How can you forecast for meetings, business conferences, weddings and special holiday gatherings like those that take place at Christmas when you have no solid idea what restrictions the future holds? How can you accurately build your budget assumptions if you are not sure when regular business and leisure travel will resume to drive up occupancy rates?
Since the mass adoption of the internet, technology has played a central role in shaping how almost every element of travel is experienced. From smartphones to electronic payments, blogs, social media, chatbots, A.I., ordering and review apps, and even smart luggage, technology has increased the ease and speed at which a holiday can be pulled together, and has been a lead driver in the growth of our industry.
I threw out all my preconceptions, locked myself in my office for a few days, and spent time listening to call recordings of real conversations captured through various call recording tools. As I analyzed dozens of calls from all types of lodging operations it occurred to me that QUEST would be the perfect name for the following reasons.
When a crisis strikes an industry, most hunker down to reduce damage. Amid the chaos, its easy to overlook the opportunities a crisis turns up. As a hotelier, you dont have to sit back and absorb financial hits. There are ways to go on the offense. Wondering how?
When the winds of crisis whip, and a hotels cash begins flying away, its easy to panic. During a crisis, it might feel like the whole market has been pulled out from under you. However, there is hope even in the worst financial crisis. With hotel benchmarking, its possible to fight off financial ruin, even in the middle or during the aftermath of financial turmoil. Wondering how?
As we hear every week from participants in KTNs virtual sales training and coaching sessions, group, wedding and event demand has slowed to a trickle, or in some cities, ground to a halt with hotel closures. Visionary hotel leaders are using the downtime for a long-overdue reevaluation of their sales tech.
It's been five months since COVID-19 became a reality for most of us. In that time, we've seen hotel bookings in the World Hotel Index drop to below 9% YoY globally, and then show an encouraging and sustained recovery to surpass 54% YoY in July. At a global level, booking levels have plateaued since, but not in every part of the world. While a lot remains unknown, what is clear is that the new behaviours and preferences of today's traveller are likely to linger for a while yet, if not become permanent changes for some.
Based on what I hear, working in the lodging industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic can be especially stressful. Not that it has ever been an easy profession. While todays guests threaten to write a bad review, guests of yesteryear similarly threatened to write a letter to J.W. Marriott or Conrad Hilton.
Among the many delicious scenes from the movie 'Goodfellas' is one where the characters of Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci burn down a restaurant because its credit has run out, putting an end to their graft. 'And then finally, when theres nothing left, when you cant borrow another buck from the bank, you bust the joint out. You light a match.'
As my frequent readers know, I have long advocated for hoteliers to view the front desk as a revenue- generating position, not an operational expense. In previous posts I have provided training tips for upselling at registration, converting property-direct voice inquiries, converting those who booked via third parties to booking directly next time, and perhaps most importantly, sourcing leads that can be passed along for follow-up by the hotel sales team.