1 HM: Looking into your crystal ball, and with everything you’ve seen in 2013, how will the hotel industry fare in 2014 in terms of overall operating metrics and profits?
KH: We see an upturn in new construction, particularly in the midscale segment. It appears renovations will also continue to increase. The biggest concern is inactivity in the government in support of domestic business travel and global tourism.
2 HM: Most pundits are predicting healthy growth for the industry over the next three years, but what out there (government or otherwise) has the possibility to upset this optimism?
KH: The hospitality industry is robust but always vulnerable to outside events like terrorism or economic decisions. That said, we expect increased stability that will support growth.
3 HM: Developing new markets is always top of mind. In 2014, and beyond, where are you concentrating on for growth and expansion?
KH: Latin/South America is showing strong signs. Our business in Asia is continuing to grow. We are looking for a healthy, harmonious business environment and continued growth in our industry.
4 HM: Technology and social media play major roles in the hospitality industry today. What is your company doing on those fronts to stay ahead of the curve?
KH: We are always evaluating new trends and technology, and recently implemented a social media program across several channels in January to meet our prospects and customers where they engage their online community.
5 HM: Nothing can ruin a hotel stay—or transaction otherwise—more than bad customer service. How do you ensure your teams are delivering the best in guest satisfaction?
KH: Customer service is always the number one priority. Our company’s emphasis is to ensure that customers can reach us 24/7, 365 days a year via phone, at our online support site and via our online stores.