Category Archives: Social Media

Next-Gen Leaders Must Be Open to Change

This year’s Asian American Hotel Owners Association convention was all about success and how to achieve positive performance in an era of new brand launches, generational leadership change, and external disruptors.

Mike Leven, president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and an original organizer of what would become AAHOA, kicked off Thursday’s general session with a call to action for the rising tide of second-generation Asian-American hoteliers who are growing their own footprints in the business.


“What happens when you are successful?” he asked. “You stop doing what made you get there in the first place, and that’s where the danger comes in.”

Leven said that as the industry faces change, the next generation of leaders must change with it, especially if they hope to be successful during downturns.

“The status quo is a prescription for failure,” he said. “You have a responsibility to continue to be dynamic in the search for change, for doing things different, for not being satisfied.”

Hotel franchise company executives echoed those statements on Thursday’s “Industry CEOs” panel and encouraged members to continue to be involved in their franchise organizations and the larger industry.

The CEOs shared insight into consumer trends, highlighting why creating excellent guest experiences will translate into strong bottom-line performance.

“We see people choosing experience over product—we see this in retail, in consumer products and certainly in travel,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “The idea that the product has to be perfect is weakening. Instead, people are looking for a holistic, experiential time.”

He advised attendees to make sure they’re creating those shareable experiences for guests.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings President and CEO Chris Nassetta echoed that sentiment that guests are all about experience these days. He told attendees that creating positive cultures at the hotel level are what will make those experiences great.

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Social Media, Technology, Training

What Should Your Hotel Brand Know About Generation Z?


Time waits for no man, and just as soon as we think we’re getting a handle on what millennials want, a new buzzword starts to crop up in conversation: “Generation Z.”

Trying to define an entire generation’s attitude and purchasing habits can seem tedious (and a hard target to hit), but it makes smart business sense to have a plan in place for the next wave of travelers. While the inclination may be to think of Generation Z as merely an extension of millennials, odds are they will be their own distinct group. And how you prepare your destination, and brand, to receive this group could have a profound impact on your company’s future.

So, who is Generation Z?

Always Connected

Exact ranges for generations have been hard to define since the baby boomers, but Generation Z is roughly considered to be defined as those born in the mid- to late-1990s through the 2010s. In other words, babies being born today (and potentially up to around 2025), up to early 20-somethings.

This group makes up about 25 percent of the population, according to Forbes, making it more populous than boomers or millennials.

For some perspective, the oldest members of Generation Z were 7 or 8 years old when the Sept. 11 attacks took place. Many have pointed out significant aspects of this generation are its widespread use of the Internet (even from a very young age), a high comfort level with technology, reliance on social media for a large portion of their socializing, and possibly feelings of unsettlement and insecurity from growing up in the Great Recession.

And in less than five years, they will make up almost 10 percent of the workforce.

Not Millennials

The dividing line is a bit murky, but members of Generation Z are (and will likely continue to be) different than their millennial predecessors. According to a survey of young people conducted by Adecco, more members of Generation Z aspire to lofty career goals, while millennials crave financial stability.

Generation Z is more entrepreneurial, and more prefer in-person communication than millennials.

Already Influential

It may be several years before enough members of Generation Z are booking hotel rooms to be noticeable, but they already influence their parents—when polled, 93 percent of parents believe their children have influence over their family spending and purchases; 55 percent say their opinion is “extremely or very influential.”

Planning Ahead

So if Generation Z’s tastes are already becoming an influence, what should your hotel do to get ready for the day when it’s their names on the credit card? Making sure your brand and marketing adjust accordingly will be of paramount importance.

In its report examining the trends of Generation Z, global firm Ernst & Young suggests three strategies to gaining the generation’s interest and loyalty in your brand: Intuitively deliver on their constantly evolving needs; make them part of the solution; and demonstrate respect and loyalty before asking for it.

Evolving Needs

For starters, members of Generation Z are in a constant search for information and new platforms of delivery—one in four try out at least seven new apps a month, and the list of social media platforms they favor could be longer than this article.

With that in mind, they have no patience for a brand that doesn’t already get it, or even worse, complicate their lives. Your messaging needs to find them wherever they may be searching—and that might be different than last week.

Part of the Solution

Generation Z also has more do-it-yourselfers than the previous generation (when you grow up with a how-to for anything on YouTube, it makes it easier). Ideally they want their brand to be a tool that empowers them—they may even want to create your offering for you, particularly where, when, and how they buy from you.

Respect and Loyalty

Once it’s earned, Generation Z’s brand loyalty is impressively strong. But getting it could be the challenge, and the best way to show that you respect them is to speak to them individually.

Whether this means personal interactions between customers and your brand on social media, or visibly accommodating what they’ve asked out of your brand, the last thing Generation Z wants is a form letter. Your brand will need to foster a reputation of responsiveness and collaboration to earn their respect.

“Gen Z is used to feasting on content regularly and this is the age group that has given rise to (multi-channel networks),” Matt Smith of the TV platform Anvanto told Digiday. “Brands like Marriott that are creating specialized content already are the ones that will resonate with them.”

Through a combination of tech savviness and a greater need for self-reliance, Generation Z could shape up to be one of the most productive and influential generations our country has ever seen. Whether they choose to bring their business to your hotel will depend on how hard you work to get to know them. And you’d best not wait—there’ll be another generation on the horizon before we know it.

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Filed under Employee Practices, Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media, Technology

Millennials and the Art of the Bizcation

There has been a lot of talk about ‘bleisure travel’ and ‘bizcations’ recently, which happen when a guest combines business travel with leisure and nearly every article I found on the topic highlights the opportunity for business travelers (often millennials) to extend their stay for a few days so they can bring their family along for a mini vacation.


This is great, and certainly a trend that should not be ignored, but what about the Millennials who don’t have families?

When you ask a 20 or 30 something what they like to do in their spare time, chances are you are going to hear “travel” somewhere in their answer. Millennials love to explore and many are obsessed with the romantic notion of seeing the world. Yet, with so much to see in the world, it is nearly impossible to get to it to all, especially while holding down a full-time job.

Enter the bizcation. Opportunities for Millennials to turn a business trip into a vacation are more obvious in bigger cities and international destinations– New York, Las Vegas, London, Barcelona etc., but that doesn’t mean your property in the Midwest or a small town on the East Coast shouldn’t target bleisure travelers.

I think it is important to point out that while Millennials want to see the world and visit many countries, they are just as curious about destinations close to home. What they are ultimately seeking is adventure, a good story to tell, and an experience they can share with friends. As a hotel marketer, it is your job to pick out these opportunities for adventure near your hotel and share these ideas with your guests. Give them a reason to want to explore your city or town, and they will come.

By now, you know the typical tactics to turn a business traveler into a bleisure traveler: Offer them a special rate for the weekend, throw in perks such as free wi-fi or free breakfast, highlight fun & interesting activities near your hotel, etc. What you may not realize is that you are more likely to entice Millennials with a few small tweaks to your typical messaging.

Most hotels & resorts list nearby attractions on their website, but how can you re-think this section to target the Millennial audience? The trick is making sure you highlight UNIQUE attractions & activities that are hard to come by in any other place.

Below, I show you how to look for alternate activities to list on your website and in your marketing message that may better attract Millennials.

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media

Social Media Marketing Trends to Try in 2016

social media

In today’s fast-moving digital age, unless you’re constantly reviewing journals and forums, online and social media trends can be hard to keep up with. It’s important that hospitality brands stay at the forefront of digital innovation to target audiences on the online platforms where they spend their time. Oster and Associates, a full-service marketing and branding firm, offers this overview of some of the top online marketing tactics that hospitality brands can take advantage of during 2016.

Capture your customers during micro-moments

Micro-moments are the times throughout the day when a consumer consults their smartphone to do something instantaneously, such as research a fact a friend just mentioned, shop for an item of clothing they just saw a stranger wearing, look up a nearby restaurant for lunch or check prices for upcoming weekend flights to Chicago. Because customers function in micro-moment tidbits of time, so should your brand. This means considering how your website is navigated. It should be mobile-friendly and intuitive to a customer’s needs, featuring a personalized experience through geo-targeting, demographic information and established behaviors. Consider how you can serve your customers the information they need before they even ask for it.

Videos should be a large portion of your social media content

Customers want to experience your brand as much as possible before choosing to spend their money at your establishment. Videos offer a chance to give them a bite-sized glimpse of your company. In addition to video-based social media platforms such as Periscope, most existing platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, have incorporated video capabilities. And, 360-degree video technology is changing the game. Hospitality and tourism brands can utilize videos to showcase their product with potential customers around the world.

Tailor email campaigns to your various audience groups

Email campaigns are effective channels to share your brand with consumers and create long-term relationships with existing customers. Compared to other industries, the hospitality industry experiences one of the highest open-rates for emails. Capitalize on your already-engaged audience and provide content specific for each group. For example, we know that families tend to plan their vacations months in advance, so if you are a family-oriented brand, create and schedule email campaigns that engage your target audience during their vacation-planning phase. Additionally, with the expected increase of business travelers, consider how to engage with the bleisure traveler – the one who tacks additional days on to a business trip in order to enjoy leisure time while in a different city. Try targeting this group using email campaigns that promote weeklong stays with leisure options, such as restaurants or tours, over the weekend.

“While the platforms and technology may change, one thing remains constant: customers want to feel valued,” said Karin Salas, Oster and Associates vice president. “Even in a technology-driven world, consumers want a personalized experience. Brands can use new online and social media tools to connect with potential customers, creating customized moments that engage them with your brand.”

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media

9 Social Media Tips For 2016

Social Media

Hotel marketers have never seen such rapid and overwhelming change like the one happening in social media. However, there are ways to approach the social media universe that will help maintain perspective in the face of all that change.

Several sources provided nine social media tips for 2016 to help marketers maintain perspective.

1. Keep up with what’s new

Social media innovations catch on with incredible speed. For instance, Periscope and Meerkat, both video streaming apps launched in 2015, are already players in travel marketing. The apps allow users to send video to friends or followers instantly.

“There are constantly new platforms emerging and it’s important to us to stay on top of it,” said Dan Moriarty, director of digital strategy and activation for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

2. Stay up to date on existing platforms

The big guys are not resting on their laurels. For example, Moriarty said, “Twitter removing direct messaging character limitations really opens up the depth of conversation hotels can have with guests on that platform and enables better connections.

“Also, Instagram has made it easier to tag a location when a picture was taken there, and now allows users to search by location rather than just hashtag. This is huge for travel.”

“Facebook is leading the pack everywhere,” said Benji Greenberg, CEO of BCV, which manages social media for hotels. “They are introducing something new every two weeks. They recently launched Facebook Messenger for business, which is important because companies will be able to embed Messenger in their websites instead of using live chat. Now a customer can walk away from the computer without the usual live chat waiting and maintain the communication on another device.”

3. Practice targeting

All the social platforms have upped their capabilities around targeting, said Lucy Kemmitz, lead of social media for the Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Curio brands from Hilton Worldwide Holdings.

“Instagram now offers the same extensive and highly accurate targeting parameters as Facebook,” Kemmitz said, “and allows for campaigns that run on both platforms for coordinated campaigns using both platforms at a more affordable price point than previously. As evidence of the effectiveness of the targeting available on Instagram, we see click-through rates of nearly 2.5% on ads for Curio.”

Kemmitz said Twitter launched event-based targeting, which allows marketers to target people interested in area events. She said beta advertisers saw up to a 110% increase in engagement when using this type of targeting on the platform.

Jeremy Jauncey, founder of Beautiful Destinations, which advises brands on Instagram, said paid advertising on Instagram is “the most important change to the platform in its history.”

“Now not only can a hotel tell its story through imagery, targeted ad technology enables brands to drive: clicks to websites, views of videos, mobile app downloads and massive amounts of impressions,” Jauncey said. “Hotels like the Bellagio and Starwood properties such as W and Aloft have already spent money on these types of ads.

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media

Guest Experience Trends: What To Watch In ’16


There have been countless reports and studies on guests trends for the coming year. And there’s no shortage of trend-related articles on Hotel News Now.

But what exactly can travelers expect in 2016 when it comes to the guests experience? HNN sought to answer that question with this virtual roundtable. We asked hotel industry folks with an array of backgrounds the following question:

What’s a trend not on everyone’s radar that will affect the guests experience in 2016?


On luxury

Mark Harmon, managing partner, Auberge Resorts Collection: “Luxury resort guests today, more than ever before, are seeking custom-designed experiences and highly-personalized service. They’re enjoying sophisticated cuisine in settings that are relaxed and social and they’re embracing service that’s unscripted. Guests are looking to the operator to be the destination advisor and to create a one-of-a-kind experience that surprise and delight. In every aspect of the resort experience, this new approach is taking off, and it will continue to evolve in 2016 and beyond.”


On hotel design

Harry Wheeler, principal, Group One Partners: “Art is becoming increasingly more important to our hotel designs to enhance the overall guest experience and fulfill their desire for authenticity. Art, sculpture and the reuse of historical artifacts and their integration into the architecture of the building play a huge role in providing travelers with a personal and customized experience and connection with hotel brands. By creating viewing areas and architectural elements to frame this art, we are immersing guests in their cultural surroundings by giving them a hotel with a personality that celebrates its place in the world.”


On technology

Matthew Schuyler, EVP and chief human resources officer, Hilton Worldwide Holdings: “Rapid advances in technology continue to shape and change how we interact with brands, products and people, changing the way we live and learn. Consumers now expect a customized experience. The challenge for companies is how we leverage technology to provide consistency at scale when needed while, at the same time, providing unique the experience being demanded by our customers. … Our guests, they want to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their experiences with our company.”


On F&B

Thomas Conran, principal, Greenwood Hospitality: “The mantra for the coming year will continue to push operators to think outside the box and create a unique multi-faceted experience. The focus to infuse healthy and hyper-local ingredients into food-and-beverage items will be on the rise. More focus on the sustainability and locally sourced animal proteins will occur and whether it be root vegetables, compressed melons or fresh garnishes they will all find their way into bar and nosh offerings, main plate attractions and cocktails as well. Further development in the use of aromatic spices and sauce blends will be found in cocktails, ‘mocktails’ and even snacks. Additionally, ceviche, sashimi and crudo and distinct ethnic flavors will continue to grow in popularity, providing diners an opportunity to explore greater portions of a menu in a single experience through the use of ‘small and share’ plates. Comfort food and stews will continue to gain popularity, even including variations of fried chicken. Be on the lookout for dishes utilizing new and important cuts of meat.

“On the beverage side, mock cocktails and variations of eccentric coffee offerings will become more prevalent alongside the creation of house-made sodas. Gin could become the new bourbon, yet the latter will continue to be a strong performer in the year ahead. The use of infusions and the fresh garnishes will be mainstays for the mixology discipline. Craft beers will remain healthy in 2016 and will be joined at the tap with wine offerings. Additionally, there will be a renewed focus on wine listings to include more white wine selections.

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media

Impacting the Bottom Line in 2016


2016 promises to be the most profitable year our industry has ever seen due to strong rate growth, minimal supply impact, low interest rates and oil prices, and a somewhat minimal impact from disruptors like Airbnb, living wage bills, and health care costs. As we do every year, following are the trends that will help you maximize your business opportunities in the year ahead.

Analytics rule:

Everything is trackable now. Not only can we see how much attention a certain ad campaign is getting, but we can see the geographic location of the users interacting with it, their age, and a general idea on their income. Use this information to target your marketing efforts to your specific buyer persona and watch your ROI skyrocket. Also, arm yourself when looking into digital advertising campaigns. Do you know how much one visit to your website is worth in dollars? Knowledge is power and you have it all available at your fingertips.

Consolidation is only just beginning:

The Marriott acquisition of Starwood and the Expedia acquisition of Orbitz are harbingers of a consolidation coming in the hotel industry. While it is too soon to determine what other brands or companies will decide to come together, it is clear that we are entering the age of consolidation as the economy enters the mature stage. The impact on guests and hoteliers will only be determined as this wave of consolidations plays out, but for the immediate future, bigger is better.

2016 Digital marketing is dominated by mobile and video:

The average user consumes more than 65 minutes of live video a day and this number is growing fast. Periscope alone averages 2 million daily active users with over 10 million total accounts created as of August 2015—barely 5 months after it launched. Millennials look at live streaming video the same way past generations viewed television.

Invest in capex immediately:

While the money is available and cheap, take advantage now of major expenditures including renovations that may not only be required by the brand, but will also revitalize your hotel now and through the next downturn. Remember, new supply is coming and a tired hotel loses twice—in 2016 when rates can be pushed to pay for the capital expense and in the future when demand drops and those who have renovated win! Moreover, the sharing economy could have a material impact on lodging demand by 2017.

Millennial mindset trends toward group settings:

Millennials and those who have the “millennial mindset” are looking for John Naisbitt’s high-tech, high-touch experience. They like a personalized, gourmet experience for a reasonable price and this has produced all new lobby designs in the hotel sector. Lobby bars and hotel restaurants are wide open with combination work, play and eat/drink spaces designed with this youthful customer in mind. So give them what they want—personalized experiences that create value. This group is quick to criticize via social media, so “wow” customer service is your best protection here.

Optimal channel mix:

Online travel agencies (OTAs) are having a tremendous impact on distribution. They are responsible for incremental demand and the OTA’s extensive marketing campaigns and sophisticated platforms reach travelers who might not find your hotel any other way. Owners still view OTAs as an expensive channel, but it’s a channel we most definitely need going into the next downturn. Find ways to use OTAs without relying on them as your primary resource—and get more eyeballs to your own web site.

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3 Tips Hoteliers Can Learn From Expedia


Bigger and faster.

That’s how Expedia executives characterized the overall travel industry in 2016 from their vantage point during the company’s annual partner conference.

The company disclosed highlights from the data it collects on travel booking and activities and shared updates on its business following a year when Expedia grew larger than ever, following its acquisition of Orbitz earlier this year and announcement of intention to acquire HomeAway.

Here are three top-level tips Expedia speakers shared during the conference that can benefit hoteliers:

1. Don’t have a mobile strategy yet? Get one. 

Expedia President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reminded attendees how important a hotel’s mobile presence is, not only because that’s where bookings are increasingly moving, but also because guests who spend countless hours connected to their mobile devices are more likely to connect more frequently with their travel providers.

But it’s more than just having a mobile presence, he said. More important is having cross-platform compatibility.

“You have to be able to optimize across devices and build an experience across devices,” he said. “We’ve found that 48% of our customers who make a purchase on Expedia have accessed two or more different devices before that purchase.”

Cyril Ranque, Expedia’s president of lodging partner services, shared data that while mobile use is increasing among travelers searching for hotels, mobile users search fewer properties before booking than desktop users do.

“This means that the consideration set is smaller on mobile, so you need a clear, strong mobile strategy to make sure your hotel is in the consideration set of the customer,” he said.

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Filed under Conferences, Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media, Technology

Hospitality Industry Conference Update: “Petra Hospitality Update: CH&LA Southern CA Conference”

Join Petra Risk Solutions at CH&LA’s

Southern California Hotel & Lodging Conference

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 8:00am – 5:00pm

This one-day event includes educational sessions, a trade show, and networking is free to all hotel staff. Each year over 500 hoteliers attend and take advantage of all that is offered at this very special event. 

Petra Risk Solutions’ very own Brad Durbin, Jennifer Lisanti and Todd Seiders will be presenting at the education sessions

click here to learn more..

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Petra is proud to partner with CH&LA and the endorsed broker for:

Insurance    *    Employee Benefits    *    Education

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Filed under Conferences, Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Social Media, Technology, Theft

Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “How to Use Reviews to Size Up the Competition”

One of my panelists (he who cannot be named) brought up an interesting tactic to help hoteliers size up the competition and see how they’re delivering on the guest experience.hotel website Have you ever thought about really digging into TripAdvisor’s “star” reviewers’ reviews? That’s a mouthful. But it’s an interesting way to look at what your hotel might be missing the mark on.

As our readers might know, Hotel News Now is deep in the throes of the beast that is the Hotel Data Conference. Leading up to the event, which kicked off last night, we pulled the data, assigned stories and called our panelists. (Shameless self-promotion: Hear me moderate the panel titled “Online, offline: Keeping your reputation intact”).

While this is only my second time moderating a panel, I have to say I’m really excited about this one. Why, you ask? Well, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with each one of my panelists via phone about how the discussion will go. Let’s just say we’re all on the same page when it comes to giving you some concrete examples of how your hotel can better manage its reputation.

I don’t want to spoil all the fun, but I wanted to give you all a preview of what to expect during the panel, which will take place right before lunch on Thursday, 6 August. OK, enough of the self-promotion. Hopefully I’ve already wooed you.

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Social Media, Technology