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 City The 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, Poland The 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 Francisco At 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, Zurich The 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 Hotels Another 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. Cityhub A 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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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.
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>>
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 >>
What if there were a way to attract more bookings, lower your operational costs, and do something good for the environment? There is – it’s called LEED certification, and leaders in the hotel industry are already well underway in their commitment to achieving this benchmark for their new and existing properties to become a sustainable building that is LEED accredited. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It’s an internationally accepted green building certification system designed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization consisting of members from real estate, construction, finance, and technology sectors. LEED isn't just for new hotel development - it can also be obtained by retrofitting existing buildings as long as they meet the requisite number of points needed to certify. USGBC works to promote sustainability in building design, construction, and operations amongst building owners. LEED is their most renowned effort, as this certification requires meeting rigorous standards and is widely applicable for virtually all building types. In the hospitality industry, LEED certification is shown to offer measurable, positive business results: $163 billion in direct sales and $41 billion in profits. Here’s how LEED certification works and how your hotel can benefit from becoming LEED certified. What does it mean to be LEED certified? LEED certification means that your hotel has met certain standards for sustainability. There are four LEED levels – more on this in a minute – and LEED commercial projects earn points across five basic areas that indicate a building is better for the environment. These five areas are: Sustainable sites Water efficiency Energy and atmosphere Materials and resources Indoor environmental quality LEED’s rating system is customized depending on the type of project that you’re taking on. A hotel project that's 30,000 square feet will require different building industry standards for LEED to certify with its green building rating system. You can apply for LEED certification for buildings at any phase of development – new construction and renovations – as well as for any sector of building, such as homes and hospitals. LEED offers certifications in four main areas: building design and construction; interior design and construction; building operations and maintenance; and neighborhood development. What are the four levels of LEED certification? You can achieve one of four levels of LEED certification: Certified, Silver, LEED Gold and Platinum. The level you achieve depends on how many points you score across the five categories mentioned above. Sure these certification levels are great for marketing and bottom line, but ultimately they are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help building owners make more environmentally conscious decisions. “Buildings and homes are awarded up to 110 points, based on the level of sustainable strategies that are achieved – from basic sustainable design to a framework that consumes the least amount of energy possible. The more points achieved, the higher the level of LEED certification,” explains RTS, a waste management company. Achieving LEED is a complex process, but the sliding scale makes it achievable for hotels of all sizes. Here are the points required to qualify for each of the different levels of certification. Certified: 40–49 points Silver: 50–59 points Gold: 60–79 points Platinum: 80+ points What does a LEED-certified hotel look like? Take, for instance, the ITC Windsor property in Bengaluru, India. The LEED Platform-certified hotel focuses on energy and water efficiency, recycling, and carbon reduction. ITC Windsor recycles enough water to irrigate 65,000 trees each year; the property relies entirely on renewable energy to power its electricity demand. And, by using reflective materials on its roof, the ITC Windsor cut cooling demand by more than 60%. What is the benefit of LEED certification? LEED certification is good for your guests and employees, the planet, and, ultimately, your bottom line. LEED buildings are shown to improve worker health and wellbeing, in addition to being a better experience for your guests. LEED buildings bring in clean air and natural light, and discourage the use of harmful chemicals found in paint and other building supplies that can impact our health over time. Employees feel better, and that impacts morale. USGBC research found that “LEED-certified buildings are demonstrating increased recruitment and retention rates and increased productivity benefits for employers.” In a high-turnover industry such as hospitality, LEED certification can have a measurable impact on employee retention. Likewise, the guest of the future – Generation Z – is more conscious of their environmental impact than previous consumers. In 2016, a TripAdvisor survey found that more than 60% of travelers planned to make more environmentally-friendly choices over the next year. That number has only gone up as more Gen Z travelers enter the market. LEED certification is, obviously, also good for the planet. The hospitality industry is a major culprit in unsustainable practices and carbon emissions, responsible for $4 billion in energy use, 1.2 trillion gallons of water, and millions of tons of waste. There’s a massive opportunity here to make a difference in decreasing the speed of climate change but updating your buildings to LEED standards. LEED buildings are good for your profit margin, too. Between 2015 and 2018, LEED-certified buildings were estimated to have generated $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.3 million in maintenance savings, and $54.2 million in waste savings. LEED-certified properties see lower annual operating costs, higher ROI in building costs, and an overall increase in asset value. Cornell’s study, The Impact of LEED Certification on Hotel Performance, also found that hotels gain revenue by achieving LEED certification. How do I become LEED certified? LEED certification is not an easy process, which is part of the reason why the certification is held in such high regard. Here are the steps you can take to get your project LEED certified. Determine what LEED rating system applies to your project. Use the USGBC’s LEED rating tool to determine whether your project falls under building design and construction; interior design and construction; building operations and maintenance; or neighborhood development. Identify the appropriate LEED rating system based on the 40/60 rule. There are many options within each category – and for hotels, which often have a spa, a restaurant, and other mixed-use structures in one facility, figuring out what category you need to apply under is confusing. The entire gross floor area of a LEED project must be certified under a single rating system. Therefore, use the 40/60 rule as written by the USGBC: If a rating system is appropriate for less than 40% of the gross floor area of a LEED project building or space, then that rating system should not be used. If a rating system is appropriate for more than 60% of the gross floor area of a LEED project building or space, then that rating system should be used. If an appropriate rating system falls between 40% and 60% of the gross floor area, project teams must independently assess their situation and decide which rating system is most applicable. Start a LEED project. Register at https://www.usgbc.org/leed. Pay the fees. You’ll be required to pay a registration fee to begin the LEED certification process, as well as a flat certification fee. Expect to pay between $900 - $5,000, depending on the size of the project and the level of certification for which you are aiming. Submit data and wait for review. Registering will give you information on what credits you have to achieve for your building project. Once you start to submit data and evidence to support those credits, the USGBC’s Green Building Certification Institute will review your application and make a decision. LEED certification is growing quickly in the hospitality industry. There are more than 400 LEED-certified hotels worldwide, with brands like Marriott and Hyatt prioritizing green building initiatives in their corporate social responsibility goals. We expect to see LEED certification become even more of a factor in the guest’s path to purchase in 2021 and beyond.
IoT is an acronym that gets thrown around a lot, especially in connection with the likes of 5G, blockchain and big data. But, few hotel managers really know what the internet of things really means. When we hear about IoT, it frequently sounds like a Jetsons-esque vision of the future: self-driving cars and “smart cities.” But, IoT is already here in a big way – especially in the hotel industry. Let’s break down what IoT really means and ways hotel properties have already started to implement IoT technology. What is the Internet of Things? The Internet of Things, commonly abbreviated IoT, refers to the ability to connect any device to the internet (or to another device) with a simple on/off switch. Modern cloud computing, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth technology leverages real-time connectivity and communication between disparate systems to create ecosystems of devices that interact and power buildings, businesses, and even smart cities. That’s the most basic concept, but it gets more interesting – and more complex – the more you think about it. By any device, we’re really talking about every device: anything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, lamps, and wearable devices to the jet engine of an airplane, connected cars, respirators in healthcare facilities powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect breathing irregularity. IoT applications not only connect these objects to the internet, but also to one another, allowing our devices to communicate, share data, and optimize parts of our daily lives. “The new rule for the future is going to be, ‘Anything that can be connected, will be connected,’” explained one expert in Forbes. How does this work in practice? A small example that you may be familiar with is wearable tech. Smartwatches have evolved an ordinary timekeeper into a piece of equipment that accepts text messages, tracks our exercise, and plays music. A more futuristic version of IoT is the smart home – a device like Google Nest that connects electronics like your security system, thermostat, speakers, and virtual assistant in one system. McKinsey's analysis found that the number of businesses that use IoT technology has increased from 13% in 2014 to about 25% in 2019. They predict that the number of IoT-connected devices will increase to 43 billion by 2023: “an almost threefold increase from 2018.” Virtually every industry will be impacted by IoT, and hospitality is no different. How is IoT Connectivity Impacting the Hospitality Industry? In fact, the hotel industry can even be considered an early adopter of IoT technologies despite a common stigma of being slow to adopt new technology. PwC found in its survey that 70% of hotel executives have active IoT projects, far outpacing the average of 48% across survey respondents and just beyond industrial IOT, an industry that's been completely revolutionized by robotic workers and other smart devices connected to wireless networks with little to no human intervention. The majority of PwC survey respondents say that they’re using IoT data and smart devices to anticipate guest needs using personal data, thereby improving the guest experience. For instance, occupancy sensors can tell the housekeeping team when a room has been vacated and are ready for turnover; a luggage cart with a GPS-enabled tracking device can show a guest where their luggage is at any given moment. Check-in becomes seamless when a guest uses their personal device as a mobile room key. Each time a guest uses connected technology, your hotel gets the opportunity to collect data (with permission) about a guest’s preferences – allowing you to provide high-quality, personalized service every time. Hotels are also using IoT to improve operations. Occupancy sensors, again the hero product, can help properties save on utility bills by turning off the lights and regulating the thermostat when no one is in the room. “Technology can predict when a piece of hotel equipment, like an AC unit, will have an issue before it becomes a problem. We've even seen RFID (radio frequency identification) to track inventory like linens and other soft goods on property. That way, hoteliers can avoid the headache of last-minute room shuffles to accommodate a guest with a broken AC,” adds one expert. 47% of hotel executives say they are using IoT to reduce operational costs. And, lastly, IoT devices are able to speak to one another – meaning your property can automate some of the time-consuming manual tasks that eat into staff productivity. There are numerous use cases and applications in the real world. For example, inventory management automation can be implemented using remote scanners and sensors. Smart equipment alerts your tracking system when an item is low, triggering a reminder to restock or re-order without a staff member needing to perform a regular audit. Most often, however, IoT in hospitality is used to surprise and delight guests. Here are some popular IoT technologies that hotels have added in recent years. Examples of IoT in Hospitality Smart mirrors have already made a splash in the fitness industry, but they’re also giving the hotel guest experience an upgrade. Electric mirrors like the remi Smart Mirror and Savvy SmartMirror connect with other devices and give guests a concierge-style service right in the comfort of their room. The Savvy SmartMirror debuted in Marriott Autograph Collection’s newly opened Sinclair Hotel. This product is built right into the guest room mirror, offering a tablet-style experience where guests can watch channels like HBO, Disney, and ESPN as well as browse information on hotel services, nearby attractions and local weather. Guests can use the mirror to customize music, lights, and video (as well as straighten their tie). The best part: this mirror reduces the building’s energy consumption by 30-40%. Similarly, the remi Smart Mirror, developed by Mirror Image and INTELITY, integrates with a property’s PMS and POS to allow for deep guest personalization. Guests can use the menu to access hotel services, browse local area information, and learn about upcoming events and promotions. Voice devices that have become ubiquitous in our homes have also started showing up in hotel rooms. Volara now offers voice-based guest engagement software designed specifically for hotels. This software is hosted on devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Hub – devices with which many guests are already familiar, easing the adoption of this IoT for hotels. “When paired with Alexa for Business, Volara acts as a virtual concierge and hotel assistant, able to answer questions and requests from hotel guests that in the past often involved picking up a hotel phone,” reports VentureBeat. Last but not least, Samsung has teamed up with ALICE to offer an IoT solution for hotel employees. The partnership’s smartwatches aim to improve staff communication, speed up responsiveness to guest requests, and boost customer service scores. Hotel employees wear LTE-enabled smartwatches that send alerts linked to key operations: housekeeping, room service, valet, etc. When an alert comes through, the request is routed to employees in the applicable department. A silent vibration can be ignored, or an employee can respond to the task with a tap, informing the rest of the team that someone has it covered. These smartwatches will be tested by luxury hotel company Viceroy Hotel Group and promise to be the tip of the iceberg for IoT in hospitality. With the growth of IoT projected to skyrocket in the next five years, we expect virtually every device to be connected and helping your hotel serve guests efficiently. Did we miss any awesome examples of IOT in hospitality and travel? Let us know via live chat!
Technology trends are constantly changing, and if hotels want to keep up with the times, they need to stay on top of these trends. You can choose to stay stagnant and continue doing what you're doing, but you would risk the loss of new customers who come to expect certain things from their hotels. So, what are the technology trends for hotels in 2018?Ease of Use on SmartphonesMany major companies offer ease of use for people who prefer to do almost everything from their phone, rather than a desktop or laptop computer. Because people are growing used to this treatment, they expect it in their hotels as well. Smartphone apps are one of the most popular ways for customers to book or access their rooms, and to check-in when they arrive. Not only are these apps easier for guests to use, which makes them more likely to choose your hotel over your competitors, but it makes sense financially as well. An app is not overly expensive to build and maintain and can cut back on costs in certain areas where the app will take over.It also makes it faster and easier for guests to check in during the busiest times of the year, especially over major holidays. This will help your staff to be faster and more efficient, as well as less stressed and happier with their work.Smart HotelsOne of the largest trends of the past few years that will continue into 2018 and beyond are smart homes, smart cars, and now smart hotels. Guests expect their stay at your hotel to be quick and efficient without waiting in lines or dealing with too many people. To do this, many of the major hotels are imputing smart hotel technology. According to an article from Ambius, this includes:• Keyless room entry (through your hotel's app) • Personalized entertainment selections (all your guest's favorite TV shows) • Robotic butlers • Personalized guest room climate control and lightingYou can also include check-in and check-out options on your hotel's app, easier room service options (calls are no longer needed, just use the app), you can even implement a hotel store that is run through your app, in case your guests run out of (or forget) something important like a toothbrush or deodorant.This will add ease for your guests and, because people like things to be easy in a world that is complicated enough, it may increase the amount of new and returning guests throughout the year when these guests are more relaxed and recommend your hotel to others.Personalized Guest ProfilesTake advantage of the many guest management software's out there to personalize your guest's experience and cause them to want to return to your hotel again and again. When a guest books a room, you can give them the option to fill out a profile of their likes and dislikes as it relates to their stay in your hotel. For example:• Favorite food or beverage • Desired room temperature • Favorite color • Favorite snack • Favorite TV showsYou could then use that information to make sure that those favorite items are already in the guest's room when they arrive. This personal touch will make your guest feel more at home and is a guaranteed way to impress them. They will tell their friends, family, and coworkers how you anticipated their needs and desires, and you'll get even more guests in future.By going above and beyond what other hotels are doing, staying on top of trends, and putting your guests first, you can become the go-to hotel for your guests and everyone in their sphere of influence.