5 things to know: 8 August 2019
5 things to know: 8 August 2019
08 AUGUST 2019 9:06 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • What hoteliers can learn from Disney’s tech innovation
  • Hotel shuttle tracking is now a reality
  • Hotel historian role gaining popularity at high-end hotels
  • US hotel results for week ending 3 August
  • Police search for suspect in three Waikiki hotel fires

What hoteliers can learn from Disney’s tech innovation: During Hospitality Technology Next Generation’s 2019 Insight Summit, Dan Cockerell, a former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, told attendees he followed three principals when working on his projects: Guests have to love it, employees have to love it, and it has to “freakin’ work,” reports HNN’s Sean McCracken.

One way to hurt a guest’s experience is to make employees’ jobs harder, such as by introducing a new computer system that adds time and effort, Cockerell told attendees.

“If the cast doesn’t love the system, it’s not going to work,” he said. “It’s easy to make things not work, and to get passive resistance. So this was the same thing. When the (development team) said the cast will have to sign into three different systems and then sign into a separate system for any exceptions, we knew they wouldn’t love that. You either have to build a work-around or add extra labor.”

Hotel shuttle tracking is now a reality: Guests staying at Marriott International hotels that offer an airport shuttle no longer have to wait and wonder where the shuttle is. They can watch the shuttle on their phones through Marriott’s app, reports The Wall Street Journal. The tracking is available at 15 hotels near four airports currently, and the plan is to expand that to 200 more by the end of 2019.

Dulles Airport Marriott GM Keith McNeill said calls about the shuttle have dropped 25% to 30% since his hotel became one of those offering the shuttle tracking service.

“No more guessing games,” McNeill said. “We’re not spending time apologizing that the shuttle’s not there. Just look at your phone and you see where it is.”

A Hilton spokesperson told the newspaper that shuttle tracking was on the company’s list of future projects.

Hotel historian role gaining popularity at high-end hotels: Describing the role as “part reference librarian, part gossip columnist” and “distinct from a concierge,” The New York Times reports hotel historians are becoming increasingly popular as guests want to learn more about the history of where they’re staying.

Ken Price is the director of public relations and hotel historian at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. In 2018, he won a lifetime achievement award from the Historic Hotels of America for his efforts, the article states.

“I immersed myself for eight months in the stacks of the old Chicago Historical Society and got involved in the microfiche and clippings and stuff in boxes,” Price said. “I got involved in the blood and guts and DNA of the personalities of the people. I began to realize that the story was remarkable.”

U.S. hotel results for week ending 3 August: The U.S. hotel industry reported negative year-over-year performance for the week ending 3 August, according to data from STR, parent company of HNN. Occupancy dipped by 0.8% to 74.8% and average daily rate fell by 0.3% to $133.03, resulting in revenue per available room dropping by 1.1% to $99.45.

Among the top 25 markets, the St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois, market reported the largest increase in RevPAR, growing 19.1% to $97.07 driven by double-digit ADR growth of 13.1% to $121.11.

The San Francisco/San Mateo, California, market reported the largest decrease in both ADR and RevPAR, falling 9.7% to $226.68 and 15% to $195.48, respectively.

Police search for suspect in three Waikiki hotel fires: Police in Honolulu are searching for a man they believe is responsible for fires at three hotels in Waikiki, Hawaii News Now reports. Police believe the man is using the fires to distract people while he breaks into guestrooms to steal guests’ property.

The three hotels involved are the Alohilani Resort, the Waikiki Beachcomber and the Grand Waikikian by Hilton, the article states. Police believe the person behind the fires might be responsible for burglaries at other nearby residences in which he pulled fire alarms to evacuate the buildings but did not actually set fires.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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