The future of hospitality is that of mobility, reputation management and engagement

Singapore – The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association
International (HSMAI) Asia Pacific’s 10th Annual AsiaConnect
Conference was held in Singapore on September 3, 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands
Expo & Conference Center. The conference brought to bear insights about the
market and hospitality industry that benefited all participants.

Pin
Tsin Go, Territory Manager – Southeast Asia at TripAdvisor for Business
informed delegates that people are still making travel plans and that their
budget for travel is increasing globally by 9%. What’s important to travelers
is connectivity and along with affordability so that they can stay and spend
more during their travels. Therefore, price is key, but only when coupled with
a positive experience, which builds the online reputation of a property.
Moreover, pictures are essential – 73% of TripAdvisor users used photos from
other travellers to make a decision to book, and 75% of members were more
likely to use a business with a TripAdvisor endorsement

Go
said that only 1 in 4 hotels is taking advantage of TripAdvisor’s management
centre to help manage their property’s reputation online. Typically, the more
mature the property is, the better the reviews they receive. She also said that
reviews are typically positive. “48% of reviews receive a 5 bubbles rating and
30% a 4 star rating. The average review scorer is 4.12.”

Conference
delegates also learned the secret to the factors that influence a property’s popularity
ranking. The factors include the quality of reviews received (that is, how well
the property is rated), how fresh the content is and the quantity of reviews.

Peter
Ollerton, Director of Business Development – South Pacific and North Asia for
Nor1 shared his belief that hoteliers should develop mobile as an ancillary sales
tool to reach guests throughout the entire travel lifecycle.

“Mobile
represents ancillary revenue opportunities as it promotes last minute in-house
sales for F&B, spa or golf packages, for example”, observed Ollerton. “Travellers
spend 42% of their money before the trip and 58% during the trip.”

John
Mims, Chief Connector & Managing Partner of The Hunting Ridge Group, led a panel
to discuss “The voice of the customer”. Farin Salleh, GM of amcasia, Janet
Tan-Collis, CEO of East West Planners, John Bowen, CEO of MediaConcepts,
Laurens van den Oever, Global Director Travel & Tourism for GfK and Mike
Lee, VP of Sales for Marina Bay Sands participated in the discussion.

What
came out of the discussion was a clear need for technology to help minimize the
lead time and decision making that it takes to plan an event.

Janet
Tan-Collis said “Even a simple program for 10 people can take up to 50 emails
organize”.

The
panel discussed the need for transparency with venue bookings. For example, a
customer may book a venue or seek quotations from event organizers for the same
venue to compare prices.

John
Mims and Mike Lee said that as a venue sales manager, “You have to be careful
how you prepare the initial discussion. You might get the same query from a
variety of sources.”

“You
have to be transparent with the deal to win over both candidates and the end
user. Sometimes it is best to wait to quote until you really know who you are
dealing with.”

Asia
Connect is HSMAI Asia Pacific’s learning and networking event for hospitality
professionals that brings together senior representatives from
sales, marketing and revenue management to learn what’s trending and to discover new ways to
stay productive and be profitable.

Over the past 10 years 20 Asia
Connect events were produced in cities across Asia
including Bangkok, Beijing,
Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai and Singapore. A big focus for AsiaConnect 2014 was
on ‘Tapping the Growth of the Mobility Marketplace’, The Changing Dynamics of
‘The New Sales Professional’ and ‘The Convergence of Sales, Marketing and
Revenue Management’, which calls for greater collaboration across these 3
disciplines.

The
entire Asia Pacific Board of Directors was present to congratulate HSMAI Asia
Pacific’s outgoing Managing Director Bernadette Dennis, and welcome the
incoming President, Jackie Douglas. Special recognition was given to Bernadette
Dennis and Christine Toguchi for their dedication and effort over the past
decade since HSMAI Asia Pacific was first launched. Christine Toguchi was the
Founding Managing Director in 2005, and both Bernadette and Christine were
presented with a ‘Lifetime Membership in HSMAI’.

In
closing, Jackie Douglas, HSMAI Asia Pacific’s newly appointed President, shared
exciting new initiatives planned for 2015, which includes a monthly newsletter
to communicate industry news and original content created by HSMAI and their
partners, a revenue management certification program (CRME), the establishment
of a Advisory Board for Revenue Management for Asia Pacific and a Revenue
Optimization Conference (ROC) in Asia.

Partners
of AsiaConnect 2014 included Gold Sponsors Nor1 and TripAdvisor;  Table Sponsors Far East Hospitality
Management, FRHI Hotels & Resorts, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Tourism
Board, and TravelCLICK. Content Sponsors/Partners included Peak Hospitality
Solutions, Wiley, Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, Sabre
Hospitality Solutions and Web In Travel (WIT).

About HSMAI Asia Pacific Founded in 2005, HSMAI Asia Pacific’s mission is to be the leading source for sales and marketing information, tools, insight, business development, and networking for professionals in the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry while operating as a leading voice for hotel sales, marketing and revenue management disciplines. Activities in the region are held in Greater China, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The region’s signature learning and networking event, AsiaConnect, has been produced in Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong,  Macau, Shanghai and Singapore. For additional information, follow us on Twitter @hsmaiasia or on LinkedIn at HSMAI Asia Pacific. HSMAI AsiaPacific is a Region of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Global which is a federation of Regions committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members globally with a presence in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East. http://www.hsmai.org

Media Contact:
Jackie Douglas, HSMAI Asia Pacific M: +61 (0) 414 381 240
E: jackiedouglas@outlook.com

Christine Toguchi, AsiaConnect Events M: +65 9185 6168  E: chris@macrovisionnetwork.com 

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