REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Hoteliers today need to pay attention to more than just their own internal operations—outside influences play just as big of a role in a hotel’s success or failure.
These outside forces will be the subject of a general session panel discussion at the Hotel Data Conference hosted by STR and HotelNewsNow.com and presented by Gaylord Hotels on 4-5 August in Nashville at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. The panel, titled “External Affairs—Outside Influences on the Hotel Industry,” will include panelists Eric Deichmann of SH&E; Christine DeZarn of Rubicon; and Stuart Greif of J.D. Power and Associates.
The panel is expected to delve into how such factors as the airline industry, customer satisfaction trends and forward-looking data affect the industry—and how hoteliers can leverage these influences to their favor.
The panel will take place 5 August at 8 a.m at HDC.
A couple weeks out from HDC, the data that DeZarn, enterprise services manager at Rubicon, plans to present during the panel is still
jumping around a bit. But she said she expects to show the top five and bottom five cities by committed occupancy for the next 365-day period, as well as highlighting other data as warranted.
“I think group (business) carried the industry during the difficult year last year,” DeZarn said. “But I think we’ll see the pendulum swing the other way.”
Still, DeZarn cautioned that the numbers have not been finalized. “I will be excited to see where they end up,” she said.
DeZarn also plans to explain where the Rubicon numbers come from, and she will also discuss various chain-scale data, too.
Greif, who is VP and GM of J.D. Power’s global travel and hospitality practice, didn’t want to steal thunder from the panel by giving too much away too soon, he said, adding that data he plans to discuss is embargoed until the conference. But he did say interpreting customer satisfaction trends is another important element that goes into managing a hotel.
Say, for instance, your hotel distributes a customer satisfaction survey to a guest and asks the guest to provide ratings in 20 categories for the hotel, with a score of 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. If all of the categories are rated an 8 but the bed achieves a score of 1 and the overall experience is reported as 2, that’s a telling final score, he said.
“It shows how the 1 impacted the experience,” and how guests value their overall experience at a hotel, Greif said.
Such survey results are especially important given hoteliers are looking to reconnect with guests following the downturn, he said. “It drives insight.”