UNH Hospitality Management is at the cutting edge of the industry's need for change. As a thought leader in this space, below we offer monthly insights.
LEARN MORE about the Program.
By Nelson A. Barber, PhD and Chair
In the lodging industry, change is happening at a rapid pace, creating numerous transformational challenges for higher educational systems. These challenges include, among others, relevance of curricula, learning materials, and content delivery methods. Education institutions should take these challenges seriously and should include restructuring the process of learning to reflect the use of information in the real world, changing the role of educators from presenters of facts to enabler of active and engaged learning.
Educators must realize teaching is not lecturing on information changes; but rather engaging, inspiring, and transformational centers of creativity ingenuity. All instructional methods and student assessment processes must be reflective of this. Those educational providers on the cutting edge have stepped forward to fill the unquestionable need for open, flexible, life-long, relevant and timely learning.1
Critical areas for curriculum changes, include the challenges of keeping up with the difficult and expensive fast pace of technology [e.g. new property and reservation platforms, guest room innovations, and social media]; data analytics allowing marketing and sales personnel to find new ways to use guest-related data for stronger marketing decisions; and revenue and pricing management applied to every revenue department across the organization, matching guest demand with revenue rates. For hospitality firms this will likely mean the need for future managers capable of adjusting to the fast pace of change throughout the conventional functions of management. However interesting and potentially compelling; how can educators operationalize this in the learning space?
Here at the UNH Hospitality Management Program, which is ranked #2 in New England and #26 out of nearly 400 programs in the U.S., the constant changing and evolving world of hospitality management is more than an area of study; it’s a way of life. We recognize the increasing complexity of employee/customer/technology engagement will shape the future of human resources hiring needs.
Students will EXPERIENCE an education that keeps pace with the industry by receiving relevant industry certifications [e.g. CHIA, Delphi], with in class experience using cutting edge industry technology [such as Amadeus Hospitality and their product modules Sales & Event Management and Hospitality Operations solutions (Delphi, and HotSos)]. They also receive personal attention and support, hands-on real-world career development; and alumni mentoring and engagement. All of this wrapped in a business education.
Thus, our graduates are well prepared to meet the ever changing needs of the industry and for a successful and meaningful career.
Learn more on how to become one of the best at https://paulcollege.unh.edu/hospitality-management
1Wang and Wang (2009)
By Nelson A. Barber, PhD and Chair
Revenue and pricing management is developing quickly in the face of the increasingly technologically complex hospitality environment. The concept is not new. Long since early bird specials and yield management, today revenue and pricing policies are critically and fundamentally important factors in the operations of hospitality organizations, whether they are lodging, resorts, or even restaurants. In the hospitality space, regardless of size, the truth is to stay competitive hotels, resorts, and restaurants must tackle issues of fixed capacity, with revenue and pricing management critical to this success.
What is revenue and pricing management [RPM]? RPM is the disciplined application of analytics predicting consumption behavior at the lowest market level, optimizing product/service availability and price; thus maximizing revenue growth. The motivation to focus on price by far embodies the most operational variable managers can use to drive short-term demand.
Hospitality managers are charged with making strategic decisions to increase total revenue for their organization and by applying a systematic process to such decision-making can increase their success.
Big data is the key. Large data sets offer incredible opportunities for hospitality managers to advance their revenue and pricing decisions, but only to the extent the data is properly focused and then leveraged. The challenge of big data is often quality of the data collected. Thus the successful manager will find data that is most relevant and reliable to their specific operation.
Leveraging information technology to strategically predict demand to solve revenue problems will be critical to shaping future success in the hospitality industry. Will increased dependence on computerization of pricing become the standard? Will this increase the need for college graduates from hospitality management programs better trained in pricing and data analytics? Should hospitality management programs partner with technology companies, such as Amadeus Hospitality or IDeaS Revenue Solutions? Finally, with the increase in social media and digital marketing, how will this influence revenue and pricing management models?
Today, many undergraduate hospitality management university programs do not promote or emphasize strategic revenue and pricing management as a critical component of the curriculum; nor is the development and analysis of big data. Programs in business colleges are moving in this direction through partnerships and sharing across marketing, data analytics, and other related disciplines.
The UNH Hospitality Management Program has begun to address these challenges through technology partnerships with leading firms such as Amadeus Hospitality and R.E.D. Global, among others, as well as a focus on data analytics and revenue and pricing management. Our goal is to insure graduates of the program are well prepared for the challenging hospitality management industry with relevant skills and certifications to immediately add value to their employers.
Learn more about becoming one of the best through a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality from UNH, visit http://paulcollege.unh.edu/hospitality-management .
How to Build a Championship Mix of Business for Hotels
By: Jon Moore, President of Jon Moore & Associates, LLC
What can we learn from World Champion and future Hall of Famers like Bill Belichick and Theo Epstein?
Love them or hate them, you have to respect what Bill Belichick and Theo Epstein have accomplished in their amazing careers. They have taken perennial losing franchises and turned them into winners, using a variety of skills all leaders can learn from. For the purpose of this article I’d like to comment that their obsession with prepping their teams with attention to detail, use of data, and analyzing their competition is clearly part of their secret sauce. Both franchises were prepared to launch historic comebacks due to conditioning, in-game adjustments, and a willingness to be positive in the face of defeat.
How does this translate to the hotel business? As leaders, we must demand our teams assess and reexamine our business models, just as Belichick and Epstein tweaked theirs during championship drives.
Start with analyzing your current mix of rooms business. Assess what your optimal mix of business should look like. Challenge high volumes of expensive segments like OTAs. Determine if you have done enough to maximize volume from less expensive channels such as brand.com or metasearch sites.
Next, determine your current Net mix of business. Deduct acquisition costs required to attract OTAs, group, BT, brand.com, GDS, direct, voice, metasearch sites, and more. Include your direct expenses such as sales and marketing costs, entertainment, advertising and promotion, loyalty programs, group, leisure, and commissions. Identify your acquisition cost per RN, by channel. This is a great opportunity for savings, since most hotels pay between 16-18% of their business in acquisition costs and many may pay as high as 25-35%!
You are ready to determine your optimal mix! What segments could you dial up or dial down? What are the real costs to bring in each segment?
Once you have determined your optimal mix, there are a myriad of actions you can take to increase incremental business. For now, let’s focus on the digital actions that will have some of the lowest acquisition costs.
- Establish a robust search strategy – combine SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) into your action plan, with heavy emphasis on SEM. Metasearch sites such as TripAdvisor, Kayak, and Google can integrate personalization to deliver messages to consumers that speak to individual needs and aspirations.
- Create content for the entire sales funnel – your message, photos, and videos should differ based on where the consumer is in the funnel. The average consumer searches on anywhere from 12-20 sites during their travel research journey, so you must be aggressive in bringing and keeping them on your site! All three of these sales funnel stages should be in play in unison to attract guests from all lead times.
- Awareness Stage –content and key words should motivate shoppers! Videos should be inspirational and lead the consumer to dream about their trip to your area. Broader destination terms like “beach resort“ and “urban vacation” are in play.
- Consideration Stage – the consumer has narrowed their research, and wants to know more about availability and activities in your market. Photos and video of area and property activities should continue to inspire and draw the customer research to your site.
- Conversion Stage –property photo and videos are a must! Three or more photos of every type of guest room is critical on your website. Location, pricing, deals, and value-adds will contribute to your conversions. A combination of branded and unbranded key words will keep your bookers coming direct to your website and away from more expensive third parties buying up your branded words.
- Use retargeting in your digital strategy – less than 5% of visitors to your site will convert on the first search. Retargeting visitors allows you to put messages in front of potential customers who have demonstrated interest in your product.
- Combine social/content presence – UGC (User-Generated Content) is what your customers want to see. They trust other guests more than brand messaging. Consumers base their decision greatly on what others say on your social sites, through their comments, photos, and videos.
- Loyalty & advocacy stage customers are more than satisfied and become your raving fans!
Connecting your optimal mix with an aggressive SEO/SEM strategy will charge up your hotel. Like Belichick and Epstein, these types of “in game adjustments” are what creates a championship run. Knowing you can win no matter what obstacles you must overcome is what defines a winner!
About Jon Moore & Associates, LLC (JMA)
JMA is a collection of hospitality leaders specializing in Digital Marketing, Branding, and Revenue Performance. The team at Jon Moore & Associates, LLC has a proven track record of building demand through innovative and cutting edge strategies across the Americas. Through the expertise of JMA partners, we can help hotels content and win with innovative websites, optimization, search marketing, social and content management, and mobile technology. We can tie your direct sales strategy to your business positioning and messaging, reposition hotels, markets, and restaurants to compete effectively, and are skilled in developing pre-opening or renovation sales or marketing strategies. JMA is based in Andover, MA.
Web: http://www.jonmooreassociates.com, LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jon-moore-&-associates-llc/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JonMooreAssociates/