There are only so many hours in a day, so when it comes to staying on top of the latest hospitality industry news and trends, you don’t want to waste time. Quality matters. You want to invest your time in news sources with the deepest domain expertise, those that give you timely news as well as deep-dive analysis to keep you informed and prepared. To help you be most efficient with your media consumption budget, we decided to rank the top hotel new sites. What makes a great hotel news site? First and foremost is industry expertise. You want coverage that's incisive and poignant, getting right to the heart of the matter with a firm grasp on the broader industry trends. You also want clear writing that demonstrates how a topic impacts the industry. Ideally, you also want good storytellers, who can make dry business topics more interesting. To rank the best hotel news sites, we used the following parameters: editorial quality, domain expertise, publication frequency, quality of the website experience and its Alexa ranking. We also looked primarily at outlets with a significant online presence serving mostly English-speaking audiences. No doubt this post will be controversial! Of course, these are subjective rankings which do favor larger publications with bigger budgets to deliver quality news and analysis reliably. Even so, these are all reliable sources for your daily hotel news fix. As an industry, we're lucky to have such a broad array of quality resources to help guide us on our professional journeys. #1: Wall Street Journal WSJ’s covers the business of hospitality through a different lens than the traditional hospitality trade publications. Since the WSJ’s audience is broader, and often global, the coverage here often weaves together a variety of angles that aren’t always seen elsewhere. That’s primarily because its hospitality section includes stories from other parts of the paper, such as Business, Property Report, Real Estate and Homes. So you get a broad perspective on news that’s not entirely hospitality but nonetheless relevant. Editorial quality: 5/5. WSJ journalists are unparalleled in their depth and breadth around all things business -- especially as news relates to the global business ecosystem. Domain expertise: 4/5. There's no fully dedicated hotels reporter, so the coverage tends to be broader in nature and less industry-centric. Publication frequency: 5/5. The WSJ’s global staff covers breaking news and in-depth pieces in equal measure, providing a real-time firehose of the latest. Website experience quality: 3/5. Paywalls help maintain the quality and reliability of the content. But they do prevent access for casual readers, so we dinged them one point for that. And another point because the desktop experience can get a bit cluttered (much better on mobile). Traffic Ranking: #129 in the U.S: 5/5. Note: Obviously this is hard to beat, given the global size and reputation of this publication. TOTAL SCORE: 22/25 HotelNewsNow As the editorial arm of data analytics firm STR, HotelNewsNow benefits from its parent company’s extensive data and industry expertise. The site is simple and straightforward, with content bucketed into three categories: News, Opinion and Data. There’s usually a fourth callout in the navigation bar that highlights a special section, such as earnings roundups or event coverage. For industry watchers, this is a go-to resource that provides news and analysis cleanly and concisely. Editorial quality: 4/5. The ability to pull from the experts (and data) at STR gives the outlet a leg up over others when it comes to hotel news and analysis. It creates a data-first vibe that sets HNN apart. Domain expertise: 5/5. In addition to the well-versed editorial staff, there’s also a solid stable of guest contributors that are often more substantive than fluff. Publication frequency: 4/5. The website is refreshed several times per day across its three main sections. Website experience quality: 5/5. The card-based format is a design best practice that follows through well on mobile. The images make it easy on the eyes and the prominent real estate for the Data Dashboard puts HNN’s value proposition front and center. The site is also easy to search, which wins it top marks. Traffic Ranking: #59,130 in the U.S. 4/5. TOTAL SCORE: 22/25 Skift With recent acquisitions in aviation and events, Skift has become a well-rounded resource across many industry segments. Its coverage is often more ambitious in scope, although it has moved to a tiered paywall during the pandemic. Its hotel coverage is typically a blend of well-reported deep dives and higher-level newsy stories. Editorial quality: 5/5. The scope of coverage encompasses all aspects of the industry and how everything relates to each other. With reports, newsletters and podcasts, there’s a lot of context for what’s happening not just in hotels but travel. Domain expertise: 4/5. Alongside a dedicated hospitality reporter, the publication maintains a deep bench of qualified journalists who are experts in their coverage beats. Publication frequency: 4/5. Given the focus more on more extensively-reported coverage than other more B2B industry publications, content is published less frequently than the rapid-fire cadence elsewhere. That’s also due to the single reporter (rather than a full team covering just hotels). Website experience quality: 4/5. The website is more modern than most and maintains that experience via mobile as well. Traffic Ranking: #9,303 in the U.S. 5/5. Skift’s traffic reflects its growing stable of brands; it’s one of the most-visited sites covering the business of travel. TOTAL SCORE: 21/25 Phocuswire Phocuswire is the travel technology arm of Phocuswright. The hotel coverage focuses on the impact and application of technology in the industry. There's also extensive coverage of startups and other emerging trends, and, thanks to Phocuswright’s network of travel media brands, the coverage has a strong global focus. Editorial quality: 4/5. Phocuswire’s editorial team is well-versed in travel technology and has a broad foundation to build on. The stories range from the deeply-reported to topical quick hits. Videos and podcasts augment written coverage to provide a variety of perspectives. Domain expertise: 4/5. The focus on the technology side of the business sets it apart. And, although some contributed perspectives aren't as good as others, Phocuswire’s acceptance of external opinions broadens its diversity of perspectives. Publication frequency: 5/5. Frequent updates keep things fresh and relevant. Website experience quality: 4/5. The website is relatively clear, although there is a lot of information to process within the several sliders. It can sometimes be hard to know where to click first. On mobile, the content is easy-to-scroll and generally avoids invasive ads that plague other outlets. Traffic Ranking: #25,654 in the U.S: 4/5 TOTAL SCORE: 21/25 Hotel Management Hotel Management is part of the global B2B trade company Questex. It focuses on all aspects of the business, including financing, operations, procurement, hotel technology and financial performance. Overall, it’s a solid choice for staying on top of the latest hotel news, as well as recent surveys and reports around hotel industry trends. Editorial quality: 4/5. The stories are definitely more vendor-focused and are more quick-hit updates rather than thematic deep dives. Domain expertise: 4/5. The editorial team has a long history of covering the hotel industry and use that knowledge to inform their coverage. Publication frequency: 5/5. Frequent updates on the website and also a monthly digital magazine. Website experience quality: 4/5. The website is minimalist, focusing on the content with a reasonable amount of ads. This experience mostly follows through on mobile, although ads take up too much space at the top of the smaller screen, pushing content down below the fold. That’s less of an issue on larger screens. Traffic Ranking: 2/5. #65,490 in the U.S. TOTAL SCORE: 20/25 SmartBrief The Hospitality SmartBrief is an easy and convenient way to stay on top of the latest news and analysis. Each day’s new stories are curated and summarized by the editors, which then publish the stories on the website and in an email newsletter. There are also separate newsletters for spa professionals, travel professionals and those in gaming. It’s part of a massive 275+ industry coverage map, so they’ve got this format down. Editorial quality: 3/5 The editorial curation is superb. It’s an efficient way to stay in the loop. But since SmartBrief doesn't create any of its own content, the score is a bit lower in comparison to others. We wanted to be fair given the costs of supporting the editorial quality of the other ranked publications. Domain expertise: 4/5 The editors do a great job summarizing each news story in a way that surfaces the most important and relevant aspects for their audience of hospitality professionals. Publication frequency: 4/5 The newsletter goes out daily. Other outlets publish several times per day though, a frequency that gives you more real-time information. Website experience quality: 4/5 Simple and straightforward, it’s less cluttered than others on this list. Traffic Ranking: #4,587 in the U.S: 4/5 Note: This doesn't tell the whole story, as it includes all industry segments and doesn’t reflect the newsletter subscribers. TOTAL SCORE: 19/25 Lodging Magazine Lodging Magazine is a publication of the AHLA. Its online component features content across a broad array of categories, from finance, guest experience and operations to technology, people and design. There aren't many other publications that cover so many topics with a frequency and quality as this one. Editorial quality: 4/5 This is a comprehensive resource for all aspects of the hotel business. It’s specifically geared towards the hotel professional and not just the vendors serving the industry. Yet, it’s heavier on the vendor content so we took off a point. Domain expertise: 4/5 As the official publication of AHLA, it can lean on all kinds of experts across the industry, as well as others serving the industry. This makes it very authoritative in its field. Publication frequency: 5/5 There’s a lot of content covering many different topics, updated many times a day, and across other mediums, such as podcasts, videos and the namesake magazine. Website experience quality: 3/5 We know revenue is important but the repetitive advertorial pop-ups can be excessive when browsing across multiple articles in a single session. There are just too many ads! Traffic Ranking: #151,057 in the U.S: 2/5 TOTAL SCORE: 18/25 Hotel Business Hotel Business is another source for hotel owners, investors and operators to find industry-heavy news and insights. Similar to other sites like Lodging and HotelManagement that monetize their content through vendor updates, there’s quite a bit of supplier content and high-level industry updates. Editorial quality: 4/5 There’s a good breadth of coverage of news topics, including people moves and supplier features/updates, as well as sharing snippets of relevant business updates and demand data. Longer form articles are reserved for the magazine and then republished. Domain expertise: 4/5 The team has been working in travel for decades and has a solid understanding of industry fundamentals and how the news impacts the industry moving forward. Publication frequency: 4/5 Daily updates, plus a regular magazine (with digital edition) and a strong slate of videos. Website experience quality: 2/5 The website is dated and there are too many ads (a problem for all sites relying on vendor dollars). This makes it cluttered - and that extends to mobile. There’s just too much vying for our attention. Traffic Ranking: #33,041 in the U.S: 4/5 TOTAL SCORE: 18/25 TopHotel.news TOPHOTELNEWS is a hotel news site that focuses primarily on updates from new hotel projects and chain hotels around the world. The editorial mandate also extends to featuring expert perspectives from hotel owners and operators worldwide. It’s a bit more narrow in scope than other hotel news sources yet it’s much more design-forward as far as its coverage. Editorial quality: 2/5 Editorial content is short and mostly newsy (less analysis). Much of the content is supplier news, vendor perspectives and people updates. These are useful signposts for any hotel professional but doesn't quite match the editorial quality of other publications listed here. Domain expertise: 4/5 TOPHOTELNEWS specializes in hotel development and really shines through when it comes to its content around new hotel openings, design trends and updates on hotel development pipelines. Publication frequency: 4/5 The content is refreshed frequently, around a few times per day. Website experience quality: 3/5 On desktop, the auto sliders are distracting and somewhat busy, although the prominent use of images is refreshing. On mobile, the experience could be a bit more focused on speed and putting more information easily accessible without having to click around so much. Traffic Ranking: #516,698 in the U.S: 1/5 Traffic is much lower than others but this is also serving a specific niche of those in hotel design and development. TOTAL SCORE: 14/25 -- In addition to these websites you'll also want to make sure you follow your local hotel news channels such as the San Francisco Hotel Counsel or Las Vegas Tourism Bureau or local real estate publications. You'll also want to keep a pulse on the press sections of major chain websites like Hilton, Hyatt, Choice Hotels, IHG, Wyndham and Marriott. It can often be helpful to follow other travel industry websites as areas like flights and meetings may be leading indicators for hotels. Hoteliers can feel very isolated on property so it's important to stay in the know. COVID-19 has thrust our industry into a new normal and it's more important than ever to stay on top of trending topics that affect reopening and success strategies working in other markets or adjacent verticals. Knowledge is power and staying on top of the latest developments can have a huge impact on how your hotel handles the coronavirus crisis and other rapidly evolving market dynamics such as occupancy and RevPAR trends or even inbound tourism from markets like the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America that impact your United States business.
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Many of us are already anticipating 2021 with optimism – and a number of new hotel properties slated to open next year are only adding to that excitement. Design trends indicate that hotel architects are emphasizing the destination, creating spaces that illuminate the natural beauty and energy of a location. Property designs incorporate smart technology with eco-friendly elements, like living greenery and seamless indoor/outdoor transitions. Sustainability also plays a role in how a hotel property incorporates existing design elements in their renovation or new design: some hotels, for instance, are taking historic sites and blending vintage architectural elements with modern amenities. Our list is packed with everything from boutique hotels to global luxury brands with some rockstar interior designers and design firms featured. Despite the pandemic, there's still nothing like staying at a luxury hotel arriving in the hotel room, and let go of the day-to-day stresses. From Athens to Barcelona and Malaysia to Miami, there are incredible hotels in your backyard that you probably don't even know about. Some of us prefer ultra-modern all-glass hotels with museum-quality art collections and others prefer rugged retreats. Whatever your preferences, design inspiration is all about taking elements from a variety of the best hotels. From insane living rooms and hotel interiors to Infiniti edge swimming pools this list will give you a taste of the high life. These 30 hotels opening in 2021 exemplify some of the hottest design trends in the hospitality industry – here’s what we have to look forward to visiting next year. Amanvari, East Cape Baja, Mexico Amanvari in Baja’s Eastern Cape will offer 20 contemporary, private pavilions perched on stilts in a beachfront, tropical mangrove. These modern accommodations will each have two floors with living space, wrap-around decks, and a cantilevered private pool, plus fire pits and hammocks. Rosewood São Paulo, Brazil Rosewood São Paulo’s striking architecture houses 180 rooms and suites in a “vertical park.” The property is designed by world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel with interiors by Philippe Starck. This property includes natural Brazilian wood blended with Italian elements. One&Only Resorts Kea Island, Greece One&Only Resorts is coming to Kea Island, Greece with resort-style rooms, suites, and villas. The design of this property integrates classic Hellenic architecture with modern amenities and seamless indoor/outdoor transitions. Etéreo, Riviera Maya, Mexico Etéreo is Auberge’s latest addition in Mexico. The resort is designed to look like a series of coral stone structures that reference Mayan culture. Floating above the tropical vegetation, areas of the resort are connected by a hidden network of boardwalks and pathways. Stanly Ranch, Napa Valley Stanly Ranch in Napa Valley, California is one of the most highly anticipated openings of 2021. The property will include 135 cottages nestled in the vineyard, with patios that open directly onto the vines overlooking the Mayacamas Mountains. We expect Stanly Ranch to incorporate lots of natural building materials, open spaces, and natural light. Montage Big Sky, Montana Montage Big Sky is coming to Big Sky, Montana. The property is designed to provide ski-in, ski-out access to 5,800 skiable acres. In the summer, guests can enjoy an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf. The hotel promises to be ultra-luxurious with five-star amenities just an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park. Nobu Hotel Toronto, Canada Nobu Hotel in Toronto is a striking addition to the city’s skyline. In line with the design trend of repurposing existing building materials, Nobu Toronto is designated as a heritage site and will retain the original brick façade from the Pilkington Glass Factory previously on the site – as well as Art Deco design elements from the early 1900s. Six Senses Ibiza, Spain Six Senses in Ibiza, Spain promises to offer townhouses, pool suites and “beach cave units” overlooking the blue waters of Cala Xarraca Bay. Initial mockups of the design show minimalist, natural elements blended with the rustic appeal of the Spanish island vibe. W Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland Designed by architecture firm Jestico + Whiles, the W Hotel in Edinburgh will incorporate a winding steel ‘ribbon’ that recalls a spiral of paper – a nod to the neighborhood’s history as a home to Edinburgh’s printing presses. The design also considers the area’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its smaller footprint. Costa Navarino, Greece Costa Navarino is another hotel opening in Greece and part of three new areas under development in Messinia. The resort puts the natural setting first with an earth-sheltered design. Accommodations are built into the hillside with planted roofs discreet private pools. The Langham, Gold Coast, Australia Langham Hospitality Group is opening a new hotel in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia in one of the three landmark towers of the Jewel development project. This destination will feature 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, plus a sky terrace and bar, an indoor free-form pool (plus a second outdoor pool), and a 700-square-meter ballroom. The Langham, Jakarta, Indonesia Langham Hospitality Group is also opening a new property in Jakarta, Indonesia – designed by Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart, one of the world’s top international architectural firms. The hotel will feature a 336 square meter Presidential Suite with its own outdoor terrace. Mondrian Cannes, France The Mondrian brand is slated to open a newly redesigned hotel on the city’s Promenade de la Croisette. Mondrian Cannes’ will feature custom-designed interiors by Monaco-based architects Christophe Poyet and Emil Humnert. Six Senses New York The Six Senses' new project in Manhattan will feature two twisting towers designed by architect Bjarke Ingels between the Hudson River and the High Line. The interiors are going to be designed by Parisian firm Gilles & Boissier and promise to be contemporary, modern, and full of natural ambiance. Castello di Reschio, Italy Castello di Reschio is another great example of an existing building getting a modern facelift. Located in Umbria, the owner is also an architect, and personally supervised the renovation and redesign of this 10th-century castle to include upscale amenities and modern touches. Krugar Shalati, South Africa Krugar Shalati is a totally unique hotel coming to South Africa in 2021; it’s built inside a restored vintage train floating on a bridge above the Sabie River. The permanently parked train includes local art and furnishings to evoke the area, plus access to the game park. Xigera, Botswana Xigera is opening in Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve and is designed to offer a unique safari experience – the lodge is positioned to sit over the water of the Okavango Delta so that guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of wildlife. You can also book a stay in the three-story steel baobab tree nearby. Chablé Sea of Cortez, Mexico Chablé Sea of Cortez in Mexico uses architecture to blend with the natural environment while offering uninterrupted sea views from every room. The property will focus on wellness, with a huge spa, private beach, and ocean-front pool. Aman New York, USA Aman New York will take over the Crown Building, formerly the location of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The redesign retains much of the building’s historic charm paired with luxurious elements designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, a leader in hospitality design. Radisson Hotel Perm, Russia Radisson is opening its first property in Perm, Russia. The property is designed by Twelve Architects, an award-winning international architecture firm. The interior will be Scandanavian-style, while the exterior takes its inspiration from the folds of a ballerina’s skirt – a callback to when the Bolshoi ballet company was based in the city. Casa Formentera, Spain Casa Formentera will open in Spain’s Balearic Islands in the style of beach-y, boho-chic luxury. With just 14 rooms available, this exclusive hotel will feature “neutral tones, polished concrete floors, lots of natural wood and linens, tropical plants and African style ceramics with rattan screens providing stylish touches,” according to the property’s press release. LXR Roku Kyoto, Japan LXR Roku Kyoto Resort in Japan will be set among the Takagamine Sanzan mountains, part of a 28.6-acre enclave that’s home to some of Kyoto's most notable gardens, historic architecture, and authentic tea houses. The resort was designed with the Japanese concept that “beautiful things are born from a beautiful environment” in mind. Kālesma Mykonos, Greece Kalesma will soon be the only property in the world to have pieces by designer Rick Owens – and that’s just the start. Kalesma’s look and feel is inspired by Mykonian history, with natural materials such as wood, marble, and stone giving a contemporary twist to classic Cycladic style. Four Seasons Chao Phraya River, Bangkok Four Seasons Chao Phraya River is the Four Season’s upcoming opening in Bangkok, Thailand. The interior of this prestigous hotel is designed by world-renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy; there’s also a collection of art installations curated by Gathy. Canopy by Hilton, Kuala Lumpur Canopy by Hilton is opening a new location in the Malaysian metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. The architecture and interior design will be inspired and influenced by its local surroundings, positioning the hotel as a natural extension of the neighborhood. Daxton Hotel, Michigan The Daxton Hotel in Michigan is scheduled to open in early 2021 – and already taking reservations! Guests can enjoy luxurious design touches and art curated by world-famous Saatchi Art. Pendry West Hollywood, Los Angeles The Pendry’s design and decor reflects it’s stylish position on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. The Pendry mixes Art Deco with contemporary, modern elements. The hotell will offer a rooftop pool, a members-only social club, live entertainment and a food and beverage menu by Wolfgang Puck. The Tasman, Australia The Tasman is Mariott’s newest project coming to Hobart, Tasmania. The hotel design echoes the building’s original heritage, maintaining Art Deco details with modern elements and luxurious amenities. Raffles the Palm, UAE Raffles the Palm is on track to be the talles building on the UAE’s Palm Jumeirah, standing at almost 260 meters high. The hotel is set to offer 125 rooms and suites, as well as 359 branded residences – including 16 penthouses. Anantara Jinsha Chengdu Hotel, China Anantara Jinsha Chengdu is a planned urban oasis. The property will sit in front of a 47-hectare eco wetland park, one of the largest outdoor spaces in the middle of Chengdu. If these stunning hotels are anything to go by, 2021 is shaping up to be a trend-setting year for designers and architects in the hospitality sector.
Curious about property management? Whether you own an investment property, you're a property manager - or even just looking to break into the industry - you’ll gain a solid introduction to property management in this article. By the end of this page, you’ll know the differences between a property management company and an individual property manager and understand the benefits of using one or the other. Let’s get started! Property Management Defined In short, property management is the operation and oversight of real estate assets. Property managers can work with residential properties, such as apartments, condominiums, townhouses, or detached single-family homes, or commercial properties, like shopping centers and office buildings. Property management serves as the bridge between the property owner and the tenant, and the property manager often handles maintenance and physical upkeep in addition to driving revenue and interfacing with tenants or guests. Types of Rental Properties When it comes to residential rentals, properties that look the same on the outside can be managed in completely different ways. Residential rentals can be split into two categories: short-term rentals and traditional long-term rentals. Depending on the goals and preferences of homeowners, they might decide to focus on short-term or long-term rentals. Short-term rental properties are made available for stays less than one month in duration. Some short-term rentals allow nightly reservations while others focus on weekly stays. Short-term rentals are an alternative to hotels for vacations or business trips; they’re fully furnished and usually come stocked with linens, toiletries, and kitchenware. The phrase “short-term rental” often refers to urban apartments that allow short stays, while “vacation rental” or “vacation home” refers to detached houses available for short stays. Long-term rentals, on the other hand, generally only allow stays longer than one month, and it’s not uncommon to find traditional rentals that have a 1-year minimum leasing term. These properties are usually unfurnished. Tenants can bring their own furniture, set up their own utilities, and make the place feel like home with their own decor. Property Management Structures In some cases, the property owner manages their own property, but many owners choose to outsource the hassle of property management activities to a professional, whether that be a real estate agent, an individual property manager, or a property management company. In all of these structures, the owner pays the property manager a fee or commission for their services and pricing varies based on the level of service provided. Some service providers only handle key hand-offs while others may manage multiple units within a larger multi-family complex and handle other facets of the operation such as: listing sites, maintenance requests, rental income accounting, setting up VR management software and even managing housekeeping services. In popular leisure destinations, it’s common to see real estate brokers that double as property managers. Why? Many of the broker’s clients are purchasing vacation rental homes that they want to rent out during the parts of the year they’re not using the property. These broker-managers offer deep expertise in the local market and in the real estate and property management fields. Other owners might choose to hire an individual property manager to handle all property management activities. An individual property manager will be dedicated to the property and know all the ins and outs of the property, the market, and the tenants or guests. Professional property management companies also bring a wealth of experience and access to relationships with construction companies, travel agents, and other relevant connections. Some property management companies focus on a specific niche, like condos at a specific ski resort, while others manage hundreds of vacation homes of various sizes and price ranges across the world. A Day in the Life of a Property Manager What exactly does a property manager do? Whether a company or an individual manages the property, the operational tasks will be quite similar. Property managers have two main responsibilities: maintain the physical property and handle the business aspects of the property’s operations. From a maintenance perspective, the property manager would respond to any alerts of damage or maintenance issues. If a tenant or guest notifies the property manager that there’s a leak in the bathroom, the property manager will contact a plumber and ensure the issue is resolved. The property manager will also schedule seasonal maintenance, such as winterizing pipes or cleaning gutters. The property manager is also the link between the owner and the tenant or guest. At short-term rental properties, the property manager advertises the property, manages reservations, ensures guest satisfaction, and schedules cleanings between stays. At long-term rental properties, the property manager also advertises the property, but rather than accepting reservations, they screen potential tenants, manage lease contracts, and bill tenants for rent payments. Why use a Property Management Company? Property owners who want to outsource property management must decide whether to use a broker, an individual property manager or a property management company. Property management companies can offer several important benefits that deliver additional value for the owner and the overall business: expertise, connections, and scale. Property management companies that work with dozens or hundreds of properties and have years of experience can bring valuable expertise to the table, especially for short-term rentals. These companies know how to market properties online, delight guests, and provide great experiences. Their operations are a well-oiled machine, and they know the nuances of hospitality, marketing, and legal requirements in the area. In addition to operational expertise, property management companies have relationships with vendors and contractors who work closely alongside them. If your property needs maintenance or decor advice, the property management company can likely snag a discount on these services. Not only that, but if the property management company provides cleaning services, furnishings, or linens, they often receive bulk discounts by operating at a larger scale, which means the owner can save money too. While property management companies can deliver a lot of benefits for owners, it’s important to remember that these benefits come at a literal cost in the form of a management fee or commission. The owner must balance their own financial goals with the efficiencies that come with using a property management company. Property Management Licenses and Credentials Another reason that owners choose to work with property managers is that many local municipalities require specific licenses or credentials. Some states or cities require property managers to hold community management licenses or special operating licenses for short-term rentals. The application process for these licenses can be complicated and lengthy, and a professional property manager will know secrets to a successful application. Besides operating licenses, some states mandate that property management companies also hold broker’s licenses, which allows them to advertise properties via the multiple listing service (MLS) and hold showings at rental properties. Whether you’re investing in real estate for the first time or considering launching your own property management company, you can find exciting business opportunities with short-term and long-term rentals. What else do you want to learn about property management? Let us know!
It’s not so far-fetched to think that, in the near future, three different types of hotels could coexist, no longer classified on the basis of stars or reputation, but on the basis of the percentage of “biological staff” employed. Budget hotels will likely benefit the most from the replacement of human employees with robots, self-check-in kiosks, and other automatisms, and it is not difficult to think that they will be able to offer extremely competitive prices thanks to the reduction in the cost of human personnel; On the other side of the spectrum, I predict that there will be human-centered hotels, completely (or almost completely) run by human beings. The assurance of being welcomed and accompanied for the entire duration of the stay by real people will be a “plus.” The luxury guests of the future may be willing to pay extra for this human-centered service, just as today they are willing to pay extra for handmade items, compared to those created on a larger, industrial scale. Therefore, a higher ADR would compensate to the increase in costs associated with the use of human personnel; In the middle (and here I would include the vast majority of hotels) there will be "hybrid" properties, where the human and artificial elements coexist, maintaining a service that is as human as possible but reducing costs and improving processes wherever feasible, in a sort of "technological humanism." To recap, the hotels of the future can be divided into: Technocentric hotels: budget, young, hostel, corporate, hi-tech Anthropocentric hotels: hi-end, niche, luxury, experience Hybrid hotels: mass leisure This distinction leads us to a central assessment: the mere fact that a certain technology can be adopted does not necessarily coincide with the need to adopt it. Some properties, in order to remain faithful to their corporate culture, may be forced to implement less technology not to betray their brand values and vice-versa. The approach should be neither technophobic nor technophile, but of simple critical evaluation based on the product. And, above all, one must remain open to change direction, if necessary. It should be remembered that automatisms, in hotels, are still in their infancy and even all the literature on them is highly speculative, so we cannot be dogmatic and, realistically, it will take at least a decade to finally be able to analyze if and how these technologies have had an impact on specific KPIs, such as brand perception, awareness, profitability, and return on investments. Elon Musk said that “you shouldn't do things differently just because they're different. They need to be… better.” Ray Kurtzweil's comment on tech is even more caustic: “Technology has always been a double-edged sword. Fire kept us warm, cooked our food and burned down our houses." I agree: let's not forget that the technology that gave us Tinder is the same that made it tolerable that one-third of all divorce applications in the United States, in 2011, contained the word "Facebook". Technology is also responsible for some biological changes that, under normal conditions, would have taken hundreds if not thousands of years. A typical example is that of London taxi drivers, who for decades had to memorize over 25,000 streets, leading their brains to develop a larger than average hippocampus, while today they can simply rely on their GPS, atrophying that part of the brain that is the guardian of our memories. It’s typical do ut des: technology gives, technology takes it away. And, in a moment in time when Indian Space Research's Indian mission to Mars costs less than a Hollywood movie about a space mission (the Mars Orbiter Mission cost $ 74 million, versus $ 108 for The Martian movie), adoption on a large scale of technology in hotel is no longer a topic of discussion, but must still be calibrated according to one’s own needs, values, and inclinations, both personal and corporate. As the futurist and transhumanist Zoltan Istvan rightly states, a radical change, even if attainable and practicable, would not be acceptable to most people, because they are emotionally and intellectually unprepared. In travel and, above all, in hospitality, we find ourselves in this limbo of techno-illiteracy: change is at hand, but we do not (yet) have the intellectual means to accept and adopt it.
What would the hotel industry be without chain hotels? Can you imagine a world without online travel agencies like Expedia? Or what about a world without Airbnb? A few exceptional individuals made contributions to the lodging industry which revolutionized not only our industry, but the world. Thanks to the ideas, leadership, and drive of the 7 titans of the hotel industry, we can travel better today. In this article, we’ll introduce you to seven of the most important figures in the hotel business: Conrad Hilton, J. Willard Marriott, Isadore Sharp, Jay Pritzker, Barry Sternlicht, Brian Chesky, and Rich Barton. You’ll learn about their backgrounds, their career paths, the companies they founded, and how they fit into the evolution of the hotel industry. And you might find the inspiration you need to bring your ideas to life or to start your own company! The Early Days of the Hotel Industry The concept of a hotel is hardly a new one; boarding houses, inns, caravanserais, and other early lodging types have been in existence for thousands of years. These simple accommodations offered travelers a place to sleep, a hot meal, and stables for their horses. Early “hotels” were family-run and often located in the same building where the family lived. As travel became more common, starting in the 1400s, a few European countries mandated that hotels document their guests. These new laws signaled the beginning of the hotel industry - hoteliers were now running legitimate businesses in the eyes of the local governments. By the 1700s, every city had at least several hotels operating in the center of town to meet the demand for overnight stays. Many hotels became attractions in their own right, like the Le Grand Hôtel Paris and Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, which were famous for beautiful architecture and glamorous clientele. The Hotel Industry Boom in the United States Until the mid-1900s, nearly all hotels were independently owned and operated. There was also a clear distinction between the stylish, cosmopolitan hotels in city centers and the simple roadside motels in rural areas. Two entrepreneurs on opposite sides of the country saw opportunities to bring a high standard of service to the hotel industry and created the eponymous names that we all know today: Conrad Hilton and J. Willard Marriott. Conrad Hilton entered the hotel industry somewhat accidentally when his plan to purchase a bank fell through; instead, he ended up buying the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas in 1919. Seeing that he could run a hotel successfully, Hilton scouted out promising hotel deals and continued growing his portfolio over the next few decades. Landmark hotels like New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria and the Plaza Hotel became Hilton properties, and the company acquired the Statler Hotel Company in what was the largest real estate transaction of its time. Hilton is not only credited with building a global hotel empire, but also with popularizing the star rating system and combining hotels, restaurants, and casinos. Like Hilton, J. Willard Marriott didn’t plan on becoming a hotel magnate. He got his start in the hospitality business by running A&W Root Beer shops in the Washington, D.C. area, and built a sizable restaurant and foodservice business. When it came time for his next venture, Marriott opened a motel in Arlington, Virginia with great results. Marriott became known for his hands-on leadership style and perfectionist mindset, and as the Marriott company grew, he continued to stay in the middle of the action. In fact, he never retired from Marriott, even after his son Bill took over as CEO. Under their leadership, Marriott became the largest hotel company in the world with over 30 brands under its umbrella. In addition to Hilton and Marriott, numerous hotel brands popped up in the mid-20th century, like Holiday Inn and Motel 6. These brands could offer quality and consistency to travelers who didn’t want to risk a sub-par experience at an independent property. Remember, back then, there was no Tripadvisor, so brands offered an appealing solution. The Rise of Hotel Brands Speaking of brands, Marriott and Hilton are only two of the great hotel brands that shaped the industry. While Hilton and Marriott were building their companies, another entrepreneur saw an opportunity to create a new type of hotel: Jay Pritzker. Already an established businessman, Pritzker was on a business trip to Los Angeles in 1957 when he noticed a lack of high-quality hotels located near airports. He didn’t think travelers should have to choose between nice downtown hotels and seedy airport motels, so he launched the Hyatt brand, which focused on upscale hotels near airports. Hyatt Hotels eventually branched out to urban hotels, notably when the company launched the Hyatt Regency brand, which is known for its signature atrium design. But Pritzker wasn’t the only one to realize that architecture can be an asset to a hotel brand; as a trained builder, Isadore Sharp knew architecture would always be a pillar of his Four Seasons hotel brand. He opened the first Four Seasons hotel in Toronto in 1961, and guests appreciated the innovative courtyard design that allowed them some relief from city sights and noise. Sharp grew the Four Seasons brand to become a globally known icon of service and luxury, and the company now manages over 100 hotels in cities like Paris and far-flung destinations like Bora Bora. Sharp wasn’t alone in grabbing an opportunity to appeal to affluent travelers. Barry Sternlicht, the founder of Starwood Capital and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, also noticed a gap in the luxury hotel market when he launched the W brand in 1998. In contrast to the pretentious, stuffy luxury hotels that were the norm, W hotels offered a playful, youthful version of luxury. The W brand is considered the first “lifestyle” hotel brand, a trend which is still popular today. Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio also included brands like Westin and Sheraton, and in 2016 Marriott purchased Starwood and formed the largest hotel company in the world. Lodging in the Digital Age By the 1990s, hotels had taken over the world. You could book a Marriott or Four Seasons on six continents and dozens of countries. But how would you actually make that booking? Most travelers relied on travel agents to secure reservations, or you could call the 1-800 number for a chain line Hilton or Hyatt. That all changed when Rich Barton, a product manager at Microsoft, came up with the idea for Expedia in 1994. He saw how the power of the internet could put travel booking into the travelers hands - he just had to create a platform to house all the data. By the time Expedia went public in 1999, it was far from the only digital booking platform, or online travel agency. Competitors like Booking.com, Priceline, Orbitz, and Travelocity gave consumers access to good rates and information about hotels around the globe. The popularity of brick-and-mortar travel agencies declined as online travel agencies took off. Two decades later, the OTA space is dominated by two big players who now own the majority of brands: Expedia Group and Booking Holdings. But Expedia and Booking.com aren’t the only sites where you can book a place to stay. In fact, hotels are no longer your only option. Just as Uber disrupted the taxi industry, Airbnb offers a new type of accommodation for travelers seeing local experiences or apartment-style short-term rentals. Founded by Brian Chesky in 2009, Airbnb has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Chesky and his two roommates had the idea to rent out a few air mattresses in their apartment during a busy conference in San Francisco, and a few years later their company became a Silicon Valley “unicorn” with a valuation over $1B. Airbnb has grown to over six million listings and is planning an IPO in late 2020. What can we expect for the future of the hotel industry? The industry’s pioneers are probably already hard at work building something that will further change how we travel and experience hospitality. -- Brian Chesky illustration by Mike Nudelman
Payment processing is a significant expense for hotels. And it often feels like more of a tax rather than a payment paid for a service. This dynamic is the most visible when it comes to chargebacks, which are when a consumer disputes a transaction as invalid, inaccurate or fraudulent. Given the contentious nature of these types of disputes, they're unpleasant for both travelers, who may harbor negative sentiment around “shady” payment practices, and hotels, who must invest time and attention to fight fraudulent chargebacks. The cost of chargebacks is real: merchants lost 4.4% of revenue to chargebacks in 2019, due to chargeback fees ranging from $20 to $100. And that doesn’t even include the time you spent managing the dispute! Here’s what you need to consider when reducing chargeback pain at your hotel. What's a Chargeback? Chargebacks are a part of the payment processing process that generally happens after a traveler has checked out of your property and sees an unknown or inaccurate charge appear on the bill. A chargeback occurs when a traveler disputes a charge with their card issuer or bank, which then triggers an investigation into the validity of the charge. Chargebacks can also happen due to processing errors (such as charging a card twice) or fraudulent activity identified by credit card processors. Typically, a chargeback occurs when a customer sees what they believe is a fraudulent transaction on their credit card statement. They then open customer disputes on those credit card transactions. The acquiring bank or issuing bank (i.e. credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express) then opens an investigation into the transaction as a consumer protection for members of their card network given rampant credit card fraud. The customer then provides compelling evidence such as identity theft, incorrect amounts and charges, etc. The chargeback process is initiated by the cardholder, who disputes a transaction. [Source] Since chargebacks are seen as a protective layer against sketchy merchants, customer-initiated chargebacks are usually approved pending further investigation. This puts the onus on your hotel’s finance team to prove that the charge is legitimate. If the charge is proven legit, the funds will be reversed and sent back to your hotel. So you'll be made whole -- but it will not compensate for the amount of time spent fighting the potentially fraudulent charges. If the chargeback is valid, then the customer keeps the money and you’ll pay a chargeback fee to compensate the bank for its dispute management costs. The actual amount of this fee varies; it depends heavily on your chargeback ratio, or how many chargebacks your hotel receives in comparison to revenue. The higher your ratio, the higher the fees. You’ll pay more simply because you’ll be a higher risk merchant. The rise of virtual cards has also impacted chargebacks for hotels. Virtual cards are meant to be used for a specific amount, trip, or timeframe, or only for a single use. In travel, Virtual cards have become the primary means of payment for travel booked through corporate travel agents and even OTAs, like Expedia. There are also several consumer services, such as Privacy.com, that enable consumers to use virtual cards online purchases. Virtual cards complicate chargebacks, as the cards are not directly tied to a specific person. Rather, the issuing entity must be the one to manage the chargeback. This can lead to chargeback costs that are even greater than standard credit cards, sometimes up to 2% more. So, even though virtual cards are nearly fraud proof, they can still increase costs. The Most Common Reasons for Chargebacks Most chargebacks aren’t legitimate because consumers often misuse the chargeback process. The reason? They don’t want to confront the merchant directly. And, since it’s simple to do online without having to talk to somebody, it’s easy and avoids confrontation. This is called “friendly fraud” and it makes up the bulk of chargebacks. In one survey, 81% of customers said they contacted the bank before dealing directly with the seller.” Another estimated that 86% of chargebacks are actually friendly. This adds up to a significant burden on merchants, with 34% of merchants saying they had experienced friendly fraud, costing anywhere from $20 billion to $31 billion. And, with friendly fraud increasing at 41% every two years, hotels need a proactive strategy to keep a lid on chargeback costs. Analysis showing the real impact of chargebacks on merchants like hotels. Thankfully for hotels, it's much easier to prove that a service has been delivered when compared to ecommerce businesses. There are no damaged packages or delayed deliveries, and most people using a stolen credit card are hesitant to show up for a hotel stay. However, chargebacks can still be a significant cost per day -- and a giant headache -- for hotels. How to Reduce Chargebacks at Your Hotel The more chargebacks you have, the higher your processing fees. So it's in your best interest to take a strong stance against fraudulent chargebacks and prevent artificial inflation of your property’s processing costs. And it’s not always a sureshot at winning a chargeback dispute; in fact, only 18% reported winning at least 60% of their chargeback disputes -- pretty terrible odds for the average merchant. Here are a few tactics for reducing valid (and fraudulent) chargebacks. Provide itemized invoices. Whether it's a printout at the front desk, sliding an invoice under the guest’s door, or sending an email right at checkout, have a clear process to share itemized invoices with your guests.The best time to fix any overcharges is while the guest’s still on property. Once home, it’s much easier for them to initiate a dispute -- and reduce your profit margin from that booking! Match payment to ID. One of the simplest ways ro reduce fraud is to verify that a government-issued ID matches the payment card. Even if a reservation was paid for online, there’s value to verification when it comes to potentially documentation for a future chargeback. Monitor your chargeback ratio. A higher-than-average ratio signals to processors that you may be a high-risk merchant. The higher the risk, the higher the fees. For example, Visa has an acceptable ratio of 0.9% and 100 disputes per month. A rising chargeback ratio could indicate that there’s something failing in your billing operations -- or that your hotel is being targeted by bad actors. Be thorough and prepared. You never know which transaction may trigger a chargeback, so keep good records. You need to have clear proof to respond to any disputes. Save a copy of the sales draft, folio, or rental agreement -- especially one that has been initiated or signed by the customer in question. All folios/receipts should be itemized, with the date and transaction amount. Keep records for 3 years. Most card issuers require a 13-month retention timeframe, at the minimum. Discover requires two years and American Express requires three. Make sure to keep your records at least this long. Digital copies may be accessible, But be sure to check your agreements to be sure. Respond quickly. Chargebacks are an unpleasant chore. But don’t avoid them because there’s a time limit for responses. Each issuer has its own process, so get familiar and stay on top of it. You automatically forfeit the revenue if you don't respond on time -- even if you have the documentation to prove validity! Train your staff. Incorrectly entered payments or inaccurate bills can cause costly chargebacks. Make sure that you train new staff well and periodically refresh the team’s awareness of proper payment processing procedures. Know your chargeback codes. Each issuer has codes for specific chargeback reasons. Make sure that you (or someone on your finance team) is familiar with each of these codes; that way, you can be sure to orient your dispute documentation around the specific reason for the chargeback. Each chargeback diverts staff labor that could go to more productive uses and can also reduce your revenue. These are two undesirable outcomes that should be avoided at all costs. Instead, protect your hotel with strong operations and clear procedures, tackling chargebacks with a standardized, thoughtful approach to reducing chargebacks.
There’s no question that the coronavirus has deeply impacted the tourism industry. As the pandemic continues to evolve, however, what’s difficult to discern is the breadth and depth of its impact in both the short and long term. We’re still facing the repercussions of intermittent lockdowns, border closings, and economic stress, but these 50 statistics show the initial and ongoing impact of coronavirus on the tourism industry. We’ve broken these data points out into the following areas: Global Impact: 2020 and Beyond Air Travel and Transportation Hotels and Accommodation Food and Beverage Tours and Attractions Business Travel The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global travel is not black and white. Some tourism business' like smaller California wine country hotels and hotels adjacent to national parks have achieved record numbers despite a near complete shutdown of inbound tourism and international travel. Domestic tourism has been far from safe in the global pandemic with economic development initiatives supporting hotels, tour operators and other travel companies support their workers via aid programs like America's PPP (paycheck protection program). Global tourism will rebound from this the same way it did from the 9/11 terrorist attacks but experts uninanimously agree that it will take longer. The hotel industry has been devastated by low levels of international visitors as tourism demand dropped to all time lows with tourism destinations even turning potential travelers away. Read on for some of the most remarkable numbers showing the widespread impact of COVID-19. Global Impact: 2020 and Beyond The tourism industry worldwide is impacted by coronavirus – so much so that global GDP is expected to shrink dramatically and unemployment to skyrocket. Here are a few stats that show how tourism worldwide has been decimated. 1. Global revenue for travel and tourism is estimated to decrease by 34.7% to an estimated $447.4 billion. The original 2020 forecast was $712 billion in revenue. 2. European tourism is expected to take the biggest hit from COVID-19: revenue for the travel and tourism industry in Europe will decrease from $211.97 billion in 2019 to roughly $124 billion in 2020. 3. The tourism industry lost 1.5% of global gross domestic product after four months of being shut down, reported the UN Conference on Trade and Development. 4. If international tourism remains shut down over 12 months, the UN predicts a loss of 4.2% global GDP ($3.3 trillion). 5. 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. 6. Tourism is going to take a while to recover, says McKinsey. The consulting firm predicts that international tourist arrivals will decrease 60 - 80% in 2020, and tourism spending is not likely to return to pre-crisis levels until 2024. 7. Not only are consumers traveling less, but they’re also dining out less. Statista reports that the “year-over-year decline of seated diners in restaurants worldwide was a staggering 41.36% on August 23, 2020.” Tourism in the US In the US, the economic effects of a slowdown in tourism are expected to be on par with many so-called “developing countries.” In addition, the impact of a decline in tourism will have wide-reaching effects on many other parts of the economy. 8. The travel industry says it accounts for 15.8 million American jobs—that’s employment for one in every 10 Americans. That means the economic impact of coronavirus could have a major impact on the US unemployment rate. 9. Some reports predicted that the loss in travel-related jobs caused the U.S. unemployment rate to double from 3.5% in February to 7.1% in March/April. 10. Based on current trends, experts predict that the United States will lose far more than any other country in dollar terms and nearly double that of China. (Source) 11. In April, when many states encouraged or mandated that residents stay home, tourist arrivals in Hawaii fell 99.5%. Tourism accounts for 21% of Hawaii’s economy. 12. Florida also faced a drop in tourism, with their tourism sector declining 10.7% in the first quarter of 2020. The state reports that tourism has an economic impact of $67 billion on Florida's economy 13. On April 11, 2020, only 3% of hotels in Austin, Texas were occupied: 342 rooms were booked, compared to 10,777 in 2019. 14. Statista predicts a drop in spending of $355 billion in 2020 in the US, a decrease of 31%. Air Travel Consumers are not interested in boarding an airplane anytime soon, due partially to border closures as well as safety concerns and high ticket prices. Air travel is predicted to be depressed for a long time. 15. Travel restrictions at borders impacted air travel and other forms of transportation. There were four categories of restrictions impacting a total of 217 destinations: 16. 45% of destinations (97 countries) implemented total or partial border closures; 17. 30% of destinations (65 countries) suspended flights totally or partially; 18. 18% of destinations (39 countries) enforced border closures aimed at a specific group of destinations; 19. 7% of destinations (16 countries) required visitors to quarantine or implemented similar measures. (Source) 20. Data from Flightradar24 showed that the average number of commercial flights per day fell from 100,000+ in January and February 2020 to around 78,500 in March and 29,400 in April. 21. Despite many governments providing aid to the airline industry, passenger revenue is estimated to drop by $314 billion in 2020 — a 55% decrease from 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association. 22. As of May 4, 2020, international flights had decreased by 80% as compared to 2019. Many airports were closed and flights banned due to border closings. 23. IATA, the International Air Transport Association, reported in June, 2020 that coronavirus would account for a net loss of $84.3 billion for all airlines, worse than the $30 billion loss in 2008. Income is projected to remain negative through 2021. (Source) 24. IATA also predicts that plane ticket prices will increase, especially if airlines are mandated to comply with social distancing measures. Ticket prices may rise by as much as 50%, according to Alexandre de Juniac, the head of IATA. 25. One company tracking ticket prices during the height of COVID-19 found that fares through April 13 and May 4 rose 13.7% and 10.9% year over year, respectively. Hotels & Accomodations Sector Travelers are unlikely to feel comfortable staying at hotels in the near future, meaning low-occupancy rates will impact the hospitality industry for years to come. 26. Since mid-February, hotels in the US have lost more than $46 billion in room revenue, according to the AHLA. The industry expert expects hotels to lose up to $400 million in room revenue per day based on current occupancy rates and revenue trends. 27. In the US, AHLA found that individual hotels and major operators are projecting occupancies below 20%. For many occupancies, a rate of 35% or lower makes it impossible to stay open – and many accommodations are closing altogether. (Source) 28. McKinsey predicts that COVID-19 is likely to accelerate the shift to digital. Travelers will be looking for flexibility and be willing to make last-minute bookings as the situation evolves. Case-in-point: more than 90% of recent trips in China were booked within seven days of the trip itself. 29. The consulting firm also ran a few different scenarios to see how hotel RevPAR would be impacted: 30. In the worst-case scenario, RevPAR will be down 20% by 2023. 31. RevPAR of luxury rooms is the slowest to recover due to their higher variable and semi-fixed costs. (Source) 32. A July 2020 Ipsos survey found that 51% of Americans are willing to stay at a hotel, the same percentage as the month before. Attitudes toward frequenting hotels seem to be improving or staying the same. 33. US travelers have certain expectations of the tourism industry. The Tourism Crisis Management Initiative at the University of Florida found that airports, accomodations, and attractions must take the following initiatives to communicate safety protocols: (Source) 34. Airbnb is not faring any better than traditional accommodation options. The platform, which relies on hosts, have seen 64% of guests cancelling or planning to cancel their bookings since the pandemic began. In addition: 35. 47% of hosts don't feel safe renting to guests 36. 70% of guests are fearful to stay at an Airbnb 37. Hosts anticipate a 44% decrease in revenue for June through August 38. Daily rates have dropped as much as $90 (on average). 39. Hyatt reported a $236 million second-quarter loss, a 376% drop in income since the same quarter in 2019. RevPAR was down nearly 90%. Food & Beverage Many restaurants and bars all over the world have had to close due to coronavirus and social distancing measures. 40. In the US, full-service restaurant reservations dropped starting in March – visits were down by 41% across the country. (Source) 41. The scheduling tool Homebase reported that the number of hours worked at local restaurants and bars dropped 40% by March 17, while the number of hourly workers overall declined 45%. 42. Restaurant workers have been hit hard by the pandemic. The National Restaurant Association reports that two out of three restaurant employees have lost their jobs. 43. Industry advocacy group James Beard Foundation found that restaurants, on average, laid off 91% of their hourly workforce and 70% of salaried employees due to COVID-19 and closures resulting from the pandemic. 44. The National Restaurant Association expects that the dining industry will lose up to $240 billion by the end of 2020. 45. What will it take for restaurants to reopen? A lot, according to the James Beard Foundation. Restaurant owners report that these are the biggest obstacles to reopening again successfully: 41% say the slow return of customers, 35% say they need cash to pay vendors, 16% would need to rehire staff, 3% would need to retrain staff, 2% are worried about health inspections. 46. In-person dining may be off limits, but in one survey, 33% of consumers said they’re getting more takeout than before the pandemic. Tours & Attractions Historic sites, theme parks, cruises and museums were shut down for the majority of this year. Here’s how the tour and attraction sector fared during COVID-19. 47. UNESCO reported on International Museum Day that nearly 90% of cultural institutions had to close their doors during the pandemic; almost 13% may never reopen. 48. The New York Metropolitan Opera had to cancel its season by the end of March, and expects to lose $60 million in revenue. 49. Safari bookings, according to one survey, are down by 75% or more, jeopardizing the tourism industry in countries that need internationla visitors badly to support their economy. (Source) 51. The CDC issued a no-sail order for cruise ships, finding in their study that 80% of ships within U.S. jurisdiction had cases of COVID-19 on board during March - July. 52. Mastercard recorded a 45% drop in travel-related transactions as compared to the same period last year. The credit card company looked at cross-border transaction volume processed in three months ending June 30. 53. In March, 77% of members of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), an organization for travel agencies, predicted they would be out of business in six months or less. 54. The Walt Disney Co. lost nearly $5 billion in April, May and June, due to its theme parks being closed: Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, plus the brand’s resorts and cruise operations Business Travel 55. The pandemic has deeply impacted business travel: this sector is predicted to lose $810.7 billion in revenue this year. 56. China is expected to see the biggest loss in business travel from COVID-19, where spending is expected to decrease by a total of $404.1 billion. 57. Experts are predicting that 5 - 10% of business travel will be permanently lost, due in part to remote working tools that enable virtual meetings. 58. Business travel declined 89% as a result of COVID-19, more than the Great Recession and 9/11 losses combined. PwC reports that almost half of all businesses canceled corporate travel during this pandemic. (Source)
How do you get the word out about your hotel in a hotel industry that's more complex and complicated by the day? Between online travel agencies, SEO, CRM, and more, it’s easy for hotel marketers to feel overwhelmed. But you know that without a solid hotel marketing strategy, your hotel will have significant difficulty reaching its revenue and occupancy goals. Wondering where to begin? The challenge that most local businesses face is driving foot traffic. The old saying "location, location, location" helps them drive business but hotels need to be much more strategic in the way they market hotel rooms because the amount of passers by willing to purchase a room are far lower for a hotel than for other small businesses like a bakery or shoe store. So how do hotels get strategic and take control - online marketing. In this article we’ll introduce a plethora of hotel marketing concepts and strategies. Even if you’re brand new to hotel marketing, you’ll have a good understanding of the various hotel marketing avenues once you’re finished reading. Whether you’re a student, a professional seeking a career change, or a seasoned hotelier, you’ll want to bookmark our Ultimate Guide to Hotel Marketing as a reference you’ll return to again and again. Marketing on Third-Party Channels We all talk about the elusive guest experience but few understand that the guest experience starts long before check-in. Hotel guests may even start their journey on a channel you can't control. Perhaps they saw your property on an influencer's Instagram then searched Google and landed on an OTA. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, third-party channels are an essential part of the hotel marketing landscape. While some hoteliers begrudge third-party channels for charging commissions and eating away at potential direct bookings, there’s no denying that these channels bring massive marketing power and a global user base. It would be nearly impossible for an individual hotel to get the same reach alone, so mastering marketing on third-party channels, like the OTAs, metasearch, and the GDS, is a necessity. OTAs If you’ve ever booked travel online, chances are you’ve used one of the big OTAs, or online travel agencies. Popular OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com are marketplaces, just like Amazon, which you can leverage to put your hotel in front of millions of potential guests. In addition to the big players, the web is home to dozens - if not hundreds - more hotel booking sites that range from broad to niche. Diversifying your distribution strategy to include multiple channels, especially regional sites, is a great way to gain more online visibility. Of course, no third-party channel is perfect, and dealing with the OTAs’ problems is part of daily life for many hoteliers. However, their marketing power is their redeeming quality, and many hoteliers continue to use OTAs despite their challenges. The OTA market is changing rapidly especially with Airbnb's entry so it's critical that you keep up with the latest evolutionin this channel. Metasearch & Paid Advertising Besides the OTAs, hoteliers can use various digital advertising strategies and channels, like metasearch, to attract potential guests and drive direct bookings. What is metasearch, anyway? Metasearch sites like Kayak and Trivago aggregate the search results of other OTAs so travelers can easily compare rates across Expedia, Booking.com, and direct sites. Potential guests click through dozens of windows on their path to purchase, which means having a strong retargeting strategy is essential to capturing direct bookings. If a traveler clicked on your website once, your retargeting ads can remind them to return to your site to complete the booking process. GDS (Global Distribution System) While the OTAs, metasearch, and retargeting put your hotel directly in front of travelers, the GDS is one of the industry’s most popular B2B platforms. Travel agencies, airlines, and tour operators use the GDS to book rooms for their clients and partners, so hotels seeking to expand their reach or reduce reliance on the OTAs can find success by selling rooms on the GDS. Reputation Management No matter where your reservations come from, guests need to trust that your hotel will deliver a good value and experience. Reputation management is the practice of actively building up that trust - whether by displaying your hotel star ratings or by responding to guest reviews on sites like Tripadvisor and Google. Improving Performance of Owned Channels Though third-party channels play an important role in the hotel marketing space, let’s not forget about your own direct channels. Your hotel’s website and email communication are both excellent ways to spread brand awareness, gain loyalty, and potentially even raise your RevPAR by increasing direct bookings. What do you need to know to boost your hotel’s owned channels? Hotel Website Design, SEO & Content Marketing Driving your hotel website’s performance is possible when you focus on four key categories: Website design: If your hotel’s website isn’t attractive and user-friendly, potential guests are going to click off your site quickly! We’ve gathered some resources to help you promote your property with a modern, competitive website. If you’re building your site for the first time or upgrading an old one, our inspiring list of hotel website designs is a great place to start. These eye-catching designs will get the creative juices flowing. No matter which stage of website design you’re at, you’ll want to read up on 6 hotel website design lessons from leading ecommerce companies like Amazon and Zappos. Tips include adding a FAQ section to the booking page and organizing your room types in a grid layout. For websites with a lot of content, a content management system can eliminate stress and disorganization related to uploading text, images, and videos. Many content management systems are also easy enough to use that hoteliers and marketers with limited technical know-how can use them - no expensive web developers needed! Conversion optimization: Once you’ve invested in a beautiful website, make sure your website is effectively and efficiently converting guests. Conversion measures the rate of website visitors who complete the booking process. One of the best ways to improve your conversion rate is to implement a streamlined, user-friendly booking engine. But booking engine selection is no easy task; you’ll want to consider whether it’s optimized for mobile devices, compatible with your PMS and other systems, and within your budget. Hoteliers who want to grow their share of direct bookings must practice CRO. What is CRO? Add this one to your little book of hotel acronyms: conversion rate optimization. Simply put, it’s the act of making continuous improvements to your website with the goal of turning more “lookers” into bookers. SEO: Many potential guests will find your hotel’s website through a search engine like Google or Bing. That’s why it’s a good idea to continuously work on your website’s SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO includes countless strategies for ranking higher in the search results, appearing in searches for popular keywords, and ensuring your website’s search results listing looks enticing. A key component of SEO involves the content and formatting of your own website. On-page SEO helps search engines “read” your website so that they know in which search results your site should appear. On-page SEO strategies include using headings, adding links, and eliminating glitches. Some hoteliers use paid advertising to snag website visitors, but you can certainly increase website traffic free of charge - if you put in a little extra effort. Publishing high-quality blog articles, posting on social media, and engaging with review sites are all great ways to get direct website traffic for free. "Google has added a section in search engine results that appears above organic listings when consumers ask questions directly to Google. This feature is called a "Quick Answer,” and it takes a snippet of content from any page that is deemed to be the best answer to the question. To increase chances of appearing in Quick Answers, content should be structured and written in a conversational way that answers specific questions. Popular questions can also be included in sub-headings on the page, with answers below," NextGuest Digital Content marketing: Content is one of your most powerful tools in the digital marketing ecosystem. Popular blog posts or informative local guides are great ways to showcase your property to potential guests. Have writers’ block? Check out some hotel blogging strategies that you can try today. Email Marketing & Hotel CRM But your hotel website isn’t the only to engage with your guests; email marketing can deliver fantastic results, especially among your most loyal guests. Before diving into email marketing, you’ll want to have a hotel CRM (customer relationship management) system in place to store and track data about your guests. These systems help you gain insight into who your guests are and what matters to them so you can craft relevant email marketing strategies. Every email you send should contain an engaging update or offer, and it should always comply with the Data Protection Act. Before hitting “send,” make sure you understand the rules and regulations that apply to digital data and marketing. Email marketing for hotels can sound like a daunting task if your only tool is Gmail or Outlook. For more email functions, settings, and formatting options, you’ll want to use an email marketing tool like Mailchimp. General Hotel Marketing Strategy Although hotel marketing has plenty of industry-specific nuances, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of general marking principles. Ready for some Marketing 101? Let’s go. The first step to any type of success is to set goals. But all goals are not created equal. SMART Goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, will add clarity to your marketing plan. Speaking of relevancy, your marketing goals and strategies should adapt based on the types of travelers you want to target. For example, if you’re targeting business travelers, families, or Generation Z, your marketing strategies for each group should be unique. A key component of your overall marketing strategy is your content marketing strategy, which includes your blog articles, social media posts, Youtube videos, Pinterest pins, and more. Employing some creative content strategies can transform your hotel’s online presence. As you’re setting up your strategies, you’ll want to form good hotel marketing habits. Like brushing your teeth, it’s a good idea to make researching market trends, collaborating with other hotel departments, and learning about local events part of your daily routine. Want to brush up on your marketer skills? That’s a trick question; you should be constantly sharpening your marketing skills, especially considering that the marketing space is evolving rapidly. One such example of timely marketing trends is the BookDirect movement, which promotes the practice of making reservations directly with the hotel. This movement has influenced software functionality, marketing strategy, and promotional offers that encourage guests to book direct. Struggling to get potential guests to click onto your website? Consider hotel marketing with visuals that catch the eyes of travelers coming to your destination. If you need some inspiration as you think about your overall marketing strategy, you can learn a lot by studying your competitors (and scrutinizing your own hotel!) through a SWOT analysis. Haven’t done one of these before? Check out our SWOT analysis example for small business. With so many facets of hotel marketing, it’s impossible to become an expert on all of them while maintaining your day job! Working closely with a hotel marketing agency can bring to the table the expertise you need. Read our tips on how to select a hospitality marketing agency to ensure you choose the right partner. Maybe you’ve already read all of our articles above. So you’ve got a great hotel website, now what? The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so there’s always room for more improvement. Have you run out of ideas? Read through our hotel marketing ideas list, which contains more than 100 suggestions. -- Do you still have any burning questions about hotel marketing? Let us know what we missed so we can improve our guide!
Online travel agents have become an integral part of many travelers’ “search and book” routine. It used to be so much more tedious to book travel, requiring a phone call or an in-person visit to a physical travel agent. Now, travelers can self serve all the way from research to booking. If you're like most travelers, you've used an OTA without really thinking much about it. The website works well, with lots of choices and a relatively smooth booking experience. But if you’ve ever wondered what an OTA actually is, how OTAs make money, why travelers like you use OTAs and what the biggest OTAs are, then this is your place. We've compiled some of travelers’ most frequently asked questions around OTAs and answered them all in one place. Let’s get curious! What's an OTA? “OTA” stands for Online Travel Agency, which is a travel agency whose primary presence is on digital channels. Consumers can use a website and/or mobile device to search and book travel -- all without the traditional “gatekeeper” travel agent. OTAs connect to the full breadth of travel providers, giving travelers access to all of the inventory that they may want for their next trip. Online travel agents are the travel industry's largest source of bookings and often use package deals including airfare and hotels or special offers like flash sales to drive more bookings to airline and hotel partners. These massive travel websites like Booking and Expedia have millions of monthly visitors. Large hotel groups (like Hilton and the like) have been consolidating and building new subbrands, which means that they have a lower reliance on OTAs; travelers can find many types of accommodations on the global brands’ own websites. Yet, many independent hotels rely entirely on OTAs to drive their bookings as they don’t have a booking engine of their own. Either way, OTAs have a breadth and depth of travel inventory that covers all segments, geographies and groups of travelers. It's also important to understand what ARE NOT online travel agencies. Metasearch engines like TripAdvisor and Google Flights, for example, are not OTAs. Having said that, Booking.com (formerly Priceline.com) does own metasearch player Kayak so there are some overlaps (although with different brands). In the United States Expedia is the dominant player while in Europe it is Booking.com. How do OTAs make money? Most OTAs make money by taking a commission per booking, which is anywhere from 5% to upwards of 25%. The actual commission rate is negotiated on a brand by brand, property by property basis. In general, larger hotels and bigger brands with many properties use their leverage to negotiate lower rates. So when you book that boutique hotel on an OTA, it's likely that they are paying more on commission than the name brand Hotel down the street. Most OTAs also make money through advertising, in which hotels pay to be prominently placed above organic results in relevant traveler searches. This model, which is also used by metasearch sites (see What is metasearch? for more), is generally on a pay-per-click basis. Why do travelers use OTAs? Over a fifth of travelers say they use OTAs to book all or part of their travel. And OTAs (and their metasearch cousins, often owned by major OTA groups) remain popular among all age groups. OTAs are positioned across many touchpoints throughout the customer journey. Why is that? At the highest level, there are three main reasons why many travelers book their trips on an OTA: Choice. Online travel agencies are a “one stop shop” for all things travel. From flights and hotels to short-term rentals, cars and vacation packages, you can pretty much find any type of product that you want on an OTA. Price. OTAs have done an excellent job of developing a perception of value -- even though they aren't always the lowest price or the best value. The real value here lies in comparison shopping. It’s easy to compare options on an OTA and that type of information is very valuable to consumers. Convenience. OTAs are the Everything Store for Travel, available on any device. It’s a convenient place to book your car rental, hotel and flights in a single reservation. It's so much easier to deal with that single point of contact -- especially when things go wrong and you need help. Rather than calling multiple numbers to puzzle together a new itinerary, you only have to call one number to get it done. Now let's assume and to get a bit more of a granular and geeky view into what consumers want from OTAs. A recent research report from Jul 2020 asked this very question in its title, Why do people purchase from online travel agencies (see geeky graph below). While it was based on a limited sample size of users from a budget hotel brand, the results suggest that travelers use OTAs due to a perception of greater trust, safety and quality: Hygiene. Travelers want to be assured of the relative cleanliness of the service or product. By using a reputable online travel agency, travelers have an expectation of a certain level of quality. The attributes of the brand make a big difference in the perception of quality. Privacy and security. Privacy and security are also important. And, just like hygiene, Travelers have a certain level of trust in the OTA brand to deliver a quality experience that won’t expose them to privacy breaches or physical harm. Reviews. Social proof has a major impact on why travelers use OTAs. A feeling that others had a good experience goes a long way in pulling more consumers into the OTA ecosystem. What are the drawbacks of OTAs? There are also some disadvantages of using OTAs, which travelers must be aware of. For one, travelers often are lured by low prices on many online travel agencies. Yet, once they try to book, they find out that the price includes hidden fees or added restrictions that wouldn’t be found by booking directly with an airline or hotel. Niche OTAs, which can pop up seemingly overnight, often hide the true cost of a trip during a given search to entice consumers to click through. The worst actors will actually appear to offer the lowest price all the way through to booking. However, once you check-in to their flight or hotel, you may discover unexpected fees. All of a sudden, that “steal” of a price actually becomes more expensive than it would have been book direct. Examples of these tactics periodically pop up, such as when one online travel agency was accused of using improper charges and bait-and-switch fares. The tactic can mislead consumers, who see an OTA as the cheapest option in search results and thus click through to book. Another major drawback is customer support. Not all OTAs are created equal on this front. Especially when it comes to regional ones, travelers often face less-than-ideal support. For the average trip, when everything goes well, this is far less of an issue. It's when things go wrong that support matters greatly. No one wants to be stranded without anyone to help! This can be exacerbated during disruptions come out when travel suppliers prioritize direct workers over others. When booking directly with a hotel or airline, travelers will deal directly with the company for any issues that arise. So it’s not always cut-and-dry that an OTA will be able to provide you better or more effective support than a travel company -- and in some cases (especially with more niche/regional OTAs) there’s spotty support that can cause more frustration than the price savings. What are the top online travel agencies? When choosing where to book, most consumers opt for one of the top OTAs: Booking Holdings and Expedia Group. That’s not really difficult to do, as these two companies own the bulk of online bookings. With many brands that span categories and regions, Expedia and Booking have all corners of the globe and all travel niches covered: Expedia Group In addition to its namesake OTA Expedia.com, which sells all categories of travel to a global audience, the company operates sites that span hotels, ground transportation, cruises, vacation rentals, metasearch and business travel. Hotels.com. Expedia’s hotel-focused OTA is most well-known for its generous and straightforward loyalty program, which rewards a free night for every 10 nights booked on the platform. Vrbo. Short-term rentals are the core of the Vrbo offering, which recently merged with HomeAway to become Expedia's main destination for vacation rentals. Egencia. Corporate travel managers use Egencia to support their business travel needs. With self-service options for travelers and compliance tools for managers, the focus is on savings and ease-of-use. trivago. The “trivago guy” became a worldwide sensation after appearing in commercials without a belt. The hotel metasearch platform provides hotel price comparisons across its 55 localized sites. Orbitz. This OTA has a strong focus on North America, where travelers can search flights, hotels & travel bundles. Orbitz for Business is the OTA’s corporate travel arm. CheapTickets. As a subsidiary of Orbitz, Cheaptickets is for discounted hotels, flights, local events, travel bundles and cruises. The site’s Vacation Value Finder assists travelers in finding the best deals. Travelocity. The Roaming Gnome has been one of the most successful marketing campaigns in travel. The OTA is also known for its Price Match Guarantee, where it will match any price from a competitor. Hotwire. This is an opaque deal site specifically for hotels. Travelers can see star rating and cost for their search dates, and then make non-refundable reservations based on an overview of the hotel’s category. Wotif. The Wotif portfolio includes Wotif and LastMinute, which offers flights, hotels, packages and last-minute deals to travelers based mostly in Australia and New Zealand. ebookers. This regional OTA serves travelers primarily from the UK, as well as around Europe. Travelers can search and book flights, hotels, car rentals, activities and packages. CarRentals.com. Travelers can book rental cars from the major brand names, as well as smaller regional outfits. The niche OTA covers 29,000 locations in 197 countries. Expedia Cruises. The cruise arm of Expedia Group gives consumers the control and flexibility to book cruises, which can be more complex than typical travel. There are also a chain of retail outlets, so cruises can get expert assistance face-to-face. Booking Holdings Headquartered in Amsterdam, Booking Holdings is best known for its flagship brand Booking.com, which sells all types of travel to a global audience in 43 languages. The global conglomerate also operates niche websites serving specific segments in travel and hospitality. Priceline. This OTA is focused primarily on North America and is known for its discounts and deals. The latest is Pricebreakers, a semi-opaque shopping option that shows travelers three hotels, one of which will be assigned after booking. Agoda. This OTA is strong in Asia, offering over 2 million hotels, homes, resorts and hostels across the continent. It also sells flights. Kayak. Kayak is a metasearch price comparison tool for flights, accmmodations, packages, and rental cars. Kayak has 60 localized sites in over 24 languages. Cheapflights. The brand promise is right there in the name: this is the place to find cheap flights. The site is actually a subsidiary of Kayak and applies its parent company’s metasearch model to flights. Momondo. Another subsidiary of kayak, this site is a flight fare and travel search aggregator. Travelers can find and compare prices for flights, hotels, rental cars and package deals. RentalCars.com. This Booking platform for rental cars has options in 160 countries, as well as nillions of verified reviews to inform travelers. OpenTable. Booking’s push into the full traveler journey led it to acquire OpenTable, the world's largest restaurant reservation platform. It exists as a standalone brand, where diners can make reservations online at restaurants worldwide. Airbnb The dominant short-term rental player now also offers boutique hotels on its platform. And while the pandemic has shifted its vision somewhat, the platform is now an OTA that competes directly. Ctrip Until recently, Ctrip was focused primarily on Asia. This changed with the purchase of Trip.com, which gave it a global footprint on major North American and European markets. Google Hotels Okay, so technically this is not an OTA as the business model is strictly “pay for performance.” But Google Hotels is the elephant in the room: a major competitor from the dominant search engine where the vast majority begin their travel searches. It's mere presence changes the calculus for OTAs worldwide. That's not to say that these sites are perfect, or that there aren't local alternatives. Verified reviews aren't always the most positive (see some here) -- but at least with the major companies, travelers are more likely to get responsive support and accurate pricing, with less likelihood of being scammed or otherwise misled. For a full list, check out our list of the top hotel booking sites for 2020.
A great hotel web design and seamless e-commerce experience can do a lot for the profit margin of any hotel business. Data shows that even small changes, like copy updates or a new color scheme, can lead to a double percentage point revenue increase. However, a design is only as good as how well your property’s website converts casual browsers to paying guests. Our list of the 35 best hotel website designs considers not only the look of a property’s home page, but navigational elements, load speed, and other functional characteristics that can significantly impact the user experience. It’s nice to have a beautifully-shot video of your property, but only it doesn’t affect the page loading speed – you must hold a viewer’s attention long enough for them to press play. The list ranges from websites designed by creative studios to those designed by popular hotel website and technology firms like TravelClick. These hotel websites hit the right combination of form and function. They should be responsive and work on all types of popular mobile devices, search engine (SEO) friendly and draw website visitors into your booking engine to complete the booking process. Beautiful design elements and imagery meet easy navigation, distinct calls to action, and quick load speeds in these 35 hotel website designs we love. We've organized the article by type of hotel since different types of property require different digital experiences. The Overall Best Hotel Websites Best Luxury Hotel Websites Best Motel Websites Best Resort Websites Best Boutique Hotel Websites Best Apart-Hotel Websites Best Bed and Breakfast Websites The Overall Best Hotel Websites There are many beautifully-designed websites on this list, but these five stood out from the crowd. One&Only Cape Town The One&Only is a stunning property in Cape Town, and the site does a great job of conveying the prestige, luxury, and elegance of this special hotel. It’s a simple design, yet visually striking. The usability is there too: a floating “book now” widget stays with the viewer as you scroll through the different site elements. Hotel Particulier Hotel Particulier is a hidden gem – the smallest hotel in Paris, according to them – and the website makes you feel like you’re discovering something special. Scrolling text and animations overlay stunning photos. Nothing feels out of place, or overwhelming, as you dive deeper into the site and hotel experience. Casa Angelina Casa Angelina’s webpage looks more like a magazine cover than a hotel booking site. They have all the elements to encourage booking: a prominent call to action, beautiful visuals, and a scrolling menu. But, what Casa Angelina shows is that basic website design can be abandoned in favor of a “moving puzzle of pieces” that works with both web and mobile browsing. Vesper Vesper utilizes simple copy with warm colors and trendy font to welcome you into its website. The’s lots of clean, white space paired with aspirational vacation pictures. Vesper leads with key selling points, like complimentary breakfast, a 100% rating on TripAdvisor, and colorful images of its amenities. The Maritime Hotel The Maritime Hotel’s landing page is just that: one page. There’s no scrolling and no distractions from taking in the cozy scene of the Maritime Hotel lobby. A prominent book button draws the eye upward. Click into the menu, and detailed descriptions accompany galleries of each room type. It’s straightforward, chic, and powerful. Best Motel Websites Motels are having a moment. Many motel properties are shaking off the dust and capitalizing on travelers’ nostalgia with revamped rooms, retro decor, and upgraded amenities. “The new generation of motels have co-opted the vintage aesthetics and mom-and-pop atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s originals but given them a glossy finish with artisanal interiors, fancy linens, and locally brewed kombucha, or the like, catering to the values of the millennial traveller,” reported The Guardian. To align with their new aesthetic, these motels have upgraded their website design in the process. The Drifter The Drifter Motel in New Orleans is a former 1950s hotel that recently got upgraded with retro-tropical resort vibes. The website astutely takes the focus to the experiential portion of staying at The Drifter; while the rooms are relatively simple, the scene at this motel is what makes it a memorable stay. And, that’s exactly what this landing page communicates. Amigo Motor Lodge The Amigo Motor Lodge isn’t your average motel stay, and the minimalist design and clean colors of the website convey that immediately. In addition to simple, modern rooms, the property has three renovated Airstreams that can be booked, a hot tub, and a teepee. Austin Motel Austin Motel embraces its kitsch factor both in-person and on the website. The site leads with bright colors and crazy-looking wallpaper, giving off the vibe that staying in this upgraded motel is a whole experience. Lincolnville Motel Lincolnville Motel in Maine comes from humble roots. It’s not a polished resort, but a cabin-style motel on the shores of Penobscot Bay. The simple branding and navigation of the website doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. It’s easy to navigate, and the pictures show exactly what the property has to offer. Tourists Tourists in North Adams, Massachusetts has fully embraced its retro vibe. The website mixes sepia-toned photos with illustrations and vibrant images to evoke the travel of generations past. The rustic decor of the property spills over into the font and other design elements of this user-friendly website. Best Luxury Hotel Websites Luxury hotel guests are a discerning bunch. These travelers are increasingly tech-savvy and expect the digital experience to reflect the five-star service they receive at the hotel property. The design and user experience of a luxury hotel website must be top-notch, but these are the sites that stand out. Gramercy Park Hotel Gramercy Park Hotel’s website reflects the experience of staying at this iconic location. The site welcomes you in with a scrolling slideshow teasing the luxurious amenities and small touches of the property; but, if you know you want to book, there’s a subtle booking link off to the side to convert guests quickly. Le Mirabeau Le Mirabeau in Zermatt elevates the browsing experience by changing the cursor into a spotlight that flows over the screen as if a torch is shining a light on glassy water at night. It lends a sense of magic to exploring this luxury property’s spa, gourmet restaurant, packages, and rooms. Samsara Ubud Samsara Ubud focuses on delivering a high-end retreat amidst the beautiful nature of Bali, and nowhere is that more apparent than in its website design. Like Le Mirabeau, Samsara Ubud also changes up the cursor icon into a minimalist circle, encouraging exploration of the site’s stunning video content shot by drone. 7132 The 7132 hotels in Switzerland marry minimalism and stunning images to entice visitors to explore more about their brand. There’s a good combination of easy navigation and rich storytelling in this five-star hotel’s website design. Badrutt’s Palace Badrutt’s Palace site has won several web design awards for the combination of features like dedicated support pages and events feed with rich multimedia and storytelling. Badrutt’s Palace manages to communicate the legacy of this luxury destination without feeling stuffy. Best Resort Websites Resorts have the unique challenge of trying to highlight so many things in one first-impression. It’s easy to source rich content from a resort’s many special offers, but harder to find a hook that will convince casual shoppers to dive deeper into the website. Do you highlight the spa offerings? The destination? The amenities and on-site restaurant? Here are a few websites that we think have nailed the first impression in their design. Esperanza Resort Esperanza by the Auberge Resorts Collection is the only private beach resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. That makes their value proposition obvious: the beach immediately features in a series of slow-motion videos highlighting the resorts’ stunning location. Bungalows Key Largo Bungalows’ all-inclusive, adults-only resort targets romantic honeymooners, and the slow-motion videos the site opens with makes this clear. Pop-up messages highlight the different amenities and activities available to adults on a vacation getaway. Explora Lodge Explora is a resort in Patagonia, Chile that focuses on an “all-inclusive adventure” rather than an all-inclusive stay. The branding on the site emphasizes the hotel’s position in the Chilean wilds, attracting a specific type of traveler from the get-go. Song Saa Resort Cambodia’s Song Saa Resort is an incredible destination, and they make sure that’s the first thing you see in the site’s hero video. Their booking CTA and COVID-19 updates don’t distract, with unobtrusive pop-ups that don’t detract from this visual feast. Little Palm Island A hero video features prominently on the site for Little Palm Island in Florida. Rather than focus on the resort, the site focuses on the natural beauty of the area and the many activities guests can partake in: kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, and more. Best Boutique Hotel Websites Many sites on this list are owned by boutique hotels, which have both the challenge and opportunity of communicating their unique offering in one sleek design. Boutique hotel properties benefit perhaps the most from direct bookings; with limited rooms, the margins matter more at these exclusive destinations. That’s why these well-designed websites stand out in the crowd. Donkey Bay Inn Donkey Bay Inn wears its eclectic heart on its homepage. An award-winning boutique hotel in New Zealand, this property uses a minimal sidebar menu to offset the bright, tropical colors of the hotel’s design. Before you get to this homepage page, you are treated to a video of the property to tease the amenities and views of this stunning destination, priming guests to click book faster. MeStyle Garage Hotel Bangkok This unique property in Bangkok is devoted to cars and motorcycles. The home page may seem overwhelming at first glance, but as you scroll, the menu backsplash appears, as well as a calendar of events, promotions, and a video telling the story behind this special destination. There’s a lot going on, but the CTA is clear and the design emulates the in-person experience perfectly. 18 Micon Street Athens’ 18 Micon Street uses valuable real estate on their site to highlight reviews from prominent review sites and news outlets, juxtaposed with images of their unique property. It’s an effective way to capture WOM and build trust with a casual viewer as they go through their booking journey. El Fenn El Fenn makes use of their dominant, scrolling header to advertise all their product offerings: the restaurant, spa, rooms, bar, retail store, and events service. The bold colors and big fonts create a sense of urgency. There’s lots to explore on the site. Hotel Bella Grace Architecture is the selling point at Hotel Bella Grace. This Charleston property highlights the traditional design of South Carolina and the modern amenities of a great stay. The clean lines of the image direct the viewer’s eye to the main menu, where everything one would need to convert to a guest is right there. Best Apart-Hotel Websites With remote work on the rise, apart-hotels are becoming more and more popular. These websites cater to a slightly different traveler who is more interested in amenities like a kitchen, strong wifi, and living space. Here are some of the best-designed apart-hotel websites we’ve come across. Stay in a City London Stay in a City London tells you right of the bat what they have to offer. It’s an easy site to navigate, and just in case, there’s a live chat option right on the homepage. Zoku Zoku, an Amsterdam-based property, introduces you to their property right away with a video of the literal customer journey. A man enters the apart-hotel, plays with the different formations the room can take, spends the day enjoying the other amenities of the hotel, and goes to bed at night in his own space. It’s a great way to introduce an entirely new concept. La Reserve La Reserve apartments are for the one percent: and their website branding communicates this clearly. As CNN reports, “staying at La Réserve is like having your own Parisian pied-à-terre -- but better.” The chic, minimalist design belies a luxurious experience for the most discerning travelers. Domio Domio caters to the next generation of travelers who want their stay to be unique and stylish. Its website is personable, with profiles of the company’s chief executives, and filled with colorful, light-filled images of their different apart-hotel rooms. It captures the brand’s essence perfectly. Lyric Lyric’s target demographic is “creatives”. The brand is designed for professionals on the go who want a seamless travel experience, nice amenities, and different spaces for creative projects and meetings. The copy on their site reflects this offering, scrolling through different images and varied ways to make the most of a Lyric suite. Best Bed and Breakfast Websites Bed and breakfasts, like motels, attract a nostalgia traveler. Before Airbnb, bed and breakfasts were a reliable way to travel and meet people. Your host would generally play a larger role in your travel itinerary than a front desk employee or concierge. Today, bed and breakfast properties are more niche. But, that makes the design of their website that much more critical. Here are a few of the best. Nobnocket Inn Nobnocket Inn is a quaint bed and breakfast on Martha’s Vineyard, and its website reflects that vibe. They make smart use of their website real estate to highlight the various awards they’ve won as well as to encourage fans to vote for their property. Kennebunkport Captains Collection This bed and breakfast also leans into the design elements of Kennebunkport, a charming Maine town, using natural colors and simple branding to make the architecture of the property stand out. The clean, simple menu makes it easy for viewers to find what they need. Colette’s Bed and Breakfast Colette’s logo and font decisions look like what would happen if your grandma designed a website – and for this cozy property, it works. You’d rather stay at grandma’s house than some corporate hotel with no character, no? Portland’s White House This historic property invites viewers in with images of the white house at different hours of the day, highlighting the natural beauty of the property – as well as its romantic qualities (perfect for a wedding venue!). As you scroll down the page, you learn more about the history of the bed and breakfast as well as attractions nearby. The Black Walnut The Black Walnut Bed and Breakfast is doing a lot in the main menu of its website. One of the highlights is the free expertise the Black Walnut offers to Asheville and the many activities and attractions of this up-and-coming destination. It positions the bed and breakfast as a great landing pad for exploring everything in the region.