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Donuts, Motivation, and Fluctuating Hotel Room Prices Ė ehotelierís Week in Review
By Anne Edwards, Editor in Chief, ehotelier
Foie gras jelly donuts, gilded burgers, upscale dips, wraps with exotic fillings, teeny cinnamon buns, warm and aromatic spices, bar-made and small-batch tonics and quinine syrups, white strawberries, hard cider and lobster rolls….. If you are a food lover like me, your heart was racing whilst reading Baum + Whiteman’s Seventeen Hottest Food & Beverage Trends in Restaurants & Hotels for 2013. This article is so fast paced and jam packed with details I found myself re-reading more than once - sometimes in disbelief – ‘What? Hamburgers between two griddled donuts?’
What I found exciting about the F&B trends was the focus on hand-crafted artisan products, containing real and fresh ingredients. Due to the cost and slow speed of producing such real food, a welcome result of this is that serves are becoming smaller from mini-dippers and cake bits to local craft beers, traditionally poured in 16 – oz. pints, now coming in 14 or 12 – oz. glasses. This has to be good for us – smaller meals that are actually made of real food. Personally, I don’t mind paying more for quality ingredients in my food and I find them more filling and satisfying so I don’t need as much. What are some of the F&B trends at your hotel? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motivation – Where Does It Come From?
There was a lot of interest this week in Alan Fairweather’s article How to Motivate Your Team in Seven Simple Steps. Alan raised the valuable point that effective motivation is intrinsic; it has to come from within. His seven steps are based on building relationships with staff, listening to what they have to say and responding by, among other things, finding ways to make their job more interesting; having some fun with your staff. Care and interest and creating an environment where your staff motivates themselves is key to having a motivated staff.
I sometimes hear people say their staff is de-motivated and I wonder about this. The word ‘motivation’ comes from the Latin ‘to move’. In our time-based world we are constantly moving and it is actually not possible to for us to ‘de-move’ or ‘un-move’. When I ask hoteliers ‘What are the behaviours you observe of de-motivated staff?’ they say things such as:
These staff members are not de-motivated – they are motivated to come to work late, motivated to stay away from others and motivated to linger over lunch. The question then becomes ‘Why are they motivated to behave in these ways?’ and when we start asking and answering this question, we start getting somewhere.
Fluctuating Hotel Room Prices – How? What? When?
In Revenue Management this week, the RevPar Guru Jean Francois Mourier gave us Three Lessons that Hotels Should Learn from Airlines. His comparison on the similarities between selling seats on airlines and rooms in hotels got me thinking about how we perceive fluctuating prices when it comes to hotel rooms. Most people know that these fluctuations exist but something about the way it is handled smacks of a ‘dirty little secret’. For example, when I buy a room on a site that only reveals the hotel name after I’ve paid for it, there’s a sense that the hotel was ashamed to be identified to be giving away the room at a cheaper rate. Is that just me or have others had the same impression?
In my mind, there is still a difference between what an airline offers and what a hotel offers which affects my perception of the price. An airline seat gets me from point A to point B; I’m aware that there are fluctuating fuel prices and I don’t really care about the brand of soap in the toilet. In a hotel room, on the other hand, I make judgements about the value of things like bathroom products, linen and refreshments and this adds up to my whole experience of the room and the property. In my mind, the price for all of this doesn’t fluctuate – the L’Occitane shower gel will be pretty much the same price tomorrow as it is today. Somehow there is a knee jerk reaction to paying more or less for the same room today than one did a week ago; like the feeling when you travel in another country and buy a product for a certain price and then come home and pay four times the price for the same thing. It leads us to question the inherent value of a thing.
But of course, things do not have inherent value. We place value upon them. So is it just a dilemma of perception? What can hoteliers do to change this perception of fluctuating prices? Let us know your thoughts on why hoteliers have been slow to adopt the algorithm-based revenue management technology that airlines use. Write to us at email@example.com.
About Anne Edwards
Anne Edwards combines her love of language, travel, and different cultures as Editor in Chief of ehotelier.com. Prior to this position, Anne lectured in Cross Cultural Studies at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Australia and currently consults to the Australian Federal Government on subjects such as Leadership and Building Productive Partnerships. Anne has travelled and worked internationally for twelve years, holding various positions in the field of education, most notably as linguistic advisor to the Crown Princess of Thailand for two years where she sampled some of the best hotels in the world. Her love for travel spans the freedom of wandering on a shoe-string budget to the finest standards of service in world-class properties. As Editor in Chief of one of the largest hotel news sites in the world, Anne has a birds-eye view of what is happening in the industry internationally.
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