You know the heartbeat of hospitality is customer service. Trends come and go, but repeat business is driven by the baseline of a hotel’s cleanliness, attention to detail and going above and beyond. Although authentic customer service remains de rigeur, innovation keeps the industry fresh – after all, an evolving industry is a profitable industry.
Reflecting this philosophy, American Hotel hosted its annual Global Hospitality Expo in late January. The one-of-a-kind industry event – branded with a “Seize the Momentum” theme – brought more than 900 leaders together to listen, learn, interact and discover.
The five-day event was once again capped with a festive awards dinner honoring the achievements of our suppliers and associates, but the big takeaways were found in its daily agenda of activities. Customers, suppliers and American Hotel associates explored innovative products, attended inspirational breakout and hot topics sessions and celebrated the launch of The Gallery, a curated luxury collection that strengthens American Hotel’s commitment to this growing market.
Momentum was at the center of the event’s topics and presentations. In fact, one hot topic speaker, Rohit Bhargava, outlined ways non-obvious momentum is curated rather than spotted. A Georgetown University marketing professor and bestselling author of Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future, Rohit enthusiastically explained how anyone can identify trends and leverage where a market is heading.
“Everyday Stardom” is one trend useful in the hospitality industry. According to Rohit, the growth of personalization leads more hotel guests to higher expectations. They want to be part of an unforgettable experience where they are stars of the show. As he put it, everyone wants to be recognized, noticed and celebrated.
Another Expo speaker, bestselling author Jeremy Gutsche, promoted the ingredients of a great guest experience when he encouraged his audience to be irresistible in business.
An award-winning innovation expert and the CEO of Trend Hunter, a popular trends and innovation Web site, Gutsche’s keynote address also illuminated the ways trends occur and opportunities arise. For example, Facebook’s founding opened the door to a social media industry of Facebook cohorts and competitors. And, of course, social media and related technology have already begun to reshape the hospitality experience.
Looking beyond hotels, consider the way Disney has put technology to work with its MagicBand and MyMagic+ initiative. The waterproof wristband is a theme park ticket, mobile payment device and room key – the visitor data it collects allows characters to address guests by name and helps staff manage traffic flow.
At our 2016 Expo, the full week of activities trumpeted the belief that this year’s momentum is all about keeping an eye on the future and seizing new opportunities. What bold plan will you put into action in 2016?