When the pandemic forced hotel companies to change everything about how they do business, HSMAI knew we needed to do the same thing. We started with our Adrian Awards program, which every year honors creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. For the 2020 Adrian Awards — presented with Signature Partner MMGY Global and Supporting Partners Panzano + Partners and WorkerBee.TV — we created four new focus categories to recognize the resilience that the industry demonstrated in response to COVID: corporate social responsibility, crisis communications and management, recovery strategies, and talent and leadership development, with that last category being an HSMAI Foundation Honor. Made possible with the support of our Organizational Member companies, this HSMAI Special Report profiles the Best Practice Gold honorees in these four focus categories.
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and Revenue Analytics present The New RMS: A Buying Guide, a new white paper that explores modern hotel revenue management systems, including how they have evolved — and how they need to evolve — in the aftermath of the pandemic that has seriously disrupted the hospitality industry.
Hotel bookings are on the rise. While we’re still not back to normal for seasonally adjusted bookings or cumulative bookings, the pace of hotel bookings for leisure travel has begun to rise above pre-pandemic levels. Business bookings continue to pick-up reaching as high as only 10% off the index earlier in May. For hoteliers and destination marketing organizations, this trend is exactly what they’ve been hoping to see, ADARA reports for HSMAI.
HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization are always just that: extraordinary. But our most recent class of honorees is something else. Presented with IDeaS, a SAS company — our Top 25 Program Partner — the Top 25 recognizes leaders in sales, marketing, and revenue optimization from hospitality, travel, and tourism organizations for their accomplishments in the preceding 18 months. The profiles of all of them in this HSMAI Special Report — made possible with the support of HSMAI Organizational Member companies — show that their efforts on behalf of their guests, clients, and team members are not just extraordinary but inspirational.
According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, 88% of them now have travel plans in the next six months, the highest level in more than a year. However, less than a third of them are likely to visit a tourism attraction or business which does not have clear COVID safety protocols, such as mask requirements and social distancing, in place. “It’s obvious from the data that Americans are ready to travel again, but only if they believe they can do safely,” said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. Hear his observations for HSMAI:
While 2020 was a difficult year for the hospitality industry, one of the bright spots was the manner in which human resources (HR) professionals responded to the many unanticipated and still-evolving challenges associated with the pandemic. During a series of executive roundtables that the HSMAI Foundation organized in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, hotel HR leaders shared the strategies and practices they have implemented in response to the talent crisis that COVID 19 has triggered throughout the industry. While their initial efforts centered on retrenchment and building resilience, gradually they shifted to identifying new solutions for attracting.
Can you define the term “displacement analysis” off the top of your head? What about “EBITA” or “FFO”?
As silos in hotel organizations continue to erode, and as sales professionals engage at a higher level with owners, asset managers, GMs, revenue management teams, and marketers, they are increasingly expected to demonstrate their knowledge of the sales discipline as well as operations and other functions. If you want to further your career in hotel sales, you need to brush up on your business acumen. One easy way to do that is to sharpen your understanding of the acronyms, jargon, and terminology used in and around the business of hotels. It will help you strengthen your skills, build your reputation as a knowledgeable team member, and form the foundation for your future success.
Check out the list of terms that HSMAI’s Sales Advisory Board identified as being crucial for every hotel sales professional to know.
Sherri Kimes has been on top of the pandemic since the beginning. The hospitality revenue expert and HSMAI Vanguard Award for Lifetime Achievement in Revenue Optimization recipient, conducted surveys right out of the gate, in March and April, to gauge how the industry was responding to COVID-19. With her latest report, Nine Months of Covid: Advice From the Global Hotel Industry, she’s gone even broader and deeper, partnering with HSMAI and Revinate to survey a thousand hospitality professionals in a hundred countries.
“Given that it has been over nine months since hotels started to be affected by COVID,” said Kimes, emeritus professor of operations management at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and a visiting professor of analytics and operations at the Business School at the National University of Singapore, “I wanted to learn more about what they had done, how well their tactics had worked, and to get their advice on best practices.”
While the report paints an overall picture that isn’t pretty — Kimes identifies average decreases in ADR, occupancy, and RevPAR of 31.4, 43.7, and 41.7 percent, respectively — it contains some hopeful notes as well. In an interview with HSMAI, Kimes shared highlights.
What are some key findings from the survey?
- People are pretty pessimistic about recovery — most of the 1,000 respondents think that it will take at least six to nine months for recovery.
- There are major cultural differences both in enforcement of restrictions and HR policies.
What results surprised you most?
I don’t know if it surprised me, but I was really struck at the strong cultural differences between Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa and Europe/Americas.
What can the last nine months tell us about preparing for 2021?
- The importance of planning and being prepared for all eventualities.
- The fact that forecasting based on historical data will most probably not work. Instead, focus in on more recent and outside events.
- For hotels with a strong international base, be sure to keep up-to-date on developments in your client countries to see the impact on travel.
What are your thoughts on if/when a sustained recovery might happen?
At least a year.
According to the most recent Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, 15% of them have canceled their holiday travel plans in the last two weeks as the coronavirus surges nationwide. Another 10% shifted their holiday trips from a fly trip to a driving one. Meanwhile, almost half say they did not plan to travel during the holidays and that has not changed since mid-November.
While news about potential vaccines is fueling a powerful sense of hope, we are still in the depths of extraordinarily difficult times. Fears over health and safety are pervasive, small businesses are shuttering, and uncertainty remains about what the next several months will look like. But what we can do is harness all those concerns by laying the groundwork based on our concrete knowledge. We saw a frenzy of travel bookings around Black Friday, spurred in part by flexible policies and steep discounts; DMOs are mobilizing their communities to bolster and revive local partners; and all across the globe, destinations and suppliers are optimizing their public health protocols and awareness campaigns. The sum of these actions is even greater than their parts, and together we will persevere and come out stronger than ever before.