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Showing posts from 2017

Want to create a bigger eWOM effect on Facebook? Message type matters

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As one of the most visited websites in the world, Facebook has become the most influential medium for business-to-consumer (B2C) communications. Almost every company is now on Facebook, where they build public pages for a brand or their business to engage their target customers. When a Facebook user likes, shares or posts a comment on a company's update, the B2C message initiated by the company will then have a higher chance of being seen by the Facebook user's friends, thus creating a bigger electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) effect for the company's communication effort. Then, because companies are free to post almost any content they like on Facebook, studies about customers' eWOM behavioral intentions as well as their actual eWOM responses toward different types of B2C messages on Facebook are expected to reveal meaningful insights. This research provide managers business intelligence for the development of effective marketing communication strategies. Accordingly, I r…

Hotels are now entering the short-term residential rental business

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It is clear that room-sharing services have created a big threat to hotels — even though a recent study also reported that Airbnb listings could actually have positive impacts on hotels' RevPAR (revenue per available room) performance. Hotels are firing up for a new war against Airbnb, as well as other platforms that provide short-term residential rental services. Many hotels, for example, have initiated book-direct campaigns and have reinvented their reward programs as a means to encourage travelers to repeatedly make purchases on their hotel websites directly. They are also making a lobbying push and recently have successfully convinced legislators to impose stricter regulationson room-sharing operators in several popular tourist destinations, including San Francisco, Vancouver, Amsterdam and London. Additionally, more hotels are responding to the shifting needs of customers by introducing new products and services to the market. They are getting ready to compete head-to-head wi…

More hotels are adopting the ‘asset-light’ strategy

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Earlier this month, Hyatt Hotels made an announcement about the company's plan of selling its $1.5 billion worth of real estate in the next three years. By doing so, Hyatt would become another major hotel chain in the market that adopts the "asset-light" strategy, allowing the hotel to focus on franchising service with long-term management contracts. Asset-light vs. asset-recycling strategy Traditionally, Hyatt was known for its "asset-recycling" strategy. Under its buy-low-and-sell-high "asset-recycling" strategy in real estate, Hyatt owned and managed many properties in the market. Even though Hyatt has no plan to sell all of its assets at this point, this new asset-light strategy is expected to bring Hyatt large cash flows that can be used in other investments, such as technology, product development and customer loyalty. Additional cash flows will also make it easier for Hyatt to acquire other hotel companies. Is asset-light a common practice among …

What is the future of tradeshows? The case of the Canton Fair

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Canton (Guangzhou) is currently hosting the largest tradeshow in China — the Canton Fair. Officially known as the China Import Export Fair (or the China Export Commodities Fair before 2007), the Canton Fair is a biannual event with one session in the spring and the other in the fall. For decades, the Canton Fair was the only tradeshow in Mainland China that welcomed attendees from other parts of the world since its inauguration in 1957. The City of Canton was also an important gateway city in the mainland for international travelers before the country's policy reform in the late '70s. Traditionally, the Canton Fair has been perceived as the most important and the largest international tradeshow in Mainland China. Even until today when it marked the 122nd tradeshow in its history, the Canton Fair still remains as the biggest tradeshow in China, with the largest assortment of products, largest number of attendees and largest number of deals made at a tradeshow in China. Yet, jus…

CHRS 2017: Opportunities in the era of disruption

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I was in Ithaca, New York, last week for the 2017 Cornell Hospitality Research Summit(#CHRS2017), where a good mix of industry professionals and academic researchers shared their viewpoints on the outlooks of the hospitality business and findings of relevant research. This year, the conference's theme was "opportunities in the era of disruption." So, what are the disruptions? In fact, the hospitality industry is constantly facing challenges from disruptions. In today's economy, the following appears to be more salient: The advance of technologies, such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), facial recognition and data analytics, has transformed customer experience and is making innovative disruptions to operations.Airbnb brought new experiences to travelers, but also a tremendous supply of available rooms to the market almost overnight. Hotels are facing a big threat from room-sharing services and need to improve their practices in revenue management and asse…

The great firewall of Mainland China

I am currently traveling in Mainland China for a few weeks. I will not be able to access the websites that do not meet the "standards" set by the Chinese government, such as blogger.com or Google. I will try my best to update this blog whenever I have a chance. Thank you for your patience.

Can Airbnb help hotels increase revenue?

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It is commonly believed that the growth of Airbnb has made a significant negative impact on the hotel business. There are also empirical studies that have documented Airbnb's negative impacts on hotels. That makes sense. As a substitute of the traditional lodging products — hotel rooms— every transaction on Airbnb means a loss of revenue for hotels or online travel agents (OTAs), such as Expedia and Priceline, which also sell hotel rooms. Thus, it is not surprising to see hotels, Airbnb and OTAs are firing up for a new war. Hotels, for example, are finding every possible way to stop the growth of Airbnb, even though hotels' book-direct strategy might push OTAs to work closely with Airbnb. Meanwhile, Airbnb is aiming big and wants to become a full-service travel company to compete with both OTAs and hotels. So, it is really not a question of whether Airbnb has become a big threat to local hotels or OTAs. The question is: In what way does Airbnb make a negative impact on the tra…

Travel is good for us, but do we need scientists to tell us so?

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Among all the articles I shared on my Facebook page last week, one of them received substantially more attention than the rest from my network. This post reached three times more audience than the "least popular" update of the week. So, what was this popular article about? It was a post published by Jordan Bishop on Forbes' website, entitled "Science Says Travel Makes You Smarter." In his discussion, Bishop summarized a few research studies and concluded "travel may actually make us smarter." When I first read his discussion, I thought, "This seems like an interesting topic. Let me share it and see what people in my network think." I guess I had made the right decision if my goal was to get people's attention. Yet, after I put more thought into the topic, I began to wonder why we need anyone to tell us (or to confirm for us) that travel is good for us. Let's see what Bishop summarized for us from three different studies: Travel makes …