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Hotel Guest Experience Software Articles

What is 5G and How Will it Impact Hotels?

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

As a forward-thinking hotelier, you always want to be aware of the latest trends in the industry. You make the necessary investments and updates to ensure your hotel is always ahead of the competition, especially when it comes to technology. But maybe you’ve heard about 5G or WiFi 6 and aren’t quite sure how they fit into your hotel’s operations. You may be wondering if this new technology is expensive or if there are any downsides. Or maybe you’re wondering if 5G or WiFi 6 are even relevant to your hotel. In this article, we’ll outline exactly what these new technologies are and what they mean for the hotel industry. In just a few minutes, you’ll have the answers to your questions about 5G vs. 4G and new insights about WiFi 6 so you can make sure your hotel has the technology infrastructure that guests expect.   What is 5G and How Does it Work? If you aren’t very familiar with 5G, that’s okay! 5G the fifth generation of mobile broadband, which would eventually replace 4G - the type of connection you likely have on your smartphone. Currently 5G is only available in a few cities, but it’s expected to roll out on a wider scale sometime soon, though it’s not clear exactly when. The main differences that 5G brings are lower latency (allowing devices to be more responsive), larger channels (to download big files faster, for example), and the possibility to connect lots of devices at once (such as smart home devices). That all sounds great, but you may be wondering how exactly 5G works. Unlike the 4G networks available now, 5G uses three different frequency bands. A frequency band’s speed depends on the number of channels and how wide of a range it has: Low-band (airwaves up to 1Ghz): Offers the widest reach, but the fewest number of channels out of the three bands. This means low-band offers a lot of coverage (even strong wall penetration, which is helpful if you use your phone in a high-rise or a parking garage), but there aren’t many channels, so the speeds for low-band 5G are comparable to 4G. Out of the US cell carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile use low-band. Mid-band (airwaves between 1-10Ghz): Offers slightly less reach than low-band (about a half mile from the tower), but more channels, which means mid-band carries the majority of 5G traffic. This one has decent speed and decent coverage. In the US, only Sprint uses mid-band right now. High-band (airwaves 20-100Ghz): Offers the most potential for 5G. Currently high-band isn’t used often for consumer devices, but it can deliver super-fast speeds. The range of this frequency is quite limited, though (around 800 feet from the tower), so cell service providers may experiment with installing smaller antennae in more locations in order to deliver reliable high-band service. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are using high-band. In theory, the unique 5G network architecture means that no matter where you are, you can have ultra-speedy mobile broadband. In practice, however, studies show that the average real-life 5G connection isn’t that much faster than the 4G that’s widespread today.   4G vs. 5G: Where Are We Today? If 5G has so many advantages - and if it’s already in some cities - why hasn’t it rolled out across the world yet? There are two main reasons for the sluggish rollout: the expensive infrastructure upgrades required and the need for 5G-compatible mobile devices. “The shift to 5G feels like a tech revolution happening in slow motion. In 2019, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest American carriers, lit up their 5G networks in a small number of cities. Handset makers released only a handful of phones compatible with the new standard. The overwhelming majority of us saw no meaningful improvement to our cellular networks.” ~NY Times In order to make 5G a reality, mobile carriers need to upgrade the cell towers that transmit the signal. This process is capital intensive and takes a lot of time, so carriers don’t seem to be in a big hurry to make the changes. At the same time, device manufacturers, like Apple and Samsung, need to upgrade their smartphones to have 5G compatibility. Currently only a few smartphones can use a 5G network. But when carriers aren’t upgrading towers, manufacturers are hesitant to make the changes on their side. We hear a lot about 5G because of its speed. If we compare 5G vs. 4G, 5G allows has dramatically faster download speeds and in the future your smartphone could be up to 600 times faster than it is today on 4G. The lightning-fast 5G network architecture alsos make it possible for information to be transmitted across the globe in milliseconds, which would make futuristic-sounding things like downloading an entire HD Netflix movie in seconds possible. 5G speeds will also be advantageous to any devices using artificial intelligence. However, some critics are skeptical about the safety of 5G frequency. Until further studies are conducted, we don’t know if 5G dangers could include a higher risk of cancer or other medical issues.   What Does 5G Mean for the Hotel Industry? Despite a lot of buzz in mainstream media, 5G won’t actually affect the hotel industry that much. As a hotelier, you won’t need to do anything to make any upgrades related to 5G specifically, but you may find that guests are more engaged with hotel apps and less likely to pay for WiFi access when they’ve got blazing internet in their pocket. If your guests have 5G speeds on their smartphones, they can download mobile apps or web apps like INTELITY super fast which undoubtedly will accelerate adoption in areas like mobile key. If you have a hotel app, you may see more engagement simply because the apps are more accessible. Guests won’t need to wait a minute while the app loads; it will show up nearly immediately. Because of the fast mobile internet speeds, guests won’t rely so much on hotel WiFi. If WiFi is free, they will likely still use it, but if your hotel charges a fee for WiFI, why would a guest purchase it when they have potentially faster speed in their pocket? Hotels that charge for WiFi should consider eliminating the fee, otherwise guests will skip the WiFi connection.   WiFi 6 is Actually More Important than 5G Speaking of WiFi, wireless internet is also about to get a big upgrade with WiFI 6. Like 5G vs. 4G, WiFi 6 is also faster - about 30% faster than the current WiFi standard. While this speed increase isn’t as dramatic as the shift from 4g to 5g, it makes a difference for situations in which a lot of users share a WiFi connection, like in a hotel. As we add more and more WiFi-enabled devices, an increase in speed will also help your hotel’s smart thermostats, smart speakers, and smart locks perform better. While 5G may have more of an impact on individual smartphone users, WiFi 6 will undoubtedly be a big deal for hotels - probably a bigger deal than 5G. In fact, many hotels have poor cell reception in at least one part of the building so having strong WiFi is crucial for both guests and employees using any kind of operational hotel software. While fast WiFi is nice for streaming movies and having video calls, hotel systems also require reliable WiFi for smooth operations. Many properties now have in-room tablets with platforms like INTELITY that connect to a hotel’s WiFi network. An INTELITY tablet is packed with features that allow guests to order room service, chat real-time with hotel staff, find answers instantly, and submit requests - all of which require the hotel’s WiFi network, not a cellular connection. With cutting-edge WiFi technology, hotels can build stronger engagement though tablets and apps. Though we hear a lot about 5G in the news, for hoteliers, WiFi 6 will be the next big thing in technology infrastructure. HotelTechReport will keep you informed about WiFi 6 as more information becomes available so you can make the necessary upgrades. With WiFi 6, you can leverage in-room technology to provide better service, which in turn drives positive guest reviews and repeat business.  

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Business Texting

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

Looking for a way to easily communicate with your guests?  Business texting is the answer. Guest messaging platforms have long been the best way to reach travelers – and continues to be one of the best ways to interact with guests unobtrusively and conveniently. Hoteliers are taking advantage of conversational automation capabilities built into tools like Zingle to bring greater operational efficiency to their hotel properties. Guest messaging platforms are changing the way hotel staff interact with guests and across teams. GMPs can automate service requests, answer frequently asked guest questions, and enable service recovery. In the process, hotels are using guest messaging platforms to increase guest engagement, boost customer service scores, and receive key insights into guests’ sentiment. All it takes is finding the right guest messaging platform for your property.    Why Add Business Texting to Your Tool Kit?  Beyond the obvious ability to communicate directly with your guests, guest messaging tools allow for your team to work more efficiently, upsell ancillary services, troubleshoot problems with guests during their stay, and increase guest satisfaction scores with relatively little effort. For some hoteliers, the greatest advantage of a messaging platform is to improve operational efficiency by answering fewer phone calls, automating responses to frequently asked questions, or keeping teams in sync with dispatch tasks and daily bulletins. Zingle’s guest messaging tool, for instance, uses AI to distribute service requests thus reducing call volumes. Messaging allows hoteliers to serve more guests per hour than any other medium (in-person, phone, email, or live chat); a platform like Zingle resolves common guest requests with intelligent routing. Categorize service requests and work orders from guests, and automatically dispatch and track the tasks. Intelligent routing reduces the amount of time staff spends on repetitive responses while also quickly getting guests the information they seek. Empowering your team to provide better customer service makes a significant impact on your guest satisfaction scores. Companies that use messaging achieve 2.9x greater annual increase in Net Promoter Scores (NPS) as compared to all others (12.3% vs. 4.3%). Zingle allows your team to proactively engage with guests to promote customer service and enhance their experience, resulting in improved scores. More specifically, guest messaging leads to an increase in service recovery opportunities, which lead to higher guest satisfaction. For instance, Zingle’s modules, called “zings,” can be customized to respond to specific triggers. Use zings to personalize a checkout survey, escalate a lost-and-found request to the right person, or make it known throughout the property when a guest has a specific allergy. The level of personalization without pestering the guest leads to an overall better experience at your property.  Bottom line: your guests are communicating key information about your hotel all day long. When they do so over your guest messaging platform, you can capture their sentiment, build a profile about your guests, and run reports with other analysis to inform your service offerings, marketing, and more. Identify guests that are having a great time and encourage them to post positive reviews online. If an issue arises, guests will only report it 25% of the time; but sentiment analysis can help you quickly identify the problem and alert your staff for service recovery. Build a better reputation through data points gathered in your guest messaging platform.   What Does Guest Messaging Look Like in 2020?  Guest messaging software continues to add new integrations: PMS, voice activation, tablets, and CRS for transactional messaging. Overall, this has led to a more streamlined experience for both the hotel and guests. We expect to see new integrations built into guest messaging platforms, including natural language processing (NLP) and the growing use of AI and machine learning to ensure that requests and issues are tracked and followed up with properly. NLP applies artificial intelligence to language data so while your messaging software may not understand requests and inquiries it learns over time how to best respond based on keywords and other signals. Advancements in NLP will give guest messaging platforms the ability to implement AI/ML models. For instance, Zingle’s AI and advanced analytics continuously learn over time, understanding how guests articulate a specific need, recognizing the beginning and end of guest conversations, and auto-categorizing those conversations by their intent. This allows the guest messaging platform to categorize and understand guests’ messages more accurately and take appropriate action immediately. Messaging use is expanding into new departments such as food and beverage. More department heads are looking to adopt messaging to help eliminate friction and miscommunication. GMPs will continue to reduce staff workloads and increase efficiency in teams where automation can eliminate some of the routine, time-consuming messaging and dispatching tasks.   What to Look For in a Messaging Tool Key to finding the right guest messaging tool for your property is making sure it doesn’t add work for your team, but automates and streamlines communication among housekeeping, the front desk, maintenance, and your guests. Make sure your GMS is equipped with the following features: Multi-channel guest messaging: give guests a way to communicate via their preferred channel (e.g. SMS, Messenger, email, and more.) Team messaging and task dispatching: streamline internal communications via messaging and eliminate the need for radios. A GMS should automatically create and dispatch service requests and work orders that can be tracked via an integrated task management system or right within the guest messaging platform. Automated messaging (auto-replies and chatbots): reduce the workload of hotel agents and provide a better experience for the guest. Analytics and reporting: see text and sentiment analysis from guest feedback Integrations: connect with your existing PMS, voice activation, and staff management tool to sync and organize your data. Sentiment analysis: identify trends over time and get alerts when topics are sensed via automated data mining of conversations. Message templates: create a library of response templates for commonly asked questions to save time. Notifications and escalation procedures: set up notifications and alerts based on response times and follow up to ensure ticket prioritization and eliminate dropped requests. Upselling and payment functionality: allow guests to purchase items (e.g. spa services, late checkout, food and beverages) without leaving messaging. The right GMS for your property should integrate easily with your existing property management system to pull a guest’s information and use relevant data points in automated and transactional messaging. A guest messaging platform can utilize data from your PMS to add consistency and reduce the work your agents have to do when it comes to being proactive in serving a guest’s needs. Likewise, your GMS should sync with your staff management tool for automated dispatching, eliminating any potential error and improving operational efficiency.    Questions to Ask When Vetting a Vendor Not every guest messaging tool is right for your hotel. During the procurement process, ask these questions to assess if a guest messaging platform has the features, support, and integrations you need.  How long is the training and implementation process? The tool should be relatively straightforward to set up and use, so look for a GMS that can be set up and learned in a week or less.  What integrations do you offer? Find a tool that can integrate with your systems while keeping data clean and mitigating dropped requests and glitches. Can you schedule and automate messages? Gain precision and operational efficiency by automating certain messages or transactional events. Can I identify unhappy guests? Real-time analytics and reporting will indicate where guests are having an issue; sentiment analysis and surveys should provide real-time insight into positivity/negativity.  Which mobile messaging and chat channels are supported? The more channels the GMS provides, the more chats your hotel can have in aggregate. Look for the capability to message via SMS, email, live chat, Facebook Messenger, and more, depending on your guests and country.    For more on finding the right guest messaging tool for your hotel, check out our 2020 Guest Messaging Buyer’s Guide.  

The Best Kept Secret About Wellness Tourism

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

It’s no secret that the wellness tourism market is exploding right now.  While hotel chains have taken note, many hotel owners are still missing out on investment opportunities that can help their properties appeal to these highly sought after guests. The wellness tourism industry drives $639B of spend globally and that spend is growing at more than twice the rate of the broader tourism market (nearly 7%). Domestic wellness tourists here in the U.S. spend a whopping 178% more than non-wellness travelers (Global Wellness Institute).  Wellness minded travelers have significant discretionary income and are willing to pay a premium to feel good both physically and mentally. Smart hoteliers and brands are identifying creative ways to tap this market. In this article we'll educate you on the data around wellness in travel, review successful hotel wellness tourism initiatives and empower you to bring wellness into any property regardless of location or market segment.   What is Driving the Wellness Tourism Market’s Growth? It’s not hard to see why the wellness market is exploding.  The western world has undergone a health consciousness renaissance and it’s in large part thanks to ancient eastern philosophy.  This is very much a global phenomenon. A quick review of Google search trends highlights the burgeoning demand for wellness related products and services.  823,000 consumers search Google each month to learn about ‘meditation’ techniques and there are more than 50,000 searches for the term ‘yoga retreat’.  Those numbers don’t even include the massive list of long tail of searches around each of those terms. Needless to say, we are talking about huge numbers here. The latest advancements in science and medicine have generated knowledge that is empowering everyday consumers to live healthier lives.  Today’s so-called unicorn companies show that despite its massive market size, the wellness revolution has really just begun. A wave of wellness unicorns like Peloton, 23andMe, Fitbit, Beyond Meat, ClassPass and Hims are experiencing exponential growth by meeting the demands of modern consumers and those same consumers are traveling to hotels like yours every single day.   How Major Hotel Chains Appeal to Wellness Travelers From Hyatt’s partnership with meditation app Headspace to Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness guest room concept and Equinox launching hotels it’s clear that major brands understand the importance of appealing to wellness-minded travelers. Westin was arguably the first major global hotel chain to successfully center its entire brand around wellness through advertising, dedicated programming and innovative partnerships.  Newbalance has been one of Westin’s longest standing and most successful wellness partnerships.  The partnership enables guests to rent running shoes and gym clothes on property so they don’t need to carry dirty laundry or hefty running shoes in their luggage. Westin has since forged similar wellness partnerships such as RunWestin (guided running maps) and Peloton (world class digital spin classes).  Another key area of wellness focus for Westin has centered around sleep.  The brand is synonymous with the award winning Westin Heavenly Bed identifying sleep as a major area to improve well being, health and mindspace for guests.  Westin has also focused on sleep creating its own Sleep Well Lavender balm and healthy bedtime snack menu. It’s no secret that travel takes a toll on our bodies and minds which is why it's natural for hotel brands to focus on helping guests feel better during their stay to foster loyalty and create a better travel experience.  Westin has seen so much success with its wellness programming over the last decade that it recently decided to double down with its $30M “For a Better You” wellness-centric advertising campaign.  The campaign builds off of a study where 71% of travelers told researchers that the biggest pain point they experience while traveling is the difficulty of maintaining their ordinary routines while on the road.  Ultimately, keeping our routine is what makes us feel good and that’s what wellness is all about. The ways we do that are through healthy eating, sleeping, fitness and ridding ourselves of stress.   Better Breathing & Sanitation is at the Core of Any Wellness Program When examining these successful wellness programs, they all center around one thing: helping hotel guests recreate home environments and routines while they’re on the road which ultimately helps them feel good and be their best.  Air quality and sanitation are underserved facet of wellness that fosters better sleep and decreased stress levels through peace of mind. Sitting on a confined airplane with limited oxygen, it’s hard not to feel like you’re surrounded by germs, virus and bacteria.  The same is true of highly trafficked airports, ride-shares and even hotels. Heavy use commercial spaces are breeding grounds for virus and bacteria and even when we can’t physically see it, breathing virus, bacteria and ultra-fine particles impacts how guests feel each and every day.  For years, travelers have been wary of virus and bacteria in these heavy use spaces and recent data validates their concerns: “About 81 percent of hotel room surfaces sampled held at least some fecal bacteria. And television remotes are, in fact, among the most bacteria-laden surfaces, ranking up there with toilets and bathroom sinks.” (Scientific American) Bacteria and virus on both surfaces and in air particles can lead to illness when transmitted through our skin and lungs. Researchers have identified a clear inverse correlation between air pollution and physical health.  Whether you’re from Beijing, Bangladesh or Los Angeles you understand that air pollution has become such an issue that not only can we feel its negative effects but we can see them.  The number of premature deaths due to outdoor air pollution is due to increase from 3 million people globally in 2010 to an estimated 6-9 million in 2060.  The lion's share of this increase comes from non-OECD economies with less stringent air quality and pollution controls. The effects of poor air quality outdoors has become a global concern and while air quality indoors may not be as lethal, it’s a problem for wellness travelers and when presented with a solution - many travelers are happy to pay a premium for cleaner air in hotel rooms. Germs are a non-issue at home because it’s our own personal space.  When we experience poor air quality at home we buy air purifiers. So how are hotels delivering bacteria and virus free environments without air pollutants in highly trafficked rooms? Many of them turn to Pure Rooms.   Pure Room Conversions: A Turnkey Wellness Initiative for Every Hotel Pure Wellness patented 7-step process and technology treats every last surface and air particle in a room, giving guests more comfort in their surroundings and peace of mind. Pure Rooms feature medical grade purified air, a hypo-allergenic wellness environment and allergy-friendly bedding and shower filtration to more than 3,000 hotel rooms globally.  Guests have enjoyed the Pure Room experience in over 3,500,000 room nights. Pure Rooms is trusted by more than 30 major hotel brands ranging from midscale properties like Courtyard by Marriott, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn to upscale hotels like Westins and even ultra luxury properties like Ritz Carlton, J.W. Marriott and Waldorf Astoria. Ultimately Pure Wellness helps hotels convert anywhere from 1 - 1,000 of their rooms into Pure Rooms through a patented 7-step room conversion process that creates a best-in-class wellness environment for the wellness-minded travelers.  The conversion process delivers ultra purified air and treated surfaces that keep harmful bacteria and virus away. The end result - guests are willing to pay more for a Pure Room because they wake up feeling better rested and get peace of mind knowing that the room has undergone specific investment with their health in mind. First, the Pure team leverages its technology and know-how to get rid of all the invisible bacteria & viruses that hotel guests might not see (we hope) but can definitely feel.  Once the conversion process is complete the Pure Rooms team the room on 6-month maintenance intervals. Maintenance of Pure Rooms technology does not interfere in any way with housekeeping or engineering teams and the process is completely turnkey. Hotels that provide a Pure Rooms alternative for guests are rewarded with increased rates paid for those rooms and are able to differentiate their product in hyper competitive markets.  Room conversion has minimal downtime and the best part is you can start small to test the product and ratchet up your offering over time as demand rises for that offering.   This article was created in partnership with Pure Wellness  

Panera Delivery’s 5 Lessons for the Hospitality Industry

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Worried about a recession? A new survey reports that 97% of CFOs believe there will be an economic slowdown before the end of 2020. Luckily, the success of Panera delivery and it's overall digital strategy and its commitment to investing in technology, even when the market segment suffers from declining sales, provide a blueprint for fortifying sales at your property and meeting evolving guest demands. Panera 2.0 is the title of the company’s commitment to digitizing the ordering experience that launched in 2014. Within this initiative, Panera has focused its technology investment on opening new digital channels, launching an in-house delivery fleet, providing new ways to surprise and delight customers, and future-proofing their sales. The hospitality industry can learn plenty from Panera’s proactive digital transformation strategy. Investing in digital and catering pays off – here’s what hoteliers can learn from the phenomenal success of Panera 2.0.    Lesson #1: Panera Delivery shows that consumers want to self-order At Panera, 30% of sales come from the brand’s digital channels. Panera’s digital channels include the company’s smartphone app, Google Assistant integration, and self-order kiosks in-store at select Panera locations. This omnichannel approach lets customers interact with the brand across multiple touchpoints, thereby exercising a new degree of control over their Panera experience. Consumers can order lunch and dinner service from the Panera website or from their mobile app. The brand, in return, collects data and receives deeper insight into their customer’s behavior than if they partnered with a third party like GrubHub or Uber Eats. As the Panera EVP chief growth and strategy officer reported to Forbes, customers “purchases go up, their frequency goes up and the incremental value of their orders go up. The return is very clear for us. If you go through a third party, you don’t have that visibility.” This return might be surprising given the hospitality’s long-standing belief that face-to-face service is what builds customer satisfaction. But what Panera Delivery has discovered is that speed, efficiency, and ease outrank interpersonal communication. Mundane and impersonal things like ordering and waiting on the phone or in line at a restaurant aren’t driving customer satisfaction. What does this mean for your hotel? Let guests “do it themselves” and drive incremental sales by giving guests every opportunity to purchase through digital touchpoints. A web app like Crave Appless or on a physical in-room tablet are both ways to create a frictionless, self-determined ordering experience. The ability to order with a few finger taps creates an “Amazon Prime” style effect where guests can purchase in a click. The end result: higher revenue from ancillary purchases and a better customer experience.    Lesson #2: Voice is the future Initial testing of voice-activated ordering has shown promise for Panera, who began testing delivery and Rapid Pick-Up with the Google Assistant on their mobile devices at locations in St. Louis and Silicon Valley. “Placing a voice-activated order in many cases is more than 80% faster than a traditional app order,” says Blaine Hurst, president at Panera. Panera’s app works with Google Assistant using AI to allow customers to place an order through simple voice commands – ”OK Google, ask Panera for delivery” for instance. Through the app, Google Assistant will display menu items, suggest products based off someone’s order history, and allow users to pay through saved wallet information. While the experience might seem futuristic for a fast-casual brand, voice activation has exploded over the last year. At the beginning of 2019, Amazon announced that more than 100 million Alexa devices had been sold; analysts estimate that 55% of American households will have some kind of voice-activated device by 2022. Voice is exploding and is already a huge asset for hotels.   Lesson #3: In a tight market, digital prowess separates winners and losers Quick-service restaurants have suffered in recent years: same-store sales at most QSRs are down 3.4%. Panera breaks the mold, posting an impressive 6% same-store sales growth at their company stores. Analysts and experts at Panera attribute their trend-breaking success to the brand’s investment in digital. Even when the market was in decline, and times were tough, Panera was making investments in technology. While the rest of the industry battled declining sales, Panera doubled down on digital – a commitment that paid off. In 2018,  “Digital sales now represent $1.2 billion, or 29% of company sales, and the company’s MyPanera loyalty program now has 28 million members, or more than half of its customers.”  By adding a new segment with rapid growth, Panera was able to offset the decline in same-store sales. “Moving Panera forward took a willingness to share in a dream,” Ron Shaich, the former Panera CEO told Restaurant Business Online. “And it took countless hours of assessing, reassessing, iteration and tough decisions.” What that tells hotel owners is that you should constantly be investing in technology, even in a declining market. Two areas where you can focus your technology budget are upsell software and in-room tablets, like Crave. Crave Interactive works as an in-room concierge to help guests find information easily and quickly. In room tablets also boost incremental revenue by promoting destination-specific activities and on-property hotel amenities like spa and room service. More money from existing guests makes a healthier, more resilient business that can survive – and thrive – regardless of market downturns.    Lesson #4: When working on tech initiatives, flexibility and integration are key Panera developed its delivery service in partnership with Bringg, a delivery logistics platform. Bringg provides the digital infrastructure and industry knowledge; while Bringg’s agreement with Panera allows the brand to have its own in-house delivery fleet, Bringg also has partnerships with Postmates and DoorDash. A hotelier might look at this arrangement and judge it unfavorable to Panera. Wouldn’t it be better to control the entire experience, end-to-end, than to partner with someone who works with your competitors? Certainly in a perfect world, that’s a nice thought; however, in reality, Panera gains the flexibility to shift direction and pivot with demand by working with Bringg. It’s far more expensive, burdensome, and time-consuming to create a unique, native platform entirely owned by Panera Hoteliers can learn from Panera’s example: don’t build your own tech. Partnering can add flexibility to your marketing approach. Make sure that you have an integration infrastructure to quickly switch out solutions when they’re not working. Case-in-point: don’t work with vendors who lock you into contracts. A firm like Crave will rent tablets to your property in a model that allows you to pay as you go. This kind of business model helps ensure that your vendors are always looking out for your best interests and care about your success.    Lesson #5: Panera’s catering segment shows that business is booming Catering has always been Panera’s bread and butter (pun not intended). The catering market in the US is massive – in 2017, it reached $58 billion. Panera has cornered about 2% of business catering sales, worth over $40 million. The brand has become virtually synonymous with office lunch delivery, a position that hasn’t changed despite increased competition from QSRs like California Pizza Kitchen, Au Bon Pain, and Applebees. Rather than continuing to focus on lunch orders, Panera leveraged their dominance in catering to expand their breakfast offering: Dan Wegiel, Panera’s chief growth and strategy officer, told CNBC that expanding the breakfast menu would lead to more opportunities for Panera’s catering business, and vice versa. Catering gives Panera a competitive edge in the so-called “breakfast wars” with brands such as Dunkin’, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell. Thirty percent of Panera’s catering orders come from breakfast; adding new menu items, such as breakfast wraps and premium coffee, incentivize customers to order more often. STR research found that catering is driving higher revenue at hotels; in 2017, catering-and-banquet revenue per available square foot (RevPAS) rose 2%, outperforming all other segments of hotel F&B performance. Hoteliers can’t ignore catering as a key revenue stream. Get smart and creative about catering: how can you change up the menu or repackage existing menu items in a way that incentivizes big group orders? Are there new and unique market segments within your existing bookings that might be interested in catering? Are there changes you need to make to your F&B that can refresh your catering menu? Take note of Panera’s example to leverage catering for higher revenue.  

These Are the 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech (2020 Edition)

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hospitality tech jobs and employers globally. We all want fulfilling careers with intellectual growth opportunities and earning potential to provide for our families. We want to work for companies whose cultures align with our values and to be surrounded by peers who celebrate our successes. But it’s hard to tell which companies are the real deal since most seem great during the interview and courtship process. Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of 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 Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality 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. 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 service to clients. This year we identified 6 major trends that made these companies stand out from the pack in an extremely competitive race: Strong cross-departmental collaboration Fast paced: employees take pride because they see their work come to life Memorable team off-sites that build resilience through trust and friendship Heavy investments made into employee onboarding Visible and accessible executive teams who truly care Focus and clarity: teams that know what is expected of them are consistently able to achieve lofty goals Without further adieu here are 2020’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech...   #10 Bookboost The youngest startup to make the list is Bookboost, a rising star hailing from Sweden making big waves in the guest messaging space.  Given that it’s a small and growing team, Bookboost employees frequently cite feeling like one big happy family. One employee told Hotel Tech Report that the highlight of their year was when the Company’s CTO Willem suggested that everyone go for an impromptu team swim: “I remember a hot summer day when Willem, the CTO of Bookboost, proposed that we go swimming together since our office is located right next to the port. As I stood on the shore watching everyone in the water, the sun was shining and they were all laughing. I used to work for big companies and the government, so I had never experienced something like this before. I felt the energy, passion, and love of this company.” In 2019 Bookboost closed a fresh funding round and expanded into the German market so don’t expect them to stay small for long.     #9 Revinate Making the top 10 for it’s second year in a row, Revinate is the cure to corporate boredom without the risk of a true startup.  San Francisco based Revinate is one of the most mature companies on our list and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. We’ve all seen the stats about startup failure rates - so how has Revinate been able to thrive for so long in rapidly changing markets? The short answer is that they’ve got a killer culture. “The culture at Revinate is the best I've been a part of in my 25 years of being a professional.” Revinate has a CEO that’s equally aggressive and empathetic.  The only things the CEO Marc Heyneker seems to love more than beating his competition are his team and his customers and his 98% approval rating on Glassdoor is just another data point to back it up.  This is a rare balance to find in a CEO and Revinate employees around the world have taken note. The company credo is as clear as Heyneker’s leadership: Customer Love. “We have worked super hard to make all customers happy. We have a company motto of customer love. As a product, design, and engineering org we spend time talking directly to our customers and collaborate with them as we build out our new features.” “As an SDR, I am an entry level sales person. I had some sales experience coming into this role, but this company has really shown me that they are willing to invest in their people, to grow them to their full potential. My most memorable event is my second week here and my CEO, Marc Heyneker, had a drink with me and spoke to me as a friend and colleague. He gave me words of advice, confidence, and shared lessons from his experience. I've never had a CEO that cared about all of his employees like this before. Even though I am entry level in sales, he expressed high hopes for my career and could see my eagerness to grow and achieve big things with Revinate. I will never forget this experience.” When you join the Revinate team you can expect to learn a lot about yourself through a personality test called “Insights Discovery” during onboarding.  This test will help you better understand your conscious and subconscious to better set yourself up for success at the Company and in your own career. Results of the test help your peers and manager guide you towards leadership - something mostly reserved for senior executives; however, a benefit that’s available to all Revinate employees.  Once on board, Revinate employees frequently cite speaking opportunities where they are able to build their personal brand and reputation while promoting Revinate around the world. This year team members enjoyed speaking opportunities at No Vacancy Australia, Direct Booking Summit in Miami, California Hotel & Lodging Association and much more.     #8 Asksuite Bust out the Caipirinhas because Asksuite is the first Brazillian company to ever make this list. In fact, Florianopolis based Asksuite is the first organization in all of Latin America to make the list. Developer talent has gotten increasingly expensive in Eastern Europe and timezone/language barriers have made lots of U.S. tech companies look south for development resources.  Despite tons of engineering talent, Latin American tech is still in its early days and companies like Asksuite are making waves by leveraging strong in house tech talent. This isn’t the Company’s first time winning a culture award as it was recently voted the 7th best place to work in Santa Catarina.  Asksuite recently pushed passed the 1,400 client mark (more than 2x growth) which is a huge step towards the Company making its name on the global stage. Employees at Asksuite are totally pumped on the Company’s growth in recent years and enjoy how the firm is constantly helping them grow on a personal level, too. “This company has a greatest culture, I am deepest in love with them just how they embrace ourselves as a human being not just numbers.” “Our first team building was really special because we gathered in a beautiful environment where we could connect to nature and to each other. Not only in a professional way, but also as human beings.” “When I entered Asksuite, I was hired as SDR (Sales). But that was not my field. And they knew that. I just wanted to be part of the company and I thought that I could help them since I am an ex-hotelier myself. However, Content Production was always my target and I was very open about it. They didn't have a position like that back then so we decided to give a shot in Sales.  Eight months later, a job position opened in Marketing and they moved me. I could not be happier!”     #7 Hotel Effectiveness Rounding out the top 10 for their second consecutive year, Hotel Effectiveness had an incredible year reaching over 4,000 hotels, launching a new mobile application and moving into a new office space.  Employees cite being constantly recognized for achieving milestones in and out of work which makes them feel valued. “I have been here less than 18 months and have witnessed our more than doubling in revenues and employees. The ongoing challenges to find workable solutions that allow for scaling are great opportunities. In my own area, I have more than doubled the size of my team, transitioned invoicing over to a new system, and continually work to meet new challenges as we continue to grow. The victories are satisfying as well as we have dramatically improved processes to provide for better forecasting and cash collection.” Hotel Effectiveness also values giving back to their community and recently attended a suicide prevention event to raise funds and awareness for a critical cause as a team.     #6 ALICE There’s nothing worse than feeling like your company is stagnant and that your work is being tossed in a drawer somewhere.  Ultimately, that’s why most ambitious young people are opting out of corporate life. At ALICE you certainly won’t feel like you’re stagnating and you’ll watch your work come to life extremely quickly.  ALICE has consistently reinvented itself over recent years through the acquisition (and integration) of GoConcierge and then through the launch of the housekeeping product its team build from scratch and has landed itself the highly coveted 3peat on the top 10 best places to work list. “Last year we developed a complete new product from scratch. I'm very proud of how much research we put into the design to create an amazing product and this effort was paid off when launching it with beta customers and seeing their satisfaction.” ~UX Designer “I created a performance / load testing tool using a more recent technology. Though it's still being discussed what would be our standard for that, at least I am able to introduce something more recent and what I think is something that can be potentially a good standard for us moving forward.” ~Engineering Integrating acquisitions and building new products is tough work but ALICE always finds time for balance.  This year’s team retreat consisted of corporate summer camp. “We had a CAMP! I personally had never been to a camp, with cabanas, lake, bonfires and stuff. We had one this past summer and it was fantastic! As we are from Customer Success most of us are either remote or always traveling, so there were people that I had never met, it was so great to have everyone together on such a beautiful place, we had very productive meetings in the morning and free time during the afternoons to go kayak at the lake, take walks, this definitely helped tremendously to bond more and more the team.” Employees at ALICE are encouraged to push themselves and learn new skills. “I was able to learn mySQL, which has opened new doors and I feel like I've found a new passion. ALICE was able to pay for my course and I am proud to contribute to the company with new skills that I did not have before joining.” ~Customer Success "When I was struggling and reached out to my manager, he was able to provide help and gave me advice on how to prioritize my projects. Also, he spent extra time coaching me through difficult situations." ~Engineering One of the hardest things is when you feel like you’re struggling at work or not loving what you do.  If either of these happen in a corporate environment you might find yourself canned or cast aside - but not at ALICE.   When employees are struggling or in a rut, ALICE team members are encouraged to have an open conversation and be completely transparent so that the Company can identify a better fit for them and figure out how to help them succeed: “Nearly 1.5 years ago, I found myself doing Product Management at ALICE. It was a career that I was unsure aligned with my strengths and passions. Since, ALICE gave me the opportunity to explore marketing at the company. I have been responsible for managing the day-to-day of the creative team, providing feedback to our designers, and contributing to the creation of core content. I feel much more impactful in this role and is aligned with my passions. In July, I was promoted to Marketing Manager. It has been a blast. I could have never made such a quick, smooth transition if it were not for ALICE's desires to care deeply about each employee and his/her growth.” “ALICE gave me a promotion, and helped me into a new career path - sales. I'm excited to be in the community talking about ALICE.” “Although I am still fairly new at the organization, I think the “All Hands” meetings every Tuesday are pretty incredible. I have worked at many hotels and none of them have taken time on a weekly basis to talk as a company going over updates, news in the industry, introducing new team members, etc. All of these meetings are recorded, so if you have a conflicting event you can still be kept in the loop. The team is so incredibly welcome and genuinely cares about creating a positive remote culture.”     #5 Cloudbeds This is Cloudbeds’ 3rd year in a row making our list and if you read CEO Adam Harris’ culture manifesto it’s easy to see why.  We should note that Cloudbeds is the highest ranked U.S. based company on our list. Cloudbeds has a corporate culture that features a lot of the strengths found amongst other companies on this list but two things really make Cloudbeds stand apart from the pack. Firstly, Cloudbeds is a mostly distributed and remote organization.  While it’s headquarters are in sunny San Diego, California - the Cloudbeds team is entirely global.  Cloudbeds employees consistently cite that Cloudbeds has the best travel benefits of any company they’ve ever worked for.  Harris and Co-Founder Richard Castle understand that in order for their team to understand hotel clients and guests they need to walk a mile in their shoes.  Several employees told Hotel Tech Report that they’re highlight of 2019 was meeting up in Bali for a team leader’s 40th birthday where they spent days coworking and getting to know each other on a personal level.  Other team members report team outings in Spain, Nashville and across the world. Cloudbeds even rents long term apartments in core cities so that team members can come and go as they please: “The company strongly supports our travels, we are travelling cloudies. The company rented apartments for us for a year in 2 biggest offices. Everyone who wanted could use it and visit our offices any time!” One concern that many employees have with a remote organization is that it’s difficult to build alliances and move up the ranks or switch into new roles but at Cloudbeds that isn’t an issue.  Don’t believe us? Check out what employees had to say:  “Being promoted 2 times within the year was a great accomplishment. I have been with the company for over 4 years and started as a customer support coach and also an implementation coach. Having the opportunity to use my talents in other areas of the company has been a great motivator and I continue to grow every day learning new things within our company.” ~Product Team “When I was promoted I got all the confidence of Cloudbeds management to assume my new role. It was significant for me to feel that my company cares about my success and that my achievements were aligned with company goals.” “I was promoted within 9 months of work from a low position to a department I wanted to work in.  Success is both noticed and rewarded at Cloudbeds”     #4 hotelkit Nestled in Salzberg on the German border, hotelkit is the only company on our list from Austria but they are a rising contingent of DACH based hotel tech startups (including SuitePad) that are rising to global domination.  Salzberg is where Mozart was born and hotelkit founder Marius Donhauser runs his team like a finely tuned symphony. Employees cite tons of team building events including Oktoberfest and a two day team trip to the mountains that included hiking, canyoning and even spending the night in a hut! “We went on a two day hiking tour as teamevent and i am astonished every time how well we all work together as a team and how we trust each other. We constantly support our hotelkit team members, help each other out and spend a lot of time together after work. My colleagues have basically become my family away from home.” Hotelkit employees have weekly catered lunch, yoga classes, healthy office snacks and more.  These are all nice amenities but what really matters is that hotelkit cares about its people.  With all of these activities and benefits you’re probably wondering when hotelkit has time to get things done.  We were wondering the same thing. While we can’t say exactly, hotelkit recently crossed its 1,000th hotel client and they are now one of the most popular companies on Hotel Tech Report after some huge victories in the HotelTechAwards this year. If you’re looking for a fast paced job in a beautiful location with a CEO who lives and breathes both his brand and his staff - look no further and go check out what openings they have available.  Oh and did we mention, hotelkit also won first place in four categories of this year’s HotelTechAwards...     #3 Mews Systems This ain’t Mews’ first rodeo and it definitely isn’t their first time making this list.  This is Mews’ second year in a row making the top 3 in our list. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic case of corporate boredom, applying for a job at Mews Systems is definitely the cure. Mews has scaled from 100 team members to more than 400 in the last 12 months, which, needless to say, is an insane growth rate.  When companies scale this quickly they risk culture dilution but at Mews the opposite seems to be happening. The more Mews hires - the more fun they seem to have.  If you don’t believe us go and check out one of their award winning conference booths at events like WTM and ITB where you’ll find Mews team members rocking F1 racing suits, cheeky lab coats or even a hilarious take on miracle grow gardening. Mews makes it look easy but don’t be fooled - they are a work hard play hard company that is even more focused on driving results for clients.  According to one Mews Operations Associate, “Everybody is constantly on 120% level, which is great. Coming from the slow paced corporate world - the team here is giving me a lesson in productivity everyday.” So what’s the secret to the Mews success? They’re polarizing, mission driven and make everyone who joins feel like they’re part of a family.  Some tentpole culture initiatives include the annual company get together in February where the entire team heads to Prague for a week of team building and a company wide cross-functional Hackathon.  Mews likely has the most well oiled onboarding process of any company on this list. New hires attend a monthly onboarding week that includes meeting the CEO in a small breakout and the opportunity to host a company funded theme party for your new colleagues. Last but not least, Mews recently raised a monster $33M round led by Battery Ventures, won the top prize in the 2020 HotelTechAwards for the #1 PMS and made its official US debut this spring so it seems their miracle grow theme may have a few potential interpretations..     #2 Pace London based Pace is another newcomer to our list and the team achieved some huge milestones in 2019.  For starters they grew the Pace family by 100% from 15 to 30 employees. Pace team members frequently cite being  motivated by getting stuff done and even hit their 2019 annual goals by October with two months to spare. “In the past year the Pace team has grown by more than 100%. It was amazing to see the whole company (from recent joiners to old timers) rally around a few key product releases like a well oiled, high performance machine.” Pace team member In his former life, Pace CEO Jens Munch was a journalist and wartime photographer in Iraq which has helped him build a team that’s battle ready to take on the hyper competitive revenue management space.  Pace is a very product driven culture and was designed from the ground up to disrupt the status quo. Pace has developed a completely automated revenue management system and everyone at the firm is focused on helping clients (old and new) feel confident in its recommendations where revenue managers have historically been apprehensive to let machines take over. “The launch of automation at Pace was a great achievement by the whole team that was a true, cumulative effort of everyone working tirelessly in sync. The response from new and existing customers has been amazing, and seeing the product providing even better results instills me with even more confidence for Pace.” ~Pace team member     #1 SuitePad Last but not least, the 2020 Best Place to Work in Hotel Tech goes to…(drum roll please)...SuitePad! This is Berlin based SuitePad’s first year making the list (and their first HotelTechAwards winning #1 Guest Room Tablet provider) but we don’t suspect that it will be their last. SuitePad employees share a genuine passion for building strong lasting relationships both with their hotel clients and with each other. This people focused culture starts all the way at the top according to a SuitePad team member: “I had a personal problem that required hospitalisation, my CEO dropped everything he had for the day and personally took me to the hospital and was there at every step of the recovery.  This is the kind of thing that I have seen time and time again done for employees that have any kind of crisis going on in their personal lives.” Many SuitePad employees cite having never been at a company before where they’ve clicked with so many other team members on a personal and professional level. The co-founders at SuitePad deeply care about the team and who joins it. One employee puts it best, “Work is great here, because the people are great.” It’s not all kumbaya and hugs at SuitePad though, the team is fast paced and extremely results driven.  This year at SuitePad every team pushed their limits: sales and marketing aggressively launched new territories while product developed a new product from scratch on a completely new tech stack (SuiteTV box): “We have worked a lot on our internal processes and our team closed the two biggest deals in the history of the company in the last few months, which is not only great in terms of growth and sales goals, but also because it has shown that our efforts in improving the processes and aligning our strategy with sales and marketing has been successful.” ~Customer Success Employee -- It's 2020 and it's time for a new hospitality job.  Go head to these incredible employers and start dropping those resumes.  

The Best Hotel Software of 2020 (Ranked by Data)

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

The HotelTechAwards (produced by Hotel Tech Report) announced the year's top rated hotel software companies and tech products based on thousands of hotelier ratings and other key data-points. During the HotelTechAwards hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies across 100+ countries 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 "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." Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO at OTA Insight The competition spans core areas of hotel software & technology: marketing, revenue, operations and guest experience. 2020 Voting included participation from major hotel groups including: Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Accor Hotels, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Rosewood and thousands of independents. "Each month Hotel Tech Report helps more than 40,000 hoteliers research and vet technology partners for their properties.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the industry because it’s based on real data. Winners have truly earned their showcase with our rapidly growing community.  Hoteliers trust this award when making purchase decisions because scoring is transparent and participation is ubiquitous amongst the most reputable vendors in the industry," says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. "We created the HotelTechAwards as a democratized way to help our fellow hoteliers quickly determine best of breed vendors based on data they can trust.  Our 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 more than 100 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 from thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 120 countries.     Quick Links: 1. 2020 HotelTechAwards Winners 2. Executive Commentary 3. Scoring Methodology & Ranking Factors 4. 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 5. People's Choice Award Announcement   Top Rated Hotel Software Products of 2020   Guest Experience Software for Hotels Best Guest Room Tablets: SuitePad (2020 Winner), Crave (Finalist), Volo (Finalist) Best Guest Mobile App: ALICE  (2020 Winner), INTELITY (Finalist) Best Guest Messaging: Whistle (2020 Winner), Bookboost (Finalist, Best in Europe) Best Guest Room Entertainment Product: Monscierge Apple TV (2020 Winner) Best Voice Activated Tech Product: Volara (2020 Winner) Best Mobile Key & Keyless Entry Solution: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions (2020 Winner)   Operations Software for Hotels Best Property Management System: Mews Systems (2020 Winner), Clock (Finalist) Best Staff Collaboration Software: hotelkit (2020 Winner), ALICE (Finalist, Best in North America), HelloShift (Finalist) Best Labor Management Tool: Hotel Effectiveness (2020 Winner) Best Housekeeping Software: hotelkit (2020 Winner), ALICE (Finalist), Quore (Finalist) Best All-in-1 HMS: RoomRaccoon (2020 Winner), Cloudbeds (Finalist) Best Fraud Prevention Tool: Canary Technologies (2020 Winner) Best Facilities Management Software: hotelkit (2020 Winner), ALICE (Finalist), Quore (Finalist) Best Concierge Software: ALICE (2020 Winner) Best Accounting & Finance: MyDigitalOffice (2020 Winner), M3 (Finalist) Best Lobby Tech: Monscierge Connect Signage (2020 Winner) Best F&B Point-of-Sale Solution: ImpulsePoint by Impulsify (2020 Winner)   Revenue Management Tech for Hotels Best Revenue Management System: IDeaS  (2020 Winner), Atomize (Finalist) Best Central Reservations System: Pegasus (2020 Winner) Best Channel Manager: SiteMinder (2020 Winner), Cloudbeds (Finalist), D-EDGE (Finalist) Best Rate Shop & Market Intelligence: OTA Insight (2020 Winner)  Best Business Intelligence Tool: HotelIQ (2020 Winner), Duetto (Finalist) Best Meetings & Events Intelligence: Get Into More (2020 Winner), Duetto (Finalist), IDeaS (Finalist)   Hotel Marketing Technologies Best Email Marketing & CRM Software: Revinate (2020 Winner), Experience Hotel (Finalist), ForSight CRM (Finalist) Best Upsell Software: Oaky (2020 Winner)  Best Booking Engine Bookassist (2020 Winner), Net Affinity (Finalist), Pegasus (Finalist) Best Digital Marketing Agency Bookassist (2020 Winner), Screen Pilot (Finalist), Net Affinity (Finalist) Best Metasearch Management Software: Bookassist (2020 Winner), Koddi (Finalist, Best in North America) Best Website Builder/CMS: Bookassist (2020 Winner) Best Direct Booking Tool: Triptease (2020 Winner), LaaSie.ai (Finalist) Best Reputation Management Software: GuestRevu (2020 Winner), Revinate (Finalist), TrustYou (Finalist) Best Guest Surveys: GuestRevu (2020 Winner), TrustYou (Finalist), Revinate (Finalist) Best Website Live Chat: Asksuite (2020 Winner), HelloShift (Finalist, Best in North America)   Executive Commentary About the HotelTechAwards   Dr. Ravi Mehrotra, President, Founder and Chief Scientist, IDeaS Revenue Solutions: “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.” Alex Shashou, Co-Founder & President, ALICE: “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.” Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen, Co-Founder & Managing Director, SuitePad: “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.”   Scoring Methodology & Ranking Factors  

Sustainable Hospitality: 8 Ways to Do Your Part Right Now

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Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

Conscious consumerism is the next big trend – and one that will impact nearly every vertical, from retail to travel to dining. Reports indicate that eco-friendly resorts and sustainable hospitality practices have quickly become the norm, rather than the exception, as consumers worldwide use their purchase power to go green. Conscious consumerism has forced hoteliers to think deeply about sustainable hospitality. A survey by Booking.com found that 68% of travelers plan on staying in an eco-friendly hotel, a trend that’s continued to increase since 2013. Millennials are the main consumer group encouraging companies to be more sustainable, according to Credit Suisse’s 2017 Global Investor report. “Companies must deliver good social and environmental performance and engage in sustainable practices or their future growth could be at risk,” writes the report’s research analyst. Many hotel brands have already answered the call, bringing more sustainable practices into their operations. Marriott International and other large chains have joined the movement to eliminate the use of plastic straws and other items that never fully decompose. This is the bare minimum: other hotels, hostels, and eco-resorts have implemented smart showers, added solar panels, and have gone so far as to regenerate coral reefs on their property. Going green pays off in publicity, as well as in bookings. Eco-friendly luxury resorts, like Soneva Resorts in Thailand, get regular publicity from celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow and publications like Vogue. OTAs and metasearch partners including TripAdvisor, Travelocity, and Hotels.com enable customers to add a “green” search option, filtering listings by how eco-friendliness. Many of these green initiatives to cut down on waste and make your hotel more efficient, a win-win for both consumers and property owners. Investing in sustainable hospitality is a savvy move for properties of all sizes: and there are a number of ways, both big and small, to get involved. A simple change like adding digital compendiums to get rooms, like SuitePad, can replace paper waste and immediately make your hotel more eco-friendly. Larger investments, like getting LEED-certified, provide excellent talking points and publicity for hotels looking for a more competitive edge. Here are some of our top ways to go green – and save money in the process.      Get rid of paper menus and compendiums One report found that a hotel guest generates about two pounds of waste per night; paper, plastic, and cardboard account for half that waste. Paper menus, flyers, and in-room directories contribute to a massive amount of waste at most hotels, which is why switching to a digital guest room tablet can have an immediate impact.  Platforms like SuitePad cut down on printing costs and waste while providing a channel for upselling ancillary products and services to drive revenue. A general manager at one German hotel reported, “As a tech-driven lifestyle brand also taking care of our environment, we love the paperless approach SuitePad is offering to us. This goes for keeping our guests informed in a very dynamic way, communicating with them in real-time once checked in and also enabling them to book additional services.” The Falkensteiner Balance Resort Stegersbach used SuitePad to increase revenue from their spa services by over 50%, sending well-timed notifications and marketing through their digital guest directory to sell an additional 257 treatments in one year – generating €20,774  in the process. Going green with digital directories is a win-win for your bottom line.     Get rid of disposable shampoo bottles “Some room amenities such as shampoo, soap, lotion, and coffee can all wreak havoc on the environment. Think about switching to natural and organic toiletries in biodegradable or recyclable packaging. Better yet, consider offering these items in bulk dispensers to cut back on needless waste,” recommends one environmental expert. Small-batch toiletries are expensive and add up to a ton of wasted plastic. This year, some states have taken legislative action to curb the use of small shampoo bottles. California’s ban on 1-2oz bottles goes into effect in 2023; New York state and parts of Georgia are considering similar policies. Some hotels, like Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels and IHG, will replace single-use bottles without government intervention. It’s a great PR move: Marriott claims that simply by eliminating 500 million small bottles a year, the company will save 1.7 million pounds of plastic from entering landfills.    Offer guests a way to opt-out of daily cleaning In-room tablets also empower guests to make their stay greener by forgoing housekeeping. SuitePad offers a Green Option, which guests can select to help preserve the environment. Guests see a notification on their SuitePad tablet asking if they would like to have a cleaner visit their room the next day. They are given the option to accept or decline. In one case study with a property in Germany, the Green Option led to massive cost-savings as well as sustainability benefits. “To incentivize guests to choose the Green Option, the Esplanade decided to offer guests benefits such a €5 voucher for their restaurant or spa, or a 20% discount on purchases made in their in-house soap factory for using the service. In the first month, the Green Option was booked 115 times. Not only did this mean the environmental footprint of the hotel was dramatically reduced, but it also equated to a total of €1,476.60 made in cost savings,” reports SuitePad.    Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies There are a number of reasons to switch to eco-friendly cleaning products, not just because it’s a requirement to have your property LEED-certified. Green cleaning supplies lead to better air quality in your hotel and are safer for your guests and for your staff. Bio-based cleaning products are a must for hotel properties located on or near the beach. They’re also a great PR move.   Limit water waste with a water management system and low flow toilets Hostelling International USA made headlines this year when it became the first hostel company in the world to implement “smart showers.” Smart showers limit showering time to seven minutes. “If each guest showers for 30 seconds less, we save around one million gallons of water each year,” reported Hostelling International’s marketing director.  The brand has plans to install more than than 750 showers across 50 properties, with colorful LED lights to gently alert guests when their seven minutes are up.  Water management doesn’t need to be so dramatic. There are things you can do to save water that won’t impact the guest experience. For example:  Add a voluntary linen reuse program, like Project Planet Program, to your guest rooms  Use rainwater harvesting, a greywater system, or air conditioner condensate for your irrigation, toilet flushing, or fire suppression systems.  Plant drought-resistant plants and use smart landscaping practices to reduce irrigation and gardening water waste Convert to low flow or dual flush toilets or install toilet-tank fill diverters to save water The more water you conserve, the less energy your property uses – cutting down on utility costs in the process.    Conserve energy with motion sensors and efficient light bulbs LED lightbulbs use 25%-80% less energy than traditional lightbulbs and last 3-25 times longer, according to the US Department of Energy. Just by replacing the bulbs in five fixtures with LED light bulbs, you can save $75 a year. It’s a no-brainer for properties of all sizes seeking to save on energy costs. If you have a bigger budget, conserve more energy with motion sensors that can switch off lights when your guests are out for the day.    Hire an energy consultant to perform an energy audit “Consult outside sources to evaluate the total system when replacing major mechanical equipment (such as chiller, water tower, etc). Often, this can lead to downsizing and other opportunities to reduce both the initial investment and operating costs,” recommends the Global Stewards blog. An energy consultant can weigh in with recommendations that save your hotel in operational costs, as well as improve your sustainability metrics. They will factor in things like the number of rooms, your budget, the guest services you provide, the size of your team, and where your property is located.      Consider adding solar panels Two properties recently gained attention for leading the way with their commitment to renewable energy. Kundadoo, a private resort island in the Maldives, added solar panels to its main building: in the process, the eco-resort is now able to fully power the entire island. Meanwhile, in Norway, Svart is scheduled to become the world’s first net energy-positive hotel above the polar circle. Svart’s solar panels will save excess energy for when the country has longer nights and short days. If your property is interested in solar panels, now is the time to make a move. Until 2021, the federal solar tax credit will allow hotels to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from its federal taxes.  -- What green initiatives did we miss? Tell us on Twitter or get in touch to share your best practices for sustainable hospitality. 

Monscierge: A Review of the Guest Experience Platform

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

In today's competitive hospitality environment, guest-centricity requires more than greeting a guest by name at check-in. Often, the tangled web of technology draped across most hotels prevents hoteliers from achieving flawless guest-centricity. The new breed of tech-enhanced hotels must transform technology from an impediment to an enabler of a guest experience. As most consumers want to message (rather than call) brands, today’s tech must blend self-serve communication tools with high-touch, human-led hospitality. Achieving this transformation requires a hospitality tech stack that meshes well together and eliminates the burden of siloed systems. With reliable and accurate data sharing, the best guest experience software is an invisible interface optimizing the entire guest experience by deepening the digital connection between a hotel staff to its guests. A streamlined staff boosts on-property revenues, as well as both guest and staff satisfaction. “Technology that really makes everyone’s stay at a hotel easier and cheaper is the future.” -Ian Schrager, hospitality legend and founder, Public Hotels From the instant a guest books to when they checkout, this interface infuses the guest experience with connectivity, simplicity and convenience. The software enables a frictionless guest experience that remains consistent across all guest touchpoints — without replacing those uniquely human interactions that define the soul of hospitality. Here’s how.   What Monscierge Does: Convenience for Staff & Guests Building consistent, on-brand, guest-centric experiences is what Monscierge is all about. It's a guest experience management platform that strengthens the connection between hotel staff and guests in three key areas: staff collaboration, multi-channel guest communications, and interactive digital signage. The software suite unifies the guest experience with a single content management system that gives guests direct access to staff and relevant information across the property’s mobile app, website, in-room TV and text messaging. Empowered by mobile, today’s consumers can get exactly what they want, instantly and effortlessly. As a result, they are more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever before. A brand’s ability to leverage data to anticipate their needs will define its ability to grow. -ThinkWithGoogle With a single guest experience vendor, hotels can more easily integrate functions into a primary platform. There's enormous value in that integration, as it streamlines operations by increasing accountability among staff, boosting information visibility and putting more personalization options in the hands of guests. And, with CRM and PMS integration, it autofills relevant data that can help your team do their work faster and more accurately. Monscierge has three core products, Staff Connect, Apple TV for Hotels, and Connect Lobby, which are connected through its proprietary content management system Connect CMS.  Here's what you need to know about the core product set.     Staff Connect: Mobile-first Staff Collaboration Tools Exceptional guest service requires knowing what guests need (guest messaging) and  fulfilling those needs (staff task management). Most solutions do one or the other; Connect Staff does both. It’s the place for two-way communication between staff and guests, as well as the single source of truth for staff collaboration. The staff collaboration tool removes ambiguity with transparent task accountability, so everyone can see who is responsible for each ticket. This clarity keeps staff on top of issues affecting the guest experience and actually increases job satisfaction, as management can use the robust analytics to identify and recognize top performers. The shorter response times and reliable two-way communications directly influences the guest experience —  and thus your hotel's reputation. The essential features of Connect Staff keep your operation on-track, regardless of the experience level of your staff: Smart assignments. Make your staff more productive with automation, one of Hotel Tech Report’s Trends to Watch from WTM 2019. Based on  each property’s criteria, the system automatically assigns, reassigns or escalates tasks based on staff availability, time of day, request type, preset triggers or fulfillment ETA.  Scheduling. Schedule recurring tasks in a calendar view. This keeps your ongoing maintenance program on track. With support for multi-step checklists, each scheduled tasks has clearly delineated expectations with full data recording support for tracking. No matter how new your staff is, they can easily meet brand standards. Photos. To overcome language barriers and build a permanent visual record for each room, staff can add photos to requests. It's much faster to take a picture of the issue than to explain it in words; for staff communication, a picture really is worth a thousand words! Pictures also become proof of guest violations, such as smoking in a non-smoking room.   Apple TV For Hotels: Goodbye Pay-Per-View In the Age of Assistance, consumers expect assistance on whatever device happens to be within reach and the most convenient. Apple TV for Hotels is guest room entertainment technology that puts personalization in the hands of guests. The hub combines communications, content, and information so guests can use the TV as a personal concierge to make requests, watch content, and browse local recommendations. With support for both Live TV and streaming, Apple TV for Hotels also gives guests the control and convenience of home, with a “bring your own content” approach that enables guests to consume content from their favorite streaming apps during their stay — with the confidence that each system is totally reset for the next guest. There’s even the familiar Apple TV remote to make guests feel right at home!      The essential features of Apple TV for hotels give guests a home-like level of control: Convenience. The Apple TV hub supports two-way communication so guests can make instant service requests and track their progress. Guests can also easily find property information, such as amenities and upcoming events, as well as curated local recommendations and in-destination happenings.  Content management. Configurable and brandable, the system supports high-resolution imagery and detailed descriptions to engage guests. All local recommendations and information are easily updated via the Connect CMS; for larger portfolios, where updating information at the property level is a cumbersome and time-consuming process, that alone is a dream!  Scalable architecture. The system is secure, simple to use and easy-to-scale across hotels of any size or category. Hardware and software leasing options reduce upfront implementation costs and puts this sophisticated technology ecosystem in the hands of properties of all sizes. Lease costs can be treated as expenses to keep hardware on the books as a steady operating expense (vs. a large upfront capital expenditure).   Connect Signage: Interactive Digital Signage The final pillar in the platform is Connect Signage, an interactive digital concierge. This digital signage can display menus, print boarding passes, map directions, and highlight local recommendations. Functionality can also be extended via integrations with other systems, so that your property could do things like offering bookable local experiences and tours from each device. It's a perfect blend of concierge-style curation and self-serve convenience — and can be a talking point in your hotel's marketing, adding another point of differentiation to your guest experience.   The top features that make Connect Signage such a powerful tool are: Choose your own devices. The interactive digital concierge can be as prominent as a large walk-up display and as compact as a tablet on the lobby desk. Larger properties can place multiple displays around the property. And yes, this includes conference and event signage which can be configured to each event. Sponsorships. Interactive displays open up new commercial opportunities. It may be promoting on-site amenities, such as spa and food and beverage. Or it may be working with local businesses for sponsored recommendations or large-scale campaigns with larger brands. Advertising and sponsorships are easily managed within the Connect CMS. Social postcards. Entice guests to interact using social postcards, a novel feature for guests to share their experience via email, Facebook or Twitter. You can choose which images to upload and then guests can customize and send. With a little cleverness and creativity, you can create images the resonate and promote your property (and destination!) organically.   Monscierge: Pros and Cons (According to Real Customers) Monscierge is very well known in the digital signage space and has worked closely with Apple's Hospitality division to develop some really unique products.  The firm even secured an exclusive on it's Apple TV for Hospitality product and has worked very closely with large enterprise clients like Accor to build products from very early on meaning that this product set has been battle tested for enterprise but is affordable for independents. Pros: Convenience of the Connect CMS to “update once, broadcast everywhere.”  Since launching Monscierge's Apple TV for Hospitality, “the feedback from guests has been unbelievable.” “Our Monscierge / Apple TV solution stole the show.” The Monscierge Lobby touchscreen is really easy to use and massively popular with guests. The system itself is a real focal point for interaction between our staff and guests. The content is invaluable when helping provide orientation of the surrounding area and points of attraction, especially for overseas guests if English isn't their first language. Cons: For Staff Connect, adoption matters.  Hoteliers have commented on HTR that if your whole team doesn’t use Monscierge, communication can get lost and requests can get dropped. The interfaces “could look a lot simpler” especially “for non technical users should be a little more simple.” For task management, “Ease of access, trackable, alerts when there are outstanding requests.” “Connect Staff - Only way to get a report is by requesting it from Monscierge. We need to be able to run these reports onsite.”   Conclusion:  Should You Consider Monscierge? There’s a direct correlation between financial value and a hotel’s reputation. And a reputation is built over a series of both the digital and analog interactions. Consumers don't differentiate between these types of interactions, and expect a consistent experience throughout. To successfully navigate the guest’s device and channel switching, hotels need an integrated guest experience platform that enables seamless connectivity and communication. Monscierge’s unique blend of solutions can be a brand-defining advantage, especially when contrasted with those that cobble together a guest experience layer from multiple vendors. The centralized Connect CMS makes makes updating information easy, a stress-saving benefit that’s magnified exponentially for multi-property operators and hotel chains. Another advantage: multilingual support that eliminates language barriers  and connects guests to the information they need in their native languages. All that being said, the comprehensive system may be cost-prohibitive for smaller properties without the economies of scale of multi-property operators and larger chains.  to determine if it's the right fit for you, consider the Monscierge reviews and its pricing, use your detailed understanding of your guest profiles to determine if it's the type of solution that would make a significant impact on their guest experience.  

The Hotel Industry is Pioneering How to Leverage WhatsApp for Business

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Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

*Ping!* We receive messages on our phones for nearly everything these days. That buzz in your pocket could be a message from a friend, a tracking number for an Amazon order, or a security alert from your bank. All of your most important information arrives in the palm of your hand - so why should communication from a hotel be stuck in your email’s spam folder? In this article we’re going to cover 10 creative ways that hotels can leverage guest messaging to surprise and delight guests.  Top rated guest messaging platforms generally integrate with all major communication channels like SMS and WhatsApp for Business. Before we dive in, let's first let’s first review the data around why business messaging is booming right now. Businesses are increasingly adopting messaging services like WhatsApp for Business, Facebook Messenger, SMS and customer service live chat to communicate in real-time with their customers. But for hotels, implementing a messaging service, such as Zingle, isn’t just a way to show off their tech savvy. Studies show that text messaging is a preferred way to communicate with businesses for 9 out of 10 consumers - and that people actually read their texts. Compared to emails, which around 20% of recipients open, text messages garner an astounding 82% open rate. Rather than dedicating time and energy to optimizing your email subject lines, a forward-thinking hotelier should instead leverage a communication method that guests are much more receptive to: text messaging.   Best Practices for Business Messaging With the exciting technologies available for guest messaging now available, it’s important to not forget the basic rules of common courtesy. With a property management system full of past guests’ phone numbers, you may consider automatically enrolling your whole database in your text messaging strategy. However, a savvy hotelier will ensure all guests have opted into their messaging program. Not only will receiving consent increase your open rate (and overall engagement) because guests who aren’t interested simply won’t sign up, it will prevent any problems down the road that could result from using guest data without permission. Sometimes, hoteliers can be tempted to overuse messaging services and send messages on a frequent basis. By limiting your messaging strategy to only messages that truly add value, you can avoid guests seeing the messages as spam. Guests may unsubscribe or even have a negative impression of your hotel if the messages are too frequent, irrelevant, or unprofessional. While adopting a totally new system of text messages with guests can sound daunting, we’ll help you get started. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways hoteliers can use text messaging tools, like Zingle, that enable hoteliers to communicate across channels like WhatsApp and SMS to enhance the guest experience. Use this list to gain inspiration, or simply copy and paste our examples into your text messaging system.   1. Get Feedback Why wait until the guest has posted a review to learn about their experience? Sending a quick message to ask for feedback is a fantastic way to resolve issues before they escalate or recognize staff for going above and beyond. Hi [GUESTNAME], How is your stay so far? We appreciate your feedback. Adding the guest’s first name to the beginning of a message is an easy way to customize the message and make it seem more personal (less like a robot).   2. Ask How You Can Help Create an opportunity to provide excellent service by asking guests if they need anything. For example, following up with guests after check-in is a great way to ensure a smooth arrival process. You can also incorporate an emoji to make your text messages more fun and mobile-friendly. Hi [GUESTNAME], Did you get into your room alright? Please let us know if we can assist with anything during your stay. When sending a message like this one, make sure to follow up on any requests or problems that the guest may have. Just sending the message isn’t enough; your staff must be prepared to follow through. Comprehensive text message platforms like Zingle can route requests to the appropriate departments and help staff members ensure nothing gets overlooked.   3. Give a Freebie Who doesn’t love a freebie? Give guests a token of your appreciation and an experience they won’t forget with a complimentary cocktail, dessert, or tote bag. Thanks for choosing [HOTEL X]! To show our appreciation, we invite you to choose either a free cocktail or a souvenir tote bag. Let us know when we can deliver it to your room. Guests will be thrilled to receive a special surprise, and the cost of implementation is quite low. Something as simple as a freebie can even drive guest loyalty and lead to positive reviews!   4. Personalize Your Communication Dig into the mountain of guest data in your CRM or PMS to uncover key details about guest loyalty. By understanding which guests have stayed at your property before, you can thank these guests for their loyalty with a special message. Welcome back! Thank you for choosing [HOTEL X] again. If we can do anything to make your stay better, just send us a message!  Personalizing your messages isn’t just a nice thing to do, but it can actually deliver results. Guests crave personalization, with over 80% of survey respondents saying they would do more business with travel companies that tailor their offerings.   5. Upsell Cool Experiences and Deals Running a sale at the spa? Is there a unique, must-do activity nearby? How about happy hour at the lobby bar? Alert guests via text message to deals, activities, and attractions in the area that can enhance their overall stay. Give yourself the relaxation you deserve. Our weekly spa promotion is 10% off any service! Wondering what to do today? Check out the amazing views of LA and beyond from the Griffith Observatory. ✨ Our concierge can show you how to get there! Advertising your hotel’s outlets can also lead to incremental revenue in addition to delighting guests who might not have known about them.   6. Celebrate Special Occasions If you’re aware of any guest birthdays or anniversaries, sending a timely text message is a perfect opportunity for some clever marketing. Happy Birthday! 🎁 We're thankful that you chose to stay with us on this special ocassion and want to make sure everything is perfect during your stay.  Dinner at [HOTEL RESTAURANT] is on the house tonight for you and a guest. Sending notes for special occasions during the guest’s stay, such as bachelorette parties, honeymoons, and business meetings, can also build rapport and make the guest smile.   7. Use Humor Although we’re talking about using text messaging here, we don’t believe your business communication should sound robotic. Give guests a chuckle (and perhaps a discount code) by sending a joke. Just remember to stay away from anything offensive! What's the problem with booking a hotel room in space? The price would be astronomical. 😂 All cheesy hotel jokes aside, welcome to [HOTEL NAME], we're just a text message away when you need us. Build your brand image by showing personality in your text messages. Guests might even think your jokes are so funny that they’ll tell their friends or share them on social media!   8. Share Local News Is there a citywide event coming up? An important local election? Or maybe a special holiday that’s unique to your city? Help your guests understand what’s going on around town by sending messages about local news or events. Hi [GUESTNAME], Heads up! Chicago takes St. Patrick’s Day seriously, so expect to see parades, celebrations, and revelers throughout the street on March 17th. Expect some road closures and delays on public transit. 🍀 As a source of local intel, you’re the portal for guests to learn about the area. They’ll appreciate knowing about road closures and delays in addition to fun things like parades, parties, or fireworks.   9. Offer Helpful Tips Provide tips and suggestions to make your guests’ overall experiences as smooth as possible. Is there something they should know but would be hard for them to discover on their own? Delight guests with a pearl of wisdom that will improve their stay in your area. 🌞Miami Tip: Skip sitting in traffic and rent a CitiBike to ride around Miami in style! The closest CitiBike kiosk is across the street, and you can pay with a credit card. These tips can contain anything that would be relevant for the guest: transportation tips, restaurant recommendations, or even translations of local slang words.   10. Run a Contest Encourage guests to engage with your hotel by running a contest that they’ll want to enter. Don’t forget to follow up with the content results or winner! Checking out tomorrow and  already craving another visit to San Francisco? We’re giving one lucky winner a free 2-night stay! Share an Instagram picture of you on property with comment as "Can't wait to come back to @[HOTELNAME]" using the hashtag #[HOTELNAME].  The picture with the most likes wins! A contest can also drive traffic to your website, social media pages, or review sites when guests need to perform an action (such as “liking” a page or post) in order to qualify.   -- Ready to take your guest messaging to the next level? Implementing a text messaging system, like Zingle, can make real-time communication with guests possible. Not only can hoteliers build stronger connections with guests and drive guest loyalty, but they can also generate incremental revenue by promoting on-site outlets and discount codes. Make your hotel more relevant, engaging, and personable when you integrate guest messaging into your daily operations.  

SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store: 9 Tools You Need to Check Out

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Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

At ITB Berlin, one of our top five trends was the rise of hotel app marketplaces. Forward-thinking providers like SiteMinder are creating marketplaces that allow properties to add new integrations and tools to grow their business. These apps present a powerful way to utilize the full potential of your existing technology. Most, if not all, hotel technology is developed to achieve a specific task. App marketplaces exploit an opportunity for horizontal integration, capturing a new level of functionality by syncing data from multiple sources. SiteMinder's Hotel App Store powers everything from revenue management and upselling to guest messaging and review management to room controls, airport transfers, and keyless entry. Research, vet, and download more than 100 applications that let your core technology share data. The marketplace includes a selection of tools that integrate with more than 80 different property management systems, as well as SiteMinder’s channel manager. Growth equity firm TCV believes that software companies can create two-sided marketplaces that connect their users to new channels of customers, suppliers, and employees. TCV is a key investor backing SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store ambitions; their launch fulfills this vision of “breaking down the industry’s notorious integration barriers, connecting hotel systems and applications through smart and simple connectivity.” In practice: adding an app from Siteminder’s app store syncs the critical tech systems used by your operations and communications, revenue management, reputation management, and CRM systems, giving you a competitive advantage. Every hotel app must integrate two pieces of technology to help hotel owners:  Make more money per booking Improve guest reviews Better connect with guests Grow direct bookings Add these integrations to make your PMS work smarter with your CRM, guest messaging tool, and revenue management system in seconds.   Customer Relationship Management Apps Your hotel's CRM allows teams to track, manage and grow client relationships throughout the customer lifecycle, collecting and collating information to build a relationship without needing to have been personally involved each step of the way. Integrate your CRM with your PMS to leverage data points such as recency, frequency, add monetary value in your guest segmentation, thereby running smarter, more targeted promotions. Without introducing data from your PMS into your CRM, personalized emails, text messaging, or other communication at scale is nearly impossible. Revinate Marketing Revinate allows hotel owners to run targeted, customized campaigns with messaging delivered at the right moments throughout the customer journey, leading to increased guest engagement and more direct bookings. Revinate uses survey data for powerful guest segmentation: the Database Insights tool delivers real-time insights into guest data so teams can make better marketing campaigns and improve the on-property experience. Revinate has a reputation for excellence, with 94% of customers giving the tool top marks. Compared with other CRM integrations, Revinate gets outstanding reviews for their customer service and ease of implementation. “The data provided by Revinate Marketing has truly changed the way we operate, allowing us as a company to make more informed decisions across our portfolio. From the segmentation to the reporting, the user interface is easy and intuitive,” reports one director at a boutique hotel. Cendyn Guestfolio, the Cendyn CRM platform, combines guest data and marketing automation to build a single, holistic view of each guest. By offering easy access to a guest’s history, Guestfolio empowers your staff to recognize loyal guests at check-in with a special thank you. Foster 1:1 communication with guests at every stage: pre-arrival, on-property, post-stay and re-engagement nurture campaigns foster brand loyalty, leading to repeat guests and an increase in direct bookings. A key benefit of working with Cendyn is that the platform integrates offerings in revenue, sales, and marketing to bring your teams closer together. Guestfolio is part of Cendyn’s Hospitality Cloud. Hospitality Cloud aligns marketing, sales, and revenue teams to offer optimal pricing, guest-first marketing, and better communication while saving time and stress. For-Sight For-Sight pulls data from your hotel’s PMS to give you strategies and insights to improve the guest experience, increase revenue and upsell, and make more informed decisions. Ease-of-use and a simple interface makes For-Sight one of the top-rated CRM tools. As one reviewer notes, “For-Sight makes a complex task simple and intuitive. Best-in-class email and automation alongside powerful segmentation and querying tools that our team finds easy to operate backed by attentive and responsive support when we need it.”    Guest Messaging Apps Guest messaging platforms that integrate with your PMS via SiteMinder’s App Store offer a way to improve communication among teams on-site, automatically answer frequently asked questions, and increase operational efficiency while meeting guest satisfaction. These three systems offer a way forward to happier guests and more efficient staff. Bookboost The Bookboost guest messaging platform increases guest engagement and revenue with its proprietary Omnichannel Website Chat and Proactive Direct Messaging tools. Bookboost is our top-ranked guest messaging tool, achieving perfect scores for return-on-investment, ease of implementation, and customer support. Bookboost messages have a 99% open rate and an astoundingly high 28% click-through rate. “With Bookboost, we have seen a great improvement in guest satisfaction. Bookboost has helped us to deduct 50% repetitive phone calls while improving the score of guest review by over 11% in only two months! It's also a very good tool to upsell through sending SMS. We have used it to successfully upsell parking spaces by 87.5% and increase 10% of late check-out,” reports one operations manager. Zingle Zingle uses AI to drive operational efficiency, automating intelligent communication between teams and with guests. “Zings” are automated workflows that can be set up based on a specific trigger. The trigger leads to automatic action. For instance, Zingle can read booking details from your PMS to schedule a personalized message to guests attending a wedding, telling them where on the property to gather for festivities. Or, if a guest sends a message that includes the word “broken,” Zingle can recognize the need for a plumber or maintenance staff member.  helping them increase operational efficiency, improve guest service and boost RevPAR.  HelloShift HelloShift allows your team to connect with guests through SMS, WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook Messenger, email, and more. Unlike Bookboost, HelloShift also has a team chat function to help your on-site staff coordinate. HelloShift is a cost-effective option great for properties working with a limited budget or with limited service. The platform costs less than $3/room/month and comes with a free 30-day trial. One general manager reports, “It was very easy to migrate into, and the on-boarding experience was simple as well. Took less than a day to get everything up and running, and staff were able to communicate back and forth with very little training.”   Revenue Management Apps An RMS allows hotels to sell the right product to the right customer, solving for variables like price, channel, and timing to maximize profitability. A strong, two-way integration between your RMS and your property management system gives your revenue manager historical information on rates and revenue. Analyze the data and get an accurate matrix of pricing recommendations for each segment and room type. As a result, your property gains the ability to optimize pricing and capture more revenue. These revenue management apps are not to be missed. Pace Pace’s revenue forecasting gives you booking curves for each night, room-category, and segment, offering advance notice in case you need to adjust your pricing in real-time. Immediately. Hoteliers love Pace’s customer support and implementation, giving the platform high marks for its responsiveness. In comparison with RevControl, Pace offers price sensitivity modeling and inventory management to help your teams sync and avoid overbookings. It can also forecast demand 365 days in advance, with real-time price optimization to help you hone your pricing model and squeeze the most revenue out of your available inventory. “PACE also has highly qualified revenue management experts who provides great advice on how to maximise the property's revenue. As a GM of a 63-room hotel, I can now focus more on strategy.” writes one reviewer.  RevControl RevControl forecasts revenue in one dashboard that clearly predict what demand will be, empowering hoteliers to turn insight into action immediately. Sell your rooms the right rate at the right time with RevControl’s dynamic pricing, revenue management automations, and multi-property management features. This platform also offers extended stay functionality, something RevControl competitors don’t include. “I advise hoteliers who want full control over their revenue, room rates, and RevPar to use RevControl for their hotel. This cloud-based system provides the right information by means of accurately collected data to always calculate the right prices for your hotel rooms,” writes one reviewer.  Lybra Tech Lybra Tech has integrated machine learning into their hotel revenue management tool. Machine learning makes it possible for Lybra to analyze and integrate learnings from big data into their insights. For hotel owners seeking a competitive advantage, AI and machine learning can provide faster data analysis and better calls-to-action to maximize revenue potential. This is a fast-growing entrant to the revenue management market, and one vendor that promises to push boundaries to uncover market opportunities.    Check out SiteMinder’s app store to explore integrations and download some of these great options.