ASFONA Expands Mandate Following Acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts by Marriott International

ASFONA Owner Board Meetings address the evolution of the association's role, relating to the integration of former Starwood-branded hotels with Marriott International

yountville, CA - December 14, 2017 - At the Fall 2017 Board of Directors meetings, which were held in Yountville, California on November 28th and 29th, ASFONA announced new mandates for the organization, many of which have been tailored to meet the evolving business interests of its Owner Board of Directors and the association's Associate Members, following the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts by Marriott International.

The meetings comprised three separate sessions, including an ASFONA Board of Directors Meeting with Marriott International, an ASFONA Owner Board of Directors Meeting, and an ASFONA Board of Directors Meeting with the ASFONA Associate Members group. Attendees of the ASFONA/Marriott meeting comprised Marriott International and the ASFONA Owners Board Members only. The ASFONA Owners Board members are representative of the total constituency of owners, franchisees and hotel management companies.

During the Board Meeting and Associate Members meeting, ASFONA president, John Shingler presented a series of changes to the organization's mandates. These changes incorporated aspects of an "Engagement Agreement" with Marriott International, which has been designed to further support owners, franchisees and hotel management companies with input to Marriott relating to the ongoing successful integration of Starwood Hotels & Resorts "Legacy Brands" into the Marriott International total brand portfolio.

"Following the impressive and professionally managed integration of the two companies and management teams, we remain dedicated to meeting the needs of our Owner Members in their interactions with Marriott," stated John Shingler, president of ASFONA. "It is our goal to provide Marriott International with the same high level of professional support that we have provided Starwood Hotels & Resorts over many years since our inception."

In meetings since the acquisition was completed, ASFONA has addressed key performance areas and implemented a communication protocol designed to help maximize the many advantages provided by the integration of the two companies.

"We regard these meetings with Marriott International as a candid and frank exchange of views," continued Shingler. "Our overall objective is to provide Marriot with input and an exchange of views that we hope will play a useful role in supporting the business of all of Marriott's brands and particularly assist with the ongoing successful integration program."

On the second day, the ASFONA Owner/Operator Board was joined by ASFONA's Associate Members for a broader-based hotel and travel industry discussion. In this session, Shingler and the Board presented the new ASFONA mandate for the Associate Members group, which will continue to highlight but not be limited to the Starwood Legacy Brands, going forward. In the future, these meeting sessions will focus on broader aspects of the hotel business, including hotel Industry performance analysis, development and supplier opportunities relating to all major brands and independent properties, with the sessions designed to provide unique information and trends, both meaningful and beneficial to the businesses of ASFONA Associate Members.

During the Associate Member group meeting session the ASFONA Owner/Operator Board Members provided their unique perspective on the current hotel market performance in specific regional markets. Bobby Bowers of Smith Travel Research (STR) also provided ASFONA with an exclusive overview of North America's prevailing market conditions.

For more information on ASFONA, please contact John Shingler at (713) 523-1352 or visit


ASFONA is a hotel industry association of franchisees and owner/operators in North America, included but not limited to brands previously licensed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts (known as Starwood Legacy Brands).The organization currently provides Marriott International with the opportunity to seek the council and opinion of the franchise and ownership community that can influence the owners' businesses and the cost of doing business.

The current primary goal of ASFONA is to ensure that ownership and operating companies (specifically those operating Starwood "Legacy Brands"), have a solid platform upon which ASFONA can provide Marriott International with meaningful input, thereby assisting Marriott International in building successful brands in the hotel industry.

For more information, please visit

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Concept Conferences Awarded 'India's Leading MICE Company' at the India MICE Awards Launched by DDPPL

NEW DELHI, December 13, 2017

In recognition of India's fast growing domestic MICE sector, 'India MICE Awards' was organized by the leading travel industry publishing house DDPPL, supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, which saw top MICE players of the Indian Domestic Market being awarded for their excellence in respective domains of MICE.

Concept Conferences Private Ltd. was awarded the Leading MICE Company in India at the awards night that recently concluded in Delhi for their excellence in imparting end-to-end solutions for Conferencing and other MICE events under a single umbrella and for pioneering Plug and Play Conference Model in the quickest of turnaround times possible.

Over 11,000 MICE events take place across the globe and is expected to grow linearly through the decade. With just 116 of those events happening in India, there is a huge potential for growth in the sector with a sea of opportunities to leverage from the platforms of Make in India, Invest in India and other Socio-Economic development platforms in the country.

Ashish Jagota, Executive Director, Concept Conferences Pvt. Ltd. receiving the award, said,  "It is a great initiative, the first-of-its-kind, to recognize the achievers in the MICE Industry. We are truly humbled to have received this award in the presence of legends of the Industry.

The MICE segment in India is an emerging industry and a significant component of growth in the tourism sector. According to ICCA, India holds the 35th position in global ranking and 9th position in the Asia Pacific region. It is also supportive that the Government of India has recognized the emerging importance of MICE, and has announced several schemes to increase the capacity of existing infrastructure.

Our vision is to pioneer and drive myriad effective models of MICE setting new standards and benchmarks globally. Blending technology at the heart of what we do will be of an exclusive focus for us to simplify things and drive better efficiency and potency in the implementation processes."

"We are truly honored to have received this award on such a prestigious platform. It is very encouraging that it is supported by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. MICE industry is expected to drive a big pie of the Tourism Revenue and the Hospitality Inventory Occupancy to new unprecedented levels. Corporates are no longer hesitant to spend for an exceptional and holistic experience to engage effectively with stakeholders of their respective ecosystems. India's contribution to the MICE market has been growing considerably and we do expect it to grow further aggressively. We look forward to more MICE movements in the future. Such platforms will fuel encouragement in the sector bringing more light on to the impact it creates," said Ms. Vanessa Williams, Director of Operations, Concept Conferences Pvt. Ltd. receiving the award.

Congratulating Concept Conferences on the occasion, Senior Vice President, Oberoi Group, Mr. Hemant Mehndiratta, said, "It is deeply satisfying to see innovation and dynamism in this sector brought in by young vibrant teams like Concept Conferences. Opportunities are huge in the coming years and if our MICE fraternity can get more creative and innovative, the sector will succeed in contributing more significantly towards India's GDP."

MICE Industry Sector is globally gaining prominence as the next big growth engine of the tourism industry and is touted to be an indispensable component in the worldwide tourism revenue. The Industry is getting more structured and organized with more and more governments rolling out dedicated schemes and creating a conducive 'ease of operating' environment in recognition of the economic impact the sector delivers directly or indirectly to the spectrum of stakeholder's integral to the ecosystem. In India the opportunities awaiting this sector are immense.

About Concept Conferences Pvt. Ltd.: 

Concept Conferences India Pvt. Ltd. headquartered in New Delhi is India's leading and award winning MICE Organizer providing end-to-end delivery right from Concept to Implementation seamlessly under a single umbrella. Concept Conferences specializes in strategically conceiving and executing every aspect of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events, viz. Risk Assessment, Concept Development and Vision Setting, Project Plan and Implementation Framework, Strategic Marketing Plan, Sponsorship Plan, Digital Capability, Travel and Logistics, Complete Conference Setup & Functionality and Conference Branding & PR, in the shortest turnaround time possible and at the core enrolling the objectives required to be achieved respectively.

For more information, please visit www.

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Hello everyone, I hope this message finds you well. As we near the end of 2017, I'm writing with a few updates for you. Our Association is announcing two major events for 2018: our second Online Food Travel Summit, as well as our Innovation Summit. And we're looking for speakers with an interesting story to share. You can read more about our events and apply to speak right from this page:

We've extended the deadline for applications for the 2018 FoodTrekking Awards through end of day, December 28. There are 14 different categories in which you can apply. Check out the Awards and apply from this page:

We've announced a new Members Area of our website. Silver and Ambassador level members of our Association should log in to our online community and look for the new drop-down menu on the far-right side of the navigation bar. Members will see 4 new members-only pages, and Ambassadors will see 2 additional pages for ambassadors-only. Not a member but interested? Check out membership and apply from this page:

We have many more exciting things planned for 2018! Be sure that you're signed up to get our newsletter. You can sign up for it here:

Enjoy your holiday time with friends and family. And be sure to post pictures of all the great food you eat here in our group, on Instagram, and on Facebook! And Happy New Year as well.

Food Tourism Industry Founder | Speaker | Thought Leader | Educator | Strategist | Polyglot

Erik Wolf, Executive Director, World Food Travel Association

Respond Now

Erik Wolf, Executive Director, World Food Travel Association

Erik Wolf, MA, CCTP

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Gulf and Indian Ocean Hotel Investors' Summit to host third annual event at Yas Island

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December 2017 - Abu Dhabi, UAE: Aldar Properties PJSC (Aldar), Abu Dhabi's leading listed property development, investment and management company, will once again support the Gulf and Indian Ocean Hotel Investors' Summit (GIOHIS) as Founding Patron when it returns to Abu Dhabi for the third consecutive year.

GIOHIS has brought the region's top hotel owners and investors together in Abu Dhabi for the last two years to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the dynamic hospitality industry. With a portfolio of nine hotels in Abu Dhabi and having played a key role in the establishment and development of Yas Island as a tourist destination, Aldar is perfectly positioned to continue to support the success of this important industry summit.

Run by the global hotel owners' alliance, HOFTEL, GIOHIS will present a forum to debate key themes such as investing in frontier markets, the merging of hotel and residential offerings and coping with downturns and disruptors. Speakers currently confirmed include HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, Abu Dhabi TCA; Khalid Anib, CEO, Abu Dhabi National Hotels; Joe Sita, CEO, IFA; Olivier Harnisch, CEO, Emaar Hotels; Mustafa Al Hasmimi, Chief Hospitality Officer, WASL; Olivier Chavy, CEO Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts and Jalil Mekouar, CEO Hotels, Majid Al Futtaim Properties.

Jahed Rahman, Director of Hospitality & Leisure at Aldar, commented: "Aldar is very pleased to support GIOHIS again, which has established itself as a revered platform for hotel owners across the Gulf and Indian Ocean to debate current industry issues. Our support reinforces Aldar's commitment to developing the region's burgeoning hospitality industry and providing a forum where top industry professionals can discuss how to work most efficiently with hotel operators to attract even more visitors to experience this very special part of the world."

Simon Allison, Chairman & CEO, HOFTEL, said: "GIOHIS continues to be the hotel investor summit where hospitality property owners come together and discuss major trends and opportunities for the sector, as well as speaking their minds about key challenges such as overbuilding, the power of the Online Travel Agents, the scale of the big brands or economic and political volatility. We are delighted to be welcoming CEOs and heads of hospitality from many of the largest owners in the Gulf, East Africa and Indian Ocean region to speak openly and frankly at GIOHIS 2018."

GIOHIS 2018 will take place at one of Aldar's hospitality assets, the Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi from 29 to 30 January, with around 90 speakers, including 35 hospitality industry CEOs, confirmed to participate. The event will offer a global range of perspectives with speakers attending from across the globe, including Malaysia, Uganda, Thailand, Singapore, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, South Africa, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Finland, the UK, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

For more information on the Summit please visit ; and on Aldar please see

About Aldar
Aldar Properties PJSC is the leading real estate developer in Abu Dhabi with USD10 billion in assets, a 75 million sq. m land bank, and through its iconic developments, it is one of the most well known in the United Arab Emirates, and wider Middle East region.

From its beginnings in 2005 through to today, Aldar continues to shape and enhance the urban fabric of the UAE's Capital City in addition to other key areas of the Emirate.

Aldar develops exciting and innovative projects, such as the internationally recognized HQ building situated in the Al Raha Beach development, the Gate Towers in Shams Abu Dhabi on Al Reem Island, in addition to Yas Island's F1 circuit.

Aldar's shares are traded on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (Stock quote: ALDAR:UH), and is a profitable, cash generative business that provides recurring revenues, and benefits from a diverse and supportive shareholder base. Aldar operates according to high standards of corporate governance and is committed to operating a long term and sustainable business in order to provide ongoing value for its shareholders.

Aldar seeks to create quality, comfortable, desirable destinations that enrich the lives of Abu Dhabi residents as well as tourists within the Emirate. Aldar is playing a leading role in the development and provision of world class retail - Yas Mall, international standard education through Aldar Academies, iconic entertainment venues such as the Yas Marina Circuit, and community amenities across its entire portfolio.

Aldar is driven by a vision to be the most trusted and recognized real estate lifestyle developer in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

GIOHIS is run by global hotel owners' alliance HOFTEL and is a unique hotel investment event is that it is based around owners and those who provide services to them. Attendees come from the Gulf, East Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, ASEAN and Australia, as well as further afield, to discuss key issues and share industry best practice. Tickets are available at


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Hong Kong back in the top ten most expensive locations for expatriates

ECA International - Dec 12, 2017 16:39 GMT

Hong Kong is the world’s ninth-most expensive location for expatriates, after dropping out of the top ten in 2016.

Hong Kong is now the second-most expensive location in the Asia-Pacific region after Tokyo, Japan.
Asian cities dominate the list of top 50 most expensive locations, making up over half the entries.
Hong Kong is once again one of the top ten most expensive locations in the world for expatriates, ranking ninth out of over 260 cities included in our rankings.

This was one of the findings in the latest cost of living survey published by ECA International, the world's leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

Hong Kong has risen two places on the list and is back in the top ten after dropping out in the 2016 survey. Over the past five years*, Hong Kong has risen steadily up the global rankings to become one of the most expensive locations for international employees to live and work in.

“Although Hong Kong briefly dropped out of the top ten last year, it has risen in the ECA global rankings over the past five years. Hong Kong has now overtaken cities in Japan to reclaim its place in the top ten most expensive locations,” said Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International. “It now has the second highest cost of living of any city in the Asia-Pacific region, only behind Tokyo, up from fifth this time last year. Faster rates of price increases in Hong Kong combined with a strengthening of the dollar against the yen both contributed to Hong Kong leapfrogging many of the Japanese locations that were ranked above it last year.”

ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years. It carries out two cost of living surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees' spending power is not compromised while on international assignment. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 262 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA’s cost of living basket.

Asia Pacific highlights – Asian cities dominate the top of the table

Asian cities lead the way as the most expensive locations to live in, with over half of the top 50 most expensive locations surveyed this year being in Asia. A total of 26 of the top 50 entries were Asian cities, with 14 Chinese cities alone featured on the list. This compares with just four EU cities and three US making it into the top 50.

In Japan, Tokyo has fallen seven places and relinquished the global top spot in the process – falling to eighth in the table. Despite this, Tokyo remains the most expensive location for expatriates in the Asia Pacific region. Other Japanese cities have performed similarly - with Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka all dropping out of the top ten.

Quane said, “Japanese cities have dropped in the rankings as the yen has weakened in the last year. However, with four cities in the global top 20 Japan is still an expensive place for expatriates.”

Taiwanese cities on the other hand continue to rise through the rankings with Taipei and Kaohsiung 33rd and 45th respectively. This is a dramatic rise when compared with five years ago when Taipei was ranked 66th most expensive location and Kaohsiung not even in the top 100.

Singapore has fallen in the rankings and is now the 21st most expensive city surveyed. This is the first time since 2014 that Singapore has not featured in the top 20.

Asia is also home to some of the cheapest locations in the ranking table, with Ulaanbaatar claiming the status as Asia’s cheapest location. “This highlights the curiosity of managing the movement of people in Asia for many companies and their HR departments,” added Quane. “Asia is home to some of the world’s most expensive locations as well its cheapest. This level of variety is only matched in Africa which is home to both the world’s most expensive location and its cheapest.”

Ulaanbaatar is joined by Johor Bahru, George Town (Penang), Yangon and Karachi in making up the cheapest locations in Asia, with all locations falling in our global rankings over the past 12 months.

Elsewhere in Asia, the newly introduced GST tax in India seems to have had little impact on the cost of living in Indian cities. All Indian locations that were surveyed have risen slightly from their positions in the 2016 survey, but the highest-placed remains New Delhi in 166th.

Quane said, “When a new tax is introduced prices do not always rise overnight. The introduction of national goods and services tax in India to replace a range of central and state taxes seems to have had little impact on the costs overall.”

Global highlights – Luanda returns to the top spot, Khartoum rises over 200 places in five years and UK cities continue to fall

Luanda has returned to the top of ECA’s global rankings this year. The Angolan capital has been consistently in the top five most expensive cities since 2012.

“The cost of goods typically purchased by international assignees in Luanda, which was already high due to poor infrastructure and high oil-fuelled demand, continues to be pushed even higher. The Angolan kwanza is increasingly overvalued, which pushes up relative costs; while the ongoing weakness of the black-market exchange rate has also inflated the price of imported goods.” Added Quane.

Khartoum, Sudan, is up to second place on the list of most expensive cities and has risen by 224 places in just five years, as currency shortages and rising prices continue to take effect on the African nation.

Central London has slipped down the rankings and is now the 139th most expensive location for expatriates, down 36 places on the 2016 survey and falling 78 places in five years. Other UK cities have shown the same trend, with the next most expensive cities, Edinburgh and Manchester, dropping to 163rd and 173rd respectively.

Top 20 most expensive locations in Asia-Pacific region
Location2017 ranking2016 ranking
Hong Kong25
Global top 20 most expensive locations
Location2017 ranking2016 ranking
Hong Kong911
Tel Aviv1319

* Please note that when ‘five years’ is referenced in the text this is referring to the period between ECA’s September 2012 and September 2017 surveys.

Figures used in this release were taken from ECA's September 2017 Cost of Living Survey.

About ECA's Cost of Living Survey

ECA International's main cost of living surveys are carried out in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees. The data used above refers to year-on-year movements between ECA's September 2012 to 2017 surveys. ECA’s cost of living survey rankings began in 2004.

Cost of living indices are used by ECA’s clients to calculate cost of living allowances for assignees. The survey covers:

  • Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Basic: Household goods; recreational goods; general services; leisure services
  • General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out; alcohol and tobacco

Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges (electricity, gas, and water), car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey. Such items can make a significant difference to expenses but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages.

This comparison of cost of living was calculated on a base composed of various developed countries and is used to reflect an international lifestyle. Other indices available from ECA reflect specific city-to-city comparisons, and different levels of shopping efficiency.

ECA's blog provides updates and commentary on currency, inflation and expatriate cost of living. Follow the blog here:

About ECA International (

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

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Sherwood Suites Opens In Saigon As Expansive New Choice

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM (Dec. 07, 2017) – Sherwood Suites, a plush apartment-only property in a prime location near the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, aims to offer travelers luxury and flexibility as it celebrates its grand opening this month.

The new 20-storey property is positioning itself as a compelling new choice for travelers by offering five-star hotel service and amenities such as an outdoor covered pool, an international deli and restaurant and an expansive 24-hour gym with sauna and steam room alongside a range of self-contained luxury suites and apartments.

With an opulent design aesthetic that calls to mind the stately architecture in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge area, the property features a generous total of 157 apartments. Studios weigh in at 57 square meters, one bedroom units range from 61 sqm to 81 sqm while two bedroom apartments offer between 91 sqm and 118 sqm of space.

“More and more, people are looking for a home-away-from home experience when they set up for a stay overseas, whether for a night or a year,” says Janet Fitzner, General Manager of Sherwood Suites. “But you can’t quite persuade yourself that you’re having such an experience unless you’re in a spacious place.”

Each apartment features elegant, contemporary Italian designer furniture, luxe mattresses as well as fully-equipped kitchens, marble-clad bathrooms with rainforest showers and premium toiletries, floor-to-ceiling windows and free access to high-speed Wi-Fi.

Enticing trimmings, meanwhile, include walk-in closets, and flat screen SMART televisions as standard in both bedrooms and main living areas.

Similar attention to detail has been extended to the public areas of the property. The striking lobby, with its marble flooring, designer lighting and black and gold lines is home to a restaurant providing 65 covers. The dining component takes up the entirety of the left side of the open-plan lobby with guests able to watch as chefs craft Mediterranean and Vietnamese creations in an open kitchen.

The upstairs outdoor deck on the first floor features a covered 20 meter pool and an outdoor Jacuzzi, while the pool bar offers a menu of light bites, premium drinks and handcrafted cocktails.

For those who like to work out on their travels, a gym offers round-the-clock access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

Other amenities include a games’ room with billiards table and table football and a kids’ club. Business travelers, meanwhile, can enjoy use of the property’s meeting room, which is equipped with audio-visual capabilities.

Another advantage of the property is its location in leafy District 3. One of the city’s most sought-after areas, it is distinguished by attractive French colonial villas, mature trees and big-name visitor draws such as the War Remnants Museum and the Jade Emperor Pagoda.

The shops, restaurants and bars of the city’s downtown District 1 are just a short hop away, while Tan Son Nhat International Airport is a 20-minute taxi ride. Indeed, the property offers an hourly free shuttle bus that stops at several of the city’s must-see sights including the Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral.
 “People come to Ho Chi Minh City for a range of different reasons these days,” adds Fitzner. “Some come for business, some for leisure, some with their partner and some with their family. What we offer is a product that offers the ultimate in flexibility, but does not spare anything in terms of comfort.”

Sherwood Suites is the latest offering from Windsor Property Management Group Corporation (WMC Group), a hospitality and property management company headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City. Its portfolio encompasses hotels and residences including some of the most prestigious addresses in the city. The new addition is virtually adjacent to Sherwood Residences, a polished 5-star property offering apartments and penthouses. Also part of the WMC family is The Reverie Saigon, an award-winning hotel acclaimed for its heightened sense of luxury.

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Hotelier Indonesia Interview with Rachel Grier , Asia-Pacific managing director, IDeaS Revenue Solutions

Questions Answered by: Rachel Grier

What are the key revenue management challenges currently impacting on Indonesian hoteliers?

Revenue management is a process that is driven by a combination of people, processes and technology. Although there have been rapid advancements with the technology in recent years, the practice is still not universally adopted by hoteliers in Indonesia. This is often because property owners need to be convinced of value of these new systems.

A key challenge for revenue managers themselves is that they need to move their focus and expertise away from traditional guest room revenue management to holistic revenue strategy optimisation. Today’s revenue managers need to be technologically skilled, analytical and data driven – but more importantly, they need to be effective communicators. Revenue managers need to communicate across various departments and often to act as mobilizers to gain agreement on key pricing strategies and foster an organisation-wide revenue management culture.

Can you please outline a recent innovation launched by IDeaS?

IDeaS acquired Smart Space Solutions in March of 2017. Smart Space is a cloud-based, visual strategy management solution that will help Indonesian hoteliers analyse the business trends and performance of meeting and event spaces within their properties.

IDeaS is helping bridge the gap between revenue management, sales, marketing and meetings and events teams for the benefit of the Indonesian market.

Global spending on meetings and events continues to rise, and the need for hotel and event managers to understand the impact of group and event business is critical. Smart Space by IDeaS creates a firm connection between revenue managers and event sales managers by providing visibility into meetings and events demand in a powerful cloud-based tool.

It seamlessly integrates sales and catering data to strategically manage meetings and events venues, allowing hoteliers to collaborate and create a demand-based pricing strategy.

Can you please outline how hotels can better grow revenues through function spaces today?

To better maximise revenue opportunities from meetings and events spaces, many hoteliers have begun to fold revenue management strategies into sales and catering processes. Today, with advances such as Smart Space by IDeaS, hotels can analyse and dissect their business trends and meeting space performance. These systems visually consolidate data from other sales tools to help hotel teams strategically manage property functions and collaborate on ideal pricing strategies.

Any increased focus on applying revenue management principles to meetings and events also requires hoteliers to take a well-rounded look at their sales and catering revenues, as decisions they make for their function spaces can have a major impact on the bottom line. To ensure that a hotel is optimising revenues from their function spaces, hoteliers must establish and review KPIs for these spaces. 

It is essential to collect meaningful data, forecast with confidence, and as a result, identify the most valuable business. After all, any demand-based pricing strategy is rooted in clean and relevant data. Easy access to the right data, along with interactive visualisations, provides powerful insights into meetings and events performance, and influences strategic business decisions.

To achieve optimal levels of revenue from meetings and events, hoteliers also need to incentivise their sales team on achieving quality of business, rather than quantity. Having the right forecasting, data and metrics in place may not result in optimal business without the sales team delivering the right piece of business with greatest profit impact to the hotel. 

Sales teams therefore need to be incentivised appropriately on the right measurements, to channel their focus on quality of business, rather than one-dimensional metrics such as sale volume or space occupancy.

How can Asian hoteliers improve their revenues in the future?

Hotel guests have more buying power than ever before. Online channels and social media continue to proliferate and offer consumers more transparency and insight. Guests no longer rely on directly knowing someone who stayed at a hotel to form an impression of the property and whether to book or not. 

They have powerful social media platforms where they can communicate instantaneously to wide groups of potential customers about their experiences – good, bad or indifferent. This has significant implications for any hotel’s online reputation, and can directly impact the hotel’s approach to revenue management, pricing decisions and ability to attract the right guest for the right price.

Hotels need to consider revenue strategy solutions that incorporate a property’s reputation in addition to rate in relation to their competitive set and seek out revenue management systems that incorporate reputation scores into their actual pricing algorithms. 

This is called reputation pricing, and it offers hotels a powerful method of utilising online reputation data to capitalise on additional revenue opportunity. It enables hotels to utilise the benefits of peer-to-peer social technologies to influence the intent to purchase at the point of decision making. 

Revenue management systems that incorporate reputation pricing help hoteliers visualise their market position in relation to both rate and reputation. 

The correlation between a hotel’s rate and reputation over time helps identify commercial areas of opportunity for a hotel to improve on in addition to pricing opportunities.

What are IDeaS future plans for Indonesia?

Indonesia is a key market for IDeaS. We are committed to helping local hoteliers grow their revenues across their entire property, in a complete manner. Using advanced forecasting and innovative pricing capabilities will allow hotels to capture more market share, outperform competitors and drive their business and revenues forward.

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