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Summer 2017 HSMAI Opening Letter

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July 06, 2017
Robert Gilbert

In the spring of 2017 the hotel industry crossed a 85-month milestone for consecutive month over month RevPar growth in the U.S. Will it hit 90? Well, HSMAI has.

In the spring of 2017 the hotel industry crossed a 85-month milestone for consecutive month over month RevPar growth in the U.S. Will it hit 90? Well, HSMAI has. This year celebrates 90 years since HSMAI was founded. Like many of the articles in this special section of Hospitality Upgrade, the association has achieved longevity through many of the themes summarized in the articles: innovation, managing trends, quality products, good customer service, continual improvement, big data, trying alternative things, personalization strategies and managing consumer – or member – behavior. In September, we’ll be celebrating with a 90th Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C. Email me if you’d like more information. It’ll be a fun evening of celebrating history and the future.
The future continues to be defined by many of the attendees at HSMAI executive roundtables. The Chief Digital Officer Roundtable met recently and summarized things keeping them up at night. The included the following challenges and opportunities:
• How can we better educate owners and asset managers to manage the expectations of ecommerce performance? 
• Will there be enough supplier choice in the future with the consolidation of technology companies?
• Will mobile first soon be mobile only?
• What role does digital play in the full journey?
• How do we stay ahead of the curve of innovation with legacy infrastructure?
• How do we leverage technology to understand guest data and create meaningful one-to-one personal experiences?
• How can we put more hospitality back into the hospitality business?
• How can we manage the increasingly complex distribution landscape with all the current and emerging entrants?
• What are the right skills to fill the needs to today’s talent pipeline? 
If you’re looking for some of these solutions, keep reading this section of Hospitality Upgrade and stay connected to HSMAI and our educations programs and content. The articles in the HSMAI section of this issue should provide you with insights that will help you sleep at night. 
Umar Riaz’s article on alternative accommodation types quantifies what customers really want and not everyone wants the new shiny object. Jim VanDeventer reminds us how big data is transforming the group business. Whether your hotel needs more group business or is trying to optimize it, big data that is now available can help you manage it – and your intermediation costs. Kelly McGuire and Natalie Osborn are at it again. You think it’s another movie? Read their recommendations for how the hotel industry needs to prepare to add data scientists to our thinking – and our teams. Dan Phillips and John Burns have both provided different points of view on personalization. Embarking on the personalization journey is hard work but these articles can help you take the first steps. We all witnessed the barrage of direct booking campaigns launched by the brands last year. Understand how those campaigns changed consumer behavior – and the bottom line of the industry in Geneva Rinehart’s interview with Cindy Estis Green. And last but not least, an impactful reminder that marketing and revenue can drive guests to our hotels but real innovation happens when the guest experience is a great one.

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