From the First Boutique Hotel to Modern Loyalty Programs
This week, we’re contrasting contemporary best practices with a bit of history that tells us how we got here. Skift’s comprehensive oral history of boutique hotels is a deep dive into how the boutique model came to be, and how it influences all hotels today. It involves interviews with all the big players in the boutique space, from the founder of Starwood to CEOs of Kimpton and more.
Once you’ve taken a look at their history, complete with timelines and great visuals, listen to a podcast about the evolution of hotel loyalty programs. It’s a time of change, which gives savvy hotels the opportunity to gain guests who maybe been dedicated to other hotels in the past.
Finally, take a look at pricing strategies, your hotel’s presence on Google, and how to respond to negative reviews.
Even if you’re not quite sure how to define exactly what a “boutique hotel” is — and you’re not alone, trust us — chances are you instinctively know one when you see one. Today, nearly 40 years after Bill Kimpton opened his first hotel and Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell opened theirs just three years later, boutique hotels remain an instrumental, and often essential, influence on the way we experience hotels, and the way we travel.
Nearly 40 years after the birth of the boutique hotels movement in the U.S., more than two dozen founders and key players exclusively tell Skift how it all happened in this 60,000 word deep dive into how it transformed the way we travel.
In order to understand hospitality today, it is first necessary to understand how hotels segment their business. After a few minutes of trying to sort it out, a few of us might feel inclined to ask, “Why do we segment our markets in the first place?” The answer is different guests want different things, and are willing to pay different prices to get what they want. Consequently, by properly segmenting potential guests, we can be more efficient with our booking and cash flow, and take a different approach in marketing, pricing, and demand generation for each segment we have.
Terri Scriven is the Head of Hospitality for Google UK, which means working with hotels and accommodation providers in Europe and beyond to help them to optimise their digital distribution and online marketing strategies.
An online marketing strategy and e-commerce expert with more than 17 years of experience, Terri is at the forefront of the digital revolution for hotels. A leader in her field, she delivers regular seminars and keynotes, and was a panellist at the Revenue Strategy Forum in London in 2016.
Duetto caught up with Terri to find out more about what hotels should be doing to heighten their online presence in a bid to compete.
Online feedback and hotel guest reviews on websites like TripAdvisor, Google or Yelp are a great way for hoteliers to find out what guests are thinking about the hotel and the experiences they made.
The good news is: In 2016, 85% of all reviews were positive! Having a good reputation online is a great way to showcase the quality of our hotel and use it as a marketing tool – without having to do much but make sure the guest is happy while he is on site! But the remaining 15% of reviews that are negative can change travelers’ opinions quickly when searching for and booking hotels.
To limit potential negative impacts on the online reputation, hotels should always respond to negative reviews and proactively address the reason for complaint.
This is the year that travelers might have to start questioning their hotel loyalties, if only because hotel loyalty programs are changing so much.
Marriott is merging its program with Starwood’s SPG. Hyatt’s new program just launched. And Hilton recently announced a slate of new features.
And all of these changes are taking place as online travel agencies continue to lure many travelers driven by price rather than points, and up-and-coming accommodations providers like Airbnb win fans without even offering a loyalty program.