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5 Memes for the Hotel Industry Right Now

Happy Friday! This week’s hotel industry meme news has everything – hotel vaccination sites, the resurgence of group bookings, creative in-room amenities, painful to pronounce acronyms, and of course space.  

1. I’ll have your most luxurious room and a dose of your finest vaccine.

Hotels have a lot to gain from a speedy vaccine roll-out. And now they are taking their “how can we help?” hospitality to a new level.  

Hotel companies have begun offering up their spaces as a double duty vaccination center. In fact, Chip Rogers, President and CEO of American Hotels and Lodging Association (AHLA) sent a letter to the new Biden-Harris administration saying they were on standby to work with state governments on vaccination center spaces. 

The interesting part of this is that with the vaccination, these hotels that are generally running at less than 50% occupancy, can serve as a comfortable refuge for those who might be traveling to receive their dose.  Due to the cold storage requirements and shipping rules, many rural residents must make a trek to get the vaccine, so in theory, these hotels would be serving multiple purposes.  

Talk about aiding you brand sentiment. I am pretty sure I would have warm and fuzzy feelings about a property where I got a life-changing vaccine.  For more on hotels offering up their space to aid the vaccine rollout, read the article from Forbes here.

2. Maybe you’re not interested in a group hug just yet, but how about a group meeting?

Pre-pandemic me: Too many meetings! All these meetings can be an email! Stop inviting me to things! 
 
Pandemic me: Turn on your camera! I need to see a new face! I’ve made best friends with my robot vacuum, Reggie. 
 
Admittedly, I was always a “want to be invited, but don’t want to go” kind of person. Not anymore. I lingered way too long at our annual turkey hand-out this year just for masked and distanced human interaction outside of my home. Meetings are starting to sound a lot better.  
 
And I am not alone. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for group meetings that historically were held at hotels or convention centers. Companies are anxious to get their teams together and to have more face-to-face time with prospects and customers. Hotels, rising to meet the moment, are putting in place new guidelines and technology that can enable companies to start booking group business again. Hotels are providing hybrid, mostly-in-person/partially virtual formats through new audio-visual technology, and highlighting their sanitation and distancing guidelines, as well as flexible cancellation policies. 
 
Where group bookings are picking up, it’s mostly spurring from drive-markets. Due to hesitation for long-term planning in an unpredictable landscape, the booking cycle for new group demand is only about 45 days. So, while there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for group business managers, there’s a lot of adjustment and flexibility needed to meet companies’ new needs. For more on group business outlook, check out the article by Hotel News Now here.

3. I’m looking for a little more than room service and free mini-soaps these days.

We’ve all had to make concessions and changes to our expectations, right? Well, in most areas. Many travelers are still feeling hesitant about traveling, but hotels are pulling out all the (creative) stops to capture those bookings.   

For instance, Wyndham recently announced a partnership with Rover, the largest network of pet-sitters and dog walkers, to offer $30 off a service with Rover when booking one of their properties. Wyndham has long been popular with families traveling with pets, and this just sweetens the deal. Check out the article on Wyndham’s partnership here. 

Hilton has upped its investment in wellness by expanding in-room fitness offerings through their Five Feet to Fitness program. This program touts 11 different in-room fitness options from indoor cycling to a meditation chair to a virtual fitness instructor through a kiosk right in your private space. Honestly, I welcome this even after we are social distancing because public sweating is not my favorite. Read more about Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness program, here. 

And finally, the most 2020/2021 amenities of them all – COVID testing on-site. Hotels like Nobu Hotel Palo Alto are partnering up with testing companies to provide screenings for coronavirus. In Hawaii at the Sensei Lanai’, a Four Seasons Resort, they are offering in-room testing services. Talk about a luxury. For more on the hottest hotel amenity of the season, read more at travel pulse.

4. The hotel industry loves a good acronym.

When I started in the hospitality industry REDACTED years ago, I was handed a giant binder with hotel acronym terms. I love a nice flashcard, but this was a lot. 

That said, I have slowly been seeing one acronym pop up more and moreTRperAG, total revenue per available guest. Or RevPAC, revenue per available customer. This is a not necessarily a new way to thinking about hotel revenue, but it is becoming more mainstream and thoughtful. For decades the industry has beat “Heads in Beds! Heads in Beds!” on a drum. There’s even a hotel industry insider book titled, Heads in Beds. 

But of course, with disruption comes evolution.

Hotels are widening their view of revenue by focusing on what used to be considered “ancillary” streams of revenue. To get the very most out of every guest that books with you. In recent article on Hotel Online, the always insightful Larry Mogelonsky dives into this exact topic with regards to Hotel Spas. Revenue management practices are creeping into ancillary spend, and hotels are looking in every nook and cranny for new ways to boost revenues. To read more about our current favorite acronym, check out the Hotel Online article here. 

5. Space tourism is getting a little more competitive.

Honestly, going to space has never really sounded very good to me. Anti-gravity chamber? Absolutely. Space Jam? Watchable. That’s where I draw the line for me and space travel. 

Over the years, excitement has been brewing around civilian trips to space. Elon Musk’s Space X was really where it started seeming like more of a possibility. Not to be outdone, Richard Branson, travel maverick, has also launched into the space tourism business with his spin-off brand, Virgin Galactic. 

Just a few weeks ago, Branson’s also moved into the satellite business with his off-shoot, Virgin Orbit. This is the sexy, new venture for the ultra-rich like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. I might even call it a hobby for them. 

We wrote a few weeks back about hospitality brands diversifying their offerings with everything from cruise lines, guide services, and insurance. But space tourism may be the ultra-flex in diversified travel portfolios. To read more about where Branson is taking his business (hint: probably the moon), check out the cnbc article here. 

As always, have a great weekend, and check in with us in two weeks for the next installment of hospitality meme news.