loud enough for others in the area to hear.
Research directly from a study of 13,000 women from Fortune 1,000 companies confirmed that women wanted to know how hotels were concerned with their safety while away from home. Specifically: covered parking, deadbolts on doors, thoughtful room location and well-lit hallways are of extreme importance.
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The NYC Tradeshow is the perfect event for a boutique and lifestyle hotel to participate in. The show producers are deeply invested in the boutique world and under- stand the different needs and nuances of this growing segment.
Brought to you by the LA Trade Show team, event will be the corporate, entertainment, and high touch travel industry’s celebrity for the week of October 5, 2015. The event will welcome more than 500 qualified clients and more throughout the week for 2 days of sales calls presentations throughout the city, plus the trade show, and capping off with their famous annual corporate panel lunch at Below 54. The lunch is known for its networking and educational programming, with the corporate buyers as our panelists (the exhibitors will be the audience) and a cutting edge moderator.
Your hotel can participate in pre-arranged appointments and sales calls. These appointment-based calls combine entertainment, corporate, production, small group & leisure presentations, and sales calls at the client office.This is always convenient for the client!
The sales calls are:
- Held in collaboration with the trade show, panel discussion and sales workshops.
- Always held during the first two days of the trade show week in the host city, the presentations preempt the trade show and esteemed panel discussion.
- The team schedules and confirms hard to get appointments for travel related buyer companies.
- The Registration Fees cover this cost – Just mark the correct box and pay ahead!
- Board Room style presentations for you and your team of 5 persons are the rule.
The Team Leader for each sales team has years of marketplace experience with conducting sales calls & presentations, ensuring professionalism and networking beyond the expectation.
Catered Presentations are included with the big accounts during meal times.
June 3, 2015
New York City – Boutique Hotel Investment Conference
October 21 – 23, 2015
Santa Monica, CA – Boutique Lifestyle Hospitality Leadership Symposium
To be added to the list for BLLA Conference updates email: email@example.com and indicate which conference or conferences you are interested in.
Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:
Essex House – Miami Beach, FL
Iconic South Beach Flavor!
Clevelander Hotel – Miami Beach, FL
Best Party On The Beach!
Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here
Prepare to be surprised!
The New Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas redefines the expectations of today’s global travelers with a recently completed $200 million transformation that provides a casually elegant experience on the Las Vegas Strip.
With a unique South Beach vibe, the resort features all-new rooms, suites and luxury villas that evoke the sentiment of a breezy beach house or penthouse in Miami, a fresh redesign of the 50,000-square-foot casino, several award-winning restaurants, a new race and sports book, and Glow®, a Mandara Spa and fitness center. First-class entertainment includes headliners in the all-new Tropicana Theater, Laugh Factory comedy club and live music in the Tropicana Lounge.
Check out our Pool Villa Suite!
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