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Definitely Doug 10/18/19
Posted: 12/06/2019

Sustainable Innovation
 
Sustainability can yield multiple benefits to hotels. Saving energy and water yields direct cost savings. Revenue can be generated by guests who prefer to deal with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. And many would argue that conserving scarce resources is simply the right thing to do.

Definitely Doug 12/6/19
Posted: 12/06/2019

Meetings Innovation
 
The sale and delivery of groups and meetings is perhaps the most significant and under-automated functions for many hotels. Even though groups often account for 30% to 60% of revenue, most group bookings are still handled manually for most if not all of steps, as they move from a meeting planner’s research to a confirmed booking.

The biggest enemy to any system is complexity. In a system of inputs and outputs, such as an enterprise system, more complexity means more parts are used in interaction with inputs to create the outputs. Every part that must be built and maintained costs time and money

Tracking the evolution of key performance indicators (KPIs) over time allows hoteliers to identify meaningful trends, create forecasts and budgets and assess the results of different strategies. To perform this kind of analysis, data has to be recorded within consistent time intervals and in chronological order. This is known as a time series.

Definitely Doug 11/15/19
Posted: 11/15/2019

Every time I turn around these days, I see a new vendor or product promising something called a complete Guest Experience Management, Guest Journey Management, or Guest Engagement (or some variation on those words). This week I looked at some of the emerging products claiming to be in this space, both to try to better understand it, and to see what promising ideas it may hold.



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That’s Your Opinion… sort of.

12/08/2016
by Michael Schubach

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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