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100+ Small Business Marketing Tools You Need to Know

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

A successful small business today needs more than a brick-and-mortar storefront. A strong digital presence is crucial to business growth, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of small business marketing tools and digital marketing strategies available.  Whether you run a restaurant, a yoga studio, or a hotel, our 100 small business marketing tools can help you make your online footprint a strategic (and revenue-generating!) facet of your business. Soon you’ll be on your way to a beautiful, engaging website that converts visitors into loyal customers - all while avoiding that “I’m lost!” feeling that can happen when navigating the online marketing space. Every business is at a different point in their digital marketing journey, so we’ve broken down our list of tools from the essentials (for digital marketing beginners) to advanced platforms that help more experienced marketers dive into analytics and technical tweaks. We also understand that your business can’t be successful with digital marketing alone, so we’ve added a bonus category that consists of general business tools that can assist with overall operations. In short, this guide will help you: Get set up for success online with Digital Marketing Basics Craft your digital image with Graphic Design and Content Generate traffic through SEO and Digital PR Build customer loyalty and repeat business with Customer Relationship Management Understand customer behavior through Analytics Streamline your daily operations with General Business Tools These tools are not industry-specific, which means they’re suitable for not only hoteliers, but any type of small business owner, from restaurateurs to retailers. If your business wants to drive website traffic, build loyalty, and increase revenue, then it’s important to optimize your digital marketing strategy - whether your goal is to book more rooms, sell more items, or grow a subscriber list.   What's in this guide? 1. Basic Digital Marketing Tools: Website Builders, Online Shops, Marketplace Selling, Local Optimization 2. Graphic Design and Content: Graphic Design Tools, Photography, Video Marketing, Content Strategy, Content Organization 3. Traffic Generation Tools: Social Media Management, Digital PR, SEO & Keyword Planning, Pay-Per-Click Strategy, Clicks & Conversion, Lead Capture, Referral Programs 4. Customer Relationship Management Tools: CRM Software, Marketing Automation, Website Live Chat, Email Marketing, Loyalty Programs 5. Analytics & Insights Tools: Website Visitor Insights, Market Research, Audience Profiles 6. General Business Tools: Collaboration & Organization, Copy Editing, Budgeting, Offline Optimization   Small Business Digital Marketing Basics First things first! You can’t dive into keyword planners and website visitor insights if you don’t have a website. Let’s kick off your online marketing success with the essentials: website builders, online shop platforms, digital marketplaces, and tools that help customers find your physical storefront online.  Website Builders Use these tools to create beautiful websites with minimal time and technical know-how required. Wix: A platform that gives you the freedom to create, design, manage and develop your web presence exactly the way you want. Pick a template and customize anything, or answer a few questions and get a free website designed just for you. You can also get a personalized SEO plan so it's easier for customers to find your website.     WordPress: WordPress allows you to build a website that meets your unique needs. Start a blog, business site, portfolio, online store, or anything else you can imagine. They give you everything you would ever need to start your own website. They have built‑in optimization and responsive, mobile‑ready themes, plus free hosting, your own domain, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Divi Builder: Divi is more than just a WordPress theme, it's a completely new website building platform that replaces the standard WordPress post editor with a vastly superior visual editor. Add, delete, and move elements around on the front end of your website. No coding and no confusing back-end options.   Online Shops Does your business sell a product or a service? Allow customers to purchase items or make reservations online from anywhere in the world at any time. Simplify your online sales process with an intuitive, easy-to-use ecommerce platform.  Your marketing efforts will go to waste if you don’t have an online presence to drive shoppers to. Shopify: Whether your business is online, in retail or on the go, Shopify offers an all-in-one commerce platform to start, run, and grow a business. One platform with all the ecommerce and point of sale features you need to start, run, and grow your business. You can buy a domain, sell anywhere anytime, market using built-in tools, and analyze data to gain key insights about your customers.    Retailer Taylor Stitch is built on the Shopify platform   Squarespace: Squarespace provides software as a service for website building and hosting. It's easy enough to use for beginners and advanced enough for experienced website builders. Use pre-built website templates and drag and drop elements to create webpages.   Marketplace Selling Direct sales through your own website are great, but why settle for just one sales channel? These online marketplaces put your product or service in front of a larger global audience. Etsy: The global marketplace for unique and creative goods. Etsy is home to a universe of extraordinary items, from handcrafted custom pieces to vintage treasures. Etsy helps their community of sellers turn their ideas into successful businesses. Their platform connects sellers with millions of buyers looking for special items made with human touch. Groupon: Groupon offers a vast mobile and online marketplace where people shop for and save on things to do, see, eat, and buy. By enabling real-time commerce across local businesses, travel destinations, consumer products, and live events, shoppers can find the best a city has to offer. Groupon is redefining how small businesses attract and retain customers by providing them with customizable and scalable marketing tools and services to profitably grow their businesses.     Travelzoo: Travelzoo publishes offers from more than 2000 travel, entertainment, and tour companies. Travelzoo's deal experts review offers to find the best deals and confirm their true value. While companies do pay to list their deals on Travelzoo, no amount of money can ensure that a deal will get published since Travelzoo verifies each listing. Peek: A one-stop shop to discover and book amazing experiences for both travelers and locals. Peek’s team of travel experts handpicks the best activities to provide a personalized selection of experiences that match a variety of travel preferences. Airbnb: An online marketplace not only for apartments and homes, but also for hotel rooms, tours, and activities. Airbnb verifies personal profiles and listings, maintains a smart messaging system so hosts and guests can communicate with certainty, and manages a trusted platform to collect and transfer payments.   Local Optimization Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages; use these tools to ensure your physical business is accurately and attractively represented online. Yext: Yext syncs your location data across hundreds of websites. This tool drives more foot traffic to your business by distributing accurate information (phone number, address, etc.) for brick-and-mortar businesses and allowing them to run real-time promotions.     MomentFeed: This tool transforms your physical business locations into a massive mobile marketing advantage and drives more sales to every location. MomentFeed manages digital ads, reviews, and social media required to make each of your properties a guest’s top choice. Google My Business: This free tool allows you to optimize and promote your Business Profile and business website in the Google search results and on Google Maps. Google My Business enables you to connect with your guests or customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how guests or customers interact with your business on Google.   Graphic Design & Content Tools for Small Businesses If your website doesn’t contain eye-catching graphics and compelling content, potential customers will skip to a competitor. Grab their attention with images, video, and text that conveys your brand’s value proposition and reflects your brand’s values. These graphic design and content tools will help you craft attractive and high-quality media for any digital marketing channel - and keep it all organized. Graphic Design Allow your digital image to accurately reflect your brand and business with high-quality graphic design. From logos to infographics to color palettes, your brand image is a crucial part of your digital footprint - and a streamlined image can make your brand more recognizable and memorable to current and potential customers. Plus, it’s not always necessary to spend the big bucks on graphic design; these online graphic design tools can create beautiful results at a low (or no) cost. Visually: If you don't have an in-house graphic design team - this is a great way to still get custom graphics. You can tap into their collection of finished infographics and templates or use their talented team of designers to get something completely custom. Fill out a simple creative brief and they will pair you with the best talent for the job.  Envato: Envato Market is a collection of marketplaces for creative digital assets. Buy anything from Photoshop actions and video footage to advanced WordPress themes and plugins. Get unlimited downloads of themes, plugins, graphics, photos, fonts and more with a monthly subscription. Canva: Canva is a simplified graphic design tool used by both non designers as well as professionals. Its subscription service is perfect for people who need web design to be easy but may not have a budget for a full time graphic designer. You can create everything from logos, charts, graphs, shapes and presentations in custom font and design. It has drag and drop features that make design easy for newbies.      Dribble: The go-to resource for discovering and connecting with designers and creative talent around the globe. It is a community of designers sharing screenshots of their work, process, and projects to help you hire expert creatives that are perfect for your project. Design Pickle:  This company is a flat-rate graphic design subscription service offering unlimited requests, unlimited revisions, a dedicated designer, native source files.  In a few clicks you’ll have access to a professional designer ready to jump into your creative ecosystem. Get matched with a Design Pickle graphic designer who knows you by name and understands your brand and changing business needs. Their intuitive platform makes it easy to request and manage your designs and scale up as you grow. Stencil: Share As Image can transform any image into a custom piece of content. Easily create social media graphics, compelling ads, or beautiful blog headers in a fraction of the time. Download the app or use the Chrome plugin, then it’s as simple as clicking “share as image” and adding the text or filters you want.   Photography Stock photography can quickly (and inexpensively) add some extra pizazz to your website, social media, or marketing materials. Death To Stock Photo: Death to Stock is an artist-owned co-op that provides you with the most authentic stock photos and videos; with unlimited downloads and new work added every month. Death to Stock sends you a free bundle of high-quality images each month via email. You can also sign up as a premium user and get access to its entire library. Getty Images: Find the perfect royalty-free image for your next project from the world's best photo library of creative stock photos, vector art illustrations, and stock photography.   Video Marketing As we’ve seen through the growth of YouTube, consumers aren’t satisfied with simple photos anymore - they want video. Bring your brand to life with these video marketing tools. Promo.com: Create stand-out video ads, social media videos, product videos, explainer videos and more - all optimized for online results. Customize more than 2,500 top performing video templates or create your own. Choose from over 15M premium HD videos and photos from Getty, Shutterstock, and other top-rated partners in our visual library. Wistia: This software helps you present captivating video experiences on your site that turn viewers into brand advocates. It offers analytics, automation and a place to host your videos.   Content Marketing Strategy High-quality content is key to building an online brand. Create and share memorable, engaging content that your customers or followers will want to tell their friends about. Clear Voice: This content creation platform and integrated Talent Network can scale content for all your marketing channels faster than ever — to save time and money while building ROI. Their marketing platform is like a playground for content people, where brands and agencies can connect with freelancers to create great content. Followerwonk: If Twitter is one of your strongest platforms, this is a tool for you. Develop a strategic posting and content approach, and figure out key demos about your followers' so you can deliver quality content that resonates with them. This tool will mine your Twitter Analytics in order to help you find relevant Twitter accounts that are worth targeting.  Buzzsumo: If you want to be successful in content marketing, you have to do your research, which is where Buzzsumo comes in, with a quick click, get a look at what’s trending on social media and analyze the returned results to find out why they're trending. This will help inspire you to write content that resonates with consumers. You can also look at your own content to see what's performing and who's engaging with it. Buzzsumo shows content that is trending across social media based on searched topics. Following your search, you can analyze the results that are returned to see what’s so appealing about them and to get ideas of subjects to write about.     Trello: This tool is ideal for content strategists that want to plan out their editorial calendar. It's perfect for content brainstorming and its calendar service allows you to collaboratively create and share ideas across multiple individuals and teams. It operates more as a content planner than content scheduler -- you can create notecards for article topics, marketing campaigns, or other subjects your team may focus on. On each card, users can take notes, record instructions, update the project status, and assign cards to certain people. Hemingway App: If you want solid content, run it through this tool to check its quality and make sure its complexity is appropriate to your audience. The app highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.   Content Organization Use these content organization tools to plan your content strategy in advance so you’re never faced with writer’s block. Pocket: This app and web service is ideal for managing a reading list of articles and videos from the Internet. Save articles, videos and stories from any publication, page or app. Curate your own space filled with everything you can’t wait to learn. CoSchedule: CoSchedule Marketing Suite is a family of agile marketing products that will help you organize your content, social, work, and assets in one place. Save time, publish consistently, and grow your audience. Editorial Calendar plans help you organize your blog and social media to build and share your brand.   Traffic Generation If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Brand awareness is key in all marketing and advertising.  A great marketing plan drums up interest in your brand and then delivers attractive offers for prospective customers.  Does your website even exist if nobody looks at it? You’ve invested time, energy, and money into building a great website, but how do you generate traffic? With a strong social media presence, creative social media marketing, a focus on search engine optimization (SEO), and referral programs, you don’t need to dedicate lots of money and effort to get eyes on your site. These tools will help your website become more visible and make your marketing efforts more effective, then keep visitors engaged all the way through the purchase process.   Social Media Management Maximizing your social media activity isn’t as simple as creating a profile. Use these social media management tools to understand your followers, build relationships with influencers, and grow your brand. Drum Up: DrumUp discovers and helps you share great content to your social media accounts so you can start meaningful conversations with your followers. This site mines through tons of content across the web in real time, and uses sophisticated algorithms to recommend fresh stories most relevant to your audience. Social Mention: This is a free tool that provides a real-time analysis of social media. It organizes social media mentions of your brand into a single stream and includes hashtags, top keywords, and sites. Traackr: Traackr is an influencer relationship management platform that allows businesses to find, vet, manage, and measure their influencer marketing programs. It is designed for companies that already have an established influencer program. Traackr provides influencer discovery, vetting, campaign organization, measurement, and the industry’s only influencer market performance benchmark. Sprout Social: Build and grow stronger relationships on social. Understand and reach your audience, engage your community and measure performance with the only all-in-one social media management platform built for connection. Buffer: Plan, collaborate, and publish click-stopping content that drives meaningful engagement and growth for your brand. Buffer is a really simple way to automate and optimize your marketing strategy. Plan and publish your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn from one simple dashboard.     Hootsuite: This is the central management platform for all your social media channels. In one session, you can schedule posts in advance so that your content is prepped for the coming weeks or months. You can also identify key influencers and hashtags.This one-stop-shop helps you not only manage your social posts, but also track ROI and brand mentions. It will allow you to see which of your social posts are generating the most buzz. Sniply: Sniply adds your custom call to action to any page on the web, allowing you to engage your followers through every link you share. For example, you can attach a button to the page that links to your own website, so that people can discover you while they read. Sniply generates unique links for you to share. Anyone clicking on your links will see the content along with your call-to-action inside.   Digital PR A strong SEO strategy doesn’t stop with your own search results performance. Leverage these digital PR tools to build backlinks, snag placement in news articles, and get in touch with influencers. BuzzStream: This software will help you research influencers, manage your relationships, and conduct outreach that’s personalized and efficient. Through one centralized database, BuzzStream discovers contact information, social profiles, and site metrics for you. It’s easy to prioritize the most important, influential contacts. Their customizable reports provide deep insight into your outreach campaigns, team performance and link placements - so you know what works and what doesn't.  Just Reach Out: PR software and guidance to get the exposure you need to grow your business. Their software allows you to find the most relevant journalists, publications, press opportunities, podcasts and broken links so you can pitch with confidence.     Pitchbox: Find bloggers, publishers, and influencers in record time. With multiple prospecting profiles and intuitive keyword search, Pitchbox allows you to find influencers in your niche in a matter of seconds. Save hundreds of hours each month while being in total control of your messaging. Customize each outreach email to your target opportunities, without manual input, and automatically follow up with prospects who haven’t responded, boosting response rates ~62% on average.   SEO: Keyword Planning Search engine optimization is important for generating traffic, but how do you know which keywords to target? These keyword planning tools will help you decide where to start. If you have a general idea of a few keywords to target, use a keyword research tool to find more relevant keywords that can put your website in front of more viewers.  SEO keyword planning starts with understanding your target market. What questions or queries do your customers search for that your product and content can answer? KWFinder: A good key word finder like KWFinder is essential. You may have great content, but you also need great keywords in order to get a better ranking and more visibility. This tool is ideal for small businesses because it offers more functionality than the free tools in an easy-to-use format, for an affordable monthly fee. All you have to do is put in a seed keyword and the tool will come back with hundreds of suggestions, search volume data, trends, and a ranking difficulty score for each word or phrase. Keyword Planner: This Google Ads tool is perfect for new or experienced advertisers. You can use Keyword Planner to search for keywords and see how a list of keywords might perform. It can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your campaigns. Reach new customers and grow your business with Google Ads, Google's online advertising program.This platform is set up like a workshop so you can learn as you go. Neil Patel Ubersuggest: You no longer will waste time writing content that people don’t want to read. Insight into the keywords your audience uses is likely to spark ideas for new content pieces or product features or even new products that actually resonate with your consumer. Ubersuggest is a free keyword tool that gives you tons of suggestions based on your topic. It’s like an enhanced version of Google’s suggestions. Its new feature even lets you type in a competitor's domain name to get better keyword ideas. SpyFu: This self-serve competitive intelligence tool specializes primarily in keyword research. They provide unlimited searches for domains, keywords, and backlinks as well as unlimited exports, which other services usually don’t offer.     Screaming Frog: This is an easy way to analyze the technical components of your website to make sure you’re well-optimized for search engines. This website crawler will help you identify your SEO issues like broken links or duplicate content. Any site issues your having will be flagged so won't miss a beat.  Ahrefs: Audit your website, explore competitors, research keywords & backlinks - all in one place. Powered by seriously big data & trusted by top SEOs. Unlike old school SEO which was focused on backlink quantity, this new practice is all about building relevant and organic backlinks. Search engines will know how trustworthy your site is based on how many quality links leads to your content. SEMRush: Offers online visibility and marketing analytics software subscriptions.   Pay-Per-Click Strategy A big portion of website traffic starts in the search results. As search results marketing gets more and more competitive, hone your pay-per-click strategy to get the best cash-to-click ratio. WordStream: Turn browsers into buyers with tools designed to drive new purchasers to your site and kickstart your shopping campaign ROAS. WordStream Advisor for Ecommerce gives advertisers the tools you need to set up & manage your shopping campaigns on platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook. Turn more shoppers into customers, faster. Kite: Kite is a tool for digital advertising professionals, to help get both better performances and the most out of their budget. Kite’s main objective is to improve your conversations and ROI without increasing spend. The platform will analyze your existing campaigns and create a report that is built of recommendations based on 40+ industry tested best practices. The reports come with insights that are each uniquely formulated to give you the best strategies when moving forward with your campaigns. Squared.io: This optimization platform analyzes your Google Ads account daily for opportunities and issues.They analyze your settings for anomalies and give you the opportunity to fix them from the interface so you can maximize the traffic and conversions for your account. Optmyzr: Do optimizations and reporting in a fraction of the time so you can handle more accounts more effectively, and grow your bottom line. Optmyzr connects with your advertising accounts and analyzes data in real-time, making suggestions about how to optimize the performance of your accounts.   Clicks and Conversion Use these tools to turn casual shoppers into paying customers. Picreel: Picreel is an on-site retargeting and conversion rate optimization platform that will help you send the right message to the right person at the right time. It will help you capture email addresses and put a call to action in front of your website visitors. Picreel optimizes offers on your website by tracking visitors' digital footprints and click behavior in real-time, then it serves up the most relevant offer as they navigate around your site.  Convert: Convert is an A/B testing tool used to improve the conversion rate of your website. This will allow you to improve and attract more users to your website and essentially increase revenue. Anyone on your team can start experimenting. Switch out text, images, calls to action, or HTML/CSS elements without adding a single line of code. Proof: Proof is designed to help you display your social proof so that you can create FOMO (fear of missing out) and convert more visitors into leads. The platform is designed to help you save on acquisition costs and increase brand perception. It's very easy to download: all you have to do is copy and paste their pixel onto your site page.   Lead Capture A strong email list will give you powerful email marketing opportunities. Use these tools to encourage visitors to subscribe to your email updates. OptinMonster: OptinMonster’s beautiful, attention-grabbing opt-in forms are proven to convert visitors into subscribers. OptinMonster helps you showcase the right offer to the right people at the right time to build your email list, get more leads, and increase bookings. Unbounce: Get more leads, sales, and customers with landing pages built just how you want. Create and optimize dedicated landing pages that prompt your visitors with one focused goal instead of leaving them to wander a site full of distractions. Create custom landing pages with no code required. Get built-in conversion power and the ability to A/B test your pages to see exactly what’s working. Experiment with messaging, design, and forms to validate what makes more visitors convert more often.     Referral Programs If your website visitors love what you offer, these tools make it easy for them to refer friends or family - one of the best ways to spread the word about your business and acquire new customers. Mention Me: Mention Me encourages, measures, and rewards customers who love your product enough to recommend it to others and keep coming back themselves. This SaaS platform enables companies to supercharge word-of-mouth for fast and effective new customer acquisition. Extole: Extole is a referral marketing program that helps companies acquire customers through their refer-a-friend program. You can choose from rewards like discount codes or gift cards. When one of your current customers buys something using a code, they get a reward for sharing it with a friend or family member. The friend or family member will also receive a reward and most likely become a new customer of your brand - so everybody wins! Viral-Loops: A viral and referral marketing platform to launch ranking competitions, sweepstakes, pre-launch offers, and referral programs. When you run an ongoing referral marketing campaign, people earn bigger prizes for the more friends they refer.     Pay With A Tweet: Pay with a Tweet is a social media referral tool that drives reach through social shares. Publishers can incentivize their users by offering products or content in exchange for a social post. It is easily implemented on your website and the user experience is quick, simple and safe. PWT will verify that your customers have really shared your brand with their friends and make sure that they get the promised reward for it.   Customer Relationship Management in Small Business Marketing Digital tools aren’t only helpful in driving sales on your website; they can benefit your physical business too. Use these tools to better manage relationships with your customers and build brand loyalty. If your website allows customers to order products or guests to book rooms, then these tools can help you increase your sales performance. By building strong relationships with your guests or consumers, you can keep them coming back for more.   CRM Software Customers are the core of your business. Investing in a customer relationship management system can assist in increasing sales and understanding customer behavior. KWI: A cloud-based platform and team of tech experts that help retailers sell more, streamline processes, and create holistic customer experiences - online and offline. This omni-channel POS tool supports in-store and online purchases, fulfillment, returns, and exchanges. You can see sales and inventory in real time and get real time data collection, segmenting, and targeting capabilities to better understand your customers. Pipedrive: This is a comprehensive CRM solution that helps with all aspects of your sales cycle. Pipedrive provides you with everything you need, including detailed reports, email automation, and AI-powered tools. HubSpot: When you're running a few different campaigns across multiple channels, it can be hard to manage them and even harder to get a pulse on what's working. HubSpot program offers a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer service, with a completely free CRM at its core. Hubspot provides everything you need to organize, track, and build better relationships with leads and customers.     Zoho: Zoho enables users to reach out to prospects at the right moment and engage them across every channel. Give your sales team the perfect set of apps to help close more business deals in less time.   Marketing Automation If your sales team performs the same tasks over and over again, an automation tool can do the work for them and let them spend time more strategically. Hatchbuck: Hatchbuck is an all-in-one CRM and marketing automation tool created specifically for small businesses. Keep tabs on every contact with their easy-to-learn, simple-to-use CRM. Hatchbuck lets you know who your hot prospects are so you can focus on selling. Keap: Keap is a comprehensive CRM, sales, and marketing automation software to help you consistently win more business. Create a repeatable sales process that makes it easy for you to set up appointments, track leads, and get quotes accepted all from your CRM. Constant Contact: Constant Contact can help you compose attractive emails, build a website with ease, create a logo for your brand, run Google Ads to get more website traffic, or find new customers on social media. Their software will take care of all of your list management needs. You get access to a whole suite of campaign types available to help reach and engage with your customers.   Website Live Chat If website visitors have a question, make it as easy as possible for them to get answers with the option to chat in real-time with a bot or a customer service representative. Intercom: This messaging platform allows businesses to communicate with prospective and existing customers within their app, on their website, through social media, or via email. Use bots and live chat to automatically qualify, route, and convert more leads - and faster. Send targeted email, in-app, and push messages to turn more visitors into customers.     Tawk.to: Provides your business with all of the features you would find in common live messaging platforms, but for free. You can customize the chat widget, converse via mobile (even by using predefined shortcuts), analyze visitors in real-time, and trigger actions to proactively interact with them. LiveChat: This tool includes most of the features already available within Intercom but plus message sneak peaks, agent ratings, chat routing, and integrations for the chat widget. It's not free, but it's worth the price for the bells and whistles. LiveChat is perfect for beginners who want to utilize a customizable and ready-to-use chat widget. but also for developers who want to change and build on the standard offering.  LiveChat also has a couple other products in their arsenal such as HelpDesk, which is an email management software and ticketing system and ChatBot, an intuitive chatbot solution that's great for automating customer support. HelpCrunch: HelpCrunch supports multi-channel messaging and combines all messages from a single user under one roof – including email, the chat widget, or social media. The platform automatically gathers all personal or behavioral customer data, coupled with their chat history to date, then provides actionable insights. You can follow up on queries with emails or instant solutions. LiveAgent: This platform offers live chat functionality, but also includes ticket management, social messages, and customer care support (including phone call functionality) in one integrated platform. The LiveAgent chat widget first searches for answers, then connects customers to a live representative.    Email Marketing Send targeted email updates, newsletters, and offers to your subscribers. Mailchimp: This service will enable you to capture emails, manage your lists, send out emails automatically or on a schedule, and analyze engagement. It simplifies all the services you need and remains free until your list hits 2,000 subscribers.   Loyalty Programs Offer incentives to keep customers coming back for more with these loyalty program platforms. Belly: Collect customer info after their first visit to keep them engaged and coming back. Send email marketing and mobile campaigns without lifting a finger. Belly also helps you grow your social channels and attract new customers. Fivestars: Ditch the old school punch card and go digital, with a loyalty card that customers won't accidently leave at home. The Fivestars Customer Touchscreen integrates with your point-of-sale. Your customers enter their phone number every time they make a purchase. You decide the rewards they can redeem, like a free coffee.     CandyBar: Customers get rewards, cashiers get 3-tap checkout, and store owners get to see top customers and KPIs. No POS integration required; CandyBar runs on any browser and only takes three minutes to set up.  Loyalzoo: A digital loyalty system for brick-and-mortar stores and eateries. Loyalzoo offers a practical way of helping consumers support their local shops and restoring pride to their areas. Sign customers up for your loyalty program directly on your point-of-sale system or online using their phone number or email address. Once your customers are signed up to your program and collect points, you can send messages or promotions and push sales during slow periods. There is also an option for customers to pay to be part of a loyalty or membership program for added perks.   Analytics What are your guests or customers thinking? What’s their path to purchase on your website? And why do they love your product - or not? Diving into your ideal consumer’s preferences, needs, and wants will help you tailor your marketing messages to be most relevant for your audience. Website Visitor Insights What do guests or customers actually do on your hotel or business’s website? What links do they click? How long do they stay on each page? Or do they run into an error and jump to a competitor’s website? Understanding the behavior of the people using your website is an important first step to reach your digital marketing goals. Without a smooth website experience, you can’t expect guests to book more rooms or for customers to purchase more products. Google Analytics: Discover who is visiting your site and what they're up to when they arrive. The platform looks at the number of visitors, where they come from, and the keywords they used to get to your site. All of these actionable insights help you better understand your potential guests and how to speak to them.     Kissmetrics: Map your guest or customer’s journey on your website from looker to booker. With this platform, you will find out exactly where your website visitors are coming from and can map their journey to purchase. You will get the crucial data you need to optimize your marketing channels, attract more guests, and get them to convert once they reach your website. Send automated behavioral engagements at the perfect time to get people happily headed in the right direction. Pendo: Access to the analytics you need to understand what users are doing across their product journey. Product teams can understand product usage, collect feedback, measure sentiment, onboard users, and announce new features in-app, without requiring engineering resources. Crazy Egg: This data collection tool is ideal for gaining insights into how your customers use your website. Through click reports, heat maps, and A/B testing tools, you will be able to identify areas of friction that represent conversion opportunities. Hot Jar: Gain insight into the behavior of your website visitors - perfect for conversion optimization. A simple script is the only thing you need to set up all the features for your website.    Heap: Heap automatically captures web and mobile app behavioral data. Retroactively analyze behavioral data without writing code. Their infrastructure is built to automatically capture customer interactions, make sense of them, and make them actionable.   Market Research What’s the easiest way to know what your potential or current customers want? Ask them! These survey tools make questionnaires effortless and engaging. Turn customer preferences into actionable insights that can shape your strategy and convert more sales. Survey Anyplace: This tool streamlines the survey creation experience by allowing you to build your own surveys and tailor them to your brand's unique needs. They are optimized for mobile with a heavy visual emphasis if desired. They analyze your settings for anomalies and give you the opportunity to fix them from the interface so you can maximize the traffic and conversions for your account. SurveyMonkey: This survey software is intuitive and quick. SurveyMonkey is a global leader in survey software. With a few minutes, you can design, create & publish a survey that will give you access to key consumer insights and trends.     Pollfish: Survey Pollfish’s global network of over 550 million consumers to gain insights into consumer preferences for any industry. The information you glean from these studies can help you hone your product-market fit and reach potential customers more effectively. Google Forms: As part of the Google G Suite, this tool lets you intuitively build surveys, forms, and quizzes, then export the answers or results to a Google Sheet. Easily add collaborators, make edits, and analyze the results within your personal or business Google account.   Audience Profiles What do your guests or customers really think about your brand or product? Tap into their opinions to find opportunities to better your business. Qzzr: Businesses can make fun and engaging quizzes with Qzzr to better understand their audiences and generate new leads. Build richer customer profiles, improve engagement, and generate more revenue by asking the right questions. Finished quizzes can be embedded on your website or socials.  Reddit: This is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website.  Joining the Reddit community is a great way to gain consumer insights about your target audience on a much deeper level - it's like going undercover. Members submit content to the site such as links, text posts, and images, which are then voted up or down by other members. Brands can use this information to gain insights into how their customers are talking about their products or services. Quora: This platform allows you to ask questions and get answers from experts in the Quora community. Members ask questions about just about every topic you can imagine, including product reviews, travel recommendation, and even digital marketing strategies! Small businesses can respond to questions related to their product or service and include a link to their website.   Productivity Tools for Small Business Marketing Stay focused, submit deliverables on time, and organize information with these product management tools. Whether your business is a hotel, a restaurant, or a store, it’s important to keep projects moving in the right direction. These handy tools can help you save time and stay organized so you can focus on other things.. Collaboration & Organization Platforms Working with colleagues and business partners can be challenging - especially when your team members work different shifts or are based in other parts of the world. Stay in sync with these collaboration tools. Slack: This cloud-based collaboration hub makes it easy for you to follow conversations or easily find information in searchable archives. Slack integrates with all major project management, office management, sales, productivity, design, and developer tools, which makes communication even more seamless. Instead of a single overstuffed inbox, conversations in Slack happen in dedicated spaces called channels. Asana: Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. Plan and structure work in a way that’s best for you. Set priorities and deadlines, share details, and assign tasks.  Trello: No matter where you are, Trello stays in sync across all of your devices. Collaborate with your team anywhere, from sitting on the bus to sitting on the beach. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.     Evernote: Share ideas with anyone and find information faster. Evernote helps you capture ideas, inspiration, and trends, while storing it in one easily accessible location. You can access your files on your phone, laptop, or tablet, making it the perfect tool for finding and storing content ideas, market research, brainstorming, and competitive analyses. Basecamp: Unlike email, where you have to constantly manage the chaos, Basecamp keeps projects organized. Each project section contains everything related to the work at hand: all the people involved, every discussion, every document, file, task, important dates, and more.   Copy Editing Even the most beautiful website or well-intentioned email can see conversion slip because of typos. Use a copy editing tool to write professional text all the time. Grammarly: Just because you can't afford to hire a copy editor doesn't mean you can afford mistakes. Grammarly can make corrections while you write on Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all your other favorite sites. Use it in combination with your spell checker and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many typos you avoid. If you opt for the paid premium version, Grammarly also offers a plagiarism checker.   Budgeting While you work hard to increase website traffic and sales, don’t forget to keep your finances in check. Due: This affordable solution is for business owners to pay and get paid faster. Due helps your business seamlessly process credit cards, eCash and eCheck payments.   Offline Optimization Spread the word online about events happening in real life and make the checkout process as frictionless as possible with these helpful hints. Bosstab: Bosstab sells tablet stands, POS equipment, and accessories. The company focuses on using tablets in a business setting - perfect for hospitality venues, shops, showrooms, and general businesses. Get the perfect stand to house your tablets or accessories. Eventbrite: Create a beautiful event listing page with built-in payment processing, analytics, and support. Manage and track your sales with real-time reporting and analytics from any device. Give your event-goers a great experience with simple, secure checkout and rapid check-in through Eventbrite’s mobile apps and full suite of on-site equipment, staffing, and logistics. -- Now that you’re armed with 100 small business marketing tools, growth is within reach. Use these tools to spread the world about your product, increase your sales or bookings, and stay organized behind the scenes. When you can spend less time and effort on the intricacies of marketing, you can focus on what really matters: delivering a great product.  

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

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hospitality tech 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.  

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The Best Hotel Software of 2020 (Ranked by Data)

by
Jordan Hollander
3 weeks ago

Are you overwhelmed by all the new hotel software solutions coming into the market? 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 managment 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. 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 the Hotel Tech Report community has spent 600+ hours reviewing the hotel software that they use on property to help you find the best solutions for your property. This list will save you time researching tech for your business and is 100% data driven.   What's inside this hotel software guide? 1. What are the different kinds of hotel software? 2. List of the best hotel software products (by category) 4. How does Hotel Tech Report determine the best hotel software? 5. Proprietary software ranking methodology   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 your hotel.  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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The 2020 Ultimate Guide to the Hospitality Industry

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

The hospitality industry spans across service industry sectors such as restaurants, hotels and the broader tourism industry (e.g. cruise ships). As one of the largest job creators and economic contributors, it is important for both customers and workers to understand the ins and outs of this dynamic industry. Did you know that the hospitality industry is one of the largest employers globally? The U.S. travel industry, for example, generates more than $1 trillion in economic output each year and when you look to seasonal markets with less industry, travel & hospitality sometimes makes up the majority of the economy (think about places like Hawaii and Phuket). The word hospitality evolved from the Latin hospitalitis, which referred to the relationship between guest and host, as it took its root from hospes, the word for host, guest, stranger, or visitor. Thus hospitality is the act of welcoming guests or strangers (Princeton) or “entertainment of strangers or guests without reward or with kind and generous liberality.”  At its core, hospitality is all about delivering a great customer experience (we explore this more in our piece What is Hospitality?). So whether you’re an industry veteran looking to up your hospitality game this year or even if you're just getting started and want to fast track your knowledge - you’ll love this guide.   What’s Inside this Hospitality Industry Guide? Hospitality Industry Jobs Hospitality Industry Trends Hotel Industry Conferences Top Hospitality Business Publications Hospitality Industry Organizations Best Hotel Schools Largest Employers in the Hospitality Industry Books Every Hotelier Must Read Hospitality Terminology & Industry Jargon Continuing Education & Certifications Technology in the Hospitality Industry   What Makes the Hospitality Industry so Dynamic? With a global footprint and an annual revenue of well over $500 billion, it’s hard not to ignore one of hospitality's most important segments: the lodging industry. A career in this exciting sector can be enriching and challenging, but you may be wondering where to begin. Whether you’re just getting started in your first hospitality job or considering a mid-career switch, this guide will reveal the ins and outs of the hotel industry. This guide will cover aspects of the industry like popular hotel jobs, hotel industry organizations, and recommended hospitality industry reads. We’ll even decode some hotel industry lingo!   Best Hospitality Industry Schools Some hospitality professionals begin their careers in an entry-level hotel job, such as a front desk agent, and climb the ranks by earning promotions from one level to the next. Other hospitality professionals, who knew they wanted to build a career in the hotel industry, might earn a college degree in a hospitality-related field in order to jump into a supervisory or managerial role upon graduation. While many colleges and universities have hospitality or tourism classes, only a few have entire schools dedicated to the hospitality industry. If you want to earn a degree from one of the best, here are the world’s top hotel and hospitality management schools. Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, this prestigious school offers a world-class hospitality education with a global focus. Courses are taught in English or French, and students are required to complete two six-month-long internships, often in different countries, before graduation. The school also focuses on culinary skills and restaurant management, and there are several “teaching restaurants” on campus, including one that has earned a Michelin star. Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration As part of the Ivy League, this program offers hands-on training in its on-site restaurants and hotel, plus a focus on academics in its Center for Hospitality Research and Baker Program in Real Estate. The school is located in Ithaca, New York and offers a dual degree program with the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. The School of Hotel Administration’s alumni network includes over 14,000 members and more than 50 Cornell Hotel Society clubs around the world. University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management Named for the owner of Florida-based Rosen Hotels and Resorts, this school is located in Orlando, Florida. It offers traditional hospitality management degrees in addition to specialized programs in theme park management, golf and club management, entertainment management, and event management. Students can earn Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degrees. Les Roches International School of Hotel Management This globally focused school has campuses in Switzerland, Spain, and China, which offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students can choose between specializations such as digital marketing strategies, hospitality entrepreneurship, and resort development, and successful completion of two six-month internships is required before graduation. University of Nevada’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration Located just a stone’s throw from the Las Vegas Strip, it makes sense that this school would offer some of the world’s best programs in casino management, golf management, and meeting and events management. Top hospitality companies visit the campus every year for recruiting, and students often work part-time or as interns during their studies. Hotelschool The Hague Located in the Netherlands, this school has campuses in The Hague and Amsterdam, which offer undergraduate and MBA degree programs. Courses are taught in English, and the school attracts students from across the world, who often embark on global hospitality careers upon graduation. Oxford Brookes University’s Oxford School of Hospitality Management This British school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with a focus on international hospitality. Students have the option to spend one year in an internship, and the school matches students with experienced industry professionals in a mentorship program. Glion Institute of Higher Education Known simply as Glion, this hospitality school has three campuses; the original is located about 40 miles outside of Geneva, Switzerland, and two satellite campuses are located in Bulle, Switzerland and London, England. Students can specialize in International Event Management, International Hotel Development and Finance, Luxury Brand Management, and more. Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business, School of Hospitality Business This school is most well known for its undergraduate degree program, but it also offers executive education and a minor in Hospitality Real Estate Investment Management. The school often hosts guest lecturers and speakers from various leading hospitality companies and encourages students to complete internships. Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management Offering a wide variety of courses, this school provides education in tourism destination management, catering management, revenue management, data analytics, and more. Students have the opportunity to earn dual degrees with other Virginia Tech programs, like Real Estate or Business. Online Hotel Management Degrees If full-time school isn’t the best option for you, a few e-learning platforms offer hospitality management degrees online. In addition to full degree programs, you can also find continuing education courses online to continue to hone your hotel management skills without committing to full-time classes. Some leading online programs include Florida International University’s online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, The University of Alabama’s online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, and eCornell’s suite of continuing education courses that range from revenue management to guest loyalty strategies.   Hospitality Jobs & Career Paths: A Complete Breakdown If you’re certain that you want a career in the hotel industry, you’ll need to decide exactly which role is best for you. A wide variety of jobs compose the entire industry, so people with any type of background or experience can find success in one facet or another. It’s also common for people to start in one role or department, then switch, sometimes multiple times, between roles and departments to build a holistic understanding of hotel operations. General managers have sometimes worked in nearly every hotel department before reaching the GM role! It might seem daunting to apply for your first position, but remember that it’s quite common to jump between departments, if you later find there’s another role you would prefer. Corporate vs. on property hotel jobs Do you think all hotel jobs are based in actual hotels? Many hotel industry professionals don’t work in a hotel at all, but instead in a corporate office or headquarters that works closely with the properties themselves. Some corporate hotel jobs are even split between several properties, with the employee spending a day or two each week at a couple different hotels in one market. Corporate hotel jobs can include roles in marketing, revenue management, sales, reservations, and even branding and real estate development. Corporate hotel jobs can be a fantastic way for someone who is passionate about the hospitality industry to also gain experience working in a traditional office setting, and these jobs often offer the unique perspective of working with more than just one property. However, these jobs can be more difficult to find as hotel companies typically have just a handful of corporate offices, compared to a whole portfolio of properties around the world. Hotel Operations Are Highly Cross-Functional A successful hotel should operate like a sports team, with various departments responsible for different tasks, and the general manager acting as the team captain. Like positions on a soccer field, each position in a hotel requires different skills and work styles, and, while the roles themselves are unique, they’re all crucial to the overall operations of the hotel. General Manager: Every hotel is a business, the GM is the CEO. The GM is responsible for everything that happens on property, from steering the hotel’s strategy to making hiring decisions to resolving serious guest complaints. A general manager usually has his or her own office, but they spend much of the day meeting with the executive team or other departments or walking throughout the hotel and speaking with guests. A GM should be a true “people person” who has strong leadership skills, since they interact constantly with both guests and employees. Sometimes the GM also interfaces with the hotel’s owner or brand representatives, so communication skills are also important. Many general managers work their way up from other departments, perhaps spending a few years as a Director of Rooms. While the role of a general manager can be extremely rewarding, it’s also a challenging job, which carries a lot of responsibility and the flexibility to respond to problems around the clock. General managers typically have a decade or more of work experience in the hotel industry, and many hold college degrees in hotel management. Salaries can vary greatly based on the size and location of the hotel, with average annual pay between $75,000 and $140,000. Operations Manager: An operations manager sits below the general manager and is responsible for overseeing all of the operational aspects of the hotel, which is essentially everything involved in the delivery of a great guest experience. This role supervises the front office, housekeeping, sales, food and beverage, and any other operational department the hotel may have. Ops managers must have a wide range of leadership and communication skills, since their work involves leading teams of employees and solving problems. The operations manager role can be challenging due to the high time commitment and constant demands of both employees and guests, but it’s also a fantastic stepping stone for someone with the goal of becoming a general manager. Operations managers should have several years of work experience, and many hold degrees in hotel management. Salaries depend on the size and location of the hotel, but an average salary is between $51,000 and $95,000.  Housekeeping Manager: The housekeeping manager is responsible for everything required to cleaning guestrooms and the hotel’s public areas. But this role isn’t as simple as overseeing the washing of sheets. Housekeeping managers must coordinate housekeepers’ schedules, hire housekeeping staff, manage inventory, provide quality control checks, and work closely with the front office team. A housekeeping manager must be detail-oriented and a team player. While this role doesn’t work closely with guests, a big part of the role is motivating and developing the housekeeping staff, which can be a challenge in a department that traditionally has high turnover. Some housekeeping managers work their way up from the front desk or housekeeping teams, and others land the job directly out of college or as part of a management training program. Average housekeeping manager salaries range from $66,000 to $90,000. Front Office Manager: The front desk is one of the most important parts of the property, handling check-ins and check-outs, answering questions, and performing administrative tasks. A front office manager supervises the front desk’s operations, which can involve hiring, training, and motivating staff in addition to resolving guest issues. The front office manager works closely with the housekeeping manager to coordinate room cleanings, and the role also plays an important part in communicating guest complaints (or recognizing great guest experiences) to other departments. Front office managers should have excellent communication skills and a lot of patience. Like housekeeping managers, front office managers can get promoted from a front desk agent or front desk supervisor role. Some also come through management training programs. The average front office manager salary is around $42,000, but can vary based on the size and location of the property. IT Manager: Technology is no small part of hotel operations, with nearly every department using some sort of technology solution - from property management systems behind the front desk to reservation systems in restaurants. The IT team is responsible for ensuring all of the hotel’s systems are working properly in addition to maintaining guest-facing technology (like WiFi and electronic locks) and protecting the hotel from cyber attacks. The average IT manager salary is approximately $80,000. Engineering: The engineering team has arguably the most important job in the hotel: they’re responsible for ensuring the physical building is in tip-top shape. Someone working in the engineering team should like being hands-on and have a sense of pride for building they work in. Engineering managers and team members often have a background in maintenance work, perhaps having worked in an office building or hospital previously. The average salary for a hotel engineering manager is around $32,000. Revenue Management: Depending on the size of the property, a hotel might have one revenue manager or a 3- or 4-person revenue management team. Revenue managers are responsible for setting rates, managing the hotel’s online distribution channels, and forecasting rates and occupancy. Revenue managers should have both analytical skills and people skills, since the role involves analyzing historical and market data and working closely with front office, sales, and marketing colleagues. Some revenue managers come from front office or reservations backgrounds, while others find their way to a hotel revenue management job from another type of revenue management field, such as airline or rental cars. Revenue manager salaries vary based on the level of responsibility, but the average salary is around $65,000. Marketing: The marketing department’s key responsibility is to communicate the hotel’s value proposition, brand, and unique characteristics to travelers who may want to book the hotel. Traditional marketing methods like print advertising, are becoming less common, and marketing departments now focus on online channels, such as email newsletters and social media. The marketing team works closely with sales and revenue management to brainstorm upsells and promotions then decide which marketing channels to utilize. Hotel marketing professionals should be creative, resourceful, and articulate.  They should also be great managers because they’ll often need to oversee a hotel’s digital marketing agency where they’ll need to be well versed in marketing skills like SEO, PPC, CRO and more to be effective. Hotel marketing managers and coordinators don’t necessarily need to have backgrounds in the hotel industry, as many come to hotels from other types of marketing roles. Average salaries range from around $44,000 for coordinator roles to $63,000 for manager roles. Sales: The sales department is in charge of selling meeting space, arranging group room blocks, and planning catering and banquet functions. Small hotels may have just one sales manager who handles everything, while large hotels and resorts may have sales teams with coordinators, sales managers, and catering managers, some of whom may even be based remotely. Sales managers work closely with nearly every department at the hotel, from front office to food and beverage. Rather than working directly with guests, sales managers often work with event planners, like corporate travel planners and wedding planners, to decide on the specifics for the event or room blocks. Sales managers can work their way up from other hotel departments or come from other industries altogether. The average sales manager salary is around $60,000 but can be higher depending on the size of the property and commission or bonus structures.   Best Hospitality Industry Conferences One way for hotel professionals to learn about trends and grow their networks is by attending industry events. Many industry organizations host small, regional events, while some other events are held annually and attract attendees from all over the world. ALIS: Held every January, the Americas Lodging Investment Summit is one of the world’s largest hotel investment conferences, with about 3,000 attendees every year. Lodging Conference: This annual conference attracts nearly 2,000 hotel general managers, CEOs, and owners for a few days of brainstorming and networking. The atmosphere is relaxed, with golf outings, shared meals, and think tanks that encourage the participants to come up with creative solutions for trends impacting the industry. Phocuswright Conference: Since Phocuswright is a hospitality industry market research company, it only makes sense that their annual conference would be rooted in data and trends. Their yearly event showcases speakers from the most cutting-edge facets of the industry, like CEOs of hotel technology start-ups, along with insight from Phocuswright’s own analysts. Skift Global Forum: Relatively new to the scene, this travel media company hosts several exciting annual events, including the Skift Global Forum, which explores the future of the travel industry. The Forum event brings speakers from cutting-edge travel companies and offers educational and networking opportunities for travel industry professionals. Indie Congress: The Independent Lodging Congress brings together independent hotel owners and operators for a few days of networking and idea sharing. Speakers include leaders of independent hotel, food and beverage, media, and technology companies.   Top Hospitality Industry Publications The hospitality industry is constantly changing, thanks not only to technology, but also as a result of economic factors, legislation, politics, climate, events, and more. In order to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news, hospitality professionals read industry publications to keep them informed. These publications contain articles about new hotel openings, industry conferences, mergers and acquisitions, new technology for the hotel industry, and more. Hotel News Now: As the press arm of Smith Travel Research, a leading hotel industry analytics company, HNN publishes articles rooted in data from STR’s many studies and events. They track new hotel openings, closures, and brand changes, and their almost-daily “5 things to know” articles provide essential talking points on trends and industry news. Lodging Magazine: Published by the Americna Hotel & Lodging Association, this magazine is both a print magazine and an online news source. Topics range from new hotel openings to food and beverage trends to career development. Hotel Management: This media company delivers articles on topics such as technology, design, and strategies for owning and operating hotel businesses. In addition to their online content, they also produce the monthly Hotel Management print magazine. Hotel Executive: With a focus on providing relevant content for hospitality industry leaders, this online news site covers topics like hiring strategies, hotel design trends, and career development. Hotel Business: This media company isn’t only relevant for property-level hoteliers, but asset managers, owners, and investors too. They also produce an Executive Roundtable series which features insight from industry leaders. Hotel Business has both print and digital editions.     Most Influential Hospitality Industry Organizations Many hospitality industry professionals will tell you that the industry feels very small. It’s not uncommon to run into former colleagues or classmates at events or trade shows - or to get to know fellow hospitality professionals in your area. Industry organizations play a big role in creating a sense of community within the hospitality space in addition to hosting events, holding conferences, and offering networking opportunities. HSMAI: The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International isn’t only an organization for sales and marketing professionals, but any hotel industry professional who plays a role in revenue generation. The organization has chapters all over the world and hosts educational workshops, networking events, and conferences. HEDNA: The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association started in 1991 with the goal of advancing the hotel industry through electronic distribution channels. Today, electronic distribution includes OTAs, the GDS, tour operators, technology solutions, and more, and the organization hosts educational events and conferences globally. AAHOA: As the largest hotel owners group in the world, Asian American Hotel Owners Association has over 18,000 members in the United States and provides a variety of educational and career development resources. The organization holds an annual convention and produces the monthly Hotelier magazine. AHLA: The American Hotel & Lodging Association works as a supporter and advocate of the hotel industry in the United States. The organization offers educational resources, provides networking opportunities, and hosts the annual Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS). BLLA: The Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association brings together a variety of independent businesses, from boutique hotels to fitness studios, fashion retailers, and wellness businesses. The organization helps its members succeed in largely corporate industries while retaining their unique character. HFTP: Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals began in 1952 and now operates offices and chapters around the world. The organization provides education, events, and resources for people in the finance and technology sectors of the hotel industry in addition to organizing the annual HITEC conferences.  HTNG: Hospitality Technology Next Generation is a trade association for hotel IT professionals and technology vendors. The organization aims to help hotels become more efficient and successful through implementing technology solutions.   Major Employers in the Hospitality Industry Though the hotel industry is more than only chain hotels, global brands are the largest employers in the industry - and some of the world’s largest employers. Working for a major hotel company can offer benefits like complimentary hotel nights at properties around the world, a global network, and the opportunity to transfer to another property to grow your career.  Hilton: Hilton began when Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in Waco, Texas in 1919. Today the company operates 5,757 properties in 117 countries. 17 brands make up the Hilton portfolio, including Waldorf-Astoria, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn. Some of Hilton’s newest brands include the Curio Collection, the Tapestry Collection, and Canopy. Aside from its impressive brand portfolio, Hilton is known as a technology pioneer & innovator amongst the brands. Hilton’s corporate headquarters is in McLean, Virginia. Hyatt: In 1954, the first Hyatt House hotel opened near LAX airport, and during the company’s first few years, the strategy was to open hotels near airports with the expectation that air travel would continue to grow in popularity. That hypothesis proved correct, and Hyatt now has over 875 properties, 20 brands, including Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Hyatt Place, and a global footprint in more than 60 countries. Their headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. Marriott: The world’s 3rd largest hotel company started from modest beginnings with a family-run root beer stand in 1927, later opening their first hotel in Washington, D.C. in 1957. Marriott continued growing, adding new properties and brands to their portfolio, and in 2018, Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The combination of the two companies now includes 1.1 million rooms in over 5,700 properties, with brands like St. Regis, JW Marriott, and Courtyard by Marriott. Marriott’s headquarters is in Bethesda, Maryland. Accor: As Europe’s largest hotel company, Accor operates over 700,000 hotel rooms, about half of which are in Europe. The company was founded in 1967 and, after several acquisitions, now includes brands like Fairmont, Novotel, and Ibis and properties in 110 countries. Accor’s headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. IHG: Intercontinental Hotel Group is a conglomerate of several hotel companies, including Kimpton, Holiday Inn, and Intercontinental, which includes 5,795 hotels and over 860,000 rooms. While IHG itself was founded in 2003, the brands have longer histories. IHG has a few head offices, including one in Atlanta, Georgia and another in the UK.   The Best Hospitality Books Whether you’re trying to determine if the hotel industry is for you or if you’re an experienced professional looking for some inspiration, these books by industry legends are compelling reads for anyone interested in hospitality. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer: The legendary restaurateur and businessman tells his story of building his restaurant empire from Union Square Cafe to Shake Shack. Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp: You’ll find this book in the offices of general managers around the world, in which the founder of the Four Seasons brand shares his wisdom about taking care of not only guests, but employees too. Without Reservations: How a Family Root Beer Stand Grew into a Global Hotel Company by J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr.: The son of the founder of the Marriott hotel brand, Bill Marriott writes about the lessons he learned from his father and the key takeaways from building an iconic company. 100 Tips for Hoteliers: What Every Successful Hotel Professional Needs to Know and Do by Peter Venison: As a former hotel management textbook writer, hotelier, and frequent traveler, Peter Venison compiled his tips and tricks for running a successful hotel and being successful in the industry, making this book a good read for anyone curious about the hotel industry as well as hotel executives. Nuts!: Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success by Kevin Freiberg: With lessons that apply beyond just the air industry, this book shows how Southwest Airlines’ unique approach helped the airline built passenger loyalty and financial success. Looking for more great industry reads? Check out our 16 favorite hospitality books!   Major Trends Impacting the Hospitality Industry Right Now Like every industry, the world of hospitality changes continuously. As a strong economy and new technologies make travel more accessible to people around the world, the industry is growing and expanding in new ways. Forward-thinking hoteliers should always be aware of the leading industry trends so they can ensure their own businesses stay competitive and relevant. Vacation rentals/homesharing: The rise of Airbnb led to vacation rentals, previously a niche market in leisure destinations, becoming a viable competitor of traditional hotels not only for vacationers, but also for business travelers and groups. As travelers try homesharing (some even developing a preference for it), traditional hotels can compete by offering more local experiences and home-like amenities while maximizing the features that set them apart, like unique food and beverage outlets and creative public spaces. Globalization and international travel: Thanks to the rise of technology, a growing global middle class, and people seeking experiences rather than material possessions, more people are traveling than ever - especially internationally. The number of international travelers has risen steadily for decades, with the most growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region in the last few years. Bleisure: For years, hoteliers treated business travelers and leisure travelers as two distinct guest profiles. Business travelers would typically stay during the week, and leisure travelers would book weekends. In recent years, the lines have blurred, with many business travelers choosing to include leisure time on their business trips, even extending their trips in some cases, leading to the term “bleisure.” Eco-friendly development: As consumers show a preference for sustainable businesses, hotels are going green - in more ways than just encouraging guests to reuse towels for an extra day. Some ways hotels are becoming more sustainable include eliminating single-use toiletry bottles, adding recycle bins to guestrooms, and using compostable to-go containers and utensils. A recent Booking.com study showed that 70% of travelers would be more likely to book eco-friendly accommodations. The hotel industry is incredibly dynamic going into 2020 so we couldn’t cover everything happening in this article. Want to learn about more hospitality industry trends? Check out: 100+ Hotel Trends to Watch in 2020   Hospitality Industry Terminology, Definitions & Jargon If you were to sit in on a hotel’s revenue management meeting, it might sound like the meeting participants are speaking another language. Acronyms, abbreviations, metrics and jargon. Occupancy: The percentage of rooms occupied during a given period of time. For example, if your hotel has 80 rooms, and 71 of them were occupied last night, then last night’s occupancy was 88.75%.  Occupancy = Rooms Sold / Total Number of Rooms ADR: ADR, or average daily rate, is simply the average rate sold during a given period of time. For example, if a hotel booked 71 rooms last night, and the total room revenue was $6745, then last night’s ADR was $95. ADR = Total Room Revenue / Room Nights Sold RevPAR: An abbreviation for Revenue Per Available Room, this metric is calculated by multiplying the occupancy percentage by the average daily rate (ADR). For example, if your occupancy was 88.75% and your ADR was $95, then your RevPAR would be $85.31. RevPAR = ADR x Occupancy % RevPAR Index: RevPAR is a great metric to determine how a hotel is doing today versus yesterday or compared to last year, but what about the hotel’s performance against the market? RevPAR index compares a hotel’s RevPAR to the RevPAR of a set of other hotels.  RevPAR Index = Hotel’s RevPAR / Total Sample Set RevPAR CPOR: This metric stands for Cost Per Occupied Room, and it’s calculated by adding up all of the expenses associated with a booked room, including housekeeping, utilities, laundry. Compset: Compset is short for Competitive Set, which is a group of approximately 4-8 hotels that your hotel views as close competitors. Typically, compset hotels are located in the same area, offer similar amenities, and sell similar rates. Chainscale: With so many hotel brands on the market today, Smith Travel Research’s chain scales organize them into quality classifications which represent roughly the same level of service and amenities. The chain scales are Luxury, Upper Upscale, Upscale, Upper Midscale, and Economy. For example, Four Seasons falls in the Luxury category, Residence Inn is Upscale, and Econo Lodge is Economy.   Hospitality Industry Professional Certifications As hospitality professionals gain more experience in their fields, they may want to further their knowledge and credibility by earning an industry certification. Several industry organizations offer certification programs which could require specific work experience, an exam, or a course. Once certified, a hospitality professional can add the designation to their resume (or after their name on LinkedIn) to demonstrate their expertise in their field. CRME: Certified Revenue Management Executive. This certification is organized by HSMAI and is designed for revenue management professionals. It requires work experience in the revenue management field and a passing grade on an exam. CHTP: Certified Hospitality Technology Professional. This certification is organized by HFTP and is designed for professionals in the finance and information technology fields, such as hotel controllers or IT directors. CHRM: Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager. The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) organizes this certification, which requires either work or educational experience in a revenue management field and a passing grade on an exam. CHA: Certified Hotel Administrator. Also organized by AHLEI, this certification is for hotel general managers, assistant general managers, owners, or directors of rooms, and it requires at least two years of experience in an executive role and a passing grade on an exam. CHAM: Certified Hotel Asset Manager. The Hospitality Asset Managers Association organizes this certification, which has strict requirements that include letters of recommendation, years of work experience, an exam, and final approval by HAMA’s advisory board. CHHE: Certified Hospitality Housekeeping Executive. Organized by AHLEI, this certification is specifically designed for housekeeping executives and open to anyone who has worked in a managerial level in a hotel’s housekeeping department for at least a year. CHFE: Certified Hospitality Facilities Executive. AHLEI also offers this certification especially for hotel engineering or facilities leaders. At least 1 year of managerial work experience is required in addition to a passing exam grade. CFBE: Certified Food And Beverage Executive. Hospitality professionals working in kitchens, restaurants, or banquet operations are eligible for AHLEI’s food and beverage certification, which involves passing a test in addition to demonstrating relevant work experience. CHAE: Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive. Another certification run by HFTP, this one is designed for accounting professionals within the hotel industry. Candidates could be directors of finance, CFOs of hotel companies, or consultants. -- By now, your interest in the hotel industry should be sufficiently piqued. We invite you to continue learning - whether you’re new to the industry or not - by subscribing to industry publications, participating in industry organizations, or perhaps studying for a certification exam. This exciting field can open up a world of opportunities, build lifelong relationships, and take your career to new heights.   Did we miss anything in our guide? Let us know!  

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100+ Hotel Trends to Watch in 2020

by
Jordan Hollander
2 months ago

It’s official: the future is quickly approaching. The hospitality industry is changing faster than ever before and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the hotel trends impacting this dynamic business. Our team of experts put in dozens of hours researching trends and published the most comprehensive list online. Below we outline 100+ trends that range from renewable energy to new hotel designs, alternative lodging and everything in between.   What are the latest trends in the hotel industry? We break the list up into nine overarching themes: Smart Rooms Going Green Changing Workforce Alternative Accommodations Technology Traveler Preferences Hotel Business Hotel Design Globalization   While we may not be at the point of beds that make themselves or self-cleaning bathrooms, technology and innovation are bringing new and exciting changes for hoteliers and guests. In addition to forward-thinking hotel tech, we’re seeing changes to the workforce and work culture, shifting guest preferences, and an increased focus on eco-friendliness.    Alright. 100+ top hotel trends curated by industry experts. Let's do this.   Smart Rooms The internet of things is spreading not only into homes, but also into hotel rooms. From access to streaming services to a room key on your smartphone, the essential amenities in a guestroom are becoming increasingly digital. Guests want concierge services or temperature controls at the push of a button (or tap of a finger), and voice-activated controls are expanding beyond simply asking Alexa to play your favorite song. These trends might sound futuristic now, but in a few years, guests will expect them. Many of these innovations require only minimal changes to a modern guestroom, so a forward-thinking hotelier can implement them quickly and efficiently.   1. Bring your own streaming: Portable streaming devices like an Amazon Fire Stick allow guests to pack their own movies or shows in their suitcases, but they can only watch them if the guestroom’s TV has a USB port.  Hotels can also leverage a platform like Enseo which allows guests to login to their favorite streaming accounts and then automatically get logged out upon check-out. 2. Wireless device charging: Cords are so last year. Wireless charging transfers power from a charging “mat” to a device like a smartphone or headphones, when the device is placed on the mat.  Hotels can leverage a platform like Chargifi to deliver wireless charging in guestrooms. 3. Smart controls: Digital controls for temperature, light, and power, such as a Nest, that can be adjusted and programmed with the tap of a finger from a smartphone or other device. 4. Tablet based control: Forget the traditional binder containing information about hotel services; guests want to see restaurant hours, room service menus, spa services, and area recommendations on an in-room tablet which can also play music, control the room’s lights and temperature, and make special requests. Some popular brands include Crestron, INTELITY, SuitePad and Crave.     5. Sound proofing tech: The new standard of soundproof windows uses acoustic technology to minimize noise from traffic, airplanes, or loud music, which means noise complaints can be gone forever. 6. Voice-activated controls: Upgrade a smart speaker, like an Amazon Alexa, to handle hotel-specific requests with a system like Volara. These systems make it possible for guests to use voice commands to request services like housekeeping or valet. 7. Smart mirrors: This high-tech amenity combines a TV screen and a guest room mirror. While shaving or brushing teeth, guests can watch the news, check the weather, or request hotel services via a concierge-style function.  Check out all the neat functionality that Savvy by Electric Mirror has to offer. 8. Keyless entry: A keypad code, a digital version of a room key, or an app on a smartphone eliminates the need for physical room keys and streamlines the check-in process.  ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions' award winning keyless entry is second to none.     9. Concierge video chat: With a quick scan of a QR code, communication systems such as Crave allow guests to talk, text, or video chat with hotel staff in real-time. Guests can skip the walk down to the front desk and staff can answer questions or handle requests quickly and effectively. 10. Smart TVs: Many guests want to watch their favorite Netflix show instead of cable, and a Smart TV - either with an integrated internet connection or an add-on like Apple TV or Roku - allows viewers to select their favorite streaming service from a catalog of apps.  Samsung and LG are unsurprisingly leading the pack when it comes to smart tvs for hospitality.   Back to Top   Going Green A focus on environmental sustainability isn’t new, but the degree to which guests expect (and prefer) eco-friendly products and services is. Simply suggesting that guests reuse towels for an extra day isn’t enough; today’s traveler wants to stay at hotels that have integrated green practices in all aspects of their business. From physical changes to hotel buildings, like the addition of solar panels, to F&B menus with more vegetarian and vegan choices, it’s evident that these environmentally friendly trends are here to stay.   11. LEED Certification: Short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, this global certification measures the eco-friendliness of a building. The assessment covers topics like water efficiency and indoor environmental quality, and building can earn Certified, Gold, Silver, or Platinum status. 12. Solar power: Hotels can utilize solar power either by generating power from their own solar panels or by purchasing solar power from their electricity provider.  The Hampton Inn Bakersfield used solar to take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit while also lowering its energy bills by 35-45%.   13. Water conservation: Any effort to minimize water usage can help a hotel become more green, from implementing slower-flow showerheads to using more efficient laundry machines.  IoT for hospitality provider INTEREL has been working on some really cool water conservation tech. 14. No plastic. Consumers are steering away from plastic, so hotels can react to this trend by replacing plastic straws, cutlery, water bottles, toiletry bottles, and to-go containers with compostable or reusable alternatives. Most major hotel chains are phasing out disposable plastic toiletries and California regulators have even banned them altogether! 15. Motion sensors: Hotels can conserve energy by implementing motion sensors that will turn off the power once no motion has been detected for a certain period of time. 16. Waste disposal: Add more eco-friendly options for waste disposal by introducing recycle bins in guestrooms and compost bins in F&B outlets. 17. Green friendly hospitality: Follow Starwood’s lead and encourage guests to minimize their environmental impact by skipping housekeeping service in exchange for hotel credit or loyalty points. 18. Meat alternatives in F&B: You know meat alternatives aren’t just “alternatives” when Burger King began serving the Impossible Burger, a plant-based burger option. Hotels can jump on the vegan and vegetarian trend by offering meatless options on every menu and clearly mentioning whether a dish contains meat or dairy.  Beyond Meat is another hugely popular brand of meat alternatives.     Changing Workforce While an increasingly digital world means that an employee’s tasks are changing, the workforce itself is changing too. These changes aren’t only in demographics, driven by the rise of Generation Z and a more global workforce, but also evident by a growing focus on safety, unionization, “gig” work, and human resources technology. Hoteliers must be cognizant to these changes in the workforce in order to hire effectively, reduce turnover, and keep employees safe and happy.   19. Global workforce and immigration: Technology makes a global workforce possible, with communication tools that can connect teams and drive efficiency. But as economic and political factors complicate immigration or force some people to relocate, hotels may face challenges in hiring or retaining employees. 20. Gen Z: Following the Millennials, Generation Z includes young adults born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. These young people are “digital natives,” meaning they’ve never lived in an age without the internet, and their views and habits around technology use and social media may be different than those of older generations.     21. Unionization: Unions, which are organizations that act on behalf of member employees to resolve legal conflicts or defend employee benefits, aren’t new to the hotel industry, but their relationships with hotel chains and rate of collection action, such as strikes, continue to evolve. 22. Safety regulation: 2020 will be the year of hotel worker safety, as several states and cities have passed legislation requiring hotels to implement employee safety devices (ESDs), and the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 5-Star Promise program provides additional resources for employee safety. ESDs range from fixed panic buttons behind the front desk to portable panic buttons for housekeeping staff. 23. Labor management: With capabilities like scheduling, resource allocation, and time-off requests, labor management systems are a crucial addition to every hotel department with staffing requirements. Hotel Effectiveness is one of the major players in this space that helps hotel owners improve profitability with more efficient labor management. 24. The gig economy: While Uber drivers may be the first thing to come to mind, this growing sector of the economy includes millions of professionals, contractors, and creatives who work independently or on a contract basis.   Back to Top   Alternative Accommodations Today’s travelers has a myriad of options for accommodations; besides traditional hotels, they can choose between vacation rentals, hostels, serviced apartments, treehouses, and even underwater hotels. As people travel more frequently and for longer durations - and as platforms like Airbnb allow any accommodation provider to reach a large audience online - the characteristics of accommodations themselves are changing. Before long, “alternative accommodations” won’t be strictly an alternative, but part of the mainstream.    25. Coliving: Solo travelers or remote workers who stay in one place for a while might opt for a coliving space, such as the Roam brand, which is a community designed specifically for its inhabitants to share living spaces, and sometimes workspaces, with a common attitude or goal.     26. Coworking: As remote work becomes more common, entrepreneurs and remote employees flock to coworking spaces like WeWork and Spaces to find not only fast WiFi and desk space, but also community and networking opportunities.  More interestingly, international hotel giant Accor launched its own coworking brand Wojo and hip boutique brand Hoxton is rumored to be working on a similar concept called Working From (we've worked out of the Hoxton Hotel Chicago and can tell you first hand - these guys know how to design awesome spaces). 27. Vacation rentals: Vacation rentals aren’t just for vacation anymore; besides the traditional rental home on the beach, the definition of “vacation rental” can include everything from apartments to cabins to Instagram-worthy Airstreams. 28. AirBnB: The popular booking site started as a way to rent a room in someone else’s home for a night, but it now includes entire apartments, luxurious homes, hotel rooms, treehouses, castles, and more. New additions to the site include tours and activities, adventure travel, and hotel inventory after the company’s acquisition of HotelTonight.     29. Mobile hotels: Rather than searching for a new hotel each time you travel, a mobile hotel, which is essentially a self-driving hotel room on wheels, travels with you. Though still in the conceptual stage, it’s a compelling idea for business travelers.  We're all used to sleeping on boats during a cruise and European travelers are familiar with luxe train services but how cool would it be to sleep comfortably on a bus and wake up somewhere else?  Super awesome.  Travelers can doze off in LA and wake up in San Francisco - skip the TSA precheck and wake up refreshed with Cabin.     30. Underwater hotels: Get up close and personal with marine life and coral reefs at an underwater hotel like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which also has an underwater restaurant.  Be prepared to shell out $22,000 USD per night ;) 31. Remote work: Virtual meeting technology and real-time communication tools mean that work doesn’t need to be limited by location. Some hotels already have remote revenue managers, but it seems this trend will enable even more hotel staff to work off-property on occasion or all the time.  For those who prefer the nomadic life, you should check out Remote Year, a firm that offers extended work remote and travel abroad programs and practically created the category.     32. Hometels: Blending aspects of hotels and vacation rentals, brands like Sonder and Stay Alfred operate short-term rentals with hotel-style standards and branding plus amenities like concierge service, in-unit laundry, and full kitchens. 33. Next gen hotel brands: As travelers crave more local experiences, the new generation of hotel brands, such as Life House, does away with cookie-cutter properties and incorporates the local area’s character in the decor, F&B, and personality of each hotel.   Back to Top   Technology It’s no surprise that a sizable section of our 100 hotel trends are technology-related. Innovation in the hotel technology sector has been blazing ahead at a rapid pace; previously expensive technologies like artificial intelligence and digital room keys are now more affordable than ever, and advances in payment systems and app capabilities mean that hoteliers and guests have exciting new options when it comes to booking, paying for, and actually experiencing a hotel stay. Though these may be “trends” now, they’re only going to become more commonplace.   34. Selling experiences: New technology allows hotels to add compelling upsell options for room upgrades, transportation, F&B amenities, tours, and other add-ons during or after the booking process.  Activity booking platform Peek is leading the charge to bring small tour operators and experiences online ultimately with the goal of making them money and making travel more fun.   35. A.I. based pricing: Many revenue management systems already use pricing algorithms supported by artificial intelligence, which determines the optimal prices by analyzing a slew of historical, forecast, and market data, and A.I. is likely to bring pricing optimization to restaurants, spas, and other outlets too.  Top revenue management system providers like IDeaS, Duetto, Atomize and Pace are leading the pack in the fight for dynamic yield management. 36. Bring your own device: Guests are reluctant to download a hotel app that they’ll only use once, so hotels can save money on hardware investments and increase guest engagement with an “app” that doesn’t require a download. With systems like Crave AppLess, guests simply scan QR codes posted around property or in a guestroom to access information via their smartphone’s web browser. 37. Mobile check-in: Let guests bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms with a mobile check-in process, which provides a digital room key on a guest’s smartphone instantly.  PMS provider Mews Systems has developed some really cool tech that allows guests to check-in via Apple Wallet.   38. Choose your room: With services like Hilton’s digital check-in, guests can choose their specific room before arrival, just like selecting a seat on an airplane. 39. Fitness on the road: Guests don’t want to sacrifice their workout routines while traveling, so hotels are investing in fitness programs that guests already know and love, like Peloton, or in their favorite fitness gear, like Westin’s lending library of New Balance products.     40. A.I. booking experiences: Hoteliers can optimize their websites constantly with the help of artificial intelligence, such as Hotelchamp’s Autopilot and Triptease Convert, which performs A/B tests to increase the rate of direct online bookings. 41. Emerging social media platforms: Now that hotels have mastered Facebook and Twitter, there are new platforms to focus on. Hoteliers can reach additional audiences with strategic use of TikTok videos and Instagram stories, for example. 42. Booking on mobile devices: More and more, guests are completing the entire booking process on their smartphones, so hoteliers must ensure their websites are mobile-friendly.     43. Blazing fast internet: WiFi isn’t a one-speed-fits-all amenity anymore; if your internet provider hasn’t made any upgrades in a few years, your WiFi might be too slow to stream movies or download large files. 50 megabits per second (mbps) is the threshold for adequate WiFi these days, and some providers, like Google Fiber, offer up to 1000 mbps. 44. Robot room service: While some hotels do away with room services entirely, others are turning it into a brand signature with a futuristic robot, like YOTEL’s YO2D2,  that does deliveries on demand.     45. Cool translation apps: As the volume of international travelers grows, so does the possibility of getting lost in translation. Equip your hotel staff with language translation tools, such headsets powered by Waverly Labs, to instantly translate spoken words and text.         46. Contactless payments: First we swiped, then we inserted the chip, and now we can pay by tapping a credit card or mobile wallet, so hotels must upgrade their payment technology to accept payments via near field communication (NFC).     47. RFID tech: Often found in key fobs and room keys, radio frequency identification (RFID) is a type of contactless security and communication technology that uses radio waves to transfer information. 48. Mobile concierge: Restaurant reservations, tour bookings, and area information in the palm of your hand; mobile concierge apps give guests instant answers and recommendations. 49. Open APIs/Integrations: In basic terms, an application programming interface (API) allows individual computers to connect with a server-based application, such as a property management system.  When an application has an open API, it can integrate with any other system without the need for a custom-built connection. 50. Automation: Letting systems handle “busy work” like answering common guest questions and sending reports can free up time for more important tasks. 51. Hotel app marketplaces: Leading hotel software providers like Mews, Cloudbeds, Protel and SiteMinder are now offering a catalog of add-on apps within the software itself, making it easy to add upsell tools, pricing intelligence, website builders, and other useful tools to an existing PMS. protel's Hotel App Store features Hotel Tech Report reviews   52. Self-service hotel software: Unlike hotel systems of the past that were expensive and time-consuming to set up, a new breed of self-service hotel applications allow hoteliers to configure the tool quickly and easily, sometimes even with a free trial. 53. Meeting venues going digital: The clunky RFP process is getting a major upgrade; with new tools designed especially for the meetings and events market, sales managers can distribute meeting space availability and pricing across 3rd-party channels, and clients and event planners can reserve venues online. 54. Lobby grab-and-go: These self-service “markets” allow guests to quickly purchase F&B at a self-checkout, which saves on staffing costs and helps hotel outlets compete with supermarkets and quick-service restaurants.  If you want to bring this awesome tech to your hotel, look no further than Impulsify.     55. Personalization: Hotels collect a slew of data about guests, but hoteliers rarely use that data to personalize the guest experience. With new customer relationship management tools (CRM) like Revinate and Cendyn, hotels can pull data points out of the cloud and into the guestroom to create a more tailored experience. 56. Cyber security: Data security hacks make headlines frequently, and with an increasing amount of sensitive data stored online, hotels need to ensure this data is stored securely to avoid a breach. 57. New payment regulations: The new Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) updates the outdated PCI regulations and requires more secure handling of sensitive data, like credit card numbers, and two-factor verification for purchases when the card isn’t present, such as online transactions. 58. Business text messaging: When guests and staff are glued to their smartphones, text messages can be the most effective method of communication. Text messaging platforms that offer automation and group messages are becoming more popular at hotels.  Some of our favorites include: Whistle, Zingle and Bookboost. 59. Voice search for hotel room bookings: “Alexa, book my hotel room!” Soon, travelers will be able to book their entire trip without tapping a finger, thanks to advances in voice-controlled apps and services.     60. AR & VR: Travelers want to know everything about a hotel before booking it, so what could be better than a virtual reality tour of a guestroom? In addition to VR, augmented reality will allow guests to experience a hotel by simply strapping on a headset. 61. Metasearch bookings: Metasearch channels, like Trivago and Kayak, aren’t just helpful for guests, they’re also profitable marketing tools for hoteliers who can bid for greater visibility and receive more direct bookings.   Back to Top   Traveler Preferences What does a 21st-century traveler want? The question seems simple, but the answer is certainly complicated. Travelers are seeking new experiences, whether through wellness, outdoor activities, gastronomy, or a specific interest like sports or music. They’re traveling solo, with a group, or on business, and they might learn about a destination or travel brand via social media, rather than traditional marketing channels. Today’s traveler has an open mind, choosing funky motels or glamping over standard hotels and even visiting emerging destinations before they’ve popped up on the tourism radar. By staying on top of changing traveler preferences, hoteliers can ensure their properties stay relevant to today’s traveler preferences.   62. Experiences not things. Travelers are buying less and doing more; instead of buying a new car or an expensive TV, they’re opting for longer or pricier trips, tours, or dining experiences.     63. Coffee culture enters hospitality: A growing segment of coffee connoisseurs literally will travel for coffee, or at least they expect a higher standard of coffee in the guestroom. 64. Bleisure: Blending work and vacation, a bleisure traveler extends a business trip to allow for a few days of leisure time. 65. Luxe motels: Hip doesn’t always equal expensive, and run-down roadside motels are getting a serious upgrade with trendy brands like Austin, TX-based Bunkhouse.     66. Experiential travel: Immersive travel experiences like yoga retreats, surf camps, and animal encounters that often offer unique activities and accommodations. 67. Music driven travel: Featuring on-site concerts and live DJs in the lobby bar, Marriott’s W Hotels is an example of a new type of music-focused hotel experience. 68. Glamping: Glamorous camping, literally, elevates the humble tent or yurt to a luxurious hideaway with high-end bathroom facilities, comfortable beds, climate control, and stylish decor. Ready to get out under the stars in style? Look no further than Glamping.com.     69. Rise of influencers: Popular social media profiles aren’t just racking up the “likes,” but also earning income by posting advertisements as marketing partners for hotels, airlines, and other travel brands.  One of our personal favorite influencer apps is Cameo.  If you haven't tried it, you're missing out.  You can hire celebs like Snoop Dogg to make you personal videos - it's gold.  There's even influencer networks purpose build to help you market your hotel like squarelovin. 70. Staycations: A vacation in your own city. Skip the lines at the airport and enjoy a hotel near home, what’s not to love? 71. Face-to-face business meetings in the digital age: Remote teams are common, so companies rely on in-person off-site meetings to bring employees together for trainings, launches, or team-building exercises.  This trend is why you see companies like Bizly totally crushing it right now. 73. Health & wellness travel: Rather than embarking on a new diet or exercise plan before vacation, travelers are choosing to travel specifically for health and wellness goals, booking experiences that include healthy meals, fitness classes, meditation courses, or lifestyle coaching. 74: Cannabis tourism: As marijuana laws loosen, a new segment of travelers are “going green” in a way that has nothing to do with the environment: traveling to a city specifically to explore the recreational drug.     75. Emerging markets as destinations: Travelers are branching out from the most popular destinations to up-and-coming places like Nicaragua or the Philippines in search of authenticity, new experiences, and cost savings. 76. Bring your pets on vacation: As more travelers bring their furry friends along, dog-friendly hotels, such as the Kimpton brand, provide special pet-friendly amenities like bowls and beds. 77. Medical tourism: With rising costs of medical care in Western countries (especially for non-essential procedures, like cosmetic surgery), people seeking treatment often find that the same procedure is much less expensive in Asia or South America - so much so that even with the cost of airfare and accommodation, they can save money.     78. Last minute bookings: Today’s traveler is spontaneous, which means they might not even know where they’re staying when they arrive at the airport. Apps like HotelTonight make last-minute bookings easy, but hoteliers might struggle with staffing and pricing as the booking window shortens. 79. Group travel & villa rentals: For multi-generational family trips or vacations with a big group of friends, travelers are choosing to rent a large home or villa instead of booking several hotel rooms. 80. Nomadic sabbaticals and family travel: A sabbatical doesn’t need to wait until the kids are grown; an increasing number of families are taking a year off (or longer) from the rat race to travel - even with young ones in tow. 81. Homeware hotels: Home goods companies like Muji and Made.com are entering the hospitality space with hotels decked out in their own homeware products. 82. Culinary travel: Whether by booking an accommodation on a farm, scheduling cooking classes, or traveling specifically for a Michelin-starred meal, food is becoming a key factor in travel decisions.     83. Sports-themed hotels: By investing in a state-of-the-art sports bar, like at the Omni Dallas, or planning once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl packages, hotels are jumping on the sports bandwagon with unique amenities for fans. 84. Theme park experiences: Theme park vacations are even more immersive when the hotel follows the theme too, like at the Star Wars Hotel or Legoland Hotel. 85. The rise of hosteling: No longer just an option for cash-strapped backpackers, hostels offer fun activities, new friends, and sleek design at emerging brands like Generator and Selina. 86. Couchsurfing is still alive: Though it’s a small portion of accommodation booking, couchsurfing has survived the rise of Airbnb and ultra-affordable hotels and remains a viable option for people looking for a cheap place to sleep and a way to meet people. Back to Top   Hotel Business In the hotel industry, 2020 will be anything but business as usual. While we notice a proliferation of hotel brands, we also see a focus on uniqueness, whether by incorporating cocktail kits as a guestroom amenity or by physically combining a hotel with a mall, gym, or apartment building. As the luxury segment soars, with trendy new brands like the Standard and the NoMad, we also see investment in the economy segment and    87. Brands are exploding: Hotel chains no longer consist of one or two brands; while Marriott takes the cake with a collection of 30 individual brands, other chains like Best Western and Hilton are also branching out with new brands. Time will tell whether these new brands offer enough differentiation and value for travelers. 88. Cool luxury hotels: A new era of luxury leaves stuffy lobbies and pretentious attitudes in the dust; modern brands like the Standard and NoMad Hotels place an emphasis on design, gastronomy, and spa for the next generation of discerning travelers.     89. Cocktail mixology in your room: Hotels are providing unique (and Instagram-worthy) local flavor with a new on mixology, whether by including cocktail-making kits in guestrooms or by investing in the cocktail program at the lobby bar.  Hotel guests are likely to find kits in their rooms like W&P Design's Old Fashioned Kit (also available in Moscow Mule for the Vodka lovers).     90. Micro rooms: Chains like YOTEL and citizenM prove that small rooms can be functional - even luxurious - with efficient use of space and removing unnecessary amenities like storage drawers and bathtubs. 91. Ultra affordable hospitality: Hotels aren’t just facing price pressure from their competitive sets; ultra low-priced brands like India-based OYO are renovating and modernizing aging motels in rural and suburban markets. 92. Death of the travel agent: With a wealth of travel resources and booking platforms available online, travelers are booking trips themselves, without the assistance of a travel agent, leading to the downfall of travel agencies and tour operators like Thomas Cook:  93. Mixed use spaces: When space is at a premium, new construction or renovation often involves combining several types of spaces, such as ground-level retail, a few floors of hotel rooms, and apartments on top.  Some hotel groups like Hoxton and Accor are even developing their own coworking concepts.     Hotel Design What will the hotel of the future look like? Based on these trends, it will be a lot less “big box” and a lot more “out of the box.” Hotel design trends show a focus on art, community, and uniqueness. Guests crave design that echoes the destination’s character, whether with local art or the architecture itself. In some hotels, the space itself is what drives uniqueness, with creative lobby ideas or public areas that showcase nature. 94. Hyper local design: Perhaps influenced by Airbnb’s local focus, guests prefer design that reflect the unique character of the destination, integrating area artists or cultural themes. 95. Indoor meets outdoor: Lobbies filled with plants and guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows show that guests want a connection to nature even in an urban setting. 96. Experiential social spaces: In an effort to build a sense of community in lobby areas, hotels are becoming more creative with the types of public spaces offered, from shared workspaces to kitchens to game rooms. 97. Green hotel brands: Hotel brands with a holistic focus on eco-friendliness are considered “green,” such as Marriott’s Element brand and the luxe 1 Hotels.     98: Eclectic style: Not simply a place to sleep, hotels are stretching their artistic limits with unique lighting, funky furniture, unexpected color schemes, and eye-catching artwork. 99. High-end art and gallery experiences: Hotel groups like are building integrated art galleries into their on-site facilities. 21c Museum Hotel has 70,000 square feet of combined exhibition space, solely dedicated to featuring contemporary art, open 24/7, 365 days and the best part is that it's free of charge. The museum offers a robust schedule of exhibitions, cultural programming and performances at each of our properties, all of which are also open to the public and free of charge. While you can't buy the art from the gallery, 21c offers the opportunity for guests to purchase special edition merchandise - bespoke items created through the collaboration between 21c and select artists - as well works by Cracking Art Group, amongst other merchandise from local makers that are curated by our team.     Globalization In a world so connected by business and economic ties, it only makes sense that globalization would have implications in the hotel industry. As globalization drives incomes in countries around the world, more people can afford to travel, which means that hotels face opportunities and challenges that come with accommodating new travelers from different places. Along with this rising middle class, increased income inequality further distances the highest earners from the rest. Luxury travelers continue to have an appetite for over-the-top experiences, so high-end hotels must continuously come up with creative and innovative offerings to wow their guests.   100. Changing demographics: The growing middle class in countries like China and India means more people have more money for travel, so hotels should prepare to welcome these travelers with language and cultural resources that they expect. 101. Rising wealth inequality: As the gap between the upper and middle classes widens, luxury travelers crave even more novelty, creativity, and over-the-top experiences.    Back to Top --   With a solid understanding of these 100 hotel trends, we’re prepared to play a successful part in the future of travel. There’s no doubt that technology, sustainability, and security will play a greater role in hotel operations in the next decade. Get a head start and begin to implement some of these trends at your hotel today.   Did we miss any big hotel trends? Drop us a line via live chat!    

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

By Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

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

Registration is Now Open for the 2020 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report
9 months ago

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

Top Hotel Tech Providers Revealed in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report
3 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: