TLDR: To Long Didn’t Read
This week's hospitality news includes a hotel's experiment with a 4-day workweek, GDS's slower recovery compared to OTAs, and Airbnb's focus on budget offerings to attract Gen Z. Externalities discussed include the potential impact of AI on search engine monopolies and the possibility of a US debt default. A scientific study compares what Airbnb guests value versus what hotel guests value. Tips and tricks include 10 ways to cut costs and improve hotel bottom lines and a recommendation list of books to become a cocktails specialist.
1. Main Hospitality News
Core news related to the industry
Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Working Week at Hotels
A 4-day workweek means working 36 hours over 4 days, with an additional 4 hours available for overtime. At Hamburg's 25hour hotel, 80% of employees chose this new model.
After one year, the Vice President of People drew the following conclusions: Read the article in German here.
More job applications, especially for kitchen and waiting staff who are in high demand.
Happier employees give positive feedback, improving the guest experience.
Sick leaves can cause immediate understaffing.
Only applies to full-time staff, causing resentment among trainees and working students.
Global distribution systems (GDS) are recovering slower than expected.
GDS is an online platform where companies and travel agents can book generally cheaper flight fares and hotel stays than the B2C client in order to make packages or buy in bulk. The Spanish GDS, Amadeus, shares strong numbers in Q1 due to the full recovery of the Asian travel market and the lifting of travel restrictions. However, GDS has recovered slower than OTAs as business travel, conventions, and long air travel have picked up later than leisure trips. More details are in the Skift article.
Airbnb's lowest-priced listings receive the most engagement.
To attract Gen Z travellers in the future, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is focusing on two things: lower rates and an improved booking experience.
To cater to the demand for affordable travel, they introduced a product called Airbnb Rooms. This product spotlights stay in people's homes, which cost an average of US$67 per night instead of US$168 for an entire apartment.
In regards to the booking experience, they decided against implementing a planned Chatbot, as Gen Z demands interfaces that are multimodal, meaning rich in photos and video. This approach creates a much more immersive experience.
Econimics, finance, geopolitics. All have an impact on the hospitality sector.
Will AI tools be open source or just another monopoly?
The new hope for internet libertarians is apparently AI. Google is worried according to their new memo. Google has underestimated how quickly AI might progress and it might cost them their search engine monopoly. Or will it? That is the big question. AI search can be the next big thing and if it is controlled by an array of open-source companies competing against each other or turning into a quasi-like monopoly will impact the rest of us in a major way. Unfortunately, Juri isn’t out yet and only time will tell. Google being worried though is already positive though.
The default of the US (in short)
A default of Unites States Debt might happen. An event that can impact most of us. What is there to know? First, technically it has never happened before but came close 4 times in US history. The biggest concern in the market is US's inability to pay down its debts. If it does, it only means that the US will stop issuing more debt and will still actually pay its interest on existing debt. Most of the debt is actually internal (and countries like Russia and China have been decreasing their US share Bonds, etc.). Debt issued is all in US dollars and as plan B they can just print more of the very currency they own to others. Compared to other countries US's total cost of servicing this debt is lower than most other Western countries. The actual fuzz lies in politics, one party not wanting to decrease the allowed debt ceiling, the other satisfied with the current amount. For more here.
Where to keep the money?
Where to keep the money, given the current financial turmoil or in other words how to invest? Make sure your bank has a high amount of deposits (still), likely the case for several local banks. Look into banks’ % of loans invested in commercial real estate (the riskiest type at this point) and avoid those. Or just join a major bank like JPMorgan and ride on the too-big-to-fail train.
Scientific papers related to the topics above. For those who want to know for sure ;)
Airbnb guests vs Hotel Guests. What makes them happy?
In the spirit of this week’s news, a study that was published just this week has finally looked into what Airbnb guests value vs what hotel guest value. At its core while the list of items that impact guest satisfaction is more or less the same, the priority of these items is different. In short, Airbnb guests value proximity to attractions and recommendations are important, hotel guests care more about the facilities offered and staff professionalism. One can say Airbnb bookers want to go out and explore and hotel guests lean more towards relaxing in the guest pool.
Books, podcasts & the big stuff.
Everyone likes a chance to meet key decision-makers in the hospitality industry. Smack podcast holds intimate interviews with hospitality leaders, have an ear full here.
5. Tips & Tricks Tools & SaaS
Any new software you can use? Industry tricks you missed?
Cutting costs or improving your hotel bottom line. How?
In the age of inflation, cutting costs is becoming crucial. Here is a good take on the top 10 methods on how to do it. Here they are:
Invest in the Right Tech Stack
Reinvent your Marketing Strategy
Making Full Use of Your Hotel´s Floor Space
Reduce Food Waste and Improve Sustainability
Leverage Outsourcing and Automation
Reduce Energy Consumption
Optimize Inventory Management
Improve Staff Retention and Productivity
Streamline Housekeeping Operations
Conduct Regular Cost Audits and Analysis
How to Become a cocktails specialist
One of the most iconic experiences in the service industry is cocktails. A lucid art that often seems too complicated to master. Apparently not, or at least not impossible. Here is a recommendation list of 3 books that can help you understand the craft.