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Trends Update

There is currently a buzz in the customer service industry and related markets about the use of chatbots. And the hospitality industry is no exception in utilising this new technology to improve revenue!

Chatbots can considerably increase the quality of customer service – while relieving strain on hotel staff to be at the beckon call of guests staying at the hotel. The biggest benefit of having this technology is they offer 24/7 communication, make recommendations, offer products or services, answer FAQs etc. The Use of AI-driven chatbots offers instant solutions on most occasions for guests.

Additionally, customer or guest satisfaction is greatly enhanced using chatbots for a hotel. The benefits do not end there, as it can also have a positive impact on hotel revenues.

Some of the other benefits of having chatbots as part of revenue management software are:

They Save Man Hours:

Save Man Hours

The great thing about chatbots is that they can be considered to be virtual employees, with a dedicated task and can work 24/7, 365 days of the year. They do not need breaks, holidays, leave etc. Having a chatbot to manage social media links means there is no need to have any staff to carry out the task. It will slash the time spent on answering emails and phone calls.  Opting for automation of e.g FAQs can save considerable sums of money spent on staff salaries.

Great for Marketing and Sales:

Chatbots do not just answer sales queries; they have the ability to operate in a far more sophisticated manner. They skilfully wheedle out information from seemingly genuine requests, which offers an insight into the preferences and likes of the individual they chat to. After a brief conversation, they are in a position to make suggestions, offer packages, upgrades etc. They are excellent in upselling thanks to the smart and constantly evolving algorithms in play. After the initial cost of installation, chatbots can become a new and exciting additional source of regular revenue.

They Help to Improve the Business Model:

Once the chatbot has numerous conversations with diverse customers, this data can be used to improve the business. E.g. if guests frequently enquire about the best places to have brunch nearby, it indicates they do not fancy eating at your establishment. This makes it possible to analyse and see if the prices or menu is dissuading them. There could be several areas you can analyse and improve on to improve customer satisfaction to increase revenue generation.

Could Increase Customer Reviews:

Customer Reviews

It is an established fact that the more reviews a hotel has, the better it is for building brand reputation and recognition.  This also leads to great online visibility, making it much more appealing to prospective customers to make bookings. Reviews are the testimonial of the hotel’s facilities, customer service and are what can make or break a brand. Chatbots through their interactions can identify the customers that are probable to leave reviews. They are a great way to motivate guests to leave reviews during and even after their stay at the property. Since reviews are what influence other prospective guests this will have a positive impact on the hotel’s profits.

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Trends Update

Anyone keeping their finger on the pulse of digital marketing and Search Engine Optimisation will know that Google does introduce new algorithm updates every now and then. With little warning, this can cause frustration and various spanners in the works when it comes to your companies search page rankings. An algorithm update which occurred on September 27th is reflecting some effects on the SEO community. With the last updates to Google having been administered back at the beginning of August, this last one seems to be one of the biggest yet. Below is everything we know so far about this update, and how it might affect you and your company.

What was the September 27th Google algorithm update?

With algorithms like PageRank updating all the time, it is not uncommon to see these changes to the website. Whilst the details remain unclear, it has been confirmed on Twitter by Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan that a minor update occurred. These, he says on Twitter “occur all the time” and can have a real effect on the performance of some websites search engine rankings in the process. The algorithms on Google are used to process and calculate the quality and amount of links on your web page, thus giving a rough estimation of how important your website is to that specific search. This can mean that when the updates happen, they can have a negative effect on your website rankings for a short period of time.

Why is the algorithm happening?

There are a wide range of reasons why Google update their algorithms. One of the main reasons is that they are rejigging a bug they have found in the software, ensuring that the algorithm is working to an optimum level. Other reasons may simply be that their algorithm has changed, making the service more efficient and streamlined.

How will it affect your website?

There have been a range of graphs and FAQ boards cropping up on popular forums such as Rank Ranger and Twitter, many people analysing the initial findings of the algorithm changes.

Some people have found that the algorithm change has affected competitive markets more drastically. These pockets of the internet for aggressively changing markets and businesses has led to websites in these areas seeing a dramatic drop.

Others have noticed that their search engine rankings are reversing from the changes made from the last update in early August.

Top tips for keeping up-to-date

Of course, this can prove incredibly frustrating for businesses and websites who have put a lot of effort into marketing themselves well. That’s why we’ve listed a few tips for keeping up-to-date and dealing with any of these sporadic Google updates.

Keep a tab on Social Media

Whilst these updates to Google can come from out of the blue, keeping an eye on Googles Twitter and Facebook accounts can help you to keep up-to-date. But, there is often little warning for updates.

Keep your content relevant

Google’s John Mueller responded a few months back to the August Google update chatter. He said that if you want to shield yourself from negative impacts from the rolling updates, it is best to keep your content as relevant as possible. This should go without saying, but these kinds of wake-up calls will definitely keep us on the ball when it comes to keeping our websites up-to-date.

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Trends Update

The rise of the Internet has overhauled the travel booking industry, giving travellers unprecedented options when it comes to booking their next trip. Before the mid-1990s, if you wanted to book some accommodation, you’d have to speak to a travel agent or call up a hotel and ask them directly about their prices and availability.

When OTAs came onto the scene, they changed the online hotel reservation system landscape forever. Since then, there’s been an ongoing battle between hotels and OTAs for domination of the industry. Just a few months ago, the American Hotel and Lodging Association launched a campaign warning people about the ‘dangers’ of booking through third-party websites – a move that was seen as a direct swipe at OTAs. This is one industry spat that is not dying down.

If we’re trying to figure out who has the upper-hand in this industry battle, it’s important to look at demographics – millennials, in particular. Millennials are a key battleground for both hotels and OTAs. The United Nations estimates that 200m millennials currently generate around $180bn in tourism revenue – up a massive 30% from ten years ago. That’s great news for accommodation providers who can get the younger generation through to their booking engine for hotels.

This age group accounts for 20% of all international tourists, and many of them seek adventure rather than traditional materials goods. Where an expensive watch or a fancy car might have signalled affluence for previous generations, millennials are all about travel and experiences. This means they are more likely to seek out an online hotel reservation system than other travellers.

Hotels vs OTAs The Battle For Millennial Travellers

Millennials are cost-conscious, but they don’t want to miss out on an amazing experience because they can’t afford to splurge. This generation is coming up with new ways to manipulate the resources they have at hand to find great deals on everything travel-related. This naturally leads them towards OTAs, which gives them powerful search capability and the greater flexibility they tend to want.

Unlike boomers, millennials aren’t lured in by loyalty programs – in fact, just 55% of millennials have more than one travel loyalty membership, the lowest of all age groups. 70% of boomers will always choose the provider of their loyalty scheme when it comes to selecting travel – they are less likely to shop around, and more likely to go directly to the hotel, as they have done for most of their lives.

Members of Generation X straddle the two other generations carefully. They still want great value, and they’re willing to shop around for it – but they can still be drawn in by loyalty schemes and incentives offered by individual hotels or chains.

If we follow the generational trends, it looks as though OTAs will emerge victorious. Millennials want flexibility and the ability to research and book amazing experiences separately – and they still want the power to be able to compare deals and book with the provider that offers them the best price. Hotels can still have some success in this market, but the advantages involved with booking directly don’t always align with the millennials’ demands.

However, a new competitor has joined the field in recent years, and its presence is certainly having an impact on this ongoing battle. The rise of the sharing economy is best showcased by Airbnb, which now gives millennials exactly what they’re looking for: flexibility, great deals and an authentic experience. How will the sharing economy affect the fight for millennial travellers? That remains to be seen.

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Trends Update

Smart technology is taking over homes, providing convenience for consumers across a variety of areas. But while it offers incredible potential for businesses, uptake in the hospitality sector has been slow. Understanding and implementing the latest technology trends can give your hotel a boost, attracting more customers and improving satisfaction levels at the same time, making it a worthwhile investment.

Smart technology covers a huge, ever growing range of products that hotels can tap into. Choose the right technology and you can not only improve customer experience but streamline existing processes too, freeing up more time for your employees to focus on establishing exceptional customer relationships. Automating guest rooms can be exactly what you need to take your brand and image to the next level.

If you’ve been exploring adding some smart home technology to your hotel service, we’ve got five ideas that when implemented could deliver real benefits.

1. Thermostat control

Nobody wants to spend the day exploring a holiday spot to come back to their room and find it’s too cold or hot. Thermostat controls in homes allow users to control their heating or air conditioning wherever they are by connecting remotely to the device. Adding smart thermostats into your rooms will help to ensure your guests have a comfortable base to return to. It’s also a great way for you to monitor how energy is used in your hotel.

2. Voice activation

The voice activation market is booming, with Amazon Echo and Google Home making their way into houses around the world. They can be linked with other smart devices and being able to use voice activation to play music, ask questions about the local area, and even place online orders, will go down well with your tech savvy guests. Incorporating voice activation with your customer service team can make dealing with queries simpler and more efficient.

technology in hospitality

3. Lighting, windows, and doors

Smart home technology can make lighting simple. Adding blinds, lighting, doors and other room essentials to your smart setup can make it far more convenient to your guests. They’ll be able to dim the lights and shut the shades with just a touch of a button. It can also improve security features, linking to their smartphones to lock and unlock doors effortlessly. Building this in mind with the voice activation possibilities can create a seamless experience.

4. Charging stations

Guests will bring a whole host of gadgets with them and they’ll need somewhere to charge them up. Making charging stations a part of your room design will certainly be welcomed. They should be convenient and accessible at the points where people use them the most, such as on bedside tables and desks. If you really want to go the extra mile, you’ll get bonus points for offering wireless charging technology in rooms.

5. Smart kitchen appliances

If you include a personal kitchen in your suites and apartments or small kitchen appliances as part of your room, switching to smart options can have a big impact. It helps to create a better experience and provide your guests with a personalised stay that they’ll remember. Smart precision cookers mean your guests don’t have to continuously monitor their food while a smart kettle or coffee maker ensures they wake up to their favourite drink.

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Trends Update

As we progress further into the digital revolution, the importance of technology becomes ever greater. We’re now at a point where the use (or lack of use) of technology can make or break your hotel. Using technology is not only vital to attracting new customers to your hotel and retaining old faces, it’s also integral in creating a variety of ways to find the current holy grail of the hotel world – personalized engagement.

Millions of pounds and countless hours have been poured into creating a personal, bespoke experience for guests. Gone are the days when guests would be shepherded into their rooms with little or no interaction with the hotel staff. The best hoteliers are now creating a personally catered experience that offers guests suggestions on where to stay, welcome packages once they enter their rooms, engagements on social media and more. The technological era is here, and embracing it is mandatory to your success. Read on to find out what’s hot in hotel and hospitality technologies right now.

Cloud technology

Cloud technology is being used by countless hoteliers around the world to improve the guest experience. By making the cloud part of your hotel technologies arsenal you’ll not only save money (cloud solutions are generally much cheaper than on-site databases), you’ll also be able to gather insights of guests who stayed years ago, with this easy access to data enabling you to create a more personalized guest experience. What’s more, using the cloud will enable you to bring your new properties online quickly and, due to cloud systems being both reliable and safe, you won’t have to worry about losing valuable data.

content - 3 trending hotel and hospitality technologies

Mobile penetration

The mobile playing field has grown vastly in recent years. Smartphone bookings are growing year on year in virtually every country, and conveniences such as native apps make your guest’s stay easier than ever. Nobody wants to stand around waiting for hotel keys; why not create an app that allows your guests to enter their rooms using their phones?

While you’re at it, why not use your native app to push promotions and events at your hotel? You can create location-triggered notifications to let your guests know they’re near your luxury spa, or send them suggestions designed to suit them whether they’re a family group on holiday or a bunch of friends travelling together.

Future proofing

As you’d expect, another craze sweeping the hotel world is working out how best to future proof. One problem many people experience when on holiday is a lack of coverage on their mobiles, and hotels are likely to view solving this as a top priority in 2018. Another area to focus on is Wi-Fi; although it’s safe to assume that every hotel now has free Wi-Fi for its guests, some only have it in their lounges and lobbies as opposed to all over the complex, meaning that solid Wi-Fi access across your hotel could give you the edge over your competitors. Thinking about what your guests want next and creating solutions in advance is a sure-fire ticket to hotel success.

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Trends Update

Staying in a hotel should be a hassle-free experience, but on occasion electronic hotel keys can turn a simple stay into a frustrating one. If you’ve ever tried and failed to swipe your way into your room, unprogrammed an electronic key by storing it too close to your smartphone or dealt with frustrated guests who have done just that, you’ll know that the system isn’t always as frictionless as it should be. The Hilton Group could be about to change all that by following current digital marketing trends.

The hotel giant, which boasts hotels all over the world, has announced that it is introducing new Bluetooth systems which let guests unlock their room doors with their smartphones. Now fully implemented in around 1700 hotels across the US and Canada, the company is making the most of mobile marketing strategies by bringing the electronic door key to the UK for its next port of call. On track to get 100 of its UK hotels on board by the end of 2017, this will overhaul the way the chain works forever.

The technology, which is focused on ensuring guests are able to enjoy their experience from the moment they check in until the moment they leave the hotel, provides better customer service than ever before by ensuring guests can get what they want, when they want it.

Mobile Bookings

The Hilton app, which is free to download, allows hotel guests to select their preferred room using digital check-in, while offering them the option of a digital key to use for a range of purposes for the duration of their stay. Once the room is ready for example, the app sends the guest a notification, activates the key, and guarantees they can come and go as they please – without the need for queuing up at reception desks.

Set to eliminate an element which is often out of their control, these keys replace the tricky keyless door system with something that is personal to the guest. This implementation will ensure the group, which has a reputation for quality and attention to detail, is able to further establish itself as one of the leading hotel chains in the world.

Smart locks are not a new invention. Gaining momentum over the last couple of years, they are used in everyday life, from front doors to garden gates, and even bike locks. However this announcement by Hilton suggests that smart locks will become even more common in daily life – and of course remove the common problem of key cards malfunctioning.

Th smartphone door key is currently only available to their ‘Honors’ members who download the smartphone app. However the firm says it has been used by 11m users so far, and hasn’t experienced a single breech. So should the technology prove successful as it filters through the chain, it will almost certainly be rolled out to all its customers.

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Trends Update

The hospitality industry has always faced challenges. But with the current economic climate – and its associated challenges- having a ripple effect throughout the international business landscape, the pressure felt by many in the hospitality industry has never been higher. It’s now more important than ever before that the hospitality industry is working hard to enable the country to weather whatever storm comes its way, in the post-Brexit and terrorism-laden area.

As one of the largest sectors of the global economy, employing more than 4.5 million people in the UK alone, it underpins commerce 24 hours a day. However despite playing such a vital role, perceptions of the hospitality sector are below par. As a hotel marketing agency that has worked with a range of hotels, we really do understand first-hand the challenges the industry is facing during this momentous period.

Brexit uncertainties

With Brexit on the horizon, it’s up to the industry to ensure it has a loyal, British workforce. As we’re unsure at present how Brexit will affect immigration from Europe, focussing on enticing British workers into hospitality, instead of relying on EU workers, is one of the single most important focuses over the approaching years. But with the lowest unemployment rate in decades resulting in a smaller pool of potential workers than ever before, tempting individuals into the hospitality sector could prove even more problematic. Other industries, such as the nursing profession, have also felt the impact of a skills and worker shortage, so the hospitality industry is certainly not alone here.

The best way to overhaul this misconstrued view is to focus on the endless possibilities within the hospitality industry. Contrary to the general consensus, working in hospitality doesn’t begin and end with waiting tables in a restaurant or bar tending. There are in fact a myriad of opportunities – and long-term careers – up for grabs. From managing high-end restaurants, to running large, five-star resorts, and even working behind the scenes to promote eateries and hotels, there has never been a better time to get into hospitality and forge out a career. Unfortunately, these negative perceptions won’t change on their own, and it’s down to the industry to pull together to change this.

Hotel Room

The weakening pound

The weak pound has in fact proven fruitful for the UK industry. Brits deciding on a staycation over going abroad, while attracting visitors from other countries, has resulted in forecasts predicting a record-breaking year for UK hospitality and leisure, with international spending due to hit £24.1bn by the year end. Although this is good news for some sectors of the industry, challenges do come with this. The country may have been climbing out of the recession for a few years, but many businesses have been cautious to take on new staff or invest in facilities.

For hotels outside the UK, the weakening pound means fewer visitors from Great Britain booking holidays and making reservations. The United States has already report fewer Brits entering the country and other nations tell a similar tale.

The impact of terrorism

Many hotels have already expressed their concern about the impact of the heightened global terror threat. With a number of attacks across Europe, hotels across several countries have reported fewer bookings. Paris hoteliers in particular have discussed at length the impact of terror attacks, with figures showing drastic falls in reservations in the immediate aftermath of last year’s attacks.

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Trends Update

Only a fool would claim the smartphone hasn’t transformed life throughout the world. Statistics suggest the percentage of people who check their handheld devices within just 15 minutes of waking up in the morning is a staggering 68%. That’s more than two in every three people. Mobile users also check their devices up to 150 times a day. Yes, really!

When you look at the facts, the reality is staggering. Yet, so fundamental has the smartphone become in our everyday lives, it’s now playing a critical role in how we buy things – how we search for items, how we purchase them and what we expect from the customer journey.

Consumer Behaviour

The facts don’t lie

In the US alone, within the last six months, 62% of all smartphone users have made a purchase online – in total there are 190.5 million US smartphones owners. Quite frankly, that’s hardly surprising, as more than half (51%) of all users claim to have found either a new product or company while searching on their device, while two thirds of them (66%) admit to turning to their device to learn more about a product after having watched a TV commercial and a whopping 82% of them even consult their smartphone before making a purchase in a store.

As our infographic ‘How does mobile commerce impact consumer behaviour’ points out, there’s no turning back now – the digital revolution has fundamentally, completely infiltrated the customer experience. So if, as a hotelier or any sort of business owner, you’re not on that bandwagon, the necessity to jump on it (or improve your digital/ smartphone engagement) is of paramount importance.

Time to improve your smartphone engagement?

Just consider this, when they negatively rate their brand experience via smartphone, more than six in every 10 users (62%) are less likely to use or purchase something from that brand again. And this is something that no owner of a boutique to medium-sized hotel can let happen – repeat business is absolutely critical to such accommodation the world over.

Impressing and providing the guest with a good experience is the name of the game and, in today’s digitised world, that doesn’t start when they walk through the front door and arrive at reception; it starts when they discover and engage with a hotel’s presence online. The world’s changing and, digitally speaking, ever evolving; like it or not, all hoteliers simply have to get with it.

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Trends Update

A new white paper has been published which analyses 70 trends sweeping the globe and their likely impact on the travel industry. The range is broad; everything from the rise of nationalism to new programming standards is studied for its potential to help or hinder hoteliers and travel industry professionals.

The report, titled What If? Imagining the future of the Travel Industry, found that the traditional aggregator for the travel industry – global distribution systems – will remain relevant whatever happens. The report did, however, throw up some other interesting conclusions.

Go big or go home…or not?

A recent phenomenon in the hotel world has been the mass merging of airlines, hotel groups, travel management companies, cruise lines, online travel companies, wholesalers and tour operators. The thinking behind this hospitality trend is that by achieving greater scale, businesses can stand up to the might of tech giants such as Google, Airbnb and Amazon.

This does however have its downsides. Many mergers become unmanageable due to the complexity of the new venture. They consequently fail. What’s more, size doesn’t necessarily attract customers; consumers have never traditionally fallen in love with one-stop shopping, so attempting a merger such as this to try and bolster your negotiating power may do you more harm than good. This begs the question though; how can your hotel remain competitive if tech giants do begin to encroach more upon the travel industry?

Friends not foes

Another one of the recurring hospitality trends cited by experts contributing to the report is that an increasingly open, interconnected world will encourage gatekeepers such as Google to become more involved with the travel industry. Why? Quite simply because the rewards will be greater. Events such as Brexit, or phenomenons such as the rise of nationalism, could likewise turn them away from the travel and hotel industry.

Meetups

In the case that tech giants such as Google or Alibaba do begin to establish a greater presence, the best thing you can do is work with them rather than against them. The report argues that you can make the best of the changing travel landscape by cooperating to improve your market position over your competitors. Contrary to dwindling in the face of tech giants entering the fray, your hotel can thrive if you identify ways to complement the tools that technology platform giants offer.

One such tactic could see hotels marrying sets of data in order to provide a better, more personalized service to customers during the booking process.

In the face of a changing hospitality landscape that may be influenced just as much by world events as it is by hospitality trends, taking a pragmatic approach might just be the key to victory.

Personalized travel

Personalisation is nothing new in marketing. However, it could be set to go to another level with technology increasingly used to aggregate customer date and deliver a more personalised experience for guests. This is one trend that could be leveraged right away by segmenting customer lists and targeting guests based on what you already know about them. In the future, it could mean deploying AI to mine online behaviours in order to meet travel needs instantly.

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Trends Update

What is the secret behind the success of Hilton? After 100 years in business and a $23.33 billion, the answer seems to lie in its ability to adapt.

Read on to find out how the Hilton brand has used hospitality technology and embraced the communication evolution to stay relevant and competitive.

The technology test

The hotel industry is largely split into two groups of thinking. There are those that are stuck in the past and shun most technological advancements in favour of traditional alternatives that are often dubbed as being more authentic. Then there are those who are always looking to adopt the latest tech and jump on the digital bandwagon without question.

Where Hilton has found success is right in the centre of these two ideals. The company’s approach involves keeping an open mind about new technologies but ensuring that they are worth the investment. The adoption process is built on three considerations:

1. Will the new technology improve the customer experience? 2. Will it streamline hotel operations and help staff? 3. Can it be rolled out globally to all properties to maintain consistency?

Ahead of the game

Hilton prides itself on being ahead of the game and this is another reason it’s been able to navigate increasingly busy waters. Chief Marketing Officer, Geraldine Calpin has previously revealed, “Innovation has always been the bedrock of our brand. For example, we were the first hotels with air conditioning and TVs in guest rooms.”

Over the decades, Hilton has stayed on the cutting edge of hospitality technology in order to deliver a unique customer experience. One such example is the development of its own brand mobile apps for both Android and iOS. The apps streamlined the booking process for customers around the world – perhaps nothing new today but, Hilton was amongst the first in the industry to take this approach.

Hotel Room

Harnessing technology for smarter customer experiences

Among the numerous examples of cutting-edge technology being integrated into Hilton’s business practises, there are a few key innovations which really stand out. The Digital Key feature, which can be found within the Hilton Honors app, allows members to use their mobile phone for everything from booking a room and check in, to unlocking the door and ordering room service.

Hilton has also begun deploying other popular technologies such as VR to provide virtual tours and apps such as Fun Finder which allows guests to find local attractions. Theses technological integrations are all examples of how Hilton has progressed ahead of the competition with the help of modern innovations.

Consumer engagement

A big part of Hilton’s marketing mantra revolves around the importance of customer feedback and consumer-generated content. “Consumer-generated content has become a main pillar for us on social media and it’s been highly successful in that we see a deeper level of engagement with this type of content” stated Calpin.

Having a simplistic and easily navigated online system that allows customers to actively engage and leave feedback has helped Hilton to increase its online presence, provide honest feedback to potential customers and engage more effectively with its guests.

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Trends Update

The world of brand management has changed rapidly over the last 10 years. We’ve seen the true emergence of a digital landscape which has made the online world the most important arena in which to establish and manage your brand.

As well as building and reinforcing your brand, the internet has equally become a place where brands can crash and burn thanks to the instant nature of the internet. Things can go viral for the wrong reasons in an instant.

You’ll need to work harder to monitor your online reviews

You’ll already know this, but it’s impossible to stress how important an aspect of reputation management online reviews are. The fast-moving, easily diffused nature of the digital landscape means you’ll need to quick to respond to poor review and aware of guest sentiment at all times.

Facebook posts and tweets showing unclean accommodation or rooms different to how they’re advertised online have the potential to go viral in minutes and destroy reputations in hours. It’s therefore imperative to your brand positioning strategy that you manage and reply to your online reviews daily to nip bad reviews in the bud and avoid situations spiralling out of control.

A key to doing so effectively is to accept that you’re in the wrong. Anyone reading a poor online review will respect that you’re honest about your mistake. Likewise, be humble and thankful in your response to positive online reviews. Your guests have taken a couple of minutes out of their day to boost your brand for free, so the least you can do in return is thank them for making the effort and wish them a safe journey home

Promotional Strategy

Establish a consistent voice online

Another key aspect of reputation management is the online voice and persona you adopt when you go digital. Train all of your staff tasked with speaking on behalf of your hotel online how to do so in a voice and style you want your hotel to be known for. It’s no good having upbeat, enthusiastic language in your Facebook posts and having dull, short sentences in your online review responses. If you are omni-channel, your brand must be consistent.

On top of being consistent, try to have your online voice reflect your brand as a whole. That means using language appropriate to your target market across your less formal communications online such as your social media posts, right through to your email marketing content, website landing pages, booking engine instructions and blog posts or other content formats.

Take advantage of social media

Social media has emerged as perhaps the most important tool for brand positioning in recent years. The way you use it can make or break your brand. Make use of regular posts through a variety of mediums, whether they be Facebook live streams, Twitter moments or Snapchat stories and you’ll see your online reputation grow and interest in your hotel increase.

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Trends Update

An article from the New York Times has outlined the potential ramifications of terrorist attacks like the one in Paris last year on hotel operators across Europe. Rising fears of repeated attacks have caused a sense of unrest which has led to a decrease in the number of holidaymakers heading to Europe.

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks that have taken place throughout cities across Europe, business owners and operators within the hospitality industry witnessed firsthand the effects of falling tourism figures and lower occupancy. This has left many hotels wondering the same thing: whether or not tourists will still travel. A number of reports from hotel chains across popular regions of Europe have already illustrated a slump in booking figures following major terrorist attacks. Most notably, the Sodetour Group, a chain of hotels in the popular area near Mont-Saint-Michael, experienced losses of 70% in the months following the Paris terrorist attack in November 2015. This paints a daunting picture for other hotel operators in major cities throughout Europe as they struggle to maintain high sales figures in an increasingly competitive market. Travel Luggage Following the devastating attack, hundreds of holidaymakers cancelled their reservations at a number of the Sodetour Group hotels, despite the fact that they are located hundreds of miles away from Paris in Normandy. The loss of customers resulted in a huge slump in sales and the closure of multiple hotels which is a pattern that has since been repeated in other areas across Europe. Many hotels remained in the recovery stage for months and have become increasingly hesitant about trying to expand or invest amongst fears of future attacks. While central European governments have begun investing billions into security measures to counteract terrorist activities, the fear amongst holidaymakers has caused stagnation in the EU hospitality industry the New York Times report found. As the attacks in popular cities seem to become more frequent, hoteliers must adopt measures to minimise spending and cut costs, leading to a number of redundancies in cities all over France and wider Europe. Data from leading hotel chains in areas including Brussels and France showed that the number of bookings fell consistently after every major terrorist attack. The global travel website, Expedia.com reported that nightly bookings in France fell below 10% following the Paris attacks and the number of bookings in Brussels fell into negative figures after the bombings in March 2016. The slump in tourism throughout Europe doesn’t look promising for the economic stability of the region. The tourism industry makes up 10% of the EU’s economic income which means that the hotel market could see large financial losses in the years to come. The uncertainty of potential terrorist attacks makes it even more difficult for hotel operators in the area to make financial forecasts or expansion plans. Although the market continues to fluctuate, it seems that the threat of further terrorist attacks has and will continue to affect the success of hotels in Europe. In this environment, investment in other areas such as digital marketing, responsive sites and booking engines is critical.
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Trends Update

In a global market that is rapidly becoming digitalised, it is more important than ever to identify and rectify the organisational and cultural issues that can hinder progress and stunt growth as a result of digital culture. Recent research produced by McKinsey&Company has highlighted a number of the major factors that need to be addressed in order for the hospitality industry to thrive in the digital world.

Analysis of the data shows a number of common insufficiencies in the digital-culture. This isn’t restricted to the hotel industry, with others around the world also failing to measure up.

There are three main areas of concern flagged up by the research: an innate departmental silo mentality, a lack of risk-taking and an inability to form a business-wide consensus on customer needs. The research is relevant to companies in all areas and industries but serves particularly as a warning to the hotel and hospitality industry.

Silo mentality

In an increasingly digital world, a hotel chain cannot hope to find success if it is not able to unify all internal departments under a clear, digitally driven set of business ideals and goals. Larger hotel chains which consist of numerous departments will struggle to stay competitive in a digitalised industry if their internal departments are not working conjunctively. A silo mentality can be detrimental to businesses across a host of operational concerns. In the age of information, if data is not being shared between internal departments a hotel chain will struggle to expand or improve its service. This can also have a significant impact on marketing effectiveness and ROI.

Embracing change

Many managers and business operators often fall into an economic rut due to a lack of innovation and a fear of engaging with new markets or trends. This is often the case with companies that have experienced a stint of success and subsequently adopted the belief that they have discovered the secret to success. Unfortunately, trends change and hotels especially cannot hope to compete against the rise of online travel agents and other digital challenges if they are reluctant to take risks.

Gadget Friendly

The ability to innovate and take calculated risks on emerging trends is a vital step towards success in the digital world. Hilton are a great example of how beneficial embracing change can be. It is a brand that has managed to stay competitive in the hospitality industry for over 100 years and still continues to grow. This continued success has been down to the chain’s ability to identify emerging market trends, integrate new technologies and highlight internal structural problems through self-analysis.

Digital strategy

Among the findings of the study, McKinsey illustrates an overall lack of ability to comprehend digital trends in the world of business. This poses a particular problem for hotels today as the industry is rapidly moving online.

In the wake of a digital movement and increasing competition from aggregate websites and OTAs, it’s more important than ever for hotels to develop a more strategized marketing system that utilises new technologies and engages with consumers through new channels. Shaking off old habits and outdated mantras is an important step towards improving internal operations, appealing to a wider consumer base and ultimately increasing revenue streams.

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