● Face-to-face calls, meetings, generate more sales: Recently released results of a study conducted over the previous year revealed that sales professionals anticipate they will make an average of 23 percent more deals a year when they are able to speak to their contacts face-to-face, rather than using only video or phone conferencing options. According to the study, carried out by Accor, the same people also think that one face-to-face meeting has the equivalent impact of roughly three video or conference calls, demonstrating the value of face-to-face.
One major reason for this “trend away from tech,” one article said, is that almost a third (30 percent) said they found it difficult not being able to see another person’s body language and nonverbal cues. Additionally, a further 22 percent said they find it harder to engage in small talk to form personal relationships when using video and conferencing options only. Click here for the complete article.
● Disney Taking 2,000 jobs out of Socal and moving them to Orlando. The company announced the plans at the same time that it indicated it is building a new regional campus in Lake Nona. Many workers in digital technology, finance and product development will relocate to Florida, it said. The move is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Disney hasn’t disclosed the exact location of the new campus yet. The company cited Florida’s “business-friendly climate” and no state income tax. “With Disney’s move and large investment in our community, we are delighted to welcome one of the world’s most recognized brands to Lake Nona. By choosing to build a new regional campus in Lake Nona, Disney will become part of this smart city where cutting-edge ideas turn into realities,” said Nick Beucher, president of Tavistock Development Company, owner/developer of Lake Nona.
● With departure of Reserve with Google, what’s next? From Outlook Traveller: “Reserve with Google was launched in 2017 allowing users to book an appointment or reservation with nearby service providers directly from the search engine. Restricted to the fitness industry in its early phase, it facilitated bookings only for spas, studios and gyms. With time however, Google incorporated more services and industries. The Travel industry organically occupied the stage along with Entertainment, Food and the Beauty industry.” Read complete article here.
● Echoing what numerous tour operators and other tourism industry sectors have been telling INBOUND’s publisher, Connect Travel, in a series of webinar discussions over the past year, frontline hotel staff did not have an easy job during the past year. Tasked with enforcing mask mandates, reminding guests which services were temporarily unavailable due to the pandemic and putting their own health at risk daily, these workers still managed to keep guests happy. The hotel industry in general maintains a strong overall customer satisfaction score in the recently released J.D. Power 2021 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study.SM But, now that the pandemic is waning, hotel guests have made it clear they want breakfast and other hotel amenities.
“Frontline staff have been the real heroes of the North American hotel industry during this past year, managing to navigate a very difficult situation while holding overall hotel guest satisfaction steady and actually improving customer satisfaction with staff interactions,” said Andrea Stokes, hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. Following are additional key findings of the 2021 study:
—Hotel staff, flexible cancellation policies save the day in crisis. Overall hotel guest satisfaction across the study is 830 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is unchanged from 2020 and 10 points higher than in 2019.
—Satisfaction with breakfast declines. One area that is a major drag on customer satisfaction in the study is breakfast. In all but one hotel segment, guests were particularly dissatisfied with reduced variety and quality—if breakfast was offered at all. Through the study fielding dates, more than a third (36 percent) of hotels eliminated buffet-style serving.
—”I want my smart TV.” The study showed an increase in demand for smart TVs in hotel rooms.Hotel “need to haves” that have grown the most in importance since 2020 are smart TVs (+9 percentage points), balcony/views (+6 percentage points) and healthy living/wellness amenities (+5 percentage points).
Study Rankings: The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segment:
⦁ Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton
⦁ Upper Upscale: Hard Rock Hotels
⦁ Upscale: AC Hotels
⦁ Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels (for a 16th consecutive year)
⦁ Midscale: Tru by Hilton (for a second consecutive year)
⦁ Economy: SureStay by Best Western (for a second consecutive year)
For more information about the 2021 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/resource/jd-power-north-america-hotel-guest-satisfaction-index-study.
● Go City goes big in branding its ticketing business: “It’ official” the news announcement screamed in an ALL CAPS headline: “IT’S OFFICIAL! Leisure Pass Group is now Go City®.” “The ‘change marks our shift to a single brand that is passionate about transforming the way people see and experience the world’s greatest destinations.” The rebrand to Go City follows its expansion to more than 25 cities spread across four continents, with the most recent additions of Amsterdam and Stockholm. Go City also has operations in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Oahu, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco and New York. Find out more about Go City here: https://lnkd.in/dGdG7CN/
● TUI UK is continuing flexible working following 16 months of home working due to the pandemic.
It will become a permanent feature of the company’s working culture, the company said in an announcement. During the global pandemic, almost all office-based jobs became work from home positions. After it conduct research about its employees, TUI found that many have adjusted their working practices and have discovered benefits, including a better work-life balance. Employees that they would like to continue working remotely. As part of the “new ways of working,” TUI employees will only be required to attend the office once a month to attend face to face team meetings or collaboration events, enabling individuals to make their own choice about how often they would like to work. While TUI’s offices will remain open, individuals will be able to decide what working environment works for them best. The tour operator said that the shift to permanent flexible working will offer greater flexibility and attract future employees from a wider employment market.
As a result of all of this, TUI has created a new position of Workspace Director. Belinda Vazquez, Workspace Director of TUI UK said: “We have listened to our employees in order to define a clear framework that ensures ultimate flexibility, whilst creating positive experiences.”
● And if you’re going to WTM, there is this bothersome matter—Heathrow Airport is introducing a £5 terminal drop-off charge. A £5 (just about $7) drop-off charge at Heathrow will come into effect beginning in October 2021—just in time for World Travel Market, which takes place November 1-3 at ExCel. The fee will apply to vehicles using the designated drop off zones located directly outside the airport terminals. The airport said the service will operate by way of an automatic number plate recognition system and the charge can be paid online, via mobile phone, automated telephone service or by autopay functionality. Blue badge holders will be exempt and passenger who don’t want to pay can be dropped off at one of Heathrow’s long-stay car parks, where they can take a free bus transfer to the terminal. For details, read here.