Coming off the heels of an intense election season, this Thanksgiving will be unlike any other. No matter who won your vote or where you stand personally, let’s come together as members of the hotel community and give thanks to all the things that make us happier, more productive and more successful in our jobs and our industry.
We asked hotel marketers what they’re grateful for right now… here’s what they said:
1. A President Who Understands the Hotel Business
Whether you love or hate him, one thing is certain: President-Elect Donald Trump understands the hotel business. As Katherine Lugar, President and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association noted in her recent email to members after the election: “…President-elect Trump has a unique understanding of the significant contributions that travel and tourism make to the economy and in communities around the country.”
2. A (Still) Strong and Stable Economy
Despite growing hotel supply and the threat of Airbnb’s success in driving leisure and corporate business, demand and RevPar are still steady. Based on low inflation rates, a solid labor market and stronger consumer spending, STR predicts hotel demand to remain strong throughout 2017. We’re still experiencing an unprecedented period of record results in the hotel industry. And, for that our gratitude is high.
3. The End of Election-Fueled Uncertainty
For years, the question of future government leadership has been top of mind for businesses across the country. Presidential elections tend to spur a lot of economic uncertainty and 2016 was no exception. According to a September 2016 report by Bankrate, a majority of Americans consideredthe presidential election the biggest threat to the nation’s economic health. This made many businesses hesitant to spend money on business travel and related expenses. Now that the votes are in and the election is over, industries across the country can start resetting their new normal and planning meetings and events with renewed confidence.
4. Elevated Consumer Consciousness
Hilton and Marriott did everyone a favor this year by investing in high-profile ad campaigns on national TV to encourage consumers to book direct. Whether these campaigns will pay off for their respective brands is unknown, but virtually every other hotelier is thankful for the elevated public consciousness of “booking direct.”
5. An Army of Guest Marketers
One of the greatest benefits hotels have seen since the advent of social media is the marketing reach of its own guests. When guests brag and gush about their stay on Twitter, post photos of appetizers or their balcony views onto Instagram and Snapchat, or shoot live videos onsite on Facebook, they instantly become a relevant extension of your own marketing team – without the expense of added marketing staff!
6. Digital Personalization
Every year, new hotel website and booking engine technology allow hotels to know more about who’s looking, booking and bouncing. With this robust analytics and demographic data, hotel offers are now personalized and optimized to reap the biggest ROI. Hoteliers are smarter than ever about crafting hotel marketing campaigns that are tailored to the right travelers and delivered to the right place, at the right time. And, best of all – everything is measurable, giving us tremendous power and insight over future marketing moves.
7. Tech That Improves the Guest Experience
The explosion of mobile tech developments has allowed hoteliers to reach potential guests 24/7, streamline the booking process, engage in relevant conversations, communicate offers and encourage social sharing. And, the guest experience is easier and better than ever before. Guests can now check-in and check out, make service requests, track their travel expenses, chat with hotel staff, order room service, and in some cases, even turn on the TV and lights --- from just their smart phones or tablets.