Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Technology - The Great Equalizer

I opened a new Hotel earlier this year, in the highly competitive Vancouver marketplace.

One of the first questions that I was asked by the Hotel Owner, very shortly after I was hired, was whether or not we needed to brand the Hotel?

Given that he actually asked me this question on day 1 of starting with the company, I asked him for a few more days to give him, what I hoped would be, a more intelligent, well thought out answer, at the end of the week, although I did have an opinion already.

I won’t bore you with the process, but I spent a lot of time over those next few days reviewing management and franchise agreements, the terms within them, their fees of course, as well as reviewing the strength of the respective brands, their level of brand recognition among consumers, and especially, their loyalty programs.

What did I recommend in the end?

Let’s just say that at the time of writing this post, the Hotel has been open for approximately 5 months, it is unbranded, it is exceeding preliminary budget projections, and has found its place in the market.

Of course, there are many factors that have contributed to the success of the Hotel to date, but the key lies in the accessibility of technology to ALL hotels, regardless of the size of their bank account, or the historic strength of their brand.

In the current economy, any Hotel that commits to doing so, has an equal opportunity to reach consumers through the internet, through web marketing, e-blasts, social media sites, third party re-selling sites, and above all, search engine optimization SEO).

In the past, the “big boys” as we used to refer to them, could crush the smaller operators, the independents, because they had much bigger budgets from which to launch their expansive, and expensive marketing campaigns, and the little guys could just watch and hope to pick up some overflow, or benefit from overall compression in their market.

But not now, now, if you put the effort and the resources toward the effective and strategic use of technology, you can get more than your share of the market, and what’s more, you can sometimes catch the big boys while they are asleep.

In short, the internet has levelled the playing field and created equals among ALL of the Hotels.

So long as consumers continue to migrate more and more to the internet in search of whatever they need, and, so long as those same consumers continue to look for the best deal out there, whatever that means to them, brand loyalty is in jeopardy, and those companies that see the trends and take action, will be stealing share, biting off a bigger piece of the pie, and winning the game, so if you haven’t done so already, put someone in your Hotel in charge of dominating technology for your Hotel, and go eat some pie.

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