Starting a Hotel Business? Here’s How to Set Prices |

If you have visited a certain hotel repeatedly, you’d probably noticed that, like airlines, hotels generally change their prices with the season, the month, and even the day of the week. Pricing also changes the closer you are to a given date. Pricing changes such as these are part of yield management, and yield management software is a valuable investment for a new hotel that wants to make sure they are pricing competitively and maximizing their revenue.

What is Yield Management?  

Yield management “is the process of understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximize revenue or profits from a fixed, perishable resource.” Unlike nonperishable items, like clothing and TVs, the value of a night in a hotel drops to zero when that date passes. Furthermore, the cost to the hotel of booking that room is very small compared to the overall fixed cost of keeping the hotel open day after day.   This means that the hotel entrepreneur must consider when it is reasonable to lower prices as a date approaches in the attempt to fill rooms. However, rates cannot be dropped so far and so dramatically that customers learn they will always get an amazing deal at your hotel by waiting until the last minute to book. Hotel entrepreneurs must carefully balance these needs and yield management software can take the guesswork out of this.  

Peak Pricing  

Beyond the consideration of when to drop prices as a rental date approaches and by how much, hotel volume is subject to seasonal changes and even weekly volume changes (if your hotel focuses on business travel, weekdays may be peak and if it focuses on leisure travel, weekends may be peak). Hotels will generally have higher rates in the peak season times for travel to the region and the lowest rates in the most off-peak season. Hotel owners may also restrict these general season prices around holidays or events in the area when there are spikes or drops in travel.  

Software Options  

Software for yield management is available either as installed software or as software-as-a-service (SaaS) available for a monthly subscription fee or commission fee based on revenue.   Some yield management software is part of larger enterprise solutions for hotels which can include human resources management, bookkeeping, property management, central reservations, customer relations management, and marketing. Think carefully about how an enterprise software solution might work for your business, especially if you will have only a few locations.   Purchasing or subscribing to software can ensure that you don’t have to design your own software systems from scratch, and take on all of the risks associated with new software along with the risk of operating your hotel business.

The Best in Travel Technology for 2012 |

In our technological times, the right piece of equipment can make business travel more efficient and even fun. With so much on the market, here’s an overview of some of the best-rated travel technology, including smartphones, tablets, e-readers and accessories to make travel in 2012 a little bit easier.

The future of the laptop is the Ultrabook. As the evolution of personal computers continues, notebooks keep getting smaller, thinner and lighter. Introducing the “ultrabook,” the favorite among many frequent travelers. The most popular remains the Apple MacBook Air for its performance, battery life and durable all-metal body. If you prefer to run Windows, opt instead for the lightweight Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U. Fans love its connectivity, touchpad usability, Ethernet networking jack, backlit keyboard and up to eight hours of battery life.

Smartphone wars: Apple iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy Nexus. In 2011, Apple built on the success of the iPhone 4 with the iPhone 4S. The new 4S model has the same dual-core A5 processor that is in the iPad 2. The 4S’ camera is also notably upgraded to 8MP, with a seven-time increase in graphical processing power.

One unit giving Apple a run for their money is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus features new Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” software, a comparatively large 4.65 inch screen and comfortable, yet elegant design. Another cool feature is the virtual buttons which relocate themselves, no matter how you hold the phone. Also, check out the Android Beam feature which lets you share contacts, Web pages, video clips and even apps.

Best tablet: Again, Apple vs. Samsung. Look around any airport, and you’ll see the growing popularity of tablets. One of the most popular is Apple’s iPad 2. Similar in many ways to last year’s groundbreaking iPad, the mach 2 version is thinner and sleeker and features a new dual core A5 CPU with boosted memory and a pair of new cameras. Cool for travelers: the FaceTime feature that allows face-to-face video calls to someone else’s iPad 2, iPhone, iPod touch or Mac.

Also worth mentioning is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. If size and weight matter to you, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is lighter and thinner than the Apple iPad 2, and offers Android Honeycomb version 3.1 and a 7000mAh battery for all-day tablet use.

Best e-reader: Can’t go wrong with the Kindle. If you’re in the market for an e-reader, you can’t go wrong with the Amazon Kindle 3G for $139. The lightweight, pocket-sized reader offers a week-long battery life, sharp display and global 3G access, so there is no wireless connection or international data fee needed to download e-books. Also worth mentioning is Amazon’s Kindle store which features more than one million books, newspapers, magazines and blogs, downloadable in under a minute.

Best in accessories. When you’re on the road, accessories such as a phone charger and wireless router are necessary, not just nice-to-have. For chargers, MyBlueBoost boasts an impressive 12 to 16 hours lifespan and is available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, as well as a universal version, for around $40.

And when public Wi-Fi is an issue, you’ll be glad to have the Belkin F5D7233 Wireless-G Travel Router, which helps you set up personal Wi-Fi with home-quality Internet speed. It also allows service to multiple devices at once and comes with Belkin’s Easy Install Wizard and Lifetime Warranty.

Before buying any device or accessory, make sure you do your due diligence and read plenty of objective reviews before making a purchase.

Denver Business Travelers – A Few Things to Know and Do While Visiting |

The number one thing to know about Denver is the weather can be fickle. Summer rain off the mountains is always cold even in the city. Mountain temperatures are about ten degrees cooler than the city and even colder if you plan on going higher than 10,000 feet. Coloradans love to layer. Bring a swimsuit for a soak in a mountain hot springs. In Denver you are a mile closer to the sun, so bring sunblock and sunglasses.

To guarantee your visit is a pleasant and healthy one, drink lots of water. If you have a headache or feel dizzy or tired, it is probably the altitude. The best prevention and cure is to drink lots of water. Yes, you will be out of breath going upstairs or walking uphill. Your body is acclimating to the altitude. Just pace yourself and drink more water, especially if you go to the even higher mountains.

Getting around an unfamiliar city can be unnerving. Lucky for you Denver is on a grid system. Unlucky for you the downtown area, where many business meetings are held, is skewed at an angle different from the rest of the city. You can walk around easily and safely. You can hop onto the lightrail or the 16th Street Mall shuttle. Hotels should have a layout of downtown and info on transportation alternatives.

If you want to venture outside downtown, remember the mountains are always west of Denver. From there you can figure out the other directions. As a visitor the roads to know depend upon what you want to do. The gold-domed capitol is close to downtown (take the shuttle to Broadway). It has a stair marking a mile high (5280 feet above sea level) with good views of the mountains. To get a sense of Colorado’s history, two blocks south on Broadway is the Colorado Historical Society. Across from that is the library and the art museum. The Molly Brown House at 1340 Pennsylvania is about a half mile east of downtown. Theaters are downtown, stadiums are close by.

If you have a car, Coors Brewery is due west. Take 6th Avenue to Golden. While near Golden visit the Colorado Railroad Museum. Take 6th Avenue further west to Hwy 119 for the gambling towns of Blackhawk and Central City. If you want to see something truly unique, check out the dinosaur tracks a quarter mile past C470 on West Alameda along Dinosaur Ridge. Visit the Red Rocks Park outdoor amphitheater just south of there to see how Colorado got its name (red rocks). To get away from crowds travel seven and a half miles south of downtown on Santa Fe Drive and stroll through Hudson Gardens (small fee) across from the community college. You can bring a picnic lunch. Close to downtown is Confluence Park, where the Platte River and Cherry Creek meet. Rent a bike, roller blade or walk the path. If you have the time, Rocky Mountain National Park (72 miles from Denver) will give you a good idea why we all live here. Closer and equally awe-inspiring is the drive up to Mt. Evans. Call for times and road openings.

Avenues in Denver run east and west and streets run north and south. Boulevards, parkways and drives are main thoroughfares. North of Ellsworth, avenues are numbered 1-120th, except Colfax (1500 N). West of Broadway, the streets use a single alphabet beginning with Indian tribes-Acoma, Bannock, Cherokee, etc. On the east side of Broadway, east of Colorado Boulevard (4000E), we use a double alphabet, two “A” streets, two “B” streets, etc. Between Broadway and Colorado there is no pattern. The Cherry Creek shopping district two to three miles southeast of downtown, where many visitors love to go, can be reached by taking the Speer Boulevard diagonal or the bike path from downtown.

That should keep you busy and entertained, unless you really did come for business! Perhaps you should plan on staying a little longer.