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Hospitality March Review - Taylor Swift Tourism, Corporate business, Hotel high-fashion

Updated: Mar 14



Welcome to the March edition of Hospitality Monthly Review Show with our panel:

 

  • Thibault Catala, CEO, Catala Consulting, 

  • Jonny Siberry, Group Revenue Manager, Sarova

  • Daniel Simmons, CCO, HotelREZ

  • Plus an interview with Jeremy Daudin, Head of Sales and Marketing at Zetter Hotels looking at their corporate business. 


We look at pressing issues in the industry, as well as the landscape in front of us tackling:


  • Latest developments and news of the sector

  • Discuss business and corporate guests

  • Travel trends with the Swiftie Tour Tourism effect

  • then i’ll put my panellists through their paces as we dive into the Quick Quiz.


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Follow us on LinkedIn for more thought-provoking content: https://www.linkedin.com/company/travel-market-life/Do you have a story to share about technology, digitalisation or culture changes within the hospitality and travel industry? We'd love to hear what your company is doing and the impact it is having. Please contact us through http://travelmarket.life/


Programme Notes


This episode has been automatically transcribed by AI, please excuse any typos or grammatical errors


Ryan Haynes:

And hello, welcome to the Hospitality Monthly Review Show March 2024 with our panel Thibault Katala, CEO of Katala Consulting, Johnny Siberry Group Revenue Manager at Sarova, and Daniel Simmons CCO at HotelREZ. In our review shows, we look at pressing issues in the industry as well as the landscape in front of us getting insider knowledge from our expert panel and guest interviewees In. this episode we'll catch up with our panellists before we tackle the latest developments and news of the sector. Discuss business and corporate guests, industry challenges and travel trends. Then I'll put my panellists through their paces as we dive into the Quick.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Quiz DISCLAIMER, all opinions are their own. I'm your host, Ryan Haynes. Let's get on with the show.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Hello and welcome back, Thibault Katala. Thanks ever so much. Good to see you. How have things been?

 

Thibault Catala:

Excellent. Yeah, very nice seeing you, Ryan.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Now, the big event of the moment, where is your focus?

 

Thibault Catala:

ITB I mean? That's the big event of the moment. So, we are looking forward to catching up with a lot of partners, colleagues, Hotels, and clients. And also, one of the main reasons I'm going to ITB is to launch a new website. So, I'm going to tell you more in an in probably by next month. But stay tuned. There's something big Bitcoin.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent. Wonderful. I know this is going out during ITB, but the big parties are back. It was a bit muted last year, wasn't it? But I've already got a 9:00 PM plus 9:00 PM 9:00 PM plus event on both Tuesday and Wednesday. But to no doubt that you have so many invites for so many different events to bolt, how are you managing your calendar to be at the right places at the right time?

 

Thibault Catala:

But you know, the ITB event is more the after-parties than the event itself. If you could just at an ITB and with the after parties, that's where the biggest networking, the biggest deals are done actually. So yeah, looking forward to all the great parties. Not trying to be everywhere at the same time. But yeah, we just need to prioritize and find the best one.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Absolutely. I can't wait. It's all going to be going down there. Now welcome back again to Johnny Siberry. Thank you. So, you've been not only on a little bit of a holiday, one of you been doing on your holidays.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Went away with my better half and the dog. And we went camping down in Canterbury for a week. The weather was appalling. We had a storm on Sunday. We thought the mobile cha was going to blow over. We had to go out and rescue the awning in the night. But it's all part of the fun and camping, so we had a good time. Lots of rest, relaxation, and walks in the woods with the dog and stuff like that. Yeah, it was great. Very good.

 

Ryan Haynes:

That's amazing. That's amazing. I am, you know, can't believe that you can do that in February. That is remarkable. But it's been mild, hasn't it? So, but wet.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Very wet. I discovered at the wrong moment that my four-wheel drive is not a four-wheel drive and that four-wheel doesn't work anymore. It's only a two-wheel drive. I discovered that as I got stuck in the mud and it was there for nearly 24 hours before I managed to get towed out. So yeah, a bit disappointed.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Oh, fantastic. Well,

 

Ryan Haynes:

What was the campaign trip without a bit of fun? Now you've also been delving into a lot of fun recently with your P&I quarterly reviews.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Oh, so much fun.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Visiting your four properties, and getting to see what's going on, and it seems to be an issue with forecasting.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Yeah, it's so difficult at the moment. Ryan, we're getting a lot of interest and new bookings and inquiries and events coming in that are confirmed, not confirmed, but are holding space and it makes the future look rosy. The on-the-books figures are great, we're ahead here and near and then all of a sudden, they, you know, a week later all drop out for no particular reason. Some of them are its location, some of its budget, and some of it's the whole event being cancelled. But you know, these are big, you know, tens and tens of thousands of pounds, pieces of value, business bookings.

 

Johnny Siberry:

So yeah, it's really hard to predict some things that you think are really secure and you do the show rounds and all of the interaction with the booker is great. It's all positive. You get a good feeling about it. The next thing, the email comes through, please release the space. You just, you just can't rely on anything. It's crazy.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Well, you've just set the tone for the show because we aren't going to be looking at business corporate mice and events business coming up in just a little bit with all our panellists and we also have a guest interviewer from the Hotels get their insight on what's happening. But up next we have our third panellist who can join us for the first time today. Daniel Simmons, a CCO at HotelREZ Hotels and Resorts Welcome.

 

Daniel Simmons:

Hi Ryan, thank you so much for having me on. Today's a pleasure to be here.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Right. So, Daniel Simmons, Chief Commercial Offer Officer. You've been with the company since 2005 and have really been leading the group sales, marketing, revenue and demand business plans as well as the forefront of the group's expansion, five subsidiary brands, world Rainbow Hotels and Best Luck and the evolving technological solutions. And you recently announced 52% revenue growth with HotelREZ. So, congratulations. It seems that everything's on the up there.

 

Daniel Simmons:

I mean it's been fantastic last year. It was really good productivity-wise and we're so lucky We have such amazing clients. We've got fantastic hotels; I've got Johnny I mean he's one of our clients with Sara. So, it's a pleasure to have him on the podcast. But yeah, it's been incredible and we're really good. I've been so busy going out to see our clients, looking at the way they use our systems in the GDS trying to increase their corporate business and of course when that slows down, we then look at the leisure side and try and increase that side of the business. But yeah, the 20 years of HotelREZ have gone fast, but we're having a big celebration later on this year, which will be great in October.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent, okay. We've got a lookout for that. So can't wait to explore a bit more. So, 20 years in business, well done to HotelREZ. Now you've been out and about as well. You've been to the Conex and the Exec PA show. Tell us a bit about those.

 

Daniel Simmons:

Yeah, so I've been going to Conex for quite a few years and of course, it's one of the old ones that used to be fantastic. It used to be the one where all the champagne was like all the was over in the afternoon. It's still a great show. Lots of my clients go there and have stands, which is great mainly for the meeting side. It wasn't so busy this year I think because they started to charge. So, there's a criterion to join. So, I think that's had an effect on the visitor number. But the executive PA show, that's one to watch I mean if you are looking at just the transit and the meeting side and you are a property, it's great and really high-end audience. They're looking for like different unique venues to definitely want to watch for next year.

 

Daniel Simmons:

It was really buzzy.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent, wonderful. And I've just come back from the Travolution summit and I'm going to be bringing that into discussion in the next section where we look at the news.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. So, this is the news section where we look at some of the interesting articles and developments that have been happening within the industry. I and the panellists kind of picked a few of the topics and had a quick discussion about them. So, the first one I saw, and it seems to be a rising and ongoing trend at the moment, is this idea that hospitality meets hood couture. It's where reinventing Hospitality uniforms. Now we've obviously seen that for a number of years, particularly in the airline space. But Hotels are stepping up their uniform game with creative collaborations that evoke a distinct sense of place. We've got ideas that have been sent out from the idea from likes of Raffles, Doha and the London Storied Hotels, which really sort of plays an idea to what's happening in the newly open.

 

Ryan Haynes:

For example, Singapore Metropolitan takes a fashion, and hospitality synergy to the next level. And employees sport Yohji Yamamoto esque uniforms with sharp angles and asymmetrical silhouettes. So there are some big designers getting in there and I actually recently had a conversation with the head of employer branding at the Marriott International of Central Europe because they actually released last year some streetwear for their staff not to be worn whilst they're at work.

 

Ryan Haynes:

But to give them a sense of brand and star and style outside of work is interesting enough. Have you seen that in your hotels? Is this something that you've seen a trend in across any of the properties that you've worked with? What do you think of uniforms today in the industry? Guys?

 

Johnny Siberry:

I think they're important too, you know, identify who's who in one sense some of the boutiques in the five-star Hotels as you, you know, you drive past and the doormen are regaled in gold and red and hats and stuff. But very traditional uniforms. But you've got to prioritize function over for them. I think for certainly some of the operational staff like housekeeping and restaurant staff like that who are moving a lot and are very physical jobs and they've got to be comfortable in what they're wearing and you know, the, the gilded jackets and the slim cut trousers and the boots and all of these sorts of things look great for a photo shoot.

 

Johnny Siberry:

They're just not practical really in, in the real world to work in. So, you know, doormen, even luggage porters are hoofing bags up and down stairs and to rooms all day long. They need to be comfortable with what they're wearing. So, it's a great idea. Uniforms, yes, definitely important but I think there's a limit where you can go with, hey look how great this looks to this is absolutely useless. I can't work on this.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Something functional then. And then Daniel, you visit a lot of properties as well. What are your thoughts and then what are you seeing here?

 

Daniel Simmons:

I mean? I love it. I mean, I remember when Ian Schrager the hotel in St. Martins Lane and everyone was just rushing there to see the designer outfits and it was such a buzz thing in the nineties. I think definitely for luxury brands, I mean it's all to do with what you are experiencing. You don't want to like to walk into a hotel and see someone in a horrible outfit with polyester trousers. you know, you want something smart and designer. And I also think that people want a bit of excitement and culture. So if you're going to Hotels, they're overseas, obviously it has to be done very tastefully with the culture. But I think it's great to, you know, also introduce the culture when you go to hotels across the world.

 

Daniel Simmons:

Now I love the idea but as Johnny said it, it has to be practical. And I remember going to a hotel recently in London, it wasn't one of ours I have to say. And the outfits were just crazy in the restaurant. Absolutely crazy. And actually, the people who worked there were commenting on how inappropriate they were. Oh wow. But no, I love it. Great idea. Everyone should look fantastic for the guests when you check-in.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I mean it's fascinating because I think there's been a bit of a draw away from actually having uniforms in recent years. But my problem is if you walk into somewhere and I can't distinguish who is an employee there who can actually help me, then I struggle with where I get the support for customer service or anything like that because then I just feel like I'm sort of rushing around trying to find someone or, and there's actually no one there. Tip I mean is, is this, is this anything that you particularly note with within the properties that you work with or as everybody just suited and booted?

 

Thibault Catala:

No, and I think the trend is actually a bigger one, much more related to partnership and collaboration and that's a trend we see more and more for commercial and marketing activities. Much more than the practical uniform or like yeah, uniform and for the staff because we see a lot of collaboration already for the last 10 to 20 years where you have Hotels which are putting the brand, I don't know, the tar came with a specific designer for like flip flops or like a swim bed and so on. And that's kind of a collaboration which help Hotels to tap in at the same time with a brand which they associate with like Dior and the Carlton can which match what they have.

 

Thibault Catala:

So, at the same time Dior match the brand of the Carlton and then the Carlton match with Jo for example. Now it's very important that this kind of collaboration match the culture but if done very well done it can elevate both brands at the same time by asserting themselves on the above. And we, I can, I can tell you thousands of case studies of collaboration and that's a trend in hotels but that's a trend everywhere, everywhere else with like a Fortnite and bae all this kind of stuff. And that's a larger trend that we see more and more and done right? It can be super useful and very high leverage for the industry.

 

Ryan Haynes:

And I guess we've seen this within toiletries for many, many years and it just makes sense as well as you say to look at uniforms. Moving on to our next story, short-term rental prices are growing faster than Hotels. So, while the average change in rates for Q4 year over year was plus 16% across all markets, Hotels average at 11% compared to 21% in one bedroom. Short-term rentals. Now this is, you know we've looked at different data and stuff and we looked at pricing and data last month in particular. But you know this competition with short-term rentals. Daniel, you work a lot with service apartments and I guess you know there is a lot of one bed in that as well. How are you seeing that market perform compared to hotels?

 

Daniel Simmons:

Well I mean we're so lucky because we work with so many apart Hotels which work on the long-term rentals and the short term I mean it's kind of our business is the GDS which is mainly the corporates and the travel agencies, the big travel agencies and they just love Apar Hotels, it's the buzz thing and you can get really high rates and I think people like them. I think there's more space as you know, working away from home. So, you've got your area, probably a separate living room if you combine it with pleasure there's more room. If you bring family and friends to stay, you have the privacy also for expenses you can make your meals and breakfast there.

 

Daniel Simmons:

So actually, reduce its expenses. So, we are seeing the apart Hotels so there's so many of them now across the world, all the buzz thing in our market and they really are commanding highways, which is great for us and for them.

 

Ryan Haynes:

And I'm certainly seeing a lot of international groups as well either acquire short-term properties or look at renovating their properties so that they have a number of units that are actually like one-bed apartment style sort of units to be able to rent as well. So, you are seeing that diversification,

 

Daniel Simmons:

It's competing against Airbnb, I think. But I think the problem with having them overseas is there are lots of rules and regulations I think especially people in America are now Amsterdam brought in. You have to minimum stays and I think that's going to be a problem moving.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Forward. Yeah, there is, there is a lot of regulation coming in in overseas destinations, particularly Europe I think where these holiday lets and people renting their house or rooms in the house became a big thing as, as Daniel says, that the Airbnb effects and people jumped on the bandwagon and it, they were basically making a lot of free cash. They weren't running a business per se, they weren't paying their appropriate fees due. And obviously, the authorities clamped out on this rightly or wrongly, whatever the regulation. I don't think, and I could be wrong, but as far as I understand because I'm not involved in this space, regulation in the UK hasn't come in as tightly, but I suppose give it time it will do.

 

Johnny Siberry:

But the rise in availability or the inventory of these products is increasing massively. Had a meeting literally two weeks ago with somebody who's in this space and their listings for London alone of all units, all properties, Hotels, apartments, short-term lets, everything in January 2023 was 7,000 units. January 2024 is 12,000 units. It had almost doubled in one year. Wow. And we know there's been a lot of new Hotels opened and a unit for them is one, so if it's a five-bedroom hotel or a thousand-bedroom hotel, that's one unit, you know, so they have 5,000 new units.

 

Johnny Siberry:

There have been a lot of new Hotels in London, but clearly, the lion's share of that increase is apartments and everywhere you go, they're just booming high rise blocks of flats coming up everywhere. There's a square meter of land put a tower on it and for sure people are buying these and less of them straight away. They're not living in them, they're, they're rentals all the time.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I mean it's big business, quite clearly. Big business Thibault Katala. Is there, is there an area that you particularly work with?

 

Thibault Catala:

That's, and to answer your question about the rate increase on the short-term rental. I think this industry is becoming more and more mature and has much more savings than before. For example, in the last few months, we have received many more and many leads coming from service departments or small operators or small and big operators because now they understand there's a world Zetter regarding risk management, tech and so on, which they were not aware of before. After all, it was still quite new and a new industry on the one kind of services. But now they're becoming much savvier. We have much more tech available to cater for the need.

 

Thibault Catala:

And today we are working with, we have three, or four big clients on size apartments, but every day we receive one or two leads for size apartments cause there's no understanding there's a whole new world when it comes to optimization when it comes to revenue management and now we are applying the same ABC that we did for Hotels to service apartment and people who are actually leveraging those, those new tools are doubling up, tripling up the revenue from before. So, to answer your question, I understand there is growth on the source apartment both from the ability, but the market's starting to get more mature and savvier and now they're taking all the fruits for the, for the new tools and the techniques that they're using.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Very interesting, thank you very much. Now moving on to new openings. I always like to know about a new hotel that's coming to the market. The first one is quite a landmark in London. The BT tower is set to become a hotel following a 275 million deal now that BT no longer needs it as part of its infrastructure. And then secondly Merlin Entertainments is opening a 16.4 million hotel at Warwick Castle. So, this is a tourist attraction, you know, nestling in on hospitality and opening their own piece of accommodation there. Thoughts on that? BT Tower Hotel I mean have, have you ever been up there? It's quite an extraordinary view. Quite don’t know how many rooms they get.

 

Daniel Simmons:

So, I was lucky enough because we have open London and you are allowed to go into sites that are normally closed. And so, I applied in the ball about two years ago and I did go up there and I have to say it's such an iconic building. I mean it was an amazing experience to do and go up there. I'm all for it. I think having these historic landmarks and turning them into hotels where people can enjoy it and see it is fantastic. And also, to do with the economy. It will boost jobs, it will make the area more, you know, more profitable. I think it's a great idea. Anything to boost tourism I think's great and all these empty buildings I think should be turned into properties.

 

Johnny Siberry:

On though we need to control competition levels. Don't go too wide with that idea. Don't tell too many people.

 

Thibault Catala:

So that's something you mentioned. Yeah, that's something you mentioned Danielle and I think it's all about experiences. People are looking for experiences much more than the hotel itself and that's why people after this will say, oh by the way, I slept into, into the BT Tower and that was the view was great and so on, but it was an experience. Same with Warwick Castle and I will see more and more applications of those kinds of experienced driven customers and as well investors because they need some investors behind them. But it's all about experience. Now the BT Tower, I'm not sure if there's quite a lot of space to accommodate quite a lot of rooms. So, I need to see what it looks like in of, of design of the rooms and so on. But why not?

 

Thibault Catala:

And then I'm not sure about the, the like I'm not sure if it would be like a one-off where people like will slip into the Warwick Castle on the BT tower just to experience it. But I'm not sure if they will be back. So that will be up to the brand or the, services within those hotels to do a good job for them to come back and not only look at the experience but as well as the other experience. That's what I'm afraid but I'm all for those kinds of expenses.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I mean it definitely that Merlin Hotels is going to be making this Warwick castle quite an experience. Yeah, it's due to be a medieval-themed hotel. Each room in the hotel gives a nod to the War of the Roses with rose motifs chambers draped in rich coloured fabrics and featuring wooden beams and shields. So, you know, I think for anybody coming inbound it will most definitely be an experience. So, talking about inbound check out our March edition of the Travel Monthly Review Show, which will be out in a couple of weeks because we have some data and insights about the UK inbound tourism business. Right. Moving over to our final story then I was at Volution Summit there was a panel talking about distribution and mainly airlines but ET jet holidays were up there and they were talking about, you know, what could that be on their wishlist?

 

Ryan Haynes:

And interestingly they were saying how it'd be great if hoteliers could have access to flights so they could see availability of flight prices and flight bookings in order to be able to have this reverse concept of making packages. So as and when Hotels have room availability be able to create packages to drive that demand and therefore create dynamism in the market. That doesn't exist today. And there's been numerous different widgets that you would like to incorporate into existing websites but they've been pretty much standalone to hotel bookings. How do you see this as an opportunity for the hospitality industry or, or where do you see potential challenges there of seeing this as a reality?

 

Daniel Simmons:

Think it's great actually. I mean, historically I know that the Hotels we represent, we always look at the airports and what airlines are coming into target. And then what we do is we go to those airlines and we look at either the reward programs and how we tap into those for the leisure market or we look into the tour operator side, like BA Holidays is a fantastic producer for some of our properties, so this is kind of taking it to the next level. because I suppose historically you worked on just whenever you got bookings because they were packaging it and it was either a flexible rate or a fixed rate. So, I suppose this is kind of incorporating AI demand-supply.

 

Daniel Simmons:

I don't know how it's going to work, but I think this is the way it's going to move with everything like this. So yeah, I think it's, yeah, one to watch and it's exciting.

 

Ryan Haynes:

How about you Johnny when you're sort of looking at sort of creating that demand, would this be useful to look at creating packages for people from outside of the UK to get them in?

 

Johnny Siberry:

Absolutely. Yeah. I think it's an interesting concept. We kind of do it already, I've got to be honest. We do work with some airlines with their package programs and their holiday programs already and we see quite a big, very strong inbound market from the US predominantly into London. More recently the European market has picked up as well, but it's stronger in the US we work closely with our account managers and we know our quiet seasons and their quiet seasons and vice versa. And we work together with pricing. We do dynamic pricing with one of them now as well.

 

Johnny Siberry:

So, we can flex the price daily, weekly, and seasonally, however it goes. And we work with them when they're loading as low, we work with them to try and boost sales and they do, they've got much bigger budgets than us, so they do the marketing and the sales campaigns and we tag along with the, the good pricing behind it. And so, it, so it does work. There's no question about it. because I've seen the results and you know, so what EJ are proposing we're kind of doing already. You need to have the integration as the key metric here to make this work. The integration and technology to be able to do it. If it was anything manual like allocation sheets or you know, a spreadsheet with pricing that you email off and someone loads them in the system on their end way too manual, it's never going to work.

 

Johnny Siberry:

It's got to be seamless end-to-end connectivity. But yeah, definitely if we can expand that,

 

Thibault Catala:

I assume that kind of data is already available on the chain site Lighthouse on the marketing side. And they, they, they, they, they are actually partnering up with, with some data from, from a flight and so on to give back some affirmation about the level of bookings and demand for, for specific days and the destination. So, this kind of information is already available, I think it can be useful for hotels to review from time to time to see if the strategy is in line or not. But the more useful collaboration and integration will be actually to integrate that kind of information into the algorithm of some revenue management system such as, I won't name any, but to integrate those kinds of data to focus more accurately on the demand for any specific day destination within the algorithm of the RMS.

 

Thibault Catala:

And for me, that will make our life much easier and much more accurate when it comes to forecasting and when it comes to pricing.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent. Wonderful guys, thank you for that trip around the news. Between February and March, we are going to move on to our topic of this, discussion for today, which is looking at business corporate guests, events and mice. Just after this break where we will first hear from Jeremy Daudin, the head of sales and marketing at Setter Hotels Travel, Market Life. Joining me now is Jeremy Daudin, head of sales and marketing at the Setter Thanks ever so much for joining us today there. Jeremy, I know that you've seen some really interesting developments from the booking site for the corporate markets. What sorts of changes are you seeing in better booking patterns and demand?

 

Jeremy Daudin:

Hi Ryan, thanks for having me. Well first of all the lead time that we see in corporate bookings, I've kind of gone back to pre-COVID levels, whereas during Covid everything was extremely last minute. It was literally for the day or the day before. They've kind of gone back to, you know, more, I would say settled lead time where there's, there's no rush really. People are planning again with their travel kind of adding another week lead time, whereas before would've been like three weeks lead time.

 

Ryan Haynes:

What are the relationships and all the expectations like from the corporate agencies that are actually making these bookings now I mean, has their approach changed in a way that they engage with you to make these bookings?

 

Jeremy Daudin:

Funny you should ask Ryan actually; those agencies don't really make the bookings anymore. Everyone's kind of moved on to self-booking tools. So yes, they help you load the rates, but once they're on their booking tool, the corporate travellers actually make their bookings. So, it's a lot harder to actually reach out to those agencies. They're just the middleman, but they don't really do much for my experience. So yeah, really corporate travellers are making their bookings now. But in terms of planning ahead, yes, I mean, I think those are kind of, you know, more settled levels. We can definitely look at, you know, the pickup and then try to adapt our strategy depending on, you know, how businesses, if it's too soft or if they're coming in strong, then we can start blocking out some of the corporates.

 

Ryan Haynes:

That's really interesting. And particularly as you're moving more towards that digitalisation does that give you greater control of the rates or are they sort of hard bargaining much more and negotiated rates in advance before for sort of like moving forward in partnering with the setter?

 

Jeremy Daudin:

Well, you know, all, all those RFPs are coming, you know, in September for the year after. So, negotiations this year were really tough actually corporate, you know, travel, travel managers are, we're very looking at rates, what's, were going to get into the rates or all the amenities that you want to offer. And some of the points were also big on sustainability. They wanted to make sure that you were sustainable and what are actually the things you do for sustainability. So, I've got a feeling that as we move further and further, we're going to have to be more transparent with what we do in terms of sensibility and report on what we

 

Ryan Haynes:

Do. What are you seeing, perhaps some of the key traits may be from business guests that have changed or their expectations themselves for what they want from the property.

 

Jeremy Daudin:

I think expectations of are pretty much the same in corporate travellers of, you know, it's, they're easy to, to understand they need, you know, a good hotel with a good bed, good water pressure, good Wi-Fi and breakfast and, you know, it sounds, seems easy, but it's, it's true that's what they need. Really the expectations are coming from, from, from higher above, as I said, travel managers or purchasing managers. But in terms of patterns, going back to your previous questions, the, the, the, the corporate nights are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So, we, we get very high demand on those two nights and then we're struggling to fill in on the, on the Mondays and Thursdays because travellers are just only coming for two nights and then they go home. Whereas during COVID then we're travelling for much longer and staying for longer to you know, all those tests, et cetera.

 

Jeremy Daudin:

So, we have to adapt to different, different weeks now. So those two nights, two are really the key nights that we can really make money. And then for the other shorter nights, we need to adapt the strategy to be able to, you know, fill the hotels.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Interesting conversation there with Jeremy Daudin, the head of sales and marketing at Zetter Hotels now just to have a look at some data and stats that we've been looking into the market, a Deloitte survey reveals that relocated employees are increasingly travelling to company headquarters with a notable 70% of these trips being fully or partially funded by the employer. And 80% of travellers say it's essential to book trips fully online. To that end, the hotel should enable guests to easily filter the amenities and services that will be available upon arrival. 81% of track business travellers are engaging in some form of variation of leisure travel. 61% of their travellers include leisure activities in their itinerary while 41% are lengthening their stay to carve out some time around their work trip.

 

Ryan Haynes:

The percentage of business trips that become a pleasure trip fairy from country to country, is 56% in the UK, 65% in Germany, and 62% in China and 17% of pleasure trips last four nights or more. 31% are three nights in length and 39% are two nights with just 12% of pleasure travellers away for one night only. So, John, you and Setter both have properties in London, some of the sentiments Jeremy was saying there. How are you seeing that as part of the Rova group?

 

Johnny Siberry:

Very similar actually to what Jeremy was saying, certainly about the lead times. We're seeing them again, kind of back to pre-covid levels, business travellers are being a bit more proactive with their travel arrangements. Planning a little bit further ahead, I mean, Corporate business has generally been fairly short lead anyway in, in the main, you know, three to four weeks is when a lot of the corporate bookings come in and we're sort of seeing it getting back to those levels a couple of years ago, well last year and even some in 2022, it was as short as five to seven days. But I think that had more to do with the restrictions and the question about whether I travel or not leave it to the last minute.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Yes, I can book it. So that's what influenced that lead time. And also, yes, being creative or more dynamic with pricing and negotiations is, is a key one at the moment with maybe various pricing on days of the week. At weekends you can do what you like for weekends, but really, you're not going to get any corporate business. But certainly, Mondays and Thursdays have some incentive to stay on those nights. It's well known that Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are the peak nights for a corporation and that will certainly drive big occupancies, but to get them to maybe arrive a day early, stay, stay a day extra with a price incentive is, you know, one of the tools or little incentives that we're using in negotiations this year.

 

Johnny Siberry:

So, it's like everything in the hotel industry, it's a new learning, it's a new forum, it's a new platform, corporate business negotiations. It's, it's not what it used to be and it'll never be that again. And we're learning, you know, how to manage it.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I mean, it's obviously particularly interesting that a lot more of these bookings are being made by the business traveller themselves through that booking portal, which is obviously based on predefined negotiated rates as you mentioned, a lot more tougher negotiations there. Daniel, you deal with a lot of this sort of like events and mice business and corporate deals and RFPs. What are you seeing across your portfolio?

 

Daniel Simmons:

I mean we didn't really have an RFP season for quite a few years because of the pandemic. So, it definitely started again last year for this year. Everything's like dynamic now. Most people apart from government businesses and certain sectors want dynamic rates and self-booking tools. That was the part I picked up from what Jeremy said, which is so important now especially for properties to realize how that works. I think there is still biasing on what the actual person booking sees. because if a property or a group prefers partnerships kickbacks and high commissions with the TFCs and consortia, they will be at the top of the list even on the self-booking tools.

 

Daniel Simmons:

But with these self-booking tools, I think what's really something important is of course it doesn't just link to the GDS and the RFPs or the bar rates, it also links to a lot of OTAs including booking.com. So, what we're finding from a lot of clients is they're saying, well how come suddenly all this business I was getting from this TMC or this big agency, how come it's now coming through booking.com and it's tied into the self-booking tool. And you have to be really careful. I'm sure everyone yeah, everyone's saying that you have to be really careful with the cost to sell because now all the channels are diluted, you know what's coming from were.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Yeah, we've seen a very sudden and very obvious increase in corporate travel through the OTAs and predominantly booking.com. They've been going out securing these contracts for sure. They've got a big sales team behind it and there must be some profit share behind it's got to be an incentive to have booking.com as your backup rate or accommodation provider. But yeah, a big increase in those makes it a bit of a challenge really for us as well because the whole dynamic of the booking and the payment processing is completely different to Joe Public and the transient traveller that we're used to having through the OTAs who book turn up, pay their checkout, go and that's it.

 

Johnny Siberry:

And now we're having to get involved with virtual credit cards and corporate payments and submitting invoices to this source at the end of it and all of this sort of stuff. And it's just, it's dumping a load of extra work on the Hotels that really, we're not geared up to deal with and it's not our job to do, quite frankly, but you know, they, they just insist on it and if we say we're not doing it, they go for I'll book somewhere else then. So stuck between,

 

Daniel Simmons:

We're hearing exactly the same from all our clients.

 

Thibault Catala:

Corporate business first of all is back compared to the last few years because of the pandemic and we felt like Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are actually full of corporate, which is good news for key cities. Now something which I agree with John and Daniel RFP corporate accounts and companies are becoming more and more difficult to negotiate with in a way that the supply in the market is so big that they have different options, different choices and now they put their own like set of rules and we, we ne we try to negotiate, but they said, okay, if you don't agree with my rules then I will go somewhere else. And that's the first year ever, in which I've seen some large corporate accounts offering some RFP not for one year but for six years.

 

Thibault Catala:

And that's, that's, you are in or out and I have no clue what's going to happen in six months. So even less in, in, in six years. But you see where people are starting to get into the RFP and even some, some, some companies today's NLA rate, the non-room availability clauses as something which I see less and less, almost like not anymore. And all the companies push for LRA and they push for longer contracts at a fixed rate or sometime dynamic when they're a bit savvier. But now the companies are setting their own rules and are totally asked to follow if they want to get in. And that's not a negotiation that we used to have before or it was like, I send this, you do this and that's kind of a negotiation now the corporate is just like very heavy on the, on the, and that's, that's a tougher part now.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. So not too bad in a sense that we've actually got more corporates coming back, we've got more business on the books as a consequence, but it's becoming a lot more difficult to handle and regardless of the fact that we've got digital booking capabilities, that's causing a nightmare in itself. Oh, the wonder, isn't it? And one door opens, and another one seems to slap on the ass on the way out. Yeah, right. Okay, so coming up just after this are the industry challenges and travel trends.

 

Ryan Haynes:

So, guys, I wanted to take an opportunity to look at one of the travel trends that we've been seeing over the last few months it seems to be well written about, and well talked about, but I thought it's time to have a look it from our perspective for Hospitality in regards to tour tourism and the Swiftie effect. Yes. Talking about that glamorous icon, Taylor Swift, Expedia predicts a tour tourism Encore in 2024 with almost 70% of Travelers poll claiming that they are more likely than ever to travel to a concert outside of their hometown. And I've certainly heard this amongst my friends. Furthermore, 40% said they travel for a concert as an excuse to visit a new place while 30% would travel because tickets were cheaper elsewhere.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I guess tickets are cheaper and also accommodation can be a hell of a lot cheaper as well. I tried to get tickets for the latest girls-allowed tour, but in the end, I ended up with tickets in London rather than Birmingham where I'd hoped to have gone. But is this something that, that you guys see I mean, I guess Johnny in the city of London, you are guaranteed to get some sort of tour tourism, right?

 

Johnny Siberry:

Yeah. And I'm glad you asked me because coincidentally I mean for starters, she's an unstoppable machine. You got to give her massive cool, well her and her team, she's not a solo artist, you do not abandon this thing, but the influence she's got is just incredible. But literally, a couple of weeks ago I did an analysis of on-the-books occupancy and I spoke to a few other, quite a few other friends and colleagues in other Hotels and got their data as well and put it all together for up to the end of August. And as you would imagine on a very basic bar graph of occupancy, tomorrow's date, it's quite a high bar and as you get to the end of it, it just goes downhill slowly.

 

Johnny Siberry:

That's a natural progression. And what I plotted on it was the various events that are coming up over the next few months. I've got the Easter Marathon Champions League final Taylor's both dates to June and the August dates, Wimbledon and Farnborough Air Show for all events as the graph sort of reduces slightly, there's a little bump as you would expect except for the two points where there's a Swift concert on, it's a massive jump. Wow. It's like it's off the scale and it's so obvious if you didn't have the labels on there and you just looked at it, the numbers on its own, anybody would go, what the hell's happening there? He's going Swiftie and I go, oh, okay.

 

Johnny Siberry:

And it's incredible. The occupancy on the books now for, I think it's the end of June and the middle of August, are her dates, they're just on the books Occupancy's crazy.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Thibault, have you seen something similar across Europe as you look after your clients and, and look at the market in general?

 

Thibault Catala:

Yes, we have seen with Swift, but we have seen with a lot of, I think there's a customer change and customer behaviour change where people actually follow up. And that goes back to my point about the experience people are just craving for experience, are craving to get out and to experience face to face because they've been stuck sites for the last two to three years. So now there's this huge demand for those experiences. Yes, we are seeing some spike of demand for Tyler Swift. But very interestingly in this report from Expedia also the customer trying to forecast the demand and the destination based on the Netflix series shows or anything it's like White Lotus, about all those kinds of destinations.

 

Thibault Catala:

So today customer expectations and behaviours are changing and as revenue managers, we just need to be very curious about those new trends. Being very aware of those kinds of slight start of upticks in the demand to be able to adjust the strategy as soon as possible. Because the moment Siberry Swift is a non-similar in destination, I can guarantee you that if you're not ready for this then you, you, you will sell a lot of reservations at a very cheap price. So, it's very important to be on top of all those nutrients being a fan or not. But at least you, you just need to make sure you're on top of nothing because it, it happens very quickly.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I guess we saw the same thing in Liverpool last year with the Eurovision happening and you know, suddenly a load of hotels cancelling a lot of bookings in order to maximize bookings with those rates to get those who are actually attending the show. Is it something that you've plotted at all with HotelREZ or, or, or had conversations about with your customers up and down the country and across the world? Daniel?

 

Daniel Simmons:

I mean it's great for the Hotels because obviously, they get really high rates in ADRs. I mean Taylor Swift. I think Singapore I mean it's made like half a million dollars of revenue. I don't think that's just hospitality, I just think that's everything. because of course, it has a knock-on effect. I mean, the next one everyone's talking about is a Dell in Munich, which I've actually got tickets for and Hotels are selling for like 600 euros a night. And actually, for me, it's like a consumer going to that one. It does, it leaves a funny taste actually because you think to yourself obviously all the properties and are inflating the rates, which is great because they get more revenue but then it just, you know, leaves a bit of a feeling like, you know, why are they charging such crazy prices?

 

Daniel Simmons:

It's called, but as John I mean, we've always had, sorry, no we've had it with Wimbledon. I mean in London, especially any event. And also, the Olympics. I mean the Olympics I mean it's great when the city gets, isn't it,

 

Ryan Haynes:

I was going to say I mean obviously you've got Paris this year and its sort of focused on that and rates are also starting to go crazy for that. Okay, great. Wonderful. Thanks, guys, for that insight there. Time is moving on and it is time to challenge you with a Quick Quiz, are you ready?

 

Johnny Siberry:

Yes.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay guys, have you got your instruments, your sounds, your noises? Something to make?

 

Johnny Siberry:

I've invested £2.99 since the last podcast Ryan because the bail I had unbeknown to me at the time was driving my dog absolutely nuts. I was in here in my home office with the door closed, dinging outside the whole family. We’re trying to contain the dog so I reinvested and I've got myself a little buzzer.

 

Johnny Siberry:

(Rings the buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Great to hear. Thibault got the what? Got the glass.

 

Thibault Catala:

(Rings the glass)

 

Ryan Haynes:

And Daniel has

 

Daniel Simmons:

Look all I don't know, I had to rush out this morning, to be honest. And buy these from the one-pound shop, the pound shop corner. So, if they don't work, apologies.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. Alright, well let's see how we get on then. So, Daniel's going to use his hands and we'll get him a buzzer for next time. Here we go. Alright, question number one is an industry question. Which country China and the USA currently has the most hotel rooms under construction?

 

Johnny Siberry:

(Rings the buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Johnny,

 

Johnny Siberry:

I'm going to guess the UK because there's a lot, but I have no idea.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No,

 

Daniel Simmons:

I was going to say that.

 

Johnny Siberry:

We're both right. Done. Okay.

 

Ryan Haynes:

It's the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 

Ryan Haynes:

There we are a huge level of investment in that. Okay, next question is a history question. Which hotel did Alexander Graham Bell make the first London phone call?

 

Johnny Siberry:

(Rings the buzzer)


Thibault Catala:

(Rings the glass)

 

Johnny Siberry:

Was it the Travelodge Paddington? I have no idea.

 

Thibault Catala:

The Savoy?

 

Ryan Haynes:

No. Daniel, did you have an idea?

 

Daniel Simmons:

Was it the Ritz?

 

Ryan Haynes:

The Browns Hotel. A geography question next. In which country did singer Michael Jackson dangle a baby out the window? Definitely

 

Johnny Siberry:

(Rings the buzzer)

 

Johnny Siberry:

Know this and I was in London. It was the Dorchester at Park Lane.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No, it wasn't.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Yes, it was.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No, it was, it wasn't.

 

Daniel Simmons:

It was in Spain.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No, it wasn't.

 

Thibault Catala:

I think it was in France. In France?

 

Ryan Haynes:

No, it wasn't. It was in Berlin, Germany at the Hotel Adlon. Oh God, you guys are terrible.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No, I know we're bad at this right, destination question now. Where in the world can you find several capsule hotels that offer rooms an average of 6.5 feet long feet and five feet wide? Where in the world can you find capsule hotels that offer rooms 6.5 by five feet wide?

 

Johnny Siberry:

(Rings the buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Johnny, did you buzz?

 

Johnny Siberry:

I did Japan, I think.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Yes, you can. That's correct. Tokyo, Japan with one-point out of four questions so far. Yes, it is Johnny. Well done. Null point to Thibault and Daniel, the final question then. Technology when it comes to hotel systems, what does POS stand for?

 

Thibault Catala:

(Rings the glass)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Thibault

 

Thibault Catala:

Point of sale.


Ryan Haynes:

Oh nice. Yay. Okay, so bonus point, this is seen who wins between Thibault and Johnny. Sorry, Daniel, you are out. So, the bonus point is when was the cash register invented? Closest date? Closest year.

 

Johnny Siberry:

(Rings the buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Please go on Johnny.

 

Johnny Siberry:

1750.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. Thibault?

 

Thibault Catala:

1854

 

Ryan Haynes:

Thibault is closest. It's 1879. Well, done Thibault you win this month's condition of the Quick Quiz. Two points with two points. Yes. I had to go to a six question there. Three questions were unanswered. Thank you, guys, I appreciate that. I'll work harder on my quiz in future.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Shame on us.

 

Ryan Haynes:

It was wonderful to catch up with you all. It is wonderful, wonderful to also hear your opinions and insights into the industry. Thanks ever so much for contributing and I look forward to catching up with you next month.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Thanks guys. See you all soon.

 

Thibault Catala:

Cheers Ryan, cheers guys.

 

Johnny Siberry:

Bye bye

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