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The 20 Biggest Travel Technology Innovations of the Last 50 Years

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 days ago

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

30 Ways Hospitality Experience Builds Character

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 days ago

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

Event Planning 101: How to Plan an Amazing Event

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

From ticket revenue to customer retention and more effective sales prospecting, event management and corporate events can be extraordinarily lucrative for hospitality venues like hotels and restaurants. From tradeshows to nonprofit fundraising galas, events are the lifeblood of many hotel businesses but they can also be quite stressful.  They drain attention and resources from your organization in ways that can be counterproductive if you don't plan properly.  Weddings are the most stressful type of event since they're so high pressure - but with big risk comes big rewards. To avoid the downfalls of a poorly-produced event, you must be organized and thorough, using all the tools at your disposal to deliver a successful event. In our Event Planning 101 guide, we’ll walk you through a framework for throwing an amazing event. It may seem intimidating at first, but the comforting truth of event planning is that organizational skills go a long way.  We'll walk you through everything from hiring an event manager to leveraging event management software, planning for special events, and even how to approach large events.   Define Your Goals and Objectives Your event’s goals may seem obvious to you -- but those goals may actually be quite different among your stakeholders. Before you begin planning, you need to get everyone in one room and on the same page. Questions to ask: Why are we organizing this event? What are our expectations from the event? How will we measure its success? Where are there overlaps or conflicts when it comes to expectations and measurements of success? Is there anyone else not in this room that should be? Is there anyone in this room that shouldn’t be? By gathering stakeholders and taking the time to identify your main goals and objectives, you’ll have a strong foundation that leads to a more successful event. Otherwise, you risk a muddled event that tries to be too many things to too many people -- and ends up pleasing no one.  Once you establish your goals, write them down for clarity. Then, when you face the inevitable conflict down the line, you can refer back to your agreed-upon objectives. They become your ally to prevent the event from drifting too far away from its intended purposes. Also, each goal should have a quantifiable metric that you can use to evaluate success during the post-event debrief. Now, with goals in hand, you can work backward to ensure the event is structured to deliver for attendees and corporate stakeholders.   Assign Roles and Responsibilities Once goals are defined, it’s time to assign roles and responsibilities. Clarity is one of the most valuable things an event planner can provide. In fact, everything you do should be centered around reducing ambiguity! You want everyone to be on the same page, with clear expectations and tasks so that there’s no confusion about who’s doing what and when.  Ideally, these will be hashed out during the same kickoff meeting so that everyone is aligned around their tasks moving forward. As the event planning lead, it’s beneficial to have these assignments so that you can spread the workaround and continue to engage stakeholders in the event’s success.  Depending on the event type, and available internal resources, you may want to consider creating subcommittees, each with their own lead. This structures the event planning process and clarifies roles: Vendor management: This team handles everything related to third parties, such as securing a venue, finding a caterer, and handling A/V, among others. Programming: This group is responsible for building out the agenda for the event, including creating sessions and panels, securing speakers, finding entertainment, and anything else related to the event’s schedule. Marketing: This team tackles marketing and PR for the event, which includes press outreach, managing media on-site, social media, and more. Sponsorships: This group will bring on external sponsors that can help reduce the costs of the event.   Set Your Budget Once you have the parameters of the event and a rough outline of everyone’s roles and responsibilities, you’ll be in a better position to establish the event’s budget. You’ll be able to identify opportunities for sponsorship, as well as other revenue streams that can help cover the costs of the event. Some may be monetary and others may be “in-kind” contributions that trade publicity for donating goods and services. Some expenses to include in your budget: Venue. Include all related costs here, not just the venue rental fee: any required insurance, A/V costs...everything that has to do with the venue. If you’re doing an exhibition, also break out those costs. Design. Each venue comes with associated design costs: chairs, tables, flowers, etc. This is where you set aside money to spruce up the venue to create an atmosphere that matches your event.     Programming. Will you be paying keynote speakers? What about a band for the evening entertainment? Factor in all costs related to executing your desired programming schedule. F&B. Attendees must be fed and appropriately boozed up! You’ll want to align your spending here with the style and vibe of the event so that you aren’t overdoing it (or worse, underdelivering on expectations). Of course, if you’re doing a virtual event, one benefit is that you can delete this line item. Branding and Marketing. Every event requires attendees. What will you do to build buzz and sell tickets? Your investment here may also include a publicist, paid marketing, and organic marketing on your owned media channels. Staff Costs. Whether it's bartenders and servers or the cost of travel and accommodations for your support staff, you have to budget for all your staffing costs. You may want to include the relative cost of your own internal staff as well; that just depends on if you want to have a true cost accounting of the event. Contingency. Go ahead and add a 5-10% buffer to your budget for those unexpected costs that always pop up... You may also want to include any expected income so that you can evaluate profitability (or, for a company event, your break-even point). Even if you’re offering free tickets, put a price on those tickets to put a price on the event’s value to attendees. This provides a full accounting of the event so you know where you stand.   Consider Virtual Options As we all know, the global pandemic upended the events industry. But there’s been a silver lining: event organizers became focused on improving the virtual experience, something that most events had left on the backburner.  Today, event organizers must consider if (and then how) to integrate a virtual component into their events. So, whether it’s a virtual-only event or a hybrid event that blends in-person and online, you have a variety of tools at your disposal. Here are two to consider, each of which allows you to seamlessly integrate a virtual component into your event strategy: Cvent. Virtual events are now a major part of the Cvent hospitality portfolio. The Virtual Events platform includes an attendee hub for enhanced networking, scheduling meetings, video breakout rooms, and downloadable content.  Bizzaboo. This platform supports virtual, hybrid, and in-person events, which means that you can develop a broad slate of event types without having to splash out for new tools. Bizzaboo also has many integrations so that you can customize your experience. Attendify. With full browser-based streaming capabilities built right in, Attendify’s platform makes the virtual part of your event just as engaging as the in-person. There’s a branded community homepage, interactive sessions, and robust networking -- all of which make a virtual event come to life.   Lockdown the Logistics Even the most accomplished event planner needs time to plan a successful event. Give yourself at least 3 months' lead time, with an ideal window of around 6 months. When setting your date, don’t rush. Carefully consider public holidays (both in your host country and those that attendees may come from), look at competing industry events, and also take a look at school calendars. You’ll also want to reach out to your programming pillars, such as speakers and entertainment at the center of your event.  Then, once you have a few dates in mind (one target and two backups), reach out to your venue shortlist. You may find that the date actually helps you narrow down your choices. If you find that your top venue can’t accommodate your preferred dates, then you can either look elsewhere or circle back with your stakeholders to see if there’s flexibility. While you have to decide this for yourself, it’s often better to go with the ideal date than the ideal venue, as getting schedules to line up perfectly is nearly impossible!   Make Your Master Plan This is your “bible.” It’s the go-to document that should answer everyone’s questions. It’s the single source of truth. It can be updated over time, so be sure file names reflect the latest update and you have periodic reminders out for people to access the latest version Your master plan will build out all parts of your event: Venue, catering and vendor logistics Speaker and entertainment management, including contracts, travel and other logistics Estimated timeline, broken down by deliverable and task owner Registration management (both pre-show and on-site) Printing and signage Marketing and PR plan Programing, activities and entertainment Contact information for external vendors Think of this as your “save me time answering emails about every last detail” document. Not that there won’t be lots of emails! It’s just that you want to offer as much “self serve” information as possible so that you can focus on the important stuff.   Build Your Brand  Branding helps you define what the event stands for, who it speaks to, and what attendees can expect from it. Make sure that you reflect all of those things in your event’s brand! You want to have something that is both unique and relevant, a brand that resonates with your audience and ladders up to your company’s overarching brand voice and mission. When doing well, an event’s branding can withstand the test of time and become an institution. Think of Dreamforce in San Francisco or SXSW in Austin. A conference can become a pillar of your company’s entire marketing, branding, and retention strategy. Of course, even smaller events benefit from branding, which can make events seem more premium, exclusive, and intimate. Wield the power of the brand wisely!   Identify Partners to Amplify Success Once you’ve branded your event, you can go out to partners and sponsors that can make it even more successful. This approach depends on your event type. With for-profit events, sponsors may be revenue-generators. Or, with corporate customer conferences, they could simply help the event break even. For event planners that work with multiple companies, local partnerships with other small businesses can improve your margins, make your marketing more effective and/or improve the overall quality of your event offerings.  Keep in mind that the right partnerships can amplify your success in other ways. Partners can also become advocates for your event within other communities. For instance, you could partner with one of your biggest customers to participate in your annual marquee event, which amplifies the cross-marketing opportunities. The main criteria when selecting partners for your event is alignment: Make sure any brand you choose matches your own brand’s voice and aligns with your event’s purpose and tone.   Craft Your PR and Marketing Plans Once your event has a defined purpose, a clear master plan, a solid brand, and a slate of co-partners and/or sponsors, you’re ready to craft your PR and marketing plans. Here are the core elements to include: Earned media. This is your media and public relations plan. How will you reach out to the media and get them engaged with your event? Will you host the media on-site? What relevant stories can you use as story hooks? How can you engage speakers to amplify your PR efforts? Owned media. This is your company blog, social media handles, email newsletters, customer lists, and any internal employee networks. What content will you create before, during, and after the event? How will you leverage this content into earned and paid media? Paid media. This is all paid marketing activities. Which channels do your target attendees use most? Where can you find the best bang for your buck? Who will be managing the creative, copy, and ad placements?   Increase Meeting Frequency Closer to Event Meetings are the most effective way to convene the team and work through last-minute issues. Increase the frequency of your meetings as the event approaches so that you don’t have any nasty surprises. See the next point.   Define Your Day of Processes and Run-of-Show As you increase the frequency of meetings, you’ll also want to clearly define your day-of processes. This advance planning reduces surprises, increases clarity, and lowers stress (kind of). When in doubt, refer to the run-of-show! Your run-of-show should outline all relevant details, putting all essential information in a single spot so that you can focus less on conveying information and more on managing the event. Things can and will go wrong; you need to automate everything you can to give you the time and headspace to tackle the inevitable curveball. A run-of-show has a few must-haves: Contact info. Use the front page to highlight the contact information of the team leads. Clearly identify who is in charge of what so that the right person gets the query first, without having to chase someone else down. Schedule. An hourly breakdown of what’s happening where, who’s in charge, and what needs to be done by when. This is a project manager’s organizational dream!  Breakdown. The end of the event rarely marks the end of the work. Outline everything that happens after the show ends to make sure that breakdown happens in an orderly and timely manner.  Depending on the complexity of your event, you might want to have a run-of-show for each room/stage that includes a breakdown of everything happening each day. Then, pull those individual documents into a master run-of-show that makes the day of the event go smoothly.   Don’t Brush Off the Post-Mortem Pulling off a successful event is stressful --  and rewarding! Even so, no event is without its flaws. Don't brush off the post-event team meeting to discuss what went well and what could be improved. You must do this while it's fresh; otherwise, people will forget and the insights will fade.  Questions to ask your team: What went well?  What went poorly? If we were going to do this again, what would change and what wouldn’t? A proper post-mortem also includes attendee feedback. You may discover some areas that you hadn’t considered before or some issues that were overlooked. You also will get plenty of valuable insight into making the next event even better!  

The 8 Best Hotel News Sites to Get Your Daily Fix

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

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

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

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

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

The 30 Hottest Hotel Designs of 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

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

Net Operating Income (NOI): What is it? How Do You Calculate it?

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

We love metrics in hospitality and real estate. From RevPAR to ADR, tracking key metrics are what allows us to understand our performance, improve operations and ultimately drive profitability for management and owners. But what's the point of working so hard operating a hotel if you are not making money once all expenses are paid? Cash flow is king! That’s where net operating income comes in: it shows you how well you’re doing at managing expenses and turning top-line revenue into bottom-line profit. In this article, you’ll see the value of NOI by learning both how to calculate it and how to translate it into operational improvements at your hotel. What is NOI (Net Operating Income)? NOI, which stands for net operating income, is the amount of money left after you have paid out all of your expenses. It's a profitability metric that shows you how well a hotel operates, from both a total revenue standpoint and total expenses standpoint. NOI is less prone to manipulation than other metrics, as you can’t really perform too many tricks to inflate income or reduce expenses. You may also see this metric as net operating profit, or NOP.   Understanding the NOI Formula (NOI Calculations) NOI = Gross Operating Income - Operating Expenses and can be found at the very bottom of your income statement.  Property owners focus on this metric because it tells them a lot about property value, potential rate of return on investment and even impacts financing costs like mortgage payments since banks and lenders want to know that there's enough income to cover interest payments. NOI can also be expressed as a percentage of total revenue, which is how hotel management can easily identify upward and downward trends in profitability. In that case, the formula is: NOI = (Gross Income - Operating Expenses/Gross Income)*100. Gross income would include all potential rental income a property generates, from both rooms and non-room lines of business. Operating costs are all expenses necessary to maintain and operate the business. Among these expenses are insurance, brand fees, property management fees, utilities, property taxes, repair cost and maintenance (even preventive maintenance), payroll, commissions and anything else related to day-to-day operations.  Not included here are any expenses related to debt payments, income taxes, capital expenditures, depreciation and amortization.  Given the relationships in the formula, you can increase net operating income in two ways: increase revenue or reduce expenses. Ideally, you'd like to do both! If you successfully increase income and reduce expenses, you'll see a much more powerful impact on NOI than doing one over the other. Other factors that influence NOI include a property’s ADR, the market segment it serves and the property’s characteristics, such as age, amenities and location -- all things that affect a property’s income potential and overall cost structure.    Why is NOI so Important to Commercial Real Estate Owners? Every facet of real estate investment is based around NOI since investment properties are valued and compared by a metric called capitalization rate (cap rate).  We'll get deeper into cap rate in a future article but the value of a hotel can generally be measured by dividing NOI by cap rate.  Let's say a hotel does $1M in NOI and it's located in downtown San Francisco with a cap rate of 6%.  That hotel's value would likely hover around 1,000,000/.06 or $16.7M.  See why NOI is so important to hotel owners? But wait, there's more.  It's not only real estate investors care about NOI - lenders typically base their willingness to lend on the amount of earnings before interest (EBIT) that a property can generate.  EBIT is equal to NOI + interest expense + taxes.  Whether you own a hotel, rental property or own any other kind of commercial property, understanding the net operating income formula (and how to grow NOI) is critical to your success. Ultimately we use a lot of terms and acronyms in real estate investing but ultimately we want to know how we're doing relative to comparable properties.  Understanding NOI informs our investment decisions and are more important now than ever before. How to Influence Your Hotel’s NOI Since NOI is a fundamental metric for calculating a hotel's ability to generate profit, it correlates directly to hotel valuation -- and thus a focus for owners and management: Hotels with healthy/growing NOI will be valued more highly than those with low/diminishing NOI. And those with negative numbers? That would be Net Operating Loss, or NOL. Not a place ownership wants to be! Here are three tactics to influence your hotel’s net operating income and make your boss happy! Expense Reduction's Impact on NOI NOI benchmarks operational efficiency and helps you identify areas for improvement in your hotel operations. A simple way to turn NOI into a powerful tool for expense management is to track variable costs as percentages of revenue. You won't do this with your fixed costs, as those don’t fluctuate with occupancy. It’s your variable costs, which go up or down alongside occupancy, that you have direct control over each day.  For instance, rent, management payroll and other overhead expenses are fixed; they don’t change each month and you have little control over them. But, for expenses that you can influence, such as front-line labor, linen usage, third-party commissions and cleaning supplies, you can control these on a daily basis.   By tracking these variable costs as a percentage of revenue, you can easily see trends and catch runaway costs before they become problematic and depress NOI. For the most precise control over expenses, monitor your NOI on a daily basis so that you can adjust operations on the fly and keep your finger on the pulse of profitability.  RevPAR's Impact on NOI Growth Of course, increasing revenue also has a positive impact on NOI. After all, you can only cut expenses so far because each property has fixed overhead costs. And aggressively slashing costs can negatively impact the guest experience -- a short sighted move that ends up making it more difficult to maintain desired occupancy levels. Work closely with revenue management and marketing to create compelling campaigns that are targeted to the right people. That means that you aren’t just discounting rates in pursuit of occupancy. You are carefully marketing your hotel in a way that attracts the best guests who are paying rates that don’t jeopardize your pricing power.  Marketing to your most loyal guests is a great way to both boost occupancy and preserve ADR. These guests are already familiar with your hotel, so there’s less education needed. And, even better, these guests are often less price-sensitive than transient guests booking via a third-party. So you have an easier path to booking, one that doesn’t require “race to the bottom” discounting.  NOI Can Benefit Greatly From Upsells and Ancillary Add-ons The third tactic to influence net operating income is to increase income from other areas of the property beyond just putting more heads in beds. This can include a variety of initiatives, such as focusing on upselling guests after booking and offering incentives to book packages that include ancillary services.  You should also do what you can to maximize revenue from guests once they have arrived on property. You've got a relatively captive audience; thoughtfully optimize the on-property experience to entice guests to spend more during their stay. This could include things like a generous happy hour at the bar, merchandising efforts to highlight your property’s culinary delights or a welcome drink that gets guests ready to grab a bite.  NOI During A Pandemic or Downturn Major asterisk: the pandemic has dramatically restricted the ability of hotels to increase revenue. There's not just lower demands but there's also limited capacity. In this environment, NOI is even more valuable. To stay afloat with revenue harder to come by, you must assiduously track expenses. Those that carefully manage expenses will be more likely to survive than those without a strong focus on NOI.  

What is Property Management? The Beginner's Guide to Building Your Empire

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

Curious about property management? Whether you own an investment property, you're a property manager - or even just looking to break into the industry - you’ll gain a solid introduction to property management in this article. By the end of this page, you’ll know the differences between a property management company and an individual property manager and understand the benefits of using one or the other. Let’s get started!   Property Management Defined In short, property management is the operation and oversight of real estate assets. Property managers can work with residential properties, such as apartments, condominiums, townhouses, or detached single-family homes, or commercial properties, like shopping centers and office buildings. Property management serves as the bridge between the property owner and the tenant, and the property manager often handles maintenance and physical upkeep in addition to driving revenue and interfacing with tenants or guests. Types of Rental Properties When it comes to residential rentals, properties that look the same on the outside can be managed in completely different ways. Residential rentals can be split into two categories: short-term rentals and traditional long-term rentals. Depending on the goals and preferences of homeowners, they might decide to focus on short-term or long-term rentals. Short-term rental properties are made available for stays less than one month in duration. Some short-term rentals allow nightly reservations while others focus on weekly stays. Short-term rentals are an alternative to hotels for vacations or business trips; they’re fully furnished and usually come stocked with linens, toiletries, and kitchenware. The phrase “short-term rental” often refers to urban apartments that allow short stays, while “vacation rental” or “vacation home” refers to detached houses available for short stays. Long-term rentals, on the other hand, generally only allow stays longer than one month, and it’s not uncommon to find traditional rentals that have a 1-year minimum leasing term. These properties are usually unfurnished. Tenants can bring their own furniture, set up their own utilities, and make the place feel like home with their own decor.   Property Management Structures In some cases, the property owner manages their own property, but many owners choose to outsource the hassle of property management activities to a professional, whether that be a real estate agent, an individual property manager, or a property management company. In all of these structures, the owner pays the property manager a fee or commission for their services and pricing varies based on the level of service provided.  Some service providers only handle key hand-offs while others may manage multiple units within a larger multi-family complex and handle other facets of the operation such as: listing sites,  maintenance requests, rental income accounting, setting up VR management software and even managing housekeeping services. In popular leisure destinations, it’s common to see real estate brokers that double as property managers. Why? Many of the broker’s clients are purchasing vacation rental homes that they want to rent out during the parts of the year they’re not using the property. These broker-managers offer deep expertise in the local market and in the real estate and property management fields. Other owners might choose to hire an individual property manager to handle all property management activities. An individual property manager will be dedicated to the property and know all the ins and outs of the property, the market, and the tenants or guests. Professional property management companies also bring a wealth of experience and access to relationships with construction companies, travel agents, and other relevant connections. Some property management companies focus on a specific niche, like condos at a specific ski resort, while others manage hundreds of vacation homes of various sizes and price ranges across the world.   A Day in the Life of a Property Manager What exactly does a property manager do? Whether a company or an individual manages the property, the operational tasks will be quite similar. Property managers have two main responsibilities: maintain the physical property and handle the business aspects of the property’s operations. From a maintenance perspective, the property manager would respond to any alerts of damage or maintenance issues. If a tenant or guest notifies the property manager that there’s a leak in the bathroom, the property manager will contact a plumber and ensure the issue is resolved. The property manager will also schedule seasonal maintenance, such as winterizing pipes or cleaning gutters. The property manager is also the link between the owner and the tenant or guest. At short-term rental properties, the property manager advertises the property, manages reservations, ensures guest satisfaction, and schedules cleanings between stays. At long-term rental properties, the property manager also advertises the property, but rather than accepting reservations, they screen potential tenants, manage lease contracts, and bill tenants for rent payments.   Why use a Property Management Company? Property owners who want to outsource property management must decide whether to use a broker, an individual property manager or a property management company. Property management companies can offer several important benefits that deliver additional value for the owner and the overall business: expertise, connections, and scale. Property management companies that work with dozens or hundreds of properties and have years of experience can bring valuable expertise to the table, especially for short-term rentals. These companies know how to market properties online, delight guests, and provide great experiences. Their operations are a well-oiled machine, and they know the nuances of hospitality, marketing, and legal requirements in the area. In addition to operational expertise, property management companies have relationships with vendors and contractors who work closely alongside them. If your property needs maintenance or decor advice, the property management company can likely snag a discount on these services. Not only that, but if the property management company provides cleaning services, furnishings, or linens, they often receive bulk discounts by operating at a larger scale, which means the owner can save money too. While property management companies can deliver a lot of benefits for owners, it’s important to remember that these benefits come at a literal cost in the form of a management fee or commission. The owner must balance their own financial goals with the efficiencies that come with using a property management company.   Property Management Licenses and Credentials Another reason that owners choose to work with property managers is that many local municipalities require specific licenses or credentials. Some states or cities require property managers to hold community management licenses or special operating licenses for short-term rentals. The application process for these licenses can be complicated and lengthy, and a professional property manager will know secrets to a successful application. Besides operating licenses, some states mandate that property management companies also hold broker’s licenses, which allows them to advertise properties via the multiple listing service (MLS) and hold showings at rental properties. Whether you’re investing in real estate for the first time or considering launching your own property management company, you can find exciting business opportunities with short-term and long-term rentals. What else do you want to learn about property management? Let us know!  

Here’s How Hoteliers Can Attract New Travelers in the Post-COVID Era

by
Kamesh Shukla
3 weeks ago

COVID-19 has had deep and far-reaching impact on the tourism industry. And, while the world waits for a universally-safe vaccine, most businesses – especially hotels – are starting to plan for the future. How will consumer tastes change as a result of the pandemic? The “new guest” of the immediate post-COVID era will have different needs and expectations of their hotel stay. Property managers can start building services and amenities that meet the demands of the first influx of travelers to arrive after the lifting of COVID travel restrictions now – because only by investing in the right tools and technology today can you get an edge on your competition then. Here’s how traveler expectations have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and what your hotel needs to do to win more bookings in the future.   Who is the Traveler of the Future? Travelers are paying close attention to how all brands – and especially hotels – are communicating and reacting to the pandemic. Brands that are perceived as “insensitive” to keeping guests safe, or seen as not taking precautions seriously, will be punished in the post-COVID era. There are a few data points from RateGain that demonstrate this point. First and foremost, guests are putting health and safety first. Hotels can expect to see a 4x increase in questions around property restrictions and safety procedures. If your property can’t give a satisfying answer to how it’s keeping guests safe, your brand will suffer: 60% of travelers punished brands for being insensitive in their response to the pandemic. The guest of the future is also turning to social media to learn more about your hotel’s safety protocols, as well as room availability. RateGain found that 65% of Indian travelers prefer getting brand updates on Facebook. In fact, few travelers are turned off by brands that advertised during the pandemic – 92% of those surveyed by RateGain said they could understand the economic stress the pandemic caused and didn’t feel that it was inappropriate to advertise during the crisis. What does this mean for your hotel? The post-pandemic guest is looking for balance in the way your property communicates. More communication is definitely preferred – guests want to hear from your hotel regarding availability, safety protocols, and opening/closing restrictions. This guest wants your property to acknowledge the severity of the crisis and to show how your team is taking every precaution to stay open to travelers responsibly. This guest is open-minded when it comes to marketing messages; they won’t punish your property for continuing to run promotions, so long as you demonstrate you’re putting the guest’s needs first and foremost. On social media especially, your marketing team must strike the right balance between promotion and precaution.   Building the Digital Experience Before the pandemic, guests interacted with a hotel brand primarily through the physical experience (e.g., how comfortable was the bed?) and the service experience (e.g., how easy was the check-in process?). Now, there’s a third layer through which the hotel will leave an impression with a guest: the digital experience. All three pillars will be important to meeting the needs of the post-pandemic traveler, but hotels are currently least equipped to capitalize on the digital experience. The digital experience incorporates technology and online platforms to meet guest needs virtually – before, during and after their stay. The digital experience is the primary way to make a post-pandemic guest feel seen, heard, and cared for by the hotel’s physical and service experiences. Here’s what this means in practice.   Drive Revenue by Prioritizing Guest Safety Integrating this digital experience with a property’s amenities and service offerings is key to driving revenue. For a general manager, winning the guest of the future starts by clearly following global health and safety standard operating procedures – and communicating these measures as transparently as possible using social media and email to win guest trust. Digital tools can simultaneously reduce variable costs at the property while meeting guest demand for social distancing measures. In your operations, implement touchless check-in and contactless room-service for your F&B team. Shut down buffet-style dining options and add healthy meals to your menu. Augment the service experience with immunity-boosting in-room snack options. And, evolve the physical experience by creating a safe in-room experience and offering a digital concierge. These measures both personalize the guest experience and drive revenue by supplying amenities that guests actually want. Sales and marketing teams should focus their effort on improving your hotel’s reputation using guest feedback. This team must communicate what is being done to improve safety at your property as well as to promote user-generated content, providing social “proof” that your hotel is being honest and transparent in its effort to keep guests safe. Harness positive customer reviews to win trust with travelers by showing, rather than telling. Make sure you’re regularly updating your social media profiles, OTA listings, and website with all precautions your property is taking. Finally, revenue managers will play an outsized role in attracting new travelers following the pandemic. New data from RateGain shows how the market has become much more dynamic since COVID-19 started:  A hotel changes its room rates 5x per day 60% of users seek to access content via mobile 45% of activities can be automated using technology That technology can lead to 50% cost savings 26% of work is accomplished outside traditional work hours What do these numbers mean for revenue managers? The digital experience isn’t just for guests: revenue managers need a reliable rate intelligence platform that can integrate with your existing Revenue Management system to optimize rate shopping and monitor real-time rate changes, improving your price strategy accordingly. You also must be able to capture mobile-first guests – otherwise, you’re missing a massive competitive advantage.   Three Ingredients to Attracting Post-COVID Travelers It’s hard to know when the pandemic will be over, but it’s possible to start pivoting your hotel’s operations and outreach to be prepared for that inevitable eventuality. The new guest will expect to have consistent, positive service, physical and digital experiences with your hotel. Focus now on three key investments which will help your hotel win more bookings from post-pandemic travelers:  Cognitive revenue management: how can a digital revenue management tool help you optimize pricing in a dynamic market? Can you improve competitive intelligence and use booking data to show the guest you know and anticipate their needs? Smart distribution: how can your brand partner a channel manager to simplify room distribution? How can you improve discovery with OTAs and other new channels? Targeted social media: how is your brand listening to customers on Facebook and other platforms? How are you sharing your safety measures transparently? How can you build your brand reputation using customer reviews and other user-generated content?  By focusing on the digital experience, your hotel can drive revenue and increase brand trust with the first post-pandemic travelers.  

5 Ways Hotel Technology Can Make Your Business More Efficient

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

Running a hotel is no easy task and hotel operations are insanely complex which is why hotel management companies are required to sit between hotel brands and hotel owners. Between managing rates and reservations on dozens of channels, keeping your teams in sync across multiple shifts, assigning rooms across various room types, and, most importantly, ensuring that guests are happy, there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. And what about keeping the physical building in good shape? Organizing all of your SOPs and actioning all of these daily tasks is barely humanly possible, so how can you make sure your hotel succeeds? With the right hotel technology, you can make every department more efficient, streamline your basic hotel operations, delight guests, keep your property in tip-top shape, and even increase your RevPAR. Without it, your hotel could suffer from overworked staff, dissatisfied guests, and even physical damage. Hotel tech might seem intimidating if you’re just starting to explore the possibilities, so in this article, we’ll break down how technology can prevent things from going wrong in several hotel departments.   1. Streamline & Sync Your Presence Across Hotel Booking Sites Guests today book across dozens of hotel booking sites and the booking journey is extremely complex.  Some will book on your hotel website and others on a 3rd party OTA.  Others lean on their travel agents to book on their behalf via GDS.  A modern hotel PMS like Jonas Chorum sits at the center of reservations processes and acts as your property's single source of truth with regards to inventory management.  Without a modern PMS you risk poor connections with key systems.  A bad connection with your channel manager could lead to overbooking and a weak connection with your RMS means that you are likely losing revenue from inaccurate pricing. A modern cloud-based PMS like Jonas Chorum also helps your team collaborate on reservations.  Your call center agents can quickly access and manage current bookings.  Your sales team can check to see which inventory is available and can be promised to new groups.  Your front desk agents use the PMS to create last-minute walk-in bookings.   2. Optimize Front Desk Agent Workflows with a Cloud PMS What if your front desk had no computers? Not only would the check-in process be tedious, but there are also so many opportunities for the check-in to go wrong. How would a front desk agent know which rooms are clean? How would they know about special requests? How would they search for local recommendations? A good property management system not only makes basic hotel operations more efficient for your front desk team, but it also allows the check-in process to be a positive part of the guest experience. And if you’re a hotel manager, you know that the daily hotel operations manager checklist is long enough already, so a strong property management system will allow you to automate or streamline some of these responsibilities. When a guest walks up to the front desk to check-in, your front desk staff will probably ask for their name to pull up their reservation. With a property management system in place, the front desk agent can find the guest’s booking in just a few clicks and immediately see the guest’s history, preferences, and reservation details. From there, the agent can check the guest in or out, move them to a new room, extend their stay, change their payment method, and more in seconds. Without good tech working behind the scenes, your employees would spend so much time on administrative tasks and communication that they wouldn’t be able to provide a good guest experience. You’ll save your guests from a poor front desk experience (and your front desk team’s time and energy!) when you implement an intuitive and robust property management system like Jonas Chorum.   3. Bring Teams Together with Business Intelligence and Analytics Software Managing a hotel’s finances is a difficult enough task even with technology. If your finance team needed to manually add up all of the payroll expenses, utility costs, food and beverage orders, and more, they would never catch a break! Financial software can not only keep your finance department sane, but also help you uncover trends that can prevent your hotel from losing money. Except for your finance staff, most hotel employees are blissfully unaware of the billing process. Finance staff, however, know how tedious budget season is and how time-consuming it is to invoice vendors and manage payroll. Good finance technology can save your accounting team from a mountain of work by automating payroll, creating invoice templates, and even compiling reports on the hotel’s financial activities. Rather than tracking all of your hotel’s revenue and expenses in Excel, a robust accounting system can create a P&L in a quick click of the mouse. Business intelligence isn't just about revenue management or finance, it's about bringing your department heads under one centralized roof with real-time data to empower efficient hotel administration and deliver high guest satisfaction scores.   4. Price Rooms Smarter with Revenue Tools In order to sell competitive rates, you need to have a pulse on market behavior. When are the high-demand dates? What rates are your competitors selling? Since rates change constantly, if you had to do all of this research manually, revenue managers could never keep up. Revenue management software does the heavy lifting for you by analyzing market trends to recommend the best rates for your hotel, which prevents you from leaving money on the table. Revenue management tools provide rate recommendations based on market demand and competitor rates and can update your rates automatically, which saves a lot of time. These systems are especially useful for setting rates during peak demand periods (like special events), since they save your hotel from underpriced bookings that erode your RevPAR. Of course, these systems allow you to enter your own restrictions and overrides, so you can save yourself from the risk of selling rates that are too low.   5. Maximizes the Life of FF&E with Engineering Tech Your maintenance team can’t possibly catch every leak or replace every lightbulb as soon as it goes out all on their own. The engineering team needs help from other departments (especially room attendants and front desk agents) and from technology to receive, action, and track service requests. Imagine if a housekeeper noticed that a sink was leaking in a guestroom, told a maintenance employee right away, but the maintenance employee was busy and forgot about it? A few days later, your hotel could face some costly water damage all because you didn’t have technology in place to track the maintenance issue - not to mention a potentially poor guest experience. Engineering software allows hotel staff to submit service orders that can be actioned by the maintenance team, ensuring that nothing gets overlooked or forgotten. The engineering team can even access these systems from their smartphones, so if an urgent service request comes up, someone can handle it immediately. These systems also track requests in a queue, which means team members can hold each other accountable, and you can analyze trends to see which requests occur more frequently. Armed with this knowledge, your hotel can stay in perfect condition for years to come, and guests won’t keep calling the front desk about the lightbulb that hasn’t been replaced for three days. --   By now, we hope you understand just how crucial technology is for basic hotel operations. Your hotel manager duties and responsibilities are hard enough without the added stress of service recovery, missed revenue, or maintenance issues. You can prevent all kinds of guest experience failures and potential back-of-house mistakes by implementing good hotel technology that allows you to organize, automate, and streamline tasks. Besides helping you avoid these potential hiccups, good technology will free up your time so you can think strategically and delight guests.