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Showing posts from 2020

Will outdoor dining become a norm? (By Jacob Fry)

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented scenario for many American industries, and the restaurant industry is no different. With restaurants being forced to close their in-person dining across the country, many restaurants saw a downturn in business. Now, six months after the pandemic first hit America, restaurants across multiple states are only allowed to serve customers outside. This has raised the question, will outdoor dining become the norm in places where it can be utilized?COVID-19 Impact on the Restaurant IndustryWhen the COVID-19 pandemic first started back in March 2020, many restaurants were forced to close their in-person dining. OpenTable reported a 42% drop in reservations by mid-March and grocery delivery apps saw a 215% increase by mid-March, showing the drastic shift from eating out to cooking at home. Restaurants then saw a 54% decline in revenue, creating a huge hit to many small, independent restaurants. By mid-May, most states had released guidelines for partial op…

Will Amazon’s new palm recognition become the next popular biometric technology?

Amazon recently introduced a new biometric payment device, Amazon One, in two of its Go stores in Seattle. Shoppers can now enter and pay at cashier-free Amazon Go stores by scanning their palms.The company opened its first Amazon Go store in Seattle to the public in January 2018. Currently, Amazon operates 21 Go stores in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, with five temporarily closed.Unlike a typical grocery store, Amazon Go offers grab-and-go, ready-to-eat snacks, breakfast, and lunch options for shoppers. Shopping at Amazon Go can be as easy as walking in and out of the store. After consumers download the Amazon Go app and link the account with a form of payment, they can:Walk into the store by scanning the Amazon Go app.Grab the items wanted.Walk out of the store.Be charged through the Amazon Go app. How Amazon One worksAmazon One works similarly to the Amazon Go app. To sign up, shoppers will need a credit card, a mobile number, and of course, their palm. Then, they c…

Will more hotels get into the home-sharing business?

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the travel and tourism industry. With massive layoffs and closures, many hospitality professionals have noted that they had never seen such a detrimental event to the industry in their careers. Nobody knows when the recovery will take place.
Yet, there is at least one exception. The home-sharing sector has already rebounded.Airbnb booking is up and ready for an IPOWhen the pandemic hit, Airbnb reported a 90% drop in booking, or a $400 million adjusted loss in the second quarter. Then, Airbnb laid off 7,500 employees, or 25% of its workforce, and cut its marketing budget by 14% from the last year.Now, when hotels are still struggling and running at a below 50% occupancy, Airbnb booking has already bounced back. For example,During the weekend of June 5-7, Airbnb’s gross booking value recorded positive year-to-year growth for the first time since February.Over 100,000 new guests in the U.S. used the platform for short-term…

Will COVID-19 be a catalyst for more hotel mergers and acquisitions?

COVID-19 has put many restaurants and hotels out of business. A recent example is the permanent closure of the iconic Hilton Times Square Hotel.Several restaurant chains recently rolled out new store designs to embrace the contactless self-service and delivery trends demanded by customers. Additionally, when more schools and businesses are reopening, the restaurant industry has already shown signs of recovery. There was a 2% increase in spending year-over-year in the week ending August 30. The outlook for hotels, however, is not as optimistic.The hotel industry is still struggling.According to the latest U.S. hotel performance results for the week ending August 29,·The occupancy was 48.2%, a slight decline from the 50% level two weeks ago.·The weekend occupancy of August 28 and August 29 was 54.7%.·Luxury and upper-upscale hotels continued having a low occupancy of 36.9% and 33.6%, respectively, whereas economy hotels continued running above the 50% level, at 54.3%.·The room demand de…

Contactless self-services are here to stay after COVID-19

The new COVID-19 cases finally showed signs of declines across the U.S., but definitely, we should still take cautionary measures to avoid another wave of infections. Now, some people have already claimed that this pandemic would forever change the travel industry.Because the coronavirus is primarily transmitted through direct or indirect close contact with infected people via mouth or nose secretions, social distancing and frequent sanitation are highly recommended. It is not surprising to see consumers demand services with minimum human contact, which in turn promotes contactless self-services.RestaurantsMobile ordering, for example, has been introduced to the market way before COVID-19 hit, but all of a sudden, it became the safest method of payment during the pandemic as it requires little or no human contact. A recent analysis of 100,000 reviews in Apple’s App Store revealed that there was a 36% year-to-year increase in the number of reviewers saying that it was their first time …

Baby boomers deserve big attention from businesses too

Jill Filipovic argued in her new book - OK Boomers, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind - that millennials have been going through tougher economic circumstances than any other generations since the Great Depression. I am neither a millennial nor a Boomer, but the media coverage about Jill’s arguments got my attention.The fact is no matter if we are in the position of supporting or challenging Jill’s propositions, we cannot deny that we need Boomers to boost post-pandemic consumption. Besides millennials and Gen Zers, Baby Boomers also deserve big attention from businesses.
Boomers have time and moneyBoomers, now aged between 56 and 74 (or 77, depending on which cutoff point we are using), composed of 71.6 million of the U.S. population, according to the July 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Pew Research Center. Boomers are now behind the millennials, whose population had reached 72.1 million. While the COVID-19 has pushed more people to delay retirement, about h…

The 7 Ps marketing mix of home-sharing services: Insights from over one million Airbnb reviews

The 7 Ps marketing mix framework is a widely used managerial tool that helps businesses identify the principal components of a service product. The 7 P elements include Product, Promotion, Price, Place, Participant, Physical Evidence, and Process.The 7 Ps framework can assist marketers in making decisions regarding segmentation, positioning, and differentiation. Even for the same type of products with different brands, marketers can still drive higher sales through the improvement of a product’s marketing mix.  The empirical study about 7 Ps of home-sharing servicesBuilding upon the 7 Ps marketing mix framework, I led a research team in a big-data, supervised machine learning analysis of over 1.14 million English reviews of 37,092 Airbnb listings in San Francisco (SFO) and New York City (NYC). We aimed to discover new meaningful business intelligence through the analysis of an immense quantity of online review information that is created by consumers in the cyber marketplace.We publis…