Sunday, September 28, 2014

Do You Want a Virtual Vacation? Marriott #GetTeleporter Will Take You

Is there anything technology can't do?  Recently, Marriott launched the #GetTeleporter campaign, taking us to a virtual vacation.  What business applications do you see from the teleporter?  Will people buy in this concept?  Tell us what you think. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Aloft Hotels Introduce Robotic Butlers, Bringing in Better or Worse Customer Experience?

The Aloft Hotel is testing a robotic butler concept in the Cupertino, California location.  The chain has no intention to replace any service staff at this point and is planning to bring more "botlers" (robotic butlers) to other Aloft Hotel if the concept proves to be successful.

In general, I believe technology can enhance customer service, but at the same time, technology may also minimize the real human interactions among customers and staff.  So, is it a good thing when hotels use machines to serve people? Do customers have a saying on how they will be served (by a real human or by a robot)?

With those thoughts in mind, I wrote two articles on MultiBriefs.com. I believe machine serving people has become a reality, but at the same time, there will be a variety of options (brands) in the future to meet different needs from customers. Customers will be able to choose a hotel that uses machines or uses real human being for customer service.

In your opinions, to which direction will technology take us? Will technology help businesses provide better or worse customer service in the future?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Think How We Eat, Not What We Eat

The Wall Street Journal reported a new research finding, suggesting us to chew more if we want to lose weight. But isn't it obvious? It takes longer for people to eat if they chew more. Studies have shown people eat less if they eat slowly (in this case, chew more). On top of that, food that mixed well with saliva will get digested better. Regardless, it is interesting to see somebody actually making effort to prove the causal relationship. Hopefully, nobody would start eating more unhealthy food because they will chew more of the unhealthy food.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Are Customers Also Responsible for Their Dining Experience?

I recently read an interesting experiment from a famous restaurant in #NYC, where the owners compared customers' behavior of today and that of 10 years ago.  I wrote an article about it on MultiBriefs
 
Here is what was reported by the restaurant (and what I included in the article): 

July 1, 2004:

Customers walked in. 

They were seated with a menu.  Three out of 45 requested for a different seat. 

Customers spent about 8 minutes on the menu before closing it, indicating that they were ready to order. 

Servers instantly took the order. 

Appetizers were served in about 6 minutes (except for complex items). 

Two out of 45 customers sent items back. 

Servers remained attentive to customers. 

Checks were delivered when customers finished their meals. 

Customers left within 5 minutes. 

On average, it took 1 hour and 5 minutes from start to finish.

July 3, 2014:

Customers walked in. 

They were seated with a menu.  Eighteen out of 45 requested for a different seat.

Instead of opening the menu, they took their phones out. Some were taking pictures; others were just playing with their phones. 

Seven out of 45 had servers come over immediately. 

They showed something on their phone to the server and took about 5 minutes of the server’s time.  Later, the servers explained to the management team that the customers needed help with Wi-Fi connections for their phones. 

When servers approached customers for orders, most had not even opened the menu and asked the servers to wait.

Customers finally opened the menu, with their hands holding their phones on top of the menu. They were still playing with their phone. 

Servers came back to check with the customers. Customers asked for additional time. 

Customers were finally ready to order, with an average wait time of 21 minutes. 

Food began arriving in about 6 minutes (except for complex items). 

Twenty-six out of 45 customers spent about 3 minutes taking pictures of the food. 

Fourteen out of 45 customers spent an additional 4 minutes taking pictures of themselves or one another with the food in front of them. 

Nine out of 45 customers sent food back to reheat. 

Twenty-seven out of 45 customers asked servers to take a group picture for them.  On average, it took about 5 minutes of theirs and the server’s time until the customers were satisfied with the group picture. 

On average, customers spent 20 minutes more on the meal and 15 minutes more to pay and leave. 

Eight out of 45 bumped into somebody in the restaurant while they were texting and walking in/out of the restaurant. 

On average, it took 1 hour and 55 minutes from start to finish. 

I am thinking: Are customers also responsible for their dining experience?  How does technology has brought down (if it does in some way) people's dining experience?  In regarding to online reviews, what information matters most from online reviews --- The overall rating?  Service?  Quality of food? Or something else?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Stay Healthy on the Road - Hotels Respond to Travelers' Demand

President Obama was caught on tape working out in a hotel during a trip to Poland.  Leaving politics aside, this video shows Obama is just like many other travelers: They all work out in a hotel gym. 

According to a 2012 survey conducted by TripAdvisor with over 1,400 U.S. travelers, healthy eating and exercise have played an important role in Americans' vacation.  Sixty-nine (69) percent mentioned healthy eating is important during vacation, and 53 percent said they always or often do exercise while they travel.

I am glad to see the industry is responding to what travelers want. Many hotel brands have already updated their workout facilities through renovations and/or re-branding.  Today, travelers can easily find up-to-date equipment in a large workout room in hotels.  There are also websites that are specifically developed for hotel gym reviews (e.g., HotelGymReview.com).  My recent stay at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower was a great example.

So, what should hotels do to respond to travelers' demand for healthy lifestyle?  I made the following suggestions on MultiBriefs.com:

  • Make sure all existing machines, equipment and swimming pools are working properly. Because travelers are more likely to use the workout facilities in hotels now, any problem would trigger complaints or dissatisfaction.
  • Purchase small equipment that is designed for in-guestroom workout activities, together with a training kit (or DVD/app) for those exercises, both of which can be checked out by hotel guests.
  • Renovate the old workout facilities if budget allows.
  • Research the neighborhood and provide directions to hiking and jogging trails, as well as walking and biking tours.
  • Partner with a local gym to provide additional full-service workout service.
  • When marketing a hotel, highlight a property's state-of-art workout facilities if applicable.

What else should be included in the list?  


Friday, June 13, 2014

Chinese and Tourist Desinations: A Love-Hate Relationship

I was in Hong Kong and mainland China for a conference in May.  During my visit, I witnessed a debate between Chinese tourists and the local residents in Hong Kong.

On one hand, Chinese tourists spend a lot of money on luxury goods and daily necessities in Hong Kong.  On the other hand, the overflow of Chinese tourists brings in many inconveniences to local residents.

Many other tourist destinations also experience some negative effect from the overflow of Chinese tourists.  I wonder why people seem to love and hate Chinese tourists at the same time.  More importantly, what can Chinese tourists do to win the harts from other tourist destinations?

Visit Multibriefs.com for my in-depth discussion on this topic.

Other relevant discussions from this blog:

Starbucks and Pizza Huts: Time Has Come for aRapid Expansion in Mainland China 


References: The picture was downloaded from thatsmags.com.