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Hotel IT & Building Management Software Articles

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Net Zero Emissions: A Guide to Smart Buildings & Operations

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Curious about sustainability and how the hotel industry can reverse the trajectory of climate change and global warming? It’s no secret that the travel industry is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon emissions - think of all those trains, planes, cars and ships. While hotels aren’t necessarily the biggest contributors, travelers who stay in our hotels are which it’s why it’s important that we do our part to make emissions reductions through energy efficiency, recycling and other initiatives on property starting with the initial development of our buildings. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “net zero targets” or the “Paris agreement” or maybe you’re new to the conversation about reducing emissions. As traveler preferences shift toward eco-friendly hotel options, and as the climate crisis becomes more urgent, hoteliers like you should start to investigate solutions for a more sustainable future for your property. Net zero is one framework for prioritizing and quantifying your environmental impact, and, in this article, we’ll explain how net zero is relevant and important for hotels around the world. By the end of the page, you’ll be able to begin formulating a plan for your own hotel to achieve net zero emissions.

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What is an Energy Management System?

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

Searching for a solution to your higher energy costs? Or looking for ways to operate your hotel’s building systems more efficiently? An energy management system can offer a lot of value to hotels of all shapes and sizes - not only helping you decrease your utility costs, but also unlocking more productivity and higher guest satisfaction. Energy management systems can require significant upfront investment, so you’ll want to learn the ins and outs of this type of software before making a purchasing decision. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basics of energy management systems, the benefits your hotel can realize by implementing one, and the top systems available on the market today.

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Three Surprising Ways IoT is Saving Hotels Money

by
Alec Massey
3 months ago

To say the hotel industry has been through a lot in the past 24 months is an understatement. While the projected 2022 occupancy rate of 61.7% is a significant improvement from 2020 and 2021 levels, it will remain below pre-pandemic levels that hovered in the mid-60s for the 7 year period spanning from 2014-2019.  However, average daily rates are expected to nearly equal pre-pandemic highs from 2019, after strong rebounds in 2021 and 2022, and as a result, . RevPAR is projected to reach 93% of 2019 levels in 2022.  The tumultuous 3 year period, despite the gradual and controlled recovery that is underway, has led hoteliers to prioritize cost saving initiatives to stabilize their bottom line. In addition, a slow return to work for hotel staff has also been a catalyst for operational changes in the industry, with greater priority placed on technology that enables improved efficiency and productivity. In late 2021, unemployment for the hotel sector reached 12.9% compared to the national rate of 4.6%. The strong job creation to start 2022, where the industry added approximately 150,000 jobs in January, demonstrates how the industry had to adapt to do more with less during the rebound that has been underway over the last 12 months. Less staff, coupled with steadily increasing numbers of guests during the recovery, has made it more difficult to deliver the same level of service, safety, and maintenance upkeep that hotels delivered pre-pandemic. With hoteliers needing to do more with less, recent investments in the Internet of Things (IoT), and geolocation platforms in particular, have shown to be an unexpected source of value. From sensors to trackers to rapid response buttons to smart cameras, IoT - and geolocation platforms in particular - are helping hotel staff feel safer, achieve greater productivity, and reduce waste in support of environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets - all resulting in cost savings to the hotel.

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Hotel Sustainability: 27 Statistics Illustrating the Growth of ESG in the Hotel Industry

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

Are you wondering if the industry’s focus on sustainable practices is just a passing trend or if the sustainable hotels movement is here to stay? Or are you looking for inspiration as you strive to make your hotel more diverse and inclusive? It’s not only travelers who are increasingly looking for more sustainable and ethical options where they can stay at hotels who focus on initiatives for a clean carbon footprint and minimal environmental impact like food waste reduction and reducing high impact guest experience touch points like daily room cleanings. Investors, hospitality management professionals and owners are recognizing that hotels that rate highly on the ESG scale are not only attractive investments, but they also provide the services and benefits that both guests and employees are looking for. Hotels are a large stakeholder within local environmental ecosystems and given the hospitality industry’s carbon intensive nature (i.e. flying on an airplane) hoteliers are sensitive to ensure that once guests arrive at their destination that they do everything they can to minimize impact. The good news is that there are tons of great options today like low-flow toilets, reusable refillable bottles, digital key cards, organic food, composting straws and energy-saving air conditioning. In this article, we’ll explain what exactly ESG means for hotels and run through 27 statistics that show ESG in the hotel industry is here to stay.

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What Is Managed WiFi? (+Benefits, Examples, Best Providers)

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

Do you wish your hotel had better internet? Do guests often mention WiFi problems in guest reviews? Or is managing your own WiFi connections just getting to be too much for your IT staff? Is your back office hotel management software too slow to efficiently get your work done? If any of these situations resonate with you, then your hotel might be well suited for managed WiFi. Managed WiFi is often cheaper, more reliable, and more secure than independent WiFi connections, but making the switch is a big decision. Making fast, reliable WiFi available to your guests can improve guest review scores and even result in a RevPAR boost, so WiFi shouldn’t be an afterthought. In this article, we’ll explain what managed WiFi is, what benefits managed WiFi can provide, and introduce you to the top managed WiFi providers. With a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of managed WiFi, you can make an informed decision for your property.

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Hotel Payments Processing: Understanding the Fees and Stakeholders

by
Jan Hejny
4 months ago

Most hoteliers don't know how much they're paying for transactions. Do you? Sure, many can tell you their Booking.com commission rate, yet, if you start digging and asking (the right) questions, you'd be surprised to realize that payments fees are out of sight and out of mind. Chances are that if you knew what you were paying you wouldn't be particularly thrilled with the credit card transactions fees you pay. Typically, hotel payment processing fees on transactions range from about 0.7% to 3.5%, and that eats into profits. However, if this is not bad enough, many other "invisible" costs are involved with payments. And some of them are so well-hidden that it can take years for even the most savvy hoteliers to get a full grasp of the ecosystem tolls. Many hoteliers are overpaying their providers without even realizing it. But don't be fooled: when selecting a processor, only considering transaction fees is, at least, misleading, so if someone is undercharging you there, it's very likely they're adding a markup somewhere else. There are so many players interested when it comes to payments, so it's relatively easy to bury another fee or two here and there without the hotel even discovering it.   Payment: A Long Journey Whenever a transaction is made (online, in person, via phone/email, etc.), there are at least seven parties involved: The consumer: in hospitality, that's the guest. Usually, he's the cardholder or the person paying for the stay; The merchant: the business which is selling the services (or the products for the retail industry). In our case, that's the hotel; The gateway: the technology needed to connect the hotel to the payment processor. The payment processor: it enables the communication between the hotel, the credit card network, and the guest's bank; The credit card network: it's the guest's credit card brand (Visa, Amex, Mastercard, etc.); The issuing bank: the guest's bank making the payment; The acquiring bank: the hotel's bank receiving the payment. This means that, during each step of the payment, extra charges can be applied, sometimes indiscriminately. Here are some of the primary examples of additional costs: Buy rates: processors' costs associated with opening and maintaining the merchant's account. They are, basically, the acquiring bank's fees, made of the interchange + the acquiring bank's markup; Card issues charges: charges made by the card-issuing bank based on the type of the card and its location. For instance, EU-issued personal debit cards are capped to 0.2%, while credit cards to 0.3%. Business cards, on the other hand, are not capped. Booking.com's issuing bank, for example, charges an additional 2% for its virtual card. (Yup, if you do the math, receiving payment through BKG's card will cost you up to 1.8% more than a debit card...); Card scheme fees: fees charged typically by the card brands. Although not very high, they can vary and be very complex; Card tokenization charges: To charge a credit/debit card, a PMS should receive (usually from a partner, such as a channel manager or a booking engine) the number first, and then, tokenize it. Tokenization assures secure storage of credit card numbers and PCI compliance, so it's a crucial service. Here, however, is where systems tend to apply very different rates, and when hotels usually don't look. The payment gateway we use charges 0.05€ per tokenized card, but we've seen PMSs charging four/five times that amount. Moreover, some systems even apply "double tokenizations," meaning that they charge twice if a guest, for example, modifies his reservation on an OTA. Yes, a guest postponing the check-out date can cost you double what you already paid... Sure, a small property could not even notice it, but what if you're running a 100+ key hotel? Payment gateway fees: these are typically charged for initializing a transaction (it can be a payment, a refund, a preauthorization, collect/cancel of preauthorization, etc.). The cost can vary from gateway to gateway, and some systems may also add a markup. Wire Fee: some acquirers charge a fee every single time they send a settlement. If you, like ourselves, receive one a day, that can become quite expensive very quickly. Moreover, your bank may charge you an additional wire fee, making things even worse.   How to Save Money on Payments So, how can you avoid falling into this trap and overpaying for your transactions? Unless you have a complete understanding of how payments work at a higher level, it's challenging get the entire picture.  Start by asking the right questions to your provider. Don't settle with the "we offer the lowest transaction fees in the industry." That's just the marketing department talking, and it won't save you from all the "invisible" costs. Instead, download the latest invoice and start checking all the entries. You may not understand all of them, but at least you now know where to look.

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Accor’s Innovative Tech Strategy is the Key to Digital Transformation in Hospitality

by
Jordan Hollander
4 months ago

Hotel Tech Report recently sat down with Accor CTO Floor Bleeker for a behind the scenes look at how the hotel giant is out innovating the competition.  Accor is arguably the most disruptive large hotel chain in the world having recently unveiled a first of its kind multi-PMS strategy and also launching its own SPAC to invest in a hotel related businesses including technology. Back in March of 2019 Hotel Tech Report published a piece titled This is Why Hotel Brands Shouldn't Build Tech.  In that article, we made the case that hotel brands needed to rethink archaic tech strategies to adapt in a world of microservices, open APIs, cloud computing and cyber insecurity.  Back in the 90s, hotel companies built their own systems due to constraints of on-premise legacy systems but that playbook is no longer effective for modern hospitality brands. Accor has over 5,200 hotels in over 110 countries operating under more than 40 different brands.  So how does a company of that size and scale maintain a rapid pace of innovation?  In this interview we cover how Accor leverages a unique organizational structure to drive innovation, its technology investments and everything in between.  We’ll break down Accor’s approach to innovation to help guide other hotel chains, regional brands and even independents in how they should be thinking about hotel technology.

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What is a Building Management System?

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 months ago

Are you searching for a solution to lower your hotel’s energy costs and usage? Building owners need an efficient way to manage HVAC equipment, smart building devices (internet of things / IOT), lighting controls, security, and access control at your hotel as you operate with a leaner team than in the past? A building management system is critical for large hotels and other commercial buildings with complex mechanical and electronic operations that have high energy consumption. Energy efficiency through smart control systems can save large buildings thousands (and sometimes millions) of dollars per year.   BMS systems are at the core of any building operation and preventive maintenance facility management strategy. The benefits of using a building management system aren’t limited to only the engineering team; using a building control system can reduce your utility costs, eliminate hours of manual work, improve sustainability efforts and even boost your guest reviews. In this article, we’ll explain the features and potential benefits of using a building management system so you can decide whether a BMS is right for your hotel.

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What Does a Night Auditor Do in a Hotel?

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 months ago

If you’re considering a full time or part time night auditor job - or preparing to hire a night auditor - you’ve come to the right place. While many people are familiar with the job of a hotel front desk agent since it's during the day shift, the night auditor’s responsibilities aren’t as well known despite providing high paying entry-level positions at hotels. In this article, we’ll explain what a night auditor role entails, what skills will set you up for success as a night auditor, and offer advice for landing a night.

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Self Check-in Kiosks For Hotels: 2022 Hotel Kiosk Guide

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

Are you grappling with a tighter budget at your hotel, a staffing shortage, or changing guest preferences toward contactless options? The hospitality industry is more resource constrained than ever and you're not alone. It can be challenging to deliver a high standard of service when faced with constraints like reduced hotel staff due to rising labor costs. However, the guest experience doesn’t need to suffer if you have fewer employees or less face-to-face interaction. Self-service options like check-in kiosks can bring a slew of benefits to guests, employees, and hotel owners and managers. Everyone knows that first impressions determine the majority of our perceptions about brands and people - the check-in experience is no different and it's highly correlated with overall customer satisfaction. In this article, we’ll explain what a self check-in kiosk can do, how it plays into the contactless hotel trend, and we’ll show you how your hotel can achieve better guest satisfaction scores, higher profitability, and greater productivity by implementing self check-in kiosks.