In this roundup of content, Hotel News Now editors went back through the year to highlight important topics, such as hotel development, wellness and more.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Each year, the hotel industry has news topics and buzz words it’s focused on, and Hotel News Now picks up on those by talking with hoteliers at conferences and through phone interviews.
This roundup of articles takes a look at special reports and roundtables focused on the important topics that cropped up in 2018.
Read through the summaries and click on the links below to view what was top of mind for hoteliers in each report.
There are many challenges and opportunities that come along with hotel development, and 2018 presented a wide range of both..
In HNN’s “Building Blueprint” special report from March, hotel owners, operators, construction company executives, architects and consultants shared their thoughts on labor costs, brand selection and other topics.
A shortage of skilled labor throughout the year caused labor and construction costs to rise, but owners and developers said they were still getting projects done in the right markets with the right conditions.
When it came to renovating a hotel, those projects in 2018 focused on public spaces such as lobbies, fitness centers and breakfast areas.
Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at the New York University Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, told HNN contributor Brendan Manley that owners were making room for more elaborate fitness centers by converting two guestrooms into the space or adding an extension onto the building.
The idea of helping guests be happy, healthy and fit came up a lot in HNN’s “Wellness Works” roundtable, which took place in June at the Even Hotel New York-Midtown East.
Hoteliers realize more and more travelers are focused on wellness, but they also found that wellness means different things to different travelers.
Ben Brunt, principal and EVP of acquisitions and development for Noble Investment Group, said wellness comes down to aiding guests in making “healthy choices.”
“That might mean choosing to have more of a high-end burger and a fancy beer versus going to McDonald’s,” he said.
Guests are into the wellness trend, and because it can be an expensive investment, hoteliers have to figure out what wellness initiatives “will translate to in terms of dollars and cents at their properties,” HNN’s Sean McCracken writes.
There are enough wellness-focused hotels in the industry where owners can look at those as examples to see if they want to invest in the trend, said Kevin Lorenz, president of Allied/CMS Construction Management Services.
Experts in the discipline of revenue management play an integral role in coming up with strategies that affect all departments at a company or property, which is why sources in HNN’s “Revving up Revenue Strategy” roundtable told editors how and why many revenue strategists focus on long-term, companywide strategy, HNN’s Bryan Wroten writes.
Jay Hubbs, SVP of e-commerce at Remington Hotels, said the revenue-management discipline has changed “from just rates and inventory to include channels and now strategy,” Wroten writes.
“You’re looking at it more holistically about where you’re getting demand from, how you can price that, how does that layer in with your group component?” he said. “Is that a major thing in your market or for your hotel, or is it something that you’re competing against if you’re a smaller transient hotel?”
Loyalty programs are also part of revenue management, and experts in the discipline have to find ways to make the most of them, sources said.
Lloyd Biddle, director of revenue management systems at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, said “loyalty programs should be a linchpin of any hotel company’s revenue strategy,” HNN’s McCracken writes.
“From Hyatt’s perspective, it’s central to everything we do. … It’s the umbrella,” he said. “It’s the identity that drives customers in. So, you’re protecting your brand.com. You’re protecting your CRS, your reservation services, all that. But it’s central to any revenue strategy to get (guests) signed up to your loyalty program and have that repeat business.”
HNN wrapped up the year of special reports and roundtables with a compilation of tips and tricks from industry experts across all the major roles of the industry in a “Best Practices” special report.
Topics in the report range from guest experience to building hotels to asset management.
In terms of operations, sources said clear expectations need to be set for hotel teams to do well, and companies need to make sure employees have opportunities to learn skills and advance their careers.
“The single most important job I can do as regional vice president and GM is provide our team with the tools they need to do their jobs. … Engaged, passionate employees are the best asset to any thriving organization. Keeping them motivated and inspired is key to continuing to fuel that energy. Creating an environment where they nimbly adapt to change, whether that be technology or changing needs of our guests, is the secret sauce to a dynamic environment filled with creativity, collaboration and partnership,” said Yvette Thomas-Henry, regional VP and GM at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta.
For sales and marketing experts, partnerships and forming connections with guests drive success in that discipline.
Yvonne Brennan, director of corporate communications at RBH Hospitality Management, said, “Finding new ways to speak to customers is one way (RBH Hospitality Management’s) in-house experts drive demand into hotels. … With a growing portfolio of more than 70 hotels … RBH manages upward of 500 successful partnerships per year—and it is our thorough approach and careful consideration across a number of areas of focus that maximize the success of our collaborations. … At Hotel Indigo Cardiff, we partner with (a Welsh company) to create bespoke toiletries for the bathrooms. The contract provides employment for the brand’s young adult employees who have learning difficulties and allows the hotel to offer its guests a truly unique and local touch. … We are also careful to avoid doing too much; it is this balance that ensures we’re doing what we do with brands (well)."