Article | July 18, 2023
Business travel is a huge expense for many companies. Did you know that the average cost of a business trip totals $1,286?
Lodging accounts for the majority of that figure, while meals, flights and car rentals make up the rest.
But it’s not all bad news. For every dollar spent on business travel, companies see a $2.90 increase in profit and a $9.50 increase in revenue. So, business travel is at least well worth the investment.
Nevertheless, wouldn’t it be great if you could make that same amount of profit and revenue with a smaller business travel spend?
That idea isn’t as crazy as you might think. Many companies rely on an unmanaged business travel system. They waste time, effort and money by manually organizing their work trips.
By choosing a corporate lodging solution for all of your hotel bookings, you automate a lot of the process, achieving cheaper and more efficient business travel as a result.
So how exactly does a corporate lodging solution save companies time, effort and ultimately, money? Let’s dive into the details
Article | July 4, 2023
It would be an understatement to say that the recent pandemic is ushering in a seismic shift for the travel trade, which suffered a collective gut punch as COVID-19 unrelentingly raged across the globe. New health and safety protocols, crisis management plans and other operational touchpoints are being overhauled to help those in—and dependent upon—the travel industry better pivot and adapt to the unforeseen. For travelers, priorities and sensibilities have also evolved on multiple fronts. For one, various reports extrapolate how privacy has become the new luxury.
In fact, a “Covid Travel Outlook 2021” travel sentiment survey by Indagare found that travelers “feel more comfortable renting a home or private villa for added privacy” and that “more than half of those surveyed said that they are 54 percent more likely to rent a home than they were prior to coronavirus, preferring to ‘Stay at homes not hotels,’ for added security and peace of mind.” Other reports tout the key advantages of private luxury villa accommodations, with privacy and exclusive use entrenched among them.
Amid the surge in category popularity, travelers must also consider ways to aptly vet luxe private villa options amid a burgeoning field. According to an Indagare.com story outlining the benefits of “going private,” proximity is one overarching booking factor noting that “for some travelers, a house close to town or affiliated with a nearby resort or hotel provides the perfect combination of exclusivity and access (to restaurants, coffee shops, fitness classes, etc.). Others prefer staying someplace further removed, opting for a home with fewer amenities or a lavish villa with every convenience under the sun.”
The article also points out another critical aspect that, all too often, is taken for granted: availability. The story cites the reality that “accommodations can fill up months or even a year in advance,” which some more spontaneous wanderers might not expect. Relative to post-pandemic issues, the story further cautions that “this year, with exclusivity at an unprecedented premium and fewer destinations open to international arrivals, early planning is crucial. One reason: Many travelers are opting for longer stays, now that remote work and Zoom classes are ubiquitous, meaning there’s less turnover. For these extended trips—workcations or staycations—having strong WiFi, reliable phone service and separate areas for being productive are key factors when choosing the right rental.”
With this and other public discourse helping spur private villa reservations, I sought to connect with one purveyor in the space that is making due strides: Destinations in Paradise. This boutique agency offers a suite of architectural five-star private villas in four locales: The Big Island and Kauai, Hawaii as well as Los Cabos, Mexico and Mendocino, California. Having personally experienced this company’s brand of haute hospitality on the Big Island, I sought to connect with the founders—David Cohen and Howard Appel—for some clarity on how they’ve apparently adapted so well in the post-pandemic era. Here’s what they had to say.
MK: So, first, let’s talk about the properties, themselves, and also your company at large. What sets Destinations in Paradise apart from other luxury home and private villa purveyors in the various regions where you operate?
Cohen: It's essentially our caliber of white glove service, which is highly personalized and with the very best amenities that can be provided. The company was started because we wanted to have some fun, as Howard and I had been retired a while. We wanted to give people, especially those desiring privacy and security, the kind of high-caliber experience that we would expect. When someone arrives at one of our homes, they're greeted and welcomed with enthusiasm and everything to elevate the experience is there. This includes the best linens, a house full of flowers and arrival gifts. In Mendocino, we leave fresh-baked goods and wine. In Mexico, our guests are greeted with cold towels and margaritas. Plus, any special requests are accommodated. Even when guests depart, we give them a thank you gift for having booked a stay with us. Overall, it’s a very personalized experience. It’s akin to having a member of the family come and stay. You get up early in the morning, make them breakfast and generally make them feel at home … that this is their home for the duration of the visit. The difference is that it's a five-star experience at every touch point.
Appel: We, ourselves, like to travel in luxury and, as we started acquiring the properties, we realized that this is a great opportunity to offer to other people the same kind of treatment we enjoy. It's the way we all would love to be treated. And we think we offer it differently and more special than others. The business sort of just fell into place as bookings escalated and we started to acquire additional properties.
MK: In the luxury travel space, much is said about the importance of personal touches to elevate the experience. So, can you provide an example of things you all do in this regard to go over-and-above for high-end luxury travelers?
Cohen: Here's one interesting example about the Mexican property, for example: It's two acres of the most gorgeous landscaping that you've ever seen. Even though it's in the middle of a desert, we are desalinating seawater using solar power, so the yards and the landscaping and the flowers are all very lush, but still desert-type plants. The interesting thing is that Howard and I have worked together for close to 40 years and, until we actually got into this business, I had no idea that he had this artistic flair. The landscaping at all of the houses is beyond spectacular. My own personal favorite is the Mendocino home, which has the equivalent of an English country garden. You can just go and sit in there and read a book, sitting in the fresh air with beautiful butterflies and bees buzzing around. The Hawaiian property is the same; it’s just gorgeous, perfect Hawaii.
Appel: It's important to note that these homes are indoor-outdoor homes. We want to make sure we carry the luxury on both sides. If you actually do a search of our home in Cabo on Google Earth, you can easily spot it because it's the only significant patch of green anywhere along the east scape. This kind of lush, natural beauty is just one of the many ways that we cater to our guests relative to the luxurious aspects both inside and outside of the homes.
MK: You touched on some of it already, but what are some other special amenities and activities that you offer in, and around, the homes that are available to guests?
Appel: One key aspect is that each home comes with a concierge service. Our guests can partake in any activity in the local surroundings. We try to offer the opportunities within the local community and try to personalize that. In Mexico, it might be premiere deep-sea fishing, surfing and paddle boarding. In Mendocino, we're about 30-minutes from Anderson Valley, so we can arrange for private wine tours. Especially during the recent pandemic, to help our guests have fun but also avoid big crowds was important to us. Of course, the homes in Hawaii and Mexico have beautiful pools, swim-up bars and each property has its own set of unique amenities on-site a like solar-lighted tennis court. In fact, when we travel to Mexico—in the seven or eight times we've been there—I think we've left the property twice. There's no reason to go elsewhere because everything is there with you. Whatever you want to do, whatever the guests would like, we can make it happen.
MK: Speaking of the pandemic, obviously the past year and a half has been tough for the travel industry, so how have the recent health concerns impacted your business with respect to private villa versus hotel, resort or other kinds of accommodations? And, also, the guest experience while actually visiting a property?
Appel: We took COVID very seriously from the beginning and, yes, 2020 was a hard year for us. We lost almost all of our business, but we used that down time as an opportunity to continue to enhance the homes. Even now, when guests come to one of our properties, they're greeted in a manner that best assures their health and safety. We have our house managers maintain their distance and use masks, of course. But, during the guests’ stay, we also make sure we work around their calendars to not intrude on their stay there. We take it very seriously. And, in fact, when a guest leaves, we have a minimum 48 hours between guests so we can properly clean and sanitize the home for the next guest.
MK: Many people often associate private villa experiences more with leisure travel versus business. But I know Destinations in Paradise properties are also utilized in business—especially when there are privacy, exclusivity and health-related preferences. Plus, of course, the properties are also perfectly suited for corporate events, retreats and even utilized as incentives and rewards for employees and business partners. So, tell us about these kinds of corporate benefits.
Cohen: Even though the houses are focused on providing a safe, comfortable environment for families and extended small events, we do also host small, medium and large-scale corporate events at the houses. Whether it's a two-person law firm figuring out how they're going to run their businesses remotely, to a large distillery that wants to try and get their name out for a new product for, say, tequila in Mexico, our homes are an apt venue. Of course, we host weddings and social media is prompting bookings from people like rappers who want a place to chill out and rethink what their next shows or postings are going to be. And we've hosted philanthropic events like releasing baby turtles in the beaches of Mexico to address species endangerment. For that, a university in Mexico held a business meeting at our property, and as a gift we paid and supported their release of 600 hatchlings. Howard has also had some dealings with movie studios that are interested in hosting either corporate get togethers and business strategy meetings. And, in at least two instances that I can recall, they’ve considered using the homes as part of a movie production. I should also mention that each of the homes have the ability to cater for large and small groups. If we bring chefs in, that event never ever needs to leave the property. The house in Mexico, for instance, has two kitchens that are fully capable of catering to as many people as the property can accommodate, which is substantial, but each of the homes have the ability to cater internally and not rely on outside services.
Appel: All the homes offer businesses a unique opportunity to host meetings and events, from the very large as in Mexico, to even Mendocino for smaller gatherings. They’re all unique and offer the privacy, security and comfort that private villa venues offer—all, of course, with our discerning five-star touch.
Article | June 19, 2023
Elevate your expertise with these must-read hospitality management books offering a comprehensive guide to enhance your skills, providing industry trends-related insights and live cases & examples.
In the constantly evolving hospitality industry, professionals must stay abreast of the latest trends and insights. Whether you are an industry veteran, an aspiring hospitality worker, or a student pursuing a degree in hospitality management, the right books can provide you with valuable knowledge and direction. The growth of the hospitality industry on a global scale has led to the emergence of a wide range of exceptional books that cover various topics. These include digital marketing strategy, e-commerce tourism, personal experiences, practical advice, and in-depth industry analysis. This curated selection of ten top books on hospitality management offers valuable insights into the industry, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve and enhance your expertise in the field.
1. Unreasonable Hospitality
Author Name: Will Guidara
For professionals in the hospitality and tourism sector looking to advance their knowledge of hospitality management, the book Unreasonable Hospitality: The Extraordinary Power of Giving People More Than They Expect is a must-read. One of the books on hospitality management written by Will Guidara, a former co-owner of the famous eatery Eleven Madison Park, it imparts essential lessons and insights from his journey to turn the struggling business into the world's best restaurant. Guidara emphasizes the transformative power of going above and beyond anticipation through extreme alterations, a strong collaboration between the kitchen and dining room, and remarkable, personalized kindness experiences. This national bestseller book encourages readers to discover the wonder in their work and produce incredible experiences for others with its captivating anecdotes and industry experts' wisdom.
2. Be Our Guest: Revised and Updated Edition
Author Name: Theodore B. Kinni
Be Our Guest: Revised and Updated Edition: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (The Disney Institute Leadership Series) is one of the essential hospitality management books for industry professionals seeking to improve their customer service skills. Based on the renowned Disney methodology, this book emphasizes exceeding customer expectations beyond mere satisfaction. The book reveals exceptional business strategies that underpin the enchantment of quality service, using insights not typically found in conventional workplaces. Whether one works in hotels, restaurants, or any other hospitality-related industry, reading this book on hospitality management will help envision new opportunities and provide techniques for exceptional customer experiences. In addition, Kinni has published twenty books on topics covering sales, marketing and leadership, targeting hospitality management as the focused audience.
3. First Class Travel on a Budget: How to Hack Your Credit Cards to Book Incredible Trips for Less
Author Name: Zachary Abel
Discover the secrets for five-star vacation on a specific back pocket budget with "First Class Travel on a Budget: How to Hack Your Credit Cards to Book Incredible Trips for Less." In this insightful guide, Zachary Burr Abel shares his expertise in navigating airline loyalty programs, credit card promotions, and hidden travel fees. With actionable advice and humorous anecdotes, reading this hospitality and tourism management book will help professionals learn how to fly first class, find deals on rental cars and hotels, earn airline points, and maximize credit card rewards. This invaluable resource is a must-read for anyone in the hospitality industry looking to elevate their expertise in managing travel and providing exceptional guest experiences.
4. Hospitality Management People Skills and Manners On and Off the Job
Author Name: Lyn Pont PhD
For professionals seeking to start their career or improve their career in hospitality, one of the must-reads hotel management books by Pont is Hospitality Management: People Skills and Manners On and Off the Job. This hospitality book covers various topics, including service, relationships, integrity, communication, personal image, and creativity. Focusing on soft skills and the cultural expectations of guests, Pont provides practical advice and industry insights to help readers excel in their careers. Whether you're a seasoned executive or new to the industry, this treasure trove of information will equip you with the necessary tools to deliver exceptional customer care, represent your organization with professionalism and confidence as well as help you to stand out in the competitive hospitality industry.
5. Strategic Management for Tourism, Hospitality and Events
Author Name: Nigel G. Evans
Strategic Management for Tourism, Hospitality and Events is a comprehensive guide designed to equip students in the hospitality industry with essential strategic management principles. This exceptional book bridges the gap between theory and practical through industry-based case studies and examples, offering a deeper understanding of strategic management in the context of tourism, hospitality, and events. The third edition of this book features updated international case studies covering SMEs and large-scale businesses integrated throughout to show the various applications of strategic management theory, big data, artificial intelligence, sustainability, and innovation. With accessible language and helpful features, this resource is a valuable tool for students seeking to enhance their knowledge and excel in the dynamic field of tourism, hospitality, and events management.
6. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
Author Name: Danny Meyer
One of the bestselling hospitality and tourism management books, Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, is a book by Danny Meyer, an acclaimed restaurateur behind successful ventures like Union Square Cafe and Shake Shack. Meyer shares his invaluable insights on developing a dynamic philosophy called Enlightened Hospitality, which focuses on fostering strong relationships within the organization and delivering exceptional customer satisfaction. It is one of the influential hospitality management books that draws from real-life experiences and teachings applicable to anyone in the hospitality industry or any business sector. This motivational work, considered a landmark in the field, provides valuable lessons for managers, executives, and staff, enhancing their effectiveness and deepening their appreciation for achieving excellence in their work to improve hospitality experience.
7. Operations Management in the Hospitality Industry
Editor Name: Peter Szende, Alec N. Dalton (Editor), Michelle (Myongjee) Yoo
To improve operations and enhance hospitality management expertise, the book titled ‘Operations Management in the Hospitality Industry’ is an essential resource for the tourism and hospitality experts. This book covers various topics crucial to operational success in restaurants, resorts, and other hospitality establishments, as well as equips readers with fundamental techniques and tools for analyzing and improving operational capabilities. With its comprehensive approach, incorporating key theories, frameworks, and industry examples, the book offers valuable knowledge for students preparing for their careers and working professionals.
8. Event Management for the Tourism and Hospitality
Author Name: Bonita M. Kolb
If you are looking for a comprehensive guide, Event Management for the Tourism and Hospitality Industries is a book designed to equip readers and practitioners in the hospitality industry with the essential knowledge and skills for planning, managing, and evaluating events. This book covers various topics, including visitor segmentation, budgeting, promotion, and post-event assessment, while addressing contemporary issues such as environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, technology, and community engagement. Through international case studies, readers will gain real-world insights and learn how to connect events with local heritage and culture, delivering personalized experiences to visitors. It is one of the best hospitality management books that includes a practical approach and detailed event plan outline.
9. Tourism Management
Author Name: Stephen J. Page
One of the best books for hospitality management and tourism by Stephen Page, Tourism Management provides a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of tourism. Currently in the 6th edition the book offers a global perspective on the industry, and will not only benefit students pursuing a degree, diploma, or simply studying the subject, but it will also help professionals in the tourism industry. This book includes content on contemporary issues affecting businesses, enhanced sustainable development strategies to overcome climate change challenges, and a section with different perspectives from China and South America on using taxation to limit travel air behaviour. Furthermore, it combines textual content and features case studies with diagrams, and images, offering valuable insights into the evolving landscape of tourism management.
10. Hospitality Management: A Brief Introduction
Author Name: Roy C Wood
An easy-to-operate introduction for students of hotel and hospitality management and hospitality studies, Hospitality Management: A Brief Introduction offers a concise and comprehensive overview of the hospitality industry, making it an essential read for students new to the industry. Authored by Roy Wood, an expert in academia and practice, this book covers key areas such as employee relations, accommodation and food management, marketing and sales, industry strategy, management roles, education, and future trends. By drawing on a range of established research and incorporating the perspective of the hospitality consumer, Wood provides readers with a well-rounded understanding of the industry's realities and challenges. This book is a valuable resource for anyone studying or working in hospitality management.
The hospitality industry is transforming rapidly, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer expectations, and emerging trends. As we look to the future, hospitality professionals must proactively stay ahead of the curve and elevate their expertise. These hospitality industry books empower readers to navigate the evolving landscape, embracing innovative practices and sustainability and delivering exceptional guest experiences. By advancing their knowledge and embracing essential insights and strategies, hospitality professionals can position themselves for success in the dynamic world of hospitality management operations.
Article | September 10, 2020
As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, tourism-dependent regions are suffering exponentially. The continent of Africa is one glaring example, with South Africa propelled into the global top 10 for coronavirus infections, reportedly now surpassing the United Kingdom in cases. For its part, the tourism and industrial sectors in North Africa will likely be hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the African Development Bank’s 2020 edition North Africa Economic Outlook report.
Even as Africa contends with pandemic concerns, there are still throngs of travelers who are keen to visit the region in the near future. Many are doing diligence to discern if, when and how to go about scheduling a trip to this tourism hotspot.
To help spotlight some top-line issues, I turned to entrepreneur and philanthropist Jay Cameron, Executive Director of Maximum Impact Travel. As one of the leading global experts on Africa travel and commerce, Cameron’s insights are invaluable as travelers deal with this tumultuous situation, helping ensure they plan smartly in the post-pandemic era.
MK: What are the key do’s and don’ts when traveling to Africa amid COVID-19?
JC: Surprisingly, some African countries have escaped the devastating impacts COVID-19 has caused globally. While other countries around the world have experienced often overwhelming consequences as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, much of Africa appears to have been spared. Even so, the statistics do not suggest the citizens of the countries of Africa have not felt its impact. The fact is, many countries in Africa are seeing regular increases in the numbers of those infected by the novel coronavirus, while much of the world is experiencing a decline in infections.
Around the world, experts warn outbreaks of COVID-19 in Africa may continue, resulting in a higher rate of deaths due to the limited local health services available. With coronavirus worries come fears of potential famine due to the virus threat, in combination with existing drought conditions and ongoing conflicts.
With this in mind, should you intend to travel to the continent now, or post-COVID-19, you should be prepared. Some good preparedness ideas include researching virus statistics in the country you wish to visit that, for one, you can review at AfricaNews.com. It is also advisable to learn if said country has any travel restrictions, which is information that is accessible online via at CDC.gov. Of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity before and during your visit is also key.
MK: Should travelers be ready to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, either before departing or upon arrival?
JC: African countries are now opening for foreign travelers, but this does not indicate the belief that they have won the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Most African countries are still battling with COVID-19 outbreaks, as the number of infected cases continues to rise daily in nearly every African country. To this end, stringent efforts are in place to ensure individuals arriving on the continent and entering various countries are free of the virus.
With this in mind, you should be prepared to present proof of negative COVID-19 status before entering the country to which you are traveling. This measure is being implemented around the globe and the countries of Africa are no exception.
In the same vein, departing any African country will require the same proof of negative COVID-19 status. Both mandates are in place to protect your fellow travelers on the flight as well as the residents of the country to which you are traveling. As things ebb and flow, you can check the status of this mandate online at AfricaTravelInc.com.
MK: What would you suggest about localized regulations?
JC: Travelers must research the localized regulations and requirements with respect to hotel and resorts, airports, ground transportation, public spaces and such for both their own country and their destination.. It is necessary that you understand departure rules from your country of origin, and even more important that you understand your destination country’s prevailing laws for foreign travelers regarding COVID-19. Some African countries like Tanzania and Zambia, for example, have mandated the use of face masks in public places with punishment for the contravention of such laws. Some hotels and resorts also have taken stringent measures and issued their own strict requirements for travelers arriving from foreign countries. For example, at this time, hotel bars in Rwanda are closed but the hotels themselves remain open.
Researching and understanding these laws before traveling enables you to stay safe during your visit and steer clear of legal issues with the local authorities. A helpful resource for staying up-to-date on laws that might affect travel to Africa can be found at Travel.State.gov.
MK: What about the airlines, specifically?
JC: Investigate the requirements for your airline as each carrier has varied responses to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, most airlines have adopted measures to keep their passengers and their staff safe. While some airlines like Delta require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight, others provide testing before your flight and attach the result to your ticket. Therefore, to ensure you are able to fly when scheduled, it is your responsibility to know the requirements of your airline before the flight to avoid any issues. A good resource for this is Go2Africa.com.
MK: Should tourists be prepared for temperature screenings and COVID-19 tests upon arrival and departure?
JC: As pointed out earlier, many African countries are still battling the pandemic, so to keep the residents of their countries safe post-COVID-19, airports have been mandated to request test results or test passengers on-site. Therefore, when traveling, you should be prepared for a coronavirus test upon arrival or departure from any African country. If you refuse to allow this, you will not be able to fly.
MK: What about a potential 14-day quarantine upon arrival—is that only for travelers who show signs of COVID-19?
JC: Apart from testing, be prepared for a 14-day quarantine if you show signs of the virus or test positive during a test given at the airport. African countries are determined to ensure the pandemic is eliminated completely from their countries. If you show symptoms of the virus upon your arrival in any country in Africa, you will likely be quarantined for 14 days. This can even entail having to stay in the country instead of returning to the U.S.
MK: Would you say that travel insurance is an imperative?
JC: Make sure your travel insurance company offers COVID-19 coverage and arrange for COVID-19 travel insurance requirements from airlines. You will want to be insured by your travel insurance company for COVID-19 coverage before traveling to any African country. Check with your travel insurance company to ensure COVID-19 is covered under their insurance policy, in the event you need to change your travel plans due to the pandemic. Such coverage policy can protect you by covering expenses related to unexpected changes and/or medical care in the event of illness.
MK: With any trip, but especially now, there can be unforeseen circumstances. Any insights on that front?
JC: DO NOT travel without extra funds and the ability to extend your trip in the event of a quarantine. With the points mentioned above, there is a great likelihood you will be required to spend more time and money in the country to which you are traveling if your COVID-19 test is positive. As a result, it is advisable to travel only if you are prepared with time and financial contingency plans. However, African countries are not barring U.S. travelers at the same rate as other countries, meaning you can potentially realize your dream safari vacation or other adventure across the continent’s beaches, jungles and deserts.
As the world contends with COVID-19 issues, African countries will endeavor to stay open for tourism, business and much more. Preparing for, and abiding by, the region’s travel requirements will make your journey and overall stay in the country more enjoyable and safer for all.