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  • HFTP Research Report: Pre-opening Expenditures in Hospitality

    A study of the pre-opening budget; the timeline for these expenditures; timeline for onboarding of staff; and the selection, installation and training of the technology component. By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.

  • 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.

  • Internal Controls and the Important Roles They Play in Eradicating Fraud

    Although I have been preoccupied with getting in the education sessions purely related to hospitality finance, technologies and hotel pre-opening, I made sure to participate in Fun with Fraud and Enchanting Employee Embezzlement in Clubs and Hotels presented by Jerry Trieber, CPA, CHAE, CFE, CFF, CGMA, HFTP Global past president and director of audit services/support at HEI Hotels and Resorts.

  • 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.

Article by Kacey Bradley

Five Practices That Ensure Hoteliers Make the Most of Property Updates

The Drifter Collective · 6 March 2019
When planning a major hotel renovation project, industry leaders recommend keeping the following five elements in mind. As the old saying goes, failing to plan means planning to fail. Planning your renovation around the following five key elements ensures a successful return on investment (ROI) from your property improvement dollar.Strive for TimelessnessWhile trying the latest trends may tempt hotel owners, exercise caution, as the whole point of renovation means making your decor fresh. Aim instead for a design that offers timeless, classy elements.For example, recent renovations to the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., entices guests with room color schemes in classic blues, ivory and grey with just a touch of gold accents. This subdued scheme invites rest and relaxation after busy city days. The classic colors pair perfectly with the hotel's target market of politicians and international figureheads.Indeed, the factor of paramount importance in any design scheme requires keeping your target guest market in mind throughout the renovation process. Cozy country inns may incorporate quirky design elements such a chicken, romantic honeymoon retreats benefit from rose and burgundy tones, while chains frequented by business travelers demand cool, neutral, classic color schemes.Consider Comfort FactorsComfy, cozy guests often return to their favorite rooms year after year. They're also more likely to share positive online reviews and provide free advertising via their social media postings.Easy, inexpensive changes include thoughtful touches such as adding USB charging ports along with extra outlets for guests to plug in electronic devices located both on the desk area as well as on end tables next to the bed, so your guests can surf the net in comfort. Replacing traditional coffee pots with Keurig machines and offering an assortment of flavored coffees and teas add smiles to busy mornings.Get picky with fabrics and pillows. Unless you're running a B&B in farm country, patterned quilts and bedspreads scream cheap and tacky. Opt for cuddle-worthy down comforters in solid colors. Providing extra pillows costs little yet makes a huge difference when it comes to preventing guests from waking up with a painful crick in the neck!Design DurablyNothing destroys a hotel manager's best day like having to start to replace furniture and amenities before renovations even conclude. Investing in high-quality furnishings costs more initially but pays dividends in terms of longevity.Consider furnishings such as couches carefully. While fabric couches are prone to tearing, quality leather couches and chairs offer long term durability while adding a luxurious feel to decor. Bureaus and dressers which conceal amenities such as in-room refrigerators likewise add an upscale feel to guest lodgings.Bed bugs have become the bane of the hotel industry. Consider investing in high quality mattress covers intended to halt infestation and keep your guest beds bug free.Don't Overlook Cheap ChicWhile spending extra on durable goods makes economic sense, the artwork you select to decorate your guest rooms need not be pricey Picasso's. Do remove those tacky and bland pictures of boats and ships, but don't break the bank ordering expensive prints. Instead, frequent local art shows to find pieces that capture the flavor of your location for far less than you'd spend buying art online.Other creative ideas include adding a single fake flower in a decorative vase to bring a touch of elegance to guest bathrooms. Sometimes your local dollar store boasts vases, decorative rocks and flowers. Avoid large, fussy arrangements that collect dust, making your guest rooms feel dingy.Keep Guests at the ForefrontAbove all, the hospitality industry revolves around providing a memorable guest experience that keeps folks coming back to your hotel time and again. How do you discover what guests like? Easy -- simply ask them!Provide guest satisfaction surveys and train hotel desk staff to request them from guests upon checkout so that you can gather insight into what guests want while addressing any potential problems prior to your guests' departure. Some hotels have begun utilizing scented cards that sweeten your guests' luggage while reminding them to write Yelp reviews. Other establishments offer discounts on future visits to guests who recommend their establishment on social media.Undergoing a full hotel renovation can seem daunting but reaping the rewards of increased revenue and improved guest satisfaction makes the process worth the time and effort. By planning your renovation wisely, your hotel's reputation will skyrocket, and guests will leave happy and well-rested.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Proactive Disaster Planning Tips for Hotels and Resorts

The Drifter Collective · 6 March 2019
What must those in the hospitality industry do to ensure they maximize guest safety in the event of a disaster? These common-sense tips provide an excellent starting point for developing a comprehensive safety plan in the event catastrophe strikes.Complete a Risk AssessmentThe first step in any hotel or resort disaster plan involves performing a comprehensive risk assessment. This assessment must include both the consideration of risk factors beyond the hotelier's control, such as a rapidly spreading wildfire, and those property owners can control, such as providing adequate exit routes and stores of emergency response supplies.Conscientious hoteliers should go over every inch of the property to identify potential hazards. Property managers can easily eliminate some issues, such as excessive scrub brush around hotel grounds. Eliminating other hazards, such as providing handicapped-accessible exit routes, may take a bit more of an investment of time and money.Prepare Means of CommunicationThe best emergency disaster plan will fail if hotels cannot inform guests as to how they will be notified in the case of disaster. A solid communication plan starts at the hotel website's booking page. Smart hotel managers know that informing guests of refund options in the case of disaster saves money in the long run. Informing guests ahead of time about potential inclement weather allows them to rebook their trip.Let guests know how the resort property will communicate with them should an unexpected natural disaster put a wrinkle in their travel plans. As evacuations allow little time for making multiple phone calls to guests, savvy hoteliers require guests to provide a cellphone number where they can receive a group text message in the event of an emergency.Include Hazard Reduction in Property UpgradesWhen preparing to refresh and update the hotel property, smart hotel owners pursue such upgrades with safety planning in mind. For example, hotels containing sliding glass doors leading to outdoor patio areas should select high-impact resistant glass or hurricane film. This not only protects guest safety, but it also ensures the hotel conforms to all local building codes.Likewise, hotel remodels should include enough safety materials such as adequate fire extinguishers in guest areas. All hotels must include multiple exit routes and should indicate evacuation paths on the interior of all guest room doors. Providing adequate emergency lighting helps guests locate and navigate stairwells in case of a power outage.Prepare for Staffing IssuesNothing stresses hotel staff members like dealing with a disaster for which they've received no training. As hotel staff represents the first line of defense in getting guests to safety, all present and future employees should receive training on how to react in different emergency situations. Provide refresher courses on a regular basis to ensure all staff members know exactly what to do to help guests.Hoteliers wishing to go the extra mile to ensure guest safety should require all staff members to earn their CPR and first-aid certifications. Contact a local branch of the American Red Cross to arrange for training times either at your facility or in a Red Cross classroom.Polish Public Relations NowFinally, all hoteliers do well to develop a strong relationship with local news and media outlets as a general business practice. Maintaining positive public relations matters both during and after a disaster.During the disaster, use local media outlets to distribute news to incoming guests as to the condition of the hotel and the availability of lodging. Following a catastrophe such as a fire or a hurricane, hospitality professionals can distribute updates as to property repairs, safety and dates of reopening. Savvy hotel managers likewise utilize media outlets to inform the public as to property upgrades meant to ensure greater guest safety going forward.No hotelier wants to imagine a natural disaster disrupting their business operations. However, recent events make it clear that failure to develop a plan for dealing with acts of God leaves hospitality professionals and hotel owners subject to potential liability. Preparing a solid plan for the unexpected saves both money and lives.
Article by Kacey Bradley

5 Trends Shaping Your Hotel-Casino Revenue Strategy

The Drifter Collective · 5 March 2019
For guests with extra funds and time, hotel-casinos are a lucrative attraction, and the destination appeal of casinos is profitable for tourism. As the hospitality industry incorporates more casinos, the reach of this entertainment form will grow.Developments in consumer habits, marketing strategies and competition can influence your short- and long-term plan of action. A unified revenue strategy across sections of a hotel can target valuable customers and maximize your overall gain.Understanding your guests and the current trends is crucial for continued healthy growth and performance. Here are five trends shaping your hotel-casino revenue strategy.1. Marketing to a Younger AudienceThe marketing focus of hotel-casinos is moving from baby boomers to younger generations, which requires a fresh mindset and the implementation of different strategies.Marketing messages are capitalizing on images and simplified text to stick with the younger audience. Some casinos are also trying to partner with social media influencers to bridge the gap between this leisure activity and millennials. This promotional effort aims to stay relevant and personal.Strategies for younger generations rightly include social engagement. Casinos are highlighting group games over isolated ones to give a richer layout, which is complementing tourism and hospitality practices.2. Increase in Frequency, but Decrease in SpendingThe popularity of casino gaming has grown, and experts project the global casino gaming market will reach $191 billion by 2022. Frequency in gaming is a significant part of this surge in occupancy. As more people fill casino rooms and try their hand at table games, it's possible that will result in an influx of returners or a higher level of new players. However, there's a disconnect in the spending and occupancy levels.The experience of a casino still draws many visitors, because the ambiance is unique. Although visitors are ready to enjoy the venue, they aren't as willing to part with their money. This trend is especially true for millennials, who are conserving their funds for refreshments and less risky entertainment.With customers spreading out their money for a higher number of trips, it's essential to ensure these visitors come back to your facility. Although there's currently a reduction in spending, these trends may even each other out.3. Shift to Online Gambling and AppsNow that most people have smartphones and mobile devices, gambling online has intensified. Virtual casinos can prevent visitors from attending physical locations to gamble. Some casinos are combining location-based gambling and digital platforms to revamp tourism.Mobile apps for the lottery are useful for keeping track of tickets and promotions. They also direct players to physical retail locations in their areas. Hotel-casinos are encouraging mobile engagement to benefit from the interest in technology-based gambling.Both the hospitality and casino industries are extending their services through mobile apps. Apps are acting as a tool to connect to customers and streamline wagering.4. Change in Reward StrategyLoyalty pricing for hotel-casinos is an untapped area with potential. Worthwhile rewards spanning both the hotel amenities and the casino services are set to bring a better public cash rate.Hotel-casinos are restructuring their policies for reinvestment based on customer value. Although the qualifications are changing, customer loyalty possibilities within these facilities are widening.Private accounts allow hotels to offer personalized rates for rooms based on data rather than a fixed rate. Retaining guests with segmentation in an advanced reward system is a rising trend in hotels with casinos.5. Elevation in CompetitionExpanding gaming venues put casinos in a highly competitive atmosphere. Regional development has put further strain on available discretionary income, so each establishment is fighting for guests.Hotel-casinos are contending in this niche market to provide the best restaurants, amenities, gambling options and accommodations possible. As they try to harness the disposable income of visitors, other tourist enterprises are vying for customer attention, too.Refine Your Revenue StrategyWith these emerging trends, hotel-casinos must form a specialized approach to build and maintain customer relationships. Implementing a promising plan of action can put your hotel-casino in a profitable position. Construct an effective revenue strategy to keep up with the evolving market.
Article by Kacey Bradley

How Hoteliers Can Benefit From Last-Minute Booking Apps

The Drifter Collective · 5 March 2019
Guests have many spontaneous accommodation needs, and mobile apps are ready to meet them. It's becoming increasingly common to finalize plans on-the-go, as 31 percent of leisure travelers and 53 percent of business travelers have booked on a smartphone.Mobile booking isn't just a perk for customers -- hoteliers can flourish when partnering with last-minute booking apps, too.When the night winds down and there are empty rooms, hotels lose an opportunity. You can't always attract a full house of customers, and you miss out on the potential sale. What if there was a way to get the word out about your extra space?Last-minute booking apps can make the most of the mobile habits of consumers and your fluctuating occupancy rate. Down to the last minute, you can get rid of spare rooms and bring in a profit rather than leaving vacant spaces. Check out these eight specific ways hoteliers can benefit from final booking apps.1. Get Closer to 100 PercentIn 2018, the annual occupancy rate of the U.S. hotel industry was at 66.2 percent. It's typical to run at partial capacity, but hotels are more likely to operate efficiently when they offer last-minute lodging.You can boost your occupancy rate by joining mobile apps so customers can find a place until the eleventh hour. Even offering lower prices to customers is better than squandering a significant portion of rooms. Get nearer to full capacity by listing your extra rooms.2. Reach a Wider AudienceAs travelers search for any available rooming, they go beyond their typical hotel picks. Listing on last-minute booking apps brings you visibility with customers you may not have reached before.With a wider customer base, you can attract and retain loyal guests for your hotel. Branch out from your standard target audience to engage new customers.3. Track Customer DataCultivating your hotel or resort for the best guest experience requires data, and mobile apps give you more insight and access to your visitors.You need to keep up with customer preferences and practices to shape your business plans. Collect customer information on these platforms to direct your next steps for improvement.4. Develop Brand AwarenessTo promote your hotel brand, you need to bring attention to it. However, competition is fierce in the hospitality industry. You can encourage exposure for your brand on last-minute booking apps, though.Mobile apps can complement your marketing strategies, and you can help customers recognize your brand by getting your name and deals out there.5. Streamline the Booking ProcessIn the booking process, both the customer and the hotel can have many hoops to jump through. If it's down to the wire, there's no time for lots of steps. Mobile booking can facilitate a clear process, boosting customer satisfaction.With apps like HotelTonight, you can effortlessly display your rooms for last-minute guests. These services make it simple for you to show your inventory and receive payments.6. Gain Reviews and FeedbackOnline feedback on a visit influences travelers' lodging decisions. Gaining reviews on the last-minute booking apps can drive future sales.Forming a positive reputation on these mobile apps can recommend you to users. Increase your chances for an advantageous online presence by taking advantage of these apps.7. Match Property and PreferencesIf you have a specialty lodging facility, you can find an app that specifically services you. Whether you operate a luxury resort or a charming bed-and-breakfast, you can partner with an app that suits your style and services.Several apps divide hotel listings into categories to house a variety of types. Customers can then narrow down their search to match with your business.8. Thrive MutuallySnagging a final deal is beneficial to customers and hoteliers, and you can share a rewarding exchange. Last-minute booking apps save each party time and money.Maximizing the common good creates a valuable arrangement. When everyone is thriving, you can see this as an all-around win for your business.Partner With a Last-Minute Booking AppSelling as many rooms as possible is ideal for your hotel and travelers in need of lodging. With a range of benefits, you can enhance your occupancy, reputation, booking process and customer satisfaction. Unite with last-minute booking apps to strengthen your hotel.
Article by Kacey Bradley

A Quick Introduction to Commercial Recreation and Tourism

The Drifter Collective ·13 February 2019
What Is Commercial Recreation and Tourism?To lay a foundation for your understanding, two definitions are crucial: commercial recreation and tourism. The first, commercial recreation, is the supply of experiences and services for leisure that turns a profit. Private and public options for these experiences exist, too, but the focus should be on private enterprises.The second, tourism, is when people travel and stop at new places apart from their typical setting to participate in activities. Unlike commercial recreation, which is for pleasure, tourism has a broader range of possible motivations. The intersection of these terms groups other businesses and services together to make the combined designation of "commercial recreation and tourism."Although travel for pleasure has developed over history, recent innovations make worldwide trips more accessible. An excess of time, money and access are the common causes that send people out to seek new places and experiences. The rise of consumerism is also a prominent reason for the advance of leisure experiences.Because the industry spans more than directly recreational or tourist attractions, several businesses fall under the umbrella of the term. Everything from movie theaters to restaurants and hotels can serve people in this way, so let's go over the specifics of the categories.Types of Commercial Recreation and TourismPrivate establishments like casinos, theme parks, stores and craft shops can hold the title of commercial recreation and tourism. But the scope of the industry can be grasped more fully with the following guidelines and categories. The three main groupings include:Hospitality: Hospitality mainly tends to accommodations, but these businesses provide beverages, meals, snacks and amenities, too. A few examples are hotels, resorts and taverns. However, like the other categories, companies can deliver travel and commercial recreation benefits, too. Luxury hunting or fishing lodges, like Alaska Rainbow Lodge, gives its visitors accommodations and an engaging activity.Travel: To be classified in the travel industry, your business must transport people or service travelers. Commercial recreational travel enterprises include airlines, rental car services, trains, bus lines and cruise ships.Local Recreation: Local commercial recreation is what communities offer their residents in terms of shops, entertainment and activities. While people are at home, they can enjoy their local fitness center, small water parks and clubs. But concerts in an area can become travel-related once they attract outsiders, like when Bonnaroo drives people to Manchester, Tennessee.Management PracticesManagement differs slightly in the three categories of commercial recreation and tourism, but the basic principles can span the industry. Distinguishing features should set your business apart from others for marketing purposes, and managers can identify these areas to attract customers. Managers also handle how the public perceives them and their brand.The company's staff is also the responsibility of management, and cultivating a beneficial culture takes an intentional leadership approach. Fostering communication is important for a business to run in the commercial recreation and tourism field.Recent Commercial Recreation and Tourism TrendsCurrent innovations in the commercial recreation and tourism industry are making activities more enjoyable and tasks more convenient for customers. Technology is a substantial component of emerging trends in hotels, restaurants and shopping. Mobile apps and streamlined digital purchasing have allowed consumers to lead fast-paced lives, even in leisure.Leading amenities for hospitality enterprises are high-quality workout studios, classes and equipment as guests tend to active routines even in their off time. This shift toward fitness has driven resorts, hotels and parks to include outdoor recreational equipment. Customers looking to stay healthy and in shape are flocking to destinations outfitted with fun outdoor options.Eco-friendly measures have influenced the tourism and recreation industry, as each business uses significant resources to entertain and please their customers. In the long-run, enterprises want to sustain their operations, so they've taken pains to incorporate sustainability. For instance, hotels are paying more attention to waste management, like the Ibis hotel in Singapore, which is turning newspapers into pens.As global travel opens up possibilities, diversity and cultural awareness can continue. Travel-related businesses have kept this in mind, but there's still room for growth in currency exchanges and multilanguage communication.Continue Delving Into Commercial Recreation and TourismWith this headstart on the tourism and recreation industry, you can progress in your knowledge and stay up to date on the trends. Set your enterprise up for further profitability. Keeping your business open to change and catering to multiple needs can help you succeed. Benefit your community and your potential customers by pursuing excellence in this field.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Five Strategies or Corporate Rate Negotiations

The Drifter Collective · 7 February 2019
For travel buyers, the goal is simple -- get the best possible hotel for corporate clients at the lowest rate. But when you sit on the other side of the bargaining table, it's up to you to ensure your business gets the deal it needs to thrive.These competing intentions may make it difficult to settle on a price or corporate package for a potential client. However, it's not impossible to strike up a corporate rate that suits both sides of the negotiation. To make the task a little easier, here are five strategies to deploy during your next conversation with a travel buyer.1. Keep a Level HeadPerhaps the most critical approach to any negotiation, whether it's professional or personal, is to remain calm. A rate debate between you and your client can become heated, and it's up to you to keep things level.Start by adopting tactics meant to promote calm during negotiating chaos. For starters, if you feel yourself losing your grip on your emotions, focus on something physical, such as your breathing. Deep breaths in and out will ground you. You can also take note of your physical surroundings and sensations. All of this will help you zoom out and regain focus on the task at hand, rather than letting your emotions take over.To that end, you should always keep in mind that the person with whom you're negotiating is, indeed, a customer. If they've been one for years or have otherwise contributed significantly to your business, approach talks with the aim of maintaining your relationship. Sometimes, it's not worth losing a loyal client -- or your head -- over a few dollars difference in rate.2. Focus on ValueFor some hoteliers, corporate rate negotiations hinge upon the bells and whistles that a hotel can provide. If your price exceeds what the travel buyer expected, explain precisely why your property deserves the extra dollar. Perhaps the rate includes free Wi-Fi, which is a necessity for business travelers. Or, maybe you've thrown in a free breakfast or fitness center access, knowing your professional guests will want to stick to their at-home routines.On top of that, it's important to flex the benefits specific to corporate guests. Take, for example, Tachi Palace. It's both a hotel and casino, so it may not seem like the right fit for corporate travelers -- at least not at first. However, the staff has made it comfortable for professional clients by offering group accommodation rates, as well as meeting rooms and event space. They indeed flaunt these benefits to corporate clients, who could be swayed into saying yes because of the additional benefits to them.3. Make Sure Rates Match DemandIn some cases, a blanket rate for a corporate client simply cannot work. That's because hotels in one city or region will have more demand -- and, therefore, higher rates per night -- than those in less traversed areas. As the hotel's negotiating representative, it's up to you to know the prices at each of your customer's intended destinations.Present this information to the client but soften the blow of a high number by promising lower rates in the cities where they need rooms and you need the foot traffic. Or, find a number in the middle that will balance out stays in both places. Either way, you're likely to discover a middle ground that prevents them from breaking the bank -- and saves your budget, too.4. Beware of a One-Size-Fits-All Pricing ModelOn that note, it's also a good idea to have a consistent corporate rate for all your business-centric clients. Of course, this option might work for some business, especially those who proactively map out their travel budget for the year ahead. Knowing the cost of a hotel per night will ensure accurate accounting, thus allowing them to budget more precisely.But other customers don't need as much assurance for their rates and prefer to take on a more flexible plan. For instance, some of your corporate clients might prefer the option to book with the given corporate rate -- or to book as a regular customer, should a promotional offer make a stay more cost-efficient. Similarly, you might also prefer to offer a discount to corporate clients, rather than an unwavering price per night. That way, their fees will ebb and flow with demand, which could benefit both of you at different times of the year.5. Find Clients with Similar GoalsFinally, a like-minded customer will make negotiations simpler for you. For example, if you hope to boost volume in the coming year, seek out corporate clients who can commit to many stays throughout the year. On the other hand, you might aim to increase the number of nights a guest says per visit. Long-term projects can keep professionals in hotels for extended periods, and you can court these types of clients, as well. Just offer them a discounted rate if their numbers will help you reach your goals -- both sides of the bargaining table end up happy then, too.Although your interests are often competing, you can find common ground with a corporate client. There's no better feeling than landing on a rate or discount that suits both of you, so don't give up -- and don't give in. It all starts with a conversation and, perhaps, a few deep breaths.
Article by Kacey Bradley

6 Ways to Manage Your Hotel During a Natural Disaster

The Drifter Collective · 4 February 2019
Resorts and hotels in locations prone to natural disasters take steps to protect themselves. While proactive measures and planning can establish a plan for your hotel, in the midst of the disaster, attentive management and action are crucial.As tourists turn to you and your staff and upcoming reservations approach, you can skillfully handle the situation and look toward recovery options. Here are six ways to manage your hotel during a natural disaster.1. Assess the Safety of Guests and EmployeesYour primary concern should be the security and health of your team and your guests. In a time of crisis, make sure water, food and resources at your hotel's disposal are available to your workers and guests. In your and your staff's interactions with guests, take precautions to keep guests as calm as possible. You trained staff should be able to recommend helpful tips for the uncertain circumstances.As a part of your community, people without places to stay will likely turn to you. Depending on the level of disaster, you can act as a housing solution or offer discounted rooms to victims, relief workers and volunteers. Demonstrate care to emergency guests, and consider flexibility on your pet policy during this time.2. Change Marketing TacticsWhile you're dealing with a natural disaster, avoid waste in marketing by pausing your SEM campaign. Your PPC budget can become unhelpful when your website gets lumped with updates on the state of the storm. Reduce your emphasis on region-specific keywords until the conditions change.In the same way, curb your regional email marketing. As you can't take bookings right now, postpone these tactics for when you can confidently reopen. Replace your regular email campaign with messages crafted for an emergency.3. Regulate UpdatesAs guests use hashtags and their feeds to express their experience at your hotel, tune in to social media to review these communications. Maximize your social media platforms to offer updates to guests, concerned parties and the community.Keep guests and interested parties notified on the progress of the natural disaster with frequent posts. Respond to questions on these platforms, too, if possible.4. Keep Track of Any DamageIf it's safe to make your rounds and examine the area, you can begin scouting out your hotel grounds. Assign workers to look out for potential repair needs.This can inform your recovery plan and help you gauge when you can reopen the hotel or resort. You can keep guests from dangerous areas as the storm winds down and begin to identify actionable steps for the coming weeks.5. Prepare to File an Insurance ClaimYour policy may cover several parts of your hotel's lost income during the disaster, from rebooking to evacuation. But you'll also have impacts on the structure, vehicles and overall property. Prepare to file an insurance claim to get a quick estimate of your recoverable costs.As hotels end up having high occupancy during disasters due to a lack of shelter, hoteliers rely on insurance experts to evaluate the building for damage. You can contact an insurance agent, contractors and repair professionals to obtain an accurate assessment.6. Formulate a Cleanup PlanTo cut down on the time your staff and outside workers will take to clean up the property, contemplate the best way to tackle the necessary tasks. Do you need to remove debris first? Or will draining water and drying the area be your first move?You can meet with a committee or your staff to organize a cleanup strategy. Get the facilities back to a functional state efficiently with swift action.Focus on Recovery After a Natural DisasterAs your hotel encounters a natural disaster, you have to deal with many considerations. You can never be overly prepared for a crisis, but when it happens, your next step is to look toward recovery. Rebuilding and repairing can set your hotel on track to thrive again.
Article by Kacey Bradley

How Millennial-Driven Markets Are Changing the Name of Hospitality

The Drifter Collective ·30 January 2019
The millennial generation is large and distinctive. In fact, they are the largest living generation in America, and their influence seems to reach even farther. With defining qualities like fast-paced living, social media use, socially-conscious choices and aesthetic preferences, this generation knows what they want.The hospitality industry has started to factor in their preferences because millennials also love travel and now make up a significant percentage of hotel guests. Here are four ways the influence of millennials is changing the hospitality market.1. Hunger for TechnologyAs millennials have grown up with digital resources at their fingertips, hotels that value technology for ease of use are winning over this demographic. Many well-known companies, like Hilton and Marriott, are offering a mobile key option, where guests can use their smartphone to open their door rather than a plastic key card.Bypassing the front desk with technology is another trend that caters to the on-demand tendencies of millennials. Digital check-in kiosks or mobile check-in eliminates the wait.Hotel apps can provide everything from requests for extra toiletries to concierge services. The Ritz-Carlton is one hotel with an app that lets you tap and scroll your way to fresh towels and room service.2. A Desire for Greener LivingMany in this generation are passionate about causes, like the green movement. Millennials are impressed by hotels with green building certification and sustainable practices.Waste management and recycling options are also worthwhile moves. The Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen hotel recognized their extreme food and disposable plastic waste, so they replaced their old habits with reduction measures. Even their popular eco-pen made from newspapers is cutting down on their plastic use.Millennials make up 24 percent of the U.S. wine consumers' market. So, when stocking drink options, hotels are moving toward brands that appeal because of their source. Locally sourced wines allow them to support something meaningful and give an authentic experience of the region they're staying in. Something millennials have expressed a great interest in.Other foods and beverages that hoteliers are featuring include organic coffees, craft beer and vegan options. Environmental packaging is also a huge plus.3. Passion for ExperiencesThis generation considers experiences invaluable and would pick an event or activity over purchasing a tangible item. So, to get millennials the experiences they want, hotels are connecting them with things to do in the surrounding community. They're also offering more in-house activities to keep guests entertained.Hotel staff is increasingly becoming skilled at sharing local attractions and recommendations, so their guests can fully appreciate the local culture during their stay. They're being matched with quirky food trucks and live shows to complete their exploration endeavors.Partnerships with local eateries, breweries, wineries and suppliers help hotels offer immersive, in-house culture. While going out to discover a hidden establishment is special, the newness of the culture along with the convenient location can be twice the attraction for a millennial.4. Love for SharingDue to their tech-based upbringing, millennials live to capture and share the things they're passionate about. Social media allows them to post reviews and advice for their followers and friends which can impact your hotel negatively or positively. Offer a shareable setting for guests to take advantage of digital word-of-mouth.Craft colorful backdrops that are picture-perfect, so your guests pose in front of them for pictures. When they grab a quick shot to upload and show where they're staying on vacation, you just received an instant internet recommendation.Lighting and design are crucial to earning millennials' interest because part of social media know-how includes an eye for aesthetic. Put up intriguing art that's worthy to post on Instagram to build a social media reputation.The other side of the millennial draw toward sharing is simply connecting with their friends and acquaintances. Set up your lobby for prime interaction where guests can chat over coffee or stroll through a fun area.Understand and Appeal to MillennialsMillennials' likes and dislikes have shaped the hospitality industry, but you can stay ahead of your competition by keeping up with this influential generation. From innovative hotel technology to experiential stays, your establishment can captivate this generation and continue to enhance your features. Bring more guests to your hotel when you implement these four millennial-driven changes.c
Article by Kacey Bradley

10 Ideas Shaping the Future of Travel Retail

The Drifter Collective ·15 January 2019
1. Sensory StopsFinding a fresh new experience is alluring to travelers, and sensory pop-ups are the solution. The Schiphol and Auckland airports saw one of these unique settings in Bombay Sapphire's glasshouse. The see-through building is home to the plants that are included in the company's gin, and the project gave customer's a rare perspective into their product. Creating a sensory atmosphere for customers is becoming more crucial, even in hotel shopping.2. Airport Food DeliveryConsumers prize convenience, and when they can grab their meals and take off, you can accommodate their busy lives. Take the example of Deliveroo, which acknowledges people's busy lives and delivers their food to the gate at the airport. They've launched their delivery service in Dubai, and they continue to go to great lengths for customer satisfaction. Hotels are also partnering with Deliveroo and others for effortless, on-demand room service.3. Duty-Free VIP MembershipsReward valued and invested customers with the opportunity to access duty-free goods in a personalized way. The benefits of VIP programs can be tweaked to fit your hotel and clientele, but make sure to give them an exclusive opportunity to view and purchase duty-free items. Lotte Duty Free in South Korea is one service assisting shoppers using this strategy with their specialized setting and service.4. Incentives for Delayed CustomersFlight delays are frustrating, and when those staying in your hotel end up sticking around, you can offer comfort through incentives. Treat them to a free meal in one of your hotel restaurants or give them a complimentary discount at a hotel boutique. You can boost your establishment's reputation and create loyalty after customers' mishaps.5. Digital Offers Through Customer TechnologyBecause most people are carrying around a smartphone or alternate mobile device, digital offers are an effective way to engage customers. A mobile app with personalized assistance and tips for your location can get you more visibility. Retail store check-ins can also be worthwhile in facilitating engagement.6. Brand Identity in Physical StoresOnline shopping is popular, but there's still an appeal to physical stores. Customers may enjoy the convenience of scrolling through online selections but picking up their purchases in-store can reinforce brand identity. Your hotel guests may be researching online and reserving products, but when they pick up their item from your hotel boutiques, they can get a fuller experience.7. Interactive Guides for Reviews and RecommendationsActing as a digital concierge, interactive stations can inform your guests on local dining, activities and more. Display plenty of options for your exploring customers on expansive screens to offer helpful suggestions. TripAdvisor outfitted their store with these in the Toronto Pearson International Airport, which pointed customers in the right direction after they left the store.8. Efficient Check-outChecking out customers from different countries can slow down the process with the barriers of currency and language. But people expect a speedy system even in travel retail, so use digital tools and retail software to accommodate these differences in travelers.9. Personal Shopper LoungeStaffing personal shoppers can give you an edge over the competition in travel retail, as customers are constantly on the move and may need help holding items, choosing outfits quickly and making decisions. Heathrow Airport features personal stylists that you can reserve along with a designated lounge for their services. Stylists as a complimentary service can encourage more purchases from your customers and improve the quality of their chopping.10. Augmented and Virtual Reality EntertainmentYou can transport customers to new places with augmented and virtual reality centers. Help people wandering around your hotel or stores enter vivid and entertaining scenarios with these centers. The hospitality industry can also use virtual reality to demonstrate local attractions and activities for travelers.Give On-the-Go Luxury Shoppers a Curated ExperienceWhile travel retail is changing, the central focus is still on the customer. Shopping experiences should offer exclusive chances and products with the added benefits of these ideas. An increase in technology and efficiency is important to keep in mind, but ultimately, give the shoppers a unique avenue for all the best parts of travel retail like duty-free purchases, personal service and rare opportunities.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Creating a Successful Hotel Retail Space

The Drifter Collective · 3 January 2019
In previous years, many hoteliers treated their facility's retail space as an afterthought. These little shops vended few items outside the occasional forgotten guest toothbrush or razor.However, recently, many hospitality gurus have revamped these stale, outdated retail practices. Instead of offering only toiletries, they've branched into the world of designer fashions and local artwork -- even electronics and home furnishings. Smart hoteliers know how to make the most of this trend to further brand their getaway destination by offering unique retail spaces. With a bit of creativity, anything from small B&Bs to large chain hotels can provide a truly memorable guest experience while adding a new revenue stream.Consider Your AudienceIn designing a memorable retail space, hoteliers must first consider their target audience. Much of this determination depends upon the income demographic of typical clientele. No one would expect to find a shop featuring designer Prada handbags at a Motel-6-esque establishment.Luxury hotels, conversely, do well to pair with well-known designers and manufacturers of high-end products. Luxury hotels offering amenities such as designer robes and slippers should consider potentially making these items available for sale in their retail area, as guests enjoy the ability to take home a comfortable reminder of their stay. Hotels catering to frequent business travelers may consider partnering with manufacturers of electronic products and/or business suit designers.Hotels with fewer dollar signs following their TripAdvisor listing description can likewise capitalize on the retail trend by offering local treasures not available elsewhere. Hotels in beach destinations, for instance, may consider designing their retail space around bathing suits and beach towels, while mountain destinations may offer practical cold weather gear such as scarves, hats and mittens.Choose a Theme The second step in designing a winning hotel retail space involves selecting a theme, just as any other retail establishment must do. As hotel retail space comes at a premium -- after all, space utilized for displaying wares means less space for lodging guests -- the vast majority of hotels do well to keep their shopping area relatively tiny.Sometimes, selecting a theme simply means expanding upon the overriding purpose of the establishment. Cozy country inns, for example, make a natural backdrop for vending cute kitchenware and decor with farmhouse appeal. Likewise, hotels featuring a health spa or fitness area pair naturally with branded body washes and lotions.Complete the ExperienceAfter identifying audience and theme, hoteliers then need to grab the hammer and nails and design their retail area. As hotel retail revolves around creating an overall getaway experience, choosing the right materials from floor to ceiling matters.Wooden or Pergo flooring adds a rustic appeal to B&B's. Tile flooring creates a more sophisticated, luxury appeal. Walls, shelves and lighting to highlight the shop's wares likewise create a specific mood. Eliminate the need for harsh overhead fluorescent lights by installing accent lights around store shelves to draw attention to products without inducing headaches. In general, the dimmer the lights, the more upscale the area feels.Mirrors always create an illusion of space. Adding mirrors to walls and even ceilings can make even the tiniest boutique shops feel roomy.Form Designer DuosPartnerships between the hospitality and retail industries have long existed, but traditionally, they were contained to toiletry items. Hoteliers can expand upon this relationship by partnering with a particular designer or manufacturer to build loyalty toward both brands.Upscale hotels pair naturally with exclusive designer clothing lines. Think of hotels like Caesar's Palace and the Bellagio in Vegas. Both offer a selection of shops featuring luxury designer duds.Savvy hoteliers don't limit themselves to just clothing lines. Guests often admire hotel furniture designs, and some hotels have made their furnishings available -- usually via special order due to space restrictions -- to guests wishing to recreate their favorite hotel atmosphere in their own homes. Imagine the brand loyalty guests experience when they sit down each evening in a chair just like the one at their favorite getaway destination.Think LocalAnother way hotels at any price point can create a unique guest experience is by partnering with local artists to create truly one-of-a-kind treasures. Select artists who reflect the local flavor of the destination. Hotels in the Southwest, for example, pair naturally with Native-American-inspired works of art. Working with local artists allows hoteliers to offer goods guests simply can't find anywhere else, and it may even earn more traffic by enticing non-guests to stop in and shop.The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, and hoteliers must keep up with the latest trends to avoid becoming obsolete. Improving a hotel's retail space attracts foot traffic and adds to a hotel's bottom line. With a bit of creativity, hotel owners can build brand loyalty by utilizing their retail space to attract new guests and delight returning guests.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Five Affordable Ways Hotels Are Adding Space to Their Rooms

The Drifter Collective ·13 December 2018
One way you can charge more for your rooms is by adding space to them. Offer your guests a more comfortable and enjoyable stay by giving them more room -- here are five ways you can do that without going through any time-consuming or costly renovations.1. Let in the LightOkay, so natural light doesn't really "add" space, but it does make a ro.om feel much larger than it is -- the same goes for large windows. If your hotel has smaller windows, you may want to consider a small remodel that involves expanding them.If you don't want to make that significant of a change, at least avoid using drapes or curtains, which only add more clutter to the room. Opt for lightweight blinds or even shutters for a cleaner look. If you absolutely have to have curtains, at least make sure the rod extends completely past the frame, so guests can open them the entire way and let in as much light as possible.You can also add mirrors throughout the room, so the light can bounce off them. Mirrors in themselves make rooms seem bigger, as well.2. Add Plenty of StorageBy having plenty of places for guests to store their suitcases, formal wear, shoes and other belongings, you encourage them to clean up their space, so the room can feel bigger while they're staying in it. You can also eliminate any closet space you have in exchange for storage solutions like drawers under the beds or a skinny but tall wardrobe. Consider raising furniture like nightstands, desks and the mini-fridge so guests can store additional items underneath. Lastly, don't forget about the bathroom -- adding drawers or a cabinet is an excellent way to eliminate clutter and offer more storage.3. Install Wall BedsIn most hotels, the bed or beds take up almost the entire room. For some people, it's not a big deal because they're mainly using the place to sleep, anyway. But for others, they want space to walk around and breathe.Wall beds are a perfect way to give your guests the big, luxurious bed they expect from a hotel, as well as a huge amount of extra room when they're not sleeping. Wall beds fold up into the wall, exposing the glorious empty space or another functional piece of furniture, like a desk, seating area, table or storage cubbies.Countless high-end luxury hotels have started using wall beds to generate additional revenue, optimize room capacity and offer a variety of functionality options. Whether you're booking a room to families or business executives, they'll appreciate being able to get their beds out of the way and start their days in what seems like a whole new space.4. Avoid Unnecessary FurnitureEvery hotel room doesn't need a complete living room crammed into it, too. If you've got a couch, desk, armchair and ottoman in your rooms but nowhere for guests to put any of their belongings, they'll end up with no way to even walk. Let's face it -- most people aren't going to hotel rooms and inviting over their friends to watch a movie. Unless you're furnishing a suite, it may be smart to avoid the unneeded extra furniture.You can find ways to eliminate other pieces of furniture, too -- for example, avoid a bulky dresser by mounting the TV on the wall, putting drawers under the beds and installing other storage solutions.5. Eliminate ClutterThere's a difference between decor and clutter. Include decorative lamps and art on the walls but avoid scattering trinkets and other unneeded items around the hotel room. Your guests are bringing in their own things, so adding more "stuff" to the situation will make them feel disorganized and crammed.Avoid leaving clutter like your hotel policies, the TV channel guide or information about local restaurants strewn about on top of dressers and nightstands, too. If you can't supply this information in a digital format, it's best to keep it in a desk or nightstand drawer. This way, it's tucked away neatly but easy to find for guests who are looking for it.Give Guests the Tools to Maximize Their SpaceIf you're not willing to create more space by expanding your rooms, you'll have to get creative to maximize the amount of space your guests have. These tips offer five ways for you to get started and start thinking outside the box.
Article by Kacey Bradley

How Your Hotel Can Have an Outdoor Fitness Center

The Drifter Collective ·10 December 2018
Hotels often feature indoor fitness areas, which may include a small room with treadmills or an entire facility dedicated to weights and heavy-duty equipment. However, hotels and resorts are beginning to think outside the box when it comes to exercise space.Playworld is one company that is bringing workout equipment to the outdoors, especially with their fitness playgrounds for adults and children. Exterior exercise equipment is encouraging communities and businesses to support healthy living. Hotels are joining the shift toward active lifestyles, and guests can pursue fitness during their visits.Fitness TrailsOutdoor exercise equipment can get placed in easily accessible locations so visitors can enjoy the fixtures with ease. For hotels and resorts that spread across expansive property, trails allow fitness fanatics to jog, bike or walk up to the equipment. Visitors can enhance their regular workouts with resistance training or stretching apparatuses. Instead of a simple cardio routine, they can get a full-body workout.The outdoor designs require stable foundations, so each piece needs to get installed in the ground. The equipment should get set up on a properly drained site. Installation can also happen on a new or existing cement base so that adults can put their full weight on the machinery without it budging. The equipment needs an initial grading which accounts for appropriate depth of safety surfacing.While playgrounds are a lively way to get energy out, an age-appropriate fitness area shifts the attention from entertainment to health. Playworld's fitness equipment is specifically for ages nine and up. The equipment accommodates any level of exercise, from athlete to beginner, and a variety of styles helps adults and older children stretch, body-weight train and integrate exercises.Rooftop Exercise SpacesFor hotels and resorts that prefer a rooftop exercise area, the outdoor equipment must have a stable surface which it can get properly secured to. Surface mount equipment can get attached to a concrete pad if it is deep enough to accommodate the structures. To safely install fitness equipment, consult with a local inspector and professional contractors.Rooftops present different hazards than traditional exterior fitness equipment areas, so sufficiently plan for installation and use. Transporting the fitness equipment to begin installation is also different because most hotels do not have sizable elevators or alternate means of moving it to the roof. Lifting each workout apparatus to the roof may include outside help.Multi-Age Fitness PlaygroundsHotels can also benefit from playgrounds with stations for multiple age groups that feature workout equipment. From adults to older children, outdoor fitness playgrounds can promote active lifestyles for hotel guests of several age groups. While children are playing on the playground, adults can move too.With equipment designed by fitness experts, the stations offer creative ways to tone muscles and heighten athletic ability. The safety measures are thorough, but some facilities use cushioning underneath the playground equipment to add extra support and reduce the risk of injury.Along with multiple age groups, these fitness playgrounds also allow users of different abilities that may be at your hotel to enjoy activity and play. In light of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Playworld considers unique mobility needs and different conditions for all-around inclusive fun.Static vs. Interactive EquipmentHotels can purchase interactive and static equipment to complete their outdoor fitness area. Static equipment that does not budge when guests use it such as a step exercise station provide support. Interactive equipment such as a recumbent bike move in response to users actions to offer dynamic capabilities. Also, outdoor static and interactive workout equipment are built for changing weather conditions.The equipment material is strong and can continue servicing hotel guests for years. Each is designed to withstand weathering, but shade can help keep the equipment cool and dry. Because warm climates can heat up the equipment, Playworld provides several light color options. However, the range of colors also allows for hotels to select whatever option suits the establishment's color scheme.Equip Your Hotel With Outdoor Fitness EquipmentExterior workout equipment is the next step in furnishing hotels with fun and interactive fitness options. Appeal to a wider group of people who want to work on physical fitness with fitness playgrounds or trails. Draw guests outside with a variety of outdoor workout supports to change how they think about hotel fitness areas.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Vacation Rentals vs. Hotels: What Amenities Do Consumers Really Want?

The Drifter Collective · 1 November 2018
There was once a time when travelers had only a handful of places to choose from when traveling, and all of them were hotels. Nowadays, though, there's almost no limit to where they can stay, and that's all thanks to the vacation rental industry, which has opened up locals' homes and apartments to short-term tenants, too.Of course, that's not to say hotels are out of the game. Both are viable options that suit a specific type of traveler. As such, those who choose to rent a personal property search for particular amenities, separate from the ones that draw in hotel aficionados. Here's what each type of customer really wants.Vacation RentalsThere's so much variety in vacation rentals, it may seem impossible to decipher what consumers want in general from this type of lodging. However, the following are must-have features, whether you're renting a bedroom, apartment or luxury villa.A Local ExperienceLocal flavor is potentially the most important feature a vacation rental can have. Many travelers look to property rentals as a way to avoid an overly touristy experience. Instead, they choose a property that's in an authentic local neighborhood where they can blend in with the residents, sample their go-to restaurants, shop at their favorite shops, etc. In many cases, a hotel can't provide this same level of immersion.To that end, vacation hosts can work to make their properties fit this bill by providing local tips, tricks and even restaurant menus -- the latter is a proven feature guests like.SpaceHotels have rooms side by side by side. In a vacation rental, though, guests can spread out and feel more comfortable in their quarters. That is important for landlords to keep in mind -- a small bedroom or tiny apartment might not fare well with travelers. But an entire home, guest house or apartment will provide space to spread out.Transport LinksBefore choosing where they want to vacation to, renters they must consider the ease with which they can travel to and from the place where they'll stay. It might be something as simple as providing a parking spot so families driving to the beach won't have to worry about their cars. Or, you could have to update your property's listing to include information regarding airport transfers, nearby train and bus stations, etc. At a hotel, front-desk staff can answer questions, arrange shuttles or call taxis, but at vacation rentals, that's not possible. Before someone rents your place, they'll want to know if they can easily get around or not.Tasty TreatsImagine you're welcoming your rental's guests into your actual home. What would you offer them after a long day of traveling from their place to yours? Providing your guests with a welcome snack, as well as tea, coffee, fruit or other nibbles for the rest of their stay, will make a lasting impression. If they have kitchen access, be sure to have essential supplies on hand so they can whip up their own meals, too.HotelsAs for hotels, consumers demand a separate set of must-haves from their stays. These are just three of them.The Standard ConveniencesA hotel's website often waxes poetic about the extra features and amenities that make the property unique. But hotel guests care most about having the comforts that make their hotel stay convenient in comparison to property rental.For instance, a 2018 study revealed the most-used amenities included ones that might seem pretty run-of-the-mill: toiletries, printing and business facilities, valet parking and comfy seats in the lobby were some the most frequently used features. That's not to say more luxurious additions won't draw in clients, too -- but it's most essential to start with the basics and build from there. Otherwise, your potential customers will hop to another hotel that's sure to have those little luxuries on hand.SecurityA hotel will appear to be the safer option to many guests who opt to stay in your facility over a rented property. They won't have to worry about the property's surrounding neighborhood or its many exits and entrances. Instead, they can rest soundly knowing they need a keycard to enter the elevator, side doors and even their room. Plus, if there's any trouble, they can call and have a staff member help out. Again, this might seem standard, but it's the comfort of a hotel, and it's what guests want.On top of that, many guests will require the use of a safe to protect their valuables when they're not on site. Be sure to add one to each guest room so they can feel even more secure than they do already.Customer ServiceFinally, your hotel has a significant advantage in its staff, which aims to ensure each guest has a superior stay. It's impossible to overstate the importance of regular cleanings, laundry services and room service. At resorts, you'll want to add even more onsite services, such as spa technicians, fitness instructors and skilled chefs, to make the hotel more than just a place to sleep -- it needs to be a luxurious, convenient experience, because that's what your guests want from this type of stay.Each option has its pros and cons, and every consumer will weigh those before booking. But these are the most important features to consider so the customers you draw in will stick around -- and come back for more visits.

A Look Into Hotel Hospitality Trends for 2019

The Drifter Collective · 4 October 2018
2019 will be like every year, bringing new challenges and changes to the ever-growing hospitality business. To prepare your hotel or brand, read on for hotel hospitality trends for 2019. That way, you'll know ahead of time what your guests will be looking for, so you can provide them with everything they need at the best price.Minimalist and Natural DesignsRenovations cost a lot of money, and that fact often discourages hotel management from stepping up the interior of their building. Even if you have the fastest Wi-Fi and best free breakfast, if the interior design of your hotel doesn't fit the times, people aren't going to want to visit again and may even click out of your website before booking a room.A hot design trend for hotels in 2019 will be minimalist and natural designs in every room. Clean lines and deep color pallets will pop against any bedding or furniture. Ditch the wallpaper for painted walls instead, and don't forget to add plants. Investing in fake floral arrangements and potted plants that look close to the real thing will create a sense of home for visitors and make them more comfortable during their stay.Cloud-Based Management SoftwareTechnology is everywhere, and it's not going away, so it needs to be embraced in 2019 in all aspects of hotel management. Hotel chains around the world have already switched, with 62 percent reporting that they did so because the current software just doesn't cut it anymore.With cloud-based management software, you can streamline activities between shifts and gain features and tools that can't be used by non-cloud software. As a result, you'll save your staff time and money, leading to higher productivity rates and happier employees. It'll be easier on everyone if you purchase it now and get the training done before 2019 gets going at full speed.Maximized Local SEO ResultsIf you're not located in a major city with lots of tourism, your business depends on people visiting family and friends. Those locals are going to have to give recommendations, which is where local SEO results come in.People should see your hotel at the top of their search results when they're looking for places where extended family and friends can stay. Your marketing team can maximize your SEO results by participating in opportunities like Google My Business or even Yelp. The key to SEO results is giving it time, which is why it's good to start now so that you're easily found online when 2019 begins.Partnerships With Local TransportationHotels often have buses that go to nearby airports and transport people to the hotel to make their travel time shorter and easier, but after they get to their hotel, they're going to have to find a way to get around.Local transportation companies are becoming more open to partnering with hotels, which is why hotel management should look into transportation like limos and rental cars. Taking that extra step for your guests will increase repeat visits and gain your hotel better reviews online.Mobile Ads and AccessMost people now have smartphones because of the ease of access they provide to just about anything a person could want or need. This access includes lodging, which means your website might already be programmed to be friendly with mobile platforms.Take that mobile access to the next step by paying for ads on mobile apps. According to a 2017 report, bookings on mobile devices increased from 13 to 20 percent in just one year, so meet your customers in the middle. Inspire their interest with ads on popular mobile apps to encourage them to learn more about where they can stay on their next trip into town.Reimagined Rewards ProgramsIf your hotel isn't part of an international chain, you can use that to your advantage in 2019. Use the next few months to consider your current rewards program if you offer one. Change things up to be more guest-friendly and engage with customers even more.Independent hotels are doing just that, and it's showing good signs. Most places offer points to use on future stays, but you can provide cash back loyalty programs for members when they book a stay or provide feedback on their recent visit. Anything that changes the game to spark their interest while providing useful information on the current mindset of the consumer will benefit your hotel.Green Hotel BuildingsThe focus on reducing carbon emissions and providing future generations with a greener place to live is becoming more and more popular as time goes on. If potential visitors find out that your hotel doesn't provide green alternatives or watch its carbon footprint, it'll discourage them from ever reserving a room.In late 2017, the International Tourism Partnership published the Hotel Global Decarbonisation Report, letting people know how hotels specifically impact the total carbon emissions released around the world. They devised a plan to lower carbon emissions as an industry, which you can join by operating your hotel on green products.Consumers are always going to have changing needs, which means there will always be updates required for hotels and overhauls needed every few years. This process can be an expensive one, but when the consumer sees that they're being heard and their needs are being met, it will result in more repeat stays and referrals that will gain your hotel additional future business.These 2019 trends will help launch your hotel to success in the coming year. If you follow them, you won't experience any surprises or need last-minute changes to ensure that guests are kept happy. See what trends you can start preparing for now so that the new year begins on a successful note for everyone involved.
Article by Kacey Bradley

A System for Improving Guest Satisfaction with Hospitality Design

The Drifter Collective ·30 May 2018
One of the best ways to stand out in the crowd without losing profits or sacrificing quality is through architectural elements. The design of your space says a lot about the caliber of service you and your staff will provide, which is why hospitality design is a field that's currently taking off. Here are a few ways you can improve your current design in order to keep guests happy and coming back to visit time and time again.Understanding Your AudienceBefore your hotel undergoes a major design makeover, consider this: who is your clientele and what are they looking for? Maybe they're more concerned about amenities like a pool and a lounge than they are about the formal style of the in-house eatery. Or perhaps they care about the small details, like rooms designed in a sleek and contemporary style complete with plush, allergy-friendly bedding. Also, consider what you, as the client, are looking for.Before you do anything to your design, make sure you know what your consumers want by asking them. Enlist online surveys or even survey cards in each room to get a feel for what your specific demographic wants and needs in a hotel space.Combining Form and FunctionalityOnce you have a good grasp on what your clientele considers priorities, you'll have an easier time revamping the design of your space. In most cases, guests prize a combination of function and form. This means that they want spaces that are as beautiful as they are practical and helpful. Essentially, when a guest steps into your lounge or sits down on the patio, he or she should be able to sunbathe or work on the free Wi-Fi and be equally happy with either experience.Creating the Proper SpaceBut it's not all about making a space look pretty. Engineers also have to consider other elements when they work with interior designers to make hospitality spaces that work for both the staff and the guests. For example, when designing an in-house eatery, one must make sure that the industrial kitchen is up to code, that the dining room can comfortably seat as many guests as necessary and that every decorative detail keeps with the theme of the space.This is easier said than done, which is why sometimes functionality has to be prioritized over aesthetics. So don't fret if the balance your design strikes isn't exactly 50/50 -- 60/40 works, too, as long as your guests are happy.Using Lines Instead of SignsOne design element that can serve as a simple way to boost your space is a clean line. It could be in the form of open floors, rows of comfy chairs or even a pair of pianos. Regardless of what a designer uses, these lines should point guests in the direction they want to go -- in the lobby, that's towards the check-in desk -- without the use of signs.Whereas signs can come off a little clunky and interfere with your design, subtle lines should intuitively direct your guests where they need to go. The concept of using lines to direct traffic is nothing new, but when you look at it with a fresh set of eyes, you'll see how critical it is to the field of hospitality design.Wowing Guests With Unexpected ElementsNow subtlety may work when it comes to aspects of hospitality like the look of your lobby. But sometimes it takes bolder elements to really outshine the competition. Take Disney's Orlando hotels, for example. Disney's Dolphin Hotel attracts flocks of guests, more than the other equally impressive hotels in the family, because of its splashy design. A large dolphin overlooks its triangle-shaped building, a stunning element that naturally draws the eye and the guests.When you feel ready to incorporate a showstopper design or something more subtle into your hotel, architectural firms devoted entirely to hospitality are here to help. With your ideas and their expertise, it's easy to add a few tweaks or embark on a total overhaul of your space.So if you're thinking about making over your hotel with these new hospitality design tips in mind, there's no time like the present. The prettier and more enticing your space, the easier it'll be for customers to relax and enjoy its amenities -- and tell their entire social media network about their great stay!
Article by Kacey Bradley

The Benefits of Incorporating Live Plants for Hospitality Industry

The Drifter Collective · 3 April 2018
The first way that I tried when I became a hotel manager was surveying guests as they checked out. They answered a few simple questions before loading up the car and in a matter of minutes, they were on their way out the door. I analyzed their answers and tried to meet every one of them. I knew that some of the guests might have been just passing through and not plan to come back, but I thought maybe I could make all their needs come true to make future guests happier as well.This meant that I was bending over backwards to teach staff how to fold towels into animal shapes, budgeting for small candies to be left on pillows and shelling out way too much money to go as far as changing the interior design scheme. In the end, I kept getting just a few survey results that preferred things done the old way. That's why I realized there was another way to do this.I researched the best ways to keep hotel guests happy and looked for simple solutions. Guests might not have thought to ask for them, but they were going to help way more than putting adjustable mattresses in every room. One of these simple and fantastic solutions was to use more live plants throughout the hotel. There are so many benefits you can give your hotel space just by investing in some potted plants. Online Pictures Will Look More AttractiveWith the expansive and popular presence of the internet, almost everyone books their hotel room by looking around online to see which one is the best for them. Price is a major factor while people are considering booking a room, but they also rely heavily on the pictures that are provided. Seeing a bland room with a bed and a TV won't spark their interest, but seeing some plants in the room shows that the hotel cares about detail and that will make the room preview pictures more attractive to visitors. Plants Make Rooms Appear FresherThe green shoots of new plant life always brighten up a room. The same greenery will make any room appear and feel fresher too. There are great plants that purify the air so it smells clean and is healthier to breathe, and most of the air purifying plants are simple to take care of too. Housekeeping staff can water the plants in each room once a day in the mornings, and if they skip a room because the cleaning service isn't requested, the plants will be sturdy enough to last another day without wilting too much. ROI Will IncreaseIf you don't have the ability to put plants in every room, they're equally effective if you just put a few in the lobby area. Recent studies have shown that having plants in the lobby increases revenue, along with longer average guest stays and increased occupancy. You might not have a green thumb, but even investing in high quality plants doesn't mean you have to be a gardener. You can still create that increased revenue effect in a shorter time period than any renovation project with just one plant. You Can Guide Guests' EmotionsThe old saying goes that you offer someone great food if you want an easy way to their heart, but you don't need to add room service to your list of amenities to win the love of your guests. An easier and more budget-friendly way is to use a green-focused color scheme that takes advantage of plants. Green is the most balanced of the colors and represents prosperity and stability. It has a calming effect, which will help guests relax and feel at home after they've been on the road all day long. You'll Create a Homey FeelThe best way to make a lasting connection with a guest is to make them feel at home. When they stay overnight, your hotel should feel like a second home to them. New guests might walk in with a low bar of expectations set because of previously bad hotel experiences, and those are the ones I love to wow the most. They figure they'll be happy with just a fluffy pillow and warm comforter, but I know that when they open the door to their room, their minds will be blown.Even one night spent without the anxiety of staying somewhere new where they can't get comfortable will up the odds that they remember their stay and want to come back again on a future trip. Most people have plants in their home or around it, so finding plants in the lobby area or in their room will help them easily adjust to their new temporary space. Making a suite feel like home is what will really keep drawing your guests back in for future visits.Using live plants in my hotel space wasn't something I originally had on my mind when I became manager, but that's why they're perfect. They quickly catch the approving eye of guests without being too much of a focal point in the overall design of a space. The color green and positive display of a tiny plant that lives and grows in the hotel will create a homey environment that welcomes and relaxes any guest.Now that I've seen how live plants have helped increase my ROI and the positive reviews left online by guests, it's become a priority of mine to always have people watering and checking on them. Ultimately, the cost of buying or replacing the plants with new ones is worth it in the end in the hospitality business.
Article by Kacey Bradley

How to Optimize the Impact of The Billboard Effect at Your Hotel

The Drifter Collective ·29 January 2018
The Billboard Effect, in the hospitality industry, refers to the phenomena where potential guests see your hotel on an online travel agency (OTA), but then decide to visit -- and ultimately book through -- your website directly. There are several reasons consumers choose to do this, perhaps the most prominent being that they feel the OTA's fees are too high.So, how can you optimize the impact of this effect at your hotel? Here are six tips.1. Encourage Bookings on Your HomepageIt's one thing to get billboard visitors to come to your site, but it's another thing for them to book a stay through it. On your website's landing page, consider implementing a user-friendly booking widget or engine. This eliminates the user's hunt for a "book now" tab or button, making it simpler and more likely that they'll book their trip through your site.2. List Your Hotel on the Right OTAsWhen deciding which sites to list your property on, consider which ones will result in your hotel receiving the most exposure. If your establishment falls into a niche market, figure out which OTA site that audience will most likely visit. Other factors you should take into account include your price range, location and type of property.One of the perks of appearing on OTA websites is that you can make your hotel as visible as other large, national chains, as long as you choose wisely. In fact, properties with listings on OTA sites boost their direct bookings by as much as 26 percent.3. Reward Guests Who Book Through Your SiteWhile there are many benefits to booking a stay directly through the location's website -- such as being able to request special accommodations or ask specific questions -- perhaps the most notable is that you often receive the best rate. Ensure guests who book their stay through your website receive the best price, no matter what. You should also make sure they know they're getting the best deal this way, too.Aside from price, you can reward these guests with other amenities, such as a free breakfast, a deluxe room or other perks. You still won't be losing out financially by providing these freebies because you'll be saving the commission you would've paid the OTA by convincing guests to opt for direct booking.4. Utilize Time-Sensitive PromotionsAlong with offering the best deals and freebies to users to make reservations through your hotel's website, you can also enforce time-sensitive promotions to encourage them to not only book through your site, but to do it soon.Everyone does a bit of research and investigation before they actually intend to book a trip. However, as a potential guest browses your site, they might be more persuaded to make their reservation if they see a hot deal that's expiring in just a few days.Early-bird rates, last-minute offers and other short-term packages are the perfect incentive to seal the deal. Of course, you should only offer these types of promotions to those people who reserve their rooms through your hotel's website.5. Balance Listings Between International and Domestic MarketsEven if your property sees more international travelers than domestic travelers in a given year -- or vice versa -- you should still plan to balance your listings between the two markets. You never know who is looking at your site and not booking.Both regional and international travelers could be looking for rentals in your area, which is why a balance between marketing to both audiences is recommended to effectively promote your property.6. Optimize Your WebsiteUnfortunately, great deals and proper marketing just won't save you if your website is unresponsive or difficult to navigate. This may seem like a no-brainer, but optimizing your website for user-friendliness and a better SEO ranking is crucial to securing more direct bookings. If someone can make their reservation 10 times faster on an OTA site instead of your website, which do you think they'll choose?Don't Lose Your Billboard Visitors to OTA SitesThe Billboard Effect is a beautiful thing -- but only if you properly optimize its effects. By following these six tips, you'll be able to use OTA sites and billboard visitors to boost your hotel's direct bookings.
Article by Kacey Bradley

The Bar For Design in Hotels is Being Raised Even Higher in 2018

The Drifter Collective ·11 December 2017
Today, though, many hotels have bucked the trend of mass-produced looks in favor of design that's unique, memorable and, most importantly, even more comforting to guests who are on the road. It likely comes as no surprise that a hotel's interior design scheme is extremely important to customers. One of the ways to sell your accommodation is through pictures, and your design scheme will be one of the deciding factors for first-time guests.Perhaps that's why the bar has been raised for hotels in 2018. Want to make sure your hotel is on track to success by way of good design? Here are four ways the industry is improving its look, now more than ever.No More Cookie-Cutter Guest RoomsWe've already mentioned the hotels of yesteryear, the ones in which every single room looked identical, right down to the pictures hanging on the walls. Nowadays, guests want something that feels more unique, more like home. And, with sites like Airbnb giving them the option to stay in actual homes -- many of which are decorated to the nines -- you should make sure your property has more features that make it both homey and one-of-a-kind.This means, for one thing, every guest room should have its own design, accents and layout. And, on top of that, rooms themselves should have interior design schemes that aren't too uniform. Choose fabrics wisely so that they go together without completely blending into one another. To give spaces that cozy vibe, you might consider adding a kitchenette or at least a few small appliances that make the room more functional for long-term guests.Lobbies are the New HangoutNo one breezes through the lobby anymore -- or, at least, that's the goal at many hotels, where lobbies have been deformalized and made into a hotel hangout. In place of the extra-large, extra-official check-in desk, some hotels have smaller tables where guests check in. Some places even have roving hotel attendants with iPads, ready to check guests in as they relax in the lobby's comfortable seating.To that end, these hotels often change the lobby furniture, too, so that it's more inviting. Large couches, tables and, of course, Wi-Fi and extra wall plugs make it easier for guests to hang out, work and keep in touch with their family members. And all of this makes a comfortable, dressed-down lobby one of the best ways to enhance your guests' experience at your hotel.Use the Great Outdoors as InspirationFrom the mountains to the prairies, the United States have so much natural inspiration when it comes to decor. And using the outdoors as a design theme is a huge trend, especially for properties that just so happened to be situated in the midst of these natural wonders.You can take your outdoor inspiration in a number of ways. Many places stock up on rustic, natural wood furniture, while others let nature inspire everything from wallpaper, to flooring, to the fabrics on the bed and furniture. Smaller lodgings might even be able to bring the outdoors in with a few potted plants, which also provide health benefits when cultivated indoors. Your guests will certainly enjoy the purified air and the lessened chance of becoming sick when surrounded with live plants.Try New HuesFinally, don't be afraid to add splashes of color to your hotel's communal spaces and guest rooms. Funky, memorable design schemes are one big reason why guests will choose to stay in a particular hotel. An outstanding online photo gallery -- including those bespoke guest rooms we mentioned before -- will increase the odds that online bookers will choose your hotel.In order to make your design scheme stand out, then, don't shy away from pops of bright, unexpected color. You can use the colors forecasted to be trendiest, including bright cherry tomato red, funky chartreuse, sweet lavender or deep blue-green. Again, there's no need to overdo it: simply add a few accents in your color of choice and watch as your run-of-the-mill lobby or guest room becomes a design haven -- and a selling point for your hotel.Every Decor Decision CountsToday's hotel guest often chooses a place to stay based solely on an online gallery. Once they arrive, their visuals have a lot to do with their overall comfort level. And, if you hit the nail on the head in both regards, you'll have clients singing your praises and suggesting your accommodation to other lodgers in the future. So, make 2018 the year you swap out a neutral, matching design scheme for something more welcoming and more special -- neither you nor your future guests will regret that decision.

A Look at Luxury Amenities in the Hospitality Industry

The Drifter Collective ·10 November 2017
Hotels must go the extra mile in their amenity offerings. From free Wi-Fi to breakfast and mobile check-in, a 2016 J.D. Power survey in hotel guest satisfaction remarks on the standardization of perks and its effects on the industry for budget to luxury hotels.Typically, cost and fees adjustments show an increase in customer satisfaction, but ratings have mostly plateaued in many regards. The luxury sector had a 12 point improvement, as they're able to demonstrate to guests their additional value. Satisfaction is higher for participants in hotel rewards programs, with older members more likely to join: 66 percent of guests are Boomers, 56 percent of guests are Gen Xers, and 39 percent of guests are millennials. The key findings of the study included these luxury amenities and factors:Online/Mobile Check-InCheck-in/check-out satisfaction ranked highest among those who had access to the service. However, only 3 percent of hotel guests take advantage of check-in through online or mobile means.Most Important Amenities RankedWhat were the most important amenities to surveyed guests? The top three amenities for hotel guests included free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast and parking. 71 percent received free Wi-Fi. 56 percent enjoyed complimentary breakfast. 61 percent took advantage of free parking.Rising on the list as the fourth most important item was luxurious linens and bedding. Only 37 percent of hotel guests stated this was available in their rooms.Though many luxury amenities are becoming standardized perks, the importance of these offerings will demand upon your market. Who are your typical guests? Do you survey your audience enough to understand their true needs?Social Media FeedbackWith the advancement of technology, many guests turn to social media to leave their feedback. 75 percent of comments in the last year were positive, while 13 percent contained negative feedback. Of those who commented on social media, customer satisfaction was 40 points higher than others surveyed.Give Guests What They WantGuests aren't only looking for a bed to lay their head on these days. Both leisure and business travelers are reviewing room quality to make their stay decision, and they want high-quality amenities.Every room shouldn't have a Jacuzzi, but the hotel "basics" should at least feel luxurious. According to Trivago's hotel manager blog, guests are looking for reasonable luxurious essentials, and if they don't see them, guests may skip hotels and head to a bed and breakfast:Breathable Linen and Plush PillowsGuests aren't interested in tacky comforters and old, worn linens and pillows, no matter how many times housekeeping launders, fluffs and folds them. Dated patterns and polyester sheets make up the standard, but guests want plump pillows, down comforters and soft white or pastel sheets for quality sleep.Guests can tell when their linens are made of natural fibers. Opt for 1000-thread-count sheets made of cotton and soothing down-filled duvets in earth tones.Oversized, Soft Bath TowelsTowels should fully cover all guests. Whether you're on a leisure or business trip, a too-small towel is embarrassing. Most hotels provide rough, small towels that anyone could pick up for home.Guests want oversized bath towels that are soft and useful for various purposes. Some women still prefer to use a hand towel to remove their makeup, or wipes may be provided. Large towels feel the most luxurious, and guests are more likely to hang these up than leave them around the room.pH-balanced, Full Size ToiletriesTiny soaps dry out faster, and squeezing and chasing small bottles of shampoo and conditioner around the bath stall isn't fun for guests, who want high-quality, full-size toiletries.Hotels can go the extra mile by offering tangle-free and green, natural products that don't contain sulfates for eco-conscious guests. Every hair and skin type is different.Complimentary RefreshmentsGuests are most likely to contest their room service bills when paying, and guests don't want to feel like penny pinchers. When guests first arrive or are returning after sight-seeing, they feel parched and need refreshments, and complimentary refreshments make guests feel cared for.Small samplings of snacks and bottles of water are standard, with mini bottles of alcohol the price of full-size bottles. Guests want water and quality tea and coffee. Is there any harm in including juices? Hotels should also pay attention to specific guests' dietary needs.That Something Extra-SpecialWhat is your hotel's extra-special treat for guests? When traveling, guests want to feel special and welcome. Put the cherry on top of the pie.What about homemade cookies or handwritten notes? Villa Punto De Vista is an example of a destination stay that goes the extra mile, providing on-site concierge and butler service, even on the beach. Guests can enjoy a packed lunch and transportation to the beach, and come back to the villa to enjoy the rooftop bar and jacuzzi. At the villa, guests wake up to a full complimentary breakfast where passionfruit mimosas are always on the menuAs once luxury amenities are becoming standardized, hotels need to go the extra mile for the guests. It's in the attention to the little details. Correct the basics and offer that something extra-special that only your hotel brand can do.
Article by Kacey Bradley

How to Turn Your Hotel Guests Into Brand Ambassadors

The Drifter Collective ·12 September 2017
Brand ambassadors have become a more widely known way of advertising to gain customers. They're used by all different kinds of companies, and could prove to be a beneficial method of marketing to promote your hotel. Brand ambassadors are people who would stay at your hotel, have a great experience and want to promote you on their social media, without making you pay them a salary.Interested in creating your own brand ambassadors to give your hotel business a liftoff into the world of success? First you have to consider what you can give them. Since they won't be making money from promoting you, you have to do everything you can to be approachable and shareable. Get ready to dive in to social media.Make Shareable ContentThe best way to get your ambassadors to get the news to others that your hotel is the best place to stay is through shareable content. Your job is to inform, and their job is to spread the news. Take some time to write articles about topics that'll make people read through them and want to share them on their social media pages.These articles can be recommendations on what to look for in a good hotel, or tips on how to find the best prices for any budget. The goal is to make the reader feel more informed when they finish your article, without making them feel like you're trying to brainwash them into only knowing good information about your own hotel. The informed content should point them back to choosing your hotel on their own.Create A Twitter-shpereThe biggest reason that brand ambassadors work so well is that they make everything seem personal. When people watch a commercial, they know what that company wants them to hear, but when a company teams up with brand ambassadors, potential customers feel like they're more a part of a community.Reaching out on Twitter will help make your hotel seem personable. You can give a face and a voice to your business so customers feel like they have a relationship with where they stay. Create a Twitter for your hotel and encourage employees to follow it. Use a friendly voice to share your written content, and retweet positive tweets posted by employees. Your followers will begin to form loyalty to your brand, because they'll feel like they know you.Keep An Instagram ScrapbookMake an Instagram for your hotel and begin posting pictures of employees who deserve a shout out, or events you host in your building. Keeping a kind of Instagram scrapbook will help potential customers decide to stay with you because they'll be able to scroll through your images and see happy employees and good work that happens at your hotel.You can also wrap existing customers in by hosting contests on Instagram. Encourage users to post about their experience with a specific hashtag, and create a prize for whoever posts the best picture with the most likes. People will get excited and tell their friends, creating a marketing wildfire for you while you focus on other strategies. Your hotel guests will turn into brand ambassadors without even knowing they're helping you with advertising.Maintain Your PresenceNo matter what specific marketing strategy you decide to go with in regards to your brand ambassadors, you'll need to keep up your social media presence long after it's brought you the marketing success you wanted originally. It'll help maintain the trust that customers and employees will put in your image and voice, and trust is key.Research has shown that 92% of people trust referrals by individuals rather than becoming informed about a brand through a commercial. This is what makes having brand ambassadors such an important part of forming your brand. You'll need people to genuinely want to interact with you on social media and help promote you based on loyalty. Good reviews on other websites can only go so far.Take some time in the near future to come up with a list of social media strategies you know could work for your hotel to begin creating a positive presence for yourself online. Make a friendly voice that feels personal for hotel guests, then help them get involved through things like shareable content and contests. You'll enjoy the experience of creating genuine brand loyalty almost as much as they will.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Hotels Worldwide Are Going Green with LEED

The Drifter Collective ·12 July 2017
About LEEDThe LEED Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a group of building industry sector leaders. It rates buildings based on their environmental impact in categories that include siting, materials used, water efficiency and more. Green buildings can be rated as Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.Currently, there are about 400 LEED-certified hotels in the world that cover nearly 133.9 million square feet. Most of these are either at the silver or gold level. In the next few years, that number is expected to increase significantly. There are around 1600 hotels currently going through the process of becoming certified.How Does This Impact Hotels?Consumers today demand that the companies they buy from are committed to environmental responsibility, and some will even pay more for greener products and services.This means that going green can be good for business, because it makes customers more likely to have a positive view of your hotel and may even be willing to spend more to stay with you.In addition to helping hotels make more money, it can also save them money through lower energy and water costs due to improved efficiency. In many areas, tax rebates and other incentives are available to hotels that become LEED certified.LEED certified buildings also tend to have better indoor air quality, which will positively impact the health of guests and employees. Of course, helping the environment is also a benefit in itself and is a practical thing to do in the long run, because we count on the environment for our own survival.How Are Hotels Changing to Become Greener?Hotels owners can make a wide variety of changes to increase the sustainability of their buildings. Changes to energy use, recycling programs, water use and more can all have impacts.About half of larger hotels have installed energy management systems to help keep their energy use lower, according to a 2016 survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.Smart systems can help turn down heat and air conditioning when rooms aren't in use and turn off appliances that aren't being used. Sensors can also be placed in rooms to help determine whether people are there or not, and then turn down heat or switch off lights if the room is empty. The majority of hotels now also use LED or other energy-efficient lighting.Some hotels have also installed their own electricity generators, such as solar panels or turbines that run on the hotel's exhaust heat. Hotels can also opt to purchase their electricity from renewable energy resources.About three quarters of hotels have implemented water saving programs - another important factor in going green. Most hotels today encourage guests to reuse towels in order to reduce the amount of water used for laundry. Installing water fountains or providing guests with water filters can also reduce the use of bottled water.The location of a hotel also impacts how green it is. Hotels that are in walkable locations or are close to public transportation facilities will encourage visitors to drive less.What's the Cost of Going Green?Going green might have some upfront costs, depending on the steps you decide to take. If a hotel decides to install more energy-efficient windows, for example, they'll have to pay a considerable up-front price. Similarly, energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances can cost more than less efficient models.Efficient light bulbs, however, use less energy and last longer, meaning you'll have to buy them less often. In the long run, these bulbs and other energy-efficiency measures will end up saving you money in the long run.Other methods of making a hotel greener, such as doing less laundry, provide up-front savings as well as environmental benefits.The cost of going green depends on your building and exactly what you plan to do, but in general, the costs of building and running a green hotel and a less sustainable hotel can be comparable. In fact, as opposed to worrying about the costs of going green, some guests and hospitality professionals are more concerned about the financial and environmental costs of not going green.
Article by Kacey Bradley

The Future of Hotel Casinos

The Drifter Collective · 4 July 2017
The popularity of hotel casinos is on the rise, and they're nothing like the movies -- no big heists go down every weekend and they're not only for the elderly.Who would ever associate a casino as a place for a child to be? That's all changing with the expansion of the hotel casino beyond Las Vegas, once viewed as the Sin City where people go to forget their daily burdens. Yet, when you're a part of a family, you can't get away and leave the kids.Couples and families are frequenting hotel casinos to try their hand at the slots and cards, but beyond that, these guests are excited to see the sites outside the hotel walls. Within the walls, kids are free to find their own adventures as hotel casinos expand into something more fun and fit for all ages.Hotel Casinos are Expanding Beyond Las VegasAs more casinos are made legal throughout the U.S., hotel casinos such as the MGM National Harbor Resort close to Washington, D.C. may become the prototype for more to come in Atlanta, and likely beyond. The MGM National Harbor was developed to be made ready in 2016, and MGM Resorts (based in Las Vegas) is behind a drive to make casino gambling legal in Georgia.MGM lobbyists sent a projection to the Georgia Lottery showing the potential for 10,900 jobs statewide, if six casinos are built. MGM Resorts developments have been vetted in Maryland and Massachusetts, and the resorts would pump funds into the education lottery. There is a win-win situation here, but many states are hesitant to venture into expanding legislature to approve gambling.MGM appears to be more interested in sites near the development of the Falcons' stadium and Georgia World Congress Center, due to high levels of convention and tourist traffic. Also, this past June, Connecticut legislators approved much of a package for a third casino to be built by Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes in East Windsor, competing with MGM Resorts' newest Casino over in Springfield, Massachusetts. An entertainment sharing agreement between tribes was also created in the legislative proceedings.As big players like MGM Resorts expands beyond Las Vegas, regional players are coming onto the hospitality field to propose and build their own hotel casinos in competition. This developing future of hotel casinos has the potential to benefit existing site seeing areas and regional areas needing more notice and funding, while creating new jobs.How Hotel Casinos are ThrivingThe most successful hotel casinos in existence are located near vibrant cultural areas with potential for sightseeing and more. Aside from the slots and cards, visitors are encouraged to get out and about to sight see.The Commerce Casino in California, the largest card casino globally, is strategically located next to L.A. and wider Orange Country attractions. Those who stay at the Commerce Casino may also visit theme parks, sporting events, arts performances and museums. For example, the Venice Boardwalk offers an otherworldly view with palm readers and fortune tellers, and a trip to the Point Fermin Lighthouse takes visitors back to Victorian times and the important role of lighthouses. Universal Studios and the Hollywood sign are a hop and a skip away.Returning to Las Vegas, another hotel casino concept one can foresee taking flight across the U.S. is the theme park and casino combination. In Las Vegas, the Circus Circus Hotel, Casino and Theme Park is known as an affordable, fun experience for whole family. Instead of complaining about boredom, kids are invited to have the run of the Circus Circus Adventure Theme Park. Five acres are under a pink glass dome, comprising over 3,000 rooms, where kids can watch acrobats and jugglers or go on over twenty rides that may win over a trip to Carowinds.Keeping the money in the area is good for the local economy, which is good for the hotel casino in return. Hotel casinos are showing up close to tourist areas and in special areas where cultural attractions and ecotourism are intrinsic to an economy's survival. These budding hotel casino megaliths blend gambling with theme parks and other adventurous options for all ages.Hotel casinos of the future bring affordable entertainment to the whole family, while encouraging them to sight see and spend money in the local economy.
Article by Kacey Bradley

6 Ways to Make Your Hotel Wedding Friendly and Boost Profits

The Drifter Collective · 6 June 2017
6 Ways to Make Your Hotel Wedding Friendly and Boost ProfitsYou can't have a hotel without guests -- this is an industry given. But you won't be able to attract guests without giving them at least one reason to stay with you. The location of your accommodation is often incentive enough, but there's no harm in improving your odds by making your hotel more attractive in more than one way. An easy avenue to boost profits is to bring wedding ceremonies, receptions and guests to your hotel.As of 2015, the wedding market was worth an estimated $55 billion in the US alone and $300 billion worldwide. For this reason, many hotels -- now, hopefully, including yours -- have become incentivized to make their destination one that's perfect for weddings, too. It's easy to do so long as you take the proper steps to make the process easy and the ceremony beautiful.Here are six ways to do it: Post the Right PicturesWe live in the age of the internet, so most engaged couples will peruse your website before they come in to check out your venue in person. That's why it's vital for you to upgrade your website's photo gallery to include high-quality pictures of a recent wedding to show just what the couple can expect their own ceremony to look like.If you haven't played host to any weddings yet, you'll have to improvise. Hire a good wedding photographer and stage a ceremony, reception table, catering selection, etc., so that your venue will stand out amongst the pack. Play Up Your Best FeaturesEvery hotel is different, and no one knows this better than someone in the industry. What sets your space apart from other potential venues? Is it the view, the architectural character, the great bartenders or something else that would make a wedding more memorable? It's up to you to highlight the best-selling point for fiances in search of the perfect spot to say "I do." Make Booking Easy Making wedding booking easy is two-fold: you have to make it easy for the couple to sign onto have their wedding at your venue, and you have to make it easy for their guests to locate and stay at the hotel, too.The couple will also have to think about making hotel accommodations as easy as possible for their guests, so they'll look for a hotel with simple online booking platforms. They'll also provide their guests with directions to the hotel and rate information, so having that readily available for couples will also be vital to your operation. Give Them Plenty of OptionsNot everyone will want the same sized wedding and reception, so you'll have to come up with a handful of packages for your clients to choose from. You can look at other hotels' offerings to get an idea of what the competition provides before laying out your own wedding offers.You can make some extra profits by having more specific wedding packages aside from the ones that contain everything a couple could need for their wedding and reception. Some duos might want to pop in for a photo shoot if your hotel is in a great location -- provide them with a low-priced package for pictures. You can also provide a honeymoon suite package for those celebrating their first night together with you. Highlight the AmenitiesThis is especially true if you hope to have wedding guests stay at your hotel in order to attend a wedding, whether it's at your location or somewhere in the local area. If you have a handsome list of amenities available, your hotel could beat out a similar accommodation.Just as you played up your wedding facilities with photos, make sure your hotel is properly depicted in your online gallery. Have a photographer snap pictures of what guests like to see: gyms, pools, breakfast buffets. All of this will make wedding guests more likely to stay with you, since they know they'll be able to relax and get ready easily at your hotel. Connect with Every CoupleSome wedding venues get too big for their britches and end up providing impersonal customer service to guests celebrating the biggest days of their lives. Make sure your hotel staff gives every engaged couple the attention they deserve. Something as simple as a free bottle of champagne in the bride's room the morning of the wedding can make all of the difference -- and these details are what make guests tell their friends to get married at your location, too.By taking these six steps, you could soon be hosting memorable weddings at your hotel, too. And, if you take these steps in the right way, you'll be enjoying lucrative ceremonies and receptions for years to come.
Article by Kacey Bradley

What the Hotel Industry Can Learn from Cruise Lines

The Drifter Collective · 9 May 2017
The idea that a cruise ship is just a hotel on water is a seriously misguided thought. Anyone who has been on a cruise before knows it's not just a place to sleep -- it's an experience. That's why 88 percent of young cruisers said they would go on another after their first time at sea, according to one UK poll.So, what is it exactly that the cruise industry has to offer the hotel industry, in terms of ways that the latter can improve? These massive vessels offer guests so much more than room and board -- and it's the little extras that can teach the rest of the hospitality industry a thing or two. Want to know how to draw the best facets of a cruise and use them to improve your hotel? Here are four ways to do it.Connecting with ClientsYou certainly connect with clients who pass through the front doors of the hotel, check them in and help them with any queries along the way. Depending on the level of the hotel, concierge might provide them with help booking activities, making food reservations, etc.On a cruise ship, though, the staff is a big part of the experience. Customers bond and connect with the people who clean their rooms, serve them meals and lead activities on the pool deck. It might be difficult to forge as strong of a bond in a traditional hotel, but there are easy ways to warm up: things as simple as making eye contact and smiling can make a serious impression on check-in that makes guests feel they can come back to you for help and, voila, impression made.Making Experiences HappenAnother thing cruises pull off extremely well is the ease with which guests can book excursions and activities. Some larger resorts make this possible, too, but perhaps smaller accommodations can take away some planning tips from cruises.Cruises make it easy for guests to find things to do. Most bookings come with a full slate of activities that guests can book along with a spot on the ship. But, once on board, cruises continue to connect guests with fun excursions and activities through, for example, their televisions. Yes, some TVs allow cruise ship guests to book things to do each day -- it's as easy as that.Not every hotel destination will have the need for such services or suggestions. But, if your hotel is in a place where people come for sightseeing, or relaxation, or other forms of tourism, it's up to you to give them things to do while in town.Outfitting Spaces with Luxe AmenitiesA budget hotel is, well, a budget hotel. Those who book a basic lodging know exactly what they're going to get. But even a budget cruise ship has its charms. Whether it's a handful of pools, or nightly social events, or all-you-can-eat food options, there is always some big draw to a low-cost oceanic getaway.Then, of course, you have luxury cruise lines and those amenities are incredible. Smaller cruise ship lines like Windstar do it well -- and are handsomely rewarded with awards and accolades for their bespoke services. Luxury hotel chains, especially those from recognizable brands, have to have that same standard or else they will lose their credibility.Improving Overall ValueIn a similar vein, those who book cruises often do so because it's an all-in-one deal. They don't have to worry about extra costs once they're on board, and they know they won't want for anything.On the other hand, hotels are just one piece of the vacation puzzle. People know that, once they arrive at the hotel, they have to pay for everything else: food, transportation, activities, etc. It's unlikely that every accommodation can become an all-inclusive overnight. But throwing in a free continental breakfast for guests or providing a free airport shuttle, for example, can make the experience a lot less expensive and stressful for those who book.Now, Put It into PracticePerhaps not all of these tips apply to your hotel. But there's certainly something to be said about the cruise ship experience in comparison to a hotel stay. And that very thought of an experience is what everyone in the hospitality industry should be aiming for, whether they work on a cruise ship or in a hotel. Guests should remember the experience and want to repeat it in the future -- that's what cruises teach us.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Surprising but Efficient Ways Hotels Are Attracting Families with Children

The Drifter Collective ·20 April 2017
To fill this need, hotels are attracting families with children in surprising but efficient ways. New amenities for the whole family may be permanent or temporary additions, such as a built-in waterpark or temporary play space to suit a hotel family party theme. Check out the unique ways that hotels are make the stay more fun-filled and engaging for families with kids.Adventure Park and Resort Family GetawayWith a global shift toward focusing on the family, many hotels are adapting large scale themes to make the focus more permanent with the creation of adventure parks in an resort atmosphere. Hotels are adding outdoor and indoor waterparks to echo the popularity of waterparks during the summer but adding a place to stay, which after an active day, families will be tired and want to relax.Many hotels are specifically targeting families who are active, children who play sports or families that love to hike and travel together, for example. These hotels offer various levels and types of sports for adventure enthusiasts, even including extreme sports.The Extreme Hotel is a "Caribbean eco sustainable sports adventure resort," which combines sustainability and sports adventure. Guests at this hotel in the Dominican Republic take advantage of boarding, horseback tours, surfing and kitesurfing while focusing on ecotourism. Imagine a horseback tour for all fitness levels that explains the flora and fauna of the area.Does your hotel have any ecotourism attractions? It may be worth checking into as an attraction for your hotel when it comes to stays for families.The Spirit of Play Invites Families to StayHotels are contracting vendors to install play systems for children to invite families to stay. These systems may be installed outdoors and indoors and are customized spaces for play, unique to every area they inhabit. Parents can join in the fun or relax, while they children's senses are engaged in an open, bright and modern space. Imagine hosting a weekend Halloween party at the hotel with a customized play space for the kids.Hotels should also look at plays spaces as an opportunity to develop children's imaginations. Other interesting themes include hotels that add big spaceships or to-kid-size-scale LEGO castles. Children love to be surprised and may go explore the castle and become a knight fighting dragons, while parents enjoy a wine tasting.Going the extra mile to help families enjoy their stay, by keeping boredom at bay for kids, encourages repeat traffic and brand loyalty. Families return to hotels that accommodate their children and make effort to see that they are entertained as guests also.Scheduling Regular Entertainment Shows or Educational ExhibitionsAnother way to attract and keep guests with kids is to schedule regular entertainment shows or host rotating educational exhibitions. These stimulate the children's imaginations and encourage them to learn new things.Hotels around the world are coming up with unique shows and exhibits to attract the attention of children, but Las Vegas is definitely unique in its imaginative approach. The Mirage has a giant man-made volcano and hosts puppet shows. Imagine a huge aquarium with unique sea life - Kids love the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Madalay Bay Resort and Casino, which holds rare golden crocodiles, piranha, endangered green sea turtles and more diverse sea creatures. Kid-friendly food choices are also available at over twenty restaurants, with all-age performances that include "The Lion King."So, another efficient way to attract families with kids is to also target menu items and make them more diverse, instead of the standard hamburger or chicken and nuggets. Making meals more kid-focused may be the easiest and most cost-effective way to please families.Kids have big imaginations, and they love to have adventures, play and learn new things. When families go on vacation, they want to relax, but they also want to share new experiences together.Invite families to stay by encouraging them to play, learn and go on adventures, creating parks, play areas and programs that appeal to all ages.
Article by Kacey Bradley

Hospitality Starts at Home: The Level of Comfort Guests are Really Looking For

The Drifter Collective · 2 March 2017
When guests book a room at a hotel, their comfort level is of the upmost importance. Hotel staff provide turn down services, complimentary breakfasts and make every effort to make guests feel more relaxed while away from home.Guests travel for many reasons: to go on vacation, to celebrate an anniversary or for business. Hotels very often are the home where people on the road lay their head. The hotel room is a home away from home for all kinds of travelers.A 2014 Gallup Hospitality Industry study looked at many types of hotels, from luxury to economy, to find out what guests really want from their stay. Many hotels are guilty of "gold-plating" with products and services that add cost to guest receipts but aren't meaningful. In lieu of gift shops and hotel bars, guests want to feel at home with good internet connectivity, comfortable beds, responsive employees that have real conversations and quality in room amenities with personal touches.Guests have been heard. To better accommodate their guests, more hotels are realizing true hospitality starts at home and are adding home touches to their lobbies, bars, conference rooms, libraries and rooms.It's in the Little Things: Handmade and HandwrittenThe little touches that remind guests of home go beyond mints on pillows and fluffy robes. Although, fluffy robes and slippers are a great first start to wrap up guests in feelings of warmth and relaxation after a hot shower.It's in the little things that a loved one might leave you at home when you're sick or busy, or a friend may leave you when you're visiting from far away that count.Complimentary welcome baskets of snacks and drinks are great for travelers who may be late and starved after a long flight. Healthy snacks, sweet treats and games for kids help them feel welcome, too. How delicious does gluten-free homemade bread and cheese with champagne sound? It's especially nice when dietary needs are considered, such as gluten-free or nut-free items.Items that families may have forgotten are ready at hand, such a charging dock for phones and tablets, a sewing kit or bug spray. Items are placed in areas that make sense, as you'd pick them up at home and use them -- the hairdryer is near the plug in the bathroom. In addition to standard menu lists and hotel contact numbers, some hotels are also including a handwritten welcome and thank you note, along with details about the upcoming weather. Inside of empty drawers, let guests find pens, stationary and complimentary postcards. Let them take a moment to write their own notes, make to-do lists and reflect.Interior Design Accentuates Feeling at HomeNo matter whether a guests stays at a luxury or an economy hotel, there are certain traits and aesthetic choices that hotels share. There are standard linens, brands and resources that hotels use that guests have seen everywhere. Some follow themes and decoration styles that are too ornate or too office-like. You can't please everyone, but there are certain interior design changes that are helpful to make guests feel at home.When designers are looking at selections to make the most of a comfortable aesthetic, one of the first things they consider is natural materials, such as selecting handcrafted furniture made from beautiful wood, from industry specialists like Rocky Top Furniture or individual woodworking craftsmen like Gary Forte Woodworking. Furniture made from oak or willow, for example, have a beautiful grain that easily makes an attractive focal point to a room while giving it a rustic home feel.Handmade furniture also makes a great addition as a focal point in other areas. A hotel located in the mountains might commission a large conference table from a woodworker and have the table top infused with bits of mica.If a room has a westward or southern facing window, the room receives a wonderful warmth when the sun sets. Colors that accentuate that warmth, such as sage, boost the mood and the experience the room has to offer. Opportunities to explore with color are also in the accents:Consider adding pops of color with blue or red pillows. Matching or contrasting knit throws over a desk chair, the end of the bed or on the corner of a loveseat are cozy additions. Instead of geometric art or prints of famous master artworks, larger hotels or smaller bed and breakfasts may opt to go local: Source art from local arts organizations and artists.These artworks don't have to be bought. The art can rotate in and out with an agreement with arts organizations in partnership to showcase art, bringing different styles and cultures together and demonstrating the hotel's involvement in its home community. The hotel may give local artists a budget to work with to add murals to particular spaces: libraries, conference rooms or outdoor patio walls.When hotels create a home environment away from home, guests are more likely to return and recommend a hotel to others. It also makes their stay more memorable and enjoyable, which is what true hospitality is all about.

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