While conventional wisdom would suggest that, after putting our blog space on hiatus for the summer, now that we are well into September things could be considered “back to normal.” However, one needs only to look in one of so many different directions to know that this is anything but true.
Hyatt has gone out to the owners of its hotels and let them know that it plans to launch “’an aggressive sales & marketing plan’ to drive more direct bookings...”. As so many are now doing, Hyatt is looking to reduce its dependence on the OTA’s and their associated cost model by pushing more customers to book direct. What’s wrong with this picture? The painting of the OTA’s as an ‘adversary’ is not only unwise, it is actually also unfair.
In recent memory, perhaps the most overused and ‘under’-understood term in the world of hospitality is “disruption.” It is nearly impossible to read about our industry today without some reference to the impact of “disruption” or “disruptors” on our lives. But as we read and talk about this buzzword for our industry, a bit of perspective is important.
Because there is such a natural fascination with “the hotel business,” an opportunity exists for us to do a better job of maximizing our relationship with our customers and our neighbors by playing off of this fascination. We have an opportunity, some would say an outright obligation, to do far more to give back to our communities.
Why do hotels insist on jumping on the fragrance bandwagon? In the never-ending quest for separation from the pack, numerous hotel brands and independent properties alike have enacted what is referred to as “Scent Branding;” that is, the creation of a proprietary scent to be circulated throughout one’s hotel properties. But should we really be imposing something as personal as a scent at the expense of guest satisfaction?
It’s nearly impossible today to read about the hotel industry without reference being made to the relentless advance of technology and its impact on what we do. Many of these new apps, new amenities, new services are being made available to ourselves and to our customers in the specific hope of increasing loyalty, and thereby increasing business levels. While nearly all of this is good, it may be stretching things to assume that all technological improvements benefit the hospitality industry simply because they exist.
Historically, internships have been viewed by many as a necessary evil; something that is inherently good to do, but something that no one really wants to be accountable for. As a result, many of even the best-intentioned internships have evolved into little more than administrative assistant roles, with the interns themselves never truly engaging in activities that could be valuable to them in their future endeavors. Internships represent a unique hands-on opportunity for those of us more senior in the industry to closely interact with and impart knowledge upon those who have already raised their hands and said “I want to learn from you.” At the risk of sounding somewhat parental, do we not have an absolute responsibility to respond to this inquiry?
With Hyatt as the latest global entrant into the world of “soft branding,” the time is right to discuss the inner workings of this concept for hotel owners and operators. Today, with Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, and Hyatt all playing in this relatively new arena, it is apparent that the concept of soft-branding is here to stay; however the jury is still out on how to best use this strategy to one’s advantage.