Management Philosophy

The 47% number, in the US, over two decades, is from an University of Oxford Martin School Study:

The Economist article from January really digs into this, and some of those charts are below:

“A 2013 paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, of the University of Oxford, argued that jobs are at high risk of being automated in 47% of the occupational categories into which work is customarily sorted. That includes accountancy, legal work, technical writing and a lot of other white-collar occupations.”

I am not fearful. Just honest.  I always knew there was an onrushing wave of lost jobs within our economy…. much like robots took over manufacturing, there would be a new level of intelligence that takes over other menial tasks that aren’t about locomotion or standardization of repetitive procedures, etc.  Well… a little.  Algorithms. They want your job.  And frankly, they will take them whether you like it or not. I think it’s vital to think about, not in a fear mongering, panic about the future way….. but as we all slosh forward in the muck of time, where will you slip and fall? Where will you choose to walk?

Picking your job is more important than ever before.  Picking a profession has profound implications that no longer can be ignored, or toyed with. So many jobs are about to be lost.

As Michael Lewis notes, you do not need humans on the stock market floor. As the markets become transparent and high frequency trading is roped in, humans will be omitted. They’re unnecessary in the trading of stock, now.  In hospitality, some level of revenue manager positions are being lost to algorithms in hospitality: the price yielding can be automated from price shopper to channel manager now…. in a few years, rev managers will have to become data scientists to keep their jobs.  Toll takers on the Golden Gate Bridge lost their jobs to a license plate algorithm.

As mentioned: pilots, taxi and limo or auto drivers, accountants, parking meter attendants, air traffic control, police, etc.  It’s quite insane.


I am sad to say that my seafaring dreams are nearing a close, as piloting a yacht for the super rich will be lost to a machine.  Such is life. Maybe I can pilot the drone that is filming the yacht from above, for live streaming virtual reality 3rd person views on a heads up display while being in the first person. Okay did that sound to weird? I love futurism guys. So, in the future, possibly being an exceptional butler might be a wonderful job — until the robots become agile, and can speak with an accent of your choosing.  Boston Dynamics is working on the agility, and Google is adding that to what they can do. Spooky.


That being said, maybe find a distinguished career in etiquette and protocol, serving as a butler to the rich until C3-PO and R2 arrive.




When exactly will we lose our jobs to machines: When Exactly Will We Lose Our Jobs To Machines?


This is the most worrying of all:


We need to get on this.  Go into a profession that can’t be outsourced, and that continually needs human to human contact to resolve complex problems.  Or make cabinets from local wood and do it *really* well.  Maybe even hospitality & service will become a booming profession that returns to a kind of nobility. =)  I would simply love to see people fighting for positions at every type of hotel.


I admit I am also fascinated of when and where we fight progress, and push back against the coming tidal wave of change….. and those anecdotal moments are the best to pinpoint what’s happening.  There are hundreds of these, I am sure:


Pick any public or government figure that is oblivious to, or fighting against, transparency and accountability.  That’s just adorable to watch.  Then, we have more prosaic battlers of innovations, in business and business models:


Simply “The Music Industry” versus “The entire internet”.  TV and Movies have learned from this and fared slightly better.  So have other innovations. Amazon struggled against sales tax for a bit, while groups like AirBnB have started to even the playing field, by paying city TOT tax.  They are playing it smart, not even forcing regulators or hospitality to get very vocal or involved.




Plumber’s Unions fighting waterless urinals:



The list will go on and on.  If you know any of these other examples, I would just love to hear them!


 Some fun charts to think about!


chart of the day robots taking jobs
same chart:

Beyond the monstrous shift in business culture, as well as our hospitality industry moving from hospitality into a wall street money business (forcing a clamp down on labor, and the amount paid to find the good talent), and the lack of any form of protocol or etiquette regarding the insurgence of cell phones into the workplace, whether the employee or guest, the major issue is this:

This is the first time in history you have more than three or four generations trying to work together, with all their diverse generational values.

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, born between 1977 and 1997
  • Gen 2020, born after 1997
The above list is from the Harvard Business Review article:

There are 5 generations in the workplace, at this point.  You have the most profoundly conservative generations, and the most profoundly liberal. Many are disenchanted for various reasons. You also have hierarchical issues, in that incredibly young, inexperienced people are now managing silver generation people who might have been forced back into the work force due to the economy.

These generational issues will be at the root of almost any organizational health and structure.  I think hierarchy has broken down, in hospitality, generally, because the number of money people as owners, or investors, who all want a say… but when you have a diverse group of people who can’t decide on whether to have nametags, or a uniform, or whether tattoos can be visible, etc – all the conflict in these decisions stems from those generational differences.  Having so many in the work place at the same time makes for some delicate work in human resources.

Here’s some more reading, on why you need to monitor social in HR, and how important it is to note that social isn’t a young person’s game: 2014: The Year Social HR Matters

Also, scheduling.  That’s always awful. LOL

More, general info on generations. I took the below chart from here:

You should add these to your hotel website. You should claim your hotel Google Plus Business Listing, You should create and or merge your page with that listing. You should add all the snippets you can, and verify your website URL. All this makes you stronger in Google Plus, and all of Google Plus makes you stronger in organic search. And it doesn’t end there….


Do these!
If you know any other ways to make your site friendlier with Google Plus and google, please comment!


People keep trying to crack the data to show how organic search rankings are effected by Google Plus, and how Google informs it’s search picture carousel and ranking of hotels in the new travel vertical part of search.


Hotel people like data, but sometimes a lovely, simple metaphor, and a simple picture, is all you need.


METAPHOR:  By looking at the attached pics, I think it’s easy to visualize Google Plus as the largest and most beautiful ad, that you control, and it’s totally free, as long as you maintain the Google Plus page.  I am doing that, but to create further relevance, we should optimize the site for Google. Those codes will help.


Basically, Google Plus is becoming far more important.  If you look at the Inn at the Presidio search pic- I didn’t even search the right search terms, and 50% of the page of the returned organic search results shows our hotel Google Plus page, with pictures, recent posts, reviews, links, etc.  People now are clicking that because it’s so obvious, and G+ has a booking engine in the business page, now, too. I am working with our team to find out how to add our direct booking engine, vs letting OTA’s run amock.  It’s like a glorious, beautiful ad that takes all the attention off the organic search results (that we populate, anyway).




But, with that image, it obviously means that all attention is on the right.  What’s more, if you are NOT active online and claiming this G+ listing, you become irrelevent. I think this is the scariest message I want to relate.  This is wholly by accident, but there’s another hotel with “Presidio” and “Inn” in the title, and they barely appear anywhere, anymore.  We’ve taken ownership of their brand name with our activity, and add that to their absence of presence, wholly by accident…. we’re probably digging into them a bit.


To make Google happy, you need to do these little header snippets, because it further verifies your website, makes it more valuable and relevant, therefore ranking higher, in organic search.


But the way the Google Plus page is displaying is just astonishing.  Think about organic search, Google’s travel vertical, and what is going on here. Then laugh at this article:


(Facebook says wooing travel industry will be key focus in 2014? NINE YEARS TOO LATE? I know, I gotta get my Facebook dig in… but when hoteliers realize what’s happening in Google, do you think they will ever listen to FB, who has burned us and ignored us, for NINE YEARS?!?!)


With the 2nd pic, it’s even more sobering.  I searched for Tide Inn, and the “Inn Above Tide” is what pops up.  The hotel populates 50% of the page… and at the very bottom, tiny, it reads: “see results about the Tides Inn”. I know the search term isn’t precise, but to think that our hotel could crowd that much organic search real estate is astonishing.  I also know these are personalized and non global searches, reaffirming my own confirmation bias and selective perception, as we all learned about in Eli Pariser’s BRILLIANT “Filter Bubble: What the PErsonalized web is not telling you.” Watch a TED Talk here.  Still… with this awareness of how the internet delivers tailored results, the obviousness of the succinct and somewhat elegant metaphor of your plus page as an ad should not ring hollow.  These photos should help you get on the bandwagon, and stop focusing on silly posts that don’t do anything for your hotel.


Get with it guys!  Let’s not let independent and hard working boutique operators get left behind because we don’t have the R&D, corporate communication structure, or marketing dollars that everyone else has!  The value here is gold! =)




Think about that – our activity on Google Plus has pushed the actual hotel that is the name of my exact search, BELOW THE FOLD. That is very important. We now own their hotel name, because of our footprint online.  We didn’t mean to do that…. we are just active online.  It shocked us as much as anyone, and in time I am sure it will balance.  But being at the forefront of this is amazing… the edge this is giving hoteliers who focus on Plus is astounding.


Important stuff.

Hope this helps.

Anyone notice that Google Alerts are basically broken?

Thank goodness for Revinate!

If anyone has any info on great tools, let me know. Here’s a few:

Also, I posted a Quora Question…. about how to juggle reservations at a restaurant that is open to the public, while wanting to reserve enough space and not turn away in house guests that didn’t reserve:


Interesting hotel articles I have been compiling for a bit:

Austin is about to pop off
Google Hotel Finder 5 ranking factors: # & quality of reviews, pricing, presence on google plus, quality pictures, proximity to city center / search center.
Four Seasons is active on 393 social media channels, weekly. Positively insane.
NOISE is the biggest complaint in hotels, online review research finds…. we knew this, but data helps owners understand value of acoustic consultants, or added acoustic costs.
It’s obvious we have to keep up with any algorithm changes within Google. Here’s humingbird – a huge and new change that just happened, and done in a “for dummies” way:
WILD… 88% of brands have a mobile optimized site.
“data accuracy is dead” – how analytics misused hurts your hotel… GO VIKRAM!
Hotel Value will continue to grow 8.8% 2013, 6.9% 2014. Buy now sell 2015. =)
Tripadvisor connect might be a smart move for independents that distribute widely, across OTA’s etc- then, you should involve yourselves with it, immediately.


And here’s a 1 minute video of a guy we can hire soon:



Also… 2014 Budgeting Season is good fun!

substantial occ & revpar increase
highest occ since 1997 for 2014:
And voila.. creme de la creme…
PKF 2014 budget guidance.

What an interesting day. Most of you know I am into transparency, and feel there is a general lack of accountability by these same companies that are scorching the earth with a new transparency, and openness.  It is always curious to me that these companies that are changing the world to be less secretive and opaque are *precisely* just that.  But in my hawkwatching the ethical grey areas between social media as a communication tool, vs social media as a profitable business – I might have even crossed the line and suggested a wonderful hotel company, JDV, was part of this when they weren’t. Apologies to anyone that got caught up in that, and HATS OFF to Christa at JDV – a patient, professional, intelligent, and CLASSY woman, who took her time patiently educating me rather than giving me the “what fer” I likely deserved.  But it was collateral damage from friendly fighter in a great battle.

We, as technologists, hoteliers, and business people have a higher standard to live up to when it comes to ethics.  There are plenty of people that black hat or dip into the grey areas, but we don’t have that luxury as intellectual leaders and mentors to people learning the business.  We have to firmly entrench ourselves in crystal clear waters of ethical, transparent, accountable behavior.  Tripadvisor is getting into some of these grey areas in light of combatting those unethical people writing fake reviews.  They have been so beaten up in the press, it’s obvious they need to rigirously standardize and verify reviews.

Review Direct is their imperfect answer to that, and I think they should reconsider it.  When I have the option, our hotels would be absolutely nuts not to use it, whether it is a good or bad review that is published.  Some properties may not want to use it, as their product or services, condition, etc isn’t at that level yet.  But there are some serious ethical issues and liability concerns I have about the product.  So…


Dear Tripadvisor and Market Metrix (or the two people who read this blog, pass it along please):


Basically, here’s my concern:


Review Direct is basically Tripadvisor sanctioning “paying for more reviews”.  There’s *SO* many questions here: about marginalizing the equity of Market Metrix’s internal reviews, about unfair advantages within competitive markets that basically lead to gaming the popularity index, etc.


I know Tripadvisor needs to legitimize reviews, but this is the wrong way to go about it.  Beyond my concerns about any pilot hotels that were secretly allowed to pilot inside of markets, it seems an unfair advantage for hotels with marketing dollars vs the mom and pop that doesn’t have the money to pay for it.


Basically, a mom and pop hotel cannot post paper comment card guest reviews as a Tripadvisor review, but market metrix will automate that internal discussion onto a public forum, *FOR A FEE*.


Not only does that point to competitive disadvantage, but there’s some serious legal liabilities as well.  It’s been well documented that higher Tripadvisor popularity rating equates to higher revenue, so couldn’t someone sue, saying that it is an uneven playing field, anti-competitive, etc? There could be monetary damages.  For our properties that remain at #1, we know it is worth $100K’s in revenue.  You may have bitten your own rear with all the obvious data collected that points to ranking and revenue.  If what determines popularity index is amount of reviews, how recent, and rating, aren’t you just gaming your own algorithm by finding a back door that increases number of reviews, *for a fee*?


It feels like a legal liability to a number of the parties involved.  I just don’t like it because I like a free market…. this should be rolled out to everyone, equally, immediately, at no price.  All hotel owners should be able to post verified comments and reviews… not just a few at a price.  I hate to think that social media or hospitality could fall victim to the unethical business practices on Wall Street or Capital Steps – it’s not how hard you work, how ethically you manage – it’s who you know and who you bribe.


But from a protectionist aspect, I would imagine there are some legal liabilities here that should be addressed before you have some ambulance chaser with dollar signs in their eyes.  There are some CRAZY unethical and penny pinching people in every business, and I would hate to see anyone sidelined by our “Sue Everybody” culture.  That’s not me…. you won’t find me near a lawyer. lol  Oh wait, all my friends. =)  But if Tripadvisor’s popularity index can be equated to revenue, then paying to increase your popularity seems very, *VERY* much a grey area.


Just my thoughts. I hate rabble rousing, but it’s something to consider for the benefit of both of your companies.  I know it’s a fast moving moment in human history, and missteps are brutal.  But I really don’t think you have considered this part of it.


Thanks for listening.

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