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The 20 Biggest Travel Technology Innovations of the Last 50 Years

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

In many respects, 2020 was supposed to be a milestone year. It has a pleasant ring to it, with balance and heft. It also had a convenient correlation to the optometrist’s shorthand for perfect vision. Well, 2020 certainly was a milestone -- but for reasons that no one ever could have predicted.  Given that hindsight is always 20/20, we figured it was time to look back on the history of travel and pull out some of the most important innovations in travel technology over the last half-century. It was a period of tremendous growth, with major expansions of the industry in all directions: land, sea, air. The tourism industry grew from around 165 million in 1970 to 1.5 billion in 2019 (obviously 2020 is an outlier here, so we went with 2019).   Technology was a tremendous force in driving this growth in travel, mirroring broader trends in technology-fueled growth across the global economy. So which travel tech innovations had the greatest impact and fundamentally and positively changed the trajectory of the industry? Here's a timeline of the most important moments in travel technology over the last 50 years. Each signifies a milestone that influenced travel’s journey, ultimately becoming a global industry that provides opportunities for millions of people. The travel industry is changing rapidly and even the dominant online travel agencies aren't safe from disruption.  New technology from augmented reality to next-gen social media like TikTok will continue to change the way we get inspired, where we go and how we share our travel experiences.  Pressing questions lie ahead as we think about the next 50 years and to predict the future it's important that we first understand the past.   The past informs our thinking around transformative questions like: If virtual reality becomes ultra-realistic will we still want to travel in the future? Will biometrics safety tech be so accurate that we'll no longer have lines at the airport? Will the internet of things (IOT) help travel companies deliver hyper-personalized travel experiences? Let's hop on a time machine through the last 50 years of travel innovation!   January 1970: The 747 officially enters service The era of mass tourism really took off with the Boeing 747, which was in and of itself a technical marvel. For the first time, tourists could be transported in large numbers across vast distances. Both leisure and business travel became not just more practical and convenient but also a bit more affordable, as airlines could lower prices by packing more people into a single aircraft.      October 1971: Magic Kingdom opens in Florida And with it began the relentless global march of theme parks worldwide. As the first expansion beyond Disneyland in California, it not only heralded the beginning of an era of mass tourism and packaged culture -- but also the idea that technology could enable more fluid in-person experiences: the entire kingdom was built one story above ground level to accommodate utilidors, the passageways that cloak all operations from public view. That preserves the fantasy -- and put the “magic” in the kingdom.     1976: SABRE opens to travel agents  Since going live in 1960, the GDS had transformed how American Airlines managed its bookings. But the real moment that mattered was when SABRE opened up to travel agents. This meant that travel agents could more efficiently serve customers and thus accelerated the popularity of package tours, resort destinations and last-minute travel. Eventually, of course, Amadeus and Travelport entered the market, further fueling travel’s digital transformation, such as OTAs making self-serve travel a reality.     1976: FOSSE installed as Marriott’s first PMS Dave Berkus wrote the code for his PMS in 1974, growing his business rapidly as he installed his property management system at more hotels. Eventually, Marriott licensed the technology, called it FOSSE, rolled it out worldwide...and proceeded to use it for nearly three decades! The PMS was a companion to existing Central Reservations Systems, which managed reservations externally but didn’t offer functionality to manage internal operations and the guest experience.  Today, there are nearly 700 PMS vendors, alongside other hospitality technologies that help hotels manage operations, reservations and customer relationships.   Legacy tech held sway for decades, but cloud-based options are loosening the grip. [source]   1976: Foreign currency exchange replaces gold standard With the Jamaica Agreement among IMF member countries, floating exchange rates became the global norm. Travel between nations would eventually be influenced greatly by the relative value of each country’s currency, creating a new dynamic in how travel trends unfolded around the world. Fluctuations in currency valuations would now influence the ebbs and flows of travelers based on their home currency’s relative strength and weakness.    May 1981: American Airlines launches loyalty program American Airlines wasn't the first to launch a loyalty program (that honor goes to the defunct Texas International Airlines). But it remains the world’s largest and longest  continuously operating loyalty program. Marriott followed closely after, launching its loyalty program in 1983. Loyalty would eventually become a billion-dollar business for hotels and airlines, who benefited from the rise of premium rewards credit cards.  An early AAdvantage loyalty card shared on FlyerTalk Forum September 1983: GPS goes public  Originally developed for military use, President Ronald Reagan opened the system up to the public in September 1983 after a Soviet jet accidentally shot down a Korean passenger plane. Since then, GPS has been the lynchpin for so many of travel’s transformation technologies. What would rideshare be without mapping? How popular would the iPhone have been without point-to-point directions? Would travelers be comfortable exploring new places in such great numbers without the help of digital maps? The cost would have been too prohibitive for any one company to develop this technology on its own.   A military GPS tracker prior to its public release [source]   January 1988: The first STAR Report  The STR report has become the world’s most indispensable source of market intelligence for the hospitality industry. With the Smith Travel Accommodations Report (STAR), hotels could use actual aggregated data to measure performance against similar hotels. The STAR became indispensable and maintained its place at the center of a revolution in data-driven market intelligence.   The STAR report became an essential part of hotel revenue management.    Early 1990s: Marriott creates Demand Forecasting System Taking a cue from the nascent application of revenue management in the airline industry, Marriott created a Demand Forecasting System for its full-service hotels and a Revenue Management System for its limited service ones (read the genesis story here, it’s a good one!). By building models to predict demand, the hotel could more accurately price its rooms and optimize its revenues. This strategy was obviously transformative and became widely used across the industry -- especially as cloud computing made revenue management more practical for hotels of all sizes.   October 1996: Microsoft Expedia Travel Services Expedia started as an internal project within Microsoft. Its launch in 1996 heralded a sea change in the way travel was booked. No longer reliant on travel agents and ticketing departments, travelers could now research and book travel for themselves. Eventually joined by Booking.com, Google and hundreds others, Expedia entered the scene just as millions of people were accessing the internet for the first time.  As pure-play technology companies, OTAs rapidly cemented themselves at the center of the industry.    An early version of the Expedia website [source] February 2000: Salesforce launches its Web API The first enterprise application programming interface (API) was launched by Salesforce at its IDG Demo conference. Its XML API was the first out of the gate, unleashing a wave of innovation as businesses could share data with other companies and customers in an entirely customizable manner.  As APIs proliferated, data silos fell. Organizations could build applications that pushed and pulled data across products internally, while also making data more accessible to external partners. This accessibility drove innovations around open APIs, which enabled hospitality brands to build customized tech stacks with two-way data sync, all at a lower-cost than legacy tech.     The original Salesforce site. [source]   2001: First review added to Tripadvisor Tripadvisor began as a personalized trip planning website that aggregated reviews from guidebooks. But a small button asking visitors to add reviews took off, with eager travelers leaving reviews en masse. As the first user review site in travel, Tripadvisor began to wield extraordinary power over traveler decisions. Hotels began to watch their online reputations closely, focused on both responding to reviews and getting guests to share positive experiences online. Yelp followed in 2004, cementing user reviews at the center of the online reputation economy. June 26, 2001 from the Wayback Machine.   June 2004: CouchSurfing and “live like a local” home-sharing  Conceived in 1999 and launched in 2004, CouchSurfing was a precursor to the commercialization of home-sharing by Airbnb. Alongside other sites like Hospitality Exchange, it offered travelers an online platform to connect with locals. These “hosts” would not only share their homes with travelers but would often become local guides, showing travelers a real slice of local life -- yep, this was also the original “live like a local” brand promise!  [source]   April 2006: Google Translate introduces instant translation While translation services transformed the way that we communicated across cultures, instant translation changed how we interact in real-time with others. Google Translate was the first mainstream instant translation service. Launched in 2006, it started off as browser-only and struggled to be accurate and sensible. Even in its earliest iteration, it was a tremendous help to travelers. Today, the app now supports 109 languages, with 500 million users translating 100 billion words per day. The app also translates photos and has a “conversation mode” so travelers can communicate fluidly with others. Instant translation also became a standard feature on Apple's latest iOS 14 update, which includes a Translate app that supports 10 languages. Users can download languages for offline translation and can also set up automatic language detection, which makes it a must-have tool for any traveler.   Google Translate’s simple interface made instant translation easy   August 2006: Amazon Web Services and cloud computing Cloud computing has been a fulcrum for innovation. Dave Berkus, investor and inventor of FOSSE PMS, sees cloud as central to the future of hospitality technology: “If we look ahead ten years, and certainly beyond 10 years, it would be easy to see a single cloud based system integrating everything from CRM to reservations to the accounting functions at the properties, all the way through all forms of marketing and follow-through.”  Amazon Web Services accelerated adoption of cloud computing by making it easy for companies to access shared server space on a “pay what you use basis.” Eventually embraced by Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle and others, cloud computing helped enterprises reduce IT infrastructure costs and increase flexibility. For startups, the technology was even more transformative, as it reduced upfront IT costs and simplified scaling up to accommodate demand.   [source]   June 2007: the iPhone changes everything After the GDS, which streamlined the buying and selling of travel via phone and online, the iPhone arguably had the biggest impact on travel. It was the start of the mobile computing era, which would eventually put smartphones in the hands of billions of people worldwide. Now travelers could take their computers wherever they went, meaning that they could make reservations at restaurants, search for things to do and, most importantly, stay in touch with friends and family while traveling. The smartphone became an indispensable tool -- and massive fulcrum for the growth of the industry, becoming cameras, contactless credit cards, room keys, taxi dispatchers, check-in counters, mobile travel agents and local guides.   The first iPhone on display in 2007 [source]   August 2008: Airbnb ushers in the home-sharing economy Originally called Airbed & Breakfast, Airbnb essentially commercialized the CouchSurfing model of connecting travelers with locals offering a place to stay. It gave homeowners a way to monetize unused space and fulfilled the emerging “live like a local” traveler ethos. The company would eventually transform the entire hospitality industry by expanding the diversity of accommodation types worldwide. Hotels were threatened, local governments bristled, and Airbnb grew to be a behemoth. The concept would rapidly expand to other assets, such as cars, boats and RVs, forever changing the economics of stuff -- and giving travelers an entirely new way to experience the world.   2010: UberCab launches rideshare revolution Taxis had long been a pain point in travel. From unknown wait times and handsy drivers to cabbies not wanting to go to certain neighborhoods and price-gouging at the airport, grabbing a cab was always a bit fraught. Now, with cabs on demand, pricing was transparent, wait time was visible and a driver’s reputation upfront. Travel would be forever different.   Early images of UberCab   October 2011: Apple integrates Siri into iPhone 4  Voice forever changed the way that we interact with our devices. The journey began when Apple integrated its Siri voice technology into the iPhone 4. As one of the earliest efforts in voice control, it was far from perfect. But it signaled a shift in thinking about the flexibility and accessibility of our digital devices.  The adoption of voice accelerated with Amazon's Alexa in 2014 and Google's voice assistant in 2016.  With all the major players integrating voice, it's now become a ubiquitous way to interact with our devices -- including the curtains, lights and appliances in smart hotel rooms!   Original coverage of voice control by Engadget.   November 2014: Digital keys become the next must-have Demagnetized cards are frustrating -- even more so when you happen to be in Vegas and the front desk is half a mile away. The first hotel chain to introduce digital keys was Starwood, who piloted the SPG Keyless program at 10 hotels in November 2014. Other brands followed close behind, with Hilton announcing a similar pilot later that year.  Since then, keyless has become standard across hotels worldwide. Digital keys also became a clever driver of loyalty, as digital keys could only be accessed by members.  Keyless entry also has become a major part of the vacation rental experience, allowing owners to manage properties remotely without a traditional “hand off” of keys. The ease of access was welcomed by guests, which often valued the self-service aspects of vacation rentals in the first place.   Keyless entry becomes standard as hotels partner with technology vendors worldwide.   2014: Uplift brings “buy now, pay later” to travel Even before Diner’s Club launched its charge card in 1950, most department stores offered some sort of installment plan. Then, as banks began to issue credit cards that didn't need to be paid off each month, America turned to credit and installments fell out of favor. Other regions preferred installment payments over credit, with certain countries (like Brazil) maintaining a strong consumer desire to pay in installments. In 2014, FinTech startup Uplift began offering its core service: a “buy now, pay later” installment option integrated directly into the payment systems of major travel suppliers. There’s also Affirm, which integrated with Expedia in 2016, and FOMO Travel, which offers interest-free payment plans for travel booked through its partners.   Uplift integrates within the checkout flow [source]   Bonus: Travel insurance The first known seller of travel insurance was James Batterson, who opened his travel-focused agency in 1864. For those who could afford to travel, the insurance was a must-have, given the risks of traveling long during that era. Today, travel insurance has become a global industry with a variety of options that range from stand-alone policies, add-ons to existing health insurance policies and benefits attached to premium credit cards.   Travel insurance is an important innovation as it provides peace of mind and confidence for travelers. Travel insurance that can be customized to individual needs offers a backstop to uncertainty for travelers. Of course, the global pandemic revealed how complex the product has become, with many travelers realizing that their policy did not cover COVID.   -- The tourism industry is one of the most exciting and rewarding career paths one can take - staying on top of travel technology trends is critical to success.  Did we miss any major innovations? Let us know over live chat so we can add yours to the list!    

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30 Ways Hospitality Experience Builds Character

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

Looking for your next career step in the hospitality industry - or outside of it? Whether you’ve just worked in the hospitality industry briefly or you’re an industry veteran, you should be proud of and excited about the skills you’ve developed working in hotels, restaurants, casinos, cruise ships, or any other hospitality organization. Hospitality work experience delivers a plethora of benefits that make you an attractive candidate for jobs even outside of the hospitality industry, and many employers specifically seek out candidates with hospitality-style skills and experiences. So if you’re polishing up your resume or just looking for some inspiration during the job hunt, keep reading to discover more than 30 benefits of having hospitality experience under your belt (and why employers are lucky to have you).   Organizational and technical skills A hospitality career presents an ideal opportunity to develop a variety of skills that you will use throughout your career - wherever your career path leads.  Communication skills: Any hospitality job, from a front desk agent to a line cook, requires strong communication skills. You’ll learn how to communicate effectively with even the most difficult of guests or communicate efficiently during events or busy rushes. In addition to verbal communication with internal audiences (colleagues and leaders) and external audiences (guests), many jobs set you up to master written communication too. Listening skills: Of course, you can’t have good communication skills without strong listening skills! For example, you’ll practice listening skills when getting to the root of a guest’s complaint or learning about a new policy or procedure.  Problem-solving experience: At the heart of many hospitality jobs is service recovery - or problem-solving. Ever turned a guest’s horrible stay around into a positive one? Or figured out how to accommodate new reservations in an almost full house? These are all examples of problem-solving in action. Customer service expertise: The goal of every hospitality job is to deliver great service. You’ll master not only service recovery, but you’ll also learn to proactively create a fantastic experience for the guest, diner, or customer. Tech-savvy: Hospitality jobs across the industry now include a technology component, as many roles rely on various digital tools and systems throughout the workday. Your position might give you a chance to become an expert in point of sale systems, property management systems, marketing software, and more. Attention to detail: If you’ve had any hospitality experience, you know that attention to detail is crucial to delivering a great guest experience. Every task requires you to be detail-oriented, from taking a lunch order for a guest who’s allergic to shellfish to carefully loading all of a guest’s luggage into their car upon check-out. Upselling: Front desk agents, restaurant servers, and bartenders get the chance to master the art of the upsell. These roles teach you how to identify needs and sell effectively - which are important skills to know even if your career path takes you to a different industry. Handling of sensitive data: Many roles in hotels or restaurants require handling of credit card information, dates of birth, government IDs, and other sensitive data. By learning how to safely and securely handle this data, you can prove that you’re a trustworthy employee comfortable with that responsibility. Continuing education: Want to learn skills that will take your career to the next level? Many hospitality companies have continuing education and training programs that help you become a better manager and leader. Your hotel or restaurant may also offer trainings that don’t relate specifically to your role but are still interesting and engaging - like wine tasting classes or menu tastings. Transferable skills: Just because hospitality work experience is on your resume doesn’t mean you need to stay in the hospitality industry forever. In fact, the skills you’ve honed by working in hospitality, like communication skills and flexibility, are easily transferable to a slew of other industries. Hospitality experience is actually a great launchpad to start a career in a different vertical, such as business, education, medicine, entertainment, technology, public service, and more - even celebrities like Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga worked in hotels and restaurants before their famous careers took off!  Resume-ready experience: Speaking of transferable skills, if you’re applying to customer service jobs outside of the hospitality sector, for example, you probably don't need to make many changes to your resume. Stats like number of calls taken per day, numbers of guests assisted, and guest satisfaction scores are all relevant to similar roles in other industries.    People skills One of the top benefits of hospitality management experience is that these jobs give you endless opportunities to develop people skills through customer experience interactions. Front-of-house roles, in particular, teach you to be more patient and flexible when working with guests. And all hospitality roles give you a chance to become a better team player and to grow your personal network. Conversational skills: If you work in a front-of-house role like check-in or concierge, you were probably a people person even before you were hired. But if not, you’ve probably gotten ample opportunity to practice your conversational skills, since engaging conversation is a key to making people feel welcome, important, and appreciated. Flexibility: Have you ever experienced an unexpected situation in your hospitality job? Most industry veterans have story after story of crazy situations which required them to think on the fly and be flexible in order to find a solution. In a hospitality role, you’ll probably, at times, need to help out in other departments or try something new, tasks which also give you the chance to embrace flexibility. Emotional intelligence: If you’ve ever been taught to anticipate a guest’s needs, then you’ve been trained to use your emotional intelligence. By reading small signals like the guest’s tone of voice and body language, you can uncover more about their wants and needs then they might even be able to tell you. Emotional intelligence is a powerful skill to master no matter where your career path takes you. Teamwork: Nearly every hospitality business has more than one employee, so you’ll likely be working on a team no matter which kind of hospitality organization you’re a part of. A great hotel or restaurant runs like a well-oiled machine, which means you’ll have the opportunity to become a better team player.  From cleaning hotel rooms to proactively handling service requests - hospitality is a team sport through and through. Leadership skills: Many hospitality organizations are hierarchical, and if you’ve started in an entry-level role, it probably won’t take long for you to get promoted to a supervisory role. Hotels and restaurants are the perfect training grounds for future managers and leaders since you can work up to managing teams of people with increasing responsibility. Patience: Whether you’re an entry-level employee or a manager, working in a hotel or restaurant will certainly teach you to be patient - not just an important career skill, but an important life skill too. Empathy: Sometimes we complain about our guests’ demands, but at the end of the day, hospitality professionals truly care. Working in the hospitality industry helps you develop empathy when you put yourself in your guest’s shoes to better understand their wants, needs, and frustrations.  Integrity: Working in a hotel offers many opportunities for you to do the right thing - sometimes instead of the easy thing. Maybe you’ve stopped a guest from driving home after a few too many drinks at the lobby bar, for example. Being a person of integrity will help you succeed in your career and in life. Confidentiality: Hospitality businesses must often keep secrets, like about high-profile guests in-house, which means every employee is entrusted with confidential matters. Working in a role that requires confidentiality proves you can be trusted with sensitive data and a high level of responsibility. Experience working with people from different backgrounds: One of the most enriching parts of working in hospitality is working with colleagues from every walk of life. It’s not uncommon to hear a variety of languages spoken in the employee locker room or work alongside people from around the world. These experiences help you appreciate diversity and become a more effective and empathetic leader. Valuable network: In addition to your colleagues, hospitality professionals have the chance to meet interesting people every day - from guests to managers to vendors. Your expansive network might lead you to opportunities you wouldn’t have known about otherwise, or perhaps one of your connections could become your employee in the future.  International experience: Working with and serving people from different cultures might not be the only international exposure you gain from a hospitality job; hospitality is a global industry, so you might also get the chance to work abroad. International work experience gives you the opportunity to learn a new language, understand different customs, and open your eyes to other cultures.   Unique perks that only a hospitality job provides Hospitality jobs don’t only pad your resume with in-demand skills, they also offer some amazing perks that you’ll never find in a traditional office job. Debating whether to switch industries? This list just might entice you to stay in hospitality. Free hotel stays: What’s one of the best benefits of working in the hotel industry? Comp nights! Besides just being a fun perk, experiencing hospitality from the guest’s perspective can help you see opportunities for improvement in your own organization or career. Career growth within one property: Hospitality businesses, especially hotels, are hierarchical, and there’s a clear trajectory to the top - the role of general manager. If you’re determined to become a GM someday, you can work your way up from an entry-level role at the same hotel. Career growth within a brand: If you work for a large hotel company like Marriott or Hilton, opportunities for internal transfers abound. If you’re a front desk manager in one city, you can likely earn the chance to transfer to a similar role at sister property in the location of your choice. International opportunities: As you move up in your hospitality career, you might also consider working abroad. Many hotel brands and groups have international transfer programs that help you sort out visas, temporary housing, and language skills to make a move to a new country easier than if you were to go at it alone. Work where people vacation: Forget the stuffy office building, if you have a career in hospitality, you might have the chance to work in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world - places where people visit on bucket-list vacations and honeymoons. Even if the hours are long, time flies when you’re surrounded by jaw-dropping architecture and picture-perfect scenery. Making a guest’s day: As a hospitality professional, you might be responsible for making guests’ dreams come true. Maybe you’re helping pull off a surprise engagement party or giving a young guest a stuffed animal; there’s a special kind of satisfaction that comes with knowing you played a role in memories for a lifetime.  Industry nights: That hospitality bond doesn’t end at the doors of your hotel or restaurant; the entire industry forms a sort of family, and many cities are home to a thriving culture of hospitality professionals. It’s common to find discounts for industry employees at local bars or special events only open to hospitality workers. Camaraderie: Hotel and restaurant employees make up one big family. There’s a special bond that forms between hospitality workers as the result of hard work, long hours, and crazy situations that you get through together.   -- Whether you're in event planning at an urban boutique hotel, a bellhop at a remote resort customer or even hotel manager at a roadside motel - customer satisfaction is everything in hospitality. These customer interactions will groom you to be a better person in both your professional and personal life.  Hotel management may seem like a challenging career path especially in the wake of the pandemic that hit last year but the pros far outweigh the cons to this fulfilling lifestyle. Did we miss any fantastic benefits of hospitality experience? Let us know!

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The 8 Best Hotel News Sites to Get Your Daily Fix

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

There are only so many hours in a day, so when it comes to staying on top of the latest hospitality industry news and trends, you don’t want to waste time. Quality matters. You want to invest your time in news sources with the deepest domain expertise, those that give you timely news as well as deep-dive analysis to keep you informed and prepared. To help you be most efficient with your media consumption budget, we decided to rank the top hotel new sites. What makes a great hotel news site? First and foremost is industry expertise. You want coverage that's incisive and poignant, getting right to the heart of the matter with a firm grasp on the broader industry trends. You also want clear writing that demonstrates how a topic impacts the industry. Ideally, you also want good storytellers, who can make dry business topics more interesting. To rank the best hotel news sites, we used the following parameters: editorial quality, domain expertise, publication frequency, quality of the website experience and its Alexa ranking. We also looked primarily at outlets with a significant online presence serving mostly English-speaking audiences. No doubt this post will be controversial! Of course, these are subjective rankings which do favor larger publications with bigger budgets to deliver quality news and analysis reliably. Even so, these are all reliable sources for your daily hotel news fix. As an industry, we're lucky to have such a broad array of quality resources to help guide us on our professional journeys.     #1: Wall Street Journal WSJ’s covers the business of hospitality through a different lens than the traditional hospitality trade publications. Since the WSJ’s audience is broader, and often global,  the coverage here often weaves together a variety of angles that aren’t always seen elsewhere. That’s primarily because its hospitality section includes stories from other parts of the paper, such as Business, Property Report, Real Estate and Homes. So you get a broad perspective on news that’s not entirely hospitality but nonetheless relevant. Editorial quality: 5/5. WSJ journalists are unparalleled in their depth and breadth around all things business --  especially as news relates to the global business ecosystem. Domain expertise: 4/5. There's no fully dedicated hotels reporter, so the coverage tends to be broader in nature and less industry-centric. Publication frequency: 5/5. The WSJ’s global staff covers breaking news and in-depth pieces in equal measure, providing a real-time firehose of the latest.  Website experience quality: 3/5. Paywalls help maintain the quality and reliability of the content. But they do prevent access for casual readers, so we dinged them one point for that. And another point because the desktop experience can get a bit cluttered (much better on mobile). Traffic Ranking: #129 in the U.S: 5/5.  Note: Obviously this is hard to beat, given the global size and reputation of this publication. TOTAL SCORE: 22/25   HotelNewsNow  As the editorial arm of data analytics firm STR, HotelNewsNow benefits from its parent company’s extensive data and industry expertise. The site is simple and straightforward, with content bucketed into three categories: News, Opinion and Data. There’s usually a fourth callout in the navigation bar that highlights a special section, such as earnings roundups or event coverage. For industry watchers, this is a go-to resource that provides news and analysis cleanly and concisely.  Editorial quality: 4/5. The ability to pull from the experts (and data) at STR gives the outlet a leg up over others when it comes to hotel news and analysis. It creates a data-first vibe that sets HNN apart. Domain expertise: 5/5. In addition to the well-versed editorial staff, there’s also a solid stable of guest contributors that are often more substantive than fluff.  Publication frequency: 4/5. The website is refreshed several times per day across its three main sections. Website experience quality: 5/5. The card-based format is a design best practice that follows through well on mobile. The images make it easy on the eyes and the prominent real estate for the Data Dashboard puts HNN’s value proposition front and center. The site is also easy to search, which wins it top marks. Traffic Ranking: #59,130 in the U.S. 4/5.  TOTAL SCORE: 22/25     Skift With recent acquisitions in aviation and events, Skift has become a well-rounded resource across many industry segments. Its coverage is often more ambitious in scope, although it has moved to a tiered paywall during the pandemic. Its hotel coverage is typically a blend of well-reported deep dives and higher-level newsy stories.  Editorial quality: 5/5. The scope of coverage encompasses all aspects of the industry and how everything relates to each other. With reports, newsletters and podcasts, there’s a lot of context for what’s happening not just in hotels but travel.  Domain expertise: 4/5. Alongside a dedicated hospitality reporter, the publication maintains a deep bench of qualified journalists who are experts in their coverage beats. Publication frequency: 4/5. Given the focus more on more extensively-reported coverage than other more B2B industry publications, content is published less frequently than the rapid-fire cadence elsewhere. That’s also due to the single reporter (rather than a full team covering just hotels). Website experience quality: 4/5. The website is more modern than most and maintains that experience via mobile as well.  Traffic Ranking: #9,303 in the U.S. 5/5. Skift’s traffic reflects its growing stable of brands; it’s one of the most-visited sites covering the business of travel.  TOTAL SCORE: 21/25     Phocuswire Phocuswire is the travel technology arm of Phocuswright. The hotel coverage focuses on the impact and application of technology in the industry. There's also extensive coverage of startups and other emerging trends, and, thanks to Phocuswright’s network of travel media brands, the coverage has a strong global focus. Editorial quality: 4/5. Phocuswire’s editorial team is well-versed in travel technology and has a broad foundation to build on. The stories range from the deeply-reported to topical quick hits.    Videos and podcasts augment written coverage to provide a variety of perspectives. Domain expertise: 4/5. The focus on the technology side of the business sets it apart.  And, although some contributed perspectives aren't as good as others, Phocuswire’s acceptance of external opinions broadens its diversity of perspectives. Publication frequency: 5/5. Frequent updates keep things fresh and relevant. Website experience quality: 4/5. The website is relatively clear, although there is a lot of information to process within the several sliders. It can sometimes be hard to know where to click first. On mobile, the content is easy-to-scroll and generally avoids invasive ads that plague other outlets. Traffic Ranking: #25,654 in the U.S: 4/5    TOTAL SCORE: 21/25     Hotel Management  Hotel Management is part of the global B2B trade company Questex. It focuses on all aspects of the business, including financing, operations, procurement, hotel technology and financial performance. Overall, it’s a solid choice for staying on top of the latest hotel news, as well as recent surveys and reports around hotel industry trends.  Editorial quality: 4/5. The stories are definitely more vendor-focused and are more quick-hit updates rather than thematic deep dives.  Domain expertise: 4/5. The editorial team has a long history of covering the hotel industry and use that knowledge to inform their coverage. Publication frequency: 5/5. Frequent updates on the website and also a monthly digital magazine. Website experience quality: 4/5. The website is minimalist, focusing on the content with a reasonable amount of ads. This experience mostly follows through on mobile, although ads take up too much space at the top of the smaller screen, pushing content down below the fold. That’s less of an issue on larger screens. Traffic Ranking: 2/5. #65,490 in the U.S. TOTAL SCORE: 20/25     SmartBrief  The Hospitality SmartBrief is an easy and convenient way to stay on top of the latest news and analysis. Each day’s new stories are curated and summarized by the editors, which then publish the stories on the website and in an email newsletter. There are also separate newsletters for spa professionals, travel professionals and those in gaming. It’s part of a massive 275+ industry coverage map, so they’ve got this format down.  Editorial quality: 3/5 The editorial curation is superb. It’s an efficient way to stay in the loop. But since SmartBrief doesn't create any of its own content, the score is a bit lower in comparison to others. We wanted to be fair given the costs of supporting the editorial quality of the other ranked publications.  Domain expertise: 4/5 The editors do a great job summarizing each news story in a way that surfaces the most important and relevant aspects for their audience of hospitality professionals. Publication frequency: 4/5 The newsletter goes out daily. Other outlets publish several times per day though, a frequency that gives you more real-time information.  Website experience quality: 4/5 Simple and straightforward, it’s less cluttered than others on this list. Traffic Ranking: #4,587 in the U.S: 4/5 Note: This doesn't tell the whole story, as it includes all industry segments and doesn’t reflect the newsletter subscribers. TOTAL SCORE: 19/25     Lodging Magazine Lodging Magazine is a publication of the AHLA. Its online component features content across a broad array of categories, from finance, guest experience and operations to technology, people and design. There aren't many other publications that cover so many topics with a frequency and quality as this one. Editorial quality: 4/5 This is a comprehensive resource for all aspects of the hotel business. It’s specifically geared towards the hotel professional and not just the vendors serving the industry. Yet, it’s heavier on the vendor content so we took off a point. Domain expertise: 4/5 As the official publication of AHLA, it can lean on all kinds of experts across the industry, as well as others serving the industry. This makes it very authoritative in its field. Publication frequency: 5/5 There’s a lot of content covering many different topics, updated many times a day, and across other mediums, such as podcasts, videos and the namesake magazine.  Website experience quality: 3/5 We know revenue is important but the repetitive advertorial pop-ups can be excessive when browsing across multiple articles in a single session. There are just too many ads! Traffic Ranking: #151,057 in the U.S: 2/5 TOTAL SCORE: 18/25     Hotel Business  Hotel Business is another source for hotel owners, investors and operators to find industry-heavy news and insights. Similar to other sites like Lodging and HotelManagement that monetize their content through vendor updates, there’s quite a bit of supplier content and high-level industry updates.  Editorial quality: 4/5 There’s a good breadth of coverage of news topics, including people moves and supplier features/updates, as well as sharing snippets of relevant business updates and demand data. Longer form articles are reserved for the magazine and then republished.  Domain expertise: 4/5 The team has been working in travel for decades and has a solid understanding of industry fundamentals and how the news impacts the industry moving forward. Publication frequency: 4/5 Daily updates, plus a regular magazine (with digital edition) and a strong slate of videos.  Website experience quality: 2/5 The website is dated and there are too many ads (a problem for all sites relying on vendor dollars). This makes it cluttered - and that extends to mobile. There’s just too much vying for our attention. Traffic Ranking: #33,041 in the U.S: 4/5  TOTAL SCORE: 18/25   TopHotel.news  TOPHOTELNEWS is a hotel news site that focuses primarily on updates from new hotel projects and chain hotels around the world. The editorial mandate also extends to featuring expert perspectives from hotel owners and operators worldwide. It’s a bit more narrow in scope than other hotel news sources yet it’s much more design-forward as far as its coverage.  Editorial quality: 2/5 Editorial content is short and mostly newsy (less analysis). Much of the content is supplier news, vendor perspectives and people updates. These are useful signposts for any hotel professional but doesn't quite match the editorial quality of other publications listed here. Domain expertise: 4/5 TOPHOTELNEWS specializes in hotel development and really shines through when it comes to its content around new hotel openings, design trends and updates on hotel development pipelines.  Publication frequency: 4/5 The content is refreshed frequently, around a few times per day.  Website experience quality: 3/5 On desktop, the auto sliders are distracting and somewhat busy, although the prominent use of images is refreshing. On mobile, the experience could be a bit more focused on speed and putting more information easily accessible without having to click around so much. Traffic Ranking: #516,698 in the U.S: 1/5  Traffic is much lower than others but this is also serving a specific niche of those in hotel design and development.   TOTAL SCORE: 14/25   -- In addition to these websites you'll also want to make sure you follow your local hotel news channels such as the San Francisco Hotel Counsel or Las Vegas Tourism Bureau or local real estate publications.  You'll also want to keep a pulse on the press sections of major chain websites like Hilton, Hyatt, Choice Hotels, IHG, Wyndham and Marriott.  It can often be helpful to follow other travel industry websites as areas like flights and meetings may be leading indicators for hotels.  Hoteliers can feel very isolated on property so it's important to stay in the know. COVID-19 has thrust our industry into a new normal and it's more important than ever to stay on top of trending topics that affect reopening and success strategies working in other markets or adjacent verticals.  Knowledge is power and staying on top of the latest developments can have a huge impact on how your hotel handles the coronavirus crisis and other rapidly evolving market dynamics such as occupancy and RevPAR trends or even inbound tourism from markets like the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America that impact your United States business.  

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How to Make Guests Feel Safe from COVID-19 at Your Property

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Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

It’s almost hard to believe that the pandemic is still here.  Few imagined how long this would last and how devastating it would be on the global economy - especially for the travel industry.  Hotels are fighting back though and there are early signs for optimism about a return to business as usual as certain segments like resorts and drive markets picked up steam throughout the summer.   The Basics for a Safe Hotel Reopening Experts generally believe that staying in a hotel is pretty safe when following hotel industry guidelines.  The American Hotel and Lodging Association recommends key measures being taken such as face coverings in all indoor public spaces, social distancing in common areas, temperature checks upon entry, and contactless room service delivery with enhanced cleaning protocols. “I think that as long as the hotels and Airbnbs are transparent about what measures they are taking to make sure that it is safe for people to come and stay with them, it should be OK,” said Dr. Gabriela M. Andujar Vazquez, an infectious disease physician and associate hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts.     A recent Stay Safe study by the AHLA highlights some of the key features to most important things guests want to see to feel safe where ubiquitous face masks and contact-free technology top the list. “The truth is that keeping guests safe and healthy is only part of the battle,” says Integer Group’s Senior Strategist Brooke Siskin, “hotels need to go above and beyond in order to show how safe their properties are.  That includes ubiquitous signage and digital messaging as well as offering enhanced safety protocols available for an extra charge to accommodate the requirements of even the most demanding guest segments.”   Want to Go the Extra Mile to Protect Your Guests? Long before COVID-19 took aim at the hotel industry, Pure Wellness was protecting guests against harmful air pollutants, bacteria, germs, and viruses.  Prior to the current pandemic, Pure Rooms was positioned as a wellness amenity and a way for hotels to cater to at-risk travelers with allergies and breathing problems.  In the current state of the world, all travelers are now at-risk and Pure Rooms is well-positioned to help hotels protect guests from harmful air pollutants and unwanted surface particles. The Pure Rooms patented 7-step room sanitization process for hotels provides added cleanliness and hygiene for guests who will pay a premium for the peace of mind that comes with enhanced safety and health measures.   Proprietary DFS Air Filtration Units Protect Against Airborne Viruses Over the course of the pandemic, the world’s leading scientists have learned a lot about how COVID-19 spreads from human to human and while their opinion has evolved over time - there does seem to be a consensus now that we’re nearly a year in.  As a whole, scientists have agreed that liquid droplets spread the virus when we cough or sneeze, and general consensus is that those droplets travel about 6ft which has lead to social distancing rules. The CDC has also (more recently) revealed the results of a study showing that COVID-19 is also able to spread through airborne particles and has identified advanced air filtration technology as a key measure to enhance safety in commercial buildings.  The EPA has shared similar sentiments around the importance of enhanced air filtration, “When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others, [air] filtration can be part of a plan to protect people indoors.” The EPA recommends that large commercial buildings like hotels look into upgrading the air filtration capabilities of their HVAC systems.  Hoteliers looking into upgrading air filtration systems at their properties should contact a partner like Pure Rooms to assess whether a full HVAC upgrade is needed or if there is a more cost-efficient alternative.     Pure Rooms has developed a 7-step patented process to sanitize hotel rooms covering everything from surfaces to carpets and even the air guests breathe.  As part of that process, Pure Rooms installs advanced air purification units into each upgraded room.  What makes Pure Rooms’ air filters unique?  Most air filtration systems in hotels leverage HEPA filtration that can capture particles of about 0.3 microns or larger.  Pure Rooms’ air filters use a unique DFS (Disinfecting Filtration System) technology which can capture and filter out particles as small as .007 microns.  For comparison, COVID-19 particles are approximately .12 microns in diameter according to the Mayo clinic which in theory means that they could pass through HEPA filtration systems but not DFS.  That’s why Pure Rooms’ DFS filters are listed by the FDA as a Class II Medical Device and are used in medical facilities and clean rooms for enhanced protection.   Bioshield Helps to Keep Viruses Off of Surfaces in Hotel Rooms and Common Areas Pure Rooms doesn’t just clean the air in hotel rooms - the company’s 7-step patented process also goes the extra mile to eliminate viruses from all surfaces.  First, the Pure Rooms process sanitizes all surfaces from carpets to upholstery and other furniture using Pure Clean surface protection products.  Once surfaces are sanitized Pure Rooms uses an electrostatic sprayer to apply BioShield, a technology that provides a durable antimicrobial protective barrier and is sprayed on hard and soft surfaces to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungi. While there have not yet been conclusive tests run on Pure Rooms’ BioShield technology by the EPA, a study run by independent lab Microchem found that BioShield® Technology demonstrated a residual kill rate of 99.9% of the virus strain that causes COVID-19.   Bringing it All Together Let’s face it - the hotel business is challenging right now and no expense can be overlooked.  Having said that, guest confidence and safety is absolutely critical to ensuring the long term viability of any hotel business and every owner should be examining whether they are delivering on that need.  As you examine your property and overall operation you should explore whether Pure Rooms is a good fit for you even if that means having a few rooms where VIP guests can pay a premium to feel extra safe during their stay.  Ultimately, you can’t put a price on the health of your guests.   This content was created collaboratively by Pure Rooms and Hotel Tech Report.

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The 30 Hottest Hotel Designs of 2021

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Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

Many of us are already anticipating 2021 with optimism – and a number of new hotel properties slated to open next year are only adding to that excitement. Design trends indicate that hotel architects are emphasizing the destination, creating spaces that illuminate the natural beauty and energy of a location. Property designs incorporate smart technology with eco-friendly elements, like living greenery and seamless indoor/outdoor transitions. Sustainability also plays a role in how a hotel property incorporates existing design elements in their renovation or new design: some hotels, for instance, are taking historic sites and blending vintage architectural elements with modern amenities. Our list is packed with everything from boutique hotels to global luxury brands with some rockstar interior designers and design firms featured.  Despite the pandemic, there's still nothing like staying at a luxury hotel arriving in the hotel room, and let go of the day-to-day stresses.  From Athens to Barcelona and Malaysia to Miami, there are incredible hotels in your backyard that you probably don't even know about.  Some of us prefer ultra-modern all-glass hotels with museum-quality art collections and others prefer rugged retreats.  Whatever your preferences, design inspiration is all about taking elements from a variety of the best hotels. From insane living rooms and hotel interiors to Infiniti edge swimming pools this list will give you a taste of the high life. These 30 hotels opening in 2021 exemplify some of the hottest design trends in the hospitality industry – here’s what we have to look forward to visiting next year.   Amanvari, East Cape Baja, Mexico  Amanvari in Baja’s Eastern Cape will offer 20 contemporary, private pavilions perched on stilts in a beachfront, tropical mangrove. These modern accommodations will each have two floors with living space, wrap-around decks, and a cantilevered private pool, plus fire pits and hammocks.  Rosewood São Paulo, Brazil  Rosewood São Paulo’s striking architecture houses 180 rooms and suites in a “vertical park.” The property is designed by world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel with interiors by Philippe Starck. This property includes natural Brazilian wood blended with Italian elements.  One&Only Resorts Kea Island, Greece One&Only Resorts is coming to Kea Island, Greece with resort-style rooms, suites, and villas. The design of this property integrates classic Hellenic architecture with modern amenities and seamless indoor/outdoor transitions.  Etéreo, Riviera Maya, Mexico  Etéreo is Auberge’s latest addition in Mexico. The resort is designed to look like a series of coral stone structures that reference Mayan culture. Floating above the tropical vegetation, areas of the resort are connected by a hidden network of boardwalks and pathways.  Stanly Ranch, Napa Valley  Stanly Ranch in Napa Valley, California is one of the most highly anticipated openings of 2021. The property will include 135 cottages nestled in the vineyard, with patios that open directly onto the vines overlooking the Mayacamas Mountains. We expect Stanly Ranch to incorporate lots of natural building materials, open spaces, and natural light.  Montage Big Sky, Montana Montage Big Sky is coming to Big Sky, Montana. The property is designed to provide ski-in, ski-out access to 5,800 skiable acres. In the summer, guests can enjoy an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf. The hotel promises to be ultra-luxurious with five-star amenities just an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park.  Nobu Hotel Toronto, Canada  Nobu Hotel in Toronto is a striking addition to the city’s skyline. In line with the design trend of repurposing existing building materials, Nobu Toronto is designated as a heritage site and will retain the original brick façade from the Pilkington Glass Factory previously on the site – as well as Art Deco design elements from the early 1900s. Six Senses Ibiza, Spain Six Senses in Ibiza, Spain promises to offer townhouses, pool suites and “beach cave units” overlooking the blue waters of Cala Xarraca Bay. Initial mockups of the design show minimalist, natural elements blended with the rustic appeal of the Spanish island vibe.  W Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland Designed by architecture firm Jestico + Whiles, the W Hotel in Edinburgh will incorporate a winding steel ‘ribbon’ that recalls a spiral of paper – a nod to the neighborhood’s history as a home to Edinburgh’s printing presses. The design also considers the area’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its smaller footprint.  Costa Navarino, Greece Costa Navarino is another hotel opening in Greece and part of three new areas under development in Messinia. The resort puts the natural setting first with an earth-sheltered design. Accommodations are built into the hillside with planted roofs discreet private pools.  The Langham, Gold Coast, Australia Langham Hospitality Group is opening a new hotel in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia in one of the three landmark towers of the Jewel development project. This destination will feature 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, plus a sky terrace and bar, an indoor free-form pool (plus a second outdoor pool), and a 700-square-meter ballroom. The Langham, Jakarta, Indonesia Langham Hospitality Group is also opening a new property in Jakarta, Indonesia – designed by Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart, one of the world’s top international architectural firms. The hotel will feature a 336 square meter Presidential Suite with its own outdoor terrace. Mondrian Cannes, France The Mondrian brand is slated to open a newly redesigned hotel on the city’s Promenade de la Croisette. Mondrian Cannes’ will feature custom-designed interiors by Monaco-based architects Christophe Poyet and Emil Humnert. Six Senses New York The Six Senses' new project in Manhattan will feature two twisting towers designed by architect Bjarke Ingels between the Hudson River and the High Line. The interiors are going to be designed by Parisian firm Gilles & Boissier and promise to be contemporary, modern, and full of natural ambiance.  Castello di Reschio, Italy Castello di Reschio is another great example of an existing building getting a modern facelift. Located in Umbria, the owner is also an architect, and personally supervised the renovation and redesign of this 10th-century castle to include upscale amenities and modern touches.  Krugar Shalati, South Africa Krugar Shalati is a totally unique hotel coming to South Africa in 2021; it’s built inside a restored vintage train floating on a bridge above the Sabie River. The permanently parked train includes local art and furnishings to evoke the area, plus access to the game park.  Xigera, Botswana  Xigera is opening in Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve and is designed to offer a unique safari experience – the lodge is positioned to sit over the water of the Okavango Delta so that guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of wildlife. You can also book a stay in the three-story steel baobab tree nearby. Chablé Sea of Cortez, Mexico   Chablé Sea of Cortez in Mexico uses architecture to blend with the natural environment while offering uninterrupted sea views from every room. The property will focus on wellness, with a huge spa, private beach, and ocean-front pool.  Aman New York, USA  Aman New York will take over the Crown Building, formerly the location of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The redesign retains much of the building’s historic charm paired with luxurious elements designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, a leader in hospitality design. Radisson Hotel Perm, Russia Radisson is opening its first property in Perm, Russia. The property is designed by Twelve Architects, an award-winning international architecture firm. The interior will be Scandanavian-style, while the exterior takes its inspiration from the folds of a ballerina’s skirt – a callback to when the Bolshoi ballet company was based in the city.    Casa Formentera, Spain Casa Formentera will open in Spain’s Balearic Islands in the style of beach-y, boho-chic luxury. With just 14 rooms available, this exclusive hotel will feature “neutral tones, polished concrete floors, lots of natural wood and linens, tropical plants and African style ceramics with rattan screens providing stylish touches,” according to the property’s press release. LXR Roku Kyoto, Japan LXR Roku Kyoto Resort in Japan will be set among the Takagamine Sanzan mountains, part of a 28.6-acre enclave that’s home to some of Kyoto's most notable gardens, historic architecture, and authentic tea houses. The resort was designed with the Japanese concept that “beautiful things are born from a beautiful environment” in mind. Kālesma Mykonos, Greece Kalesma will soon be the only property in the world to have pieces by designer Rick Owens – and that’s just the start. Kalesma’s look and feel is inspired by Mykonian history, with natural materials such as wood, marble, and stone giving a contemporary twist to classic Cycladic style. Four Seasons Chao Phraya River, Bangkok Four Seasons Chao Phraya River is the Four Season’s upcoming opening in Bangkok, Thailand. The interior of this prestigous hotel is designed by world-renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy; there’s also a collection of art installations curated by Gathy. Canopy by Hilton, Kuala Lumpur  Canopy by Hilton is opening a new location in the Malaysian metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. The architecture and interior design will be inspired and influenced by its local surroundings, positioning the hotel as a natural extension of the neighborhood.  Daxton Hotel, Michigan The Daxton Hotel in Michigan is scheduled to open in early 2021 – and already taking reservations! Guests can enjoy luxurious design touches and art curated by world-famous Saatchi Art.  Pendry West Hollywood, Los Angeles The Pendry’s design and decor reflects it’s stylish position on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. The Pendry mixes Art Deco with contemporary, modern elements. The hotell will offer a rooftop pool, a members-only social club, live entertainment and a food and beverage menu by Wolfgang Puck. The Tasman, Australia The Tasman is Mariott’s newest project coming to Hobart, Tasmania. The hotel design echoes the building’s original heritage, maintaining Art Deco details with modern elements and luxurious amenities.   Raffles the Palm, UAE Raffles the Palm is on track to be the talles building on the UAE’s Palm Jumeirah, standing at almost 260 meters high. The hotel is set to offer 125 rooms and suites, as well as 359 branded residences – including 16 penthouses. Anantara Jinsha Chengdu Hotel, China Anantara Jinsha Chengdu is a planned urban oasis. The property will sit in front of a 47-hectare eco wetland park, one of the largest outdoor spaces in the middle of Chengdu.    If these stunning hotels are anything to go by, 2021 is shaping up to be a trend-setting year for designers and architects in the hospitality sector.   

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Guest Experience Category Press Releases

Monscierge Achieves Level III Global Support Certification

Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

This week, Monscierge earned Hotel Tech Report’s level III Global Customer Support Certification (GCSC) for its investments into tools, processes and strategies to ensure the ongoing success of its customers across the four of the key pillars of the GCSC Rubric including: pre-emptive support, reactive support, coaching and customer validation. The Hotel Tech Report GCSC certification program analyzes software vendors along critical dimensions of customer support infrastructure in order to help hoteliers minimize risk and maximize positive outcomes when selecting technology partners.  In order to become certified, companies must open their internal systems to Hotel Tech Report for assessment along HTR’s rigorous 34-point GCSC Rubric. “Elena and the Monscierge team have developed data driven processes to closely facilitate pre-emptive and reactive support that is carefully constructed from highly polished scripted self service video tutorials all the way through support ticket followup with built in SLA tracking. In fact, the team is so confident in their systems and processes they even opened up their internal customer satisfaction surveying tool to share their excellent scores with Hotel Tech Report.” Hotel Tech Report co-founder Adam Hollander. "The customer experience is designed into everything we do as an organization. One of our core values is to ‘wow’ our customers and to exceed their expectations. Our customer support team is called our Customer Experience team, because we want our customers to have the best experience we can possibly provide. We focus relentlessly on making things easy and simple for our customers." Marcus Robinson, CEO @ Monscierge The below GCSC assessment outlines the verified systems and processes that Monscierge has in place to educate, train, retain and support customers. Monscierge's GCSC Assessment Summary  Rubric Score: 26/34 Certification Level: III Customer Orientation: Customer Centric Recommendation: Highly Recommended Support Team Size: 5 Support Team Leaders: Elena Cormio, VP Customer Experience Certification Period: October 1, 2020-October 1, 2021 Support Stack: Calendly, Zendesk, Hubspot, Slack, Google Drive, Jira, Survey Monkey   GCSC Support Rubric Section I: Pre-Emptive Support  The Pre-Emptive support pillar of the GSCG Scoring Rubric audits the tools and processes the vendor has in place to provide customers with easy access to self-help resources.  These self-help resources serve as a basis to offer easy troubleshooting as well as to preempt answers to product related questions before they arise providing a more intuitive and seamless experience for clients.  The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that Monscierge has in place for clients: 1.1 Online knowledge base/help center: Vendor offers a searchable help center for customers to easily find answers to common customer questions. 2.1 Online training videos: Vendor offers pre-recorded videos that clients can access 24/7 for self-teaching and deeper product knowledge. 3.1 In-app guided tours: Vendor offers in-app guided tours that are embedded within their interface to provide coaching and education for users to organically discover and easily access while using the product. 3.2 Tooltips: Vendor offers helpful tips and hints presented when users hover over buttons and UI elements in the interface. (min of 10 in-app tooltips) 4.1 Implementation documentation/roadmap: Vendor offers clients a visual map of the steps, processes and stakeholders upon onboarding to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned to make the implementation process more seamless. GCSC Support Rubric Section II: Reactive Support  The Reactive Support Pillar assesses the company's responsiveness to clients and their ability to resolve issues quickly when they arise ensuring prompt response and service to clients.  The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that Monscierge has in place for clients: 1.2 Transparent process: Vendor has opened up their systems to Hotel Tech Report via screen share to verify their tools and processes in place to deliver customer support. 1.3 Email support or phone support: Vendor at least one of the traditional methods of customer support channels, email or phone support (additional channels: phone, chat, email) 1.4 Multi-lingual support: Vendor offers support in the languages where they have active clients (English, Spanish, French, Italian) 1.5 Purpose built support and ticket management tool: Vendor utilizes professional customer support software that has functionality to effectively manage support tickets, followup, escalations and analytics. 2.2 Live Chat support: Vendor offers website or in-app live chat as an alternative customer support channel. 3.3 Contract SLAs: Vendor has service level agreement (SLA) terms in place in client contracts to guarantee that service levels are upheld. 3.5 Feature request tracking: Vendor offers the ability for clients to easily submit feature requests and has a methodology in place for escalating high priority features. 4.5 Verified Contract SLA monitoring: Vendor has SLA terms fully integrated into their customer support software that has automatic notifications ensuring that SLA's are monitored and upheld.   GCSC Support Rubric Section III: Customer Success & Coaching While keeping customers happy is commonly thought of by software companies as the top priority, keeping them well informed is of equal importance. The third pillar of the GCSC Rubric identifies the key ways that vendors inform, educate and train their customers to realize successful outcomes with their products.  The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that Monscierge has in place for clients: 1.7 Customer satisfaction monitoring (ex. NPS surveys, CSAT): Vendor has processes in place to regularly monitor customer satisfaction. 2.3 Product updates/changes (release notes/changelog): Vendor offers easily accessible robust documentation of feature updates and product improvements to educate clients on new ways to maximize usage of the product. 2.4 Quarterly success check ins: Vendor offers [at least] quarterly customer success check ins to review progress, share best practices and ensure that clients are successful and happy with the product or service. 3.6 Performance reporting: Vendor offers reporting and analytics to show clients the value of the product or service. 3.4 Managed Services: Vendor offers additional consulting and managed services to help clients maximize their usage of the product.   GCSC Support Rubric Section IV: Customer Validation The GCSC’s 34-point rubric and Hotel Tech Report’s verification of internal tools and processes validate the vendor's systems in place; however, the validation of the success of these tools and processes can most significantly be validated by the unbiased perspectives of real hotelier customers.  This pillar looks at unbiased verified client reviews and satisfaction scores to validate that the processes in place are working in the eyes of customers based on their satisfaction ratings.  The following are the rubric items that Hotel Tech Report has verified that Monscierge has in place for clients: 4.11 Public Feedback Validation: Vendor shows exemplary client relationships and is a top performer on Hotel Tech Report with more than 100 verified client reviews. 4.12 4.7-avg. customer support rating: Vendor has outstanding customer support ratings averaging more than 4.5/5 across all client reviews. 4.13 Vendor Confidence: The vendor has revealed their private internal customer satisfaction scores to Hotel Tech Report showing high degrees of confidence in their support infrastructure and outcomes which can be a strong indicator of transparency and positive vendor-client relationships.   About the Hotel Tech Report Global Customer Support Certification (GCSC) Support is one of the most critical aspects of the vendor selection process and yet historically there has never been a way to know the quality of a company’s support, until now. Using Hotel Tech Report’s proprietary framework, companies are assessed along four key dimensions: pre-emptive support, reactive support, coaching/success and client validation to provide hoteliers unprecedented levels of transparency to more easily identify top technology partners. For more information please visit: https://partners.hoteltechreport.com/global-support-certification/

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

Hotel Tech Report
6 months 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 GCSC Global Customer 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 GCSC Customer 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 GCSC Global Customer 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

Hotel Tech Report
1 year 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

Hotel Tech Report
5 days 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