Business acronym CRM as Customer Relationship Management written with chalk on wooden mini blackboard labels, defocused chalkboard and wood table in background

CRM Success Is Built On Partnerships

Participating in a recent panel discussion in Toronto sponsored by Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) alongside experts from Acxiom, Serenata, Oracle and Cendyn served to be a truly enlightening hour and half on the future of customer relationship management (CRM). Apart from your humble scribe, it was an impressive panel of leaders in this highly technical field with an equally prestigious audience comprising over two dozen CIOs from the world’s leading hotel brands. The program started with an identification of exactly what today’s CRM comprises. At a minimum, CRM includes the following in no particular order: Data collection and storage of information pertaining to hotel guests The ability to access and aggregate this data for the purposes of personalized marketing through email and perhaps social media Campaign management tools to effectively undertake this activity Triggered event activity from pre- and post-stay Analytics, including surveys and guest review analysis The ability to …

lmaadminCRM Success Is Built On Partnerships
Chiang Mai, Thailand - September 4, 2016: Apple iPhone 6s plus with Airbnb application on the screen. Airbnb is a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging.

Analyzing Airbnb’s Advertising

I have to hand it to the folks running Airbnb. Their brilliance in communicating their message makes all of us in the hotel business look a bit amateurish. And incredibly for that matter, Airbnb’s latest TV missive has nothing to do with travel or even accommodations. For those who have restricted their television viewing to Netflix or other streaming services and have missed the advertisement, here’s a short synopsis. The ad depicts an retired couple talking about how renting out a room in their home helps them keep up with payments. It goes on to suggest that Airbnb is helping thousands of friendly folks just like them make ends meet. Moreover, the ads are geotargeted. The one I saw focused on Toronto – my home city – with classically iconic CN Tower photography thrown in for good measure. My sister reported similarly bespoke cutaway stock shots adapted for the New …

lmaadminAnalyzing Airbnb’s Advertising
Waiter presenting burnished flask of beverage. Focus on wine

In Vino Veritas LVIII: Beverage Specialist Nomenclature

Educating your servers about wine so they pay that knowledge forward to patrons in the form of intelligent menu recommendations and building a rapport is a worthwhile pursuit as well as one I have wholly espoused throughout this column. However, with many restaurants already encouraging this practice and with even more waiters seeing this as an avenue for bigger tips, basic wine knowledge has become the norm rather than a value-add. And therein lies an opportunity to further enhance overall guest satisfaction. This doesn’t mean you should abort all attempts at staff education or in offering recommendations. Rather, we have to put our marketing caps on for a moment to see if there’s a way we can tweak this aspect of the meal experience so that it feels fresh once again. And an easy solution may be in further specializing your F&B team then giving these dedicated experts uniquely alluring …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LVIII: Beverage Specialist Nomenclature
D-Day hedgehogs in Normandy, France

Drumming Up Your War Tourism

It’s long been on my bucket list to visit the beaches of Normandy and experience just a sliver of what our fathers and grandfathers went through on June 6, 1944. Coupled with some fine cuisine including exquisite wine and delicious camembert cheeses as well as a few walkabouts through picturesque Northern French towns and other historic sites, this would make for an unforgettable summer vacation. Talking over this dream in conversation, it became apparent that many of my friends and colleagues have similar ambitions or have already completed such a journey. And I’d imagine that you or your friends are in the same boat. In fact, while touring the D-Day Invasion locales may represent the pinnacle of war tourism, it is hardly an anomaly insofar as popular travel motivations. Just consider how much war history is out there and how much effort has been put into preserving these locations and …

lmaadminDrumming Up Your War Tourism
A menu resting on a restaurant table, emphasis placed on the golden embroidery lettering against the black with the image's focus.  Silverware, napkins and glasses sit in the background as blurry shapes at the menu's edge, all resting on a light brown table.

The Proof of Prix Fixe

Choice is a tricky thing. Confronted with too much of it and you are stymied by indecision. Yet faced by too little and you feel shortchanged or indifferent to the whole buying process. It’s all about finding that happy medium, and to help you decipher this golden mean there’s better place to start than by examining how prix fixe menus subtly work to build revenue and customer satisfaction. The best prix fixe menus not only feature a restaurant’s signature dishes as selected and perfected by your chefs, but they also offer a few options within broader course grouping. For instance, if you offer a simple three-course dinner, you might give two choices for appetizers, three as mains and another two for desserts. This way your patrons don’t feel as though they are being coerced to go down one specific track where the perception would be one of inevitable boredom unless, …

lmaadminThe Proof of Prix Fixe
hitec2017

HITEC 2017: A Show About Integration

For those who did not attend the 2017 edition of HITEC, held in Toronto this time around, you may be wondering what you missed. Frankly, the same question may be posed by those who attended as well! Putting aside the exceptional educational seminars, the exhibition show floor now resembles a miniature version of the world’s largest technology trade fair, the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas each January. Some of the HITEC supplier booths have even gone to great lengths to replicate hotel facilities in order to elicit the same levels of customer excitement generated at CES. Most also have ample space for lively conversations and intimate customer presentations. Spending as much as is humanly possible of 15 hours of allotted open time on the actual exhibit floor, I ended up speaking with dozens of vendors. Walking every aisle, I attempted to absorb all the various product and …

lmaadminHITEC 2017: A Show About Integration
travel background, woman tourist walking with suitcase on the street in european city, tourism in Europe

Building Summer Occupancy for City Hotels

Temperatures rise. Humidity creeps up. Sounds like time to pack up and head to the nearest beach. While your team may be thinking ‘vacation’, you should be thinking ‘revenue’ when it comes to your leisure segment. Every resort owner knows that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is peak. The kids are out of school by mid-to-late June, making it family time. For a moment, though, let’s focus on city properties. Bricks and mortar are depreciated all 12 months of the year. There are no summer breaks in your debt service even as the meetings and conference segment wanes. You need a plan to cover your business through a quarter that will see limited, if any, group activity. So, let’s examine the fundamentals of a solid leisure plan. Know and be a part of your market. Product knowledge is essential. Look beyond your property’s walls to see what is …

lmaadminBuilding Summer Occupancy for City Hotels
Symbol of Canada

The Sesquicentennial Sojourn

A long word for something so simple! Canada is gearing up for its 150th anniversary as a nation, being celebrated from coast to coast on July 1st. Leading up to this date, hotels across the country are expecting record numbers that will last throughout the summer. Rather than regurgitate a litany of positive statistics, though, there are a few good takeaways for hoteliers around the world to note. I was inspired to write on this subject after attending the 11th annual Leisure Travel Summit held earlier this June in downtown Toronto and hosted by Best Western. The five-person panel – comprised of all women I might add, and something we should be seeing more often – noted that now more than ever is time to explore the Great White North and that this sort of influx of visitors haven’t been seen since the Expo ’67 days. Rather than proscribing this …

lmaadminThe Sesquicentennial Sojourn
ritz-montreal1

Renovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition

For over 100 years, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been more than just a hotel; it has been a bastion of the city’s ‘Great Gatsby’ society. Through its doors, royalty and those of privilege have passed countless times. The hotel has hosted the finest social functions and weddings including the impromptu nuptials (only two hours’ notice) of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. If these walls could talk, I am sure that they would speak volumes. For those whose knowledge of Montreal is limited, a short history lesson is mandated. The province of Quebec, including Montreal, is predominantly French-speaking. Yet, there is a distinct Anglophone culture in this its largest city which steadfastly had maintained a strong influence over the province through political appointments and strong financial influence. This led to a mini-rebellion (quite significant in a Canadian context) in the late 1970s, ultimately culminating in a vote to separate from Canada …

lmaadminRenovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition