Hand with compass at mountain road at sunset sky in Kazakhstan, central Asia

Lever Your Location

There is only one aspect of your property that you absolutely cannot change – your physical address. Renovate, replace staff, add new operations, re-flag or re-brand, it makes no difference; you are where you are! Your location is uniquely yours, so why not make the most of it? When a guest arrives – especially for the first time – they rarely have the in-depth knowledge of your neighborhood to go about on their own without some guidance. While nowadays there are numerous online resources that can give visitors a broad overview of the top highlight, your guests will nevertheless want your help in discovering what truly makes your area special. The best part about levering your location for better guest satisfaction is that becoming the local expert is not overly complex. However, it will require some leg work on behalf of your team to break ground for your guests, find …

lmaadminLever Your Location
Back view of man presenting to students at a lecture theatre

A Hotel School That Supports Alternate Lodging Providers?

When asked to name a hotel school, what immediately comes to mind? Perhaps your thoughts run to the prestigious École Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland or the stateside Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (now a part of The SC Johnson College of Business). Ranking fourth in the QS 2017 World University Rankings for Hospitality and Leisure Management is Les Roches Global Hospitality Education with over 3,000 students spread across three campuses, tremendous global diversification in that no single country claims more than 10% of the student population and a very entrepreneurial outlook. Nicolas Graf David Fudge This is a hotel school advocating that its students learn and embrace everything there is to know about alternate lodging providers and all the various ways in which the sharing economy might disrupt the hospitality industry. To elucidate why this is the case and what established hoteliers can glean from this shift in …

lmaadminA Hotel School That Supports Alternate Lodging Providers?
Tractor leveling soccer field grass using heavy metal lawn roller

Leveling the Sharing Economy Playing Field

I attended an interesting travel panel earlier this month in my hometown of Toronto. The topic was the leisure segment, with the panelists all senior members of tourism bureaus and hotel organizations, while their presentations quoted the usual ream of statistical gobbledegook. The mood was rosy as Canadian travel statistics have never been better with the nation approaching its 150th anniversary. The ebullience in the room was so thick that I felt that it couldn’t be cut with even the finest Japanese samurai sword. Bu then I asked the question with a somewhat naïve tone, “Have you seen any impact on the hotel sector from alternate lodgings?” The responses revealed a sharp dichotomy. Those representing the tourism sector clearly want more accommodations, with Airbnb and the like fitting that bill to a tee. A hotel can take several years to build while Airbnb rooms can be added almost instantaneously. Contrarily, those …

lmaadminLeveling the Sharing Economy Playing Field
Charts and analytical data on the tablet screen with a cup of coffee on a wooden vintage table.

The Downward Spiral of SEO and SEM

Want to hold the top spot on Google for everyone searching an accommodation in your area? I am sure that this is the dream of every hotelier on earth. Somehow, there would be a magic potion or genius company that could drive us to the top of the listings for both the lower funnel (branded terms) as well the top of funnel (broader travel terms). Deep down, though, we all know that this is pretty much impossible all the while Google (traded under its parent company’s name, Alphabet) is showing record profits and commensurate share prices. But does this all make sense? Why is it that our budgets for this activity are constantly growing yet we don’t seem to be making any real progress in this regard? Our industry spends billions of dollars, not just on these so-called ads but we also employ a cadre of internal experts both and …

lmaadminThe Downward Spiral of SEO and SEM
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
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
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
Folded umbrellas on the beach before the storm on the coast of Greek , pefkohori.

Goal for 2018 – No More Offseason

Consider this your quarterly performance audit, but thinking a bit more ambitiously, it is already time to look ahead to 2018! Now that we have gone through three whole months of 2017, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate the goal we proclaimed at the beginning of January, but there’s also enough time to plan something bold for next year. A major issue that many hotels confront is the cyclical nature of their revenues and occupancies. Although seasonality affects resorts and rural properties more so than urban hotels, the latter can also suffer from week-to-week or intra-week fluctuations due to their targeting of primarily the corporate and groups segment. Even though most of these suggestions pertain to the leisure segment where the highs and lows are more pronounced, making weekend traffic at business-catering urban hotels should still be a foremost initiative. In fact, regardless of your particular situation and however much …

lmaadminGoal for 2018 – No More Offseason
Chiang Mai, Thailand - April 26, 2016: man hand holding screen shot of Uber application showing on Asus Zenfone 2 mobile phone. Uber is an American multinational online transportation network company.

How the Sharing Economy Impacts Select-Service Hotels

Outer space may be the only place to escape the onslaught of the newly famous cadre of alternative lodging companies categorized as a part of the sharing economy, including but not limited to HomeAway (owned by Expedia), HomeToGo, Vacation Rentals By Owner (otherwise known as VRBO), Couchsurfing, onefinestay (recently acquired by Accor), FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) and, of course, the behemoth that is Airbnb. Even those select service, limited service and all other hotels that primarily cater to the business crowd have largely escaped the direct impact on their occupancies and ADRs from this rapidly burgeoning section, it is only a matter of time before the alternative lodging industry starts to influence every hospitality establishment in every corner of the earth and becomes a direct competitor for your property. On its most fundamental level, the sharing economy is changing the way consumers think about travel and how to go about …

lmaadminHow the Sharing Economy Impacts Select-Service Hotels