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Mr. Roger Bloss - CEO of Americas Best Value Inn
1) What are your plans to market the brand on the Internet? “ABVI has an extensive Internet marketing strategy in place that includes Search Engine Marketing, optimization, local marketing, online marketing campaigns, property website program, and a new and enhanced property photo and virtual tour initiative program.”
2) How important is Internet marketing to your overall strategy?

“Internet marketing campaigns constitute about 50 percent of our overall marketing budget. ABVI’s integrated marketing plan includes offline channels to further enhance online searches. This media mix has resulted in continued progression of reservations and revenue for our members. In 2008, website visits increased by 50 percent as compared to 2007, and overall reservations on increased by 55 percent. In 2009, we have many additional strategies that will be implemented to continue the positive momentum.”
3) What do you feel about the contribution of Asian Indian hotel owners towards the growth of your brand and the hospitality industry in the U.S.?

“I have been a strong supporter of AAHOA since the organization’s inception. Vantage Hospitality is also an AAHOA founding sponsor. We have a large contingency of Asian American owners in our brand and they have been a large factor in our success, not only as members, but also many serve on our Ad Council and Advisory Board. The growth of this community, through many generations now, has made a major impact on the hospitality industry.”

4) What are your three most important priorities that will generate greater value for franchisees?

“Our objective has always been to allow our members to be in business for themselves, not by themselves. That’s why our most important priorities have focused on offering a voice and a vote on all of the brand’s policies and guidelines; providing low, flat fees versus a royalty fee; and offering the highest level of resources in the industry to our members, from reservations to marketing and member service; plus, we offer an extensive level of educational services so that our members have the opportunity to greatly increase the operational efficiency and marketing effectiveness at a local level. It’s all a winning combination of philosophies and resources that have contributed to the brand’s success.”

5) How can Asian Indian Hotel owners take greater part in hotel policy formulation?

“For our brand, joining the Ad Council and Advisory Board would allow for that. In other chains, join the similar associations that most of the other good brands have.”

6) What do you feel are the three most important strengths of Asian Indian Hotel owners that make them successful?

“First is work ethic. Second is immediate and extended family, which is a way to parlay resources. Third is their foundation for education.”

7) What do you feel about mobile Internet? Will travelers start booking hotels through mobile by 2015?

“We recognize the changing dynamics of the Internet and the processes travelers use to plan and book travel. We’re expanding the programs that use Google Maps for directions and local attractions; providing an optimized experience for users of mobile devices such as PDAs and smartphones.”

8) How important is it for hotel owners and franchisors to study Traveler Generated Content and reviews written on popular travel portals like TripAdvisor, TravelPost, etc.?

“Americas Best Value Inn already has a full-scale user-generated tracking program in place at a brand level and educational programs for our members at a property level. More than 85 percent of our hotels have a Trip Advisor rating. It’s extremely important that these ratings are monitored on a consistent basis by our brand and individual members so that problems may be addressed immediately and action taken. These programs will continue and be expanded in 2009 as well.”

9) How can hotel owners take advantage of Social Media and Web 2.0?

“Hotel owners need to monitor the social media sites and use the information as a means to address concerns by travelers. Social Networking is here to stay and you must know how to use these sites to your advantage in terms of improving your operations and properties."

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