When some of automaker Toyota’s top technicians check into the Hilton The Foundry hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, they’ll receive special vests that can block cellphone signals — a feature many people would love. have in these times always connected.
The ‘Turbo Puff’ jacket benefit is just one part of the hotel’s new approach to creating bespoke corporate packages, with crossover with clothing brand The Arrivals and other brands , helping the property develop new business.
“The packages are organized internally, and they are talking points that we present to our customers before they even sign a contract with us,” said sales manager Nicole Stewart. “I think it gives us a bit more leverage over our competitors.”
The foundry is also growing its retirement business through its health and wellness offering, and Stewart notes that all sectors, especially manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, are starting to make group bookings.
The hotel, which is a member of Hilton’s Curio Collection, is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the United States, so well positioned to take advantage of the wellness tourism trend as more and more people seek refuge in the nature to have a chance to disconnect. While some hosting providers go so far as to confiscate cell phones, The Foundry’s latest digital detox packages let customers choose when to wear the cell phone blocking jacket. “He is waiting on arrival at check-in. It’s up to the individual when to use it and when they want to go out of the network,” Stewart said. “It’s more about creating a team, they all dress the same, and that’s something they can take home and remember their experience here.”
“Forest bathing” is also offered, along with other activities from Asheville Wellness Tours, which partners with local entrepreneurs, instructors, guides and healing practitioners.
“It’s a niche market, but there’s definitely more interest in wellness travel when it comes to corporate retreats and groups,” Stewart added. “We’re only two months out of the year, but the majority of our business has been incentive and retirement travel.”
Blurring the lines with retail
The tie-up with The Arrivals comes as more e-commerce platforms step in to help customers purchase items.
Startup Libi (Love it, Buy it) is an e-commerce platform that connects hotels and resorts with mainstream lifestyle brands, allowing customers to purchase products they encounter in their room with one click. Items can range from bedding and furnishings to art and design, food and drink to consumer technology, and even sports and wellness accessories.
And The Host Co., which recently raised $1.85 million, is making decorating short-term rentals easily buyable by customers. “We’re currently helping short-term rental hosts curate a value-added experience for their guests and earn more money with every booking,” said co-founder Annie Sloan.
Meanwhile, bed maker Eight Sleep has a program targeting Airbnb hosts, offering them special prices for its high-tech mattresses. Customers can then use the Eight Sleep app to program their own preferences for temperature, health monitoring and digital sleep coaching when away from home. Some Airbnb hosts even use it to promote their apartments, like this “Lux 1-Bed Powered by Eight Sleep” in Dallas.
For The Foundry’s Stewart, further retail collaborations are in the planning stages. “Companies like to have a fashionable jacket or a gift, or just something to take home, even branded,” she said. “It goes far.”
The workforce crisis continues to bite in the UK, where the Radisson Hotels Park Plaza brand in particular is struggling.
“Our recruitment team is actually on a UK-wide recruitment tour,” said Lauren Reay, account director, managed partnerships, at parent company PPHE Hotel Group. “I don’t think they’re allowed to go home until they sign up a lot of people.”
Reay said the hotel group’s goal was to bring staffing levels back to pre-pandemic levels. Part of the problem, in London at least, was that many staff were seconded to help a local hospital, St Thomas’ – which is just opposite Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London – during the battle against coronavirus.
“Not only have we supported them with housing, but also staff support,” Reay said during a Tripbam webinar on Thursday. “We gave them some of our staff who are our experts in organizing big events to help roll out the vaccine, and some of our administrative staff. And they never came back to our hotels, they stayed in the hospital.
The conversation broke out as Reay discussed the continued rise in room rates, which reflected the increased pressure on staff. “As a company, we anticipate continued pressure on energy prices and the supply chain, which will likely lead to further rate increases,” she warned.
While hotels in the United States added an encouraging 23,000 jobs last month, the situation across Europe could be different for some time.
10 second catch up on business trips
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