Industry take: a look ahead for property managers with Millenium’s Maurice Arbelaez

In May, we’re headed to the 2019 OPMA Executive Summit, our third since becoming members earlier a couple of years back.

And there’s good reason. We have the chance to reconnect with our travel industry friends, while also looking at the leading edge of an industry.

To this end, we caught up with Maurice Arbelaez, Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing for Millenium Management, for his take on what’s in store for property managers nationwide.

Last year, you told us that you felt OPMA was “a key organization in helping the property management industry maintain high standards of service, guest experience and infrastructure.”

The OPMA Executive Summit seems to be a great outlet for doing just that. Going into the summit, what are some of the things you feel the industry will gain? What “big solves” do you feel lodging providers are looking at heading into OPMA?

As a maturing industry, we’re at a tipping point where the need to establish industry standards that ensure the highest level of service is no longer a want, it’s a must. Maintaining this quality helps exceed the expectations of all travelers, ultimately helping condo resorts and property managers compete as a whole with hotels and beyond.

To do so collaboration at all levels is crucial, and that’s exactly where the OPMA organization and this summit come in. Its members bring education and best practices to the forefront in every core part of the business, from marketing to operations, stemming from one big goal: bettering our industry together.

More than ever, it feels like keeping a pulse on the direction of property management and marketing is a must. What are the expectations you see for property managers in 2019?

Building relationships with our travelers is at the core of what we’re all about as hospitality providers. Personal service and attention to detail is how we handle this on property.

For us, the same must be true in our marketing efforts and communication. We’re seeking to have better, more personal conversations with travelers, with the same personal touches they receive when they arrive.

We’re prioritizing marketing partnerships in these key areas to introduce our condo resorts to new audiences, and then keep in touch with them in more authentic ways.

In fact, word of mouth, reviews and social have been the most effective channels to create new business and loyal visitors. These audiences embrace authenticity, and have raised their expectations for us in travel—which is only set to continue in 2019.

As the industry grows and more big players get involved, how should property managers be thinking about their approach?

I see two key opportunities for property managers to take part in driving the industry.

First, define and uphold our standards, commanding recognition of condo resorts as a top player in the market. This will only be achieved by working together to ensure we’re positioned as a relevant player in the marketplace. (Which leads to the second point.)

Establish and develop collaborative partnerships with key players: thought-leaders in the industry, and those who aren’t afraid to challenge today’s standards and ideas to make them better. The OPMA organization and its members seek to do just this.

A common effort to better market our product; to maintain and grow stronger relationships with travelers; and to discuss and share synergies, challenge ideas and encourage growth, will solidify our position and relevance in the wider travel industry.

A heavy weight in the industry, Maurice has years of hospitality experience in everything from operations to marketing. For more thoughts from Maurice and Millenium Management, give him a follow here.

Plus, we’re always looking to spark ideas and conversations in travel. How do you feel about the trajectory of property management? What strategies and tactics will you be employing? Join in and don’t be afraid to let us know here.

Shaping an industry: four travel-pro-approved takes on VR for 2019

A few weeks ago we hit the VRMA circuit at the 2018 International Conference in ‘Viva Las Vegas.’ Not only was it a great time to catch up with old friends (and make new ones) it was also an insightful few days of meaningful conversation that got us thinking about where the VR industry has been, and where it’s going—from marketing to tech and beyond.

As we pondered these questions, we weren’t alone. In fact, we tapped a few of those folks we call friends on just what takeaways came out of the conference, but at an even higher level, how vacation rentals and property managers should be thinking about growth into 2019.

Here’s what they had to say:

VRMA International is a great space for vendors & property managers to exchange ideas. Going into this conference, what were you hoping to gain from these conversations? Any fun learnings that you were surprised by?

Alex Husner, CMO at Condo-World Resort Properties

This year’s VRMA International had the largest quantity of attendees in the organization’s history, as well as the widest variety of vendors and speakers.

Many of the panel discussions spoke to the complex nature of vacation rental connectivity. I found the most interesting conversations revolved around this issue, both at a global level for the future of the industry as well as for our own pursuits at Condo-World.

Despite unprecedented attention and investment funding being directed at vacation rentals, I’m concerned that there still seems to be a large disparity between the understanding of how our product differs from hotels, as well as how much our product differs from market to market.

Commoditization is clearly a priority of the major OTAs, which may be attainable…but if it comes at the expense of changing the core value proposition of a vacation rental to make it more like a hotel so it’s easier to sell, we need to be worried about the long term effects this will have on our industry.

One of the speakers used the phrase “constructively unhappy” in their presentation. Better, more flexible solutions can be developed as long as they’re growing alongside the needs of those who will use it. The more open communication that can be had between vendors and property managers at events like VRMA International are certainly a step in the right direction.

We’re big on seeing where the trajectory of travel is headed. At a high level, what are the needs and expectations you see for vacation rental marketing in 2019? What are the small changes that marketers need to be making today to adjust?

Paul Hanak, Director of Digital Marketing at ICND

Getting website traffic has dramatically changed over the last year. Not only are individual companies having to battle with the likes of HomeAway and Vacasa for search rankings, but they’re also having to fork out cash to invest more into Pay Per Click as well.

For the past couple years, Google has really focused on User Experience and actually made User Experience a ranking factor. Think about this:

  • Making your site secure with HTTPS… ranking factor.
  • Making your site mobile friendly… ranking factor.
  • Page load speed… ranking factor.

Even the RankBrain algorithm that tracks if a user visits your site and bounces to find another is a key component. All of these metrics directly and indirectly affect how the user acts on your website. Google’s ultimate goal, and always has been, is to serve the user with the “best possible user experience” on the websites it serves to users.

The new trend, however, has switched to the E-A-T principle: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust.

A recent algorithm update demoted websites that didn’t seem trustworthy, despite the fact they had loads of information and content on their respective topics. While Google hasn’t come out and specifically said that E-A-T is a ranking factor, they are putting more stock into how trustworthy a website is based on the authors behind a website.


  • Have a good reputation on the internet with good reviews from various sources.
  • Use trust signals on your website, ESPECIALLY your “About Us” page. (Team photos, smiling faces, guest reviews, community involvement, etc etc. are all great examples to instill trust into a user.)

Amy Hinote put out her recap of VRMA last month. One comment she made: “The accelerating pace of change in the vacation rental industry was apparent to all.” And she also notes something else that stood out to her: “the addition of representation from venture capital groups, private equity firms, global travel industry consultants, OTAs, urban short-term rental providers, and even Google.”

That’s a lot of new big players getting involved. For property managers, what does this mean and how should they be thinking about their approach? For travel tech?

Adam Norko, Director Short Term Rentals (STR) Sales at PointCentral

The short term rental space is growing and maturing at a rapid pace. As VRM Intel points out, this was very evident at the VRMA International trade show with the presence of large household names and deep investment pockets.

This is great news for the entire industry. As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

However, change does bring challenges and difficult decisions. Property (perhaps we should start saying “Asset” instead) Managers need to be willing to embrace change and be very selective with their time and resources.

The focus needs to be on streamlining processes and improving the guest experience.

From a technology perspective, this means a focus on tech that reduces friction points in operations and guest experience.

This rapid growth also brings increased scrutiny. As we continue to compete with hotels, we need to be prepared to meet the same hotel standards. Regulations, guests, and homeowners are all demanding improved standards.

As an industry we need to improve our standards proactively rather than waiting to react to negative market forces.

The quickest improvement is the need to embrace safety standards, starting with controlling who has access to the homes through enterprise smart home control.

This small step improves safety, streamlines operations, and provides a great guest experience. At this point in the industry growth, it’s hard to find more “bang for your buck.”

What did you feel were the big solves lodging providers were looking for at VRMA? Do these point to bigger shifts in how vacation rentals are thinking about marketing?

Colin Morrison, System Consultant at NAVIS

More and more VRMs are looking for ways to decrease their dependency on more expensive channels so that they can reduce their cost of sale. While there is no “one perfect solution,” there was a strong contingency of experienced vendors at the recent VRMA conference who provide cohesive tools and strategies for growing the direct booking channel.

Hotels determined in August 2011 that the most profitable distribution channel is the direct channel and savvy hotels are starting to use metrics like “net RevPAR” as a way to analyze their business. The vacation rental equivalent of this is net RevPAU which translates to “Net Revenue per Available Unit.” This is calculated by dividing the sum of all gross rental revenue less the acquisition costs by the number of homes or units in a rental program. This could also be analyzed post owner split as a net-net RevPAU.

When the cost of sale by booking channel is analyzed at as part of an evaluation of a company’s effectiveness to drive revenue to the bottom line, even with the strategy whereby VRMs are passing OTA fees onto guests or shared with homeowners, the direct channel is still the most profitable channel in the Vacation Rental industry. The reason for this is the customized and relevant experience that the VRM can deliver to a direct guest as part of the guest journey from looking to booking and beyond.

Conversion is also the highest for this channel and there is a high likelihood that over 50% of guests who book directly on your site have reached out to your reservations team directly as well. Furthermore, direct channel guests have a high likelihood at becoming guests for life and the acquisition cost for repeat guests is far lower than new guests, so guest experience is paramount for a successful VRM.

The scope of these insights are reflective of just how diverse this conference was—there was something valuable for everyone to take away, from listening into the panels, down to personal conversations to be had.

What are your thoughts on the trajectory of travel marketing? Join the conversation by saying hello or shooting me a note here.

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2018 Hospitality Technology Study, uniting hotelier and vendor technology perspectives, now available worldwide

Fuel Travel, StayNTouch and examine technology trends to better align suppliers with industry wants and needs

ORLANDO, FL — July 19, 2018 — Fuel Travel, StayNTouch and have partnered to launch a new study that examines perspectives from hoteliers and suppliers on industry technology. First debuted exclusively for attendees of the HITEC Hospitality Technology Show in June, the results are now being distributed globally.

The study surveyed hoteliers and suppliers to learn how the industry can improve from a technology perspective, with key takeaways for readers from both groups:

  • For hospitality decision-makers, the results provide guidance on the latest technology trends, as well as opportunities to invest valuable resources for growth.
  • For suppliers, the study informs ideas on the most pressing technology issues facing the hotel industry today.

With data surveyed from 358 respondents—all responsible for purchasing or selling technology in hospitality—the study is unique from other research in that it goes beyond standard reporting to identify similarities and differences in priorities for where the industry and travel technology should be headed.

Overall, the results showed many positive indicators that hoteliers and suppliers are closely aligned.

Take, for instance, considerations for a new PMS. The factors which were “most important” for respondents from both groups fell in sync, with ease of use and seamless integration topping the list. In fact, the need for improved integration between existing products garnered a strong consensus from respondents. Guest experience was also a top priority.

Frewoini Golla, Director of Marketing for StayNTouch noted why findings like this are so critical for industry growth. “Better understanding where priorities lie helps vendors stay in tune with the challenges our customers are responsible for, and how we can serve their needs while topping their goals.”

Other areas where the study reported similarities and differences include factors influencing marketing spend, perspectives on new and emerging technology, and the process for considering new technology purchases.

Stuart Butler, Chief Operating Officer of Fuel Travel said of the results, “As vendors of this space, our eyes are fixed on the trajectory of travel technology and marketing, so having a better understanding of the wants and needs of those in the front-lines of hospitality really helps us all get better together.”

Richard Dunbar, Director of Partnerships at echoed this sentiment. “It’s really important that we focus on helping our customers and all of the industry move the needle. The results of this survey have opened up a really compelling dialogue to grow the industry, today.”

To get your free copy of 2018 Hospitality Technology Study, download it here.


60 days in: How Tourism Australia won the Super Bowl

It’s been 60 days since the Philadelphia Eagles upset the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LII.

If you’re anything like me, though, what stuck with you wasn’t the game. I’m talking commercials—and the storytelling of brands who shelled out millions of dollars for their moment in the advertising spotlight.

And this year, thanks to Tourism Australia, destination marketing took center stage. Since the drop of the newest Dundee movie campaign, we’ve all been waiting in anticipation for what’s next for the brand.

Today, we speak to why it worked, the impact of Australia’s faux-film so far, and what the future looks like. Take a look!


For more on the Dundee campaign and its long-term impact for travel marketing in Australia, check out what the Drum and NewsComAu had to say, and be sure to tune in to the Why Australia video series.

Plus, let us know what you thought and be sure to follow along with Allison Schult, Hunter and me, here—we’d love to connect with you! and Fuel partner to uncover hotel website essentials in new 2017 study

It’s safe to say in 2017 that the importance of a well-designed and well-maintained hotel website cannot be overstated. A quick Google search will reveal ample research and data to validate that the website is arguably one of the most important weapons in a hotel marketers arsenal.

So much so, that it can be both informative and overwhelming all at once.

That’s why teamed up with Fuel, an industry leader in hotel marketing, to reach out to thousands of travelers to better understand what it is about the hotel website experience that matters most. Because in the end, nothing trumps empirical data when it comes to managing precious marketing dollars. (And your website is not worth the gamble.)

Key insights you’ll gain:

  • First impressions matter. The travel buyer is willing to spend time searching but would prefer not to. The study reveals what those search patterns are and how the crafty marketer is addressing them.
  • Which sources are the most influential in the travel decision-making process?
  • What elements of the hotel website are the most important to the guest?
  • Are loyalty programs important and what program benefits matter most?
  • How important is price when shopping and, more importantly, how can hotels address this without giving away the house?

Click through to download the full summary of the findings here:

Download here

Plus, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to reach out to us at with your ideas on the study—or anything travel marketing related!

Travel Trends that Matter: Insight from and GCommerce

At HITEC we collaborated with Google and GCommerce to discuss up-and-coming travel marketing trends. Hosted at La Louisiane of New Orleans Hotel Collection French Quarter fame, it was an incredible opportunity to share what’s driving hospitality today. Guest experience, content marketing and personalization were the topics at hand. Explore more below from Chris Jackson, GCommerce President & Partner, and myself. Enjoy!

GCommerce & at HITEC
Richard Dunbar and Chris Jackson give their presentations on emerging travel marketing trends.

Travel Trends that Matter By Richard Dunbar, Director of Partnerships

Hotels are facing a set of competing interests in the market that enjoy the benefits of large budgets, ability to scale, and share of consumers’ attention. These competing interests have invested heavily in designing user experiences that keep consumers engaged throughout the planning process, ultimately converting more business.

OTAs and sharing sites such as AirBnB are spending massive amounts of money to capture and retain share of attention, driving interested shoppers into compelling experiences that are designed to convert.

To combat this, it’s imperative that hotels focus their efforts to be in the places where OTAs and sharing sites are not strong. These are the low-cost, high-reach channels where hotels have a competitive advantage. The tools of that game are:

  • Guest advocacy
  • Nurturing past guests
  • Content marketing

Content marketing uses a hotel’s intimate knowledge of the destination but combined with guest advocacy it can be massively amplified. Content can be crowdsourced, and the potential exposure can be exponentially magnified.

This also helps to address the precipitous decline in organic reach via social channels like Facebook. User-generated content, shared by the user, means hotels are able to reach an audience far beyond the typical means.

Combined, these strategies ensure hotels can reach and inspire guests at the right time and in the right way. Aspiration and experience are the key competitive advantages in today’s market.

Hospitality marketing trends that matter by Chris Jackson, GCommerce President & Partner

Rising Cost per Acquisition

Phenomenal growth won’t hide your rising cost per acquisition (CPA) any longer, so it is critical to understand and manage your CPA. How can you combat a rising CPA? Adjust your KPIs and the way you measure them:

  • Measure holistically
  • Measure on an attribution model
  • Measure from an online & offline perspective
  • Evaluate your data to see what works and what does not
  • Regain control of your inventory and pricing
  • Understand and determine your appropriate media mix

Predictive Analytics

Accurately predict customer behavior and buying patterns, and as a result, predict demand through Predictive Analytics.

Collective and shared data is far more powerful and useful than a single data report on a single hotel. Consider who you can partner with – airlines, golf clubs, spas, retail providers and your local tourism marketing board are all contenders.


Connect with your audience! Focus less on selling your product and focus more on telling a story – sell the experience.


Billions of times per day, consumers turn to their search engine browser on their phone for “I want to know”, “I want to go”, “I want to do”, and “I want to buy” moments. Be prepared and targeted in your marketing efforts for when your product is presented during a micro-moment.

GCommerce is a digital marketing agency that works closely with hotel, resort, casino and restaurant clients to develop everything from website design to social media campaigns. Be sure to visit their site to learn more about their services and explore their work. unveils Vision AI, breaking new ground for hotels reaching travelers worldwide through advocacy

Advocacy platform leads travel tech with innovative application of artificial intelligence has unveiled Vision AI, the newest layer of their advocacy platform that helps hotels reach a global audience of travelers perfect for their brand.

This powerful new feature uses machine-based insights to let hotels better understand and effortlessly curate their vast, ever-growing library of guest-created content. This innovative use of artificial intelligence is the first of its kind in hotel tech. With, hotels may now amplify their brand by delivering incredibly authentic, personal content to different segments of travelers and better convert them into future guests.

Vision AI

“Amazing tech lets us gather real insight on the guest stories we capture. What’s different is that for the first time, hotels can apply these insights to deliver content in a way that truly resonates with their future guests,” said Brian Kent, CEO & Co-founder at “Vision AI is the start of some pretty exciting new opportunities of real personalization at scale.”

Vision AI taps into machine-based learning using Microsoft® Cognitive Services. By processing visual data, Vision AI extracts rich information to return insights on content, image attributes, colors and more. Guest stories are automatically fitted with descriptions and tagged during the curation process, saving hotel marketers time and eliminating the inefficiencies of manual organization. Instead, hotels can easily search the authentic content their guests provide in seconds.


Faces AI, a component of the artificial intelligence by, detects human faces and can identify attributes like age and gender in a guest story.

Vision AI and Faces AI make the impact of the advocacy platform for hotels even more potent. By thoughtfully applying artificial intelligence, gives heightened context to the content and interactions of advocacy for hotel marketers worldwide.

“ is designed to capture warm leads with rich touch points across the entire guest journey. Vision AI takes that even further.” said Edward St. Onge, President at “It makes everything hotels are doing on our platform, as well as their others forms of marketing, even smarter and more compelling. The possibilities are limitless.”

Hoteliers worldwide use to wield the power of a story well told and capture new guests. To begin reaching, inspiring and converting an entirely new global audience every day, take a tour or say hello.

How to engage your hotel’s secret sales force

Here’s a special guest post from one of the number of incredible innovators, subject matter experts, and just all-around big idea folks that we love hearing from. At, we’re constantly looking to collaborate with people in the industry that inspire us. Get in touch and let’s do something amazing together.

From e-commerce to digital marketing, Tim Peter has been putting the web to work for hospitality for over 20 years. Today he’s sitting in on the blog to share a bit of that knowledge. Check out his take on the truly impactful marketing team for your hotel that’s been hiding in plain sight.


I really hate marketing sometimes. I know that’s a weird thing to hear from a guy who does marketing for a living. But the simple reality is that finding and attracting guests isn’t always easy. Far from it. Not only are you constantly competing with companies that possess a seemingly-endless mix of people, data, and budgets to chase down potential guests wherever they may be, but all of you compete with your customers for a tiny sliver of their attention. And that tiny sliver is only getting smaller every year.

Via Expedia

Check this out: According to research from Expedia, guests visit 38 sites on average over the course of 45 days before they make a reservation. 38 sites! 45 days! That’s crazy, right? And, remember, that’s not 45 days prior to the stay date; it’s 45 days ahead of the booking date.

Seriously, what’s taking them so long? Why can’t they make up their mind?

Well, for starters, most of them don’t know where they’re going. Google’s Road to Decision study suggests that over half have no particular destination in mind when they get started, while 84% of travelers aren’t sure which brand they’re going to choose once they do.

Via Google

Want an even crazier—and more troubling—stat? About two-thirds of guests don’t really understand the difference among the brands available to choose from. Sadly, this holds true even among many heavy business travelers. And the flood of information your potential guests face each day usually only adds more confusion, rather than simplifying the solution.

What you and your guests both need is someone who can help ease the guest decision process and cut through the cluttered content landscape, pointing out the benefits your property offers in a timely and efficient manner.

And, yes, that’s what your sales force and marketing team strive to do every day. Most do a pretty good job of it, too. But, let’s be fair. It’s really hard work (see above, for instance). Google’s made it more challenging to rank in search, favoring PPC ads over its traditional organic results. And as Richard Dunbar pointed out here on the blog recently, getting your content in front of guests on sites like Facebook has gotten both more difficult and more expensive due to the social media giant’s algorithm changes over the past couple of years. And even those messages that make it through Facebook’s filters are fighting for your guests’ time, attention, and action.

The simple fact remains that you’re competing against the hundreds or thousands of marketing messages that your guests see every single day. In such an oversaturated media environment, it’s no surprise that even well-trusted brands and long-standing relationships sometimes struggle to make an impression—to say nothing of close the sale.

Bet you’re hating marketing right about now, too.

But here’s the good news. You’ve got a secret sales force at your disposal, one who knows all about the exceptional experience and value your property offers and represents a trusted source of information to the thousands of potential guests you’re looking to reach every year. Even better, you don’t have to cover much overhead to put this secret sales force to work.

So, just who is this secret sales force?

Via Nielsen

Your current guests, that’s who. According to Nielsen, most people trust the recommendations they receive from their friends and family on social. And on average each of your guests connects with roughly 200 friends and family on Facebook and other social media. Your existing guests offer you a trusted connection with these potential customers.

Just consider the math for a moment. Let’s say you’re responsible for a 100 room hotel, that runs at 60% occupancy and hosts 1.4 guests per room each night. That’s almost 31,000 guests per year that you can put to work telling your brand story. Which, y’know, is a lot of people. And, even using conservative numbers about how many friends each has on social media, those 31,000 guests can reach millions of other potential guests on your behalf (since most of you probably hate math way more than you hate marketing, I’ve tucked that away down at the end of this post, but those numbers are real).

Facebook has made it plain that it plans to show its users more content from close friends and family. Put your guests to work telling your hotel’s story, and the friends and family Facebook favors will be the folks staying in your rooms every night. They’re the ones who can share compelling stories about how much they enjoyed their stay, highlight the outstanding value they received, and sell their connections on why they ought to consider your property too. Their posts on social get in front of their friends and family and provide you a trusted entry into a dialogue with those potential guests. That’s your secret sales force.

And it’s one you can’t afford to waste.

It’s no secret that guests have chosen for years to write reviews on TripAdvisor and booking sites, sharing the details about their stay with folks all over the world. Those reviews often drive valuable business for your brand. But why not put content like that to work for your hotel? How about getting your guests to share on behalf of your property to a targeted audience, instead of just about your property to some random bunch of strangers on the Web? This isn’t just about (though, as you might imagine, the company offers a really great way of empowering your guests to tell your hotel’s story). This is a huge opportunity for you to reach new business effectively and efficiently, regardless of how you choose to engage them.

The simple fact remains that your secret sales force offers you a near-perfect opportunity to connect with potential guests. Their messages get seen and are trusted by your target audience. They’re well-informed about your value, and I don’t know about you, but it’s enough to make me fall in love with marketing all over again.


Appendix: The Math Behind the Hidden Sales Force’s Social Connections

According to Pew Research, 39% of “adult Facebook users” have 1-100 friends, 23% have 101-250, 20% have 251-500, and 15% have over 500 friends. So, using the lowest possible number of friends on Facebook per brand:


(39% x 31,000 * 1) + (23% x 31,000 * 101) + (20% * 31,000 * 251) + (15% x 31,000 x 501) = 4,618,070

Which, again, is a lot. What’s even crazier is if you use the higher number in each range:
(39% x 31,000 * 100) + (23% x 31,000 * 250) + (20% * 31,000 * 500) + (15% x 31,000 x 501) = 8,421,150


Note: Since we don’t know the upper bound of friends in Pew’s topmost group, I’m still assuming “only” 501 friends for the most connected cohort on Facebook.

And here’s the thing. Assume for a moment that these numbers are way too high, say maybe twice as high as they should be. Your guests still connect you with 2 to 4 million other people on Facebook alone. Pretty cool, eh?

Advocates vs. avocados

Advocates vs. avocados: it’s more than a case of po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe. Hoteliers are seemingly becoming disillusioned by avocados after seeing the power of advocacy (you should see the emails we get.)

Our advocologists did minutes of research and surveyed nearly half a dozen people to figure out why this debate keeps popping up, and of course to declare the ultimate champion.

(No advocates were mashed in the making of this study.)


Avocados offer up a rich, buttery taste with a creamy texture that brings guac to life. The results came back inconclusive for the advocates. First matchup goes to the fruit (yup, avocados are actually in the berry family).




Now, our advocates are fresh—they travel in style. (Don’t believe us? See for yourself.) But a perfectly ripe avocado is tough to beat. This one was too close to call.




After documenting aging characteristics, advocates showed “low to no signs of aging.” Avocados, on the other hand, succumb to time and were transformed into unfortunate brown globs. The winner was conclusive.




With the list of health benefits from avocados, the final round was a tough match. However, nothing compares to the impact of advocates.



The results are in. Advocates were the clear winner of this competition!

The Champ

We published our findings in the Journal of Research in Advocology. The critics quickly chimed in:

“Guacamole is delicious, but it does jack $&*! for your hotel.”
— Dr. Jack Travelfianakis

— Haas Avocado Commission

We see the impact advocates have on a hotel’s bottom line everyday. And even though avocados have a ridiculously narrow window of ripe goodness, we believe hoteliers should keep them around as well.

Stay tuned for more on the impact of advocacy, (plus a few ripe-innings of avocados here and there) as our team of advocologists work day and night to bring you the best advocology research in the industry.


Holiday science brought to you by the Department of Advocology

A glimpse into 2016: what can your hotel expect?

2016 looks like it’s going to be an excellent year for hoteliers. Robert Rauch, President of RAR Hospitality and a leading hospitality management and consulting firm in San Diego, recently came out with his yearly trends report.

Rauch reveals some outstanding insights that will help your hotel maximize your efforts in 2016. Check out what we’ve taken away below, and be sure to read Rauch’s article for the full story.

Personalized experiences create value

Trends in the digital space are heavily influenced by the increasing interest of travelers to have personal experiences that create value. As more and more travelers are using the internet as their go-to source for travel considerations, this leaves hotels with the responsibility to communicate that they understand guests’ interests and needs online.

No matter the channel your hotel picks (social media, blogs, forums), potential guests are gauging your brand’s identity and making purchase decisions based on those perceptions.
As Rauch explains, that’s why it is so important to communicate your hotel’s unique story and make a great first impression when a potential guest engages with your brand.

At, we couldn’t agree more. We help hoteliers make their guests’ stories an integral part of their hotel’s story. We see firsthand that our customers’ guests have incredible stories to tell and huge audience who are listening. When it all comes together, the stories that people tell each other are far more convincing, easier to relate to, personable and trustworthy than any story told through an advertisement.

Rauch reminds us that experience design extends beyond the digital world, and encourages hoteliers to think about how their hotel spaces are designed–combining work, play, food and drink into an experience that keeps the youthful customer in mind.

Digital, digital, digital, and when you’re done, more digital

Digital matters in 2016, which goes without surprise. Rauch states that digital marketing boils down to two things for 2016: mobile and video. Mobile is an increasingly popular trend. More and more potential guests are using mobile to research and book travel. That’s why responsive websites, mobile-friendly emails, and even dedicated mobile apps are advised.

Plus, hoteliers should take note of the growing trend in live-streaming on mobile. Apps like Periscope average 2 million daily active users (oh, and Periscope just launched on March of this year). This growing trend is beginning to replace traditional television for millennials, and hoteliers should keep track of this new channel to stay relevant to this growing market.

Hoteliers should also take note the disruption caused by companies like Airbnb and HomeAway that have paved the way in the Sharing Economy. Rauch explains, “Mobile and digital check-in, easily accessible and plentiful outlets in all areas, reliable and fast wifi are some of the amenities desired by those who utilize Airbnb and HomeAway.” Hotels should continue to innovate and offer alternatives to these types of amenities in order to capture the attention of the modern traveler.

Take revenue strategy by the horns

By investing in new revenue management technologies, hoteliers can better forecast demand for a clearer idea of their most profitable customers and rooms, all of which help to maximize profits in the long-run.

Revenue management technologies are just one part of a more important revenue strategy, though. At, we’ve talked about how your guests, your team, and your hotel’s bottom line all win when you create a revenue culture, part of which includes prioritizing channels based on net revenue.

Rauch challenges hoteliers to balance their channels and evaluate where OTAs fit in. Focus on driving more eyeballs to your hotel’s website and maximizing profits.

Technology has changed the way hoteliers manage revenue and reach new guests. Going into 2016, hoteliers should continue to think about revenue management technologies and revenue culture, how to improve personalized guest experiences, and how to make an impact with mobile and video in the digital world. Here is the full article of Top 10 Trends for 2016 from Robert Rauch and our friends at RAR Hospitality.