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Hotel Management: A Complete Industry Overview

Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

Did you know that big hotel companies like Hilton and Marriott usually don’t manage their own hotels? It's ok if you didn't.  The structure of hotel management companies and the broader hospitality industry is dramatically different than most industries and most employees within the industry don't fully understand how it all works.  Fear not, after reading this article you'll be an expert in no time. So what do we mean when we say that 'companies in the hospitality industry are structured differently than most other sectors'? An individual property might be owned by one party, be managed by another, and carry the brand flag of a third company - but these relationships are kept behind the scenes. This article is not meant to be advanced so we're going to leave out other stakeholders like debt holders, asset managers and special servicers (you're welcome!). Most travelers will never even know that the front desk agent who checks them into a Hilton Garden Inn does not actually work for Hilton Worldwide! How can this be? The world of hotel management is complex, so in this article we’ll break down the key components of this facet of the industry. We’ll dive into what exactly hotel management companies do, how they make money, and who the major players are. By the end of the article, you’ll have a solid understanding of the hotel management landscape - whether you want to start your own hotel management company, partner with one, or begin a career working for one.   Pictured: The James New York Nomad, a Highgate-managed hotel   Defining the Hotel Operations Landscape: Owners, Franchisors, and Management Companies Running a hotel is no easy task, and to do it well, you need a diverse variety of skills and resources. To maximize performance, profitability, and the owner’s preferences, many hotels use various entities to manage different operational aspects. Hotels generally fall into one of four ownership categories: Privately owned and operated: For the owner, this model requires the most hands-on hotel operational work. At privately owned and operated hotels, the owner takes the lead on all aspects of the business: hiring staff, maintaining the physical asset, running a hotel marketing strategy, and more. The owner could be an individual or an ownership group. Leased: Unlike at privately owned and operated hotels, the owners of leased hotels lease the physical asset to a different company who handles all aspects of the operation. The owner simply collects rent for the building and has no involvement in the hotel side. Franchised: Owners who want a more hands-on approach and don’t want to turn their physical asset over to someone else to operate might opt for the franchise model. Franchisors sign agreements with hotel brands for access to benefits (or limitations, depending on how you look at them) like brand standards, marketing power, reservation systems, and design guidelines. Franchisors often run the day-to-day operations themselves, like hiring employees and handling payroll, and they pay a franchise fee to the brand. Popular hotel brand franchises include Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, and Red Roof Inn. Managed: At a managed hotel, the hotel owner signs a contract with a management company to take operational responsibilities off their plate. Unlike the franchise model, the management company handles everything related to day-to-day operations - even staffing, payroll, and marketing. Some managed hotels are branded, and the management company is then responsible for upholding brand standards. The owner typically signs the contract with the brand, though owners often include their management company in rebranding discussions. These management companies focus on growing RevPAR, NOI and EBITDA as they are paid a % of revenue and often receive bonuses based on hotel profitability.  'Corporate' hoteliers tend to focus on more analytical tasks like SWOT Analysis and setting SMART Goals while 'on property' workers focus on tactics, day-to-day management and service delivery.   Pictured: Carneros Resort & Spa, managed by Aimbridge Hospitality   Many hotels across the world have separate ownership and management entities in order to maximize the effectiveness of both components. Owners can focus on the real estate piece while management companies focus on the day-to-day operations.   What Benefits Does a Hotel Management Company Provide? We’ve established that management companies run hotels on behalf of the owner, but what exactly does that mean? What do hotel management companies do? Depending on the specifics of the property, a hotel management company can: Hire employees and handle payroll  Run all operational departments, like front office, housekeeping, sales, and food and beverage Manage relationships and billing with vendors Adjust room rates and run promotions Perform physical maintenance on the property and recommend capital expenditures Develop budgets and produce financial reports for owners Curate the hotel’s online presence (reviews, social media) and implement marketing strategies In some cases, coordinate renovations or expansions If the hotel is branded, then some of these responsibilities are handled by the brand. Brands typically provide marketing support, on-property technology for staff and guests, and guidelines for furnishings and decor.    Pictured: AC by Marriott Seattle, managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts   Regardless of brand affiliation, the management company is usually not involved in major decisions about the physical asset. The hotel owner or ownership group (often a real estate investment group) decides when to buy or sell properties. While owners pay hotel management companies for their services, using hotel management companies can save money in the long term. Hotel management companies are experts at hotel operations so they can often run daily operations more efficiently than private owner/managers - especially if the owner has little hotel industry experience.   How Do Hotel Management Companies Make Money? As a hotel owner, one of the most important points of discussion when negotiating a contract with a management company is the fee structure. Hotel management companies make money in a few ways: an incentive fee, a base fee, and/or a percentage of gross revenue. Depending on the type of hotel, the services the management company provides, and the owner’s goals, the management company fee structure can vary greatly from property to property. When hotel management companies receive compensation that reflects the property’s performance, they have a vested interest in running the hotel at maximum efficiency.   Pictured: Hilton Atlanta Airport, managed by HEI Hotels & Resorts   Top 10 Hotel Management Companies There’s no “typical” hotel management company; you can find management companies that specialize in certain brands, certain types of hotels, and certain geographic areas. Some management companies operate a handful of hotels; some operate hundreds. Let’s explore the top ten management companies in the United States in terms of number of guestrooms managed (guestroom and property counts in the US, source): The largest hotel management company in the US is Plano, TX-based Aimbridge Hospitality, with a whopping 182,000+ guestrooms and 1,400+ hotels in their portfolio. Aimbridge merged with the former second-largest hotel management company, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, in 2019. This merger brought around 80,000 rooms and 500 properties into Aimbridge’s portfolio. Aimbridge’s hotels are mostly Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt branded properties in US and Caribbean markets. Aimbridge is the largest operator of these brands in the world. Aimbridge recently launched the AIMClean program to ensure hotel staff are sufficiently trained in health and safety protocols. Aimbridge also provides renovation management, asset management, and consulting services. Coming in at #2 is Hyatt Hotels. You may be thinking, “wait, how can Hyatt be on this list if other companies manage Hyatt properties too?” Hyatt actually manages about ⅔ of all Hyatt properties, with 61,217 guestrooms and 372 hotels under corporate management. Hyatt is based in Chicago, IL, and their managed portfolio includes Hyatt brands in 65 countries worldwide, including boutique hotels in the Unbound Collection and Destination Hotels portfolios. Like Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) manages some of their own hotels - 301 properties and 57,804 guestrooms, to be exact. However, IHG takes an asset-light approach and only manages a small percentage of their 5,800+ hotels worldwide, which include brands like Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. IHG’s headquarters are in Denham, United Kingdom. The fourth-largest hotel management company in the US is Highgate, which is the largest hotel management company in New York City. Highgate manages 10% of the hotel inventory in the Big Apple, and that’s also where their headquarters are. Highgate’s portfolio is made up of independent and branded hotels in major US markets like New York City, Miami, and San Francisco, with a total of 142 properties and 37,307 rooms. Crescent Hotels & Resorts takes the #5 spot, with 28,137 guestrooms and 103 hotels. Crescent is based in Fairfax, VA, and they manage Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and Hilton brands in upscale to luxury categories, plus independent hotels affiliated with soft brands, in the US and Canada. Crescent’s portfolio includes notable independent properties like the Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles and the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach. Similar to Crescent, HEI Hotels & Resorts also manages Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and independent properties in urban markets and vacation destinations across the US, with 23,900 rooms and 79 hotels in total. Norwalk, CT-based HEI manages a wide range of properties from select service hotels to luxury resorts. Headquartered in Boston, Pyramid Hotel Group, #7 on our list, has quite an international footprint. Pyramid operates full-service, select-service, and independent hotels in the US, the Caribbean, Ireland, and the UK. The company’s portfolio includes Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and Wyndham brands, with a total of 91 hotels and 23,493 guestrooms. Pyramid has expertise in brand transitions and conversions. While some management companies work with a full spectrum of hotels, Island Hospitality Management’s portfolio of 177 hotels and 22,811 rooms include mostly select-service brands, such as Residence Inn and Homewood Suites. Island operates Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott properties across the US, and the company is based in West Palm Beach, FL. Crescent’s Fairfax, VA-based neighbor, Crestline Hotels & Resorts, takes the #9 position, with 118 hotels and 17,250 guestrooms in its portfolio. Crestline manages Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott properties across the US that range from select-service hotels to high-end boutiques. Crestline has won numerous awards, including Marriott’s “Renovation of the Year” 3 times! Another Texas-based management company, Remington operates primarily Hilton and Marriott properties, all located in the US, with their headquarters in Dallas. Remington’s portfolio includes 16,918 guestrooms and 86 hotels - all of which use contactless key systems. As you can see from this list, no two management companies are the same. Each one has their own strengths and advantages, which means owners can choose a management company that closely fits their needs.   How to Choose a Hotel Management Company Hotel management companies vary greatly in terms of the services they offer, the relationships they have with brands, and their specific areas of expertise. As an owner, you’ll want to partner with a management company who has expertise related to your specific hotel asset and your goals. Are you planning a renovation? Then you’ll want to choose a management company who has experience with renovations. Do you own an independent luxury resort? Then you might not want to partner with a management company whose portfolio consists of only Residence Inns and Hamptons.   Pictured: Residence Inn Orlando Lake Buena Vista, managed by Remington   When comparing hotel management companies, we recommend comparing a few specific areas: Brand relationships: Is the management company a preferred partner of the brand you want to work with? Management companies that have built strong alliances with brands know the ins and outs of the brand standards, are well acquainted with the brand’s key team members, and can help new owners navigate the branding process. Services and expertise: Besides day-to-day operations, do you want the management company to take on additional responsibilities? Some management companies also offer services like asset management, renovation management,  Portfolio composition: What kinds of hotels does the management company have in its portfolio? If the hotels in a management company’s portfolio are similar to yours (and are generating good results!), then you can be confident that the management company will do a good job with yours. Look at not only the hotel brands, but also the geographic locations (urban vs. rural, coastal vs. midwestern), the ages of the properties (historic vs. brand new), the target guest segments (business vs. group vs. leisure), and property amenities (pools, golf courses, spas, restaurants, etc.). Performance: Does the management company actually deliver results? Management companies should be forthcoming with case studies and testimonials from properties in their portfolio. Based on these documents, you can better assess whether the management company is the right fit for your business goals.   An Overview of Hotel Management Careers Looking to build a career in the hotel industry? Perhaps you just finished your bachelor’s degree at a top hotel school and want to reverse engineer your path towards lucrative management jobs or maybe you’re an industry veteran looking for professional development opportunities to get you into corporate America and off property. In addition to working for the big brands like Hilton and Marriott, management companies offer some compelling career tracks for professionals with a variety of goals. Hotel management companies hire employees to work on-property in all hotel departments, and they also hire corporate employees who often work at their corporate headquarters. Hotel management company jobs on the corporate level include: Cluster revenue management teams with analysts or managers (centralized yield management is a big value add of management companies) Interior designers Contract administrators Financial management analysts Accountants IT managers Human resources managers Area directors or cluster general managers Hotel managers (GMs) Restaurant management and food service (often multi-unit) Event management and sales professionals Unlike on-property employees, corporate staff typically oversee or work with multiple properties at the same time. It’s not uncommon for corporate positions like revenue managers, sales managers, or IT managers to oversee dozens of properties - possibly scattered across the country. If you’re drawn to the hotel industry to build relationships with guests and enjoy the on-property camaraderie, note that corporate positions at hotel management companies are often very different than positions at the hotels they manage. The corporate roles are usually based in an office and reflect a typical office culture. On the plus side, corporate employees typically work standard business hours and receive time off on holidays, while on-property employees work less regular schedules and often on holidays.   -- The travel industry and more specifically the hotel sector is filled with a variety of rewarding career paths from event planning to the culinary arts.  Whether you're new to the industry, a hospitality student at Cornell University of even a Marriott International veteran of 20 years - there's always something new to learn in this dynamic and rapidly evolving space. Whether you’re researching hotel management companies to find your next business partner or to find your next career, you can surely find one that fits your criteria. Do you have any questions that we didn’t answer? We’d love to hear them!  

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Hotel Brands: Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, IHG (Who Owns What?)

Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

Did you know that there are 214 Marriott International hotels in New York City alone? How about that The Algonquin Hotel is a Marriott property? And for bonus points: can you name all of Marriott’s 30 hotel brands? Hotel companies are growing beyond the traditional standardized brands to include collections of boutique hotels, timeshare developments, and even vacation rentals. The proliferation of highly targeted niche brands, coupled with mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships and the rise of soft brands, has created quite the tapestry of hotel brands. Travelers today have options across the spectrum, even including dozens of choices within a single chain's portfolio. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve organized the world's leading hotel brands by both parent company and chain scale.   For those who don't know the chain scale system, it's essentially Smith Travel Research's star ratings system used by hotel professionals to distinguish between different levels of properties. We’ll keep the list updated over time, so bookmark this page as a resource to consult on the current landscape of hotel brands worldwide. Whether you are considering which flag to put on your next property or want to figure out which brand you should book for your next trip - this guide is for you. First, we break the brands down by parent company, and then we organize the brands by chain scale. This gives you two ways to browse: either by portfolio or hotel category. Our sources include company development hubs, investor disclosures, Lodging Magazine, and Wikipedia. When it comes to each brand’s concept, we've pulled this information directly from hotel development resources to highlight how each brand is being positioned by its parent company. While some of this is certainly marketing-speak, this information is helpful to understand each brand’s target niche. We've also highlighted any key metrics around ADR and RevPAR that we found in company development disclosures. Keep in mind that this was prior to the covid-19 pandemic, so these numbers are most likely in flux. Using the STR chain scale categories, we organize this article starting from luxury to economy: Luxury Hotel Brands Upper Upscale Hotel Brands Upscale Hotel Brands Upper Midscale Hotel Brands Economy Hotel Brands Soft Brands (usually upper upscale)   We also break out the hotel brands by chain in these articles: Hilton Hotel Brands Marriott Hotel Brands Hyatt Hotel Brands IHG Hotel Brands   Luxury Hotel Brands Luxury hotels are known for their exceptional service, high-end finishes, premium amenities, and well-appointed rooms in notable locations around the world. The Pinnacle of Luxury Brands Planning a honeymoon or a once-in-a-lifetime vacation? Brands like Ritz-Carlton (Marriott), St. Regis (Marriott), Park Hyatt (Hyatt), Bulgari (Marriott), and Regent (IHG) offer truly unique experiences. From the moment you step into one of their grand lobbies (after a doorman opens the door for you, of course), you’ll be wowed not only by the stunning decor but also by the world-class service. Luxury brands like these target affluent luxury travelers who expect the best of the best.   Pictured: Bulgari Hotel Dubai   These brands represent the cream of the crop of the big hotel companies’ portfolios. They compete with renowned, independent luxury brands like Four Seasons, Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, and Aman. Although these hotels come with eye-wateringly high price tags, you can sometimes snag a fantastic deal when you redeem points you’ve earned by staying at lower-end properties.   Pictured: The Ritz-Carlton Macau   Perhaps the most well known of the luxury brands is Ritz-Carlton. When you stay “at the Ritz,” you’ll experience not only white-glove service, but also spectacular amenities that include golf courses, spas, dining venues, and kids programming. Located in urban and resort destinations in 35 countries, Ritz-Carltons are known for their timeless, elegant aesthetic and legendary hospitality. Though they’re both owned by Marriott, a close competitor of Ritz is St. Regis. Spanning over 100 years of history, the St. Regis brand is renowned for service, style, and sophistication. Each property offers a unique afternoon tea ceremony, a tranquil spa, and an interpretation of the brand’s signature drink, the Bloody Mary.    Pictured: Park Hyatt Bangkok   Similar to Ritz and St. Regis, but with a more cosmopolitan flair, is Park Hyatt. As the pinnacle of Hyatt’s luxury brands, Park Hyatt properties showcase some of the finest gastronomy, service, and design in their destinations, which include cities like Paris, Beijing, and New York. Park Hyatt targets the most discerning travelers who travel, on average, over 30 times per year, and seek truly unique experiences. Looking for a place to show off your haute couture? Inspired by the distinctive style of the Italian jewelry designer, Bulgari hotels offer glamorous hideaways for the jet-setting glitterati. Hotel amenities range from private beach clubs, Michelin-starred restaurants, high-end spas, and customized tours and activities. You won’t find Bulgari hotels everywhere; the 6 properties are located in carefully chosen destinations like Milan, Bali, and Dubai. Like Bulgari, Regent Hotels offer innovative design, exceptional service, and a sense of wonder for frequent travelers who have seen it all - but at a slightly lower price tag. Regent carefully curates its small collection of properties so each one stays true to the brand standard.Regent’s collection is also small, containing 6 properties in 4 countries.   Classic Luxury Brands While the ultra-luxury properties can carry a somewhat pretentious reputation, classic luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria (Hilton), JW Marriott (Marriott), Grand Hyatt (Hyatt), Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva (Hyatt), and Hualuxe (IHG) are more understated, while still luxurious. These properties are equally suitable for family vacations and business trips with their elegant decor, top-notch amenities, and genuine service. They appeal to wealthy travelers with discerning tastes who prefer a traditional aesthetic.   Pictured: Waldorf Astoria Chicago   A small step below its competitors St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton, the Waldorf Astoria brand is synonymous with timeless hospitality. This iconic brand stems from the original, century-old Waldorf Astoria in New York City, but now includes over 32 hotels in 14 countries. Guests can expect personalized service and luxurious amenities, including golf courses at many properties. Competing closely with Waldorf Astoria is the JW Marriott brand, which has a slightly less opulent aesthetic but a larger global footprint (110 properties in 29 countries). These luxury hotels offer one-of-a-kind experiences for the whole family, from art classes for the little ones to romantic spa treatments, with a focus on being present and mindful. JW Marriott’s target guests are “enrichment seekers” who want to engage with their destination. Like Waldorf Astoria and JW Marriott, the Grand Hyatt brand offers premium amenities tailored to all types of guests, from business travelers to families. Grand Hyatt hotels and resorts include spas, meeting and event space, dining venues, and refined architecture and decor, with notable properties in Tokyo and Abu Dhabi. Travelers looking for a luxurious, family-friendly experience in a resort destination should consider Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva, which offer a similar level of service and amenities as the previously mentioned brands. Located in vacation destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, these high-end resorts offer a premium, all-inclusive experience for couples and families. Amenities include top-of-the-line fitness centers, spas, restaurants, bars, and event spaces, plus spectacular outdoor pools and beach access. Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva competes not only with traditional luxury hotels, but also cruise lines and resorts like Club Med and RIU.   Pictured: Hualuxe Wuhu   Speaking of traditional luxury hotels, IHG’s Hualuxe brand takes tradition to a new level. Featuring traditional Chinese design, amenities, and etiquette, Hualuxe caters to elite business travelers in 10 markets in China. These hotels include nature-inspired decor, local food and beverage offerings, and meeting spaces suitable for conferences or social gatherings with clients. It’s a close competitor of Mandarin Oriental, since they both offer Asian-inspired service and design.   Design-Focused Luxury Brands For the high-end traveler who doesn’t want to stay in a stuffy, old-fashioned hotel, design-forward brands like W Hotels (Marriott), EDITION (Marriott), Andaz (Hyatt), Conrad (Hilton), and Thompson Hotels (Hyatt) deliver exceptional service in totally out-of-the-box surroundings. You’ll feel like you’re staying inside a work of art at these hotels. Eye-catching decor, funky lighting, and unique architecture come standard. Though they’re part of major hotel chains, you’ll have a hard time believing these properties are remotely related to big-box brands like Courtyard or Hampton. Interested in more hotels with a creative bent? Check out the design-focused soft brands at the end of this article.   Pictured: W New York Downtown   Taking inspiration from music, events, and technology, W Hotels is a leading luxury brand with a completely unique look. This brand competes with luxury boutique brands like Morgans and the Standard. W Hotels think outside of the box with design-forward architecture, cutting-edge tech, and an emphasis on music. Many properties have on-site recording studios, high-energy nightclubs and bars, poolside events, and fitness classes that encourage you to detox before you re-tox. Like the sound of the W brand? You have plenty to choose from; there are now nearly 70 W hotels around the world, including destinations like Aspen and Barcelona. Andaz is another arts-inspired brand, though these hotels tone down the party atmosphere and turn up the sophistication. Signature features at Andaz hotels include modern design, high-tech meeting spaces, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities, which are especially relevant to the brand’s guests, who often mix business trips with leisure time. Each Andaz incorporates elements of the local arts and culture scene to create a unique sense of place. Like Andaz and W, Marriott’s EDITION combines luxury with design, food, and entertainment. The EDITION brand is the brainchild of famed hotel developer Ian Schrager, and every property features its own unique design infused with the character of its location. The hotels offer contemporary decor, gourmet dining venues, luxurious pools, and buzzing nightclubs. This new brand includes 11 properties in 7 countries. While Andaz, EDITION, and W feature design that’s almost larger than life, Conrad’s urban and resort properties feature subtler, contemporary design, plus spas, wellness facilities, and high-end dining. The brand’s mission is to inspire your experience with tailored service and on-site art collections, and these hotels target design enthusiasts of all ages. Focusing more on designing great culinary experiences, Thompson Hotels is a collection of high-end boutique hotels which combine the unique character of each destination with a mid-century modern theme present. Thompson Hotels typically include vibrant restaurants or bars and funky, unconventional meeting spaces. Close competitors of the Thompson brand include 1Hotels, Rosewood, and NomadHotels.   Luxury Wellness Brands Who doesn’t love a good massage? Luxury wellness hotel brands like Miraval (Hyatt) and Six Senses (IHG) offer possibly the best way to relax (and redeem points) after all those business trips. These brands compete with independent destination spas like Canyon Ranch, La Reserve Geneve, and Rancho Valencia. Miraval is a collection of four all-inclusive wellness resorts in the United States that provide exceptional wellbeing experiences. These exclusive properties offer nutritious cuisine, spa services, and outdoor experiences to nourish body and soul. They cater to luxury travelers who want to unplug and refresh.    Pictured: Six Senses Con Dao   Craving an international escape from the stresses of daily life? While all Miraval properties are based stateside, the Six Senses brand can be found in 14 countries worldwide. Six Senses provides oases of calm set among stunning natural landscapes. Each property has a high-end spa and locally inspired dining outlets, and some have villa- or apartment-style residences that are ideal for longer stays.   Upper Upscale Hotel Brands Positioned slightly under the “luxury” category, upper upscale hotels are full-service properties with premium amenities and notable designs that cater to affluent travelers. They’re usually located in major cities and resort destinations worldwide. Upper Upscale isn’t a one-size-fits-all category, though. We’ll explore three distinct types of Upper Upscale brands: traditional brands, modern brands, and brands that specialize in groups and conventions.   Traditional Upper Upscale Brands With amenities and service that are pretty darn close to what you’d find at a luxury property, these traditional Upper Upscale brands are ideal for business and leisure travelers who want the best, but also want a good value. This category includes InterContinental Hotels and Resorts (IHG), Hyatt Regency (Hyatt), Wyndham Grand (Wyndham), Westin (Marriott), Sheraton (Marriott), Le Meridien (Marriott), Renaissance (Marriott), Hotel Indigo (IHG), and Alila (Hyatt). These brands often compete with luxury brands like Grand Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton, but come at a lower price point.   Pictured: InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam   If there were a chain scale between Luxury and Upper Upscale, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts would embody it perfectly. These sophisticated hotels offer high-end amenities and exceptional service to business and leisure travelers - a good alternative Grand Hyatt, JW Marriott, and W Hotels. InterContinentals often include spas, executive lounges, elegant meeting spaces, and stylish guestroom decor. You’ll find over 200 InterContinental hotels in 68 countries. Sitting squarely in the Upper Upscale tier is Hyatt Regency, which includes urban and resort properties that are suitable for both business and leisure travelers. These hotels are known for classic design, excellent service, and a wide variety of amenities like meeting spaces, business centers, fitness centers, and restaurants. There are also about 200 Hyatt Regency hotels worldwide, so you’ll always be able to find one in major cities.   Pictured: Wyndham Grand Desert, Las Vegas   Like InterContinental and Hyatt Regency, Wyndham Grand hotels feature amenities for both families and business travelers, including pools, spas, meeting spaces, and restaurants. Guestrooms include WynRest® bedding and modern decor, and public spaces offer a taste of the local character - plus great service. And don’t just take Wyndham’s word for it, 97% of Wyndham Grand hotels have earned a Tripadvisor rating of 4 or above.   Pictured: Westin Anaheim Resort   The Westin brand is on par with Hyatt and Wyndham, though these hotels incorporate a focus on wellness into every amenity, from relaxing pools to healthy cuisine at on-site restaurants to their signature pillow-top Heavenly® Beds. The brand’s partnerships with New Balance and TRX provide an array of fitness options, and many properties have kids clubs and spas. Westin hotels cater to business and leisure travelers who seek personal and professional success. With over 80 years of history, the Sheraton brand is a solid competitor of Hyatt Regency and Westin. This brand combines traditional hospitality with modern amenities in destinations around the world. Sheraton hotels feature elegant design, gourmet dining venues, chic executive lounges, sophisticated meeting spaces, and a slew of wellness amenities. Hyatt Regency has a much larger footprint with over 440 hotels in 70+ countries.   Pictured: Le Meridien Koh Samui   Marriott’s Le Meridien brand brings a touch of vintage French glamour to the Upper Upscale space. Le Meridien hotels feature mid-century modern decor, internationally inspired cocktail bars, and partnerships with European brands like Illy Coffee. Some properties have kids clubs, spas, art collections, and seasonal amenities or pop-up dining venues. Le Meridian targets the “creative traveler” and competes with InterContinental, Kimpton, and Hyatt Regency. Renaissance, another Marriott brand, fills a gap between the chic design of InterContinental and the local vibe of Kimpton. The Renaissance brand appeals to curious travelers who want to uncover hidden gems in their destinations. Each hotel’s staff members act as “Navigators” who provide neighborhood recommendations, and locally inspired on-site restaurants and stylish decor add to the sense of place. If Renaissance hotels sound like your type of place, you’ll be happy to know there are nearly 200 of them in 42 countries worldwide.   Pictured: Hotel Indigo Berlin Centre Alexanderplatz   Like Renaissance, IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand could be considered a traditional Upper Upscale brand inspired by boutique hotels. Echoing the destination’s personality, every Hotel Indigo offers curated decor and local cuisine that provide a boutique-style experience in primarily US and European cities. Each property includes 24/7 fitness and business centers (ideal for business travelers!), flexible function space, and premium guestroom amenities that could include rainfall showers and hardwood floors. While many Upper Upscale brands speak to both business and leisure travelers, Hyatt’s Alila brand is most suitable for vacationers who want to get away from it all. Alila, meaning “surprise” in Sanskrit, specializes in experiences that reflect a sense of place, like upscale gastronomy, outdoor adventures, and locally inspired spa services. Alila hotels are primarily located in Asia and can be competitors of Miraval and Ritz-Carlton.   Modern Upper Upscale Brands Do you like the idea of an Upper Upscale hotel but crave a contemporary twist? Brands like Hyatt Centric (Hyatt), Moxy (Marriott), Tempo (Hilton), and Kimpton (IHG) offer the same high-quality amenities and service but with a dash of personality. These brands are also forward-thinking in their design; some offer coworking spaces and tech features that make them more attractive to a younger demographic.   Pictured: Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami   Hyatt Centric is one of the most popular Upper Upscale brands that has a contemporary aesthetic and vision. These modern hotels invite you to explore your destination through local cuisine at the on-site dining venues, staff that act as local “hosts,” and room decor that offers a sense of place. Every hotel has a multi-purpose lobby space where you can dine, drink, work, and socialize. Like Hyatt Centric, Moxy proves that a hotel with great style doesn’t need to be expensive. Signature features include a combination bar and front desk, a funky lobby packed with art and furniture, a cafe open 24/7, and cozy guestrooms with smart TVs and walk-in showers. Moxy bills itself as “edgy and affordable,” and the brand competes with trendy chains like CitizenM, Yotel, and Generator. Hilton’s brand new Tempo brand is an exciting addition to the Upper Upscale category. Tempo offers premium service and a collection of curated wellness and lifestyle amenities, including exclusive bath products and a complimentary tea and coffee bar. Each hotel also has flexible coworking spaces that target a younger demographic that mixes work with leisure.   Pictured: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver   A longtime boutique chain, Kimpton is now part of IHG, but these hotels still don’t take themselves too seriously.. The brand is known for stylish guestrooms and high-end dining, and while no two hotels are the same, they all offer a complimentary daily wine hour and in-room fitness amenities - plus, pets stay for free. The Kimpton brand competes with Hyatt Centric as well as more classic properties like Le Meridien.   Convention & Group Hotels Looking for the perfect hotel for your meeting or event? Gaylord Hotels (Marriott) and Dolce (Wyndham) are ideal for large-scale gatherings. They’re the perfect settings for functions that range from conventions to weddings. The Gaylord Hotels brand includes large convention center hotels that have everything you need for a conference, meeting, or social gathering. Every Gaylord hotel has over 400,000 square feet of function space and several dining outlets, while some also offer family-friendly recreational amenities like golf courses and water parks. All six Gaylord properties are located in the US, and they offer comparable service and amenities to Destination Hotels properties.   Pictured: Dolce Athens Attica Riviera   Wyndham’s Dolce brand is a curated collection of properties that are ideal for business or social gatherings with flexible event spaces and on-site catering options. Some properties have spas and golf courses, and most are set in tranquil, scenic destinations in the US and Europe.   Upscale Hotel Brands The Upscale category includes full-service hotels with premium amenities that cater to leisure travelers and business professionals. Guests at upscale properties are willing to spend more to stay comfortably in a convenient location or remarkable destination -- but without splurging on over-the-top amenities. There are a lot of brands that fall into the Upscale bracket, so we’ll break them out into traditional, modern, and extended-stay categories to easily explain the differences between them.   Traditional Upscale Brands These brands are the most traditional hotels in every sense of the world. They usually have restaurants, gyms, and rooms that have plenty of amenities, but nothing over the top. Traditional Upscale brands include Crowne Plaza (IHG), Wyndham Hotels (Wyndham), DoubleTree (Hilton), Courtyard (Marriott), Hilton Garden Inn (Hilton), Hyatt Place (Hyatt), and Delta Hotels (Marriott), and they’re suitable for both business travelers and families on vacation. Crowne Plaza tailors its offerings for business travelers with round-the-clock dining options, fitness centers, meeting spaces, and amenities to help you get a good night’s sleep. Most properties are located in major business centers, while some are in leisure destinations, in 65 countries worldwide. Crowne Plaza is a close competitor of DoubleTree, Sheraton, and Renaissance. Wyndham is a longtime brand that includes both urban hotels that cater to business travelers and family-friendly resorts that cater to vacationers. All hotels have meeting space, fitness centers, and dining options, and some offer pools, beach access, and in-room wellness amenities like aromatherapy and air purification systems. Wyndham properties are at the higher end of the Upscale category, competing with Upper Upscale brands like Hilton and Marriott.   Pictured: DoubleTree Hotel Dallas   Hilton’s DoubleTree brand is a close competitor of Wyndham. The brand is famous for their signature chocolate chip cookie at check-in. DoubleTree hotels cater to business and leisure travelers with traditional decor, fitness centers, meeting spaces, on-site restaurants, and golf courses and spas at some properties. DoubleTrees are set in primarily urban locations in 46 countries around the world. As Marriott’s largest brand by number of hotels, Courtyard hotels have business centers, gyms, pools (in some properties), and an all-day bistro serving food, Starbucks coffee, and drinks. Guestrooms are suitable for all kinds of travelers, with desks and modern decor. Courtyard hotels are more “cookie-cutter” than Wyndham and DoubleTree, and the brand has a much larger footprint - over 1200 properties in 56 countries! Like Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn hotels are largely the same in every city - which is a great thing if you want to be confident in the hotel’s quality and amenities. Known for their classic, bright aesthetic, Hilton Garden Inn hotels are located in both major metropolitan markets and small towns. This brand is a favorite among business travelers, and each hotel has a spacious lobby, meeting space, a fitness center, and cooked-to-order breakfast available daily. On par with Courtyard and Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place is designed for guests who want comfort and consistency. Hyatt Place hotels have gyms, meeting spaces, lobby bars, and daily breakfast service (free for Hyatt members). Guestrooms include modern decor and workspaces, and you can usually find Hyatt Place hotels in urban, airport, or college campus markets. Marriott’s Delta brand also caters to business travelers who want both functionality and style, Delta Hotels offer fitness centers, free WiFi and water bottles, ergonomic in-room workspaces, lobby bars, and the 24/7 “Delta Pantry.”   Modern Upscale Brands While the traditional Upscale hotels offer consistency, these modern hotels offer something unique. Brands like Signia (Hilton), Caption (Hyatt), EVEN Hotels (IHG), Voco (IHG), Dazzler (Wyndham), and Esplendor (Wyndham) provide stylish, communal spaces for working and socializing, refreshing dining options, and decor that reflects the local character. These hotels are competitors of not only the traditional hotels in this space, like Courtyard and DoubleTree, but also independent and boutique hotels in each destination. Designed for social and corporate gatherings, Hilton’s new Signia brand offers a sleek aesthetic, high-quality bars and restaurants, and cutting-edge technology in guestrooms and public spaces. The first Signia hotels are planned for Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Orlando. Another new brand, Hyatt’s Caption, is also centered around social connections, but with an emphasis on local cuisine. Caption hotels have flexible common spaces and a unique dining concept that combines a cafe, a bar, and a market at each property. Caption properties are slated to be located in up-and-coming urban areas.   Pictured: EVEN Hotels-Omaha   Catering to the fitness-focused business traveler, EVEN Hotels offer health-conscious cuisine at the Cork & Kale™ Market and Bar, state-of-the-art fitness centers, and spacious guestrooms with exercise equipment and ergonomic workspaces. This brand is a good competitor of Courtyard and Hilton Garden Inn, but it offers enhanced fitness amenities that appeal to wellness-minded travelers. There are currently 13 EVEN properties in the U.S., but that number is likely to grow quickly. Outside of the U.S., IHG’s new Voco brand provides a relaxed, homey experience for travelers who are looking for something besides a cookie-cutter chain hotel. Voco properties are located in the UK, Asia, and Australia, and many have on-site restaurants and living room-style lobbies similar to what you would find at a Hyatt Centric. Also found abroad, Dazzler is a stylish Latin American brand known for contemporary design, free buffet breakfast, and upscale public spaces like gyms, pools, and rooftop decks. These hotels are also reminiscent of Hyatt Centric. Dazzler properties are primarily located in urban markets in South America.   Pictured: Esplendor by Wyndham Buenos Aires   Located in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, Wyndham’s Esplendor brand features curated art collections, a boutique ambiance, and comfortable and classic guestroom decor at each unique property. Some Esplendor hotels have pools, spas, and fitness centers, and the brand’s target demographic is younger guests who appreciate good design. Esplendor is a solid competitor of Kimpton and Hyatt Centric.   Extended-Stay Upscale Brands Some of us wish our travels could last for weeks or months, but for certain travelers, they do. Extended-stay Upscale brands like Homewood Suites (Hilton), Hyatt House (Hyatt), Residence Inn (Marriott), and Element (Marriott) offer apartment-style rooms that have everything you need to feel at home. These brands compete not only with other hotel brands, but also with Airbnb and corporate housing providers. Pictured: Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Hotel Circle/SeaWorld Area   Marriott’s Homewood Suites brand is ideal for guests who are staying for an extended period of time - for business or personal purposes. Every room includes a full kitchen (with dishwasher!), a living area, and ample storage space, and the hotels provide free hot breakfast, a free weekday happy hour, and fitness centers. Fun fact: Homewood Suites was named as having the fastest-growing value out of 50 hotel brands! Named for the very first Hyatt property, Hyatt House offers extended stay accommodation for all types of travelers. Every suite features a full kitchen, living area, and up to two bedrooms, and on-site amenities include free breakfast, a gym, a coin-op laundry room, a bar, and a pool (at some properties). With a home-like ambiance, Residence Inn hotels cater to business travelers and families who need a place to stay for weeks or months at a time. Each room includes a full kitchen, a workspace, and up to two bedrooms, and hotel amenities include free hot breakfast, a fitness center, a nightly social hour, and on-site laundry. Renaissance Inn, Hyatt House, and Homewood Suites are all close competitors. For long-stay guests who are passionate about fitness and sustainability, Marriott’s Element brand might be the perfect fit. Element incorporates sustainable practices and a focus on wellness into the design and amenities at each property, which can include premium fitness equipment, bikes for guest use, saltwater swimming pools, and organic wine at the nightly manager’s reception. Guestrooms feature full kitchens and Westin Heavenly® Beds.   Upper Midscale Hotel Brands Upper Midscale hotels offer spacious accommodations while catering often to extended stays for both business and leisure. Many of these brands have unveiled modern refreshes that bring the category out of the past and into the present. For more clarity, we’ll break out the extended-stay brands at the end of this section. Standard Upper Midscale hotel brands that don’t target extended stays specifically include Hampton (Hilton), Fairfield (Marriott), La Quinta (Wyndham), Atwell (IHG), TRYP (Wyndham), Wyndham Garden (Wyndham), and Protea (Marriott).   Pictured: Hampton Inn Boston - Westborough    One of the most popular Upper Midscale brands is Hilton’s Hampton, which is formerly known as Hampton Inn. This brand appeals to all types of travelers, with a whopping 2500+ properties in rural and urban markets, primarily in the US. Signature amenities include free hot breakfast, gyms, business centers, and multipurpose lobby space. A close competitor to Hampton is Marriott’s Fairfield, which is also suitable for business and leisure travelers alike, Fairfield is known for its simple aesthetic and efficient guestrooms. Most Fairfield hotels offer free breakfast, fitness centers, business centers, and meeting space, and some have pools. While Fairfield properties are a lot like Hampton, the brand’s footprint is smaller, with about 1150 properties worldwide. If you’ve tried Hampton and Fairfield and are looking for something new, the recently refreshed La Quinta brand might be of interest. All La Quinta hotels have modern decor, free breakfast, and guestrooms with pillow-top beds and HDTVs. Some properties have pools, fitness centers, meeting spaces, and pet-friendly policies, making them ideal for both business and leisure travelers seeking a good value. Maybe you’ve already tried La Quinta too - or you’re searching for a brand that’s more unique than the tried-and-true classics. IHG just launched Atwell Suites, which they bill as a new brand that speaks to travelers who seek personal growth and crave social connection, with flexible public areas, free breakfast, and colorful decor. Each Atwell hotel will have suite-style guestrooms, a pool, a bar, and meeting space.    Pictured: TRYP by Wyndham Dubai   If the Atwell brand strikes a chord with you, then you’ll probably like Wyndham’s TRYP brand too. Pops of color add a playful personality to every TRYP hotel, where you’ll also find at least one restaurant, a fitness center, free WiFi, and staff that serve as local experts. TRYP aims to help travelers have authentic experiences in the brand’s destinations on five continents. Many TRYP hotels are located in urban markets, and the brand competes with the hip Moxy, Aloft, and Tru hotels. In addition to its La Quinta and TRYP brands, Wyndham offers yet another option in the Upper Midscale space: Wyndham Garden. Typically located near airports or in secondary markets, Wyndham Garden hotels have meeting spaces, free WiFi, and daily breakfast service (fee applies). Some Wyndham Garden properties have pools, fitness centers, and lobby bars.   Pictured: Protea Hotel Knysna Quays   Marriott also has multiple players in the Upper Midscale space - the Africa-based Protea brand is a solid competitor of Hampton and IHG’s Holiday Inn Express. Protea hotels have full-service restaurants, meeting and event spaces, and free WiFi, and many have outdoor pools. Some Protea properties are located in urban, business-focused destinations, while others are in scenic leisure destinations. The brand currently has about 80 properties in 9 countries.   Extended-Stay Upper Midscale Brands Staying in your destination for a while and want all the amenities of an apartment - at a fair price? Staybridge Suites (IHG) and TownePlace Suites (Marriott) offer two wallet-friendly solutions for extended stays that don’t compromise on quality. Featuring spacious guestrooms with kitchens and living areas, Staybridge Suites is ideal for guests staying in a destination for several weeks or months. Hotel amenities include free breakfast, a free social happy hour, a gym, a laundry room, and storage lockers. Staybridge Suites is a good option if you want a hotel similar to Homewood Suites or Residence Inn at a slightly lower price point. Like Staybridge Suites, TownePlace Suites offers everything an extended stay guest could need, from full kitchens and custom closets in every room to a free hot breakfast every morning. On-site amenities include Weber grills, a 24/7 grab-and-go market, and a fitness center and pool at some properties, and the 450+ TownePlace hotels are located throughout the US and Canada.   Midscale Hotel Brands Featuring more amenities than Economy hotels but lower prices than Upper Midscale, Midscale hotels are found in urban areas as well as on highways and other transportation hubs. Many also have refreshed designs with contemporary amenities that today’s traveler expects. As new sub-brands emerge, we’ve noticed a trend towards increasingly modern and design-forward offerings in this category - which is dominated by Wyndham brands. Midscale brands include AmericInn (Wyndham), Baymont (Wyndham), Hawthorn Suites (Wyndham), Ramada (Wyndham), Wingate (Wyndham), and Tru (Hilton). We’ll start with the more traditional Midscale brands, then we’ll introduce the new, modern additions to this group. These Midscale chains compete with independent brands like Best Western and America’s Best Value Inn. Located primarily in the midwestern United States, AmericInn hotels offer free hot breakfast, fitness centers, indoor pools, and comfortable lobbies. Guestrooms include classic decor, desks, and TVs, making these hotels ideal for value-oriented business and leisure travelers. And travelers definitely like what AmericInn offers; 86% of AmericInn hotels score a 4+ rating on Tripadvisor!   Pictured: Baymont Inn & Suites Miami Airport   The Baymont brand includes unpretentious hotels that offer free breakfast, fitness centers, no-frills guestrooms, and thoughtful extras like board games and pet amenities. Baymont properties are located in rural and suburban locations throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. Baymont hotels are usually positioned toward the lower end of the Midscale spectrum and compete with Economy brands like Days Inn, EconoLodge, and Quality Inn. If you like the price point and no-frills attitude of Baymont and AmericInn but want a place that’s more comfortable for a long stay, then Wyndham’s Hawthorn Suites might be a good pick. Ideal for longer stays for business or leisure, most Hawthorn Suites properties include a fitness center, laundry facilities, and free daily breakfast and social hours. Guestrooms feature full kitchens, one or two private bedrooms, and living areas with couches and desks - making them a lower priced version of a TownePlace Suites or Hyatt Place.   Pictured: Ramada by Wyndham Amsterdam Airport Schiphol   But perhaps you’re looking for something with a fresher design and more modern amenities. The Ramada brand has been around since the 1950s, but today’s Ramada hotels offer 21st-century essentials like free WiFi and business centers in addition to free breakfast. Many Ramada properties are located near airports around the world, and some have pools, restaurants, and meeting spaces. Wingate is another brand that offers a new interpretation of the Midscale hotel concept. The corporate-oriented Wingate brand is known for its clean, modern aesthetic, spacious lobbies, free breakfast, and bright guestrooms that are perfect for business travelers who spend a lot of time on the road. Guestroom amenities include microwaves, mini-fridges, desks, and coffee makers, and some Wingate hotels have lobby bars and business centers. If you like the vibe of a Moxy hotel, Wingate can be a cheaper alternative.   Pictured: Tru by Hilton Stuttgart   A fresh face in the Midscale category is Hilton’s fast-growing Tru brand. The centerpoint of each of these cheerful, value-oriented hotels is the large lobby, which features a 24/7 sundry market, coworking space, plenty of seating, and pool and foosball tables. Tru’s efficient guestrooms have desks on wheels and spacious bathrooms, and you can work up a sweat at the on-site fitness center.   Economy Hotel Brands Economy hotels target the most budget-conscious travelers. These hotels are often found on highways and near airports. The rooms are simple and amenities sparse, although the hotel usually provides a basic self-service breakfast. Like the Midscale category, Wyndham dominates the Economy segment when we compare the top hotel companies. Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG have no brands here - yet. Economy brands include Days Inn (Wyndham), Howard Johnson (Wyndham), Microtel (Wyndham), Super 8 (Wyndham), and Travelodge (Wyndham).     Pictured: Days Inn Niagara Falls    With its iconic sunburst logo easily recognizable from the highway, Days Inn offers free breakfast and free WiFi to travelers on a budget. Some Days Inns have fitness centers, pools, restaurants, and meeting spaces, and the brand includes over 1600 properties on six continents. Like Days Inn, Howard Johnson is also an iconic roadside motel brand. Featuring an updated look, today’s Howard Johnsons combine retro-inspired decor with 21st-century amenities like USB outlets and free WiFi. All Howard Johnson hotels are suitable for families and offer free breakfast, while some have pools, meeting space, and pet-friendly policies. Though the name might suggest otherwise, Microtel properties are just as spacious as other economy hotels, such as Days Inn and Red Roof Inn. These hotels feature comfortable lobbies, free breakfast, and free WiFi. Guestrooms are efficiently designed and include microwaves and mini-fridges, and some Microtels include pools, fitness centers, meeting space, and free parking.   Pictured: Super 8 by Wyndham Dresden   If Days Inn or Howard Johnson sounded like your type of hotel, then you might also be interested in Super 8. This one is also a modernized version of the roadside motel. Super 8 hotels are known for free breakfast, free WiFi, and simple guestrooms with amenities like microwaves and flat-screen TVs. Some Super 8s have indoor or outdoor pools, and the brand is present in primarily rural markets across the US, Canada, China, and Europe. Super 8, Days Inn, and their competitors are great if you’re on a road trip or visiting a small town for work. But are there any Economy hotels that are not located on the highway? Travelodge hotels are usually situated in urban markets, by airports, or near national parks. They offer basic amenities at a low price, making them good competitors of other Economy brands, Airbnbs, and even hostels.  Many Travelodges have free breakfast, free parking, free WiFi, fitness centers, and pools, making them suitable for budget travelers or sports teams.   Soft Brands & Collections What is a “soft brand” exactly? Having become a popular trend in recent years, soft brands are collections of independent hotels that maintain an affiliation with a larger hospitality company. These collections bring together boutiques and other independent hotels into a distinctive portfolio under one brand umbrella. Their connections to leading hotel companies allow travelers to earn or redeem points via a global loyalty program. While the hotels that make up each soft brand are unique, the soft brands themselves have their own characteristics. We’ll break down the big “soft brand” category into three sub-segments: luxury, design-focused, and boutique.   Luxury Soft Brands Searching for a splurge-worthy vacation that will earn rewards points? Luxury soft brands like LXR (Hilton), The Luxury Collection (Marriott), Destination Hotels (Hyatt), the Unbound Collection (Hyatt), and the Curio Collection (Hilton) offer the best of two worlds: exclusive, luxurious hotels and resorts - and the loyalty programs of their parent brands. These hotels are great options for point redemptions when you don’t want to stay at a Westin, Park Hyatt, or Six Senses.   Pictured: Habtoor Palace Dubai (LXR)   On par with luxury hotels like Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis, LXR’s exclusive collection of luxury hotels and resorts targets affluent travelers with a sense of adventure and an appreciation for personalized service. Renowned LXR properties include Zemi Beach House in Anguilla and The Biltmore, Mayfair in London. Properties in this collection are similar to what you’ll find in the Luxury Collection and Destination Hotels. A close competitor of LXR, Marriott’s Luxury Collection includes 236 properties in 55 countries. Set in truly unique destinations, often away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Luxury Collection hotels offer bucket list-worthy accommodations and local experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. The Luxury Collection includes Vedema in Santorini (where you can taste wine in an ancient cave) and Solaz in Los Cabos (where you can explore an on-site museum).    Pictured: Wild Dunes Resort (Destination Hotels)   Destination Hotels offers beautiful properties with a more family-friendly atmosphere than some ultra-premium brands. With hotels located in remarkable locations across the United States, Destination’s collection includes properties that specialize in spa, golf, and luxury experiences and offer amenities for business and leisure travelers - similar to yet slightly above what you’d find at Marriott’s Autograph Collection. One-of-a-kind Destination Hotels include The Lodge at Kukui’ula in Hawai’i and Wild Dunes Resort in South Carolina. Positioned just beneath true luxury collections like LXR and Destination, the Unbound Collection includes luxury and upper-upscale hotels that range from historic to ultra-modern and cosmopolitan to secluded. The Unbound Collection’s guests “crave the unconventional and expect the exceptional,” so you can be sure you will get a truly unique experience. Examples of Unbound Collection properties are the Carmelo Resort & Spa in Carmelo, Uruguay and The Eliza Jane in New Orleans.   Pictured: Reichshof Hamburg, Curio Collection by Hilton   While Destination and the Unbound Collection include many family-friendly properties in leisure vacation destinations, Hilton’s Curio Collection is known for its portfolio of historic, distinctive four- and five-star hotels. This brand targets open-minded travelers, both business travelers and vacation-goers, who want the experience of an independent hotel and the level of service expected from an upscale Hilton. Notable Curio hotels include The Trafalgar St. James London and The Logan Philadelphia.   Design-Focused Soft Brands All soft brands technically place emphasis on design - since they’re a far cry from the “big box” brands - but this group makes a special effort to include properties that are truly exceptional. Both Design Hotels (Marriott) and Tribute Portfolio (Marriott) can be viewed as competitors of luxury or upper upscale brands, but a better comparison is to truly independent hotels or independent-leaning chains like Leading Hotels of the World. Since each one of these hotels is so unique, you wouldn’t know it’s part of a “chain” unless someone told you!   Pictured: Ion Adventure Hotel, Selfoss, Iceland (Design Hotels)   With striking architecture and inventive decor, Design Hotels push the boundaries of the traditional image of a hotel. These hotels are located in a variety of locations around the world, from cities to remote beaches, The Design Hotels collection includes over 300 properties on six continents. Exceptionally notable hotels are Habita in Mexico City and Analeya in Marrakech.   Pictured: The Vagabond Club Singapore (Tribute Portfolio)   Like Design Hotels, the Tribute Portfolio includes design-forward properties, but with emphasis on warm, genuine hospitality, curated art and decor, and notable dining venues. Many Tribute hotels feature distinctive themes, like the baseball-inspired Hotel Zachary in Chicago and the whiskey-obsessed Vagabond Club in Singapore. Most are suitable for both business and leisure travel, and the collection is viewed as a competitor of the Curio Collection and Preferred Hotels & Resorts.   Boutique Soft Brands Not all soft brands are positioned at the luxury end of the spectrum - which is good news for travelers who are searching for the boutique vibe at a lower price point. Boutique soft brands like the Autograph Collection (Marriott), the Tapestry Collection (Hilton), Joie de Vivre (Hyatt), and the Trademark Collection (Wyndham) include a range of hotels at various price points. Some of these hotels are on par with a Waldorf or a Ritz, while others can be considered competitors of Hyatt Centric or Tru.   Pictured: The Brown Palace Hotel (Autograph Collection)   The Autograph Collection contains boutique hotels especially well suited for foodies, design fans, stylish business travelers, and corporate retreats - which are broken out in sub-collections. You can find a wide spectrum of hotels in this group, from exquisite luxury properties to hip yet simple boutiques. The collection includes over 200 hotels in 32 countries. Notable Autograph properties include The Douglas in Vancouver and Cotton House Hotel in Barcelona. Positioned slightly beneath the Curio Collection, the Tapestry Collection is made up of boutique hotels with their own unique personalities. The Tapestry Collection caters to a younger demographic with amenities that are especially relevant to millennials. Examples of Tapestry hotels include the Hotel Skyler in Syracuse, NY and The Bernic Hotel in New York City.   Pictured: The Laurel Inn (Joie de Vivre)   Joie de Vivre includes boutique hotels like the Autograph and Tapestry Collections, but this group focuses on bringing local character and thoughtful design to life via chef-driven restaurants, creative meeting spaces, and stylish guestrooms packed with modern amenities. These hotels have a trendy vibe and offer plenty of spaces for socializing, similar to Kimpton. The Joie de Vivre brand includes Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco and Hotel Revival in Baltimore. The Trademark Collection includes unique properties that offer a sense of place and amenities that business and leisure travelers want: on-site dining, access to a fitness center, and flexible meeting space at most properties. Members of the Trademark Collection include The Burgess Hotel in Atlanta and the H+ group in Germany. With so many brands to choose from, you can find a segment or subset that truly speaks to your traveling style, price range, and amenity needs. And if you’re exploring hotel investment or franchising opportunities, you can surely find the perfect brand for your business goals. Once you've launched your hotel and chosen a brand it's time to select a hotel management company.  

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Hotel Technology: 8 Trends to Watch in 2020

Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

In 2017, Uber predicted that the company would launch flying car ridesharing by the end of 2020. That hasn’t quite panned out, obviously – joining the list of Jetsons-like technology of the future that never lived up to the hype. For those of us keeping an eye on technology in hotels, it can be difficult to discern what trends are here to stay and what trends are simply a marketing stunt. We can’t predict what will happen in the future, but we can watch industry trends as leading indicators. That’s just what we’ve done to compile this list of trends that we believe are worth watching in 2020. From white labeling to the decline of OTA dominance, here’s where we predict hotel technology will go this year. 1. SaaS is exploding 2. APIs are mainstream 3. Guest room technology innovation 4. Privacy & cybersecurity 5. OTAs struggling 6. WiFi 6 7. Big data 8. Digital hotel companies   SaaS is Exploding Interest in investing in hotel technology has slowly ramped up in recent years. Venture capitalists are finally starting to recognize the opportunity to invest in tools and platforms that allow hotels to capture new levels of hotel operations efficiency and revenue growth. “Despite all the innovation that has taken place in the sector over the last decade, there remains massive, untapped opportunity and potential in many categories within the hospitality arena. Despite being one of the largest and most dynamic segments of the US and global economy, penetration of cloud-based technologies in the segment remains incredibly low, and the vendor landscape remains tremendously fragmented on a global basis,” says Matt Melymuka, co-founder and partner at PeakSpan Capital. Those untapped opportunities that Melymuka references? Venture capitalists are starting to catch on. This month, Cloudbeds announced a Series C minority investment round of $82 million, led by Viking Global Investors with participation from PeakSpan Capital, Recruit Co., Ltd., Counterpart Ventures, and Cultivation Capital. Cloudbeds offers an all-in-one suite of tools, including a property management system, channel manager, booking engine, and revenue manager, growing revenue and automating workflows at more than 20,000 properties. Their Series C fundraising success indicates a growing appetite among investors for cloud-based, low-cost solutions that seamlessly communicate across platforms to target, acquire, and retain guests. Mews Systems, another top-ranked, cloud-based property management system, raised $33 million in its Series B funding round led by Battery Ventures. “As hotel and other hospitality property owners look to address the challenge of competition from peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb, Mews provides hoteliers with the tools to not have to worry about the day-to-day of running the business, and instead focus on improving guest experience and helping travelers have the trip of a lifetime,” said Sanjiv Kalevar, Principal at Battery Ventures. Oaky, one of the industry’s leading upselling tools, raised a Series A funding round of $9.5 million led by PeakScan Capital. Oaky’s appeal to investors stems from the app’s data-driven approach to driving incremental revenue. Their deep understanding of customer behavior makes Oaky one of the top-rated upselling tools on the market today. VCs aren’t the only stakeholders interested in investing in hotel tech. Zingle, a guest-messaging software, was acquired by Medallia, an experience management company, for a $42 million cash deal in 2019. Hotels use Zingle’s messaging tools to deliver five-star service at scale; Medallia’s investment in Zingle gives hotels the opportunity to provide frictionless guest service and streamline time-consuming interactions, such as check-in. Life House, a tech-first hotel experience, shows proof-of-concept: that hotels that invest in technology drive higher revenue, better guest reviews, and a higher star-rating. Life House’s market traction epitomizes the appetite for investing in hotel tech. The hospitality startup closed a $30 million Series B from a large group of investors led by Thayer Ventures. “Life House is an unusual company in that it started out as a software provider aimed at fixing ‘the broken and complex hotel operational model’ before morphing into a combination of tech provider, hotel manager and boutique hotel brand,” reports Crunchbase. Last but not least in the litany of hotel tech brands seeing interest from investors, SiteMinder raised $70 million led by BlackRock, valuing the company at $750 million – and making it the industry’s first unicorn. SiteMinder, like Cloudbeds, offers an end-to-end tech solution: a channel manager, online booking engine, website builder, and more. Its early success at over 35,000 properties shows that this market is only growing.    APIs are Mainstream White labeling is a practice in which a product – in this case, hotel software – is manufactured by a third party and uses branding by the purchaser, or marketer, so that the end product appears to have been produced by the purchaser. “The advantage is that a single company does not need to do it all: one firm can concentrate on producing the product; another on marketing it; and another can focus on selling it, each according to its expertise and preference,” writes Investopedia. White labeling has already begun in the hotel industry without hoteliers even knowing it. Property management systems that offer channel management integrations are usually white labelling their channel managers from other vendors. We believe this trend will continue, especially in the revenue management space where white labeling can solve two distinct problems: strategy and tactical management. Most revenue management systems focus on reporting and data visualization; the addition of white label software to the backend of an RMS can improve price optimization, letting hoteliers spend their time on higher value tasks and strategic revenue management. Along with white labeling, APIs are adding efficiency to hotel technology by integrating your tech stack and helping your tools talk to one another. An API, application programming interface, is simply a messenger of data between applications. APIs allow your various hotel technology tools and programs to work together, connecting your RMS to a PMS, or your PMS to your upsell software, or your business intelligence software to your PMS. An API makes your technology user-friendly and efficient; when your tools work together, you capture each platform’s full capabilities. API penetration in the hotel tech market has opened up a world of opportunities for property owners. For instance, feeding data from your PMS into a business intelligence tool leads to real, operational data to analyze trends and provide recommendations for better marketing campaigns, smarter staffing decisions, seasonal trends, and market competition. Hotels that are comfortable using APIs can automate tasks that take up much of their employee’s time with manual data entry.   Guest Room Technology Innovation Guests around the world have unprecedented convenience at home. The number of voice-controlled and streaming services that have proliferated the home in recent years is unprecedented: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for streaming; Alexa, Google Home, and Amazon Echo for voice; Creston, Nest, and other smart-home devices; Uber Eats, Door Dash, and Caviar for food delivery at the touch of a button. On-demand convenience dominates our lives, and guests expect this level of ease from their hotel experience as well. Hotels are catching on, adding convenience through streaming, voice activation, guest-room tablets, and food ordering tech. “Unlike other amenities that are requested but not necessarily used, streaming services are used on average by 40% of rooms—and they’re used longer than their cable counterparts,” Gavin Philipp, VP of operations at Charlestowne Hotels told Hotel News Now. The Amazon Fire Stick, Roku streaming stick, and Apple TV are all low-cost, easy-to-implement tools that some guests are even bringing with them. Hilton is taking a different approach, partnering with Netflix to allow guests to control their streaming straight from the Hilton Honors mobile app. As far as voice-activation, Volara is leading the way in providing a thoughtful, Alexa-esque guest-room solution. Volara integrates with the most popular work order management systems so that guests can make requests and get confirmation when the item or service they need will be delivered. It also integrates with in-room entertainment, eliminating the pain point of touching a germy remote control. Volara’s success is more than gimmicky – their product allows properties to interact with guests in a fun and scalable way. Guest room tablets provide convenience in a simple, straightforward upgrade that improves guest satisfaction scores virtually instantaneously. Tablets like those from Crave Interactive allow guests to customize their experience at will, booking spa appointments, taking advantage of F&B offers, and exploring local tours. And for savvy marketing managers, tablets provide a new channel through which to send targeted, automated messages generating $5,000 per month in additional revenue. Lastly, hotels are replicating the Uber Eats experience with tools like 2nd Kitchen and Bbot. 2nd Kitchen is a godsend for hotels without a kitchen on-site: guests can order room service from restaurants near your hotel, taking care of care of orders, menus, payment, fulfillment, and customer support for your property. Bbot’s mobile ordering technology gives guests a way to order and pay for food and drinks from their phones, cutting down on labor and menu management at your property. For guests, no need to call down, sign a receipt or spend time waiting in line for service.   Privacy & Cybersecurity Hotels are a prime target for hackers. “Only about 25% of all U.S. businesses, including hotel operators, are fully compliant with current data security best practices. That means that three out of four are not and are potential disasters waiting to happen,” reported one cybersecurity expert. Numerous high-profile malware attacks on the hotel industry have led to hundreds of millions of guests’ data being compromised and millions of dollars in damage. Just this February, MGM Resorts revealed they were the target of a massive data breach that compromised personal information for more than 10.6 million guests. Files leaked in the MGM attack included information on celebrities, chief executives of technology companies, reporters and government officials, according to Skift. With this trend on the rise, hotels are being forced to get smart about security. Property owners must do their research in selecting tech tools that provide multilayer security, data protection, secure transactions, and compliance with international payment and data privacy standards. Hotels must regularly host training to their staff on the proper way to handle personal information, comply with privacy regulations such as the GDPR, and change their access credentials regularly. The many tech innovations we see penetrating the market require constant vigilance of cybersecurity best practices, regular updates to security software, and dedication to routine testing and threat assessment.   OTAs are Struggling Expedia and Booking have taken some pretty big hits in recent months. Expedia’s shares ended 2019 down 4%, a slight decline but significant in comparison to the S&P 500, which returned 29%. Booking.com’s stock finished down 11% in January 2020 (in part due to COVID-19). Why the dive in stock price? There are two factors outside Coronavirus that are impacting OTAs. First, hotels are getting better at capturing direct bookings. Hotel tech like direct booking platforms, metasearch ad managers, and messaging integrations help properties draw more visitors to their site and convert more direct bookings, circumventing the high OTA commissions in the process. Direct booking tools that connect a property’s PMS, parity, behavioral and demographic data across the entire booking journey has put hotels on even footing with OTAs when it comes to winning bookings. Secondly, Google has entered the travel market in a big way. Google has expanded from traditional AdWords to include hotels everywhere via its Hotel Ads product. Google has historically been the source for much of OTAs inbound demand, and now that the platform is a direct competitor, OTAs are vulnerable unless they pay billions of dollars each year to Google to ensure they show up high in search results and get clicks from travel planners. Free traffic is “shrinking all the time”, Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom explained to analysts.   WiFi 6 5G may be getting all the buzz, but for property owners, WiFi 6 is much more relevant. WiFi 6 is the term used to describe the next iteration of Wifi, a faster, more efficient connection enabled through new technologies. WiFi 6 is about 30% faster than our current WiFi. This might not sound that impressive at first glance, but considering how many devices we’re adding to our WiFi networks, the increase in speed is dramatic. Like 5G, WiFi 6 will have obvious implications for guests who use their smartphones to book and manage their stay. But beyond the guest experience, hotels can take advantage of faster WiFi to power all those streaming, tablet, and voice-activated devices. With WiFi 6, your property can leverage in-room technology to provide better service, driving positive guest reviews and repeat business. Smart thermostats, smart speakers, and smart locks will all perform better with the adoption of WiFi 6 over the next five years.   Big Data Investors in Oaky already recognize this next insight: data has become the world’s most valuable resource. The sooner you start to mine guest data for better customer insights, the better positioned your property will be against your competition. Why is data so valuable? “Data are now part of every sector and function of the global economy and, like other essential factors of production such as hard assets and human capital, much of modern economic activity simply could not take place without them,” argues McKinsey. Data can fuel smarter marketing campaigns, inform your pricing, and help you capture a higher market share than your competitors by knowing your guests on a deeper level. Hoteliers are just starting to realize the potential of its guest data. Earlier this year, Revinate launched the hotel industry's first Guest Data Platform to aggregate, clean and deliver rich guest profiles for hotels and property groups of all sizes. The platform combines data from multiple sources to provide a complete picture of a hotel’s guests, delivering the information needed to increase guest satisfaction scores, direct bookings, and ultimately, profit. An acquisition by CoStar Group put a dollar figure on just how much hotel industry data is worth. The Group purchased STR for $450 million in cash in the fall of 2019. STR aggregates data from more than 65,000 properties worldwide, distributing more than 1 million reports each month. That amount of data synthesized into nice reports? Priceless.   Digital Hotel Companies All these trends – the flow of VC cash into hotel tech, the rise of consumer-convenience tech, the use of white-label software and APIs – means the landscape of the hotel industry is changing. New competitors are challenging old management companies that haven’t innovated enough.  These next-gen properties are sometimes called hometels (home+hotel), or more generally, 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.  VCs seem to love these alternative lodging options. Sonder, for instance, hit $100M in revenue thanks to its venture capital-fueled growth; the brand raised a $225M Series D and projected $313M in forward 12-months revenue (2019/2020). The biggest distraction or barrier these next-gen hotels face is that they’re taking the wrong approach to tech. The companies that win will be the ones who stop acting like tech companies – using buzzwords like AI and virtual concierge – and focus on being more innovative and agile real estate businesses than traditional market players today. Those that succeed will be tech-enabled businesses; not tech businesses. They will be better at buying and using tech components via APIs and lean infrastructure, but be founded on sound business principles enabled by the industry’s best tech tools. 

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These Are the 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech (2020 Edition)

Hotel Tech Report
2 days ago

Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hospitality jobs and employers globally. We all want fulfilling careers with intellectual growth opportunities and earning potential to provide for our families. We want to work for companies whose cultures align with our values and to be surrounded by peers who celebrate our successes. But it’s hard to tell which companies are the real deal since most seem great during the interview and courtship process. Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of professionals to find the best companies to work for in the hospitality industry. We ask respondents to rate their employers from 1-10 on these key variables:  Work-life balance Personal development opportunities Gender equality Confidence in company direction Values alignment Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality jobs and (2) to help hotel tech buyers understand that it’s just as important to partner with great organizations as it is to find great software tools and products. Vendor culture is important to every aspect of a vendor relationship: Product: Great workplaces attract the best talent who make the best products Customer Support: Happy client reps give better service and stay around longer developing deeper relationships. Sales: When a sales team has high turnover, innovation gets strangled because there isn’t enough cash coming in the door to invest. Our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list features companies who foster wonderful work environments for employees.  In return, those employees deliver incredible products and service to clients. This year we identified 6 major trends that made these companies stand out from the pack in an extremely competitive race: Strong cross-departmental collaboration Fast paced: employees take pride because they see their work come to life Memorable team off-sites that build resilience through trust and friendship Heavy investments made into employee onboarding Visible and accessible executive teams who truly care Focus and clarity: teams that know what is expected of them are consistently able to achieve lofty goals Without further adieu here are 2020’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech...   #10 Bookboost The youngest startup to make the list is Bookboost, a rising star hailing from Sweden making big waves in the guest messaging space.  Given that it’s a small and growing team, Bookboost employees frequently cite feeling like one big happy family. One employee told Hotel Tech Report that the highlight of their year was when the Company’s CTO Willem suggested that everyone go for an impromptu team swim: “I remember a hot summer day when Willem, the CTO of Bookboost, proposed that we go swimming together since our office is located right next to the port. As I stood on the shore watching everyone in the water, the sun was shining and they were all laughing. I used to work for big companies and the government, so I had never experienced something like this before. I felt the energy, passion, and love of this company.” In 2019 Bookboost closed a fresh funding round and expanded into the German market so don’t expect them to stay small for long.     #9 Revinate Making the top 10 for it’s second year in a row, Revinate is the cure to corporate boredom without the risk of a true startup.  San Francisco based Revinate is one of the most mature companies on our list and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. We’ve all seen the stats about startup failure rates - so how has Revinate been able to thrive for so long in rapidly changing markets? The short answer is that they’ve got a killer culture. “The culture at Revinate is the best I've been a part of in my 25 years of being a professional.” Revinate has a CEO that’s equally aggressive and empathetic.  The only things the CEO Marc Heyneker seems to love more than beating his competition are his team and his customers and his 98% approval rating on Glassdoor is just another data point to back it up.  This is a rare balance to find in a CEO and Revinate employees around the world have taken note. The company credo is as clear as Heyneker’s leadership: Customer Love. “We have worked super hard to make all customers happy. We have a company motto of customer love. As a product, design, and engineering org we spend time talking directly to our customers and collaborate with them as we build out our new features.” “As an SDR, I am an entry level sales person. I had some sales experience coming into this role, but this company has really shown me that they are willing to invest in their people, to grow them to their full potential. My most memorable event is my second week here and my CEO, Marc Heyneker, had a drink with me and spoke to me as a friend and colleague. He gave me words of advice, confidence, and shared lessons from his experience. I've never had a CEO that cared about all of his employees like this before. Even though I am entry level in sales, he expressed high hopes for my career and could see my eagerness to grow and achieve big things with Revinate. I will never forget this experience.” When you join the Revinate team you can expect to learn a lot about yourself through a personality test called “Insights Discovery” during onboarding.  This test will help you better understand your conscious and subconscious to better set yourself up for success at the Company and in your own career. Results of the test help your peers and manager guide you towards leadership - something mostly reserved for senior executives; however, a benefit that’s available to all Revinate employees.  Once on board, Revinate employees frequently cite speaking opportunities where they are able to build their personal brand and reputation while promoting Revinate around the world. This year team members enjoyed speaking opportunities at No Vacancy Australia, Direct Booking Summit in Miami, California Hotel & Lodging Association and much more.     #8 Asksuite Bust out the Caipirinhas because Asksuite is the first Brazillian company to ever make this list. In fact, Florianopolis based Asksuite is the first organization in all of Latin America to make the list. Developer talent has gotten increasingly expensive in Eastern Europe and timezone/language barriers have made lots of U.S. tech companies look south for development resources.  Despite tons of engineering talent, Latin American tech is still in its early days and companies like Asksuite are making waves by leveraging strong in house tech talent. This isn’t the Company’s first time winning a culture award as it was recently voted the 7th best place to work in Santa Catarina.  Asksuite recently pushed passed the 1,400 client mark (more than 2x growth) which is a huge step towards the Company making its name on the global stage. Employees at Asksuite are totally pumped on the Company’s growth in recent years and enjoy how the firm is constantly helping them grow on a personal level, too. “This company has a greatest culture, I am deepest in love with them just how they embrace ourselves as a human being not just numbers.” “Our first team building was really special because we gathered in a beautiful environment where we could connect to nature and to each other. Not only in a professional way, but also as human beings.” “When I entered Asksuite, I was hired as SDR (Sales). But that was not my field. And they knew that. I just wanted to be part of the company and I thought that I could help them since I am an ex-hotelier myself. However, Content Production was always my target and I was very open about it. They didn't have a position like that back then so we decided to give a shot in Sales.  Eight months later, a job position opened in Marketing and they moved me. I could not be happier!”     #7 Hotel Effectiveness Rounding out the top 10 for their second consecutive year, Hotel Effectiveness had an incredible year reaching over 4,000 hotels, launching a new mobile application and moving into a new office space.  Employees cite being constantly recognized for achieving milestones in and out of work which makes them feel valued. “I have been here less than 18 months and have witnessed our more than doubling in revenues and employees. The ongoing challenges to find workable solutions that allow for scaling are great opportunities. In my own area, I have more than doubled the size of my team, transitioned invoicing over to a new system, and continually work to meet new challenges as we continue to grow. The victories are satisfying as well as we have dramatically improved processes to provide for better forecasting and cash collection.” Hotel Effectiveness also values giving back to their community and recently attended a suicide prevention event to raise funds and awareness for a critical cause as a team.     #6 ALICE There’s nothing worse than feeling like your company is stagnant and that your work is being tossed in a drawer somewhere.  Ultimately, that’s why most ambitious young people are opting out of corporate life. At ALICE you certainly won’t feel like you’re stagnating and you’ll watch your work come to life extremely quickly.  ALICE has consistently reinvented itself over recent years through the acquisition (and integration) of GoConcierge and then through the launch of the housekeeping product its team build from scratch and has landed itself the highly coveted 3peat on the top 10 best places to work list. “Last year we developed a complete new product from scratch. I'm very proud of how much research we put into the design to create an amazing product and this effort was paid off when launching it with beta customers and seeing their satisfaction.” ~UX Designer “I created a performance / load testing tool using a more recent technology. Though it's still being discussed what would be our standard for that, at least I am able to introduce something more recent and what I think is something that can be potentially a good standard for us moving forward.” ~Engineering Integrating acquisitions and building new products is tough work but ALICE always finds time for balance.  This year’s team retreat consisted of corporate summer camp. “We had a CAMP! I personally had never been to a camp, with cabanas, lake, bonfires and stuff. We had one this past summer and it was fantastic! As we are from Customer Success most of us are either remote or always traveling, so there were people that I had never met, it was so great to have everyone together on such a beautiful place, we had very productive meetings in the morning and free time during the afternoons to go kayak at the lake, take walks, this definitely helped tremendously to bond more and more the team.” Employees at ALICE are encouraged to push themselves and learn new skills. “I was able to learn mySQL, which has opened new doors and I feel like I've found a new passion. ALICE was able to pay for my course and I am proud to contribute to the company with new skills that I did not have before joining.” ~Customer Success "When I was struggling and reached out to my manager, he was able to provide help and gave me advice on how to prioritize my projects. Also, he spent extra time coaching me through difficult situations." ~Engineering One of the hardest things is when you feel like you’re struggling at work or not loving what you do.  If either of these happen in a corporate environment you might find yourself canned or cast aside - but not at ALICE.   When employees are struggling or in a rut, ALICE team members are encouraged to have an open conversation and be completely transparent so that the Company can identify a better fit for them and figure out how to help them succeed: “Nearly 1.5 years ago, I found myself doing Product Management at ALICE. It was a career that I was unsure aligned with my strengths and passions. Since, ALICE gave me the opportunity to explore marketing at the company. I have been responsible for managing the day-to-day of the creative team, providing feedback to our designers, and contributing to the creation of core content. I feel much more impactful in this role and is aligned with my passions. In July, I was promoted to Marketing Manager. It has been a blast. I could have never made such a quick, smooth transition if it were not for ALICE's desires to care deeply about each employee and his/her growth.” “ALICE gave me a promotion, and helped me into a new career path - sales. I'm excited to be in the community talking about ALICE.” “Although I am still fairly new at the organization, I think the “All Hands” meetings every Tuesday are pretty incredible. I have worked at many hotels and none of them have taken time on a weekly basis to talk as a company going over updates, news in the industry, introducing new team members, etc. All of these meetings are recorded, so if you have a conflicting event you can still be kept in the loop. The team is so incredibly welcome and genuinely cares about creating a positive remote culture.”     #5 Cloudbeds This is Cloudbeds’ 3rd year in a row making our list and if you read CEO Adam Harris’ culture manifesto it’s easy to see why.  We should note that Cloudbeds is the highest ranked U.S. based company on our list. Cloudbeds has a corporate culture that features a lot of the strengths found amongst other companies on this list but two things really make Cloudbeds stand apart from the pack. Firstly, Cloudbeds is a mostly distributed and remote organization.  While it’s headquarters are in sunny San Diego, California - the Cloudbeds team is entirely global.  Cloudbeds employees consistently cite that Cloudbeds has the best travel benefits of any company they’ve ever worked for.  Harris and Co-Founder Richard Castle understand that in order for their team to understand hotel clients and guests they need to walk a mile in their shoes.  Several employees told Hotel Tech Report that they’re highlight of 2019 was meeting up in Bali for a team leader’s 40th birthday where they spent days coworking and getting to know each other on a personal level.  Other team members report team outings in Spain, Nashville and across the world. Cloudbeds even rents long term apartments in core cities so that team members can come and go as they please: “The company strongly supports our travels, we are travelling cloudies. The company rented apartments for us for a year in 2 biggest offices. Everyone who wanted could use it and visit our offices any time!” One concern that many employees have with a remote organization is that it’s difficult to build alliances and move up the ranks or switch into new roles but at Cloudbeds that isn’t an issue.  Don’t believe us? Check out what employees had to say:  “Being promoted 2 times within the year was a great accomplishment. I have been with the company for over 4 years and started as a customer support coach and also an implementation coach. Having the opportunity to use my talents in other areas of the company has been a great motivator and I continue to grow every day learning new things within our company.” ~Product Team “When I was promoted I got all the confidence of Cloudbeds management to assume my new role. It was significant for me to feel that my company cares about my success and that my achievements were aligned with company goals.” “I was promoted within 9 months of work from a low position to a department I wanted to work in.  Success is both noticed and rewarded at Cloudbeds”     #4 hotelkit Nestled in Salzburg on the German border, hotelkit is the only company on our list from Austria but they are a rising contingent of DACH based hotel tech startups (including SuitePad) that are rising to global domination.  Salzberg is where Mozart was born and hotelkit founder Marius Donhauser runs his team like a finely tuned symphony. Employees cite tons of team building events including Oktoberfest and a two day team trip to the mountains that included hiking, canyoning and even spending the night in a hut! “We went on a two day hiking tour as teamevent and i am astonished every time how well we all work together as a team and how we trust each other. We constantly support our hotelkit team members, help each other out and spend a lot of time together after work. My colleagues have basically become my family away from home.” Hotelkit employees have weekly catered lunch, yoga classes, healthy office snacks and more.  These are all nice amenities but what really matters is that hotelkit cares about its people.  With all of these activities and benefits you’re probably wondering when hotelkit has time to get things done.  We were wondering the same thing. While we can’t say exactly, hotelkit recently crossed its 1,000th hotel client and they are now one of the most popular companies on Hotel Tech Report after some huge victories in the HotelTechAwards this year. If you’re looking for a fast paced job in a beautiful location with a CEO who lives and breathes both his brand and his staff - look no further and go check out what openings they have available.  Oh and did we mention, hotelkit also won first place in four categories of this year’s HotelTechAwards...     #3 Mews Systems This ain’t Mews’ first rodeo and it definitely isn’t their first time making this list.  This is Mews’ second year in a row making the top 3 in our list. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic case of corporate boredom, applying for a job at Mews Systems is definitely the cure. Mews has scaled from 100 team members to more than 400 in the last 12 months, which, needless to say, is an insane growth rate.  When companies scale this quickly they risk culture dilution but at Mews the opposite seems to be happening. The more Mews hires - the more fun they seem to have.  If you don’t believe us go and check out one of their award winning conference booths at events like WTM and ITB where you’ll find Mews team members rocking F1 racing suits, cheeky lab coats or even a hilarious take on miracle grow gardening. Mews makes it look easy but don’t be fooled - they are a work hard play hard company that is even more focused on driving results for clients.  According to one Mews Operations Associate, “Everybody is constantly on 120% level, which is great. Coming from the slow paced corporate world - the team here is giving me a lesson in productivity everyday.” So what’s the secret to the Mews success? They’re polarizing, mission driven and make everyone who joins feel like they’re part of a family.  Some tentpole culture initiatives include the annual company get together in February where the entire team heads to Prague for a week of team building and a company wide cross-functional Hackathon.  Mews likely has the most well oiled onboarding process of any company on this list. New hires attend a monthly onboarding week that includes meeting the CEO in a small breakout and the opportunity to host a company funded theme party for your new colleagues. Last but not least, Mews recently raised a monster $33M round led by Battery Ventures, won the top prize in the 2020 HotelTechAwards for the #1 PMS and made its official US debut this spring so it seems their miracle grow theme may have a few potential interpretations..     #2 Pace London based Pace is another newcomer to our list and the team achieved some huge milestones in 2019.  For starters they grew the Pace family by 100% from 15 to 30 employees. Pace team members frequently cite being  motivated by getting stuff done and even hit their 2019 annual goals by October with two months to spare. “In the past year the Pace team has grown by more than 100%. It was amazing to see the whole company (from recent joiners to old timers) rally around a few key product releases like a well oiled, high performance machine.” Pace team member In his former life, Pace CEO Jens Munch was a journalist and wartime photographer in Iraq which has helped him build a team that’s battle ready to take on the hyper competitive revenue management space.  Pace is a very product driven culture and was designed from the ground up to disrupt the status quo. Pace has developed a completely automated revenue management system and everyone at the firm is focused on helping clients (old and new) feel confident in its recommendations where revenue managers have historically been apprehensive to let machines take over. “The launch of automation at Pace was a great achievement by the whole team that was a true, cumulative effort of everyone working tirelessly in sync. The response from new and existing customers has been amazing, and seeing the product providing even better results instills me with even more confidence for Pace.” ~Pace team member     #1 SuitePad Last but not least, the 2020 Best Place to Work in Hotel Tech goes to…(drum roll please)...SuitePad! This is Berlin based SuitePad’s first year making the list (and their first HotelTechAwards winning #1 Guest Room Tablet provider) but we don’t suspect that it will be their last. SuitePad employees share a genuine passion for building strong lasting relationships both with their hotel clients and with each other. This people focused culture starts all the way at the top according to a SuitePad team member: “I had a personal problem that required hospitalisation, my CEO dropped everything he had for the day and personally took me to the hospital and was there at every step of the recovery.  This is the kind of thing that I have seen time and time again done for employees that have any kind of crisis going on in their personal lives.” Many SuitePad employees cite having never been at a company before where they’ve clicked with so many other team members on a personal and professional level. The co-founders at SuitePad deeply care about the team and who joins it. One employee puts it best, “Work is great here, because the people are great.” It’s not all kumbaya and hugs at SuitePad though, the team is fast paced and extremely results driven.  This year at SuitePad every team pushed their limits: sales and marketing aggressively launched new territories while product developed a new product from scratch on a completely new tech stack (SuiteTV box): “We have worked a lot on our internal processes and our team closed the two biggest deals in the history of the company in the last few months, which is not only great in terms of growth and sales goals, but also because it has shown that our efforts in improving the processes and aligning our strategy with sales and marketing has been successful.” ~Customer Success Employee -- It's 2020 and it's time for a new hospitality job.  Go head to these incredible employers and start dropping those resumes.  For tips on how to find and land a job in hotels, we've also created a guide to using the popular Hcareers platform to help you get started.  

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Top Hotel Software in 2020 + Free Guide

Jordan Hollander
1 week ago

Are you overwhelmed looking for a new hotel management software solution? You’re not alone. Perhaps you’re ready to find a new property management system and need trusted information about which vendors are potential fits based on integrations, feature functionality and unbiased client reviews or even a great all-in-one hotel management software. Maybe you know that your hotel is missing opportunities but don’t even know which hotel software categories you’re missing in your stack let alone the best vendors that serve each of those categories.  Wherever your hospitality career takes you, software will be critical to your success - but finding the right tools doesn't need to be complex. Each year Hotel Tech Report leverages our global community to answer these questions for hoteliers like you so that we can save you time and help you make better technology decisions.   This year Hotel Tech Report's community spent 600+ hours reviewing hotel management software to help you find the best solutions for your property. This guide will save you time researching hotel management software for your business.   What's inside this hotel management software guide? 1. Popular categories of hotel software 2. Top rated hotel software (by category) 3. Hotel software ranking methodology   Download the Free Hotel Tech Market Map & 37-page guide   What Are the Most Popular Categories of Hotel Software? Many online lists online wrongfully group hotel software into a single category but the reality is that the hospitality industry has unique challenges that require multiple point solutions to tackle different problems.  Here at Hotel Tech Report we use 37 different software systems to run our business and the hotel industry is no different.  The typical hotel uses at least 10 different hospitality software systems to operate.  The good news is that today's SaaS model has enabled these solutions to be ultra affordable and developments in design have made them extremely user-friendly for front office staff and beyond. Property Management System: property management software is the core operating system of any hotel management business.  It’s the place that houses inventory management capabilities and powers all of the other systems you use.  The PMS is what your front desk agents use every day to streamline check-in.  Smaller properties sometimes opt for what is called a hotel management system or lightweight hotel PMS.  This is an all-in-one management solution with integrated hotel property management system, channel manager and booking engine capabilities. Hotel Website/Digital Marketing: Many small hotels still choose to rely solely on OTAs and travel agent partners for bookings.  This is a huge and costly mistake.  Your direct channel is most profitable because each booking is commission-free and hotels without a dedicated website lose trust in the eyes of guests.  At minimum, create a website that acts as your hotel’s digital brochure for prospects to learn about the property.  If you really want to win in direct you’ll need an agency partner who can really drive direct bookings for your business. Booking Engine: An online booking engine is the equivalent of the hotel industry’s “shopping cart”.  Shockingly, many smaller hotel websites even today require guests to inquire for bookings.  These hotels are missing massive opportunities and rarely succeed.  A booking engine makes live inventory from your Property Management System (PMS) available for online booking via your website via credit card (or other payment method) across all devices like smartphone, tablet and desktop. Reputation Management Software: Reputation is everything in today’s world.  50 years ago travelers only relied on travel agents and brands to select hotels.  Today, guests look to places like TripAdvisor, Google and OTAs to see what guests like them are saying.  Online reputation software enables you to establish and maintain a presence on these third parties to make sure your hotel is getting found.  This software also help monitor guest satisfaction and improve operations. Channel Manager: You want to list inventory on as many relevant channels as possible but don’t want to spend all day changing rates and managing availability.  Automate these connections and ensure that once you’re found on third parties, that your property is bookable with effective channel management.  Channel managers also facilitate hotel reservations on third party channels in real time to prevent overbookings.  Whether you run a guest house, vacation rental or five star boutique resort, this functionality is absolutely critical for yoru business. Central Reservation System: The central reservation software is the connective layer between the PMS and all other distribution interfaces.  A CRS ultimately manages rates across channels like a channel manager, booking engine and GDS (global distribution systems). Commercial Wi-Fi: Unless your property is positioned as an “off the grid” type of experience, good luck getting guests to come back without WiFi. Rate Shopping Tool: How you price your hotel should change as market conditions evolve.  Getting signals from the local competition can help inform your strategy.  A rate management and intelligence tool will scrape third party websites and give you pricing intelligence in real time that you can act on to win more guests. Revenue Management Software: Gone are the days of seasonal flat pricing.  Well, at least the hotels who still price like this will soon be gone.  Price too high and your guests book with the competition, price too low and you’re losing revenue.  RMS tools use machine learning to help you price rooms without the guesswork. Staff Collaboration Software: For tiny properties a simple Slack channel or Trello board might do.  But even small properties can have complex operations when it comes to servicing guest requests, maintaining a property and managing workflows between shifts.  Specialized hotel operations software is highly recommended for almost any hotel size. Point of Sale: Point of sale systems enable your hotel to capture revenue from on site outlets like restaurants, bars and spas. Hotel CRM: For hotel chains large enough for a dedicated loyalty program a CRM powers guest profiles and rewards.  Smaller groups and independent hotels who typically don't benefit from a dedicated loyalty program leverage rich guest profiles to run marketing automation and promotions.   The Best Hotel Software Products of 2020 (According to the Data)   Best Guest Experience Software Best Guest Room Tablets: SuitePad (2020 Winner), Crave (Finalist), Volo (Finalist) Best Guest Mobile App: ALICE  (2020 Winner), INTELITY (Finalist) Best Guest Messaging: Whistle (2020 Winner), Bookboost (Finalist, Best in Europe) Best Guest Room Entertainment Product: Monscierge Apple TV (2020 Winner) Best Voice Activated Tech Product: Volara (2020 Winner) Best Mobile Key & Keyless Entry Solution: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions (2020 Winner) Best Hotel Operations Tech Best Property Management System: Mews Systems (2020 Winner), Clock (Finalist) Best Staff Collaboration Software: hotelkit (2020 Winner), ALICE (Finalist, Best in North America), HelloShift (Finalist) Best Labor Management Tool: Hotel Effectiveness (2020 Winner) Best Housekeeping Software: hotelkit (2020 Winner), ALICE (Finalist), Quore (Finalist) Best All-in-1 HMS: RoomRaccoon (2020 Winner), Cloudbeds (Finalist) Best Fraud Prevention Tool: Canary Technologies (2020 Winner) Best Facilities Management Software: hotelkit (2020 Winner), ALICE (Finalist), Quore (Finalist) Best Concierge Software: ALICE (2020 Winner) Best Accounting & Finance: MyDigitalOffice (2020 Winner), M3 (Finalist) Best Lobby Tech: Monscierge Connect Signage (2020 Winner) Best F&B Point-of-Sale Solution: ImpulsePoint by Impulsify (2020 Winner) Best Revenue Management Tech Best Revenue Management System: IDeaS  (2020 Winner), Atomize (Finalist) Best Central Reservations System: Pegasus (2020 Winner) Best Channel Manager: SiteMinder (2020 Winner), Cloudbeds (Finalist), D-EDGE (Finalist) Best Rate Shop & Market Intelligence: OTA Insight (2020 Winner)  Best Business Intelligence Tool: HotelIQ (2020 Winner), Duetto (Finalist) Best Meetings & Events Intelligence: Get Into More (2020 Winner), Duetto (Finalist), IDeaS (Finalist)  Best Hotel Marketing Software & Services Best Email Marketing & CRM Software: Revinate (2020 Winner), Experience Hotel (Finalist), ForSight CRM (Finalist) Best Upsell Software: Oaky (2020 Winner)  Best Booking Engine Bookassist (2020 Winner), Net Affinity (Finalist), Pegasus (Finalist) Best Digital Marketing Agency Bookassist (2020 Winner), Screen Pilot (Finalist), Net Affinity (Finalist) Best Metasearch Management Software: Bookassist (2020 Winner), Koddi (Finalist, Best in North America) Best Website Builder/CMS: Bookassist (2020 Winner) Best Direct Booking Tool: Triptease (2020 Winner), LaaSie.ai (Finalist) Best Reputation Management Software: GuestRevu (2020 Winner), Revinate (Finalist), TrustYou (Finalist) Best Guest Surveys: GuestRevu (2020 Winner), TrustYou (Finalist), Revinate (Finalist) Best Website Live Chat: Asksuite (2020 Winner), HelloShift (Finalist, Best in North America)   How are the the Best Hotel Software Vendors Selected? The HotelTechAwards (produced by Hotel Tech Report) announced the year's top rated hotel software companies and tech products based on thousands of hotelier ratings and other key data-points. During the HotelTechAwards hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies across 100+ countries review the top tech products used at their hotels to increase operating efficiency, drive revenue and improve the guest experience. This data is used to identify the best hotel tech products and organizations. The competition spans core areas of hotel software & technology: marketing, revenue, operations and guest experience. 2020 Voting included participation from major hotel groups including: Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Accor Hotels, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Rosewood and thousands of independents. "Each month Hotel Tech Report helps more than 40,000 hoteliers research and vet technology partners for their properties.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the industry because it’s based on real data. Winners have truly earned their showcase with our rapidly growing community.  Hoteliers trust this award when making purchase decisions because scoring is transparent and participation is ubiquitous amongst the most reputable vendors in the industry," says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. "We created the HotelTechAwards as a democratized way to help our fellow hoteliers quickly determine best of breed vendors based on data they can trust.  Our process is simple, transparent, and unbiased--judging is based on time tested ranking factors, publicly available data and crowdsourced insights from verified hoteliers who have hands on experience with each product.” The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and winners were selected from more than 100 of the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised from thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 120 countries.   Time Tested HotelTechAwards Scoring Methodology

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Marketing Category Press Releases

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

Hotel Tech Report
2 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
7 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

Marketing Category Overview

Hotel marketing is a complex and nuanced practice that requires planning, patience, and the ability to analyze and adapt to results. In practice, a hotel marketer blends a creative mindset with a strategic approach that uses strong creative in support of marketing campaigns that increase occupancy and revenues.  A hotel marketer’s role has three overlapping components: creativity, strategy, and relationship management. Across these components, a hotel marketer must be a team-oriented problem solver, as well as an outcome-based thinker that consistently plans and executes to achieve desired outcomes. 

Historically hotel marketers have been focused on PR and community engagement; however, in today's digital distribution landscape it is critical for hotel marketers to be tech savvy and know how to use the proper tools.  Just as a major tech company wouldn't hire a sales rep who can't use Salesforce or Marketo - your hotel should avoid candidates who don't know how to operate the tech tools needed to properly market your hotel. 

Here are some of the critical software and service categories that every hotel marketer must be familiar with to succeed.

Every hotel (branded or independent) needs a digital marketing agency partner.  The OTAs are taking guests away from you and charging 15%+ commission on each booking. What digital marketing agencies do is make sure that your property is interacting with your guests throughout the entire booking journey and that these prospective guests are ultimately booking directly through your website. The channels and strategies involved in any agency's approach and are highly customized to each property. Using a blended approach to media distribution and channel distribution in addition to behavioral and personalization techniques both on and off website, a digital marketing agency should drive incremental direct bookings for your hotel.

Key Digital Marketing Agency Services:
  • SEO
  • SEM
  • Website development
  • Email marketing
  • Metasearch management
  • Social media management
  • PR
  • Paid advertising

Top Hotel Digital Marketing Agencies:

An internet booking engine is essentially the shopping cart equivalent for a hotel website and it’s sole purpose is to drive and convert direct bookings. A good booking engine is optimized for conversion by providing a seamless booking process where your guests can view rates and room types and complete a booking as simply as possible. An effective booking engine should map data directly into your property management system through a channel manager.

Key Booking Engine Features:
  • Channel Manager Integration: To ensure that your room inventory across all of your online channels is automatically updated, it’s vital that your booking engine integrates with your channel manager. 
  • Mobile & Social Media Compatibility: It is absolutely essential that your booking engine works seamlessly on mobile and is compatible with the social media websites that your hotel is listed on. 
  • Data Collection: Your booking engine should provide you with transparent, in-depth insights that will allow you to find demand and booking patterns. 
  • Flexible to Your Hotels Needs: Does the booking engine display the languages and currency that your guests are familiar with? Does it provide online voucher redemption or does it offer wedding and corporate booking modules? These are some questions to determine if the booking engine is flexible to your hotel’s needs. 
  • Set up, Service & Support: Perhaps the most important point of all is service i.e. how you are looked after by your provider. What is their set up, ongoing support and training like? Do they make you feel special? Is your business important to them?

Key Players:

Direct Booking Platforms boost the performance of your current website and booking engine with tools that add a layer of personalization to your website. The most effective platforms track user behavior on hotel websites and then serve tailored messages and promotions based on that behavior - for example, an early-bird offer to a guest searching six months in advance of their stay. Platform providers with significant data scale are able to automate much of the optimization experience by constantly feeding their learnings from thousands of websites back into the platform for the benefit of every client. Providing the right message at the right time improves the guest experience and has a significant impact on direct bookings (reducing OTA commission costs for the hotel). A Direct Booking Platform enables a hotelier to test and optimize their website content in order to increase conversion. With every booking, hoteliers can learn to target and convert more guests.

Key Features:
  • Pricing and Parity Data Accuracy & Insights: Industry-leading pricing and parity data accuracy accompanied by accessible information on undercut breakdown, undercut rate vs conversion rate, parity
  • Price Comparison Widget: Customizable price comparison widget, regularly UX tested on real guests to optimize design
  • Message Targeting: Targeted messaging with advanced segmentation and triggering capabilities
  • Automated Live Chat: An AI chatbot designed to answer specific questions about your hotel so your staff can focus their energy elsewhere.
  • Drag-n-Drop Customization: A self-service online message builder allowing hoteliers to create personalized, customized messages easily (either from templates or from scratch) and to view results and edit instantly.
  • Hospitality grade: Live chat features designed specifically for hoteliers including PCI compliant, secure card detail collection and image/pdf uploads.
  • Analytics & Reporting: A quick view dashboard displaying graphs and metrics for conversion data, direct booking trends over time and additional performance data and insights.
  • Data Driven Experimentation: A dedicated data science team focussed on running accurate product tests and drawing industry and hotel specific insights from extensive data.

Key Players:

Upselling software gives your hotel the ability to get more spend from the same guest, by providing valuable services, offered at the right time and at the right price to the right guest. When done properly, upselling results in more incremental revenue and a better guest experience.

Key Features:
  • PMS Integration: Automated connection with database (PMS/Channel Manager/OTA). A 2-way integration with your property management system can dramatically increase efficiency but upsell software can be operated without it.
    • Exclusion Lists: Possibility to exclude guests from receiving the offering. 
    • Easy to use and cross-device: Easy to use platform for guests to redeem offers on any device. 
    • Real time reporting: Gain insights through analytics and reporting to improve over time. 
    • Customizable CMS: Helps ensure that staff is able to update, customize and test offers in real time. 
    • Multi-language: support Your guests come from all over, make sure you are able to reach all of them.
    • Email Automation: Automatic offer, redemption and confirmation emails.
    • GDPR Compliance: Make sure your provider meets EU data protection privacy standards.
    • Exclusion Lists: Possibility to exclude guests from receiving the offering.

Key Players:

Reputation and review management solutions aggregate all forms of guest feedback from across the web to help hoteliers read, respond, and analyze the feedback in an efficient manner. 95% of guests read reviews prior to making a booking decision, and after price, reviews are the most important decision variable when booking a hotel. With reputation and review management solutions, hotels can positively impact the reviews and ratings that travelers are seeing when making a booking decision.

Key Features:
  • Review Aggregation: For many hotels, the most important review channels include their own guest satisfaction survey, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Google. If these review sites are not included as part of the solution, the hotel will have to duplicate their review management efforts. 
  • Enterprise Visibility: For hoteliers who oversee multiple hotels, or sit at a corporate level, the option to view and report on behalf of all managed properties is a definite requirement for usability and effectiveness. 
  • Semantic analysis: Simply reading through or scanning reviews will not provide a hotelier any insight into how to improve, but with aggregated review summaries provided by semantic text analysis, hoteliers can start to see what's most positively and negatively impacting their rating. 
  • KPI Reporting: Hoteliers often need to provide reports on their KPIs, i.e. response rate, in order to meet the required status quo. To make them easier to track, they can be downloaded directly from the hotelier’s account or automatically scheduled via email.
  • Competitor Benchmarking: When hoteliers are searching for a hotel, they are comparing the scores of a hotel's competitive set. Understanding and tracking how your hotel is performing in comparison to the competition is a key component to driving bookings.

Key Players:

Effective metasearch management software and digital marketing campaigns help hoteliers drive revenue, attract new customers, and achieve greater business goals. The tools and services provided by a metasearch management software enable travel brands to maximize their digital reach. This in turn, allows them to grow their business and increase their profitability.

Key Features:
  • Robust Reporting: Metasearch campaigns can have hundreds of thousands of data points and complex bidding layers. You’ll want the ability to access reporting that is robust, customizable, and in alignment with your internal numbers and business goals. 
  • Bid Management: Automated bidding features allow you to apply the best bidding model to fit your company’s goals, constraints, and data. This gives you the freedom to choose exactly how to bid for your campaigns and implement custom algorithms to maximize results. 
  • Custom Labels: Labeling or tagging features allow campaign managers to set both automated and one-off grouping of properties based on any custom value. If you’re managing metasearch for hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of properties, labels are a necessary feature for organizing your campaigns and identifying trends. 
  • Property Content Management: Reporting that is informed by rich property-level data, enables you to add geographic context to broad reports and bring in extremely granular hotel attributes for a more detailed analysis.
  • Intelligent Targeting: Audience targeting involves setting bids for specific groups of customers. The ability to segment your metasearch campaigns by audience is an important feature for reaching your target customers with your ads.

Key Players: