In the last few years, G6 Hospitality has undergone a complete technology transformation, improving its platforms, processes, and systems to better support its network of more than 1,350 corporate-owned and franchised properties. This technology upgrade better outfits G6 to manage it growing presence all over the world, as the company recently expanded its footprint to India and countries in Central America, including Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua. At ALIS, LODGING magazine caught up with Lance Miceli, the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for G6, to learn more about G6’s upgrades, expansion, and plans for 2017.
How has the incorporation of new technology improved business for G6’s brands? The new technology has greatly benefited both our staff and our guests. Originally, the need for an upgrade in technology became apparent because we wanted to decrease friction for our guests. We wanted to make it easier for guests to find, book and stay in our hotels. In the fourth quarter of 2016, our website was entirely redesigned to be mobile-first. In a short period of time, we saw our online conversion rates double. Before, 65 percent of the inbound traffic on our website came from either a laptop or a desktop, but now we have seen that the overwhelming majority of demand is coming from mobile devices. As people are migrating more towards the smaller screen, we must learn to adjust.
Later in the year, we installed and launched a new revenue management system, which we call the G6 Revenue Optimization Workspace, or GROW. Managers are deeply trained on the technology and the program has because their go-to application. Designed to be mobile, the app allows corporate revenue managers to work from their desk, laptop, or cell phone. This means that when managers are out of the office or visiting a property, they are no longer off the grid.
We also designed an app. My6, which was designed for both iOS and Android, benefits both staff and guests. First, it has an administrative component that allows revenue managers or owners to access rate and pricing plans. We’re aiming for it to become a database and an intelligent demand channel for us. The second component is for guests. Once guests download the application, they can create a profile and upload a picture of their credit card. Then the app will find them and show them nearby properties. Guests can choose a hotel and select their room in less than three touches. This technology means less friction and more intelligence for G6 Hospitality.
How do you pilot this new technology? We have a group of franchise partners who are very willing to jump in on projects. Of course, before we ask a franchise to implement any sort or new system, we have already vetted, organized, and designed the technology. We really value the feedback of these partners and have developed many highly effective initiatives due to their input, support, and endorsement.
In the era of industry consolation, mergers, and buy-outs, how is G6 trying to maintain their brand identity? Our focus remains on strengthening and growing the brands. We’ve got a great opportunity to continue to grow these businesses and that is what we are going to continue to devote our time to. We’re fortunate have a couple of really good brands that know exactly what they are and what market they work in. Focusing on that and relentlessly refining that keeps us plenty busy.
What are your development goals for 2017? For 2017, our main goal is to grow our domestic footprint, as well as our international presence. Additional franchise locations across the globe will improve the overall enterprise of G6 Hospitality and they will allow the business to function at the highest level possible. We are particularly focused on gateway cities and markets with a lot of potential, such as Florida and the Southeast. As we have in the past years, we will continue to look across the entire country to find properties that would make a great addition to the franchise. Beyond the U.S., we plan to grow our international presence. We are hopeful that we can continue to acquire new countries. Currently, we are still working our partners in Canada to grow business.
As far as performance goes, we hope to see a 33 percent increase in our openings. I also hope to see the growth of repartee between ownership and G6 Hospitality in order to maximize performance of our hotels and to grow the overall footprint and impact of the enterprise. I am excited about the work. We are going to remain aggressive and cautiously optimistic that the demand and the economy will stay intact.