(800) 523-9448

Hotels open another door to recovery

travel, sustainability, electric vehiclesThe adoption of electric vehicles, or EVs, continues. Now many rental companies count EVs among their fleets, with the new vehicles offering technologies such as mobile apps which drivers simply wouldn’t find in gas powered models.  As adoption  grows EV drivers have the reassurance of charging stations popping up in easily-accessed locations.

The availability of charging stations will truly hold the key to EVs becoming a, excuse the pun, driving force in transportation. And with summer upon us, the urge for travelers to see the sights grows and EVs offer those with a eye towards doing so efficiently and cheaper with the reduced dependency on gas.

It’s no surprise then to find that hotels are presenting themselves as a place to recharge both body and car. By offering a place that you can charge a rental or your own EV, perhaps for free or for a flat rate, hotels are showing support for an upward trending product and establishing itself as an early adopter of new and relevant technology. Where this pays off is that when guests who take advantage of these amenities are looking for a place to stay on their next trip, they are more likely to return knowing a particular hotel was one of the early supporters of a product they have heavily invested in. Just like that a permanent relationship is created between hotel and guest.

To take advantage of the growing consumer awareness with EVs, hotels need to make sure they promote not only the positives of moving towards a green focused business model, but being first to market with charging stations for guests. Hotels such as Super8Ukiah and Inn Marin in northern California are examples of hotels touting its exclusive availability of charging stations in the area.

We’ve stated before that the hotel industry needs as much help as possible to fully recover. With the attitude towards EVs growing and being overwhelming positive, being on the ground floor of the EV revolution is an excellent step in the march towards recovery.

The power of Tweeting: Twitter’s affect on hotels

Travelers are savvier than ever. Websites that compare rates between leading air carriers such as Kayak, price monitoring services like Bing Travel and smartphone applications all connect travelers with airlines like never before. Word of mouth is much louder – and travels farther – thanks to the web and social media.

No tool is as useful as lately it seems than Twitter. In short 140 character bursts, airline companies and hotels are able to update guests on exclusive deals or unique events they’re sponsoring. It’s also useful for better customer engagement. Hotel companies are routinely ‘re-tweeting’(or in shorthand, RT) comments by its followers providing an engaging experience with former guests, which in turn demonstrate a willingness to be active encouraging people on the fence to become customers.

These techniques are standard for both airlines and hotels, however when HotelChattter brought it to the attention of their readers, many described what they look for in a hotel’s Twitter feed. Almost all loved the special deals that are associated with a hotel’s tweets while a few wanted simpler messages put out by the chains. Surprisingly, many didn’t appreciate the amount of RT’s done by hotels. Maybe it’s because they weren’t mentioned by the hotels?

Despite commenters not completely sold on the concept of hotel’s re-tweeting messages, the fact is it’s effective and helps hotels reach customers in a way the once never could: individually. The greater promise here is that by reaching the customers directly hotels and airline companies can direct market to those who will potentially spend money on them while those same customers can have a more direct impact with a company’s image. No amount of corporate spin can silence a angry mob of Twitter users who feel your brand isn’t what it claims to be.

It’s nice to find that control is shifting back to consumers thanks to the power of 140 characters

We ‘Like’ this: Hospitality optimism grows along with social media

While firm data and improved sales figures are needed for hard evidence that the hospitality sector has rebounded and is growing, it shouldn’t be taken lightly that a recent survey of hoteliers expressed optimism at the outlook for 2011. According to the survey, conducted by the Knowland Group, 88% of those surveyed said they expected to see the market grow this year.   Though only four percent of hoteliers said expected to add sales positions to their companies in 2011.

The survey also revealed the hottest trend in the industry for 2010: social media.  In a sign that symbolizes our time and society, hotels are seizing the  opportunity to market directly to travelers. So the hope of becoming a social media star  beat trends such as increasing customer reward programs and even going green.  Though to us at The Refinishing Touch , these are not mutually exclusive activities – in fact these three trends are highly complementary.

With more travelers booking online, armed with home broadband, smartphones, tablets, and interactive TV, there are an undeniable wealth of opportunities for hotels to communicate.  They can be transparent and demonstrate what their brands stand for, what their properties look like, and encourage visitors to share their positive experiences with each other.  After all, many of us are more likely to believe and act on personal recommendations than from self-made claims of hotels.

Some hotel chains are embracing the sharing of online information in full-force, for example Renaissance Hotel has just launched a new online and mobile program called Navigator that brings guests online local knowledge and recommendations.   Guests are given local ideas, recommendations and insights to meet their tastes, interests and requests.

Over the next month, we’re going to be looking at some of the social media campaigns that have caught our eye, just like the Renaissance Hotel’s initiative.  There are some really interesting and engaging ideas out there.

And as hotels continue to get ‘social’ and drive visibility, enthusiasm, and revenues across the hospitality industry, we’re hopeful that four percent of new sales hires is just a thought, not the reality.