Useful Links Page

I like to keep these listed or for easy access 

So I thought to do this for my own website so that anyone visiting can also pick these up and review them. They are not all right ‘in the moment’ – I keep some of them as they stand the test of time – or nothing new has come along since.

You can see Links to events, Hitech Hotels articles, trends in hotel guest’s upgrade habits and Digital Check-ins
If you have any interesting articles or blogs, you think I should include – then let me know via this website contact page or via email or via Twitter on @CarlWel

You can see these links on
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Big Data and Analysis in Hospitality

Why do the Online Travel agents (OTA’s) have such a foothold on the Hotel Industry without ever owning a property or Brand? The answer is because they saw the internet and booking trends coming before the Industry did. They made their booking engines easy and accessible. They adapted their Technology to what their users were doing. They became across most of them – the Amazon shopping experience for the Hotel room booking industry.

Yes –  I know they spend a huge amount on advertising – but Expedia themselves were quoted a few years ago as spending circa US $650 million just on their technology – just on the underlying system. How large a hotel group do we have to get to in order to reach that level of IT Spend on Software alone?

But underlying all this is two things I believe:
1.    An understanding of human behaviour – on the web – based on all the bookings
2.    Big data analysis of the trends and what is going on

Hotels are appalling at this. Hotel websites started off purely as large Brochure sites. The booking was more or less assumed as the end product without realising there was an easier choice.

Some OTA’s are very niche – Hotel Tonight only exists as an App – not even as a Website and addresses a particular kind of booking or traveller. Hotels own websites very rarely high-light or have something themselves highlighted for ‘just tonight’.

The Big Data piece at the back of all this is interesting. Hospitality is all so very busy ‘operating’ that it does not take the time to look at what is probably one of their most a valuable assets or commodities. Their own in-house data.
As far back as the year 2000 I was working in a hotel group of 120+ hotels. I downloaded a huge amount of data each month – nearly all via the accounting system. Eventually we started putting stuff in that was not exactly Accounting Info (staff data, Guest Questionnaire data) as this was the easiest medium to get the data into the OLAP Database (On Line Analytical Processer). It was then available to access directly using Excel as the ‘medium’.

I could then ‘slice and dice’ this data by geographical, brand, size or type. It also meant the information was always readily accessible in operations or Board meetings so that when the inevitable ‘operator question’ designed to confuse the issue came up – it could be answered right there and then.

An insight we gained at the time was that the hotels in the north and Scotland were very much more ‘leisure based’. We had a Leisure specific brochure which was then designed more for the North and advertising aimed at these areas. Commercial business dominated the South and South East. We were then able to focus our Sales team’s efforts in this area.  Other benefits including easy presented data with Graphs. It is amazing how the trend jumps of the page when you present it as a graph. It even helps with Fraud in the costs area.

So let’s get at that data hidden in the cupboard or consigned to the attic.

Let’s bring it out into the daylight and examine it. No operator can know it all and it is always entertaining to confuse management with the facts!

What’s it like to completely re-brand?

For a mere Finance professional at the time – although I had been Chief executive of BAHA for some five years at that point – this was a real learning experience.

Going through an initial decision to change a name and what to took a fair amount of time for a voluntary organisation.

Finding and choosing the name was interesting in itself. Getting the website URLs was interesting – and not all at once either.

We had three quotes for the project of creating a brand new name and Brand and the website.

We had to assess the quotations and try and compare ‘Apples with Apples’ – some reviews were face-to-face some were phone calls some were Skype calls.

Having a really focused Marketing lead project manager was a real benefit and resource at the time.

This person should be taking the essential brief and describing it back to you – and then using this to obtain the appropriate quotations back.

 Learning points I would single out are:
1.    Do not believe you can do it all yourself
2.    The project manager being ‘external’ to the ‘usual team’ is a huge benefit. (Business has to go on as usual in the company after all…)

We then chose our supplier for the project – Unstuck Design in Salisbury (who designed this simple website also). The others were in Cardiff and Glasgow. I should say that having a company that is physically accessible really does help. Going to meetings – easily – and looking people in the eye and understanding clearly what they are saying is a huge benefit. You can examine angles and concepts much easier than you ever will ‘on-line’ or in a conference call. I am saying this is a vital component – try and use a local accessible supplier or set to choose from.
We were provided with a set of 5 main logos and 12-13 variations on each of these. This was interesting and exciting. In our case we did use a Members and Sponsors Committee to help go through the process. A stake-holders’ committee if you like.

Having agreed the two main logos there also variations for use in various areas (colour, black and white, collateral, PDFs, website)

The web-site creation was also fascinating. Seeing the first drafts of the first landing page(s) was actually quite emotional at the time. Building the various levels and menu items – and understanding them was a challenge.  Starting smaller and building more later is always a good plan.

We went with our ‘Responsive sites’ later (where the website adapts for a mobile phone or tablet). I would really recommend going with this from the beginning.

Your designer and builder are also having to work together here. This was something I had not fully understood until this project. I thought web-site builders just built the website without realising you have actually have to have the design (and logos) first and then integrate them.

At all times you will need someone who knows what you are trying to do, someone who understands Marketing AND Web and a supplier who can describe and illustrate what they are thinking.

So all-in-all – what I am saying is – the people and relationships are vital. It is not just about coding a website.

What will 2016 be like?

So I thought I may as well lay out my views at least and see if anyone agrees… or not?

Wi- fi will get better in Hotels – customers will demand it. Those without it will start to lose business. The technology will get better to deliver a better service. Customers bringing their own devices with their own programmes will continue to increase. A friend of mine recently in a stay at hospital complained because a Football game on Sky brought the Hospital Wi-Fi down because so many were watching it on their own devices. Some-one else said to me “It’s all about the bandwidth and connectivity on property allowing guests with own devices to connect to services that are in ‘the cloud’ and make their experience seamless.” Hotel Operators and management will more readily start to realise that Wi-Fi is a Utility like water and gas.

The Internet of things is coming to Hotels – or as HOSPA like to call it – The Internet of Hotel Things. Wearable Technology will be part of this. More in 2017 though. This year the seamless experience with the App and wearable to open doors and have personal experience will increase – assuming the Wi-Fi can handle it. This will start more with the big brands (Marriott etc.) and new upmarket hotels.

More so with Digital payments systems such as Flypay and Apple Pay as they become the norm – more so in Retail F&B outlets but Hotels will have to get on board quickly.

The USALI (Uniform System) will start to take hold as those early adopters go from planning to implementing and reporting – and the benchmarking reports are changed. The Accounting systems with greatest flexibility – which tends to mean ‘in-the-cloud’ – will become more prevalent and take the lead. USALI straight out of the box so-to-speak will become a real advantage.  The USALI will start to be updated on a more regular basis in future…it will become more ‘electronically available’ – because it has to.

Big Data – and/or Predictive Analytics will become more widely used as Hospitality companies begin to understand what they can get out of this area. It is of course where the OTA’s have such a big advantage as they actually use it and respond to customer enquiries and searches – and finally give them what they want.  Cloud based systems with the data already there and accessible will make this more affordable and understandable. “Predictive analytics allows companies to profile customers, and can be used to tailor the online experience to individual customer behaviours”
Marketing – or Digital Marketing – and Technology will become more and more connected or integrated in Hospitality – and revenue Management will have to either lead or be part of this. A department called something like ‘Commercial’ – which exists in some large companies in the US already – will start to emerge with Marketing and Revenue Management combined within it. Sales may still be separate. More Digital Marketing Systems linked to Revenue Management will become available.

Learning will become more Digital. More Digitally native. More bite-size. More video and animation based.  Accounting training – while remaining more traditional per its Professional qualifications will develop this way also.  Revenue Management will have to become more ‘qualification’ based – so that the industry can assess what a Revenue Manager has achieved so far.  There has to be some kind of way to assess the level of a prospective candidate for a Revenue Management role after all this is quite a technical job.

Have a great 2016. Do let me know your views and predictions for 2016?

New Role

Yes – moving on after eleven Years with BAHA and then HOSPA (

Amongst many other areas listed in the HOSPA announcement – we rebranded and re-launched BAHA as HOSPA in September 2011. This of course was a really interesting experience (Experience being what you get while you are looking for something else) for someone who had spent most of their career in a pre-dominantly Finance and Analytical role. My thoughts on this experience will be the subject of another article or news item.

I must say that although I will not be going far – when you reflect on what you might miss most it always come down to the people and the events. We have driven HOSPACE (HOSPA’s Conference and Exhibition) to a major industry event (see through the efforts of a few dedicated HOSPA members, helpers and supporters. (you know who you are ☺)

In any Association – even though there may be a core executive working team – large or small – it is the voluntary resource that adds to it all and makes it worthwhile. I have been in Industry while volunteering my time – I used to be part of the organising committee for the BAHA Annual Dinner Dance and Awards Lunch before becoming Chief Executive in 2005 – so I recognise the effort and commitment that this takes. The over-riding drive to do this is always that of ‘putting something back in”. Sometimes life gets busy and it can become difficult – but it is always worth while ☺

I look forward to seeing everyone at Hotelympia (  in my last days at HOSPA and thereafter with HFTP.

You can see two of the announcements here – one via HOSPA and the other via HFTP
UK version:
US version:
Also see and

Do let me know if you thinking of visiting HITEC in New Orleans in June ☺