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000-M43 - IBM SUT Intermediate Level Technical(R) Sales Mastery Test V1.0 - BrainDump Information

Vendor Name : IBM
Exam Code : 000-M43
Exam Name : IBM SUT Intermediate Level Technical(R) Sales Mastery Test V1.0
Questions and Answers : 52 Q & A
Updated On : March 22, 2019
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000-M43 exam Dumps Source : IBM SUT Intermediate Level Technical(R) Sales Mastery Test V1.0

Test Code : 000-M43
Test Name : IBM SUT Intermediate Level Technical(R) Sales Mastery Test V1.0
Vendor Name : IBM
Q&A : 52 Real Questions

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by means of skip RASCHKE Aug eleven, 2016 | 10:01 AM EDT

The exchange: buy 1 IBM September $165 call and sell 1 IBM September $a hundred and seventy demand a 1.forty five factor debitOver the previous fifty two weeks, IBM has traded between $117 and $164 (rounded) and thus it is within a few points of constructing a brand new fifty two-week highAs I read the charts, the technicals of IBM are pointing in that upward fee route nowThe previous decade has been a...

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IBM Watson’s subsequent mission is to tiptoe into HR, and rent the correct grownup | killexams.com Real Questions and Pass4sure dumps

India could emerge because the third-greatest market in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) place for IBM’s synthetic intelligence (AI)-powered body of workers automation answer, launched in November remaining yr. The Armonk-based application capabilities enormous expects large-sized and mid-sized firms from sectors akin to banking, insurance and manufacturing to be among the many first adopters of the answer.

The solution, dubbed the talent and Transformation suite of capabilities, is one among a number of that have come out of IBM’s world AI platform, Watson.

“India is one of the largest markets for the solution when it comes to possibility after Australia and Singapore (within the APAC area),” Lula Mohanty, typical supervisor for APAC at IBM international business functions, told TechCircle. “most effective 5 per cent of chief executive officers (CEOs) think that they have got embarked on a transformation event, specially when it involves human supplies core services and simplest 24% of CHROs (chief human materials officers) suppose that they have loads of work to do when it comes to improving their core services. this is a favorable trade when it comes to rising awareness within the nation,” she added.

Mohanty declined to touch upon selected valued clientele that have already signed on for the solution in India. however the company in an announcement released in November observed that, globally, it had already partnered with customers to complete greater than 1,000 human resources transformation tasks.

The global roster of valued clientele for the answer contains Ford, EY and citizens economic neighborhood.

earlier than launching the human elements solution last 12 months, IBM had already tried, validated and perfected it internally over a duration of 5 years.

“we have been working the AI for our core human supplies operations and we've completed five instances extra efficiency or productivity from the time we all started,” she talked about. IBM claimed in a statement in November closing 12 months that the answer drove more than $300 million in benefits for the enterprise, of which $107 million become derived in 2017 on my own.

How IBM’s solution is distinctive from rivals’ solutions

Mohanty claims that whereas most competitors’ options work as automation equipment, IBM’s solution goes past and addresses bottlenecks for the business or the branch it is being applied to. 

for instance, the Watson-powered AI could keep in mind intrinsic facts such as the worker’s social media posts, preferences, efficiency at work, place of work behaviour and pursuits, before throwing up a effect. further, the solution maintains on studying in regards to the worker via distinct forums, checkpoints, social media use and different feedback mechanisms corresponding to 360-degree remarks, and so forth., so as to create a persona for future references. These personas can also be used by means of the AI sooner or later as reference facets when hiring a further employee within the identical team or branch.

“according to the employee’s performance, self-appraisal, hobbies, and many others., Watson can assess a number of key metrics reminiscent of how a good deal invested the employee is, how much did the productiveness differ from one challenge to an additional, how whole groups are performing, is variety having an impact on the team, does the employee need a definite practising or orientation, and many others.,” Mohanty observed. This helps businesses to now not only examine attrition however also consider why productivity stops rising at a undeniable degree.

other than IBM, there are quite a couple of startups from India and technology giants similar to Microsoft that are engaged on AI and laptop learning-primarily based human materials products and services. Gurugram-headquartered PeopleStrong remaining yr had launched a brand new product, Alt Recruit, which makes use of artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) as a matchmaking tool to indicate feasible candidates for job openings at an service provider.  

Bengaluru-based Belong, which turned into included in 2014 and has shoppers such as Amazon, Reliance Jio, Cisco, and ThoughtWorks, too, presents a predictive hiring platform.

different startups consist of Darwinbox, Mettl, Monjin and facet Networks. These startups are backed by means of a few task capital investors such as Lightspeed Ventures, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Sequoia.

Darwinbox and side Networks might be come closest to IBM’s solution as both the startups appear to offer end-to-conclusion human substances solutions. Hyderabad-based Darwinbox, which has clients such as Paytm, Spencer’s and Delhivery, presents a set of features equivalent to core human components procedures, individuals administration, efficiency management and worker engagement. The AI infusion comes in the variety of a recruiting device that gives a score to all applicants in response to the place by using matching key terms.

Bengaluru-based mostly edge Networks’ most solutions are AI-based that assist now not most effective to determine the right ability but additionally aid in addressing problems comparable to staff planning and skill transformation.

Mettl offers an app for testing candidates and Monjin offers a video platform for interviews.

nonetheless, Microsoft’s ability solution presents a sequence of equipment to accelerate hiring and onboarding, upskilling talent and body of workers planning.

interestingly, the Watson AI solution doesn’t cease at human materials and might be applied to departments such as legal, advertising, finance and operations, the place it can also be customised for distinct work tactics.

Go-to-market approach

however, deploying an AI-based human resources solution to core techniques could lead on to the want for re-skilling personnel in an effort to make them be mindful how AI can aid in their each day work routines.

IBM is additionally offering its AI competencies Academy, a carrier offering and educational programme with a view to support organizations plan, build and apply strategic AI initiatives throughout the business, like evaluating AI roles and skills, building critical talents, and developing an organisational structure in help of an AI method.

“Our new AI talents Academy carries 4 built-in components that e-book a client during the process of settling on an AI chance, prioritising AI initiatives to pursue in accordance with expected enterprise value, researching curriculum designed to tackle AI talents gaps and raise adoption of AI solutions,” Mohanty pointed out.

talking about IBM garage, which constitutes the fourth part of the potential Academy provider, she pointed out that the programme is an agile approach to popping out with AI-primarily based options. “As a part of storage, IBM, startups and the commercial enterprise customer come collectively to talk about a problem, launch a proof-of-idea and then dish out an answer,” she defined.

The solution could be deployed as a SaaS (software as a carrier) mannequin or might sit both on-premise or public cloud, depending on the requirement of the consumer. The income model changed into stylish on the beginning model.

in line with a recent document by way of world advisory, broking and options company Wills Towers Watson, most effective 12 organizations in India believe that their human components services are totally organized for the altering necessities of automation. for example, human substances is least organized for choosing new easy methods to re-ability talent (forty three%), re-designing jobs and determining which tasks can gold standard be carried out with the aid of automation (54%), and re-configuration of rewards and merits for current and new team of workers (31%).

“whereas our research does indicate that corporations in India are beginning to take small but strong steps to tackle this paradigm shift, enterprise leaders, individuals managers and human elements must collaborate to determine and mitigate risks and take full potential of the numerous opportunities that the future of work gifts,” Sambhav Rakyan, head of talent and rewards, Willis Towers Watson India, talked about as a part of the document.

Emily Rose McRae, a senior major with advice technology research and advisory company Gartner Inc., in a document about workforce automation, additionally noted that human materials leaders deserve to recognize, given the increase in AI, what competencies their enterprise has now, what it will want sooner or later and the way they are going to prepare for the following day’s wants.


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There is a war a-brewin’, but this war will be fought with wits and not brute strength. Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that “the nation that leads in AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be the ruler of the world,” the press and analysts have created hysteria regarding the ramifications of artificial intelligence on everything from public education to unemployment to healthcare to Skynet.

Note: artificial intelligence (AI) endows applications with the ability to automatically learn and adapt from experience via interacting with the surroundings / environment. See the blog “Artificial Intelligence is not Fake Intelligence” for a more detailed explanation on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The Fast Company article “How to Stop Worrying and Love the Great AI War of 2018,” projected that the AI battle would ultimately boil down between the “AI Big 6”:  Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft. However, there are other contenders worthy of consideration including GE, Tesla, Netflix, Baidu, Tencent, and Albaba.

But what are the characteristics of organizations that will be the ultimate winners in this Great AI War? What are the behaviors and actions that will distinguish those organizations that capitalize on this AI gold rush while others “fumble the future”?

I believe that the AI winners will have the following characteristics:

  • Users, not purveyors, of AI technology
  • Embrace open source for technology agility (independence)
  • Mastery of Big Data (and no, Big Data is not dead)
  • Let me state my case.

    #1 Users, Not Purveyors, of AI TechnologyThe Market Capitalization Leaderboard shown in Figure 1 offers important clues as to which organizations will likely be the AI winners. What will set these organizations apart will be not the selling of technology, but their ability leverage AI for “value capture.”

    Figure 1: Marketing Capitalization Leaders as of May 26, 2017.

    By the way, I think Kleiner Perkins was lazy in classifying “Industry Segment.” The market leaders are less purveyors of AI technology than they are users of AI technology.

  • Less than 10% of Amazon’s revenue comes from technology (cloud); $12B in cloud revenue out of a total revenue of $136B in 2016. So what Industry Segment are they in?
  • Google had quarterly revenues (Q1, 2016) of $26B of which digital media/advertising (search) represented $23B. Their “other” businesses (including Google Cloud) were only $3B. So what Industry Segment are they in?
  • Apple’s most recent quarterly (Q3, 2016) revenues were $42B out of which the iPhone (personal communications, information and entertainment) and the associated iPhone ecosystem (iTunes, Apple Music, App Store) comprised an aggregated $37.5B.
  • Finally, I’m not aware of any AI or data technologies that Facebook sells to the general market. Facebook generated $9.3B in revenue in Q2, 2017 of which $9.16B came from Ad revenue. So what Industry Segment are they in?
  • Mastering Value Capture. Just having the technology is not sufficient; it’s how you use the technology to derive and then drive new sources of customer, business, operational, and financial value that matters. Ultimately, the AI war is about “value capture.”

    The companies listed in Figure 1 are trying to dominate markets, not technology. For example:

  • Apple (#1) seeks to dominate personal communications
  • Google/Alphabet (#2) seeks to dominate digital media, advertising and personal communications
  • Amazon (#4) seeks to dominate online commerce
  • Facebook (#5) seeks to dominate social media, and advertising
  • Each of these AI leaders seeks to extend their value capture capabilities into new markets, including transportation (autonomous vehicles), healthcare, finance, media, and entertainment.

    Other market leaders are also moving aggressively to exploit the power of AI to capture more customer, products and operational value. JPM Morgan (#11) is focused on building an AI platform (see “JPMorgan Takes AI Use to the Next Level”) that will allow JPMC to dominate financial trading. And GE (#16) has made a strategic bet with their Predix platform (see “GE’S Big Bet on Data and Analytics”) as the platform for dominating the Industrial Internet of Things.

    Microsoft (#3) is the one exception as Microsoft is a purveyor of technology. But even Microsoft is branching beyond just selling technology into trying to dominate markets such as digital media, entertainment, and social media where their AI “chops” can give them competitive advantages (see “The Jewel of Microsoft’s Earnings”).

    #2 Embrace Open Source for Technology Agility (Independence)AI leaders will exploit open-source business models to establish platform dominance/standardization, and create technology agility and independence. They will develop an enabling technology, and then give it away via open source. This enables them to encourage the growing community of developers, especially those up-and-coming developers in universities and research labs, to build out and create de facto standards around their enabling technologies.

    Open Source Leaders. The Global AI winners are significant contributors to the artificial intelligence and machine learning open source communities. This includes developments such as Amazon Machine Learning, Google TensorFlow, Facebook Caffe2, Microsoft Azure ML Studio, Microsoft Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit, Facebook GraphQL, and Facebook Torch.

    The leadership role that the “Great AI War” combatants are playing can be seen in many open source projects. For example, Torch is an open source machine learning library and scientific computing framework. The “official maintainers” of Torch are:

  • Research Scientist @ Facebook
  • Senior Software Engineer @ Twitter
  • Research Scientist @ Google DeepMind
  • Research Engineer @ Facebook
  • Training and Education. Another strategy from the Global AI leaders the creation of community or industry training and education opportunities around their open source technologies. For example, Google is committing $1 billion to train American workers to build new businesses with Google’s AI tools (see “Google Commits $1 Billion in Grants to Train U.S. Workers for High-Tech Jobs”).

    Avoiding Technology Lock-in.  But equally important is that these AI leaders are seeking to avoid technology and architecture lock-in. They have watched old school organizations struggle with proprietary software packages that took months if not years for upgrades and bug fixes, while paying a burdensome annual maintenance fees (33% of list price means you’re buying the entire software package again every 3 years). In a world where the enabling data and analytic technologies are changing nearly daily, technological and architecture agility (at scale) and independence is mandatory for organizations looking to win the Great AI War.

    #3 Mastery of Big DataEveryone knows about the astounding growth of big data over the last decade as organizations focused on capturing detailed customer, product, operational and market data. Initially fueled by commerce, web and social media data, big data has accelerated with the growth of video, wearables, and the Internet of Things. (See Figure 2).

    However, organizations have struggled to monetize this wealth of data. Enter artificial intelligence.

    Figure 2: Fueling the Insatiable Appetite for Data

    More Data = Better AI. Artificial intelligence can exploit massive data sets to identify patterns on a scale that flummox traditional Business Intelligence “slice and dice” and query technologies. Data is the food that feeds AI. The more data the AI models consume, the smarter AI gets. For example, Facebook is mastering facial recognition via its DeepFace Deep Learning application by virtue of owning the world’s largest repository of photos.

    To illustrate the symbiotic relationship between big data and AI, let’s look at autonomous vehicles (AV). AV require enormous quantities of data to feed the AV machine learning algorithms. It would take tens of thousands of hours of real-world driving data across a variety of driving scenarios to teach cars how to navigate on their own. To address this data volume problem, AV companies are using the video game “Grand Theft Auto” to help generate enough data in order to train Autonomous Vehicles (see “GTA is Teaching Self-Driving Cars How to Navigate Better in the Real World”).

    Data Lake. Leading AI organizations are exploiting the data lake concept to not only store the growing wealth of structured and unstructured (internal and publicly-available) data, but to provide an elastic, scalable, self-provisioning data science platform for “collaborative value creation” in building the machine learning and artificial intelligence models (see “Data Lake Business Model Maturity Index” for more details on data lake business model maturation).

    Exploiting the Economic Value of Data. Leading AI organizations realize that data and analytics are unlike any traditional corporate assets. Data and analytics are digital assets that never wear out, never deplete, and can be used simultaneously at near-zero marginal cost across an infinite business and operational use cases. Understanding the true economic value of the organization’s data can help to prioritize technology and business investments that accelerate value capture from these data sources (see University of San Francisco research paper “Determining the Economic Value of Data” for more details).

    Conclusion: How to Become an AI WinnerAs has been discussed many times in my blog series, and explored in detail in my book, “Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science,” AI winners will ultimately be those organizations that are the most effective at leveraging data and analytics to power their business models (see Figure 3).

    Figure 3: How Effective Is Your Organization at Leveraging Data and Analytics to Power Your Business Models?

    Ultimately, AI winners will master three key characteristics:

  • Focus on Value Capture by identifying, validating and prioritizing the organization’s key business and operational use cases (see “Use Case Identification, Validation and Prioritization”).
  • Avoid technology and architecture lock-in and create technology independence via an open source technology strategy
  • Mastery of Big Data and the Data Lake to exploit the unique economic value of the data and analytic digital assets (see “Data Lake Business Model Maturity Index”).
  • So in conclusion, let’s have some fun with this blog and think outside of the box about some hypothetical scenarios in which companies exploit this AI gold rush:

  • What would be the business model ramifications to GE if they were to open source Predix and offer Predix training to universities and third party developers?
  • What would be the business model ramifications to JPMC if they were to open source their trading platform to universities and third party developers?
  • What would be the business model ramifications if IBM moved out of the technology purveyor business and instead acquired companies in financial services and healthcare where their Watson AI platform could create market dominance?
  • As the world prepares for the impending great AI war, now is not the time for organizations to be shy or to cling to old, outdated business models.

    Fortune Favors the Brave.

    Sources

    Figure 1: ScoopNest “2017 global market capitalization leader board: tech is 40% of top 20 companies and 100% of top 5” and Consultancy UK “Market capitalisation of world’s 100 biggest companies hits $17.4 trillion”

    The post 3 Keys to Winning the Great Artificial Intelligence (AI) War! appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

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    Category: Business Practices | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Millennial, Restaurants, Technology, Trends

    By Tyler Titherington

    I am a restaurateur.  I’m behind schedule.  Again.  Not because I am disorganized or have too much to do, more so because I have a hierarchy of tasks that are addressed based on priority.  Guest needs are my first priority, staff needs are a close second and everything else last.  There is a tertiary hierarchy in the last basket as well.  Some tasks with a lower priority fall through the cracks.  Not because they are unimportant, but rather there just was not enough time.  The truth is that I am obsessively organized.  I love “To Do” lists, calendars, flow charts and the accomplishment of tasks.  I eat projects for breakfast, while living on the edge of chaos and complete catastrophe.  Short staffed?  Yawn.  Drains flooding?  Been there, done that.  POS system crash during service on a weekend?  Bring it.  I am the duck – calm above water and feet moving nonstop below.  However, how do I manage all the curveballs and still manage to gain time without compromising any of my other priorities?  It is very simple – adapt and embrace technology wherever possible, specifically, cloud-based computing solutions that allow one to be in many places at one time.  These applications simplify daily tasks for management teams and staff, which will ultimately leverage senior management down to focus on the bigger picture.  Maybe even get a day off…

    Over the last 10 years or so, the increased availability of cloud-based computing solutions (using network computers over the internet rather than property-based hard drives) has been a major paradigm shift for many industries.  However, as with most technological advances, the restaurant industry has been very slow to adapt.  Tight margins, resistance to change, and fear of unknown outcomes have long driven the restaurateur’s decision-making process.  However, with increased options, cheaper costs, and ease of use, that mindset is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  Restaurant operators are beginning to embrace cloud-based solutions for everything from Point of Sale and Tableside Payment to Menu Design and Scheduling.

    Our foray into cloud computing began with an unfortunate set of circumstances that the entire industry was facing.  The year was 2010 and the impending doom of PCI Compliance was upon us.  At best, our network infrastructure was dated and we needed to act quickly to get it into compliance.  Like most operators, our hand was forced and we had no choice.  What is PCI Compliance?  The answer depends on who you ask.

    Your guests have never heard of it and have no idea what it is.  Most restaurant operators will tell you that PCI Compliance is an almost unachievable set of network security standards designed to protect the credit card giants, who already charge them way too much for credit card processing and continually squeeze them with a plethora of monthly fees.  The definition of PCI Compliance is below, according to PCI ComplianceGuide.org

    “The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.  The PCI Security Council Card focuses on improving payment account security throughout the transaction process. It is an independent body that was created by the major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB.).”[i]

    PCI DSS is mandatory for any and all businesses that accept credit cards.  It involves a process of assessment, remediation and reporting.  Operators must identify network vulnerabilities, physical vulnerabilities, and operational vulnerabilities that could result in a credit card breach and fix them.  In summary, it is a painfully tedious, extremely time consuming, and potentially expensive process.

    It is extremely important for the security of our guest’s payment information, both for ensuring trust with our customers and limiting legal liabilities.  In 2017-8, major retail stores including Home Depot, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Best Buy and Lord & Taylor made headlines across the country for data breaches possibly compromising customer’s credit card personal information. The restaurant industry is also plagued with security breaches, including large chains such as Darden (Cheddar’s), Panera Bread, Sonic and Arby’s. The number of customers whose credit card information may be compromised totals into the millions.[ii]

    At Grafton Group, the process of obtaining Credit card security involved working directly with our IT vendor and POS vendor to achieve PCI compliance.  The first order of business was to get our network infrastructure in order.  Some of the major network upgrades that we undertook were upgrading wiring, locking down patch panels, securitizing external ports, adding wireless access points (WAPs), and replacing firewalls. The WAPs and new firewalls were the heart of the upgrades and would ultimately allow us to operate unencumbered in the cloud.  The new access points give our guests their own network and prevent them from accessing ours.  The security firewalls prevent intrusions and also allow our IT vendor remote access so they can make changes without actually being in the restaurant.  What used to be a scheduled visit from our IT vendor that may have taken weeks, is now a simple email and can often be addressed online in minutes.  In a nutshell, PCI DSS forced us to upgrade our network, which ultimately allowed us to operate in the cloud.  This unintended outcome to a painful requirement was truly a blessing in disguise and it pushed us into new territory – the cloud!  Being in the cloud has allowed us access to exciting applications and services that would otherwise be unavailable to us.

    IBM defines cloud computing as “the delivery of on-demand computing resources — everything from applications to data centers — over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.”[iii]  For our purposes, these on demand computing resources primarily consist of “SaaS” or Software as a Service.  Here are some of the areas where cloud computing can streamline our operation.

    Point of Sale

    POS systems are the most interesting area of cloud-based solutions for restaurant operators.  Legacy systems such as Positouch, Micros, and Aloha are bulkier, more expensive, and much harder to program and implement.  There are quite a few cloud-based POS options, most notably Boston-based Toast.  Toast has done a great job streamlining and simplifying the interface for both front and back end users.  Management can access the system remotely for screen programming, troubleshooting or reviewing sales.  It is extremely intuitive, like using a smartphone, thus needing very little training. As wireless POS solutions evolve, legacy systems will eventually be phased out.  It is only a matter of time.

    Tableside Payment

    EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) is another set of regulations that are coming to the restaurant industry. “EMV is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.”[iv]  Used in Europe for years, the credit card never leaves the customer and all transactions are processed tableside with a handheld device. One example of an EMV compliant, cloud-based device for tableside payments that we at Grafton Group are currently analyzing and plan on implementing is Pay My Tab.  Pay My Tab will fully integrate with our POS system and eliminates many bulky PCI DSS requirements. Many similar systems are already in use at quick service operations, where guests and staff have easily adapted to them.  In addition to tougher security, the implementation should decrease payment time, eliminate paper receipts (emailed instead) and simplify the process for management to search for specific receipts.

    Reservations and Floor Management

    There are a variety of solutions for reservations and floor management systems.  Our firm has been using OpenTable for over 15 years, so when they rolled out their cloud-based system, GuestCenter, we were early adopters.  This has been one of the single best applications in terms of roll out, ease of use, and seamless integration.  It is iPad-based and eliminates all the wiring and host stand real estate.  It is compatible to smart phones that allows for remote access, allowing management to check flow of service, identify unique reservations, and make sure that waitlists are being managed appropriately.  Soon to come is an interface with POS systems that automatically applies any “guest notes” from GuestCenter to the server’s check, such as special occasions, etc. Most importantly, due to its intuitive design, our millennial hosts use the system seamlessly.

    Private Event Management

    Private events are the foundation of most full service restaurant operations.  They are the difference between a good week and a great week.  However, it can be a very confusing process with all of the moving parts.  In order to stay organized, we use TripleSeat to manage leads, create BEOs and track our events calendar. The cloud-based event management system allows our Private Event Coordinators to respond at any given time from anywhere, giving them a leg up on the competition, giving them the opportunity to earn fees for each event.  Since our coordinators receive an administrative fee for each event, they enjoy responding when available off-site; good communication is key for making sure work-life balance is maintained.

    Bar at the Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, MA. Photo: graftongrouphospitality.com Inventory

    An area which the cloud has really saved our restaurants time is with food & beverage inventories.  No more paper and no more transposing paper to spreadsheet.  Inventories can be uploaded in real time using a tablet, laptop or even a smart phone. BevSpot is used for both our food and beverage inventories.  We have also given access to our accounting firm, in order to reduce bulky invoice scans and uploads.  All information can be entered into the cloud and accessed by all of our approved users.  It also allows for multiple people to take inventory simultaneously.  One person can be on the bar, another in the walk in fridge, and another in the liquor room, all at the same time.  In addition to being a major time saver, it has helped Grafton Group to reduce sitting inventory by a significant amount across all properties.

    Scheduling

    Staff scheduling is a weekly administrative headache for managers, but there are cloud-based scheduling applications that lessen the pain. We have found HotSchedules to fit our needs as it interfaces with our POS system and allows our firm to do some creative reporting in regards to budgeting and forecasting, as well as taking employees requests and requirements into consideration.

    Email and File Sharing

    Grafton Group has come a long way from sharing access to a desktop version of Outlook and toggling between accounts.  We were able to eliminate our main server entirely and now we use Office 365 for our email and file sharing needs.  Not only is this highly securitized, it has redundancy so our information is always backed up.  We access both our email and files from anywhere in the world.  This has greatly improved productivity and allowed our management teams to communicate in real time.

    Grafton Street in Cambridge, MA. Photo: graftongrouphospitality.com Computer Hardware

    Our office hardware now consists of much less expensive “Network Computers”, which do not require expanded memory for giant programs, CD drives for downloading drivers, or expansion slots for extraneous drives.  We can purchase more computers at a reduced cost and our managers no longer have to share computer access in the office.

    Menu Design

    For our menu design need, we have found InDesign to be the most efficient program, which is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.  This program can now be selected a la carte from Adobe’s menu of programs and paid for on a month to month basis for under $20.  This is much more palatable than paying $600 for the entire Adobe suite.

    These are just a handful examples of how cloud computing has impacted our operations and ultimately saved time for our management team and staff.  Ten seconds here, 5 minutes there, an hour tomorrow – it adds up to impactful chunks of time that can be better spent elsewhere.  We have only scratched the surface as an industry – we will see more and more options for cloud-based solutions to real world restaurant problems. Although the solutions highlighted above create efficiency and save time, they do not serve guests and they don’t understand the art of hospitality.  It is imperative that as restaurateurs we continue to create a positive environment, embrace innovation, and engage and train our employees in the art and skill of hospitality.

    There are some things you will never have time for in the restaurant industry, regardless of cloud-based advancements.  “Lunch”, for example, I have heard is a meal that takes place in the middle of the day.  For me, “lunch” is the sandwich that I eat in 30 seconds somewhere between 2pm and 6pm standing over a trash can in the back of the kitchen.  There is no technology for that…

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [i] “PCI Compliance Guide FAQ.” PCIComplianceGuide.Org. September, 2018. https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/faq/#1. [ii] Green, D. and Hanbury, M. (Aug. 22, 2018). “If you shopped at these 16 stores in the last year, your data might have been stolen.” https://www.businessinsider.com/data-breaches-2018-4 [iii] “What Is Cloud Computing?” IBM.com. September, 2018. https://www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/what-is-cloud-computing. [iv] Kossman, Sienna. ” 8 FAQs about EMV credit cards.” CreditCards.com. August 29, 2017. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/emv-faq-chip-cards-answers-1264.php. Tyler was born and raised in Portland, Maine and has lived in the Boston area since attending Boston University.  After graduating from the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, Mr. Titherington operated a handful of bars and restaurants in Boston.  He has been with Grafton Group since October 2007. 

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Restaurants, Trends

    By Christopher Muller

    In Part 1 of this analysis of the restaurant delivery system we looked at the owner/operator models which still offer some measure of control over price and quality.  This is fast becoming an issue with the rise of the Ghost Kitchen where the ODP is an integral part of the equation.  Here we present the larger challenges from the dominant ODP control of the marketplace.  It is good to remember that most of the ODPs themselves are still looking to find profits in what they do, a suggestion that those profits will need to come at the expense of the restaurant providers in one way or another.

    5. The Aggregator or On-Line Delivery Provider (ODP) – No Driver Fleet

    If someone were to say, “Let me take care of all of your delivery problems for a small cut of your revenues” many restaurant operators, especially those eager to get into the market with the least amount of upfront investment, would jump at the chance.  Enter the On-Line Delivery Provider with a business model built upon a brand name customer-facing APP, website or phone number and an enormous amount of back office computing power to drive order volume.

    At its core, to be successful the Aggregator needs to be a world-class matchmaker for food orders, with both a large customer database of users and a broad assortment of restaurant menus offered in major cities.  Like many of what MIT’s Bill Aulet calls an Innovation Driven Enterprise (IDE)[1] the cost of customer acquisition is the key hurdle in entering this distribution channel. What it doesn’t need is its own fleet of employee delivery drivers. Capitalizing on the DIY gig economy, drivers are hired on a contractual basis, working as independent delivery agents with their own vehicles.

    The barrier to lowering this high cost of entry has favored early market entrants and large well-funded digital innovators.  Worldwide, the fastest growing ODP is Uber Eats, the natural extension of car service provider, Uber, with its existing enormous data base of users, an ever expanding fleet of drivers, and the understanding for a driver that delivering food with an APP-based pre-payment system is considerably faster and easier than dealing with human passengers.

    The upside for restaurant companies using an ODP such as Uber Eats, from those as dominant as McDonalds or as small as the local pizzeria, is that there is no need to hire and train non-core employees.  As touted by Uber Eats delivery service can begin almost immediately upon signing up.  The downside, that has a potential for long term impact, is two-fold.  The fee structure for traditionally low margin restaurants can be between 20-30% of a menu item price, leaving little to cover remaining expenses.  Worse though is that the restaurant gives away its brand and trade dress image to the company making the delivery to the front door.  McDonalds hamburgers may be in the bag, but the name on the ordering APP and the uniform on the person handing it to the customer says Uber Eats.

    6. The Consolidator – Bulk “Bus Stop”

    As noted, the most expensive single piece of the delivery puzzle is getting food from the restaurant to the front door, what is called “the last mile.”  One proven way to minimize that expense is to have the customer meet the food delivery at a central drop-off spot (see: Amazon [2]).  A start-up, Yun Ban Bao, in New York City is taking advantage of ethnic Chinese food deserts through direct targeted marketing using the dominant Chinese online service provider, WeChat.  By doing so it is creating a captive delivery market with the advantage of pre-ordering and payment.[3]

    Taking online requests for delivery on the next business day, then consolidating orders using a bulk delivery model, Yun Ban Bao is lowering the cost of delivery while maintaining control with its own fleet of drivers.  It advertises a data analytics service for smaller restaurants as well as being a revenue growth accelerator for restaurants in suburban locations which otherwise could not find new or broader market opportunities.

    Using a pre-arranged group delivery network, often outside parks, office towers or apartment buildings, the system mirrors a bus route, not the more traditional taxi route model of one-on-one delivery.  This also affords the network of restaurants a way to lower operating costs by controlling the production process in advance.

    7. The Aggregator ODP – Owned Fleet

    Some of the largest ODP players started in the delivery business by controlling their own fleets of employee managed delivery drivers.  The global leader, Just Eat,[4] has used this model throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide.  But it also has worked directly with restaurants who have their own in-house deliver fleets to create a broad partnership.  Just Eat acts as the online ordering platform, but then allows the local branded company to be the face at the door.

    The ability to present a standardized customer facing brand identity means that trust may be established with the customer directly.  While this can come at the risk of the restaurant losing its direct brand relationship, what Just Eat has been able to master is the collection of a vast customer database of its users.  It has created a relationship with many of its restaurant partners to assist them in finding ideal store locations, menu item design and creative targeted pricing and promotions programs which would not otherwise be affordable or even available to smaller companies.

    For these ODP companies, the costs for maintaining their own fleets or working as a hybrid with a local restaurant creates a higher operating expense, but these are often offset with a higher fee share from both the restaurant and the consumer.  It also creates a competitive advantage by building a broader network of restaurants to choose from for the customer, which builds long term loyalty and habitual purchase behaviors.

    8. The ODP Aggregator – Dark Kitchens

    One of the greatest threats to the bricks and mortar restaurant delivery partners is the emerging concept of a Dark Kitchen.  This is a space created by an OPD to facilitate the lowest cost per delivery mile from restaurant kitchen to the highest density of users.  While this is similar to the Cloud Kitchen model, in this case the OPD establishes a cluster of small dedicated but competitive restaurant kitchens in a single site.  A Dark Kitchen is also similar to the trending food hall concept, but comes with no direct customer interaction—no walk-in guest visits these production facilities.  In the UK this was pioneered by Deliveroo with its urban RooBox or Editions concepts.[5] Partner restaurants rent portable kitchen space from the delivery service and pay a larger percentage fee to cover the build-out costs for their space.  Restaurants staff the kitchens at their own expense, as well.

    Earlier this year, Grubhub invested $1 million in Green Summit Group (see Ghost Kitchen in Part I), a startup with nine virtual restaurants operating from a single kitchen. DoorDash is renting extra space from the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose, Calif., and making it available to foodservice operators who want to create delivery-only options. In Los Angeles, Postmates leased a commissary kitchen space so its restaurants can reach new customers. And UberEATS is exploring the concept with Poke Café in Chicago — a virtual restaurant serving Hawaiian poke bowls.

    “We can work with existing restaurant partners to create delivery-only menus. (They would) appear as entirely new restaurants on the UberEats app,” Ambika Krishnamachar, UberEats product manager, said in an article on Mashable.[6]

    And again, while on its face this appears to be a positive opportunity for independent or chain restaurants to lower costs or disaggregate the dine-in from the delivery production process, it is not cost free.  In fact, as a logical progression would suggest, the OPD Deliveroo service has realized that the actual local restaurant in this mix is not a necessity for success.  Instead by using its own “innovation fund” it will to go directly into the restaurant business itself, creating “from scratch” concepts by working with celebrity chefs and data mining information from its enormous customer data base. [7]

    As more of the OPDs look to find profits to pass along to the aggressive investors who have funded rapid growth, they will inevitably look to cut out the middleman and provide meals themselves to increase margins. The kitchen that may actually go “dark” is the local one on the corner down the street in an independent restaurant.

    Conclusions

    This is undoubtedly both an interesting and a challenging time for the restaurant industry and the Online Delivery Providers who are feeding from it.  Neither side seems to have figured out how to make the new consumer demand for off-site delivery work to their complete advantage.

    It is impossible to believe that any restaurant can survive if it gives away up to 30% of its top line revenues when the average net profit is less than 10%.  No amount of increased volume in sales will make up for that.  As Cameron Keng wrote in his column “Why Uber Eats Will Eat You Into Bankruptcy” in March, 2018:

    Based on the average profit margins above, every restaurant that engages Uber Eats will lose money on every order they take. The more orders coming from Uber Eats, the more money a restaurant would lose.[8]

    At the same time, while it is hard to get exact information, it appears that almost none of the largest On-Line Delivery Providers, in any of the described segments is actually showing a profit.  Uber Eats is only profitable in 27 of its more than 100 urban markets,[9] and while Deliveroo’s sales rose in 2017 to £277 million ($356 million), the company lost an astounding £185 million ($237 million).[10]  Yet Uber Eats is offering over $2 billion to purchase/merge with Deliveroo.

    Finally, as Jonathan Maze wrote in his Bottom Line column in early October the restaurant industry is simply unprepared for what appears to be a tectonic shift in traditional restaurant segments, consumer behavior, labor utilization, Real Estate valuation and investor interest.

    If delivery is the future of the restaurant business, the restaurant business as it is currently constructed is in trouble.

    The service is growing rapidly. But it’s increasingly replacing existing restaurant business rather than taking business away from grocers or other food retailers. [11]

    As we noted in the beginning, it took the lodging industry almost 20 years to begin to make this kind of tectonic change and it is nowhere near complete.  A few very large hotel companies, through merger and acquisition, have consolidated enough power to start the move away from handing over all of their pricing to the OTA’s.  In economic terms, hotel companies are trying to go from being Price Takers to Price Setters.

    At this early stage of the restaurant OPD’s domination of the delivery cycle, it is not clear that any restaurant organization is large enough to break the fever, especially now that McDonald’s is partnering with Uber Eats.  While it may appear that the On-line Delivery Provider is a restaurant’s partner, friend or even savior, it is none of those.  In fact, in order to become profitable the OPD is looking to become a direct competitor.

    What is certain is that few restaurant companies, and certainly no independent operations, can survive the next two decades letting third parties dictate what convenience and price mean.  In fact, this might be a good time to get out of the house and go visit your favorite local restaurant.  Sacrificing some convenience for a great experience is a good value and that restaurant may not be around the next time you want to show up.

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [1] See Bill Aulet, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, [2] The Financial, October 25, 2018,  https://www.finchannel.com/~finchannel/business/76317-amazon-expands-grocery-delivery-and-pickup [3] Menqi Sun, WSJ, September 9, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-get-food-delivered-from-your-favorite-faraway-restaurant-1536516000 [4] See https://www.just-eat.com/ [5] James Cook, Business Insider, April 5, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/deliveroo-editions-pop-up-restaurants-roobox-2017-4 [6] Tim York, The Packer, March 23, 2018, https://www.thepacker.com/article/rise-virtual-restaurant [7]Sophie Witts, Big Hospitality, May 21, 2018, https://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Article/2018/05/21/Deliveroo-to-create-own-restaurant-brands-using-5m-fund# [8] Cameron Keng, Forbes, March 26, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/cameronkeng/2018/03/26/why-uber-eats-will-eat-you-into-bankruptcy/#778a3b0621f6 [9] Ibid., DealBook, September 21, 2018 [10] BBC News, October 1, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45707700 [11] Jonathan Maze, Restaurant Business Online, October 17, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/delivery-could-force-changes-restaurant-business-model Christopher C. Muller is Professor of the Practice of Hospitality Administration and former Dean of the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. Each year, he moderates the European Food Service Summit, a major conference for restaurant and supply executives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hobart College and two graduate degrees from Cornell University, including a Ph.D. in hospitality administration. Email: cmuller@bu.edu

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Restaurants, Trends

    By Christopher Muller

    The entire restaurant industry, from the simplest quick service joint to the most complex fine dining jewel, is caught in a veritable frenzy of delivery.  It may be, unfortunately, a very risky path to travel for the uninitiated restaurant operation, but delivery is driving the investment community to a fever pitch. [1] We have entered into the time of the restaurant On-Line Delivery Provider (ODP) which mirrors in many ways the On-Line Travel Agent (OTA) which has so disrupted the lodging industry.

    In two complimentary BHR articles here, we present a look at the 8 different models of restaurant delivery and how they are affecting both senior management and customer choices.

    A Quick Lesson From Pricing History

    For observers of the global Hospitality Industry this should send up warning flags.  In a galaxy far, far away, the Lodging industry managed revenues by using simple seasonal or attribute pricing models (On-, Shoulder- and Off-Peak rates, or premiums for “A Room With A View”) and sold some limited excess inventory through a network of independent Travel Agents (at an onerous 10% commission!).

    Then, as the Internet expanded, and the travel market imploded after the 9-11 tragedy, a new and exciting model emerged – the On-Line Travel Agent (OTA) acting as a third party aggregator appeared.  Hotel companies willingly gave open access to all of their unsold room inventory to the OTAs (Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Booking.com, Kayak, Trivago, etc.) to sell directly at deep discounts, often between 25 and 30% off posted Rack Rates.  Occupancies rose, but Average Daily Rates plummeted, and profits quickly diminished.  Hotels, relying on the old pricing models were caught competing “with themselves” and watched as formerly loyal customers switched their buying habits and loyalties to the OTA that gave them the best rate.  Customers could scroll through pages of prices, often for the exact same room in the same hotel, searching for the cheapest rate.  Hotel rooms, instead of being unique destinations became interchangeable commodities.

    It has taken almost twenty years, but through brand consolidation and a total system-wide transformation into a Revenue Management based pricing model, the hotel business has been transformed and the OTAs are being aggressively challenged for dominance. This should be a lesson for the restaurant owner/operator, the OTAs drove nothing but price as a decision attribute, the ODPs are poised to do the same thing with both price and convenience, unfortunately restaurants probably won’t have decades to recover.

    Today’s Restaurant Delivery Frenzy –The Rise of the ODP

    Whether it’s the savvy but shape-shifting Millennial, the rapidly aging Baby Boomer, or the rising young digital native from the i-Generation, it seems that customers in all shapes and sizes just want to have their meals brought to them at home, the office, or somewhere in between.  Breaking the code of the delivery model—becoming the customer’s choice of who serves up breakfast, lunch or dinner at home, work or play—has emerged as the Holy Grail of the foodservice business. But it may be more like the other mythic Dark Ages metaphor, the Plague, potentially killing upwards of 30% of existing restaurant units.

    So, what exactly is “delivery” today, how did it evolve into such a big, expanding component of the restaurant offering and what are the implications going forward for the industry?  Just how do the On-Line Delivery Providers, the ODP, dominate the market?

    We can begin by agreeing that delivery is a distinct and rapidly growing distribution channel, although it has been around in one form or another for a very long time.  And while not exactly a new technology, nor necessarily a profitable one, the exploding market for the delivery of food is poised for an inevitable shake out as it quickly approaches a mature phase consolidation.[2]

    In late 2018 delivery is all about instant gratification, not just for the diner but some would suggest for the restaurant as well. At first glance, it all feels so simple and easy. But like so much in restaurant management, there is more than one way to get something done, even the simplest of things.

    Emerging Key Success Factors

    Like so many emerging business models in the on-line digital age, food delivery is developing its own metrics and factors to be considered and mastered. While still evolving, among these now are:

  • Addressing the profit challenges of “The Last Mile” in the delivery chain
  • Minimizing the high cost of Customer Acquisition
  • Developing an integrated APP, website, tablet and smartphone ordering platform
  • Designing the most effective delivery driver fleet system
  • Establishing an attractive and competitive user fee basis
  • Creating positive and immediate Brand recognition
  • Building a proprietary Knowledge Base of data storage, analytics and access
  • Delivery of food, especially from a restaurant to a consumer, has become a multi-billion dollar segment of the industry.  Some are predicting that it will overtake the traditional dine-in segment completely within a decade, although the complexity of getting it right and turning a profit while doing so, can still be elusive even for the largest players.  And of course, no one should forget that Amazon is over in the corner waiting to see how things evolve in an online delivery world they basically invented.

    Traditional and Controlled

    As noted, the delivery of food from a restaurant directly to a local customer is not a new idea although traditionally the customer came to the restaurant and picked up or carried out their food order.  Both delivery and carry-out were best suited to a restaurant with a simple, easily transported menu.  Where a significant amount of the value of the meal was the dining experience and table service, meals to go were often comprised of a package of leftovers or the long gone term “doggie bags.”

    Here is a look at four models with some measure of control for restaurant owners and operators over the quality and profitability of their offerings.

    1. The Independent – One Shot

    As a service provider a restaurant may decide that in order to meet the needs of its local customer base it should provide a delivery option.  At one time, only a few restaurants in an urban core would have delivery offers and these might typically be delicatessens or Chinese restaurants with few seats and a very strong focus on offering takeout options. The food can be cooked, boxed, wrapped and brought quickly to an office or apartment within a few blocks on foot or by bicycle.

    This model is the most basic – a caller, the kitchen, and an employee bringing hot food directly to the customer.  The restaurant controls the quality, manages the relationship with the diner and absorbs the full cost and all the revenues.  It typically comes with higher operating costs for labor (primarily from an in-house paid delivery driver fleet) and with premium rent from the need for an attractive customer-facing retail space.  On the plus side, all local customer information may be controlled by the restaurant and there are no fees to share with an outside third-party service.

    But as the independent operator reaches for the brass ring on the delivery merry-go-round, they also need to be careful not to lose their grip on their existing ride.  A new distribution channel can be much more challenging that just taking a customer order.  As noted by Jennifer Marston:

    …restaurants are under pressure to adapt…More and more, that means altering the physical restaurant space so it can better accommodate this influx of new orders. Extra meals require extra bodies to cook and package the food, after all, not to mention extra space for third-party devices, and somewhere to put completed orders waiting to be picked up by a delivery driver.[3]

    An interesting twist on this single restaurant model of trying to find a way to both control and expand the delivery system while maintaining some measure of profitability is one recently proposed in the restaurant trade magazine Restaurant Business Online:

    He (CMO Nabeel Alamgir) explained that Bareburger is already striving to convert customers ordering through third parties’ apps into users of the chain’s own channels. Patrons of an Uber Eats or Postmates might be offered a 10% discount on their next order if it’s placed through Bareburger’s website. The chain can afford a discount that deep because the financial impact is still less than the 20% or 30% discount an outside service typically charges.

    Alamgir noted at the start of the panel’s presentation that a service started by restaurants for restaurants would have been an attractive alternative to some of the third-party giants. “Let’s make our own platform. Let’s make our own Grubhub,” he said.[4]

    2. The Cloud Kitchen – A Hub & Spoke System

    It can be argued that today’s focused delivery channel began in earnest when Domino’s offered up a “30 Minute or Free” guarantee in 1973.  In order to make this guarantee effective, the company created a hub and spoke system, in effect building a series of franchised units in low cost locations. They were characterized by being geographically market-centered but with no need for a “High Street” customer facing address.  This was directly in contrast to the overwhelming market advantage owned by Pizza Hut and its network of “Red Roof” full service pizzerias with their focus on dine-in and takeout service.  But the competitive advantage that came from having units with no dine-in, limited customer carry-out, and which were serviced by a central commissary set in motion the shift away from the traditional eat-in model.

    “The reality is, when the red roof restaurant was created, the idea of delivery wasn’t part of the concept,” said Pizza Hut chief executive David Gibbs, a 26-year veteran at parent company Yum Brands…”so in many cases, our business has outgrown the capabilities of those restaurants…”[5]

    Now, four decades later Domino’s is the world leader in delivery, pizza or otherwise.  It has done this by controlling the entire process or what is called the “full stack” in the delivery cycle.  Now describing itself as an IT and logistics company that sells pizza, the backbone of the system is that they control the customer ordering process, the production quality process, and through a vast franchise network the delivery process.

    Next to come, using new GPS and AI technologies, Domino’s predicts that it will be able to make deliveries not just to a formal building address, but to anywhere a customer can be located by tracking their cellphone, even if that is a park bench or a blanket on the beach.

    But Domino’s is not the only leader to be expanding its Cloud Kitchen delivery system. Already designed on a commissary production system model, giant fast casual leader, Panera Bread, tested delivery in Boston and then announced an expansion across the United States in early May, 2018 with a system based upon using its own delivery drivers. [6]  Following the trend in October the largest chicken sandwich chain, Chick-fil-A, announced it was beginning to test the hub and spoke model of delivery in Nashville, TN and Louisville, KY.

    Chick-fil-A is opening two new restaurants that don’t have something you commonly associate with the chain: seats. 

    Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain, is testing catering and delivery locations in Nashville and Louisville, Ky., that will open this month.

    The locations, according to an announcement on the chain’s website, have no dining rooms or drive thru’s and are designed to be hubs for catering and delivery orders. The restaurants will not accept cash, either.[7]

    The Cloud Kitchen model can be very effective for restaurant companies with large enough scale, whether in a single city or across a region, to take advantage of a single production kitchen site with remote staging kitchens.  Ultimately the “full stack” control from order to front door can come from as few as three restaurants or as many as 3000. This also means that the foundation is laid for vast proprietary customer data collection and eventually data mining by the most forward-looking operators.

    It can be argued that the Food Truck movement of the past decade is a subset of the Cloud Kitchen model.  By most local health code laws, food trucks must have a “home kitchen” or commissary for their bulk production that meets all health and sanitation code requirements.  In many urban centers, to be successful a food truck company needs to have multiple trucks on the road acting as a distribution network.  While this is also a classic Hub & Spoke model, it comes with similarities to a model in the next article, #6 The Consolidator, with distribution on a bus stop route and not a one-to-one last mile taxi route.

    3. The Ghost Kitchen

    One further refinement of the Cloud Kitchen is the Ghost Kitchen.  As delivery becomes more of a threat to the traditional dine-in restaurant option, some suggest that this model, in fact, is the future of restaurants—basically a highly efficient hybrid of menu concepts, specialized production and logistics, and low labor cost with no eat-in customers.

    In that way, this model is identified by three key components.

    First, it removes the dining room or takeout from the restaurant completely, working out of a kitchen whose location is based on nearness to its core customer market yet in a typically low rent out-of-the-way space.

    Second, it does not hire any paid employees to deliver, instead making use (through partnership or agreement) of the many third-party delivery companies like GrubHub, Postmates or Doordash.

    Third, and possibly the most important, because of the flexibility of only needing an APP, website or traditional telephone ordering system, more than one cuisine can be produced in the same kitchen space.  Easy to prepare, cook and deliver foods such as salads, sandwiches, Asian and other ethnic dishes, or gourmet pizza can all be offered while cross-utilizing similar ingredients in creative menu offerings.[8]

    This can best be described as an “order only” restaurant.  The most prominent or well-known of these Ghost Kitchens would be Green Summit (see transition to #8 Dark Kitchen in Part 2).  While garnering a good amount of press, the celebrity chef David Chang’s Maple, closed its operation in 2017 with some assets moving to London and the delivery company Deliveroo.[9] Chef Chang sold the physical kitchen space, Ando, to Uber Eats after ceasing operations in January, 2018. [10]

    Because no customer ever sets foot through the front door the owners can put all of their investment in kitchen equipment and the technology of ordering.  A Ghost Kitchen offers customers large menu choices, and just as its cousin the Cloud Kitchen, has the option to keep track of its own proprietary customer data set through the direct ordering process.  The tradeoff is that ownership sacrifices the customer interface at delivery of the Cloud Kitchen model.  Operating and start-up costs are low and efficiency can be very high.  The risk is that a large portion of the margin (sometimes up to 30%) from market-driven menu prices is taken by the delivery partnership, who also control the brand image when customers receive their orders off-site.[11]

    4. Virtual Restaurants

    Along with disrupting the taxi business, Uber Eats is about to globally disrupt the restaurant delivery business.  As of October, 2018, Uber Eats had over 1600 “virtual restaurants” around the globe, with almost 1000 in its US partnership portfolio.  The majority of these are not the Cloud or Dark Kitchen models mentioned above, but are existing restaurants with new brands that only exist through Uber Eats. This model, while charging very high fees to the restaurant, allows them to technically not compete with themselves in the home delivery marketplace.  Uber Eats gains more menus to offer, and limits any need for an investment in a commissary space.

    For SushiYaa, Kim says the virtual restaurant concept has been transformative. “Because this concept worked so well for us, we actually changed one of our restaurants from a sushi buffet concept to a regular restaurant with 8 different virtual restaurant brands inside it. The buffet sales weren’t doing so well and the delivery side was doing better, so we thought — let’s change it completely so we’re focused more on delivery.” From a sales standpoint, he says it’s “almost as if we have another restaurant without paying additional rent and labor, even though [Uber Eats] takes about 30 percent.”[12]

    One other type of Virtual Kitchen involves the licensing of existing restaurant recipes and menu items in a curated virtual model.  The start-up concept Good Uncle is using this to compete in the university meal plan segment, offering a range of pricing options for higher quality prepared meals, delivered by their own delivery fleet using the bus stop common drop off method.  This is a limited menu, limited target market, which benefits from a direct marketing approach, lower operating costs, and uses both a subscription and premium fee based pricing system.[13] It is a Virtual Kitchen because there is no restaurant or other customer facing facility, it exists only online.

    Part One – Conclusions

    Delivery models, some traditional, some evolving, offer many opportunities for restaurant operators, especially those in the QSR and Fast Casual segments, where speed and price and convenience are the drivers of consumer choice.

    The challenge in today’s delivery market is how owners and operators can maintain both high quality and long-term profitability in the products/services they offer.  For many meals, the time and distance from kitchen to table can be more than 30 minutes or multiple miles. Quality of presentation and flavor may quickly diminish.  More importantly, where the medium annual profitability for restaurants across all segments in the USA is considerably less than 10%, losing up to 30% of top line revenues is not a path to a successful future, (even if total sales increase by 20%).

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [1] Heather Haddon and Julie Jargon, The Wall Street Journal online, October 24, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-are-craving-food-delivery-companies-1540375578?mod=cx_picks&cx_navSource=cx_picks&cx_tag=contextual&cx_artPos=4#cxrecs_s [2] Liam Proud, DealBook, NYTimes, September 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/business/dealbook/uber-eats-deliveroo.html [3] Jennifer Marston, The Spoon, July 31, 2018, https://thespoon.tech/delivery-is-making-these-restaurants-literally-redesign-the-way-they-do-business/ [4] Peter Romeo, Restaurant Business Online,  Oct. 19, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/3-big-changes-looming-restaurants [5] Karen Robinson-Jabos, Dallas News, Jan 6, 2016. https://www.dallasnews.com/business/business/2016/01/06/pizza-hut-is-ditching-the-iconic-red-roof-for-a-more-modern-look [6] Janelle Nanos, Boston Globe, May 7, 2018, https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/05/07/panera-expanding-its-delivery-service-cities/sZg4pO0yTw9cEdYpv514tL/story.html?event=event12 [7] Jonathan Maze, Restaurant Business Online, Oct. 09, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/chick-fil-opening-new-delivery-focused-prototype [8] Neal Ungerleider, 01.20.17 Fast Company  https://www.fastcompany.com/3064075/hold-the-storefront-how-delivery-only-ghost-restaurants-are-changing-take-out [9] Closing announcement from Maple, May 8, 2017 https://maple.com/letter/ [10] Whitney Filloon, Eater, October 24, 2018, www.eater.com/2018/10/24/18018334/uber-eats-virtual-restaurants [11] See the online Audiopedia site https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKO5JFbqKTA [12] Ibid, Eater, October 24, 2018 [13] See https://www.gooduncle.com/  Christopher C. Muller is Professor of the Practice of Hospitality Administration and former Dean of the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. Each year, he moderates the European Food Service Summit, a major conference for restaurant and supply executives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hobart College and two graduate degrees from Cornell University, including a Ph.D. in hospitality administration. Email: cmuller@bu.edu

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Hotels, Marketing, Sharing Economy, Technology, Trends

    By Makarand Mody and Monica Gomez

    For a long time, the hotel industry did not consider Airbnb a threat. Both the industry and Airbnb claimed they were serving different markets and had different underlying business models. Over the years, as Airbnb become more successful and grown to being larger than the companies in the hotel industry, the rhetoric has changed. The hotel industry began to realize they had something to worry about.

    A stage of denial was followed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) attacking Airbnb by sponsoring research to demonstrate its negative impacts on the economy and lobbying governments to impose taxes and regulations on homesharing. The association is arguing for a level playing field between homesharing and hotels (and rightly so). The next stage of this battle involves competition and integration. Not only are hotels looking to add homesharing-like attributes and experiences to their properties, to more effectively compete with Airbnb, but are also looking to tap into the platform-based business model that underlies Airbnb’s success.

    The Past: How does Airbnb impact the hotel industry?

    Airbnb’s disruption of the hotel industry is significant, both existentially and economically. A recent study by Dogru, Mody, and Suess (2018) found that a 1% growth in Airbnb supply across 10 key hotel markets in the U.S. between 2008 and 2017 caused hotel RevPAR to decease 0.02% across all segments. While these numbers may not appear substantial at first, given that Airbnb supply grew by over 100% year-on-year over this ten year period means that the “real” decrease in RevPAR was 2%, across hotel segments. Surprisingly, it was not just the economy but also the luxury hotel segment that was hard hit by Airbnb supply increases, experiencing a 4% real decline in RevPAR. The impact of Airbnb on ADR and occupancy was less severe. In Boston, RevPAR has decreased 2.5%, on average, over the last ten years due to Airbnb supply increases. In 2016 alone, this 2.5% decrease in RevPAR amounted to $5.8 million in revenue lost by hotels to Airbnb. Brands that felt the impact the most were those in the midscale and luxury segments, with a decrease in RevPAR of 4.3% and 2.3% respectively. These supply increases are also fueling Airbnb taking an increasing share of the accommodation market pie. For example, in New York City, Airbnb comprised 9.7% of accommodation demand, equaling approximately 8,000 rooms per night in Q1 2016 (Lane & Woodworth, 2016). As a whole, Airbnb’s accommodated demand made up nearly 3% of all traditional hotel demand in Q12016.

    Buoyed by a growth rate of over 100% year on year, Airbnb now has over 4 million listings, with the U.S. being its largest market. The company also has significant room to grow in other countries, particularly emerging markets in Africa and India. The company has run into some competition in China, with local rivals Tujia and Xiaozhu. Also, within the U.S., the good news is that Airbnb will not grow at 100% indefinitely and will eventually plateau as it reaches a saturation point (Ting, 2017a). In view of this, the company has turned to alternative strategies to continue to increase supply. It is now targeting property developers to turn entire buildings into potential Airbnb units, through its newest hotel-like brand, Niido. Currently, there are two Airbnb branded Niido buildings in Nashville, TN and Orlando, FL with over 300 units each and Airbnb plans to have as many as 14 home-sharing properties by 2020 (Zaleski, 2018). Niido works by encouraging tenants to list their units on Airbnb, with Airbnb and Niido taking 25% of the revenue generated.  Airbnb has also clearly evolved from its original premise of “targeting a different market” to attracting segments traditionally targeted by hotels, such as the leisure family market, business travelers, and the upscale traveler, as evidenced through its latest offering, Airbnb Plus. These homes have been verified for quality, comfort, design, maintenance, and the amenities they offer. They also have easy check in, premium internet access, and fully equipped kitchens. Their hosts are typically rated 4.8+, and go above and beyond for their guests. Through Airbnb Experiences, travelers can partake in everything from the great outdoors—hiking and surfing—to “hidden” concerts and food and wine tours.  In addition to these products, Airbnb has also “created” its own segments of travelers: novelty and experience seekers who are looking for unique and unconventional accommodation like yurts, treehouses, and boats, all things that a traditional hotel company cannot provide.

    The Present: Understanding what consumers want lies at the heart of the battle between hotels and Airbnb

    There are larger societal trends that are impacting what consumers seek travel, and we think this has implications for the Airbnb and hotel dynamic. These trends include:

  • A shift to a “new luxury”—seeking out unique, authentic experiences that serve as a launchpad for self-actualization—fueled by an increased wealth gap in the United States.
  • An increased mobility, particularly among previously under-represented groups in the United States (the black travel movement, for example) and the global traveler (more Indian and Chinese international travelers than ever before).
  • The changing nature of brand loyalty: from long-term relationships to consumers’ needs for instant gratification and personalization.
  • Changing nature of “ownership”: In a post-consumerist society, the emphasis on “access-based consumption” has put a spotlight on wellness and well-being, beyond materialism.
  • A co-everything world where work, play, and life blend into one seamless mosaic: Technology has changed the way we live our lives, and how we are connected to work, to each other and to the things that drive us. An upcoming 5G world and the IOT is only likely to accelerate the pace of change. Take LiveZoku (https://livezoku.com/), for example: is it a residence? A hotel? A WeWork? A space for the local community? A thriving food and beverage destination? It’s all of these things.
  • What do these trends mean? They require marketers and experience designers to re-think what the travel experience means to the customer. The notion of the experience economy was created by Pine and Gilmore in 1998, and included four dimensions: escapism, education, entertainment, and esthetic. Leveraging one, or ideally, more of these dimensions creates memorable experiences for customers, which in turn results in brand loyalty. This dynamic has been fairly well-established in the academic literature. However, Airbnb has changed the game for the experience economy by emphasizing the sharing lifestyle and a sense of community, cleverly incorporating the above highlighted trends into its communications with customers. Because of Airbnb popularity and success, six new dimensions have been incorporated into the experience economy, in the context of the travel experience: personalization, communitas, localness, hospitableness, serendipity, and ethical consumerism, as was presented by Mody in 2016.

    Interestingly, in a recent study by Mody and colleagues (Mody, Suess, & Lehto, 2017), the researchers found that Airbnb outperformed hotels on all the dimensions of this new, expanded, accommodation experiencescape. Airbnb outperforms hotels in the personalization dimension because of its wide array of homes and locations, enabling genuine micro-segmentation and the “perfect match” between guest and host (Dolnicar, 2018). Moreover, no one home is similar to another, giving customers a unique experience every time, enhancing the serendipity associated with an Airbnb stay. Airbnb elevates the sense of community that consumers seek, particularly when sharing space with other travelers and/or with the host, and allows consumers unparalleled access to “the local”—that café or cute little store that only locals know about. However, there are areas where hotels hold their own. For example, the pathways between these dimensions and memorability were just as strong for hotels as for Airbnb, emphasizing the need for hotels to engage customers by leveraging the “right” dimensions for the brand—dimensions that align with the brand’s mission, story, and personality.

    One such dimension where hotels perform just as well as Airbnb is hospitableness, as confirmed in a study by Mody, Suess, and Lehto (2018). More “investor units” on the Airbnb platform means that the host is often not present when guests arrive to the home; moreover, all communication is done electronically and with someone who “manages” the Airbnb unit and doesn’t necessarily own or live in it. In turn, hotels that leverage the human factor—the welcome of a friendly check-in agent, the helpfulness of the concierge,  the warm greeting and genuine interaction between guest and food and beverage staff—create more positive emotions, which subsequently lead to higher brand loyalty. It is imperative that hotel brands really think about the high-tech, high touch experience they are looking to provide, particularly in the golden age of brand proliferation that we live in.

    From a non-experience standpoint, regulation is another bone of contention that merits close inspection. After years of denying that Airbnb was a competitor, in 2016, the American Hotel & Lodging Association first began an extensive lobbying effort for the imposition of taxes and regulations on Airbnb that level the playing field. Over the last couple of years, the voices of the hotel lobby and other community groups have translated into governments taking some action, in the U.S. and abroad. However, in a study of regulation across 12 European and American cities, Nieuwland and van Melik (2018) found that governments have been fairly lenient towards short-term rentals with little to no (meaningful) regulations thus far. Moreover, regulations have been designed to alleviate the negative externalities of Airbnb on neighborhoods and communities rather than to level the playing field between Airbnb and hotels. Another challenge with regulating the peer to peer economy has been enforcement. In New York City, under the Multiple Dwelling law, it is illegal for a unit to be rented out for less than 30 days unless the owner is present in the unit at the time the guest is renting. However, it is still possible to find “entire homes” on Airbnb in New York City, even though, in principle, these typically include homes where the host is not present during the guest’s stay. Moreover, Nieuwland and van Melik (2018) and Hajibaba and Dolnicar (2017) have found that regulations tend to be very similar across cities, without accounting for the specificities of a particular location, which makes the process perfunctory and superficial. There also remains the danger of over-regulating Airbnb, given that there is still very little knowledge about effective ways of regulating these innovations in the sharing economy, thus stifling their potential. Avoid over-regulation is critical, since Airbnb has significant welfare effects in the economy. In addition to stimulating travel to previously inaccessible markets, Airbnb also creates customer surplus (Farronato & Fradkin, 2018), an important economic value measure. Moreover, other research has suggested that the average resident is not as negative towards the Airbnb as media rhetoric might suggest (Mody, Suess, & Dogru, 2018). The need for a data-driven approach to Airbnb regulation remains paramount.

    The Future: Competing with the sharing economy requires re-thinking the brand and the experience

    While regulation is outside the control of the hotel industry, the brand and the customer experience are not. We contend that these are the areas where hotel companies’ efforts need to be focused. Hotels need to re-think the brand promise, both for the parent brand as well as individual brands in the portfolio, and how it defines and shapes the guest experience. Recent research by Mody and Hanks (2018) indicates that while Airbnb leverages the authenticity of the travel experience—by enabling local experiences that provide a sense of self and sense of place, hotel brands that are perceived as being authentic—original, genuine, and sincere—can generate higher brand loyalty. Thus, while it’s hard to compete with homesharing in terms of experiential authenticity, brand authenticity is a pillar on which hotels can build a strong foundation for loyal brand relationships. This is particularly important because while Airbnb promotes experiential authenticity as a key reason to use the brand, most travelers tend to stay with the brand for much more functional requirements, such as space and price (Chen & Xie, 2017; Dogru & Pekin, 2017)

    There is no one definition for or manifestation of an “authentic” brand. It’s a perception, a feeling that consumers have about what you stand for. An authentic brand has at its core the brand promise, an authentic value proposition that gives consumers a raison d’etre for associating with the brand. However, what an authentic brand does require is effective storytelling. A brand is perceived to be authentic, if it has an authentic story that feeds it. Brand stories can come from many sources: a brand’s values, personality, heritage, uniqueness, or its quest and purpose. What is important is telling compelling and coherent stories across the brand’s various touchpoints to engage consumers at a visceral, emotional level. Taking off industry blinders, and looking for inspiration outside the hotel industry, is critical. Tom’s Shoes is an excellent example of leveraging its quest—One for One—in creating a compelling brand story. As another example, in an industry typically focused on the in-store, “physical” experience, Burberry has set the gold standard for authentic, digitally-led and emotive storytelling, by looking within and leveraging over 150 years of history (Watch the YouTube Video here). In this vein, we think that Fairfield Inn and Suites’ return to “where it all began”—the Marriott family’s Fairfield Farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia— to craft the brand experience of the future, from a design and communications standpoint, is an excellent example of leveraging authenticity and crafting a compelling brand promise (Ting, 2017b).

    Another idea that lies at the heat of the brand promise is what we call the experiential value proposition, or EVP. For the longest time, hotel marketers have relied on the guest room as the primary source of value for the guest. But think about the last time you traveled. Was it the prospect of the hotel room that got you excited about your trip? Or was it everything that the hotel enables you to do – the experience outside the guestroom? From experiencing art and music in the lobby to its proximity to the must-do craft beer garden, hotel marketers must realize that it’s the complete package—what’s inside and outside the room—that customers use as cues for making  their decision to choose an accommodation. We call this proposition offered by the hotel—what’s inside and outside the guest room, enclosed within an experience of hospitableness and a connection to humanity—its EVP. We present the EVP in Figure 1.  The EVP mirrors the value paradigm of the modern traveler, something that must be reflected in the hotel brand’s sales, marketing and pricing and revenue management efforts. Thinking about a brand through the lens of the EVP paradigm has the power to re-orient the customer’s mindset from one of price-shopping to experience-shopping.

     Figure 1. The Experiential Value Proposition Framework

    How does a hotel marketer apply the EVP paradigm? Its application can open up many avenues. Hotels can start by rethinking the design of their primary digital channels, led by the website by adding more rich, vivid content that goes beyond the guestroom, in order to better integrate aspects of the wider hotel and local experience. The Standard Hotels serves as an excellent example (http://www.standardhotels.com/) Its website feels more like a local lifestyle and culture magazine than a digital media property “selling” a hotel room. The website’s rich images and stories draw the visitor into wanting to learn more about what the brand has to offer. While not every hotel can or would want to go the Standard way, since the brand has its own distinct voice and personality, there is a case to be made for going beyond static images of beds in guestrooms, which tend to blend into one indistinguishable whole after a point, particularly on OTA websites. When was the last time the image of a hotel bed excited you to want to stay there? Yet, when you look at the imagery put out by most hotels, this is what marketers still focus on.

    Placing an emphasis on humanity and providing a sense of hospitableness can also enhance a brand’s EVP. Instead of technology replacing the human connection, the industry needs to look for ways in which technology can actually free up employees so that they can spend their time crafting more personal and unique experiences, delighting guests instead of performing routine transactions. Moreover, if the human connection is what people seek out when traveling with Airbnb, why is it that hotel confirmation emails still get sent out by automated systems that highlight the “facelessness” of the hotel entity. Why not use that as an opportunity to truly welcome the guest; a simple touch such as a welcome letter from the GM with his/her photo, or that of an employee who is “assigned” as “your personal host” during your stay can go a long way in emulating the human connection that the sharing economy enables.

    The design of the hotel’s public spaces can be used to enhance the guest’s experience of “communitas”. Ian Schrager would agree (Schaal, 2017). After all, with much of Airbnb’s supply being dominated by investor units that provide little or no host contact, what better an opportunity for hotel brands to show that they are the original connectors of human beings? Sheraton has been wise in incorporating some of these communal elements into its brand makeover by introducing productivity tables and studio spaces and a day-time coffee bar that transforms into a bar at night. In terms of another design element, Airbnb’s attractiveness to family and group travelers can be offset by offering connecting and/or multiple rooms for one price, with other experience value-adds thrown in (as with the Marriott family room connecting rooms package.

    Finally, the role of the loyalty program cannot be emphasized enough. Loyalty programs must move beyond programmatic levels to being able to leverage data from guest history, social media, and other marketing data sources, powered by predictive analytics, to personalize and individualize the guest experience of the brand. In an age of instant gratification, the loyalty program has to be gamified to unlock value-adds and offer creative bundling.

    At the level of the hotel company, beyond the individual brand, the hotel industry has started participating in the home sharing business and is increasingly looking to integrate these platform business models. For example, while Accor purchased Onefinestay, Marriott has teamed up with Hostmaker to create Tribute Portfolio Homes, a partnership that was recently expanded to four European cities (Fox, 2018). From an organic brand development standpoint, Accor’s newest Jo & Joe brand mimics the sharing economy within the confines of a traditional hotel space. Other, more innovative and bold ways of integrating the sharing economy ethos into a hotel could include offering an “Airbnb floor”, an antithesis to the club floor, one that would not offer housekeeping and other hotel services and thus be offered at a lower price. With hotel brands becoming “branded marketplaces” for accommodation and not just hotel rooms, perhaps there is merit in listing hotel rooms on alternative accommodation platforms. HomeAway is already adding hotels to its platform through the Expedia Affiliate Network, while Airbnb is making a push for bed-and-breakfasts and boutique hotels. Homesharing providers hope that by adding these options to their listings, they will fulfill their goal of being “for everyone”, while allowing independent and boutique hotels to reap the benefits of branded distribution at a lower cost than traditional OTA brands.

    In sum, hotels must adopt a sales, marketing, and revenue management approach that is both strategic and tactical.

    At a strategic level, hotel brands need to re-think their story, and how they portray and fulfill their authenticity and brand promises. At a tactical level, it’s the experience and value beyond the guestroom that must be factored into what is presented to current and potential guests, what they are charged for it, and how it is leverage to create “memorable memories” that lead to higher net promotor scores and brand loyalty. We present a graphical summary of the past, present, and future of Airbnb vs. hotels in Figure 2.

    Figure 2. Summarizing the past, present and future of Airbnb vs. hotels

    PDF Version Available Here

    References Chen, Y., & Xie, K. (2017). Consumer valuation of Airbnb listings: a hedonic pricing approach. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 29(9), 2405–2424. http://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-10-2016-0606 Dogru, T., Mody, M., & Suess, C. (2018). Adding evidence to the debate: Quantifying Airbnb’s disruptive impact on ten key hotel markets. Dogru, T., & Pekin, O. (2017). What do guests value most in Airbnb accommodations? An application of the hedonic pricing approach. Boston Hospitality Review. Dolnicar, S. (2018). Unique Features of Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks. In S. Dolnicar (Ed.), Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks: Pushing the boundaries (pp. 1–14). Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Ltd. Farronato, C., & Fradkin, A. (2018). The Welfare Effects of Peer Entry in the Accommodation Market: The Case of Airbnb. Fox, J. (2018). Marriott expands homesharing program in Europe. Hotel Management. Retrieved from https://www.hotelmanagement.net/own/marriott-expands-homesharing-program-to-3-european-cities Hajibaba, H., & Dolnicar, S. (2017). Regulatory Reactions Around the World. In S. Dolnicar (Ed.), Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks: Pushing the boundaries (pp. 120–136). Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Ltd. Lane, J., & Woodworth, M. (2016). The Sharing Economy Checks In: An Analysis of Airbnb in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.cbrehotels.com/EN/Research/Pages/An-Analysis-of-Airbnb-in-the-United-States.aspx Mody, M. A., Suess, C., & Lehto, X. (2017). The accommodation experiencescape: a comparative assessment of hotels and Airbnb. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 29(9), 2377–2404. http://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-09-2016-0501 Mody, M., & Hanks, L. (2018). Parallel pathways to brand loyalty: Mapping the consequences of authentic consumption experiences for hotels and Airbnb. Mody, M., Suess, C., & Dogru, T. (2018). Not in my backyard? Is the anti-Airbnb discourse truly warranted? Annals of Tourism Research. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2018.05.004 Mody, M., Suess, C., & Lehto, X. (2018). Going back to its roots : Can hospitableness provide hotels competitive advantage over the sharing economy ? International Journal of Hospitality Management. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2018.05.017 Nieuwland, S., & van Melik, R. (2018). Regulating Airbnb: how cities deal with perceived negative externalities of short-term rentals. Current Issues in Tourism, 0(0), 1–15. http://doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2018.1504899 Schaal, D. (2017). Ian Schrager Calls Out Hotel Industry’s Airbnb Strategy as Misguided. Skift. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2017/12/08/ian-schrager-calls-out-hotel-industrys-airbnb-strategy-as-misguided/ Ting, D. (2017a). Airbnb Growth Story Has a Plot Twist — A Saturation Point. Skift. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2017/11/15/airbnb-growth-story-has-a-plot-twist-a-saturation-point/ Ting, D. (2017b). Marriott and Choice Take Varied Approaches to Reviving Classic Midscale Brands. Skift. Zaleski, O. (2018). Airbnb and Niido to Open as Many as 14 Home-Sharing Apartment Complexes by 2020. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-14/airbnb-and-niido-to-open-as-many-as-14-home-sharing-apartment-complexes-by-2020 Makarand Mody, Ph.D. has a varied industry background. He has worked with Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Mumbai as a Trainer and as a Quality Analyst with India’s erstwhile premier airline, Kingfisher Airlines. His most recent experience has been in the market research industry, where he worked as a qualitative research specialist with India’s leading provider of market research and insights, IMRB International. Makarand’s research is based on different aspects of marketing and consumer behavior within the hospitality and tourism industries. He is published in leading journals in the field, including the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Tourism Management Perspectives, Tourism Analysis and the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology. His work involves the extensive use of inter and cross-disciplinary perspectives to understand hospitality and tourism phenomena. Makarand also serves as reviewer for several leading journals in the field. In fall 2015, he joined the faculty at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration (SHA). He received his Ph.D. in Hospitality Management from Purdue University, and also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Monica Gomez is a graduate student in the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management from the University of Florida and has held previous internship positions in hotel operations and event management. She is a member of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing International Association and is interested in hotel revenue management.

    June 6th, 2018 in Business Practices, Spring 2018, Sustainability, Uncategorized

    By Christian E. Hardigree, J.D.

    Today’s hospitality conversations are rife with dialogue about sustainability, initiatives ranging from linen reuse programs, to donating toiletries, to auto dimming lights, to food sourcing, etc.  Hospitality practitioners’ quest to define the ROI (return on investment) is often at foiled by a concept that includes intangible metrics and differing definitions of what “sustainability” really means.  The oft-used “Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet, Profit” embodies the commonly agreed upon themes of sustainability, which include ensuring a healthy environment, improving economic prosperity, and implementing social justice initiatives that ensure the well-being and quality of life for current and future generations.

    Companies struggle to determine what role they play in advancing and addressing social and global challenges while enhancing their brand, ensuring consumer loyalty, and expanding their market share. Many companies evaluate and refine their efforts for engaged brand activism, particularly through marketing, which they balance with efforts to implement higher standards for suppliers, improve equality among workers, and keep pricing competitive – falling in line with the general categories of most corporate social responsibility efforts: 1) environmental efforts; 2) philanthropy; 3) ethical labor practices; and 4) volunteering.

    The “Arms Race” of Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting  

    For many companies, particularly in hospitality, corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting has emerged as a key business approach to articulate the benefits to the company’s stakeholders through strategic initiatives.  According to the Governance and Accountability Institute, sustainability reporting by S&P 500 companies increased from 19% in 2011 to 85% in 2017.[i]

    Companies now appreciate the marketing value of CSR reporting, particularly as a mechanism to attract and retain customers. Increased societal pressure for greater regulation and transparency, coupled with research showing that consumers demonstrate a preference toward companies they perceive are more responsible, have resulted in a new “arms race” with companies are making operational decisions that are more tightly linked to ethical values, environmental stewardship, and respect for the human equity.  They want to ensure those efforts are known to their stockholders, investors, and the public.

    qualityscore

    While many CSR disclosures are currently voluntary in the United States, there are increasing requirements mandated by various statutes.  Such mandates, commonplace in the European Union, are increasingly required in the United States.  In particular, there is growing market demand for a more responsible and transparent corporate supply chain.  Current statutory requirements range from the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases rule for large emitters of greenhouse gases to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 to ensure that large retailers and manufacturers provide consumers with information regarding their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains.[ii]  The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which impacted virtually every part of the US financial services industry also includes provisions for certain reporting on their exercise of due diligence in the source and chain of custody of certain minerals that are associated with armed conflicts in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo, minerals that are associated with the manufacturing of devices such as cell phones, computers, and digital cameras.[iii]  Most recently, the European Union’s sweeping Global Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) went into effect May 25, 2018. Intended to give EU citizens greater control of their own, widely-define personal data, GDPR has far reaching implications for any company doing business with citizens of the EU.  For the hospitality industry, new processes are required to be implemented to protect things like IP addresses and cookie data, similar to the protections currently provided to ensure privacy for addresses and social security numbers. In the three months prior to GDPR going into effect, it was estimated that 79% of companies were unprepared.[iv]  The mandatory disclosure landscape is changing fast, and hospitality is challenged to keep up.

    Not All Changes Are Mandated

    As consumers are holding corporations accountable for effecting social change in their business practices and beliefs, ultimately impacting the bottom line, companies refine their sustainability initiatives as a result of public advocacy, stockholder proposals, or consumer feedback. A 2017 study by Cone Communications illustrated some key elements, including:[v]

  • 63% of Americans are hopeful that businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation
  • 78% want companies to address important social justice issues
  • 87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about; and
  • 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s product or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs
  • To illustrate, on February 6, 2018, in a commitment associated with improved packaging in betterment of the planet, Dunkin’ Donuts announced it would phase out the use of polystyrene foam cups by 2020 and replace them with double-walled paper cups, estimated to have a net impact of eliminating over a billion cups annually from the waste stream.[vi] This was on the heels of McDonald’s announcing in January that it would phase out the use of foam packaging in all global markets by the end of 2018.[vii]  Straws and stirrers make up over 7% of plastic found in the environment, an issue initially addressed (and banished) by George McKerrow, co-founder of the restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill, that has gained widespread attention as consumers are reminded that we use 500 million straws a day, a habit that widely impacts wildlife and the oceans.[viii]  Just this month, Bon Appétit announced they were banning plastic straws from their over 1000 café locations in 33 states.[ix]  As cities like Miami and Malibu have banned single use straws (and in Malibu, banned all single use plastic utensils and stirrers), we find some municipalities are forcing hospitality businesses to incorporate sustainable practices.

    Avoid Greenwashing

    As hospitality companies seek to out-promote each other, they would be well-advised to avoid greenwashing – today’s version of “snake oil”, more akin to “eco-fraud” – when a company holds itself out as more environmentally friendly than it actually is in practice.  Clearly consumer preferences demonstrate an increasing trend for purchasing products and services that are sustainable – for their impact on the environment, in how they are manufactured, and/or how the workers are treated. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of “greener” products increased by 73%.[x]  In order to capitalize on this trend, many brands are trying to competitively out-do each other with their eco-credentials – exaggerating their claims, or at times, completely manufacturing them.  In legalese, greenwashing may amount to deceptive marketing, misrepresentation, and/or fraud.

    gogreen

    In the “sins” of greenwashing, hospitality entities would be wise to avoid vague, over-reaching, or unverifiable assertions.  Hotels increasingly encourage their guests to embrace green practices – shut off lights, reuse towels, avoid changing the linen as frequently, etc. Research by faculty at Washington State University found that a perceived ulterior motive of a hotels’ environmental claims evoked consumer skepticism, which negatively influenced consumer’s intention to participate in the linen reuse program, as well as negatively effecting the consumers’ intention to revisit the hotel.[xi]  At a time when as many as 79% of travelers agree that eco-friendly practices is an important factor in their choice of lodging, companies risk losing valuable repeat customers if their motives are self-serving.  As a result, to avoid the negative aspects, hoteliers are cautioned to install comprehensive green programs, train their staff to implement practices, and ensure their green claims are accurate and not overreaching, perhaps through third party certification.

    For Goodness Sakes, Don’t Greenwash the Food

    Greenwashing is of particular concern in today’s environment, particularly in the context of food.  For example, in 2016, organic food sales jumped 8.4%, to over $43 billion, while overall food sales only increased 0.6%.[xii]  Similarly, organic non-food items jumped 88% to $3.9 billion in sales. As restaurants and hotels are asked questions by their customers about the source of their products, facilities need to be aware of the claims they are making to ensure they are not overreaching or deceptive, as greenwashing has become the “flavor of the month” in consumer class litigation.  Claims challenging products advertised as “natural” are the most frequent suits encountered.

    greenfood

    While no definition of “natural” is provided by the FDA, food products in the US labeled as “natural” make up roughly $40 billion in sales, and are growing by an average of 6.6% annually.  According to Food Navigator, there were 20 food labeling class actions pending in federal court in 2008 – a number that rose to 425 by 2016.  Cases that specifically focus on “natural” claims increased by 22% from 2016 to 2017, notably with suits against General Mills’ Nature Valley bars and Dr. Pepper Snapple’s Mott’s Apple Sauce. Of particular note is that three quarters of federal court food class actions are in four states: California (36%), New York (22%), Florida (12%), and Illinois (7%).[xiii]  Many of the suits are rooted in claims that items such as high fructose corn syrup, high maltose corn syrup, soy flour, soy lecithin, and GMA yellow corn flour, as well as synthetically derived vitamins, are not “natural”, and thus such claims are fraudulent.[xiv]  Overreaching statements can be a source of eroding consumer confidence, destroying customer loyalty, and/or litigation.

    Conclusion

    Sustainability initiatives will continue to be an imperative part of a hospitality entities’ brand, evaluated by all stakeholders. In order to ensure consumer confidence, it is imperative that those initiatives be authentic in their implementation, supported by third party verification, and in alignment with the legal requirements of the jurisdiction.  In doing so, our efforts in supporting the three E’s – environment, economic, and equity – our industry will collectively rise in to improve the future for ourselves and for future generations.

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [i] Retrieved May 30, 2018 from https://www.ga-institute.com/press-releases/article/flash-report-85-of-sp-500-indexR-companies-publish-sustainability-reports-in-2017.html [ii] 40 CFR Part 9; and California Civil Code §1714.43 [iii] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ203/pdf/PLAW-111publ203.pdf [iv] Retrieved April 6, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/03/27/u-s-businesses-cant-hide-from-gdpr/#33b76ef052c8 [v] Retrieved April 6, 2018 from http://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017-csr-study [vi] Retrieved April 16, 2018 from https://news.dunkindonuts.com/news/dunkin-donuts-to-eliminate-foam-cups-worldwide-in-2020 [vii] Retrieved April 16, 2018 from https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2018/01/10/mcdonalds-phasing-out-foam-packaging-this-year.html [viii] Retrieved May 30, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/megykarydes/2018/05/23/the-future-of-take-out-exhibit-how-we-can-eliminate-packaging-waste/#37a1213c7580 [ix] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/05/31/615580695/last-straw-for-plastic-straws-cities-restaurants-move-to-toss-these-sippers [x] Retrieved April 6, 2018 form http://sinsofgreenwashing.com/index5349.pdf [xi]  Rahman, I., Park, J., & Geng-qing Chi, C. (2015). “Consequences of “greenwashing”: Consumers’ reactions to hotels’ green initiatives”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 27 Issue: 6, pp.1054-1081, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2014-0202 [xii] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/9394-u-s-organic-food-sales-jump-more-than-8 [xiii] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/uploads/sites/1/TheFoodCourtPaper_Pages.pdf [xiv] Examples include Janney et al. v. General Mills, 3:12-cv-03919, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Rojas v. General Mills, Inc. 3:12-cv-05099, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Bohac v. General Mills, Inc., 3:12-cv-05280, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Van Atta v. General Mills, 1:12-cv-02815, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

    haridgree

    As Founding Director and Professor of the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw State University, Dr. Hardigree oversees the Bachelor of Science degree program which houses over 260 majors and services over 1500 students enrolled in classes each semester.   Addressing both “sustainability on the plate” as well as “sustainability beyond the plate” in terms of water, waste and energy efficiencies, this highly relevant management program provides a competitive advantage and discernible point of differentiation as the epicenter for teaching, research and best practices in sustainable culinary and hospitality management. The flexibility of the program’s curriculum allows students to emphasize careers in beverage management, event planning, specialized cuisines, and the hotel industry. Christian conducts research and presents nationally at industry conferences as related to her areas of expertise, including food safety, risk management, sustainability, workplace violence and employment/management issues.  She is a national expert on bed bug litigation, speaking across the country on the subject. After obtaining her B.S., cum laude, from the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV, Christian obtained her Juris Doctorate from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, focusing on employment discrimination, arbitration/mediation, and labor management relations.  She is of counsel with the law firm of Parnell & Associates.  Christian serves on a variety of committees and advisory boards, including the ConServe Sustainability Advisory Council for the National Restaurant Association, the KSU Brian Jordan Center for Excellence and Professional Development at LakePoint Sporting Community, and formerly on the Women in Lodging Advisory Council for the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

    May 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Cooking, Restaurants, Spring 2018

    Hotel Room Computer

    By Martin Zsarnoczky

    Digitalization is among the most important changes in our rapidly evolving world. Digital innovations and technological novelties are engines of development and show their impact everywhere, especially in the field of manufacturing, ICT and other service industries. Given the fact that tourism is based on the cooperation between a wide range of services and products, the benefits of the digital revolution in the sector are quite obvious.

    Our living environment is a combination of online and offline spaces that co-exist together, defining our everyday habitat. In tourism, the special use of spaces has always been a unique feature of the industry, and as of today, the spaces of the digital world have become part of it. The rapid development of the digital world brings novel and innovative solutions into the digital tourism spaces by the day. Peer-to-peer communication is outstandingly important in the technological environment of tourism. This type of communication, together with the spreading of smart devices have revolutionized scheduling, administration and finances, and also opened new horizons for the introduction of innovative sales and marketing technologies in the whole tourism industry. As a result of the digital revolution, the international development trends in tourism have opened the way for novel solutions like cloud-based booking sites or information and experience sharing via digital platforms.

    In line with the new trends of travelling, there is a dynamically growing demand for special tailor-made offers beyond mass tourism, as conscious consumers expect personalized solutions that answer their individual needs. As of today, the vast majority of tourism market stakeholders have access to detailed information on their consumers and can closely follow and track consumer behavior and its changes. These novel systems of personalized products and services are available thanks to various flexible follow-up techniques like CRM client databases. The cloud-based CRM client database systems – ones that create offers by analyzing previous sales records and demographic data – have evolved rapidly. As of today, they can analyze huge datasets by big data analysis and scaling methods in a cost effective and anonymous way, searching for significant event points. Although big data research is based on working with large samples, it is the most efficient method to reveal individual personal preferences (Stadler, 2015).

    How did sharing economy pave the way to personalized tourism services?

    In previous decades, the results of digital development have opened the door for the real life implementation of shared economy theories. It was almost ten years ago that Chris Anderson (2009) introduced his pricing theory in digitalization, basically suggesting giving away products for free, based on the principle of shared goods and resources. Although at the time Anderson’s theory was considered as a technological solution, the principle of digital sharing have induced serious social changes as well. One of the most important positive messages of shared economy is the maximum use of resource capacities for the purpose of social well-being (Sundararajan, 2014). Social well-being is also a key priority in tourism, because a well-managed tourism industry brings profit not only for the business operators but also for the local communities.

    In the sharing economy model, the stakeholders – who are also consumers at the same time – offer their excess capacities for collective use in order to maximize the exploitation of their goods and resources. These economic processes consist of so-called hybrid transactions with maximum capacity use (Hyde, 2007), for both commercial and social purposes. An important drive in the evolution of collaborative consumption theory was the realization of the fact that using or possessing the same consumer goods can result in different advantages. The core element of the model is that sellers offer their excess capacities, while the consumers in need use them in return for payment. In the sharing economy (based on the aforementioned primary idea), more and more industrial, commercial and service providers offer innovative solutions.

    The principle of sharing is not a new idea in the tourism industry. In the case of some accommodation services, seasonal price reduction has always been a practice. Hostels and youth hotels have always been popular – these facilities are often used as dormitories throughout the academic year and lease their rooms for backpackers in the summer season, when the students are away. Of course, these seasonal options would not have been enough for creating a new market sector; the dawn of the new business era was marked with the emergence of wide platform solutions like Airbnb, Booking.com, Agoda, etc.

    Casa de la Musica Hostel Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    Casa de la Musica Hostel Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    In the strategy of digital platform tourism businesses, consumers are considered as partners in the business activities. This shared operation can be best defined as a postmodern business model. Although the complex idea of postmodernism is quite difficult to describe, its main characteristics – shared participation and the subjective passion of each contributor – can lead closer to understand the phenomenon. It is clear that postmodernism will change some processes of the classic market laws in the near future. While “shared experience” has become a key marketing term for selling goods and services, specialized offers inevitably lead to a market fragmentation that will result in the fragmentation of users as well. In a disintegrated market, consumers will behave differently in fragmented times and spaces, paving the way for personalized services and tailor-made solutions. At the same time, individualism has become the key characteristics of the younger generations (McCrindle et al., 2009); a phenomenon that will have to be taken into account whilst creating business strategies. Due to the emergence of individualism, more and more young people are trying to create something unique that can serve the long-term benefit of the community. Their drive for creating businesses based on their own ideas and experience accounts for the increasing popularity of start-up businesses. These aspects of uniqueness, community thinking and experience-centered approach hold a huge opportunity for the future of the tourism industry.

    The Future: AI, VR/AR, Blockchain

    While looking through their photos, tourists usually have a positive experience remembering their travels, experiences and the destination they had visited. Some specialized digital technologies can offer this assumed positive experience in a searchable and changeable form. With regards to real life objects, their connections and relations, there is only a limited amount of information available in a format that could be handled by computers. The main problem is that computers need sufficient coding solutions created by artificial intelligence to be able to store, handle and organize information. The methods of coding for tourism experience purposes affect the speed, efficiency and knowledge/experience-based computing abilities of today’s computers.

    According to the forecasts of product development strategies in various industries, almost all of our everyday objects and equipment will be accessible through the internet in the future. As a result, all devices that are capable of two-way communication will belong in the framework of IoT (Internet of Things). The devices of the future, unlike the devices of today, will communicate in a bidirectional way, where robust safe data handling, personalized differentiation and sufficient decision management will be part of the user experience. As a result of the continuous data collection during the use of these devices, all relevant information will eventually end up in a final centralized system at the top of the dataset.

    Previously, tourism used to be an industry based on personal relations and connections, where the trends – and therefore travelers’ decisions – were set out by a limited number of large international tourism and travel enterprises. As a result of the digital revolution, the transparency of “hidden markets” had been revealed and numerous other factors have to be taken into account (Fig.1.).

    Figure 1. Influencing factors of traveler’s decision. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    Figure 1. Influencing factors of traveler’s decision. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    The early development of ICT resulted not only in the better capacity utilization of airlines, but also on the compatibility of the prices; and soon, the emergence of the discount airlines had led to the innovation of the whole industry and forced out efficiency in all segments. The novel travel recommendation sites (Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, etc.) were created with the aim to make travelers’ decisions easier; however at the same time, a lot of tourism service providers who could not keep up with the new challenges were forced out of the market. Although the new trends like travel packages (including car rental) or taking into account the reviews of previous travelers (Lonely Planet) were from many aspects opposite to the former business models, the rapidly increasing popularity of online offers required quick and user-friendly tourism product development from the industry.

    With the arrival of Google, which was able to rank the sites’ appearance in internet searches, a fierce competition begun between blogs, tourism recommendation sites and price-comparing OTA systems. The bidirectional communication started with the use of cookies 2.0; since then, consumers have become an integral part of the business models, because businesses who seek to be successful in the long run, need to know their customers’ demands in detail. The development of digital services require the identification of the user, information on their individual preferences and a decision-based calibration (by AI). In AI-based decision making solutions, the former decisive factors are replaced by a virtual personal assistant, which is able to map the consumer’s preferences based on their digital footprint, and create an optimal personalized offer from the available big data systems (Fig. 2.)

    Figure 2. Virtual Personal Assistant – VPA. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    Figure 2. Virtual Personal Assistant – VPA. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    The technological development cannot be stopped; however, with sufficient flexibility and openness, tourism businesses can prepare for the upcoming challenges. In the tourism of the future, the new consumers will bring forth new priorities and new demands. As a revolutionary approach, the members of the IoP (Internet of People) community offer their free time in order to reach joint IT/industrial goals, where frameworks are created in line with the preferences of other people, for a yet not specified consumer segment (Miranda et al., 2015). Beyond innovative technologies, whole new spaces have opened in tourism, completely different from the usual destinations. University researchers[1] have been carried out to study the possibilities of online tourism spaces and their opportunities for the tourism and hospitality industry. In virtual reality, with a special “glass”, the user can look into an optional tourism space, from which the real world is completely shut out. The Augmented reality is a different technological solution, where digital elements are projected into a real life space.

    In 2011, the interior designers of cafés only used and re-designed the existing design panels; today, the traditional living spaces are often combined with the online world. Carneval Coffee Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    In 2011, the interior designers of cafés only used and re-designed the existing design panels; today, the traditional living spaces are often combined with the online world. Carneval Coffee Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    The newest technological developments and the innovation in the use of living spaces are all connected to the alternative payment options that can be used in tourism as well. The emergence of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has led to the creation of a novel payment system. The Blockchain payment system is a shared database, which records a continuously growing list of data blocks, preventing any counterfeiting or alteration of the data. One block consist of a list of transactions and the results of computations made by the stored programs. For example, if a customer buys some cryptocurrency or any other kind of currency, and then transfers it to anywhere in the world to another partner, who exchanges it instantly, both partners can avoid any loss caused by exchange rate fluctuations; furthermore, the whole transaction takes only minutes instead of the usual couple of business days. This solution can mean a revolutionary innovative payment option for everyone in the tourism industry.

    The applicability of the blockchain system is independent from currency rates. In the case of cryptocurrencies, it is not the exchange rate that really matters – instead, the true value of the currency lies in the safety of the blockchain technology and in the authentic, transparent, unalterable and decentralized recording system (Pilkington, 2016). This payment system offers a new level of encryption safety and intervention-free operation, and the data handled in the system cannot be modified in any way. Another huge benefit of the system is that the transactions are realized without any intermediate agents, thus eliminating any additional transaction costs. By the time of the “maturity” of blockchain payment solutions, today’s large service intermediators like Airbnb, Booking.com, Agora, etc. are foreseen to lose some of their market positions, as consumers and service providers will probably deal with their transactions directly.

    Will Artificial Food be the next meal on the table?

    With the worldwide population boom, the demand for food is also increasing. To satisfy this growing need for food, the extension of agricultural areas is required for food material production, and at the same time, sufficient land management is needed for animal husbandry. The greatest challenge of sustainable agriculture lies in the fact that the agricultural areas can only be further expanded at the expense of forested lands. In addition, the current changes in the environment has also led to the decrease of fishing possibilities, another difficulty in the availability of food materials.

    Shrimp in pasta shell. Made and photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    Shrimp in pasta shell by Martin Zsarnoczky

    The decreasing resources of food materials will force the food production industry to re-think their former concepts. New technologies like 3D food printers can even bring the fast food era to an end. The novel inventions of food production and food engineering – like artificially flavored drinks, chocolates and dairy products – have been on the market of more than a decade now, and so far, they have not had a negative effect on the common taste of consumers.

    In the concept of 3D food printing,  popular sweets and delicacies are synthesized by a layered printing technology, using the various pre-mixed powders, flavorings, fixers and oils that are stored in the “toners” of the printer. These artificial foods are already available: specialized franchise restaurants like the Food Ink chain offer a wide variety of printed meals for consumers who are curious about the future of gastronomy. It is also likely that with the next generation of the food printers, we will be able to calibrate the nutritional values and energy content of the meals.

    The 3D food printing technology is not only important for HoReCa businesses, but holds a great opportunity for the health industry, too, especially in the field of special diets and medication. Using 3D food printing for these purposes can increase cost-effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability, thus supporting the food industry and hospitality and tourism businesses alike.

    The option of personalized 3D food printing is just one of the innovative technological solutions in the tourism and hospitality industry. The Henn-na Hotel [1] in Huis Ten Bosch, Japan is the first hotel in the world, where customers are served exclusively by robots. At another Asian location in China, there are 24/7 cafés that follow the no-staff business model of Amazon Go. As for the restaurant market, the Chinese food brand Wufangzhai has recently opened the first unmanned restaurant[2] in Hangzhou, capital city of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

    The question is: how long will it take until food production and consumption will need no human resources at all?

    Summary

    For innovative enterprises, the efficiency of interactivity is of key importance for the success of their business. The rapid development of ICT solutions has brought immense changes in the tourism industry. Previously, consumers’ decision making was mainly affected by the industrial environment. The era of digital tourism spaces – preceded by theme parks and thematic destinations – started with the emergence of information websites; however, this targeted information flow used to be one-directional with narrow choices. In today’s digital era, the new generation of commercial activities take place in VR or AR spaces, and the instant analysis of the customer’s reactions and behavior support the enhancement of their buying willingness. The traditional decision making processes are gradually being replaced with personalized offers, further increasing the importance of AI.

    With the development of shared economy, greater emphasis is put on social well-being, as user experience slowly becomes more important than ownership. This new approach is also expressed in novel forms of payment, which can seriously decrease the profits of intermediate activities. The new trends do not seem to be problematic in the tourism industry, mostly because in this sector, the exact costs and incomes are not clearly visible yet. On the other hand, the quality development of the 3D printing technology holds a great opportunity for the tourism and hospitality sector. The development of digitalization has finally reached a level where it can truly support the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of industrial food production, paving the way to the future of tourism and hospitality businesses.

    PDF Version Available Here

    References Anderson, C. (2009). Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Hyperion, New York. Hyde, L. (2007). The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. New York: Random House Inc. McCrindle, M. – Wolfinger, E. (2009). The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations, University of New South Wales Press, Sidney. pp. 1-22. Miranda, J. – Mäkitalo, N. – Garcia-Alonso, J. – Beroccal, J. – Mikkonen, T. – Canal, C. – Murillo, M. J. (2015)  From the Internet of Things to the Internet of People. IEEE Internet Computing, 19 (2): 40-47. Stadler, G. (2015). Big data – tömeges adatelemzés gyorsan. HTE Medianet 2015, Kecskemét. LLX. pp. 44-48 Pilkington, M. (2016). Blockchain technology: priciples and applications. Research Handbook on Digital Transformation. Edward Elgar Publishing, Northampton, MA. pp. 225-253. Sundararajan, A. (2014). Peer-to-Peer Businesses and the Sharing (Collaborative) Economy: Overview, Economic Effects and Regulatory Issues. NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress, New York. Zsarnoczky, M. (2017a). How does Artificial Intelligence affect the Tourism Industry? Vadyba Journal of Management 31 (2): 85-90. Zsarnoczky, M. (2017b). The future of sustainable rural tourism development: the impacts of climate change.  Annals of the Polish Association of Agricultural and Agribusiness Economists. XIX. (3): 337-344. Martin Zsarnoczky, Ph.D. has several years of experience in the huge tourism and hospitality industry. He has worked with P&O Princess Cruises, Intercontinental and Marriott Hotels in Budapest. Between 2005 and 2015, he was the founder, developer and CEO of Casa de la Musica Hostel and Event’s Hall, one of the largest multifunctional private tourism & hospitality businesses in Budapest downtown. He holds a BSc degree in Tourism and Hospitality from the Budapest Business School, and graduated at MSc/Med level as Teacher of Economics in Tourism and Hospitality. During his studies, he had spent short a term mobility period  at Utwente University in the Netherlands, and later earned his Ph.D. in Regional Sciences at Szent Istvan University. At the moment, he is still very active as an entrepreneur and is actively involved in community development. He is also a board member of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and works as a mentor for the Young Entrepreneurs Association Hungary. With regards to his academic career, he is a full time assistant professor at the Institute of Marketing and Media at the Tourism Department of Corvinus University of Budapest.

    May 23rd, 2018 in Business Practices, Marketing, Spring 2018

    By Leora Lanz and Namrata Sridhar

    In the Winter 2018 edition of the Boston Hospitality Review, we brought forth suggestions for the 10 Best Practices for Organic Visibility —ways to improve search results through organic search, or do not cost the company a monetary investment. Rather, these rankings were based on elements such as keywords, location, and mobile friendliness. Suggestions for improving a company’s organic search include utilization of backlinks, hyperlinks between websites, and content enhancement in relation to local listings such as ensuring quick website load speed, high quality imagery, and conspicuous links to social media channels.

    This second installation of a two-part series will speak to the subject of search engine functionalities as a result of paid queries. For independent or smaller companies, this brief but powerful set of tips obtained from industry experts can enable a business to become more “searchable” for optimal return on investment.

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Best Practices: 1. Understand the Paid Media Landscape:

    According to the Associate Director for Organic Search and Content Strategy at Boston-based Connelly Partners, Dan Hurley, the most important part of SEM is to comprehend the paid media landscape. It is critical to know who one’s competitors truly are and understand how they are marketing, from a tactical standpoint.1 It is also important to research the types of ad campaign structures that are surfacing in the category of interest, on both desktop and mobile devices. Then one must adopt those that appear effective and fit business goals appropriately. For restaurants and hotel-related queries, “this strategy is especially pertinent because these searches generally convert very quickly; mobile searchers will likely patronize a restaurant within a few hours.”

    In order to be the most efficient with a company’s paid advertisements, Todd Philie, president of Southcoast Marketing Group in Wareham, MA, also encourages companies to discover how consumers are searching for them on the Internet. For example, “utilize the query search tool via the Google AdWords™ platform to discover what terms and phrases are used to reach your own site and then display your ads.”

    Additionally, Kym Parker, associate search marketing director at Connelly Partners, emphasizes the importance of using the company’s brand to ensure a strong search presence. By utilizing paid search bids, a hotel or restaurant can be the first result a web surfer sees when conducting a search.2

    “Sometimes, competitors will bid on your brand terms – which means that if someone searches for your company name, for example, the competitor could show up ahead of you in the search results,” Parker notes. “You can prevent this by ‘protecting’ your brand terms. Always be bidding on them, at least a little bit, to ensure that you have a better chance of staying on top of the results when someone searches your name and other brand terms.”

    2: Use of Google AdWords™:

    The major player in the world wide web is Google, which has created various platforms to optimize searching. Using keywords, Google users can pay to promote their advertisements for a set budget. This Google functionality allows a company (hotel or restaurant) to understand how it ranks in comparison to direct competitors.

    Also keep ‘negative keywords’ in mind, adds Philie. “Negative terms generally means terms that you are not specifically telling AdWords™ that you do not want to appear in specific results for other searches. For example, suppose you are marketing a seafood restaurant that does not offer steak on its menu. You want to bid on the phrase ‘best restaurant in Boston’ but you do not want to waste money on clicks from customers who want steak. You might set ‘steak’ and ‘steakhouse’ as negative terms so that if someone searched ‘best steak restaurants in Boston” you do not show up in that search.

    The Google AdWords™ functionality also offers companies the chance to enhance the listing. An incredibly important, yet often overlooked, input is the “click to call” functionality and its presence on a mobile site, also known as the call extension. “These additional factual details, known as “ad extensions” also include location, information from different pages on your website, and even testimonial reviews,” adds Seth Cargiuolo, director of communication strategy at Chestnut Hill, MA-based D50 Media. “Making use of ad extensions is essential because it helps the customer learn more about the business with a quick glance pre-click, and can help differentiate a hotel or restaurant (or any product)  against its competitors.”  Ad extensions also increase the visual footprint of an ad, which can push competitors’ ads and organic listings down the page and out of view, particularly on mobile devices.

    For marketers just starting to utilize SEM and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google AdWords™ also offers free tutorials and trainings. Zachary Azar, D50 Media’s senior manager of paid search notes, “These tutorials provide clients with the opportunity to get the most out of the program and create effective campaigns.”

    To properly manage an effective AdWords campaign, Google Analytics can be a helpful tool as it reveals which content on a website is most useful and interesting to customers. This will help in the creation of resonating ad copy and can also be a guide for aligning keyword selection and website copy to increase the “Quality Score” of an ad campaign.

    However, Philie also cautions individuals not to be completely reliant on Google’s suggestions for keywords. “Often times, these keywords are pluralized and can cause companies to spend more or not be as effective.” He warns companies to choose how to put their key words “out there” when bidding. Companies must choose best matched keywords for their ads and choose between “exact match,” “phrase match,” “broad search” and “modified broad search” – all of which will yield varied returns. Campaigns should utilize a balance of all match types, but should “skew more heavily towards exact and phrase, utilizing broad match only for keyword prospecting and expansion opportunities.”

    3. Always Start with Non-Paid Efforts or SEO

    When optimizing a company’s searches, Cargiuolo and Azar suggest the first thing that the company should focus on is actually the SEO. First and foremost, it is important to ensure that a website is user- and mobile-friendly. Another important factor is a quick load speed. “Google has found that sites that take longer than three seconds to load lose 40% of their traffic, and for mobile traffic, that jumps to 53%,” reports Azar.  This is important for paid search as well; Cargiuolo adds, “It’d be bad enough for a user to abandon your page when it’s an organic search – but now imagine if you’d paid for that click and those dollars were totally wasted.”

    In order to reduce the load speed, it is important to not have “big” images—think kilobytes, not megabytes.  Web copy should be concise and “bandwidth-hogging” scripts and plugins minimized. “Additionally, given that over half of web traffic is on mobile devices, ensure that pdfs (which you want to avoid anyway) look acceptable on a smart phone too,” Cargiuolo says.

    Kristin Metzler, Print and Web Marketing Coordinator of Frasca Design Group, also echoes that mastery of SEO is the first step in a successful digital marketing campaign. Websites built with a strong attention to keywords and content will minimize spending on pay-per-click campaigns.

    4. Don’t Spend on Paid Search if You Can’t Afford It

    Hurley cautions that one need not spend money on advertising to get traffic. Because so much information is provided in the search results, there may not be any clicks on your page during the search process. Companies should never put any money into paid search, display advertising or paid social that the company cannot afford to lose.3

    Cargiuolo emphasizes that when a company starts advertising, it should not expect an immediate return,4 which is oftentimes an assumption that businesses make. Initially, many may not be familiar with the bidding process; keywords; or how to build, optimize, and manage an effective campaign. Be cautious not to spend money needed for other resources. Start slow and spend time learning before committing big budgets.

    One final word of caution: There are easily incurred expenses that can come from paid search marketing, such as additional costs from agencies that take a portion of a monthly budget. Being conscious of your daily budget is critical in avoiding overspending.

    Key Take-Aways?

    When taking the steps to build a search campaign, it is critical to do research and move slowly at the beginning. Understand how the market is reflected in consumer searches and what keywords are being utilized. Before jumping into methods that require payment, a company should ensure that its website is optimized for searches and never spend more than what can be budgeted, as it will take time to see a return on investment.

    As Cargiuolo reminds, businesses must remember that Google serves the user first. Thus as the marketer, one must think as a user would when building a paid search campaign. People come to Google with questions. The marketer that best answers the user’s questions, both pre-click and post-click, is going to be one that is most successful.

    PDF Version Available Here

    1 Inc. Staff. “How to Conduct Competitive Research.” Inc. Magazine. May 2010 2 Ratcliff, Christopher. “What is PPC and Why Do You Need it?” Econsultancy. 13 November 2013. 3 Kumar, A.J. “SEO vs PPC: Knowing Which is Better for Your Website.”  Entrepreneur. Editorial. 21 May 2012 4 Steimle, Josh. “How Long Does SEO Take to Start Working?” Editorial. Forbes. 7 February 2015. Namrata Sridhar is a marketing communications coordinator at LHL Communications and a rising senior at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (BU SHA). She has also previously worked in marketing communications capacities at RealFood Consulting where she helped design an internal marketing plan to rebrand their company. Namrata also serves as the President of the Student Government of BU SHA. She is an active member of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Lanz New 2016Leora Halpern Lanz, ISHC, is principal of LHL Communications, a hospitality-focused marketing communications, branding, and media relations advisory. She is also a full time faculty member at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), teaching advanced strategic marketing and digital marketing for hospitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was named among the Top 25 Minds in Hotel Marketing for 2016 by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and was named 2017 Professor of the Year by the student government of SHA.

    February 13th, 2018 in Business Practices, Winter 2018

    By Sarah Andersen

    After completing the senior capstone Hospitality Leadership course at Boston University, I had the chance to reflect on the class topics and apply the teachings to my personal life. The course explored several different levels of leadership, from the head of a major corporation role to developing self-leadership. I learned the importance of a mission, vision, and values in an organization, better understood the components of change management, and worked with a group throughout the semester to develop my teamwork skills. I was able to critically analyze concepts and models presented in leadership literature as well as improve my own leadership skills. I then interviewed three prominent leaders in hospitality and found connections between their industry insights and my leadership class discussions. Dan Donahue, President of Saunders Hotel Group, Len Wolman, Chairman and CEO of Waterford Hotel Group, and Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group kindly shared their experiences and explained their personal values and company’s culture, revealing the five keys to successful leadership.

    IntervieweesBanner

    “Leadership is the capacity totranslate vision into reality.”

                                                               -Warren G. Bennis

    Establishing Shared Beliefs, Values, and Goals

    When an organization wants to achieve its goals, it needs a vision. Effective leadership starts with the ability to recognize and outline those goals and inspire others to follow. Leaders paint a picture of how that vision will affect the company as a whole, as well as each individual. A leader’s ability to articulate that vision into a mission statement corresponds to the active implementation of goals and the company’s bottom line success. A productive vision goes beyond a written organizational mission statement, but instead permeates throughout all levels of a company and manifests into actions and beliefs. John P. Kotter, author of Business Leadership, writes, “A vision says something that helps clarify the direction in which an organization wants to move [and] is relatively easy to communicate, appealing to customers, stockholders, and employees.”1 It is therefore up to hospitality leaders to set and clearly communicate a vision, and to inspire those around them to share and implement it.

    A vision does not belong only to a leader. It must be a shared vision that attracts everyone to sustain high levels of motivation and withstand challenges. According to The Leadership Challenge, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, leaders can envision the future by imagining the possibilities and finding a common purpose.2 In addition, leaders must spark a sense of meaning and purpose in those around them. Dan Donahue agrees that, “My job, as someone who has the vision, is to get you inspired and committed to sharing that vision and sharing that creativity to the point where you have buy-in.”

    After seven years of rigorous research, a landmark study of the observations from more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 employees found that “leaders who were clear about their values delivered as much as five times greater returns for their organizations as did leaders of weak character.”3

    So how do illustrious CEOs and successful leaders in our industry shape the parameters for success through a shared vision for a future? How do they empower and inspire those around them to make decisions and work towards their goals?

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    Balancing Accountability and Autonomy

    When asked what his core values were, Len Wolman responded, “First and foremost, our organization has been built on integrity and transparency. We have four core values that we live by on a daily basis which are to (1) to wow the customer, (2) to continuously improve, (3) to be a passionate and committed team, and (4) to share and sustain our bottom line success.”

    Dan Donahue, established that, “Our values are simple. Our values are people. We allow them the flexibility and latitude to do their jobs under the guide of taking care of the guest, but also taking care of themselves as well.” To strengthen others, exemplary leaders increase people’s belief in their ability to make a difference. They move from being in control to giving over control. Developing associates into leaders and enhancing self-determination creates a culture of empowerment and confidence. Geoff Ballotti agrees that, “In terms of motivating others, it is letting them make decisions. It’s not micromanaging, but rather letting them come up with the solutions.”

    Geoff Ballotti continues, “Our core value statement is three words, ‘Count On Me,’ which is all about accountability. It is about people being able to be counted on at any time, for any issue, any question, any decision, and any support that our owners, franchisees, and associates need. It is built on the principal of integrity in terms of taking personal responsibility for your actions.” Accountability is important because it results in an extremely efficient and productive team. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, accountability in the workplace is linked to higher performance and increases in commitment to work and employee morale.4

    Dan Donahue, states, “A vision has to be fluid. To get to an achievable goal and vision, whether short term or long term, you need to be present, you need to understand that if you want it to be successful you need to be there, you need to be accountable to it, and you need to be accountable to the people that want to share that.” When accountability becomes embedded into culture, company’s are able to set meaningful goals, develop team buy-in, build trust through support and encouragement, and celebrate successes together. Accountability is about creating a culture where people value responsibility. When associates understand that accountability involves a certain degree of autonomy, mutual respect develops between all levels of an organization.

    Mr. Ballotti adds, “The third leg of our values is all about respect. Respecting everyone everywhere both on our ownership side and the community side.” When leaders develop mutual respect, associates are more likely to work harder to accomplish shared goals. Harvard Business Review examined employee needs and determined through a query of more than 19,000 workers that most employees desire renewal, value, focus and purpose.5 Feeling a sense of value and respect can instill an employee with confidence and motivation. Len Wolman adds that, “I’ve been in the industry for many years, I was educated in the industry and then worked my way up through the industry, so I’m fortunate in that I have the perspective of having worked in various positions. So I have empathy, understanding, and respect for each position. Everyone needs to be treated with mutual respect and understanding.”

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    Modeling by Example

    An important part of being an effective leader is educating others on what the organization stands for and why it matters. When leaders sincerely express a commitment to their core values, they’re also making a commitment on behalf of the entire organization. Therefore, leaders must make sure there is collective agreement on the shared values amongst everyone they lead.

    So how do leaders become a role model for what the organization stands for?

    The answer is pretty simple. They set the example for others to follow. Holding others accountable to values and standards means leaders must live the values themselves. Dan Donahue responds, “I would never ask an employee to do something I wouldn’t do myself.” Len Wolman agrees adding, “You always want to set an example and never want to expect anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.” Researcher on behavioral integrity demonstrates that the alignment between a leader’s words and actions has a powerful impact on how much constituents trust the leader and on their subsequent performance levels.6 Great leaders effectively translate intention into reality by acting on the values they teach and the things they say to those around them.

    Showing Vulnerability and Visibility

    Confidence is an important skill to possess as a leader. However, having vulnerability as a leader is just as essential to recognize and appreciate. Every leader has vulnerability, but great leaders have the self-awareness to recognize this fact and feel comfortable expressing their weaknesses. Showing vulnerability is a relatable trait and Geoff Ballotti finds that, “The greatest leaders I know out there are very comfortable talking about their weaknesses, about what it is that they need to work on, to improve upon, and to do better.” Effective leaders invest the thinking, the time, the energy and are prepared for the vulnerability of connecting with others.

    So how do these leaders earn trust, inspire, and build bonds with those they lead?

    Great leaders inspire their associates and guests by genuinely connecting to them through a consistent presence and visibility. Visibility as a leader not only includes having a physical presence, but also aligning everyone to the purpose behind their shared vision through natural conversations and casual exchanges on a daily basis. When asked how he communicates company goals and the overall vision, Dan Donahue replied, “If you have a presence, it happens organically. It doesn’t need to be contrived.” The purpose of this sincere visibility is not about the need to “check on employees,” but rather an honest desire to interact with associates in order to gauge motivation and learn if employees need support or help. Mr. Wolman agrees that, “It is critical to operate with an open door policy and listen to everyone’s perspective and ideas, particularly the people who are executing the day to day functions, and I think you’ve got to be constantly evaluating that.”

    HL3

    Mr. Ballotti adds, “I also think showing empathy is key and the best way great leaders do that is through the art of storytelling when they’re up in front of their associate base or leadership team, being able to tell stories that connect and engage and inspire and motivate in terms of the culture your want to set and want to build.” Storytelling is a powerful way to share knowledge, push information at people or pull them into a company’s vision and mission by reinforcing the intent behind authentic leadership. According to Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, “[Stories] also strengthen the framework and the importance of an organization’s culture by establishing norms and values.”7 Good stories compel, persuade, and unify others around the leaders’ vision.

    Creativity Breads Adaptability

    “Hospitality isn’t about a product on the shelf. Hospitality is about creating something that changes day to day, hour to hour, or minute by minute.” – Dan Donahue

    IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed more than 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, concluded that creativity is the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing competencies such as integrity and global thinking.8 Geoff Ballotti agrees that, “Creativity is critical, especially in the business that we’re in. We’re trying to redefine and reposition our brand from a creative standpoint in terms of experience.” What defines one brand from another and what makes one brand more successful than another is the creativity that it delivers as well as the experience it delivers to its guests. Understanding how to generate great ideas is a crucial leadership trait in hospitality’s innovation-driven industry. Successful leaders create an environment where associates can contribute their imagination and insight, which is critical because most innovations draw upon the contributions of many.

    Today’s business environment is unpredictable, changeable and increasingly complex. Therefore, the ability to create something that is both innovative and applicable is on the top of leader’s minds. Mr. Donahue states, “Nothing in our business can be or should be cookie cutter. It’s about curating an experience for each person who spends to be with you.” Len Wolman adds, “If you’re not creative and open to change in todays world with the disruptors that exist in our industry, particularly with technology, you will not be successful. You need to be creative in terms of staying ahead, staying current and relevant, and get managing the costs associated with change in a way that your organization can still be successful and profitable.”

    In an industry of constant change, great hospitality leaders need to capitalize on the opportunities that are ripe for the present context and plan for the likely future state. Change requires creating a new system, which demands effective leadership. It is crucial that leaders first acknowledge how hard it can be to drive others outside of their comfort zones and push for change. When asked how he responds to change, Len Wolman replied, “A crucial element is feedback. We get daily feedback that is current and relevant, whether it be Trip Advisor, direct contact with our guests, or direct contact with our associates. We need to listen to it, we need to respond to it, and we need to adjust to the things that people are looking for whether it be the consumer or the work environment.” Those who create new initiatives, programing, design, and brand essence are the ones who succeed. By supporting creativity and commanding change, leaders can increase workplace satisfaction and build driven teams that craft original, valuable ideas.

    Figure 1: Interview Questions
  • When associates are inspired by their leaders, they are more confident, they know what’s expected, and they feel empowered to make decisions and work toward their goals. So with your vast experience in the hospitality industry, what are some ways you empower and inspire those around you to make decisions and really motivate others?
  • Do you have a specific set of core values? They can be personal or related to your company.
  • How do you hold others accountable to those values and standards as a leader? Are there specific tools or methods you provide your associates to help them work towards that unified goal?
  • Confidence is obviously an important skill to possess as a leader, but do you think showing vulnerability as a leader is important as well? This can be shown through being more visible to others around you, taking risks, being vocal and clear about your specific goals as a leader….
  • Creativity is essential to the entrepreneurship that gets new businesses started and that sustains the best companies after they have reached a global scale. Do you consider creativity to be a manageable trait? Is creativity a focus of your attention as a leader?
  • How do you adapt to various situations in an age of rapid change (with technology and this millennial “mindset” emergence)? What are the key components to having an adaptable mindset?
  • Closing Thoughts

    It has been made clear through the interview process of these three prominent industry leaders that establishing shared values, balancing accountability with autonomy, modeling by example, showing vulnerability through visibility, and having a creative mindset that is open to change are all essential factors to being a successful leader. The common theme amongst all these traits and elements to successful leadership, however, is each leader’s dependence and trust for their associates. At one point during the interview, Mr. Ballotti pointed out that, “Great leaders are those who surround themselves with great people…who are brighter, and smarter, and more diverse in thought than they are. And who are able to build a team that knows how to support and trust each other.” It is clear that effective leadership boils down to a leaders ability to unlock the full potential in those around them. Len Wolman adds that it “We take care of our associates so that they take care of our guests, which keeps the guests coming back and is the reason we are in business.“ Dan Donahue also notes, “You have to realize each individual employee’s needs. Make a connection with your employees every single day.” All good leaders were once followers themselves and have learned to establish and foster trust over time. A true leader passes praise and shares the blame, lifting up those around them.9 Without followers, great leaders cannot lead.

    PDF Version Available Here

    SarahSarah R. Andersen is a senior at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. Her areas of interest include integrated marketing communications and real estate development. Beyond her studies in hospitality, she is a member of the BU Women’s Lacrosse team. She plans to continue her studies at Boston University after graduating with her bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the School of Hospitality’s Master of Management in Hospitality program. References
  • Gallos, Joan V. Business Leadership. Second Edition ed., A Jossey-Bass Reader.
  • Kouzes, James M., and Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. Sixth Edition ed., Wiley, 2017.
  • Carson, and E. A. Phelps, “Regulating the Expectation of Reward,” Nature Neuroscience 11, no.8 (2008):880-881
  • “Performance Management: Accountability Can Have Positive Results.” U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Web.
  • Porath, Tony SchwartzChristine. “The Power of Meeting Your Employees’ Needs.” Harvard Business Review, 6 Dec. 2017.
  • C. M. Shea and J.M. Howell, “Charismatic Leadership and Task Feedback: A Laboratory Study of Their Effects on Self-Efficacy and Task Performance,” Leadership Quarterly 10, no. 3 (1999)
  • Marshall, John, and Matthew Adamic. “The Story Is the Message: Shaping Corporate Culture.” Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 31, no. 2, 2010, pp. 18–23.
  • “Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success.” IBM 2010 Global CEO Study, 18 May 2010.
  • Henderson, Aaron M. Building Effective Leadership from the Ground Up. Llumina Press, 2004.
  • February 13th, 2018 in Business Practices, Marketing, Winter 2018

    By Juan Lesmes and Leora Lanz

    It wasn’t that long ago when digital marketing surfaced as indispensable practice for the hospitality industry. As time moved forward, hotel marketing departments established roles to manage the digital positioning and visibility of the property. Thus, we witnessed hospitality brands which were ‘present’ on social media outlets, adopting paid search as a permanent component of their marketing mix and abiding by well-known website best practices. We refer to this period as Phase I of the Hospitality Digital Marketing Revolution.

    Phase II quickly blossomed, and hotels realized that the competition to penetrate the digital space was strong and arduous. Brands started focusing on and investing in the internet user-experience (UX), negotiating partnerships with online travel agencies (OTAs), understanding the landscape of search engine result pages (SERPs), separating high-value budgets exclusively for search engine marketing (SEM), and delving into the intricacies of search engine optimization (SEO) for their own websites. Social media served as a competitive advantage and quickly escalated as paramount for marketing, branding, reputation management, and organic visibility. Paid search, via Google AdWords platform, is not to be confused with the organic approaches detailed here.

    As we delve into 2018, Phase III emerges clearly. OTAs dominate and in some instances monopolize Google searches with first page results. Consequently, hotels are realizing that digital marketing efforts should be shifted from a haphazard online presence to one that is strategic – one that capitalizes on each micro-moment of the guest travel planning journey (most of which, if not all, occurs on the web). As social media forces Instagram and Facebook solidify their roles as prominent search engines, paid ‘posts’ within users’ ‘feeds’ continue to convey the power of personalized sponsored content.

    With a myriad of stakeholders now involved in the simple act of searching for hotel rooms, is it a battle worth fighting? The answer is absolutely. But before addressing the how, it is crucial to identify and differentiate the digital marketing scope of branded and non-branded hotels. Branded hotels, especially those flagged with hospitality powerhouses, benefit from a more powerful domain authority coming from the parent chain, making it easier for them to rank higher on the SERPs. Take Marriott.com/hotel vs. hotelname.com for example. Domain authority is the overall power of the domain name considering traffic size, popularity, and number of links to the site (backlinks). It is also a top ranking factor for Google.

    Branded hotels also tend to have significant budgets to spend on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and paid search, ensuring top first page visibility for valuable destination and branded queries. In addition, branded hotels have wider access to digital partnerships, including listings, local directories, event sponsorships, travel influencers, and online features – all of which provide authoritative backlinks to the hotel’s site, further contributing to its domain authority.

    Because independent and small-scale hotels rarely benefit from domain authority, maintaining and monitoring digital marketing best practices to boost Google rankings should be a requirement, not merely a recommendation. Digital marketing practices command their own dedicated efforts. Yet online marketing should be well-equipped with its own strategy and utilize expertise in the nuances and intricacies of hotels, restaurants, leisure activities, and attractions – overall, hospitality.

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    The question then becomes, how can hotels strive for visibility in this Wild West of a digital landscape, particularly if they are competing against each other, the OTAs, and a powerful sharing economy?

    1. Execute a Carefully Crafted Keyword Strategy

    Optimizing for search queries, also known as keywords, is perhaps the core of any digital marketing tactic aiming to build visibility – both organic and paid. Identifying those keywords with the highest search volume, such as ‘Miami hotels,’ is the intuitive process. Presence on Google’s first page for high search-volume keywords requires a robust SEM budget, an ongoing and long-term SEO strategy, or both. This puts independent and small-scale properties, which often do not have the necessary budget and fundamental team,  at a notable disadvantage.

    However, niche keywords present a different scenario. These queries are typically ’long-tail’ meaning they contain more than four words. Though niche keywords do not have the highest search popularities, it is much easier to actually capture their search volume, which then results in higher click-through rates (CTR). Hotels can leverage niche keywords by identifying their unique amenities and value propositions, and turning them into valuable keywords. For example, ‘Miami hotels with a rooftop bar,’ ‘Miami hotels with free breakfast’ and ‘Miami hotels with nightclubs’ are terms to utilize as they leverage a more specific travel intention that easily turns into conversions (booked business).  It is crucial to think as the customer would.

    Some independent hotels, because of the virtue of their uniqueness and often niche-market, can have the upper hand in this situation. A property which positions itself as a resort for health and well-being could therefore pursue niche terms such as ‘wellness resorts’ and ‘fitness getaways.’ The key is to identify the brand’s top performing unique selling propositions (USPs) and translate them into humanized search queries, all while keeping the guests’ travel planning journeys in mind.

    Finding a balanced mix of both high-search volume terms and niche queries secures strategic keywords. Nevertheless, actually optimizing for them by ensuring they are naturally or comfortably present throughout the website’s titles, content, metadata and bidding efforts also help secure a carefully crafted keyword strategy.

    2. Optimize for Local Search

    Our termed “Phase II” also put the spotlight on search engine business directories such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. In Phase III, hotel listings on these directories is no longer a recommendation, it is a necessity. Optimizing for local search entails driving the visibility of a property’s business listing via a two-part process:

  • Ensure the listing’s content is precise and optimal. For a hotel’s listing to be effective, it needs to be correct. This means not only having a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) across the web, but also sharing additional business attributes such as business hours, property images, contact e-information, and business category. Because Google understands that local users are better served by businesses that outline all the information they need, it ranks complete, accurate, and consistent listings higher than those that are partial. If your hotel has a separate restaurant, spa, or in-house shop, each should have a separate online business listing.
  • Utilize keywords with universal search integrations – Certain keywords tend to trigger significantly more universal search results, which includes a blended combination of Carousel, Local 3-Pack, Images, and Maps. (The former two are Google features found on search pages, displaying images and contact information to help users with specific searches). Because they are primarily location-based, they present yet another opportunity to drive the hotel’s local business listing. Keywords such as ‘Miami hotels near American Airlines Arena’ or ‘Downtown Miami hotels,’ for example, have powerful local search integrations since they allude to a local area within a larger market. As a result, incorporating these styles of keywords into the hotel’s website and local listings is a way to let Google know that the property is not only highly relevant to the query, but also a local business to be recognized.
  • Photo2

    3. Attain and Maintain a Star Rating on Google

    One of the key components of local search results is the Star Rating associated with a business listing. In fact, star reviews on SERPs are an effective way for hotels to increase digital visibility by standing out from the competition. Star ratings help increase the site’s CTR and provide an influential benchmark for online reputation management (ORM). Once an exclusive attribute for paid results, star ratings now also appear on organic results through Google’s ‘Rich Snippets.’ These snippets are a form of structured data which Google extracts from multiple websites and presents it as a ‘preview’ in search results, also known as Google’s Knowledge Graph.

    Therefore, obtaining and retaining star ratings involves safeguarding reviews on trusted and authoritative review sites. Google then aggregates this rating data and displays an average star rating. Hotels (restaurants, attractions, etc.) should encourage satisfied guests to submit reviews to their booking channel (i.e. Expedia) because they are by default ‘trusted’ sites. However, they should also encourage reviews for their own Google My Business listing in an attempt to increase the hotel’s chances of being featured on local search results.

    It is important to clarify that there is a technical component to obtaining a Google star rating. Codes put onto the website to help search engines return more informative results to users. Hotels need to ensure that their web developers also include star rating information within the markup code.

    4. Enhance Content on Local Listings

    A hotel’s content for its local listings should be strategically optimized. Whether it is in Foursquare, CitySearch, or any other listing, valuable keywords should be incorporated throughout the copy – including local search ‘near’ queries such as ‘hotel in Miami near Brickell’. If the brand image is playful and tongue-in-cheek, the content on local listings should also reflect that. Some listings even allow for a featured message. Rather than a generic ‘Welcome!’ hotels can use this space to promote current offers or highlight special amenities (complimentary champagne, sunset yoga, free breakfast).

    Other content elements such as images should be of the highest quality, showcasing provocative yet realistic visuals of the property’s exterior, interior, and overall ambiance. Links to all the property’s social media channels should be present in the listings, which allows the user to access other hotel assets including brand personality and online reputation.

    5. Optimize for Voice Search

    With increasing utilization of smart personal assistants such as Alexa and Google Home, voice search is a prime topic of conversion within the digital marketing realm. In order to be visible in results derived from these devices, hotels need to ensure they are optimizing their site and keyword strategy for voice search too. Since users are more likely to use longer natural queries via voice, employing niche, long-tail keywords is an effective method to optimize for this trend.

    Long-tail keywords are fruitless without the relevant content on a hotel or restaurant’s website. Hotels need to have specific landing pages that parallel the niche keywords. If a hotel seeks ‘Hotels in Miami with rooftop pools’—a keyword likely used by the voice search user—it must appear in the relevant landing page.

    Incorporating questions and answers within the site, perhaps via the ever-popular Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, is another effective way to accommodate voice search. With this strategy, hotels can provide answers not only about the property itself, but also about their destination and local attractions as a result of quick detection by voice-activated devices.

    It is important to note that recently, numerous hotel properties and companies have been contacted by law firms representing travel consumers with disabilities. These law firms report that websites are not abiding by accessibility guidelines in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If a guest is unable to use a hotel website to find information or make a reservation, hotels can in fact be fined. Today hotel websites must enable these assistive technologies to allow travel consumers with disabilities to get the information they need and complete any necessary transactions.

    6. Adopt a ‘Mobile First’ Mantra

    Much has been said about Google’s ‘mobile first’ index. This means Google will start to rank its search results based on the mobile version of the content, even in desktop search listings. If one thing is certain, websites need to be optimized to be mobile-friendly (responsive). Hotels need to ensure they launch a fully-responsive website that serves users of any device the same consistent content. The more ‘mobile-friendly’ a site’s user experience is, including factors such as typography, navigation map, and website design, the higher the site will rank on Google’s search.

    7. Leverage Google Hotel Ads

    Google Hotel Price Ads (HPA) showcases a hotel’s real-time (dynamic) rates on Google search across all devices. Users will see the hotel’s ad when they are actively looking to book a room in the area. However, the hotel only pays when the ad generates a click or a booking.

    Google has recently introduced a unique call-to-action (CTA) button for booking hotels in its search results. A keyword can trigger a ‘BOOK A ROOM’ button to appear. Clicking this will activate a sub-menu to browse all enlisted HPAs for the hotel, which includes booking direct and via OTAs.

    googleleora

    This feature, which also appears in Mobile and Maps, demonstrates Google’s determination to grow its Price Ads service. The increased exposure provides more incentive for hotels to capitalize on this form of pay-per-click in order to promote direct bookings.

    8. Increase Backlinks, Actively

    A backlink is as simple as a hyperlink to a website from another website. Yet, it carries a lot of weight when it comes to a hotel’s organic digital visibility. Each backlink tells the search engine that a hotel website has a ‘vote’ from another entity, which in return builds credibility and domain authority. Branded hotels have the upper hand here since the company usually has a corporate parent site that a plethora of other websites will link to (such as Marriott.com or IHG.com).

    There are technicalities to backlinks, including the quality of the backlink determined by elements such as anchor text and link context. These technical factors play a role in the algorithm the search engine uses to determine the value of a backlink. In theory, the more quality backlinks a hotel website has, the more chances to rank higher on search engines.

    Actively pursuing relevant backlinks should be imperative for hotels to obtain first page ‘real-estate’. Obtaining links from local directories, current hotel vendors, editorial publications, and .EDU and .GOV sites should be the gateway for enhancing the site’s link equity. However, to continuously grow the number of backlinks, hotels need to be generating quality, shareable content that interlinks with social media initiatives.

    9. Remember Optimal Social Media = (Quality + Authenticity) x Engagement

    Much has been contemplated about what comprises a successful social media strategy. Although there is no ultimate recipe for the perfect social media post, three factors that boost performance are quality, authenticity, and engagement. Optimal Social Media = (Quality + Authenticity) x Engagement. Each piece of content maximizes visibility, both organic and paid. When posts are authentic and of high quality, users are more likely to relate and validate them. When posts are authentic, of high quality, and facilitate some type of user engagement, the content becomes shareable.

    When content generates more likes, followers, and overall visibility it establishes an influential ranking factor. Therefore, search engines tend to rank higher those brands that have a robust organic social media base (not paid or ‘spammy’ followers). This is why it is important for hotels to intertwine their social media strategy with their SEO efforts by creating quality, authentic, and engaging content that increases overall digital exposure.

    10. Consider the Technicalities of SEO

    Technical SEO is a science of its own and deserves its own team of specialists, budget, and time. Technical SEO means optimizing a website so search engines can successfully crawl and index its content. It lays a powerful foundation to give a hotel’s website the best chance it can to rank higher for relevant keywords. Technical factors include site speed, removing unnecessary tags, cleansing duplicate metadata, adding tags to images, and implementing proper redirects to maximize the site’s link equity. Whether there is a one-man team or a staff of professionals continually optimizing the website, there are tools to help provide the technical support.

    Hotels, restaurants, museums, attractions, and leisure activities all need to assertively compete online to grab the attention of potential guests. Those who tend to the organic visibility have a notable competitive. This and integrated paid search campaigns that mutually support organic search strategies will help secure first page visibility. Overall, while the need to upkeep search engines’ potent algorithms and ranking methodologies will always remain, an understanding of the process will help smaller or independent hospitality businesses cut through the clutter in today’s complicated digital landscape.

    PDF Version Available Here

    JuanHeadshotJuan Lesmes is a digital marketing strategist specializing in SEO at HEBS Digital the leading hospitality technology, full-service digital marketing and website design firm. A 2017 graduate of Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), Juan’s previous experience includes work at hospitality marketing advisory LHL Communications, The Ritz London, and Lets Get Weddy in London. Since his time at SHA, Juan has been recognized as a thought leader in hospitality marketing, with active contributions to the Boston Hospitality Review, HotelOnline and HospitalityNet. Lanz New 2016Leora Halpern Lanz, ISHC, is principal of LHL Communications, a hospitality-focused marketing communications, branding, and media relations advisory. She is also full time faculty at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), teaching advanced strategic marketing and digital marketing for hospitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was named among the Top 25 Minds in Hotel Marketing for 2016 by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and was named 2017 Professor of the Year by the student government of SHA.

    June 7th, 2017 in Business Practices, Hotels, Marketing, Spring 2017, Technology, Uncategorized

    The TripAdvisor Inc. application is demonstrated on an Apple Inc. iPhone for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, May 5, 2017. TripAdvisor is scheduled to released earnings figures on May 9. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Photo Source: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    By Nick Cohen

    The year is 2001, and the world is still recovering from the tragedy of September 11th.  The travel industry is in a downward spiral as fears of flying and terrorism ripple across the United States and beyond, and hotels have lost significant occupancy due to a decrease in demand.

    Simultaneously, a fledgling technology is emerging which will eventually take advantage of the internet explosion, as well as hotel management’s desperation to fill rooms. It will reshape our industry forever, and this platform now commonly referred to as Online Travel Agencies, or OTAs, will allow hotels to easily sell their rooms on the internet through new consumer facing websites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.

    Fast forward to 2017. The OTA’s have gained the majority of market share for online reservations, and digital platforms like Booking.com and Ctrip.com have loyal member volumes that far surpass brand websites.  In many cases, the OTA companies are valued well beyond traditional hotel brands (as of May 2017, Priceline Group has a market capitalization of nearly USD 92 Billion).  They have also helped to create a new concept as they grew in popularity and scale over the last number of years, and it was the precedent of transparency. Pricing that was once hidden to the everyday user, could now be exposed to the whole world, publicly, with a few clicks online. As OTA channels grew enormously with time, so did the access to real time rates and availability for virtually every hotel around the world.

    With this concept in mind, from the OTA’s we have seen the rapid expansion of ‘meta search’ channels. These are one-stop price comparison platforms where a customer can view a price for a single hotel room across multiple websites (without having to browse those websites one-by-one). Sites within this category include Kayak, Trivago, TripAdvisor, Qunar and Google, and they are all working to simplify the travel research process for consumers.

    OTA

    Featured above are some of the most popular meta search channels

    With the OTA channels continuing to grow through massive marketing efforts and superior technology, and with meta search sites following their lead, a relatively new challenge has emerged for hoteliers. It represents a very complex dynamic between one of the most traditional ways to sell a hotel room, and one of the most modern ways to sell a hotel room. This once again all comes back to the concept of price transparency. Wholesale has been a core business driver in hotels for many years, helping properties build base business through private negotiated rates and partnerships. Historically, these wholesalers would sell their inventory offline to their own private networks of contacts. Even though the pricing would typically be lower than publicly available RACK rates, it was a reliable foundation of occupancy for hotels to build off of.

    As technology has become more sophisticated with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) readily available, we have seen the rapid growth of wholesale rates being sold publicly, online, through some of the powerful meta search channels mentioned above.  This means that wholesalers are selling discounted rates, which directly undercut brand websites and OTAs, to anyone who has access to the internet.  Beyond just meta search, some OTA websites are now even positioning themselves as ‘online marketplaces,’ where they too will sell wholesale inventory directly instead of the inventory provided by the hotels. To remain competitive and increase market share, online channels want to sell the lowest price possible, even if it means reducing their own margins by selling a cheaper room to the customer.

    OTA Meta search

    Meta Search Websites such as HotelsCombined (shown above) showcase wholesale aggregator sites like Amoma.com and HotelQuickly.com which have prices that undercut the brand’s direct website and other OTA channels

    You would think that hoteliers would want to fix this problem immediately. Online wholesale business undercuts channels which are much more profitable such as their direct brand website.  This issue however is multi-layered and is not easy to remedy for the following key reasons:

    Hotels still want wholesale business!

    Hotels still maintain strong relationships with a number of wholesale partners, big and small, and they rely on these partnerships to generate base business. Turning off these channels would potentially mean the loss of significant revenues, at least in the short term.  Although wholesale channels can undercut other websites when sold online, they also still generate incremental business when sold offline through the traditional method

    Finding the source of whole business online can be very difficult

    When wholesale rates appears online, it’s generally very difficult to know which wholesaler specifically is providing that inventory. The wholesale partners themselves don’t generally sell rooms through their own websites, but sell their rates through wholesale aggregation channels such as Amoma.com.  It’s channels like Amoma who then sell the rates online through their own interface, and promote their rates through larger meta search intermediaries such as Trivago and TripAdvisor.  Generally the only way to find the true source is to make a test booking online, and then track how that reservation comes into the hotel’s central reservation system (each reservation is typically flagged with an inventory source).  Many hotels are reluctant to do this since a booking requires use of a credit card and sometimes even pre-payment, and then cancellation of that test booking is not always easy to do. The test booking process is both cumbersome to manage at scale, and is also financially risky for a hotel if those booking cannot be cancelled.

    Room bookings can be made through Amoma.com and other wholesale aggregator websites by anyone online. However, the back end wholesale source for each booking from Amoma and other channels like it can be very challenging for a hotel to identify

    Room bookings can be made through Amoma.com and other wholesale aggregator websites by anyone online. However, the back end wholesale source for each booking from Amoma and other channels like it can be very challenging for a hotel to identify.

    Employee incentives are at stake

    Within hotel sales departments, team members are still incentivized to drive wholesale volume, regardless of where that volume is being sold (offline or online). Wholesale partners generally don’t provide specifics on how they are selling their inventory, and as long as room allotments are sold, the responsible sales team members are satisfied. This is creating an unavoidable rift between the direction of some sales leaders with the revenue management and digital strategy teams.

    So what’s next?

    Hotel companies are dealing with this situation in a variety of ways. Some are cutting off wholesale altogether since they simply can’t control where their inventory is ending up. Others are maintaining the partnerships, but are working to move away from static room allotments and over to dynamic pricing and availability where the hotels have more control over the inventory they send to the wholesalers. This is a major problem facing the industry that very much remains unsolved.

    If we take ourselves back to the 2001, price transparency was a challenge for hoteliers. Properties simply didn’t have direct access to a large enough segment of customers, therefore traditional partnerships like wholesale was an absolute necessity. With the growth of the OTAs though, and the emergence of new technologies such as meta search, that access is no longer an issue. The world is accessible for each hotel with a few quick key strokes on a computer. It is now only a matter of time until hoteliers make one of the following decisions:

  • Utilize wholesalers purely as another online distribution channel, selling rates that are parity with every other website (brand.com and OTAs)
  • Remove wholesale out of the channel mix altogether, realizing that room inventory can be be sold among the multitude of websites and digital platforms already available
  • PDF Version Available Here

    Nick Cohen HeadshotNick Cohen is based in Hong Kong and leads digital strategy for Hyatt Hotels in Asia Pacific.  He oversees online marketing efforts for all Hyatt brands and properties across the region, and manages a variety of e-Commerce and digital platform projects to help increase online revenues for the company. Prior to joining Hyatt, Nick held senior e-Commerce and digital marketing roles at Langham Hospitality Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Sabre Hospitality Solutions.  Earlier in his career, working on-property for various hotels he developed extensive knowledge in operations, along with Sales & Marketing and Revenue Management expertise. Nick also holds a graduate diploma in Hotel and Tourism Business Management from Boston University.   Sources:

    Network Monitoring Program: Pay or not to Pay? | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

    By Dmitriy Stepanov

    Article Rating:

    April 11, 2013 04:21 PM EDT

    Reads:

    3,765

    Today you can find a lot of programs that help system administrators to perform the company's local network monitoring process. There are both commercial (all of them have different functionality and therefore different price) and free software among them. Some managers ask: why do they need to buy the software if a company can save money and use the free one? What is the difference between the commercial and free network monitoring programs? Does using the free software really help to cut down the company's expenses?

    1. The functionality of commercial network monitoring programs is much richer; they offer a wide choice of settings, monitoring checks, notifications, protocols, reports, diagrams, and other features. All this makes the company's network operation more stable, even if it is rather complex and include a lot of hosts. In comparison with the commercial software, the free one offers only the minimal packet of settings to perform the monitoring of the most important network systems only. But every technician knows that there are no unimportant details in networks' operation of any complexity. Even the least important server's or database's downtime can lead to the serious downtime of the entire company's department.

    2. Any commercial network monitoring program's user can be sure that he will get the qualified technical support in time by email or telephone. In addition, the commercial software developers always pay much attention on bug reports and fix them within the shortest possible period of time. The program's repute, the company's image, and the developer's prosperity depend on the operation of the software that they offer. Using a free version, you will be never sure for 100% that your questions will meet answers, and bug reports will be considered, or at least noticed. If some troubles happen, you will meet them face to face alone.

    3. Except fixing bugs, the commercial network monitoring software developers always work at improving its quality, functionality, and stability. Thus, the program is constantly in progress, and new updates are always released. The free utilities might not be updated at all, and its version history might stop on the v1.0.

    4. Often, the commercial program developers take into account users' feedback and can modify the current software to meet the customer requirements, for instance, add new features. If the software is free, developers hardly will make the individual modifications.

    5. The last but not the least point for using the commercial network monitoring software is absence of frustrating advertising. It is obvious that the free software developers want to get profit as well. That is why some of them solve the problem by attracting a lot of advertisers. Advertisements can appear at the moment of program's launching or during its operation. It can differ from obtrusive banners to frustrating pop-ups. This does not allow a user to concentrate on his work but irritates him a lot.

    Any system administrator or IT manager should remember that the network monitoring is not only the monitoring of all network devices' physical availability or controlling the services' and processes' operability. It is the detailed checking of parameters important for the network functionality such as the CPU load and the whole system's productivity. That is why the whole organization's operation and operation of its employees and customers depend on the network monitoring software that IT managers choose. When choosing between the free and commercial software, remember, that if you buy cheaply, you pay dearly. In this particular case, the price of mistake might be too high. You must decide for yourself, what is more important for you: to purchase modern and good quality software, but pay a little bit more, or save money and get a mediocre program without any support.

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