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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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That’s Your Opinion… sort of.

12/08/2016

In the 20 years that have passed since I first heard the line, I have believed in the inherent truth of that statement. Now, I am having second thoughts. I don’t disagree with everyone’s high opinion of their own opinion; what I now question is whether everyone’s opinion is their own. The truth is that we may not be in complete control of the conclusions we draw. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but the opinions we hold – the thoughts that define us unique individuals – can be primed by external signals, subliminal suggestions, and any number of subtle cues. We are complete with our unconscious need for acceptance, our social biases and preconceived notions. The human brain is very powerful at manufacturing its own reality.

In an episode of Radiolab (“Choice”, Season Five, NPR, available in podcast), Malcolm Gladwell of Outliers, Blink and The Tipping Point fame, reviews a number of strange phenomena associated with independent thought, personal opinion and free will. Malcolm’s findings: there’s very little independent, personal or free about any of it. Among my favorite observations:

In one experiment, psychologists would play word association games with test volunteers. When the words “wrinkled,” “bingo” and “Florida” were on the word list, volunteers would invariably leave the room walking significantly slower than when they entered. How often does the power of suggestion suggest something we don’t even really hear or acknowledge, but act upon nonetheless?

 A second example engaged volunteers in a game of Trivial Pursuit, but before the round began, half the players were asked to take a several seconds to think about “professors.” The remaining players were asked to spend the same few seconds thinking about “soccer hooligans.” The outcome: those who thought about professors predictably won the game. Contemplating hooligans was a sure indicator of pending defeat. Does perception create reality?

Finally, there was a study done at Yale University to see if it were possible to sway opinion without word cues or idea suggestions. In the Yale study, participants were asked to look at a picture of a guy named Joe, ready a brief biographical paragraph and then answer a brief inquiry: “What do you think of Joe? Do you like him?”   

The hook on this particular study was nothing obvious; the participants all looked at identical photos and read the identical text. No additional information or prompting was given but as the examiner arrived to meet the respondent, s/he came into the room carrying an armful of books and papers, a briefcase or bag and a cup of coffee. The examiner simply asked the respondent to please hold the coffee cup for several seconds while the interviewer got settled. Half the respondents held a regular cup of coffee and the other half held a cup of iced coffee. Can you guess the results? Those who held the hot coffee overwhelming liked Joe and those who held the ice coffee overwhelming didn’t care for him.

In fairness and disclosure, this study has not been discredited but it has produced different results in different trials, so don’t bet the ranch on the results. What is interesting is what can influence us at a primal level. Psychologists see basic human survival needs – and therefore a preference for – warmth and nurturing in those we have around us. This physical warmth-equals-survival combination is so instinctive in humans that temperature stimuli can influence our “rational” judgment.

We’ve long been told that attitude influences outcome – a case of mind over matter. More often than we realize, subjectivity is not as simple as inserting your point of view. A person’s output, propensity to be swayed and even the ability to preform can be influenced by the imperceptible. Those of us who worship at the altar of data and objectivity forget that those are just abstract concepts. Our interpretations are colored by what we need, what we feel and what our parents believed to a much greater extent than we often acknowledge. The next time you’re surprised by the depth of public opinion or the outcome of an election, remember that people don’t suddenly arrive at where they are by the means they think of as their own free will. To paraphrase the Snow White’s evil queen, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall – we are our history after all.”

About The Author
Michael Schubach




Michael Schubach is a regular contributor to Hospitality Upgrade.

 
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