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[Ask the Experts] Cindy Estis Green

Written by: Administrator

As we lead up to HITEC 2014 in June, HFTP Connect will be talking to various hospitality professionals about specific areas of the industry through the Ask the Experts column.

A Marketing Professional’s View on Hospitality Distribution

Cindy Estis Green is the CEO and co-founder of Kalibri Labs, LLC., with a career spanning thirty-five years in the hospitality industry. Green spent 12 years as managing partner of The Estis Group providing consulting to hospitality organizations. Co-author of the 2012 Distribution Channel Analysis: A Guide for Hotels, Estis Green has been inducted into the prestigious HFTP Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. She is also a frequent speaker at hospitality industry conferences and is currently a member of the HITEC Advisory Council.

1. How is your specialty changing? How will it evolve over the next two to five years?

The area of distribution and digital has changed dramatically and continues to do so as new vendors enter the space and as consumers adopt new technology as part of the travel experience whether it’s shopping, buying, part of the stay or sharing about a stay. The pace of change is rapid now and not slowing down. This will continue to add many more options for the consumers and create change in the way hotel brands provide services to their hotels. Read More »

E-cigarettes: Is it time for hoteliers to butt in or butt out?

Written by: Frank Wolfe, CAE

Editors Note: Since the publication of this article, movement to regulate e-cigarettes by the FDA has progressed. On the local government level and in other countries e-cigarettes have been banned in public places or banned all together. Recently, the European Parliament rejected a proposal to regulate e-cigarettes as medical devices.

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) boasted the largest show floor in its history featuring more than 3,200 exhibitors. It was a sight to see, with a lot of improvements on things we have been hearing about in the industry for quite a while.

One trend that really stood out to me was the proliferation of e-cigarette vendors and users. The growth in sales of the e-cigarette will likely make it a habit that’s here to stay. Many large tobacco companies seem to think so, including R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Altria (think Marlboro).

Read More »

Top 5 Trends in Hospitality for 2014

Written by: Matt Zajechowski

The faculty experts at the Kendall College School of Hospitality Management recently released its trends outlook for the hospitality industry for 2014. The hospitalitymanagement program is highly regarded in the Chicago for preparing students for careers in the hospitality industry. With the combined collaboration of the entire faculty from the hospitality program, they were able to come with this infographic that provides a lot of insight into the top trends within the hospitality industry for the upcoming year. I’ve highlighted some of the more interesting findings below: Read More »

How Replying to TripAdvisor Reviews Keeps the Four Seasons No.1 in the City

Written by: Taylor Short

Ranking highly on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index, a rating system based on quantity, quality and recency of customer reviews, is the best way to draw new customers to your hotel. Knowing that responding to reviews can entice others to write their own, the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin jumped 26 spots to become the highest rated hotel in the city. But how exactly did it happen? Read More »

Employees Untethered

Written by: Warren Markwart

This is the year of the tablet. Try and find a vendor, that doesn’t have a tablet as part of their product.

In two years we will have forgotten that there was actually a “year of the tablet.” As mobile, hand held computing will become so ubiquitous in the operation of our business.

Tablet productivity will come from two sources. The guest and the hotel employee.

The guest becomes another user on your system without the training you would normally give to your staff. They make reservations, will check themselves into your hotel, order room service, request towels, all with no training.

Now just think of the effect tablets in the hands of your employees will have. They will be mobile, but more importantly, training times will be greatly reduced. You will even be able to train a general manager or director of sales to check a guest into the hotel. Read More »

It’s Going to Change Bigtime

Written by: Warren Markwart

The REALLY Big Show

“The Rise of the Metamediaries” sounds like a science fiction horror show.

The “rise” occurred on Tuesday afternoon and It was a REALLY big show starring senior people from Facebook, Google, Trip Advisor and Room 77. The stage was groaning with all these heavyweights in one place. Cindy Estis-Green did a great job in getting each to discuss their strategies of:

  • Dreaming
  • Planning
  • Booking
  • Experience
  • Sharing

She had two pundits that started the Q&A into a frank and lively discussion. Read More »

The Showroom Floor: Put On Your Dancin’ Shoes

Written by: Neil Foster, CHTP, MBA

On your mark. Get set. Go!

The exhibit hall opened for business on Tuesday, and there’s a frenzied dynamic on the floor ever since; it reminds me of a busy beehive or ant hill in a sophisticated kind of way. Realizing time is a common enemy for client and vendor alike — with only three days to work with — opportunity must be sized up in the blink of an eye. It’s been a long wait since last year’s spectacle and it’ll be another’s year time before the next gathering.

The psychology of the event is interesting to me to dissect.  There are entertainers, free refreshments, stress balls and toys scattered around, looking to catch our primal attention. Many of the key players set up in large aesthetically inviting displays near the main entrance, while smaller entrepreneurial outfits were based further from the beaten path. There is an element of Darwinism to the individual offerings. It will be interesting to see the businesses becoming more prominent next year and others replaced by more marketable ideas. Read More »

Talk About Intensity — HITEC Packs It In

Written by: Neil Foster, CHTP, MBA


Talk about intensity.

It’s been years since my last HITEC, but the overall feeling of being here has remained unchanged. Here, I am warmly reminded of my college days: the excitement of building upon ideas, reconnecting with familiar faces after a long summer break, and somehow juggling assignments with intense nightlife. The semester is moving quickly and soon the test of the real world will again be upon many of us, hopefully armed with the latest tools to tackle tomorrow’s problems. In these few days, the swift waters of information are powering the mills of my mind in learning and distilling the latest trends. Read More »

Hotel Flash Sales: Beneficial or Detrimental?

Written by: By Katerina Berezina, MS, CHTP and Kelly Semrand, Ph.D.

There is debate whether flash sales web sites are a blessing or a curse for the lodging industry. Blessing because these web sites alleviated the depressed demand induced by the recession. A curse because these web sites have turned into a “pac-man” draining revenues away from the lodging industry. Flash sales in the lodging industry (e.g. Groupon Getaways, LivingSocial Escapes, Jetsetter, etc.) thrived as they gobbled up unused hotel room inventory. In its first year of operation, LivingSocial Escapes, for example, featured hotel deals from about 800 properties, sold about 500,000 room nights, which corresponds to about 45,000 room nights per month, and 1,500 travelers per night. These are impressive stats for any form of a distribution channel that helps to sell perishable inventory. But, what are flash sales web sites? How do they work? And, are they beneficial or detrimental to the U.S. lodging industry? Read More »

It’s All About the Guest

Written by: Warren Markwart

Hundreds of vendors are about to spend three days hawking their wares to thousands of attendees at HITEC. It’s a thrilling time for all the techies who attend. It’s like a toy show. All new bright shiny stuff to look at. This year, Tablets and clouds…… sounds like what doctors and weatherman talk about.

On the exhibit floor, there will be magnificent castles with princesses spinning stories of the “magic wand” that will solve all technology problems. A three ring circus with all sorts of software performing a cunning array of stunts. Travelling medicine wagons with tonics to cure all that ails you. Read More »

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