SaviOne

Meet SaviOne, your next hotel staff member. OK, maybe not this year, but in the not-to-distant future, SaviOne and its descendants will likely be working for you, providing service and entertaining for your hotel guests.

SaviOne is the first robot designed especially for hotels. At the time of this writing, there is a grand total of one SaviOne in service. I’m not sure whether to call it a he or a she or an it. But judging from the curves, I’ll call it a she.

Following the principles of lean management, SaviOne has been designed to handle only a few simple tasks but she can do them very well. Her favourite task is to deliver small items to guests in their rooms. Did the guest forget a toothbrush or razor? SaviOne will bring it. Does the guest need a charging cable for her iPhone 9, SaviOne will bring it (starting with the iPhone 10, the devices can be charged with air). If a picture is worth 1000 words, a video is worth even more. So watch SaviOne perform her tricks in this video.

SaviOne is learning fervently to handle room service so expect to see her offer this soon. Not sure why your club sandwich is taking so long? You’ll probably be able to track the location of your order on your smartphone or the in-room tablet. You probably used that device to place your order anyway.

The one SaviOne in service today is roaming the floors and riding the elevators at the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, California. Very much in the heart of Silicon Valley. The reaction has been generally positive, but then again visitors to that part of the world are likely to be technology lovers.

So the question is: are the new generation hotel guests around the world prepared to accept robots? Taylor Short of Software Advice a hotel technology review site, did an extensive survey to find out what people think about robots in hotels today. The results show that around half of the population has a positive attitude about it. However when restricting the survey to millennials, or those people who came of age since 2000, the excitement level is significantly higher. For this reason, Starwood expects to introduce the robots to 100 more properties in 2015.

SaviOne’s descendents will likely be much more talented than the original. “At the moment, robots in hospitality can only serve basic functions like transporting items or serving drinks (like the robot bartenders aboard some Royal Caribbean cruises),” explained Taylor Short. “However, other feasible tasks could include helping guests check-in or out or offering concierge-type services, such as giving directions to local attractions or suggesting nearby restaurants.”

When will we see robots in European hotels? Well, some European hotels have adapted more creative uses for technology. “There aren’t any robots like SaviOne being used extensively in Europe, but Ibis Hotels have employed a more artistic automaton in Berlin, Paris and London. As guests sleep, this robot will interpret body heat, sound and movement to help it paint a picture. It’s not quite as useful as delivering items, but it shows that hotel companies are thinking about robotic technology in very creative ways.”

What uses do you see for robots in European hotels? Your comments are welcome!

New generation hotels need new generation thinkers. One of them is Tanja Baier, a software company manager and a hidden force behind the success of new generation hotels and chains

Tanja Baier – a women on a mission. Tanja Baier studied hotel management, now works as a sales manager and really enjoys working for hetras. However, hetras is just as fond of her. Sounds a bit like a match made in heaven, you might think. And, according to hetras, the Munich-based company that specialises in could-based hotel management software, this is in fact pretty much the case. Managing Director Uli Pillau even went a step further when he said: “Without her, hetras definitely wouldn’t be where it is today.” This is because Tanja, who has a degree in tourism management, not only sells products to customers, but also makes sure that hetras’ customers get maximum benefit from them. When doing so, she is always guided by a single principle: prepare for the new generation of hotel guests.

A recent example: A short while ago, hetras and the well-established German online travel agent Travel24 announced a partnership. This partnership was also partially brought about by Tanja Baier – a hetras manger and born in North Germany in 1983. I.e. in Tanja’s words she was able to “take an active role in all of this project’s key features” – from defining the hotel concept to the conclusion of the actual partnership agreement itself. To which she added that “We are now at a stage where we are working together to develop a strategy for implementing the new hotel concept with all of the IT partners involved in a highly forward-looking way. This means that we are drawing on a wide range of different ideas and having our technology in the background really allows us to open to new possibilities and analyze and act on the needs and requirements of the next generation of hotel guests.”

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Tanja Baier

The future – something that is of huge appeal to Tanja

In particular when it is a matter of not just letting the future happen of its own accord, but of taking active steps towards shaping and influencing it. Which is another reason she loves working for hetras, because “At hetras, we are trying to use our hotel concepts to realize things that other companies are still only dreaming about. Thanks to hetras’ lack of bureaucracy and flat hierarchies, every one of my days here is full of new challenges and opportunities that I can act on quickly, efficiently and without any fuss. So, rather than navigating long paper trails and complex hierarchies, at hetras, we tend to just meet with our CEO in our open-plan office. We openly discuss ideas and my highly-motivated colleagues will not only take my ideas up to another level, but will also contribute their ideas in turn.”

However, how does hetras know what the hotel guest of tomorrow might want and need? According to Tanja, “Our clients tend to be trendsetters in the hotel sector. They are companies that are acutely aware of the fact that the way hotel guests have been treated over the past decades is completely outdated and – often – even resented. I.e. they are companies who have extensively analyzed their guests’ needs and then acted on the results of these analyses.” To date, these analysis results have been used in selecting locations for hotels, lobby design, hotel staff selection and training, the use of technology and to shape guest interactions – although the list of key factors that strongly influence hetras’ hotel concept goes on and on.

Providing hotel guests with the ultimate hotel experience

Few people will feel a guest’s dissatisfaction as keenly as Tanja. The question is – is it possible for everybody to learn to tune into a guest’s level of satisfaction? The answer is: only to an extend. In Tanja’s case, learning to listen to customers started at a very early age. She comes from a family of hotel owners and, “we all had to muck in and help in the daily running of the hotel from a fairly early age,” Tanja laughs and adds “I guess you could say that my passion for the hotel sector literally started in the cradle.”

A degree with a difference

Now having lived in Munich since 2010, Tanja had the fortune to study at the University of Bangkok for six month during her time at university and to get to know a completely different side of the world of hotels and tourism. Her experience of this completely different culture made a deep impression. Hence she laughingly shares the motto she has since adopted to guide her in life: “Are things really what they appear?” – which brings to light another one of Tanja’s traits that those who know her are just too aware of – the sense of lightness and fun she brings to everything. Anybody who thinks that the only way to get through life is by being serious will be very much on the wrong track with Tanja, whose experience has taught her that a sense of lightness is a key advantage in one’s working day.

However, what makes somebody chose the subject “Intercultural personnel management in China” for their bachelor’s thesis? Tanja has always had a deep interest in different cultures, and in particular in “how they affect peoples’ daily interactions.”

In addition to the above, the rapid change taking place in China, its economic growth and China’s increasing significance on the world stage all made fascinating facts. “I really wanted to know how Chinese employees interact with one another and how they interact with colleagues from other cultures. What are their values, how do they come across as business partners?” In order to answer these questions, Tanja intensively studied Chinese history, and the values and standards that govern family life in particular. Just in case Tanja’s career path should ever take her to China, she will be prepared.

At hetras, everybody is acutely aware of Tanja’s importance and dependability both as a manager and colleague. As managing director Ulrich Pillau put it, “Tanja’s work with our customers has consistently yielded great results for both us and our clients. She has successfully managed to help high-class hotel chains to integrate hetras’ solutions into their complex hotel environments.”

Tanja – held in high regard both internally and externally – a fact regardless of whether or not she laughingly dismisses it, and firmly emphasized by Pillau. “Without her, hetras definitely wouldn’t be where it is today. This is both due to the fact that she makes an excellent member of our management team on the one hand, and on the other, that she has an unusually detailed knowledge of the hotel sector.” The latter being thanks to Tanja’s solid training and work experience in the hotel sector, followed by working in a software company in which she has the freedom to take on any role she needs to – from sales to business analyst and customer support. “She has definitely acquired a solid understanding of her trade from the cradle on”, explained Pillau. But that’s not all. Tanja’s personable nature rubs off on all her colleagues. Even when working throughout the night to help a hotel go live on time, Tanja keeps the team permanently in a good mood.

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Fans of this blog have asked for an update on how Florie, the “new generation hotel employee,” is faring on her Central and South American tour. When we left her, she was en route to Mexico where she was to begin her quest trading hotel management advice for room and board.

Here’s the original blog post.

Her journey so far has taken her through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Her next destination is Costa Rica, where already 3 hotels are looking forward to hosting her. A prodigious blogger herself, Florie has kept her own readers up-to-date on her news.

Part of her original intention was to spread the word about revenue management to hoteliers who had up until now never thought much about it. For example, a hotelier may charge $60 per night for a beach cottage in the low season and $110 in the high season. Optimal revenue management? Clearly not. On the other hand, would dropping the mid-week price to $55 in the low season really make a difference? Maybe, but the hoteliers had other more pressing concerns.

The Hospitality Tour 14 Hotels MetFlorie was able to generate the biggest impact by helping hoteliers to improve their websites. Not just the graphics and text on the website, but the search engine optimization and digital communication around it. A backpacker looking for a hostel through Central America is more likely to search via Google, read on-line travel guides and forums as they are to book via an online travel agency.

What can European new generation hoteliers learn from this? They can add all the high tech gimmicks they want, but if their website is not fast, attractive and usable and not well ranked in Google, they’re not going to get the amount of direct business they’d like.

A sizable amount of the business in the small properties in Central America comes via tour operators. Florie spent more time than anticipated advising also the hoteliers on strategies to pitch to tour operators, whether through pricing, packaging or PowerPoint.

Needless to say, the tour operator business is a segment that European new generation hoteliers have intentionally neglected, assuming that it entails too many exceptional cases and complex pricing. So they’ve been satisfied to let other properties pick up the slack. But tour operator business is not small and sooner or later a new generation hotelier will figure out how to marry the streamlined efficiency of a new generation hotel with the traditional tour operator business. After all, if a busload of Chinese tourists pulls up in front of the hotel, chances are that every passenger carries a mobile phone and would be more than happy to bypass check-in and head right to their room.

Another focus of Florie’s work has been to work with hoteliers in building and promoting sustainable hospitality business. Hoteliers in Central America are sometimes required by law to maintain certain environmental practices. In other cases, scarcity of water or other products simply makes sustainability a necessary economic practice. And finally environmental friendliness is a strong selling factor for today’s nomads.

European hoteliers, both new and old generation, will have to follow suit. Soon it will not be enough just to put a card in the bathroom kindly asking guests to reuse their towels. Hoteliers will have to do much more to decrease their environmental footprint. The smart ones, however, will figure out how to turn this into a selling point. Or perhaps even a game! How about offering guests a discount on a future stay or a complimentary cappuccino if they use fewer than 30 kilowatts and less than 150 liters of hot water per night?

Florie regularly collects some of the best sustainability practices and writes about them at Hopineo, a website dedicated to sustainable tourism.

So while we follow Florie south toward South America, we’re not surprised that the properties she encounters are at first glance worlds away from the European new generation hotels. On the other hand, these hoteliers, some of whom are quite successful, are very good at areas where new generation hoteliers tend to ignore. Will the Central American hotels become more “new generation” or will the European new generation hotels become more traditional?

Stay tuned. Florie has several months left on her expedition.

Her Blog: www.thehospitalitytour.com
Her Facebook page: ​www.facebook.com/thehospitalitytour

 

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An interview about New Generation Hotels with hetras managing director and technology expert Uli Pillau, an industry veteran of 30 years

Ulrich Pillau

Ulrich Pillau

Ulrich, you’ve been involved with the hotel industry for 30 years, mostly in hotel technology companies. Shouldn’t you leave the new generation to the younger generation?

Wherever I go, I help companies rethink traditions and redefine the way things are done. At Fidelio Software (later Micros), I positioned the products with a user-centric approach rather than with the traditional financial approach. This forever changed the way hotel software is sold. At IDeaS (later part of SAS), I introduced the previously unthinkable concept of revenue management to Europe and the Middle East. It is now standard. hetras is yet another game changer and I’m excited to introduce innovations on a regular basis. If I ever run out of new ideas, I’ll retire!

Everyone’s talking about new generation hotels. Very briefly: What makes these hotels so special?

New generation hotel chains have successfully broken traditional assumptions in the industry: They are defined less by their size or the buildings and much more by modern technology. They appeal to the so-called urban traveler – travelers who want to quickly and independently book comfortable accommodations in a central location. Cool-looking and high-quality furnishings are a part of this, but not the traditional concierge, wellness, telephone and minibar.

And hetras‘ technology supports precisely these hotels?

Our cloud-based platform enables basically all hotel operators to automate various typical hotel business tasks, to centralize management tasks and to systematize time-consuming processes. Some new generation hotels were simply just a bit faster, hoteliers from other market segments are now following suit.

You say that when hoteliers upgrade their technology, it pays off – at what point does it do so?

What we know from our customers is that new generation hotels are not only pioneers in design and technology but also achieve higher yields than traditional hotels. This is because they achieve higher revenue per available room while investing less per room and employing fewer staff. Other hotel chains have come to realize this.

Fewer staff and yet satisfied guests; how can this work?

Through automation. Hotel staff can focus more on the guests, they don’t have to gaze at a computer screen during check-in while the line of people at the reception desk grows longer. If the guests do this themselves before they arrive either at home or on their smartphone, then this is taken care of more quickly and conveniently. If assistance is required, then of course someone is there. As Jens Gmiat, Vice President Operations of Ruby Hotels & Resorts recently stated: “Hotel guests today want to travel with ease. That speaks in favor of automation but the human factor is still important. As long as the soft skill factor of our employees fits, this is an excellent mix.”

A bit like when you check in with airlines on your phone or at the kiosk at the airport?

Yes, the self check-in is comparable with the express checkout at Ikea or Tesco. Customers who have no prior experience with the system are guided through the check-in process by an employee. The process is quick, some even speak of a memorable experience because it’s so straightforward. Positive reactions are also observed on a regular basis in the hotel review sites.

Ruby Hotel, Vienna

Ruby Hotel, Vienna

Lower costs for hoteliers, more fun for the guests – hetras must be inundated with orders!

At hetras we are indeed observing a great deal of interest in our platform from many countries and from various types of hotel chains. At the moment, however, we are careful not to commit to too many projects at the same time. Hoteliers are increasingly sensing that their guests want greater flexibility, for example they want to choose their room online at home or on the go. If they submit their information, such as address, credit card number or number of nights, in advance, they only need to confirm the information on-site at the hotel with their digital signature. The check-in works via the guest’s own smartphone, tablet, or – like in an Apple store – at reception tables with integrated iPads. The same is true for the check-out process. Anyone can come and go as they please. Travelers who have experienced this tend to report about it and become “repeat offenders”. Word really is getting out and is spreading like wildfire.

This all fits with the typical new generation hotel guest. What convinces other chains to use hetras?

Our cloud solution provides the link between the hotel and the customer because it controls all of the functions involved in a hotel stay. Hetras is connected to over 250 booking channels, through which the guests create a reservation. Of course the hotel website – optimized for every device – is tightly linked to hetras. hetras takes care of the subsequent check-in with a room plan for room selection, booking of services and check-out at the end of the stay as well as a questionnaire and the link to review sites. All data and functions are therefore available to the hotelier in a central location. Compared to traditional PMS, we see hetras rather as a mobile platform that combines distribution, revenue management, hotel operations and guest communication and thereby streamlining processes for the ultimate in efficiency.

What characterizes hoteliers with vision?

Hoteliers of the future create rooms that are available to guests with heart, soul AND technology. Today’s requirements must be served comfortably. This is not science fiction, but very much a matter of hotels of the future. In Vienna, for example, the Hotel Schani is currently under construction: a new building in which the first concrete research results from the scientific work of Fraunhofer IAO are being applied. The trend-setting solutions in this hotel include, among others, the mobile check-in and check-out process. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Managing Director Benedikt Komarek said: “By using the latest technologies, our goal is to make our guests’ stay as pleasant and hassle-free as possible.” In other words, this concerns nothing less than lifestyle, good functionality and the joy of living.

Interview conducted by Elke Tonscheidt http://ohfamoos.com/neue-seite/wir-vier/

Vacation Rental

This is a guest post by Dennis Klett, Co-Founder of Lodgify.com

There has been a lot of talk around the vacation rental industry in the last couple of years. Rightly so, after it has managed to evolve into one of the fastest growing industries in the travel sector. The future of the industry looks bright – and investors seem to agree, considering the financing round that Airbnb has just closed, valuing it at more than some established hotel chains such as Hyatt. It comes to no surprise that Starwood and IHG Execs are getting worried about losing market share to these giant home-sharing companies, and a Booking.com has decided to enter the industry by launching Villas.com – a dedicated site for vacation rentals, villas and apartments. Airbnb’s success and the growth of the vacation rental industry suggests that travellers are increasingly preferring to stay at vacation rentals rather than hotels. Hoteliers need to therefore gain a deeper understanding on the success factors of the industry and learn how to differentiate from and position themselves towards vacation rentals. Here are some quick insights into some evident vacation rental success factors:

AUTHENTICITY & LIVE LIKE A LOCAL

Vacation rentals aim to provide guests with nothing less than a home away from home. Most property owners invest a lot of their own time and effort in refurbishing, arranging and decorating the place, which makes their home feel more comfortable and authentic to guests. Travellers appreciate those comforts and the personalized experience that hotels sometimes lack. When choosing a vacation rental they attach great importance to the individuality of each home and base their final selection on the unique impression they receive from pictures and descriptions. Hilton will now become the first major hotel brand to allow guests to actually choose their room from a digital floor plan, giving guests more personalization options. Further, guests develop much more of a personal relationship to hosts of vacation rentals. Hosts are able to share more relevant local information on places and events in the surrounding area, and can provide credible recommendations. For guests this means less of a touristy experience and the sensation of feeling like a local.

SPACE, PRIVACY & KEY AMENITIES

Vacation rentals can offer guests more space and privacy. Typically, hotel rooms are 400 square feet on average, while the average vacation rental is 1,850 square feet. That makes it ideal for groups or an entire family. With the same number of guests, you would probably have to reserve multiple hotel rooms. Further, many vacation rentals provide a private garden or even a private swimming pool. Guests also enjoy many other amenities. They have their own kitchen or washing machine, some vacation rentals are pet-friendly, and free wi-fi has become a standard feature. Finally, as most vacation rentals are self-catered, there are no constant interruptions by housekeeping. Guests maintain their own space, which allows to keep their space to themselves. Yet, guests are always in touch with the host, on an as-needed basis. Hoteliers may now argue that vacation rentals do not yet compete for their core market of high-end and business travellers, however it may just be a matter of time. Airbnb has already made a move into that market through its recent deal with Concur, a provider of business travel and expense management services.

So what the above points ultimately lead to is a high number of repeat guests. Vacation rental operators have become experts in understanding how to provide an excellent guest experience. And that makes many of their guests return.

The vacation rental industry is moving swiftly. Vacation rental operators have adopted best-practices from hotel businesses and have professionalized their services towards travellers. One of the indications for this is the increasing demand in utilizing advanced property management solutions and creating an own website presence. Through new software-as-a-service solutions, such as Lodgify, this has become affordable even for small and medium-sized vacation rental businesses. It’s now come to a point where hotels, especially boutique and budget hotels, can learn certain aspects from the vacation rental industry. Considering the ever-changing expectations of travellers and guests, it may even prove to be vital for their future success.

This guest post was written by Dennis Klett, co-founder of Lodgify.com. Lodgify is a software-as-a-service solution that allows vacation rental owners and managers to easily create their own accommodation website and accept online bookings.

futurehotel

How have travel habits changed? What does the new generation of guests expect from a hotel? What can hotels do to meet these changed requirements? These and many other questions on the subject of hotels of the future are addressed in the FutureHotel research project of Fraunhofer IAO. Trends and tendencies in the current hotel market are documented in the project-based study FutureHotel Small Medium.

“It is surprising just how many customers consistently book online and how large interest is in mobile reservation and check-in options,” hotel IT expert Ulrich Pillau summarizes. “That is why hotel software providers should be pushing their developments ahead in this field.”

Hotel Schani – Checking for practicality

The FutureHotel project is much more than an abstract model under laboratory conditions. Rather, the aim here is specifically to find practical relevance. Scheduled to open next year, the Hotel Schani in Vienna is providing an opportunity to put innovative solutions into practice and to develop them further in the hotel’s everyday operations. Groundbreaking took place in February of this year.

The needs of Hotel Schani’s target group were determined in an additional study, the FutureHotel Guest Survey. The survey revealed that guests placed the highest priority on friendliness of the staff and the quality of service. The pressure on the hotel’s staff is already enormous and will only increase with new media and new technology,” Ulrich Pillau reports. “Software solutions should be integrated in such a manner to allow the staff in successful hotels to focus more on service for the guests.”

To make this possible, innovative solutions are needed that take the burden off employees and enable them to respond more intensively to the needs of guests. Wherever possible, all other tasks must be automated and simplified, for example in distribution or in revenue management.

Customer request: simplified check-in and check-out processes

No guest wants to spend a long time waiting at the counter to check in or out. If the employee has to spend a lot of time entering data in elaborate masks, he cannot deal with the guest at the same time. Nevertheless, according to the Fraunhofer IOA FutureHotel study, only roughly a third of all hotels use professional software solutions at the reception.

This is surprising because according to the Fraunhofer IOA Guest Survey guests find a quick check-in process is most important. Followed by initial information about the hotel and the personal contact with the hotel staff. “What I find particularly interesting is guest behavior and how much hotel groups, hotels as well as technology companies could learn by listening carefully to their customers,” Ulrich Pillau commented.

Because there is an easier way: Simplified mobile check-in processes via tablet are already the standard in so-called new generation hotels that are equipped with modern cloud-based software. They speed up the check-in process and allow the staff to focus their attention on the guest. At the same time, the new generation of standard software offers guests an improved technical interaction. For example, travelers can open the door of their hotel room very easily with their smartphone. They also find their familiar living and working environments in the new generation hotel.

Efficient revenue management through targeted data analysis

The basis for efficient hotel management with simplified processes is relevant data – based on own customer analyses as well as on statistical sources. According to the FutureHotel study, between 30 and 40 percent of 4 and 5-star hotels as well as hotel chains use automated revenue optimization. This is used by only 10 percent of small and medium-sized hotels – a lot of potential for big data.

“It is not enough to merely collect data without evaluating it intelligently,” according to Ulrich Pillau. “I think hotels should limit themselves to requesting less, but more important data and use it to take clearly defined actions. I could imagine that hotels’ traditional CRM systems must change a great deal.”

A sensible streamlining of services with lean management

Hoteliers see their hotels marked in future particularly by guests’ increasing price consciousness and their evaluation of the price-performance ratio. This requires a well considered adjustment of services. Are telephones in the rooms really necessary or does every guest already use his own cell phone anyway? Are televisions still desirable or do guests actually watch their own choice of programs on their tablets?

Streamlining services assumes that the factors for success are known and certain blocks of services can be deliberately omitted. Ulrich Pillau is convinced that, “the topic of lean management will gain importance in the coming years. Hoteliers, who recognized this and took action early on, are now successful today.”

The hetras hotel management platform supports all necessary processes to identify factors for success and to manage modern hotels and hotel chains: for a lean hotel of the future that uses innovative technologies to offer guests an entirely new experience.

About the FutureHotel research project of Fraunhofer IAO

The FutureHotel research project began in 2008 as an initiative of Fraunhofer IAO to identify new requirements as well as opportunities for the hotel industry and to develop sustainable concepts and solutions for them. Five years of research have yielded numerous insights. The various questions raised in this research have already led in many cases to pilot solutions, which have found their way into the market. The FutureHotel Forum provides insight into the results of the work over the last five years and presents current developments, which will be considered in future research.

florie-mexico-geographia
This blog has focused on the new generation hotel, the new generation hotel guest and even the new generation general manager. But now meet a true new generation hotel employee. Florie has all the skills that it takes to apply for a managerial position in most hotels, but her approach to the process is brand new. Will the next generation hotel manager be a nomad like Florie? Read about her forthcoming plans in her own words.

Nice to meet you! My name is Florie. I’m a 27-year-old-French girl who loves travelling and studied Hospitality Management. Like you maybe?!🙂

I was thinking about how to combine my passion of meeting people and discovering countries while continuing to grow my hotel management skills. I want to travel through Central and South America, but these are quite big continents, and I don’t want to rush through them. I would like to travel with a mission, not just to relax and take nice pictures during six months. And I would really like to be helpful to people and to continue to gain work experience in my field to become one day a great Hotel Manager.

I already gained some work experience as a Sales & Revenue Manager, and I had this funny idea… why not offer to share my business knowledge in exchange for a bed along the way from Mexico to Argentina?

An idea that I’m sure others already had before, but unfortunately I could not find anyone on the Internet with such an experience (if you do know of anyone, please let me know, I would love to get their feedback!).

It was a long time that I was thinking about the possibility to organize a trip this way, but I was also afraid that I was not enough an expert yet to dare offering my skills to hoteliers. However, two months ago, while I was traveling through Spain with my friend Julie that trigger happened… We stayed at the Casa Morada, a lovely and brand new hostel in Cadiz old town. As I was thinking about extending my stay, I asked the receptionist (who happened to be one of the hostel owners) about the rate. We started to speak about its whole hostel pricing strategy. I started to share with him some tips and ideas to increase the occupancy and optimize the daily rate. As we were entering into some interesting debates, he offered me to stay for free in exchange of taking the time to sit down with him a bit later on in order to continue the conversation and teach him the basics of Revenue Management. Deal!

Strengthened by this first positive experience, I tried my luck and repeated it in Granada. This time I sent e-mails prior to my arrival to organize the “sharing my knowledge for a bed” trading agreement. And it worked again very well. I met Pepe, the owner of the Polaroid Siesta Hostel where I enjoyed a marvelous stay.

Now back in France and sharing my impressions with my close friends, I decided to transform this idea into a real project and booked my flight for Mexico! I started a blog: www.thehospitalitytour.com and got connected with hotel & tourism professionals in Latin America using LinkedIn to extend my network.

And here I am now, preparing the trip! I’ll arrive in Cancun the 1st of July, and already received some invitations from Hotels and hostels in Honduras, Colombia and Peru.

Are you curious to follow my trip?

Do you know hoteliers in Latin America?

Would you like to help me with translations into English and Spanish of the blog?

You can follow the project on Facebook to get regular updates www.facebook.com/thehospitalitytour, or contact me at floriethielin@gmail.com for any questions or recommendations. I would be very glad to answer the best I can.

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