Lodging Conference Lessons
Each fall, the Lodging Conference is always one of the most interesting and dynamic hotel industry events of the year. This year, many influential executives, owners and developers were in attendance and a record 1,800 people attended the Conference.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the event and how you can utilize the lessons we learned to help improve your business’s bottom line.
Hiring is hard
One major challenge hoteliers are facing is regarding labor. The nightly news keeps reporting unemployment numbers that belie how many people are out of work, but we’re not seeing that in the hotel labor market. In fact, we’re experiencing the opposite here in hospitality.
According to Aran Ryan, Director Lodging Analytics, with Oxford Economics, the lodging industry is “Seeing strong wage growth, the kind we’d expect to see with this tight labor market.” Additionally, Ryan stated rising quit rates reflect growing labor pool confidence because people can more easily seek and find better paying jobs as the best staff is becoming harder to find.
It’s more critical than ever to utilize a strong cloud based property management system that’s easy to learn and easier to use. Reduced training time may reduce employee frustrations, which may help increase job satisfaction.
We’ve seen these become more prominent during the past few years, as companies such as Choice Hotels International, Inc. have introduced dual-branded hotels like the Sleep Inn and MainStay Suites hybrid hotels. .
“The consumer is changing and their demands are changing,” said Thomas Corcoran, Jr., Chairman of the Board for FelCor Lodging Trust. “What we used to do doesn’t matter. If the [customers] want four brands in one building, and the owner can make more money, I say let’s go for it. Who cares?”
With multi-branded hotels offering more opportunities to appeal to the same guests with varying lodging needs, recognizing the needs of each customer is more important than ever. A scalable hotel PMS can provide the ability to house either several properties in the same building or many spread throughout the country, or a combination of both, to suit a variety of customer needs.
New Hotels Means More Competition
No matter the economic status of the hotel industry, hoteliers are out there developing new properties. Right now developers are doing what they do best and adding thousands of new hotels around the world. According to Lodging Econometrics, which presented its latest findings during the Conference, the new hotel construction pipeline is up 3% globally, with 1,260 new hotel projects added to the existing construction pipeline. Currently, there are more than 5,200 new hotels under construction, and nearly 3,400 more scheduled to start construction during the next 12 months, a jump of 19% by projects and 17% by rooms.
There are so many new hotels entering the market, and it’s crucial to make sure customers can find your business quickly and easily. Be sure to have a smart Distribution Management solution such as the ones available through the SkyTouch cloud property management system. Flexible, customized solutions may help get you noticed by potential guests whenever they shop for a hotel room.
We’ve talked about it before in this blog, but it’s worth pointing out again as now major executives are also pointing this out: personalization and recognition are the new ways to help create guest loyalty.
“When you look at the traveler, they are looking for more of an experience. We have found extreme responsiveness to a perks program where with every stay the guest receives something, it’s about instant gratification,” said Naveen Kakarla, President & CEO of HHM.
Kirk Kinsell, President and CEO of Loews Hotels agrees. “Points based systems are very expensive,” he said. “We look forward to personalization and recognition to take care of guests.”
One of the best way hoteliers can surprise and delight guests is with the SkyTouch Technology Experience Program (STEP). STEP helps you record and personalize guest profiles. With this information, you can transform a customer’s stay into something memorable, helping to increase the likelihood they’ll stay with you time and again.
Take these lessons to heart when thinking about your ongoing strategy. Do you have a hotel PMS that is helping or hindering your ability to keep up to date with trends? Now is the time to make the switch and start planning for the rapid industry changes ahead.