Monthly Archives: December 2009

Travel gurus predict trends for 2010

Variety of posts have talked about where travel business is headed. As it impacts hotel demand:

-Resorts popularity among traveling public is rebounding. Corporate meetings may be another story.

-Budget travelers like all-inclusive resorts. Good opportunity for traditional resorts to offer few all-inclusive programs.

-Prognosis on airline travel is whatever you want it to be. Resorts can minimize impact of airlines by concentrating on customers within easy drive.

-Luxury properties continue to drop price, but find that they don’t get “spend” from other outlets. We talked with one luxury resort that dropped rates to drive occupancy. Many locals booked resort to see what it was like, but they ate in coffee shop, skipped spa, skipped golf, and spent next to nothing in the shops. Hope had been guests would come and “splurge.” Didn’t happen.

-People will “splurge,” but they will splurge on things that interest them, and those things may not follow traditional offerings of resorts.

-Traveling public will continue to travel. Trend toward more frequent, shorter vacations will continue. Easier to plan for vacation that is short and only requires saving few hundred dollars than vacation involving several thousand dollars. People can save for shorter vacations in less time…quicker gratification.

Commercial hotels can benefit from these trends as well.

Nagib’s Corner: Social Media Evolving Into Social Marketing

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen

Once you have your internet strategy for your website being well managed, and are using the tools for maximum utility, these additional media are the next horizon of opportunity. They need constant and consistent time and resources dedicated to manage and maintain. If you are ready and can support that investment, then and only then, does it make sense to move with these emerging opportunities. We are close to the point where these will become the standard in your marketing mix, just as websites were several years ago. Websites are now indispensible in your current distribution strategy – so will social media marketing become a part of the staple.

Below are some interesting examples of how you can promote your hotel – can you see hotel openings, corporate parties, etc., being promoted in this manner? Lots of fun!!

Take care and have a wonderful weekend!

‘Twend’: Social Media Evolving Into Social Marketing

— Hotels, 12/1/2009

In 2009, social media Web sites completed the transition from being a source of procrastination for young adults to a mainstream cultural phenomenon. With Twitter—and to a slightly lesser extent, Facebook—leading the way, 2010 will see social media become firmly entrenched as a powerhouse marketing platform. At both the brand and property levels, even the most conservative of hotel companies are dipping their proverbial toes into the social media waters.

As social media becomes more and more commonplace, expect companies and consumers alike to continue exploring interactivity in greater depth. Social media gives hoteliers an incredibly inexpensive way to build brand awareness, while doing it in a way that makes the brands seem simultaneously hip, down-to-earth and fun.

A great example is Caesars Palace Las Vegas’ Trick or Tweet promotion in October. Using its @CaesarsPalace Twitter account, Caesars Palace tweeted locations on property for followers to visit within a certain time frame. For guests who played along with the real-time, real-life social media scavenger hunt, the hotel gave away prizes.

Savvy hoteliers are increasingly using social media to let guests sell the hotel to other guests, which is authentic marketing at its best. For instance, Dolce Hotels and Resorts held a Facebook contest in November that invited fans to propose dream vacations at its Dolce Hayes Mansion, California. The best of the submissions were then posted on Dolce’s Facebook page for fans to vote on a winner. The prize: the very dream vacation proposed by the winner.

In a slightly edgier version of the same coin, MGM Grand Las Vegas in November asked followers of its @mgmgrand Twitter account to tweet their “sins,” using the #mgmsin hashtag, with one participant selected at random each day of the month to win a free room night.

What a brilliant promotional premise: Get the public thinking and talking about your brand, your destination and all the fun (and scandalous) things they could do while there, then just sit back and watch the conversation mushroom organically.

Nagib Lakhani

RevMax Hospitality Consulting Services
O: (425)677-7866          C: (425)445-7750        F: (866)508-7866
nagib@RevenueMaxConsulting.com
4313 245th Avenue SE, Issaquah, WA 98029

Confidentiality Implied

The Doors Are About to Open: Can You Really Keep Your Best People?

Kevin Wheeler is a well known authority on recruiting. Following  ideas on retaining your best employees aren’t new, but they are more important today than they were 12 months ago.
Your action plan?
After reading this article:
1. Write down 3 things you and your company can do to improve retention,
2. Without spending money.

Dec 2, 2009, 1:28 pm ET

Good people know that even in a recession, they can find another position.

Signs point to increased opportunities for currently employed people with specific skills and experience, and many of your top performers are most likely being actively recruited without your knowledge. As the stock market improves, so do attitudes about hiring. Every day I see signs that companies are starting to hire selected people more aggressively than they have over the past six months.

So what can recruiters/employment managers do about retention? Isn’t it a fact that once people are hired they are out of your hands? While this may be the case in some firms, I believe for most of us there are several ways to help your organization keep the best people and help yourself by reducing your workload and keeping your internal networks alive.

Most basically, you can make a real difference in any employee’s attitude who you have helped to hire. Employment is about relationships, and the strongest relationships are built on trust, respect, and open communication. As a recruiter, you most likely have an advantage with the employees you helped to hire. You spent time with them, got to know them more deeply than many others in the company, and may have given them advice about accepting offers or on how to deal with an interview. By simply checking in with these folks, you can get a sense of their mood, concerns, and what the issues are they may have with the organization. You may be able to change negative attitudes or to pass on information that might help “save” one of them from leaving.

But here are a few other things that you can do, as well.

Help every employee build a social network. Employees make friends and build relationships that can be strengthened or damaged during stressful times. Many employees stay at an organization because of who they get to work with, and many leave for the same reasons. We all know how powerful social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter have become, and companies can use these networks to promote employee interaction and teamwork.

Good organizations can even develop networks for those who have been laid off so that they can help each other and retain the connections they had when employed. By making these kinds of assets available, organizations not only improve their own reputation and brand and help former employees, but also reinforce the loyalty and motivation of employees who are still working.

Encouraging internal blogging, the use of virtual communications tools like SMS or IM, and the use of video conferencing to strengthen networks and extend them globally. Knowledge is a powerful retention tool, and naivety and ignorance can best be combated by sharing of ideas and experiences between people from many different firms.

Encourage constant and candid communication. Silence is the greatest enemy of retention. When management does not update the employees on the financial and business state of the company and when rumors can be counted by the minute, turnover goes up and productivity goes down. While some people (usually the “B” and “C” players) hunker down and hide, the best ones start looking. I can’t tell you how many excellent employees who are highly valued have left their employers because of business uncertainty. No one expects assurances or guarantees; what they hope for is an understanding of trends — are things better, the same, or worse? Are customers leaving? How is sales volume?

Make sure your management team is present, is as upbeat as it can be, and that every member of the executive staff is visible and concerned about every employee.

To maintain the employment relationship, employers have a huge responsibility. First of all they need to clearly know who their best employees are, keep them informed, help them maintain and develop skills, and encourage them to build networks and internal relationships.

None of these things cost much when compared to the cost of recruiting and developing new employees, and none of them are really very hard to do. But, to put them into place does require a change of mindset and a willingness to break (or at least stretch) the usual policies and rules that exist in many organizations. Good HR and good recruiting is all about treating people fairly, not necessarily the same.

Focus on internal placement and movement. Offer your best employees an opportunity to move within the company to jobs that may fit their skills and interests better, if that is possible. It is also a good idea to keep the bureaucracy to a minimum and remove time constraints. Lobby HR and hiring managers to look more intently and more honestly inside the company for talent rather than seeking it from outside. We know that the grass always seems greener somewhere else. It is part of a recruiter’s responsibility to push back and encourage managers to give internal people, even if they lack all the requirements for a job, a chance.

Encourage employees to update their skills all the time. In bad times, employees have time to soak up new information. Education and development are the cheapest retention tools in your arsenal. Locking people into degree or certificate programs is almost a guarantee that they will remain with your firm until they complete the program. Most will be loyal and thankful. And all of them will be better-educated and hopefully more productive employees. This is a big plus for the large organizations and you should be capitalizing on this right now.

But development can also occur through on-the-job development and through many informal networks and conversations. Every employer should encourage employees to share knowledge using social networks or communities of practice, and employers should reward managers who encourage their employees to take classes or take on new responsibilities.

Many employees who leave organizations are simply looking for a bigger challenge or the opportunity to use a new skill or degree. Smart organizations will encourage this and motivate managers to source and hire internallywhenever possible and even if it will require a bit of training.

None of this is new or unique. Every recession sees the patterns repeated: the good performers leave, the average and poor hunker down and hide. But the good can be retained through active concern, HR and recruiter involvement and caring, and by proactive HR and employment practices.