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“Love your staff.” That’s the secret to running a successful hotel according to the founder of the iconic One Aldwych in London. It’s great advice and an essential mantra for hospitality, which is a people business at its core and relies heavily on team members coordinating for a higher cause. That mantra is put to the test during downturns, such as the COVID pandemic or the financial crisis of 2008. Faced with uncertainty and economic headwinds, managers must balance the needs of the business with those of its people. So it's understandable that you may be asking yourself, “How can I be a good manager?” and "what management skills do I need to succeed?" these are important questions and an indication that you're already well on your way to being an effective leader. Questioning and learning is a key to managerial success in and of itself. Self-awareness and a desire to improve are two valuable traits in any manager. As you focus on improving your leadership skills during challenging times, here are 9 tips for becoming a better manager. 2021 has been incredibly difficult but there is a silver lining: you’ll be a stronger manager, with a whole new set of skills to build on moving forward. As you invest the time in building meaningful relationships with your colleagues, you’ll earn respect and loyalty that’s helpful in both good times and bad. Here are some questions we'll answer in this article: What learning tools and hospitality books are available to new managers? What steps can managers take to facilitate a stress-free work environment? What characteristics do the best managers in the world possess? How to hone decision-making abilities and communication skills Why motivating employees is hard work and how career development is key 1. Be honest and objective Always be honest with your staff! You don't want to sugarcoat things, hide from the truth, or seem aloof, evasive or uncaring. Your staff will see through any BS anyhow, so it’s best to be as honest as possible (without being mean). At a time when stress and emotions run high, stay objective. It helps keep your head level and your approached even-handed. Dialing too deep into emotions can create an inconsistent experience for individual staff members. That breeds feelings of unfairness and resentment, as individuals feel they’re being treated differently. Avoid that and stay both objective and honest. During performance reviews, for example, you may be tempted to hold in critical feedback, especially with your favorite colleagues. Critical feedback helps employees develop new skills and facilitates goal setting that leads to progress in your teams professional lives (and personal lives!). Effective management and being a team leader is all about communicating the hard news in an empathetic way while being honest and objective. It's also critical to strategize the right times to communicate - for example, maybe team meetings are a bad place to call out team members for a lack of soft skills. 2. Get out of the office When times are tough, the last thing you want is for staff to think you’re hiding in your office. Get out into the hotel and stay connected with all aspects of the property. You’ll have a better understanding of the current mood and operational needs. This is called “Management By Walking Around (MBWA),” and it keeps you up front and visible with staff. You lead by example and show them that you’re active and engaged, rather than hidden away in the office. Being visible is also a fantastic way to provide a top-notch guest experience. Greeting guests and being available to address comments or concerns keeps you in tune with their needs -- a personalized approach that encourages glowing reviews and builds your online reputation. Remember that it’s not enough to just get out of the office: you also must interact with others to really catalyze the benefit, says Mark Hamister, CEO of the Hamister Hospitality Group: “Adding an "I" for Interaction to MBWA enabled us to finally encourage teamwork between management and staff, increase the number of informal problem-solving opportunities on a daily basis, and thereby produce immediate and creative solutions.” 3. Prioritize speed over precision Whether you realize it or not, your team takes cues from your confidence and posture. As their leader, you set the bar. Especially during times of crisis, when circumstances change often, you must be the fearless leader. You don’t have the luxury of rumination. So you must be decisive and prioritize speed over precision. Even if you have to fake it because you are freaking out inside, act fast and with conviction. See next point for a specific tactic that requires a good leader to be decisive. 4. Fire quickly and fairly Even if you have to fire people today, you may want to hire them once the downturn eases and demand returns. The last thing you want to do is leave a poor impression that scuttles employee loyalty. Do right by them, as you may want to bring former employees back rather than trying to find new staff. Furloughs may become temporary as the downturn drags on. And you may even need to fire employees that you recently brought back on. Firing is often the worst part of being a manager. It's emotionally exhausting and extremely difficult. But don’t delay the inevitable, as making several rounds of smaller layoffs leads to lower morale. To minimize stress of an already difficult situation, fire quickly and fairly. Make an honest appraisal of what you need to do to keep the lights on and then make those decisions quickly. You also want to be fair and as transparent as possible about how these decisions were made. Avoid politics and personal preferences to avoid favoritism or ill-will. And always follow the traits above: Be objective, honest and helpful! 5. Listen, listen, listen! Great leaders are great listeners. They're able to listen, synthesize and act based on what they’ve learned. Listening is the foundation of hospitality, as it builds mutual understanding, meaningful relationships and memorable, experiences, says Gary Gutierrez of HRI Lodging in New Orleans: “For hoteliers, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Running a hotel, like life, is all about how you make people feel.” And it’s not just with guests; sometimes it's just about being a friendly ear for your team. You don't have to be a therapist but you certainly have to be there to listen. Oftentimes, that’s what your team needs most: a sympathetic ear. 6. Be available to your staff Micromanaging is the enemy. Time management is key and delegating tasks to direct reports will free you up to create a better work environment for other team members. Succesful managers make it crystal clear that you are a manager with an open door policy. Build trust with your staff by listening to their concerns and doing what you can to address them. Of course, much of it will be out of your hands. So just listen and empathize. Be there for your staff and they will have your back. Even in tough times, people know when they are treated fairly and with respect - and that makes a lasting impression. Sometimes an open-door policy may not be enough to encourage employees to surface issues. Experiment with holding office hours, which are open to anyone and held at the same frequency (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly). You also should offer anonymous channels of communication. Not everyone is comfortable with face to face conversations. To reduce gossip, prevent abuse and shorten the distance between you and your employees, make an anonymous feedback channel for your staff. Anonymity helps you build trust and address concerns quickly before they get out of control. 7. Embrace creativity, patiently A crisis is an ideal time to experiment and try new things. It pulls you out of the everyday routine and provides an organic opportunity to embrace creativity. Convene your staff and encourage them to brainstorm creative ways to both address the current crisis and build resilience for future ones. One of the corollary benefits to creativity is that it often engages your staff. Most people respond well to being asked to brainstorm ideas and contribute to the success of the organization. By unleashing your the creativity of your staff, you inspire and bring out the best, which also nurturing potential future leaders, says Paul Patiño of the Saguaro Palm Springs: “The true challenge is being that leader that can move everyone in the same direction together and bring out the best in each person, inspiring them to be better versions than they already are. All great things take time, patience, and lots of love.” 8. Do more with less Hotels everywhere are trying to do more with less. There’s fewer bookings which means fewer staff. Look for opportunities to economize your operational footprint and be as efficient as possible. If you can find room in the budget, invest in new technology that preserves service standards despite being short-staffed -- and reduces the burden on your small team overloaded with tasks. Roll your sleeves up and show your team but no task is too small. It’s all-hands-on-deck, so step up and lead by example. This behavior will build trust and motivate your staff, as well as create a “we’re all in this together” mindset. 9. Be helpful and humble Great managers aren't just good listeners and clear communicators, they're also helpful and go the extra mile to help their team at all costs. As a trusted resource, you show staff that you care and that it’s ok for them to bring their whole selves to work. When you fire people, offer to write recommendation letters and do help them in their job search. When you discipline individuals, provide clear performance improvement tips that help them improve. When you walk around the property, be helpful to guests and staff - helpfulness is a form of hospitality, after all! You also must be humble. As someone in a position of authority, it’s easy to think that your position makes you the best person to solve the problem. But that leaves blindspots and leads to employees feeling disengaged at work. That’s not a good recipe for hospitality! To avoid this, leaders don’t just listen but also ask to lead with questions, says Joseph Kirtley, GM at Highgate Hotels: “Leaders often feel that we are supposed to have all the answers. In actuality, being a great leader takes humility, and asking the right questions. Opening yourself to the strengths and knowledge of those around you takes you to another level.” Did we miss any good tips? Let us know via live chat!
The tourism industry is slowly coming off its worst year in history. Last year saw the lowest occupancies in the history of the industry. Business travel was completely shuttered, and leisure struggled in most markets as planes were grounded. Often in the darkest of hours, the best stocks and investing opportunities present themselves. Now, travel outlooks remain cautious but optimistic. Hotels are reopening and accepting bookings and the share prices of publicly traded hotel stocks as well as hotel REITS, or Real Estate Investment Trusts, are shifting back to post-Pandemic levels. The uptick in these share prices is inline with Wall Street’s overall performance lately. With the vaccine rollout combined with Congress’ $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package have boosted investors’ confidence. They were also encouraged by the Labor Department’s jobs report for February showing that employers added hundreds of thousands more jobs than expected. In turn, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both showed gains, an indicator that the market could be headed towards an upswing. So whether you’re new to investing or already have experience in other investment sectors, now is the time to consider putting your money in the hotel sector. It’s an opportunity to put the adage “buy low, sell high” to the test. Once travel and tourism return to pre-pandemic levels, so will these stock prices. If you follow the traders on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets (WSB), you’ll know that the “tendies” or financial gain on the stock market, are lower when you buy stocks at their peak. Like this group of non-traditional Reddit investors and cryptocurrency speculators, accessing the metrics on hotel stocks should also reflect the new normal that we’re living in. Gauging a stock’s one-year, three-year or five-year performance today won’t present an accurate picture of its future potential as the drastic dip that all stocks experience in 2020 will dramatically skew that outlook. Hotel Chain & Casino Stocks There are also a variety of hotel investments to consider, which translates to a number of diverse money-making opportunities. There are, of course, the major hotel brands like Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. as well as casino resorts like Wynn Resorts Limited and Caesars Entertainment, with which you’re probably already familiar. These are C-corporations that are primarily built on the business of hotel management, marketing and branding and often, franchise licensing. They pay corporate taxes on dividends. This popular mid- to large-cap stocks are popular investments because their brand names are well established globally and investors have likely stayed in the hotels. That first-hand experience of the products also tends to result in positive sentiment among investors, which helps to keep stock prices at reasonable levels and make them relatively safe bets. Prior to the pandemic, the most noticeable trend happening among these hotel companies was the introduction of new brands. The intent behind this move was to create more opportunities to expand franchise and management contracts in markets that were already saturated by other brands under the companies’ umbrella. However, the pandemic has stalled this growth strategy. Similarly, pipeline development also slowed and in some instances reversed course as hotel owners and investors pulled back once the pandemic hit and existing hotels began closing. Consequently, stock prices may remain somewhat stagnant until expansion plans are underway again. Marriott International Inc. is arguably one of the most popular, if not the most well known, of hotel stocks. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the company has a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 brands in 133 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts globally. The stock trades as MAR on NASDAQ. In 2020, Marriott International generated over $10.5 billion in revenue and saw annual EPS decline to $0.31 from $1.16 in the 2019 fiscal year (FY). From 2009 to 2019, Marriott stock has returned 10% higher compared to NASDAQ composite and 44% higher compared to Dow Jones Large Cap. According to CNN Business, 18 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Marriott International Inc. have a median target of 135.00 with a high estimate of 175.00 and a low estimate of 119.00. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., (NYSE: HLT) operates and franchises 6,400 hotel properties under 18 brands in 119 countries in addition to licensing vacation ownership resorts. The company’s revenue for 2020 total $4.31 billion and annual EPS dropped from $3.04 in FY 2019 to $-2.56 for FY 2020. During the decade between 2009 and 2019, Hilton’s stock returned 126% higher compared to NYSE composite. As per CNN Business, the consensus among 18 analysts for 12-month price forecasts is a median target of 123.50, a high estimate of 140.00 and a low estimate of 100. Hyatt Hotels Corp. (NYSE: H) Headquartered in Chicago, Hyatt’s has 20 brands under its corporate umbrella and more than 975 hotels, all inclusive resorts and wellness resorts throughout 69 countries across six continents. 2020 revenue for the company was in excess of $2 billion although annual EPS for 2020 was -$6.93, which was a significant from 2019 annual EPS of $7.21. Between 2009 and 2019, the stock returned 28% higher than the NYSE composite. Fifteen analysts offering CNN Business a 12-month price forecasts for Hyatt Hotels Corp have a median target of 72.00, with a high estimate of 95.00 and a low estimate of 55.00. The median estimate represents a -14.11% decrease from the last price of 83.83. Accor SA (OTC Pink: ACCYY) This Paris-based company trades on the Euronext Paris exchange. However, U.S. investors can purchase shares through the Pink Open Market. The company’s product offering is comprised of 5,000 hotels and residences across 110 countries worldwide. Revenue for the full year 2020 €1.6 billion when annual EPS was -€8.69. Annual EPS for 2021 is estimated to be -€1.09. In the 10 years spanning 2009 to 2019, Accor returned 52% lower than the Euronext 100 composite. As reported by CNN Business, the 12-month price forecasts of 18 analysts for Accor SA has a median target of 8.38, a high estimate of 10.97 and a low estimate of 4.68. Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHG) With $992 million in 2020 revenue, this hotel company has nearly 6,000 hotels throughout the America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australasia and China. More than 880,000 rooms are currently open and another 272,000 rooms are now in the pipeline. 2020 EPS for the stock declined 168.31% from 2019. However, IHG has returned 120% higher compared to NYSE composite in the decade between 2009 and 2019. The 12-month price forecasts of 20 analysts include a median target of 63.29, with a high estimate of 78.23 and a low estimate of 50.07. Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH) has more than 7,100 hotels or nearly 6,000 rooms, in over 40 countries and territories. Lodging options range from full-service and limited service hotels in the upscale, midscale, extended stay and economy segments. 2020 revenue was more than $774 million and 2020 adjusted diluted EPS was $2.22, a decrease of 49% over the prior full year period. The stock also returned 168% higher than the NYSE composite over the 10 years from 2009 to 2019. The 10 analysts offering a 12-month price forecasts for Choice Hotels International Inc have a median target of 105.50, with a high estimate of 122.00 and a low estimate of 90.00. Wynn Resorts Limited (NASDAQ: WYNN) owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, Cotai. For the year ended December 31, 2020, operating revenues were $2.10 billion and annual EPS was $-19.37, a 1784.35% decline from 2019. In the 10-year period between 2009 and 2019, Wynn Resorts Limited (WYNN) has returned 75 percent lower compared to the NASDAQ composite. The aggregate 12-month price forecasts for Wynn Resorts Ltd have a median target of 120.00, with a high estimate of 157.00 and a low estimate of 99.00. MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is a global entertainment company with a portfolio of 29 hotel and destination gaming offerings that include casinos, meeting and conference facilities, live entertainment experiences and restaurant, nightlife and retail products. The Company is currently pursuing targeted expansion in Asia through the integrated resort opportunity in Japan. In 2020, net revenues were $2.2 billion for the company’s Las Vegas Strip resorts and $2 billion for its regional operations. MGM China had net revenues of $657 billion in 2020. Adjusted EPS was a loss per share of $3.94 in 2020, compared to Adjusted EPS of $0.77 in 2019. MGM Resorts International (MGM) returned 115% higher over the 10 years from 2009 to 2019 in comparison to the NYSE composite for the same period. Fourteen analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for MGM Resorts International have a median target of 37.75, with a high estimate of 50.00 and a low estimate of 28.00. Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: CZR) is one of the largest gaming-entertainment companies in the U.S. and one of the world's most diversified gaming-entertainment providers. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, in 1937, Caesars Entertainment has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions. Caesars Entertainment's resorts operate primarily under the Caesars®, Harrah's®, Horseshoe® and Eldorado® brand names. Caesars generated approximately 3.47 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020, when annual EPS was -$13.50 compared to annual EPS of $1.03 in 2019. The stock returned 59 percent higher than the NASDAQ composite in the 10 years over 2009 to 2019. The 12 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Caesars Entertainment Inc have a median target of 97.50, with a high estimate of 115.00 and a low estimate of 90.00. Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) is a developer and operator of meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition or MICE-based integrated resorts, including Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and through majority ownership in Sands China Ltd., Sands developed the largest portfolio of properties on the Cotai Strip in Macao, including The Venetian Macao, The Plaza, Four Seasons Hotel Macao, The Londoner Macao, The Parisian Macao and Sands Macao. The company recently entered into definitive agreements to sell its Las Vegas real estate and operations, including The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $6.25 billion. Casino and entertainment resort company Las Vegas Sands generated approximately 3.61 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020. However, EPS for the 12-months ending Dec. 31, 2019 was -$2.21, a year-over-year decline of 163.14%. But from 2009 to 2019, the stock returned 62% higher than the NYSE composite and 14 analysts collectively a 12-month price forecast with a median target of 67.50, a high estimate of 84.00 and a low estimate of 50.00. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) REITs are another investment option. Unlike hotel companies, hotel REITs –and all REITs for that matter— own, operate or finance real estate with the objective of generating income. Similarly to mutual funds, REITs combine the capital from multiple investors who earn dividends and avoid the risk associated with buying, managing and directly financing real estate assets on their own. These are good bets for investors who want a stable income stream. However, REITs aren’t known for their capital appreciation, which is why they tend to show noticeably lower returns against index composites. For example, over the decade from 2009 to 2019, Apple Hospitality REIT Inc. returned 68% lower compared to the NYSE composite and during that same time period, Host Hotels & Resorts returned 40% lower than the NYSE composite index. Broadly speaking, a REIT’s 52-week high and low are more illustrative of the moderate risk they represent to investors. You should keep in mind that the Pandemic has led to a trend where hotel assets are either being sold off to then be repurposed into other asset classes such as multifamily housing and senior living facilities or hotel owners and investors are themselves repurposing their hotel properties into other asset classes. REIT investors should be aware of this as the trend has the potential to change and even diminish the portfolios of hotel REITs. Like hotel stocks, there are a good number of hotel REITs to invest in, but these tend to be investor favorites because of their longevity and portfolios of reputable brands. Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc. (NYSE: APLE) owns 233 hotels with more tan 29,800 rooms located in 88 markets throughout 25 U.S. states. The portfolio has a concentration of marquee names including Marriott-, Hilton- and Hyatt-branded hotels. Annual revenue for 2020 was $602 million and the median yearly earnings for 2021 are approximated at $0.54. In the 52 weeks ending on March 19, 2021, the highest price reached by the stock was 15.89. The lowest price was 5.36.A panel of eight analysts offered a collective price forecast with a median target of 17.00, a high estimate of 19.00 and a low estimate of 15.00. Hersha Hospitality Trust (NYSE: HT) owns and operates 37 hotels totaling 5,845 rooms are located in New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, South Florida and select markets on the West Coast. The company’s revenue for the full year 2020 total $529.96 million while 2020 EPS was -$0.46. In the 52 weeks ending March 19, 2021, the stock price peaked at 12.9 and saw a low of 2.41087. The nine analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Hersha Hospitality Trust have a median target of 10.00, with a high estimate of 21.00 and a low estimate of 8.00. Host Hotels & Resorts (NASDAQ: HST) is the largest lodging REIT and renowned for its concentration of luxury and upper-upscale hotels with a focus on brands such as Marriot, Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Hyatt, Fairmont, Hilton, Swissôtel, ibis and Novotel. The company owns 76 properties in the U.S. and five internationally, totally 46,800 rooms. Host additionally holds non-controlling interests in six domestic and one international joint venture. The company did $65 million in revenue for the full year 2020 when annual EPS total -$1.04. The stock price hit a high of 18.42 during the 52 weeks ending on March 19, 2021 and fell to a low of 9.06. Eighteen analysts estimated a median target of 17.00 in a 12-month price forecast, with a high estimate of 21.00 and a low of 13.00. Park Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: PK) is the second largest publicly traded lodging REIT with a portfolio of 60 premium-branded hotels and resorts that comprise more than 33,000 rooms in city center and resort locations. The company reported $852 million in 2020 revenue and annual EPS for 2020 was $0.94. In the 52 weeks ending on March 19, 2021, the highest price reached by Park Hotels & Resorts Inc stock was 24.6. The lowest price was 6.04. The 14 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Park Hotels & Resorts Inc have a median target of 22.50, with a high estimate of 28.00 and a low estimate of 15.00. RLJ Lodging Trust (NYSE: RLJ) has a portfolio of 1010 premium-branded, focused service and compact full service hotels in 23 states and Washington D.C. along with an ownership interest in one unconsolidated hotel. This REITs hotels are consolidated in urban areas and other densely populated markets where the barriers to entry are significant, but RLJ’s investment strategy of focusing on hotels with limited food service offerings, limited meeting space and consequently fewer employees, represents greater potential on returns. Index Funds & ETFs Index funds and ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds are good bets for investors who want to put money into hotel stocks and hotel REITs while minimizing their risk. The benefit to index funds is that they are passively managed because they only track stock indexes. So the fees and expenses incurred by investors are lower. However, the hotel industry is extremely sensitive to changes in the economy. So gains and losses made on these investments will be a function of the greater business climate. Keep in mind that not all stock indexes are index funds. The Baird/STR Hotel Index is widely regarded by hotel investors as an accurate barometer of the hotel industry’s financial performance. However, this index is not actively managed, nor does it allow direct investment. The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index and sub-indices are cobranded and were created by Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird) and STR. The market-cap-weighted, price-only indices comprise 20 of the largest market-capitalization hotel companies publicly traded on a U.S. exchange and attempt to characterize the performance of hotel stocks. ETFs are also considered low-cost investments. They can also have the added benefit of being more diverse investments since they can also include exposure to other real estate investments beyond the hotel industry. So they may not be as sensitive to shifting economies. Additionally, ETFs can include or comprise an entire portfolio of REITs, which on their own are not considered “qualified dividends” as per the IRS. In other words, earnings on REITS are taxed at a higher rate. Despite the fact that REITs qualify for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s 20% pass-through deduction, they are still taxed at a higher rate than qualified dividends. ETF dividends can be taxed at the qualified rate provided the investor holds them for at least 60 days from the date of issue. Yet, there are ETF dividends that are not taxed at the qualified rate. So investors may want to confirm the tax rate before going in. Also, keep in mind that the data by which you’re going to assess an ETF as an investment vehicle will differ from that used to assess any given hotel stock. These are not individual companies with annual revenues. Rather, an ETF is an investment vehicle comprising a portfolio of multiple companies and the portfolios are rebalanced, usually once a quarter. In turn, net assets change regularly. The revenue or other metrics for any single company within that portfolio is not an accurate representation of the ETFs’ performance as a whole. In the meantime, here are a few ETFs worth considering: Nuveen Short-Term REIT ETF (BATS: NURE) This fund provides exposure to U.S. real estate investment trusts (REITs) with short-term lease agreements which may exhibit less price sensitivity to interest rate changes than REITs with longer-term lease agreements. The Fund seeks to track the investment results, before fees and expenses, of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Short-Term REIT Index, which is composed of U.S. exchange-traded equity REITs that concentrate their holdings in apartment buildings, hotels, self-storage facilities and manufactured home properties, which typically have shorter lease terms than REITs that invest in other sectors. The ETF was formed in December 2016; performance data for the last five years is not yet available. The fund has $26.02 million in net assets and the year-to-date daily total return was 12.11%. Its one-year monthly total return was 8.47% and its three-year monthly total return was 9.97%. The 52-week high was 31.22 and the low was 19.28. Wall Street analysts give this fund an N/A rating according to Marketbeat.com Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Real Estate ETF (NYSE Arca: EWRE) The Invesco S&P 500® Equal Weight Real Estate ETF (Fund) is based on the S&P 500® Equal Weight Real Estate Index (Index). The Fund will invest at least 90% of its total assets in securities that comprise the Index. The Index equally weights stocks in the real estate sector of the S&P 500® Index. The Fund and the Index are rebalanced quarterly. The fund has net assets of $22.66 million. The year-to-date daily total return was 12.11%. Its one-year monthly total return was 11.52% and its three-year monthly total return was 11.33% and the five-year monthly total return was 9.01%. The 52-week high was 33.50 and the low was 21.60. Zacks gives this fund an ETF Rank of “Sell” at the time of this writing. ETFMG Travel Tech ETF (NYSE Arca: AWAY) The ETFMG Travel Tech ETF is a portfolio of companies that are a subset of the global travel and tourism industry. These companies are engaged in the “Travel Technology Business” by providing technology via the Internet and internet-connected devices to facilitate travel bookings and reservations, ride sharing and hailing, travel price comparison, and travel advice. AWAY is an exchange traded fund (ETF) that seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield, before fund fees and expenses, of the Prime Travel Technology Index. The fund has net assets of $261.77 million. The year-to-date daily total return was 20.07%. Its one-year monthly total return was 116.96%. No additional performance data is available as the ETF was launched in February 2020. The 52-week high was 34.54 and the low was 13.58. Based on WalletInvestor.com forecasts, a long-term increase is expected. The "AWAY" fund price prognosis for 2026-03-25 is 148.980 USD. With a five-year investment, the revenue is expected to be around +369.23%. Your current $100 investment may be up to $469.23 in 2026. Hospitality and Travel Tech Stocks The travel industry is expected to benefit from pent-up demand. Despite this, many investors have exited their positions in asset-heavy stocks like hotels, airlines and cruise lines. But asset-light travel tech stock may appeal to investors who still want to cash in on an upcoming booking spree since these companies all play some role in the booking funnel. Travel tech companies also have irons in just about every fire in the travel industry, from hotels and cruise lines to tour operators, airlines and restaurants. So they help investors spread their risk through diversified business interests within the travel and tourism sector. But investors should also be cautioned that Wall Street is bearish on tech stocks right now. According to a survey from Bank of America, fund managers cut their tech weighting to the lowest overweight position since January 2009. For investors who aren’t faint of heart, here are some stocks in the travel tech space that are worth considering right now: Tech Plays: OTAs Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) Expedia Group leverages platform and technology capabilities across an extensive portfolio of businesses and brands to orchestrate the movement of people and the delivery of travel experiences on both a local and global basis. 2020 annual revenue was $5.2 billion was 2020 annual EPS was -$19.00. Expedia Group Inc. returned 26% higher compared to the NASDAQ composite in the decade between 2009 and 2019. Twenty-seven analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Expedia Group Inc. have a median target of 165.00, with a high estimate of 211.00 and a low estimate of 120.00. Booking.com (NASDAQ: BKNG) Booking Holdings (BKNG) is a provider of online travel and related services, available to customers and partners in over 220 countries and territories through six primary consumer-facing brands - Booking.com, priceline, agoda.com, Rentalcars.com, KAYAK and OpenTable. The company’s annual revenue for 2020 was $6.79 billion while annual EPS for 2020 was $1.44. In the 10-year period from 2009 to 2019, Booking Holdings Inc. returned 13% higher compared to the NASDAQ composite. Twenty-five analysts offered a 12-month forecast that included a median target of 2,550.00, a high estimate of 3,000.00 and a low estimate of 1,890.00 Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) Since its inception in 2007, Airbnb has grown to four million hosts who have welcomed over 800 million guests in almost every country worldwide. Annual revenue was $3.4 billion for 2020 when annual EPS was N/A. Airbnb shares began trading in December 2020. Therefore, no historical data is available. A 12-month price forecast from 26 analysts included a media target of 180.00, a high stimate of 240.00 and a low estimate of 130.00. Trip.com (NASDAQ: TCOM) Trip.com Group Limited is a travel service provider consisting of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Qunar. Across its platforms, Trip.com Group enables local partners and travelers around the world to make informed and cost-effective bookings for travel products and services, through aggregation of comprehensive travel-related information and resources, and an advanced transaction platform consisting of mobile apps, Internet websites, and 24/7 customer service centers. The company report annual revenue of $2.8 billion for 2020 although annual EPS was N/A for 2020. Tripcom Group Limited returned 51 percent lower than the NASDAQ composite for the 10-year period between 2009 and 2019. In a 12-month price forecast provided by 34 analysts, a media target was set at 44.54, with a high estimate at 51.32 and a low approximated at 37.43. Google (Alphabet Inc.) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Alphabet became the parent holding company of Google in October 2015. The company’s suite of products, through its subsidiaries, includes web-based search, advertisements, maps, software applications, mobile operating systems, consumer content, enterprise solutions, commerce and hardware products. The Internet’s annual revenue for 2020 came in at $180 billion. Annual EPS for 2020 was $58.61. However, Alphabet Inc. returned six percent lower than the NASDAQ composite for the 10 years from 2009 to 2019. Forty analysts offered a 12-month price forecast where the median target was 2,400.00 and the high estimate was 3,000.00. The forecast’s low estimate was 1,477.00 Tech Plays: Metasearch Tripadvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) Travelers across the globe use the Tripadvisor site and app to browse more than 860 million reviews and opinions of 8.7 million accommodations, restaurants, experiences, airlines and cruises. Travelers turn to Tripadvisor to compare low prices on hotels, flights and cruises, book tours and attractions, as well as to make restaurant reservations. Tripadvisor is available in 49 markets and 28 languages. The subsidiaries and affiliates of Tripadvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP) own and operate a portfolio of websites and businesses, including many travel media brands: In 2020, the U.S.-based online travel company generated revenues of approximately $604 million and annual 2020 EPS was -$2.14. In the decade between 2009 and 2019, TripAdvisor returned 48% lower than the NASDAQ composite. According to a 12-month price forecast from 18 analysts, the median target is 38.50 and the high estimate is 62.00 while the low estimate is 20.00. Trivago (NASDAQ: TRVG) Trivago is a global hotel and accommodation search platform used by travelers to search for and compare different types of accommodations, such as hotels, vacation rentals and apartments, while enabling advertisers to grow their businesses by providing them with access to a broad audience of travelers via its websites and apps. As of December 31, 2020, Trivago offered access to more than 5.0 million hotels and other types of accommodation in over 190 countries, including over 3.8 million units of alternative accommodation, such as vacation rentals and apartments. The search platform can be accessed globally via 54 localized websites and apps available in 32 languages. Trivago’s annual revenue for 2020 was $284 million. However, 2020 EPS was -$0.8170. Trivago returned 156% lower from 2009 to 2019 compared to the NASDAQ composite. A price forecast offered by nine analyst for 12-months offered a median target of 2.67, a high estimate of 3.56 and a low of 1.27. Tech Plays: Software & GDS Companies Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for Sales, Service, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Supply Chain and Manufacturing, plus Highly- Automated and Secure Generation 2 Infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database. Total revenue for 2020 was $39.1 billion and annual EPS was $3.08. Oracle Corporation (ORCL) has returned 58 percent higher compared to NYSE composite in the ten years from 2009 and 2019. Twenty-one analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Oracle Corp have a median target of 73.00, with a high estimate of 93.00 and a low estimate of 57.00. Amadeus (OTC: AMADY) Amadeus IT Holding S.A. is a Spain-based IT provider for the global travel and tourism industry. The company builds solutions for airlines and airports, hotels and railways, search engines, travel agencies, tour operators and other travel businesses through its global distribution system (GDS) and IT business. Amadeus provides search, pricing, booking, ticketing and other processing services in real-time to travel providers and travel agencies through its Amadeus CRS distribution business area. It also offers computer software that automates processes such as reservations, inventory management software and departure control systems. It services customers including airlines, hotels, tour operators, insurers, car rental and railway companies, ferry and cruise lines, travel agencies and individual travellers directly. The company’s annual 2020 revenue were €2 billion and annual EPS was -$1.40. According to SeekingAlpha.com, “In the last decade Amadeus IT managed to grow its cash from operations every single year. The OCF-ratios on both a revenue and an equity level are exceptional. All the while management spends cash to grow the business via M&A and purchases of intangibles, but is also growing dividends each year for the shareholders. And as can be seen on both the balance sheets and cash flow statements, the company is managing its debt levels in a very prudent way. If there are no good businesses to buy, debt is retired.” SeekingAlpha also points out that the risk associated with investing in Amadeus is that most of its revenue is related to air travel. In the 15 years or so prior to 2020, the growth has been robust, but Coronavirus has clearly changed that and the short- and median-term future of global air travel remain to be seen. Twenty-one analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Amadeus IT Group SA have a median target of 66.76, with a high estimate of 88.06 and a low estimate of 49.16. Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than $120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. In 2020, the corporation generated $1.33 billion in annual revenue and had an annual EPS of -$4.42. Sabre Corporation (SABR) has returned 98% lower compared to NASDAQ composite. Four analysts offered 12-month price forecasts with a median target of 16.00, a high estimate of 18.00 and a low estimate of 13.00. Did we miss any great hotel stocks? Let us know via live chat!
The pandemic accelerated technological transformation across the hospitality industry. Contactless has become a must-have, fitness centers have gone virtual, guest communications have moved to mobile, and self-service has become standard. While some hotels found themselves rapidly deploying new technologies, other hotels have been playing the tech-long game for years. Here are some of the world’s most notable high-tech hotels. We've covered the tech strategies of great hotel groups like Viceroy and Noble House who implement everything from contactless check-in to digital concierge but this article focuses on some more wacky tech implementations with a bit of focus on form over function. This list features some pretty cool hi-tech gadgets and hotel room amenities that go above and beyond the typical flat-screen tv. Some of the cutting-edge technology on this list may off-put more traditional travelers but will undoubtedly hit the spot for tech-savvy millennials. Rather than layer technology onto the operation, these properties embed technology into the fabric of the operation, making it a focal point and key feature. Some use it as an Instagrammable moment at a specific location while others structure their entire brand around the tech-enabled guest experience. Either way, technology is front-and-center at these hotels. Henn Na Hotel, Japan “The Robot Hotel” Tokyo has become the marquee high-tech hotel. The brand concept is “commitment to evolution,” which appears across its operation in the form of robots. Lots of robots! The brand claims to be the world’s first hotel staffed by robots -- and there’s really no disputing that, as guests are greeted by robots at the front desk. At one property, the front desk is even staffed by dinosaur robots and iPad kiosks, which is quite the experience. Other high-tech features at some locations include a robot barista frothing lattes, espressos and teas, as well as a 360-degree VR space for guests to immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences. The hotel is also fully enabled with Wifi powered facial recognition, which eliminates the need for a hotel key altogether. Guests can access the property, and their individual guest rooms, seamlessly using biometrics. Very futuristic, indeed! YOTEL, New York City The YOTEL brand has been synonymous with technology since it opened its doors near Times Square. The showstopper was a massive robot arm dominating the lobby, providing automated luggage storage for guests (as well as safety deposit boxes to store valuables). The YOBOT also provides self-service check-in, which puts the brand far ahead of today’s contactless guest experience. The rooms -- called cabins -- may be small, but YOTEL uses technology to deliver its promise to “give you everything you need, and nothing you don’t.” This includes Smart TVs so that guests can connect their own devices and choose their own entertainment. The guest rooms also use motorized beds as space-savers and motion-activated sensors for lighting and AC to reduce carbon emissions. It’s all about efficiency, delivering an outsized guest experience in even the smallest spaces. Blow Up Hall 5050, Poland The Blow Up Hall 50/50 is an impressive mix of form and function. Designed by BAFTA-award-winning artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the hotel combines a restaurant, bar, gallery, and hotel into a unique vibe. There are several digital art installations, including a commentary on surveillance capitalism embedded right within the lobby. The property eliminates the traditional touchstones of the hotel experience: there’s no front desk. The guest’s smartphone provides access to the property, from check-in to room keys to staff communications. The phone also acts as a room finder: after opening the app, the assigned room lights up and the door unlocks automatically. It’s these small tech flourishes that reinforce the property’s sense of mystery and intrigue. Hotel Zetta, San Francisco At the center of Silicon Valley, the centerpiece of Hotel Zetta is most definitely its virtual reality room in the lobby. Designed by a local tech startup (naturally), the VR cube gives guests a fully-immersive opportunity to experience virtual reality. There are also Nintendo Switch consoles and Oculus VR headsets available so guests can experience next-generation technology in the comfort of their rooms. Other tech touchstones include a vintage Atari Pong table in the Zetta Suite, which is modernized to include both the classic game and a Bluetooth speaker to play personal playlists. Each guest room is also equipped with Alexa-enabled voice control in every room. Guests can order a meal from room service, set an alarm or learn about on-property dining specials. Kameha Grand, Zurich The Kameha Grand isn’t one of those kitschy places that you’re embarrassed to stay at. Quite the opposite: the high-end “lifestyle hotel” is part of Marriott’s Autograph collection. And, with rooms designed by Marcel Wenders, it’s got all of the trappings of a luxury property. Rooms Our favorite rooms are, of course, the Space Suites. It’s the most futuristic room type on this list because it quite literally connects to space. The in-room TV features a live feed from NASA TV so that you can fuel those space dreams. The atmospheric vibes will contribute to that dreamy feel, with “outer space furnishings have been designed down to the smallest detail with a floating bed, pictures of galaxies, hovering astronauts and models of rockets.” Far out! Virgin Hotels The Virgin Hotel brand has always been tech-forward and guest-centric. Even prior to the pandemic, the brand empowered guests to control their own experiences right from the palm of their hand. Now, those features are dramatically expanded to be even more contactless. Named Lucy, the app allows guests to skip check-in, using their phone to select rooms and unlock doors. Guests can also use the app to order room service, adjust room temperature, control entertainment (in-room streaming and Apple Music), plan their trip around the city, or even follow custom exercise routines by Fitbod. Following on smartly with its brand promise, the app also offers three preset lighting modes for guestrooms: Get Lit for full brightness, Get in the Mood for dimmed relaxation, and Do Not Disturb for sleep. By putting all of these elements together into a single interface, Virgin Hotels puts the guest in control. 25hours Hotels Another brand that’s focused on high-tech without losing high-touch hospitality is 25hours. Thanks to an in-house multidisciplinary think tank, the Extra Hour Lab, the brand experiments with new ways of engaging with guests, both through digital and analog channels. That balance plays out in Cologne, where the record store greets guests alongside Perhaps that’s one aspect that distinguishes the futuristic, high-tech hotels: those that understand how to inject storytelling into the experience alongside the latest technology. Cityhub A hybrid between a comfortable hotel and a convivial hostel, Cityhub is futuristic in both its technology and its approach to hospitality. It’s part of a new wave of brands that blend categories and use technology to enable a more social experience. The Cityhub brand has an app but it also takes a cue from Disney and offers RFID wristbands. These bands are used not only for check-in and property access, but also at the bar, cafe or vending machines, where guests can serve themselves and charge their rooms. Without having to constantly pull out their phones, there’s a more personal element to the experience. Each “hub” has its own customizable lighting, temperature and audio streaming, so guests can control their vibe. There’s also an on-property social network, giving guests a digital lobby to meet and plan real-world adventures. The Atari Hotel, Las Vegas (coming soon!) A notable mention is the upcoming Atari Hotel in Las Vegas. This property will blur the boundaries between hotel and immersive experience, building on Las Vegas’ long history of blending entertainment with hospitality. The experience is straight out of Blade Runner: bright lights, massive marquees, and an “everywhere you look” focus on gaming. The Atari Hotel points to a far-more futuristic vision of hotels than anything else on the market today. It very well could be the first hospitality experience built just as much for the virtual world as for the physical one. Guests can host friends in their rooms for gaming marathons, with consoles, batteries, and spare controllers available for delivery. The Atari Hotel may redefine the category and establish a new mainstream travel trend: the gamer circuit. -- What are your favorite high-tech hotel amenities? Let us know if we missed any key ones like hotels with crazy underwater speakers, air conditioning activated by motion sensors, cool touchscreen applications, and more!
Does creating a hotel marketing plan sound as intimidating as rocket science? Whether you’re opening a new hotel, rebranding an existing one, or stepping into a new hospitality industry marketing role, tackling your marketing plan is a daunting - yet essential - task. Without a plan, you could end up maxing out your marketing budget with little return on investment, targeting the wrong traveler segments, or using less than ideal technology tools. Putting in a little extra work early on will help your hotel compete effectively and efficiently, which is crucial to your hotel’s success both in periods of uncertain and strong demand. But how do you start your hotel marketing plan? Not to worry; we’ve built a simple step-by-step process for crafting hotel marketing strategies so it feels less like rocket science and more like building a Lego rocket. Just follow these nine steps and you’ll have a robust hotel marketing plan that will take your hotel to the stars (five-star reviews, that is). Looking for the pocket-sized version? Here’s your hotel marketing plan cheat sheet: Create a Google Sheet with your hotel’s benchmarking data Enhance your Google sheet with competitor data to best of your abilities Prepare a SWOT analysis Analyze CRM and PMS data to understand business mix and profitability by guest segment Present findings to your cross-functional team and ask for feedback Rate satisfaction of partners and tech vendors Create an ROI forecast for each tool Add KPI status tags Put together three budgets Let’s get started! 1. Create a Google Sheet with your hotel’s benchmarking data to set the stage for your marketing strategy The first step in developing your hotel marketing plan is to start with your current situation, from your current RevPAR to your social media following. We recommend mapping all of the below metrics in a Google Sheet, putting your hotel’s name at the top and all of these metrics, organized by category, in the rows beneath. Core metrics RevPAR: Revenue per Available Room. You can quickly find this number in your property management system. ADR: Average Daily Rate. This stat is also available in your property management system. CPA: Cost per Acquisition - i.e. what is the average cost of each reservation? This number can include OTA (online travel agencies) channel fees and any other booking fees. ROAS: Return on Ad Spend. Divide your ad spend (like Expedia TravelAds or Google Ads) by the revenue booked as a direct result of the ads to get your ROAS. Marketing as % of revenue: Add up all of your marketing spend, then divide it by your hotel’s total revenue. % direct bookings: The share of reservations that come through your direct channels (website, reservations office) versus other booking platforms like OTAs and the GDS. Brand awareness: What is your share of voice online? Different hotels calculate this metric differently but consistency is the most important thing here. A simple calculation could be to sum up the following metrics for your compset: web traffic + review volumes across major online portals such as Booking, Expedia, Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Yelp (these will vary based on market). Local business reviews on these portals typically equate to more traffic on those platforms. Advertising budget: List your marketing budget, including your target cost per click for ads. If you’re new to paid digital marketing, you can use a return on ad spend (ROAS) calculator to help you determine your ideal spend level, like this one. Social media marketing efficacy: List your follower counts and engagement rate for each of your social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Search engine optimization (SEO) Website traffic: The number of visitors to your hotel website in a given time period. You can find your traffic stats in your Google Analytics dashboard or website’s content management system. The hotel industry is notorious for outsourcing traffic to OTAs - organic search traffic is the most profitable traffic hoteliers can focus on because it has long-term value. Keywords: List your website’s top keywords - i.e. the search engine keywords where your website ranks highly. You can find them on Moz, SEMRush, or similar sites. Domain authority: This metric measures the likelihood that your website will rank highly in the search results. It’s a way to measure your website’s “strength.” You can look up your hotel website’s DA on Moz or SEMRush as well. Marketers often take this metric too literally, the important thing in SEO and online marketing, in general, is looking at metrics like this in relation to competitors. Funnel performance Website conversion rate: This metric compares the number of “lookers” to “bookers” on your website. Out of 100 website visitors, how many actually make a reservation? Website metrics: page load speed, first contentful paint, bounce rate and time on site are critical indicators of what's happening in the hotel booking funnel. Google's page experience update means that even if your not the best hotel you can still outrank those formidable competitors with a great hotel website. Booking engine conversion rate: Similar to your website conversion rate, but this metric only looks at shoppers who have actually entered your booking engine. What percentage of them end up finalizing a booking? Average basket size: The average price of a reservation added to a potential guest’s “basket.” 2. Enhance your Google sheet with competitor data to the best of your abilities Now, let’s put your benchmarking data in context by studying what your competitors are doing. First, you’ll want to gather a list of three to five close competitor properties. These competitors should be located in the same general area, offer similar amenities, and charge similar nightly rates as you do. Once you have decided on your competitor properties, add their names to the header row in the columns to the left of your own hotel’s column. Proceed to fill in the cells beneath with as much information as you have readily available. For instance, you can visit your competitor’s social media pages to take note of their follower counts. Some information will require a bit more digging. To find stats on competitor’s keywords, pay-per-click marketing, and website traffic, you can use a tool like SEMRush, iSpionage, or Google Ads’ Auction Insights. Moz and SEMRush also let you find the Domain Authority for any website, so you can simply enter your competitors’ websites to find their DA. Other metrics, like return on ad spend, cost per acquisition, and website conversion rate, will be harder to come by. If you have good relationships with your peers at your compset hotels, you can ask your competitors if they would be willing to exchange information for educational purposes. You can also ask for insights from OTA market managers or your technology vendor representatives. Another strategy is to take demos with digital marketing agencies and ask them what metrics or performance they would expect when using their tools. For instance, if you test-drive a booking engine, they should be able to share a ballpark conversion range based on similar clients’ performance. 3. Prepare a SWOT analysis With your competitors’ data lined up nicely next to yours, you can easily compare your performance to theirs. Using these metrics, conduct a SWOT analysis to determine how you stack up to the compset. This exercise will help to elucidate the marketing channels that will be most impactful for your business. A SWOT analysis helps you uncover your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It may be helpful to add a new column where you can add the appropriate label to the category. For instance, if your website conversion rate is higher than your compset average, you would add “Strength” in the SWOT column. Use these prompts to help you determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats: Strengths: What does your hotel do better than your compset? What sets you apart from your compset hotels? Weaknesses: What is your hotel not so good at? Where do you have resource limitations? For example, is your marketing budget much smaller than your compset’s budgets? Opportunities: Are only a few of your competitors doing this? For example, are none of your competitors engaging with their social media audiences? Threats: Does your hotel have any new competitors? Is a new hotel opening down the street? Will changing market dynamics push your ADR down? 4. Analyze CRM and PMS data to understand business mix and profitability by guest segment With your SWOT complete, let’s switch gears and look at your guest segments. Generate a report in your hotel CRM or PMS that shows your performance by guest mix - i.e. revenue, room nights, ADR, booking window, and similar metrics broken down by transient guests, corporate guests, groups, consortia, and any other relevant segments. Your Hotel CRM will also calculate RFM for various guest segments (recency, frequency, monetary value) to ensure that you focus your marketing efforts on the right channels with the right marketing messages. High-quality marketing strategies don't just think about high-level demographics when creating customer personas like age or gender - the best marketers are able to use data to understand their target audience better than the compset. Whether you're running display ads like remarketing campaigns or email marketing campaigns the language you use) resonates with the audience it's put in front of. Personalization is the key to persuading business travelers and leisure guests alike. Using this data, you can determine which guest segment is your most profitable, which one is the most expensive, which segments have seasonal trends, and more. Understanding your business mix and profitability metrics will help you decide which segments to target in your marketing plan and which ones might not deliver favorable financial results if you were to invest more marketing dollars. 5. Present findings to your cross-functional team and ask for feedback Of course, since you’ve only been looking at the hard numbers so far, it’s crucial to run your findings past a cross-functional team to get their take on your analysis. Bring your SWOT analysis and business mix analysis to the next leadership meeting - or call a special meeting with department heads to review your reports. Make sure to loop in sales, revenue management, and your GM so everyone can share their opinions. Give each team the opportunity to share their feedback, which can help you to validate and enrich your findings. 6. Rate satisfaction of partners and tech vendors Now it’s time to think about how you can achieve your goals laid out in the SWOT analysis. For instance, if you learned that your website conversion is lower than your compset or the industry average, how do you plan to increase it? Your marketing partners and technology vendors can be valuable assets here, so let’s audit each one to find areas of opportunity for growth - or potential reasons to switch to a new solution. Make a list of your partners and vendors, then ask key stakeholders to rate their satisfaction with each one (or rate them yourself). Match each vendor with a KPI from step 1; for example, your digital marketing agency would correspond to your marketing budget and social media presence, and your booking engine would correspond to your website and booking engine conversion rates. Some partners and vendors to consider include: Digital marketing agency Hotel CRM & email marketing software Booking engine Hotel website developer Metasearch software (and meta partners like TripAdvisor) Hotel website chatbot Reputation management and online reviews software Direct booking tools Upsell software 7. Create an ROI forecast for each tool and channel With your list of partners and vendors ready, and maybe a few items on your technology wishlist, let’s figure out the costs and potential impact for each tool. For tools you already use, you should be able to fill in cost numbers, whether that’s a commission on each reservation, a monthly fee, or a one-time investment. You can find the cost of tools you don’t already use via this very website (how convenient!) by submitting quotes to vendors on their “profile” pages. Besides costs, you’ll want to estimate the benefits these tools can deliver. For instance, if you invest in a new booking engine, it might increase your website conversion rate by 0.5%, which could lead to an additional $10,000 in booked revenue per month. Similarly, by implementing a CRM tool, the vendor could provide an estimate of additional revenue per contact in your email database by optimizing your email newsletters. Adding up all of the costs and potential revenue uplifts will give you an ROI forecast for each system on your list. 8. Add KPI status tags Keep up the good work, you’re almost there! Take your list of tools from step 6 (with their corresponding KPIs and ROI forecast) and combine it with your SWOT analysis. Simply match each KPI with the respective SWOT tag - strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat - to give context as to why you want to invest in each tool. For instance, if you identified your website conversion rate as a weakness compared to your compset, you would assign “weakness” as the status tag for your website developer or content management system. 9. Put together three budgets Now let’s sum it all up! The final step is to prepare three budgets - high, medium, and low - based on light or heavy investment in marketing tools and strategies. You might want to consider three different levels of ad spend, three different website options (i.e. standard, deluxe, and fully loaded packages), and some tools that would be nice to have but maybe not totally essential. Come up with a rationale for each and why you think spending more would yield better results for ownership, then get ready to present it for approval. Well, that wasn’t so bad! In just nine steps, you’ve created a comprehensive hotel marketing plan with not just one budget, but three, plus you’ve outlined clear KPIs you want to hit and buy-in from other hotel departments. Still have questions about your hotel marketing plan? Get started with the template below but don't feel restricted to our process - every hotel business is different so you need to customize for your individual or portfolio property needs.
Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hotel tech jobs and employers globally. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the hotel industry. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that 121 million of the 330 million jobs tied to tourism around the world will be lost in 2020. Despite existential challenges, hotels and their vendors have proven resilient in the face of the biggest challenge ever posed to the hospitality industry by working together. But there’s always opportunity in crisis. The pandemic has advanced digitization in the global economy by at least 5 years according to most experts. Hotels that already had adopted technology like contactless check-in and guest messaging software have had a massive advantage since the pandemic broke out and the importance of technology for running a successful hotel business will continue to rise over the coming years meaning that demand for hotel technology talent will grow with it. Here at Hotel Tech Report, we’ve interviewed countless hoteliers about their journeys from being hoteliers into lucrative technology careers like Del Ross, Marco Benvenuti, Sameer Umar, and Kevin Brown. For hoteliers furloughed on the sidelines, there is an unprecedented opportunity to pivot into a technology career leveraging skills and knowledge from hospitality experience. But which hotel tech companies should you apply to? Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of hotel tech professionals to find the best companies to work for in the hospitality industry. We ask respondents to rate their employers from 1-10 on these key variables: Work-life balance Personal development opportunities Gender equality Confidence in company direction Values alignment 2021 Bonus Question: Rate your firm’s COVD-19 crisis response Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality tech jobs and (2) to help hotel tech buyers understand that it’s just as important to partner with great organizations as it is to find great software tools and products. Vendor culture is important to every aspect of a vendor relationship: Product: Great workplaces attract the best talent who make the best products Customer Support: Happy client reps give better service and stay around longer developing deeper relationships. Sales: When a sales team has high turnover, innovation gets strangled because there isn’t enough cash coming in the door to invest in innovation. Our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list features companies who foster wonderful work environments for employees. In return, those employees deliver incredible products and services to clients. Without further adieu here are 2021’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech… 10. Siteminder (TIE) Right before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, industry leader Siteminder reached an incredible milestone earning itself unicorn status. Under the stewardship of CEO Sankar Narayan the firm quickly composed itself when the pandemic broke out and began rolling out initiatives to support both employees and customers like its World Hotel Index sharing real-time data with the industry when historical data just wouldn’t cut it. Siteminder has an internal slack channel called #stayingsocial dedicated strictly to team members having a social communal space in the age of remote work. This is pretty typical for a small startup but much rarer in the world of 700 employee behemoths. The great part about working at a large startup-like Siteminder is that there’s almost limitless upward mobility according to one employee working in operations at the firm, “They allow me opportunities to take on more responsibilities that are even beyond my scope to develop my skills and prep me up for bigger roles. They also give leadership training to enhance to continue developing my capabilities.” If you’re looking for a fast-paced global startup on a world domination path - then you should absolutely be dropping a resume at Siteminder. The best part is that they’ve got offices all around the world so even if you prefer the WFH life your colleagues shouldn’t be too far away no matter where you call home. 10. Atomize (TIE) This is Atomize’s first time making Hotel Tech Report’s annual Best Places to Work list but we doubt it will be their last. In true Swedish fashion Atomize rates amongst the highest on the list for gender equality with a 50% ratio of men to women on its leadership team. Atomize also rates very highly for culture alignment with a score of 97.8%. Perhaps the biggest standout for Atomize was how highly employees rated the firm’s COVID-19 response and support for clients during a crisis. “Everyone from finance to product development has chipped in to try to support clients. We have for instance developed a relief-program for those that are hurting really bad, we have updated the product to amend for the large drop in occupancy for hotels, etc,” one Atomize executive told Hotel Tech Report. Atomize made it through COVID-19 without a single layoff which is a testament to the longevity of the business and its and commitment to team members. During the crisis Atomize stayed calm, launched the 2.0 version of their core RMS product, and even found time to bring the team together for a BBQ this summer during a slow down in transmission rates. 9. Hotel Effectiveness Georgia (the U.S. state not the country) based Hotel Effectiveness is in the business of helping hotel owners more efficiently manage labor but the question is: how well do they manage their own labor? It turns out they do a pretty darned good job at fostering internal culture. Prior to the pandemic labor costs were the biggest focus area for most hotel ownership and management groups - despite the shift in focus Hotel Effectiveness managed to grow through the pandemic all while placing a heavy emphasis on quality of life for employees. Team members cite a high percentage of employees being groomed from junior roles into leadership positions, flexible PTO programs, and strong opportunities for women. PTO is great but Hotel Effectiveness management goes one step further where they encourage team members to completely unplug and not even check email during their vacation. Adding icing to the cake, employees raved about the firm’s response to COVID-19 where it was able to grow without any layoffs needed. One engineer raved about the Company’s COVID-19 response, “Hotel Effectiveness immediately shifted priorities specifically to address the changing needs of our clients. Hotel Effectiveness provided new guidance materials, payment options, and built new features (such as Daily Wellness Check-In) under tight deadlines to meet the new needs of our customers.” 8. EasyWay Big congrats to the first-ever Israeli startup to make this list! If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv or the Start-up Nation (Israel), perhaps a job interview with EasyWay is the excuse you needed to visit one of the most amazing cities in the world packed with beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a foodie scene that’s truly in a league of its own. EasyWay is the quintessential startup with a mentality that so long as you hit your KPIs - the rest of your life is totally flexible. An EasyWay executive’s quote to Hotel Tech Report about the last 12-months at the company says it all, “The work around the clock in the COVID-19 time was crazy. We have developed so much stuff, that I almost miss this period. We've learned a lot from that, and staid on our feet! The rest of the team was great and it really gave me confidence in my own abilities. If you're the kind of person who likes to work hard and play hard - you’d be wise to check out EasyWay’s open positions. 7. Asksuite This is Asksuite’s second year making the list and true to their commercial team’s motto “rockets don’t have reverse”, even a pandemic couldn’t slow down this high flying Brazilian startup. Florianopolis may not be a hotel tech hub (yet) but the Asksuite team has access to lessons in language, hospitality and other training to upskill their way into global domination. During the pandemic, leaders have made themselves available for 1:1 meetings to support all colleagues and perhaps it’s this close communication that leads Asksuite employees to rate 98% confidence in the future success of the firm. Asksuite employees frequently cite an onboarding process that makes all team members feel like a part of the family in short order. 6. RoomRaccoon Despite the pandemic RoomRaccoon doubled the firm’s headcount in 2020 and achieved a major milestone in reaching 1,000 clients. Employees frequently cite similar aspects of the culture as differentiators like their annual international week at the Netherlands headquarters and an inclusive onboarding program. One employee within the marketing department told Hotel Tech Report, “This year RoomRaccoon decided to start hiring more new colleagues against the market trend of furlough and letting people go. To smoothen the onboarding process of our new hires we've created an E-learning program and two intensive onboarding weeks. So far we've onboarded 15 new hires since July 2020 that immediately are getting results. Something I'm really proud of!” If you’re looking for an ambitious organization with a strong remote culture and complementary annual trips to the Netherlands - don’t hesitate and check out open listings at RoomRaccoon. 5. Alliants The Alliants story is the cure to the common venture funded business gone wrong story. Alliants built the business developing custom software for ultra luxury hotel brands like Four Season and Jumeirah before ever dipping their toes into the SaaS world. That means they’ve got killer products, an eye for design and engineering to back it up. Starting in a consultative role for luxury brands has afforded Alliants a luxury not many early stage SaaS products have - cash flow. How would this impact you when you apply for a role there? Alliants employees are given a $5,000 stipend to invest in their own education and training. Whether it’s a paid marketing course or intro to Ruby on Rails - at Alliants you will be able to create your own journey and take control of your destiny. Have you ever had a boss block your calendar so people can’t book meetings with you? Well, Alliants employees have. During winter months with less daylight, CEO Tristan Gadsby blocked the entire team’s calendars from 11:30am - 1:30pm to encourage team members to get outside, walk or simply catch some rays. If that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will. 4. ALICE This ain’t ALICE’s first rodeo, well it’s their fourth if we want to be precise about it. ALICE has made Hotel Tech Report’s Best Places to Work list 4 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). ALICE is an incredible place to work for former hoteliers because employees truly act as a strategic extension of their partner properties. During the pandemic, ALICE quickly pivoted to rollout closure checklists and other free assets to help partners quickly reconfigure their operations for the new normal. “The most memorable achievement while working at ALICE this past year was being able to provide support for our employees during the pandemic. The pandemic-related fatigue and anxiety impacted everyone and in different ways. We were able to provide support to our employees through group therapy sessions, health and wellness initiatives, increased one-on-one check-ins regarding fatigue, increased opportunities for learning and connection with one another virtually. I am so proud of how the leadership at ALICE has led us through the most difficult time in our industry's history, and with such care for both our customers, our industry as a whole, and our employees,” says one ALICE team member in an HR role. Just as important as supporting clients through COVID-19 is supporting colleagues. ALICE team members were constantly comforted that management understood the stress and challenges they were facing during this historic yet tragic year, encouraging an environment of transparency and honesty about how to cope with natural distractions from work in times of stress. 3. hotelkit Austria-based hotelkit is another repeat visitor on this list moving up from 4th to 3rd place. Founded in 2012 by hotelier Marius Donhauser, hotelkit is a majority female-run business that’s growing rapidly but responsibly throughout Europe. hotelkit’s team motto is “one team one dream” and while the team had to work remotely for a good portion of the year, colleagues are hopeful that 2021 will bring back the annual hotelkit Christmas party famous for great eats and poker. Under Marius’ leadership, hotelkit has fostered a culture that feels like family so it’s no wonder that employees rate the culture so highly across every single vector. 2. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds may be the fastest-growing hotel tech company right now so while their headquarters are in sunny San Diego the Company has got Silicon Valley energy pumping through its veins. Not to mention, Cloudbeds is extremely global with local managers in 40 countries. On March 11th (yes that’s right when COVID-19 took the world by storm) Cloudbeds announced the closing of an $80M funding round. Cloudbeds employees tend to share two main things in common: (1) they are extremely performance-driven and (2) they LOVE to travel. One Cloudbeds employee within the operations department told Hotel Tech Report, “I managed to get promoted on my 1 anniversary day at Cloudbeds, I was so happy and everyone was so attentive to me during this process. Cloudbeds is an amazing company, full of amazing individuals, it's so nice to see the owners in our calls and engaged with us all at all times. I used to think I had worked at good companies, till I met Cloudbeds. This is where I want to stay and grow. It will be hard for any other company to take me from here.” Cloudbeds has TONS of openings so make sure to browse their career page if you’re in the market. 1. Mews This is Mews’ 3rd year making the list ranking #2 in 2019 and #3 in 2020 - but this is their first year topping the list which is a testament to the strong culture at the firm. Like most fast-growing companies, the pandemic wreaked havoc on projections and business plans for Mews leading to some difficult decisions needing to be made. Mews not only came through what was maybe the darkest moment in the history of the hotel industry but came out stronger than ever before. Mews leadership set a strong course for the business cutting expenses, reorganizing the team, rebranding, focusing on remote deployments, and even making an acquisition. Quite a busy year - even if things had been normal. Mews management has created one of those infectious startup cultures that can almost feel cult-like at times often intoxicating entire trade show floors (pre-COVID). It’s not often that employees at an aggressive high-performance tier 1 venture-backed business get to see their founder dancing through a town hall (affectionately named Mews Con) in a silly costume. Mews pivoted from hyper-growth mode into a sharp focus on profitability right-sizing the business and is poised to come out of the pandemic far stronger than it went in. Lots of open roles to check out and we’re sure that list will continue to grow over the coming months.
Marketing Category Press Releases
This week, dailypoint™ earned Hotel Tech Report’s level III Global Customer Support Certification (GCSC) for its investments into tools, processes and strategies to ensure the ongoing success of its customers across the four of the key pillars of the GCSC Rubric including: pre-emptive support, reactive support, coaching and customer validation. The Hotel Tech Report GCSC certification program analyzes software vendors along critical dimensions of customer support infrastructure in order to help hoteliers minimize risk and maximize positive outcomes when selecting technology partners. In order to become certified, companies must open their internal systems to Hotel Tech Report for assessment along HTR’s rigorous 34-point GCSC Rubric. “When it comes to the email marketing and CRM for hotels there is not always a clear and obvious answer but rather there are constantly evolving best practices to make sure you are maintaining a clean database and strong email reputation to ensure your campaigns are successful. The dailypoint team not only has great self service support via their help center and ticketing systems to answer questions but they also have an academy for customers to learn best practices and constantly grow their knowledge which is just as critical,” Hotel Tech Report co-founder Adam Hollander. "Even the best software will not be successful in the long run if the support does not offer the same high level. For dailypoint the quality of the support and account management team is a core element of our philosophy and a main guarantee of our growth." Dr. Michael Toedt, CEO @ dailypoint™ The below GCSC assessment outlines the verified systems and processes that dailypoint™ has in place to educate, train, retain and support customers. dailypoint™'s GCSC Assessment Summary Rubric Score: 27/34 Certification Level: Level III Customer Orientation: Customer Centric Recommendation: Recommended Support Team Size: 7 Support Team Leaders: Claus Kannewurf, Executive Director of Service & Support Certification Period: February 2021-February 2022 Support Stack: Jira, dailypoint, Youtube, Wistia, Manula, Microsoft Teams, Userlane GCSC Support Rubric Section I: Pre-Emptive Support The Pre-Emptive support pillar of the GSCG Scoring Rubric audits the tools and processes the vendor has in place to provide customers with easy access to self-help resources. These self-help resources serve as a basis to offer easy troubleshooting as well as to preempt answers to product related questions before they arise providing a more intuitive and seamless experience for clients. The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that dailypoint™ has in place for clients: 1.1 Online knowledge base/help center: Vendor offers a searchable help center for customers to easily find answers to common customer questions. 2.1 Online training videos: Vendor offers pre-recorded videos that clients can access 24/7 for self-teaching and deeper product knowledge. 3.1 In-app guided tours: Vendor offers in-app guided tours that are embedded within their interface to provide coaching and education for users to organically discover and easily access while using the product. (NEW, Updated Feb '21) 3.2 Tooltips: Vendor offers helpful tips and hints presented when users hover over buttons and UI elements in the interface. (min of 10 in-app tooltips) 4.1 Implementation documentation/roadmap: Vendor offers clients a visual map of the steps, processes and stakeholders upon onboarding to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned to make the implementation process more seamless. GCSC Support Rubric Section II: Reactive Support The Reactive Support Pillar assesses the company's responsiveness to clients and their ability to resolve issues quickly when they arise ensuring prompt response and service to clients. The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that dailypoint™ has in place for clients: 1.2 Transparent process: Vendor has opened up their systems to Hotel Tech Report via screen share to verify their tools and processes in place to deliver customer support. 1.3 Email support or phone support: Vendor at least one of the traditional methods of customer support channels, email or phone support (additional channels: phone, chat, email) 1.4 Multi-lingual support: Vendor offers support in the languages where they have active clients (English, German) 1.5 Purpose built support and ticket management tool: Vendor utilizes professional customer support software that has functionality to effectively manage support tickets, followup, escalations and analytics. 2.2 Live Chat support: Vendor offers website or in-app live chat as an alternative customer support channel. 3.3 Contract SLAs: Vendor has service level agreement (SLA) terms in place in client contracts to guarantee that service levels are upheld. 3.5 Feature request tracking: Vendor offers the ability for clients to easily submit feature requests and has a methodology in place for escalating high priority features. 4.5 Verified Contract SLA monitoring: Vendor has SLA terms fully integrated into their customer support software that has automatic notifications ensuring that SLA's are monitored and upheld. GCSC Support Rubric Section III: Customer Success & Coaching While keeping customers happy is commonly thought of by software companies as the top priority, keeping them well informed is of equal importance. The third pillar of the GCSC Rubric identifies the key ways that vendors inform, educate and train their customers to realize successful outcomes with their products. The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that dailypoint™ has in place for clients: 1.7 Customer satisfaction monitoring (ex. NPS surveys, CSAT): Vendor has processes in place to regularly monitor customer satisfaction. 2.3 Product updates/changes (release notes/changelog): Vendor offers easily accessible robust documentation of feature updates and product improvements to educate clients on new ways to maximize usage of the product. 2.4 Quarterly success check ins: Vendor offers [at least] quarterly customer success check ins to review progress, share best practices and ensure that clients are successful and happy with the product or service. 3.6 Performance reporting: Vendor offers reporting and analytics to show clients the value of the product or service. 3.4 Managed Services: Vendor offers additional consulting and managed services to help clients maximize their usage of the product. 4.9 Dedicated customer success monitoring software: Vendor utilizes dedicated customer success software to monitor product usage and coach users to succeed with the product. 4.10 Customer conference: Vendor produces an in-person or online user conference to build a community, share product updates and educate users on best practices. GCSC Support Rubric Section IV: Customer Validation The GCSC’s 34-point rubric and Hotel Tech Report’s verification of internal tools and processes validate the vendor's systems in place; however, the validation of the success of these tools and processes can most significantly be validated by the unbiased perspectives of real hotelier customers. This pillar looks at unbiased verified client reviews and satisfaction scores to validate that the processes in place are working in the eyes of customers based on their satisfaction ratings. The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that dailypoint™ has in place for clients: 2.5 4-star avg. customer support rating: Vendor has outstanding customer support ratings averaging more than 4/5 across all client reviews. 3.7 Public Feedback Validation: Vendor shows exemplary client relationships and is a top performer on Hotel Tech Report with more than 50+ verified client reviews. (NEW, Updated Feb '21) About the Hotel Tech Report Global Customer Support Certification (GCSC) Support is one of the most critical aspects of the vendor selection process and yet historically there has never been a way to know the quality of a company’s support, until now. Using Hotel Tech Report’s proprietary framework, companies are assessed along four key dimensions: pre-emptive support, reactive support, coaching/success and client validation to provide hoteliers unprecedented levels of transparency to more easily identify top technology partners.
15 technology companies have come together to create transparency for hotel technology buyers around the world. The initiative, facilitated by Hotel Tech Report, rates hotel software vendor customer support processes on more than 30 key variables to help buyers make better partner decisions. Each year hotel owners lose billions of dollars due to software downtime and unused features. By leveraging the new GCSC Global Customer Support Certification, hoteliers can confidently enter new technology partnerships with transparency into the support systems that are in place to mitigate such issues. Software inevitably goes down and great customer support is the best defense against steep losses. Hoteliers who work with Hotel Tech Report Support Certified vendors also know that those partners have invested in training materials and content to ensure that their teams have everything they need to realize successful outcomes. The certification creates accountability in the vendor community to maintain the highest levels of service for clients through an annual audit by analysts at Hotel Tech Report, the world’s largest technology research platform and online community for the global hotel industry. Leading firms such as Mews Systems, OTA Insight and IDeaS Revenue Solutions have been key supporters of this new industry standard which paves the path for better relationships between technology firms and their hotel clients. “We initially came to Hotel Tech Report with a simple concept. Our hypothesis was that companies with great customer support would be happy to grant full transparency around their support KPIs with Hotel Tech Report and that companies with subpar support would never give that kind of access. The team at HTR has brought that concept to life and we’re proud to give full transparency into how we engage, educate and support our customers on a global scale. Ultimately this support certification is an easy way for hoteliers to identify the companies who really treat their clients as partners - it’s a gamechanger for the industry,” says Richard Valtr, Founder of Mews Systems. Decision makers at hotel groups often spend months researching software feature functionality and pricing - but rarely are they able to develop deep insights into how the relationship changes and the level of support their team will receive once the contract is signed. “Hoteliers are constantly rated by parties like JD Power and AAA on the service they deliver to guests which ultimately helps guests find the best hotels. With this initiative, hoteliers can now benefit from the peace of mind that comes with knowing their future vendors have not only been pre-vetted for professional customer support prior to contract lock-in but they can also easily learn about which tools and processes are most important and which one’s prospective vendors have invested in to help them succeed beyond deal close.” ~Adam Hollander, Hotel Tech Report Poor customer support is incredibly costly for both hotel software buyers and sellers. For buyers, poor customer support from technology vendors can lead to lost revenue, poor guest satisfaction and weak ROIs on technology spend. “When a booking engine goes down hoteliers can lose thousands of dollars each minute. What if it takes 24-hours to reach their vendor’s support team and fix the issue? Hoteliers rarely anticipate, let alone, calculate these kinds of costs when signing up with a new vendor because they’re out of sight and out of mind. Once it happens to them they go into a panic and wish they knew ahead of time,” says Hollander. Another benefit of strong customer engagement processes is maximization of software feature functionality. A study conducted on 3.8M software users shows that $30B is wasted each year on unused software in the U.S. alone. Vendors that meet Hotel Tech Report’s support certification have been pre-vetted for the tools and processes necessary to ensure that hotel teams will be properly trained on all feature functionality which ultimately helps them maximize their investments in software and achieve higher ROIs on their software spend. "45% of software features across the SaaS sector never get used. This is a huge waste. While OTA Insight's usage stats show that the intuitive features in our tools are very well used, we strive for more than just delivering software that works properly; we're committed to ensuring that clients can maximize their investments by ensuring our products and functionality are simple, intuitive and add value. With a heavy focus on customer feedback and input, this informs our ongoing product development," says James Parsons of OTA Insight. Founding members of the GCSC Customer Support Certification rallied across the globe to bring this initiative to life. Each founding member granted Hotel Tech Report access to their internal systems for the team to rate service delivery with its proprietary support certification framework. Founding Members of the Global Support Certification include: Mews Systems (Prague) IDeaS (Minneapolis) OTA Insight (London) TrustYou (Munich) Travel Tripper (New York) Hotelchamp (Amsterdam) Oaky (Amsterdam) Revinate (San Francisco) D-EDGE (Paris) Pace (London) Beekeeper (Zurich) RevControl (Eindhoven) Hotel Effectiveness (Atlanta) GuestRevu (Port Alfred) Stardekk (Brugge) The GCSC Global Customer Support Certification is now live for hotel technology suppliers to apply for certification. This budget season, for the first time ever, hotel tech buyers can easily vet customer support for future vendors and access support certification details right from company profiles on Hotel Tech Report. Learn more about the certification
Registration is now open for the 2020 HotelTechAwards (www.hoteltechawards.com), the industry's only data driven awards platform that recognizes best of breed hotel technology companies who win in the eyes of the judges that matter most - their customers. 2019 winners of the HotelTechAwards included top hotel technology companies such as TravelClick, Beekeeper, Screen Pilot, Atomize and Oaky. New York based ALICE won "The Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech" edging out runner up Mews Systems (10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech). "Revenue generation and operations have become very complex for hotels, threatening profitability and detracting from the customer experience. The answer lies in innovative technology solutions, which can disrupt the disruptors. The HotelTechAwards recognize these technologies and their beneficial impact on the future of our industry." says Marc Heyneker, CEO at Revinate, one of the hotel tech industry's most recognized brands and 2019’s top rated Hotel CRM. Companies are competing for category leadership across marketing, revenue management, guest experience, operations and sales technology. Hotel technology companies ranging from hardware to software and service businesses like digital marketing agencies are eligible for nomination. More than 40 companies around the world have already pre-registered for the competition. Registration closes on September 1st. Voting will take place through December 31, 2019 and winners of the 2020 HotelTechAwards will be announced on January 15, 2020. "As a former hotelier there was ultimately one thing my team wanted to know about prospective technology partners," says Jordan Hollander, co-founder of Hotel Tech Report. "We wanted to know what other hoteliers like us thought about the service providers, that they were tried and true and that the company could deliver on their sales promises. The HotelTechAwards were designed to do exactly that - they help hoteliers see what people like them honestly think about products and services to help them make better decisions for their properties." Learn more about the HotelTechAwards and register now at www.hoteltechawards.com
For the past 3-months, more than one hundred of the hotel industry's top tech firms across 40+ countries have campaigned in the 2018 HotelTechAwards joining in Hotel Tech Report's mission by leveraging customer feedback and transparency to speed up the pace of global innovation. Companies competed for the coveted top spot across 30 critical categories of hotel technology and today, Hotel Tech Report is proud to announce the 2018 winners. The HotelTechAwards segment top technologies into the following categories: Marketing - technology that attracts new customers Revenue - technology that optimizes distribution and informs business strategy Operations - technology that helps hotels run efficiently Guest Experience - technology that differentiates the guest stay at a hotel Hotel Tech Report's global hotelier community rallied behind participating top vendors by contributing invaluable qualitative product feedback as well as more than 7,500 data points across key metrics including: ease of use, customer service, implementation, ROI and likelihood to recommend (learn more about scoring) to help determine winners. So what is the significance of the HotelTechAwards? "For the first time, hoteliers can reference an unbiased source of information provided by their peers and verified by a 3rd party to help them easily learn about and discover the best technology for their hotels. Hoteliers can often be slow to adopt new technology. The reality is that they're slow for a reason--the wrong choice in a vendor can risk both their hotel's profitability and even their personal career" says Hotel Tech Report's Adam Hollander. "Whether its lost revenue from a poorly optimized mobile website, a lawsuit from a security system that failed to record or a hit to their P&L from a poorly calibrated revenue management system--hoteliers are justified in being especially cautious during the technology vendor selection process. The HotelTechAwards serve as a platform to help educate hoteliers and keep their respective hotels competitive in a world where tech giants like Airbnb and Expedia are looking more like their compset than ever." Quantitative data is extremely important for selecting the right technology for any hotel company. What is the ROI? What’s the uplift in conversion, how does a product improve guest satisfaction scores or decrease service response times? Quantitative data drives the promises made by vendors during the sales process. Subjective data from unbiased customer reviews enables decision makers to see how well vendors deliver on those promises. The winners of the HotelTechAwards are the companies who have both world class products and incredibly strong relationships with their customers. To all of the companies (view all) who embraced customer feedback and transparency by campaigning in the 2018 HotelTechAwards, we commend you for your service to the industry at large and are now proud to present to you--the winners of the 2018 HotelTechAwards: Bonus Feature: The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech
MARKETING Category Overview
Historically hotel marketers have been focused on PR and community engagement; however, in today's digital distribution landscape it is critical for hotel marketers to be tech savvy and know how to use the proper tools. Just as a major tech company wouldn't hire a sales rep who can't use Salesforce or Marketo - your hotel should avoid candidates who don't know how to operate the tech tools needed to properly market your hotel.
Here are some of the critical software and service categories that every hotel marketer must be familiar with to succeed.
Every hotel (branded or independent) needs a digital marketing agency partner. The OTAs are taking guests away from you and charging 15%+ commission on each booking. What digital marketing agencies do is make sure that your property is interacting with your guests throughout the entire booking journey and that these prospective guests are ultimately booking directly through your website. The channels and strategies involved in any agency's approach and are highly customized to each property. Using a blended approach to media distribution and channel distribution in addition to behavioral and personalization techniques both on and off website, a digital marketing agency should drive incremental direct bookings for your hotel.
Key Digital Marketing Agency Services:
- Website development
- Email marketing
- Metasearch management
- Social media management
- Paid advertising
Top Hotel Digital Marketing Agencies:
- Screen Pilot
- Travel Tripper
- Net Affinity
- Incite Response
- Lights on Digital
- Milestone Internet
An internet booking engine is essentially the shopping cart equivalent for a hotel website and it’s sole purpose is to drive and convert direct bookings. A good booking engine is optimized for conversion by providing a seamless booking process where your guests can view rates and room types and complete a booking as simply as possible. An effective booking engine should map data directly into your property management system through a channel manager.
Key Booking Engine Features:
- Channel Manager Integration: To ensure that your room inventory across all of your online channels is automatically updated, it’s vital that your booking engine integrates with your channel manager.
- Mobile & Social Media Compatibility: It is absolutely essential that your booking engine works seamlessly on mobile and is compatible with the social media websites that your hotel is listed on.
- Data Collection: Your booking engine should provide you with transparent, in-depth insights that will allow you to find demand and booking patterns.
- Flexible to Your Hotels Needs: Does the booking engine display the languages and currency that your guests are familiar with? Does it provide online voucher redemption or does it offer wedding and corporate booking modules? These are some questions to determine if the booking engine is flexible to your hotel’s needs.
- Set up, Service & Support: Perhaps the most important point of all is service i.e. how you are looked after by your provider. What is their set up, ongoing support and training like? Do they make you feel special? Is your business important to them?
- Net Affinity
- Travel Tripper RezTrip
- Cloudbeds Mybookings
- TravelClick iHotelier
- SiteMinder BookingButton
- SHR Windsurfer
- Sabre Synxis
- Vertical Booking
Direct Booking Platforms boost the performance of your current website and booking engine with tools that add a layer of personalization to your website. The most effective platforms track user behavior on hotel websites and then serve tailored messages and promotions based on that behavior - for example, an early-bird offer to a guest searching six months in advance of their stay. Platform providers with significant data scale are able to automate much of the optimization experience by constantly feeding their learnings from thousands of websites back into the platform for the benefit of every client. Providing the right message at the right time improves the guest experience and has a significant impact on direct bookings (reducing OTA commission costs for the hotel). A Direct Booking Platform enables a hotelier to test and optimize their website content in order to increase conversion. With every booking, hoteliers can learn to target and convert more guests.
- Pricing and Parity Data Accuracy & Insights: Industry-leading pricing and parity data accuracy accompanied by accessible information on undercut breakdown, undercut rate vs conversion rate, parity
- Price Comparison Widget: Customizable price comparison widget, regularly UX tested on real guests to optimize design
- Message Targeting: Targeted messaging with advanced segmentation and triggering capabilities
- Automated Live Chat: An AI chatbot designed to answer specific questions about your hotel so your staff can focus their energy elsewhere.
- Drag-n-Drop Customization: A self-service online message builder allowing hoteliers to create personalized, customized messages easily (either from templates or from scratch) and to view results and edit instantly.
- Hospitality grade: Live chat features designed specifically for hoteliers including PCI compliant, secure card detail collection and image/pdf uploads.
- Analytics & Reporting: A quick view dashboard displaying graphs and metrics for conversion data, direct booking trends over time and additional performance data and insights.
- Data Driven Experimentation: A dedicated data science team focussed on running accurate product tests and drawing industry and hotel specific insights from extensive data.
Upselling software gives your hotel the ability to get more spend from the same guest, by providing valuable services, offered at the right time and at the right price to the right guest. When done properly, upselling results in more incremental revenue and a better guest experience.
- PMS Integration: Automated connection with database (PMS/Channel Manager/OTA). A 2-way integration with your property management system can dramatically increase efficiency but upsell software can be operated without it.
- Exclusion Lists: Possibility to exclude guests from receiving the offering.
- Easy to use and cross-device: Easy to use platform for guests to redeem offers on any device.
- Real time reporting: Gain insights through analytics and reporting to improve over time.
- Customizable CMS: Helps ensure that staff is able to update, customize and test offers in real time.
- Multi-language: support Your guests come from all over, make sure you are able to reach all of them.
- Email Automation: Automatic offer, redemption and confirmation emails.
- GDPR Compliance: Make sure your provider meets EU data protection privacy standards.
- Exclusion Lists: Possibility to exclude guests from receiving the offering.
Reputation and review management solutions aggregate all forms of guest feedback from across the web to help hoteliers read, respond, and analyze the feedback in an efficient manner. 95% of guests read reviews prior to making a booking decision, and after price, reviews are the most important decision variable when booking a hotel. With reputation and review management solutions, hotels can positively impact the reviews and ratings that travelers are seeing when making a booking decision.
- Review Aggregation: For many hotels, the most important review channels include their own guest satisfaction survey, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Google. If these review sites are not included as part of the solution, the hotel will have to duplicate their review management efforts.
- Enterprise Visibility: For hoteliers who oversee multiple hotels, or sit at a corporate level, the option to view and report on behalf of all managed properties is a definite requirement for usability and effectiveness.
- Semantic analysis: Simply reading through or scanning reviews will not provide a hotelier any insight into how to improve, but with aggregated review summaries provided by semantic text analysis, hoteliers can start to see what's most positively and negatively impacting their rating.
- KPI Reporting: Hoteliers often need to provide reports on their KPIs, i.e. response rate, in order to meet the required status quo. To make them easier to track, they can be downloaded directly from the hotelier’s account or automatically scheduled via email.
- Competitor Benchmarking: When hoteliers are searching for a hotel, they are comparing the scores of a hotel's competitive set. Understanding and tracking how your hotel is performing in comparison to the competition is a key component to driving bookings.
Effective metasearch management software and digital marketing campaigns help hoteliers drive revenue, attract new customers, and achieve greater business goals. The tools and services provided by a metasearch management software enable travel brands to maximize their digital reach. This in turn, allows them to grow their business and increase their profitability.
- Robust Reporting: Metasearch campaigns can have hundreds of thousands of data points and complex bidding layers. You’ll want the ability to access reporting that is robust, customizable, and in alignment with your internal numbers and business goals.
- Bid Management: Automated bidding features allow you to apply the best bidding model to fit your company’s goals, constraints, and data. This gives you the freedom to choose exactly how to bid for your campaigns and implement custom algorithms to maximize results.
- Custom Labels: Labeling or tagging features allow campaign managers to set both automated and one-off grouping of properties based on any custom value. If you’re managing metasearch for hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of properties, labels are a necessary feature for organizing your campaigns and identifying trends.
- Property Content Management: Reporting that is informed by rich property-level data, enables you to add geographic context to broad reports and bring in extremely granular hotel attributes for a more detailed analysis.
- Intelligent Targeting: Audience targeting involves setting bids for specific groups of customers. The ability to segment your metasearch campaigns by audience is an important feature for reaching your target customers with your ads.