This Week in Hospitality Marketing Live Show 270 Transcripts (English U.S.)
[00:00:17.320] – Loren
Hello, everyone, and welcome to This Week, In hospitality Marketing Live Show number two hundred and seventy. As you can see, we have quite the panel of fun people today, some I’ll introduce and then those that will be introduced by. With us today is our special co-host, Mr. Peter Russell.
[00:00:32.350] – Loren
Peter Russell is the author and I have it all listed out here.
[00:00:35.470] – Loren
Just make sure I get it right. Operations director. No, I’ve got that wrong at one point, but the operations director of Russell Partnership Technology and of course, he’ll be a great lengths to tell you what all the details are about that near and dear to my heart, dearest of my friends, Fran Brassaux, who has put up with me for probably more years than she wants to count so much to me.
[00:00:58.300] – Loren
We are traveling buddies of many a city and yes, we’ve been around lots of places.
[00:01:03.040] – Loren
But Fran is for as for those who may not know her, which would be very rare if you’re in the hospitality industry, if you don’t already know. Fran, Fran is the previous executive vice president of HSMI, as well as the president of the Foundation for HSMAI. My friend is now consulting with Russell Technolgy on not just this project, but lots of other things. And thank Gosh she’s bringing her wisdom and their experience to the industry beyond what the scope was that she had before.
[00:01:28.270] – Loren
So it is a pleasure to think the friend is now broadening her engagements with us.
[00:01:34.300] – Fran
Also today, I need you keep introducing we’re going to talk today about a hotel forecasting. Who thought I would be talking about hotel forecasting? Quite well. It was never too old.
[00:01:47.770] – Loren
Also with us is Adele Gutman, who has her own company of Aspire Reputation Marketing. Good for anybody that knows me already.
[00:01:56.770] – Loren
They know the names and titles are challenging at best for me. I call everybody Bob and Bill for at least a year.
[00:02:03.220] – Loren
But this is Dean Schmidt, who also has his company of base Camp Meta and metasearch marketing, which, if you have a guess, is about metasearch.
OK, go. And then Hennelly, who is one of the co-founder co-founder would be the better with a co-founder, CEO, King, potentate of Brainiac, Think Master, whatever.
[00:02:25.990] – Loren
Anyway, three and six marketing based somewhere in a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean previous center of the World GMT.
[00:02:38.590] – Loren
I think it be so kind as to ask David for since you have much more familiarity with all the details of David’s acumen than I do. So you’d be so kind as to introduce David. That’ll be great. And we can just kind of jump off from there.
[00:02:50.470] – Peter
Yeah, absolutely. And last but not least, let me introduce David Baute, who is founder and CEO of Sons Hotels, previously of many of the hotel groups, hotel operator extraordinaire. And from anything to add on David Singh, as you’ve known, David, even longer than I have now. Now.
[00:03:10.390] – Fran
So we’ll we’ll reveal why David is so important to this conversation. Dave, just a moment. But David, welcome very much. And we’re delighted to have you and your experience in operating hotels with us on any project we involved in.
[00:03:24.010] – David
Great. Thank you. Great to be here. Nice to meet everybody is to be to do it.
[00:03:28.840] – Loren
So, Peter, the secrets to the universe, the cosmic realities as we know it and the explanation of the universe with two examples would be great. Thank you.
[00:03:36.550] – Peter
Fantastic. Well, I mean, with that kind of introduction and I feel like I can only disappoint, but now I’ll do my best. So thank you for the great introduction and you’ve got my job title back on. So that’s that’s fantastic. And just to give a little bit of background as as Loren said, so I lead a company called Partnership Technology. We focus on a whole variety of things in terms of technology and consultancy within the hospitality industry that ranges across a whole range of things.
[00:04:07.510] – Peter
And I’m one of the reasons why Loren asked Fran myself to join today was because we actually invited Lauren to join us on a project where we are working on something called the Hotel Focused Toolkit. And this is something fun. And I started discussing quite early on in the Kobe pandemic, where we recognize the real need for people to have better tools and facility to do forecasting because things are ever changing. The landscape of hotels obviously is very tough right now, and forecasting is tough at the best of times.
And we wanted to bring together thought knowledge across a whole range of things. And that’s why we brought Lauren into this conversation. That’s why we brought David in and another member of our team, Bjorn Hansen, who he couldn’t join today. So that’s kind of the starting point. And from anything, anything to rise in terms of how we got started and all of that.
No, I think the other thing to add is as we talk today, you’ll see what we want to do is help the industry. And what we knew is, is we knew some things, but not all things. So we were we looked at who we can invite to help us with what we developed on a forecasting. Which we thought would be needed to help in this time, and the two people who came to the top of the list, both said, yes, they would help.
And that was David Baute and Dr. Bjorn Hanson. So I’m sorry Bjorn can’t join us today. He’s brilliant. If you if you know him, you know how brilliant he is. And he is the former founder of the hospitality division of the and still still working, who is the dean of the School of Hospitality at NYU Tisch Center. And now he he heads, gosh, I think about one hundred and thirty five hotel groups inside some hospitality as well as he works on the Pier Hotel and all of their benefits and programs.
So he is he said he’s going to retire three times and hasn’t done it yet. But David, your expertise and everything that you brought to this project is greatly valued.
So, Peter, I’m sorry I went a little while quite back, and that’s great. And yeah, I mean, just just getting started. I mean, obviously, I want to tell a little bit about what the project is and that it would be wonderful to open this out into a bit of a wider conversation about forecasting and obviously the general feeling within the hotel, the hotel industry at the moment. And just to be clear from the outset, we’re not here to deliver a sales pitch.
And that’s not really why we created the program. And the idea was born out of the desire that Fran and I were discussing to help the industry. And this program is not something specific to it. This is something in terms of general assistance program, you know, people get into hospitality because they are good and they like hospitality. People don’t get in hospitality because they necessarily get the numbers. And that is not a dispersion on anyone within hospitality, because obviously there are many wonderful people who are far better than myself, understand the numbers and forecasting.
So the real reason for creating the program was that especially that right now people are forecasting sometimes daily, weekly, these things are changing so rapidly because we don’t know how the markets are going to change in terms of occupancy, in terms of costing models, in terms of revenue models. So what we created was something which allows people to put together a two year forecast in as little as 20 minutes. And that means that people can be putting together a forecast, they can run multiple scenarios, and then they can plan effectively and buy the outcome from that.
What I mean is that it’s a very simple input mechanism. So we don’t need to have extensive knowledge of forecasting. We focus our occupancies, our costs, and then the system will produce two years worth of detailed profit and loss and cash flow reports. And what that that means is that people can see where the issues are. So it may be that our cash flow is great for the next six months or at least manageable, but it could be that in six months we’ve got a real problem on the horizon and we need to know about that.
So that’s where this was. This came from in terms of in terms of that, that’s how we came up with the idea. We said we brought a great team and supporters and we launched it this time last week on the staff this week. So excellent timing in terms of Lauren being able to invite us to come in on this and have a bit of a wider discussion about a little bit maybe about the program and a bit more about the difficulties and trials and tribulations of forecasting.
So I guess they’ve be interesting to hear from your side. How how are things for you and your group of hotels in terms of forecasting at the moment? You know, I mean, that’s the that’s the million dollar question right now, is everything is in constant change and whether that is from a business level four rooms or a an occupancy level for food and beverage outlets. And by state, the guidelines are changing weekly right now. And we’re all saying what’s happening and have been throughout the year.
And so there’s no there’s there’s no time more than now, I think, than forecasting has been critical and how often we are having to forecast how often we are having to review our staffing models costs. You know, I’ve been I’ve been playing with the forecasting tool along with with my finance team. And the ability to do this so quickly is is has been the key. You know, you can spend a whole day forecasting and you’ve got to do another one in another two days.
And so, you know, we’re all trying to run a business at the same time. So for me, forecasting is critical. The next six months are really unknown. And and so, you know, it’s a major focus for me and for my senior team. Fantastic. Think sounds like it’s a bit of a cliche, but I think it’s the classic case of if you fail to plan, then you should plan to fail. And a lot of, you know, it’s very easy almost in some ways to sort of I want to say I hope for the best because I don’t I’m not suggesting that’s what anyone is doing.
But I think. It’s just so important to be aware of what’s happening, and I say the goalposts are moving so much at the moment that, you know, we need to be able to plan accurately as we can, but we also need to be ready to adapt quickly and actually say operators are out there and having to deal with the day job at the same time. So I think that that’s the difficulty in terms of having to do that. And it’s also that case of who are you going to present this to?
You’re going to have to share this information with potentially owners, potentially lenders, senior leaders, whoever that might be. And I think a lot of people, from our experience and I know from have the same in terms of a lot of people feel somewhat comfortable, but then maybe they don’t feel that what they’re producing is professional enough as well. Invariably, it probably is. But again, it probably takes, as you were saying, David, a really long time to do it.
You know, it could take you a day, two days to do it. So that’s why we were keen to put this together, to help people do that in a shorter period of time and to make sure that people could be focusing on the other areas. And I remember from saying, you know, all these hotel operators must be it’s more important for them to be thinking, well, how can we keep people safe during these times of how can we still be delivering great hospitality?
We don’t want to be stuck in the back office spending three days forecasting any time to tear it up and redo it again three days later. So it’s a difficult time. Clearly, I don’t know anyone else have any any thoughts, DeNardo, in terms of forecasting?
Just wondering. I was wondering if you could give us a rundown of the factors that are going into that equation. Is it just obviously it can’t just be historical these days. Are you taking into account what’s trending in the area or flight or anything outside the hotel? Sure thing.
I mean, the key thing to say is that the the key decisions need to be made still by the person who’s building it. Know this is you know, this still has to be a decision made there. And this is all built on looking toward the future. And I think this came through in some of the instructions to staff. We can’t be looking at the past. We can’t be looking at previous models. We can’t be looking at previous years.
You know, in previous years, we would have looked occupancy, we would have looked to pick up and we would have we would have forecasted based on those numbers, we almost have to start from a blank page right now. And I think, again, that is one of the difficult things that people are struggling with. So in terms of that, in terms of the main inputs, that that’s, again, one of the reasons why we felt we could deliver something here which which would be so valuable in terms of breaking it down into the I don’t like the word simple, but in terms of the core areas that people understand and can think about really vividly and quite quickly.
So the inputs are going to be forecasting our occupancy. We’re going to be forecasting on average rates. We’re going to be forecasting any other revenue in terms of rooms. We’re going to forecast costs. But on the cost side, we’re going to be doing it in terms of cost percentages. So in terms of cost of sales percentage staff cost. So we’re trying to keep it at the at the high level in terms of information. So we’re not going into a line by line forecast because that’s the thing that’s going to take you a long time.
So, yes, we need to have some idea about what our cost percentages are. But again, we can play with those. And again, we’ll have a good idea what those numbers are because we’re operating. So we will know how things are at the moment. And again, we are providing further assistance to help people forecast that the same is true within food and beverage in terms of forecasting covers, forecasting average meal and beverage prices, again, forecasting costs again in those percentage formats.
And there’s not too much more after that. We do have the added complexity of being able to add in things like loans, different periods of pay back, all creditors and debtors and things like that. But people can really make it as simple or as complex as they want. So, again, just to give you a bit of background, this is not something brand new to us. This is something we’ve done as a company for the best part of 20, 30 years.
And we would normally deliver this in a bespoke way with clients as part of the consultancy project where we would work with an individual client and we would forecast with them to a very, very detailed level. Now, of course, we’d love to do that with absolutely everyone who needs it. But in reality, everybody wouldn’t have the time. Everyone have the resource to do it to that level. So we wanted to do was to to create a model which allowed us to share this to help more people.
So that’s that’s the kind of heart in terms of what would be the inputs and outputs.
Does it require a interface with the performance?
No, not absolutely not. And again, one of the big things we had and be interesting to hear, and this is one of the things that David mentioned during our early phase of the conversation as well, was people want this in the formats they used to using. They want this to be in a format where they can play with the numbers. So in terms of being able to use this within Excel and being able to to run the model in that way, know, making it, not making making sure that the learning curve to use it is really sure at the start, because if this is too complicated, someone’s going to sit down and go, I haven’t got the time to learn how to use this.
So it’s not very useful. The point of this is that someone will be up and running and to be honest, they will have a focused bill within the first hour of sitting down to use it. And obviously then they can refine, they can adapt, they can build it, and that’s why they would go in terms of that.
So if I can add sorry, Adele, during the development of it, Peter spent. Weeks developing this powerful Excel spreadsheet, and when we showed it to David and Bjorn Hanson, it’s not they’re not the same last name, David, and that’s what it said, is Peter was really it was so happy to show it. He’d worked so hard on it. And what Bjorn said is Bjorn said, you know what is fantastic, Peter? But too much data is being required to be input.
He said, you’ve got to do something that allows a minimum of input that will you know, that will spread across two years without too much time being spent. And can you get that done for us? And Peter said, let me get back at it.
And but the answer is he did. And so that’s Bjorn was looking at it with an eye of what would it take for an operator to use it and how fast could it be done. And and that’s what Peter was able to come together with, with David and Bjorn and myself to make available. So that’s what you’ll see when you go into a hotel for dotcom. Now you’ll see an Excel spreadsheet, which you can review. People will take you through it and then you can download it for you, set your property and input your personalized numbers.
Absolutely, yeah, and I have to give credit to Neil, who is our finance director here, who who helped me build it in terms of the mechanics and in terms of especially the PNL and the the cash flow elements within that. So it’s definitely a joint effort. I’m definitely not taking all the credit and of course, our collective design team and creative team as well. You’re very right. When we first built it, there was a lot of data entry and vote.
You have to get very involved and probably added to something close to two hundred fifty three hundred numbers in order to get started, whereas we condense that down. Enormously important as that number is now. So are you talking more like a country of sort of 50 numbers in terms of getting started in terms of those inputs and also just that that streamlining of the process to make sure that people almost wouldn’t realize they’re doing it in terms of it’s not too onerous in terms of the requirements that people need to do.
And that was the target. It was really good to have that push back because I felt very proud of the first version. And as Fran said, when we have that comment, so the finish the call took a deep breath. I think it was an evening because honestly, I’m obviously but I’m based in London from David and Bill and Rule-based in the US. So we tend to talk at the end of my day, in the middle of our day.
So I probably did pull myself a gin and tonic and worked out how the hell I was going to make it happen. And I got started and then that’s where we went.
So do you feel like you’ve lost any accuracy or anything in in making it more concise? I would say not.
I mean, I think the key with this is it’s as powerful as the numbers that people put in. And that’s not me looking and saying that it’s it’s that case. But what we’ve built is the tool and the the heart that people need to do this. So people, you know, put in the right numbers, then the accuracy is going to be there. So I don’t mean that in terms of trying to push away that, but obviously we aren’t involved in terms of putting the numbers in.
We’ve tested and validated this with with example scenarios and tested it based on previous use cases that we’ve done.
And and and we know that it’s legitimate in terms of giving those accuracy numbers, but doing well here to put in the occupancy rate. So, I mean, this is a big concern for hoteliers. We can’t divine when the when borders will open or when the quarantine situation will change, we can’t see what’s going to happen in terms of spikes or anything.
So. So what advice do you give a new hotelier who’s just gone and downloaded from hotel forecast? How how would you approach making those decisions? Yeah, absolutely.
I mean, it’s similar to, like David mentioned before, like the million dollar question. And, you know, the key thing is that we’ve got to start somewhere because if we don’t forecast something, then we’re going to be even more in the dark than we would have been without this. And the other key thing is to say that the oil prices on the ground within the properties are going to be the best people to do it, because if we tried to come up with some kind of algorithm or some kind of prediction model that said, this is what we think is going to happen, if anything, it would be even it would be less accurate.
And forecasting is always, you know, it’s a science and it’s and there are two parts to this. And so forecasting is always something is going to be difficult. And that’s why hotels will have GMs revenue leaders, a whole host of people who who are very good at doing that and understanding of it. Key. Initial suggestion on that is that during these times, there’s two things we need to be thinking about. First one is. Get a forecast together, get started with some things.
See what it looks like, and then to start to see how that comes into play. So get started and then start to slot in the actual forecast a week and see how close you are and then continue to do that. The other thing we’re suggesting with the forecast toolkit here is that people build this two year forecast. But as we said, this is going to change so you can start to slot in your actuals as we go along. And then that will further inform the process as we go through the other key thing, and this is not to sound pessimistic, but the key thing is, is to is to forecast based on not a worst case scenario necessarily, but to forecast what you think is realistic.
Don’t shoot for that thing, which is too optimistic. Otherwise, you’re probably never going to hit it because the forecast talk here is to try and allow you to see where you’re going to have issues. And if you forecast the future as being too good, you’re not going to see those issues coming. So we always need to look at this, not with the rose tinted glasses, but we need to have a very harsh reality look on it.
That would be my advice in terms of this interview. Mr. Obama. And by the way, Peter. David, you guys need to come more often. Ben has been on his absolute best British behavior today.
He’s like, yeah, is more typical.
I’m making notes, Lauren, OK. When a fellow Brit talks, you make notes because you know that talking sense. I was going to be a great British thinker, like I’ve just written down.
Forecasts should be realistic, not hopeful, because hopeful isn’t the strategy we saw about state jerking on the show the first couple of the first couple times I turned up that in terms of the hotel. Well, time began in March. Twenty twenty. There was nothing before that because it doesn’t matter what happened there.
And it was obviously a fan before I would make a couple of my questions on this, if you don’t mind.
How how is the model going to account for the ever changing landscape of government subsidies?
For example, in the UK today, Sonoko chancellor, the exchequer, came out and said, oh, we’ve got to pay this much for these people in this area on this local lockdown. And we’ve got a super simple traffic light system. So local updown plus traffic light system plus current infection rate. And we’re going to pay X percent of this amount of hours.
Crystal-Clear, guys. How does the model account for those kind of things?
Yeah, and a great question and perfect timing. Yeah, she announced this perfectly ahead of our session today, which is great. But thankfully, he did phone me last night to give me a little bit of pretty warning. And I wish, as Ben says, an ever changing and country by country, this is different. And as as he was saying earlier, state by state in the US as well. So even more complex. I mean, yeah, the key thing here is the cost.
It’s changing so much that, again, just further further kind of leads into the reason why this is such a useful tool. And let’s take that cost as a key example. What we’ve done is we built in the ability to to keep it essentially very simple within the toolkit. So when you are forecasting, you simply are saying this is our staff costs. So underneath that, there is going to be some work. So, well, what is our staff cost?
And you actually probably let me into one of the things that’s where we’re adding in, because we’ve already had feedback that is going to be something which is going to be almost its own toolkit within it all in terms of forecasting what is our staff cost? Because, again, you might in previous times you would have known what our staff cost is X percentage of revenue, for example. That’s how you’d ask. I would tell you that two years ago they could have told you what that number is.
They would know. Whereas now that’s can be quite difficult because not only have we got different models in terms of potentially numbers of staff, ways of working the days of the week, people are working now as if they were working and are now like as you mentioned, we’ve got government support packages and all these other things. So one of the things we’re adding in is a secondary forecasting element which allows people to forecast what that staff cost is going to be, because that is going to be so important and and it’s going to keep changing.
And this unfortunately, this is not me being doom and gloom, and this is not a short term thing. This is going to be a long term recovery. I’m sure we’re all keeping track of the numbers in terms of these forecasts. Other people are coming out within the industry to say, well, when are we going to return back to twenty nineteen levels of occupancy? The latest figure I’ve seen says that there will be there by twenty, twenty three and that feels like a very long way away for me.
And I’m hoping that.
But I think part of that’s a factor because you’re looking at all sectors of travel. I think if you narrow that out, it’s different timelines, depending on what type of property you are and who your traveller is. You know, because I think when you’re looking at big box can. Tension and group dependent hotels, meaning you’re not going to hit your numbers unless you have compression in market due to convention and stuff, yeah, I don’t think twenty twenty three sounds too far off.
But when you’re talking about leisure resorts in nature destinations, I think you’re going to see them next year, potentially get back to where they were. So, you know, I think when you look at it as an industry wide vertical, yeah. That number is is heavily sapped by the bigger box part of this reach of this industry and probably a great.
Yeah, absolutely. And again, that just again, it shows that there’s going to be there’s going to be so many differences across the industry in a region by region, hotel type by hotel type, brand by brand and big brand versus small brand. There’s going to be so many differences with that. And then we’ll all be focusing in different ways. And because as we saw in the early days after we sort of were coming out of the initial stages of covid, as you mentioned, there’s kind of nature, more coastal regions.
They were actually seeing boom times. They were saying, well, we’re busier than ever. But then if you take markets like New York or London, they are quieter than ever and they are seeing huge drops. So this is that’s why this has to be done at the at the property level, because property by property, this is going to be different. So we actually agree on that. Absolutely.
Are you supporting the ability for properties to build contingency based forecasts? Because there are certain elements that we did learn this year that is meaningful, like what happens when one of your key source markets labels you as a hot spot and puts a limitation in on you? We actually do now have measurement of the impact that that has on your demand. So are you are you helping create these contingencies? Like, I think about like Myrtle Beach, their year kicks off with business from Canada every year.
Well, the Canadian border is currently closed. So if that doesn’t open by January, they already know what the impact of that is going to be. But if it does open, it changes the reality of next year. So are you are you layering in anything like that for them to have contingency based forecasts?
Yeah. You picked up on one of the cool, cool reasons. Yeah, absolutely. Because what we’re suggesting is that people shouldn’t just be building one forecaster. We should be building multiple forecasts. And as we said, building one forecasts can take a hell of a long time. So if we’re building seven or eight different contingency models, that’s going to take maybe seven or eight times because we built some of it. And some of it may not change.
But but either way, it’s going to take us a lot more time to get that exactly what we’re suggesting here. That’s another reason why we we’ve built this to allow people to condense that process to do that. So we would exactly be saying you build what you think is happening based on today, build what you think would happen if the border closes below. What would happen if you had to decrease that number by 50 percent because you’re not allowed to have so many, many people in property building?
What would happen if operating costs went up by 20 percent? Because you have to spend more money on cleaning and sanitisation and these things, you build these layers into that scenario planning. So you know what happens after each one and then when, when and if they happen, you’re obviously still going to do it. If you can pull out your forecast and go, right. Well, we’ve prepared this. This is what we would do in this scenario.
So now we very quickly go to this plan. You know, it’s one of my previous life, I used to work as an event manager for a conference organization company. We used to build what I used to call escape routes. So if something went wrong for the event, this is what we would go to. I’m also a huge football fan about football. I’m an American football fan. Then Ben is not aware of what that is.
You think it’s like rugby, but right now I think it is in terms of play calling, you think of this game in terms of play calling and you tend to start a game potentially with your first ten dryas maktab. But if that doesn’t go to plan, you have you have. I’m talking to the Americans. Benham’s all right. So you have your go to plans, you know that shutting down the run then you go to your second option, you have it ready.
You know, you’re not surprised by it and be surprised by it. Inevitably you’re not going to be prepared for it. It’s the same with soccer. If you’re not, I’m sorry, then I know that’s a dirty word.
You need to hand your possible. And that is the same it’s the same thing I’m going to if I’m going to apologise for. But the point is, you will have those scenarios ready to go so that when and if they happen, you’re prepared for them and you’ve already thought about what you will do and you’ll all be able to quickly identify the gaps you have and the ways that you’re going to deal with them rather than being shocked by them.
That’s a really good analogy. And I like the. Because one of the things that I almost hate about talking about forecasts is the fact that your forecasts are probably going to be wrong, especially right now, and just come to terms with that and deal that that doesn’t mean you don’t have one. Right. Just like you said earlier, failure to plan is planning to feel like you still have to have one, but you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to adapt, how you’re going to be agile and adjust to things that happen in real time.
So that’s David, because I know David won’t be with us for the entire show, but what are you doing on property? You’ve got property in different locations. So what are you doing? Well, I think and I wanted to add something to the conversation there as well as we’re opening a new hotel in April of next year, and so we’re now also in a position where we’re putting a forecast together for a property that has no history on. What’s been really interesting about this, about this this tool is we’ve been able to run multiple scenarios.
So we have six different scenarios that that we have used the tool for which allow us that we’re not having to spend a ridiculous amount of time doing so. I hope you can hear me. I’m having some Internet challenges here as well, but hopefully you can still hear me. Are you OK? Oh, good. Oh, yeah. OK, good, so, OK, great. So so that’s sort of one of the things that this tool has been really useful to us is in a new property where we have no idea of what’s going to happen using all of these different different scenarios and building it that way so we can flip something to what Peter was just saying.
We’re able to flip between the different scenarios as we get closer to the hotel opening. But I think to all of the points that have been raised, our hotels are all in very different markets and with very different restrictions. So New Jersey’s dining restrictions are very different to Massachusetts dining restrictions, which are different, again, to New York. And so, you know, what we’re what we’re doing is we’re using where we’re using all of the data that we possibly can to be able to provide putting into into the forecast or to be able to provide, as you know, the best case scenarios that we can see from a forecasting point of view.
But I think also that we now have six months of data through covid. You know, we have April through September, which, you know, is only half a year. But it’s a lot more data than when we were starting when we started this discussion and building this tool, you know, we had no data at all. We’ve now got some data. We’re now seeing, you know, we’re following a lot of the information that we have from China, you know, seeing how their their tourism recovery, what the flow has been and using the same thing here.
So I think it’s using past data. There’s got to be some, you know, some guesswork, some some strategy and multiple assumptions. And every time an assumption changes, it’s like, OK, we’re going back into lockdown or indoor dining is not going to happen. We’re going into colder months, being able to put that data into the forecast and reforecast quite quickly. And, you know, one of the things that we. Oh, oh, oh, it’s critical, but the cash flow is critical right now.
Yeah, I think what David was saying there was how critical Cash-Flow is, and because, again, I don’t want to bring an old cliche say cash is king. And if we don’t manage the cash flow, then then we don’t have a business. So maybe that’s what they decided. It was just cutting out their second. David, so sorry to cut into. That’s exactly what you were saying.
One other suggestion I’ve had for any partners I’ve talked to, that’s exactly what I was saying I want to say was was to actually go back through your analytics and study your your different goes that showed up when other guys lock down and start mapping out who did all of a sudden become a source market of meaningfulness. And we saw this in some really interesting ways where we saw Miami as a source market show up in regions where normally you would not see Miami as a meaningful market.
And one of the things we’ve encouraged is go study that and build these contingency plans that if New York blocks down or New York puts a mandatory quarantine on people from your area, pay attention to what other regions showed up and delivered because they also can’t go to New York. So they’re now choosing somewhere else and build strategies based on when pieces of the map go dark for you. Where do you go next? Because it’s not just about surviving, it’s about getting through it as well as possible in the way you do that is to find what customers can travel and will travel to you when options are eliminated for them.
The same way options have been eliminated for you.
Yeah, exactly. To say that this is not forecasting in isolation. I think one of the key things is that this forecasting tool needs to be integrated with wider revenue management, sales, distribution, marketing side identification of those markets, because all of that is feeding into this. And this is not sort of, oh, you know, this is the silver bullet to success in terms of, you know, now we’ve got a great forecasting tool. We say this is great.
We know what was happening. We know where we’re going. This is one element of the biggest strategy, all the parts about the need to build and to bring the success. And that I agree. And it’s the same wherever we are like, say, in Tennessee, this is where you are in the States. It’s a state by state thing. We’ve got the same thing here in Europe. We keep getting updated. You can travel here. You can’t travel.
They’re the same in Asia-Pacific. And so absolutely needs to be continued to be informed by this changing landscape for right now.
Usually October in the world of hospitality is the tail end of the budget season. And more often than not, everybody I’m talking to, they’re not even beginning the process because they’re still in the shell shock phase of as soon as we think of something, it’s not the same as what we thought. And the worst quite well. The biggest question to answer during budget process is why the kiss of death to any budget proposal is not being able to answer that question.
And to the scenario aspect of it, the easiest way to deflate any budget or any forecast is to say, well, if I took this little piece of your puzzle, does the cards still stand? And oftentimes it doesn’t because nobody’s planned for that in a mathematical way. They’ve. Oh, yeah, well, that can happen. But we don’t know what we do that. Well, you’re answering that question to a degree. You’re saying, well, we thought of that and this is what we think the mathematical impact is towards it, because for a longest time, six months maybe we’ve just been watching the bombs drop.
We’ve just been watching one thing after another affect our industry decimated and we’ve been harboring whatever resources we have financially, cash flow, whatever, and now looking towards trying to know what our businesses are going to do in the future tense. There has to be some stick in the sand that says this is if this is this like when you went to economic class in college, if all things were consistent, we can look at this one thing.
Well, not all things are consistent. So you can’t just look at this one thing. You have to plan for the variables that that hit it. I think, Ben, when he was in his lotus position, yoga mat, said once that business was like water came from different directions. It just had depending on how it flowed or something like that. I know you’re very much in the Zen mode when you said that. I don’t know.
I think just to pick up on that point there about budgets for next year, there’s some some classes that working with it still haven’t called them, still haven’t sat down to them. And there’s a few reasons that, first of all, I don’t think everybody knows whether or not they’re going to be around next year.
Secondly, it’s going to be difficult for for a for a forecast to sit down. Well, they’re spinning so many of the players, they’re going to be fulfilling all the roles on property as well and a business level. And thirdly, it’s a pretty shitty task and it’s going to get put off and put off and put off. People are going to procrastinate on this because they just and I can apportion blame here. Just don’t want to sit down and take that on because that’s a headache.
Even with all the forecasting models known to man, you are basically a.
It’s going to be difficult, it’s not going to be a fun task at all for anybody.
One of my questions and I’m sorry for going back, it seems to be that conversation coming thick and fast, the actual model itself, is it a standalone spreadsheet that people download?
So it’s not a cloud based on something. It’s a document that people download, correct? Right.
OK, if a if a hotel doesn’t have their idea on international travel and flight routes, if you don’t have your ear to the ground on that, you’re going to miss out incredibly quickly and you’re going to be behind your competitors when they start advertising to market.
Not how often have you given any consideration to trying to link up to a cloud based API for flight updates or even an email subscription list? I am in New York.
I want to know when X market flies into me, because I would love to help.
Absolutely, yeah. I mean, very much. I mean, we built this is version one and with anything you have to start the first one. Doesn’t matter whether you’re Bill Gates working on Windows version one or Steve Jobs with Bosniac. Next, the garage working out Apple. This is version one. And we have a road map where we’re going to take this. We wanted to get this together and ensuring the quality, but getting this together as quickly as we could, reasonably.
And like I mentioned, I’m impatient. So if anything, I would rather have this ready two months ago and said that we could get this out and start helping people as quickly as possible. But, yeah, our development roadmap is to take this into the cloud. And exactly as you said, is to start bringing all those other elements in that will be useful for people to to make this better and better. You know, we’ve got very far reaching goals in terms of where we want to take this and say, yeah, this is this is this is the beginning.
This is ground level. Yeah, great.
That’s great to hear.
There’s so many tools in the hospitality industry, as you’ll know, that look at what your competitors are doing, what kind of race are offering Whitemark analysis tools that they’re really interesting to plug into this as well. But yeah, I will steal any of your thunder for two or three months from down the line.
Just just to also learn from Bill Gates. Let’s not do a version vesto.
It goes badly, but to your end in this goes to him, an old school thought when we ever we did the budget process, we usually walked in the door with three budgets, the one that we were trying to get, the one that we hope they didn’t take, and the one that we probably ended up with. And they were all based on of suppositions as to what we thought business would be like to influence top line revenues, of course, influenced cost factors and distribution down to bottom line profits and so forth.
Having a tool like this would be a big improvement over this, because what you’re really basically saying is no question can go unanswered, because if you walk in and anybody on the other side of the table wants to create a scenario of, well, what if you lost this channel of revenue or this was a reduction in capabilities because you lost this feeder market or you had to reduce your operations.
But you’re right, which they always do. They always try to trip you up like, uh huh, I’m smarter than you, obviously, but no, I haven’t.
But you would be able to go back and say, look, you know, if this happened, this is the impact to us financially. This is how it trickles down to the contractors. These are reductions we’d probably have to make operationally. These are changes we have to make within our marketing strategy. It wouldn’t you would show the residual impact. It may not be completely 100 percent. This is down to the Senate, although I’m being surprised that that may not be the case.
Just it gives them a nice impact value that says, yes, if we lost that channel or we lost that market or we lost that segment of opportunity, this would be the numbers impact to us and the impact on our budget as it goes forward from that.
So, yeah, absolutely.
And I think quite a few of you believe in things like, say, normally this time of year we would be in hotels, would be in third for however many rounds of things. Normally, obviously, it goes in stages and that would be locked. Now, normally we’d be locked in, as Ben was saying, you know, we are things are ever changing. And I think that is the lead time for people to be doing stuff. And it’s across all our lead time for guests to be booking it’s lead time for hotels to be managing things.
And, you know, that’s the same with forecasting, I say, because January feels like the landscape could look entirely different than it does today. And yes, it’s less than two months away. So with that shorter lead time, we’re going to have to make quick decisions. So, again, that’s why that was our feeling in terms of creating this. And, you know, and right at the heart of this. And maybe you can do it better than I can.
You know, the whole reason why we wanted to do this was to help people, because we get the feeling from everyone on the line here to have such passion. Hospitality is, you know, wanting to do. What is possible to help the industry and keep people afloat, because that is the heart of this as well.
Of course, you go to a website and download it. What was the website again?
The website is hotel dash focused, dot com. And so there is there is a cost to this. Yeah. I mean, obviously, we are a commercial business. We do want to help people. But, you know, the fans said, you know, we put an enormous amount of time into creating this. And, you know, normally, like I said, we would be selling consultancy time to build this in terms of the way we’re doing it.
And the the the cost for the program is four hundred ninety five dollars. But doing an opening special preferential VIP rate with 20 percent off is likely. We’re going to extend that at least until Christmas, as we say. You know, the code here is to help people and we do provide support as well in terms of if people do struggle when they download it and they find something they can’t quite work out, we’re available to email and to help.
You know, obviously there are some limits in terms of how much we can help in terms of time we can give to individuals. But as I say this, this is about us giving to the industry and and helping people. So so, yeah, that that’s that’s the access incentive to help people get it. Congratulations.
Because you found a friction point, a pain point that every hotelier can relate to and you’re offering something reasonably priced that really anybody can afford even in these times, if it’s going to save them time and and let them focus on other things and give them tools to make better decisions moving forward.
So, well, there is an additional PRITISH contingency that has dropped in on us because.
Well, we could do it from here.
Oh, gosh, no comment. I’d like to add. Good job, guys, is really good. Like you said, I think you have identified a problem, created a real solid solution for it. And I think there was some probing going on about the the precision at which it can produce data. And I think right now the thing I’ve learned. Is that no one has a clue what’s going to happen tomorrow. They really can make their best guess, but there’s so much more uncertain than there is certain right now.
And if we look at how much time we typically spend on budgeting and the ordeal that that is and to make updates to that, how many, many, many, many, many, many hours it takes to have a product like this that may be not precise, but is very accurate is what you need, because right now there’s a big difference between accuracy and precision. Right. Precision is really getting down to the penny, but accuracy is to the dollar.
And so. What we found, and this is what fueled it early on, we created a spreadsheet similar to this for our own business, and we were able to create multiple, multiple, multiple scenarios, not just one budget. We literally at one point in 50 different scenarios that we were running based on all the things that could happen. And what is we literally working on a list of questions of what if this is what happens, we get this.
And so we did this and it took us hundreds of hours to do it. But it was what we needed to be had to prevent mass layoffs because we were scared. We didn’t know what was going to happen. And we what happened with a lot of companies in the supply side, in the hotel side was, well, let’s just assume the worst plan for the worst, hope for the best. But we’re going to let a lot of people go.
And I think a lot of people lost their jobs through lack of visibility into what was going to happen. So the fact that now people have a tool where they can run all these permutations with minimal effort and say, what if we hit this benchmark? If we don’t get this, this is when we pull the trigger. This is when we pivot. This is brilliant. I think it’s really, really novel. I think it’s no one else has this right now to simplify.
It’s such a hard, universal problem. So congrats. And most importantly, the way you priced it, this is a no brainer. I mean, quite honestly, even if you think you don’t need it to get the sanity check of another kind of angle, that would take you way more than five, six hours to construct the time cost alone is covered in getting another kind of point of view. And so, you know, this is something everyone should be looking at.
Everyone should be running it against, even if you’ve already completed, your budget is running that same kind of program against it. Because let’s face it, most hotels are fairly fixed business. There isn’t a huge amount of movement normally in their forecasts. And we talked about this early on where I said it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Like, I’ve always run tech startups and in tech startups, you run a tethered budget. If we hit this, it unlocks this part of the budget.
If we miss this, it restricts this part of the budget and everything’s tethered. And the reason you have to do that is you can sign a deal that triples your company and they can come out of nowhere and need to be able to know how do you deploy?
How do you make that happen? What do you do when you miss how do you constrict and not have to lay people off? That’s not something a hotel is going to do because there’s not as much elasticity in the reality of their business. So having the ability to run multiple models to to consider the things that even though you can’t control them, you now have some measurement of the impact they have on your business.
You know, it’s really smart.
It’s it’s really cool like that to the value proposition of those two things. One is you just said you hit it right on the head. This is a this can be a stress test of your budget.
And we’ve never had one in the industry. We don’t do budgets by stress testing them. We do budgets by anticipatory value propositions. As you say, we’re very linear about our budgeting. We’re very moderate as to our variations. We don’t really try to stress test out based on conditionals like this. This year is woken up that those things can happen to our industry, let alone our individual hotel. But I’d also like to add the caveat that, Peter, I’ve never talked to you about this before, but when going through this for people like me, when you give the variations of what can happen to the to the forecast is an open door of what can you do to fix it?
OK, we’re from a marketing perspective, OK, you just took away that resource or that revenue or you’ve just given me offense on this or you’ve just initialized this revenue. Go fix it.
You know, what is it you can do about that? Where something is said very much earlier was where is the business coming from? From what we have six months of information from where did the the water flow from the dam flow from before for Ben and analogy that I gave you.
But the the idea of it is that there is a risk averse to all things. It may not be a complete replacement by any stretch, but it can be a augmentation to it. So to me, there’s a value proposition, just not knowing that there’s a roadmap of what we can consider. But how can fix this kind of stuff? What by by looking at these conditions? And that’s something that is a whole residual value that I don’t think you’re really adding into the equation of what you’re giving them.
And. Yeah, absolutely. And I think you’re right. I mean, we thought long and hard about how to price it. And all of you did a great job of kind of talking about exactly what I would have said in terms of pain points and the number of hours that have to go into this. We really felt that it hit the right spot there. In terms of that, I think one of the things we haven’t quite come. They say it is just that the margins are so fine now, whereas in normal times we can get away with having more of a buffer towards getting into trouble right now.
That margin is decreasing and that’s why we need to be more aware of these things. So, yeah, I couldn’t agree more with all those things that you just said.
So we can’t we can’t just make this a huge positive thing. So I have to give you an angle of constructive criticism. And that is the picture you used of Warren Gray on your website.
No, I think it’s a threat to their success because they so much the struggle right now.
The thing that concerns me, Lauren, is compared to the other three pictures, you look like you have a giant head because they scaled them to life.
Well, I was I was promised that this would be a very entertaining conversation and everyone here was on their best behavior.
And I don’t know why now. I don’t really see it change what Ben actually said to sound really good.
Ben actually said beer, no water.
I mean, it’s really strange how clean and sober. And I’m sure I’m a cop. I know Lauren well enough to make a joke, but you do the same thing myself that I love a challenge. So that’s that’s why we put it there. Until you get past the picture, you’re going to love the product.
I think one of the one of the potentials in the future as well for you and you may have you may have considered this is this cloud based product eventually has the potential to become almost mission control for for a reaction at mission control, for the moving parts of a hotel.
As an example, the one thing that’s just swirling around my head, if you have to if you have a couple and you have your flights connected to it and you when you’re in New York and all of a sudden, you know, you can no longer take a flight from Miami, you could automate instructions to marketing campaigns, Google being your metasearch display and and remove those from the market so you are not wasting your marketing dollars or pounds. So U.S. dollars I dollars now.
Well, and heck, I mean, even from a simpler standpoint, because let’s be honest, most hotels outsource their marketing to agencies. You could literally just have a trigger off a notification to the agent.
Yeah, yeah. I’ve got an email saying you need to pause it from this little policy, from this market and be aware of X, Y and Z because.
Yeah, yeah. I think you could go as far as with this as your imagination would take you.
But yeah, it probably has a probably has the potential to grow a lot faster than just a spreadsheet that tells you fall. And I’m not belittling just a spreadsheet, but I mean a standalone spreadsheet.
Oh well believe me, that’s that’s the target. You know, like we’re you know, we’re not settling with just version one. Everything has to start somewhere. So, yeah, the growth potential is huge. And yeah, it’s really clear that there is a lot of potential and you can only it can only grow and get even better. Yeah.
I think Ben is still taking up that you were referring to NFL football before referring to football and I think just a little bit of both.
And so I mean, I could happily talk sports all day, but I don’t worry about it. First and foremost, I’m a English football fan and secondary and American football fans, they don’t work in the yes, we can go into teams like, but we’ll maybe cover that one.
Not as long as you’re not saying you’re from Liverpool, Liverpool, then Stewart will stay on the show. Just you know, you say he’s off the show now.
And and I know I came late, so I probably missed this.
But has anyone called attention to Deanne’s awesome t shirt, Super eight?
I mean, that that is a fantastic t shirt.
There’s this Rs1 choices, you know. Yeah.
I mean, the hospitality is strong in him. So I say this to and when we spoke a few weeks ago, I feel very remiss with my background. I need something here and I’m loving I’m loving The Avengers and I am behind you.
The secret of my office is it’s where everything my wife will not allow me to put in my house ends up. Yeah.
You know, I. Yeah. And I include, you know. So what is next for you.
Yeah. What’s on deck. What do you think is the next thing you want to address in progressing this product.
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah. Roadmap on that in terms. Coming next, definitely moving into the cloud is definitely stage two and then building in the key thing. Stage two is going to be getting into the cloud and then dealing with the the initial things we can go with because it’s not a problem. It’s a good problem to have when we move into the cloud. There’s so many more possibilities. So it’s going to be a case of detailing the most important ones first and then continued to grow from there.
That’s probably the key thing to go from there. The other thing is, utilizing our knowledge from that didn’t really go into place to stop. One of the big things we do in the business aside from this, is that we have a range of simulation programs. So we created the world’s first ever hotel simulation program, which was created back in nineteen ninety four, which again I can’t take credit for because I wasn’t in the business in ninety four.
That program is mainly used in a teaching, training and learning environment to teach people the intricacies of hotel management and how it works. So the other thing for us is building in even more of that knowledge. We already use a lot of that knowledge in terms of the algorithms, the back end of the spreadsheets and how it works in terms of forecasting and the evolution of that into the next step as well in terms of further, you know, further technology, in terms of that approach, in terms of how we can improve the model.
Nice. Very exciting. Yes, I think there’s no real octane on the road map, right? There’s no end right now. Where is Dick Cheney now?
Another thing, when you move into the cloud, you depending on the information that the hotels give and depending on your information processing policies, you get access to a lot of anonymized data, a lot of aggregated data that you can sort to start to pull patterns from. And you can give people thresholds on the accuracy of their forecasts based on the historical data we can start to find.
Also, you start benchmarking as well. Well, actually, that’s an interesting thing, is if you when you go to the cloud, if you make an element of this, where there they report it on a regular basis, how they performed to that report?
Well, yeah, but you actually build value on why they should do that. So it’ll actually help them like a spot issues down the road because of where they are in January.
But by getting them to report to that, you can actually start actively suggesting when someone’s building a budget in a specific area that you have a data set on and you can say, hey, people in your position tend to misstate this number, positive or negative by this percentage.
And you get indicators to you start getting flagged indicators as things do change that you know what the impact of it is based on what the change was. And you begin to go and create pattern performance at that point.
But as a smart rate, I bet he’s already thought of this. Yes, I was in your hotel simulation products. You’re looking at metrics behind that. Give each individual going through more of a look at what’s happening in the competitive set and how they measure against that, right? Yeah, absolutely.
And definitely this has been a thought and it’s great to come out here as well, said look into, like I said, good to have data validation of ideas and know that you’re not by yourself. And thinking is a good idea. And you say, wait, wait.
I want to be clear. Just because we’re saying it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. There are there have been many bad ideas for a film called.
Yeah, I can also say at least you feel like you’re not alone. So at least we can be together in the boat alone as you go over the waterfall.
You’re fine for that. And if you need rain, then and it’s compatriot Tristant, they’re always trying to plan to take over the world. And I think they’re just down the road from me. So if the media reports to take over the world, they’re in your backyard.
Yeah. And I think that comparison Venustiano is a good one. You know, we work a lot with FDR and the projects we do already in terms of the simulations, in terms of training events, in terms of other consultancy things we’ve done. I’m sure we’re all aware of the fantastic stuff that FDR did. So, yeah, I think there’s definitely a benchmarking angle with this. And the other angle you mentioned in terms of. Yeah, that help and guidance, especially like know, we talked earlier about forecasting staffing percentages and how difficult that’s going to be.
And yeah, the more we can help sort of guide people in the right direction and say, you know, you know, people in your part of the world or people with your size of hotel have been within this range and not that could be a hugely powerful for people. So, yeah, there’s huge opportunity here, because too often I find that the hotels, their data set is too narrow.
But if you can start folding in other data from their region now, all of a sudden they can get really sharp, really, really sharp and the insides of kind of the background performance of all the copies of properties. I mean, my gosh, that that could be a game changer.
Yeah, that data is powerful. You can measure it. You can control it. So that’s that’s key. Yeah.
How long is it going to take us to get into the cloud, your question. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s where we go from here. We have to have a firm date. That’s where we go from here. Key focus was all energy into one version one. So now we go headlong into into version two. As I said, I’m probably one of the most impatient people you’ll meet. So as quickly as is possible, whilst maintaining, as we’ve said, all the other things in terms of the accuracy and the quality, all those other things that need to be there.
So one of the things when we were talking about pricing on it in the US, thank you for asking about the pricing, is that we were all over the place of what we could do with it. And then we did. We got really generous, maybe too generous. But what we said is if you buy it now for the next 12 months, you’ll get all the updates. So that was something, again, taking a look at what we could add for add value as we got the launch product on and then added to other enhancements, as well as create a community where people could share some ideas, which is, of course, back to the background we all have on what we do with our association management and our engagement with our peers.
Right. So we’re hoping, again, looking at all of that, it’s everything is always more complicated by 10 than what you think it is. Right. So, again, the cloud will be first or I guess sounds like a peer.
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s a valuable point. And we really decided, you know, because we wanted to get this together and we didn’t want people who came in early, early adopters. We want them to get the same experience as someone who maybe comes in in three or four months when maybe version two is ready. That’s why people buy into this. Then then they will be given access to any other updates that come out of the next 12 months.
And then we will develop further from that. And again, as Fran said, just to make reference to this, another thing we’ve included within the access to this is a private LinkedIn group where people gain access to once they buy into the toolkit, to be able to share best practice among each other, and then for us to be able to bring support and guidance for that group as well. Because a lot of this feels like, you know, I’m sure we feel this.
I’m sure everyone is more in isolation than we would normally be. A lot of us obviously still working from home. So, again, a lot of these hotels will be more isolated than they are usually. So, again, wanting to provide a forum for those people to be able to come together to gain guidance and support and just have a maybe a bit of an outlet to talk to other people, you know, and if someone says, well, hey, look, I found great value doing X, Y and Z, then that’s great.
That helps inform other people and also allows us to continue to feed, help and guidance into the group as well.
Well, and what’s important, too, in that, because in the phase you’re in right now, people can pull this down and then alter the sheet. It’s important for you to understand what are the common operations that are happening, because when you go to move into the cloud, if you haven’t learned what those are, the cloud version all of a sudden will become less usable than the sheet if you didn’t account for common adjustments that people are making post download.
Yeah, absolutely. And we’re open to all feedback on this. And anyone who works developing software has to have a fairly thick skin in terms of feedback and in terms of tech like this. So all of that goes to make it better. So, I mean, that is a positive thing because all that feedback is essential just to provide what it is that people actually want. And, you know, as I said earlier, you know, whatever you think it is at the start, it probably is ten times more complicated.
So and again, you need that. You need that that lived experience of people who’ve gone I’ve used this said I’m going to have used it for six weeks. This is what I learned. And then you go right now, we can put that in. You pick the things that you need from that and some of the things you go, well, everyone’s not going to need that, but everybody will need those things and those things. Right? True.
But we only know you’re brave, you’re brave. And I really, really appreciate it, because I know I personally have asked some vendors that I worked with. You know, sometimes we can come up with our own workarounds faster than we can get an answer for workarounds, for problems from your tech support. The won’t you please make a LinkedIn group so I can talk to the other hoteliers using it? Because clearly they’re having the same experience as I am.
And and they were paralyzed with fear that it was going to become, you know, something negative. But, you know, embrace feedback. Absolutely. It is the. Winning ticket, and if your customers are talking to each other and trying to help them, how to use the tool even better, it’s just a fantastic thing. So well done.
Thank you. I think it comes from the nature that all of us, I find myself, everyone else that we’ve worked with, we all have that background of actually being hospitality operators. So we have that hospitality nature in terms of, you know, there is no such thing as no, we can’t. There’s no let me see what we can do. That’s that’s the whole hospitality side. Absolutely.
Because you say no all the time when I ask questions and thinks that.
But you for some reason, Lorne, might be just me. To be fair, you keep asking completely unrelated tech companies when they’re getting into augmented reality. That’s true. I’m surprised you haven’t asked Peter that. Yeah. Yeah, I see all that. Yeah.
Just to pick two letters and put them together and say, you know, I’ve only asked for a half hour of your time and we’re well past an hour, hour and 15 minutes or so. We’d love for you to continue on. I mean, I don’t know if we have any more that you want to make sure we don’t miss in the conversation.
I think almost everything on the talk. I mean, anyone has any other questions. But now I just not able to be here. And and I think I’m sticking around as well. So, yeah. And I’m very happy to move the conversation on and talk about something else.
Just so you’re really clear, this is where it starts to go.
Downhill slope of dialogue, dissertation and wrong, just wrong.
The road with Warren for weeks and weeks and weeks at a time. So you can imagine in cars with him for hours and planes for hours. So I don’t know if anybody else has had those experiences, but if you want to share them personally.
So a friend with that, I do have to ask then and that much exposure. Have you witnessed any of the times that he was struck by lightning?
Just what I was going to ask you don’t mean literally. Do you mean just. Oh, no, no. No one has been directly struck by lightning three times in his life and indirectly another three times. I was just curious if you witnessed any of them because he’s been struck by lightning six total times.
No, I see him have ideas that he thinks are lightning, but I’ve never seen it.
And we know this is true because you use the word things. Yes. Yes, I think it’s perfect.
So I think we all could talk about the things we can talk about to keep this from derailing too much.
I do have to go. But I did want to come in, Peter, and and hear about what you were doing. I think it’s amazing what you’ve put together for the industry. And these are the types of things that just remind me of why I love working in this industry, is how everyone comes together when when the world gets crazy. This industry is such a cool community that way. So thank you for that. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to be on much today, but I did want to come in and say great job on this is a great product.
Thank you very much. Depends on what you do and where to go. All that kind of fun stuff. Where can they find you?
You can find me at Flipped Auto. You can find me on social media. Edward St. Onge. Peter, you may want to look me up on Twitter if you want to have some fun about American football, what one else should catch you on Twitter.
So I am Kansas City now on on NFL and then UK for college and I am New York Giants.
So I will tweet you later. We can talk. Excellent. Excellent.
All right, everyone, have a great weekend, Peter. Thank you again. Fran, it was nice to see you, by the way. You too. All right. Thanks. Bye anyway. Thanks.
So with that in mind, I didn’t get to send you the list, Peter, as to what Robert has sent to us, but is there anything that is my belief in market right now that outside of our current discussion that you would say would be fun to throw into the dialogue as to what you’re seeing or what you think would be of interest? Because there’s just so many moving pieces right now with what’s happening, anything that pops in your head, as you’re saying, hey, this would be something that I think would be interesting to kind of throw to discussion.
Yeah, I mean, I think first thing for me would be the kind of distribution piece. And I think we talked a little about that earlier in terms of different markets. People are focused on and know the ever changing landscape of that in terms of what people are looking at, in terms of the kind of known markets and then maybe the unusual markets. I think one of the things I’ve had from a few operators is that they started to see new markets that they would they wouldn’t have been able to attract.
And I don’t just mean we’re seeing a lot of local. Tourism, but I’d be interested in other people’s thoughts in terms of what they want, what people think can happen in terms of some of the sales and distribution angle over the next few months, moving in twenty, twenty one.
I know what I have heard. Some hoteliers say that they’re considering doing rentals for those locally at an affordable price. And I think that the master of the spin on the whole concept would be citizen and kudos to them. They came up with something super creative, which is the twenty nine nights for about fifteen hundred dollars. If I, you know, they only have mean in the East Coast, they have Boston and Washington and New York. So now like, you know, it’s, it’s a it’s an easy thing.
If somebody if I was a young person and I wanted to try those cities to see how I felt about them for a month, these fifteen hundred dollars, and you get to be in a cool environment and explore another city. If I was virtually working and and, you know, young enough to be adventurous like that, that would be very interesting. And they limit it to a thousand of these global passports or whatever they’re calling it. If they sell all of them for one month, that’s one one and a half million dollars that they can pay the rent and keep some staff on it.
It’s it’s kind of creative. I like it. Very cool.
And you just you just pick the exact example I would have used because I was reading about it the day I get all of that information. And one of them, one of the many hotel brands that I love, I obviously love an all hotel brands. We left with a lot of them. But it is not like the idea that they produce this is staggering. I think it’s amazing. And I thought I thought exactly the same. I thought, you know, this had come out five or six years ago.
I would have been a customer of this. And in normal times, I’m on the road. I’m normally traveling a lot. I normally travel an insane number of miles a year. And, you know, there were times when it was barely worth me having an apartment because I was fly in, fly out of London and, you know, but I was in lots of other different cities where there would have been cities and that would have been perfect.
I think I think it is about being innovative and looking for that is looking for those angles that maybe, you know, you haven’t ever considered before.
I think creatively they would like they don’t follow any of the rules unless they choose those rules.
I love that about them. I they’re very interesting to watch.
I think it also points out a stark reality of brands not keeping up.
And I mean, because the system is a brand. When we look at the larger brands, the Marriotts, the Hiltons, the shoes that even the heights and so forth, they still seem to be stuck in in shock. They’re just still even rolling out solutions to current covid identifications of process and procedures. Then they throw out offers that are kind of tone deaf, you know, weeks of wonder. I wonder where we want to be safe. You know, they just they seem to be they seem to be a little missing as to the concerns of current usage and so forth.
And not all hoteliers can do a Citizendium did. But the fact is Sigismund had enough locations and offered something that was uniquely able to be put together like that. Maybe management companies can maybe do something like that.
I was going to say the same because they’re kind of in that Goldilocks zone, right? They’re not too big. I killed in some areas where they have this juggernaut that is really hard.
Impact will change because you’ve got such a variety of products and so much bureaucracy and red tape that they’re a lot more they’ve always been more agile. But I really think the big opportunity here is for the independents. And I obviously work with a lot of independents. We’re seeing a lot of them realized early on that there was a segment of the industry that really didn’t hurt. And she is doing better year over year than in any other segment. And that was extended stay extended, had a really good twenty, twenty, twenty.
And so a lot of the independents are looking at this and saying, well, especially if you’re in a southern area and the weather’s a little more temperate this time of year. And then up north, a lot of them are really going for this snowbird kind of mentality, an extended stay and offering deals similar to season and them. But they have one location. So it’s my plum stays too long, stays at a deep discount, and they’re filling up doing this and it’s keeping the lights on.
It’s paying the mortgage, is keeping the staff on the payroll, and it’s really going to help them survive through the winter. So just being creative and thinking differently, you don’t have to be the one night stay kind of just fighting for every every dollar. You can pivot a little bit. Yeah.
And I think it links in with that says. Model to an extended stay in this land, obviously, and that model is very different, but it’s that sort of you can live here because we have sort of a living room type space lounge type space coworking type space. And I know I agree in terms of the bigger brands can’t pivot quite as easily. But, you know, it’s really interesting to see the pipeline like Marriott has for Moxey in terms of that brand.
And, you know, I don’t want to just say Moxey stimulus’s because that would be unfair. It is. It’s very different in its own right. But in that kind of space that, like you mentioned, that’s true in terms of extended stay on those properties where you can be there for a longer period of time because it’s the kind of space you want to be for a longer period of time.
If you if you’re a condo type property on a beach destination, like at Daytona or Panama City Beach, those guys could I mean, they’ve been doing OK, but they can really do well through the winter.
I think, um, I think actually the places that are like a konga where you have everything in your own space and you have space to cook your own meals and and and feel at home, I think they do offer an advantage to go to places like Citizendium because I mean, that whole communal thing, which I think is where people’s hearts are, that we’re social people. And they really got that right. They love that clubroom concept. They love that they can go down and work in this area or this area or this area and be around other people, even though they’re quietly working alone, not on their computer.
But I wonder, how is it going to work if people feel that, you know, how many people can they get in that space? It’s it’s quite a big space in New York. I haven’t seen the other properties. It’s quite a big space in New York. But once you start putting a couple of dozen people in there.
You know, you’re not necessarily within six feet of each other. I mean, how exactly is that going to work? I that’s what I wonder about.
Discount the fact that up until the time the covid hit that we were already talking about a culture called digital nomads. Anyway, at your point, you’re traveling and so forth and you’re on the road. You know, the diminishment of having a permanent residence know is more of a place to just swap out suitcases almost like Rome that we’re doing this already, right?
And what happened to them was that they slowed down in the transfer where they were going to, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t still stay away from the residence during that time. They may just have stayed in London for a month instead of a week or two that they normally would have or whatever it would be, because they want to go through the the 14 day quarantines, whatever they had to go to travel between, but they still had to be somewhere.
And to your point, having that opportunity to control a little bit more of your environment by having some sort of suite of cooking facilities or common areas to be able to work from and so forth, was very critically important. And those people still existed.
And so you brought this on many shows before we had to go through a cycle of business type, which was those that were feeling invulnerable to this or that were discounting the impact of this and then were traveling in spite of what was going on tablets that they were the early and your survey was for normal people early on.
There was a stigma to travel. It was reckless. It was not responsible. But that’s gone. You know, if you look at the data, most people have traveled at this point since March. Most people. Fifty three percent with the last data I saw, which is over half of the population have traveled at least once. And what we’re seeing is it’s definitely shorter, it’s definitely closer, but they’re traveling more frequently. People people are going on multiple trips.
I’ve been on three since March and I’m sure everyone on here has been on at least one and probably more than one. So there’s an opportunity. People are traveling. You’ve just got to figure out how do you make it so that they want to travel to you and doing things like, I can watch the kids, I’ve got something set up. So kids that are working remotely can can still do their schooling or we’ve got a couple of folks that are doing big campaigns.
One was calling it was it work resort instead of remotely. And so you can come and set out areas on or so you could watch listen to the ocean. While you’re working things like that, you’ve got to get creative and you’ve got to remember why, why people are scared and reassure them that you’re taking care of that piece of it as well.
And so just when we’re trying to convince people and saying our beautiful resorts and keep you keep your laptop with you by the pool or the beach or on the terrace, whatever, the FBI goes and says. So why did you see that one with the security issue?
But then again, all seasoned travelers know that a VPN is as much a part of their packages and that they ever travel with, you know, that long.
I think you’re you’re a technical, I think, than the vast majority of people don’t know what to be.
And I wouldn’t I wouldn’t I wouldn’t disagree with that. But I think those that travel for business, either their business requires it and or they’re aware of the fact that signing into unsecured Wi-Fi is not probably the smartest thing. Does everybody know that? No, no. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be such a booming business for. But go ahead. I’m sorry.
Does everybody use it so even I know about I know that I should use it. Do I use it all the time? Probably not as often as I should.
I know I should keep my shoes on a plane.
The first thing I do when I go in there is to kick them off, notifying the hoteliers, give to people coming in pretty stay to help them. Be safe on the way from now. It is a great fear, right? They don’t want to add to the existing fear so they don’t run it. Yeah, I can’t imagine.
Like, we we’ve enhanced cleaning policies because the floor isn’t safe. Everyone’s wearing masks to the areas and safe use a VPN because the Wi-Fi isn’t safe.
I’ll just go find a table of cards not safe either and make sure you wear gloves when you pick up the snacks.
OK, just saying it.
But make sure that you steward for your travel does is amazing consumer sentiment travel survey they’ve been doing. Now you’ve done none of them so far right now.
They talking about the ten minutes. We’ve done ten.
We’re going to take them. Where do we find them? Fuel travel, dot com covid. You’ll get the list of all that covid resources, podcasts and the sentiment studies.
It’s like watching the ocean ebb and flow. The demand, the interest, the hesitancy.
I think quite a few of them on LinkedIn so that we get a majority of them through that because they’ve been really interesting to watch over the last few months how things have changed in terms of, you know, six months ago people’s sentiment towards when people thought things would pick up and then see the rapid flow and change. Amazingly interesting.
And Peter, the brains of the operation is actually in the chat room.
Melissa Stewart’s just the eye candy is that she’s the better looking at the whole thing going on.
Yeah, but to your point, the idea of it is and this kind of goes a little bit circle to your conversation, Peter, about the hotels as they’re looking for these new venues of opportunity, much like what this amendment is, they need to before they make that step, they’ve got a project forward. What that would mean based on success ratio, like if it failed, if it was partially successful, it was fully successful, what what does that make as an impact for us?
What’s our obligation to that? Because selling only a thousand, no matter how good the benefit of it is, is there a second route to it? Do they plan that if this goes that well, they’re going to do another one? You know, are they really going to keep it elusive that it was only the thousand people that did it? Or are they going to say this is a great new model?
It’s a good idea that they limited, at least in the beginning, because they need to know what the impact is going to be and the crowding of their common spaces. And they just there’s no way you can predict that. And I think they mean globally. So it might really impact the US eastern corridor. And it might it may be it’ll have less or more of an impact in Europe.
Yeah, I think I think it’s also about, you know, this is a further opportunity for more technology. And as you look at it, I’m already a technology nerd, incentives and all of these things. And I think that there’s room for hotels. I’m trying to do it for a long time in terms of, you know, telling you when breakfast busy, when’s breakfast quiet. But invariably it’s something stuck in the elevator that tells you, hey, it’s busy when it closes because everyone wants to get in last minute and before they go for the day or last minute weekends before it closes.
And, you know, I think there’s the ability to share with people into their rooms and say, you know, the bar is quiet, the lounge area, the coworking space, you know, maybe we have eight out of 18 pubs within the coworking space. We tell you when they’re free. And, you know, you go downstairs when it’s available and you have webcams in the area. So when you when you really can you can click your TV or you can see how busy the areas are and decide if you want to go down.
So I know it’s too busy and you can’t go down. That’ll be annoying, but at least you won’t leave your room and be annoyed. It’s getting late. And so every problem, there’s a solution. And I think there’s there’s lots of scope with that. And I think that’s going to be really key in terms of, you know, if these are the new models and these are going to work and things like that, they’re going to have to be more prevalent.
And even if they’re going to have to have reservations for people, maybe, maybe some breakfast, I would expand a little bit. And this is something that we’ve been beating a drum on for. I have and I know Stuart’s with me on this one is the collaboration with your local businesses know getting that knowing that the your local coffee shop may have what you don’t have in the sense of common spaces just mentioned or the fact that they’re offering incentive for you to literally walk out, stretch your legs, go around the corner, sit down.
They’ve got space, if that’s what you’re feeling is comfortable with or whatever it is, or restaurants or open areas or whatever, making it where you’re communicating from a larger footprint than just what you’re offering within your internal amenities. And that goes beyond just the workspace or come on by. It’s the whole collaboration of Ivan Ortiz. You have an audience. Let’s share the audiences. Let’s collaborate on what we’re offering. Let’s give the people a reason why this is the best place to be.
Because you’re there. I’m here. You know, that’s an integral part, I think, the marketing process that has to be included now.
So you guys are being really optimistic and talking about, well, they did this to protect people. The scarcity was just to make sure it works to me and. The marketing side, you know, they did that to create more demand, because when people know there’s only a thousand, they’re going to probably sell a lot more of it because people are going to want to not miss out a guarantee to expand it once they hit that thousand. Sure. And how do we know?
It’s just that I mean, in all honesty, five thousand if I was selling it, I would say there’s only a thousand to it because it would sell a boatload more.
I think we’ve got opportunities here, too. I mean, we’re talking about how hotels are going to have a certain volume, depending on how we talk about different models, different locations, different styles. But a distressed inventory is going to be something which is going to be key in terms of what do we do with it. And you mentioned that local market there say, you know, I’ve seen a lot of hotels saying, well, look, we’ve got meetings and events, so we’ll hire that out and you can have still a virtual event.
So if you need to connect with another business, you can do this virtually. So, again, I think it’s can be a case of, you know, we’re talking about this lead time. Shortening is a case of, well, how do we get the product out to people? I hate these new product hotels, but just to really break it down. And how do we get that to people to say, well, hey, look, we’ve got four meeting rooms available.
You want to book one member available in two days time. So, you know, the pricing could be different and then potentially have lost before, but at least it’s bringing revenue in. So it’s finding those creative ways of getting people and use the space, make it happen. And again, technology’s going to be a huge driver with all of this. So I just think it’s going to be an obvious thing, but not to the detriment of delivering great hospitality.
You know, I want to go back a little bit full circle to a little bit more of the value proposition where you’re providing as well. And just in general, budgeting and forecasting, not just what you’re doing, but, you know, we talk about it. Strengthen your Wi-Fi right now as we watch the bomb drops and people are running their hotels or they’re covering their cash flows and they’re looking now to decide how they’re going to be spending, what flow of cash they have for purposes of the couple of hotel companies started and their marketing and then their markets were shut down again.
And they can’t restart the permanently closed because they they started they spent the money that they had left. You think that they were going to start their business and then the market shut down and they just don’t have the funds to do it again. And so they’re closed and they’ve been acquired by somebody else. But to make decisions like, wow, this is a really good time for us to jack up our IT and do a really good, strong wi fi mesh network in our our our property, that’s going to provide a value proposition to our guests that we get to feature security, speed, all the things that are critical to people’s wanting to use it, and then also to something that’s near and dear to Stuart.
Hey, let’s replace the door locks so that they can be remotely controlled and they don’t have to use keys anymore for people to touch stuff. Because I can use my phone because I have a super cool booking engine that also allows me to do keyless entry like fuel travels.
Sure, you keep selling my products, but those things, that’s that’s investment. I mean, you know, nobody likes spending that much to on door locks. And so those financial decisions at a time when you’re questioning your cash flows are tough. And if you don’t have some process planned as to where the cash might come from or why and how much, at least in the in a forecast it says you’re not going to want to make those decisions are going to pull the trigger because you might be spending money the minute that you may need for operations later on that you just don’t have anymore.
So it helps to be able to determine those by using things like what you have. Yeah, and I think extending that conversation a little bit, because this is a marketing show, I think you’re touching on something that we’re preaching a lot right now, which is focusing on your own assets and investing in stuff you own. You know, a lot of people beginning to turn back on and looking at opportunities that there is some demand and they’re putting their marketing budget all into advertising, the renting space on Google, they’re renting space on Facebook.
And this is really looking at what assets you have already and how can I improve how can I improve my CRM so that I can leverage my guest data that I already have a little more effectively? How can I improve my website to have more robust content that’s going to show up in search engines so that I get this ongoing long term value from the investment versus having to pay now and then pay tomorrow and the next day and the next day. We spend way too much time leasing exposure versus owning exposure.
And so that’s where everyone needs to be focusing on right now, whether it’s technical infrastructure, whether it’s database. And you see Iran, whether it’s investing in a mobile app so that people can be can come straight to you and bypass Google completely and book their next vacation, or you can communicate with them in real time. So, you know, to your point earlier, when you’re saying notifying people when there’s an empty well, they have a mobile app, you can do that in real time really quickly.
So those are the things that people should be looking to invest in with the money that they do have.
And I think in cases like that, I disagree slightly if they have the money to do that. Yeah, yeah. Short term, if the if there’s not if there’s no heads in beds and no money in the account, they’re going to fit. And I’m not just saying this because obviously we provide fantastic Google Earth management. I’m saying this is far from a cash flow perspective. If there’s no money in the bank, I kept saying to you and people, if they have the capacity and need to sort of buckle down for the long term and look at the look at long term cheaper things like improving the systems of work on the website content.
But if the chips are down and they don’t have the money to make payroll that month, they may have to lease space on Google and Facebook just to say no.
But I would certainly invest in the infrastructure first before I did that, because you can because you could spend advertising dollars tomorrow. Right. And then your local area has some kind of restriction that comes in and every single person you just earned is now cancelling and then you’re screwed. You spent the money. You got nothing to show for it. If you had invested in your data, you can then reach back out to them at a fraction of the cost.
The people that have stayed with you.
Yeah, I guess it’s a balancing act of having a say on what’s going on in your region, but also but also balancing the other side of getting cash into the hotel as well.
So I would add the marketing twist to that and saying that not to disagree or both, because I think you both have give some points to it. But if that did happen, if scenarios we rolled it through, my first reaction would be to recapture those people because of the displacement that they created and not lose the money that is spent for me to gather them. But with Ben, what Ben said, but to say, look, sorry this happened, but no for certainty, there’s no penalty to you and that we are more than happy to give you the opportunity to rebook, but not try to give you your cash back right away.
Can I get you back at another time when this passes or this changes? Create creative marketing solutions, I guess is probably what I’m saying, to see if you can still keep your hands on that cash flow that was creative from spending it on advertisement so that you can get them back at a time when it’s not prohibitive for them.
But I also think what she was saying was right about leveraging the cheapest debt you’ve got.
So I agree and I disagree with you, but I think we both agree with each other. That’s fine.
But this is a big piece here on making sure that people really understand the value of the different channels of their marketing through as well. So making sure we know well, how are we spending lots on this channel and getting really nothing from it? All the channels out there, like was saying, you know, where is that money? That is quick. When where that they want to say cheaper. But where are those better value options they’re going to bring more to?
Is that that’s the value then, you know, like you say, said Google campaign, ad campaigns, things like that. That’s why you need to be focused on the on the right areas and then bringing in that how when you need it, like if it’s something you don’t know, then you need to make sure that you bring in bringing in the help and guidance because otherwise you’ll be struggling then I think we were going to say something like kind of stepped on you from speaking to your point earlier, that in order to do all those things you just described about rebooking, then give that cash for later.
You’ve got to be able to control that conversation is just another aspect of the direct the importance of direct bookings. The other thing, though, I guess I really just I was a little surprised by is that there aren’t more hotel renovations going on because let’s go back to pre covid for just a moment and hotels that were out there and know that they have to fix things and renovate things. And they had plans to do things and then covid it. Right and screwed everything up.
OK, but you know what? You have that plan in place before. And one of the challenges of. A major renovation is you have to close down parts of your hotel to do it. Boy, what a time to do it. You know, so close down the hotel, get their motivations and get it done now so that on the back end of this thing and that may be one year, maybe two years, whatever it may be, but somewhere there’s a back end of this thing.
When you come out on the back end of this thing, you’re ready to go if you survive this thing.
Yeah, I think my position anyway, why not close now?
I mean, I guess it’s like going on. No, no, no. I’m saying some hotels were smart like that they had already planned for and they just decided to go under the knife and in contention to a lot of my clients going through this where they were spending a lot of their things, we went forward and said this is the time to take the car off the racetrack, so to speak, and replace the engine, do all the heavy lifting on the website redevelopment, do the heavy lifting on the on the the things that would distract from business normally.
And now that we don’t have that distraction, take the opportunity to do those kind of things to to Dean’s point where you can do the in-depth stuff. But I guess I think what’s going to be said later is that some companies were leveraging their finances to do the reform anyway. And instead they started to harbor that as cash flow and just decided that it’s better to hang onto the money than it is to put it in, I guess. But anyway, I’m sorry.
But you know what I was going to say? I mean, from this perspective as well, I’d be really upset if I am beyond upset, if I spent, you know, five million doing the hard renovation and then two months later, I had to close because I didn’t have the cash to spend and stuff in the market collapsed. I’d be less unhappy if I spent fifty thousand on a new website booking engine CRM Mokdad You know, it goes the new it.
I’m going to bring up a big problem and not here. He’s not here today. No, it’s OK. All right. Well tell him I’m bringing it up. No hotels. I’m sorry. That’s just a bit of a wine. Go and make this massive plan and refurbishing and doing all the work and absolutely no clear cut plan on remarketing. Just like they feel like it’s his field of dreams, build it and they will come, you know, we’ve done the reefer, we’ve done all these great cool things and they literally weeks before they reopen or keep themselves out or whatever like this.
Oh, we should do some marketing, Doug.
You think? You know, they just they don’t seem to have this marketing component to it.
They don’t they don’t have a good solid how are we going to present what we are now if operations and marketing don’t communicate well enough to all of a sudden?
But I’m sure online content, reputation and Adell, I’m I’m cringing into your territory a little bit here. But if you’re doing a complete refurbish the hotel top to bottom, there may be an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over again. Now, I want to do that as well, because, I mean, you do lose all the good content, too.
But if you really needed to do that reverb and it shows that’s an opportunity we had, we’ve had success in applying for the SlideShare wiped clean for a very soft reverb.
Like we we’ve put up some new lights. Oh, there’s some lipstick on this animal.
But, you know, Peter, to your point, you’d be the precursor to what I just talked about, because a lot of what I would be doing as a marketing forward projection would be based on what your modeling would create is what I would have anticipatory funding and refunding and and cash flows and potentials and what have you is because there be some sort of, you know, offense’s on the side of the roads as to the direction of, well, we need for that to happen.
We have to have certain thresholds of income or certain control levels in that that process of forecast for us to say, yes, we can spend that kind of funding on those particular channels and to add to that which you haven’t put together yet. But I’m sure you will, as you put it on the cloud, the marketing component of conversion per channel and dollars spend and so forth.
As a contributor to your forecasting model that says at this time we should shift our funding into these channels because of the conversion that it represents for the market that it’s drawing for the ADR that we’re wanting and the occupancy we’re trying to attain turns into a whole new modelling as to controlling your market spends with the forecasting you’re talking about between.
Yeah, and you’ve got set metrics as well, because, I mean, there’s obviously a whole raft of metrics that we have and not just within marketing, but everything. But, you know, it’s like, so how much money are we spending actually filters down into profit as well. And in terms of doing things like flow through analysis and things like that. So again, they all rely on that marketing spend is not taking us where we thought it was, because if it’s not, then we need to know about it as well.
So, yeah, it’s about understanding it from a planning perspective and it’s about tracking it through to the realisation and deployment as well.
Do you think you’ll do a marketing, you do some sort of initiative and they are telling you that this is how much business was brought in because of that? They’re tracking it in whatever way and it’s brought to these many thousands of dollars.
But you really at the hotel, when you look at your overall, you’re not seeing any lift that is real.
So my point is my plan for high tech this year before it was cancelled was I was going to wear a t shirt that I’m getting made that just as hashtag attribution theft is real because every every every a lot of vendors in this space still your attribution and say that they claim credit for the bookings, even though they may be assisted a little bit, but they’ll give themselves one hundred percent credit.
And that smoke and mirrors, we we before covid hit, we were about to launch essentially a a commission based display product. And as part of that product launch, we did research on what was in the market and some nameless companies, 30 day, 30 day normal view through attribution, 30 days. I can’t remember what I did five days ago, never mind about using credit for something that happened.
Maybe the person didn’t even click that they just maybe saw it or it loaded accidentally as a scroll past the screen.
And because no one talks about this because a, nobody on property wants to say, yes, I’ve fallen for this for the last five years and yet so I go on it.
No, no, I was just going to say, hotelier’s, please look at your total list. If it’s not there, cut it out and find something that is going to work for you. That’s what you’re looking for, right? That was the goal. Not the goal was not on paper that you had more money, but you realised that you have more money and you don’t rely on a supplier to tell you how successful they are.
It’s in. Their interest to tell you ones, you know, and I’m also concerned because people are are saying I don’t have money to spend on marketing, I don’t have money to spend on my renovation. I have all these bills I need to pay. I’m so behind on my bills, even though my hotel that’s been closed for all these months. And I really think that maybe we need to renege. We think any new contracts that we make or maybe even renegotiate all contracts because some contracts are based on, you know, four dollars per room or two dollars per room or whatever it is, Perun.
Well, if you’re in a 500 room hotel and you have 20 percent occupancy, I’m not sure that in that situation, that price model should have been in your contract. Maybe we should price per room occupied. Yeah, something something needs to be more fair because they’re getting that the same money. If they’re getting paid, if they’re getting paid, they’re getting the same penny month to month to month. Even though the hotel is closed or 20 percent, it doesn’t make any sense.
The suppliers that aren’t providing value right now or less value because of the occupancy and they haven’t already come to you and said, here’s what we’re willing to do. You need new supplies.
There’s also some where some of these suppliers are doing billing on services they’re not even doing because they’re on the other side of the phone. That’s how these these suppliers are going to become. They’re going to be they’re going to double down on trying to make the numbers look good because. Well, so you’ve got nobody can just do this on a supplier who now has more to lose because there’s less business in the market who’s really going to layer on the smoke and mirrors and not let you see behind the curtain.
And also knows that the suppliers are going to be laying on the level of fear in terms of you cancel your contract with us and you’ll lose what little you have. And, you know, one of the things we’ve had a lot of people say about during these people, will they be deciding on the things they want to go back to? And it’s almost like we’ve everyone’s hit the reset button. It’s the same for this. You know, suppliers relooking at contracts.
And the way we do things is the perfect time to wipe that slate clean and go right. What are we doing next?
And then also adds to a problem that is systemic in our industry, unfortunately. And then there are a lot of people that are in positions of making internally that don’t know how the process is done. They don’t know how these things function. They’ve relied upon their vendors to tell them what they’re doing and how successful they are. And they’ve been left as the last man standing and through cost factors have lost their through force majeure, kicked out the third parties that were expensive and cut away their internal teams that usually did the heavy lifting.
And they’re sitting in front of the curb or going, no, what it’s supposed to do, you know, it must be the old Star Trek movie where Scotty picks up the mouse goes computer.
It’s like they don’t know what happens. You go alone.
Can’t you see I don’t have you on the show like a couple of weeks ago or five, 1968, I did a Scottish accent for him and that doesn’t work for me.
But anyway, the idea of it is that internally they don’t have an answer for it.
So they’re they’re looking for a solution. Which brings me to a question, Peter. Do you think you’ll have a training process with this because you’re literally giving keys to a spaceship and either they’re going to they’re going to fly the spaceship, are they going to strike and walk rock to make a fire? You know, can you help those? There are some people that know what to do with it. They’re going to be proud to have the tools. They’re going to work it the way you planned it.
And there’s going to be people looking at going, OK, what do I do with it? You know, and they won’t know the best way to do that.
Oh, yeah, I know. We wouldn’t we wouldn’t give people the keys to the tool kit without showing them how to use it, because then invariably those are going to be dissatisfied people who work it wrong and then come back and get broken and we go, well, what did you do? And so now built into the tool kit when people stop is is full guidance for exactly how to work, how to work through it lets you input things, how to do it.
And the other thing we’ve done is that the way it’s designed is to guide people through it so that they can’t go wrong. And so the spreadsheet and the element of the tool and obviously it is a spreadsheet, I don’t like calling it a spreadsheet because it’s got so much depth to it. It’s built in a way where you can only control certain things. I mean, I’ve done that to be mean. We’ve done that to make sure that you only control the things you’re supposed to control, because if you delete certain things, it’s not going to work.
So it’s almost like that thing. You only give access to the bits that you people need access to. Now, we have full guidance in how to utilize it.
Exactly how you would expect, Melissa in the chat was keeping the conversation alive about the attribution. Theft is real and so forth. And she brought up an interesting article and statement to B, testing the actual performance contribution of it, which is brilliant in that thought process, because all too often they just take a single sample and say, that’s it.
That’s what we’re doing. We’re boy, we showed up when that popped up and we did that for you and we’re in that attribution stream. We also know and without naming names, these were the. With me that they go over and they put themselves into the attribution string by hijacking the source and saying they’re now the source.
As soon as they pop open, you know, nothing. You know, they’re not on the show last week. If you’re really not sure if you’re running display ads to whoever. Right. And you’re not sure what the actual contribution is, Ron, either a blank ad or a dummy ad run or something. But this isn’t your brand is an HIV test in the system. And you’ll see plain as day that over attributing everyone except men and obviously everyone else does not have to you know, if you know, it’s good they got people here who obviously do this for a living.
And if and if there are hotels out there who are thinking, this sounds amazing, but I don’t understand this, then you get one of these guys in, you know, get get it, find a digital company, get someone that can come in and help you. Otherwise, if you’re lost, then you’re going to get more lost. So, you know, it’s always sometimes it’s hard to ask for help and bring people in. But again, it’s not a return on investment.
It’s like you spend your dollar wisely and you’re going to see eye to eye.
Oh, Stuart. Oh, yeah. Hey, hey. We’re almost coming to two hours jiggling sorry today for about a half hour.
Less and less sort of. People know more about you. It makes me feel terrible.
Actually, the amazing Melissa MPL and the podcast, you guys, the award winning podcast that you do where I can find her.
So if your travel dot com is the mothership, you can learn about the podcast there. The covid studies were done, 10 of those so far, and we’ll do some more in the future. We’re taking a little break right now to let our list on fatigue a little bit because we’ve been hitting them hard. We’ve had over I think it’s over sixty thousand total survey responses now. It’s from as far as I know, it’s the most comprehensive sentiment’s study that’s been done to encourage it.
But if you’re interested in mobile app technology, this will keep technology CRM booking engines. We got to cover all that software with service as well. We don’t just sit and forget it when we handhold you through it and we will run it for you if you don’t have the time. So your travel dot com will fuel travel dot com slash podcast. In today’s episode, we’re getting ready to record. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch the social dilemma on Netflix.
Oh yeah. I heard that was excellent. It’s it’s it’s scary is what it is. It’s it’s a bunch of ex Google, Twitter, Pinterest, other big social media company executives that have left the industry because of the fears of what it’s doing to us as a society. So go watch it and it will inform you will hopefully make you make slightly smarter decisions about your life and your kids. And we’re going to be dissecting that in today’s episode. So that’ll be published next week.
It’s been a pleasure, really. Thank you.
I gotta run to you to meet all those real people here. And so nice to meet you, Peter.
Likewise. Adele, please tell us more about what you do and where to find you. I am the founder of Aspire Reputation Marketing. I have been spending the last twenty years coaching Hotelier’s how to have a phenomenal five star reviews. Success ninety six point one percent guest satisfaction sound good to you? That’s what we were able to achieve outshining the competition. And if you. And you know what? Somebody I don’t even know who said it, but if I heard somebody say yesterday that culture eats strategy for breakfast and it’s really working on your culture of pleasing guests and that inspires five star reviews.
And I love this work. It has been my passion for 20 years and now I’m still having so much fun sharing it with other hoteliers. So find me at Aspire reputation, marketing dot com or linking with me, please.
I’m sorry, but hotels, you’re ready if you are the rankings and TripAdvisor.
I tend to forget that just like no one hotel in the world on TripAdvisor out of one point one million accommodations. The Aria Hotel best was the number one hotel in the world and in New York we had 10 years ago. Number one. Number two, number three, number four, all four hotels in a row right on the top of more than four hundred hotels. And even today, even though we’ve been closed for the library, hotel collection has kept three hotels in the top four.
So it’s pretty amazing. Even worse, the price have no idea what you’re talking about.
Basically, you’re just kind of making this stuff up as you go system and it works so well if you work the system, if you’re coachable. I’d love to go to Adele.
Thank you very much.
I tell you, the hype will be after you go.
So I think I know you that. Have a great weekend.
So I am going to hype it. I’ve just dropped something into the shop. It’s a YouTube video. Rupesh Patel did a piece with Adele a couple of days ago, and that’s recording well. Well worth watching. Well, well worth watching it. People are genuinely I think people don’t give. I don’t think people recognize the benefit of any moment spent with Adele as much as they should, she she is pure gold in our advice and I said it before, it’s accessible.
It doesn’t make you feel stupid, what have you. Whenever she says something to me, I don’t feel stupid. I sort of feel like I’ve open my eyes gently opened rather than been made to look upon my own idiocy. So if anybody gets a chance to watch, that is definitely something I’d recommend the YouTube link to the check and go back a little bit of history that involves friend as well.
Adele was on Digital Marketing Council when I was on the Digital Marketing Council. Fran was an integral part of all of that as we were going through this. So the bonds that we created through those dialogues, I remember when I was first doing what she was doing and I dismissed it as just leveraging TripAdvisor like, OK, you know, and then very quickly I realized it has nothing to do with whether you’re sending people that we’re happy, a link that they could give a positive and people that were unhappy you sent them.
This is not a this is cultural development, as she said, culture strategy every day.
She was the pied piper of this before anybody realized that this that TripAdvisor and all consumer sentiment feedback was really a litmus test of what are you doing as a culture for hospitality.
She was the one that brought this to market.
She’s the one that that made people aware of the fact that the result is the scoring’s you get, not the end.
That’s not the purpose of the product. And she had been doing that so successfully, as we said, with the hotels that she was involved with directly for so many years. And that’s where, again, to Ben’s point, it’s his goal to listen to her because there’s no pretense to it. It’s all about really, truly understanding that hospitality is the art of the serving, the heart of the servant. What can I do for you? How can I help you?
And you write it eloquently at first we don’t say no. We say this is what I can do. And she epitomizes that in the cultural development. So she is the pied piper of positivity.
Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. We are actually at the two hour mark.
This was boring and not much interest.
And this is the great topic because you and I, you and I can go have a drink now, just like exactly the same. Yeah. Whereas for these guys, you know, the whole rest of the day to work.
Well, the thing is, they can they can have a drink, but it’s frowned upon for them at this time of day. And probably with what America is going through, I could they give you a drink somewhere along the way?
You don’t have a hangover, never get sober. It’s kind of a model.
With that in mind, I guess we should start with Dean.
Mr Dean, if people want to know more about you and where it is that they can find you, where can they do all that?
You can go to my websites at Base Camp MEDCOM or metasearch marketing dot com to learn more about what we’re doing, creating educational series to help educate people on metasearch one and also working on programs to help even the small hotel get involved in metasearch. That’s been difficult, even prohibitive in the past just because of a lot of barriers you have as a small hotel that’s not a part of a Marriott, for example, or whatever. And we have found ways to overcome those and we can help you with that.
Well, first off, when you say we is that because it’s me, myself and I or because you’re the one that created this self?
I let them talk now with my dog over here a lot. But actually I do a book on board that are coming into the help spur that along a little bit. So more to be disclosed on that in the near future. I hope so.
We’re actually going to have to focus on that. I’m one of the live shows to really break it down for people to understand the real impact of any size hotel, being able to step into the Google, which is the gorilla when it comes to this right now, and be able to be on that platform regardless of your size, because it has been so prohibitive, as you pointed out, with so many hotels that didn’t really have the skill to bring it to market or the the thought that the cost was prohibitive.
So we definitely had to put that in the forefront to talk more about it in the future when you got that plate out the way you want to talk about it.
So, Mr Ben, your cohort in crime trist what? You know, drunken stupor. What? I mean, where’s he at?
He’s taking his daughter to goalkeeping trials, so no way. And when he does everything as a team and you can’t really. Yeah. You feel like an asfour, you know, how dare you be a family that begins next week.
So three and six besides taking over the world on a daily basis, what else is going on? Digital without dishonesty? A is the is the keystone of the agency and the team we run. If I say I’ve made you X, I’ve made you X is a full service marketing agency. We’re about to launch a couple of really, really interesting design websites, a couple of clients that I’ll be really interested to see how they go down and whether or not everyone likes loves the way I design things and want to see a lot of team.
No, a couple of really interesting piece of software as well in the pipeline, something that I worked on our previous agency expanded, which is about life pricing information being put into paid search ads. We are now able to offer that to any then FEMA. So really excited to get out into the marketplace as soon as possible.
You know, I’m front and line on that one. I’m going to call my chips and I’m pushing everything forward and say, please, please is going to have that.
So for you, Lauren, anything? Oh, yeah, anything.
Lauren, what about yourself? Where can people find you on the Internet?
Well, I was going to let them go over and do the final finale to it.
But if we want to show the cards, let the guests go first call, you know, just to send a friend, you know, other than the fact that you’re bringing your massive skill sets and insights and capabilities to the open market these days, but not only with Peter, with team, but other things other than that, where can people find you? Should they want to go over and reach out to, you know, a little bit more?
Well, you can find me at Phroso at Gmail dot com, and I don’t have a website. I’m not sure I’m going to do one or what I’m going to do with that. But right now, I’m doing consulting work with Russell Partnership and and a couple of other things to be coming up soon. But my my key point of being here is, is a longtime friend of Lauren Grey.
So I had a drink on when we met or actually doing a hotel simulation program years.
Oh, my God. I don’t even know how many a 15 years ago at Lynn University. And and we would tell you honestly, and we do tell honestly, we didn’t like each other at all or he wanted to make all the decisions. And I thought all his decisions were wrong to think that. Right. And and their outcomes were much better when we work together. And that’s how we started having a drink together to figure out why we were at the bottom of every competitive set analysis that was done on that day with hotel simulation.
So we ended up at the top, and that’s because we worked together and been in love ever since.
So that’s the absolute truth that it was up there was it was hate at first sight in love forever after that.
It was from that. And I say, well, I felt I was right.
They were going to do it my way, dammit. And I was the one in control, the creator. And we were in the bottom of the list. We were the worst performing group out of all the groups. So then the next day, friends like she’s going to do it her way. I’m like, fine, go ahead. And we were the worst of all the groups.
And I’m like, see?
And then we went out the end of the day because we both don’t like losing and we started drinking. And we’re like, well, heck, kind of some of the stuff you did was good. So we’re like this.
So once we came to terms with, well, you’re not so bad, OK, well, you’re not stupid. So anyway, we decided to collaborate and we and this was a cumulative score, mind you. So for two out of the three days we sucked and the third day we kicked everybody else, but we beat everybody cumulatively by our score on the third day by you working together so that that’s what it turned to love it from that point forward.
So the rest is history.
There’s a big part of what we both preach.
Yes. Yes, definitely that for that. Peter, thank you very much for taking the time today. Obviously, my friend as well, please. And they’re just and going through and taking I mean, what was more than just a half hour dialogue, two hours of going back and forth and around about. But kudos and congratulations on the product that you built in the future, tense of it and all that and the roadmap that you have. I think it’s going to be incredibly valuable for people to find out more about you.
The product itself, where is it that can go and how can they reach out to you? Should they have more questions?
Yeah, sure. I’ll sign for the tool kit, find the website at Hotel Dash forecastable. Come and find the company, find that little partnership dot com and then please do connect with me on LinkedIn, Peter Russell and Russell Partnership and I’ll come around to tell. Awesome. Thank you, everyone, really, most of the questions that pop up on different platforms, we were already dialoguing, so I didn’t feel like we needed interrupted by saying something. But thank you, though, for the questions that came up.
And we already shared some of the links for that. So I think we addressed most of what was brought up in other channels for that. Thank you. Although it did follow us on the different channels will be rebroadcasting this show again on different time zones that are conducive. For instance, eleven thirty a.m. Eastern, the Eastern, eleven thirty a.m. Sydney time for the APEC group and then of course eleven thirty Wednesday for those people that live on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean in London time.
Yes. Thank you for hosting that and we appreciate it.
It’s been a real, absolute pleasure. Again, thank you for all previous episodes, including this. You can go to hospitality, digital marketing, dot com for live for this show. You can look for show number 270. There will be a podcast I’ll be doing. They’ll do a brief recap of some of the highlights from today’s show as well. If you don’t have to listen to us, they’ll be a little recap. There will be a little more abbreviated.
We will have next week’s show. We do have another co-host with us next week that I think Ed is bringing. But I want to get confirmation before I make the announcement. So we’ll see that email soon. But, Peter, you’re always more than welcome to join us for an obviously, whenever you guys have the time of the day, you can break off and join us. We’d love to have you jump on the show whenever you feel comfortable.
It’s been a real pleasure to have you as well, Ben.
Thank you for the invite. And I’ll be back to support you. Ben, let me know when they’re giving you a hard time and I’ll be back. I appreciate you with us. I say absolutely indeed.
Thank you. Thank you. And thank you for your Super eight shirt to buy, as I said, point pointed up.
So I think you’re going we will see everyone next Friday. Eleven thirty eastern US time for number two and seventy one until then. But we can’t on the.
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