While I frequently joke about Wisconsin representing the center of the travel universe, there is more to it than most would give credit. Several members of the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association are definitely doing a lot of things right.
Meeting attendees included representatives of the innovative The Iron Horse Hotel, voted hotel of the year by the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association, mega-indoor waterpark operator Kalahari Resorts and the uniquely diversified Marcus Hotels & Resorts. All three Wisconsin-based groups are raising the bar in very different ways for quality, guest-centric, hotel and travel experiences.
The presentation was titled “Future Lodging Trends and Emerging Technologies.”
The full versions of the three videos that were embedded in the presentation are included below:
Context-sensitive Advertising: Dapper Dynamic Ads:
Voice-based Interface: Google Android Voice Actionsrn
Sound-based Hotel Room Key System: Openways
It was also interesting to speak with a number of smaller property operators who were intentionally steering clear of distribution through the Online Travel Agencies. In this economic climate, that is a difficult decision to make. All would love to have more business, but unwilling to pull the trigger due to the terms of the distribution agreements. These properties, while small, understand their customers, their business models, cost structures and how fundamental price elasticity works.rnrnInterestingly, most non-participants felt that the single most significant factor was that the deeply discounted rates were being absorbed as margin by the OTAs and were not being translated into consumer value that would adequately drive incremental sales volume. They looked as the OTAs as being dilutive as the hotels did not offer sufficient inventory or deep enough price discounts to rank near the top of the search results page.