Let us find your solution

Hotel Guest Experience Software Finders

Mobile Key & Keyless Entry Finder

Get started

Guest Messaging Software Finder

Get started

Guest Room Tablets Finder

Get started

Recent Guest Experience Articles

thumb description

These Are the 5 Hottest Cities in Hotel Tech

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 days ago

Success for any startup is a blend of luck and skill, peppered with grit and resilience. It takes a methodical approach to pull together a team with exceptional skills to execute on an idea that solves a real problem for a well-understood customer. Even in a world of remote work, it also helps to be surrounded by knowledgeable advisors with industry expertise and a supportive community that can be tapped face-to-face. This is especially true in hotel technology, a tight-knit community that thrives on relationships. Of course, success is not solely dependent on location. However, clustering near other related businesses can rapidly increase your chances of success. A strong local network fosters better industry relationships that can shorten lead times on the sales side and accelerate development cycles on the product side.  That’s because the right locality puts you closer to your customers, which helps with getting actionable feedback quickly, and closer to potential investors, which accelerates momentum in rapid growth phases.  Proximity can also bring you the types of talent that underpin some of the 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech. Cities with clusters of industry- and trend-specific companies give you better chances of finding the right talent for your business -- especially since former employees often go on to start their own startups that solve problems in the same industry, such as with Arise Travel. We’ve done a little legwork to help you discover some of the most vibrant and active places in the world to headquarter your hotel tech startup. With an active community familiar with hotel technology, depth of local talent pool, and a global mindset, these are our top five cities for travel technology.   London: Focus on Business Intelligence and Hardware London is an ideal place to take advantage of Europe’s diversity, as well as its relative closeness to the financial centers of New York. And, in spite of the looming Brexit, London remains itself a financial powerhouse. That means a dense concentration of global capital, coupled with a workforce details from countries all over Europe and beyond. With London's six airports, alongside train connections to most of Europe, London's location is ideal for startups looking to situate Themselves at the gates of Europe -- while still remaining as close as possible to the Americas. London also has the Traveltech Lab, a hub for travel technology startups that focuses on fostering a community of “innovation, collaboration, and creativity” that connects “technology startups with big corporates within the travel industry.” The dedicated space and organic community can be a boon to startups as they look to establish themselves, build a product, and grow their business. Hotel tech companies based in London: SiteMinder’s guest acquisition platform combines powerful optimization and analytics tools to capture more direct bookings for hotels. The company has greatly expanded its Exchange, which features dozens of integrations that make its guest acquisition tools even more useful for its 35,000 hotel and property manager clients.  While the firm will always call Sydney its home base - they've got a big presence from the London office. Mews is the backbone of hotel operations. Founded by a former rising star at Hilton, its property management system is the top-rated solution on HTR, and its kiosk, mobile check-in, and hotel app solutions are all highly rated by customers. OTA Insight is a “new breed of hotel tech company” that empowers hoteliers to fight against rate disparity, benchmark their own rates against competition, and leverage market intelligence to optimize revenue. The company’s newest feature gives hoteliers the ability to rate shop across different points-of-sale in order to monitor for regional differences in rate parity. Crave’s interactive tablets enhance the guest experience by putting property information, ancillaries, and in-room technology and messaging at guests’ fingertips. Thanks to industry-wide integrations, the tablets fold seamlessly into existing operations. Clock Software’s property management system combines crucial features, such as reservations, housekeeping, and channel management, as well as a robust API, into an all-in-one tool lauded by hoteliers. Case in point: Hoteliers votes Clock Software as a top PMS in the 2019 HotelTechAwards. Triptease is designed to return control of distribution to hotels. From acquisition to conversion, its direct booking platform merges metasearch advertising, parity monitoring, website widgets, and revenue management into a cohesive. Just last year, the Company earned an accolade as a top place to work in hotel tech. Pace reinvents revenue management with its “booking curve” approach to forecasting demand. The “intelligent revenue management” system alerts hoteliers to any unusual patterns to booking curves for each night, room-category and segment.  Fornova is a great example of London companies focusing on business intelligence: the company helps hotels monitor and benchmark distribution, as well as analyze market and property-level intelligence with HotelsBI and optimize pricing via its eCommerce Optimizer.  Iris Tablets offers hardware for guest rooms via its tablet technology. Its software also sets it apart: the cloud-hosted Guest Experience Platform (GXP) increases revenue, reduces costs and successfully improves the end-to-end Guest Experience for over 3000 hotels and restaurants worldwide. eRevMax is known for its pioneering channel manager and rate shopper RateTiger. Its latest product LiveOS turns “chaos to clarity” by smashing silos and pulling data from disparate systems into one dashboard to support real-time decisions.  Impala tackles a critical problem for hotels (and vendors serving hotels): how to integrate systems that don’t integrate themselves. Software providers can run a simple JSON script to integrate their products with those of other vendors in hospitality thus unlocking a new market.   San Francisco: Focus on Big Tech Silicon Valley has long been home to Big Tech. And even though the area has long since become less affordable than other cities the region’s reputation continues to attract ambitious entrepreneurs and world-class workers. The competitiveness is a double-edged sword: It can be costly to hire the best talent here, and investors quite literally have the cream of the crop. It can be a struggle for startups to both find the best people and raise the necessary capital to thrive. For these reasons, Silicon Valley has become home to larger hotel tech companies that serve the hospitality industry worldwide. These companies can compete effectively for talent, and take full advantage of the regions saturation of startups. San Francisco is also an interesting place for workers who eventually want to do their own startup: rich networks of talent and capital are useful at the seed stage as well. Hotel tech companies based in SF: Revinate’s CRM and email marketing software helps hotels develop long-lasting relationships with guests through targeted marketing, personalized campaigns, and deeper guest insights. Highlighting the value of being near other companies in the vertical Revinate recently announced a partnership with SF-based Duetto to allow hotels to use Duetto to price upsells dynamically in Revinate. Duetto is a full-stack revenue management technology. The company‘s Revenue Strategy Platform optimizes revenue and profitability across channels. This singular focus on total profitability underpins Duetto’s philosophy of Total Revenue Management. Sojern helps hotels marketers segment audiences and identify the best channels to advertise on. The company, which recently celebrated its 12 year anniversary, moved into new offices last year to accommodate its continued growth. Frontdesk Anywhere is a complete hotel management software suite that facilitates the guest journey from the initial online booking process through arrival, onsite operations and checkout.  Autoclerk serves hotels with property management and central reservation systems as well as a booking engine. It’s an end-to-end solution for booking guests, managing reservations, and operations. In a surprise move, BestWestern is the new owner of Autoclerk and promises to continue investing in the platform. MS Shift solves several operational issues for hotels: concierge management,  luggage tracking, front desk management, asset tracking, and maintenance/engineering management, among others.  Salesforce is the granddaddy of enterprise technology. It's fully-customizable CRM and sales software is widely used in the hospitality industry.  HelloShift is an easy-to-use messaging platform that enhances communications among staff as well as between staff and guests. With its combined approach Helloshift can become a hotel’s communications backbone. The company was recognized as the top staff collaboration platform in the 2018 HotelTechAwards. Medallia is a Customer Experience Management company that solves the problem of uneven feedback: it’s not easy to gather customer feedback across online and offline and transform them into something relevant and useful. Suiteness has an unexpected take on hotel bookings: it offers only suites. The value proposition extends to groups as it also empowers travelers to book connecting suites so that groups can stay together. Suiteness integrates with DHSCO and SynXis to expand access to the unique inventory.   Amsterdam: Focus on the Booking.com Alumni and Partner Networks Amsterdam is another great European city from which to base your hotel tech startup.  Data from Startup Europe found that Amsterdam’s share of Europe’s venture financing was EUR 1.67 billion. Amsterdam also has an added advantage: It's the home of globally-recognized behemoth Booking Holdings. The company, best known for Booking.com, employs thousands and will soon move into a high-profile new headquarters building. The steady growth of the company means that there is a sizable local population with the knowledge of travel and hospitality. The population is also highly fluent in English, which makes Amsterdam a city with solid international bon afides. Hotel tech companies based in Amsterdam: HotelChamp is a website experience and marketing optimization tool for hotels. When deployed on a hotel’s website, the toolset boosts direct bookings by adding a layer of personalization and segmentation. The latest tool, called Autopilot, leverages millions of data points to optimize a website in real-time.  Oaky unlocks pre-stay up selling so that hotels can offer room upgrades and other products prior to arrival. The solution improves profitability-per-booking before a guest even arrives on property. Oaky was awarded the top upselling and merchandising solution at the 2019 HotelTechAwards. 4Suites solves the keyless entry problem for hotels. It's smart access technology simplifies hotel operations, reduces costs and upgrades the guest experience. iReckonU sits at the core of your hotel’s tech stack to pull in data from other tools to reveal new insights and to enrich guest profiles. This “guest experience framework” improves the efficacy of marketing while also putting operations closer to guests. Hoteliers.com combines all distribution channels into a single view which reduces complexity and increases control for independent hoteliers looking for an affordable-yet-powerful channel manager. Olery solves reputation management for hotels. The system captures reviews from over 100 channels, and pulls them into a single interface for hotels to handle quickly and efficiently. It also has an analytics and marketing component to give hoteliers tools to improve and promote its reputation. Olery’s latest report dives into reputation in the Middle East.   New York City: Focus on Marketing NYC is a fantastic place to run a hospitality technology startup. The city has one of the highest concentrations of hotels in the world, which puts your startup close to many potential customers. The city is also one of the global hubs for media, which may have something to do with the over-indexing on start-ups with a hospitality marketing focus. New York is also home to Voyager HQ, a hub for a global community of travel and hospitality tech startups. The co-working space is home to many startups in the industry and often hosts meetups and networking events that provide a solid base for its startup community.  As European companies hit scale they tend to make New York their first foray into the U.S. market as evidenced by Triptease and Mews Systems both sending their founders overseas. The flight between NYC and London is pretty manageable and so is the time zone - what better launchpad for world domination? Hotel tech companies based in NYC: Travel Tripper provides distribution and marketing support to everyone from small independents to major brands.  Hotels looking for an all-in-one marketing partner should look no further since the firm has it all: Booking Engine, CRS, Digital Marketing Services and Hotel website development.  With freshly infused Accel-KKR capital Travel Tripper merged with Pegasus and now provides additional business intelligence and GDS services. InnRoad is a popular property management system for small properties and boutiques. HeBS recently rebranded as Next Guest with the integration of Serenata Intraware’s CRM technology.  While Serenata remains run out of its Germany headquarters NY provides the mothership and HeBS’ bread and butter is still digital marketing. TravelClick was recently acquired by publicly traded travel tech behemoth Amadeus and while Amadeus is run out of Spain, we imagine that it’s New Hampshire based hospitality division is going to get a little FOMO when they see their sister company’s New York City digs. Volara provides voice recognition software to hotels solving for the challenges of systems integrations and cyber security - giving hotels the ability to install turnkey Amazon and Android devices in their rooms. ALICE was one of the first company’s in the market to “make hotel tech fun again” lead by marketing guru Alexander Shashou and technical savant Dmitry Koltunov - the firm is an unstoppable force in the hotel operations space. LaaSie.ai (formerly Stay Wanderful) is a lesser known direct booking platform providing a network of merchant partnerships that can be leveraged to increase hotel website conversion and ultimately drive more direct bookings.  LaaSie recently rebranded and similar to Travel Tripper above was originally funded by NYC based Highgate Ventures. SEVENROOMS is a restaurant software company that provides CRM and guest management services to dozens of hotel restaurants around the world. Bizly is a meeting booking platform that helps corporate meeting planners find the best venues for small breakout meetings (i.e. hotels). Los Angeles/San Diego: Focus on Messaging Long known as the entertainment capital of the world, LA has emerged as a tech hub in its own right. Part of this is due to its status as a (slightly) more affordable option for SF startups. Another part is due to the convergence of technology and entertainment; as more startups emerged to build technologies underpinning next-gen entertainment, it naturally created a local base of tech talent. Another reason for the rising popularity of southern California as a technology hub? Clearly it's the weather! But the preponderance of sunny days, many weather-weary San Franciscans and New Yorkers have made the move. By the influx, the city intense relative affordability compared to cities of the same size and scope. Coupled with the great quality of life, southern California has become quite the contender on the global tech stage. Socal is an hour flight to both a hotel hub and tech hub, Las Vegas and Silicon Valley respectively. Hotel tech companies based in Los Angeles/San Diego: INTELITY’s guest engagement platform bridges across departments to connect staff with guests across text, voice, and digital channels. The company also offers an hotel operations platform for staff management, That includes recorder and task management, as well as analytics. INTELITY recently merged with KEYPR to expand its reach and reliability worldwide. Cloudbeds provides a booking engine, channel manager, property management system, and revenue optimization tools for independent hotels, boutiques, B&Bs, and hostels. The comprehensive hotel management solution was named a finalist for the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 HotelTechAwards. Whistle’s guest messaging technology simplifies communications so that staff can respond to messages in real-time from a single dashboard, regardless of whether the message is an email, website chat, or text message. For the second year in a row, Whistle earned the top spot as the #1 messaging platform on HotelTechReport. ResortPass has raised more than $12M to help hoteliers grow revenue by selling premium access to luxury amenities like the pool and spa during off-peak hours.  The Company is based in Santa Monica and works with top tier hotels like the Viceroy Santa Monica and W Hollywood. TrustYou While they are headquartered in Munich, Germany, TrustYou set up shop in San Diego, CA back in 2014 in order to better serve the growing US hotel industry. Their 10 local employees support functions across all facets of the company including Business Development, Account Management, Client Success, Finance, and Marketing. Zingle is a messaging platform that connects guest and staff across channels and devices so that communications is always streamlined and never siloed. The company recently announced AI-driven Intelligent routing that analyzes a guest’s intent to intelligently (and automatically) route guest requests to the right department or person. GuestBook Rewards is a loyalty program for independent hotels. Guests have a choice of cashback, credits for a future trip, or a charitable donation -- an incentive model that sets GuestBook apart from its competitors.  The program has become the largest network of independents, with over 600 member hotels in 55 countries. GuestCentric gives hotels control over their revenues by solving the guest acquisition problem: with a CRS, a digital agency  The company was a HotelTechAward finalist in 2018. JDA Software’s revenue management solution solves the revenue management problem for hotels. Thanks to an advanced forecasting engine that includes consumer intent and price sensitivity, the software increases revenue and boosts margins. Clicktripz is a monetization platform for publishers. Using proprietary ad-serving technology, Clicktripz’s targeting and granular bidding means that publishers can efficiently monetize audiences by connecting them to suppliers and advertisers. Kallpod is a service tracking solution that encourages guests to call for service right from their table. Kallpod Pro extends this functionality with customizable buttons, a two-way interface for staff to talk to each other, and a data platform to assist with more intelligent staffing.

thumb description

15 Tech Companies Partner to Solve the Hotel Industry’s Billion Dollar Problem

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 days ago

15 technology companies have come together to create transparency for hotel technology buyers around the world.  The initiative, facilitated by Hotel Tech Report, rates hotel software vendor customer support processes on more than 30 key variables to help buyers make better partner decisions. Each year hotel owners lose billions of dollars due to software downtime and unused features.  By leveraging the new Global Support Certification, hoteliers can confidently enter new technology partnerships with transparency into the support systems that are in place to mitigate such issues.  Software inevitably goes down and great customer support is the best defense against steep losses. Hoteliers who work with Hotel Tech Report Support Certified vendors also know that those partners have invested in training materials and content to ensure that their teams have everything they need to realize successful outcomes. The certification creates accountability in the vendor community to maintain the highest levels of service for clients through an annual audit by analysts at Hotel Tech Report, the world’s largest technology research platform and online community for the global hotel industry. Leading firms such as Mews Systems, OTA Insight and IDeaS Revenue Solutions have been key supporters of this new industry standard which paves the path for better relationships between technology firms and their hotel clients. “We initially came to Hotel Tech Report with a simple concept.  Our hypothesis was that companies with great customer support would be happy to grant full transparency around their support KPIs with Hotel Tech Report and that companies with subpar support would never give that kind of access.  The team at HTR has brought that concept to life and we’re proud to give full transparency into how we engage, educate and support our customers on a global scale. Ultimately this support certification is an easy way for hoteliers to identify the companies who really treat their clients as partners - it’s a gamechanger for the industry,” says Richard Valtr, Founder of Mews Systems. Decision makers at hotel groups often spend months researching software feature functionality and pricing - but rarely are they able to develop deep insights into how the relationship changes and the level of support their team will receive once the contract is signed. “Hoteliers are constantly rated by parties like JD Power and AAA on the service they deliver to guests which ultimately helps guests find the best hotels.  With this initiative, hoteliers can now benefit from the peace of mind that comes with knowing their future vendors have not only been pre-vetted for professional customer support prior to contract lock-in but they can also easily learn about which tools and processes are most important and which one’s prospective vendors have invested in to help them succeed beyond deal close.” ~Adam Hollander, Hotel Tech Report Poor customer support is incredibly costly for both hotel software buyers and sellers.  For buyers, poor customer support from technology vendors can lead to lost revenue, poor guest satisfaction and weak ROIs on technology spend. “When a booking engine goes down hoteliers can lose thousands of dollars each minute.  What if it takes 24-hours to reach their vendor’s support team and fix the issue? Hoteliers rarely anticipate, let alone, calculate these kinds of costs when signing up with a new vendor because they’re out of sight and out of mind.  Once it happens to them they go into a panic and wish they knew ahead of time,” says Hollander. Another benefit of strong customer engagement processes is maximization of software feature functionality.  A study conducted on 3.8M software users shows that $30B is wasted each year on unused software in the U.S. alone.  Vendors that meet Hotel Tech Report’s support certification have been pre-vetted for the tools and processes necessary to ensure that hotel teams will be properly trained on all feature functionality which ultimately helps them maximize their investments in software and achieve higher ROIs on their software spend.  "45% of software features across the SaaS sector never get used. This is a huge waste. While OTA Insight's usage stats show that the intuitive features in our tools are very well used, we strive for more than just delivering software that works properly; we're committed to ensuring that clients can maximize their investments by ensuring our products and functionality are simple, intuitive and add value. With a heavy focus on customer feedback and input, this informs our ongoing product development," says James Parsons of OTA Insight. Founding members of the Support Certification rallied across the globe to bring this initiative to life.  Each founding member granted Hotel Tech Report access to their internal systems for the team to rate service delivery with its proprietary support certification framework.     Founding Members of the Global Support Certification include:  Mews Systems (Prague) IDeaS (Minneapolis) OTA Insight (London) TrustYou (Munich) Travel Tripper (New York) Hotelchamp (Amsterdam) Oaky (Amsterdam) Revinate (San Francisco) D-EDGE (Paris) Pace (London) Beekeeper (Zurich) RevControl (Eindhoven) Hotel Effectiveness (Atlanta) GuestRevu (Port Alfred) Stardekk (Brugge) The Global Support Certification is now live for hotel technology suppliers to apply for certification.  This budget season, for the first time ever, hotel tech buyers can easily vet customer support for future vendors and access support certification details right from company profiles on Hotel Tech Report. Learn more about the certification

thumb description

How to Destroy Guest Relationships: Make them Download Your Hotel App

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 days ago

There are more than 2.1M apps in the Google Play app store.  Guess how many mobile apps the typical U.S. smartphone user downloads each month?   The answer will shock many of you: zero.  51% of U.S. smartphone users say they download zero apps each month (on average).  That’s not to say that mobile apps are dying, it just means that users rarely download an app unless it provides utility (and value). Why aren't they downloading? Well, finding and downloading mobile apps is a pain in the butt.   The majority of app usage (i.e. time on device) goes to social media, music, video and gaming.  Hotel apps do none of these things yet somehow the lion's share of hoteliers still believe their properties need a dedicated mobile app.  Your guests don’t want to download your hotel's app and they certainly don’t want to book another room on said app while they’re staying on property.  Rather than just getting an app because you think you should, dive into the real use cases and you'll realize that tech like in room tablets and guest messaging are way better at serving some of those same guest needs without the barrier of a download. “If you think about it, when was the last time you downloaded an app because your local supermarket suggested it? It’s just too much of a hassle. Hotel apps are no different-the barriers in the way of usage are too high. Over the years, this belief has become less common, but we still hear it.” ~Tilmann Volk, Founder of SuitePad Hilton and Marriott’s apps enjoy relatively high engagement rates but those are because of loyalty programs (i.e. high volumes of repeat bookings).  It’s important to highlight that these are NOT hotel apps, they are brand apps. With brand apps guests don’t need to download a new app for each stay.  Further, even with those programs guests rarely use their apps in stay outside of the core use case highlighted by Hilton’s 2018 Annual Report.  That use case is mobile key (and check-in): Hilton guests downloaded 7.6 million mobile keys through the app in 2018.  The only real incentive that moves the needle is mobile check-in/mobile key but even those are better suited in a download-free environment when possible. App developers usually pitch hotels and hotel groups with stats like the ones below from MCD Travel: 80% of guests want to use their mobile device to browse hotel amenities 78% of guests want to use their mobile device to view local area maps 55%  of guests want to use their mobile device to schedule a hotel taxi pickup 43% of guests want to use their mobile device to sync with the in room television It’s true that your guests bring their phones everywhere and are constantly using them for in destination functions but these statistics are making one key (and majorly flawed) assumption - that guests already have your hotel app on their phones. If your guests want to search local maps or schedule a taxi, they’ve already got Google Maps and Uber/Gett/etc, so there’s no need for your hotel to have an app that just routes them to those places. The core guest needs that aren’t already being met by apps they already have are things like: the ability to make requests (e.g. late checkout), order room service, connect with the concierge and control in-room entertainment (like Sonifi or Enseo), mobile key and mobile check-in. So what options do hoteliers have to meet these needs and drive increased engagement on property? The two solutions that really hit the nail on the head are: guest messaging platforms and in room tablets. Which of these solutions your hotel employs is really a matter of preference. Each has unique advantages and drawbacks.   Guest messaging is great because the medium requires no hardware and allows guests to communicate with staff wherever they are.  The drawback is that messaging requires guest consent/active opt-in in today’s hyper sensitive privacy environment so there will inevitably be guests who stay with you that do not access the service.  All of those stats above support leveraging a guest messaging platform where guests can meet all those needs with an app they already have on their phones. In room tablets are a great alternative for hotels to reach 100% of guests with in room tech.  The physical form factor of a tablet digitizes in room folios which saves paper and time. Tablets are a great way for hotels to market services and amenities like bookable spa appointments, F&B offers and local tours to drive incremental revenue.  Some tablet software vendors are getting extremely creative with data initiatives like time based offers to fill need periods in F&B outlets and real time dynamic pricing for room service. SuitePad is one of Europe's leading guest room tablet providers working with brands like Ruby Hotels, Jumeirah and Falkensteiner. We sat down with SuitePad founder Tilmann Volk to discuss the future of guest engagement, why hotel guests don’t want to download apps and more.   SuitePad founder Tilmann Volk   What was your background prior to starting the company? We started SuitePad coming almost directly out of university. Aside from a few months of professional experience in a different startup right before SuitePad, I learned everything here. My co-founder Moritz, and I were both at a crossroads of sorts in our lives. We had stayed friends after leaving university and had both recently moved to the buzzing city of Berlin, each working on other things. I think we both felt the urge for a change and started brainstorming concepts and tinkering on ideas after work. At the time, in 2012, the tablet-PC market for consumers was just taking off. We saw the opportunity to take a consumer technology and bring it into a B2B context. That it was going to be hotels we were serving, wasn’t immediately clear to us. We just saw the technology without understanding how to best employ it. When we spoke to hotels, it clicked. Digital guest engagement was still a very young field and we were keen on shaping it.   Who was SuitePad's first customer? One of the very very first hoteliers we talked to was Erich Falkensteiner from Falkensteiner Hotels and Residences. He’s been a leading voice in the hotel industry, so when he said that he’d buy our product, we knew we were onto something.  At the time, our product was only a clickable powerpoint presentation on an iPad. I think we, as newbies to the industry, only were successful with this start because we listened closely to what hotels wanted and shaped our product accordingly.   I spent a night at the Circus Hotel in Berlin and got a chance to use SuitePad a couple months back.  For our readers who haven't yet had a chance to use the product can you tell them a little about the platform? The world around us travellers has become digital- I can book my stay, reserve a restaurant table, and leave a review digitally. Now think of the hotel room of today: the guest directory, phone, remote control, spa brochure, room service menu are remnants of analogue days that clutter the hotel room and don’t provide much upselling potential. We combine all of these things on a single device, making them easier to use and providing up-selling and cost-reduction possibilities while we’re at it. In short: we’re here to help hotels engage their guests in a digital world.     What's one common belief amongst hoteliers that is actually false? If I had a cent for every time someone told us that it is a good idea to have guests download a hotel app onto their phones for digital guest engagement, I’d have millions.  If you think about it, when was the last time you downloaded an app because your local supermarket suggested it? It’s just too much of a hassle.  Hotel apps are no different-the barriers in the way of usage are too high. Over the years, this belief has become less common, but we still hear it.   What's the most surprising thing you've learned about scaling technology into hotels since founding the business? Scaling in the hotel tech field seems to take longer than in other industries, as hotels often seem cautious to adopt new technologies. So tech trends might be slow to come, but I believe they are pretty sustainable when they do- which is good, because we’re in it for the long haul. Hotel tech is a small community and vendors are constantly developing partnerships with companies who have built complementary products.  Are there 1 or 2 companies that have been a particularly good partners for you? How have these partnerships been unique?   Where do you see guest tech going in the next 5-years and beyond? We want to continue to shape the ways hotels engage with their guests. In 5 years’ time, we’ll have replaced pretty much everything in the hotel room save for the bed and the TV. We’ll be doing this in hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms around the globe. The entire hotel tech space is seeing the arrival of platforms, marketplaces, and other facilitators of interfaces. I think that interfaces between different hotel tech players will be more important than ever, and that hotels have every reason to be excited about this development.   Do you have any new products or feature launches of late? We just recently went live with SuitePad TV, enabling guests to control the TV from their tablet. We’re excited about the feature, because it’s about more than just replacing the remote control. SuitePad TV offers a better user experience because it lets guests filter for preferences and languages when choosing a channel. It also significantly drives up guest-interaction on the SuitePad, which is great news for hotels looking to promote their offers & services! We’re currently also testing a new product that lets guests seamlessly stream their content from their phones to hotel TVs. I’m really looking forward to how it pans out!   What's one piece of advice that you have for any entrepreneurs looking to get into the hotel tech space? Do it! Partnering with hotels means partnering with people who are full-blooded hosts and care deeply about their customers, and it’s contagious! Plus, the coffee is great!   What is the best book you've read lately and why? Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahnemann and Tversky is worth reading and re-reading!   What is your favorite podcast? NPR car talk re-runs are my guilty pleasure on long drives.   What is one thing that most people don't know about you? I have a terrible sense of direction.

thumb description

Registration is Now Open for the 2020 HotelTechAwards

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

Registration is now open for the 2020 HotelTechAwards (www.hoteltechawards.com), the industry's only data driven awards platform that recognizes best of breed hotel technology companies who win in the eyes of the judges that matter most - their customers. 2019 winners of the HotelTechAwards included top hotel technology companies such as TravelClick, Beekeeper, Screen Pilot, Atomize and Oaky. New York based ALICE won "The Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech" edging out runner up Mews Systems (10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech). "Revenue generation and operations have become very complex for hotels, threatening profitability and detracting from the customer experience. The answer lies in innovative technology solutions, which can disrupt the disruptors. The HotelTechAwards recognize these technologies and their beneficial impact on the future of our industry." says Marc Heyneker, CEO at Revinate, one of the hotel tech industry's most recognized brands and 2019’s top rated Hotel CRM. Companies are competing for category leadership across marketing, revenue management, guest experience, operations and sales technology. Hotel technology companies ranging from hardware to software and service businesses like digital marketing agencies are eligible for nomination. More than 40 companies around the world have already pre-registered for the competition. Registration closes on September 1st. Voting will take place through December 31, 2019 and winners of the 2020 HotelTechAwards will be announced on January 15, 2020. "As a former hotelier there was ultimately one thing my team wanted to know about prospective technology partners," says Jordan Hollander, co-founder of Hotel Tech Report. "We wanted to know what other hoteliers like us thought about the service providers, that they were tried and true and that the company could deliver on their sales promises. The HotelTechAwards were designed to do exactly that - they help hoteliers see what people like them honestly think about products and services to help them make better decisions for their properties." Learn more about the HotelTechAwards and register now at www.hoteltechawards.com

thumb description

Here's why alternative lodging valuations are skyrocketing

by
Jordan Hollander
1 month ago

There’s a lot of talk in the hotel industry about massive growth from homeshare players like AirBnB but relatively little talk about the immense growth of franchise brands. For years now, major brands like Marriott have growth hacked their way to scale by going asset light.  By relieving themselves of physical assets and focusing on a franchise business model, Marriott projects 1,700 new hotel openings between now and 2021. This growth may seem surprising given all the buzz around travelers wanting unique and local experiences but there’s also been a ton of growth amongst incredible boutique hotel concepts.  Think about brands like Two Roads (Thompson, JDV), Bunkhouse, Nomad, Freehand, Standard Hotels, Public Hotels, Bunkhouse, 25H Bikini - the list goes on and on. All of the “independent brands” mentioned above (several have been acquired by chains) have found ways to create incredible (and unique) travel experiences for guests but there is one thing holding them back - scalability.  Even the best (and most capitalized) management teams have barriers to scale like identifying unique real estate, negotiating large scale transactions, securing financing and building out properties. AirBnB took a different approach to rapid scaling by leveraging the power of an unregulated marketplace model.  As a result of this strategy, just 9 years after its founding, AirBnB already had more rooms online than the top 5 brands combined. AirBnB passed the top 5 chains by # of listings (CB Insights) You’d be hard pressed to find a friend who hasn’t had a crappy experience on AirBnB but they’ve probably also had some great ones.  Where the franchises found a good balance between scalability and quality control, AirBnB and the homeshare economy sought rapid scale in unregulated markets. More recently a new category of hotel management company has popped up.  Some call these players hometels (home+hotel) and they’re more generally referred to as alternative lodging.  Brands in the alternative lodging sector include Stay Alfred, Sonder, The Guild Hotels and to some extent groups such as Selina and OYO.  The alternative lodging sector brings similar scalability to homeshare companies with similar quality control to brands. Sonder, for example, was founded by college students in 2012 and just 5 years later hit $100M in revenue with it’s rapid venture capital fueled growth. The alternative lodging sector brings the consistency of a hotel without the overhead and therefore often charges cheaper rates relative to comparable properties.  While attending the Triptease Direct Booking Summit in Dallas last year I slept at Sonder competitor Stay Alfred and the experience was remarkable. Stay Alfred had leased a floor of apartments next to the Statler Hotel (Hilton Curio Collection) and converted the apartment units into hotel rooms.  These rooms were larger than the rooms at the Statler next door and one third the price. Upon arrival I headed to a Key Cafe kiosk in the lobby of the building to get my key - the process was completely seamless and I never interacted with a single person.  The room came outfitted with DirectTV and high speed WiFi as well as HDMI cables to plug in my devices. The alternative lodging experience is undeniably something that the hotel industry needs to keep careful tabs on as it scales quickly and will be highly disruptive to certain segments of the market - perhaps even more so than AirBnB.   Companies like Stay Alfred and Sonder have used distribution channels like Booking.com to kickstart their growth and have augmented digital advertising efforts by offering unbeatable (sometimes even unprofitable) prices to bring customers in the door via 3rd party distribution channels.  Once customers like me are in the door and have a great experience - we then tend to look for those properties for similar use cases in the future. As an example, I recently went straight to Stay Alfred’s website to book my hotel for an upcoming conference. It’s not all fun and games though in the alternative lodging sector as the excitement has pushed valuations into what many believe is bubble territory. Alternative lodging player Selina which is often referred to as a “co-living hospitality brand” (aka glorified luxe hostel with good WiFi and coffee) recently raised $100M at an $850M valuation for it’s portfolio of 22,000 hostel beds.   To put the Selina valuation in perspective, John Pritzker’s Geolo Capital sold Two Roads Hospitality to Hyatt for $430M last year. At the time Two Roads managed 17,000 hotel rooms with a significant development pipeline and iconic brands such as Thompson and Joie De Vivre.  Two Roads was producing approximately $40M of EBITDA at the time of the sale while Selina is likely to see losses for many years to come. The alternative accommodation market is undeniably frothy with prices driven up by venture capitalists who have AirBnB fomo and are paying technology multiples for real estate companies.  Today’s TechCrunch article fires a warning shot to investors: "...one focus will be to improve the booking process and algorithmic recommendations that people use both to figure out where to travel next, as well as what they want to do when they get there." ~TechCrunch comments on Selina’s use of $100M The question to ask is whether these are real estate companies fronting as tech companies or whether they’re the real deal.  Do we actually need algorithms to tell us where to travel next? If so, is that technology actually valuable? One of the major proponents of the alternative lodging sector has been Thayer Ventures, a travel tech focused venture capital firm with deep ties to the hotel industry. Thayer’s focus on travel and hospitality gives the firm a unique perspective so we sat down with Venture Partner Katherine Grass to discuss hotel tech, the rise of alternative lodging and more.  Katherine previously founded Amadeus Ventures and has met with literally thousands of startups in the space over the years - she’s seen it all and has unparalleled insight into the alternative accomodation trend. Check out our exclusive interview with Katherine Grass here

Load more

Guest Experience Category Press Releases

15 Tech Companies Partner to Solve the Hotel Industry’s Billion Dollar Problem

By Hotel Tech Report
4 days ago

15 technology companies have come together to create transparency for hotel technology buyers around the world.  The initiative, facilitated by Hotel Tech Report, rates hotel software vendor customer support processes on more than 30 key variables to help buyers make better partner decisions. Each year hotel owners lose billions of dollars due to software downtime and unused features.  By leveraging the new Global Support Certification, hoteliers can confidently enter new technology partnerships with transparency into the support systems that are in place to mitigate such issues.  Software inevitably goes down and great customer support is the best defense against steep losses. Hoteliers who work with Hotel Tech Report Support Certified vendors also know that those partners have invested in training materials and content to ensure that their teams have everything they need to realize successful outcomes. The certification creates accountability in the vendor community to maintain the highest levels of service for clients through an annual audit by analysts at Hotel Tech Report, the world’s largest technology research platform and online community for the global hotel industry. Leading firms such as Mews Systems, OTA Insight and IDeaS Revenue Solutions have been key supporters of this new industry standard which paves the path for better relationships between technology firms and their hotel clients. “We initially came to Hotel Tech Report with a simple concept.  Our hypothesis was that companies with great customer support would be happy to grant full transparency around their support KPIs with Hotel Tech Report and that companies with subpar support would never give that kind of access.  The team at HTR has brought that concept to life and we’re proud to give full transparency into how we engage, educate and support our customers on a global scale. Ultimately this support certification is an easy way for hoteliers to identify the companies who really treat their clients as partners - it’s a gamechanger for the industry,” says Richard Valtr, Founder of Mews Systems. Decision makers at hotel groups often spend months researching software feature functionality and pricing - but rarely are they able to develop deep insights into how the relationship changes and the level of support their team will receive once the contract is signed. “Hoteliers are constantly rated by parties like JD Power and AAA on the service they deliver to guests which ultimately helps guests find the best hotels.  With this initiative, hoteliers can now benefit from the peace of mind that comes with knowing their future vendors have not only been pre-vetted for professional customer support prior to contract lock-in but they can also easily learn about which tools and processes are most important and which one’s prospective vendors have invested in to help them succeed beyond deal close.” ~Adam Hollander, Hotel Tech Report Poor customer support is incredibly costly for both hotel software buyers and sellers.  For buyers, poor customer support from technology vendors can lead to lost revenue, poor guest satisfaction and weak ROIs on technology spend. “When a booking engine goes down hoteliers can lose thousands of dollars each minute.  What if it takes 24-hours to reach their vendor’s support team and fix the issue? Hoteliers rarely anticipate, let alone, calculate these kinds of costs when signing up with a new vendor because they’re out of sight and out of mind.  Once it happens to them they go into a panic and wish they knew ahead of time,” says Hollander. Another benefit of strong customer engagement processes is maximization of software feature functionality.  A study conducted on 3.8M software users shows that $30B is wasted each year on unused software in the U.S. alone.  Vendors that meet Hotel Tech Report’s support certification have been pre-vetted for the tools and processes necessary to ensure that hotel teams will be properly trained on all feature functionality which ultimately helps them maximize their investments in software and achieve higher ROIs on their software spend.  "45% of software features across the SaaS sector never get used. This is a huge waste. While OTA Insight's usage stats show that the intuitive features in our tools are very well used, we strive for more than just delivering software that works properly; we're committed to ensuring that clients can maximize their investments by ensuring our products and functionality are simple, intuitive and add value. With a heavy focus on customer feedback and input, this informs our ongoing product development," says James Parsons of OTA Insight. Founding members of the Support Certification rallied across the globe to bring this initiative to life.  Each founding member granted Hotel Tech Report access to their internal systems for the team to rate service delivery with its proprietary support certification framework.     Founding Members of the Global Support Certification include:  Mews Systems (Prague) IDeaS (Minneapolis) OTA Insight (London) TrustYou (Munich) Travel Tripper (New York) Hotelchamp (Amsterdam) Oaky (Amsterdam) Revinate (San Francisco) D-EDGE (Paris) Pace (London) Beekeeper (Zurich) RevControl (Eindhoven) Hotel Effectiveness (Atlanta) GuestRevu (Port Alfred) Stardekk (Brugge) The Global Support Certification is now live for hotel technology suppliers to apply for certification.  This budget season, for the first time ever, hotel tech buyers can easily vet customer support for future vendors and access support certification details right from company profiles on Hotel Tech Report. Learn more about the certification

Registration is Now Open for the 2020 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

Registration is now open for the 2020 HotelTechAwards (www.hoteltechawards.com), the industry's only data driven awards platform that recognizes best of breed hotel technology companies who win in the eyes of the judges that matter most - their customers. 2019 winners of the HotelTechAwards included top hotel technology companies such as TravelClick, Beekeeper, Screen Pilot, Atomize and Oaky. New York based ALICE won "The Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech" edging out runner up Mews Systems (10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech). "Revenue generation and operations have become very complex for hotels, threatening profitability and detracting from the customer experience. The answer lies in innovative technology solutions, which can disrupt the disruptors. The HotelTechAwards recognize these technologies and their beneficial impact on the future of our industry." says Marc Heyneker, CEO at Revinate, one of the hotel tech industry's most recognized brands and 2019’s top rated Hotel CRM. Companies are competing for category leadership across marketing, revenue management, guest experience, operations and sales technology. Hotel technology companies ranging from hardware to software and service businesses like digital marketing agencies are eligible for nomination. More than 40 companies around the world have already pre-registered for the competition. Registration closes on September 1st. Voting will take place through December 31, 2019 and winners of the 2020 HotelTechAwards will be announced on January 15, 2020. "As a former hotelier there was ultimately one thing my team wanted to know about prospective technology partners," says Jordan Hollander, co-founder of Hotel Tech Report. "We wanted to know what other hoteliers like us thought about the service providers, that they were tried and true and that the company could deliver on their sales promises. The HotelTechAwards were designed to do exactly that - they help hoteliers see what people like them honestly think about products and services to help them make better decisions for their properties." Learn more about the HotelTechAwards and register now at www.hoteltechawards.com

Top Hotel Tech Providers Revealed in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

For the past 3-months, more than one hundred of the hotel industry's top tech firms across 40+ countries have campaigned in the 2018 HotelTechAwards joining in Hotel Tech Report's mission by leveraging customer feedback and transparency to speed up the pace of global innovation. Companies competed for the coveted top spot across 30 critical categories of hotel technology and today, Hotel Tech Report is proud to announce the 2018 winners.  The HotelTechAwards segment top technologies into the following categories: Marketing - technology that attracts new customers Revenue - technology that optimizes distribution and informs business strategy Operations - technology that helps hotels run efficiently Guest Experience - technology that differentiates the guest stay at a hotel Hotel Tech Report's global hotelier community rallied behind participating top vendors by contributing invaluable qualitative product feedback as well as more than 7,500 data points across key metrics including: ease of use, customer service, implementation, ROI and likelihood to recommend (learn more about scoring) to help determine winners. So what is the significance of the HotelTechAwards? "For the first time, hoteliers can reference an unbiased source of information provided by their peers and verified by a 3rd party to help them easily learn about and discover the best technology for their hotels. Hoteliers can often be slow to adopt new technology.  The reality is that they're slow for a reason--the wrong choice in a vendor can risk both their hotel's profitability and even their personal career" says Hotel Tech Report's Adam Hollander. "Whether its lost revenue from a poorly optimized mobile website, a lawsuit from a security system that failed to record or a hit to their P&L from a poorly calibrated revenue management system--hoteliers are justified in being especially cautious during the technology vendor selection process.  The HotelTechAwards serve as a platform to help educate hoteliers and keep their respective hotels competitive in a world where tech giants like Airbnb and Expedia are looking more like their compset than ever." Quantitative data is extremely important for selecting the right technology for any hotel company.  What is the ROI? What’s the uplift in conversion, how does a product improve guest satisfaction scores or decrease service response times? Quantitative data drives the promises made by vendors during the sales process. Subjective data from unbiased customer reviews enables decision makers to see how well vendors deliver on those promises.  The winners of the HotelTechAwards are the companies who have both world class products and incredibly strong relationships with their customers. To all of the companies (view all) who embraced customer feedback and transparency by campaigning in the 2018 HotelTechAwards, we commend you for your service to the industry at large and are now proud to present to you--the winners of the 2018 HotelTechAwards:   Bonus Feature: The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech