Let us find your solution

News & Analysis

Insights and advice from the HTR team to find the best technology to grow your hotel business

Trending Hotel Software Articles

What is a Digital Phone System and Why Should You Replace Your Current Hotel Phone System with One?

by
Gregor Herz
3 days ago

Telephones have been a key component of the hotel room for well over a century—even the most rundown motel will have one (although it might not always work!). Aside from allowing guests to communicate with the outside world from the comfort of their own room, they also enable guests to communicate with the hotel staff directly. Room service, wake-up calls, and late check-out wouldn’t exist without there being telephones in hotel rooms. But, has the time come for hotels to move on with updated technology? The general public has certainly moved on from using "standard" telephone systems in the home, with more and more people now choosing to get rid of their landline phone altogether and instead solely rely on mobile devices. The same will soon be happening in the hotel room as hotel telephones are due for an upgrade!   The Success of the Hotel Telephone Hotel telephones have well and truly stood the test of time. In fact, the first telephone call ever made in a hotel room was supposedly made by Alexander Graham Bell himself in 1877 at London’s prestigious Brown’s Hotel. Although modern telephones look and feel quite different from Bell’s initial invention, the basic technology behind them is essentially the same. This is where they have been so successful—they are reliable and recognizable. Almost everyone in the world knows how to use a telephone, even if they’ve never actually seen or used one themselves. Hoteliers don’t need to worry about hotel guests walking into a hotel room and being perplexed by the strange contraption in the corner. Additionally, telephone systems are reliable. In an industry where your reputation can make or break you, having reliable technology is essential to keeping guests happy. Hoteliers can be confident that guests will be able to order room service, make bookings, or receive their wake-up calls without complications. These were the main reasons put forward by Chad Collins, VP of sales in the Americas for VTech in a 2018 interview with Hotel Management. But, things have changed significantly since 2018—we’ve had a global pandemic that has completely changed how we view modern communication technology.   The pandemic has changed modern communication technology The global pandemic forced many of us to use digital forms of communication more than ever before. While people from older generations such as the baby boomers would have once been more comfortable with simple legacy telephone systems, they’re now using digital forms of communication more than ever before, and they love it! One of the most popular digital communication platforms, Zoom, saw a huge increase in 2020, with over 300 million participants per day communicating through the platform as of June 2020. The fears that hoteliers once had about baby boomers and other older generations not being able to use hotel room technology are now outdated. It seems that people from all generations have really embraced modern communication technologies, so it’s time for hoteliers to realize this and offer their guests a more modern telephone system too.   What is a Digital Telephone System for Hotels? A digital telephone system, such as SuitePad’s SuitePad Phone, is a telephone system that relies on modern digital technologies. While old analog systems used coaxial cables to connect telephones to the hotel’s in-built telephone system, digital telephone systems rely on modern wifi technology to carry calls through a technology called voice-over-IP (VoIP). Modern wifi systems have a huge capacity, so moving calls onto the in-built wireless network of the hotel won’t have an impact on the overall performance of the hotel wifi but makes calls much clearer and more stable than traditional telephone systems. Another defining feature of digital telephone systems for hotels is the access device. Traditional phone systems use telephones or sometimes have loudspeaker options. They use analog buttons that easily get dirty, stuck, or even broken. Digital telephone systems use digital interfaces to make calls. These could be hotel room tablets, mobile devices, or even hotel TV systems. Making calls through digital interfaces offers a much more pleasant experience for guests. They get to experience the sleek design that they’ve come to expect with using modern mobile devices such as smartphones. In addition, digital systems allow hoteliers to add an additional layer of convenience—they can add buttons that directly put guests through to certain departments in the hotel so guests don’t need to punch in any numbers at all. As the technology advances, hoteliers will also be able to offer their guests the choice of having video chat and multiple participant calls—a feature that has proven popular during the pandemic and is set to stay.   The Benefits of Digital Telephone Systems: Cheaper, Updateable, and Sales-Oriented As digital telephone systems rely on wireless technology, there’s no need to ensure the physical upkeep of the aging analog telephone system. This is a massive advantage for older hotels because the upkeep of analog telephone systems can need extensive work and cause structural damage. This also gives hoteliers more flexibility with hotel remodeling jobs as they no longer need to take into consideration the internal analog telephone system when making structural changes. Updating digital telephone systems is also very simple. All you need to do is download a simple update to the system and you’re ready to go. If your system requires a hardware upgrade, there will be no complications with installations as it runs on a wireless network—all you need to do is connect the new hardware and the system is ready to go! Hotels that install digital telephone systems will also benefit from the other features that come with digital hotel technology. For example, hotels that install hotel guest tablet systems as digital telephone systems will also profit from the other associated benefits of this technology such as interactive digital menus, the ability to send push notifications, and the implementation of a digital guest directory. These features all increase in-house sales, boosting revenue and driving a strong ROI.   The Future Outlook for Hotel Telephone Systems The pandemic has shown people what digital communication technology can really do and it’s unlikely people will revert back to analog systems of communication once the pandemic has passed. For hotel businesses, this is the green light to digitize their telephone systems to meet the demands of modern guests. With digital phone systems, hotel businesses will be able to save on expensive repair costs to their aging analog telephone systems, easily update their telephone systems as the technology advances, and offer guests the modern experience they expect from modern hotels. The hotels that install this technology first will benefit the most by getting ahead of the competition at the earliest possible time.  

The 9-Step Hotel Marketing Plan for 2021 (+FREE Worksheet)

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 days ago

Does creating a hotel marketing plan sound as intimidating as rocket science? Whether you’re opening a new hotel, rebranding an existing one, or stepping into a new hospitality industry marketing role, tackling your marketing plan is a daunting - yet essential - task. Without a plan, you could end up maxing out your marketing budget with little return on investment, targeting the wrong traveler segments, or using less than ideal technology tools. Putting in a little extra work early on will help your hotel compete effectively and efficiently, which is crucial to your hotel’s success both in periods of uncertain and strong demand. But how do you start your hotel marketing plan? Not to worry; we’ve built a simple step-by-step process for crafting hotel marketing strategies so it feels less like rocket science and more like building a Lego rocket. Just follow these nine steps and you’ll have a robust hotel marketing plan that will take your hotel to the stars (five-star reviews, that is). Looking for the pocket-sized version? Here’s your hotel marketing plan cheat sheet: Create a Google Sheet with your hotel’s benchmarking data Enhance your Google sheet with competitor data to best of your abilities Prepare a SWOT analysis Analyze CRM and PMS data to understand business mix and profitability by guest segment Present findings to your cross-functional team and ask for feedback Rate satisfaction of partners and tech vendors Create an ROI forecast for each tool Add KPI status tags Put together three budgets Let’s get started!   1. Create a Google Sheet with your hotel’s benchmarking data to set the stage for your marketing strategy The first step in developing your hotel marketing plan is to start with your current situation, from your current RevPAR to your social media following. We recommend mapping all of the below metrics in a Google Sheet, putting your hotel’s name at the top and all of these metrics, organized by category, in the rows beneath. Core metrics RevPAR: Revenue per Available Room. You can quickly find this number in your property management system. ADR: Average Daily Rate. This stat is also available in your property management system. CPA: Cost per Acquisition - i.e. what is the average cost of each reservation? This number can include OTA (online travel agencies) channel fees and any other booking fees. ROAS: Return on Ad Spend. Divide your ad spend (like Expedia TravelAds or Google Ads) by the revenue booked as a direct result of the ads to get your ROAS. Marketing as % of revenue: Add up all of your marketing spend, then divide it by your hotel’s total revenue. % direct bookings: The share of reservations that come through your direct channels (website, reservations office) versus other booking platforms like OTAs and the GDS. Brand awareness: What is your share of voice online? Different hotels calculate this metric differently but consistency is the most important thing here.  A simple calculation could be to sum up the following metrics for your compset: web traffic + review volumes across major online portals such as Booking, Expedia, Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Yelp (these will vary based on market).  Local business reviews on these portals typically equate to more traffic on those platforms. Advertising budget: List your marketing budget, including your target cost per click for ads. If you’re new to paid digital marketing, you can use a return on ad spend (ROAS) calculator to help you determine your ideal spend level, like this one. Social media marketing efficacy: List your follower counts and engagement rate for each of your social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.).  Search engine optimization (SEO) Website traffic: The number of visitors to your hotel website in a given time period. You can find your traffic stats in your Google Analytics dashboard or website’s content management system.  The hotel industry is notorious for outsourcing traffic to OTAs - organic search traffic is the most profitable traffic hoteliers can focus on because it has long-term value. Keywords: List your website’s top keywords - i.e. the search engine keywords where your website ranks highly. You can find them on Moz, SEMRush, or similar sites. Domain authority: This metric measures the likelihood that your website will rank highly in the search results. It’s a way to measure your website’s “strength.” You can look up your hotel website’s DA on Moz or SEMRush as well.  Marketers often take this metric too literally, the important thing in SEO and online marketing, in general, is looking at metrics like this in relation to competitors. Funnel performance Website conversion rate: This metric compares the number of “lookers” to “bookers” on your website. Out of 100 website visitors, how many actually make a reservation? Website metrics: page load speed, first contentful paint, bounce rate and time on site are critical indicators of what's happening in the hotel booking funnel.  Google's page experience update means that even if your not the best hotel you can still outrank those formidable competitors with a great hotel website. Booking engine conversion rate: Similar to your website conversion rate, but this metric only looks at shoppers who have actually entered your booking engine. What percentage of them end up finalizing a booking? Average basket size: The average price of a reservation added to a potential guest’s “basket.”   2. Enhance your Google sheet with competitor data to the best of your abilities Now, let’s put your benchmarking data in context by studying what your competitors are doing. First, you’ll want to gather a list of three to five close competitor properties. These competitors should be located in the same general area, offer similar amenities, and charge similar nightly rates as you do. Once you have decided on your competitor properties, add their names to the header row in the columns to the left of your own hotel’s column. Proceed to fill in the cells beneath with as much information as you have readily available. For instance, you can visit your competitor’s social media pages to take note of their follower counts.  Some information will require a bit more digging. To find stats on competitor’s keywords, pay-per-click marketing, and website traffic, you can use a tool like SEMRush, iSpionage, or Google Ads’ Auction Insights. Moz and SEMRush also let you find the Domain Authority for any website, so you can simply enter your competitors’ websites to find their DA. Other metrics, like return on ad spend, cost per acquisition, and website conversion rate, will be harder to come by. If you have good relationships with your peers at your compset hotels, you can ask your competitors if they would be willing to exchange information for educational purposes. You can also ask for insights from OTA market managers or your technology vendor representatives. Another strategy is to take demos with digital marketing agencies and ask them what metrics or performance they would expect when using their tools. For instance, if you test-drive a booking engine, they should be able to share a ballpark conversion range based on similar clients’ performance.   3. Prepare a SWOT analysis  With your competitors’ data lined up nicely next to yours, you can easily compare your performance to theirs. Using these metrics, conduct a SWOT analysis to determine how you stack up to the compset.  This exercise will help to elucidate the marketing channels that will be most impactful for your business. A SWOT analysis helps you uncover your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It may be helpful to add a new column where you can add the appropriate label to the category. For instance, if your website conversion rate is higher than your compset average, you would add “Strength” in the SWOT column. Use these prompts to help you determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats: Strengths: What does your hotel do better than your compset? What sets you apart from your compset hotels?  Weaknesses: What is your hotel not so good at? Where do you have resource limitations? For example, is your marketing budget much smaller than your compset’s budgets? Opportunities: Are only a few of your competitors doing this? For example, are none of your competitors engaging with their social media audiences?  Threats: Does your hotel have any new competitors? Is a new hotel opening down the street? Will changing market dynamics push your ADR down?   4. Analyze CRM and PMS data to understand business mix and profitability by guest segment With your SWOT complete, let’s switch gears and look at your guest segments. Generate a report in your hotel CRM or PMS that shows your performance by guest mix - i.e. revenue, room nights, ADR, booking window, and similar metrics broken down by transient guests, corporate guests, groups, consortia, and any other relevant segments.  Your Hotel CRM will also calculate RFM for various guest segments (recency, frequency, monetary value) to ensure that you focus your marketing efforts on the right channels with the right marketing messages. High-quality marketing strategies don't just think about high-level demographics when creating customer personas like age or gender - the best marketers are able to use data to understand their target audience better than the compset.  Whether you're running display ads like remarketing campaigns or email marketing campaigns the language you use) resonates with the audience it's put in front of. Personalization is the key to persuading business travelers and leisure guests alike. Using this data, you can determine which guest segment is your most profitable, which one is the most expensive, which segments have seasonal trends, and more. Understanding your business mix and profitability metrics will help you decide which segments to target in your marketing plan and which ones might not deliver favorable financial results if you were to invest more marketing dollars.   5. Present findings to your cross-functional team and ask for feedback Of course, since you’ve only been looking at the hard numbers so far, it’s crucial to run your findings past a cross-functional team to get their take on your analysis. Bring your SWOT analysis and business mix analysis to the next leadership meeting - or call a special meeting with department heads to review your reports. Make sure to loop in sales, revenue management, and your GM so everyone can share their opinions. Give each team the opportunity to share their feedback, which can help you to validate and enrich your findings.   6. Rate satisfaction of partners and tech vendors Now it’s time to think about how you can achieve your goals laid out in the SWOT analysis. For instance, if you learned that your website conversion is lower than your compset or the industry average, how do you plan to increase it? Your marketing partners and technology vendors can be valuable assets here, so let’s audit each one to find areas of opportunity for growth - or potential reasons to switch to a new solution.  Make a list of your partners and vendors, then ask key stakeholders to rate their satisfaction with each one (or rate them yourself). Match each vendor with a KPI from step 1; for example, your digital marketing agency would correspond to your marketing budget and social media presence, and your booking engine would correspond to your website and booking engine conversion rates.  Some partners and vendors to consider include: Digital marketing agency Hotel CRM & email marketing software Booking engine Hotel website developer Metasearch software (and meta partners like TripAdvisor) Hotel website chatbot Reputation management and online reviews software Direct booking tools Upsell software   7. Create an ROI forecast for each tool and channel With your list of partners and vendors ready, and maybe a few items on your technology wishlist, let’s figure out the costs and potential impact for each tool. For tools you already use, you should be able to fill in cost numbers, whether that’s a commission on each reservation, a monthly fee, or a one-time investment. You can find the cost of tools you don’t already use via this very website (how convenient!) by submitting quotes to vendors on their “profile” pages. Besides costs, you’ll want to estimate the benefits these tools can deliver. For instance, if you invest in a new booking engine, it might increase your website conversion rate by 0.5%, which could lead to an additional $10,000 in booked revenue per month. Similarly, by implementing a CRM tool, the vendor could provide an estimate of additional revenue per contact in your email database by optimizing your email newsletters. Adding up all of the costs and potential revenue uplifts will give you an ROI forecast for each system on your list.   8. Add KPI status tags Keep up the good work, you’re almost there! Take your list of tools from step 6 (with their corresponding KPIs and ROI forecast) and combine it with your SWOT analysis. Simply match each KPI with the respective SWOT tag - strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat - to give context as to why you want to invest in each tool. For instance, if you identified your website conversion rate as a weakness compared to your compset, you would assign “weakness” as the status tag for your website developer or content management system.   9. Put together three budgets Now let’s sum it all up! The final step is to prepare three budgets - high, medium, and low - based on light or heavy investment in marketing tools and strategies. You might want to consider three different levels of ad spend, three different website options (i.e. standard, deluxe, and fully loaded packages), and some tools that would be nice to have but maybe not totally essential. Come up with a rationale for each and why you think spending more would yield better results for ownership, then get ready to present it for approval. Well, that wasn’t so bad! In just nine steps, you’ve created a comprehensive hotel marketing plan with not just one budget, but three, plus you’ve outlined clear KPIs you want to hit and buy-in from other hotel departments. Still have questions about your hotel marketing plan? Get started with the template below but don't feel restricted to our process - every hotel business is different so you need to customize for your individual or portfolio property needs.  

100 Best Skills to Include on a Resume (With Examples)

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

Revising your resume or crafting a cover letter? Our list of 100+ best skills to include on a resume will help your application stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. The economy is moving quickly, so we compiled this list to highlight the most in-demand skills for today’s job market. We’ve organized the list by skill category so you can easily find the section most relevant to you: Communication and listening skills Customer service skills Interpersonal skills Technical and computer skills Leadership and management skills Communication and listening skills Hospitality industry employees can take advantage of constant opportunities to practice their communication and listening skills with guests, colleagues, and managers. And communication skills are some of the most in-demand skills for all industries, even outside of hospitality. Verbal communication: What did you say? Verbal communication isn’t just about talking, but clearly articulating the point you want to convey. Best practices when communicating verbally include avoiding filler words and jargon and using a strong, clear voice. In a hotel environment, front desk agents use verbal communication when checking guests in. Good verbal communication skills are especially important because these verbal interactions can make or break the guest experience. Written communication: Like verbal communication, the goal of written communication is to clearly communicate to an audience - but this time, the audience is reading your words instead of hearing them. You can practice written communication through writing emails, signage, memos, menus, reports, and more.  Phone skills: “Thank you for calling the Four Seasons New York, how can I assist you today?” If you’ve ever worked in a guest-facing role at a hotel or restaurant (or even a retail store), chances are you’ve answered a few phone calls! Good phone skills include speaking at an appropriate volume, being conscious of pauses, multi-tasking (pulling up the guest’s profile while holding a conversion, for example), and adjusting your tone to match that of the caller. When including “phone skills” on your resume, remember to quantify the number of calls you fielded. Remote communication: In the post-COVID business world, remote communication has become increasingly popular with many people working from home or in a socially distanced environment. If you’re a good remote communicator, you can keep your audience engaged over a video call, convey your message in a variety of formats (like sending your key points in an email and explaining them over a video call), and maintain rapport with clients or colleagues even if you aren’t sitting together in the same physical office. Public speaking: Mic check, 1, 2, 3… Public speaking is an essential skill for many roles that interface with guests, clients, or colleagues. Perhaps you’ve hosted an event, led a training session, or presented a business case to executives - these are all good examples of public speaking experience.  Constructive criticism: If you can provide constructive criticism in a strategic, polite way, your colleagues or clients will be more receptive to it. For instance, if you are training new front desk agents and your trainee isn’t speaking clearly enough, your constructive advice will help him deliver a better guest experience. Active listening: Communication isn’t only about sharing information with others, it’s also about listening. Active listening includes using body language and eye contact to show your focus on the speaker, like when you hold eye contact with a restaurant patron and orient your body to face them while they’re speaking. Asking questions: Another component of active listening is asking good questions - both to show your engagement and to probe for information you need. For instance, if you’re taking a reservation from a guest over the phone, asking targeted questions about the purpose of the guest’s trip or the type of room she wants can help you better meet the guest’s needs. Note-taking: It might seem simple, but note-taking is an extremely helpful and important skill, especially for roles that involve teamwork or interaction with clients or customers. You can hone your note-taking skills by taking notes during meetings or phone conversions. Nonverbal communication: The words that you speak are just part of your communication skills; nonverbal communication, or body language, can tell your audience just as much (or more!) about your message. Nonverbal communication involves your facial expression (like whether you’re smiling or not), body position, posture, hand gestures, and eye contact.  Bilingual or other language skills: Do you speak another language? Language skills are more and more in-demand as the world becomes more globalized. When including language skills on your resume, remember to include your level of fluency, certifications, or professional context (for example, if you spoke Spanish with your housekeeping employees as a housekeeping manager). Communication software: In today’s high-tech world, you need to have a solid grasp of communication software in addition to speaking, writing, and listening skills. If you’ve used communication software like Slack, Zoom, Skype, or others, you can highlight your expertise by noting it on your resume.  Customer service skills As the saying goes, you want to “know your customer,” but to be a good customer service professional, you need to master customer service skills first.  Emotional intelligence: Perhaps the customer service-related skill that is most transferable to other types of jobs is emotional intelligence. If you have high emotional intelligence, you can manage and control your own emotions and handle relationships with colleagues or clients with ease. For example, if you are in a stressful situation like a busy day of check-ins, emotional intelligence helps you stay calm and recognize if and when guests are getting upset so you can act accordingly. Problem solving: Like emotional intelligence, problem solving is another skill that is very in-demand no matter which industry you want to work in. If you’ve worked in a hospitality context, you probably have a slew of examples you can mention in interviews, like how you managed to deliver a good experience for a guest who booked the wrong room type or how you figured out a solution for restaurant patrons who showed up on a night that was fully booked. Conflict resolution: Similar to problem solving, resolving conflicts is another essential customer service skill. Conflicts are stressful, so your expertise in resolving them shows you can stay calm under pressure, remain objective, and avoid placing blame.  De-escalating skills: Have you ever needed to calm down a guest who was screaming, yelling, and making a scene in the lobby? If so, you can speak to your de-escalating skills, which would make you an asset to any organization that interfaces with the occasional difficult customer. Crisis management: In hotel and restaurant jobs, crises are bound to happen every once in a while. Any example from your own work experience can help you illustrate how you stayed calm and responsible during unexpected, serious events like medical emergencies. Sales skills: As a customer service professional, even if “sales” isn’t technically part of your role, you’re always selling your product or brand to your customers. As a front desk agent, for example, the experience you provide to your guests will influence them to choose your hotel again - or not.  Product knowledge: Customer service professionals are often the face of the business, since they’re usually the first ones to interact with customers. If you have strong product knowledge skills, you’re a fast learner and can become well acquainted with the product to answer customer questions or else direct customers to the correct department. Upselling: In some customer service roles, upselling is an opportunity to further flex your sales skills, make an impact on the business’s bottom line, and build stronger relationships with customers. As a hotel reservations agent, for example, you might include on your resume that you secured $50,000 in upsell revenue or increased the average reservation revenue by 8%. Negotiation: A component of any role that involves working with multiple parties is negotiation, which involves a combination of communication, listening, and sales skills. Negotiation examples are common in a sales context, like negotiating contracts for group room blocks, but also in situations like finding a solution for a guest who isn’t happy with their room or a diner who doesn’t like their meal. Persuasion: A key to influencing your guests or clients to accept your desired outcome is persuasion - but not in a manipulating way! If you’ve mastered persuasion, you can guide your client toward giving the OK by illustrating how your solution meets their needs so that when they agree, they feel totally satisfied with the outcome. Attention to detail: Customer service interactions are packed with little details from the correct spelling of the customer’s name to specific needs like allergies or birthday surprises. Attention to detail helps you ensure that no aspect of experience gets overlooked. Multitasking: In a customer service role, you’ll likely need to multitask, whether by taking notes during calls or operating multiple software apps at once. Demonstrating your multitasking skills shows that you’ll be ready to jump in from day one. Relationship building: Building rapport with guests or customers is a powerful way to deliver great customer service experiences. Engaging in small talk with customers or remembering a repeat guest’s name are simple but effective ways to build relationships and develop brand loyalty. Enthusiasm: Companies want their customer professionals to be excited about the product of service - if the employees aren’t jazzed up about what they’re selling, why would customers want to buy? Showing your enthusiastic personality is a great way to stand out. Confidence: Like enthusiasm, your confidence helps customers feel good about their customer service interaction. Confidence also helps you take risks, try new things, and flex your leadership skills. Business etiquette: Though at times manners might seem like a lost art in the 21st century, they’re still very important in customer service. Using simple words like “please” and “thank you” set you apart as a customer service professional who cares about conveying a good company image. Service orientation: You can learn many components of a customer service role, like information about the product, but it’s a lot harder to teach people to have a service-oriented attitude. If you have a service orientation, you aim to please and exceed customers’ expectations. Interpersonal skills In just about every job, you’ll need to work with other people on a regular basis, so interpersonal skills are essential to a successful career.  Teamwork: Working successfully with colleagues is a must for most roles in and out of the hospitality industry, so hiring managers are always looking for examples of how you’ve been a good team player.  Cross-functional collaboration: Besides working with your direct colleagues, you may need to work closely with people in other departments. Showing experience of cross-functional collaboration, like if you’ve been a housekeeping manager working closely with the maintenance department, is always a plus. Decision making: Your resume is not the place to mention analysis paralysis! Every role will require decision making, so hiring managers want to see that you can carefully weigh your options and come to the right conclusion. Organization: In order to work with colleagues or customers, you need to have your own responsibilities organized first. Organizational skills include time management, note-taking, punctuality, and more. Responsibility: As you progress in your career, you’ll be trusted with increasing levels of responsibility. You’ll stand out among applicants if you can demonstrate that you’re responsible, like if you’ve owned up to a mistake or stayed late to complete a task you promised to finish. Punctuality: Nobody wants to work with someone who’s chronically late; punctuality is a fantastic way to show you value your colleagues’ or clients’ time. When you’re interviewing for a new role, make sure to show up on time for the interview! Dependability: In any team-oriented role, your team needs to know they can rely on you to show up and work hard. Dependability is crucial to being a good team player; for example, if you’ve never forgotten to show up to a shift, you can include “dependable” on your resume.  Flexibility: Even the best laid plans can fall through, and being flexible is an important quality for any role. For instance, you might need to cover a team member’s tasks if they get sick unexpectedly. Creativity: Do you like to think outside of the box? Creativity doesn’t just mean being artistic; creative thinking helps you come up with new solutions to problems or try initiatives to bring the business to the next level.  Adaptability: Like flexibility, adaptability means you’re comfortable with change, but if you’re adaptable, you can easily shift to a new way of doing things. For instance, a shift to a remote work environment requires significant adaptability! Patience: If you’ve worked in any guest- or customer-facing role, then you know patience is crucial to your success. You can practice being patient by remaining calm and positive when things don’t move as quickly as you’d like - like traffic, slow WiFi, or even those last couple restaurant patrons who linger for hours. Confidentiality: In a hospitality context, you’re often trusted with sensitive information. Confidentiality means you can not only keep a secret, but also determine which information must be treated with extra care. Communication: Among the most important interpersonal skills is communication; without good communication skills, it’s nearly impossible to work well with others! Communication skills include written, verbal, and nonverbal elements, plus skills like active listening and public speaking. Teaching or training skills: Roles with more responsibility often include a training or teaching component, such as training new front desk agents. If you’ve had any sort of teaching experience, be sure to include on your resume the context and the number of people you trained. Collaboration: In many jobs, you’ll need to collaborate with others on a project, an event, or something similar. Collaboration involves dividing responsibility, holding each other accountable, and completing one integrated product. Networking: It might be painful at first, but networking is an extremely useful skill - it might even help you land your next job! A good networker knows what they want to gain from each interaction, has an elevator pitch prepared, sends follow-ups, and stays in touch with connections. Technical and computer skills Many jobs require not only soft skills like communication and customer service skills, but also specific technical skills. Showing your technical or computer expertise on your resume will help you be a more competitive applicant. Microsoft Office: As one of the most popular software suites in the business world, Microsoft Office experience is often requested on job descriptions. Microsoft Office expertise usually includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. You may have used Microsoft PowerPoint to put training presentations together or Excel to analyze financial data. G-Suite: Like Microsoft Office, the Google suite of apps is a popular one in many industries. Since G-Suite apps are designed for cloud-based collaboration, remote companies or jobs that involve a lot of teamwork might prefer G-Suite experience over Microsoft Office. G-Suite includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and more.  Email management: How many unread emails are in your inbox? Email management skills can involve not only just reading and sorting emails, but also managing a shared inbox and composing emails for optimum readability. Spreadsheets: If you see life in columns and rows, then your spreadsheet skills are worthy of inclusion on your resume. You may want to mention specific and relevant details about your spreadsheet expertise, like in which context you used them and the types of formulas you mastered. Data analysis: Analytical experience can vary by industry and type of role, so if you’ve had any relevant experience, it’s important to clearly describe what you did with as much quantification as possible. For example, maybe you used Excel to analyze the cost and revenue projections to decide whether or not to purchase a new airport shuttle bus for your hotel. Database management: As more business work to wrangle big data, database management can be an attractive skill. If you’ve had experience with data validation or writing reports or queries, don’t forget to include that experience on your resume. Programming languages: If you’re applying for programming roles, then mentioning your handle of programming languages, like Python or Java, is crucial. If you’re currently learning a programming language, you can mention that too, though be honest about your level of expertise. Web design: Simply including “web design” on your resume isn’t enough; hiring managers want to see concrete examples of websites, apps, or software that you’ve built. Include key details like the number of app downloads or monthly website visits. Website building: Even if you don’t know how to code, you might have built websites before! Experience using content management systems or website builders is still worthy of a mention, and be sure to quantify your experience in terms of number of websites built or number of website visitors. Adobe Photoshop/InDesign: Similar to listing your expertise in G-Suite or programming languages, mentioning your experience with Adobe’s suite of software can also show your preparedness for a role in design-related fields. Systems administration: Another valuable IT-related skill is systems administration, which involves being the manager and subject matter expert for a software application or system within an organization. For instance, if you were the administrator for your hotel’s property management system. Troubleshooting: In any tech-oriented role, you’ll need to know how to troubleshoot effectively. You can demonstrate your troubleshooting skills by approaching a problem systematically and identifying issues and solutions. Expertise in specific software applications: As a hotel or restaurant employee, you may have had experience with specific systems, like HotSOS or SynXis, for example. Noting your expertise on applications for relevant roles will help you stand out among applicants who have never used those systems. Marketing skills Looking for a new marketing role? You may want to include these skills on your resume or develop them to become a more competitive candidate. Search engine optimization: Do you know how to do keyword research or write a good meta description? SEO is a great skill to include on your resume when applying to marketing roles. Remember to mention any relevant statistics from SEO responsibilities you’ve had in the past.  Search engine marketing: In addition to optimizing your performance in search results, you may also have had experience with paid SEM, like Google Ads. Be sure to include your budget, return on ad spend, or any other relevant stats. Pay-per-click marketing: Like SEM and SEO, experience with PPC marketing can help you stand out among candidates for digital marketing roles. For example, if you’ve used Expedia TravelAds or Tripadvisor Sponsored Campaigns in a hotel context, your experience can make you an attractive applicant for other digital marketing jobs. Email marketing: As more and more business shifts online, email marketing is a powerful way to keep in touch with customers. Showing your expertise with email marketing tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact is especially relevant today. Content management systems: Some marketing roles look for candidates with experience using content management systems such as Wordpress or Contentful. Remember to note your level of expertise and the specific system you’ve used. A/B testing: A savvy marketer will test two strategies to see which one performs better. Examples of A/B testing to include on your resume could include experimenting with subject lines in an email newsletter or uploading different featured photos on your restaurant website. Customer relationship management: Every business wants to generate more repeat business, so CRM is an attractive skill for marketing roles. If you have CRM experience, also include the system you’ve used, like Salesforce. Social media: Do you know how to leverage tweets, pins, and posts in a business context? Show off your social media skills by including engagement statistics and follower growth on your resume.  Branding: If you’ve started a business from scratch or worked in a start-up, you might have experience creating a brand, like selecting a name, logo, color scheme, and voice. Hiring managers looking for branding experience might want to see a portfolio of examples of your work. Sales and financial skills Skills in the sales and finance sectors are often transferable to other industries. For example, if you’ve worked as a sales manager at a hotel, you could be a competitive applicant to a sales position at a software or retail company. Lead generation: How can you sell something if you have no leads? Lead generation is one of the first steps in the sales process, and it involves scraping databases or the internet for potential customers, like gathering a list of contact info for all nearby restaurants for outreach about your new restaurant POS app. Lead qualification: After generating leads, you need to sort out the leads that have high potential. Lead qualification is another skill hiring managers will look for to show that you use strategy in the sales process. Prospecting: Once you have your leads list, the prospecting process involves regularly communicating with your leads to ensure your product is always top of mind, even if they aren’t ready to commit. Contracting: Ready to seal the deal? Contracting typically involves negotiation and attention to detail, though today’s contracts are most likely signed via digital apps like DocuSign instead of an old school pen and paper. Event planning: Whether you’ve planned small company gatherings or red-carpet galas, event planning is an attractive skill to include on your resume. Make sure to mention how many events you’ve planned and the number of attendees - and you get bonus points if you’ve planned virtual events on digital platforms! Revenue management: Selling the right room at the right price to the right customer is the goal of hotel revenue managers, so demonstrating your success through RevPAR increases or direct share growth is a good best practice when applying for revenue management roles. If you’ve had any experience using revenue management systems such as IDeAS, be sure to note that as well. Central reservations systems: Hotels, tour operators, event venues, and more often use central reservation systems to organize their bookings and client information. When experience using a CRS is relevant, don’t forget to mention the specific system you’ve used. Online travel agencies: Do you know the ins and outs of OTA extranets? When applying for marketing or revenue management roles at hotels or short-term rental companies, mentioning your OTA experience can give you a leg up compared to someone brand new to the industry. Point of sale systems: If you have experience in a retail or hospitality context, you may have had experience using POS software, which can be relevant to include on your resume when applying to similar positions. Cash handling: Although many businesses are becoming cashless, showing your cash handling experience can show that you’re a responsible, trustworthy employee. Accounting: Depending on your accounting experience, you may want to include accounting skills on your resume, which could involve accounting software (such as QuickBooks), familiarity with local regulations, attention to detail, and analytical skills. Profit and loss statements: Perhaps your accounting experience includes creating or analyzing P&L statements, like if you’ve prepared P&Ls for hotel owners and executives.  Financial modelling: Along with analyzing actualized financial numbers, if you’ve done any financial modelling or forecasting, these experiences are also relevant when applying to finance roles. Be sure to note your level of proficiency in Excel or other database software. Cost management: Your application to any finance role can also include your experience with cost management, whether that includes familiarity with direct or indirect costs, math skills, or financial software. PCI compliance: Any handling of sensitive data like credit card numbers must comply with industry standards, and your resume should reflect your knowledge of those guidelines. As a front desk agent, for example, you may have completed PCI compliance training or a course about similar standards, which can be an asset to your resume.  Leadership and management skills As you continue along your career path, you might work up to leadership positions. But holding a “manager” role doesn’t automatically mean you’re an effective leader; these leadership and management skills will help you earn respect from your direct reports and deliver the results you want. Mentorship: Even if you haven’t held a formal management role yet, you can still demonstrate your leadership skills through informal mentorship programs, volunteer activities, or professional relationships that have a mentorship component. Team building: As a leader in an organization, you’ll be expected to build and maintain a cohesive team. Your resume should mention your team building skills, such as examples like increasing employee satisfaction scores or leading team events. Team communication: Besides standard verbal and written communication skills, a great leader should have experience communicating with a large team audience. Perhaps you’ve led weekly meetings for your department or sent memos to all employees at your company. Presentation skills: Communicating with a large internal or external audience might include presentations, and if you have notable presentation experience, it’s worth a mention on your resume. Note the setting and audience of your presentations, such as quarterly business review presentations with the executive team and hotel owners. Meeting facilitation: Besides leading presentations, managers often lead meetings with employees, colleagues, and other internal or external stakeholders. Demonstrating your ability to keep meetings organized, on track, and productive is a great way to prove your management skills. Time management: As a manager, you’ll have constant demands on your time. Time management is crucial to success, and even if it’s not the most buzz-worthy skill, it’s one that can mean the difference between a good and a great manager. Set limits on the number of meetings per day, schedule deep work blocks, and make sure to take time away from work to recharge. Project management: When leading initiatives, managers are often responsible for keeping the project on track. Project management skills include planning each step of the project, assigning responsibilities to each team member, scheduling regular follow-ups, and securing resources. Organizational planning: Especially in small companies or start-ups, managers are responsible for building teams and hiring new employees. A much-needed skill is organizational planning, which includes identifying skills or competencies that a new role can fill on your team. Interviewing: A key step in the hiring process is interviewing, and solid interview skills are essential to success as a hiring manager. On your resume, you can mention how many employees you’ve hired and what their retention rate is. Performance tracking: Employees need regular feedback to continue delivering excellent work, and managers must manage performance through regular check-ins and performance reviews. For example, sales managers might have bi-weekly meetings with the Director of Sales, who helps each sales manager stay on track toward their quarterly goals. Task delegation: Although it can be difficult to relinquish control of projects at first, delegation is a crucial skill for managers to use their time most effectively. As a Director of Rooms, for instance, you might set a goal to increase guest review scores but leave your Front Office Manager in charge of launching an initiative to achieve it. Prioritization: Along with delegating tasks, a good manager can prioritize between the most important tasks and the ones that are less urgent. For example, a restaurant manager might prioritize hiring additional staff leading up to the busy summer season over a fun but less urgent menu redesign project. Scheduling: In industries like hospitality and retail, managers are often responsible for setting their employees’ schedules. A great manager will treat employees fairly and equally when handling time-off requests and shift preferences. Managing cross-functional teams: Managers may also have the opportunity to oversee employees with different work functions and expertise. These cross-functional relationships require the manager to flex her skills to work best with each employee. Risk-taking: Any business endeavor includes at least some degree of risk, like when deciding to try a new idea or even hire a new employee. Managers aren’t afraid to take calculated risks and they know how to evaluate situations to minimize possible consequences. Budgeting: Many leadership roles oversee not only employees, but also budgets. On your resume, you can highlight your budgeting experience by mentioning the size of your annual budget or by how much you decreased operating costs, for example. Forecasting: If you’ve studied historical data to predict what may happen in the future, then you’ve started to build forecasting skills. If you have forecasting experience, you should include the context and the impact of your predictions on the business. Industry certifications: Have you earned any hospitality (or other) industry certifications, such as CRME or CHIA? These certifications add credibility to your resume and set you apart as an expert in your field. Did we miss any key skills to include on a resume? Let us know!

What is RFID Technology? (+Use Cases in the Hotel Industry)

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 days ago

Wondering what RFID technology is? Even if you’re not familiar with the acronym, chances are you use RFID technology in your everyday life without even realizing it. RFID is a key component for IOT (internet of things) connectivity.  Do you have a pass for your parking garage or a fob to access the gym? Or maybe you’ve accidentally triggered the security alarm when leaving a store because the security tag was still attached? These are all examples of RFID in use, but they’re not the only use cases for this versatile technology. RFID has real-world applications across many businesses such as industrial supply chain manufacturers, retailers, theme parks, and even cruise lines.  In this article, we’ll explain what exactly RFID technology is, study some interesting examples of RFID technology in hospitality businesses, and explore some innovative ways hoteliers can use RFID to deliver better guest experience and operate more efficiently. What is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)? An RFID system is simply a cost- effective technology that uses radio waves to send a signal from a chip to a receiver.  RFID stands for radio-frequency identification, and this type of wireless technology involves two parts: a tag and a receiver. The tag contains a microchip with a unique code, and the receiver contains components to process the signal transmitted by the tag. Tags can be either passive (no battery, activated by the receiver) or active RFID tags (battery-power source, emits a signal that the receiver picks up). RFID tags are very small but can contain a lot of information ranging from identification numbers to pages of text; they are often embedded in merchandise tags, key fobs, name badges, credit cards, and even pets! In a clothing store, for example, an employee could use an RFID reader to scan tag-embedded merchandise to instantly see more information about the item or ring it up at the check-out, similar to how a barcode is used. There are different types of RFID tags writes the RFID journal, "In general, low-frequency and high-frequency range tags are read from within three feet (1 meter) and UHF RFID tags (ultra-high frequency) are read from 10 to 20 feet. Readers with phased array antennas can increase the read range of semi-passive RFID tags to 60 feet or more."  Read range can also vary depending on environmental factors that effect the strength of radio signals. Although RFID technology isn’t new (it was patented in the 1970s), its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years as the technology became cheaper and more applications were developed. Depending on the type of tags and readers, RFID technology can be adapted to a wide variety of industries. In healthcare, RFID tags are used to keep track of prescription medication to ensure they don’t end up in the wrong hands. In-car manufacturing, RFID tags are attached to parts to monitor their progress along the assembly line. And in office buildings, RFID tags allow employees to enter the building or a specific floor with a wave of their name badge while keeping the doors locked to outsiders. RFID Applications in the Hospitality Industry It’s no surprise that hospitality businesses want to take advantage of RFID technology too, especially when it offers speed, security, and a high-tech touch.  Hotel and travel businesses usually begin by leveraging technologies like RFID for access control systems and asset tracking.  Due to the pandemic, contactless guest journeys have increased uptake of RFID, Bluetooth and NFC (nearfield communication) technology. Let’s explore how Disney, Coachella Music Festival, and Royal Caribbean use RFID technology to enhance their guest experiences. Disney’s MagicBand ticketing solution Paper tickets for Disneyland are a thing of the past thanks to the RFID-powered “MagicBand” system that Disney rolled out in 2013. The MagicBands are plastic wristbands embedded with an RFID chip that guests can use to enter their room at a Disney resort, gain access to theme park attractions, charge food and beverage purchases to your account, and more. Before MagicBand, guests would need to juggle room keys, theme park tickets, credit cards, and cash, but the MagicBand consolidates all of those functions into one device. Throughout Disney resorts and parks, guests can access surprise features by tapping their MagicBands at specific touch points. Besides pure functionality, Disney also turned the MagicBand into a marketing vehicle; Disney fans can purchase MagicBands in their favorite color or emblazoned with their favorite animated character. RFID wristbands at Coachella At a music festival, the last thing you want to do is wait in long lines. And festival organizers are always seeking ways to improve security and catch counterfeit tickets. Seeing an opportunity to meet all of these objectives, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival rolled out an RFID wristband solution that allows faster entry into the festival and eliminates the risk of counterfeiting. Coachella even went one step further than smart cards by placing the chips on wristbands.  Festival-goers are issued wristbands embedded with RFID chips that each have a unique identifier, meaning that it’s essentially impossible to copy them. Instead of security staff scrutinizing every paper ticket upon entry, attendees simply scan their wristbands at RFID readers at the festival entrances to gain nearly instantaneous access. The readers can process many more attendees per hour compared to the traditional entrance process, which means Coachella’s music lovers can get to their favorite stages faster. How can hotels use RFID technology? Due to its relatively low cost, ease of use, and potential for operational efficiency, RFID technology can be an attractive solution for hoteliers looking to elevate their guest experience. But how, specifically, can RFID deliver value to your hotel? Door locks: One of the most popular use cases for RFID technology is guestroom entry. Compared to a traditional keycard, RFID-equipped cards offer hoteliers more control over security. Front desk staff can activate and deactivate cards remotely and review logs to see where and when a card was used. From a guest’s perspective, RFID keycards are easier to use than traditional credit card-style keycards (simply wave it in front of the door lock transponder to open the door), and the ability to deactivate lost RFID key cards gives guests peace of mind.  RFID cards can also be more cost-effective in the long term as they don't get demagnetized. Controlled amenity access: Besides granting entry to guestrooms, hoteliers can also use RFID technology to control access to amenities, parking, event spaces, and more. If a guest did not pay for parking, for example, the front desk agent could deactivate access to the parking garage on the guest’s key card. Or if the guest booked a club-level room, access to the executive lounge can be enabled on their key card. On-site payments: Outlets like restaurants, bars, and spas can use RFID technology to streamline the payment process. If guests have RFID-enabled keycard that contain payment information or room-charge information, guests can simply pay with their keycard. By eliminating cash and credit cards from outlets, the risk of theft or declined transactions decreases and each transaction takes less time. Inventory management: In addition to key cards, RFID tags can be embedded on physical items in the hotel to assist in inventory management. For example, RFID tags on minibar items can alert hotel staff to low stock rather than tasking housekeeping staff with monitoring stock levels. Or RFID tags attached to employee uniforms or linens can help hotels keep track of laundry processes and know when to order more. Theft prevention: Most hoteliers have a line item in their budget to account for replacement of stolen items like pillows, hair dryers, and dishes. RFID chips on these frequent “souvenirs” can tell hotel staff when an item has left the building and give them the opportunity to recover the stolen item. Do you have any questions about RFID technology in hotels? Let us know!  

2021 Tips, Trends and Challenges for Modern Hoteliers

by
Peter Ferris
1 month ago

2021 represents a travel and technology revolution for hoteliers worldwide as they navigate the road to recovery and adapt their strategies to meet guests’ evolving needs.  With the pandemic still widespread across many parts of the world, and the industry still bruised from a prolonged dip, 2021 is all about preparation, adaptation and delivery. There is no post-pandemic at this moment in time; instead, the focus needs to be on redefining your offering to meet the 2021 standards. With hospitality technology advancing more rapidly than ever in response to this shifting landscape, operators need to re-evaluate their tech stack, ensuring they are equipped with the right tools to operate in a post-2020 world.    Adapting to meet guest’s needs The first key pillar of recalibration is the guest journey; travelling amid a pandemic led to a surge in staycations, an acceleration of last-minute bookings and a big drop in business travel. In 2021, the trends and pandemic-induced sentiments of guests are likely to remain a while longer, with many maintaining an appetite for domestic travel and local experiences, preferring to book directly and choosing to stay longer, particularly those on ‘workation.’ Attract guests by sending hyper-targeted marketing campaigns to those within driving distance, uplevel your services with on-trend offerings such as contactless food delivery and update your internet booking engine to deliver a seamless direct booking experience. Multi-property managers should also consider switching to an enterprise solution, which gives you access to meaningful data insights on guest behaviour pre-pandemic. Armed with this information helps you to identify behavioural patterns and puts you in a position to lure them back when the situation eases.   Optimising revenue performance The disruption that rocked hospitality businesses in 2020 has been carried over to 2021, which means properties need to be savvier, more integrated and adaptive to sudden changes. A data-driven approach that prioritises real-time evidence and artificial intelligence over historical data will help properties forecast and deliver an accurate pricing strategy, while also giving them ample room to pivot should booking patterns suddenly change. Properties should therefore be implementing a dynamic revenue strategy that can intuitively adapt prices to maximise profit at every opportunity.   Pivoting business models with fluid inventory Another trend we’ve observed is that some hoteliers are looking at alternative market segments to pitch to, those that require longer stays, such as students and residents. We’ve defined this concept as “fluid inventory,” which is focused on helping them pivot their business to adapt to further market shifts and reconfigure their inventory to long-term in the event of another short-term market collapse. RMS has the building blocks within its technology infrastructure to support this new and innovative approach; at the same time, we’re thinking beyond those markets (such as students) who are also impacted by the ongoing travel restrictions. The question every hotelier should be asking themselves is what’s next for your inventory?   Utilising technology to satisfy demand Technology is the backbone that holds everything together. Contactless tech, for example, will be expected if not demanded by guests in 2021, and has a multitude of advantages; operators can set up COVID declarations, pre-check-in/check-out and an instant messaging centre in a customer-facing app, streamlining the guest journey at the earliest possible stage. Technology in the form of an app also comes at no big expense; look to your tech vendor to see what other products they have at their fingertips to support you.  An intuitive PMS system will also help you identify hidden pockets of revenue, such as native channel managers, guest portals and internet booking engines, reducing your dependency on third-party products. Customising your PMS will ensure you are implementing the right tech, interfacing with the right partners and tailoring your guest offerings in a way that suits your specific business needs. Building your perfect technology ecosystem is more important than ever before, in allowing you to meet guests’ needs, fine-tune your pricing strategy and effectively manage your business with minimal input. Read our full trends and challenges report for further insight into what to expect, prepare for and implement in 2021.  

7 Ways Technology Helps Noble House Hotels & Resorts Cope with Volatility

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 days ago

During a pandemic that’s decimated worldwide travel demand, many hotels have been stretched thin and are operating lean. Survival depends on carefully controlling costs and minimizing unnecessary expenses. It's a challenging time that has forced tough decisions in a bid to make it through to the other side of the pandemic. A major part of the COVID balancing act has been maintaining service standards with fewer employees on hand while reorienting operations around a contactless guest experience. Technology is front-and-center, as it enables hotels to do more with less and provide safer experiences during the worldwide pandemic. The impact of technology on hotels has been transformative. Not only will hotels emerge on the other side of this pandemic with greater efficiency, but the guest experience will also be more convenient and personalized.   To hear about this experience firsthand, ALICE Creative Director Sean Cohen recently talked with Steven Marais, Corporate Rooms Director for Noble House Hotels & Resorts, who’s currently acting GM of one of the hotel group’s 18 assets. Steven offers a firsthand account of how technology has helped a hotel beset by wildfires, COVID, weekly changes in regulations, and fluctuating occupancies.  Here are some key boots-on-the-ground insights on how to best leverage technology as a transformative ally at your hotel.   Tech Enables Success Amidst Shifting Roles Hoteliers are familiar with wearing many hats. Each day presents new challenges when managing a hotel. Managers may have to step in for a sick team member or deliver items to a room during an overnight shift. It’s all hands on deck to do what needs to be done to operate the property smoothly, successfully, and profitably. One of the best uses of technology is to tackle the many hats syndrome. Technology reduces the burden of “too many tasks, so little time.” It alleviates or eliminates those repetitive tasks (like manual entry and paperwork) so that there's more time left in the day for more impactful work.  By moving rote tasks to technology and refocusing energy on the highest-impact task, your property can enhance not only the guest experience but also the staff experience. Work becomes more interesting and high-impact, with stronger collaboration and less confusion. It’s transformational to how your staff works together and serves guests.   Great Tech Companies Are Long Term Partners One of the issues when it comes to deploying new technologies is that it is easy to focus too much on the deployment of new tools and less on the proper usage of the existing technology, Steven points out: “Before we look at what technology we need, why don't we take a look at what technology we have first and then look at all the mediocrities.” Over time, usage tends to degrade and bad habits crystallize. Steven uses the example of the front desk emailing a screenshot of a folio to the guest  --  it may sound dated, but you'd be surprised at how many workarounds exist at the average property, he continued: “It exists because somebody said, you know what, let's just do it this way because we have no time to fix it.” If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s this: there’s time to fix deeply embedded bad habits. There's space to make sure that your team is using existing technology to its fullest extent.  There's also space to identify gaps in operations and guest experience that could be bridged by new technology. You have time to set up the technology to save you time.   Integrations Continue to Make Work Easier Successfully harnessing the transformative power of technology comes from properly matching the problem to the solution. It’s about choosing the right technology for your property is unique needs, Steven says: “Technology needs to integrate and make our life easier, rather than it making our lives harder.  Working smarter, not working harder. Technology really can help. It's just that we need to put the effort in and front-load work [when choosing new technology].”   Dynamic Guest Communications Strategies are Emerging In a rapidly shifting environment, guest communications must be dynamic and adaptable. Hotels have to be especially nimble and able to clearly communicate the latest local requirements and expectations. It requires a cohesive communications strategy, Steven says: “Things are ever-changing [so] the traditional confirmation letter is not working anymore. We need the pre-arrival text; we need the app automated arrival message; we need to communicate at check-in. We need to set the expectation ahead of time.” Another guest expectation is a more convenient checkout experience. This expectation accelerated during the pandemic as guests want to avoid congregating at the front desk. To provide a better, safer guest experience (and adjust to less staffing), Noble automatically sends messages to guests anytime occupancy is over 80%: “It’s been a game-changer to be able to change your automated messages on the fly. We’ll send an automated message that says, “Tomorrow's a very busy checkout day. If you want to skip the desk and participate in contactless checkout, send us your email when you're ready to check out.” About 80% of guests check out that way. It's unbelievable how that little piece of communication just changed behavior, but it's expected: nobody wants to go to a crowded front desk right now. And there's probably only one person at the desk and maybe a manager.” Another pandemic-fueled guest communications trend is the shift to text messaging over email. With technology enabling texting at scale, it has become the preferred channel for most guests - even at higher-end properties, which has played out across ALICE’s clients: “They're finding that people are not responding to emails that they send. But you can text guests and they're pretty responsive to it. It's a method of communication that the guests like. A year ago, there was some apprehension, particularly with some more upscale hotels, that all of their guests would be receptive.”   Tech Helps Hotel Operators Cope with Volatility In addition to navigating the pandemic, Noble House also faced another unexpected challenge in 2020: wildfires. With occupancy at 5%, the hotel filled up within two hours -- and this was while everyone slept overnight. It required the staff to be flexible over an extended period, Steven shared: “It was a journey. It lasted about two or three weeks and then it was ongoing because we had the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. And then we had the Glass Fire. Just one after another.” The nature of the evacuation led to some operational challenges, with rooms getting “pretty bad” as guests had dogs and things they had brought from home when evacuating. With fewer housekeeping resources, the property had to leverage its technology, optimizing room assignments and maintaining their property as best they could. The challenges of labor allocation have been exacerbated by the pandemic’s erratic demand, where occupancy falls on weekdays and jumps every weekend. That makes it hard to align labor with demand, especially when already short-staffed: “Hotels are not meant to go zero to 100 every Friday, Saturday. It’s not sustainable. We're such a lean operation and if it continues for the next year, then we have to rethink our staffing guides. We may see less full-time and more part-time [to accommodate demand fluctuations.]” The lesson here is that superb operators need effective and agile tools to run a lean hotel in an adverse and unpredictable marketplace. These tools are levers to give hotel operations more control to pivot and adapt quickly as things change.   Digital Tools are the Connective Tissue Between Corporate and On-Property Technology collapses the distance between corporate and property. It connects managers with a real-time view into an operation, from anywhere in the world. Obviously, during a pandemic when social distancing is required, this is a major plus. And in normal times, it means that properties can be managed more efficiently with less manual oversight. Efficiencies are especially valuable when it comes to preventative maintenance (PM), a complicated process for larger hotel groups. The vision is complete automation by directly connecting corporate systems with the maintenance platform, Steven explains: The engineers get assigned the PM for the day. If they don't finish, it rolls over to the next day. Once they finish, it's triggered into ALICE and we have the reporting of when it was done. Eventually, that's going to be automated, so it will be sent to corporate at the end of every month, rather than them having to scan and send every day, every month. The more automation we do on that front, the better.   Technology Puts Personalization in Autopilot The last takeaway from Noble House’s technology transformation is that it’s important to try new things and see how they may improve operations. “It’s just how we have always done things” is no longer an answer, Steven says: “The hotel industry can be very scared to try something new because this is the way it's always worked. The frustration is coming from hoteliers that never used the problem-solving skills that we’re so known for in the hotel industry to solve technology. Because once we don't understand it, and two, a Post-it note “works better.” These technologies will provide even deeper benefits for hoteliers, Steven notes, as hotels begin to leverage guest data to personalize the guest experience in ways that make guests more loyal and satisfied: “In 10 years, I think personalized service will elevate to a way different level. We’re going to go back to our roots of hospitality. We're going to use technology to seamlessly communicate real-time information our teams learn about our guests throughout their stay. Front Desk will be able to one-click communicate at check-in to our F&B team that, ‘Mr. Smith let us know at check-in that he likes microbrews’ and it’s added to his profile for future curated stays all in one go.” It'll get to the point where it's so streamlined, it hits every single guest…to the point where we just don't even think about technology anymore. It just works for us.” There’s no “silver bullet” technology. It’s a mix of industrial-strength best practices, battle-tested operations tools that automate and augment operations (like ALICE), and localized customizations across communications, operations, and corporate. This potent mix will help our industry thrive and emerge more robust than ever after this pandemic finally recedes.     This content was created collaboratively by ALICE and Hotel Tech Report.  

Vacation Rental Management 101: A Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Homesharing Empire

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

In this article, we’ll explain how you can make money and delight guests through a vacation rental business. Vacation rentals aren’t just a niche for family reunions or spring break parties; travelers are increasingly choosing extra space and privacy that comes with a home of their own over a traditional hotel room. Are you a homeowner that wants to get a piece of the pie and start your own short-term rental business but don't have experience as a property manager? This guide will walk you through the 8 essential steps to starting a vacation rental empire of your own. Let’s get right to it. Here are the 8 steps to launching your homesharing empire: Choose your first market Acquire and set up a property Make an operational plan List your property online Welcome your first guest Reflect and read your reviews Build your brand Add to your portfolio   1. Choose your first market If you’re going to launch a vacation rental business, you need to decide where to launch. If you're looking to make some extra income from your vacation home - you can obviously skip this step.  Think about a few considerations when making this decision. Do you want to manage vacation rentals in the city where you live? Or a market that you know pretty well? Or maybe you want to try a totally new market that looks promising. Research tools like Transparent, AirDNA, Mashvisor, and Zillow can help you crunch the numbers.  Success is largely dependent on supply and demand.  Ideally, you want high rates and occupancy for vacation rentals relative to longer-term multi-family rental prices.  Property management companies can succeed in any market but favorable "rent arbitrage" and growth in local vacation rental demand set you up to acquire multiple properties in shorter periods of time. We also recommend scouting out your competition by shopping around on Airbnb and Vrbo. Is there a lot of availability? How high are the rates? What about the review scores? If you notice less availability online, that could mean the market can support new entrants. When choosing a market, it’s important to keep local regulations in mind too. Some cities have strict laws around vacation rental ownership and operations, while other markets are less restrictive.   2. Acquire and set up a property Once you’ve settled on a market, now it’s time to find your actual vacation rental property. Depending on the market you’ve chosen, it may be a home, an apartment, a condo, or something else. But how do you actually get access to it? Purchasing the property is one option, but if you don’t have that kind of capital available, you can also lease a property or find investors to help you get started. You could also establish a vacation rental management company that manages properties for owners on a commission basis. With keys in hand, you’ll need to set up the property for guests. If your property is unfurnished, you’ll need to furnish it. If you’re managing a furnished property, you still may need to update the furniture, stock the kitchen with dishes and cookware, and purchase towels and linens. Equipping the property for guests might also mean setting up WiFi, cable, and utilities.   3. Make an operational plan Although it’s good practice to start your operational plan before inking the contract for your property, once you know the specifics of your property, you can finalize that plan. Running a vacation rental business is a complex operational challenge - especially if you’re running it remotely. Some property owners prefer to commission full-service vacation rental property management companies that handle all facets of operations but these firms do not come cheap - after all, running a successful vacation rental business is a lot of work. Whether you hire a VR management company or go it alone - thinking through each step will help you prevent in-stay issues and maximize your efficiency. Your operational plan includes processes for each step of the stay experience, including: Do you need help with full-service management property management services? How will guests book your property? What vacation rental management software will you use? How will guests check-in? Will you have a door code, a lockbox, or an in-person key handoff? How can guests get help during their stay? Who will help with maintenance issues? Do you have round-the-clock support? What do guests need to do upon check-out (taking out the trash, starting the washing machine, etc.)? Who will clean the property between guests? How will they know when guests check-in or out? And where will they do laundry? What is your vendor services strategy? Will you use 3rd party cleaning services or hire a dedicated housekeeper? Will you provide concierge services? How will you handle guest communication and encourage them to book with you again?  Will you provide any guest services in stay or is it too much of a hassle? What will your channel mix look like and which listing sites will you focus on? Is Homeaway hot in your area? Airbnb? Maybe you plan to design a website to capture direct business. To be extra sure your operational plan will work, consider hosting a friend or family member for a test stay.   4. List your property online Now that you know how you’ll operate your vacation rental, it’s time to book some guests! Most guests book travel online, so the best way to market your property is through online channels. Popular vacation rental booking sites include Airbnb, Vrbo, Tripadvisor, Booking.com, and Expedia. Depending on where your property is located and who your ideal guests are, you might also find relevant niche channels that target specific traveler segments and geographical areas. In order to set your property up for success online, you’ll want to follow a few best practices: Take professional photos in good lighting, including photos of the bathrooms and exterior views. Set competitive prices, perhaps with the help of a dynamic pricing tool. Write a compelling, informative description. List your property on multiple channels.   5. Welcome your first guest Congratulations, you got your first booking! Now the real work begins. Your first few guests are the most important since they can determine the fate of your online reputation. It’s important to provide a great experience for all guests, but the first guests are responsible for writing your first online reviews. If your first guests have terrible experiences and write negative reviews, you might not get any more bookings from that channel. You’ll probably also need to issue refunds. On the other hand, if your first guests have fantastic experiences, those five-star reviews can help you score more bookings and charge higher rates in the future.   6. Reflect and read your reviews Speaking of reviews, feedback from guests isn’t just about earning that 5-star rating. Your guest reviews contain valuable insight into the guest experience - both the pros and the cons. By reading each review carefully, you can resolve problems and play up highlights that will make each future guest experience even better.  For instance, if a review mentions annoying street noise, you can consider adding a “sleep machine” that will play white noise to block out the horns and sirens. Make sure to mention the new addition in your listing descriptions! Or, maybe a guest wrote that they loved the taco restaurant down the street. Consider creating a local guide so all future guests can take advantage of the hidden gems the neighborhood has to offer.   7. Build your brand Adding thoughtful touches like a sleep machine or a neighborhood guide won’t just lead to good reviews, they’ll also help you build guest loyalty. As your vacation rental business grows, you can start to build a brand - whether you put a logo and a name to it or just keep guests coming back to your Airbnb listing. Some vacation rental managers want to shift business away from platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo to save money on commissions, and focusing on repeat business is a great way to do that. In addition to maintaining relationships with your past guests, you can market your property to new guests through a dedicated website, social media profiles, blog posts, and partnerships with local businesses or travel agents.   8. Add to your portfolio When you’ve mastered your first property, you might be ready to expand your empire to include new properties or new markets. Of course, managing one property is plenty of work, so don’t feel any pressure to sign new leases or purchase new assets before you’re ready. But once you are ready, you’ll find that the processes and learnings from your first property often apply to additional properties, so the ramp-up is much easier the second and third time around. Before you know it, you’ll be running your own homesharing empire. Now that we’ve shared the 8 essential steps to launching a vacation rental business, we want to hear from you!  Which step are you most excited about? Are you going to start laying out your operational plan? Or maybe you’re already brainstorming branding ideas. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment or sending us a note.  

Contactless Check-in for Hotels: Here's What You Need to Know

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed how we travel in myriad ways. The guest of the future has new expectations of their hotel stay; health and hygiene now take priority for hoteliers and guests alike. One way hotels can protect the health and safety of their guests is by providing a frictionless guest experience starting with a contactless check-in process. Recent surveys have found that contactless check-in and a touchless journey can help guests feel more comfortable staying in a hotel, with 26% of consumers indicating they want digital room keys and 35% asking for contactless payment options.  Many hotels are already implementing contactless check-in procedures by partnering with top-rated contactless check-in software providers.  From virtual credit card authorization forms to passport scanning property management systems to mobile key to QR code menus, the hospitality industry has been innovating at a rapid clip to stave off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns.  Here’s what that means in practice – and how your hotel staff can use technology to help enforce social distancing with long-term benefits. This article outlines contactless check-in for beginners in the hospitality industry, if you're looking for a more advanced strategy guide to implementing these processes at your property - check out our 2021 Contactless Check-In Buyers Guide.   What is Contactless Check-in? Many people perceive contactless check-in as a one-step process. In reality, contactless check-in involves everything from valet parking to keyless entry according to Viceroy Hotels Global Head of IT Darren Clark. For check-in to be truly contactless, your hotel needs to factor in each step of a guest’s arrival and anticipate the points at which human contact can be prevented or replaced with technology.  Consider the traditional check-in process. A guest would arrive at the hotel and be greeted by the valet or doorman. A concierge may ask to take their luggage to their room. The guest will wait in the lobby – usually along with other travelers – to interact with the front desk team. Hotel guests must provide identity checks like passport and credit card so that the front desk agent can complete their registration card before handing them a key to their guest rooms. There are multiple contact points throughout this entire process, not to mention the unlikelihood that social distancing will be possible in the hotel lobby or front desk queue. Contactless check-in, however, uses technology to minimize these contact points.  Mobile check-in allows guests to check-in before they arrive via mobile device or on-site via a self-check in kiosk, thereby minimizing time spent waiting in communal areas as well as contact with the front desk staff. Some properties accomplish this by providing an app in which guests can log in and tap to receive their room details. Other properties provide self-service technology, such as tablets or kiosks, to confirm their details and check-in.  Keyless entry gives guests access to their rooms immediately upon arrival, using a Mobile Key on their device to lock the door. This technology removes the process of visiting the front desk upon arrival and also eliminates the hassle of lost keys or keys that demagnetize and must be replaced during their stay.   The best part? Guests are already familiar with both mobile check-in and keyless entry, thanks to existing offerings by Hilton and Marriott. Hilton guests, for example, downloaded 7.6 million mobile keys through the app in 2018, a testament to the success of the brand’s digital check-in push.   The Benefits of Contactless Check-in Contactless check-in isn’t just a pandemic work-around: guests like the efficiency and convenience of managing their own arrival process. And, hotels can save time and money by adding technology to their check-in process.  Even before the pandemic, keyless entry was an increasingly important feature for travelers. According to survey data from Openkey,  Keyless entry leads to an average increase of 7% in guest satisfaction scores Guest satisfaction scores drop by 50% when there’s a 5-minute wait at check-in 46% of travelers say a mobile key solution is an important on-property feature for them 49% of travelers say “their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the hotel room, i.e., mobile key.” Likewise, hotels are able to run more efficiently through mobile check-in and keyless entry technology. Mobile check-in saves time and effort for staff, as documentation, T&Cs, and on-site offers can be sent to guests pre-arrival. Mobile check-in solutions help hotels gather customer insights about their guests: learn what their preferences are with a pre-arrival questionnaire, and see which offers and amenities a guest chooses to learn about before their stay. It’s also a simple way to send through upsell offers, highlight on-site features, and capture ancillary revenue without having to meet face-to-face.   Tips for Making Check-in at Your Property Contactless With the right technology, implementing contactless check-in is relatively painless. It does, however, take some proactive communication with guests so that they know what to expect before arrival.  Send pre-arrival emails detailing the check-in process and what security measures your team has put in place on-site. This email should accomplish two things. First, it should reassure guests that you are taking their health seriously. Second, it should give guests step-by-step instructions for how to check-in through their mobile device or onsite kiosk, as well as how they will receive their room key. Share this information at least 12 hours before their arrival.  Make sure to send information about every step of the arrival – including whether there will be a valet, what the mask requirements are, and if someone can expect to have their temperature taken and recorded.  When the guest arrives, make sure that there’s clear signage to let them know what to do next. Provide the same step-by-step check-in instructions that you sent via email. Include directions to find different areas of the property and to help guests learn how to use keyless entry. And, of course, provide hand sanitizer stations throughout the lobby.  

The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hotel tech jobs and employers globally. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the hotel industry.  The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that 121 million of the 330 million jobs tied to tourism around the world will be lost in 2020.  Despite existential challenges, hotels and their vendors have proven resilient in the face of the biggest challenge ever posed to the hospitality industry by working together. But there’s always opportunity in crisis.  The pandemic has advanced digitization in the global economy by at least 5 years according to most experts.  Hotels that already had adopted technology like contactless check-in and guest messaging software have had a massive advantage since the pandemic broke out and the importance of technology for running a successful hotel business will continue to rise over the coming years meaning that demand for hotel technology talent will grow with it. Here at Hotel Tech Report, we’ve interviewed countless hoteliers about their journeys from being hoteliers into lucrative technology careers like Del Ross, Marco Benvenuti, Sameer Umar, and Kevin Brown. For hoteliers furloughed on the sidelines, there is an unprecedented opportunity to pivot into a technology career leveraging skills and knowledge from hospitality experience.   But which hotel tech companies should you apply to? Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of hotel tech professionals to find the best companies to work for in the hospitality industry. We ask respondents to rate their employers from 1-10 on these key variables:  Work-life balance Personal development opportunities Gender equality Confidence in company direction Values alignment 2021 Bonus Question: Rate your firm’s COVD-19 crisis response Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality tech jobs and (2) to help hotel tech buyers understand that it’s just as important to partner with great organizations as it is to find great software tools and products. Vendor culture is important to every aspect of a vendor relationship: Product: Great workplaces attract the best talent who make the best products Customer Support: Happy client reps give better service and stay around longer developing deeper relationships. Sales: When a sales team has high turnover, innovation gets strangled because there isn’t enough cash coming in the door to invest in innovation. Our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list features companies who foster wonderful work environments for employees.  In return, those employees deliver incredible products and services to clients. Without further adieu here are 2021’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech…     10. Siteminder (TIE) Right before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, industry leader Siteminder reached an incredible milestone earning itself unicorn status.  Under the stewardship of CEO Sankar Narayan the firm quickly composed itself when the pandemic broke out and began rolling out initiatives to support both employees and customers like its World Hotel Index sharing real-time data with the industry when historical data just wouldn’t cut it.  Siteminder has an internal slack channel called #stayingsocial dedicated strictly to team members having a social communal space in the age of remote work.  This is pretty typical for a small startup but much rarer in the world of 700 employee behemoths.  The great part about working at a large startup-like Siteminder is that there’s almost limitless upward mobility according to one employee working in operations at the firm, “They allow me opportunities to take on more responsibilities that are even beyond my scope to develop my skills and prep me up for bigger roles. They also give leadership training to enhance to continue developing my capabilities.”  If you’re looking for a fast-paced global startup on a world domination path - then you should absolutely be dropping a resume at Siteminder.  The best part is that they’ve got offices all around the world so even if you prefer the WFH life your colleagues shouldn’t be too far away no matter where you call home.     10. Atomize (TIE) This is Atomize’s first time making Hotel Tech Report’s annual Best Places to Work list but we doubt it will be their last.  In true Swedish fashion Atomize rates amongst the highest on the list for gender equality with a 50% ratio of men to women on its leadership team.  Atomize also rates very highly for culture alignment with a score of 97.8%.  Perhaps the biggest standout for Atomize was how highly employees rated the firm’s COVID-19 response and support for clients during a crisis.  “Everyone from finance to product development has chipped in to try to support clients. We have for instance developed a relief-program for those that are hurting really bad, we have updated the product to amend for the large drop in occupancy for hotels, etc,” one Atomize executive told Hotel Tech Report.  Atomize made it through COVID-19 without a single layoff which is a testament to the longevity of the business and its and commitment to team members.  During the crisis Atomize stayed calm, launched the 2.0 version of their core RMS product, and even found time to bring the team together for a BBQ this summer during a slow down in transmission rates.     9. Hotel Effectiveness Georgia (the U.S. state not the country) based Hotel Effectiveness is in the business of helping hotel owners more efficiently manage labor but the question is: how well do they manage their own labor? It turns out they do a pretty darned good job at fostering internal culture.  Prior to the pandemic labor costs were the biggest focus area for most hotel ownership and management groups - despite the shift in focus Hotel Effectiveness managed to grow through the pandemic all while placing a heavy emphasis on quality of life for employees.  Team members cite a high percentage of employees being groomed from junior roles into leadership positions, flexible PTO programs, and strong opportunities for women.  PTO is great but Hotel Effectiveness management goes one step further where they encourage team members to completely unplug and not even check email during their vacation.  Adding icing to the cake, employees raved about the firm’s response to COVID-19 where it was able to grow without any layoffs needed.  One engineer raved about the Company’s COVID-19 response, “Hotel Effectiveness immediately shifted priorities specifically to address the changing needs of our clients. Hotel Effectiveness provided new guidance materials, payment options, and built new features (such as Daily Wellness Check-In) under tight deadlines to meet the new needs of our customers.”     8. EasyWay Big congrats to the first-ever Israeli startup to make this list!  If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv or the Start-up Nation (Israel), perhaps a job interview with EasyWay is the excuse you needed to visit one of the most amazing cities in the world packed with beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a foodie scene that’s truly in a league of its own.  EasyWay is the quintessential startup with a mentality that so long as you hit your KPIs - the rest of your life is totally flexible.  An EasyWay executive’s quote to Hotel Tech Report about the last 12-months at the company says it all, “The work around the clock in the COVID-19 time was crazy.  We have developed so much stuff, that I almost miss this period. We've learned a lot from that, and staid on our feet! The rest of the team was great and it really gave me confidence in my own abilities.  If you're the kind of person who likes to work hard and play hard - you’d be wise to check out EasyWay’s open positions.      7. Asksuite This is Asksuite’s second year making the list and true to their commercial team’s motto “rockets don’t have reverse”, even a pandemic couldn’t slow down this high flying Brazilian startup.  Florianopolis may not be a hotel tech hub (yet) but the Asksuite team has access to lessons in language, hospitality and other training to upskill their way into global domination.  During the pandemic, leaders have made themselves available for 1:1 meetings to support all colleagues and perhaps it’s this close communication that leads Asksuite employees to rate 98% confidence in the future success of the firm.  Asksuite employees frequently cite an onboarding process that makes all team members feel like a part of the family in short order.     6. RoomRaccoon Despite the pandemic RoomRaccoon doubled the firm’s headcount in 2020 and achieved a major milestone in reaching 1,000 clients.  Employees frequently cite similar aspects of the culture as differentiators like their annual international week at the Netherlands headquarters and an inclusive onboarding program.  One employee within the marketing department told Hotel Tech Report, “This year RoomRaccoon decided to start hiring more new colleagues against the market trend of furlough and letting people go. To smoothen the onboarding process of our new hires we've created an E-learning program and two intensive onboarding weeks. So far we've onboarded 15 new hires since July 2020 that immediately are getting results. Something I'm really proud of!”  If you’re looking for an ambitious organization with a strong remote culture and complementary annual trips to the Netherlands - don’t hesitate and check out open listings at RoomRaccoon.     5. Alliants The Alliants story is the cure to the common venture funded business gone wrong story.  Alliants built the business developing custom software for ultra luxury hotel brands like Four Season and Jumeirah before ever dipping their toes into the SaaS world.  That means they’ve got killer products, an eye for design and engineering to back it up.  Starting in a consultative role for luxury brands has afforded Alliants a luxury not many early stage SaaS products have - cash flow.  How would this impact you when you apply for a role there?  Alliants employees are given a $5,000 stipend to invest in their own education and training.  Whether it’s a paid marketing course or intro to Ruby on Rails - at Alliants you will be able to create your own journey and take control of your destiny.  Have you ever had a boss block your calendar so people can’t book meetings with you? Well, Alliants employees have.  During winter months with less daylight, CEO Tristan Gadsby blocked the entire team’s calendars from 11:30am - 1:30pm to encourage team members to get outside, walk or simply catch some rays.  If that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will.     4. ALICE This ain’t ALICE’s first rodeo, well it’s their fourth if we want to be precise about it.  ALICE has made Hotel Tech Report’s Best Places to Work list 4 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021).  ALICE is an incredible place to work for former hoteliers because employees truly act as a strategic extension of their partner properties.  During the pandemic, ALICE quickly pivoted to rollout closure checklists and other free assets to help partners quickly reconfigure their operations for the new normal.  “The most memorable achievement while working at ALICE this past year was being able to provide support for our employees during the pandemic. The pandemic-related fatigue and anxiety impacted everyone and in different ways. We were able to provide support to our employees through group therapy sessions, health and wellness initiatives, increased one-on-one check-ins regarding fatigue, increased opportunities for learning and connection with one another virtually. I am so proud of how the leadership at ALICE has led us through the most difficult time in our industry's history, and with such care for both our customers, our industry as a whole, and our employees,” says one ALICE team member in an HR role.  Just as important as supporting clients through COVID-19 is supporting colleagues.  ALICE team members were constantly comforted that management understood the stress and challenges they were facing during this historic yet tragic year, encouraging an environment of transparency and honesty about how to cope with natural distractions from work in times of stress.     3. hotelkit Austria-based hotelkit is another repeat visitor on this list moving up from 4th to 3rd place.  Founded in 2012 by hotelier Marius Donhauser, hotelkit is a majority female-run business that’s growing rapidly but responsibly throughout Europe.  hotelkit’s team motto is “one team one dream” and while the team had to work remotely for a good portion of the year, colleagues are hopeful that 2021 will bring back the annual hotelkit Christmas party famous for great eats and poker.  Under Marius’ leadership, hotelkit has fostered a culture that feels like family so it’s no wonder that employees rate the culture so highly across every single vector.     2. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds may be the fastest-growing hotel tech company right now so while their headquarters are in sunny San Diego the Company has got Silicon Valley energy pumping through its veins.  Not to mention, Cloudbeds is extremely global with local managers in 40 countries. On March 11th (yes that’s right when COVID-19 took the world by storm) Cloudbeds announced the closing of an $80M funding round.  Cloudbeds employees tend to share two main things in common: (1) they are extremely performance-driven and (2) they LOVE to travel. One Cloudbeds employee within the operations department told Hotel Tech Report, “I managed to get promoted on my 1 anniversary day at Cloudbeds, I was so happy and everyone was so attentive to me during this process. Cloudbeds is an amazing company, full of amazing individuals, it's so nice to see the owners in our calls and engaged with us all at all times. I used to think I had worked at good companies, till I met Cloudbeds. This is where I want to stay and grow. It will be hard for any other company to take me from here.”  Cloudbeds has TONS of openings so make sure to browse their career page if you’re in the market.     1. Mews This is Mews’ 3rd year making the list ranking #2 in 2019 and #3 in 2020 - but this is their first year topping the list which is a testament to the strong culture at the firm.  Like most fast-growing companies, the pandemic wreaked havoc on projections and business plans for Mews leading to some difficult decisions needing to be made.  Mews not only came through what was maybe the darkest moment in the history of the hotel industry but came out stronger than ever before.  Mews leadership set a strong course for the business cutting expenses, reorganizing the team, rebranding, focusing on remote deployments, and even making an acquisition.  Quite a busy year - even if things had been normal.  Mews management has created one of those infectious startup cultures that can almost feel cult-like at times often intoxicating entire trade show floors (pre-COVID).  It’s not often that employees at an aggressive high-performance tier 1 venture-backed business get to see their founder dancing through a town hall (affectionately named Mews Con) in a silly costume.  Mews pivoted from hyper-growth mode into a sharp focus on profitability right-sizing the business and is poised to come out of the pandemic far stronger than it went in.  Lots of open roles to check out and we’re sure that list will continue to grow over the coming months.  

Cloudbeds, SiteMinder & Room Raccoon Top People’s Choice Awards in the 2021 HotelTechAwards

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated hotel software in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the Top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards. The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity. The HotelTechAwards platform (by Hotel Tech Report) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products and companies that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The People’s Choice Award goes to a single company across all categories who demonstrates the strongest customer relationships during the HotelTechAwards.  Cloudbeds had more than 550 hotelier customers come out to share overwhelmingly positive feedback about Cloudbeds products in the midst of a global pandemic.  To have that kind of support from clients during the most challenging market in hotel history says all you need to know about Cloudbeds’ commitment to their partner properties,” says Hotel Tech Report CEO Jordan Hollander. Here’s the Official 2021 People’s Choice List: Cloudbeds SiteMinder RoomRaccoon Bookassist OTA Insight ALICE IDeaS Avvio Hoteltime hotelkit The key factors used to determine the annual People’s Choice Award include total verified customer reviews, geographic reach of reviews, and overall review sentiment and ratings. The best companies know that the most effective way to communicate their value proposition is to empower and amplify the voices of their happy customers.  The People’s Choice Award recognizes companies whose customers really value the relationship and partnership. “Twenty years ago we lived in a world where hoteliers just used one of the three or four technology systems out there and typically just ended up using whatever system they had heard of before.  Today there are thousands of SaaS choices in the market and dozens of great options available for most use cases but the market is moving so quickly that it’s hard for hoteliers to identify and keep track of the best products and companies.  This award honors the companies whose hotel customers are the most vocal advocates of their products to make that process easy,” says Hollander.   About the 2021 People's Choice Award The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity.  Early on as a startup, it’s easier for companies to maintain strong customer relationships with a limited customer base. But as a company grows its install base and scales globally, maintaining high customer satisfaction becomes increasingly more challenging.  Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated product in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards acknowledging the achievements of top innovators across all categories who embody the values, transparency, and customer-centricity that lie at the core of truly great companies. View Ranking Methodology>>