As hotel booking technology continues to advance, the next widescale trend to emerge in hotel reservations and hospitality marketing may be attribute-based reservations.
Traditionally hoteliers have built room pools based on a single characteristic, such as bed type. This has largely been the extend of attribute offerings due to limits in reservation technology; however, with new investments in res engines and blockchain, the reservation system of the near-future will be able to offer extensive customization to guests.
Instead of selecting just a king bed room with the hotels standard amenities, guests may be able to specify a king room, near the elevator, with a four-piece bathroom, a sunrise view, an elliptical machine and a large club chair. Clearly this represents an extensive revenue opportunity for hoteliers, as well, to package unique room features and amenities to create more personal experiences for guests.
Beyond direct customization revenue, the broader opportunity to hotels will come from direct channel maximization, just as airlines have done with seat selection. Customization offered exclusively through branded hotel websites and apps would be a significant marketshare play against OTAs and room-sharing services such as AirBNB.
As marketers, it's important to remember that our most important messages can become routine to customers. With repetition, they fade into insignificance. It's critical that we challenge our perceptions of what "must be" and innovate with what "can be". That is the art of #RestlessRenewal.
Kudos to Quantas Airlines for their beautiful, inspiring re-invention of the flight safety video. I've watched the entire clip time and time again to remind myself to challenge convention and re-imagine the ordinary.
This week I spent time with the industry's top luxury travel agencies at VirtuosoTravelWeek in Las Vegas. Based on these interactions and the increased demand for travel agents, I've been giving some thought to what the travel agency of tomorrow may look like.
Years ago, the local travel agency was a brick-and-mortar office on Main Street with sunny and exotic destination posters adorning the walls.
As the age of online travel grew and travelers adopted a D-I-Y approach, travel agencies disappeared from Main Street in search of lower costs in high-rise buildings or work-from-home arrangements. What will the travel agency of tomorrow look like?
Instead of being simply a transactional office, retail travel agencies will return to Main Street as experiential spaces for luxury consumers.
Given the growing demand for curated travel experiences, I believe the travel agency of tomorrow will look much like the agency of yesteryear. Instead of being simply a transactional office, retail travel agencies will return to Main Street as experiential spaces for luxury consumers. Gone are the destination posters of yesteryear in favor of a refined, relaxed environment to enjoy coffee or wine with friends. Curated presentations – some travel related, some not – hosted at the agency become "nights out" for like-minded neighbors who view the agency as expert not just in travel, but in luxury experiences. The travel agency becomes a familiar hang-out for locals to learn, share stories, and laugh together. In short, the travel agency of tomorrow is an experiential hybrid: part wine bar, part concierge lounge, and part expert showcase.
For travel agency owners, the upside to this new agency format may include new revenue streams such as wine sales and event space rental… not to mention increased foot traffic and travel sales. Besides, what goes better with travel stories than a great glass of wine?
As I've discussed many times before, I'm confident that innovation is the key to sustained success in business. It cannot be simple coincidence that the top companies in the world are also the most innovative companies in the world. As a leader, you must create a culture of restless renewal that drives innovation and change in your organization.
Why do I say innovation and change? Because innovation – the creative process of re-evaluating ideas – is not enough to deliver success. If leaders don't take the next step and test opportunities to evolve, then innovation is meaningless.
The pages of corporate failures are littered with stories of innovation that didn't deliver change.
For example, did you know that now defunct KODAK invented the digital camera… in 1975? In fact, nearly every digital camera and smartphone in existence today relies on some form of KODAK's patent for digital cameras. But rather than pursue a ground-breaking innovation, KODAK management passed on a segment-shattering change and stuck to film. While the company was innovative, the leadership lacked the vision to embrace change.
How Nick Saban's process would change your business
A nice look behind the scenes at how Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban's drive to lead innovation for his team helped build a the most elite organization in college football today (But still… #GoNoles!)