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10 Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Guests Using WhatsApp For Business

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 days ago

*Ping!* We receive messages on our phones for nearly everything these days. That buzz in your pocket could be a message from a friend, a tracking number for an Amazon order, or a security alert from your bank. All of your most important information arrives in the palm of your hand - so why should communication from a hotel be stuck in your email’s spam folder? In this article we’re going to cover 10 creative ways that hotels can leverage guest messaging to surprise and delight guests.  Top rated guest messaging platforms generally integrate with all major communication channels like SMS and WhatsApp for Business. Before we dive in, let's first let’s first review the data around why business messaging is booming right now. Businesses are increasingly adopting messaging services like WhatsApp for Business, Facebook Messenger, SMS and customer service live chat to communicate in real-time with their customers. But for hotels, implementing a messaging service, such as Zingle, isn’t just a way to show off their tech savvy. Studies show that text messaging is a preferred way to communicate with businesses for 9 out of 10 consumers - and that people actually read their texts. Compared to emails, which around 20% of recipients open, text messages garner an astounding 82% open rate. Rather than dedicating time and energy to optimizing your email subject lines, a forward-thinking hotelier should instead leverage a communication method that guests are much more receptive to: text messaging.   Best Practices for Business Messaging With the exciting technologies available for guest messaging now available, it’s important to not forget the basic rules of common courtesy. With a property management system full of past guests’ phone numbers, you may consider automatically enrolling your whole database in your text messaging strategy. However, a savvy hotelier will ensure all guests have opted into their messaging program. Not only will receiving consent increase your open rate (and overall engagement) because guests who aren’t interested simply won’t sign up, it will prevent any problems down the road that could result from using guest data without permission. Sometimes, hoteliers can be tempted to overuse messaging services and send messages on a frequent basis. By limiting your messaging strategy to only messages that truly add value, you can avoid guests seeing the messages as spam. Guests may unsubscribe or even have a negative impression of your hotel if the messages are too frequent, irrelevant, or unprofessional. While adopting a totally new system of text messages with guests can sound daunting, we’ll help you get started. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways hoteliers can use text messaging tools, like Zingle, that enable hoteliers to communicate across channels like WhatsApp and SMS to enhance the guest experience. Use this list to gain inspiration, or simply copy and paste our examples into your text messaging system.   1. Get Feedback Why wait until the guest has posted a review to learn about their experience? Sending a quick message to ask for feedback is a fantastic way to resolve issues before they escalate or recognize staff for going above and beyond. Hi [GUESTNAME], How is your stay so far? We appreciate your feedback. Adding the guest’s first name to the beginning of a message is an easy way to customize the message and make it seem more personal (less like a robot).   2. Ask How You Can Help Create an opportunity to provide excellent service by asking guests if they need anything. For example, following up with guests after check-in is a great way to ensure a smooth arrival process. You can also incorporate an emoji to make your text messages more fun and mobile-friendly. Hi [GUESTNAME], Did you get into your room alright? Please let us know if we can assist with anything during your stay. When sending a message like this one, make sure to follow up on any requests or problems that the guest may have. Just sending the message isn’t enough; your staff must be prepared to follow through. Comprehensive text message platforms like Zingle can route requests to the appropriate departments and help staff members ensure nothing gets overlooked.   3. Give a Freebie Who doesn’t love a freebie? Give guests a token of your appreciation and an experience they won’t forget with a complimentary cocktail, dessert, or tote bag. Thanks for choosing [HOTEL X]! To show our appreciation, we invite you to choose either a free cocktail or a souvenir tote bag. Let us know when we can deliver it to your room. Guests will be thrilled to receive a special surprise, and the cost of implementation is quite low. Something as simple as a freebie can even drive guest loyalty and lead to positive reviews!   4. Personalize Your Communication Dig into the mountain of guest data in your CRM or PMS to uncover key details about guest loyalty. By understanding which guests have stayed at your property before, you can thank these guests for their loyalty with a special message. Welcome back! Thank you for choosing [HOTEL X] again. If we can do anything to make your stay better, just send us a message!  Personalizing your messages isn’t just a nice thing to do, but it can actually deliver results. Guests crave personalization, with over 80% of survey respondents saying they would do more business with travel companies that tailor their offerings.   5. Upsell Cool Experiences and Deals Running a sale at the spa? Is there a unique, must-do activity nearby? How about happy hour at the lobby bar? Alert guests via text message to deals, activities, and attractions in the area that can enhance their overall stay. Give yourself the relaxation you deserve. Our weekly spa promotion is 10% off any service! Wondering what to do today? Check out the amazing views of LA and beyond from the Griffith Observatory. ✨ Our concierge can show you how to get there! Advertising your hotel’s outlets can also lead to incremental revenue in addition to delighting guests who might not have known about them.   6. Celebrate Special Occasions If you’re aware of any guest birthdays or anniversaries, sending a timely text message is a perfect opportunity for some clever marketing. Happy Birthday! 🎁 We're thankful that you chose to stay with us on this special ocassion and want to make sure everything is perfect during your stay.  Dinner at [HOTEL RESTAURANT] is on the house tonight for you and a guest. Sending notes for special occasions during the guest’s stay, such as bachelorette parties, honeymoons, and business meetings, can also build rapport and make the guest smile.   7. Use Humor Although we’re talking about using text messaging here, we don’t believe your business communication should sound robotic. Give guests a chuckle (and perhaps a discount code) by sending a joke. Just remember to stay away from anything offensive! What's the problem with booking a hotel room in space? The price would be astronomical. 😂 All cheesy hotel jokes aside, welcome to [HOTEL NAME], we're just a text message away when you need us. Build your brand image by showing personality in your text messages. Guests might even think your jokes are so funny that they’ll tell their friends or share them on social media!   8. Share Local News Is there a citywide event coming up? An important local election? Or maybe a special holiday that’s unique to your city? Help your guests understand what’s going on around town by sending messages about local news or events. Hi [GUESTNAME], Heads up! Chicago takes St. Patrick’s Day seriously, so expect to see parades, celebrations, and revelers throughout the street on March 17th. Expect some road closures and delays on public transit. 🍀 As a source of local intel, you’re the portal for guests to learn about the area. They’ll appreciate knowing about road closures and delays in addition to fun things like parades, parties, or fireworks.   9. Offer Helpful Tips Provide tips and suggestions to make your guests’ overall experiences as smooth as possible. Is there something they should know but would be hard for them to discover on their own? Delight guests with a pearl of wisdom that will improve their stay in your area. 🌞Miami Tip: Skip sitting in traffic and rent a CitiBike to ride around Miami in style! The closest CitiBike kiosk is across the street, and you can pay with a credit card. These tips can contain anything that would be relevant for the guest: transportation tips, restaurant recommendations, or even translations of local slang words.   10. Run a Contest Encourage guests to engage with your hotel by running a contest that they’ll want to enter. Don’t forget to follow up with the content results or winner! Checking out tomorrow and  already craving another visit to San Francisco? We’re giving one lucky winner a free 2-night stay! Share an Instagram picture of you on property with comment as "Can't wait to come back to @[HOTELNAME]" using the hashtag #[HOTELNAME].  The picture with the most likes wins! A contest can also drive traffic to your website, social media pages, or review sites when guests need to perform an action (such as “liking” a page or post) in order to qualify.   -- Ready to take your guest messaging to the next level? Implementing a text messaging system, like Zingle, can make real-time communication with guests possible. Not only can hoteliers build stronger connections with guests and drive guest loyalty, but they can also generate incremental revenue by promoting on-site outlets and discount codes. Make your hotel more relevant, engaging, and personable when you integrate guest messaging into your daily operations.  

Why Isn't All This Technology Improving Productivity?

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 days ago

The past decade has focused heavily on digital media innovations, which “occupy a mindshare that's out of proportion to their overall economic importance” (Vox) but haven't lead to large productivity improvements in the economy. The truth is that, while consumer media companies like TikTok and Snapchat have captured consumer eyeballs (and investor capital), they don’t necessarily increase the productivity of the average worker. In fact, productivity gains have stalled noticeably in the past ten years. In part, this is due to investors’ search for the next unicorn, which usually focused on companies with potential for global monopolies. Investors wanted in on the next big (consumer) thing. Today, however, with just a handful of global companies controlling the lion’s share of consumer attention, achieving scale for B2C has become prohibitively expensive. In pursuit of the next big opportunity, investors are now looking at B2B companies as “the next wave of unicorns.” These companies focus narrowly on industry niches with plenty of room to run as far as leveraging technology to improve margins, streamline operations, and reduce inefficiencies. For hotels looking to buck the historical trend and invest in more technology, this is a welcome evolution. Healthy competition means that hotels don’t have to rely on the same legacy companies they’ve been stuck with for decades. There are now more vendors serving the industry than ever before, which brings prices down and quality up. We’re in a Golden Age of Hospitality Technology, where hoteliers have their choice of intelligent solutions that solve real world problems and increase productivity. One of those problems facing hotels is how to do more with less. In a world of staffing shortages and high turnover, productivity has become a pressing priority. It’s also a competitive advantage; if you can run your hotel more efficiently, and thus more profitably, you’ll have more pricing flexibility and be more resilient in the face of changing market dynamics. Here’s everything you need to know about productivity and its place in today’s hotel industry.    What is Productivity? Productivity is a measure of labor efficiency; it's calculated by comparing the amount of  goods and services produced with the number of hours needed to produce those goods or services. It's an important business metric as productivity gains fall straight to the bottom line; a more efficient staff makes more profit for the company. Some measures of productivity in hospitality are: How long it takes to complete a maintenance request How many rooms each housekeeper cleans How many guests your front desk agent checks-in How much revenue each room makes  How many covers a restaurant server handles How long it takes to fulfill a guest request In each of these cases, optimizing each asset (human or room) boosts productivity (and profitability). And that’s where technology comes in: it’s the ultimate productivity enhancer. To maintain service standards in spite of these staffing challenges, hotels can now implement staff collaboration tools that boost productivity and enhance communication across all departments, These tools, such as the Quore operations platform, give hotels a competitive edge in the competition for talent while also making existing staff happier more productive.   So Why Isn't All This Technology Improving Productivity? Productivity gains have been a feature of the modern economy. As technology filtered its way through the economy, workers were able to do more with less. Businesses benefited from a greater return on their investment and workers faced fewer menial, mechanical tasks. The result was a steady and reliable rise in productivity, powered by the adoption of technology in all aspects of global business.      Elsewhere, global productivity gains have noticeably slowed.  Productivity gains in the industries that employ the most people, such as retail, restaurants and hospitality, have been far less transformational until relatively new innovations like Quore have come onto the scene. As we all know from experience, front-line workers in these industries still work much in the same way as they have for decades. The U.S. economy operates at 18% of its digital potential. The sort of productivity gains that digital technologies should be enabling are not showing up in the broader economy. -McKinsey Digitization Index For the world’s largest industries, such as hospitality, this digital gap has prevented productivity gains from reaching the level of transformation seen in industries such as financial services, media, and professional services - but that is starting to change. Why is that? Reason #1: Work vs Play For one, our productivity calculations don't do a good job of accounting for the differences between digital and physical transformation. Our current wave of innovation hasn’t impacted productivity in ways that electricity or plumbing did. It also doesn’t effectively account for the impact of consumer platforms, such as Snap and TikTok, on how we play versus how we work. As Vox concludes in a well-reported piece on the impact of technology  on productivity, these consumer platforms have captured leisure time without necessarily having a positive impact on productivity elsewhere: “Technology is changing how we play and relax more than it's changing how we work and produce.” We’ve also reached a point where the biggest productivity opportunities have been met by technology: factories are mostly automated and the big transformations are complete. These productivity gains have accrued unevenly, focused mostly in industries where automation transformed the very nature of the work (think factories and fields). Reason #2: Underinvestment in Technology While consumer-facing platforms exploded in value, industries like hotels and restaurants have historically underinvested in technology, limiting potential productivity gains. This lackluster transformation appears in the data: according to Gartner’s Lodging Technology Study, the industry invested only 3.5% of its revenue into information technology (IT) solutions. This underinvestment is partly due to marketplace dynamics, as much of the tech innovation over the past decade was in consumer-facing technologies. This underinvestment creates a “digital gap” that is exacerbated by a lower “degree of digital usage” in the hospitality industry, says McKinsey. The research also found that “digital engagement between companies and their suppliers and customers is five times larger in the leading sectors than in others.” In other words, industries like hospitality just aren’t using digital technologies as effectively as their peers in other industries and aren’t unleashing comparative productivity gains which is why they should consider investing in productivity and hotel operations software like Quore to make their operations more efficient. Reason #3: The Nature of Work Historically, technology has made it easier to get work done by increasing the efficiency of workers worldwide.  Automation enables workers to produce more with fewer inputs, while communication and project management tools make each hour more productive. However, these productivity gains have slowed measurably in the last ten years, with the gains especially anemic in the industries that employ the most people, such as retail, restaurants, and hospitality. The nature of the work affects productivity. These industries often higher lower-skilled workers at lower rates, which makes investing in productivity-enhancing Technologies less appealing. Also the nature of work is manual in ways that make automation difficult.  It's really challenging to have a robot make the bed, for example. In addition, these are customer-facing roles, defined by high-touch human interactions that defy automation.    How To Increase Productivity At Your Hotel Digitization and productivity are closely linked. Over the last 20 years, the top digitally-enabled sectors enjoyed a 2-3x increase in productivity and profit margins over their peers. And those that lag on the digitization front also have lower productivity performance, which is why hotels must act now to increase productivity in the workplace. One of the toughest questions is where to invest first? Between revenue management systems, housekeeping management software, business intelligence tools and a dozen other hospitality technology categories listed on Hotel Tech Report, there are many ways to improve productivity at your hotel. Many hotels start with staff collaboration tools which improve productivity, accuracy, and communication across departments: maintenance techs will prioritize projects more efficiently; housekeeping managers will manage shifts more efficiently; your front desk will deliver better service room cleaning schedules; and your general manager will benefit from actionable reports that benchmark performance over time. Whichever technology you start with, it’s advisable to have a method for establishing a productivity mindset at your hotel. You need to do three things: make productivity a priority, identify bottlenecks and invest in the right tools. Prioritize. It may take some convincing to show management and staff why productivity matters. After all, monitoring productivity can come across as Big Brother. Focus specifically on how it will make work like better for staff while also improving the guest experience. Most workers are frustrated by inefficiencies, so focus on the “why” and win allies.  Identify.  With organizational buy-in, you can now turn to identifying the biggest bottlenecks. Look for two things: issues that directly impact the guest and behind-the-scenes interactions between staff. Eliminating bottlenecks in those two areas will have the highest impact. Once you’ve identified the areas for improvement, align everyone around the right metrics: rooms cleaned per hour, guests served per shift, average guest request response time, ancillary revenue per room  Invest. To avoid further disruption from companies like Sonder and AirBnB, hotels must get better at buying and investing in technology. As you evaluate vendors, refer back to your specific bottlenecks and ask each vendor how their solution helps solve those. Then, invest the time and money in a pilot to trial the most promising solutions. You can then evaluate performance and base your investment decisions off actual data. Hospitality may have traditionally lagged other industries in adopting productivity-related technologies, but things have changed. “Boring” B2B unicorns are finally delivering the greater productivity gains seen in other industries. With a proper approach to evaluate, purchase, and implement software, supported by a modest budget, your hotel will capture the upside of greater productivity: happier guests, more satisfied staff, and more profitable resource allocation.  These efficiency gains simply make your hotel better, across the board. And, as a powerful ally in building productivity-driven profits, these tools help you build a culture of incremental improvements, helping your hotel get just a little better each day. Over time, this means major gains -- and a healthy return on your technology investment.  

SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store: 9 Tools You Need to Check Out

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 days ago

At ITB Berlin, one of our top five trends was the rise of hotel app marketplaces. Forward-thinking providers like SiteMinder are creating marketplaces that allow properties to add new integrations and tools to grow their business. These apps present a powerful way to utilize the full potential of your existing technology. Most, if not all, hotel technology is developed to achieve a specific task. App marketplaces exploit an opportunity for horizontal integration, capturing a new level of functionality by syncing data from multiple sources. SiteMinder's Hotel App Store powers everything from revenue management and upselling to guest messaging and review management to room controls, airport transfers, and keyless entry. Research, vet, and download more than 100 applications that let your core technology share data. The marketplace includes a selection of tools that integrate with more than 80 different property management systems, as well as SiteMinder’s channel manager. Growth equity firm TCV believes that software companies can create two-sided marketplaces that connect their users to new channels of customers, suppliers, and employees. TCV is a key investor backing SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store ambitions; their launch fulfills this vision of “breaking down the industry’s notorious integration barriers, connecting hotel systems and applications through smart and simple connectivity.” In practice: adding an app from Siteminder’s app store syncs the critical tech systems used by your operations and communications, revenue management, reputation management, and CRM systems, giving you a competitive advantage. Every hotel app must integrate two pieces of technology to help hotel owners:  Make more money per booking Improve guest reviews Better connect with guests Grow direct bookings Add these integrations to make your PMS work smarter with your CRM, guest messaging tool, and revenue management system in seconds.   Customer Relationship Management Apps Your hotel's CRM allows teams to track, manage and grow client relationships throughout the customer lifecycle, collecting and collating information to build a relationship without needing to have been personally involved each step of the way. Integrate your CRM with your PMS to leverage data points such as recency, frequency, add monetary value in your guest segmentation, thereby running smarter, more targeted promotions. Without introducing data from your PMS into your CRM, personalized emails, text messaging, or other communication at scale is nearly impossible. Revinate Marketing Revinate allows hotel owners to run targeted, customized campaigns with messaging delivered at the right moments throughout the customer journey, leading to increased guest engagement and more direct bookings. Revinate uses survey data for powerful guest segmentation: the Database Insights tool delivers real-time insights into guest data so teams can make better marketing campaigns and improve the on-property experience. Revinate has a reputation for excellence, with 94% of customers giving the tool top marks. Compared with other CRM integrations, Revinate gets outstanding reviews for their customer service and ease of implementation. “The data provided by Revinate Marketing has truly changed the way we operate, allowing us as a company to make more informed decisions across our portfolio. From the segmentation to the reporting, the user interface is easy and intuitive,” reports one director at a boutique hotel. Cendyn Guestfolio, the Cendyn CRM platform, combines guest data and marketing automation to build a single, holistic view of each guest. By offering easy access to a guest’s history, Guestfolio empowers your staff to recognize loyal guests at check-in with a special thank you. Foster 1:1 communication with guests at every stage: pre-arrival, on-property, post-stay and re-engagement nurture campaigns foster brand loyalty, leading to repeat guests and an increase in direct bookings. A key benefit of working with Cendyn is that the platform integrates offerings in revenue, sales, and marketing to bring your teams closer together. Guestfolio is part of Cendyn’s Hospitality Cloud. Hospitality Cloud aligns marketing, sales, and revenue teams to offer optimal pricing, guest-first marketing, and better communication while saving time and stress. For-Sight For-Sight pulls data from your hotel’s PMS to give you strategies and insights to improve the guest experience, increase revenue and upsell, and make more informed decisions. Ease-of-use and a simple interface makes For-Sight one of the top-rated CRM tools. As one reviewer notes, “For-Sight makes a complex task simple and intuitive. Best-in-class email and automation alongside powerful segmentation and querying tools that our team finds easy to operate backed by attentive and responsive support when we need it.”    Guest Messaging Apps Guest messaging platforms that integrate with your PMS via SiteMinder’s App Store offer a way to improve communication among teams on-site, automatically answer frequently asked questions, and increase operational efficiency while meeting guest satisfaction. These three systems offer a way forward to happier guests and more efficient staff. Bookboost The Bookboost guest messaging platform increases guest engagement and revenue with its proprietary Omnichannel Website Chat and Proactive Direct Messaging tools. Bookboost is our top-ranked guest messaging tool, achieving perfect scores for return-on-investment, ease of implementation, and customer support. Bookboost messages have a 99% open rate and an astoundingly high 28% click-through rate. “With Bookboost, we have seen a great improvement in guest satisfaction. Bookboost has helped us to deduct 50% repetitive phone calls while improving the score of guest review by over 11% in only two months! It's also a very good tool to upsell through sending SMS. We have used it to successfully upsell parking spaces by 87.5% and increase 10% of late check-out,” reports one operations manager. Zingle Zingle uses AI to drive operational efficiency, automating intelligent communication between teams and with guests. “Zings” are automated workflows that can be set up based on a specific trigger. The trigger leads to automatic action. For instance, Zingle can read booking details from your PMS to schedule a personalized message to guests attending a wedding, telling them where on the property to gather for festivities. Or, if a guest sends a message that includes the word “broken,” Zingle can recognize the need for a plumber or maintenance staff member.  helping them increase operational efficiency, improve guest service and boost RevPAR.  HelloShift HelloShift allows your team to connect with guests through SMS, WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook Messenger, email, and more. Unlike Bookboost, HelloShift also has a team chat function to help your on-site staff coordinate. HelloShift is a cost-effective option great for properties working with a limited budget or with limited service. The platform costs less than $3/room/month and comes with a free 30-day trial. One general manager reports, “It was very easy to migrate into, and the on-boarding experience was simple as well. Took less than a day to get everything up and running, and staff were able to communicate back and forth with very little training.”   Revenue Management Apps An RMS allows hotels to sell the right product to the right customer, solving for variables like price, channel, and timing to maximize profitability. A strong, two-way integration between your RMS and your property management system gives your revenue manager historical information on rates and revenue. Analyze the data and get an accurate matrix of pricing recommendations for each segment and room type. As a result, your property gains the ability to optimize pricing and capture more revenue. These revenue management apps are not to be missed. Pace Pace’s revenue forecasting gives you booking curves for each night, room-category, and segment, offering advance notice in case you need to adjust your pricing in real-time. Immediately. Hoteliers love Pace’s customer support and implementation, giving the platform high marks for its responsiveness. In comparison with RevControl, Pace offers price sensitivity modeling and inventory management to help your teams sync and avoid overbookings. It can also forecast demand 365 days in advance, with real-time price optimization to help you hone your pricing model and squeeze the most revenue out of your available inventory. “PACE also has highly qualified revenue management experts who provides great advice on how to maximise the property's revenue. As a GM of a 63-room hotel, I can now focus more on strategy.” writes one reviewer.  RevControl RevControl forecasts revenue in one dashboard that clearly predict what demand will be, empowering hoteliers to turn insight into action immediately. Sell your rooms the right rate at the right time with RevControl’s dynamic pricing, revenue management automations, and multi-property management features. This platform also offers extended stay functionality, something RevControl competitors don’t include. “I advise hoteliers who want full control over their revenue, room rates, and RevPar to use RevControl for their hotel. This cloud-based system provides the right information by means of accurately collected data to always calculate the right prices for your hotel rooms,” writes one reviewer.  Lybra Tech Lybra Tech has integrated machine learning into their hotel revenue management tool. Machine learning makes it possible for Lybra to analyze and integrate learnings from big data into their insights. For hotel owners seeking a competitive advantage, AI and machine learning can provide faster data analysis and better calls-to-action to maximize revenue potential. This is a fast-growing entrant to the revenue management market, and one vendor that promises to push boundaries to uncover market opportunities.    Check out SiteMinder’s app store to explore integrations and download some of these great options. 

How to Be a Smarter Revenue Management System Buyer

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

Adding a revenue management tool to your hotel’s software suite is practically a no-brainer. In this article we’ll explore the most recent trends in hotel revenue management tech and then dive into how to vet a new revenue management system for your hotel business.  We’ll explore system benefits, critical integrations, smart buyer questions and more. At the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to demo and compare revenue management system providers. Revenue management software helps hotels sell the right product to the right customer, solving for variables like price, channel, and timing to maximize profitability. Revenue management systems like IDeaS factor in historical and market data with forecasting and predictive analytics to recommend rates for each customer segment and room type, tailor to each channel on which your hotel is selling. New innovations like real time pricing and total revenue management are making revenue management software smarter than ever. Hotels that switch to using a revenue management system experience an average increase in RevPAR increase between 7-20% – the result of optimized automatic price-setting per room type. Sophisticated revenue management tools like IDeaS G3 offer insightful data and time-saving productivity tools, allowing hoteliers to increase profit, forecast more accurately, and run more efficiently.   Unlock the benefits of a revenue management system There are three main benefits to using a revenue management system. A revenue management system helps hotels determine how much to charge for a room each day, factoring in real-time supply and demand data, balancing occupancy and ADR, and varying the price point depending on the channel and customer segment. Accurately pricing rooms with better data leads to an increase in RevPAR, as well as Net RevPAR (RevPAR after operating costs are deducted) and the RevPAR Index (a measure of revenue in comparison to competitors in the market). Hotels that use a revenue management system like IDeaS reap the benefits of more accurate forecasting. An accurate forecast takes into account past history and forward-looking data to predict what demand will be for up to a year out. And, these forecasts don’t just help improve occupancy rates or avoid overbooking: forecasts help you on-site teams make smarter operational, sales, and marketing calls. When a spike in demand is predicted for an event, such as the Super Bowl, the IDeaS platform can send an alert to help your property’s F&B and shuttle service prepare for hungry sports fans. Lastly, an RMS takes away the burden of building spreadsheets and reports to calculate demand by hand every day; revenue managers are saved from entering numbers into a spreadsheet and reporting system. Hotels that use revenue management systems save between 20 - 40 hours per month by streamlining manual workflows. The IDeaS G3 RMS can process 100 million revenue-enhancing decisions each day across 1.6 million rooms. Free up your team to do more strategic thinking around positioning your hotel in the market.    New innovations in revenue management tools This year’s hot RMS trends included real time pricing, open pricing, new personalization and automation developments, and cloud architecture. As revenue management tools get more sophisticated, we expect attribute-based pricing to improve forecast accuracy. Open pricing lets hotel revenue managers price rooms, segments, and channels independently of one another. Rates aren’t adjusted in lockstep based on a single BAR rate; now, smart hotel owners can take a more surgical approach to pricing. IDeaS allows revenue managers to yield by room type: when there’s a spike in demand for doubles, the system automatically increases the price for doubles, but not for single rooms. Respond to market changes dynamically and move beyond seasonal peak and demand. In 2020 we’ll see revenue management systems provide additional tools to help revenue managers more effectively forecast to enable stronger long-term strategy development (and execution). Ultimately an RMS plays a similar role to other software where it automates mundane and repetitive tasks freeing up humans to be more strategic (and also not rip their hair out).  With a great RMS, revenue professionals can trust the recommendations in the system and focus their energy on strategic revenue management. Good revenue managers are experts at leveraging their RMS of choice.  The best revenue managers work closely with their software providers to understand what makes the software tick. An RMS takes into account dozens of data sets. Not only do hoteliers capture higher RevPAR and forecast more accurately, but customers see rates and packages that are tailored to their individual needs. Personalization and automation capabilities in this year’s RMS systems set rates that are based on an individual’s total value to your hotel. In 2020, we expect machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to bring additional knowledge and insights that enables a revenue management system to continuously improve its forecasts and pricing decisions. Revenue management systems continue to get more flexible – allowing users to login on any device, anywhere, and see up-to-date information – as top tools moved to host their records on the cloud. Hotels are able to operate using the most recent version of the software and receiving feature updates as they become available. That’s great for hoteliers seeking to integrate and share data between various hotel tech tools.   What key integrations should your RMS offer?  Adding a revenue management system to your technology stack basically leads to straight profit: there’s no additional cost to acquire or service the guest, and you’ve optimized your pricing in a way that improves occupancy and revenue. But, it’s important to find an RMS that works well with your current systems. Here’s what to look for in a revenue management system:  Automated recommendations: get price recommendations instantly reflected in your PMS.  Price sensitivity chart: this graph illustrates the current optimal room price in relation to change in revenue and occupancy rate to make sure your price points are accurate. Open pricing: price room types and channels independently of each other Pacing reports: know your pace, down to pacing at a room type level.  Data visualization and intelligent reporting: visualize your data in graphical form to spot trends and patterns in data.  Cloud technology: find a platform that runs on multi-tenant cloud architecture to integrate and share data more seamlessly, and allows developers to push updates to your software.  Group booking pricing module: get both the current optimal group price, but also a secondary price – the lowest price point you should accept before you’re better off selling inventory on the open market instead. Get a revenue management system that integrates with your PMS, CRS, CRM, and booking engine. A PMS that works with your RMS provides historical information on rates and revenue. The RMS can then analyze the data and return an accurate matrix of pricing recommendations for each segment and room type. Syncing your central reservation tool with your revenue management platform leads to fewer failed updates, lost reservations, or bad reports. And, your revenue management system can offer personalized rates by using data from your CRM to price based on loyalty or past purchase behavior.    How to compare revenue management systems To see the benefits of an RMS tool, you must find a platform that allows your property to change rates and discounts based on demand. On high-demand days, your property should be able to lower a discount channel to 1% or even 0% without lowering your BAR rate. Find a tool that automates much of the busy work by enabling you to set up rule based automations while still being flexible enough to let you override rate recommendations when you know something about the market the system doesn’t or suspect an error. An RMS that has a dedicated mobile app or mobile web version is best for making rate yield management changes on the go. The integrations with your PMS, CRS, and booking engine aren’t just recommendations: they’re necessary for capturing the full power of an RMS. Most revenue management systems won’t work properly unless it is connected with two-way integration to the PMS. And, lastly, learn more about the data that shapes the revenue management tool’s rate pricing. All revenue management systems will pull in historical data, plus factor in pace and pickup. More advanced systems are able to react quickly to changes in market conditions with real-time pricing data: website activity, competitive rates, reputation scores, and air traffic can all factor into RMS rate changes. It’s up to the revenue manager to understand the supply and demand dynamics of each segment and room type independently so the tool can provide forecasting for these variables.   Download the Revenue Management System Free 2020 Buyers Guide  

Digital Transformation in the Hotel Industry

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

“Digital transformation” is one of those buzzy phrases that gets thrown around, much like “big data” and “artificial intelligence.” Few leaders, however, actually recognize how digital transformation impacts their business. Digital transformation is not just about technology investment, but refers to the ways organizations restructure themselves to adapt and alter corporate culture to empower innovations that leverage technology and take their businesses to new levels of growth. The term ‘digital transformation’ was coined in the late 1990s to describe the first time a customer was connecting to a company via a website or other digital channel. As the internet matured companies started to connect all processes and devices into networks. Nearly every company has gone through a digital transformation to learn how to leverage data, retain talent, grow their revenue, and innovate. Today, digital transformations have achieved a macroeconomic scale. “By 2018, the number of IoT devices is expected to double, spurring the development of 200,000 new apps. By 2020, spending on cloud services will be more than $500 billion, three times the current level.” digital transformation is at the forefront of nearly every industry’s investment priorities. Hotel owners seeking to harness this trend are adding a holistic PMS system like Oracle OPERA to their technology stack. A PMS is a perfect example of a tool that can be deployed to help achieve a specific business goal. Successful digital transformation takes focused planning, targeted technological integration, and professional development – along with the right PMS. Here’s how hotel teams are bringing digital transformation to their business.    What is Digital Transformation? Digital transformation at its core refers to the ability of an organization to change its approach to technology, people, and processes to impact business performance and deliver value to consumers. As one expert describes, “Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver.” Digital transformations involve some digitization of assets and/or increased use of technology, but for a transformation to be successful, it must holistically involve cultural and operational changes as well. This might mean a change in leadership, the adoption of a new business model, evolving the company culture, or reassessing how the company delivers value to its customers. Companies are often motivated to attempt a digital transformation when new competitors enter the market. A perfect example is Uber’s rapid success – and subsequent disruption – in the transformation market. Their model forced had a widespread impact on taxis, car rental agencies, car manufacturers, and even bike companies like Citibike, forcing these companies to learn how to incorporate similar technology into their business model. Digital transformations are rarely self-motivated; and often, these transformations fail due to lack of preparation.     Digital Transformation Examples: Learning from Failure Unfortunately, less than 30% of digital transformations succeed. There are a few reasons why digital transformations aren’t successful, but a common thread among failed transformations is lack of focus. Consumer goods leader Proctor & Gamble’s unsuccessful digital transformation perfectly epitomizes why focus is imperative for hoteliers seeking to undergo their own transformation process. In 2012, P&G attempted to become “the most digital company on the planet.” If this sounds like a far-reaching goal, it was – and too broad a goal to be achievable. This unspecific goal led to broad initiatives that lacked purpose. In practice, P&G’s initial approach was “anywhere, anytime shopping” with the goal of abandoning marketing in favor of “personal conversations” with consumers. It was an ambitious (and ambiguous) goal with unsurprisingly subpar results. When the economy slumped, P&G’s digital transformation imploded; the CEO was asked to resign and the company had to reassess their approach. As Harvard Business Review describes, “P&G could probably have lost little ground to competitors had it invested in digital in a more targeted fashion. Today it does so; no digital initiative is undertaken at P&G if it doesn’t fit the strategy closely and if it’s not hardwired to value.” The lesson here? Hotels should break out their digital transformation into small, achievable efforts directly connected to a business outcome. At the brand level hotel chains should not build tech in house and should partner with best in class tech vendors.  By definition, successful digital transformation takes integrating new technology with your processes and people. Hotels must focus on one area of improvement at a time, rather than trying everything at once.    Digital Transformation Strategy For Hotels Hotel owners know there are many goals a digital transformation can help achieve. The mission in approaching digital transformation is to pick the goal with the highest impact. Digital transformation can help to:  Increase digital revenue and website traffic Reduce operational costs Improve product and service quality Improve customer outcomes Pick one of these goals, or something similar, to begin your digital transformation. Pegging your technology acquisition to a specific outcome will drive the operational and personnel changes necessary to be successful. If anything, the P&G experience proves that your goal should drive the adoption of new technology; and your goal must be specific and focused. Imagine a scenario in which your hotel decides to increase digital revenues across your properties. One obstacle toward gaining digital revenue is a high volume of overbookings. Overbookings occur when the total number of rooms reserved by guests during a certain time period is more than the number of rooms available. Hotels often overbook to mitigate losses from no-shows, cancellations, or early check-outs; however, overbookings also indicate poorly run operations. In this scenario, one potential digital transformation initiative could include the adoption of a new property management system – like Oracle OPERA – that includes an intelligent accommodation management tool. This tool avoids overbookings of specific room types and ensures that rooms are cleaned and maintained in a timely manner. The platform automatically enforces booking rules, schedules, and availability of item inventory to deliver a great guest experience and ensure there are no added costs from bringing guests to a second location. A PMS can also play a significant role in a second example of digital transformation: improving customer outcomes. In this scenario, a hotel is trying to solve for long wait times at check-in. Oracle OPERA is equipped with a mobile version to allow staff to check-in guests via any smartphone or tablet. The mobile platform also allows for reservation management, room status, task sheet management, room maintenance, and real-time updates on rooms and maintenance requests. Your team can go mobile to improve efficiencies around the property and meet the needs of guests quickly – leading to an overall better guest experience and shorter wait times.   Bringing Digital Transformation to Your Hotel A digital transformation is as much about the operational and cultural changes you make as it is the technology. A PMS can provide many solutions for reaching your business goals: but, having the right leaders in place is also critical. Oracle’s many digital upgrades work only as far as your training program, lines of communication, and other staff support tools do. Three of McKinsey’s five factors that contribute to the success of digital transformation are people-oriented. Their analysis of successful digital transformations found that hotels must have the right digital-savvy leaders to steer the way; empower teams to work in new ways; and, lastly, to build the skills and capabilities of entry-level workers (and future leaders). Only when hotel owners consider their digital transformation outside the narrow window of tools and platforms – and tie their digital transformation to measurable business results – can they be successful.  

What is CRO and Why Does it Matter To Your Hotel?

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

Well done: your hotel's direct marketing plan is driving more traffic to your website than ever before. Your hard work has paid off and you should actually be very proud of building a healthy direct channel. But how are your website conversion rates? Next-level hotel marketing mastery requires both demand generation skills and an ability to convert that demand into bookings. You can’t just generate the demand at the top of the funnel via metasearch and other PPC advertising, or inbound marketing techniques like blogging and influencer marketing; you need to then convert as many of those prospects into customers as possible. As you’ll book more business with the same amount of spending, your increased capital efficiency falls directly to the bottom line. This means that conversion improvements have a direct impact on your hotel profitability. The best part is that there are affordable tools like Hotelchamp that have been purpose built to deliver constant improvement and optimization for hotel websites. Ready to get started? Here's how to make conversion optimization a key part of your hotel marketing strategy.   What is CRO: The Science and the Impact CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, and it refers to the process of improving the number of people that complete a desired action on your website or online channels. The most obvious examples are the conversion rates of your website’s booking engine, or the number of lookers the turn into bookers. Conversions to revenue are obviously the most visible; you can also optimize conversions at any point throughout the funnel, such as on landing pages, proposals, newsletter sign-ups and third-party advertising. CRO is actually a theory backed by science. There's a copyrighted formula created by researchers at MECLABS that explains why people “convert,” or choose to take a specific action. Here's that formula:   C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a   To calculate C, the probability of conversion, you'll need five variables: the motivation of the user (m), the clarity of the value proposition (v), an incentive to take action (i), as well as the friction (f) and the anxiety (a) that prevents taking action. Notice that the most influential factors are the user’s motivation and the clarity of the “ what's in it for me” value proposition.   Therefore, effective CRO starts with a clear and detailed understanding of your target users and their respective motivations. Those motivations should then influence the words, visuals, and overall user experience so that the experience speaks directly to those motivations. You want to make sure that each aspect of the experience is primed for conversion, from the headline all the way down to the color of the “Book Now” button. That's the theory behind conversion optimization --  but what impact will it have on your hotel’s marketing efforts?   The 4 Key Benefits of CRO As you refine your conversion rate optimization skills, you’ll see four major benefits: Improved customer insight. A focus on CRO  requires you to have a deeper understanding of your customers. This is extraordinarily valuable, as it can affect all parts of your business. With successful customer insights driven your CRO strategy, you’ll increase the value of each interaction. This makes CRO the linchpin for your marketing strategy, says SEO expert and founder of Moz Rand Fishkin: “CRO is simply a must-have. CRO is the most important marketing activity because it makes every visitor exponentially more valuable.” Better ROI. CRO is the ultimate direct booking tool for hotels. Consistently improving your conversion rates means that you will always be getting more out of your marketing spend. And, since CRO can happen at different stages and at different points in your customer experience, many small improvements magnify.  That's due to the power of compounding: a 5% increase inJust a couple of places in your marketing funnel will lead to greater possibility than just a single Improvement. Here’s a quick example with simple numbers: a hotel has a 10% conversion rate of website traffic to newsletter subscribers and a 5% conversion rate of newsletter subscribers to bookings. So 1000 website visitors equals 100 subscribers and thus 5 bookings. Doubling both conversion rates would mean 200 subscribers for every 1000 website visitors, resulting in 20 bookings for every 1000 visitors. That’s quadruple the original number, and double what it would be if only one conversion rate increased. As you improve conversions across your business, the effects can be exponential!  Better user experience. CRO also just isn’t about making more money. Stronger conversions usually made the customers are finding the information they need when they need it. This creates a better customer experience and expands your property’s guest-centric mindset onto your digital experience as well. Enhanced trust. As long as you aren't exaggerating or flat-out lying to get people to click on an advertisement or some how to see if people on your website, CRO enhances trust.  It shows your potential customers that you are aware of their motivations and are speaking directly to them. about type of connection resonates deeply with guests and creates the perception that you “get” them.    Popular CRO Software Tools A proper conversion rate optimization strategy requires a robust suite of tools that enables experimentation, including proper testing of each variable, analysis of the most effective variations, and then automatically delivering the most suitable options. For a quick comparison,  let's look at Optimizely vs. HotelChamp. One of the CRO leaders is Optimizely. The popular software brings A/B testing to all of your digital channels. The platform allows you to create a variety of digital experiences, each with variations  After serving up the options to a statistically significant number of users, it analyzes the results and automatically updates accordingly. Optimizely pricing reflects its expanded functionality and can be too unwieldy for hotel marketers.     For software that's hotel-specific, look at Hotelchamp. It lands in the top three of our Popularity Index due to its ability to optimize your hotel website and digital marketing in real-time. In addition to its optimization tools, the company has invested in customer support to help hotels realize the full potential of the software. This is especially useful for CRO, which requires a blend of creativity and analysis to succeed; customer support is immensely beneficial.   Example of a hotel-specific pop-up from HotelChamp.      Head-to-head: Optimizely vs Hotelchamp So which vendor would win in a Head-to-Head battle? Optimizely is a wonderful tool for massive ecommerce firms and software companies; however, it’s expensive, complex and requires engineering to fully maximize the software’s value.  Further, Optimizely does not connect with booking engines or other hotel data sources. HotelChamp is a more approachable, affordable, and industry-specific tool that aligns with the most common interactions that hotels must optimize. This streamlines the software, making it “easy to configure and change,” per one HotelChamp review. Pricing: Optimizely pricing is less competitive than HotelChamp, which has a monthly subscription tiered by room count. As an industry-focused vendor HotelChamp is also incentivized to reinvest revenues into new and improved solutions for its hotel customers. Features: Hotelchamp is purpose-built for hotels with custom features that simplify CRO and give hotels exactly what they need without extra functionality to wade through.  Time investment: Hotelchamp is fully automated with its Autopilot feature. Hotels that use a digital marketing agency for social and metasearch advertising will be especially well-suited to optimize with Autopilot, as it makes collaboration with other vendors easier.   With HTR's Global Support Certification you can be certain Hotelchamp will be there when you need   Top Tips For Mastering CRO Experimentation drives successful CRO. After you choose which metrics you want to influence, try many experiments, analyze the data, and then use those learnings to repeat the process again. It's only when you do all three steps that you're able to fully optimize. As you start to develop your conversion rate optimization mindset, consider these top tips for mastering CRO. Get your analytics correct. If your hotel website doesn't have analytics set up, start there. Then, you'll want to create specific goals for each action that you want to optimize, preferably with a direct link to booking value so you can track revenue impact. From there, you can start testing specific points and the user experience and optimize methodically. Without analytics, there's no way to know what works! Start with highest impact pages. These are the pages that align directly with your goals. For most hotels, this means optimizing the booking engine to convert more organic and paid traffic. You may also consider building different landing pages for paid campaigns, so that the copy and visuals speak directly to the segment's targeted in the advertising. Compared to incremental improvements (such as testing button colors), these will have outsized impact compared to the time invested.  Experiment at the end of the funnel. Even though revenue goals are the most visible, optimizing at the top of the funnel can be quite overwhelming to start.  Consider moving all the way to the bottom of the funnel and optimizing backwards. These will be smaller numbers that show the impact directly.  Then, as you feel comfortable with the optimization strategy, start moving up the funnel. Finally, test your assumptions. CRO can be a humbling process. Don't let your fundamental assumptions get in the way of success! Brainstorm ideas of things to test by putting yourself in the shoes of the person consuming the content and try to give them what they need at that specific point in time. Let them show you what works for them. As you experiment with different experiences for certain segments, expand your personalization to adjust for channel, timing, and device.  Don’t forget reviews: TripAdvisor, OTAs. These reviews can prime travelers’ mindset prior to clicking through to your website. If they have read enough good reviews, they will have more motivated once they click through. If there aren't as many recent or positive reviews, you’ll have to overcome that lingering skepticism to convert them to a guest.   Where To Learn More About CRO? Conversion rates matter immensely to your hotel’s bottom line profitability.  As you start to learn and expand your own knowledge, check out these handy articles as resources for further learning. Hotel conversion rates explained: Learn about the stats and hotel-specific examples. Unbounce’s Conversion Benchmark Report Analyzes tens of thousands of landing pages to calculate the latest benchmarks for conversion performance. Our HotelChamp Deep Dive includes everything you need to know about the hotel website and marketing optimization tool.  Moz’s authoritative guide to CRO explores the key tenets of successful optimization, as well as some reminders about bad ways to do CRO. Also helpful: their 5-step framework for CRO. This landing page analyzer can give you some quick tips on improving the conversion of existing pages. Even hotels with modest website traffic can benefit from CRO. Here’s how to do CRO when you don't have much traffic. Get analytics-ready for CRO with Google Analytics 101.   

Hotel RevPAR is Dropping: How to Preserve Profits in the Downturn

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

There’s some bad news impacting the hotel industry. Two recent reports paint a picture of slowing growth in the US market due to where we are in the hotel business cycle. Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, the industry’s key performance indicator, grew by just 1.2% in the first half of 2019. Typically when we get into a full on downturn, owners tighten their belts and are hesitant to invest in technology.  The problem is that when hotels underinvest in tech, especially distribution tech like that provided by D-Edge, they are disproportionately hurt by a downturn. Having the right revenue strategy in place, channel manager and digital marketing agency partner allows hotels to control their destiny in the downturn and even steal share.  Most hotels can succeed in an upmarket but when economic conditions slow down - it reveals the hotel businesses that are ill prepared. In this article we’ll help you make sure that your property doesn’t fall into that bucket. The good news is that gross operating profit margins are at 38%, while the long-run average tracked by CBRE between 1950 and 2018 is 34%. U.S. hotels' occupancy rate is at 66% compared to the long-run average of 62.5%. Let’s unpack what these numbers mean for your hotel – and how you can brace your property for the inevitable.   The hotel business cycle, explained in simple terms Every business goes through a natural cycle of economic growth and decline. Typically there are four phases to a business cycle: expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. There’s no set intervals for each phase, but there are signs that can tell you which phase you’re in – and help you predict when there will next be a downturn. The expansion phase occurs between the trough and peak. On a macro-level, this is when the economy is growing: the GDP is increasing at a healthy two to three percent, unemployment is low, and inflation is around 2%. Expansion is the goal of any healthy economy, but eventually the economy “overheats” meaning the GDP growth rate moves above 3%, inflation is higher than 2%, and investors are too bullish, creating asset bubbles like the housing bubble of 2008. Then, the economy enters peak phase: this is the month during which expansion transitions into contraction. After peak phase, the economy starts to contract. The contraction phase takes place when GDP growth falls below 2%. If the economy contracts too much, it can cause a recession. Unemployment rises and investors may sell off their stocks. When the economy hits bottom, this is the trough phase, the fourth and final phase in the business cycle. Trough phase is the month when the economy transitions from contraction to expansion. How long each phase in the business cycle lasts depends on a variety of factors including:  Supply and demand Monetary policy The availability of capital Consumer confidence Fiscal policy For hotel businesses, the industry cycle typically lasts 7.3 years. The hotel industry acts as a canary in the coal mine for the overall economic cycle: the hotel industry leads peaks by roughly nine months on average and leads troughs by around six months. As a result, hotel owners don’t have the luxury of watching the economy dip and reacting accordingly. Forward-looking hoteliers must prepare for natural peaks and troughs before anyone else. How can savvy hotel owners read the signs? Supply and demand is a key indicator that many business owners rely on to signal an economic downturn. In the expansion phase, consumer demand indicates financial growth. Consumers are confident in the economy’s strength, using their disposable income to travel and book hotel rooms. When supply is outpacing demand in your market, it’s likely you’ll hit a recession sooner and that it will be more aggressive. But, shifts in price elasticity and new competitors like Airbnb entering the market can make it hard to read the signals in the noise. Price elasticity measures how changes in supply and demand impact an item or service’s price. The availability of substitutes is a key factor in price elasticity: for example, gasoline is relatively price-inelastic, given that there are no substitutes for powering our vehicles. Your hotel room prices, on the other hand, have many substitutes: Airbnb and other competitors with the same star rating, amenities, price range, location, and brand identity are abundant substitutes. This environment makes understanding where you stand in the supply and demand curve that much more complex.    Where are we in the economic cycle? Globally, there are signs indicating that we’re in for an economic slowdown, rather than another recession of the severity of 2008. Brexit is a major concern for the UK and the EU that will have repercussions for the global economy. There are fewer applications to major MBA programs in the US than in previous years. The turmoil surrounding US trade relations has led to a significant decline in international applicants to U.S. business schools; a trend that may foreshadow a slowdown of inbound travel. What do these signals mean for hotels? Experts believe that the impending downturn is expected to be bad for hotels, but not catastrophic. “Our outlook is slowdown, not recession, both in the economy and with hotel performance. Because there’s so much cushion now, even in a slowdown the U.S. lodging industry will be performing above the long-run average, and hoteliers will be able to meet their debt obligations,” said Robert Mandelbaum, CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research director of research information services. As we progress to the end of the fiscal year, hoteliers need to prepare for the predicted downturn by investing in the right technology before the economy starts to turn. 2020 is going to be a critical year for the industry and the hotels that have the right marketing & distribution technology in place will be the best suited to weather the storm.   How to prepare your hotel business for the economic downturn Hotels that don’t invest in the right technology will suffer the consequences of poor preparation. As we witnessed the tragic collapse of Thomas Cook, we learned some key lessons from their failure that can be applied to the economic cycle. Hotel owners must implement the right technology, like the suite of tools from D-Edge, to diversify their channel mix, maximize revenue from existing guests, optimize their direct channel booking experience, help their sales team succeed, and bring back repeat guests. One stark lesson from the Thomas Cook example: fewer dominant channels dramatically increase risk. Just as a smart investor diversifies their portfolio, so must a hotel owner. How many channels are funneling customers to book at your property? The more sources you can employ to maximize your presence and bring in bookings, the more secure your position in an economic downturn. D-Edge MetaGenius and other metasearch managers optimize your spend so that you can capture bookings without splashing out too much of your budget. At the same time, your property must maximize the traffic on your website. Demand will drop and along with it, so will web traffic. Make sure that your website is optimized by working with a vendor like D-Edge to ensure industry best practices around load times, SEO, and conversion rates. This will minimize your reliance on high-commission OTAs and help your property survive the contraction stage. Those lessons cover the revenue side of the profit equation: what about keeping costs down? The saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it.” If you can’t measure it, you can’t predict it, either. Building a lean budget to outlast the downturn takes having the right data and analytics at your fingertips. Install solutions such as a top tier CRS and data intelligence platform to make sure you have visibility into what’s going on in the market. A vendor like D-Edge can supply both to help your team stay ahead of the curve. Lastly, the unfortunate truth is that in a downturn, online travel agencies wield all the power.  During the recession of 2008, while hotel sales dropped, OTAs actually saw their aggregate hotel sales climb in 2009. Price-sensitive customers gravitated toward OTAs in search of the best deal. A channel manager like D-Edge ensures your property is connected to the proper channels and functioning properly to avoid overbookings or even worse, missed bookings. An economic downturn is on the horizon – hotels that fail to prepare now are likely to face the consequences of outdated technology.  

Apps for Hotel Management: How to Put the Guest First

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Guests are increasingly interested in communicating with a hotel before, during, and after their stay via apps for hotel management. They’re seeking an easy avenue to check-in remotely, explore amenities, and learn more about the property and surrounding neighborhood. Hotel apps are one way hotels have successfully met this growing guest expectation. Intelligently integrating a hotel app within the guest experience allows your property to open a clear line of communication with guests. It’s a platform through which guests can access hotel information such as room services and amenities, check-in remotely, place service requests, book a spa service, and more. Mobile hotel apps increase guest engagement and provide a new channel for upselling ancillary services, ultimately improving the guest experience when deployed correctly. Mobile app providers like INTELITY are leading the way in providing a thoughtful, tech-enabled guest experience. Here’s what you need to know about guest mobile apps to offer a great experience at your property.    Why use apps for hotel management?   Today’s guest is mobile-first, meaning hotels must find a way to provide five-star service optimized for any device. The ability to book and edit reservations, order room service, learn about amenities and check-in remotely are all features that guests expect to manage through a hotel app. Some hotels have taken it a step further to add features that engage and surprise their guests further. The core benefits that any hotel app must provide are the ability to increase revenue with ancillary offers; real-time marketing through targeted promotions sent through the app; and the capture of data to build guest loyalty through a tailored experience. Apps like INTELITY can do much more than provide these foundational benefits. Great hotel apps centralize a guest’s digital experience through streamlined communication and messaging. An app should integrate with your guest messaging service and PMS to provide mobile check-in and facilitate other guest requests. The ability to skip the front desk reduces wait times and lobby traffic by 20%, which makes guests happier and frees up staff. Through INTELITY, guests enjoy easy and convenient access to staff via mobile messaging, and staff are more readily available to assist via the back-end dashboard. Guest mobile apps reduce barriers between guests and the right on-site teams to resolve any issues as they arise and ensure requests get answered quickly. INTELITY’s guest messaging connects guests directly with operations teams through SMS, as well as in-app messaging services, like Facebook Messenger. All messages get routed through the INTELITY platform to make sure there are no missed connections. Whether it’s a request for late checkout, room service, or for extra towels, an app should be able to route these communications to the right team within your property. And, most compellingly, the right hotel app can unlock new ways to increase guest spend. Send relevant offers through the app to capitalize on guest preferences. A great example is the James Hotels app, James Pocket Assistant. The app helps guests discover and access amenities and special offers on-site. Menus and other content are updated quickly depending on what’s happening at the hotel and guest preferences.    The changing market of hotel apps   This year, the hotel app market saw three big changes: the growth of internet of things hospitality, more personalization, and the introduction of artificial intelligence in the app experience. IoT has taken the tech world by storm, and hotel apps are not exempt, Mobile apps now allow guests to customize their in-room experience. Lucy, the smartphone app of Virgin Hotels, has multiple features that allow guests to interact with the room. Lucy gives guests the power to adjust the room temperature, stream personal content to their room's TV, and turn their smartphone into a remote. Personalization options continue with the ability to map data across multiple guest touchpoints. Hotel apps can utilize smart learning mechanisms to personalize guests’ needs throughout their stay. It’s important that any hotel app platform you decide to implement has an easy to use content management system so that you can make regular updates without contacting your vendor.  INTELITY’s content management solution, for example, enables your team to update availability across food and beverage operations on-the-fly. Management can sync changes immediately across all channels: web app, in-room tablet, and mobile app, as well as send through discounts and promos in real-time. And, lastly, artificial intelligence will be able to dissect and analyze guest interactions, behaviors, context and language to intelligently respond and provide a more personalized method of communication. Voice activation has become more common in consumer’s homes, and hotel rooms are likely to follow suit. Voice technology offers access to instant information about your hotel and the surrounding area, as well as answers to common questions that create a backlog at the front desk. Next year, we predict more apps to enter the market, making it vital that hotel owners consider how their app will add unique value to the guest experience. The market will consolidate, as we’ve already seen with major players like Aimbridge and Interstate merging. And, the use of mobile keys will continue to drive app adoption – Hilton guests downloaded 7.6 million mobile keys through the app in 2018.    Download the Free Guide   What should hoteliers look for in an app vendor?   An app needs to provide a holistic experience at the guest’s fingertips. Here are some of the key features your app must include:  Mobile check-in: offer a frictionless way to skip the front desk while driving more revenue. Mobile key: keyless entry leads to an average increase of 7% in guest satisfaction scores. Guest messaging: SMS, Facebook Messenger, or and in-app messages to connect guests directly with your staff Room service ordering: automate service request delivery, track order status, track request fulfillment time, and generate data Loyalty program integrations: encourage increased engagement within your app between stays Local services and content: recommend local services and POIs to market your location and help guests maximize their stay Requests and ticket management: guests can make bookings with the concierge, arrange transportation or request more towels right from your hotel app Room automation: control the lights, TV, AC and drapes right from your phone Broadly, your app must integrate with your PMS, IoT provider, and service optimization software. Your property management system should be equipped relay guest info to and from the app easily and allow for guests to check-in from their phone. Integrate the app capabilities with in-room technology to control features (lights, thermostat, etc.). And make sure you control traffic with a service optimization provider that can communicate guest requests efficiently and seamlessly to your staff.    Questions to ask hotel app providers   There are more app vendors entering the market each day. Learn more about what each provider offers and make sure they can answer these three questions:  Do you build that can integrate with my hotel brand app? Hotel brands need access to a complete SDK to make app functionality live within their branded app.  Does your app include mobile key? Mobile key is one of the most in-demand features of a hotel app. Make sure the app integrates with many industry-wide lock vendors and hardware partners to provide a seamless experience. Does your app integrate with my existing loyalty program? Integrate your loyalty program to drive higher ROI by encouraging loyalty members to download the application. Serve more targeted offerings to increase revenue uptake and remove friction between guests and their desired on-property services.   Find out what other hoteliers are saying about mobile apps and learn more about pricing in Hotel Tech Report’s 2020 Hotel App Buyers Guide.  

Cloudbeds Review: What You Need To Know About its Hotel Management System

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

For independent hotels, hostels, bed-and-breakfasts and boutiques, it often makes sense to reduce the options under consideration and select a single solution to help you manage your hotel. The best hotel management system (HMS) can open up new channels to bring in more revenue, reduce the stress of day-to-day operations and generally make your life better by giving you back more time in the day so you can focus on what matters: providing the kind of experience that inspires positive reviews and repeat guests. One of the more popular HMS vendors is Cloudbeds, which lands at number three on our popularity index. The Cloudbeds ratings and reviews summary shows relatively strong ratings across the board. It maintains an average 4.1 rating with verified customers, as well as a 96% recommendation rate. Let's jump in and see what Cloudbeds is all about.     What Cloudbeds Does: The Operating System For Your Hotel   The Cloudbeds hotel management software is built to be a reliable, steadfast ally  across all aspects of your hotel. Think of it like the operating system for your hotel. Always on and always there, it’s an all-in-one solution that reaches across your operation to make things run more smoothly and more profitably.  "I love that Cloudbeds is entirely vertically integrated so there's no need to get one company to handle the booking engine, one for the channel manager, one for the PMS.  Cloudbeds has it all." ~Hostel Manager in Chicago (read more reviews) For hoteliers who don’t want to deal with legacy systems or stitch together a patchwork of technologies from multiple vendors, a single integrated system is the way to go. The benefits of a single solution are threefold: Accuracy. A single solution works seamlessly, ensuring that data is accurately and quickly shared across all systems. A patchwork of vendors leads to potential errors due to data not transferring from one system to the other.  Sanity. Multiple vendors means multiple contracts, multiple logins, and multiple interfaces. All of which complicates your life -- not to mention makes on-boarding new staff even more challenging. Cost & value. A single vendor can save your money by offering complete functionality at a better rate than you would get from multiple vendors.   Who Cloudbeds is For: Mostly Independents   Of the 20,000 customers Using Cloudbeds, the vast majority of our independent properties, boutiques, and breakfasts and hostels. Vacation rentals also use the software, although that's generally limited to professional operators with more than one property. That's not to say that multi-property brands aren't using Cloudbeds. It's just that those brands tend to have more complex use cases that don't easily align with the product’s core functionality.   Why Cloudbeds: the 5 Essential Features   As a single solution, Cloudbeds’ hotel management software combines six core capabilities that support specific objectives: A booking engine to take reservations right on your website. Your hotel website is your calling card, it’s your online billboard showcasing everything that makes your property unique. It's an essential part of your hotel’s identity. With a booking engine that turns lookers into bookers, you can reduce leakage to OTAs and capture more commission-free direct bookings. This also means that you own the guest relationship. So you can do things like send scheduled pre-arrival emails with property information and potential upsells (room upgrades, in-destination activities), as well as post-stay emails to encourage more reputation-building online reviews.   The Cloudbeds booking engine interface remains consistent across devices.    Other valuable functionality of a hotel booking engine: works on smartphones and tablets so that your property is bookable across all devices; promo codes so you can optimize digital marketing for conversions; upsells within the booking flow to improve your total revenue per available room (tRevPAR); and integrated payments so you can stop taking payments manually.    A channel manager to distribute your hotel widely. If most of your bookings come from a single channel, an unexpected downtick in demand can prove disastrous. It's a best practice to diversify demand by getting your hotel in front of as many potential guests as possible. That's what the Cloudbeds channel manager does: it distributes your inventory across hundreds of OTAs and metasearch sites -- over 300, in fact -- and lets you set channel-specific rates so you focus first on the most profitable channels, i.e. those with high demand and low commission. This exposure means that you can earn revenue from from far-flung countries that you may not otherwise be able to access. For example, getting your hotel in front of Chinese travelers via Ctrip, a popular OTA in that country. Cloudbeds is also a preferred software partner with Airbnb, so you can distribute your property on one of the most-trafficked travel portals.   Front desk software to manage daily operations. Guaranteed connectivity is a top benefit of going with an integrated hotel property management system like Cloudbeds. With the PMS communicating clearly and reliably with your booking engine and channel manager, you avoid overbookings or lost reservations…and all the related stress.      The Cloudbeds Property Management System is a breeze to use: From the centralized calendar view, simply drag and drop reservations to check them in and out. To adjust reservations, click in from the calendar view. Each reservation is tied to a guest profile, which puts guest data at your staff’s fingertips so they can track preferences and recognize repeat guests. On the marketing side, the PMS automates your guest communications, so you can send pre-stay emails (with upsells) and post-stay review requests to build your online reputation. There’s also an available housekeeping module to keep tabs on room cleanliness and prioritize housekeeping. "The look is simple, but it can do everything.  Drag and drop reservations from room to room.  Edit pricing in seconds.  Need client info for a checkout? It's in front of your eyes in seconds.  There's no waiting for anything to load.  It's there.  And software rollouts happen seamlessly." ~Boutique Hotel Owner in Czechia (Read more reviews of the Cloudbeds PMS)   A revenue management module to optimize your rates and identify trends. Smaller properties usually don't have the budget or need to deploy a full-featured revenue management solution, such as IDeaS or Duetto. But that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from one! Cloudbeds puts pricing automation and business intelligence in the hands of hotels of all sizes with its Pricing Intelligence Engine (PIE).  The pricing automation is really powerful. Rather than manually setting the rates in response to property, market, and competitor dynamics, PIE offers rule-based automation. You set a rule -- such as increasing your rates by 10% when you hit 80% occupancy -- and the system will do it automatically, even if you're out of the office. Alternatively, you can set the system to trigger a notification when a specific threshold is met, Such as your competitor dropping it's rates by 5%. The next time you login, you can review these alerts for potential action. PIE also gives hoteliers access to a robusts data dashboard, which combines data from your HMS with local market data. You'll be able to track and analyze important data, such as your occupancy rate, RevPAR, ADR, and total nights sold, alongside relevant market data to benchmark your performance and identify upcoming opportunities.    A hotel app marketplace to connect your HMS to your existing tools and software. Even with an integrated system, you may find other solutions that you want to integrate with the core hotel management system. The main benefit of direct integration is seamless data sync. Let's say, for example, you want to send a reputation builder email from TrustYou at check-out. Without an integration, you would then have to pull that information from your PMS, log into TrustYou, and schedule. It makes a huge difference when these sorts of things can be automated -- no matter how busy you are, you can rest assured that workflows are executed as planned. To see if your current technology play is well with Cloudbeds, check out the list of integrations on the Cloudbeds Marketplace first.     Cloudbeds Pricing, Implementation and Hotelier Reviews   The Cloudbeds pricing model adjusts on a sliding scale based on the number of active rooms on each property. Then, there are several tiers that include different levels of functionality: Essentials, Plus, Premier, and Enterprise. You'll need to upgrade if you're looking to take advantage of things such as advanced rate plans, customized booking engines, housekeeping management, and the integrations marketplace. In addition, the PIE revenue, payment processing, and groups module are all add-on features for an additional fee. For implementation, Cloudbeds provides ongoing training available online via scheduled training sessions. With these 24/7 training options, it becomes much easier to onboard new staff quickly and effectively. Several verified reviews of Cloudbeds emphasize the strength of the company’s training and support, mentioning “quick support via email,” “great customer service,” and “easy to learn” with “lots of tutorials available before calling support.”  Cloudbeds has one of the best help and training centers in the industry with detailed step-by-step tutorials guiding users through key functionality to optimize their businesses. Want a custom price quote for your property? Get Pricing   Conclusions: Is Cloudbeds Worth It?   If your hotel is looking to consolidate into a single platform, Cloudbeds is a popular choice. You'll need to consider your data migration and be sure to get everything in writing so you can confidently trust that the company will deliver successful migration without interrupting your operations. It's also possible to select only certain portions of the Cloudbeds portfolio. If that's what you're considering, be extra sure that your existing technology will integrate seamlessly. Part of the value of an integrated hotel management system from a single vendor is that it eliminates the worry of uneven syncs. Another consideration: fast-growth companies, such as Cloudbeds, can sometimes mean that implementation and customer support can be uneven. While the majority of HTR reviews are positive, it's best to ask for yourself and push for clear terms related to implementation and ongoing training. Overall, if you're looking for a powerful hotel management system that costs less than securing technology from multiple vendors Cloudbeds is a solid choice. Fewer tools to manage means less time wasted switching between tools and streamlined training and onboarding for new staff through a single vendor. You’ll also benefit from seamless communication between tools so there's no latency or errors. And, since Cloudbeds integrates with other solutions, you can customize as your needs evolve. That gives you one of the most valuable assets: flexibility to grow and adapt as you see fit. Ready to try Cloudbeds? Get a Free Demo  

100+ Hotel Trends to Watch in 2020

by
Jordan Hollander
1 week 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.   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!