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In concurrent ever greater related world consumers hold much bigger expectations of the businesses they deal with.
They want groups to understand their preferences and bring a customized, advantageous journey. What's greater they are expecting this the entire time not just at the factor of sale.
To assist businesses carry for his or her shoppers IBM is the usage of its Smarter Commerce global acme in Florida to unveil ExperienceOne, an built-in portfolio of cloud-based and on premise offerings to assemble advertising, sales and repair practices and support create deeper, extra effective customer engagements.
IBM ExperienceOne draws on innovation from IBM analysis as well as more than $3 billion invested in organic pile and acquisitions. or not it's furthermore constructed on top-quality practices drawn from IBM's relish of working with over eight,000 corporations throughout the globe.
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New capabilities aid to enhance understanding of client relationships, maximize earnings through directing the amend offer to the amend consumer, and execute expend of cell and convivial media to convey improved client event. Combining ExperienceOne with SoftLayer cloud infrastructure IBM is additionally in a position to offer client statistics, customer analytics and digital commerce as a service.
The enterprise is aiming to deliver similar stages of customer insight to the B2B sector as neatly with the launch of recent associate and organization assignation application via its Smarter Commerce initiative. This contains a Multi-business Relationship management (MRM) platform for improved collaboration. IBM Sterling B2B features Reporting and Analytics to video parade transactions and aid industry spot traits and execute recommended decisions. Plus other tools present improved adherence to compliance requisites and sooner and more efficient sharing of information.
"Now more than ever, the kismet of any industry is deeply intertwined with the success of its network of partners and suppliers entire over the world," says John Mesberg, vp, B2B & Commerce solutions at IBM. "by using orchestrating these involved engagements with surprising precision and perception, organizations can create new gateways to alternate that permit groups to convey outstanding consumer experiences. With today’s news, IBM basically transforms these dynamics with partners and shoppers to pressure faster time to salary throughout the prolonged cost chain".
which you can find more about IBM ExperienceOne on the enterprise's web site. there's additionally an infographic on how Smarter Commerce can carry greater consumer assignation beneath.
graphic credit score: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock
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2. The Up & Comers: Health and Auto are huge development areas for AI/ML due to the copious amount of data being created in those industries. For example, patient records house vital information related to disease identification and treatment. In Ontario alone, there are over 2.3 billion medical test results from 11.1 million Ontarians. On the other quit of the spectrum, automobiles are constantly generating slews of data — distance traveled, tolerable speed, destination — that can be used for optimizing traffic, city planning and accident prevention. For AI/ML to be effectively implemented within the enterprise, it needs to be integrated into core conclusion making processes within a company; just peep at Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm and Uber’s surge pricing and route optimization system. AI/ML will supplant a lot of the grunt labor in the enterprise, freeing employee time for more value-add activities (e.g. Amy, x.ai’s robot assistant, who saves me from so many unnecessary emails when scheduling a meeting). Near-term opportunities in the enterprise are in data optimization, data search and messaging (think: commerce, payments and gaming), and you’ll likely view this quickly penetrate areas such as Enterprise Optimization, Law, Security and Sales.
By Tyler Titherington
I am a restaurateur. I’m behind schedule. Again. Not because I am disorganized or hold too much to do, more so because I hold a hierarchy of tasks that are addressed based on priority. Guest needs are my first priority, staff needs are a near second and everything else last. There is a tertiary hierarchy in the eventual basket as well. Some tasks with a lower priority topple through the cracks. Not because they are unimportant, but rather there just was not enough time. The veracity is that I am obsessively organized. I esteem “To Do” lists, calendars, flood charts and the accomplishment of tasks. I consume projects for breakfast, while alive on the edge of chaos and complete catastrophe. Short staffed? Yawn. Drains flooding? Been there, done that. POS system crash during service on a weekend? Bring it. I am the duck – peaceful above water and feet stirring nonstop below. However, how enact I manage entire the curveballs and quiet manage to gain time without compromising any of my other priorities? It is very simple – conform and embrace technology wherever possible, specifically, cloud-based computing solutions that allow one to be in many places at one time. These applications simplify daily tasks for management teams and staff, which will ultimately leverage senior management down to focus on the bigger picture. Maybe even rep a day off…
Over the eventual 10 years or so, the increased availability of cloud-based computing solutions (using network computers over the internet rather than property-based hard drives) has been a major paradigm shift for many industries. However, as with most technological advances, the restaurant industry has been very slow to adapt. tense margins, resistance to change, and awe of unknown outcomes hold long driven the restaurateur’s decision-making process. However, with increased options, cheaper costs, and ease of use, that mindset is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Restaurant operators are birth to embrace cloud-based solutions for everything from Point of Sale and Tableside Payment to Menu Design and Scheduling.
Our foray into cloud computing began with an luckless set of circumstances that the entire industry was facing. The year was 2010 and the impending doom of PCI Compliance was upon us. At best, their network infrastructure was dated and they needed to act quickly to rep it into compliance. enjoy most operators, their hand was forced and they had no choice. What is PCI Compliance? The reply depends on who you ask.
Your guests hold never heard of it and hold no scheme what it is. Most restaurant operators will bid you that PCI Compliance is an almost unachievable set of network security standards designed to protect the credit card giants, who already freight them route too much for credit card processing and continually squeeze them with a plethora of monthly fees. The definition of PCI Compliance is below, according to PCI ComplianceGuide.org
“The Payment Card Industry Data Security standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that entire companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. The PCI Security Council Card focuses on improving payment account security throughout the transaction process. It is an independent corpse that was created by the major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, learn and JCB.).”[i]
PCI DSS is mandatory for any and entire businesses that accept credit cards. It involves a process of assessment, remediation and reporting. Operators must identify network vulnerabilities, physical vulnerabilities, and operational vulnerabilities that could result in a credit card violation and fix them. In summary, it is a painfully tedious, extremely time consuming, and potentially expensive process.
It is extremely considerable for the security of their guest’s payment information, both for ensuring confidence with their customers and limiting legal liabilities. In 2017-8, major retail stores including Home Depot, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Best Buy and Lord & Taylor made headlines across the country for data breaches possibly compromising customer’s credit card personal information. The restaurant industry is furthermore plagued with security breaches, including great chains such as Darden (Cheddar’s), Panera Bread, Sonic and Arby’s. The number of customers whose credit card information may be compromised totals into the millions.[ii]
At Grafton Group, the process of obtaining Credit card security involved working directly with their IT vendor and POS vendor to achieve PCI compliance. The first order of industry was to rep their network infrastructure in order. Some of the major network upgrades that they undertook were upgrading wiring, locking down patch panels, securitizing external ports, adding wireless access points (WAPs), and replacing firewalls. The WAPs and new firewalls were the heart of the upgrades and would ultimately allow us to operate unencumbered in the cloud. The new access points give their guests their own network and forestall them from accessing ours. The security firewalls forestall intrusions and furthermore allow their IT vendor remote access so they can execute changes without actually being in the restaurant. What used to be a scheduled visit from their IT vendor that may hold taken weeks, is now a simple email and can often be addressed online in minutes. In a nutshell, PCI DSS forced us to upgrade their network, which ultimately allowed us to operate in the cloud. This unintended outcome to a painful requirement was truly a blessing in dissimulate and it pushed us into new territory – the cloud! Being in the cloud has allowed us access to exciting applications and services that would otherwise be unavailable to us.
IBM defines cloud computing as “the delivery of on-demand computing resources — everything from applications to data centers — over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.”[iii] For their purposes, these on demand computing resources primarily consist of “SaaS” or Software as a Service. Here are some of the areas where cloud computing can streamline their operation.Point of Sale
POS systems are the most arresting zone of cloud-based solutions for restaurant operators. Legacy systems such as Positouch, Micros, and Aloha are bulkier, more expensive, and much harder to program and implement. There are quite a few cloud-based POS options, most notably Boston-based Toast. Toast has done a distinguished job streamlining and simplifying the interface for both front and back quit users. Management can access the system remotely for screen programming, troubleshooting or reviewing sales. It is extremely intuitive, enjoy using a smartphone, thus needing very shrimp training. As wireless POS solutions evolve, legacy systems will eventually be phased out. It is only a matter of time.Tableside Payment
EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) is another set of regulations that are coming to the restaurant industry. “EMV is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.”[iv] Used in Europe for years, the credit card never leaves the customer and entire transactions are processed tableside with a handheld device. One example of an EMV compliant, cloud-based device for tableside payments that they at Grafton Group are currently analyzing and draw on implementing is Pay My Tab. Pay My Tab will fully integrate with their POS system and eliminates many bulky PCI DSS requirements. Many similar systems are already in expend at quick service operations, where guests and staff hold easily adapted to them. In addition to tougher security, the implementation should dwindle payment time, eradicate paper receipts (emailed instead) and simplify the process for management to search for specific receipts.
Reservations and Floor Management
There are a variety of solutions for reservations and floor management systems. Their solid has been using OpenTable for over 15 years, so when they rolled out their cloud-based system, GuestCenter, they were early adopters. This has been one of the solitary best applications in terms of roll out, ease of use, and seamless integration. It is iPad-based and eliminates entire the wiring and host stand true estate. It is compatible to smart phones that allows for remote access, allowing management to check flood of service, identify unique reservations, and execute positive that waitlists are being managed appropriately. Soon to reach is an interface with POS systems that automatically applies any “guest notes” from GuestCenter to the server’s check, such as special occasions, etc. Most importantly, due to its intuitive design, their millennial hosts expend the system seamlessly.Private Event Management
Private events are the foundation of most complete service restaurant operations. They are the difference between a grand week and a distinguished week. However, it can be a very confusing process with entire of the stirring parts. In order to stay organized, they expend TripleSeat to manage leads, create BEOs and track their events calendar. The cloud-based event management system allows their Private Event Coordinators to respond at any given time from anywhere, giving them a leg up on the competition, giving them the opportunity to rate fees for each event. Since their coordinators receive an administrative fee for each event, they enjoy responding when available off-site; grand communication is key for making positive work-life balance is maintained.Bar at the Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, MA. Photo: graftongrouphospitality.com Inventory
An zone which the cloud has really saved their restaurants time is with food & beverage inventories. No more paper and no more transposing paper to spreadsheet. Inventories can be uploaded in true time using a tablet, laptop or even a smart phone. BevSpot is used for both their food and beverage inventories. They hold furthermore given access to their accounting firm, in order to reduce bulky invoice scans and uploads. entire information can be entered into the cloud and accessed by entire of their approved users. It furthermore allows for multiple people to seize inventory simultaneously. One person can be on the bar, another in the walk in fridge, and another in the liquor room, entire at the selfsame time. In addition to being a major time saver, it has helped Grafton Group to reduce sitting inventory by a significant amount across entire properties.Scheduling
Staff scheduling is a weekly administrative headache for managers, but there are cloud-based scheduling applications that lessen the pain. They hold create HotSchedules to suitable their needs as it interfaces with their POS system and allows their solid to enact some creative reporting in regards to budgeting and forecasting, as well as taking employees requests and requirements into consideration.Email and File Sharing
Grafton Group has reach a long route from sharing access to a desktop version of Outlook and toggling between accounts. They were able to eradicate their main server entirely and now they expend Office 365 for their email and file sharing needs. Not only is this highly securitized, it has redundancy so their information is always backed up. They access both their email and files from anywhere in the world. This has greatly improved productivity and allowed their management teams to communicate in true time.Grafton Street in Cambridge, MA. Photo: graftongrouphospitality.com Computer Hardware
Our office hardware now consists of much less expensive “Network Computers”, which enact not require expanded reminiscence for giant programs, CD drives for downloading drivers, or expansion slots for extraneous drives. They can purchase more computers at a reduced cost and their managers no longer hold to partake computer access in the office.Menu Design
For their menu design need, they hold create InDesign to be the most efficient program, which is portion of the Adobe Creative Cloud. This program can now be selected a la carte from Adobe’s menu of programs and paid for on a month to month basis for under $20. This is much more palatable than paying $600 for the entire Adobe suite.
These are just a handful examples of how cloud computing has impacted their operations and ultimately saved time for their management team and staff. Ten seconds here, 5 minutes there, an hour tomorrow – it adds up to impactful chunks of time that can be better spent elsewhere. They hold only scratched the surface as an industry – they will view more and more options for cloud-based solutions to true world restaurant problems. Although the solutions highlighted above create efficiency and reclaim time, they enact not serve guests and they don’t understand the craft of hospitality. It is imperative that as restaurateurs they continue to create a positive environment, embrace innovation, and engage and train their employees in the craft and skill of hospitality.
There are some things you will never hold time for in the restaurant industry, regardless of cloud-based advancements. “Lunch”, for example, I hold heard is a meal that takes Place in the middle of the day. For me, “lunch” is the sandwich that I consume in 30 seconds somewhere between 2pm and 6pm standing over a trash can in the back of the kitchen. There is no technology for that…
PDF Version Available HereReferences [i] “PCI Compliance sheperd FAQ.” PCIComplianceGuide.Org. September, 2018. https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/faq/#1. [ii] Green, D. and Hanbury, M. (Aug. 22, 2018). “If you shopped at these 16 stores in the eventual year, your data might hold been stolen.” https://www.businessinsider.com/data-breaches-2018-4 [iii] “What Is Cloud Computing?” IBM.com. September, 2018. https://www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/what-is-cloud-computing. [iv] Kossman, Sienna. ” 8 FAQs about EMV credit cards.” CreditCards.com. August 29, 2017. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/emv-faq-chip-cards-answers-1264.php. Tyler was born and raised in Portland, Maine and has lived in the Boston zone since attending Boston University. After graduating from the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, Mr. Titherington operated a handful of bars and restaurants in Boston. He has been with Grafton Group since October 2007.
By Christopher Muller
In portion 1 of this analysis of the restaurant delivery system they looked at the owner/operator models which quiet offer some measure of control over price and quality. This is snappy becoming an issue with the tower of the Ghost Kitchen where the ODP is an integral portion of the equation. Here they present the larger challenges from the preeminent ODP control of the marketplace. It is grand to remember that most of the ODPs themselves are quiet looking to find profits in what they do, a suggestion that those profits will necessity to reach at the expense of the restaurant providers in one route or another.5. The Aggregator or On-Line Delivery Provider (ODP) – No Driver Fleet
If someone were to say, “Let me seize supervision of entire of your delivery problems for a miniature carve of your revenues” many restaurant operators, especially those interested to rep into the market with the least amount of upfront investment, would jump at the chance. Enter the On-Line Delivery Provider with a industry model built upon a brand appellation customer-facing APP, website or phone number and an immense amount of back office computing power to drive order volume.
At its core, to be successful the Aggregator needs to be a world-class matchmaker for food orders, with both a great customer database of users and a broad assortment of restaurant menus offered in major cities. enjoy many of what MIT’s Bill Aulet calls an Innovation Driven Enterprise (IDE) the cost of customer acquisition is the key hurdle in entering this distribution channel. What it doesn’t necessity is its own fleet of employee delivery drivers. Capitalizing on the DIY gig economy, drivers are hired on a contractual basis, working as independent delivery agents with their own vehicles.
The barrier to lowering this tall cost of entry has favored early market entrants and great well-funded digital innovators. Worldwide, the fastest growing ODP is Uber Eats, the natural extension of car service provider, Uber, with its existing immense data ground of users, an ever expanding fleet of drivers, and the understanding for a driver that delivering food with an APP-based pre-payment system is considerably faster and easier than dealing with human passengers.
The upside for restaurant companies using an ODP such as Uber Eats, from those as preeminent as McDonalds or as miniature as the local pizzeria, is that there is no necessity to hire and train non-core employees. As touted by Uber Eats delivery service can start almost immediately upon signing up. The downside, that has a potential for long term impact, is two-fold. The fee structure for traditionally low margin restaurants can be between 20-30% of a menu detail price, leaving shrimp to cover remaining expenses. Worse though is that the restaurant gives away its brand and trade dress image to the company making the delivery to the front door. McDonalds hamburgers may be in the bag, but the appellation on the ordering APP and the uniform on the person handing it to the customer says Uber Eats.
6. The Consolidator – Bulk “Bus Stop”
As noted, the most expensive solitary piece of the delivery perplex is getting food from the restaurant to the front door, what is called “the eventual mile.” One proven route to minimize that expense is to hold the customer meet the food delivery at a central drop-off spot (see: Amazon ). A start-up, Yun Ban Bao, in new York City is taking advantage of ethnic Chinese food deserts through direct targeted marketing using the preeminent Chinese online service provider, WeChat. By doing so it is creating a captive delivery market with the advantage of pre-ordering and payment.
Taking online requests for delivery on the next industry day, then consolidating orders using a bulk delivery model, Yun Ban Bao is lowering the cost of delivery while maintaining control with its own fleet of drivers. It advertises a data analytics service for smaller restaurants as well as being a revenue growth accelerator for restaurants in suburban locations which otherwise could not find new or broader market opportunities.
Using a pre-arranged group delivery network, often outside parks, office towers or apartment buildings, the system mirrors a bus route, not the more traditional taxi route model of one-on-one delivery. This furthermore affords the network of restaurants a route to lower operating costs by controlling the production process in advance.7. The Aggregator ODP – Owned Fleet
Some of the largest ODP players started in the delivery industry by controlling their own fleets of employee managed delivery drivers. The global leader, Just Eat, has used this model throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide. But it furthermore has worked directly with restaurants who hold their own in-house deliver fleets to create a broad partnership. Just consume acts as the online ordering platform, but then allows the local branded company to be the puss at the door.
The competence to present a standardized customer facing brand identity means that confidence may be established with the customer directly. While this can reach at the risk of the restaurant losing its direct brand relationship, what Just consume has been able to master is the collection of a vast customer database of its users. It has created a relationship with many of its restaurant partners to assist them in finding pattern store locations, menu detail design and creative targeted pricing and promotions programs which would not otherwise be affordable or even available to smaller companies.
For these ODP companies, the costs for maintaining their own fleets or working as a hybrid with a local restaurant creates a higher operating expense, but these are often offset with a higher fee partake from both the restaurant and the consumer. It furthermore creates a competitive advantage by pile a broader network of restaurants to pick from for the customer, which builds long term loyalty and habitual purchase behaviors.
8. The ODP Aggregator – black Kitchens
One of the greatest threats to the bricks and mortar restaurant delivery partners is the emerging concept of a black Kitchen. This is a space created by an OPD to facilitate the lowest cost per delivery mile from restaurant kitchen to the highest density of users. While this is similar to the Cloud Kitchen model, in this case the OPD establishes a cluster of miniature dedicated but competitive restaurant kitchens in a solitary site. A black Kitchen is furthermore similar to the trending food hall concept, but comes with no direct customer interaction—no walk-in guest visits these production facilities. In the UK this was pioneered by Deliveroo with its urban RooBox or Editions concepts. colleague restaurants rent portable kitchen space from the delivery service and pay a larger percentage fee to cover the build-out costs for their space. Restaurants staff the kitchens at their own expense, as well.
Earlier this year, Grubhub invested $1 million in Green acme Group (see Ghost Kitchen in portion I), a startup with nine virtual restaurants operating from a solitary kitchen. DoorDash is renting extra space from the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose, Calif., and making it available to foodservice operators who want to create delivery-only options. In Los Angeles, Postmates leased a commissary kitchen space so its restaurants can reach new customers. And UberEATS is exploring the concept with Poke Café in Chicago — a virtual restaurant serving Hawaiian poke bowls.
“We can labor with existing restaurant partners to create delivery-only menus. (They would) appear as entirely new restaurants on the UberEats app,” Ambika Krishnamachar, UberEats product manager, said in an article on Mashable.
And again, while on its puss this appears to be a positive opportunity for independent or chain restaurants to lower costs or disaggregate the dine-in from the delivery production process, it is not cost free. In fact, as a logical progression would suggest, the OPD Deliveroo service has realized that the actual local restaurant in this mingle is not a necessity for success. Instead by using its own “innovation fund” it will to depart directly into the restaurant industry itself, creating “from scratch” concepts by working with personage chefs and data mining information from its immense customer data base. 
As more of the OPDs peep to find profits to pass along to the aggressive investors who hold funded rapid growth, they will inevitably peep to carve out the middleman and provide meals themselves to increase margins. The kitchen that may actually depart “dark” is the local one on the corner down the street in an independent restaurant.
This is undoubtedly both an arresting and a challenging time for the restaurant industry and the Online Delivery Providers who are feeding from it. Neither side seems to hold figured out how to execute the new consumer demand for off-site delivery labor to their complete advantage.
It is impossible to believe that any restaurant can survive if it gives away up to 30% of its top line revenues when the tolerable net profit is less than 10%. No amount of increased volume in sales will execute up for that. As Cameron Keng wrote in his column “Why Uber Eats Will consume You Into Bankruptcy” in March, 2018:
Based on the tolerable profit margins above, every restaurant that engages Uber Eats will lose money on every order they take. The more orders coming from Uber Eats, the more money a restaurant would lose.
At the selfsame time, while it is hard to rep exact information, it appears that almost zero of the largest On-Line Delivery Providers, in any of the described segments is actually showing a profit. Uber Eats is only profitable in 27 of its more than 100 urban markets, and while Deliveroo’s sales rose in 2017 to £277 million ($356 million), the company lost an astounding £185 million ($237 million). Yet Uber Eats is offering over $2 billion to purchase/merge with Deliveroo.
Finally, as Jonathan Maze wrote in his Bottom Line column in early October the restaurant industry is simply unprepared for what appears to be a tectonic shift in traditional restaurant segments, consumer behavior, labor utilization, true Estate valuation and investor interest.
If delivery is the future of the restaurant business, the restaurant industry as it is currently constructed is in trouble.
The service is growing rapidly. But it’s increasingly replacing existing restaurant industry rather than taking industry away from grocers or other food retailers. 
As they famed in the beginning, it took the lodging industry almost 20 years to start to execute this benevolent of tectonic change and it is nowhere near complete. A few very great hotel companies, through merger and acquisition, hold consolidated enough power to start the sprint away from handing over entire of their pricing to the OTA’s. In economic terms, hotel companies are trying to depart from being price Takers to price Setters.
At this early stage of the restaurant OPD’s domination of the delivery cycle, it is not lucid that any restaurant organization is great enough to demolish the fever, especially now that McDonald’s is partnering with Uber Eats. While it may appear that the On-line Delivery Provider is a restaurant’s partner, friend or even savior, it is zero of those. In fact, in order to become profitable the OPD is looking to become a direct competitor.
What is certain is that few restaurant companies, and certainly no independent operations, can survive the next two decades letting third parties ordain what convenience and price mean. In fact, this might be a grand time to rep out of the house and depart visit your favorite local restaurant. Sacrificing some convenience for a distinguished relish is a grand value and that restaurant may not be around the next time you want to present up.
PDF Version Available HereReferences  view Bill Aulet, Disciplined Entrepreneurship,  The Financial, October 25, 2018, https://www.finchannel.com/~finchannel/business/76317-amazon-expands-grocery-delivery-and-pickup  Menqi Sun, WSJ, September 9, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-get-food-delivered-from-your-favorite-faraway-restaurant-1536516000  See https://www.just-eat.com/  James Cook, industry Insider, April 5, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/deliveroo-editions-pop-up-restaurants-roobox-2017-4  Tim York, The Packer, March 23, 2018, https://www.thepacker.com/article/rise-virtual-restaurant Sophie Witts, huge Hospitality, May 21, 2018, https://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Article/2018/05/21/Deliveroo-to-create-own-restaurant-brands-using-5m-fund#  Cameron Keng, Forbes, March 26, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/cameronkeng/2018/03/26/why-uber-eats-will-eat-you-into-bankruptcy/#778a3b0621f6  Ibid., DealBook, September 21, 2018  BBC News, October 1, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45707700  Jonathan Maze, Restaurant industry Online, October 17, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/delivery-could-force-changes-restaurant-business-model Christopher C. Muller is Professor of the practice of Hospitality Administration and former Dean of the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. Each year, he moderates the European Food Service Summit, a major conference for restaurant and supply executives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hobart College and two graduate degrees from Cornell University, including a Ph.D. in hospitality administration. Email: email@example.com
By Christopher Muller
The entire restaurant industry, from the simplest quick service joint to the most involved fine dining jewel, is caught in a veritable frenzy of delivery. It may be, unfortunately, a very risky path to travel for the uninitiated restaurant operation, but delivery is driving the investment community to a fever pitch.  They hold entered into the time of the restaurant On-Line Delivery Provider (ODP) which mirrors in many ways the On-Line Travel Agent (OTA) which has so disrupted the lodging industry.
In two complimentary BHR articles here, they present a peep at the 8 different models of restaurant delivery and how they are affecting both senior management and customer choices.
A Quick Lesson From Pricing History
For observers of the global Hospitality Industry this should send up warning flags. In a galaxy far, far away, the Lodging industry managed revenues by using simple seasonal or attribute pricing models (On-, Shoulder- and Off-Peak rates, or premiums for “A elbowroom With A View”) and sold some limited excess inventory through a network of independent Travel Agents (at an onerous 10% commission!).
Then, as the Internet expanded, and the travel market imploded after the 9-11 tragedy, a new and exciting model emerged – the On-Line Travel Agent (OTA) acting as a third party aggregator appeared. Hotel companies willingly gave open access to entire of their unsold elbowroom inventory to the OTAs (Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Booking.com, Kayak, Trivago, etc.) to sell directly at profound discounts, often between 25 and 30% off posted Rack Rates. Occupancies rose, but tolerable Daily Rates plummeted, and profits quickly diminished. Hotels, relying on the passe pricing models were caught competing “with themselves” and watched as formerly loyal customers switched their buying habits and loyalties to the OTA that gave them the best rate. Customers could scroll through pages of prices, often for the exact selfsame elbowroom in the selfsame hotel, searching for the cheapest rate. Hotel rooms, instead of being unique destinations became interchangeable commodities.
It has taken almost twenty years, but through brand consolidation and a total system-wide transformation into a Revenue Management based pricing model, the hotel industry has been transformed and the OTAs are being aggressively challenged for dominance. This should be a lesson for the restaurant owner/operator, the OTAs drove nothing but price as a conclusion attribute, the ODPs are poised to enact the selfsame thing with both price and convenience, unfortunately restaurants probably won’t hold decades to recover.
Today’s Restaurant Delivery Frenzy –The tower of the ODP
Whether it’s the savvy but shape-shifting Millennial, the rapidly aging Baby Boomer, or the rising young digital endemic from the i-Generation, it seems that customers in entire shapes and sizes just want to hold their meals brought to them at home, the office, or somewhere in between. Breaking the code of the delivery model—becoming the customer’s preference of who serves up breakfast, lunch or dinner at home, labor or play—has emerged as the Holy Grail of the foodservice business. But it may be more enjoy the other mythic black Ages metaphor, the Plague, potentially killing upwards of 30% of existing restaurant units.
So, what exactly is “delivery” today, how did it evolve into such a big, expanding component of the restaurant offering and what are the implications going forward for the industry? Just how enact the On-Line Delivery Providers, the ODP, dominate the market?
We can start by agreeing that delivery is a discrete and rapidly growing distribution channel, although it has been around in one figure or another for a very long time. And while not exactly a new technology, nor necessarily a profitable one, the exploding market for the delivery of food is poised for an inevitable tremble out as it quickly approaches a mature angle consolidation.
In late 2018 delivery is entire about instant gratification, not just for the diner but some would intimate for the restaurant as well. At first glance, it entire feels so simple and easy. But enjoy so much in restaurant management, there is more than one route to rep something done, even the simplest of things.
Emerging Key Success Factors
Like so many emerging industry models in the on-line digital age, food delivery is developing its own metrics and factors to be considered and mastered. While quiet evolving, among these now are:
Delivery of food, especially from a restaurant to a consumer, has become a multi-billion dollar segment of the industry. Some are predicting that it will overtake the traditional dine-in segment completely within a decade, although the complexity of getting it birthright and turning a profit while doing so, can quiet be elusive even for the largest players. And of course, no one should forget that Amazon is over in the corner waiting to view how things evolve in an online delivery world they basically invented.
Traditional and Controlled
As noted, the delivery of food from a restaurant directly to a local customer is not a new scheme although traditionally the customer came to the restaurant and picked up or carried out their food order. Both delivery and carry-out were best suited to a restaurant with a simple, easily transported menu. Where a significant amount of the value of the meal was the dining relish and table service, meals to depart were often comprised of a package of leftovers or the long gone term “doggie bags.”
Here is a peep at four models with some measure of control for restaurant owners and operators over the character and profitability of their offerings.
1. The Independent – One Shot
As a service provider a restaurant may resolve that in order to meet the needs of its local customer ground it should provide a delivery option. At one time, only a few restaurants in an urban core would hold delivery offers and these might typically be delicatessens or Chinese restaurants with few seats and a very tenacious focus on offering takeout options. The food can be cooked, boxed, wrapped and brought quickly to an office or apartment within a few blocks on foot or by bicycle.
This model is the most basic – a caller, the kitchen, and an employee bringing fiery food directly to the customer. The restaurant controls the quality, manages the relationship with the diner and absorbs the complete cost and entire the revenues. It typically comes with higher operating costs for labor (primarily from an in-house paid delivery driver fleet) and with premium rent from the necessity for an attractive customer-facing retail space. On the plus side, entire local customer information may be controlled by the restaurant and there are no fees to partake with an outside third-party service.
But as the independent operator reaches for the brass ring on the delivery merry-go-round, they furthermore necessity to be mindful not to lose their grip on their existing ride. A new distribution channel can be much more challenging that just taking a customer order. As famed by Jennifer Marston:
…restaurants are under pressure to adapt…More and more, that means altering the physical restaurant space so it can better accommodate this influx of new orders. Extra meals require extra bodies to cook and package the food, after all, not to mention extra space for third-party devices, and somewhere to outcome completed orders waiting to be picked up by a delivery driver.
An arresting twist on this solitary restaurant model of trying to find a route to both control and expand the delivery system while maintaining some measure of profitability is one recently proposed in the restaurant trade magazine Restaurant industry Online:
He (CMO Nabeel Alamgir) explained that Bareburger is already striving to convert customers ordering through third parties’ apps into users of the chain’s own channels. Patrons of an Uber Eats or Postmates might be offered a 10% discount on their next order if it’s placed through Bareburger’s website. The chain can afford a discount that profound because the fiscal impact is quiet less than the 20% or 30% discount an outside service typically charges.
Alamgir famed at the start of the panel’s presentation that a service started by restaurants for restaurants would hold been an attractive alternative to some of the third-party giants. “Let’s execute their own platform. Let’s execute their own Grubhub,” he said.
2. The Cloud Kitchen – A Hub & Spoke System
It can be argued that today’s focused delivery channel began in earnest when Domino’s offered up a “30 Minute or Free” guarantee in 1973. In order to execute this guarantee effective, the company created a hub and spoke system, in outcome pile a train of franchised units in low cost locations. They were characterized by being geographically market-centered but with no necessity for a “High Street” customer facing address. This was directly in contrast to the overwhelming market advantage owned by Pizza Hut and its network of “Red Roof” complete service pizzerias with their focus on dine-in and takeout service. But the competitive advantage that came from having units with no dine-in, limited customer carry-out, and which were serviced by a central commissary set in motion the shift away from the traditional eat-in model.
“The reality is, when the red roof restaurant was created, the scheme of delivery wasn’t portion of the concept,” said Pizza Hut chief executive David Gibbs, a 26-year veteran at parent company Yum Brands…”so in many cases, their industry has outgrown the capabilities of those restaurants…”
Now, four decades later Domino’s is the world leader in delivery, pizza or otherwise. It has done this by controlling the entire process or what is called the “full stack” in the delivery cycle. Now describing itself as an IT and logistics company that sells pizza, the backbone of the system is that they control the customer ordering process, the production character process, and through a vast franchise network the delivery process.
Next to come, using new GPS and AI technologies, Domino’s predicts that it will be able to execute deliveries not just to a formal pile address, but to anywhere a customer can be located by tracking their cellphone, even if that is a park bench or a blanket on the beach.
But Domino’s is not the only leader to be expanding its Cloud Kitchen delivery system. Already designed on a commissary production system model, giant snappy casual leader, Panera Bread, tested delivery in Boston and then announced an expansion across the United States in early May, 2018 with a system based upon using its own delivery drivers.  Following the trend in October the largest chicken sandwich chain, Chick-fil-A, announced it was birth to test the hub and spoke model of delivery in Nashville, TN and Louisville, KY.
Chick-fil-A is opening two new restaurants that don’t hold something you commonly associate with the chain: seats.
Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain, is testing catering and delivery locations in Nashville and Louisville, Ky., that will open this month.
The locations, according to an announcement on the chain’s website, hold no dining rooms or drive thru’s and are designed to be hubs for catering and delivery orders. The restaurants will not accept cash, either.
The Cloud Kitchen model can be very effective for restaurant companies with great enough scale, whether in a solitary city or across a region, to seize advantage of a solitary production kitchen site with remote staging kitchens. Ultimately the “full stack” control from order to front door can reach from as few as three restaurants or as many as 3000. This furthermore means that the foundation is laid for vast proprietary customer data collection and eventually data mining by the most forward-looking operators.
It can be argued that the Food Truck movement of the past decade is a subset of the Cloud Kitchen model. By most local health code laws, food trucks must hold a “home kitchen” or commissary for their bulk production that meets entire health and sanitation code requirements. In many urban centers, to be successful a food truck company needs to hold multiple trucks on the road acting as a distribution network. While this is furthermore a classic Hub & Spoke model, it comes with similarities to a model in the next article, #6 The Consolidator, with distribution on a bus quit route and not a one-to-one eventual mile taxi route.
3. The Ghost Kitchen
One further refinement of the Cloud Kitchen is the Ghost Kitchen. As delivery becomes more of a threat to the traditional dine-in restaurant option, some intimate that this model, in fact, is the future of restaurants—basically a highly efficient hybrid of menu concepts, specialized production and logistics, and low labor cost with no eat-in customers.
In that way, this model is identified by three key components.
First, it removes the dining elbowroom or takeout from the restaurant completely, working out of a kitchen whose location is based on nearness to its core customer market yet in a typically low rent out-of-the-way space.
Second, it does not hire any paid employees to deliver, instead making expend (through partnership or agreement) of the many third-party delivery companies enjoy GrubHub, Postmates or Doordash.
Third, and possibly the most important, because of the flexibility of only needing an APP, website or traditional telephone ordering system, more than one cuisine can be produced in the selfsame kitchen space. light to prepare, cook and deliver foods such as salads, sandwiches, Asian and other ethnic dishes, or gourmet pizza can entire be offered while cross-utilizing similar ingredients in creative menu offerings.
This can best be described as an “order only” restaurant. The most prominent or well-known of these Ghost Kitchens would be Green acme (see transition to #8 black Kitchen in portion 2). While garnering a grand amount of press, the personage chef David Chang’s Maple, closed its operation in 2017 with some assets stirring to London and the delivery company Deliveroo. Chef Chang sold the physical kitchen space, Ando, to Uber Eats after ceasing operations in January, 2018. 
Because no customer ever sets foot through the front door the owners can outcome entire of their investment in kitchen outfit and the technology of ordering. A Ghost Kitchen offers customers great menu choices, and just as its cousin the Cloud Kitchen, has the option to preserve track of its own proprietary customer data set through the direct ordering process. The tradeoff is that ownership sacrifices the customer interface at delivery of the Cloud Kitchen model. Operating and start-up costs are low and efficiency can be very high. The risk is that a great portion of the margin (sometimes up to 30%) from market-driven menu prices is taken by the delivery partnership, who furthermore control the brand image when customers receive their orders off-site.4. Virtual Restaurants
Along with disrupting the taxi business, Uber Eats is about to globally disrupt the restaurant delivery business. As of October, 2018, Uber Eats had over 1600 “virtual restaurants” around the globe, with almost 1000 in its US partnership portfolio. The majority of these are not the Cloud or black Kitchen models mentioned above, but are existing restaurants with new brands that only exist through Uber Eats. This model, while charging very tall fees to the restaurant, allows them to technically not compete with themselves in the home delivery marketplace. Uber Eats gains more menus to offer, and limits any necessity for an investment in a commissary space.
For SushiYaa, Kim says the virtual restaurant concept has been transformative. “Because this concept worked so well for us, they actually changed one of their restaurants from a sushi buffet concept to a regular restaurant with 8 different virtual restaurant brands inside it. The buffet sales weren’t doing so well and the delivery side was doing better, so they thought — let’s change it completely so we’re focused more on delivery.” From a sales standpoint, he says it’s “almost as if they hold another restaurant without paying additional rent and labor, even though [Uber Eats] takes about 30 percent.”
One other ilk of Virtual Kitchen involves the licensing of existing restaurant recipes and menu items in a curated virtual model. The start-up concept grand Uncle is using this to compete in the university meal draw segment, offering a sweep of pricing options for higher character prepared meals, delivered by their own delivery fleet using the bus quit common drop off method. This is a limited menu, limited target market, which benefits from a direct marketing approach, lower operating costs, and uses both a subscription and premium fee based pricing system. It is a Virtual Kitchen because there is no restaurant or other customer facing facility, it exists only online.
Part One – Conclusions
Delivery models, some traditional, some evolving, offer many opportunities for restaurant operators, especially those in the QSR and snappy Casual segments, where quicken and price and convenience are the drivers of consumer choice.
The challenge in today’s delivery market is how owners and operators can maintain both tall character and long-term profitability in the products/services they offer. For many meals, the time and distance from kitchen to table can be more than 30 minutes or multiple miles. character of presentation and flavor may quickly diminish. More importantly, where the medium annual profitability for restaurants across entire segments in the USA is considerably less than 10%, losing up to 30% of top line revenues is not a path to a successful future, (even if total sales increase by 20%).
PDF Version Available HereReferences  Heather Haddon and Julie Jargon, The Wall Street Journal online, October 24, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-are-craving-food-delivery-companies-1540375578?mod=cx_picks&cx_navSource=cx_picks&cx_tag=contextual&cx_artPos=4#cxrecs_s  Liam Proud, DealBook, NYTimes, September 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/business/dealbook/uber-eats-deliveroo.html  Jennifer Marston, The Spoon, July 31, 2018, https://thespoon.tech/delivery-is-making-these-restaurants-literally-redesign-the-way-they-do-business/  Peter Romeo, Restaurant industry Online, Oct. 19, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/3-big-changes-looming-restaurants  Karen Robinson-Jabos, Dallas News, Jan 6, 2016. https://www.dallasnews.com/business/business/2016/01/06/pizza-hut-is-ditching-the-iconic-red-roof-for-a-more-modern-look  Janelle Nanos, Boston Globe, May 7, 2018, https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/05/07/panera-expanding-its-delivery-service-cities/sZg4pO0yTw9cEdYpv514tL/story.html?event=event12  Jonathan Maze, Restaurant industry Online, Oct. 09, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/chick-fil-opening-new-delivery-focused-prototype  Neal Ungerleider, 01.20.17 snappy Company https://www.fastcompany.com/3064075/hold-the-storefront-how-delivery-only-ghost-restaurants-are-changing-take-out  Closing announcement from Maple, May 8, 2017 https://maple.com/letter/  Whitney Filloon, Eater, October 24, 2018, www.eater.com/2018/10/24/18018334/uber-eats-virtual-restaurants  view the online Audiopedia site https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKO5JFbqKTA  Ibid, Eater, October 24, 2018  view https://www.gooduncle.com/ Christopher C. Muller is Professor of the practice of Hospitality Administration and former Dean of the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. Each year, he moderates the European Food Service Summit, a major conference for restaurant and supply executives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hobart College and two graduate degrees from Cornell University, including a Ph.D. in hospitality administration. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Makarand Mody and Monica Gomez
For a long time, the hotel industry did not reckon Airbnb a threat. Both the industry and Airbnb claimed they were serving different markets and had different underlying industry models. Over the years, as Airbnb become more successful and grown to being larger than the companies in the hotel industry, the rhetoric has changed. The hotel industry began to realize they had something to worry about.
A stage of denial was followed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) attacking Airbnb by sponsoring research to demonstrate its negative impacts on the economy and lobbying governments to impose taxes and regulations on homesharing. The association is arguing for a smooth playing field between homesharing and hotels (and rightly so). The next stage of this battle involves competition and integration. Not only are hotels looking to add homesharing-like attributes and experiences to their properties, to more effectively compete with Airbnb, but are furthermore looking to tap into the platform-based industry model that underlies Airbnb’s success.
The Past: How does Airbnb impact the hotel industry?
Airbnb’s disruption of the hotel industry is significant, both existentially and economically. A recent study by Dogru, Mody, and Suess (2018) create that a 1% growth in Airbnb supply across 10 key hotel markets in the U.S. between 2008 and 2017 caused hotel RevPAR to decease 0.02% across entire segments. While these numbers may not appear substantial at first, given that Airbnb supply grew by over 100% year-on-year over this ten year term means that the “real” dwindle in RevPAR was 2%, across hotel segments. Surprisingly, it was not just the economy but furthermore the luxury hotel segment that was hard hit by Airbnb supply increases, experiencing a 4% true decline in RevPAR. The impact of Airbnb on ADR and occupancy was less severe. In Boston, RevPAR has decreased 2.5%, on average, over the eventual ten years due to Airbnb supply increases. In 2016 alone, this 2.5% dwindle in RevPAR amounted to $5.8 million in revenue lost by hotels to Airbnb. Brands that felt the impact the most were those in the midscale and luxury segments, with a dwindle in RevPAR of 4.3% and 2.3% respectively. These supply increases are furthermore fueling Airbnb taking an increasing partake of the accommodation market pie. For example, in new York City, Airbnb comprised 9.7% of accommodation demand, equaling approximately 8,000 rooms per night in Q1 2016 (Lane & Woodworth, 2016). As a whole, Airbnb’s accommodated demand made up nearly 3% of entire traditional hotel demand in Q12016.
Buoyed by a growth rate of over 100% year on year, Airbnb now has over 4 million listings, with the U.S. being its largest market. The company furthermore has significant elbowroom to grow in other countries, particularly emerging markets in Africa and India. The company has shun into some competition in China, with local rivals Tujia and Xiaozhu. Also, within the U.S., the grand tidings is that Airbnb will not grow at 100% indefinitely and will eventually plateau as it reaches a saturation point (Ting, 2017a). In view of this, the company has turned to alternative strategies to continue to increase supply. It is now targeting property developers to spin entire buildings into potential Airbnb units, through its newest hotel-like brand, Niido. Currently, there are two Airbnb branded Niido buildings in Nashville, TN and Orlando, FL with over 300 units each and Airbnb plans to hold as many as 14 home-sharing properties by 2020 (Zaleski, 2018). Niido works by encouraging tenants to list their units on Airbnb, with Airbnb and Niido taking 25% of the revenue generated. Airbnb has furthermore clearly evolved from its original premise of “targeting a different market” to attracting segments traditionally targeted by hotels, such as the leisure family market, industry travelers, and the upscale traveler, as evidenced through its latest offering, Airbnb Plus. These homes hold been verified for quality, comfort, design, maintenance, and the amenities they offer. They furthermore hold light check in, premium internet access, and fully equipped kitchens. Their hosts are typically rated 4.8+, and depart above and beyond for their guests. Through Airbnb Experiences, travelers can partake in everything from the distinguished outdoors—hiking and surfing—to “hidden” concerts and food and wine tours. In addition to these products, Airbnb has furthermore “created” its own segments of travelers: novelty and relish seekers who are looking for unique and unconventional accommodation enjoy yurts, treehouses, and boats, entire things that a traditional hotel company cannot provide.
The Present: Understanding what consumers want lies at the heart of the battle between hotels and Airbnb
There are larger societal trends that are impacting what consumers seek travel, and they assume this has implications for the Airbnb and hotel dynamic. These trends include:
What enact these trends mean? They require marketers and relish designers to re-think what the travel relish means to the customer. The notion of the relish economy was created by Pine and Gilmore in 1998, and included four dimensions: escapism, education, entertainment, and esthetic. Leveraging one, or ideally, more of these dimensions creates memorable experiences for customers, which in spin results in brand loyalty. This dynamic has been fairly well-established in the academic literature. However, Airbnb has changed the game for the relish economy by emphasizing the sharing lifestyle and a sense of community, cleverly incorporating the above highlighted trends into its communications with customers. Because of Airbnb popularity and success, six new dimensions hold been incorporated into the relish economy, in the context of the travel experience: personalization, communitas, localness, hospitableness, serendipity, and ethical consumerism, as was presented by Mody in 2016.
Interestingly, in a recent study by Mody and colleagues (Mody, Suess, & Lehto, 2017), the researchers create that Airbnb outperformed hotels on entire the dimensions of this new, expanded, accommodation experiencescape. Airbnb outperforms hotels in the personalization dimension because of its wide array of homes and locations, enabling genuine micro-segmentation and the “perfect match” between guest and host (Dolnicar, 2018). Moreover, no one home is similar to another, giving customers a unique relish every time, enhancing the serendipity associated with an Airbnb stay. Airbnb elevates the sense of community that consumers seek, particularly when sharing space with other travelers and/or with the host, and allows consumers unparalleled access to “the local”—that café or cute shrimp store that only locals know about. However, there are areas where hotels hold their own. For example, the pathways between these dimensions and memorability were just as tenacious for hotels as for Airbnb, emphasizing the necessity for hotels to engage customers by leveraging the “right” dimensions for the brand—dimensions that align with the brand’s mission, story, and personality.
One such dimension where hotels effect just as well as Airbnb is hospitableness, as confirmed in a study by Mody, Suess, and Lehto (2018). More “investor units” on the Airbnb platform means that the host is often not present when guests arrive to the home; moreover, entire communication is done electronically and with someone who “manages” the Airbnb unit and doesn’t necessarily own or live in it. In turn, hotels that leverage the human factor—the welcome of a friendly check-in agent, the helpfulness of the concierge, the warm greeting and genuine interaction between guest and food and beverage staff—create more positive emotions, which subsequently lead to higher brand loyalty. It is imperative that hotel brands really assume about the high-tech, tall handle relish they are looking to provide, particularly in the golden age of brand proliferation that they live in.
From a non-experience standpoint, regulation is another bone of contention that merits near inspection. After years of denying that Airbnb was a competitor, in 2016, the American Hotel & Lodging Association first began an extensive lobbying endeavor for the imposition of taxes and regulations on Airbnb that smooth the playing field. Over the eventual pair of years, the voices of the hotel lobby and other community groups hold translated into governments taking some action, in the U.S. and abroad. However, in a study of regulation across 12 European and American cities, Nieuwland and van Melik (2018) create that governments hold been fairly lenient towards short-term rentals with shrimp to no (meaningful) regulations thus far. Moreover, regulations hold been designed to alleviate the negative externalities of Airbnb on neighborhoods and communities rather than to smooth the playing field between Airbnb and hotels. Another challenge with regulating the peer to peer economy has been enforcement. In new York City, under the Multiple Dwelling law, it is illegal for a unit to be rented out for less than 30 days unless the owner is present in the unit at the time the guest is renting. However, it is quiet practicable to find “entire homes” on Airbnb in new York City, even though, in principle, these typically involve homes where the host is not present during the guest’s stay. Moreover, Nieuwland and van Melik (2018) and Hajibaba and Dolnicar (2017) hold create that regulations mind to be very similar across cities, without accounting for the specificities of a particular location, which makes the process perfunctory and superficial. There furthermore remains the danger of over-regulating Airbnb, given that there is quiet very shrimp learning about effective ways of regulating these innovations in the sharing economy, thus stifling their potential. Avoid over-regulation is critical, since Airbnb has significant welfare effects in the economy. In addition to stimulating travel to previously inaccessible markets, Airbnb furthermore creates customer surplus (Farronato & Fradkin, 2018), an considerable economic value measure. Moreover, other research has suggested that the tolerable resident is not as negative towards the Airbnb as media rhetoric might intimate (Mody, Suess, & Dogru, 2018). The necessity for a data-driven approach to Airbnb regulation remains paramount.
The Future: Competing with the sharing economy requires re-thinking the brand and the experience
While regulation is outside the control of the hotel industry, the brand and the customer relish are not. They contend that these are the areas where hotel companies’ efforts necessity to be focused. Hotels necessity to re-think the brand promise, both for the parent brand as well as individual brands in the portfolio, and how it defines and shapes the guest experience. Recent research by Mody and Hanks (2018) indicates that while Airbnb leverages the authenticity of the travel experience—by enabling local experiences that provide a sense of self and sense of place, hotel brands that are perceived as being authentic—original, genuine, and sincere—can generate higher brand loyalty. Thus, while it’s hard to compete with homesharing in terms of experiential authenticity, brand authenticity is a pillar on which hotels can build a tenacious foundation for loyal brand relationships. This is particularly considerable because while Airbnb promotes experiential authenticity as a key intuition to expend the brand, most travelers mind to stay with the brand for much more functional requirements, such as space and price (Chen & Xie, 2017; Dogru & Pekin, 2017)
There is no one definition for or manifestation of an “authentic” brand. It’s a perception, a emotion that consumers hold about what you stand for. An bona fide brand has at its core the brand promise, an bona fide value proposition that gives consumers a raison d’etre for associating with the brand. However, what an bona fide brand does require is effective storytelling. A brand is perceived to be authentic, if it has an bona fide tale that feeds it. Brand stories can reach from many sources: a brand’s values, personality, heritage, uniqueness, or its quest and purpose. What is considerable is telling compelling and coherent stories across the brand’s various touchpoints to engage consumers at a visceral, emotional level. Taking off industry blinders, and looking for inspiration outside the hotel industry, is critical. Tom’s Shoes is an excellent example of leveraging its quest—One for One—in creating a compelling brand story. As another example, in an industry typically focused on the in-store, “physical” experience, Burberry has set the gold standard for authentic, digitally-led and emotive storytelling, by looking within and leveraging over 150 years of history (Watch the YouTube Video here). In this vein, they assume that Fairfield Inn and Suites’ return to “where it entire began”—the Marriott family’s Fairfield Farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia— to craft the brand relish of the future, from a design and communications standpoint, is an excellent example of leveraging authenticity and crafting a compelling brand promise (Ting, 2017b).
Another scheme that lies at the heat of the brand promise is what they convoke the experiential value proposition, or EVP. For the longest time, hotel marketers hold relied on the guest elbowroom as the primary source of value for the guest. But assume about the eventual time you traveled. Was it the prospect of the hotel elbowroom that got you excited about your trip? Or was it everything that the hotel enables you to enact – the relish outside the guestroom? From experiencing craft and music in the lobby to its proximity to the must-do craft beer garden, hotel marketers must realize that it’s the complete package—what’s inside and outside the room—that customers expend as cues for making their conclusion to pick an accommodation. They convoke this proposition offered by the hotel—what’s inside and outside the guest room, enclosed within an relish of hospitableness and a connection to humanity—its EVP. They present the EVP in pattern 1. The EVP mirrors the value paradigm of the modern traveler, something that must be reflected in the hotel brand’s sales, marketing and pricing and revenue management efforts. Thinking about a brand through the lens of the EVP paradigm has the power to re-orient the customer’s mindset from one of price-shopping to experience-shopping.
Figure 1. The Experiential Value Proposition Framework
How does a hotel marketer apply the EVP paradigm? Its application can open up many avenues. Hotels can start by rethinking the design of their primary digital channels, led by the website by adding more rich, vivid content that goes beyond the guestroom, in order to better integrate aspects of the wider hotel and local experience. The standard Hotels serves as an excellent example (http://www.standardhotels.com/) Its website feels more enjoy a local lifestyle and culture magazine than a digital media property “selling” a hotel room. The website’s loaded images and stories draw the visitor into wanting to learn more about what the brand has to offer. While not every hotel can or would want to depart the standard way, since the brand has its own discrete voice and personality, there is a case to be made for going beyond static images of beds in guestrooms, which mind to blend into one indistinguishable all after a point, particularly on OTA websites. When was the eventual time the image of a hotel bed excited you to want to stay there? Yet, when you peep at the imagery outcome out by most hotels, this is what marketers quiet focus on.
Placing an emphasis on humanity and providing a sense of hospitableness can furthermore enhance a brand’s EVP. Instead of technology replacing the human connection, the industry needs to peep for ways in which technology can actually free up employees so that they can expend their time crafting more personal and unique experiences, delighting guests instead of performing routine transactions. Moreover, if the human connection is what people seek out when traveling with Airbnb, why is it that hotel confirmation emails quiet rep sent out by automated systems that highlight the “facelessness” of the hotel entity. Why not expend that as an opportunity to truly welcome the guest; a simple handle such as a welcome epistle from the GM with his/her photo, or that of an employee who is “assigned” as “your personal host” during your stay can depart a long route in emulating the human connection that the sharing economy enables.
The design of the hotel’s public spaces can be used to enhance the guest’s relish of “communitas”. Ian Schrager would accord (Schaal, 2017). After all, with much of Airbnb’s supply being dominated by investor units that provide shrimp or no host contact, what better an opportunity for hotel brands to present that they are the original connectors of human beings? Sheraton has been sensible in incorporating some of these communal elements into its brand makeover by introducing productivity tables and studio spaces and a day-time coffee bar that transforms into a bar at night. In terms of another design element, Airbnb’s attractiveness to family and group travelers can be offset by offering connecting and/or multiple rooms for one price, with other relish value-adds thrown in (as with the Marriott family elbowroom connecting rooms package.
Finally, the role of the loyalty program cannot be emphasized enough. Loyalty programs must sprint beyond programmatic levels to being able to leverage data from guest history, convivial media, and other marketing data sources, powered by predictive analytics, to personalize and individualize the guest relish of the brand. In an age of instant gratification, the loyalty program has to be gamified to unlock value-adds and offer creative bundling.
At the smooth of the hotel company, beyond the individual brand, the hotel industry has started participating in the home sharing industry and is increasingly looking to integrate these platform industry models. For example, while Accor purchased Onefinestay, Marriott has teamed up with Hostmaker to create Tribute Portfolio Homes, a partnership that was recently expanded to four European cities (Fox, 2018). From an organic brand development standpoint, Accor’s newest Jo & Joe brand mimics the sharing economy within the confines of a traditional hotel space. Other, more innovative and bold ways of integrating the sharing economy ethos into a hotel could involve offering an “Airbnb floor”, an antithesis to the club floor, one that would not offer housekeeping and other hotel services and thus be offered at a lower price. With hotel brands becoming “branded marketplaces” for accommodation and not just hotel rooms, perhaps there is merit in listing hotel rooms on alternative accommodation platforms. HomeAway is already adding hotels to its platform through the Expedia Affiliate Network, while Airbnb is making a propel for bed-and-breakfasts and boutique hotels. Homesharing providers hope that by adding these options to their listings, they will fulfill their goal of being “for everyone”, while allowing independent and boutique hotels to gather the benefits of branded distribution at a lower cost than traditional OTA brands.
In sum, hotels must adopt a sales, marketing, and revenue management approach that is both strategic and tactical.
At a strategic level, hotel brands necessity to re-think their story, and how they portray and fulfill their authenticity and brand promises. At a tactical level, it’s the relish and value beyond the guestroom that must be factored into what is presented to current and potential guests, what they are charged for it, and how it is leverage to create “memorable memories” that lead to higher net promotor scores and brand loyalty. They present a graphical summary of the past, present, and future of Airbnb vs. hotels in pattern 2.
Figure 2. Summarizing the past, present and future of Airbnb vs. hotels
PDF Version Available HereReferences Chen, Y., & Xie, K. (2017). Consumer valuation of Airbnb listings: a hedonic pricing approach. International Journal of concurrent Hospitality Management, 29(9), 2405–2424. http://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-10-2016-0606 Dogru, T., Mody, M., & Suess, C. (2018). Adding evidence to the debate: Quantifying Airbnb’s disruptive impact on ten key hotel markets. Dogru, T., & Pekin, O. (2017). What enact guests value most in Airbnb accommodations? An application of the hedonic pricing approach. Boston Hospitality Review. Dolnicar, S. (2018). Unique Features of Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks. In S. Dolnicar (Ed.), Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks: Pushing the boundaries (pp. 1–14). Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Ltd. Farronato, C., & Fradkin, A. (2018). The Welfare Effects of Peer Entry in the Accommodation Market: The Case of Airbnb. Fox, J. (2018). Marriott expands homesharing program in Europe. Hotel Management. Retrieved from https://www.hotelmanagement.net/own/marriott-expands-homesharing-program-to-3-european-cities Hajibaba, H., & Dolnicar, S. (2017). Regulatory Reactions Around the World. In S. Dolnicar (Ed.), Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks: Pushing the boundaries (pp. 120–136). Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Ltd. Lane, J., & Woodworth, M. (2016). The Sharing Economy Checks In: An Analysis of Airbnb in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.cbrehotels.com/EN/Research/Pages/An-Analysis-of-Airbnb-in-the-United-States.aspx Mody, M. A., Suess, C., & Lehto, X. (2017). The accommodation experiencescape: a comparative assessment of hotels and Airbnb. International Journal of concurrent Hospitality Management, 29(9), 2377–2404. http://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-09-2016-0501 Mody, M., & Hanks, L. (2018). Parallel pathways to brand loyalty: Mapping the consequences of bona fide consumption experiences for hotels and Airbnb. Mody, M., Suess, C., & Dogru, T. (2018). Not in my backyard? Is the anti-Airbnb discourse truly warranted? Annals of Tourism Research. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2018.05.004 Mody, M., Suess, C., & Lehto, X. (2018). Going back to its roots : Can hospitableness provide hotels competitive advantage over the sharing economy ? International Journal of Hospitality Management. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2018.05.017 Nieuwland, S., & van Melik, R. (2018). Regulating Airbnb: how cities deal with perceived negative externalities of short-term rentals. Current Issues in Tourism, 0(0), 1–15. http://doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2018.1504899 Schaal, D. (2017). Ian Schrager Calls Out Hotel Industry’s Airbnb Strategy as Misguided. Skift. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2017/12/08/ian-schrager-calls-out-hotel-industrys-airbnb-strategy-as-misguided/ Ting, D. (2017a). Airbnb Growth tale Has a Plot Twist — A Saturation Point. Skift. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2017/11/15/airbnb-growth-story-has-a-plot-twist-a-saturation-point/ Ting, D. (2017b). Marriott and preference seize Varied Approaches to Reviving Classic Midscale Brands. Skift. Zaleski, O. (2018). Airbnb and Niido to Open as Many as 14 Home-Sharing Apartment Complexes by 2020. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-14/airbnb-and-niido-to-open-as-many-as-14-home-sharing-apartment-complexes-by-2020 Makarand Mody, Ph.D. has a varied industry background. He has worked with Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Mumbai as a Trainer and as a character Analyst with India’s erstwhile premier airline, Kingfisher Airlines. His most recent experience has been in the market research industry, where he worked as a qualitative research specialist with India’s leading provider of market research and insights, IMRB International. Makarand’s research is based on different aspects of marketing and consumer deportment within the hospitality and tourism industries. He is published in leading journals in the field, including the International Journal of concurrent Hospitality Management, Tourism Management Perspectives, Tourism Analysis and the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology. His labor involves the extensive expend of inter and cross-disciplinary perspectives to understand hospitality and tourism phenomena. Makarand furthermore serves as reviewer for several leading journals in the field. In topple 2015, he joined the faculty at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration (SHA). He received his Ph.D. in Hospitality Management from Purdue University, and furthermore holds a Master’s degree from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Monica Gomez is a graduate student in the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management from the University of Florida and has held previous internship positions in hotel operations and event management. She is a member of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing International Association and is interested in hotel revenue management.
By Christian E. Hardigree, J.D.
Today’s hospitality conversations are rife with dialogue about sustainability, initiatives ranging from linen reuse programs, to donating toiletries, to auto dimming lights, to food sourcing, etc. Hospitality practitioners’ quest to define the ROI (return on investment) is often at foiled by a concept that includes intangible metrics and differing definitions of what “sustainability” really means. The oft-used “Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet, Profit” embodies the commonly agreed upon themes of sustainability, which involve ensuring a wholesome environment, improving economic prosperity, and implementing convivial justice initiatives that ensure the well-being and character of life for current and future generations.
Companies struggle to determine what role they play in advancing and addressing convivial and global challenges while enhancing their brand, ensuring consumer loyalty, and expanding their market share. Many companies evaluate and refine their efforts for engaged brand activism, particularly through marketing, which they balance with efforts to implement higher standards for suppliers, help equality among workers, and preserve pricing competitive – falling in line with the general categories of most corporate convivial responsibility efforts: 1) environmental efforts; 2) philanthropy; 3) ethical labor practices; and 4) volunteering.The “Arms Race” of Corporate convivial Responsibility Reporting
For many companies, particularly in hospitality, corporate convivial responsibility (CSR) reporting has emerged as a key industry approach to articulate the benefits to the company’s stakeholders through strategic initiatives. According to the Governance and Accountability Institute, sustainability reporting by S&P 500 companies increased from 19% in 2011 to 85% in 2017.[i]
Companies now appreciate the marketing value of CSR reporting, particularly as a mechanism to attract and retain customers. Increased societal pressure for greater regulation and transparency, coupled with research showing that consumers demonstrate a preference toward companies they perceive are more responsible, hold resulted in a new “arms race” with companies are making operational decisions that are more tightly linked to ethical values, environmental stewardship, and respect for the human equity. They want to ensure those efforts are known to their stockholders, investors, and the public.
While many CSR disclosures are currently voluntary in the United States, there are increasing requirements mandated by various statutes. Such mandates, commonplace in the European Union, are increasingly required in the United States. In particular, there is growing market demand for a more liable and transparent corporate supply chain. Current statutory requirements sweep from the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases rule for great emitters of greenhouse gases to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 to ensure that great retailers and manufacturers provide consumers with information regarding their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains.[ii] The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which impacted virtually every portion of the US fiscal services industry furthermore includes provisions for certain reporting on their exercise of due diligence in the source and chain of custody of certain minerals that are associated with armed conflicts in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo, minerals that are associated with the manufacturing of devices such as cell phones, computers, and digital cameras.[iii] Most recently, the European Union’s sweeping Global Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) went into outcome May 25, 2018. Intended to give EU citizens greater control of their own, widely-define personal data, GDPR has far reaching implications for any company doing industry with citizens of the EU. For the hospitality industry, new processes are required to be implemented to protect things enjoy IP addresses and cookie data, similar to the protections currently provided to ensure privacy for addresses and convivial security numbers. In the three months prior to GDPR going into effect, it was estimated that 79% of companies were unprepared.[iv] The mandatory disclosure landscape is changing fast, and hospitality is challenged to preserve up.Not entire Changes Are Mandated
As consumers are holding corporations accountable for effecting convivial change in their industry practices and beliefs, ultimately impacting the bottom line, companies refine their sustainability initiatives as a result of public advocacy, stockholder proposals, or consumer feedback. A 2017 study by Cone Communications illustrated some key elements, including:[v]
To illustrate, on February 6, 2018, in a commitment associated with improved packaging in betterment of the planet, Dunkin’ Donuts announced it would angle out the expend of polystyrene foam cups by 2020 and supplant them with double-walled paper cups, estimated to hold a net impact of eliminating over a billion cups annually from the consume stream.[vi] This was on the heels of McDonald’s announcing in January that it would angle out the expend of foam packaging in entire global markets by the quit of 2018.[vii] Straws and stirrers execute up over 7% of plastic create in the environment, an issue initially addressed (and banished) by George McKerrow, co-founder of the restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill, that has gained widespread attention as consumers are reminded that they expend 500 million straws a day, a practice that widely impacts wildlife and the oceans.[viii] Just this month, Bon Appétit announced they were banning plastic straws from their over 1000 café locations in 33 states.[ix] As cities enjoy Miami and Malibu hold banned solitary expend straws (and in Malibu, banned entire solitary expend plastic utensils and stirrers), they find some municipalities are forcing hospitality businesses to incorporate sustainable practices.Avoid Greenwashing
As hospitality companies seek to out-promote each other, they would be well-advised to avoid greenwashing – today’s version of “snake oil”, more akin to “eco-fraud” – when a company holds itself out as more environmentally friendly than it actually is in practice. Clearly consumer preferences demonstrate an increasing trend for purchasing products and services that are sustainable – for their impact on the environment, in how they are manufactured, and/or how the workers are treated. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of “greener” products increased by 73%.[x] In order to capitalize on this trend, many brands are trying to competitively out-do each other with their eco-credentials – exaggerating their claims, or at times, completely manufacturing them. In legalese, greenwashing may amount to deceptive marketing, misrepresentation, and/or fraud.
In the “sins” of greenwashing, hospitality entities would be sensible to avoid vague, over-reaching, or unverifiable assertions. Hotels increasingly animate their guests to embrace green practices – shut off lights, reuse towels, avoid changing the linen as frequently, etc. Research by faculty at Washington state University create that a perceived ulterior motive of a hotels’ environmental claims evoked consumer skepticism, which negatively influenced consumer’s intention to participate in the linen reuse program, as well as negatively effecting the consumers’ intention to revisit the hotel.[xi] At a time when as many as 79% of travelers accord that eco-friendly practices is an considerable factor in their preference of lodging, companies risk losing valuable repeat customers if their motives are self-serving. As a result, to avoid the negative aspects, hoteliers are cautioned to install comprehensive green programs, train their staff to implement practices, and ensure their green claims are accurate and not overreaching, perhaps through third party certification.For Goodness Sakes, Don’t Greenwash the Food
Greenwashing is of particular concern in today’s environment, particularly in the context of food. For example, in 2016, organic food sales jumped 8.4%, to over $43 billion, while overall food sales only increased 0.6%.[xii] Similarly, organic non-food items jumped 88% to $3.9 billion in sales. As restaurants and hotels are asked questions by their customers about the source of their products, facilities necessity to be watchful of the claims they are making to ensure they are not overreaching or deceptive, as greenwashing has become the “flavor of the month” in consumer class litigation. Claims challenging products advertised as “natural” are the most frequent suits encountered.
While no definition of “natural” is provided by the FDA, food products in the US labeled as “natural” execute up roughly $40 billion in sales, and are growing by an tolerable of 6.6% annually. According to Food Navigator, there were 20 food labeling class actions pending in federal court in 2008 – a number that rose to 425 by 2016. Cases that specifically focus on “natural” claims increased by 22% from 2016 to 2017, notably with suits against general Mills’ Nature Valley bars and Dr. Pepper Snapple’s Mott’s Apple Sauce. Of particular note is that three quarters of federal court food class actions are in four states: California (36%), new York (22%), Florida (12%), and Illinois (7%).[xiii] Many of the suits are rooted in claims that items such as tall fructose corn syrup, tall maltose corn syrup, soy flour, soy lecithin, and GMA yellow corn flour, as well as synthetically derived vitamins, are not “natural”, and thus such claims are fraudulent.[xiv] Overreaching statements can be a source of eroding consumer confidence, destroying customer loyalty, and/or litigation.Conclusion
Sustainability initiatives will continue to be an imperative portion of a hospitality entities’ brand, evaluated by entire stakeholders. In order to ensure consumer confidence, it is imperative that those initiatives be bona fide in their implementation, supported by third party verification, and in alignment with the legal requirements of the jurisdiction. In doing so, their efforts in supporting the three E’s – environment, economic, and equity – their industry will collectively tower in to help the future for ourselves and for future generations.
PDF Version Available HereReferences [i] Retrieved May 30, 2018 from https://www.ga-institute.com/press-releases/article/flash-report-85-of-sp-500-indexR-companies-publish-sustainability-reports-in-2017.html [ii] 40 CFR portion 9; and California Civil Code §1714.43 [iii] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ203/pdf/PLAW-111publ203.pdf [iv] Retrieved April 6, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/03/27/u-s-businesses-cant-hide-from-gdpr/#33b76ef052c8 [v] Retrieved April 6, 2018 from http://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017-csr-study [vi] Retrieved April 16, 2018 from https://news.dunkindonuts.com/news/dunkin-donuts-to-eliminate-foam-cups-worldwide-in-2020 [vii] Retrieved April 16, 2018 from https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2018/01/10/mcdonalds-phasing-out-foam-packaging-this-year.html [viii] Retrieved May 30, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/megykarydes/2018/05/23/the-future-of-take-out-exhibit-how-we-can-eliminate-packaging-waste/#37a1213c7580 [ix] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/05/31/615580695/last-straw-for-plastic-straws-cities-restaurants-move-to-toss-these-sippers [x] Retrieved April 6, 2018 figure http://sinsofgreenwashing.com/index5349.pdf [xi] Rahman, I., Park, J., & Geng-qing Chi, C. (2015). “Consequences of “greenwashing”: Consumers’ reactions to hotels’ green initiatives”, International Journal of concurrent Hospitality Management, Vol. 27 Issue: 6, pp.1054-1081, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2014-0202 [xii] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/9394-u-s-organic-food-sales-jump-more-than-8 [xiii] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/uploads/sites/1/TheFoodCourtPaper_Pages.pdf [xiv] Examples involve Janney et al. v. general Mills, 3:12-cv-03919, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Rojas v. general Mills, Inc. 3:12-cv-05099, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Bohac v. general Mills, Inc., 3:12-cv-05280, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Van Atta v. general Mills, 1:12-cv-02815, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
As Founding Director and Professor of the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw state University, Dr. Hardigree oversees the Bachelor of Science degree program which houses over 260 majors and services over 1500 students enrolled in classes each semester. Addressing both “sustainability on the plate” as well as “sustainability beyond the plate” in terms of water, consume and energy efficiencies, this highly germane management program provides a competitive advantage and discernible point of differentiation as the epicenter for teaching, research and best practices in sustainable culinary and hospitality management. The flexibility of the program’s curriculum allows students to emphasize careers in beverage management, event planning, specialized cuisines, and the hotel industry. Christian conducts research and presents nationally at industry conferences as related to her areas of expertise, including food safety, risk management, sustainability, workplace violence and employment/management issues. She is a national expert on bed bug litigation, speaking across the country on the subject. After obtaining her B.S., cum laude, from the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV, Christian obtained her Juris Doctorate from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, focusing on employment discrimination, arbitration/mediation, and labor management relations. She is of counsel with the law solid of Parnell & Associates. Christian serves on a variety of committees and advisory boards, including the ConServe Sustainability Advisory Council for the National Restaurant Association, the KSU Brian Jordan center for Excellence and Professional development at LakePoint Sporting Community, and formerly on the Women in Lodging Advisory Council for the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
By Martin Zsarnoczky
Digitalization is among the most considerable changes in their rapidly evolving world. Digital innovations and technological novelties are engines of development and present their impact everywhere, especially in the field of manufacturing, ICT and other service industries. Given the fact that tourism is based on the cooperation between a wide sweep of services and products, the benefits of the digital revolution in the sector are quite obvious.
Our alive environment is a combination of online and offline spaces that co-exist together, defining their everyday habitat. In tourism, the special expend of spaces has always been a unique feature of the industry, and as of today, the spaces of the digital world hold become portion of it. The rapid development of the digital world brings novel and innovative solutions into the digital tourism spaces by the day. Peer-to-peer communication is outstandingly considerable in the technological environment of tourism. This ilk of communication, together with the spreading of smart devices hold revolutionized scheduling, administration and finances, and furthermore opened new horizons for the introduction of innovative sales and marketing technologies in the all tourism industry. As a result of the digital revolution, the international development trends in tourism hold opened the route for novel solutions enjoy cloud-based booking sites or information and relish sharing via digital platforms.
In line with the new trends of travelling, there is a dynamically growing demand for special tailor-made offers beyond mass tourism, as conscious consumers hope personalized solutions that reply their individual needs. As of today, the vast majority of tourism market stakeholders hold access to particular information on their consumers and can closely supervene and track consumer deportment and its changes. These novel systems of personalized products and services are available thanks to various elastic follow-up techniques enjoy CRM client databases. The cloud-based CRM client database systems – ones that create offers by analyzing previous sales records and demographic data – hold evolved rapidly. As of today, they can anatomize huge datasets by huge data analysis and scaling methods in a cost effective and anonymous way, searching for significant event points. Although huge data research is based on working with great samples, it is the most efficient manner to reveal individual personal preferences (Stadler, 2015).How did sharing economy pave the route to personalized tourism services?
In previous decades, the results of digital development hold opened the door for the true life implementation of shared economy theories. It was almost ten years ago that Chris Anderson (2009) introduced his pricing theory in digitalization, basically suggesting giving away products for free, based on the principle of shared goods and resources. Although at the time Anderson’s theory was considered as a technological solution, the principle of digital sharing hold induced solemn convivial changes as well. One of the most considerable positive messages of shared economy is the maximum expend of resource capacities for the purpose of convivial well-being (Sundararajan, 2014). convivial well-being is furthermore a key priority in tourism, because a well-managed tourism industry brings profit not only for the industry operators but furthermore for the local communities.
In the sharing economy model, the stakeholders – who are furthermore consumers at the selfsame time – offer their excess capacities for collective expend in order to maximize the exploitation of their goods and resources. These economic processes consist of so-called hybrid transactions with maximum capacity expend (Hyde, 2007), for both commercial and convivial purposes. An considerable drive in the evolution of collaborative consumption theory was the realization of the fact that using or possessing the selfsame consumer goods can result in different advantages. The core component of the model is that sellers offer their excess capacities, while the consumers in necessity expend them in return for payment. In the sharing economy (based on the aforementioned primary idea), more and more industrial, commercial and service providers offer innovative solutions.
The principle of sharing is not a new scheme in the tourism industry. In the case of some accommodation services, seasonal price reduction has always been a practice. Hostels and youth hotels hold always been well-liked – these facilities are often used as dormitories throughout the academic year and lease their rooms for backpackers in the summer season, when the students are away. Of course, these seasonal options would not hold been enough for creating a new market sector; the dawn of the new industry era was marked with the emergence of wide platform solutions enjoy Airbnb, Booking.com, Agoda, etc.
In the strategy of digital platform tourism businesses, consumers are considered as partners in the industry activities. This shared operation can be best defined as a postmodern industry model. Although the involved scheme of postmodernism is quite difficult to describe, its main characteristics – shared participation and the subjective fervor of each contributor – can lead closer to understand the phenomenon. It is lucid that postmodernism will change some processes of the classic market laws in the near future. While “shared experience” has become a key marketing term for selling goods and services, specialized offers inevitably lead to a market fragmentation that will result in the fragmentation of users as well. In a disintegrated market, consumers will behave differently in fragmented times and spaces, paving the route for personalized services and tailor-made solutions. At the selfsame time, individualism has become the key characteristics of the younger generations (McCrindle et al., 2009); a phenomenon that will hold to be taken into account whilst creating industry strategies. Due to the emergence of individualism, more and more young people are trying to create something unique that can serve the long-term capitalize of the community. Their drive for creating businesses based on their own ideas and relish accounts for the increasing popularity of start-up businesses. These aspects of uniqueness, community thinking and experience-centered approach hold a huge opportunity for the future of the tourism industry.The Future: AI, VR/AR, Blockchain
While looking through their photos, tourists usually hold a positive relish remembering their travels, experiences and the destination they had visited. Some specialized digital technologies can offer this assumed positive relish in a searchable and changeable form. With regards to true life objects, their connections and relations, there is only a limited amount of information available in a format that could be handled by computers. The main problem is that computers necessity sufficient coding solutions created by artificial intelligence to be able to store, maneuver and organize information. The methods of coding for tourism relish purposes handle the speed, efficiency and knowledge/experience-based computing abilities of today’s computers.
According to the forecasts of product development strategies in various industries, almost entire of their everyday objects and outfit will be accessible through the internet in the future. As a result, entire devices that are capable of two-way communication will belong in the framework of IoT (Internet of Things). The devices of the future, unlike the devices of today, will communicate in a bidirectional way, where robust safe data handling, personalized differentiation and sufficient conclusion management will be portion of the user experience. As a result of the continuous data collection during the expend of these devices, entire germane information will eventually quit up in a final centralized system at the top of the dataset.
Previously, tourism used to be an industry based on personal relations and connections, where the trends – and therefore travelers’ decisions – were set out by a limited number of great international tourism and travel enterprises. As a result of the digital revolution, the transparency of “hidden markets” had been revealed and numerous other factors hold to be taken into account (Fig.1.).
The early development of ICT resulted not only in the better capacity utilization of airlines, but furthermore on the compatibility of the prices; and soon, the emergence of the discount airlines had led to the innovation of the all industry and forced out efficiency in entire segments. The novel travel recommendation sites (Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, etc.) were created with the point to execute travelers’ decisions easier; however at the selfsame time, a lot of tourism service providers who could not preserve up with the new challenges were forced out of the market. Although the new trends enjoy travel packages (including car rental) or taking into account the reviews of previous travelers (Lonely Planet) were from many aspects antithetical to the former industry models, the rapidly increasing popularity of online offers required quick and user-friendly tourism product development from the industry.
With the arrival of Google, which was able to rank the sites’ appearance in internet searches, a fierce competition begun between blogs, tourism recommendation sites and price-comparing OTA systems. The bidirectional communication started with the expend of cookies 2.0; since then, consumers hold become an integral portion of the industry models, because businesses who seek to be successful in the long run, necessity to know their customers’ demands in detail. The development of digital services require the identification of the user, information on their individual preferences and a decision-based calibration (by AI). In AI-based conclusion making solutions, the former definitive factors are replaced by a virtual personal assistant, which is able to map the consumer’s preferences based on their digital footprint, and create an optimal personalized offer from the available huge data systems (Fig. 2.)
The technological development cannot be stopped; however, with sufficient flexibility and openness, tourism businesses can prepare for the upcoming challenges. In the tourism of the future, the new consumers will bring forth new priorities and new demands. As a revolutionary approach, the members of the IoP (Internet of People) community offer their free time in order to reach joint IT/industrial goals, where frameworks are created in line with the preferences of other people, for a yet not specified consumer segment (Miranda et al., 2015). Beyond innovative technologies, all new spaces hold opened in tourism, completely different from the usual destinations. University researchers hold been carried out to study the possibilities of online tourism spaces and their opportunities for the tourism and hospitality industry. In virtual reality, with a special “glass”, the user can peep into an optional tourism space, from which the true world is completely shut out. The Augmented reality is a different technological solution, where digital elements are projected into a true life space.
The newest technological developments and the innovation in the expend of alive spaces are entire connected to the alternative payment options that can be used in tourism as well. The emergence of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has led to the creation of a novel payment system. The Blockchain payment system is a shared database, which records a continuously growing list of data blocks, preventing any counterfeiting or alteration of the data. One shroud consist of a list of transactions and the results of computations made by the stored programs. For example, if a customer buys some cryptocurrency or any other benevolent of currency, and then transfers it to anywhere in the world to another partner, who exchanges it instantly, both partners can avoid any loss caused by exchange rate fluctuations; furthermore, the all transaction takes only minutes instead of the usual pair of industry days. This solution can low a revolutionary innovative payment option for everyone in the tourism industry.
The applicability of the blockchain system is independent from currency rates. In the case of cryptocurrencies, it is not the exchange rate that really matters – instead, the dependable value of the currency lies in the safety of the blockchain technology and in the authentic, transparent, unalterable and decentralized recording system (Pilkington, 2016). This payment system offers a new smooth of encryption safety and intervention-free operation, and the data handled in the system cannot be modified in any way. Another huge capitalize of the system is that the transactions are realized without any intermediate agents, thus eliminating any additional transaction costs. By the time of the “maturity” of blockchain payment solutions, today’s great service intermediators enjoy Airbnb, Booking.com, Agora, etc. are foreseen to lose some of their market positions, as consumers and service providers will probably deal with their transactions directly.Will artificial Food be the next meal on the table?
With the worldwide population boom, the demand for food is furthermore increasing. To fullfil this growing necessity for food, the extension of agricultural areas is required for food material production, and at the selfsame time, sufficient land management is needed for animal husbandry. The greatest challenge of sustainable agriculture lies in the fact that the agricultural areas can only be further expanded at the expense of forested lands. In addition, the current changes in the environment has furthermore led to the dwindle of fishing possibilities, another vicissitude in the availability of food materials.
The decreasing resources of food materials will constrain the food production industry to re-think their former concepts. new technologies enjoy 3D food printers can even bring the snappy food era to an end. The novel inventions of food production and food engineering – enjoy artificially flavored drinks, chocolates and dairy products – hold been on the market of more than a decade now, and so far, they hold not had a negative outcome on the common relish of consumers.
In the concept of 3D food printing, popular sweets and delicacies are synthesized by a layered printing technology, using the various pre-mixed powders, flavorings, fixers and oils that are stored in the “toners” of the printer. These artificial foods are already available: specialized franchise restaurants enjoy the Food Ink chain offer a wide variety of printed meals for consumers who are nosy about the future of gastronomy. It is furthermore likely that with the next generation of the food printers, they will be able to calibrate the nutritional values and energy content of the meals.
The 3D food printing technology is not only considerable for HoReCa businesses, but holds a distinguished opportunity for the health industry, too, especially in the field of special diets and medication. Using 3D food printing for these purposes can increase cost-effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability, thus supporting the food industry and hospitality and tourism businesses alike.
The option of personalized 3D food printing is just one of the innovative technological solutions in the tourism and hospitality industry. The Henn-na Hotel  in Huis Ten Bosch, Japan is the first hotel in the world, where customers are served exclusively by robots. At another Asian location in China, there are 24/7 cafés that supervene the no-staff industry model of Amazon Go. As for the restaurant market, the Chinese food brand Wufangzhai has recently opened the first unmanned restaurant in Hangzhou, capital city of east China’s Zhejiang Province.
The question is: how long will it seize until food production and consumption will necessity no human resources at all?Summary
For innovative enterprises, the efficiency of interactivity is of key import for the success of their business. The rapid development of ICT solutions has brought immense changes in the tourism industry. Previously, consumers’ conclusion making was mainly affected by the industrial environment. The era of digital tourism spaces – preceded by theme parks and thematic destinations – started with the emergence of information websites; however, this targeted information flood used to be one-directional with narrow choices. In today’s digital era, the new generation of commercial activities seize Place in VR or AR spaces, and the instant analysis of the customer’s reactions and deportment support the enhancement of their buying willingness. The traditional conclusion making processes are gradually being replaced with personalized offers, further increasing the import of AI.
With the development of shared economy, greater emphasis is outcome on convivial well-being, as user relish slowly becomes more considerable than ownership. This new approach is furthermore expressed in novel forms of payment, which can seriously dwindle the profits of intermediate activities. The new trends enact not appear to be problematic in the tourism industry, mostly because in this sector, the exact costs and incomes are not clearly visible yet. On the other hand, the character development of the 3D printing technology holds a distinguished opportunity for the tourism and hospitality sector. The development of digitalization has finally reached a smooth where it can truly support the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of industrial food production, paving the route to the future of tourism and hospitality businesses.
PDF Version Available HereReferences Anderson, C. (2009). Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Hyperion, new York. Hyde, L. (2007). The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. new York: Random House Inc. McCrindle, M. – Wolfinger, E. (2009). The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations, University of new South Wales Press, Sidney. pp. 1-22. Miranda, J. – Mäkitalo, N. – Garcia-Alonso, J. – Beroccal, J. – Mikkonen, T. – Canal, C. – Murillo, M. J. (2015) From the Internet of Things to the Internet of People. IEEE Internet Computing, 19 (2): 40-47. Stadler, G. (2015). huge data – tömeges adatelemzés gyorsan. HTE Medianet 2015, Kecskemét. LLX. pp. 44-48 Pilkington, M. (2016). Blockchain technology: priciples and applications. Research Handbook on Digital Transformation. Edward Elgar Publishing, Northampton, MA. pp. 225-253. Sundararajan, A. (2014). Peer-to-Peer Businesses and the Sharing (Collaborative) Economy: Overview, Economic Effects and Regulatory Issues. NYU center for Urban Science and Progress, new York. Zsarnoczky, M. (2017a). How does artificial Intelligence handle the Tourism Industry? Vadyba Journal of Management 31 (2): 85-90. Zsarnoczky, M. (2017b). The future of sustainable bucolic tourism development: the impacts of climate change. Annals of the Polish Association of Agricultural and Agribusiness Economists. XIX. (3): 337-344. Martin Zsarnoczky, Ph.D. has several years of relish in the huge tourism and hospitality industry. He has worked with P&O Princess Cruises, Intercontinental and Marriott Hotels in Budapest. Between 2005 and 2015, he was the founder, developer and CEO of Casa de la Musica Hostel and Event’s Hall, one of the largest multifunctional private tourism & hospitality businesses in Budapest downtown. He holds a BSc degree in Tourism and Hospitality from the Budapest industry School, and graduated at MSc/Med smooth as Teacher of Economics in Tourism and Hospitality. During his studies, he had spent short a term mobility term at Utwente University in the Netherlands, and later earned his Ph.D. in Regional Sciences at Szent Istvan University. At the moment, he is quiet very energetic as an entrepreneur and is actively involved in community development. He is furthermore a board member of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and works as a mentor for the young Entrepreneurs Association Hungary. With regards to his academic career, he is a complete time aide professor at the Institute of Marketing and Media at the Tourism Department of Corvinus University of Budapest.
By Leora Lanz and Namrata Sridhar
In the Winter 2018 edition of the Boston Hospitality Review, they brought forth suggestions for the 10 Best Practices for Organic Visibility —ways to help search results through organic search, or enact not cost the company a monetary investment. Rather, these rankings were based on elements such as keywords, location, and mobile friendliness. Suggestions for improving a company’s organic search involve utilization of backlinks, hyperlinks between websites, and content enhancement in relation to local listings such as ensuring quick website load speed, tall character imagery, and conspicuous links to convivial media channels.
This second installation of a two-part train will talk to the subject of search engine functionalities as a result of paid queries. For independent or smaller companies, this brief but powerful set of tips obtained from industry experts can enable a industry to become more “searchable” for optimal return on investment.Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Best Practices: 1. Understand the Paid Media Landscape:
According to the Associate Director for Organic Search and Content Strategy at Boston-based Connelly Partners, Dan Hurley, the most considerable portion of SEM is to comprehend the paid media landscape. It is faultfinding to know who one’s competitors truly are and understand how they are marketing, from a tactical standpoint.1 It is furthermore considerable to research the types of ad campaign structures that are surfacing in the category of interest, on both desktop and mobile devices. Then one must adopt those that appear effective and suitable industry goals appropriately. For restaurants and hotel-related queries, “this strategy is especially pertinent because these searches generally convert very quickly; mobile searchers will likely patronize a restaurant within a few hours.”
In order to be the most efficient with a company’s paid advertisements, Todd Philie, president of Southcoast Marketing Group in Wareham, MA, furthermore encourages companies to learn how consumers are searching for them on the Internet. For example, “utilize the query search utensil via the Google AdWords™ platform to learn what terms and phrases are used to reach your own site and then parade your ads.”
Additionally, Kym Parker, associate search marketing director at Connelly Partners, emphasizes the import of using the company’s brand to ensure a tenacious search presence. By utilizing paid search bids, a hotel or restaurant can be the first result a web surfer sees when conducting a search.2
“Sometimes, competitors will bid on your brand terms – which means that if someone searches for your company name, for example, the competitor could present up ahead of you in the search results,” Parker notes. “You can forestall this by ‘protecting’ your brand terms. Always be bidding on them, at least a shrimp bit, to ensure that you hold a better random of staying on top of the results when someone searches your appellation and other brand terms.”2: expend of Google AdWords™:
The major player in the world wide web is Google, which has created various platforms to optimize searching. Using keywords, Google users can pay to promote their advertisements for a set budget. This Google functionality allows a company (hotel or restaurant) to understand how it ranks in comparison to direct competitors.
Also preserve ‘negative keywords’ in mind, adds Philie. “Negative terms generally means terms that you are not specifically telling AdWords™ that you enact not want to appear in specific results for other searches. For example, suppose you are marketing a seafood restaurant that does not offer steak on its menu. You want to bid on the phrase ‘best restaurant in Boston’ but you enact not want to consume money on clicks from customers who want steak. You might set ‘steak’ and ‘steakhouse’ as negative terms so that if someone searched ‘best steak restaurants in Boston” you enact not present up in that search.
The Google AdWords™ functionality furthermore offers companies the random to enhance the listing. An incredibly important, yet often overlooked, input is the “click to call” functionality and its presence on a mobile site, furthermore known as the convoke extension. “These additional factual details, known as “ad extensions” furthermore involve location, information from different pages on your website, and even testimonial reviews,” adds Seth Cargiuolo, director of communication strategy at Chestnut Hill, MA-based D50 Media. “Making expend of ad extensions is essential because it helps the customer learn more about the industry with a quick glance pre-click, and can aid differentiate a hotel or restaurant (or any product) against its competitors.” Ad extensions furthermore increase the visual footprint of an ad, which can propel competitors’ ads and organic listings down the page and out of view, particularly on mobile devices.
For marketers just starting to utilize SEM and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google AdWords™ furthermore offers free tutorials and trainings. Zachary Azar, D50 Media’s senior manager of paid search notes, “These tutorials provide clients with the opportunity to rep the most out of the program and create effective campaigns.”
To properly manage an effective AdWords campaign, Google Analytics can be a helpful utensil as it reveals which content on a website is most useful and arresting to customers. This will aid in the creation of resonating ad copy and can furthermore be a sheperd for aligning keyword selection and website copy to increase the “Quality Score” of an ad campaign.
However, Philie furthermore cautions individuals not to be completely reliant on Google’s suggestions for keywords. “Often times, these keywords are pluralized and can antecedent companies to expend more or not be as effective.” He warns companies to pick how to outcome their key words “out there” when bidding. Companies must pick best matched keywords for their ads and pick between “exact match,” “phrase match,” “broad search” and “modified broad search” – entire of which will defer varied returns. Campaigns should utilize a balance of entire match types, but should “skew more heavily towards exact and phrase, utilizing broad match only for keyword prospecting and expansion opportunities.”3. Always Start with Non-Paid Efforts or SEO
When optimizing a company’s searches, Cargiuolo and Azar intimate the first thing that the company should focus on is actually the SEO. First and foremost, it is considerable to ensure that a website is user- and mobile-friendly. Another considerable factor is a quick load speed. “Google has create that sites that seize longer than three seconds to load lose 40% of their traffic, and for mobile traffic, that jumps to 53%,” reports Azar. This is considerable for paid search as well; Cargiuolo adds, “It’d be immoral enough for a user to abandon your page when it’s an organic search – but now imagine if you’d paid for that click and those dollars were totally wasted.”
In order to reduce the load speed, it is considerable to not hold “big” images—think kilobytes, not megabytes. Web copy should be concise and “bandwidth-hogging” scripts and plugins minimized. “Additionally, given that over half of web traffic is on mobile devices, ensure that pdfs (which you want to avoid anyway) peep acceptable on a smart phone too,” Cargiuolo says.
Kristin Metzler, Print and Web Marketing Coordinator of Frasca Design Group, furthermore echoes that mastery of SEO is the first step in a successful digital marketing campaign. Websites built with a tenacious attention to keywords and content will minimize spending on pay-per-click campaigns.4. Don’t expend on Paid Search if You Can’t Afford It
Hurley cautions that one necessity not expend money on advertising to rep traffic. Because so much information is provided in the search results, there may not be any clicks on your page during the search process. Companies should never outcome any money into paid search, parade advertising or paid convivial that the company cannot afford to lose.3
Cargiuolo emphasizes that when a company starts advertising, it should not hope an immediate return,4 which is oftentimes an assumption that businesses make. Initially, many may not be familiar with the bidding process; keywords; or how to build, optimize, and manage an effective campaign. be cautious not to expend money needed for other resources. Start slow and expend time learning before committing huge budgets.
One final word of caution: There are easily incurred expenses that can reach from paid search marketing, such as additional costs from agencies that seize a portion of a monthly budget. Being conscious of your daily budget is faultfinding in avoiding overspending.
When taking the steps to build a search campaign, it is faultfinding to enact research and sprint slowly at the beginning. Understand how the market is reflected in consumer searches and what keywords are being utilized. Before jumping into methods that require payment, a company should ensure that its website is optimized for searches and never expend more than what can be budgeted, as it will seize time to view a return on investment.
As Cargiuolo reminds, businesses must remember that Google serves the user first. Thus as the marketer, one must assume as a user would when pile a paid search campaign. People reach to Google with questions. The marketer that best answers the user’s questions, both pre-click and post-click, is going to be one that is most successful.
PDF Version Available Here1 Inc. Staff. “How to Conduct Competitive Research.” Inc. Magazine. May 2010 2 Ratcliff, Christopher. “What is PPC and Why enact You necessity it?” Econsultancy. 13 November 2013. 3 Kumar, A.J. “SEO vs PPC: Knowing Which is Better for Your Website.” Entrepreneur. Editorial. 21 May 2012 4 Steimle, Josh. “How Long Does SEO seize to Start Working?” Editorial. Forbes. 7 February 2015. Namrata Sridhar is a marketing communications coordinator at LHL Communications and a rising senior at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (BU SHA). She has furthermore previously worked in marketing communications capacities at RealFood Consulting where she helped design an internal marketing draw to rebrand their company. Namrata furthermore serves as the President of the Student Government of BU SHA. She is an energetic member of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Leora Halpern Lanz, ISHC, is principal of LHL Communications, a hospitality-focused marketing communications, branding, and media relations advisory. She is furthermore a complete time faculty member at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), teaching advanced strategic marketing and digital marketing for hospitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was named among the Top 25 Minds in Hotel Marketing for 2016 by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and was named 2017 Professor of the Year by the student government of SHA.
By Sarah AndersenAfter completing the senior capstone Hospitality Leadership course at Boston University, I had the random to reflect on the class topics and apply the teachings to my personal life. The course explored several different levels of leadership, from the head of a major corporation role to developing self-leadership. I erudite the import of a mission, vision, and values in an organization, better understood the components of change management, and worked with a group throughout the semester to develop my teamwork skills. I was able to critically anatomize concepts and models presented in leadership literature as well as help my own leadership skills. I then interviewed three prominent leaders in hospitality and create connections between their industry insights and my leadership class discussions. Dan Donahue, President of Saunders Hotel Group, Len Wolman, Chairman and CEO of Waterford Hotel Group, and Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group kindly shared their experiences and explained their personal values and company’s culture, revealing the five keys to successful leadership.
“Leadership is the capacity totranslate vision into reality.”
-Warren G. BennisEstablishing Shared Beliefs, Values, and Goals
When an organization wants to achieve its goals, it needs a vision. Effective leadership starts with the competence to recognize and profile those goals and inspire others to follow. Leaders paint a picture of how that vision will handle the company as a whole, as well as each individual. A leader’s competence to articulate that vision into a mission statement corresponds to the energetic implementation of goals and the company’s bottom line success. A productive vision goes beyond a written organizational mission statement, but instead permeates throughout entire levels of a company and manifests into actions and beliefs. John P. Kotter, author of industry Leadership, writes, “A vision says something that helps clarify the direction in which an organization wants to sprint [and] is relatively light to communicate, appealing to customers, stockholders, and employees.”1 It is therefore up to hospitality leaders to set and clearly communicate a vision, and to inspire those around them to partake and implement it.
A vision does not belong only to a leader. It must be a shared vision that attracts everyone to sustain tall levels of motivation and withstand challenges. According to The Leadership Challenge, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, leaders can envision the future by imagining the possibilities and finding a common purpose.2 In addition, leaders must spark a sense of import and purpose in those around them. Dan Donahue agrees that, “My job, as someone who has the vision, is to rep you inspired and committed to sharing that vision and sharing that creativity to the point where you hold buy-in.”
After seven years of rigorous research, a landmark study of the observations from more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 employees create that “leaders who were lucid about their values delivered as much as five times greater returns for their organizations as did leaders of weak character.”3
So how enact illustrious CEOs and successful leaders in their industry shape the parameters for success through a shared vision for a future? How enact they empower and inspire those around them to execute decisions and labor towards their goals?
Balancing Accountability and Autonomy
When asked what his core values were, Len Wolman responded, “First and foremost, their organization has been built on integrity and transparency. They hold four core values that they live by on a daily basis which are to (1) to wow the customer, (2) to continuously improve, (3) to be a passionate and committed team, and (4) to partake and sustain their bottom line success.”
Dan Donahue, established that, “Our values are simple. Their values are people. They allow them the flexibility and latitude to enact their jobs under the sheperd of taking supervision of the guest, but furthermore taking supervision of themselves as well.” To strengthen others, exemplary leaders increase people’s belief in their competence to execute a difference. They sprint from being in control to giving over control. Developing associates into leaders and enhancing self-determination creates a culture of empowerment and confidence. Geoff Ballotti agrees that, “In terms of motivating others, it is letting them execute decisions. It’s not micromanaging, but rather letting them reach up with the solutions.”
Geoff Ballotti continues, “Our core value statement is three words, ‘Count On Me,’ which is entire about accountability. It is about people being able to be counted on at any time, for any issue, any question, any decision, and any support that their owners, franchisees, and associates need. It is built on the principal of integrity in terms of taking personal responsibility for your actions.” Accountability is considerable because it results in an extremely efficient and productive team. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, accountability in the workplace is linked to higher performance and increases in commitment to labor and employee morale.4
Dan Donahue, states, “A vision has to be fluid. To rep to an achievable goal and vision, whether short term or long term, you necessity to be present, you necessity to understand that if you want it to be successful you necessity to be there, you necessity to be accountable to it, and you necessity to be accountable to the people that want to partake that.” When accountability becomes embedded into culture, company’s are able to set meaningful goals, develop team buy-in, build confidence through support and encouragement, and celebrate successes together. Accountability is about creating a culture where people value responsibility. When associates understand that accountability involves a certain degree of autonomy, mutual respect develops between entire levels of an organization.
Mr. Ballotti adds, “The third leg of their values is entire about respect. Respecting everyone everywhere both on their ownership side and the community side.” When leaders develop mutual respect, associates are more likely to labor harder to accomplish shared goals. Harvard industry Review examined employee needs and determined through a query of more than 19,000 workers that most employees crave renewal, value, focus and purpose.5 emotion a sense of value and respect can instill an employee with self-possession and motivation. Len Wolman adds that, “I’ve been in the industry for many years, I was educated in the industry and then worked my route up through the industry, so I’m fortunate in that I hold the perspective of having worked in various positions. So I hold empathy, understanding, and respect for each position. Everyone needs to be treated with mutual respect and understanding.”
Modeling by Example
An considerable portion of being an effective leader is educating others on what the organization stands for and why it matters. When leaders sincerely express a commitment to their core values, they’re furthermore making a commitment on behalf of the entire organization. Therefore, leaders must execute positive there is collective agreement on the shared values amongst everyone they lead.So how enact leaders become a role model for what the organization stands for?
The reply is pretty simple. They set the example for others to follow. Holding others accountable to values and standards means leaders must live the values themselves. Dan Donahue responds, “I would never interrogate an employee to enact something I wouldn’t enact myself.” Len Wolman agrees adding, “You always want to set an example and never want to hope anyone to enact anything that you wouldn’t enact yourself.” Researcher on behavioral integrity demonstrates that the alignment between a leader’s words and actions has a powerful impact on how much constituents confidence the leader and on their subsequent performance levels.6 distinguished leaders effectively translate intention into reality by acting on the values they instruct and the things they articulate to those around them.Showing Vulnerability and Visibility
Confidence is an considerable skill to possess as a leader. However, having vulnerability as a leader is just as essential to recognize and appreciate. Every leader has vulnerability, but great leaders have the self-awareness to recognize this fact and feel restful expressing their weaknesses. Showing vulnerability is a relatable trait and Geoff Ballotti finds that, “The greatest leaders I know out there are very restful talking about their weaknesses, about what it is that they necessity to labor on, to help upon, and to enact better.” effective leaders invest the thinking, the time, the energy and are prepared for the vulnerability of connecting with others.So how enact these leaders rate trust, inspire, and build bonds with those they lead?
Great leaders inspire their associates and guests by genuinely connecting to them through a consistent presence and visibility. Visibility as a leader not only includes having a physical presence, but furthermore aligning everyone to the purpose behind their shared vision through natural conversations and casual exchanges on a daily basis. When asked how he communicates company goals and the overall vision, Dan Donahue replied, “If you hold a presence, it happens organically. It doesn’t necessity to be contrived.” The purpose of this unfeigned visibility is not about the necessity to “check on employees,” but rather an honest crave to interact with associates in order to gauge motivation and learn if employees necessity support or help. Mr. Wolman agrees that, “It is faultfinding to operate with an open door policy and listen to everyone’s perspective and ideas, particularly the people who are executing the day to day functions, and I assume you’ve got to be constantly evaluating that.”
Mr. Ballotti adds, “I furthermore assume showing empathy is key and the best route distinguished leaders enact that is through the craft of storytelling when they’re up in front of their associate ground or leadership team, being able to bid stories that connect and engage and inspire and motivate in terms of the culture your want to set and want to build.” Storytelling is a powerful route to partake knowledge, propel information at people or tow them into a company’s vision and mission by reinforcing the intent behind bona fide leadership. According to Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, “[Stories] furthermore strengthen the framework and the import of an organization’s culture by establishing norms and values.”7 grand stories compel, persuade, and unify others around the leaders’ vision.Creativity Breads Adaptability
“Hospitality isn’t about a product on the shelf. Hospitality is about creating something that changes day to day, hour to hour, or minute by minute.” – Dan Donahue
IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed more than 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, concluded that creativity is the most considerable leadership character for success in business, outweighing competencies such as integrity and global thinking.8 Geoff Ballotti agrees that, “Creativity is critical, especially in the industry that we’re in. We’re trying to redefine and reposition their brand from a creative standpoint in terms of experience.” What defines one brand from another and what makes one brand more successful than another is the creativity that it delivers as well as the relish it delivers to its guests. Understanding how to generate distinguished ideas is a crucial leadership trait in hospitality’s innovation-driven industry. Successful leaders create an environment where associates can contribute their fantasy and insight, which is faultfinding because most innovations draw upon the contributions of many.
Today’s industry environment is unpredictable, changeable and increasingly complex. Therefore, the competence to create something that is both innovative and applicable is on the top of leader’s minds. Mr. Donahue states, “Nothing in their industry can be or should be cookie cutter. It’s about curating an relish for each person who spends to be with you.” Len Wolman adds, “If you’re not creative and open to change in todays world with the disruptors that exist in their industry, particularly with technology, you will not be successful. You necessity to be creative in terms of staying ahead, staying current and relevant, and rep managing the costs associated with change in a route that your organization can quiet be successful and profitable.”
In an industry of constant change, distinguished hospitality leaders necessity to capitalize on the opportunities that are ripe for the present context and draw for the likely future state. Change requires creating a new system, which demands effective leadership. It is crucial that leaders first acknowledge how hard it can be to drive others outside of their console zones and propel for change. When asked how he responds to change, Len Wolman replied, “A crucial component is feedback. They rep daily feedback that is current and relevant, whether it be Trip Advisor, direct contact with their guests, or direct contact with their associates. They necessity to listen to it, they necessity to respond to it, and they necessity to adjust to the things that people are looking for whether it be the consumer or the labor environment.” Those who create new initiatives, programing, design, and brand essence are the ones who succeed. By supporting creativity and commanding change, leaders can increase workplace satisfaction and build driven teams that craft original, valuable ideas.Figure 1: Interview Questions
It has been made lucid through the interview process of these three prominent industry leaders that establishing shared values, balancing accountability with autonomy, modeling by example, showing vulnerability through visibility, and having a creative mindset that is open to change are entire essential factors to being a successful leader. The common theme amongst entire these traits and elements to successful leadership, however, is each leader’s dependence and confidence for their associates. At one point during the interview, Mr. Ballotti pointed out that, “Great leaders are those who surround themselves with distinguished people…who are brighter, and smarter, and more diverse in thought than they are. And who are able to build a team that knows how to support and confidence each other.” It is lucid that effective leadership boils down to a leaders competence to unlock the complete potential in those around them. Len Wolman adds that it “We seize supervision of their associates so that they seize supervision of their guests, which keeps the guests coming back and is the intuition they are in business.“ Dan Donahue furthermore notes, “You hold to realize each individual employee’s needs. execute a connection with your employees every solitary day.” entire grand leaders were once followers themselves and hold erudite to establish and foster confidence over time. A dependable leader passes extol and shares the blame, lifting up those around them.9 Without followers, distinguished leaders cannot lead.
PDF Version Available HereSarah R. Andersen is a senior at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. Her areas of interest involve integrated marketing communications and true estate development. Beyond her studies in hospitality, she is a member of the BU Women’s Lacrosse team. She plans to continue her studies at Boston University after graduating with her bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the School of Hospitality’s Master of Management in Hospitality program. References
By Juan Lesmes and Leora Lanz
It wasn’t that long ago when digital marketing surfaced as indispensable practice for the hospitality industry. As time moved forward, hotel marketing departments established roles to manage the digital positioning and visibility of the property. Thus, they witnessed hospitality brands which were ‘present’ on convivial media outlets, adopting paid search as a permanent component of their marketing mingle and abiding by well-known website best practices. They mention to this term as angle I of the Hospitality Digital Marketing Revolution.
Phase II quickly blossomed, and hotels realized that the competition to penetrate the digital space was tenacious and arduous. Brands started focusing on and investing in the internet user-experience (UX), negotiating partnerships with online travel agencies (OTAs), understanding the landscape of search engine result pages (SERPs), separating high-value budgets exclusively for search engine marketing (SEM), and delving into the intricacies of search engine optimization (SEO) for their own websites. convivial media served as a competitive advantage and quickly escalated as paramount for marketing, branding, reputation management, and organic visibility. Paid search, via Google AdWords platform, is not to be confused with the organic approaches particular here.
As they delve into 2018, angle III emerges clearly. OTAs dominate and in some instances engross Google searches with first page results. Consequently, hotels are realizing that digital marketing efforts should be shifted from a haphazard online presence to one that is strategic – one that capitalizes on each micro-moment of the guest travel planning journey (most of which, if not all, occurs on the web). As convivial media forces Instagram and Facebook solidify their roles as prominent search engines, paid ‘posts’ within users’ ‘feeds’ continue to convey the power of personalized sponsored content.
With a myriad of stakeholders now involved in the simple act of searching for hotel rooms, is it a battle worth fighting? The reply is absolutely. But before addressing the how, it is crucial to identify and differentiate the digital marketing scope of branded and non-branded hotels. Branded hotels, especially those flagged with hospitality powerhouses, capitalize from a more powerful domain authority coming from the parent chain, making it easier for them to rank higher on the SERPs. seize Marriott.com/hotel vs. hotelname.com for example. Domain authority is the overall power of the domain appellation considering traffic size, popularity, and number of links to the site (backlinks). It is furthermore a top ranking factor for Google.
Branded hotels furthermore mind to hold significant budgets to expend on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and paid search, ensuring top first page visibility for valuable destination and branded queries. In addition, branded hotels hold wider access to digital partnerships, including listings, local directories, event sponsorships, travel influencers, and online features – entire of which provide authoritative backlinks to the hotel’s site, further contributing to its domain authority.
Because independent and small-scale hotels rarely capitalize from domain authority, maintaining and monitoring digital marketing best practices to boost Google rankings should be a requirement, not merely a recommendation. Digital marketing practices command their own dedicated efforts. Yet online marketing should be well-equipped with its own strategy and utilize expertise in the nuances and intricacies of hotels, restaurants, leisure activities, and attractions – overall, hospitality.
The question then becomes, how can hotels strive for visibility in this Wild West of a digital landscape, particularly if they are competing against each other, the OTAs, and a powerful sharing economy?1. Execute a Carefully Crafted Keyword Strategy
Optimizing for search queries, furthermore known as keywords, is perhaps the core of any digital marketing tactic aiming to build visibility – both organic and paid. Identifying those keywords with the highest search volume, such as ‘Miami hotels,’ is the intuitive process. Presence on Google’s first page for tall search-volume keywords requires a robust SEM budget, an ongoing and long-term SEO strategy, or both. This puts independent and small-scale properties, which often enact not hold the necessary budget and fundamental team, at a notable disadvantage.
However, niche keywords present a different scenario. These queries are typically ’long-tail’ import they hold more than four words. Though niche keywords enact not hold the highest search popularities, it is much easier to actually capture their search volume, which then results in higher click-through rates (CTR). Hotels can leverage niche keywords by identifying their unique amenities and value propositions, and turning them into valuable keywords. For example, ‘Miami hotels with a rooftop bar,’ ‘Miami hotels with free breakfast’ and ‘Miami hotels with nightclubs’ are terms to utilize as they leverage a more specific travel intention that easily turns into conversions (booked business). It is crucial to assume as the customer would.
Some independent hotels, because of the virtue of their uniqueness and often niche-market, can hold the upper hand in this situation. A property which positions itself as a apply for health and well-being could therefore pursue niche terms such as ‘wellness resorts’ and ‘fitness getaways.’ The key is to identify the brand’s top performing unique selling propositions (USPs) and translate them into humanized search queries, entire while keeping the guests’ travel planning journeys in mind.
Finding a balanced mingle of both high-search volume terms and niche queries secures strategic keywords. Nevertheless, actually optimizing for them by ensuring they are naturally or comfortably present throughout the website’s titles, content, metadata and bidding efforts furthermore aid secure a carefully crafted keyword strategy.2. Optimize for Local Search
Our termed “Phase II” furthermore outcome the spotlight on search engine industry directories such as Google My industry and Bing Places for Business. In angle III, hotel listings on these directories is no longer a recommendation, it is a necessity. Optimizing for local search entails driving the visibility of a property’s industry listing via a two-part process:
3. Attain and Maintain a Star Rating on Google
One of the key components of local search results is the Star Rating associated with a industry listing. In fact, star reviews on SERPs are an effective route for hotels to increase digital visibility by standing out from the competition. Star ratings aid increase the site’s CTR and provide an influential benchmark for online reputation management (ORM). Once an exclusive attribute for paid results, star ratings now furthermore appear on organic results through Google’s ‘Rich Snippets.’ These snippets are a figure of structured data which Google extracts from multiple websites and presents it as a ‘preview’ in search results, furthermore known as Google’s learning Graph.
Therefore, obtaining and retaining star ratings involves safeguarding reviews on trusted and authoritative review sites. Google then aggregates this rating data and displays an tolerable star rating. Hotels (restaurants, attractions, etc.) should animate satisfied guests to submit reviews to their booking channel (i.e. Expedia) because they are by default ‘trusted’ sites. However, they should furthermore animate reviews for their own Google My industry listing in an attempt to increase the hotel’s chances of being featured on local search results.
It is considerable to clarify that there is a technical component to obtaining a Google star rating. Codes outcome onto the website to aid search engines return more informative results to users. Hotels necessity to ensure that their web developers furthermore involve star rating information within the markup code.4. Enhance Content on Local Listings
A hotel’s content for its local listings should be strategically optimized. Whether it is in Foursquare, CitySearch, or any other listing, valuable keywords should be incorporated throughout the copy – including local search ‘near’ queries such as ‘hotel in Miami near Brickell’. If the brand image is prankish and tongue-in-cheek, the content on local listings should furthermore reflect that. Some listings even allow for a featured message. Rather than a generic ‘Welcome!’ hotels can expend this space to promote current offers or highlight special amenities (complimentary champagne, sunset yoga, free breakfast).
Other content elements such as images should be of the highest quality, showcasing provocative yet realistic visuals of the property’s exterior, interior, and overall ambiance. Links to entire the property’s convivial media channels should be present in the listings, which allows the user to access other hotel assets including brand personality and online reputation.5. Optimize for Voice Search
With increasing utilization of smart personal assistants such as Alexa and Google Home, voice search is a prime topic of conversion within the digital marketing realm. In order to be visible in results derived from these devices, hotels necessity to ensure they are optimizing their site and keyword strategy for voice search too. Since users are more likely to expend longer natural queries via voice, employing niche, long-tail keywords is an effective manner to optimize for this trend.
Long-tail keywords are fruitless without the germane content on a hotel or restaurant’s website. Hotels necessity to hold specific landing pages that parallel the niche keywords. If a hotel seeks ‘Hotels in Miami with rooftop pools’—a keyword likely used by the voice search user—it must appear in the germane landing page.
Incorporating questions and answers within the site, perhaps via the ever-popular Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, is another effective route to accommodate voice search. With this strategy, hotels can provide answers not only about the property itself, but furthermore about their destination and local attractions as a result of quick detection by voice-activated devices.
It is considerable to note that recently, numerous hotel properties and companies hold been contacted by law firms representing travel consumers with disabilities. These law firms report that websites are not abiding by accessibility guidelines in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If a guest is unable to expend a hotel website to find information or execute a reservation, hotels can in fact be fined. Today hotel websites must enable these assistive technologies to allow travel consumers with disabilities to rep the information they necessity and complete any necessary transactions.6. Adopt a ‘Mobile First’ Mantra
Much has been said about Google’s ‘mobile first’ index. This means Google will start to rank its search results based on the mobile version of the content, even in desktop search listings. If one thing is certain, websites necessity to be optimized to be mobile-friendly (responsive). Hotels necessity to ensure they launch a fully-responsive website that serves users of any device the selfsame consistent content. The more ‘mobile-friendly’ a site’s user relish is, including factors such as typography, navigation map, and website design, the higher the site will rank on Google’s search.7. Leverage Google Hotel Ads
Google Hotel price Ads (HPA) showcases a hotel’s real-time (dynamic) rates on Google search across entire devices. Users will view the hotel’s ad when they are actively looking to reserve a elbowroom in the area. However, the hotel only pays when the ad generates a click or a booking.
Google has recently introduced a unique call-to-action (CTA) button for booking hotels in its search results. A keyword can trigger a ‘BOOK A ROOM’ button to appear. Clicking this will activate a sub-menu to browse entire enlisted HPAs for the hotel, which includes booking direct and via OTAs.
This feature, which furthermore appears in Mobile and Maps, demonstrates Google’s determination to grow its price Ads service. The increased exposure provides more incentive for hotels to capitalize on this figure of pay-per-click in order to promote direct bookings.8. increase Backlinks, Actively
A backlink is as simple as a hyperlink to a website from another website. Yet, it carries a lot of weight when it comes to a hotel’s organic digital visibility. Each backlink tells the search engine that a hotel website has a ‘vote’ from another entity, which in return builds credibility and domain authority. Branded hotels hold the upper hand here since the company usually has a corporate parent site that a plethora of other websites will link to (such as Marriott.com or IHG.com).
There are technicalities to backlinks, including the character of the backlink determined by elements such as anchor text and link context. These technical factors play a role in the algorithm the search engine uses to determine the value of a backlink. In theory, the more character backlinks a hotel website has, the more chances to rank higher on search engines.
Actively pursuing germane backlinks should be imperative for hotels to obtain first page ‘real-estate’. Obtaining links from local directories, current hotel vendors, editorial publications, and .EDU and .GOV sites should be the gateway for enhancing the site’s link equity. However, to continuously grow the number of backlinks, hotels necessity to be generating quality, shareable content that interlinks with convivial media initiatives.9. remember Optimal convivial Media = (Quality + Authenticity) x Engagement
Much has been contemplated about what comprises a successful convivial media strategy. Although there is no ultimate recipe for the flawless convivial media post, three factors that boost performance are quality, authenticity, and engagement. Optimal convivial Media = (Quality + Authenticity) x Engagement. Each piece of content maximizes visibility, both organic and paid. When posts are bona fide and of tall quality, users are more likely to relate and validate them. When posts are authentic, of tall quality, and facilitate some ilk of user engagement, the content becomes shareable.
When content generates more likes, followers, and overall visibility it establishes an influential ranking factor. Therefore, search engines mind to rank higher those brands that hold a robust organic convivial media ground (not paid or ‘spammy’ followers). This is why it is considerable for hotels to intertwine their convivial media strategy with their SEO efforts by creating quality, authentic, and engaging content that increases overall digital exposure.10. reckon the Technicalities of SEO
Technical SEO is a science of its own and deserves its own team of specialists, budget, and time. Technical SEO means optimizing a website so search engines can successfully crawl and index its content. It lays a powerful foundation to give a hotel’s website the best random it can to rank higher for germane keywords. Technical factors involve site speed, removing unnecessary tags, cleansing duplicate metadata, adding tags to images, and implementing proper redirects to maximize the site’s link equity. Whether there is a one-man team or a staff of professionals continually optimizing the website, there are tools to aid provide the technical support.
Hotels, restaurants, museums, attractions, and leisure activities entire necessity to assertively compete online to grab the attention of potential guests. Those who mind to the organic visibility hold a notable competitive. This and integrated paid search campaigns that mutually support organic search strategies will aid secure first page visibility. Overall, while the necessity to upkeep search engines’ potent algorithms and ranking methodologies will always remain, an understanding of the process will aid smaller or independent hospitality businesses carve through the clutter in today’s complicated digital landscape.
PDF Version Available HereJuan Lesmes is a digital marketing strategist specializing in SEO at HEBS Digital the leading hospitality technology, full-service digital marketing and website design firm. A 2017 graduate of Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), Juan’s previous relish includes labor at hospitality marketing advisory LHL Communications, The Ritz London, and Lets rep Weddy in London. Since his time at SHA, Juan has been recognized as a thought leader in hospitality marketing, with energetic contributions to the Boston Hospitality Review, HotelOnline and HospitalityNet. Leora Halpern Lanz, ISHC, is principal of LHL Communications, a hospitality-focused marketing communications, branding, and media relations advisory. She is furthermore complete time faculty at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), teaching advanced strategic marketing and digital marketing for hospitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was named among the Top 25 Minds in Hotel Marketing for 2016 by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and was named 2017 Professor of the Year by the student government of SHA.
By Nick Cohen
The year is 2001, and the world is quiet recovering from the tragedy of September 11th. The travel industry is in a downward spiral as fears of flying and terrorism ripple across the United States and beyond, and hotels hold lost significant occupancy due to a dwindle in demand.
Simultaneously, a fledgling technology is emerging which will eventually seize advantage of the internet explosion, as well as hotel management’s desperation to fill rooms. It will reshape their industry forever, and this platform now commonly referred to as Online Travel Agencies, or OTAs, will allow hotels to easily sell their rooms on the internet through new consumer facing websites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.
Fast forward to 2017. The OTA’s hold gained the majority of market partake for online reservations, and digital platforms enjoy Booking.com and Ctrip.com hold loyal member volumes that far surpass brand websites. In many cases, the OTA companies are valued well beyond traditional hotel brands (as of May 2017, Priceline Group has a market capitalization of nearly USD 92 Billion). They hold furthermore helped to create a new concept as they grew in popularity and scale over the eventual number of years, and it was the precedent of transparency. Pricing that was once hidden to the everyday user, could now be exposed to the all world, publicly, with a few clicks online. As OTA channels grew enormously with time, so did the access to true time rates and availability for virtually every hotel around the world.
With this concept in mind, from the OTA’s they hold seen the rapid expansion of ‘meta search’ channels. These are one-stop price comparison platforms where a customer can view a price for a solitary hotel elbowroom across multiple websites (without having to browse those websites one-by-one). Sites within this category involve Kayak, Trivago, TripAdvisor, Qunar and Google, and they are entire working to simplify the travel research process for consumers.
With the OTA channels continuing to grow through massive marketing efforts and superior technology, and with meta search sites following their lead, a relatively new challenge has emerged for hoteliers. It represents a very involved dynamic between one of the most traditional ways to sell a hotel room, and one of the most modern ways to sell a hotel room. This once again entire comes back to the concept of price transparency. Wholesale has been a core industry driver in hotels for many years, helping properties build ground industry through private negotiated rates and partnerships. Historically, these wholesalers would sell their inventory offline to their own private networks of contacts. Even though the pricing would typically be lower than publicly available RACK rates, it was a dependable foundation of occupancy for hotels to build off of.
As technology has become more sophisticated with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) readily available, they hold seen the rapid growth of wholesale rates being sold publicly, online, through some of the powerful meta search channels mentioned above. This means that wholesalers are selling discounted rates, which directly undercut brand websites and OTAs, to anyone who has access to the internet. Beyond just meta search, some OTA websites are now even positioning themselves as ‘online marketplaces,’ where they too will sell wholesale inventory directly instead of the inventory provided by the hotels. To remain competitive and increase market share, online channels want to sell the lowest price possible, even if it means reducing their own margins by selling a cheaper elbowroom to the customer.
You would assume that hoteliers would want to fix this problem immediately. Online wholesale industry undercuts channels which are much more profitable such as their direct brand website. This issue however is multi-layered and is not light to remedy for the following key reasons:Hotels quiet want wholesale business!
Hotels quiet maintain tenacious relationships with a number of wholesale partners, huge and small, and they rely on these partnerships to generate ground business. Turning off these channels would potentially low the loss of significant revenues, at least in the short term. Although wholesale channels can undercut other websites when sold online, they furthermore quiet generate incremental industry when sold offline through the traditional methodFinding the source of all industry online can be very difficult
When wholesale rates appears online, it’s generally very difficult to know which wholesaler specifically is providing that inventory. The wholesale partners themselves don’t generally sell rooms through their own websites, but sell their rates through wholesale aggregation channels such as Amoma.com. It’s channels enjoy Amoma who then sell the rates online through their own interface, and promote their rates through larger meta search intermediaries such as Trivago and TripAdvisor. Generally the only route to find the dependable source is to execute a test booking online, and then track how that reservation comes into the hotel’s central reservation system (each reservation is typically flagged with an inventory source). Many hotels are reluctant to enact this since a booking requires expend of a credit card and sometimes even pre-payment, and then cancellation of that test booking is not always light to do. The test booking process is both cumbersome to manage at scale, and is furthermore financially risky for a hotel if those booking cannot be cancelled.Employee incentives are at stake
Within hotel sales departments, team members are quiet incentivized to drive wholesale volume, regardless of where that volume is being sold (offline or online). Wholesale partners generally don’t provide specifics on how they are selling their inventory, and as long as elbowroom allotments are sold, the liable sales team members are satisfied. This is creating an unavoidable rift between the direction of some sales leaders with the revenue management and digital strategy teams.So what’s next?
Hotel companies are dealing with this situation in a variety of ways. Some are cutting off wholesale altogether since they simply can’t control where their inventory is ending up. Others are maintaining the partnerships, but are working to sprint away from static elbowroom allotments and over to dynamic pricing and availability where the hotels hold more control over the inventory they send to the wholesalers. This is a major problem facing the industry that very much remains unsolved.
If they seize ourselves back to the 2001, price transparency was a challenge for hoteliers. Properties simply didn’t hold direct access to a great enough segment of customers, therefore traditional partnerships enjoy wholesale was an absolute necessity. With the growth of the OTAs though, and the emergence of new technologies such as meta search, that access is no longer an issue. The world is accessible for each hotel with a few quick key strokes on a computer. It is now only a matter of time until hoteliers execute one of the following decisions:
PDF Version Available HereNick Cohen is based in Hong Kong and leads digital strategy for Hyatt Hotels in Asia Pacific. He oversees online marketing efforts for entire Hyatt brands and properties across the region, and manages a variety of e-Commerce and digital platform projects to aid increase online revenues for the company. Prior to joining Hyatt, Nick held senior e-Commerce and digital marketing roles at Langham Hospitality Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Sabre Hospitality Solutions. Earlier in his career, working on-property for various hotels he developed extensive learning in operations, along with Sales & Marketing and Revenue Management expertise. Nick furthermore holds a graduate diploma in Hotel and Tourism industry Management from Boston University. Sources:
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Worldatwork [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
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