TLDR: To Long Didn’t Read
This week's hospitality news includes AO Hostels' approach to sustainability by repurposing existing buildings, cost-conscious travellers opting for alternative accommodations, and positive travel forecasts. Other news includes Booking.com's potential antitrust warning, Wyndham's stock impact on management, and global events such as Turkey's elections and Russia's military effectiveness. Academia highlights the importance of creativity in hospitality businesses, while tips and tricks cover ChatGPT for hotels and a chart of hotel distribution technology.
1. Main Hospitality News
Core news related to the industry
The A&O Approach
A&O Hostels a European hostel chain that provides budget accommodations is presenting its “innovative approach to transforming "dirty and ugly" buildings into sustainable accommodations.
AO Hostels is a European hostel chain that aims to convert existing buildings, such as former office spaces or factories, into eco-friendly hostels fitting the ESG requirements.
By repurposing existing structures, AO Hostels aims to reduce waste and set ambitious sustainability targets, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality and zero waste across its properties.
AO Hostels' concept represents a growing trend in the hospitality industry, where companies are increasingly focusing on sustainability and repurposing existing structures rather than building from scratch.
Surging hotel rates have prompted cost-conscious travellers to seek creative solutions to reduce their lodging expenses.
Travellers are increasingly opting for alternative accommodations like hostels, vacation rentals, and short-term apartment rentals as more affordable options compared to traditional hotels.
Digital platforms and online marketplaces have facilitated the discovery and booking of these alternative accommodations, providing travellers with a wider range of choices at lower prices. Additionally, strategies such as choosing accommodations in less expensive neighbourhoods, taking advantage of loyalty programs, and incorporating work or leisure activities into trips are being embraced by travellers as ways to offset lodging costs and make their travel budgets more manageable. Read more on Skift.
Travel forecasts are positive again (for now)
What will happen with hospitality this year? To answer that question objectively one would have to consider countless variables, some of which nobody knows the future of and some that we do not even know exist. We saw data in the past weeks and months indicating growth in some areas (OTA bookings) and a slower recovery in others (like business travel). https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4116573.html#:~:text=CBRE is again raising its,%240.43 from its previous forecast.. Based on lower growth in new hotel investments & thus higher occupancies for existing inventory. As well as overall economic growth & comeback of business travel. Another day another forecast.
Booking.com is about to be slapped on the wrist by EU Antitrust
Booking.com is trying to acquire Etraveli Group for over 1.63 billion. As if it does not already have enough control over the market. Fear not, for the EU antitrust agency is likely to issue a warning to booking.com for doing so (according to sources from reuters). Such a warning is not a stop to the transaction yet but requires booking to take “some actions”. For those who don’t know, Etraveli owns sites like my trip and TripStack.
Hospitality companies are not much different from the rest
A lot of us have heard how stock markets can influence corporate decisions. Starting with short-term profit incentives for executives to perform instead of investing in the next 20-30 years. But what does it look like for hospitality companies? This week a rumour surfaced that Wyndham might be taken over by Choice Hotels. Result? A rapid spike in stock prices for Wyndham from 66 USD to 71. The group has denied such a takeover happening, yet now the question resides if the executives of the company might reconsider and indeed merge with Choice Hotels, since that is what investors obviously want. Time will tell!
Econimics, finance, geopolitics. All have an impact on the hospitality sector.
Social Progress Index and which people are well provided for?
A recent article by the economist explains a relatively new index, ranking countries by the well-being of their people. Switzerland is number 1, while the US is not even in the top ton. Another interesting finding is that GDP growth over the last 3 decades was not necessarily connected to the SPI index (Social Progress Index). China had an 11x growth in GDP, while it only increased its SPI by 45%. The overall growth trend in the 80s is much slower than that of today. In some continents, it has mostly stopped (Latin America), while in others it has gone down (US)
To Erdogan or not Erdogan, that is the question
Turkey elections are not the most interesting topic for people who aren’t from there. Yet it's one of the top developing countries that act as major logistics, production & tourism hub for Europe and beyond. What is the future of this country? Well, one can argue that the elections on the 28th of May will decide that. An arguably authoritarian leader Erdogan has for the first time been forced into a second round of elections and can theoretically lose after 20 years of rule! Data however shows otherwise. On Monday we will either wake up with a new state that might be ready to join the club of democratic countries and freedoms that come with it for its people or join the sad long list of one dude rules it-all states.
Russia the giant conglomerate & Ukraine the lean startup
Think of how scary the Russian military seemed a few years ago. The biggest country in the world with the most resources, limitless weapons stored and of course nukes. Like a big company chain (if you will). Turns out it's rather immobile and slow to react military force cannot even take a little neighbour Ukraine. A recent study also showed that its countless rocket attacks are actually not as effective. Why? Like any centralized force, it takes Russian forces almost 48 hours to make a decision. Say a target is identified, this information flows to Moscow, to high command and then back with orders. By then Ukraine has already moved its forces. Self-organization is therefore a far more superior approach even in war. Where decisions can be made quickly and often with much more accurate and thus better-informed decisions. Be like Ukraine folks and let your teams make your own decisions because the alternative is Putin.
Deadlines and how the US government is speed learning for its final exam
Remember the news from the past few weeks on the US defaulting? Well, apparently a deal has almost been reached. Deadlines are a perfect way to increase productivity. So have Democrats and Republicans learned in the past few weeks, trying to agree on almost every fiscal policy for the next 10 years. Let's if they get an A+ or a C-, given that a preliminary agreement has been reached!
The world innovates, North Korea builds a wall!
While some countries have spent revisiting their tourism strategy and sources of economic growth during the pandemic, North Korea has built a wall. One that spans from its Chinese border down to the Russian coast. Next time you complain about the wrong policy your elected officials are trying to implement, at least they didn’t build a wall for you to stay in the country forever.
Scientific papers related to the topics above. For those who want to know for sure ;)
Creativity helps solve admin issues & makes people more flexible
What matters in hospitality for a business to be successful? Apparently creativity! A recent study showed that the high level of creativity of hospitality employees allowed businesses not only to come up with cool and hip ideas but also helped to solve administrative problems in the organization, adaptation and flexibility to changes. Subsequently increasing the level of competitiveness of the hospitality establishments. Next time you hire an employee, check how creative they are!
Books, podcasts & the big stuff.
Given our latest recommendations on looking closer into the experience economy, here is another great add-on called Designing Experiences, by Rossman J. A book that goes into the actual execution of experiences in a variety of scenarios.
5. Tips & Tricks Tools & SaaS
Any new software you can use? Industry tricks you missed?
ChatGPT in hotels (how to guide)
ChatGPT is now a more or less established tool that one can use for free (for now) and increase one’s efficiency by at least 10% (not a bad bargain). But how can I apply it in hospitality? Easy! Here is a set of expert opinions on how to do it.
All hotel distribution tech there is in one graph
Struggling to understand what software & technology is out there that can benefit your hotel business? Well a more recent chart by snapshot, has recently been released listing PMS, distribution tools, booking channels and marketing tools. Take a look here if you want to understand more closely what can be used in day-to-day operations.