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Will movable hotel rooms become a permanent lodging product?

Hilton rolled out a tiny 160-square-foot hotel room that is on wheels ( Chang, 2022 ). The “pop-up,” movable hotel room was designed for golf enthusiasts at the 2022 RBC Canadian Open between June 9 and 12 and the Women’s Open in August. The hotel room was built onside on a custom trailer that is situated on the green near the third hold.   What does the Hilton’s movable hotel room look like?   Although the hotel room looks small from the outside, it has everything that a typical Hilton room offers. There is a bedroom, bathroom, and windows for panoramic views of the golf course, plus a deck that gives guests direct access to the golf course. It also comes with linens from Waldorf Astoria and the DoubleTree cookies. The room is movable and self-sufficient. Ideally, it can be placed wherever Hilton wants to.     How can travelers book a stay at a Hilton’s movable room?     At this point, the removable room is made exclusive to golf tournaments. Hilton held an online contest for golf and
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A call for industry-academia collaboration to address the labor shortage challenge

When the pandemic hit, the hospitality and tourism (H&T) industry immediately responded to the crisis with furloughs and layoffs. It did not take long for the industry to realize that it must deal with the labor shortage challenge. In fact, the labor shortage challenge is not new to the H&T industry, but the “Great Resignation” during the pandemic has worsened the situation.     In one of my recent publications in the   Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management ,   I presented three propositions about the labor shortage issue facing the H&T industry. The paper aims to initiate a conversation between our industry leaders and administrators/professors in academic programs with some collaboration ideas. The following are some key ideas.     The three questions being discussed   Will the worsening labor shortage challenge facing the H&T industry improve in the short term?   How can industry professionals and academic leaders/professors work together to address the labo

How concerning is the bear market's negative effect on the hospitality and tourism industry?

  By mid-June, the U.S. stocks had fallen 22%, and bonds were down 11% from the beginning of 2022 ( Zweig, 2022 ). Stocks officially entered the bear market territory. On top of that, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75 percentage points in June, with the inflation rate around 9%. Nothing is encouraging people to spend more on “unnecessary” leisure activities.     Consumer sentiment is low   U.S. consumer sentiment plunged to 50.2 from 58.4 in May ( Golle, 2022 ). Such a record-low sentiment also comes with 40-year high inflation at 8.6%. Compared to the 46% of respondents who attributed their negative views to persistent price pressures, only 13% expected their incomes would rise more than inflation, which was also the lowest share in almost a decade.     Regarding leisure activities, travel conversations on Twitter decreased 75% from April to May ( Pitrelli, 2022 ). Meanwhile, half of the discussions about gas prices and travel were negative.   Are people canceling trip

Asset-light hotel companies resume paying dividends as travel rebounds

More hotel chains adopted the asset-light strategies even before the pandemic. For example, Marriott had transitioned from a real estate firm into an asset-light hotel management company decades ago. In 2017, Hyatt began selling off its $1.5 billion real estate in a three-year plan ( Kwok, 2017 ).        Asset-recycling vs. asset-light strategy   Hyatt adopted a more traditional asset-recycling strategy before 2017 when the company owned and managed many Hyatt Hotels in the market. The company’s growth was tied to the real estate market. Hyatt would buy properties when the price was low and sell them when the price was high.     Under the asset-light strategy, Hyatt would hold onto large cash flows instead of assets. Hyatt could invest the additional cash flows from the sales of its assets in technology, customer loyalty, and product development, the essential areas to grow today’s lodging business. Additionally, large cash flows would also allow Hyatt to acquire other hotel companies

Should hotels offer Airbnb's new split-stay booking options too?

Airbnb rolled out a new “split-stay” booking feature in May in response to consumers’ shifting demand for post-pandemic travel. Will Airbnb’s new booking feature become a game-changer in the lodging industry?   How does Airbnb’s new split-stay feature work?     Airbnb will allow travelers planning a trip of one week or longer to divide their stays between two different homes ( Pohle, 2022 ). This new feature is particularly useful when a home has limited availability for one long-term stay or when a traveler wants to try different homes during one stay. Using such a new feature, travelers will generally see about 40% more listings in a search.      Why is there a need for such a new booking option?     Airbnb took the lead in responding to the evolving travel behaviors. For example, flexible work promotes the “bleisure” (business + leisure) trend in the workforce, where travelers blend work with vacation for a longer stay. Then, the work-from-home or work-from-anywhere trend enables pe

Inflation finally hit restaurant traffic

Earlier this year, we brought up an argument that rising food prices could give restaurants an edge because the price gap between dining out and cooking at home had become narrower ( Kwok, 2022 ). It did not take long for the inflation to finally hit the restaurant traffic.     Inflation in April almost hit the highest level in 40 years   The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 8.3% from 2021 ( Cox, 2022 ). Not only was it higher than Dow Jones estimation at 8.1%, but it remained close to the highest level since the summer of 1982. After removing food and energy prices, the core CPI still rose 6.2%, still higher than the anticipated level of 6%. Because of the record-high inflation, workers’ real earnings dropped 2.6% year to year despite that the average hourly earnings had increased 5.5%. The unexpected high inflation in April also cast doubts on the market about whether the inflation “peak” in March had really hit the ceiling.      Restaurant traffic, especially drive-thru, drop

Can the hospitality industry recover? (by Lex Fuller)

Over the past two years, the hospitality industry has had to make major changes to deal with the many difficulties it has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most notable hurdle for the hospitality industry has been the labor shortage. With the dangers of COVID-19, it has been increasingly difficult for hotels to find and keep employees, causing the hospitality industry to make adjustments in order to compensate for the loss of on-sight workers. This leaves us with the following question, will the hospitality industry ever go back to the way it was before the pandemic? While things are opening back up after a long battle with Covid-19, the hospitality industry is still struggling to find and keep employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020), the amount of leisure and hospitality workers pre-pandemic was roughly 16.2 million employees in March 2020. A month later, the number of all employees dropped to 8.7 million, nearly half of what it was before. Currently,