Couldn’t Get to IHMRS? Read Monday’s Highlights

For those who couldn’t make it to New York’s Javits Center for this year’s International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show, Coyle offered live Twitter coverage each day, plus blog recaps yesterday and today on the day’s events.  Look for our expanded blog posts on specific IHRMS seminars later this week, as well as a look at the top innovative products from show exhibitors

* Trade show exhibitors reported good traffic flow during this year’s IHMRS, mirroring what some say is a  general, if slight, improvement in the industry overall.

* A standing-room-only, almost entirely female crowd packed  the keynote session, “Women Who Make Decisions and Make it Big,” where a panel of women leaders  in the hospitality industry offered advice for career-climbers.  “Women lead very differently than men,” said panelist Brooke Denihan Barrett, co-CEO of Denihan Hospitality Group. “The female perspective is an important part of the overall diversity that’s important to business.”

* Consumers spent 13.9 billion minutes on Facebook last year, and Twitter also presents an enormous avenue of opportunity, said business development advisor, Marsha Diamond, during her “Media Marketing” seminar.  If you tweet, she said, “follow people who will matter to your business and check who they’re following.”  Don’t ignore the power of Youtube to show what your business can do, and concentrate on value-added content, visuals and expertise on your blogs.  “Talk less and listen more,” advised Diamond.  Americans spend a quarter of their time on social media, and if the current growth continues, they’ll soon be spending  50 percent of their time there.  If you ignore this media, your competitors who don’t will gain on you, she warned.

* According to Raj Chandnani, vice president, strategy for design consultancy, WATG, and a panelist in “Customers of the Future”, one of the upcoming  “game-changers” for the hotel industry is the reinvention of the lobby from a transaction-centric space where the staff greets you from behind a desk  to a space in which the staff can check guests in  from a wireless laptop from anywhere in the lobby. Other happenings that Chandnani foresees having a significant impact on the guest experience include the use of mobile technology for check-in and the use of iPads to control guest-room technologies.

* Hotel guests of tomorrow want a balance between the consistency that brands provide, particularly when it comes to service, and an authenticity of experience and sense of place, said Ted Jacobs, vie presient, global design for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Luxury in the old days was luxury of material and service,” he said.  And while that’s still important, the consumer is also looking for “luxury of experience.” 

* Continuing what appeared to be an ongoing theme during IHMRS regarding the impact of technology on the guest experience, the winner of one of the show’s Editor’s Choice  awards was Micros Systems Inc.  for its MyStayManager, a mobile smartphone application that allows guests to create reservations, self-manage details of their stay and even open room doors.  The app is already being used by Peninsula Hotels, according to Micros.

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