UK: Exchange programme launched to enable the hotel industry to offer employee rewards, incentives and training.
HotelSwaps is a worldwide membership network which allows hotel owners and managers to exchange their unused hotel rooms with other hotel members around the world for staff reward, incentive and training purposes.
Hotels will deposit room nights during periods of their choice in exchange for points. These points can be transferred to high-performing employees who can in turn exchange these for free hotel stays at other member hotels.
The program has been created “to make the most of the huge inventory of unused hotel rooms (over 700 million room nights were left unoccupied in the European Union alone in 20091) in order to help hoteliers better reward their staff”.
HotelSwaps says it has identified four key areas where hoteliers can benefit from the programme:
• Employee retention: an attractive employee incentive plan can prevent staff from searching for alternative employment.
• Employee training: HotelSwaps is a great way to expose key staff to a wide range of hotel properties, styles and offers.
• Revenue opportunities: whilst the deposited rooms may be offered free of charge, hotels will see an increase in food and beverage revenues as well as in leisure services during periods of lower occupancy.
• Quality feedback: a feedback mechanism has been built into the web application, providing participating hotels with confidential feedback of high quality from fellow hoteliers.
Hotels pay an annual membership fee to HotelSwaps, starting at £395 for a hotel with less than 25 rooms and rising to £1,950 for a hotel of over 100 rooms. There is also a reservations fee of £40 per booking charged to the guest regardless of the length of the stay.
Once a member, a hotel can start depositing rooms, in return for points. Points are valued based on the seasonality and quality of the hotel to ensure a fair exchange between hotel members. Deposited rooms are held in an online inventory pool from which hotel employees, who have been rewarded with points, can make their reservations.
Preben Vestdam, managing director of HotelSwaps said: “I am thrilled to be launching HotelSwaps at the start of 2013 and I am delighted to be offering a tool to hoteliers which will help them improve the hotel industry as a great place to work. HotelSwaps has been a year in the making to ensure we not only have robust points exchange system but also have the right solution to help hotel managers better look after their staff at a very low cost.”
“Staff retention, as we know, is one of the main challenges of the hotel industry. So much money is lost in recruitment and training of employees who then move on. It is vital that the industry works out how to incentivise and retain staff in an affordable way and I am confident that HotelSwaps is an effective solution to this issue. Not only can HotelSwaps be built into training and incentive programmes, but it also has spin off benefits such as additional revenues, qualitative feedback and sharing of best practices. We look forward to affiliating many quality hotels to the programme and seeing HotelSwaps become a key partner to the hospitality industry for years to come.”