Three years ago, America’s largest independent hotel brand announced that it was partnering with RoomKey to provide yet another service feature to the company’s chain of properties. PMS1 Property Management system was developed by RoomKey to serve the needs of this rapidly growing brand of hotels.
Today Magnuson announced that it is releasing a completely new brand identity designed to not only give the brand a fresh new look, but to also align it’s marketing strategy with new partners in Asia and Europe – Jin Jaing and Louvre.
Magnuson Hotels Reveals New Brand Identity
The rapidly growing hotel chain, Magnuson Hotels, has today unveiled a fresh new look as it sets to expand consumer awareness of its three brands; Magnuson Grand, Magnuson Hotels and M Star Hotels.
The re-brand is the first in the hotel group’s 12-year history and will help to position Magnuson Hotels as the industry leader it’s proving to be. With the world’s largest GDS & internet reservation system, Magnuson offers the widest online distribution, delivering more profit at a lower cost than any of its competitors.
Magnuson Hotels’ new identity will also play an important role in exporting the ambitious American brand worldwide as it seeks new growth opportunities abroad. This is one of the first marketing initiatives of a recently formed global partnership between Magnuson, Jin Jiang and Louvre, the largest hotel groups in Asia and Europe respectively.
“Magnuson’s decision to unveil an updated brand identity is the first stage in exporting our fast growing USA brand to a global audience,” stated company CEO Thomas Magnuson. “By partnering with Jin Jiang and Louvre Hotels, the Magnuson Hotel brands will be directly available for corporate, leisure and travel agent bookings from China and 50 other countries. As our combined companies now represent nearly 5,600 hotels and over 500,000 rooms, we expect the impact to be significant for our US hotel affiliates.”
“As well as the aggressive online marketing and high margins already delivered to US hotel owners affiliating with the Magnuson brands, we are reinvesting to advance consumer popularity even further,” stated Magnuson.
While the new branding will be implemented on all future Magnuson campaigns, the hotels will still retain some degree of flexibility to choose designs that complement their personality and the property’s location; a factor that has always been an important feature in the Magnuson brand philosophy.
UK creative agency, Stokenbrand, was selected to execute the re-brand alongside the Magnuson marketing team and will continue to assist in personalizing the new identity to best suit the requirements of each individual hotel.
About Magnuson Hotels:
Headquartered in London UK and Spokane WA, Magnuson Hotels is a top 10 global chain and markets over 1000 hotels across six countries and three continents.
Founded in 2003, Magnuson Hotels quickly became the world’s largest independent hotel group. In 2006, Magnuson Hotels introduced three hotel brands serving the upper midscale, midscale and economy segments, allowing hotel owners a way to achieve global brand support at a lower cost than traditional hotel franchises.
Today, Magnuson has become the fastest growing hotel brand in history, adding more new hotels in the last 10 years than 8 of the top 10 chains combined. Magnuson Hotels’ newly formed global alliance with Chinese operator Jin Jiang Hotels will form a consortium of over 5,000 hotels worldwide, equal to the size of a top 5 global hotel chain.
The Online Booking Engine (OBE) generates bookings directly from your website and helps increase occupancy at your property. There are numerous must haves when it comes to a successful Online Booking Engine.
A well designed OBE should have a high conversion rate. In order to generate more bookings through your website it’s vital to drive traffic to your site. This can be done via various marketing channels or word of mouth. Once the prospective guest lands on your website, the OBE acts as your front desk clerk. Here are some keys to a highly functional OBE that drives more conversions & generate more cost effective bookings:
• Easy to navigate-helps with conversions
• Matches the look and feel of your website
• Mobile friendly-it must adapt to your guest’s device (smart phone, tablet etc)
• Secure and reliable- real time inventory minimizes booking errors and over booking
• Integrated with your GDS or Direct Connects such as Expedia or Booking.com
• Group Login-Group coordinators will appreciate ease of usage
• No Transactions Fees- hotels already lose $ when choosing to work with OTA’s. Don’t solely depend on OTA’s. Additional Fees for your direct booking’s on your site are not cost effective.
One final tip is to make sure to attach Google Analytics to your website to determine how much traffic is driven to your OBE. This will allow you to understand conversation rates. The OBE is your online employee. Make sure to thoroughly understand how your OBE can be a cost effective way to increase occupancy at your property.
Long gone are the days that an in-room desk and high speed internet connection are the key components to attracting corporate clientele. As with leisure guests, corporate clientele’s expectations have shifted. What is your property doing to keep up? What are you doing to attract corporate clientele?
There are many great suggestions to help attract and retain a loyal business guest. Below are amenities and services that are common requirements for the business traveler.
Some of these are newer trends, while some are reminders of what can be done to build loyalty with the corporate market:
• in-room use of an iPad fully loaded with Press Reader (a ‘digital newsstand’ featuring thousands of newspapers and magazines from around the world)
• unlimited long-distance calling within North America
• fax and photocopy business services provided by the front desk, with up to 100 pages for free
• priority early check-in
• Late check-out
• Extended parking for 1 night stays (36 hrs)
• Complimentary breakfast with hours to accommodate a business traveler
• Reliable, easy to access, High Speed Internet access
• Multimedia within the guest room, with easy ability to connect (ie. Connecting laptop to TV, multiple outlets, Bluetooth)
• Shuttle Service
• Gym access with ample equipment and hours to accommodate an early riser or a night owl
• Even on sold out nights, holding back 1 or 2 rooms (dependent on hotel) for last minute business guests (builds loyalty)
Adapting to the ever growing guest expectations and keeping up with current technologies is going to go a long way in building a rapport and loyalty with your business clientele.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in bookings from travel agents using the Global Distribution Systems (GDS). It’s fair to assume that in a whole of technology and lack on one-on-one assistance, travelers are now craving a “personalized touch”. Many people still like to interact with a knowledgeable travel agent who will assist them in planning the perfect trip.
It also appears that travelers who book via travel agents tend to spend more per night. These people also like to take advantage of the hotels amenities as well. The influence that travel agents possess with the tourism market will not diminish anytime soon. If you stay strategic, its very possible to maximize your potential with the GDS channels.
Tips to Ensure a Good Relationship with Travel Agents:
Be Competitive – Be at a competitive price, otherwise, travel agents can risk losing their credibility if the guest happens to find a better price online.
Have Amenities – Offer amenities such as free internet, breakfast and perhaps airport shuttle service. Any amenities considered value added make it easier for the travel agent to sell your property.
Be Accurate – Ensure your property information is accurate via all channels, especially in the GDS. Travel agents can’t afford to provide inaccurate information to their clients.
Corporate Accounts – As corporate accounts tend to book primarily via the GDS, ensure that all incentives (rates and amenities) are updated accordingly.
Ideally, your primary goal should be to maximize all of your channels. Identify those that generate the most revenue, ADR, RevPAR and the longest stays.
The health and wellness travel segment is growing immensely, creating a market for hotels that cater to the health-conscious guest. This travel segment is growing at a much faster rate than the overall tourism. Its travelers are middle aged, affluent, well educated and spending more. Wellness tourism is expected to grow to a more than $675-billion market by 2017.
How are you working to appeal to, and capitalize on, the health-conscious traveler?
As more and more people look to improve their lives through a healthy routine, hotel industry innovators are working to make sure that routine isn’t broken when people travel.
Nowadays, a vacation is less defined by indulgence and relaxation, but by a feeling of restoration, people not only want, but need to relieve the pressures of their workaday lives and achieve a healthful sense of balance. In a 2011 study by Columbia University, researchers found cardiovascular-related health risks such as obesity and high blood pressure were increased by frequent or extensive travel.
Fitness centers and healthy options in market pantries or food and beverage outlets have become brand standard for many hotels. However, several brands have taken things to the next level, offering everything from hotel rooms that alleviate altitude sickness to showers with vitamin-infused water or in-room yoga mats. Other initiatives are the alarm clock’s gentle glow to help regulate sleep, in-room workout equipment, and maps of local running paths.
Ten years ago the role of the revenue manager in a hotel consisted of compiling historical booking data into complex excel spreadsheets and analyzing this data to predict market demand and dynamically price accordingly.
The role and value to the property of a revenue manager has changed significantly since then. With information available to a hotel customer as quickly as you can say Google, revenue managers now have to take into account groups, channels, market segments, room types, social reviews, weather and competition. This, along with the traditional historical booking data to strategically price their inventory on a daily or hourly basis.
The goal of the revenue manager has always been the same. Find the right customer, through right channel at the right price at the right time.
The introduction of automated, algorithmic revenue management software is being embraced by the independent market now. The competitive edge the brands once had in dynamic pricing is being mitigated by these programs.
The new age revenue manager can now focus on strategy as opposed to technical analysis and tactics. By compiling data in real time, these systems allow revenue managers to see trends much further out and faster so they can yield a significantly higher portion of the booking window.
Two way integration with the PMS is imperative to limit tedious manual uploading between systems. When implementing automated revenue management technology, it is important that they integrate with your current PMS solution.
RoomKeyPMS currently offers two way integration to i-Rates, PriceMatch and very soon Duetto, with all technologies offering various advantages depending on your hotel needs.
The Department of Labor’s proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemptions will impact the American workplace—and especially employers in the hospitality industry (namely hotels and restaurants)—as much as any legal development in the past decade.
Exempt job classifications will need to be reassessed and, in many cases, changed. But to view this as merely the moment to endure a major legal audit might be to overlook a broader opportunity.
Read the rest of the article here.
Like it or not – the hospitality industry is looking to technology in hopes of improving the guest experience and therefore encouraging a stronger bottom line. There are many schools of thought on this subject from those who say “you can’t replace that personal touch with technology”, to those who are looking to replace staff with robots.
Those are extremes, and no matter which way you are leaning, it is important to know what is available to you as a hotelier and to understand what the implications are of embracing or ignoring the trends.
There have been a lot of studies done to evaluate expectations by today’s traveler. Some are obvious – wireless internet access, electronic door locks and in room entertainment to name a few. So how do you as a hotelier measure “what is enough”? It is important to know what technologies are available, and just what the impact on the guest experience might be. Keeping informed of what the marketplace and the competition is doing – are good places to start in this evaluation.
Alternatively, you can find surveys that will give you an idea of the expectation of travelers. However, keep in mind these surveys are only samplings, and don’t measure the overall market. Software advice recently released the results of their survey. To view the results – click this link.
The best rule of thumb would be to spend some time measuring your specific market. Are your guests mostly transient or business travelers. Business travelers might have higher expectations as far as technological “tools” available might be concerned. Mobile check in, online room service, online concierge might be tools that would appeal to a guest who has had a long day and just wants to disappear into their room at the end.
From the perspective of return on your investment in technology services, it is understood that the more times you “touch” a guest, the more opportunity you have to improve the experience. Through a number of the technology tools available on the market today, you have the ability to continually connect with the guest and read the response to insure that it continues to be positive.
However, all of that being said don’t forget that the most valuable tool you have is the spirit of your property. Staff that are happy, that smile and greet each guests warmly will never let you down. It has also been said that the more technology you employ to insure your guest’s comfort – the higher their expectation. It is always important to stay abreast of new and evolving technologies to be better equipped to meet the needs and demands of today’s more sophisticated guest. It is all up to you!
Marketing for your hotel is no easy task. A hotel has endless marketing options. Many properties have already incorporated automated marketing for their property. If your property hasn’t already, then now is the time. Automated marketing will deliver a significant ROI for your property.
Traditionally, management could hire a marketing professional to their team, or assign the marketing tasks to a marketing agency. They can also assign the GM or sales manager to do the marketing duties. All of these options are very expensive and time consuming.
We live in a world of social selling, and prospective hotel guests demand marketing engagement. If a property does not consistently engage with their prospects or repeat guests, they run the risk of losing market share very quickly. Efficiently communicating with guests via email, survey, newsletters etc. will only help generate more business and improve the quality of customer service. Efficiency is a massive characteristic for any marketing strategy.
Hotel management should seek out more ways to be cost effective with marketing dollars. Time management is another factor that must be taken into consideration. There are hotel-oriented marketing solutions that allow team members to spend their time wisely, while the hotel still manages to display a consistent brand message.
Whether your property is 30 rooms or 300, incorporating a hotel automated marketing solution can generate an ROI. Employees will have more time to focus on their day to day tasks. Plus, the property won’t have a need to hire a specific marketing employee.
RoomKeyPMS is proud to work with GuestFolio. Check out their site for more info on hotel marketing automation.
Put Yourself Into The Shoes Of Your Shopper
When is the last time you updated the content on your brands website? Your OTA’s? When is the last time you put yourself in the shoes of the people booking your hotel? In today’s ever-evolving online landscape, many factors can impact the buying behavior of potential future guests. Spending time to evaluate your image on the web is crucial, and sometimes it can be as easy as going back to basics.
Your Own Brand Website
The ultimate goal for all properties is to drive as much traffic to their own website. But what happens when someone comes your page? There are many questions to ask yourself regarding the appearance of your website:
-Is the layout intuitive and easy to navigate? Don’t over complicate things, nor put too much clutter
-Does it appeal to your target markets?
-Does it tie into your brands vision and messaging?
-Do the colours make sense?
-Can I easily book a reservation?
-Do I use a lot of high res, quality photos? Do the pictures paint a realistic representation of the property?
-If I have a restaurant, do I have the ability to make reservations for the restaurant?
-Is my website mobile responsive? What does my property look like on an iPad, iPhone, Android, or other devices?
-Are you actively monitoring traffic and conversion?
-Is the information accurate and up to date? Are there any grammatical errors?
-What is your competition doing on their website?
Much of the above may seem like common sense, but many websites are still very outdated. Be smart with your selection of photos. Guests don’t care that you have a couch in the lobby. They want to see the rooms, the amenities, the restaurant and more. Remember, your goal is to entice them to book. Make it easy for them. Don’t bury the “book now” button so that they cannot find it.
OTA’s and Other Sites
The online travel agencies spend a great deal of time and money on monitoring consumers buying decisions. They will invest a lot of time into product testing via rapid experimentation. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing the colour of an icon, or perhaps moving a button from left to right. They always measure this back against traffic and conversion to see how consumers reacted for those changes.
Below are some questions to ask when looking for your own property on other channels:
-Compare the information across all channels, is it accurate?
-Is what is written as the description of the property aligned to your own website? Are they mentioning true selling features? Is the information accurate?
-Google your property name. Are any of the results surprising?
-Ask your market manager about rapid experimentation, and what the OTA has been doing to get the consumer to book?
-Ask your market manager more about statistics regarding traffic and conversion. How does this stack up against the market? Are you getting your fair share of clicks? Are you visible?
-Have you looked at meta-search sites such as Trivago and Kayak? Often these sites list affiliations of the larger OTA’s and some sites you may have never heard of. Often on those sites, content is inaccurate
-Are you ensuring on all channels that you are maintaining the same rate?
It is important for properties to take the time to put themselves in the shoes of the customer, and frequently. Unfortunately it is often a task that gets pushed off, but can have heavy impact on the customer’s decision in making that reservation.