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

by
Jordan Hollander
7 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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The Ultimate Guide to Hospitality Technology (2022)

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

Did you know the average small business uses 40 different software applications, and the average hotel uses around 20? In an ideal world, every system in your hotel’s tech stack would help you automate tasks, reduce costs, grow revenue, and deliver a five-star guest experience. But we understand that getting up-to-date on the myriad of technology solutions available to hotels can be daunting! Where do you even start?In this article, we’ll introduce you to each piece of the hotel technology landscape, from revenue management to reputation management and everything in between. Drawing on insights from over 10,000 hotel software reviews written by hoteliers across the globe, this article will also highlight some top software vendors in each category. For more detailed testimonials and additional software choices, you’ll want to click over to the full list of vendors. Let’s dive in!  9 Hotel Operations Software Tools that Drive EfficiencyThis category of software includes the most essential technology for hotel operations: checking guests in, reconciling accounts, handling payroll, and getting feedback from guests. Your hotel’s size and complexity will determine which systems you need; small, limited-service hotels might be fine with a PMS and a payment processor, but a large resort could benefit from each category of software.1. Property management systems (PMS): The PMS is the central hub for hotel operations. In this system, staff can check guests in and out, create and manage reservations, pull financial reports, manage guest profiles, and more. According to user reviews and analysis of system functionality, the top PMSs are Cloudbeds, Clock, and HotelTime, though there are over a hundred more great systems on the market.2. Staff collaboration tools: Hotel staff are scattered across different floors, buildings, and shifts, so a communication platform is necessary to keep everyone on the same page. Systems like hotelkit, Monscierge, and ALICE can replace analog methods like walkie-talkies and logbooks, plus they can track tasks, reduce manual errors, and increase efficiency.3. Housekeeping and engineering software: These tools digitize the operations of your housekeeping and maintenance departments, with the ability to automate task assignment, monitor real-time status of rooms or issues, and track task completion. Top software in this category includes hotelkit, Flexkeeping, and ALICE.4. Guest feedback and surveys: Do away with the paper comment cards and give guests a digital platform to voice their feedback, such as GuestRevu, TrustYou, or Revinate. Not only are these tech solutions easy for guests to use, but they also allow hoteliers to customize, automate, and analyze guest comments and complaints.5. Accounting and reporting: If your hotel accepts payments from guests and issues payments to employees and vendors, then you’ll benefit from an accounting and reporting system like myDigitalOffice, M3, or Omniboost. A modern accounting system reveals opportunities to reduce costs and maximize revenue, plus makes your accounting team more efficient with automated reports and integrations with other on-site software.6. Payments Processing: Most guests prefer to pay for their reservations with credit cards, but a payment processing system is necessary to get the funds from the guest’s card into your hotel’s bank account. Payment processors like Profitroom, Mews Payments, and Adyen charge a small processing fee, but they make getting paid as seamless as possible.7. Labor management: Hotels have dozens, if not hundreds, of employees, so scheduling is no easy task. Software such as Hotel Effectiveness’ PerfectLabor™, M3, and UniFocus include forecasting, insight into labor costs, and integrations with payroll and timekeeping systems. 8. Meetings and events: Whether your hotel has one private dining room or several floors of ballrooms and breakout spaces, meetings and events software can support every step of the sales and planning process - and the event itself. Highly rated meetings and events software includes Proposales, Event Temple, and Blockbuster by Duetto.9. F&B and point-of-sale systems: The pandemic accelerated demand for features like contactless menus and online ordering, so there has been a huge wave of innovation in the F&B software space. Vendors like RoomOrders, Bbot, and Oracle’s MICROS can help restaurants modernize their operations, cut costs, reduce reliance on delivery platforms, and strengthen relationships with customers. 7 Revenue Management Tech Systems that Improve Yield StrategyThe goal of revenue management is to sell the right room to the right guest at the right price, and revenue managers leverage a variety of software to achieve their RevPAR goals.1. Revenue management systems (RMS): The secret weapon of any revenue manager is the RMS; this system analyzes historical data, market supply and demand, and forecasts to recommend the rates most likely to maximize revenue and profitability. You might also hear revenue management software like IDeaS, Duetto’s Gamechanger, or Atomize referred to as “yield management systems” or “pricing engines.”2. Channel managers: A channel manager is the link between a hotel’s property management system and distribution channels like Booking.com, Expedia, and the GDS. Channel managers such as SiteMinder, Cloudbeds’ myallocator, and D-EDGE’s Smart Channel Manager allow hoteliers to make changes in one system, their PMS, rather than managing rates on each channel individually.3. Central reservation systems (CRS): Larger hotels or hotels that are part of a chain or group might use a CRS to centralize all bookings, whether they’re made by call center staff, the hotel’s own website, or a third-party channel. The CRS will then send reservations to the PMS for room assignments. Popular CRSs include Pegasus, Windsurfer, and GuestCentric CRS.4. Rate shopping and market intelligence: A key to revenue management success is selling competitive rates, but how do you know what your competitors are selling? Rate shopping tools, like OTA Insight, Siteminder Insights, and D-EDGE RateScreener, do the heavy lifting for you and present competitor rates and market forecasts in user-friendly dashboards and reports.5. Parity management: OTAs ask hotels to provide rate parity, meaning selling the same rate across all channels, and, as a hotelier, you don’t want OTAs to sell cheaper rates than your hotel’s website. Parity management tools, like OTA Insight, FornovaDI, and Triptease give hoteliers access to dashboards that monitor rates across all channels in real-time.6. Business intelligence: Revenue managers love data, but sometimes all that data is too much for Excel to handle. Business intelligence tools offer better solutions for slicing, dicing, and visualising data through dashboards and reports suitable for studying historical performance or predicting the future. Top BI applications include OTA Insight, Scoreboard by Duetto, and ProfitSage.7. Upselling Software: Driving incremental revenue per guest is possible with upselling tools that automate the entire process - and use profile data and historical trends to serve the most compelling, personalized offers to each guest, like room upgrades or F&B items. Tools like Oaky, EasyWay Smart Upselling, and GuestJoy also enable hoteliers to start the upselling process before the guest arrives on property. 9 Guest Experience Platforms to Improve Satisfaction ScoresHow do you create a five-star guest experience in the digital age? A plethora of systems exist to delight guests, from contactless check-in solutions to modern in-room entertainment.1. Guest messaging: Messaging platforms allow hotels to communicate with guests via their preferred platform: text messaging, email, or even apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Top-rated systems like Monscierge, Whistle, and EasyWay support automated messaging and one central dashboard where staff can respond.2. Keyless entry: Keyless entry software enables a guest to unlock their room or other secure areas like gyms or pools with a wave of their smartphone. Systems like Mobile Access by ASSA ABLOY, FLEXIPASS, and Openkey.co offer integrations with PMSs for a seamless arrival experience.3. Guest apps: Digitize your in-room directory with a hotel app like ALICE, INTELITY, or Duve. These downloadable apps put everything guests need to know at their fingertips, from contact info and directions to room service menus and local recommendations. 4. Contactless check-in: In the wake of the pandemic, guests prefer a contactless arrival process, and software like EasyWay, Canary, and Duve make it easy for hotels to pivot to a fully digital check-in. Functionality includes ID scanning, digital registration cards, upselling, payment processing, and arrival time coordination.5. In-room tablets: Just like the smartphone replaced our digital cameras and rolodexes, an in-room tablet can replace your rooms’ telephones, directories, room service menus, TV remotes, thermostats, and more. Tablet providers like SuitePad, Crave Interactive, and INTELITY are even proven to increase guest satisfaction and revenue.6. Energy management: These systems have two goals: decrease your hotel’s energy costs and reduce your hotel’s environmental impact. Vendors like Verdant Energy Management Solutions, Telkonet, and EcoStruxure are designed with hotels in mind and seek to not only decrease costs, but also enhance the guest experience.7. Guest room entertainment: Today’s guests want more than local cable channels on their guestroom TVs; systems like Monscierge ZAFIRO IPTV, and Sonifi provide interactive content and entertainment for all types of hotels, plus additional marketing and engagement opportunities you couldn’t get with traditional TV.8. Mobile ordering/F&B: Bbot, RoomOrders, SABA F&B Ordering, and other systems provide an essential piece of technology for hotels and restaurants: mobile ordering. With this software, guests and customers can access menus, place orders, and pay from their smartphones, and F&B outlets can better manage order fulfillment and deliver an end-to-end contactless experience.9. Hotel Wi-Fi: What was once a premium add-on is now an essential amenity at hotels, especially with a growing segment of travelers working remotely. To offer reliable high-speed internet access, hotels can partner with vendors like Cisco (Meraki), Percipia, or GuestTek that offer implementation services and ongoing support. 9 Marketing Tools to Lower Acquisition Costs and Drive Direct BookingsOf course, you don’t need any of the software listed above if nobody knows about your hotel! Marketing software allows you to tap into new audiences of guests and build relationships with your existing guest base.1. Booking engines: For hoteliers seeking to increase direct business, a booking engine is essential. This software allows guests to book reservations on your hotel’s website by displaying rates and availability from your PMS, then integrating reservations into the PMS. Cloudbeds, Bookassist, and SiteMinder offer some of the best booking engines. 2. Reputation management: A reputation management tool helps you request, track, analyze, and respond to guest reviews across sites like Tripadvisor and Google and your own surveys. Some of the industry leaders are TrustYou, GuestRevu, and Revinate, and they can even assist in increasing guest review scores by revealing insights about guest sentiment.3. Website builders and content management systems (CMS): Outsourcing your website design isn’t necessary with a CMS; these tools allow you to build, edit, and organize website pages and content, and they support integrations with booking engines, payment processors, widgets and more. Smart CMS by Bookassist, Profitroom, and Net Affinity are some of the top website builders.4. Direct booking tools: If you want to increase direct bookings, then an app like Triptease, Hotelchamp, or TrustYou can boost the number of shoppers who complete bookings on your hotel’s website. These tools let you display personalized messages, snippets of guest reviews, price comparison widgets, and more - all of which give guests reasons to book direct instead of on an OTA.5. Digital marketing agencies: Don’t have the time or resources to handle digital marketing in-house? A digital marketing agency can lend their expertise to help your hotel succeed in search engine marketing, social media, content creation, and PR. Bookassist, Avvio, and Net Affinity are some of the leaders in this space.6. Social media tools: Whether you’re trying to build a new audience or stay in touch with past guests, social media is an important component of your hotel’s marketing strategy. Social media vendors like BCV, Sprout Social, and Travel Media Group can help you achieve your reach and engagement goals.7. Metasearch and ad tech: Metasearch channels, like Google, Kayak, and Tripadvisor, are powerful drivers of traffic to your hotel website - if you leverage them effectively. These sites require special connectivity and a bidding strategy, and tools like Bookassist, Avvio, and Koddi will help you manage budgets, track attribution, and understand market dynamics.8. Website live chat/chatbots: Potential guests shopping on your website want answers now - without needing to pick up the phone. A chatbot, like one from Asksuite, Quicktext, or Whistle, use artificial intelligence to answer guest questions quickly and accurately, plus capture leads and increase conversion on your website.9. Hotel CRM: Your database of guest email addresses is a gold mine - if you can leverage it strategically. A CRM system, such as Revinate, Profitroom, and dailypoint 360, allows you to capture email addresses on your website, send automated messages throughout the guest’s journey, create segments of profiles with specific characteristics, and analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion. F&B and MICEThe food and beverage and meetings and events components of the hotel industry have their own technology solutions too. Whether you’re trying to streamline your room service offerings or support citywide conferences in a maze of meeting spaces, you can find software to help you execute any type of service or event.1. Restaurant management: In order to run a restaurant smoothly, restaurateurs leverage point-of-sale software to manage stock in real-time, handle transactions, reserve tables, run reports, and more. Popular restaurant management software includes Vento ePOS, Oracle MICROS, and Lightspeed POS.2. Mobile ordering and room service: Contactless service is the latest trend in F&B, but it seems likely to become the norm. Mobile ordering systems, such as Bbot, RoomOrders, and SABA F&B Ordering, allow restaurants to upload digital menus, accept online orders, and receive contactless payments, and customers can feel confident in more efficient service and accurate orders and bills.3. Meetings and events intelligence: This category of software aims to help hoteliers maximize their meetings and events business by understanding market dynamics, uncovering insights about attendees, and optimizing pricing and space usage. Top meetings and events intelligence tools include Blockbuster by Duetto, IDeaS (SmartSpace), and Get Into More.4. Group sourcing and RFP tools: Without software to assist, the RFP process is tedious. RFP software, such as Proposales, MeetingPackage, and Venuesuite, moves this process online and helps you to automate it, making all the back-and-forth more efficient and helping sales teams reach their goals.5. Event management: Software doesn’t just help your sales team seal the deal, but also to plan and execute the event itself. Event Temple, Tripleseat, EVENTMACHINE, and others provide functionality to send proposals, get e-signatures, manage traces, communicate with clients, and create and edit BEOs and agendas. Looking for more resources on hotel industry software? Download the free 2021 HotelTechIndex Market Leaders Report.

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The 9 Most Futuristic High Tech Hotels in the World

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

The pandemic accelerated technological transformation across the hospitality industry. Contactless has become a must-have, fitness centers have gone virtual, guest communications have moved to mobile, and self-service has become standard.While some hotels found themselves rapidly deploying new technologies, other hotels have been playing the tech-long game for years. Here are some of the world’s most notable high-tech hotels.We've covered the tech strategies of great hotel groups like Viceroy and Noble House who implement everything from contactless check-in to digital concierge but this article focuses on some more wacky tech implementations with a bit of focus on form over function.  This list features some pretty cool hi-tech gadgets and hotel room amenities that go above and beyond the typical flat-screen tv.  Some of the cutting-edge technology on this list may off-put more traditional travelers but will undoubtedly hit the spot for tech-savvy millennials.Rather than layer technology onto the operation, these properties embed technology into the fabric of the operation, making it a focal point and key feature. Some use it as an Instagrammable moment at a specific location while others structure their entire brand around the tech-enabled guest experience. Either way, technology is front-and-center at these hotels. Henn Na Hotel, Japan“The Robot Hotel” Tokyo has become the marquee high-tech hotel. The brand concept is “commitment to evolution,” which appears across its operation in the form of robots. Lots of robots! The brand claims to be the world’s first hotel staffed by robots -- and there’s really no disputing that, as guests are greeted by robots at the front desk. At one property, the front desk is even staffed by dinosaur robots and iPad kiosks, which is quite the experience.  Other high-tech features at some locations include a robot barista frothing lattes, espressos and teas, as well as a 360-degree VR space for guests to immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences. The hotel is also fully enabled with Wifi powered facial recognition, which eliminates the need for a hotel key altogether. Guests can access the property, and their individual guest rooms, seamlessly using biometrics. Very futuristic, indeed! YOTEL, New York CityThe YOTEL brand has been synonymous with technology since it opened its doors near  Times Square. The showstopper was a massive robot arm dominating the lobby, providing automated luggage storage for guests (as well as safety deposit boxes to store valuables). The YOBOT also provides self-service check-in, which puts the brand far ahead of today’s contactless guest experience. The rooms -- called cabins -- may be small, but YOTEL uses technology to deliver its promise to “give you everything you need, and nothing you don’t.” This includes Smart TVs so that guests can connect their own devices and choose their own entertainment.The guest rooms also use motorized beds as space-savers and motion-activated sensors for lighting and AC to reduce carbon emissions. It’s all about efficiency, delivering an outsized guest experience in even the smallest spaces. Blow Up Hall 5050, PolandThe Blow Up Hall 50/50 is an impressive mix of form and function. Designed by BAFTA-award-winning artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the hotel combines a restaurant, bar, gallery, and hotel into a unique vibe. There are several digital art installations, including a commentary on surveillance capitalism embedded right within the lobby.  The property eliminates the traditional touchstones of the hotel experience: there’s no front desk. The guest’s smartphone provides access to the property, from check-in to room keys to staff communications. The phone also acts as a room finder: after opening the app, the assigned room lights up and the door unlocks automatically. It’s these small tech flourishes that reinforce the property’s sense of mystery and intrigue. Hotel Zetta, San FranciscoAt the center of Silicon Valley, the centerpiece of Hotel Zetta is most definitely its virtual reality room in the lobby. Designed by a local tech startup (naturally), the VR cube gives guests a fully-immersive opportunity to experience virtual reality. There are also Nintendo Switch consoles and Oculus VR headsets available so guests can experience next-generation technology in the comfort of their rooms.   Other tech touchstones include a vintage Atari Pong table in the Zetta Suite, which is modernized to include both the classic game and a Bluetooth speaker to play personal playlists. Each guest room is also equipped with Alexa-enabled voice control in every room. Guests can order a meal from room service, set an alarm or learn about on-property dining specials.  Kameha Grand, ZurichThe Kameha Grand isn’t one of those kitschy places that you’re embarrassed to stay at. Quite the opposite: the high-end “lifestyle hotel” is part of Marriott’s Autograph collection. And, with rooms designed by Marcel Wenders, it’s got all of the trappings of a luxury property. Rooms  Our favorite rooms are, of course, the Space Suites. It’s the most futuristic room type on this list because it quite literally connects to space. The in-room TV features a live feed from NASA TV so that you can fuel those space dreams. The atmospheric vibes will contribute to that dreamy feel, with “outer space furnishings have been designed down to the smallest detail with a floating bed, pictures of galaxies, hovering astronauts and models of rockets.” Far out! Virgin Hotels The Virgin Hotel brand has always been tech-forward and guest-centric. Even prior to the pandemic, the brand empowered guests to control their own experiences right from the palm of their hand. Now, those features are dramatically expanded to be even more contactless.  Named Lucy, the app allows guests to skip check-in, using their phone to select rooms and unlock doors. Guests can also use the app to order room service, adjust room temperature, control entertainment (in-room streaming and Apple Music), plan their trip around the city, or even follow custom exercise routines by Fitbod.Following on smartly with its brand promise, the app also offers three preset lighting modes for guestrooms:  Get Lit for full brightness, Get in the Mood for dimmed relaxation, and Do Not Disturb for sleep. By putting all of these elements together into a single interface, Virgin Hotels puts the guest in control.  25hours HotelsAnother brand that’s focused on high-tech without losing high-touch hospitality is 25hours. Thanks to an in-house multidisciplinary think tank, the Extra Hour Lab, the brand experiments with new ways of engaging with guests, both through digital and analog channels.That balance plays out in Cologne, where the record store greets guests alongside  Perhaps that’s one aspect that distinguishes the futuristic, high-tech hotels: those that understand how to inject storytelling into the experience alongside the latest technology. CityhubA hybrid between a comfortable hotel and a convivial hostel, Cityhub is futuristic in both its technology and its approach to hospitality. It’s part of a new wave of brands that blend categories and use technology to enable a more social experience.The Cityhub brand has an app but it also takes a cue from Disney and offers RFID wristbands. These bands are used not only for check-in and property access, but also  at the bar, cafe or vending machines, where guests can serve themselves and charge their rooms. Without having to constantly pull out their phones, there’s a more personal element to the experience.  Each “hub” has its own customizable lighting, temperature and audio streaming, so guests can control their vibe. There’s also an on-property social network, giving guests a digital lobby to meet and plan real-world adventures. The Atari Hotel, Las Vegas (coming soon!)A notable mention is the upcoming Atari Hotel in Las Vegas.  This property will blur the boundaries between hotel and immersive experience, building on Las Vegas’ long history of blending entertainment with hospitality. The experience is straight out of Blade Runner: bright lights, massive marquees, and an “everywhere you look” focus on gaming.  The Atari Hotel points to a far-more futuristic vision of hotels than anything else on the market today. It very well could be the first hospitality experience built just as much for the virtual world as for the physical one.Guests can host friends in their rooms for gaming marathons, with consoles, batteries, and spare controllers available for delivery. The Atari Hotel may redefine the category and establish a new mainstream travel trend: the gamer circuit.--What are your favorite high-tech hotel amenities? Let us know if we missed any key ones like hotels with crazy underwater speakers, air conditioning activated by motion sensors, cool touchscreen applications, and more!

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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months 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 EffectivenessGeorgia (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. EasyWayBig 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. AsksuiteThis 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. RoomRaccoonDespite 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. AlliantsThe 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. ALICEThis 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. hotelkitAustria-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. CloudbedsCloudbeds 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. MewsThis 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. 

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

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months 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 AwardThe 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>>

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Winners of the 2021 HotelTechAwards Announced

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Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced winners in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews contributed by verified hoteliers during the competition.  Winners are selected based on key performance metrics including product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry.“In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing 10,227 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite tech products to run and grow their businesses.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report.“This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Winning a HotelTechAward is a huge feat with the 2021 competition being the most competitive year ever.  Every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.”During the HotelTechAwards, hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies review the top tech products used at their hotels to increase operating efficiency, drive revenue, and improve the guest experience. This data is used to identify the best hotel tech products and organizations. "The HotelTechAwards  are the only prize in the industry that is completely and transparently customer-driven — it's the hoteliers that decide who is best, and it's their opinion that matters most." Gautam Lulla, CEO at Pegasus. "We at SiteMinder believe strongly in the essence of openness; it is what underpins the very core of what we stand for, and the HotelTechAwards, through the program's data-driven and transparent process, aligns firmly with this value.” - Sankar Narayan, CEO at SiteMinder “This honor has deep, personal meaning as it is decided upon by our clients and represents our passion and focus for providing the most sophisticated revenue technology and comprehensive support.” Dr. Ravi Mehrotra Founder at IDeaS “The HotelTechAwards are a powerful stamp of approval for any company to possess and for hoteliers to trust. We value the HotelTechAwards process, which collects thousands of verified reviews from around the world each year.” Alex Shashou, Co-Founder at ALICE “HotelTechReport is the leading platform for technology in the hotel industry, and its meticulous and impartial verification process makes this one of the most prestigious awards.” Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen, Co-Founder at SuitePad The competition spans core areas of hotel software & technology: marketing, revenue, operations, and guest experience. 2021 Voting included participation from major hotel groups including Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Accor Hotels, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Rosewood, and thousands of independents."We originally created the HotelTechAwards as a democratized way to help our fellow hoteliers quickly determine best of breed vendors based on data they can trust and the scope of the competition this year is a testament to how far the industry has come in the last decade.  The HotelTechAwards rating process is simple, transparent, and unbiased--judging is based on time tested ranking factors, publicly available data, and crowdsourced insights from verified hoteliers who have hands-on experience with each product.”The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and winners were selected from the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 127 countries. Best Hotel Software Companies List >>

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2021 HotelTechAwards Finalists Announced

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced finalists in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews from verified hoteliers during the competition.  Finalists are selected based on key performance metrics like product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing over 10,000 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite software products.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Finaling in the HotelTechAwards is a reflection of quality every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” Hotel Tech Report authenticates reviews through a strict verification process.  Further, companies are ranked based on pre-defined objective data variables to avoid the biases present in other human judged competitions. "Based on real and honest customer feedback, the HotelTechAwards really do provide the most transparent view on how technology is perceived and used across the industry,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO at OTA Insight. The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and finalists are selected from more than 1,000 of the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 120 countries. -- Competition winners will be publicly announced on January 12th -- Best Guest Experience Technology FinalistsGuest Messaging Software: Whistle, EasyWay, MonsciergeGuest Room Tablets: SuitePad, INTELITYGuest Survey Software: TrustYou, Guestrevu, RevinateHospitality TV Providers: Monscierge (Apple TV)Mobile Key: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, FLEXIPASSMobile Ordering: Bbot, RoomOrdersHotel Guest Apps: ALICE, INTELITY, Wishbox Best Operations Software FinalistsProperty Management Systems: Cloudbeds, Mews, Clock PMS+, HotelTimeStaff Collaboration: hotelkit, Monscierge, ALICEHotel Management Systems: RoomRaccoon, CloudbedsConcierge Software: ALICECyber Security & Fraud Prevention: Canary Technologies, SertifiDigital Signage: MonsciergeHousekeeping Software: hotelkit, ALICE, OptiiMarketplaces & Integrators: Hapi, DailypointPreventive Maintenance: hotelkit, ALICE, TranscendentRestaurant Management: HotelTime, Oracle MICROS POSEmployee Engagement Software: hotelkit, Hotel Effectiveness, BeekeeperContactless Check-in: EasyWay, Canary Technologies, WishboxSpa Management: HotelTime Best Revenue Management & Finance Software FinalistsRevenue Management Systems: IDeaS, Duetto, AtomizeBusiness Intelligence: OTA Insight, Duetto, ProfitSwordCentral Reservations Systems: PegasusChannel Managers: SiteMinder, Cloudbeds, D-EDGEParity Management: OTA Insight, RateGainRate Shopping & Market Intelligence: OTA Insight, SiteMinder, RateGainReporting & Accounting: M3, MyDigitalOfficeUpselling Software: Oaky, GuestJoy, EasyWay Best Marketing Tech FinalistsBooking Engines: Cloudbeds, Bookassist, SiteMinderHotel CRM & Email Marketing: Revinate, Profitroom, DailypointDigital Marketing Agencies: Bookassist, Avvio, Net AffinityDirect Booking Tools: Triptease, HotelchampWebsite Live Chat and Chatbot: Asksuite, WhistleIndependent Loyalty Programs: The GuestBookMetasearch & Ad Tech: Bookassist, Avvio, KoddiReputation Management: TrustYou, Guestrevu, RevinateHotel Website Design: Bookassist, Avvio, Profitroom Best Meetings & Events Tech FinalistsEvent Management Software: Event TempleGroup Sourcing & RFP Software: MeetingPackage, VenuesuiteMeetings Intelligence Software: Duetto, IDeaSSales CRM: Event Temple, MeetingPackage 

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Marriott Data Breach FAQ: What Really Happened?

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

A data breach is every hotel’s worst nightmare - especially when personal data and guest information is leaked. Prior to COVID-19 hoteliers viewed cybersecurity and data protection as one of the biggest threats to the industry.  The hospitality industry is constantly under threat; numerous high-profile malware attacks on hotels have led to hundreds of millions of guests’ data being compromised and millions of dollars in damage.Case-in-point: Marriott. The hotel chain was recently fined around $23.8 million in penalties as a result of a data breach that occurred in 2014. And, the financial burden is just the start of Marriott’s woes. The attack compromised the credit card details, passport numbers, and birthdates of more than 300 million guests stored in the brand’s global guest reservation database. It’s one of the largest data breaches ever. While insurance will cover much of Marriott’s financial repercussions, its brand reputation will suffer well into the future. Here’s how the Marriott data breach happened – and how to prevent something like this from happening to your hotel. Background: Marriott Data Breach 2014The breach took place sometime in 2014, but it wasn’t discovered until 2018, when an internal security tool caught a suspicious attempt to access the internal guest reservation database for Marriott’s Starwood brands. Starwood Hotels was acquired by Marriott in 2016, adding 11 new brands to add to Marriott International’s original 19 assets.The internal security alert prompted an investigation which discovered that the Starwood network was compromised in 2014, before the acquisition. Starwood had not migrated Mariott’s reservation system in 2018; Starwood brands were still using legacy IT infrastructure, which contributed to the scope and scale of the data breach.In their internal investigation, Marriott found that hackers had encrypted data and removed it from the Starwood system. That information included information from up to 500 million guest records – although some of those records were duplicates. When they announced the breach, Marriott said that the hackers stole guest information that included “a name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest ("SPG") account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences. For some of these guests, payment card data was also stolen, but Marriott did not say for how many.” How Did the Marriott Data Breach Happen?The actual specifics of the attack get pretty technical, but there were some business and cultural practices at Starwood that underpin how easy it was for a bad actor to access that many guest records. Crowdstrike cybersecurity expert Ryan Cornateanu told Hotel Tech Report, “The attack on Marriott was hapless and a popular entry point for adversaries is through email spoofing. This tactic is used in phishing in order to get malware onto a target network to then move laterally across all systems.  From there hackers can leverage account numbers, driver's license numbers and other sensitive information from loyalty programs and reservations systems.  The general data protection regulation has gone a long way to protect consumers but there's only so much that can be done when a hacker is able to secure login credentials or access servers directly.”Starwood was notorious for having an insecure reservation system; a separate attack in 2015 compromised data and wasn’t detected for eight months. Marriott then compounded the issue by laying off Starwoods IT staff during the acquisition in 2016. The lack of personnel prevented Marriott from quickly integrating newly added hotel properties into its own in-house reservation system. Starwood’s already-insecure guest reservation system, therefore, “limped on, zombie-like, infected with malware, breached by hackers, and without much by way of continuity of care, for another two years before the breach was finally discovered,” reports CSO Online.As to the question of who hacked Marriott, that answer is even more complicated. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the attack was part of a state-sponsored intelligence-gathering effort on behalf of the Chinese government. Patterns in the code as well as the method of the attack echo techniques previously employed by Chinese hackers, and none of the guest records ended up for sale on the dark web – a clue that this wasn’t a hack for profit. The Repercussions for MarriottFinancially, Marriott faced significant penalties as a result of this data breach. Multiple class-action lawsuits were filed against the brand targeting Marriott’s failure to perform its due diligence on Starwood’s IT systems. In addition to the lawsuits, Marriott agreed to pay for passport replacements for customers who victims of the data breach.Separately, the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a consumer rights watchdog, fined Marriott $23.8 million (down from the original penalty of $123 million) for failing to meet security standards required by GDPR. The ICO argues that Marriott failed to "put appropriate technical or organizational measures in place" when processing data, though it also acknowledged that Marriott has since taken the proper measures to improve security. Notably, the original fine of $123 million would have been one of the largest penalties issued under GDPR, representing around 3% of Marriott’s total revenue.It’s true that financially, Marriott will likely survive this data breach. Customer satisfaction scores, however, dipped in 2019, bringing the brand even with Hilton and suggesting that the breach may cause more long-term harm to guest loyalty. Studies show that nearly a quarter of Americans will stop doing business with a company that has been hacked, while more than two in three people trust a company less after a data breach. How to Avoid a Similar Data BreachUltimately independents are far safer than brands because they have less attractive loot for hackers.  Less loot means less incentive.  Further, independents often work with best of breed tech vendors rather than attempting to develop systems in-house.  These vendors are venture-backed and take great measures to ensure data security.  Hoteliers should look for software vendors who meet rigorous standards with regards to modern regulatory frameworks like SOC-2, GDPR, PSD2 and PCI compliance.But still, even amongst independents - the hospitality industry is an attractive target for hackers. There’s a huge amount of personally-identifiable information collected by hotels, and often outdated or few security protocols protecting this valuable data. It’s not out of the question that your hotel could be the target of a cyber attack in the future: however, it’s crucial to avoid the mistakes that Marriott made in failing to find the breach for four years.The first priority of any hotel’s IT team should be to encrypt guest data and set up alerts to immediately warn when there’s been a potential security breach. Legacy IT must be brought up-to-date; make sure the newest version of your software is installed on all devices. Security updates often contain patches and new fixes that evolve with the threat landscape. And, have a plan to communicate with customers as soon as you sense there’s been a breach. The question shouldn’t be “if” there will be a cyberattack – but when.

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10 protel Air Features That Are on the Cutting Edge

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

As a hotel owner or general manager, you’re always exploring new, creative ways to increase efficiency and guest satisfaction at your properties. But with new technologies popping up constantly and guest preferences changing rapidly, it can be difficult to determine which software can really make an impact on your hotel’s operations and your bottom line. In fact, your hotel probably doesn’t need all the trendiest gadgets and apps; the best and most efficient solution is to partner with an intuitive, adaptive property management system that will evolve with you as trends change and guest’s needs shift.One hotel software company that truly embodies this forward-thinking approach is protel, which recently launched a completely new interface for their cloud-based PMS product, protel Air. In this review, we’ll explain what makes protel Air unique, what benefits it can deliver, and where the differences lie between cloud-based and on-premise systems. By the end of this article, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of protel Air and property management systems in general so you can make more informed decisions about your own tech stack.   What is protel?If you’ve been in the hotel industry for a while, you’ve probably heard the protel name. Founded in Germany in 1994, protel was a pioneer in property management systems. Over the next decades, 14,000 hotels in over 90 countries implemented protel, and protel’s team has kept their products on the cutting edge of hotel technology. protel’s niche is hotel property management systems, and since that’s been their main focus for over 25 years, the company has gained some serious knowledge about what hoteliers want and value in their hospitality technology solutions.Traditionally, protel’s software uses an on-premise model, which means that the software was installed on a local server at the hotel. Since 2009, protel has also been building applications directly in the Cloud. The company has recently launched a new interface for protel Air, their entirely cloud-based PMS, and packed it with exciting updates. Let’s dig into what exactly makes protel Air unique and why it’s a top property management system used in thousands of hotels around the world. 10 Unique Features You Should Demo on protel AirWe’ve established that protel Air is a cloud-based property management system, but there are many other great systems on the market too. What really sets it apart? Let’s explore protel Air’s most unique features: Digital registration cardsAs guests and hoteliers increasingly prefer a check-in process that’s contactless and paperless, protel Air’s digital registration cards make arrival a breeze. Using the protel Air app on a tablet, front desk agents can collect digital signatures from guests and instantly save profile information without a single pen or file folder needed. Furthermore, the digital registration cards make it easier to organize and retain records, so you can keep guest information on file for years to come - without taking up space in the file cabinet.Integrated passport scannerBesides digital signatures, the check-in process can become even more efficient with protel Air’s passport scanner, which “reads” guest information from their passport and saves it, securely, to their guest profile. Ever struggled to read a guest’s handwriting? Problem solved. The passport scanning functionality helps to speed up the check-in process and prevent breaches of sensitive guest data. Efficient group block reservationsUsing an Amazon-style “shopping basket,” protel Air’s calendar interface makes it easy to create group room reservations. Sales managers can quickly drag and drop the room types they need, adjust the room counts, and change billing settings in seconds. After the group reservation has been confirmed, it’s easy to make changes to the rooms needed, billing details, and group codes.App Marketplaceprotel AIR works with an impressive number of add-on apps (1000+ integration partners) that pack a lot of value, including marketing tools, revenue management systems, door locks, upsell software, and more. Configuring an integration is easy - many apps require just a single click to connect.  In an industry first, protel partnered with Hotel Tech Report to become the only hotel app marketplace with user reviews just like the Apple and Android app stores and boasts tens of thousands of user reviews to help protel clients choose the right applications for their properties.  Robust, customizable reportsGeneral managers will appreciate the intuitive reporting dashboard, which lets employees and key stakeholders review ADR, occupancy, revenue, and more at a glance. Users can create custom reports, export them to various file types, and share insights via email. protel Air’s reporting center can help you understand historical booking data, trends, future pace, and more, so you can stay on track toward your goals. In addition to reports that show metrics like RevPAR and occupancy, you can pull lists that contain guest birthdays, arrival or departure times, wake-up calls, maintenance issues, and a slew of other attributes.  Voice recognitionWe’re used to asking Siri about the weather, but what about dictating guest details in your property management system? protel Air includes voice recognition via a nifty voice-to-text feature that allows you to add guest information by simply speaking it. And this functionality isn’t a gimmick; it can actually help your front desk staff do their jobs more efficiently, and enable busy managers to add to do's via mobile, as they walk the floor.Daily rates calendarHotels that set rates manually will find the Daily Rates section to be intuitive and straightforward - but robust enough that you can fully customize your rate schedule. If you use revenue management software via the integration marketplace, rates from that system will appear in your Daily Rates in protel Air.  On-premise and cloud-based versionsWhile this article focuses on the cloud-based protel Air, it’s important to note that protel hasn’t abandoned their on-premise PMS version. In fact, the on-premise version is also packed with features that can deliver value to any hotel where a server-based system is preferable. Mobile web accessSince protel Air’s cloud-based version is accessible via your web browser, the system can also be used on your mobile web browser on your smartphone. The system is fully responsive and adapts to smartphone or tablet screen sizes for a smooth experience across devices. Worldwide partner network with local language supportSince protel is truly a global company, their client support teams speak your language - literally. protel specialists are available to assist around the clock, no matter where your hotel is located. “It's a great product, with world-class integrations and an excellent marketplace. They have been adding so many wonderful new features and have adapted the product to meet the challenges of 2020 for all hoteliers.” -David Gerrard, Director of Integrations at Duetto What’s the Difference Between Cloud and On-Premise PMS?Let’s take a step back and explain the difference between cloud-based systems and on-premise systems. The main difference is that on-premise software is installed on a local server on-site, which means that only computers connected to the hotel’s local networks can access the software. Cloud-based software, on the other hand, is accessible from any web browser (like Chrome or Safari), whether that be via a computer at the front desk, your laptop in your office, a tablet at the concierge desk, or even your smartphone while you’re at home.If you already use an on-premise system, does it make sense to switch to cloud-based software? For many hotels, cloud-based systems can offer several key benefits. One major advantage of using cloud-based software is that employees can access it from anywhere. Cloud-based software also receives real-time software updates, which means it is often more secure and glitch-free when compared on on-premise software that requires manual updates. Another obvious advantage: it’s much faster to connect to other cloud-based systems and apps that the hotel may later decide to run parts of their business on. This means the hotel is pretty much already connected to future technologies. However, on-premise software usually includes more options for property-specific customization, since your hotel’s individual version of the software can be tailored to your needs, whereas changes to the functionality and interfaces of cloud-based software generally affect the entire user base.“We regularly recommend protel software to other operators in our sector and to other hotels under the Best Western umbrella. Three or four other hotels have now adopted the software which is brilliantly easy to use and, being cloud-based, is accessible anywhere, anytime offering great flexibility.” -Raj Patel, Hotel Owner at the Best Western Olde Maritime What Hotels Could Benefit from Implementing protel Air?If you nodded along as we discussed protel Air’s features, perhaps wishing your property management system included a passport scanner, then it might be time to consider a switch. Over 14,000 hotels worldwide use protel’s software, but a few types of hotels can realize even greater benefits. Smaller hotels that don’t need an on-premise system will appreciate protel Air’s user-friendly, cloud-based infrastructure. Hotels with a significant chunk of group business will save time with the simple group reservation “shopping basket” feature. And even chain hotels will find that protel Air offers cluster functionality and connections to central reservation systems for integrated management of multiple properties.Still have questions about protel? Read protel reviews, specifications, and testimonials to learn more. This content was created collaboratively by protel and Hotel Tech Report.