Intense Brand Competition in the Hospitality Industry & How to Deal with it
Sustaining and restarting a hotel business after the coronavirus lockdown can be a major challenge, especially for smaller, family-owned businesses. More and more time and money is being invested in the hope of finding solutions that can help these businesses face the intense competition posed by larger brands or digital sharing-economy platforms. As businesses in the hospitality industry prepare to face an arduous, yet hopeful road to recovery, it is now even more important for them to stand out and make sure the customers choose them over others.
The past weeks have seen a collective uncertainty surrounding the global tourism industry – sometimes because of the unclear communication by official bodies and sometimes caused by the continuously extended days of the lockdown, with fluctuating ideas of when businesses resume next. However, there certainly are ways where businesses in the hospitality industry can do better, especially after this crisis.
So, what are the critical indicators those businesses need to focus on now?
1. A Shift in Focus
Usually, what happens in a crisis is a shift in the businesses focus. It is normal to strongly concentrate on numbers and put the main emphasis on financial metrics and working capital. Fair enough, because this way they can make it through difficult times and be able to pay their bills. However, after the crisis, it is crucial that this focus goes back to improving the internal processes and investing in learning, growth, and, most important, employees. Although these metrics will not lead to immediate gains, they will help establish a solid backbone for the business while ensuring it sustains in the future.
2. The Culture of Surprise
Using experiences to attract more customers is nothing new in the hospitality industry. Surprises activate our brains; guests are no longer satisfied by just getting what they signed up for. They are seeking to experience something unexpected, which can be as little as a receptionist remembering their name, a welcome or thank you gift or practically any act of service they received without knowing they will. This time gives a perfect opportunity to reconsider old concepts and focus on delivering great experiences and implementing surprise culture. It has been studied that guests are more likely to return to a place or recommend a hotel to a friend if they were somehow positively surprised during their stay. Those surprises can be little things – even no-budget surprises for the guests have this effect – as most effective surprises accrue due to personal interaction.
3. The Emphasis on Authentic Experiences
The sharing economy is driven by the trend of sharing rather than owning. Places and goods do not necessarily belong to one owner anymore. Especially several online platforms and apps now make it easier than ever to offer services and good. Sellers get paid when someone needs what they offer, and buyers save money and time. But, how to compete against authentic experiences provided by Sharing Economy platforms? This issue has been widely discussed within the industry. Opinions differ from offering more personalized stays and “do it as Airbnb does” to an even sharper focus on the strengths and advantages hotels and resorts provide over other platforms’ experiences to make clear how those places differ.
4. Building a Strong Brand Personality
The most crucial point is building a strong brand personality. Creating attributes that (potential) customers may connect with the brand and standing out will be more important than ever when the pandemic is over, as traveling will not be as “normal” as it was before. People are now more conscious of choosing where they spend, and their winning choices will only prefer those brands who invest in their authentic voice and personality that the consumer can relate.
The trend in personalizing a brand is clearly going toward localized and customized experiences. Questions brands must ask when devising their brand positioning could start with:
What makes the property unique? What is special in the surroundings? How can that be communicated to the guests?
In the US, approximately 70% of hotels are chain affiliated, while the majority of hotels in all other parts of the world are still independent. However, worldwide the trend to affiliate with larger brands is going up due to the many benefits coming with that – like brand loyalty programs, economies of scale in terms of purchasing, marketing and social media support as well as data mining technologies.
In Fuerteventura, many properties are owned and run by individuals and not brand-affiliated yet. But the primary distribution channels tourists used to book their Fuerteventura-vacation in 2017 were TUI (46%), Thomas Cook (23,3%), Jet2 (12%), and FTI (10,6%). Building a strong brand personality may also prevent losing commission payments to channels that take on the distribution and communication.
Being unique and targetting guests with what authentic values that makes the brand special sells better than being just one more ordinary property with one more ordinary listing on one more online channel with almost zero impact.
Concerning brand affiliation, there is one significant disadvantage that comes with affiliating: the loss of independence and individual decision making. And that is very controversial from the latest trends we see in the hospitality industry of offering personalized and unique experiences. And actually, this is why people initially wanted to travel, am I right?
It can be a testing period to perceive positives when business is on hold with a clueless scenario of what is to come next. However, the global advantage one has is that all hotels, big or small, all brands, strong or weak, now have an opportunity to think and reflect on the shortcomings of the past, as now when businesses start, everyone will start from the same ground zero. The question is who will win? Win not just the competition but also the hearts of the new post COVID19 guests.
Editor´s Note: Fuerteventura Times Business is an insightful manual for entrepreneurs, tourism experts, and local government officials to keep up with the latest trends in Sustainable Tourism, Social Innovation, Experiential Economy and Digital Technology. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive powerful advice, opinions, and methods to run a company, community, or country. Subscribe Here.
Maria is a self-employed social media manager, web designer and tourism business student with relevant working experience in tourism and hospitality. She has a restless mind and is always curious about learning something new.
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Collection of personal information
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Privacy of children
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Use and processing of collected information
We act as a data controller and a data processor in terms of the GDPR when handling Personal Information, unless we have entered into a data processing agreement with you in which case you would be the data controller and we would be the data processor.
Our role may also differ depending on the specific situation involving Personal Information. We act in the capacity of a data controller when we ask you to submit your Personal Information that is necessary to ensure your access and use of the Website and Services. In such instances, we are a data controller because we determine the purposes and means of the processing of Personal Information and we comply with data controllers’ obligations set forth in the GDPR.
We act in the capacity of a data processor in situations when you submit Personal Information through the Website and Services. We do not own, control, or make decisions about the submitted Personal Information, and such Personal Information is processed only in accordance with your instructions. In such instances, the User providing Personal Information acts as a data controller in terms of the GDPR.
In order to make the Website and Services available to you, or to meet a legal obligation, we may need to collect and use certain Personal Information. If you do not provide the information that we request, we may not be able to provide you with the requested products or services. Any of the information we collect from you may be used for the following purposes:
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- Fulfill and manage orders
- Deliver products or services
- Improve products and services
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- Send marketing and promotional communications
- Send product and service updates
- Respond to inquiries and offer support
- Request user feedback
- Improve user experience
- Post customer testimonials
- Deliver targeted advertising
- Administer prize draws and competitions
- Enforce terms and conditions and policies
- Run and operate the Website and Services
Processing your Personal Information depends on how you interact with the Website and Services, where you are located in the world and if one of the following applies: (i) you have given your consent for one or more specific purposes; this, however, does not apply, whenever the processing of Personal Information is subject to California Consumer Privacy Act or European data protection law; (ii) provision of information is necessary for the performance of an agreement with you and/or for any pre-contractual obligations thereof; (iii) processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which you are subject; (iv) processing is related to a task that is carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in us; (v) processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party.
We rely on the following legal bases as defined in the GDPR upon which we collect and process your Personal Information:
- User’s consent
- Performance of a contract
- Compliance with the law and legal obligations
- Our own legitimate interests
Note that under some legislations we may be allowed to process information until you object to such processing by opting out, without having to rely on consent or any other of the legal bases above. In any case, we will be happy to clarify the specific legal basis that applies to the processing, and in particular whether the provision of Personal Information is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract.
In case of Services requiring payment, you may need to provide your credit card details or other payment account information, which will be used solely for processing payments. We use third-party payment processors (“Payment Processors”) to assist us in processing your payment information securely.
Payment Processors adhere to the latest security standards as managed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which is a joint effort of brands like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Sensitive and private data exchange happens over a SSL secured communication channel and is encrypted and protected with digital signatures, and the Website and Services are also in compliance with strict vulnerability standards in order to create as secure of an environment as possible for Users. We will share payment data with the Payment Processors only to the extent necessary for the purposes of processing your payments, refunding such payments, and dealing with complaints and queries related to such payments and refunds.
Please note that the Payment Processors may collect some Personal Information from you, which allows them to process your payments (e.g., your email address, address, credit card details, and bank account number) and handle all the steps in the payment process through their systems, including data collection and data processing. Where necessary for processing future or recurring payments and subject to your prior consent, your financial information will be stored in encrypted form on secure servers of our Payment Processors. The Payment Processors’ use of your Personal Information is governed by their respective privacy policies which may or may not contain privacy protections as protective as this Policy. We suggest that you review their respective privacy policies.
You are able to delete certain Personal Information we have about you. The Personal Information you can delete may change as the Website and Services change. When you delete Personal Information, however, we may maintain a copy of the unrevised Personal Information in our records for the duration necessary to comply with our obligations to our affiliates and partners, and for the purposes described below.
Disclosure of information
Depending on the requested Services or as necessary to complete any transaction or provide any Service you have requested, we may share your information with our trusted subsidiaries and joint venture partners, affiliates, contracted companies, and service providers (collectively, “Service Providers”) we rely upon to assist in the operation of the Website and Services available to you and whose privacy policies are consistent with ours or who agree to abide by our policies with respect to Personal Information. We will not share any personally identifiable information with third parties and will not share any information with unaffiliated third parties.
Service Providers are not authorized to use or disclose your information except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or comply with legal requirements. Service Providers are given the information they need only in order to perform their designated functions, and we do not authorize them to use or disclose any of the provided information for their own marketing or other purposes. We will share and disclose your information only with the following categories of Service Providers:
- Advertising networks
- Affiliate programs
- Communication and collaboration services
- Data analytics services
- Data storage services
- Order fulfillment services
- Performance monitoring services
- Sales and marketing services
- Social networks
- User authentication services
We may also disclose any Personal Information we collect, use or receive if required or permitted by law, such as to comply with a subpoena or similar legal process, and when we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud, or respond to a government request.
Retention of information
We will retain and use your Personal Information for the period necessary to comply with our legal obligations, as long as your user account remains active, until the purchase order or Services are fulfilled, until our and our affiliates and partners obligations are fulfilled, to enforce our agreements, resolve disputes, and unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law up to a maximum of 120 months.
We may use any aggregated data derived from or incorporating your Personal Information after you update or delete it, but not in a manner that would identify you personally. Once the retention period expires, Personal Information shall be deleted. Therefore, the right to access, the right to erasure, the right to rectification, and the right to data portability cannot be enforced after the expiration of the retention period.
Transfer of information
Depending on your location, data transfers may involve transferring and storing your information in a country other than your own. However, this will not include countries outside the European Union and European Economic Area. If any such transfer takes place, you can find out more by checking the relevant sections of this Policy or inquire with us using the information provided in the contact section.
Data protection rights under the GDPR
If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (“EEA”), you have certain data protection rights and we aim to take reasonable steps to allow you to correct, amend, delete, or limit the use of your Personal Information. If you wish to be informed what Personal Information we hold about you and if you want it to be removed from our systems, please contact us. In certain circumstances, you have the following data protection rights:
(i) You have the right to withdraw consent where you have previously given your consent to the processing of your Personal Information. To the extent that the legal basis for our processing of your Personal Information is consent, you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. Withdrawal will not affect the lawfulness of processing before the withdrawal.
(ii) You have the right to learn if your Personal Information is being processed by us, obtain disclosure regarding certain aspects of the processing, and obtain a copy of your Personal Information undergoing processing.
(iii) You have the right to verify the accuracy of your information and ask for it to be updated or corrected. You also have the right to request us to complete the Personal Information you believe is incomplete.
(iv) You have the right to object to the processing of your information if the processing is carried out on a legal basis other than consent. Where Personal Information is processed for the public interest, in the exercise of an official authority vested in us, or for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by us, you may object to such processing by providing a ground related to your particular situation to justify the objection. You must know that, however, should your Personal Information be processed for direct marketing purposes, you can object to that processing at any time without providing any justification. To learn whether we are processing Personal Information for direct marketing purposes, you may refer to the relevant sections of this Policy.
(v) You have the right, under certain circumstances, to restrict the processing of your Personal Information. These circumstances include: the accuracy of your Personal Information is contested by you and we must verify its accuracy; the processing is unlawful, but you oppose the erasure of your Personal Information and request the restriction of its use instead; we no longer need your Personal Information for the purposes of processing, but you require it to establish, exercise or defend your legal claims; you have objected to processing pending the verification of whether our legitimate grounds override your legitimate grounds. Where processing has been restricted, such Personal Information will be marked accordingly and, with the exception of storage, will be processed only with your consent or for the establishment, to exercise or defense of legal claims, for the protection of the rights of another natural, or legal person or for reasons of important public interest.
(vi) You have the right, under certain circumstances, to obtain the erasure of your Personal Information from us. These circumstances include: the Personal Information is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which it was collected or otherwise processed; you withdraw consent to consent-based processing; you object to the processing under certain rules of applicable data protection law; the processing is for direct marketing purposes; and the personal data have been unlawfully processed. However, there are exclusions of the right to erasure such as where processing is necessary: for exercising the right of freedom of expression and information; for compliance with a legal obligation; or for the establishment, to exercise or defense of legal claims.
(vii) You have the right to receive your Personal Information that you have provided to us in a structured, commonly used, and machine-readable format and, if technically feasible, to have it transmitted to another controller without any hindrance from us, provided that such transmission does not adversely affect the rights and freedoms of others.
(viii) You have the right to complain to a data protection authority about our collection and use of your Personal Information. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint directly with us, you have the right to lodge a complaint with your local data protection authority. For more information, please contact your local data protection authority in the EEA. This provision is applicable provided that your Personal Information is processed by automated means and that the processing is based on your consent, on a contract which you are part of, or on pre-contractual obligations thereof.
California privacy rights
Consumers residing in California are afforded certain additional rights with respect to their Personal Information under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). If you are a California resident, this section applies to you.
As described in this Policy in the information collection section above, we have collected the categories of Personal Information listed below in the past twelve (12) months:
- Personal identifiers (such as email address, phone number, etc)
- Person’s characteristics (such as age, gender, etc)
- Biometric information (facial recognition, fingerprints, etc)
- Internet or other electronic network activity
- Purchase history
- Geolocation data
- Education records
In addition to the rights as explained in this Policy, California residents who provide Personal Information as defined in the statute to obtain Services for personal, family, or household use are entitled to request and obtain from us, once a calendar year, information about the categories and specific pieces of Personal Information we have collected and disclosed.
Furthermore, California residents have the right to request deletion of their Personal Information or opt-out of the sale of their Personal Information which may include selling, disclosing, or transferring Personal Information to another business or a third party for monetary or other valuable consideration. To do so, simply contact us. We will not discriminate against you if you exercise your rights under the CCPA.
How to exercise your rights
Any requests to exercise your rights can be directed to us through the contact details provided in this document. Please note that we may ask you to verify your identity before responding to such requests. Your request must provide sufficient information that allows us to verify that you are the person you are claiming to be or that you are the authorized representative of such person. If we receive your request from an authorized representative, we may request evidence that you have provided such an authorized representative with power of attorney or that the authorized representative otherwise has valid written authority to submit requests on your behalf.
You must include sufficient details to allow us to properly understand the request and respond to it. We cannot respond to your request or provide you with Personal Information unless we first verify your identity or authority to make such a request and confirm that the Personal Information relates to you.
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Do Not Track signals
Some browsers incorporate a Do Not Track feature that signals to websites you visit that you do not want to have your online activity tracked. Tracking is not the same as using or collecting information in connection with a website. For these purposes, tracking refers to collecting personally identifiable information from consumers who use or visit a website or online service as they move across different websites over time. How browsers communicate the Do Not Track signal is not yet uniform. As a result, the Website and Services are not yet set up to interpret or respond to Do Not Track signals communicated by your browser. Even so, as described in more detail throughout this Policy, we limit our use and collection of your Personal Information.
We may display online advertisements and we may share aggregated and non-identifying information about our customers that we or our advertisers collect through your use of the Website and Services. We do not share personally identifiable information about individual customers with advertisers. In some instances, we may use this aggregated and non-identifying information to deliver tailored advertisements to the intended audience.
We may also permit certain third-party companies to help us tailor advertising that we think may be of interest to Users and to collect and use other data about User activities on the Website. These companies may deliver ads that might place cookies and otherwise track User behavior.
Social media features
We offer electronic newsletters to which you may voluntarily subscribe at any time. We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential and will not disclose your email address to any third parties except as allowed in the information use and processing section or for the purposes of utilizing a third-party provider to send such emails. We will maintain the information sent via e-mail in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
In compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, all e-mails sent from us will clearly state who the e-mail is from and provide clear information on how to contact the sender. You may choose to stop receiving our newsletter or marketing emails by following the unsubscribe instructions included in these emails or by contacting us. However, you will continue to receive essential transactional emails.
We offer push notifications to which you may also voluntarily subscribe at any time. To make sure push notifications reach the correct devices, we use a third-party push notifications provider who relies on a device token unique to your device which is issued by the operating system of your device. While it is possible to access a list of device tokens, they will not reveal your identity, your unique device ID, or your contact information to us or our third-party push notifications provider. We will maintain the information sent via e-mail in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. If, at any time, you wish to stop receiving push notifications, simply adjust your device settings accordingly.
We may engage in affiliate marketing and have affiliate links present on the Website and Services for the purpose of being able to offer you related or additional products and services. If you click on an affiliate link, a cookie will be placed on your browser to track any sales for purposes of commissions.
Links to other resources
The Website and Services contain links to other resources that are not owned or controlled by us. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other resources or third parties. We encourage you to be aware when you leave the Website and Services and to read the privacy statements of each and every resource that may collect Personal Information.
We secure information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. We maintain reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards in an effort to protect against unauthorized access, use, modification, and disclosure of Personal Information in our control and custody. However, no data transmission over the Internet or wireless network can be guaranteed.
Therefore, while we strive to protect your Personal Information, you acknowledge that (i) there are security and privacy limitations of the Internet which are beyond our control; (ii) the security, integrity, and privacy of any and all information and data exchanged between you and the Website and Services cannot be guaranteed; and (iii) any such information and data may be viewed or tampered with in transit by a third party, despite best efforts.
As the security of Personal Information depends in part on the security of the device you use to communicate with us and the security you use to protect your credentials, please take appropriate measures to protect this information.
In the event we become aware that the security of the Website and Services has been compromised or Users’ Personal Information has been disclosed to unrelated third parties as a result of external activity, including, but not limited to, security attacks or fraud, we reserve the right to take reasonably appropriate measures, including, but not limited to, investigation and reporting, as well as notification to and cooperation with law enforcement authorities. In the event of a data breach, we will make reasonable efforts to notify affected individuals if we believe that there is a reasonable risk of harm to the User as a result of the breach or if notice is otherwise required by law. When we do, we will post a notice on the Website, send you an email.
Changes and amendments
We reserve the right to modify this Policy or its terms related to the Website and Services at any time at our discretion. When we do, we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page, post a notification on the main page of the Website, send you an email to notify you. We may also provide notice to you in other ways at our discretion, such as through the contact information you have provided.
An updated version of this Policy will be effective immediately upon the posting of the revised Policy unless otherwise specified. Your continued use of the Website and Services after the effective date of the revised Policy (or such other act specified at that time) will constitute your consent to those changes. However, we will not, without your consent, use your Personal Information in a manner materially different than what was stated at the time your Personal Information was collected.
Acceptance of this policy
You acknowledge that you have read this Policy and agree to all its terms and conditions. By accessing and using the Website and Services and submitting your information you agree to be bound by this Policy. If you do not agree to abide by the terms of this Policy, you are not authorized to access or use the Website and Services.
If you have any questions, concerns, or complaints regarding this Policy, the information we hold about you, or if you wish to exercise your rights, we encourage you to contact us using the details below:
We will attempt to resolve complaints and disputes and make every reasonable effort to honor your wish to exercise your rights as quickly as possible and in any event, within the timescales provided by applicable data protection laws.