Category Archives: Hotels

U.S. Hotels Courting Chinese Travelers

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Hoteliers and property managers should always be looking for segments of the travel market that are trending upwards.  Chinese travelers fit that bill which is why many U.S. hotels are beefing up on their knowledge of China’s culture so that they can improve the experience for these big-spending international travelers.

According to a recent NBC News article, the staff at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel recently got a crash course in how to welcome some of Amway China’s 1,500 guests who won incentive sales trips to New York City in April.

Subtle Changes to Help Promote a Positive Experience
In the case of the Marriott Marquis, in-room carafes were replaced so that guests could make tea each morning.  From the days when its only Chinese visitors were high government officials, the Marquis had already assigned names (Royal, Pinnacle, etc.) to presidential suites on the 44th and 45th floors, because the number four is considered unlucky in Chinese culture.

The number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture, so standing out to a Chinese guest “can be as simple as what the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook did, which was to put eight chocolate coins and candy in a small mesh back with an attached welcome note,” said Seema Jain, director of Multicultural Markets and Alliances for Marriott International.

The Target Market is Big – and Getting Bigger
In 2013, an estimated 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited the United States.  For 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries expects that number to rise by 21%, to more than 2.1 million, with increases of about 20% per year through 2018.

Los Angeles and New York City received the most Chinese tourists in 2012, according to the Department of Commerce.  In the New York region alone, Marriott has seen a 17% growth in 2013 over 2012 for the Chinese market, according to Robert Ambrozny, Marriott international sales director for the New York City region.

To read the full NBC News article, click here.

Airbnb’s New York Listings Illegal?

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Airbnb has made enormous strides in the Vacation Rental segment of the travel industry in the past year, but a roller coaster week in the media may be threatening the image of this successful startup.

On Monday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed an affidavit with the state Supreme Court in Albany claiming that the majority of Airbnb listings in New York are illegal.  Schneiderman originally filed the subpoena, seeking user data from Airbnb, in October.  Speculation is swirling that since the company has been in negotiations with the Attorney General’s office for months, a settlement fell apart.

The issue at hand is that subletting for less than 30 days is in general illegal for renters in New York who are not continually residing in their apartment.  For Airbnb, plenty of the nearly 20,000 offerings – 64% on January 31 – listed on the website in New York were for an “entire apartment”, not a shared space, as the law would seem to mandate. Continue reading

Hotels Taking Social Media Offline

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While social media may not be the most effective sales conversion tool for companies in the travel and hospitality industries, it is still a critical factor for a company’s online reputation management.  Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others social media channels are a great way for you to reach out to fans and potential travelers alike.

As social media is constantly evolving, hotels are forced to come up with new and innovative ways to stay connected with their guests.  Some hotels are taking an outside-the-box approach to tying social media into in-person activities.  The following are examples of hotels incorporating social media channels into their on-site experience. Continue reading

Google Outpaces Social Media in Priceline Conversions

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Social media channels play an important role for every company’s online reputation, but are they providing the best ROI when it comes to digital ad-spend? According to Priceline’s CEO Darren Huston, ads for his company on Facebook and Twitter have failed to deliver results.

“For Facebook and Twitter, we have endless amounts of money,” Huston said April 14 in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “But we haven’t found anything there.” Continue reading

Are Google’s Travel Goals Too Ambitious?

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Last week, we discussed Google’s ambitious jump into the travel industry with the release of the Google Hotel Finder on April 8, but a recent Motley Fool article questioned whether the company’s long-term travel plans are TOO ambitious.  The question this article focuses on is not whether Google will be successful (it likely will be), but rather how its move will affect major travel sites like Priceline.com and Expedia. Continue reading

Top 10 Hotel Amenities for Travelers

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Amenities are a critical factor in how travelers perceive your property when they stay with you.  Millennial travelers are looking for the latest technological advancements, families are looking for more space, and most travelers are looking for some help along the way.

The latest Hotels.com Amenities Survey revealed the Top 10 Most Important Hotel Property Amenities and the Top 10 Most Important In-Room Amenities.  To gain this valuable data, Hotels.com surveyed 1,000 travelers globally who have a trip planned in the next six months.

Not surprisingly, hotel guests preferred Wi-Fi over any other in-room features, and ranked Wi-Fi availability third-highest for shared spaces in the property.  The need for constant connectivity is at an all-time high thanks to all of the mobile technology at everyone’s fingertips.

As more amenities become standardized (parking, non-smoking rooms, pools, etc.), you have to find new ways to differentiate your property from the rest of the pack.  Taylor L. Coleg, APR travel expert for Hotels.com, confirmed that today’s travelers are placing more value on quality food options than ever before.

What else can you do to set your property apart?  Look at the following lists to determine what you have, and what you are missing.  Not all of these amenities are feasible with every property.  For instance, a cozy B&B on the coast may not need a swimming pool, or a bar, but it may need to add air conditioning so that travelers will enjoy a more pleasant experience.

Top 10 Most Important Hotel Property Amenities
1.  Complimentary Breakfast
2.  Restaurant
3.  Internet/Free Wi-Fi
4.  Parking
5.  24-Hour Front Desk Service
6.  Smoke Free Hotel
7.  Swimming Pool
8.  Bar
9.  Air Conditioning
10.  Coffee/Tea in Lobby

Top 10 Most Important In-Room Amenities
1.  Internet/Free Wi-Fi
2.  Bathroom Shower
3.  Room Size
4.  TV Facilities
5.  Air Conditioning
6.  Coffee/Tea
7.  Non-Smoking Rooms
8.  Premium Bedding
9.  Daily Housekeeping
10.  Mattress Type