By Alan E. Young
Nashville is known for many things; live music, nightlife, food, and from August 15th until 17th that list expands to include the Hotel Data Conference (HDC) hosted by STR. A yearly, sold-out event staple in the hospitality industry, the conference covers over 20 exciting, insightful presentations, industry outlooks, tips, trends, and so much more.
Taking place at the Omni Nashville Hotel, attendees can expect to join in on conversations with industry leaders and panelists and leave with data-backed insights to enhance their hospitality offering in 2018 and beyond. After all, with the trend of hyper-guest personalization continually gaining traction across our industry, the intelligent utilization of data is quickly becoming the key to a hotel’s success and longevity.
With hoteliers from across the globe getting ready to board their flight to Nashville as we speak, we’ve compiled a list of 5 can’t-miss sessions to check out while attending HDC this year.
1. Life stage, not age: Demystifying guest psychographics
When: August 16th 10:45 – 11:45 AM
What: Millennials. That seems to be the latest industry buzz-word on everyone’s lips as hoteliers race to get ahead of emerging trends relating to guest expectations. While the millennial generation has no shortage of buying power and, without a doubt, represents a major travel segment — guest behavior and expectations have much more to do with life stage than age. It’s not a matter of lumping guests into presumed behavioral brackets based on their age; but rather, indicators are shown by their life stage and those subsequent experiential expectations.
Why You Should Attend: This panel will share best practices on how to identify your guests by their life stage and what that means for service, marketing, technology, amenities and more.
Panelists: Dave Rubin, Greystone Hotels Jeff Senior, KSL Resorts Kathleen Hodge, Hilton Worldwide Robert Arnold, Vizergy
2. Fee for all: How hotels are maximizing ancillary charges
When: August 16th 10:45 – 11:45 AM
What: Leave no revenue opportunity under-maximized. As we speak to revenue drivers for hotels, ancillary charges such as cancellation and resort fees are becoming a focal point of the conversation.
Why You Should Attend: Panelists will discuss the risk/reward of instilling ancillary fees within your property, the best way to structure those policies and communicate them to guests, and how ancillary revenue can affect your revenue management strategy and guest satisfaction.
Panelists: JB Cooke, Ashford Linda Gulrajani, Marcus Hotels & Resorts Paul Mengacci, Prism Hotels & Resorts
3. Increase revenues with review data
When: August 17th 10:50 – 11:15 AM
What: We have long-since entered the age of social sharing and feedback. With so many open networks, reviews can become the defining factor in the success of a business. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that 96% of guests have left a review for a hotel, and 95% of travelers read reviews before booking accommodations.
Why You Should Attend: This session will provide an overview of the top review sources by channel over the past five years, helping hoteliers to understand better operational improvements inspired by trending categories of positive and negative reviews. With this information, hotel properties can better adhere to guest expectations and increase revenue.
Presenter: Valerie Castillo, Vice President of Marketing, TrustYou
4. Non-traditional revenue management
When: August 17th 12:00 – 12:25 PM
What: The question on every hotelier’s mind: How can we continuously increase revenue? Are we truly maximizing the revenue opportunity of every hotel room and service? Or are we leaving untapped potential from ancillary revenue streams?
Why You Should Attend: This session will explore the topic of "non-traditional" revenue management, focusing on a Las Vegas Strip Resort case study to exemplify how even some straightforward strategic and operational changes can drive strong results.
Presenter: Dan Skodol, Vice President, Revenue Analytics, Rainmaker
5. Independents: No flag, no problem
When: August 17th 10:15 – 11:15 AM
What: As guests continuously express a desire for hyper-personalized, unique experiences within the hotel’s they frequent, independent hotels have the opportunity to capitalize on their boutique model. With independent hotels representing nearly 30% of the U.S. hotel room inventory, this segment has no shortage of unique challenges and opportunities.
Why You Should Attend: This panel will discuss the modern hospitality landscape and the opportunities it presents for unaffiliated hotels, making note of independent key performance indicators, measurements of profitability, distribution options and competing in a highly competitive industry.
Panelists: John Davis, Woodbine Development Corporation Raj Contractor, Host Hotels & Resorts Stacie Bushaw, NAVIS Tim Franzen, AJ Capital Partners
This is my first time attending this event, and I am genuinely looking forward to learning new things, meeting new people and seeing old friends. Our industry is at an exciting time related to technological adoption, and data will be the foundation of every hotelier's decision-making process.
It’s not the data that matters; it’s how we use it. See you in Nashville.