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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: At the End of the Year, We Reflect on the Best of the Year

    As we prepare to transition to the new HFTP Global board at the 2018 Annual Convention in October, I would like to take the time to reflect on my year serving as HFTP Global president.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

    By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems.

Testing Guest Interactions with Robots

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)·18 December 2018
With funds from Innosuisse and working with partners from heigvd (Professor Andrès Uribe's team) and Swiss company Avatarion, this project uses a Pepper robot whose movements, gestures and conversation skills are controlled remotely via a real live agent, mimicking the behaviors of a human concierge. The goal of this project is to evaluate how customers perceive the quality of service delivered and provide insights for service companies using an avatar as a concierge.
Article by Jean-Philippe Weisskopf and Philippe Masset

The hospitality industry 2.0 ... and soon 3.0?

EHL ·10 December 2018
The TEN trends that have reshaped (and are still reshaping) the industryVirtual community: social networks and in particular TripAdvisor have had a profound impact on customers. This has led to more transparency and, overall, to an improvement in the quality of the services provided by hospitality companies.Collaborative economy: Airbnb represents a major disruption in the hotel industry. The competitive landscape is tougher than ever. The latter is further reinforced by the fact that lodging properties listed on Airbnb do not necessarily have to comply with the same rules and regulations than traditional hotels.Online Travel Agents (OTAs): they have had at least three major impacts on the hospitality industry. First, they have altered distribution channels and consequently taken value away from hoteliers. Second, the notoriety of brands owned by Booking Holdings and Expedia are such that these companies have almost replaced hotel brands. Third, they have built solid relations with travellers. Now, hoteliers have to pay to get access to these customers, thereby leading to a thinner profit margin for the former.Digitalization: Apps, in particular, are increasingly important in the way hoteliers manage the services they provide to their customers. The latter can now control many aspects of the guest cycle and experience.The boom of global tourism: low cost carriers enable more people to travel the world at a reasonable price. Moreover, several emerging markets have seen their GDP increase at a rapid pace, thereby enabling their citizens to travel the world. Customers from South Korea, China, India, and others, now constitute a large body of potential travellers. Their demand, of course, has a big impact on the offer.Experience economy: customers request extreme personalization, unique experiences, and so on. As a respondent said, this leads to "the death of the travel agent and the rise of the independent traveller".Asset management practices: the asset-light approach has become the prevalent model in the industry. The separation between the management of operations and real-estate assets allows hospitality companies to concentrate on the core business and thus to be more efficient. It, however, induces additional complexity and potential agency problems. This explains the emergence and progression of asset managers.Professionalization: as stated above, new job profiles have emerged following the increasing complexity of the hospitality industry. In parallel, the need for quantitative competencies (for forecasting, budgeting, etc.) has also increased.Generations Y and Z: these new generations have different requirements and needs compared to older generations. A respondent said "Older generational think about hotels and car rentals. Younger generations think about Airbnb and Uber."Sustainability: people are becoming increasingly sensitive to ecological and social issues. A respondent said that this "has to be considered in branding, but take care, because guests and consumers are now well-aware that window-dressing exists, and they will not buy in."Today - The hospitality industry 2.0The interviewees were also asked to formulate their opinion about the future of the hospitality industry. To a large extent, the answers suggested the need for hoteliers to properly understand the consequences of the above changes and to adapt to them. We hereafter outline six main dimensions:"Standardization can no more be the norm": it is becoming critical to personalise and tailor the services to the needs and preferences of the travellers."To create value, focus on niche markets": more customisation and specialisation may enable to increase value creation for hospitality companies. But be careful, as a respondent said, this requires to genuinely think about the value proposition of your offer and not "simply branding and rebranding"."Exploit technology as an accelerator for business": technology will be at the core of the hotel experience both in room, before and after the trip. This will lead to the development of new concepts and more innovation in the industry and contribute to the emergence of an ever more individualised offer."Social responsibility is a moral and an economic obligation": the impact of global warming can today be considered a major risk for both corporations which may lose in revenues and profits and society as a whole. It is thus critical for governments but even more so for corporations to become more sustainable: "not just green, but real sustainable business models"."Develop more responsive and resilient business models": the positive effect of an increase in the number of travellers around the world is accompanied by negative side-effects. "Tourism despite ever growing flows of travellers will become riskier and more prone to crises" as all of sections of the population start to travel. This will be accompanied by increased regulation as a response to a disproportional increase in tourist flows in some places (e.g. Venice or Barcelona)."Manage talents actively": the times of employee loyalty over 40 years and passive, hierarchical management styles are definitely gone. "Attracting, developing and keeping the right talent into and within the hospitality industry continues to remain a core challenge"Tomorrow - The hospitality industry 3.0?While, as seen above, some respondents outlined the need for the industry to evolve in order to better adapt to the current environment, some were more 'extreme' and suggested that hotel rooms, as we know them today, "will become a thing of the past".These respondents refer to the impact of the sharing economy and the tendency of today's customers to avoid traditional hotels. They believe that adjustments in the offer, like the ones listed above, are not sufficient and that the industry has to truly reinvent itself.This standpoint is reinforced by the increasing importance of technology in the hospitality industry and the power that technology firms are acquiring. A respondent elaborates on this: "the major technology firms will replace most hotel brands, because they can offer technology solutions and create markets to attract customers. So the traditional hospitality industry will evolve into niche markets (serving specific types of customers), or extremely luxury sector (so they can afford to pay their staff reasonable salary). Those who can't identify their niche will become the money machines for technology companies. Some brands big enough may survive, but their business will get tougher."ConclusionThis article shows how dynamic and uncertain the environment, in which the hospitality industry operates, has become. While respondents are more or less alarmist as to the future of the industry, all nevertheless agree that it has to evolve and reinvent itself in order to exploit the opportunities and cope with the challenges it faces. The only question remaining is up to which extent this transformation will have to take place.
Article by Michael C. Sturman, Demian Hodari and Michael J. Turner

Agree to Agree: Aligning Hotel Owners' and Operators' Goals

EHL · 3 December 2018
Hotel owners increasingly rely on hotel management companies to operate their hotels through formalized hotel management agreements (HMA). Separating ownership and operations supposedly benefits both parties: owners are able to invest in hotel real estate and access the professional operating expertise of hotel management companies, while operators can generate important income streams, expand any brands they may have, and earn profits, all without having to invest in the underlying real estate.Although both parties have a vested interest in the hotels success, their different sources of income, risk profiles, and investment strategies mean they often have different interests, which may lead to misaligned and possibly even conflicting goals.For example, because the vast majority of an operators fees are derived as a percentage of the hotels sales, owners are concerned that operators may focus on increasing sales rather than profits.Operators are also strategically focused on the reputation of their brands and their hotel-level decisions may support this at the owners expense.In addition, operators tend to emphasize customer relationships and long-term success of their business, while owners are more likely to have a short-term focus that emphasizes payback and returns.Furthermore, because operators rarely (if ever) share in the owners profit from an eventual sale of the real estate asset, their decisions may not be aligned with increasing the assets value, even though this is of paramount importance to owners.The risk for owners, therefore, is that an operator, although acting as the owners agent, may in fact be tempted to act in ways that are not in the owners best interests. This is why owners spend considerable resources to monitor, control and/or influence the management companys decisions and actions, including hiring asset managers.While management companies often point out that an HMAs incentive fee clause helps align the two sides interests, as they only earn profits when they generate these for owners, past research has shown that hotels rarely generate such incentive fees.This implies that such hotels are not, for the most part, generating the profits necessary for owners to pay incentives to the operators. While there could, of course, be extenuating circumstances impacting a hotels performance, the general lack of incentive fees suggests that owners may seek other ways to align management companies interests with their own.Given the growth in hotel management agreements, and their importance to both owners and operators, we were surprised not to find any research examining the actual goal alignment of owners and operators once the agreement had been signed.We thus set out to study the degree of owner-operator goal alignment.Furthermore, while greater alignment might suggest a more unified vision for the hotel, it does not necessarily mean the property would perform any better. In fact, less alignment could possibly mean that the management company, which has professional management expertise, might be operating the hotel optimally, even if not in line with the owners goals.We also looked at the relationship between goal alignment and hotel performance.We investigated these questions though a unique survey where we matched the answers of owners and management company representatives in 64 different hotels.Specifically, we examined their level of agreement about the priority of 21 different objectives over the coming two years and across five functional areas (Human Resources, Finance, Sales and Marketing, Property, and Operations).Hotel performance, meanwhile, was measured by the owners who rated 16 different aspects of performance related to the five functional areas.Our statistical analyses involved two parts. We first used correlation analyses to look at overall effects. We then used a series of regression analyses to look at the effects of alignment on hotel performance after putting in place controls for alternative explanations that could have arisen from property, individual and/or situational characteristics.Overall, the goal alignment we discovered was, on average, 3.31 out of 5 (where 5 indicated higher alignment). While it can be difficult to interpret the substantive meaning attached to averages, an average only somewhat higher than the mid-point (as is the case here) suggests a moderate degree of goal alignment amongst the sampled hotels. The average level of hotel performance was 4.29 on a scale of 1 (low) to 6 (high). Although there was a relatively wide range of performance scores (from 1.44 to 5.81), the results suggest that our sampled hotels were, overall, performing reasonably well.More importantly perhaps, we found that goal alignment was significantly correlated with hotel performance. In other words, the greater the goal alignment, the better the hotels performance. In order to eliminate some possible explanations for this relationship, we controlled for the effects that some other variables, such as the GMs experience, the presence of an asset manager, and the hotel size could have on its performance. We found statistical evidence confirming that alignment does in fact have a positive effect on hotel performance.Our results therefore suggest the need for owners and management companies to agree upon a core set of common goals for their hotels, as such alignment is linked to superior operating performance. While each party will clearly have its own objectives, an ability to align these will end up better serving each party as superior operating performance should ultimately result in higher fees for most operators and higher asset valuations, as well as returns for owners.Researchers and practitioners often recommend that, in order to create a win-win situation, owners and operators need to consider and agree upon a wide variety of issues in the negotiation of management contracts. While we unequivocally agree with this sentiment, it may be even more beneficial for hotel owners to, first, spend as much time and resources on selectingthe right hotel operating company and maintaining the relationship after the contract has been signed.This may mean selecting a company whose vision and goals for the property are well aligned with their own or one whose goals and vision are different but enticing.This is important because goal misalignment has often resulted in costly legal battles involving, among other things, accusations of management companies not fulfilling their responsibilities as owners agents. Owners are thus advised to have detailed discussions with different management companies, not only to ascertain their analyses and plans for the hotel, but to compare these with their own.An owner may, as well, realize from these discussions that it should in fact defer to the management companys plans, which could in turn also help align their objectives.We thus also suggest that management companies fully commit to ensuring that their hotels owners not only know managements plans for the property, but also the underlying reasons for these decisions, as this may help achieve owner support. A healthy discussion should hopefully lead to better and more aligned objectives, which should benefit both parties and help ensure a better long-term relationship.FULL PAPER: Hodari, D., Turner, M. and Sturman, M. (2017). How Hotel Owner-operator Goal Congruence and GM Autonomy Influence Hotel Performance.Acknowledgements: This study relied on the support of the hotel owners and members of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) of Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East & Africa, the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA), and The Master Innholderswho graciously provided the data used in this study.
Article by Michael J. Turner and Demian Hodari

How Important is Strategic Management Accounting to Hotel Managers?

EHL · 3 December 2018
While hotels have long used traditional management accounting practices, their use of contemporary strategic management accounting (SMA) techniques has not been as widespread. As researchers, this intrigued us because studies conducted outside the hotel industry had found that the relationship between firm strategy and firm performance was significantly enhanced through the use of SMA techniques.In our recent publication in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, we set out to determine which type(s) of hotel strategy act as the key precursor(s) of hotel property SMA use, and whether the use of SMA had a positive impact on hotel property performance.So what exactly are Strategic Management Accounting (SMA) techniques?At the hotel property level, they involve the collection of long-term, externally-focused and forward-looking information for the purpose of:Customer profitability analysis - involves calculating profit earned from a specific customer or customer segment. The profit calculation is based on costs and sales that can be traced to a specific customer or to a specific customer segment;Benchmarking - the comparison of company performance to an ideal standard;Competitor cost assessment - the provision of regularly-scheduled and updated estimates of competitors unit costs;Strategic pricing - the analysis of strategic factors in the pricing decision process. These factors may include: competitor price reaction, elasticity, market growth, economies of scale, and experience;Value chain analysis - involves viewing the organization as a link in the chain of all value-creating activities;Integrated performance measurement - a measurement system which focuses typically on acquiring performance knowledge based on customer requirements and may encompass non-financial measures. This measure involves departments monitoring those factors which are critical to securing customer satisfaction;Competitor performance appraisal - the numerical analysis of a competitors published statements as a part of an assessment of a competitors key sources of competitive advantage;Attribute costing - of specific product attributes that appeal to customers. Attributes that may be costed include: operating performance variables, and after sales service; andStrategic costing - the use of cost data based on strategic and marketing information to develop and identify superior strategies that will produce a sustainable competitive advantage.To conduct our study, we gathered data via a survey from 80 hotel properties.Our primary finding was that the key precursor to hotel property SMA usage is a hotel propertys adoption of market orientation business strategy; and where this is the case, superior hotel property financial performance was in evidence.So what exactly is a market orientation business strategy?A hotel which adopts this type of business strategy will tend to operate in a highly competitive market, and therefore puts their customers at the center of their strategic and operational thinking. To implement this strategy, the hotel will need to gather market information related their target customers needs, as well as of their competitors capabilities, to deliver superior customer value. Knowing this will enable the property manager to discontinue product offerings that add no value, and to include only value-added services.Realizing that in a competitive environment, competitors capabilities and target customers needs are in a constant state of flux, there is often a feedback loop and learning is essential. The focus is on offering only those products for which customers find value and are willing to pay. We find that the information generated through adoption of SMA techniques assists managers with these needs, and they enjoy superior hotel property performance.Sales orientation business strategyOn the other side of the constellation is the sales orientation business strategy. A hotel which follows such a strategy will usually only do so where they compete in a market with a low level of competition. Hotel managers are able to offer their product to the market in way that is somewhat divorced from or at least shows little correlation with customer and competitor considerations. Management considers that there are few, if any, alternatives for customers in their market and so they see little merit in expending the resources and effort needed to gather competitor or customer information (e.g., through SMA). Instead they are able to set a price up to the maximum customers are willing to pay. Our findings suggest that the further a hotel moves away from a market orientation business strategy, the less benefit there will be from adopting SMA techniques.Hospitality industry: highly competitive industryIn summary, while there may remain some locations globally where hotels operate in less competitive markets, the overarching trend is toward hotels facing higher levels of competition. Where there is greater competition, there will be a need for hotels to adopt a market orientation business strategy, and our findings highlight that such hotels will be unequivocally better off in terms of superior hotel property performance by adopting SMA. This article is based on the following research paper:Turner, M. J., Way, S. A., Hodari, D., & Witteman, W. (2017). Hotel property performance: The role of strategic management accounting. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 63(May), 33-43.Access paper here

Data Security in Hospitality: Risks and Best Practices

EHL · 3 December 2018
Information security is a pivotal aspect of many industries, not least the hospitality industry due to the nature of the data collected by companies operating within hospitality. Hotels, motels, resorts, and rented apartment complexes all gather and electronically store a range of sensitive personal guest data, such as names, phone numbers, addresses, and credit card details.From the perspective of cybercriminals, hospitality appears to offer an ideal target vector for conducting crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud due to the existence of multiple databases and devices containing both Payment Card Information (PCI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII).This article focuses on five of the biggest data security concerns in the hospitality industry and highlights some best practices for protecting hospitality data.Data Security Concerns in HospitalityComplex Ownership StructuresRestaurants, hotels, and other companies in the hospitality sector often have complex ownership structures in which theres a franchisor, an individual owner or group of owners, and a management company that acts as the operator. Each of these groups may use different computer systems to store information, and the information can also frequently move across those systems.A case in point was the Wyndham Worldwide breaches of 2008 and 2010. Hackers gained access to the systems of an individual operating company through easily guessed passwords, and the attack easily proliferated through the entire corporate network, with the result that 619,000 customers had their information compromised.Reliance on Paying By CardThe nature of the hospitality industry is such that it is extremely reliant on cards as a form of payment. Restaurants and hotels alike often require credit card details for reservations, and final payment is also frequently made by the same card.Cybercriminals use this reliance on cards to infect point-of-sale (POS) systems with malware that steals credit and debit card information by scraping the data. In fact, it was reported in 2017 that out of 21 of the most high-profile hotel company data breaches that have occurred since 2010, 20 of them were a result of malware affecting POS systems.Because this malware can often proliferate or move between POS systems run by the same operator, multiple individual and groups of hotels can be afflicted by these types of attacks, and they can go unnoticed for months.High Staff TurnoverA vital part of protecting data is training staff to securely gather and store personal information. Well-trained staff also know how to recognize social engineering attempts and they understand an organizations compliance requirements. The risk is that the hospitality industry involves lots of seasonal work in which people might move on after only a few months, or they might be transferred. In the U.K., for example, the job turnover rate in hospitality is as high as 90 percent.The high level of turnover and high degree of staff movement between different locations makes it a real challenge to maintain teams of well-trained staff. All it takes is one person who isnt familiar with the importance of data security for a cybercriminal to exploit a hospitality companys systems and gain access to sensitive data. ComplianceData security risks in the hospitality industry extend far beyond the reputation hit that a hotel can take if guests data is compromised. Industry and political regulators are becoming stricter in governing how organizations process and store personal data.The GDPR regulation was introduced by the EU in May 2018 as a landmark legislation that aims to return control over personal information to individuals while simultaneously enforcing stricter rules for organizations in protecting such information during any period in which they possess it.While GDPR protects individual data within the EU and EEA, its ramifications have rippled through industries globally, and organizations are realizing the need to put greater compliance measures in place.PCI DSS is another important global regulation that protects credit card data, and fines for non-compliance begin at $500,000 per incident. The risk here is not just to data security but to the future survivability of hospitality companies, many of which would not be able to absorb the substantial losses resulting from non-compliance fines. Insider ThreatsThis type of data risk is more subtle and it involves employees selling data to third parties without the knowledge of the organization that employs them. Such insider threats typically occur to data on customer preferences and behavior, which hospitality companies can collect at multiple touchpoints, from interactions with their website, to form data on booking systems, to review data.This data could be potentially lucrative when it ends up in the hands of those who know how to use it to gain a competitive advantage.Best Practices for Data Security in HospitalityBest practices for companies in the hospitality sector to protect data include:Always encrypt payment card information.Operate a continuous training program in cybersecurity to maintain a well-trained workforce.Always adhere to relevant regulations, such as PCI DSS.Use cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, network monitoring, anti-malware, and traffic filtering to protect against common threats.Conduct tests against your organizations cybersecurity defenses in which you mirror the behavior of an actual hacker.Know where your data is and enforce the principle of least privileges to limit access to sensitive information.Wrap UpWith a full understanding of the main data security risks and some best practices for mitigating those risks, organizations in the hospitality sector are better placed to implement a comprehensive information security strategy that entails the necessary procedures, processes, and people to improve cybersecurity.

Keep Your Distribution Options Open and Grow Direct Bookings

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)· 3 December 2018
In this crowded and competitive market, what's the best approach when it comes to marketing your hotel online? Hoteliers would - if they could - just focus on direct bookings with their potential clients. But with a plethora of online travel agencies out there such as booking.com and Expedia, hoteliers are having to reach out to potential guests via OTAs, even though it often means paying commissions of 15-20 percent on bookings.

Data Security in Hospitality: Risks and Best Practices

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)· 3 December 2018
Information security is a pivotal aspect of many industries, not least the hospitality industry due to the nature of the data collected by companies operating within hospitality. Hotels, motels, resorts, and rented apartment complexes all gather and electronically store a range of sensitive personal guest data, such as names, phone numbers, addresses, and credit card details.

Climate Change, Wine Production and Grapes Diversification

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)· 3 December 2018
Scientists have been warning for decades about climate change and its potential damaging impact on agricultural production.

Restaurant Staff: To tip or not to tip?

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)· 3 December 2018
Tips are crucial for restaurant staff in the US where salaries are generally low, but in Switzerland tips are a form of bonus based on customer satisfaction and not so critical as basic salaries can be around 4,000-5,000 CHF or USD a month.

Strategic Management Accounting: How Important is it to Hotel Managers?

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)· 3 December 2018
While hotels have long used traditional management accounting practices, their use of contemporary strategic management accounting (SMA) techniques has not been as widespread. As researchers, this intrigued us because studies conducted outside the hotel industry had found that the relationship between firm strategy and firm performance was significantly enhanced through the use of SMA techniques.

Sustainability in the European Hotel Industry: Towards a Strategic Orientation

EHL ·28 November 2018
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are supposedly useful for helping companies to manage the triple bottom line of Profit, People and Planet. In other words, their impact on the environment (planet), their community and standard of living (people), and their economic responsibility of generating profits. While many studies have examined managerial perceptions about CSRs importance, my fellow researchers and I examined the actual levels and benefits of its implementation at the hotel property level.We didnt presume that hotels simply do or dont do CSR. Instead, we assumed that there could be various degrees of implementation, and so we wanted to differentiate levels and types of CSR implementation, as well as reasons for its implementation and its impact on hotel performance. Our model, based on previous non-hotel studies, built on the notion that CSR implementation can range from Pre-CSR, whereby a firm does not take any CSR action unless compelled by law, all the way to Synergistic and Holistic CS at the other end, where CSR is fully embedded in every aspect of the organization, including both its strategy and culture. Along this continuum, firms may undertake CSR because they must comply with regulations (Compliance), because they consider it financially beneficial (Profit) and/or because they believe it is the right thing to do (Caring). Similarly, CSR implementation may be driven by purely operational reasons or due to the firms strategic orientation. Implementation may depend on the managements commitment to sustainability which in turn can be influenced by internal and external incentives and obstacles, and as such we also examined this. Finally, we used both financial and non-financial measures to examine if CSR implementation is linked to hotel performance.We collected the data for this study with the collaboration of the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA) whereby 85 hotel General Managers (GM) of both independent and HMC-operated hotels, in the European Luxury/ Upscale industry answered our questionnaire. We asked about numerous things, including environmental actions, social actions, level of CSR commitment (divided into compliance, profit and care), strategic orientation, stakeholder impact and level of measurement of activities. Meanwhile, success was by the GMs assessment of success, financial performance measures of ROI, GOP and the assessment of their competitive position.CS ImplementationWe found that hotels do undertake environmental actions. While the mean response was above the neutral middle point of the scale, there is a clear variety in what firms do as illustrated in figure 1. On the other hand, socially responsible actions are rarely or only occasionally undertaken (with the exception of locally sourced foods) as illustrated in Figure 2. Our analysis shows that there is no simple dimension of altruism (that is, companies do not engage in all sorts of positive type activities equally). Firms that engage in one set of practices (social or environmental) are not necessarily also engaged in the other.Figure 1. Environmentally responsible activities in hotels.Figure 2. Socially responsible activities in hotels.We found that hotels that undertake socially sustainable actions do so largely out of a sense of care (it is the right thing to do) rather than to generate profit or because of regulatory compliance. With regards to environmental actions, however, all three motives (care, profit and compliance) are were relevant, though the strongest relationships were once again care and profit followed by compliance. Thus it would seem to suggest that hotels are engaging in CS more out of a sense of actual responsibility than for direct profit reasons, and least of all because they must do so due to regulations and laws. Interestingly, it would therefore appear that profit from CSR (which is one way to measure its success) is only a secondary concern for most hotels.GMs are more likely to pursue social actions when financially incentivized, however, this does not drive efforts regarding environmental actions. In other words, while environmental sustainability is driven my many factors, social actions seem to be largely driven by the GMs financial motivation. This is particularly relevant considering the findings above about care and profit, as clearly social actions, which were only moderately related to profit motivations, may require this extra motivation for GMs to incorporate them into their CSR agenda.We also found that hotels are more likely to implement CSR policies if they are strategically grounded. In other words, hotels that take a strategic approach to CSR may be more confident in implementing different social and/or environmentally-sustainable practices due to a higher confidence in their ability to add value to the firm. Despite this, hotels were not found to place a high priority in having a strategic orientation towards CSR (see Figure 3) compared to an operational orientation at the lower levels of the CSR continuum (see Figure 4).Figure 3. Strategic orientation in hotelsFigure 4. Compliance, Profit and Caring-driven issues that incentivize CS implementation in hotelsWhen looking at how pressure exerted by different stakeholders impacts the level of CSR carried out by a hotel, results indicate that only corporate parents, senior management teams and owners/investors influence were significantly highly correlated to the firms ability to enact social and environmental activities. This is particularly interesting as results indicate that owners/investors are sometimes an obstacle to CSR implementation in properties (see figure 5).Figure 5. Stakeholders influence on the firms ability to enact social and environmental activities.The results suggest that on the whole, GMs believe that their hotel has done a better than average job with CSR. However, the wide disparity of answers suggests that there is still much room for improvement in many hotels in order to suggest that such success is an industry norm. There is also a high correlation between the extent to which the hotel implements socially responsible practices and their view on having a successful CS program. This would suggest that GMs regard doing CSR with being successful at CSR, regardless of the possible financial performance implications of such practices.The data suggests roughly 65% of GMs who do engage in CS report that their CSR actions have either broken even or added to the hotels profit (see Figure10), meaning that the overall view of their return on CSR is positive. Additionally, the more the hotel adopts a strategic orientation to CSR, the more likely it is that CSR adds to its profit. This suggests that a strategic rather than purely operational perspective of CSR may assist the firm in making better choices about which CS activities to engage in.Conclusion Results indicate that CSR activities are clearly prominent in the European upscale/luxury hotel industry. It should be noted however that hotels adopted environmental practices to a larger extent than they did social practices. In fact, the two sets of activities are considered to be relatively independent of the other. Despite the prevalence of CSR amongst hotels, considering the large variance across measures, items and hotels, we would not venture to state that CS is a norm.Our findings suggest that CS is a success factor for hotels when evaluated according to the GMs own analysis, ROI and the firms competitiveness. Important drivers for this success included a strategic orientation, a relatively high level of CSR actions and GM human capital. This may be because of a learning curve as they engage in more activities. CSR is also more likely to be successful with higher levels of CS implementation as the issue becomes more embedded into the firms culture and strategy. Moreover, results indicate that CS is implemented by hotels primarily because of care. Profits remain to be an important driver for CS, albeit to a lesser degree; in fact, firms that are profit driven are primarily doing so because of competitive pressures. Our findings are suggesting an interesting shift in CS drivers from the compliance and profit levels to care. Given how performance is largely related to a firms strategic orientation, CS will move further up on the continuum of CSR levels from an operational aspect to a more strategic one.This article is a sneak preview from Hotel Yearbook 2019: Special Edition on Sustainable Hospitality which will be published early 2019.

Bachelor Village Opened on EHL's Passugg Campus

EHL ·14 November 2018
Today, the Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality (SSTH) and its parent company, EHL Group, opened the new Bachelor Village on its Passugg campus. In the future, the Bachelor Village will accommodate students who are carrying out the HES-SO Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management--designed and accredited by the Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)--in Passugg. Today's opening marks the first stage of a comprehensive extension to the Passugg campus and further consolidates EHL's investment in Grisons, the heart of Swiss tourism. With this expansion, the school is creating room for the constantly-growing number of professionals and students.Today, the first stage of the new Bachelor Village was ceremoniously opened in the presence of senior Council member and Director of Education Martin Jager, as well as of other guests from the fields of business, education and politics. In the future, students who are carrying out the HES-SO Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management--designed and delivered by EHL--will live and learn in the Bachelor Village in Passugg. With this step, EHL's subsidiary company is reacting to the constant increase in student numbers. This autumn, 132 new professionals--16 of which are students in the firstever class of EHL's new Bachelor program--begin their professional training in Passugg. Over the coming years, the number of students is set to keep rising gradually due to the growing demand for qualified professionals in the hospitality sector. "The expansion in Passugg falls seamlessly into our 2025 strategy of creating educational clusters - on-site in Passugg, in Lausanne, as well as for the first time overseas in Singapore in the near future. The world of hospitality experts is rediscovering itself within EHL Group's traditionally innovative universe and is designing these worlds anew", says Andre Witschi, President of EHL's Board of Governors.First stage of the strategic development of the campus"In Passugg, we offer first-class courses of education at a very high level - with a unique mix of professional training courses which are both practice-based and academic. Today, young talents who have an academic degree in addition to professional training are exceptionally in demand. As part of EHL Group, we thus wish to expand our offer of programs further and, in the future, to provide access to a growing number of students", says Michael Hartmann, Managing Director of the SSTH. The school laid the foundations for the expansion of the campus in 2017 with the renovation of the kitchen, the Campigiana Bar and the canteen - an investment which amounted to 1.4 million Swiss Francs. This was followed by construction measures which were carried out on accommodation, classrooms and restaurants this summer. The main building now comprises 142 rooms and 180 beds. As part of this first stage of expansion, the former Passugg primary school building was also completely refurbished and connected to the main building. What's more, the school has also constructed ten designer, modular living units. Ten more will be built in 2019 as part of the next phase of expansion. What's more, with the planned takeover and refurbishment of the Hotel Fontana, the school will comprise a total area of 23,000 m2Unique educational ladder for ambitious, professional hospitality staffIn September, the first class of the HES-SO Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management also began on the Passugg campus. In the future, this course will be offered twice a year. The course takes place in English. The students complete the first two semesters in Passugg, i.e. in the tourist region which boasts the most four- and five-star hotels in Switzerland and which, at the same time, is the birthplace of the winter tourism local to the country. Moreover, the third semester, which is carried out on the EHL campus in Lausanne, enables students to build up an international network. "In the future, we wish to considerably reinforce mobility between the two campuses in Passugg and Lausanne. We are the first institution in Switzerland in the hospitality sector which enables students to make this jump from Germanspeaking Switzerland to French-speaking Switzerland, thus enabling them to transcend linguistic barriers. What's more, we offer a comprehensive educational ladder - enabling students to start from scratch with an apprenticeship and to move all the way up to an internationally-recognized Bachelor and Master degree", says Michel Rochat, CEO of EHL Group and member of SSTH's Board of Directors. The Bachelor of Science degree is the first of its kind in the hospitality sector to be recognised by the Swiss Federation. In total, the parent company has invested around 15 million Swiss Francs in the maintenance and expansion of infrastructure and the development of the business since taking over the SSTH in 2013. In doing so, the support of the canton of Grisons has also been an important factor in its success.About the Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality (SSTH)For 50 years, the Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality (SSTH) has been considered one of the leading professional hotel management schools when it comes to the training and further education of professionals and management staff in the hotel and catering sector. The hotel management school in Passugg offers young people and young professionals a wide range of options: from basic professional training, to higher vocational training (Dipl. Hoteliere-Restauratrice / Hotelier-Restaurateur HF [the Swiss Professional Degree]), up to the academic Bachelor of Science (delivered by Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne). The school's federal recognition, as well as its degrees in both German and English, makes it unique in Switzerland and guarantees its students high acceptance in both the national and the international market, as well as a range of exciting professional opportunities. Promoting and developing characters with a distinct flair for hospitality, a high level of professional knowledge and expertise, as well as a passion for guests and service, are additional, important key values which are conveyed to students as part of their education. The hotel school in Passugg offers a unique campus atmosphere to students both from Switzerland and from over 20 countries worldwide. Since 2013, the SSTH belongs to the Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne, number 1 in the world when it comes to hospitality. www.ssth.ch

How Involved are Hotel Owners in Property-Level Decisions?

EHL · 7 November 2018
Hotel owners increasingly contract hotel management companies to operate their properties. While extensive research has examined management agreements to determine the balance of power between owners and management companies, little research has investigated the actual role that hotel owners play in property-level decision making. This is perplexing because management companies generally insist that hotel management agreements (HMAs) specifically stipulate that the owner should not seek to influence the hotel's general manager (GM). In other words, in exchange for their services, management companies have generally required owners to relinquish involvement in the hotel's day-to-day business. However, hotel owners are increasingly sophisticated and institutional, suggesting they may not be content to remain uninvolved as individual or single-property owners had previously done.Management companies generally do not want owners to interfere. They tend to strive for complete managerial control because hotel operations are their area of expertise and the reason they have been hired. Their motivation for full autonomy may also be due to the fact they do not want the incentive fee bonuses on which their profits largely depend to be potentially hampered by owner interference.Owners, meanwhile, worry that management companies are not always incentivized to make decisions that are in the owners' best interests, and so they have a vested interest in monitoring and controlling the GM's decisions. Furthermore, as owners carry most of the financial risk, they argue they should be permitted a substantial role in influencing the hotel's management, even - or especially - when engaging a management company's services. Thus, while owner involvement is technically restricted in most HMAs, what owners are supposed to do and what they actually do may be quite different.Given the increase in multi-unit and institutional owners, many of whom have operational expertise and engage the services of asset managers, we investigated the actual role that hotel owners play in the operating and financial decisions of their hotels. Similarly, we were motivated to study this by the idea that even if HMAs do restrict owner involvement, management companies may be turning a blind eye to appease the owners on whom they are increasingly dependent due to their own asset-light strategies.We surveyed hotel general managers as they are the nexus between the management companies and the owners, and are best positioned to report on the owner's involvement. We received 499 responses with two-thirds of the general managers operating hotels under management agreements and the other third responsible for independent properties. While some of what we found confirmed our hypotheses, we were also surprised and intrigued by much of what the data revealed.The general managers from both independent and managed hotels acknowledged that their owners influence financial decisions to a greater extent than operational ones. While this was what we expected based on conventional wisdom, we were surprised to learn the actual extent of owner involvement. The results revealed that owners involve themselves in HMA hotels to essentially the same degree in independent hotels, with 50 percent of GMs noting that such owners have a moderate to strong influence on the hotel's financial and operational decisions. In other words, the HMA does not seem to reduce an owner's role compared to that of the independent hotels, which do not have contractual restrictions on their involvement. The general managers also reported greater autonomy in hotels that were not overseen by an asset manager.What does all this mean for owners, management companies and general managers? Some owners of managed hotels we later spoke to were surprised to see how involved many of their peers were and took this as a sign that they too could, and maybe should, become more involved in property-level decisions. Similarly, they may seek to renegotiate this involvement clause should they fail to increase their participation due to the strict enforcement of the current contractual terms.Furthermore, the results suggest that asset managers do provide owners with a greater degree of oversight and involvement in their hotels across both operational and financial issues, thereby confirming what asset managers often tout as one of the advantages of hiring them.The results raise an important question about the fundamental objective of entering an HMA. These contracts are supposed to enable owners to adopt a hands-off approach to the daily operation of their hotel, because the management company has been appointed to do so based on their managerial know-how. This, in theory, allows HMA owners to focus on the real estate side of the business.The HMA is supposed to align both parties' interests through, for example, incentive fee clauses that reward operators based on the hotel's performance. However, given the relatively high degree of owner involvement in such hotels, we wonder whether HMAs are in fact aligning owner and management company interests as far as possible. That is, are owners seeking greater involvement because in fact they are displeased with the operator's performance or objectives? According to CBRE Hotels Americas Research's Trends in the Hotel Industry, only 18.1 percent of hotels actually paid an incentive fee in 2015. While this may be due to onerous contracts requiring difficult-to-achieve performance targets, owners may also interpret it to suggest that the two sides' objectives are not as well-aligned as they want or need them to be. Our findings suggest that owners might well come to the HMA negotiation table better equipped to seek greater involvement rights if they believe their involvement can help the hotel to perform better. Given the sophistication of many owners, and their own internal management expertise and resources (including those of their asset managers), this may be a positive development in the important owner-operator relationship.This is the first article in a three-part series about the evolving relationships and roles of hotel owners, management companies and their general managers. In our next article in this series, we explore how hotel owners and operators can better align their objectives to benefit both parties.Note. This article is based on the following research paper:Hodari, D., Turner, M.J., Sturman, M.C., and Nath, D (2018). The role of hotel owners across different management and agency structures. International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Administration. Access full paper here

Airbnb Pricing: What's the Reason for Discrepancies?

EHL · 6 November 2018
Bloomberg recently released the latest edition of its index which ranks locations around the world - taking into consideration some 120 cities - according to rates charged by Airbnb. Among its main findings were that although Miami and Boston took the top two places for the second year running regarding Airbnb pricing, Middle East destinations are now some of the most expensive in the world, with locations such as Tel Aviv, Dubai, Jerusalem, Riyadh and Kuwait City among the top 15.But how reliable are the data?According to EHL assistant marketing professor Elisa Chan, there is a challenge in understanding how Airbnb sets its prices."From my understanding, Airbnb lets its owners freely set their prices but the website does offer a 'smart pricing' tool to facilitate dynamic pricing according to demand within the Airbnb supply environment. The owners though are at liberty to set prices as they wish."Chan continues: "The thing that I find most interesting is the discrepancy of ADRs (average daily rates) reported by Airbnb versus the Bloomberg index."Different methodologiesAccording to the Bloomberg article, Airbnb ADR figures for Tel Aviv ($87) and Jerusalem ($82) are far lower than Bloomberg's figures at $188 and $173 per night respectively. The article points out that Airbnb uses a different methodology to that of Bloomberg, as it includes the rates of units actually booked rather than advertised rates on the Airbnb site.The article cites industry analysts who suggest that Airbnb pricing in cities such as Dubai and Tel Aviv may be largely due to high hotel rates and the high cost of housing, with short-term rentals being pushed higher by owners wanting a premium over what they could earn renting out their properties for a year."For hotels, there are well established benchmarks and strategies to set prices that should more closely reflect willingness to pay by guests," Chan says. "But for P2P (peer-to-peer) accommodation, individual owners may be relying on a much wider range of factors when setting prices."She agrees that, for the most part, pricing is probably tied to housing costs and the market rate for long-term rentals, which "may not be the best indicator for willingness to pay by transient guests.""But for consumers, how prices are set may not matter much. You may have people who are adamant about staying at hotels and those who want to live like a local. But in between, there are people who would look at the two as viable accommodation options, not just limited to price comparisons but other factors that come into play in making that decision.""In my opinion, focusing on this group of people and on a single city like Paris, may yield more valuable insights as to how the two markets are influencing one and other."Related ArticleSeveral EHL researchers have been investigating how hotels in specific locations are coping with the threat posed by Airbnb.In a study focusing on San Francisco, EHL Executive Dean Ines Blal and her co-researchers Manisha Singal of Virginia Tech and Jonathan Templin of the University of Kansas examined Airbnb's impact on the sales growth of hotels in the city and found that Airbnb is disrupting the hotel business. They recommend that hotel managers are aware of the prices and services offered by Airbnb within their locality in order to map out their revenue management strategies.

The City Of Lausanne And EHL Group To Create The First Innovation Hub Dedicated To Hospitality In Europe

EHL · 1 November 2018
The City of Lausanne and EHL Group sign a convention for the development and rehabilitation of the Lausanne neighborhood of Chalet-a-Gobet, to create the first Innovation Hub dedicated to hospitality in Europe.Signed for an initial period of 50 years by Natacha Litzistorf, Municipal Councilor and Director of Lodging, Environment and Architecture of the City of Lausanne, Andre Witschi, Chairman of the Board of Governors of EHL Foundation, Michel Rochat, CEO, and Maxime Medina, Chief Asset Management Officer of EHL Group, the agreement will allow EHL to extend its academic ecosystem to construct a hub dedicated to research and innovation, and in support of entrepreneurship.On the site of the old Chalet-a-Gobet farm, currently being rehabilitated following a fire in 2007, a hostel as well as other surrounding buildings, this new Innovation Hub will host an incubator and several research projects that combine academic research with the flexibility and audacity of young entrepreneurs. This pivotal meeting place, with a restaurant open to the public, reflects EHL's position as one of the global centers for technological research, innovation and competitiveness.Formerly a fragmented neighborhood that also included a post office, an equestrian center and a cafe, the project will be implemented in several phases over a period of two to three years to transform it into a coherent, stimulating and dynamic center. The Innovation Hub already includes six start-ups and will also host Lausanne Hospitality Consulting (LHC), the advisory branch of EHL Group. With an initial renovation investment of CHF 25 Mio over the first five years, many synergies are expected to make this hub the reference for innovation in the hospitality and wider services industries.<< Our vision of this new Innovation Hub is to build a place where researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, students, artists and visionaries will come together, exchange and create the future of hospitality. We are creating a new micro-culture that will mirror our University. Flexible and dynamic, this new hub will stimulate creativity." explained Remi Walbaum, Chief Innovation Officer of EHL Group.Michel Rochat, CEO of EHL Group, explained as well that "EHL Group, in addition to its University, has a responsibility to maintain open channels between the various actors that will forge the future of hospitality. Lausanne has a long history of interdisciplinary collaboration, breaking down the barriers that often divide academic institutions and economic actors. That is the spirit of the new Innovations Hub."The Lausanne Municipality looks forward to the development of EHL's Innovation Hub at the Chalet-a-Gobet site which will add a new component to the Research and Innovation performed at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne.
Article by Stuart Pallister

The Value of Teamwork in Service

EHL · 1 November 2018
How does one of the top restaurants in the world approach teamwork in service? Two EHL lecturers have just spent several days at Alain Ducasse's restaurant at the Plaza Athenee in Paris and came away with a number of insights which they will now pass on to their students, as they seek to make sure the education they provide is up-to-date and aligned with the latest trends in the industry. The two faculty members spoke to Hospitality Insights about their key takeaways.Eric Iunker and Lionel Sauvere who teach on EHL's practical arts (or AP program) have a challenge. How can they make sure what they teach at the school's Berceau des Sens fine dining restaurant will still be valid once the students enter the workforce, especially as the two-week attachment to the BDS can be stressful for some of the students. View this post on Instagram At Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee restaurant, @alainducasse, @romainmeder and @jessicaprealpato invite you to discover the art and beauty of Naturalness cuisine. #DCmoments [?] Room picture by @nourkasem A post shared by Hotel Plaza Athenee (@plaza_athenee) on Oct 25, 2018 at 3:02am PDT "Transferable skills is the real role of the AP program," says senior lecturer Eric Iunker, who was the Maitre d'Hotel at a five-star hotel in Villars-sur-Ollon and then the director of a two-star (or macaron) restaurant in Cossonay. "It's about how to manage my stress, my tiredness, how to keep consistent, stay myself and be natural and spontaneous in front of demanding guests."Iunker and his colleague AP lecturer Lionel Sauvere, who has worked in restaurants in Switzerland, France and the UK, believe their recent visit to Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee in Paris should pay dividends.While in Paris, restaurant director Denis Courtiarde shared his vision of fine dining service at the three Michelin star Ducasse restaurant. "His vision is very particular and original," says Iunker. "To him, the service should not be as formal as it used to be some years ago. Also, the service should support the chef and cuisine. And the service should be as spontaneous and natural as possible."Iunker says the trip confirmed the school's approach to teaching that restaurant service should be more relaxed than in the past. "Now we can prove that the top level of the industry is going the same way as well."Sauvere was impressed by what he witnessed at the restaurant. Even though the average age of the service staff is about 25, they demonstrated spontaneity and empathy. "It was not formal at all. It was an important contrast with the ambience and atmosphere in some fine dining restaurants that are very formal, closed and very cold."They observed that the staff are careful not to disturb the customers while providing guest comfort, they said. "It's exactly what we used to implement at the BDS. Sometimes you have to be visible in front of the guests because it's part of the show. But sometimes you have to be invisible," Iunker adds.They noted that the staff at the Ducasse restaurant were well trained and very efficient in terms of the pace of service and synchronization of their actions. "They demonstrated a very high level of rigor but without the formality. A balance between technical rigor and soft social skills."Those soft skills are extremely important, Iunker says, along with flexibility and consistency."It doesn't matter how many hours you worked yesterday, what you did during the night, or your level of tiredness. We want to see the same quality every day."The food at the Ducasse restaurant is fresh and light, mainly vegetables and fish. There are no table cloths so the 200-year-old wood tables are part of the theatre. The staff are friendly and, the lecturers noted, 'elegant' in appearance. Communication and teamwork are critical. "They communicated [with each other] all the time: sommelier, head waiter, supervisor and so on. That's the key," says Sauvere. There were few words, some eye contact but everyone pulled together as a team.Now back at the Berceau des Sens at EHL, the pair are planning to incorporate their insights into the program. "Maybe we can be less formal. We have to be organized, strict, precise, but we can let the students express themselves more, take more decisions," Iunker says.This would be in line with the findings of a survey of hoteliers carried out recently by EHL. It asked hotel managers and directors what key skills they expect from the school's graduates. The responses were clear: teamwork, communication, presentation, flexibility. That's now likely to be the direction of the AP program itself as it ensures students are well prepared for a future in hospitality."It's not about techniques, organization, or even money," Iunker says. "It's more about the values of the fine dining industry."

Finding Meaning In Travel

EHL ·31 October 2018
People are traveling for new reasonsAs explained by Jean-Francois de Clermont-Tonnerre - Executive Producer of "Going Home to the Stars", a documentary that looks into these new travel trends - who happens to be a business traveler with millions of miles under his soles:People are looking for immersive experiences and socially-conscious travelers are on the rise. For these reasons, professionals have to identify the driving force behind the trip of travelers and adapt their offer.Socially-conscious tourismMore and more resorts and hotels have set up new activities.For example, the Sandos Mexico Resorts established different eco-friendly initiatives and programs in which the resort's guests can get involved. They can participate in planting groves to harvest tropical fruit, work for the protection of the sea turtles or take part in several beach-cleaning programs with the Sandos Foundation volunteers. The Sandos Mexico Resorts also provide social initiatives such as "supporting the local indigenous communities who sell their handicrafts at Sandos resorts". View this post on Instagram Hit #love if you have been hare at the[?] tortuga #cenote[?] Dale #MeGusta si has estado aqui en el cenote tortuga [?] [?] [?] . . . . . . [?] : @goldentigress_training33 #Sandos #SandosCaracol #ecoexperience #cenote #nature #selva #jungle #RivieraMaya #playadelcarmen #travelgram A post shared by Sandos Caracol (@sandoscaracol) on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:00pm PDT Websites and platforms are also getting on the bandwagon.For example, the website Travel2change offers fun and impactful activities in Hawaii. They "believe that by exploring the world, we can better it." They propose a set of activities involving local communities, giving travelers' vacations a meaningful purpose. As an example, people can go on a trek into the forest of Kualoa, while helping communities restore the flora. The purpose behind those trips is helping and sharing with communities, while living an immersion experience. In this way, travelers create a positive impact, while enjoying a stay abroad. The word "Voluntourism" - combination of volunteering and tourism - encapsulates this new trend: it means traveling to "contribute to sustainable development while exploring a new country and culture".Furthermore, travelers are also looking for a social connection with others.The platform Withlocals connects travelers with local people "through food and experience". For example, they can try a Thai homemade dinner or take a unique Flamenco dance lesson in Seville. View this post on Instagram Imagine yourself spending time as locals do in Hanoi. Maybe you enjoy a stroll around the city or find yourself sipping on a cup of lotus tea [?], chatting with the local vendor who brewed it. What about riding on the back of a scooter [?] or devouring a hot bowl of pho [?] ? Whatever your choice is, the locals can personalize your experience around you. #withlocals #Hanoi #Vietnam #Travelgram #instatravel #traveling #traveler #travelphotography #travelingram #igtravel #mytravelgram #travelingram #meetthelocals #TravelGramA post shared by Withlocals (@withlocals) on Mar 29, 2018 at 5:50am PDTThe same goes with Eatwith, where people can book an "exceptional culinary experience worldwide" with local hosts. In the same vein, senior-friendly vacations are more and more popular. Agencies such as Walking the World or Adventures abroadpropose itineraries designed for seniors' needs. And for the more adventurous of them, the platform Road Scholar offers learning adventures all around the world like special trips and activities to do with grandchildren.New trend: extreme immersion vacationsAs reported by Forbes magazine, modern travelers crave adventure. Nowadays, people can go on expeditions to the North Pole, join a team to climb Mount Everest or even go on a trip to encounter polar bears or dive with sharks or crocodiles.In "Going Home to the Stars", we also try to understand the difficulties for a hotel to operate in an extreme situation such as the ESO Hotel, commonly known as the Residencia.Perched on the Cerro Paranal, it accommodates staff of the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama desert in Chile. It is mainly used for the ESO scientists and engineers and not open to the public, however there mode of operation is exactly that of a conventional hotel. We can therefore learn a lot from their way of organizing their daily activities and creating a unique guest experience. How to manage the employees? How to increase the socialization with their guests, but also between the guests themselves? How to "educate" their guests before and during the visit? For example, clients of this hotel will have some important restrictions such as the use of water.The challenge is to assure that the experience will fit with the expectations of travelers. Therefore, it's a real challenge to put in place a consistent communication with them before the trip.Documentary: Going Home to the StarsThis documentary film - set in the Atacama Desert (Chile) at the Residencia, the VLT's (Very Large Telescope) lodging facility - sets out to understand what moves people to endure the difficulties of traveling to hostile environments, and what must be put in place to cater to their needs and meet their expectations.

Finding Meaning In Travel

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)·31 October 2018
For more and more travelers nowadays, vacations are less about the "fly and flop" and more about living an outstanding experience and finding meaning and purpose in their busy lives. Some travelers seek authenticity and want to really dive into the culture or destination they are exploring; some want to dedicate a portion of their trip to a charity, besides taking time for themselves and get involved in volunteering projects.

Airbnb Pricing: Bloomberg Index Analysis

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)·31 October 2018
Bloomberg recently released the latest edition of its index which ranks locations around the world - taking into consideration some 120 cities - according to rates charged by Airbnb. Among its main findings were that although Miami and Boston took the top two places for the second year running regarding Airbnb pricing, Middle East destinations are now some of the most expensive in the world, with locations such as Tel Aviv, Dubai, Jerusalem, Riyadh and Kuwait City among the top 15.

Gastronomy Tourism: Putting Cambodian Cuisine on the Map

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)·31 October 2018
Two Cambodian chefs known as the ‘Kimsan twins’ because of their shared family names – Kimsan Sok and Kimsan Pol – grew up in a country which had been torn apart by the violence unleashed by the Khmer Rouge.

The Value of Teamwork in Service

Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL)·31 October 2018
How does one of the top restaurants in the world approach teamwork in service? Two EHL lecturers have just spent several days at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris and came away with a number of insights which they will now pass on to their students, as they seek to make sure the education they provide is up-to-date and aligned with the latest trends in the industry.

Mobile Learning Technology Firm, Boost, Receives Significant Investment From Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne

EHL ·18 October 2018
"Since our founding in 1893, EHL have set the international standard for tertiary education in hospitality, with over 25,000 alumni going on to take leadership positions throughout the industry" says Remi Walbaum, Chief Innovation Officer, adding "Innovation is one of our core values, and today in 2018 we see technology as a key means of learning both in schools and universities, and in the workplace, that is why we have decided to invest in Boost.The needs of the industry are changing at an ever-greater pace, as are the language skills required by hotel employees, many of whom are more used to reading and learning from a screen than from a book. By developing our mobile learning capabilities we remain the forefront of hospitality, driving education, upskilling and learning, and helping talented students around the world build a successful and fulfilling hospitality career"EHL is the world's first hospitality management school and was founded in 1893 to meet demand for more professionalised hospitality employees who could cater to the growing sophistication of hotel guests at that time. The school pioneered hospitality education, mixing classroom-based teaching with hands-on learning in real hotels, all the while ensuring their curriculum met the demands of the industry at the time. The resulting graduates were thus able to leave the school equipped with the knowledge and skills to take leadership positions in the industry and drive innovation.EHL's presence in the mobile learning space will allow them to address many of the challenges faced by hotels today and in the future, namely the change in the way hospitality employees, many of whom are young, consume information and learn, and the need to meet the demands of guests whose expectations have risen in the age of social media and instant reviews."Boost's suite of mobile learning solutions are tailor made for the hospitality industry, not only allowing individual hotel employees to learn new languages and other skills, but enabling management to organise their teams, recruit new team members and communicate better" says Allan Taylor, Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Boost, adding "20,000 hotel employees are already using our mobile learning solutions, we have seen them learn Mandarin allowing them to communicate with their Chinese guests, we have seen them learn how to upsell improving hotel revenues, and we have seen them learn many more skills vital to improving service and thus their hotel's bottom line. Unlike traditional classroom-based teaching, mobile learning allows hotel employees to learn at a time and place of their choosing. Importantly, it is measurable and scalable, and available at an enterprise level allowing for group and team organisation, HR and recruitment functions and inter-team communication"The investment from EHL will allow Boost to continue developing its existing mobile learning solutions and develop new solutions to address the needs of the hospitality industry. Lastly, Boost will be able to tap the knowledge and expertise of some of the world's leading thinkers, thought leaders and academics in the hospitality field, ensuring their mobile solutions are tailored to the unique and ever-changing needs of the industry.

125 Years of Excellence and a Bright Future

EHL ·16 October 2018
LAUSANNE, October 16th, 2018 - in the company of high officials of the Swiss Confederation and the Canton of Vaud, Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne celebrated its 125th anniversary on the night of October 15th.Amid big developments and numerous large-scale projects, EHL has celebrated its birthday, 125 years after its founder Jacques Tschumi opened the doors of the institution and set the new standards of modern hospitality.In the presence of the Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Amman, the State Councilor Philippe Leuba, municipal officers of the City of Lausanne Natacha Litzistorf and Oscar Tosato, CEOs of prestigious companies and friends of EHL, this event honored the school's unique legacyand celebrated the pioneer and groundbreaking spirit which, to this day, still guidesEHL.Official speeches were followed by the show "Un reve pour demain" ("A dream for tomorrow"), conceived and created exclusively for this occasion by actresses Anne Richard and Viviane Bonelli, with an original musical composition by Herve Klopfenstein and a visual creation by Romain Rossel.On October 15th 1893, Jacque Tschumi, member of the Swiss Hoteliers Association, gathered 27 students in the premises of the Hotel d'Angleterre with a vision of professionalizing hotel management. This ambitious project that soon turned out to be a necessity, lives on today on all five continents and inspires many professions beyond hospitality."As is customary, EHL is a step ahead of its time. From this first small class, EHL has become an international Group which offers a large and complete range of learning solutions on its two campuses in Switzerland and a third one underway in Asia. The Group is supported by a worldwide alumni network, produces research projects and partnerships which in turn, generate an important innovation pipeline, and all of this while integrating cutting-edge digital evolutions and partnerships in its roadmap.EHL is a state of mind, a way of being that is passed on from generation to generation. Explore the school's hallways, talk to our students, see how their eyes sparkle, their enthusiasm will elate you. We pride ourselves on pursuing Jacques Tschumi's project, especially during such a rejoicing period for EHL Group" stated Michel Rochat, CEO.The campus in Passugg in the canton of Grisons is flourishing, the first hospitality innovation center in Europe is on its way, and the future campus in Lausanne is already an example for many other schools. More than celebrating the past, this birthday marks the start for an important period of growth for EHL Group.Partners and sponsors: Laurent Perrier | Breitling | Andros | Arena Paris la Defense | La Vaudoise | Implenia | Le Gruyere | OVV | TGV Lyria

The Future of Work: Look on the Bright Side?

EHL · 8 October 2018
In the view of futurist and 'recovering journalist,' Gary A. Bolles however, we shouldn't just focus on the negatives. We should look at these developments as an opportunity.Problem solving"Robots and software don't take jobs, they take tasks," he told Hospitality Insights following a keynote address to EHL's international advisory board. For humans, work means three things: solving problems, performing tasks, and using our skills.If we think differently about our skills and the kinds of problems we like to solve, we can continually look for the kinds of problems that robots and software can't perform. We actually can do more creative tasks that require more collaboration between people.As we transition to a digital work economy, educational institutes should be looking to provide lifelong learning rather than a chunk of education early in our lives. It will involve the 'unbundling' of work to provide dynamism and flexibility.Educational institutionsEducation "isn't this massive investment upfront and then very little as time goes along. It has to be a set of continual processes.""Some educational institutions see that as a threat because their model is so focused on early education. But instead I would encourage people to think of it as an opportunity. In the United States we always say: 'What business treats you for four years as a customer and for the rest of your life as a cash register, constantly donating back to your alma mater?'""Instead, if you're continually providing value to your customers, helping them with their lifelong working processes, that's a tremendous business opportunity for many educational institutions.""We're transitioning to what I call a digital work economy and it's happening in a blindlingly short period of time. But if we see this as a market transition, not just disruption, and the whole world of work is going to change, every school is going to change.""One of the biggest challenges of this transition to a digital work economy is that many of the analyses of what's happening to the world of work essentially look at the negative side of the ledger."As there's still a great deal of uncertainty as to the future which is somewhat murky, such analyses are speculative, Bolles says. (In his keynote address he refers to the 'fog on the highway' which is "so heavy we can't see 20 years down the road" and know exactly what skill sets are going to be needed.)People or Robots?On the positive side of the ledger, if we can use technology to make us better, "we can solver greater and greater problems" and that might lead to "an abundance of work". Otherwise, many will be left behind as they won't be able to acquire the new skills that are needed "and then it's going to be a rational act for many employers to say 'we can't find the people, so we'll have to automate those new tasks.'"With lifetime employment less and less likely, young people entering the workforce will need to be problem solvers who are able to adapt and are creative "because that's what will keep us ahead of robots and software." Plus they will need to be entrepreneurial in their mindset. "They need to go towards problems, solve new problems, as opposed to waiting for those problems to come to them."Gary A. Bolles is the Chair for the Future of Work for a think tank called Singularity University.Want to know more about the future of work? Check these additional resources out:Unbundling Work: Learning to Thrive in Disruptive Times - Gary A. BollesTechnology, jobs, and the future of work - McKinsey5 things to know about the future of jobs - World Economic Forum

Content Marketing Strategy in Hospitality: Choice Hotels Europe

EHL · 4 October 2018
In this article on the brand as publisher, we focus on Choice Hotels which has launched a travel portal to drive traffic to its booking site and collect customer data. Tess Mattisson, director of marketing for the European division of Choice Hotels International, spoke recently to EHL students about why she decided to launch the site and the benefits it has brought.When Tess Mattisson joined Choice Hotels in January 2016, the European division was languishing. With some 7,000 hotels globally, the US is the group's biggest market and that was the main focus of its marketing spend. Mattisson's goal was to put 'heads in beds' around Europe and figure out how to do that without additional budget.Transforming people for the digital ageHer approach was to question everything (she refers to herself as the 'why woman'). Her main objective was to turn the business into a more digital company, although she prefers to say she's in the business of transforming people "because it's the people at the core that will transform the business to survive the digital age."Why did they need to change the way they had done marketing in Europe? The international division had been second in line when it came to investments. However, it had growth potential, whereas the US already had a market share of some 25 percent in the US.Three main challenges were identified:Revenue (Choice, as a franchisor, gets a percentage of the gross operating revenues of its franchisees but the latter felt Choice was not providing 'strong enough value');A lack of brand awareness in Europe ("we needed to get our brand out there, we needed to get people's attention");And retention, bringing the guest closer to the brand by providing tangible value.The biggest reason why we needed to change was that brands are becoming publishers. Absolut Vodka is not a vodka producer anymore. They're a media company.Content Marketing Strategy at Choice Hotels - VideoInvestments in media and contentBrands are becoming publishers, she said, not because they have large piles of money to throw around, but "because they've realized they need to invest in media and content and become publishers if they're going to successfully sell their products further down the road."Consumers today expect us, as a brand, to actually be a publisher and add value through content and other types of services that are not directly connected to our products.So Choice Hotels Europe created its own 'vehicle', a site called TravelTop6 (yes, it's trademarked) to drive traffic to its booking platform, while gathering data on customer behavior. The site carries travel recommendations and tips for destinations which are near Choice Hotels. (So don't bother looking for information about countries such as Greece or the Netherlands where Choice doesn't have franchisees.)Micro-moments of travelBased on data from a 2015 Google study on micro-moments of travel, which stated that 87 percent of such moments take place on mobile, it made sense to take a 'mobile first' approach. The Google study was also seen as important for mapping out the various phases of the customer journey.We were strong in the booking phase of the journey but we needed to expand that to where the consumer is actually engaged - in the dreaming, planning, booking and experiencing micro-moments of travel.Mattisson outlined to Hospitality Insights in an interview how they had used Google's modeling: "We pretty much looked at where we were today, what the gap was between where we were and where customers were. And then we tried to fill that void. And the key component for us that we identified was the lack of high quality content."Content marketing is like dating. You need to add value, you don't talk about yourself on the first date for 40 minutes. People would be so bored, right? You listen, you ask questions, and you focus on the person in front of you.But, as Choice Hotels is a franchisor, it has to consider a range of stakeholders - not just the customers. Mattisson said she had to get 19 stakeholders on board, including the franchisees, some 500 of them. Previously they had argued that Choice should spend big on TV commercials but, given the budget constraints, that avenue was not an option unless they were going to get the occasional commercial spot in the afternoons when their target audience would not be watching anyway.Instead, Mattisson believes the TravelTop6 site has proved its worth. It has involved developing a research calendar to pinpoint areas of interest and outsourcing writing to freelancers, plus getting some help from influencers such as Kaptain Kenny.We don't produce any content that is not supported by research - insights, data mining, scraping a lot of sites, seeing what are people interested in and (finding out) what they talk about. And where is the gray space, where no one is present. We're not going to compete with TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet.As for the return on the (undisclosed) investment, she points to some 2.5 million new users viewing the content over a 12-month period, with 126,000 visits to the guides and more 3,400 visits to the Choice Hotels booking site. In terms of the bottom line, there has been a 35 percent increase in direct, organic online bookings year-on-year. "So yes, it's had an impact on the bottom line, on traffic to the website, and adding value to the guest."If you're wondering about the ethics of leveraging an apparently independent third-party site or 'Trojan horse' to drive traffic to one hotel group's booking site, the TravelTop6 site does state that the site is powered by Choice Hotels Europe and Choice Hotels Canada. (That said you do have to scroll down the page to the bottom).Mattisson's Top 6 recommendations on content marketingIf you want to become truly digital, take out the word digital. ("Marketing today isn't digital. It's just marketing.")Evolve. People don't mind change. Invest in building the strategy and involve the stakeholders in every single step.Base your marketing strategy on your consumers' needs, behavior and device usage.Identify the platforms where your customers are spending their time and tap into those.(Blend in, don't disrupt).Prioritize. "You can't be a rock star in everything you do. Be really good at something than mediocre at everything."Always remember the reason - the why - you're doing this. "Go back to where it all began."

The Need for Big Data and Quantitative Skills Training In Hospitality

EHL · 2 October 2018
This is why, as economists, we believe hospitality business schools that teach subjects such as finance, need to develop their students' skills in these areas.Technology nowadays allows firms to collect and analyze huge amounts of so-called big data, but in order to leverage these opportunities, hotels will need technical abilities and know-how.However, the biggest challenge faced by teachers of maths and other quantitative skills is how to get the message across to undergraduate students how important such skills will be in their future careers.Overcoming 'math anxiety'"I've survived up to this point without solving equations, so why should I start now?" is the typical reaction of many students. Indeed, researcher and academic Mark H. Ashcraft has highlighted the phenomenon of 'math anxiety' which he defines as "a feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear that interferes with math performance". Students may be tempted to try to math-based subjects but how can they overcome this in practice?Based on our experience as economics professors we have developed a survival kit for beginners.First, at your very first meeting with students, we recommend that teachers highlight the fact that this topic will be somewhat technical and that, without a rigorous approach, they will not be able to have a deep understanding of the subject.Second, when explaining something technical, start from the solution. Clarify what the final point is that you are aiming for and then explain why and how you plan to get there.A common mistake we make is to try to create some suspense and then surprise the student with a final revelation. What may be 'suspense' for you, however, is likely to spell confusion for the student and what you consider to be a final revelation, probably means panic for the student.We recommend that teachers use plenty of examples from the onset as business school students need practical applications first.Indeed, they love to be active. They do not want to listen to you passively as you move from one abstract theory to the next. Instead, they need to feel challenged in class.This can range from doing exercises to case studies and other activities, but the main point is to allow them to play an active rather than passive role. The old fashioned idea that the professor outlines theory in class and that the student is there to absorb it like a sponge and follow up with exercises at home, may be valid only in our wildest dreams.We also recommend that teachers embrace technology. Give students a virtual portfolio to manage, with apps, surveys, online quizzes and other tools that may appeal to millennials.To concludeQuantitative subjects such as maths and statistics will be increasingly crucial for hoteliers, but when you're teaching these subjects, they may need to be sugar-coated - more so than other courses - in order to make them more palatable.

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