The Traveler Mindset 2021

Summer is here… It’s June! The world is moving forward in a new post-pandemic direction. In-person meetings, conferences, and tradeshows are all cornerstones of most businesses including the hospitality industry! Looking at recent data the numbers are up and on the rise for the hospitality and travel industry. Despite the lingering staffing shortages experienced throughout the industry including forcing American Airlines to cancel hundreds of flights over the weekend, people are still eager to get out there and travel.

According to a study based on a survey of more than 2,000 Americans,  more than a year into the pandemic, there is optimism for the travel industry as four in 10 Americans plan to take at least one vacation this summer. Americans of all ages and income levels are ready to get away and are making travel plans. It was expected that leisure travel would come back faster than business travel; however, May group meetings volume increased 28.4% over the previous month. It was the fourth consecutive month that the volume increase reached double digits. The metrics are moving in the right direction and that is great news for the entire hospitality and travel industry!

Travel Pulse shared some key findings from a survey of over 5,800 travelers. It appears that close to 70% of the participants want to travel in 2021. Many of them also carried over some of their vacation days from 2020 into 2021. For example,

  • 61% feel hopeful about travel in 2021, of whom 83% will take two or more domestic trips and 44% plan for two or more international getaways.
  • 7% are excited about travel.
  • Europe remains the most sought-after international destination among the Americans (68% of participants), followed by Asia (30%), the Caribbean (28%), and Mexico (25%).
  • Within the U.S., the West/Pacific Northwest is the hottest region (52%), followed by the Mountains of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado (40%), Southwest (37%), Hawaii (31%), and Northeast (31%).
  • 52% of participants plan to participate in outdoor activities.
  • 68% want to avoid crowds.
  • 26% of respondents carried over 11 or more vacation days from 2020 to 2021; 15% carried over between six and 10 days.
  • 30% of respondents have 21-30 vacation days.
  • 31% of respondents have 31 or more days.
  • While many are making plans for trips, only 15% of respondents purchased tickets for domestic travel, and fewer than 10% have purchased flights for international trips.

We still have a lot of work to do and it will take some time, but it’s definitely great news that we are in the recovery stages and working to emerge bigger and better than ever. Summer is looking good and full of positive and hopeful vibes!

 

Hotel Lulu Opens in California

 Hotel Lulu, opened in California Following Renovation and Rebranding, nestled in the heart of Anaheim, opens its doors opens on May 14th, 2021 and was greeted with positive reviews. With 310 guestrooms it is conveniently located just steps from Disneyland and minutes from Anaheim Convention Center, this welcoming and playful property boasts chill California design details with a modern twist. Hotel Lulu features signature restaurant Lulu’s Kitchen; the new Lulu’s Coffee, serving Intelligentsia Coffee; a beautiful outdoor pool; 24/7 fitness center; 5,400 square feet of meeting and event space; and an onsite Disneyland® Insiders team. The hotel is managed by Azul Hospitality Group, a San Diego-based hospitality management company focused primarily on upscale hotels and resorts, and is owned by J Street Hospitality, also based in San Diego.

The name inspired by the word meaning something remarkable, special, or wonderful “lulu” – just like a visit to sunny Southern California! Furthermore, the name was brought to life when the hotel created a character named “Lulu” illustrated throughout the property, enjoying a fun-loving attitude as she enjoys the highlights of a California lifestyle. Echoed throughout the entire hotel’s design, with the intention to evoke the same feeling from guests!

“We are excited to announce the opening of Hotel Lulu and look forward to welcoming travelers, ensuring our guests have a carefree California experience,” said John Chan, Hotel Manager of Hotel Lulu. “This new hotel exudes the fun-loving energy of Anaheim; with everything, travelers may need to kick back and relax after a day of adventures. From pool deck wine receptions for adults to fireside bedtime stories for kids, we have something for everyone, and our goal is to make every guest’s desires our top priority.”

The Design

Hotel Lulu’s aesthetic was inspired by mid-century modern architecture. The lobby features clean lines with playful pops of color and boasts a 1960’s style record player. The pool area evokes a Palm Springs energy, while guestrooms offer contemporary furniture and beautifully appointed bedding and bathroom amenities.

Each guestroom at Hotel Lulu was designed to be a guest’s personal haven, a serene retreat to help them wake up relaxed and recharged. Room categories include two queen bed standard, accessible two queen bed standard, king bed standard, and accessible king bed standard.

Guests can soak up the California sunshine at the outdoor pool featuring lounge-worthy spaces, cozy fire pits, and al fresco dining tables.

Food & Drinks

Chill California cuisine is at the heart of Hotel Lulu’s offerings.

  • Lulu’s Kitchen: The signature restaurant features snackable, shareable plates, served in a welcoming setting. Those who would rather enjoy a meal from the comfort of their guestroom can opt for the restaurant’s pick-up dining service.
  • Lulu’s Coffee: The newest addition to the hotel, Lulu’s Coffee is the spot to grab a quick bite, like on-the-go sandwiches and salads, artisanal baked goods, and quiches, as well as local favorite Intelligentsia Coffee and teas. For kids, Lulu’s Coffee will offer delicious hot chocolate, warm milk, smoothies, and juice.

Events & Conferences

Hotel Lulu features 5,4000 square feet of indoor meeting space with three meeting facilities on the property, each is thoughtfully designed to accommodate groups large and small from 10 to 250 guests.

For more info or to book a stay at Hotel Lulu, visit: https://hotellulu.com/

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Labor Shortage 2021

Today’s labor shortage conditions could easily develop into one of the worst labor shortages in the last 50 years, particularly for businesses that employ blue-collar and service workers. This of course creates a huge strain and overall impact on the US economy.

It has been a tough year for the hospitality and restaurant industry, and even after opening at full capacity, the struggle continues. Some restaurants are even reducing business hours because they are understaffed. Unfortunately, the hospitality industry is not the only one suffering; electricians, plumbers, air conditioning companies, etc. are all in the same boat. Some are even offering sign-on bonuses with wages ranging over $30 an hour and are still not getting any applicants.

Areas all over the nation are experiencing a 1% unemployment rate. Fast food companies are having trouble recruiting and retaining minimum-wage employees. Some grocery stores have even been offering signing bonuses to entice cashiers. Salons cannot find enough hairdressers. Hotels cannot find cleaning or maintenance staff.

Unemployment in the US has been hovering at 4.3% for the last few months; the lowest in over 20 years. Upper-level management and tech positions currently have a 1.4% unemployment rate; an all-time low. There may be a short-term alleviation of the labor shortage in a few years because of the predicted future fluctuations.

Within 10 years our country may be experiencing a genuine labor crisis. According to estimates from the U.S. Labor Dept., the unemployment rate in seven years could be at 2%, which means that many businesses are going to have to acquire qualified workers from other sources. In turn, the job market 10 years from now will get even tighter. This will then diminish the labor pool as a result of population trends that are constricting the flow of new workers entering the workforce.

When the employment crunch really hits, many businesses will be unable to grow even in otherwise favorable economic conditions. The $1.9 trillion stimulus plan recently passed included weekly $300 unemployment benefits through September 6 to help Americans struggling financially. While many lawmakers and Americans lauded this provision as a form of much-needed pandemic relief, some experts have argued that these benefits might have actually discouraged unemployed workers from returning to work. While unemployment has been crucial in helping people during the pandemic, it’s important to find a balance that doesn’t disincentivize people from returning to work.

A Revolutionized Impact on the Cleaning Industry

The cleaning industry has been completely revolutionized during this current COVID-19 Pandemic. What was once the norm in the commercial cleaning industry has completely changed! Not only have the cleaning standards and expectations altered, but the procedures and protocols themselves have changed along with the materials, certifications, and employees. Everyone and everything has had to transform and adjust to a new norm, which has altered our lives.

Commercial cleaning companies are now becoming COVID certified and COVID compliant abiding by procedures given by the CDC. American Cleaning International received its COVID Certification in July of 2020. We take pride in ensuring that our establishments, businesses, and guests are taken care of with the proper cleaning procedures and sanitation protocols. By using state-of-the-art technology we combat the COVID virus and every germ in its path. Now is the time to check with your business’s protocols and ensure that you have the top safety and sanitation standard protocols for your business. The times are changing, the environment is changing, and life as we know it is changing. It is time to change your business and ensure that it is covered properly for you, your guests, and your future.

2021 – Most Anticipated Hotel Openings

Resorts World Las Vegas

In over 11 years this is the newest Hotel to hit the Las Vegas Strip, Resorts World will pack its ruby towers with three hotels — Crockfords Las Vegas, LXR Hotels & Resorts; Conrad Las Vegas; and Las Vegas Hilton — 117,000 square feet of gaming, nightclubs from popular Asia party purveyor Zouk Group, a 5,000-capacity theater, and a 222,000-square-foot pool complex.

Living room

 

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans

This 341-room hotel is moving to the downtown riverfront and it intends to be a culinary contender, enlisting NOLA chef Alon Shaya (whose Saba is a must-visit) for its modern Louisiana restaurant and Instagrammable bar. And there will be a restaurant from Donald Link, the stalwart behind local institutions like Herbsaint, Cochon, and Pêche Seafood Grill. Before you feast, visit the spa, outdoor pool and 34th-floor observation deck overlooking the city.

Building

 

Aman New York

The brand debut from Aman will be its first urban hotel in the 100-year-old Crown Building. Architect Jean-Michel Gathy’s sleek East-meets-West design will impress, as will the working fireplaces in all rooms (a rarity in NYC), the 10th-floor terrace, the jazz club and a 25,000-square-foot spa.

Bedroom

 

Amrit Ocean Resort & ResidencesPalm Beach

Singer Island known for its tranquility will be the new home of this oceanfront resort and will deliver an essential dose of wellness that melds Eastern philosophies with Western technology. Its 100,000 square feet of wellness offerings include Florida’s first indoor/outdoor hydrothermal circuit, robust yoga programming, and a team of naturopaths, nutritionists, acupuncturists, osteopaths, and more.

Beach

 

Montage Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky Resort’s first luxury hotel, this year-round modern mountain retreat will be a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. It will offer ski-in/ski-out access to 5,800 skiable acres (it’s the second-largest U.S. ski resort after Park City), entry to a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, three fly-fishing rivers and trails for hiking, snowshoeing and more.

Snowy buildings

 

Resort at San Manuel Casino, Highland, California

This SoCal casino is betting big on an expansion. To go head-to-head with destinations like Vegas, San Manuel will add an as-yet-unnamed luxury resort with 429 accommodations in desert hues, a full-service spa, a sprawling pool deck with a bar and cabanas, and an entertainment venue (the latter will arrive in 2022).

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The New Type of Hotel Guest

The new era post pandemic has caused a ripple in the digital landscape around the globe. In an (International Data Corporation) IDC research report the new spending on digital transformation worldwide is expected to reach more than $2 trillion by 2022 compared to $1 trillion in 2018.

The result? A “new guest” – which consists of a digitally conscious customer that looks to the digital experience.

This new type of guest is aware and is looking to make the right choice, irrespective of the cost incurred. Hotels today are receiving more inquires and messages with August seeing up to 237 messages in a month per property which is a 40% increase year on year.

Interestingly the total share of messages inquiring about COVID restrictions has dropped by almost 40% since March, showing more awareness of the traveler, and at the same time, displaying their willingness to travel again which definitely provides optimism to the industry.

Staycations make up to 45-50% of the total messages received by every property each month, confirming that staycation is the preferred mode of vacation now.

What do the new guests treasure the most?
The new guest needs the right service and digital experiences to make them feel safe and guide them. It is also vital for brands to build a data security strategy into the customer experience due to the sensitive nature of the customer data. The new guest is aspirational and sensitive to the current situation, equipped with the right information, so brands need to place safety and health at the forefront of the experience and ensure that regulations are maintained to follow the social distancing protocols in physical experiences and that no false information is provided to the customers.

Paving the way for the “New Guest”
The new guest’s digital approach should be to build strategies that allow brands to understand and anticipate the needs of the guest. Brands need to leverage data using competitive intelligence and provide predictive pricing capabilities to understand the needs of the guest and find new ways to full-fill them. An optimized distribution channel and health and security strategy built into the customer experience, brands can create personalized online experiences for the new guest while allowing them to feel safe and guiding them. A customer-centric approach to digital transformation and distribution is what enhances a brand’s visibility and reputation.

5 Helpful Hotel Energy Saving Tips

1. Smart Climate Control
Whether it’s air conditioning or heating, every business has the need for climate control, and often a dedicated HVAC system. Internet of Things and machine learning are helping businesses save significantly on their energy consumption and costs. From smart thermostats that allow users to program their energy consumption around daily occupancy needs to smart sensors that monitor fluctuations in real-time occupancy, there are no shortage of energy-management tools available to help business save on their energy costs.

2. Auto Shutdown Sockets
A major energy cost for many hotels is standby power, it refers to the way electric power is consumed by electronic and electrical appliances while they are switched off (but are designed to draw some power) or in a standby mode. This is where automatic shutdown sockets come in. These are simply smart power outlets that use infrared sensors or timers to cut power to any connected device when the device is not in use or the room is unoccupied. In other words, they allow hotels to save on powering devices whenever they are not in use.

3. Air Source Heat Pumps
Smart thermostats aren’t the only way that business can save on their heating costs. Advances in HVAC hardware technology also offer businesses new opportunities to save on energy costs. Specifically, air source heat pumps make it possible to transfer heat from outside a building to inside it. The science behind Air Source Heat Pumps involves using the principles of vapor compression-refrigeration to absorb heat from one place and release it to another. The advantage for hotels is that ASHPs can be used as energy-efficient space heaters or coolers, removing the need to overload a central HVAC system to accommodate the specific needs of a smaller or compartmental space.

4. Solar Panel Technology
Rising economic superpowers and Australian suburbanites aren’t the only ones benefiting from the rise and proliferation in solar technology. Hotels of all sizes are leveraging increasingly affordable photovoltaic technology to reduce their energy costs. Solar power technology offers businesses a two-fold opportunity: to reduce energy consumption from the grid and sell excess production back into that grid. Therefore, hotels can save on their energy costs and subsidize whatever energy consumption they still have to pay for.

5. Smart Lighting
Smart energy-management systems are not limited only to HVAC systems. Smart lighting technology also enables hotels to better understand their energy needs, automate their consumption and adapt to real-time to changes in occupancy. Some companies have managed to cut energy costs by 75 percent and improved productivity by 20 percent by converting to a smart LED lighting system. Just like EMS helps hotels adjust energy consumption based on real-time climate-control needs, smart lighting systems also enable properties to set preferred lighting times and track activity to improve workflow throughout the facility.

Tech Trends For The Hotel Industry Post Covid-19

Post pandemic the hospitality industry has been slowly recovering. The assistance of technology has helped ease the strain on the industry. Embracing touch-less, is thankfully something that was emerging before the pandemic, however, it has gone from nice-to-do to essential-to-do.

Now with hotels investing in ways to serve the guest mindset, the initial months following the outbreak have provided an opportunity to upgrade systems without disruption. Perhaps installing kiosks for self ordering, QR codes for menus, or near field communication technology for in-room ordering. It’s all about creating a smooth and touches experience for guests.

This pivot by hoteliers, has launched them into the latest technology in this digital era faster than ever. New technologies in housekeeping can create guest trust, which is extremely vital with the new “normal”. Using the latest protocols and cleaners to sanitize rooms, public areas, and high-touch areas is crucial, especially from the guest perspective. In some ways a guest’s smartphone will be the first and possibly only point of contact for most interactions.

Some hotels have already had in place some tech that has shown to be more valuable than when first implemented. Loews Miami Beach Hotel already had some contact-less applications in place, one of which was a live texting service that connected their guests with staff on property for various needs. The texting service also is used to inform guests about upcoming events, promotions and other latest news on the property.

The Hyatt has taken their technology efforts to their fitness studios, by teaming up with local fitness vendors and creating a library of fitness videos exclusively available to their guests. This is a clear example of pivoting and providing what your target demographic is looking for.

Adoption of mobile locks in the hotel marketplace continues to rise unilaterally across all segments, from major brands to the smaller independents. In many cases, the guest can skip the check-in line at the hotel’s front desk and go directly to their room. This tech combines two major needs of guests today, less interaction and faster, convenient experience.

Despite the huge need for it, public networks remain a concern to even the least tech savvy. Simple steps to eliminate exposure of user sign-in credentials include wiping all devices twice to remove any credentials after the guest checks out will protect guests.

Technology will allow safe integration and collaboration across the hospitality space, Smart hosts will balance high tech and high touch. Covid-19 has expedited the digital transformation. This will continue happening and will not go back to normal in a couple of years. People might not want to interact, but we are in the hospitality business. As guests return to hotels and restaurants, the industry will be ready to greet them. Tech will ensure safety without encroaching on someone’s privacy.

Hospitality Marketing Post COVID

In a world where what was once familiar has become foreign, it’s safe to say that hospitality marketing has shifted in a radical direction. Even the most capable minds are left in a tailspin and what we hear a lot is pivot, pivot and well pivot again!

Hospitality Marketing today is faced with the following critical questions:

  • How do we reach our target demographic?
  • How do people feel about the hospitality industry? Hotels specifically?
  • How does our property or services fit into their new world?
  • Is there anything new we should be doing or adding to our services as a result of the “new normal?”

These questions are relevant for the long-run, not just in the here-and-now.

How to survive the unknown
It is important now more than ever to stay true to your original core values and keep an authentic voice while doing so. Let’s say for example your brand’s message changes, your valued clientele may second guess the integrity of your business. Whether you run an independent luxury resort, a convention hotel or even a small boutique property all of these tips can apply.
  • Keep a constant stream of important information throughout your website or any other print or online presence.
  • Provide ample information on all of the safety protocols in place.
  • Be sure to have updated hours of operation of all sections of your property.
  • Detail the type of services that are not available, and if applicable when they will the resume.
  • Explain if any particular facilities on your property are not open, and when is the expected open date, if known.
Send an honest message to guests and prospective guests
As simple as this tip is, it doesn’t make it any less imperative in building and maintaining trust with individuals. Be honest by being upfront about the type of experience your guests will have on your property. Unfortunately, we have all been thrown curve-ball and we are all adapting to the new type of “normal“. Have some faith that your guests will understand the new changes and protocols in place. If you have the experience of an unhappy guest at least they will take away that they were not over promised and under delivered.

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Protect your online reviews presence
Do you currently have a plan in place for online reviews response? Now is the time to create one! A good rule of thumb is to delegate an employee to monitor review sites such as Yelp and Google, on a daily basis if needed. The web is filled with online reviews that companies have not responded to. Make sure your more recent reviews have a thoughtful response by one of your designated employees.
This will do two things:
  1. Happily thank guests who leave positive feedback as well as show appreciation to staff that made this review possible.
  2. Quickly address negative reviews that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Addressing any concerns as fast as possible may assist in perhaps changing the outcome with good customer service.
These tips will all in all assist with staying connected with your previous and future guests. While this is just a scratch of the surface it’s a great start to revising a marketing strategy that best suits this time in the world to speak to your audience with a clear and concise message.