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Hotel Guest Experience Software Articles

Sustainable Hospitality: 8 Ways to Do Your Part Right Now

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 days 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
3 days 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.  

10 Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Guests Using WhatsApp For Business

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 days 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

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week 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. 

Apps for Hotel Management: How to Put the Guest First

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

Guests are increasingly interested in communicating with a hotel before, during, and after their stay via apps for hotel management. They’re seeking an easy avenue to check-in remotely, explore amenities, and learn more about the property and surrounding neighborhood. Hotel apps are one way hotels have successfully met this growing guest expectation. Intelligently integrating a hotel app within the guest experience allows your property to open a clear line of communication with guests. It’s a platform through which guests can access hotel information such as room services and amenities, check-in remotely, place service requests, book a spa service, and more. Mobile hotel apps increase guest engagement and provide a new channel for upselling ancillary services, ultimately improving the guest experience when deployed correctly. Mobile app providers like INTELITY are leading the way in providing a thoughtful, tech-enabled guest experience. Here’s what you need to know about guest mobile apps to offer a great experience at your property.    Why use apps for hotel management?   Today’s guest is mobile-first, meaning hotels must find a way to provide five-star service optimized for any device. The ability to book and edit reservations, order room service, learn about amenities and check-in remotely are all features that guests expect to manage through a hotel app. Some hotels have taken it a step further to add features that engage and surprise their guests further. The core benefits that any hotel app must provide are the ability to increase revenue with ancillary offers; real-time marketing through targeted promotions sent through the app; and the capture of data to build guest loyalty through a tailored experience. Apps like INTELITY can do much more than provide these foundational benefits. Great hotel apps centralize a guest’s digital experience through streamlined communication and messaging. An app should integrate with your guest messaging service and PMS to provide mobile check-in and facilitate other guest requests. The ability to skip the front desk reduces wait times and lobby traffic by 20%, which makes guests happier and frees up staff. Through INTELITY, guests enjoy easy and convenient access to staff via mobile messaging, and staff are more readily available to assist via the back-end dashboard. Guest mobile apps reduce barriers between guests and the right on-site teams to resolve any issues as they arise and ensure requests get answered quickly. INTELITY’s guest messaging connects guests directly with operations teams through SMS, as well as in-app messaging services, like Facebook Messenger. All messages get routed through the INTELITY platform to make sure there are no missed connections. Whether it’s a request for late checkout, room service, or for extra towels, an app should be able to route these communications to the right team within your property. And, most compellingly, the right hotel app can unlock new ways to increase guest spend. Send relevant offers through the app to capitalize on guest preferences. A great example is the James Hotels app, James Pocket Assistant. The app helps guests discover and access amenities and special offers on-site. Menus and other content are updated quickly depending on what’s happening at the hotel and guest preferences.    The changing market of hotel apps   This year, the hotel app market saw three big changes: the growth of internet of things hospitality, more personalization, and the introduction of artificial intelligence in the app experience. IoT has taken the tech world by storm, and hotel apps are not exempt, Mobile apps now allow guests to customize their in-room experience. Lucy, the smartphone app of Virgin Hotels, has multiple features that allow guests to interact with the room. Lucy gives guests the power to adjust the room temperature, stream personal content to their room's TV, and turn their smartphone into a remote. Personalization options continue with the ability to map data across multiple guest touchpoints. Hotel apps can utilize smart learning mechanisms to personalize guests’ needs throughout their stay. It’s important that any hotel app platform you decide to implement has an easy to use content management system so that you can make regular updates without contacting your vendor.  INTELITY’s content management solution, for example, enables your team to update availability across food and beverage operations on-the-fly. Management can sync changes immediately across all channels: web app, in-room tablet, and mobile app, as well as send through discounts and promos in real-time. And, lastly, artificial intelligence will be able to dissect and analyze guest interactions, behaviors, context and language to intelligently respond and provide a more personalized method of communication. Voice activation has become more common in consumer’s homes, and hotel rooms are likely to follow suit. Voice technology offers access to instant information about your hotel and the surrounding area, as well as answers to common questions that create a backlog at the front desk. Next year, we predict more apps to enter the market, making it vital that hotel owners consider how their app will add unique value to the guest experience. The market will consolidate, as we’ve already seen with major players like Aimbridge and Interstate merging. And, the use of mobile keys will continue to drive app adoption – Hilton guests downloaded 7.6 million mobile keys through the app in 2018.    Download the Free Guide   What should hoteliers look for in an app vendor?   An app needs to provide a holistic experience at the guest’s fingertips. Here are some of the key features your app must include:  Mobile check-in: offer a frictionless way to skip the front desk while driving more revenue. Mobile key: keyless entry leads to an average increase of 7% in guest satisfaction scores. Guest messaging: SMS, Facebook Messenger, or and in-app messages to connect guests directly with your staff Room service ordering: automate service request delivery, track order status, track request fulfillment time, and generate data Loyalty program integrations: encourage increased engagement within your app between stays Local services and content: recommend local services and POIs to market your location and help guests maximize their stay Requests and ticket management: guests can make bookings with the concierge, arrange transportation or request more towels right from your hotel app Room automation: control the lights, TV, AC and drapes right from your phone Broadly, your app must integrate with your PMS, IoT provider, and service optimization software. Your property management system should be equipped relay guest info to and from the app easily and allow for guests to check-in from their phone. Integrate the app capabilities with in-room technology to control features (lights, thermostat, etc.). And make sure you control traffic with a service optimization provider that can communicate guest requests efficiently and seamlessly to your staff.    Questions to ask hotel app providers   There are more app vendors entering the market each day. Learn more about what each provider offers and make sure they can answer these three questions:  Do you build that can integrate with my hotel brand app? Hotel brands need access to a complete SDK to make app functionality live within their branded app.  Does your app include mobile key? Mobile key is one of the most in-demand features of a hotel app. Make sure the app integrates with many industry-wide lock vendors and hardware partners to provide a seamless experience. Does your app integrate with my existing loyalty program? Integrate your loyalty program to drive higher ROI by encouraging loyalty members to download the application. Serve more targeted offerings to increase revenue uptake and remove friction between guests and their desired on-property services.   Find out what other hoteliers are saying about mobile apps and learn more about pricing in Hotel Tech Report’s 2020 Hotel App Buyers Guide.  

You Don't Need to Be a Hilton to Have Digital Check-In

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

As an independent hotel, it’s nearly impossible to access the cutting-edge technology that big hotel brands use like Hilton Digital Check-in, right? Wrong. The major chains, traditionally, have invested millions of dollars in new technology that was historically too expensive or complicated for small brands or independent properties to implement. Notably, the Hilton digital check-in project took years to roll out and required development of special mobile app functions. In fact, access to technology like reservation systems, distribution channels, and in-room entertainment used to be a big reason for hotels to join a chain in the first place, although it often means sacrificing up to 5% of revenue in franchising fees.  Today, the tide is turning, and innovative companies like ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions are enabling hotels of all sizes to add 21st-century tech that was previously out of reach. By leveraging the right technology partners, independent hotels can create their own version of Hilton digital check-in.   Why is Keyless Entry Important?   If you ever feel like your smartphone is an extension of your arm, you’re not alone. More and more, people use smartphones for everything from shopping to banking. Even while traveling, a smartphone is the go-to device not only for photography and social media, but also for boarding a plane with the growing popularity of mobile boarding passes. Guests already have their phones in their hands when they arrive at a hotel, so hotels can easily make their properties more mobile-friendly with initiatives like mobile pay and keyless entry. Since mobile pay is a bit more complicated to implement - and people are still getting accustomed to the idea of doing away with physical credit cards - keyless entry is the best option for hotels seeking to incorporate mobile technology into their day-to-day operations. But the idea of digital check-in doesn’t just sound cool, it actually leads to an average increase of 7% in guest satisfaction scores. While guest satisfaction scores decrease by 50% when there’s a 5-minute wait at check-in, keyless entry allows guests to skip the line, check-in digitally and gain access to their room in seconds. Years ago, this type of technology would have only been accessible to franchisees associated with the big chains like Hilton, but this technology is exactly what vendors like ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions can offer to independent properties. As keyless entry grows in popularity, travelers specifically seek out hotels that offer the feature. It seems that once a traveler has tried keyless entry, they don’t want to go back to the old days of waiting in line to receive a key card. 46% of travelers say a mobile key solution is an important on-property feature for them, and 49% of travelers say “their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the hotel room, i.e., mobile key,” which shows that keyless entry isn’t just a gimmick.   Hilton’s Connected Room: The Push For High-Tech Hospitality   We know that Hilton digital check-in is a hit among travelers, so the hotel brand is now focusing on even more ways to bring technology into the guestroom. Mobile won’t just open doors anymore, it will provide a slew of features and services at the tap of a finger. Hilton’s new Connected Room initiative aims to offer temperature controls, a TV remote, and access to media streaming services through the Hilton HHonors app. As Hilton develops their HHonors app further, the company must be sure to offer such compelling features in the app that travelers will find it useful enough to actually download it. In general, people are reluctant to download apps that won’t deliver much utility - especially hotel apps, which a traveler might use just once. Hilton’s HHonors app offers the benefit of functionality in all Hilton properties across their portfolio of brands, so a frequent traveler who always stays at Hilton-branded properties could be using the HHonors app on a regular basis as they travel around the world, making it a highly used tool.   Hilton’s Crown Jewel: Digital Check-In   The digital check-in functionality is certainly a compelling reason for travelers to download the HHonors app. Starting at 6:00am on the day prior to arrival, travelers can complete the Hilton digital check-in process. The app prompts you to specify your arrival time, then it allows you to browse a digital floor plan of the hotel and choose your room. For guests who prefer a certain floor or location, this feature is quite handy, and Hilton surveyed nearly 40 million HHonors members to determine that guests do indeed want control over room choice. In addition to digital check-in and a mobile key, the HHonors app offers a host of other features. Within the app, guests can purchase upgrades, make special requests, and even check out digitally at the end of their stay. For hotels, the app can bring incremental revenue through paid upgrades to deluxe rooms or suites, and it even streamlines the often hectic check-out process.   How to Bring Digital Check-In to Your Hotel   As a boutique or independent hotelier reading this article, you may be wondering if digital check-in is even relevant for your property. Hotels without the resources and support of a brand might not have the time, money, or manpower necessary to invest in a digital check-in solution, and even the development of a custom app can cost tens of thousands of dollars. How can independent hotels offer cutting-edge technology similar to what travelers would expect from branded property? The guest technology sector of the hotel industry is fast-growing and innovative, with new startup companies and forward-thinking products popping up frequently. ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions is one such company providing digital check-in solutions for hotels of all sizes, including independent hotels and small regional brands (as well as working with the large ones like Hilton). In Stockholm, the Scandinavian regional chain Nordic Choice Hotels has implemented ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions’ digital check-in product at six of their properties. Without the need for expensive technology or even replacing their existing RFID locks, this prestigious hotel group added digital key access to all of their guestrooms. While the big brands like Hilton might receive lots of press about digital check-in and advances in guestroom technology, these solutions are indeed within the reach of independent hotels given innovations such as: adding keyless without replacing your existing door locks, hardware leasing and the declining cost of software. In fact, independent hotels that adopt new technology, such as mobile room keys, may find that their staff will have more time to dedicate to providing exceptional guest service with a more streamlined check-in and check-out process. With high-tech solutions from companies like ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, independent hotels can deliver a one-of-a-kind experience and offer the technology that guests crave.        

WTM London 2019: Here's What You Need to Know in a Complete 8,792 Word Guide

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

If you want to learn about all of the latest hotel tech product launches and feature releases from WTM London 2019, then you’ll love this comprehensive (yet skimmable) guide. Hoteliers can browse the new products covered in this guide to get a pulse on the latest tools and strategies available to grow your hotel business in 2020. We know that you've got too much on your plate to keep up with all of this yourself, so we carefully reviewed 100+ of the top product launches from the trade show floor and bucketed them into 6 major themes: 1. Group Business Innovations 2. Multi-Property Portfolio Tech Rollouts 3. Emerging Advertising Technology 4. Features & Products That Enter New Categories 5. Automation Features 6. Revenue Management & Big Data Bonus: 9+ Notable Product Launches   Let’s dive in, shall we?     Group Business Innovations   There's historically been a ton of hype around consumer travel apps and guest experience platforms but every hotelier knows that the real money is in group business.  Groups offer higher margins and larger deal sizes - who wouldn't want a piece of that?  As such, there are a lot of launches this year in the group and sales space ranging from sales CRMs to revenue management tools that offer displacement analysis and even 3D modeling software to better market your meeting spaces.   Pace: Group displacement analysis helps your team optimize decision making Group Displacement Analyses have always been a painful exercise for hoteliers. They take up significant time for a very simple question: “Will I make more revenue by taking in a group vs. continuing to sell to my transient business segments?” Revenue managers and sales managers can now evaluate group requests with ease. Users simply provide the duration of stay, the number of rooms required per night, and then they can customize the rates to quickly see the value of the group and make a decision if they should take the booking or not. Pace’s Group Displacement Tool uses accurate and granular forecasts to generate displacement analyses for you, that not only save you time, but also ensure that your evaluations are based on real data science. Read Pace Reviews   Matterport: Build 3D models of your meeting spaces to drive more group business Matterport is a spatial data company focused on digitizing and indexing the built world. With Matterport technology, anyone can create and share a digital twin of the built world, which can be used to design, build, operate, promote and understand any space. Creating a 3D digital twin of hotel rooms, meeting spaces and common areas is simple with Matterport’s technology. Using a Pro2 3D camera or any compatible 360 capture device, the Matterport Capture app guides one through the scanning process. The model is then uploaded to a Matterport Cloud account, where the software creates the digital twin. After creation, Matterport lets individuals edit, customize and refine the model. Matterport Cloud 3.0 harnesses the power of Matterport’s AI-based image processing technology, Cortex, to transform data collected with the Matterport Pro2 or a collection of simple 360 panoramas from compatible 360 cameras into Matterport True3D™ digital twins. Read Matterport Reviews   Clairvoyix: Hotel CRM for groups and sales teams Groups sales has seen very little change in the past few decades. Sales personnel typically call meeting planners from a stack of questionable leads pulled from the sales and catering system. The Clairvoyix Group Solution allows sales and marketing professionals to schedule targeted and personalized group/event direct marketing campaigns that include lifecycle marketing and automated follow-up by email, or from a tele-research center.  Fully qualified leads are delivered to property, regional, or headquarters sales personnel, eliminating the historical and time-consuming process of calling every lead in the system. The solution deploys sales and marketing automation, including lifecycle direct marketing (email and LinkedIn) allowing for an exponential gain in the number of meeting planners contacted. Most importantly, the system generates periodic communication with meeting planners who previously booked at meeting ensuring that all potential repeat business is secured. Read Clairvoyix Reviews   MeetingPackage: Plug into venue directories to increase meeting space occupancy MeetingPackage has been working hard to deliver flexible meeting payment services for both Travel Management Companies and their clients. AirPlus integration helps Travel Management Companies and meetings organisers centralise and manage payments more easily for their clients. Integration with Venue Directory means that hotels and venues across the UK and Europe benefit from distribution on the UK's leading platform for meetings organisers and enhances value for users of the Venue Directory's platforms by allowing users to consult availability of spaces, pricing and ancillary services all in one easy to use interface. MeetingPackage's new features are of particular interest to the sales and revenue management departments within a hotel group as they will be able to drive more M&E business through their direct channels. AirPlus integration will simplify billing for hotel users of MeetingPackage and corporate clients, making hotels' M&E products more attractive to those clients in the process. MeetingPackage's integration with Venue Directory means that for the first time venues will be able to distribute details of their availability, pricing, F&B and services to the UK's largest source of M&E enquiries thereby streamlining a labour intensive and old fashioned RFP process into a modern online booking and enquiry tool.  For many venues, direct integration with popular industry PMS platforms such as Oracle Opera or Mews Commander means less need to interact with third-party tools. MeetingPackage's integration with Venue Directory is unique in that it is the only service that facilitates the delivery of pricing and availability directly from a venue's PMS or sales and catering system to a front-end interface used by Meetings bookers, corporate clients and travel management companies worldwide.  With AirPlus, clients will be able to dynamically generate AirPlus payment numbers.MeetingPackage is the only M&E booking service to offer this facility and it has been designed to meet the requirements of corporate clients. Read MeetingPackage Reviews       Multi-Property Portfolio Tech Rollouts   Most hotel tech companies start off serving small independents.  After all, these clients are less demanding and easier to woo in the early days of launching a startup.  The interesting thing that we're seeing is a huge wave of startups that are hitting scale and moving upstream to serve enterprises with dedicated functionality built for groups and portfolios.  This is a great sign as it indicates that firms in the ecosystem are achieving healthy growth which ultimately is a sign that hotels everywhere are becoming more digitally savvy.   Oaky: New multi-property functionality built for portfolios Switching between multiple properties in the Oaky dashboard used to be..well...a hassle. They’ve fixed that. Oaky understands that when you work in a Hotel Group or Chain, you might have specific needs and this innovation demonstrates Oaky’s commitment to a platform that is easy to use for bigger groups and chains. With this development, hoteliers can control their Oaky content centrally, add deals in 1-click and ultimately generate more revenue.  In short, you can now switch between properties from within Oaky’s software where before you needed separate setups for each property. Read Oaky Reviews   RMS Hospitality: Property Management System helps clients with turnkey loyalty programs Loyalty programs can help hotels drive repeat visits and reduce acquisition costs by giving guests an incentive to return again and again. By allocating points for guest stays and activities that can be redeemed for credits,the RMS Guest Rewards module encourages guest engagement and brand loyalty. The more guests stay and spend, the more they are rewarded. Guest Rewards is a fully integrated module that can be added to any RMS client's existing hotel management system. Setup by the property is straightforward, with customizable reward ratios, i.e. dollars spent to points earned, and points earned to guest credit. Staff can enroll an existing guest in the hotel's database in the loyalty program with one click, making it quick and hassle-free for guests to join the program and start earning points. Points are automatically allocated to guest accounts based on their stay and activity spend, and can be redeemed as a payment type within RMS so staff can apply points to guest accounts when guests want to use their rewards. Guest Rewards is fully integrated with RMS' hotel management software, so hoteliers using RMS as their property management system can easily add loyalty program functionality to their tech stack without the need for additional software. Guest Rewards is also customizable to each hotel client, allowing properties to set up a points and rewards system that makes sense for their business model and fits their existing brand. Read RMS Reviews   GuestCentric: Multi-Property Booking Engine to Cross Sell Properties on Sell Out If your hotel is not available on a specific date, but your sister hotel on the other side of the road is still open for reservations, why not push your sister property. Helping the user not to start their search all over again and promote our group hotels as an alternative can prove to be a useful and profitable strategy. When a guest accesses the booking engine or website of the hotel and selects a specific date - if the hotel is full the the booking engine returns a message: "Sorry, we don't have any rooms left”.  When that happens hotels lose money. With this new functionality, GuestCentric can now provide those guests a room in another one of your fantastic hotels." The platform shows a list of hotels the user can choose from and when the user selects an option, the guest will be redirected to the partner hotel booking engine with the dates pre-selected. GuestCentric offers a highly personalized solution integrated into the Shopping Booster feature that is proven to increase direct bookings. Everything is engineered to remove from the process any friction that may affect the conversion. Read GuestCentric Reviews   Quicktext: Website chatbot for multi-property websites When you have several properties in the same website search is much more complicated than in simple websites. Groups like Accor can have >100 properties in the same city which is great but might induce choice paralysis on the customer side. Quicktext multi-property is a chatbot that is able to guide the customer from many possible hotel choices to the hotel that is most relevant to each customer based on their expressed needs. If you're looking for a hotel with a swimming pool in Paris on accorhotels.com you might come from having to search 160 properties down to 4 that are really relevant to satisfy your needs. What makes Quicktext different is its database. While all chatbots are text-based meaning that the hotel needs to introduce answers in a text format. Quicktext is structured around data points that they collect from the hotel. For example, you can tell the bot that there is a swimming pool by ticking a box in the software. The chatbot will then make an answer and when a prospective guest searches at the group level it will be very easy for the bot to find what hotels have a swimming pool in Paris. Read Quicktext Reviews       Emerging Advertising Technologies   Ad tech has been a hot sector for years with one of the highest profile mergers to date coming from the Taboola/Outbrain merger.  In hotel tech, it has taken some time to heat up.  Historically we've had digital marketing agencies and then a couple of categories in the space like metasearch management platforms (e.g. Koddi, Triptease) and audience targeting solutions like Sojern.  We noticed some really interesting tools and features launching in the ad tech space at WTM this year.  Most notably, Triptease has continued it's cadence of product launches driving towards an end-to-end guest acquisition platform.  Naturally the firm started it's journey optimizing conversion rates on hotel websites and is now focused on building innovative tools that bring more traffic into that finely tuned funnel.   Triptease: Bring more guests back to your hotel website with retargeting “Price remains the single most powerful factor in booking decisions, and we’ve known since the launch of Price Check that a live price comparison gives guests a proven, powerful incentive to book direct,” says Alasdair Snow, Triptease’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer. “Now, with Retargeting, we’re able to share that message with guests even when they’re not on the hotel website or booking engine. Most importantly, Triptease knows which guests are worth retargeting - and which to ignore.” Triptease’s algorithmic approach combines search, parity and behavioral data to avoid costly bidding mistakes. With Triptease Retargeting, hotels can avoid common pitfalls such as targeting a visitor if their search dates are in the past, or bidding to advertise when they don’t have the best price available online. In addition to knowing who to target and when to target them, Triptease Retargeting dynamically updates ad creative to show only the messages most likely to convert an undecided guest. Powered by Triptease’s price intelligence software, Retargeting allows hotels to show live price comparisons to guests based on their unique search - wherever they are on the web. Triptease is able to drive far higher levels of retargeting performance through our data advantages across user and journey targeting precision, global publisher coverage, optimised ad creative and co-ordination with attract and convert products. Read Triptease Reviews   Curacity: ORA provides Instagram revenue attribution over a 6-month buyer journey Curacity's new product, ORA for Instagram, measures travel influencers to determine which Instagram posts or stories resulted with a direct booking to that hotel for an attribution window of up to six months. Curacity built the data bridge to measure Instagram against hotels' PMS to determine bookings that were influenced by Instagram influencers.  We haven’t seen anything like this in the market. Competitive means of measuring Instagram is based on a 30-day window, max and this opens it up to 6x that. This time frame is irrelevant when consumers are booking a hotel stay that will cost over $1,000. Large purchases require a longer customer decision-making journey. Read Curacity Reviews   RoomCloud: Google Hotel Ads Management on any booking engine Thanks to Google Metasearch hotels and Property Managers can save money on commissions and increase traffic on their official website but only 74 companies globally can connect into Google Hotel Ads today.  Given that most hoteliers who are happy with their booking engine wouldn’t want to switch just to optimize Google Hotel Ads - RoomCloud now has a solution that integrates with any booking engine. RoomCloud Booking Engine is certified by Google to sell rooms and apartments on the Metasearch and it will act as a bridge between non certified Booking Engines that your property uses and Google Metasearch. RoomCloud just needs the inventory of prices and availabilities to send requests to. Through a "deep link" RoomCloud will connect Metasearch to your Booking Engine of choice.  When using this connection, your hotel will pay RoomCloud for Google bills every 3-months which can be a nice way to pay for advertising during off-peak times without dipping into your cash coffers. RoomCloud only asks for a fixed cheap annual fee for the activation of the connection, without any extra commission on the reservations. Your hotel then only pays for ad spend on Google. Read RoomCloud Reviews   Squarelovin: New player that helps hotels leverage user generated content to drive more bookings Professional hotel photography is super expensive and time consuming to generate but guests are increasingly wary of getting “catfished” by cherry picked imagery.  Content created by actual guests provides a sense of authenticity and social proof to new customers, much more than professional shots of empty pools or restaurants can. squarelovin helps curate and filter content created by actual guests, as well as effectively placing it on the website. The squarelovin UGC Management Tool collects all brand-specific User Generated Content in one place. By tracking selected brand accounts, geo-locations or hashtags, all images are filtered from Instagram in real time. Essential on & offline image usage rights can then be requested with just one easy click. The software takes care of individual feedback to the customers. This way, more direct appreciation can be conveyed while manual work gets reduced to a minimum. The tool is mainly used by marketing, e-commerce and social media managers. Their main task is to select those pieces of content which fit meet their expectations and fit the property’s aesthetics. squarelovin also comes with detailed analytics which allow users to precisely track which kind of content works best and which guests could become possible brand ambassadors. The amount of time spent on picking content and diving into analytics is based on individual preferences. As the squarelovin tool secures essential usage rights for UGC in accordance with copyright laws and in compliance with GDPR, it takes away the burden of dealing with image rights and the fear of possibly facing legal consequences when embedding content the wrong way. One of the big advantages of embedding UGC through squarelovin compared to other tools is that the galleries clearly indicate which Instagram user originally uploaded a picture or video, while a click on the content directs to the respective product detail page within the WBE. This results in significantly longer website visits and higher conversion rates. The UGC Management Tool, other than direct integrations of Instagram, allows filtering content before it’s published to the website. This way, brands can ensure that only UGC that matches their values and aesthetics is being featured. Moreover squarelovin also offers significantly more possibilities for collecting content, as the tool allows curate posts based on hashtags, mentions and geo-locations. Read squarelovin Reviews     Features & Products That Enter New Categories   It's no secret that hotel tech is kind of a $hit show when it comes to features and product portfolios.  It's often hard for hoteliers to tell who does what let alone who does what well.  Well, if you're having problems figuring it out we've got an easy solution - go check out their client reviews on Hotel Tech Report!  That said, it's natural for tech companies to expand their product offering over time by listening to customer feedback and this next group of companies is doing exactly that with their WTM launches.   GuestRevu: Reputation Provider Launches Service Tickets GuestRevu clients frequently told the hospitality software provider that one of the most helpful aspects of the guest feedback system was that they were getting notified quickly of small issues or downfalls in guest experience, such as repairs that needed to be made in bathrooms or improvements that could be made to the breakfast offering. Timely feedback meant that these could be rectified before they impacted other guests. However, one of the major challenges busy hospitality professionals face is ensuring these incidents are tracked and resolved as quickly as possible. Service tickets are GuestRevu’s answer to this, assisting management and staff facing these challenges by: - Removing ambiguity: each service ticket has one assignee, which means there is certainty of who is responsible for resolving this issue. - Ensuring issues are not forgotten: reminder emails keep each team member’s assigned tickets top of mind, whether the ticket has just been assigned, is approaching its deadline or is overdue. - Improving reaction speed: Automation rules can be set to generate tickets immediately and assign them to the appropriate people based on predetermined concern criteria. - Giving management peace of mind: ticket “watchers” can easily track when tickets are resolved, and if they are resolved quickly enough. - Keeping staff engaged and motivated: tickets are also a great way to share positive guest comments with relevant staff and their managers. The service ticket feature in the GuestRevu application helps clients to more efficiently and effectively manage incidents as they arise from customer feedback. A service ticket refers to a task created in the GuestRevu application that details a specific action which needs to be resolved. These could be from issues raised by guests or courtesy follow-ups should guest comments reference or highlight key-value elements of their experience. Service tickets can be generated automatically from direct feedback responses based on certain triggers or created manually by a user. Only users with appropriate user rights can create, view or resolve a ticket. Whoever resolves a tickets also needs to include a note so that everyone involved has a good overview of completed tasks. GuestRevu clients can create customised service tickets, such as a reminder to download reports or go through older reviews, or they can create a service ticket directly from a particular guest’s response and assign it to a particular team member. Service tickets can also be set up to be created automatically when a guest gives a low rating or alert logic is triggered from a specific question. Service tickets save teams time by allowing users to easily keep track of what tasks still need to be addressed, who is responsible for them, and when they have been completed. These are perfect for managing and monitoring review responses, maintenance tasks and more. Service tickets are an essential management tool, allowing GuestRevu clients to ensure every concern raised in their reviews is dealt with in an efficient and professional manner. With GuestRevu’s service ticket feature, clients are able to automatically generate tickets based on a number of triggers, including any rating on overall satisfaction scores and other key metrics related to specific areas of the customer experience. In comparison to competing systems in the market, this feature allows a more granular flexibility when creating specific rules for auto-creation from guest feedback. There is also no need for predetermined escalation groups to be set up in the system beforehand, which means users can select one or more watchers based on the nature of the task. The service ticket dashboard is built with the busy hospitality professional in mind, with the ability to easily view tickets assigned to the user or tickets the user is watching, with the click of a button. If a service ticket was created based on particular feedback from a guest or customer, this information will be stored in their profile on the GuestRevu system which staff can use to personalise their experiences in the future. Read GuestRevu Feedback   SiteMinder: The latest player to launch an App Store The Hotel App Store comes 18 months after the launch of SiteMinder Exchange, a connectivity hub that allows hotel data publishers and developers of hotel application software to transfer guest information between their systems. From 4 November 2019, hotels using a data publisher connected to SiteMinder Exchange—which includes more than 80 property management systems (PMSs) and SiteMinder’s channel manager—can use the Hotel App Store to access applications. This means that SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store allows hoteliers to filter, search or browse through over 100 applications that can seamlessly connect to their SiteMinder Exchange-connected PMS or, in the absence of that, SiteMinder’s channel manager, which can act as a data publisher by connecting the data from a hotel’s online booking channels to their selected apps. The Hotel App Store gives hoteliers access to the most relevant applications that support their daily operations of running a hotel business, help their business to grow, and make the daily work more rewarding. These applications include, but are not limited to, applications for upselling, guest communications, review management, loyalty programs, airport transfers and revenue management. To connect to an app, hoteliers need to simply sign up by filling in a form for their preferred app and let SiteMinder do the rest. Until now, app marketplaces have mostly been closed environments for hotels (e.g. Mews, Protel, Hotelogix), accessible only by using a marketplace provider’s designated PMS (with the exception of BookingSuite). Additionally, as the leading guest acquisition platform for hotels, SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store opens up the opportunity for 35,000+ hotels around the world to easily access and connect with apps right away by seamlessly connecting their guest data from online booking channels to their chosen apps, via SiteMinder’s channel manager. Read SiteMinder Reviews   RoomRaccoon: Cloud PMS player launches free light weight yield management tool Yield Management is a variable pricing strategy based on influencing and anticipating consumer demand. This feature maximizes revenue and profits by ensuring rooms are sold, and sold for the optimum price since many of RoomRaccoon’s clients may not implement a dedicated revenue management system. RoomRaccoon enable hoteliers to set rules based on availability and time to automatically increase/decrease prices. These can be simple independent rules like decreasing room prices if a set percentage of stock remains X days before arrival. They can also be a series of inter-dependent rules that regularly adjust prices with the passing of time based on performance / anticipated future performance. Either way the purpose remains the same. Ensuring hoteliers maximize revenue and profits. By automating these price adjustments hoteliers save a huge amount of time and eliminate human error. A number of very good stand-alone Yield Management Systems exist on the market. However, these need to be integrated into your existing Property Management System and are often prohibitively expensive for smaller / independent properties. Providing the Yield Management functionality for free within RoomRaccoon's PMS is unique and puts this important functionality in the hands of more hotels. Read RoomRaccoon Reviews   Repup: Reputation management firm launches a Hotel CRM solution Repup is solving the problem of manual, non-personalised and inconsistent communication with guests. They do this by unifying data from several interfaces including PMS, Booking Engine, OTAs and manual entries to save time for hoteliers and have a single source of truth for the entire guest data, past activity and persona profile. This product has an automation and data intelligence layer that enables hotels to define rules for their guest communication and set automated campaigns. The intelligence layer divides guest data into segments so personalisation can be achieved at scale. All transactional emails sent through the solution have an embedded concierge link that takes guests to a concierge using which they can submit preferences, buy upgrades and fill in-stay feedback. Read Repup Reviews     Automation Features   We've previously covered the automation trend in our ITB Recap so we won't belabor the issue.  Having said that, automation cannot be understated as a trend - it's HUGE.  Ultimately the role of technology is to make our lives easier and automation is something that computers do 1000x more efficiently than humans so it's a natural place to focus. Atomize: Real time pricing automation The hotel next door is pricing their rooms faster than you and it’s eating your profits without you ever even noticing.  Faster yield management software and real time pricing is like a secret weapon for revenue managers. If your local market competition is employing real time pricing, you are likely bleeding RevPAR so this concept of real time price optimization is especially important to understand and get a grip on. If your competition isn’t using real time pricing yet (which they most likely aren’t), this article will show you how you can use it to beat out the compset. A fully automated system working in real time gives your hotel an edge over the competition when you need it most. In full autopilot mode, Atomize continuously receives data from the PMS and continuously runs real time optimization runs and pushes the optimal rates back to the PMS for all room types and all future arrival dates around the clock where each price point is uniquely calculated in real time. In addition to considering historical data such as reservations, cancellations and current pickups, Atomize RMS also monitors real time changes, search trends, competitor information and other factors such as local holidays and dynamically sets the price per room type while respecting pricing hierarchy and takes into account the effect on adjacent days and room types. As any data points above change for any future arrival date, relevant price points updates in real time. With Atomize, hotels can continuously have real-time rates pushed live, around the clock, 365 days into the future, dynamically for all room types.   HelloShift: guest messaging smart reply automation Messaging as a channel for hotel guests results in more guest requests. This is a good thing but it can overwhelm the limited hotel staff resources. Furthermore, the high employee turnover in the hotel industry can lead to inexperienced staff providing inconsistent responses to even basic, routine guest requests. Smart reply helps hotels deliver consistent replies to common guest requests in a timely fashion. When a guest request comes in, HelloShift infers the intent of the guest request using Natural Language Processing (NLP) that relies on Machine Learning (ML). Once inferred, HelloShift scans the answers provided by a property to their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and assists hotel staff in replying to the guest via a feature called Smart Reply. By default, Smart Reply suggests the right answer for the staff to pick and respond manually. A property can also deploy Smart Reply on auto-pilot (Smart Auto-Reply). Between Smart Reply and Smart Auto-Reply, HelloShift lets hotels choose the extent to which they want to stay authentic and high touch -- a big goal in hospitality. To deliver phenomenal guest service, hotels need Guest Messaging (to understand guest needs) and Staff Collaboration (to fulfill guest needs). Most solutions address only one or the other. HelloShift provides Staff Collaboration and Guest Messaging in one integrated platform. No more dropped tasks between separate, poorly integrated apps. This results in soaring guest satisfaction scores, with hotels reporting 56% more and 25% better TripAdvisor reviews. Read HelloShift Reviews   Roomchecking: housekeeping software room assignment automation Labor cost ranges for at least 40% of the global cost of running a hotel. Usually, a hotel will hire permanent cleaning staff for 50% of occupancy and tap into external cleaners in case of higher occupancy. Forecasting the right amount of resources needed in a super volatile environment with reservations coming in and out with all specificities (back to back, day uses, MICE) is not a simple task. If you add labor constraints (max number of rooms, balancing between stay and due out, floor and section constraint), it is easy to understand why supervisors spend so much time every day into planning daily cleaning. Every morning, supervisors (or inspectors), log into the Automatic Planner. They will immediately see all the rooms to be cleaned with ETA, ETDs, VIPs, Queues, Day Use. They make sure all cleaning staff is present and will make necessary adjustments. With all the constraints and rules already preloaded, they will click on "Create Plan" and within seconds, the best cleaning path will appear. They will be able to modify it with the mouse and submit it so cleaners can begin working.As cleaners enter rooms, set DND, delays or clean rooms, they will be able to see the progress of the plan in real-time. The automatic planner is based on constraints, not on rules. it can take geography constraints (like addresses for apartments but also buildings and towers and floors), time constraints, credits constraints and many more. Most existing products just distribute rooms with very basic rules. Read RoomChecking Reviews       Revenue Management & Big Data   The reason revenue management software companies continue to lead innovation in the hotel tech industry is two-fold.  On one hand, revenue management companies drive tangible topline gains so it's easy for hoteliers to justify investment with crystal clear ROI forecasts and easy to understand time savings.  More investment from hotels means more R&D at those firms and ultimately more innovation.  On the other, revenue management companies have access to massive datasets which means limitless opportunities to learn, iterate and grow.   IDeaS: Improved forecasting for newly renovated inventory Due to the limited available data, hotels face significant challenges when trying to accurately forecast demand and set prices by room type for newly renovated inventory. IDeaS has expanded its Limited Data Build feature in its G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) to provide a data-driven solution for hotels undergoing room renovations. Limited Data Build scientifically predicts demand for new hotel properties and, with this latest enhancement, now enables existing hotels adding newly renovated inventory to receive an immediate, precise forecast by room type. Using historical sold information and booking patterns, combined with the hotel’s sales projections, Limited Data Build enables hotel revenue managers to immediately utilize accurate data for their new room types, rather than waiting for actual data to materialize over time. This advanced functionality is a unique offering on the RMS-vendor market, allowing hotels a new opportunity to leverage accurate data insights to optimize revenue from day one of renovated room sales by room type. Read IDeaS Reviews   Pegasus: Distribution analytics connects data silos and provides actionable insight Distribution Analytics is a business intelligence platform that allows hoteliers to streamline their data analysis and save hours of administrative work needed to collate and corroborate spreadsheets. Hotel data often lives in multiple platforms, and bringing these data sets together to get a full picture of performance involves a lot of manual work — you need to download the raw data, bring it together on a spreadsheet, and then run various analyses to understand what's going on. And even then, it can be very hard to drill down and pinpoint a specific cause of any particular trend. Distribution Analytics helps solve that problem. This interactive platform brings together CRS, PMS, Channel Manager, GDS, call center and website data into one dashboard, giving hotels a 360-view of their hotel performance and allowing revenue managers to drill down into any aspect of distribution performance. The data comes in real-time, meaning that you can act quickly to identify trends that may be affecting your hotel bookings. For example, hotels can easily track historic and future pace of bookings in a standard dashboard, so you can see if you are behind from previous years. Then you can take action to remedy that situation, such as running a special offer. Or you can also drill down into geographic markets to see which ones are driving the most business, and set marketing strategies accordingly. Or as a brand, you can see how their entire portfolio is performing, or filter it by country to see how hotels in one market are performing in comparison to another market. The platform is built for flexibility and can bring in different types of data from different sources. Want to see how your Google Analytics data compares to your actual booking engine data? Our platform allows you to do that. The interactive capabilities of the platform are also quite unique; there are many ways to slice, dice, filter, and drill down into data — including geographically. The platform also includes collaborative tools so that revenue managers can annotate and share their findings within the organization. Think of it as Tableau but specifically for the hotel industry. Read Pegasus Reviews   OTA Insight: Compare different rate types within your hotel and against the competition Many of OTA Insight's clients were asking for additional Excel exporting functionalities: they wanted the ability to export specific rate types from our tool. When digging deeper, the company found out the reason behind this question, namely that users wanted to combine these different Excel exports manually to find out the changes between these different rate types. So the real problem was in fact that hoteliers needed a tool through which they could compare the different rate types of their competitors and figure out what discounting strategies their competitors apply on their BAR rates. The Compare Module allows users to compare different rate types for your own hotel, as well as your competitors, and to have a view on the average discounting strategy of each competitor. As a hotel, you choose which two data sets you want to compare. Examples include comparing mobile rates to desktop rates, comparing breakfast rates to room-only rates, comparing membership rates to public rates, and so on. OTA Insight's tool then presents the two datasets next to each other in a simple, user-friendly way, emphasising the rate changes and exposing the discounting strategies of competitors. The strength of this feature lies within its ease of use and its simplicity. Most of OTA Insight's subscribing hotels use this feature on a monthly basis, as the strategies do not change that often. They use it to gain insights into how their competitors are discounting in order to stay competitive within the market. What would you do if, for example, you found out your competitors give their members 3% off during weekdays and 5% during weekends? Would you adjust your strategy towards your members? It is by providing these strategic insights for hotels that they can stay even more competitive within their market, without them having to manually figure it all out. OTA Insight's tool provides the industry’s first comparison module that allows hotels to compare different rate types and that shows the discounting strategies of the hotel’s competitors. None of the competition has been able to offer these strategic insights in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use way. Read OTA Insight Reviews   Pace: Inventory hierarchies ensure your brand strategy while maximizing RevPAR With demand-based dynamic pricing and automation there are instances where a hotelier wants to ensure that certain hierarchies between inventories are retained to be in-line with the property’s branding and meet customer expectations. This leads to Hoteliers being challenged with either losing out on revenue due to rigid price structures or giving into the possibility of product offerings being inconsistent with your branding and strategy. With Inventory Hierarchies, all you need to do as a hotelier is provide a hierarchy of your inventories and a minimum price buffer you would like to retain between them. Pace’s algorithm handles the rest, acknowledging these hierarchies and maximising RevPAR across your full inventory by simulating demand for countless pricing scenarios. There is a true paradigm shift with Pace’s Inventory Hierarchies as hoteliers can now setup their product offerings in a way that maintains their branding and strategy, while also allowing for the maximum RevPAR optimisation through dynamic, demand-based pricing.   Juyo: Connecting disparate data sources with constellations Today hotels have access to a wide variety of data in different systems and places. Not only extracting that data is hard but also deriving insights from it is equally hard.Constellations are connected analytics that combine different widgets and dashboards that serve a specific business purpose. The goal of constellations is to connect external and internal data sources and empower hotel users to Fastrack decision making by connecting the dots. Constellations are used daily by revenue managers, general managers, analysts and other members of the hotel commercial team. Some give high-level information like on the books data while some deep dive in Net Revenue analytics.In the example of net revenue, hotels can use the data to track net RevPAR for past and future, optimize sales and marketing budget, track campaign ROI and develop the most profitable business and channel mix. The uniqueness of constellations is that in the analytics applications spectrum there are 2 categories. On the far left, you have the tools that offer reporting and dashboards that have been predefined. These are your typical hotel BI applications that are easy to use but often luck context in how the data is modeled. On the far right, you have tools such as Tableau or PowerBI that are extremely powerful but very difficult to model the data and put something together. Juyo constellations sits exactly in the middle and offers the best of each world. Read Juyo Reviews   Profit Intelligence: Smart sales & distribution helps make sense of channel profitability in real time One of hoteliers top revenue management and distribution issues is to monitor and leverage cost of client acquisition. The complexity of sales and distribution, make almost impossible to just know what is the real NET value of a reservation. Hoteliers all know their commission percentages per travel agent, but often forget or cannot calculate other important related costs such as credit card fees, loyalty member program expense, sales team commissions etc. This problem makes their sales & distribution decisions really difficult and often results in poor decision making. Knowing these costs in real time, sliced by channel, market segment and account canbe a true strategic advantage to your hotel and help drive bottom line results (via higher GOPPAR). Hoteliers get set up with PI team support who analyze different costs of sales & distribution through a user friendly interface that guides you through the process. Each cost gets attributed to a reservation using different methods depending on the cost (Distribution key, recurring fee, period of override etc.). Profit Intelligence Smart Sales & Distribution algorithm will then calculate the cost for each past and future reservation dynamically and make predictions for future bookings. Results will be displayed in different meaningful dashboards from top level to account level. From their hotelier can know what is the exact NET value of his reservations and even check the NET value for each Travel Agent or corporate account. The easy to use DIY interface for hoteliers to set up their cost structure and visualize results make this new module unique. The chain view and chain costs management feature is also unique in that it allows hotel chains or management companies to consolidate costs from all hotels using smart mapping feature to eliminate brand specific details. Profit Intelligence   RateGain: MarketDrone provides intraday rate updates to your mobile device without running reports An average hotel in North America changes its rates 3-4 times a day. The frequency of rate changes increases as we get closer to check-in dates. In other words, hotels are constantly changing rates for existing plans and introducing new rate plans close to check-in-date to sell off their unsold inventory and maximize revenue. As such, traditional batch dependent rate shopping tools are redundant and manually triggered reports are inefficient. They are not able to capture and highlight the intra-day rate changes that happen on the go. Hoteliers are in dire need of ways to help them stay on top of these real-time changes and take action when it still matters. RateGain’s MarketDrone is a feed that automatically pushes market changes through push notifications to Revenue Managers on a device of their choice. The instant alerts give notifications to Revenue Managers or other users as soon as market changes. In other words, whenever, any competitive hotel makes a rate change, an alert is triggered to the subscribed Revenue Manager or user. This is a shift from the current experience provided by traditional rate shopping tools where Revenue Managers has to pre-schedule reports and spends a major chunk of their day looking for changes in their respective markets.  MarketDRONE tracks intra-day rate and rate plan changes by hotels in real-time and surfaces them on the go on a device of the user’s choice. It works on mobile, tablets and desktops. With MarketDRONE, Revenue Managers can be assured of staying on top of competitive landscape while they focus on what matters the most, i.e. making strategic decisions, improving business and boosting profits. Always keep an eye on market changes and keep yourself abreast of competitive landscapes on the fly. Not only can you keep an eye on market changes, but also respond to them as soon as they happen by taking corrective actions.  A Revenue Manager or any user do not have to come to the rate-shopping tool every time to know about the market changes. They do not have to run a complete report. The notifications update them on the changes. As such, they can focus on the more important strategic decisions involved in day-to-day revenue management.  With MarketDrone, revenue managers can be proactive about new promotional rate plans when nearby competitive hotels introduce them. Read RateGain Reviews   BONUS: 9+ Notable WTM London Product Launches   TrustYou launches direct response to Google and Booking in platform With this enhanced functionality, TrustYou users can now reply to the majority of all reviews directly without having to leave the platform. This development addresses a hotel’s increasing need to save valuable time and improve operations with technology. By responding directly to guest reviews received from Booking.com, Google, and TrustYou’s powered guest satisfaction surveys, hoteliers can respond on average to up to 78% of their total reviews without having to leave the TrustYou platform. Guests write reviews to be listened to and it is of great importance for businesses to reply to them. The limited capacity of many hoteliers to respond to all reviews means that there is a great need the new features addresses.Users can draft the response to a review in the TrustYou platform. Available response templates make it easier for users to address the feedback. Once submitted, the response will be pushed live to Google or Booking.com and the users do not have to leave the TrustYou platform to respond to a review for a hotel. Replying to reviews is essential in today’s sharing economy and online search-and-buy experience, as users expect their feedback and shared experiences to be valued by hotels. With these new feature enhancements, hotels can make a big impact on Booking.com and Google, where a majority of travelers start to search and book their accommodations, to actively influence a traveler’s booking decision. Actively managing the response and having a high response rate has a positive effect on the online reputation. TrustYou enables users to make this a priority, with easy response templates and that is available in different languages. Read TrustYou Reviews   hotelkit unveils its housekeeping software solution Cleanliness is one of the most important criteria for guests, which makes housekeeping a very important factor when running a hotel business. The correct deployment of personnel, the structure of workflows and ongoing monitoring are key so operations can run smoothly. In most hotels, housekeeping processes are inefficient and do not meet guest requirements. The housekeeping tool simplifies all processes within the department. The executive housekeeper or the housekeeper in charge can easily assign the rooms to the cleaning staff based on time resources and qualifications. With clear checklists, it is easy for the housekeeping supervisor to carry out inspections, thus guaranteeing a high standard of quality. Housekeeping staff is able to work neatly and efficiently with checklists. Recurring tasks make everyday jobs easier. After cleaning, the current room status is reported directly to the Property Management System, so the reception team is always up to date. The housekeeping solution lets you stay on top of traceable, paperless processes by using a PC, tablet or smartphone. Simple and fast distribution of work according to the time resources and qualifications of the employees can work wonders in terms of efficiency. Structured checklists for room cleaning and inspection ensure top quality. Thanks to real-time updates, you always have an overview of the cleaning progress. Read hotelkit Reviews   Bookboost launches a new guest messaging inbox Bookboost provides a messaging platform throughout the whole guest journey. Our new inbox makes sure the conversation with guests end up in the right inboxes. Also we provide hoteliers with AI based suggestions so during, especially, repetitive conversations they are able to automate most of those conversations while maintaining to be personal. Thirdly our new inbox delivers a cockpit view over the guests. For example it enables hoteliers to give location based suggestions for, for example, restaurants or bars, after a guests shared their location via Whatsapp. Lets say a hotelier has a reservation office and 3 receptions in 3 hotels. Our inbox routing makes sure that reservation inquiries end up in the reservation office and that if a guests talks with a brand via Whatsapp this conversation will end up at the right reception at the right hotel.Also it enables staff in the hotel to collaborate and hand over converstion to each other. For example, a guest with a room service inquiry, can be handed over to the room service team by a receptionist. There are many guest messaging solutions on the market, however our tool makes it practical for bigger organisations to make sure that the right conversation ends up at the right people in the hotel. Combining the power of a range of messaging channels, PMS systems, an advanced CRM, and AI for conversational suggestions. Enabling groups & brands to share user data & intelligence between properties while making sure the right person talks to the right person in the hotel. Read Bookboost Reviews   Net Affinity launches 12 conversion updates to their high performance booking engine templates Based on extensive research and testing (including A/B testing, exit intent and user flow studies) Net Affinity hasdeveloped 12 key updates for their desktop and mobile booking engine templates. Their mission is to significantly simplify the booking process for hotel guests – with a special emphasis on mobile experience. The purpose of Net Affinity’s booking engine is, simply, to drive more direct bookings for their clients. The updates they’ve made were informed by ongoing quarterly device data trends analysis & reports which have shown consistent increases in mobile traffic and revenue. Their most recent in-depth report shows a mobile revenue increase of 6% (from Q2 to Q3 2019). With mobile at 45%, desktop at 44% and tablet at 1%, this means mobile revenue now trumps desktop revenue. The new templates will be an automatic upgrade for all Net Affinity clients. Their booking engine will work the same.  All that changes is the experience for the user will be even better. Some of the key enhancements include: - New Searchbox which includes a new Book Direct feature sidebar and improved promo code fields. - New top panel on mobile with filters and summary - New mobile “cards” feature for roomtype scrolling - Breadcrumbs have been simplified and animated - Improved booking summary - New occupancy filter functionality - Simplied Reservation Form - UI and UX refinements" Net Affinity is seeing 2 out of 3 users visiting their client’s hotel websites on mobile which has lead them to continue releasing smart, timely product updates that fully support the mobile booking experience. Read Net Affinity Reviews   Monscierge adds image functionality to its Connect Staff product There are three main use-cases for the new images feature: 1. Overcoming language barriers between hotel staff (using pictures to describe a chair is broken in rm. 213 or that a wall socket is loose etc.) and another, 2. Collecting penalty fees from guests opting to smoke in non-smoking rooms. By combining images of a room with incurred fees with the guest room policies signed by guests during check-in, Hilton Belfast City now has an easier process to more readily service their guest rooms.) 3. Creating a new task quickly and/or without language barriers or delayed reporting by floor;or utilize a quicker flow for room turnover and use the image/photo functionality to record issues in the room. Monscierge had several clients that asked if they had considered it, because while their teams were generally using Connect Staff for most things, at times it became faster to portray an urgency or need quicker by also following up on the requests/issues pushed through the app with a separate picture taken on their phones and sent through regular text between departments. Building it into the app allows the hotels to have that same option, but to also keep it together with the other details of the room turnover as well as become permanent documentation for that room in the Connect CMS portal - hotels cannot track images and messages from text messages as easily. Therefore it cuts short the overall data accrued each year.Housekeeping, maintenance, front desk, GM, operations, concierge... any member of staff that the hotel has assigned as a user. An application for hotel staff that take into consideration images/pictures functionality to communicate quickly what an issue might be, or to use for validating front office claims when trying to recoup money quickly, is a differentiator compared to other staff products.All of this data including images, is then stored for that specific room’s history. Read Monscierge Reviews   Nonius launches a branded guest app When guests make a reservation at a given hotel, they receive an email to download the hotel’s app. After installing it, guests immediately get access to information about the hotel’s services, events, landmarks of the city and the Online Check-In. If the guests check-in online, they can go directly to their room and use the digital room key to get in. The Nonius app allows for guests to enjoy Room control over the lights and the AC, while also using their mobile device as a TV Remote Control. Guests can make requests for room service, all while keeping an eye on the bill and being able to Check-out without waiting at the front-desk. The Nonius App has unlimited integration capacity and is integrated with the main PMS players. This allows single sites and hotel groups for infinite scalability. Read Nonius Reviews   HotelTime Solutions launches a PMS with specific functionality designed for serviced apartments Recognizing that serviced apartment operations require specific features within the PMS, HotelTime has been working hard in the past two years to bring innovative tech solutions to this part of the hospitality sector. HotelTime Serviced Apartments has been developing as a specialized version of the PMS based on feedback from our customers running serviced apartments.HotelTime Service Apartment features include : - Customised set of features with some standard PMS feature tweaked or removed and specific Serviced Apartment features added, like housekeeping and maintenance tools- 2-way integration to channel managers in multi-location environment where 1 PMS connects to various channel manager endpoints due to multiple OTA listings (one per each location)- Extended reporting ‘by apartment numbers’ for operations with multiple apartment owners (to be able to report revenue to each owner)- Automated ‘room number assignment’ adjusted to allocate different apartments to spread revenue proportionally throughout the property- Extended reporting by location as well as aggregated reporting by clusters in a multi-location environment Read hoteltime Reviews   Jonas Chorum launches mobile app for it's popular cloud PMS Chorum Mobile solves the issue of guests being unable to adequately reach hotel staff or having to wait long periods of time to get assistance by communicating with the front desk via their mobile device to order services. In addition, the ability to check-in and check-out speeds up the arrival/departure times and provides a more seamless experience overall. Chorum Mobile is accessible by both the hotel staff through the software and by the guests through a mobile application. Hotel staff utilize this on a daily basis, allowing them to be untethered from the front desk and perform actions such as messaging both guests and staff members, checking guests in/out, viewing room status in real-time, and documenting maintenance items. Chorum Mobile is truly device and platform agnostic, meaning it can be used on any tablet or smartphone. Security permissions allow properties to maintain complete control over who has access to the mobile app and what functions they can utilize. In addition, Chorum Mobile leverages cloud technology to ensure all data is updated and available in real-time. Read Jonas Chorum Reviews   HotelRunner launches its third generation booking engine With HotelRunner’s third-generation Booking Engine, properties can market their property online by uploading photographs, writing room descriptions, entering the room details and amenities. They can manage their direct reservations and availabilities with ease and provide secure payment methods to their website visitors. HotelRunner provides properties a code that they copy and paste onto their website. This code links their property’s website to their HotelRunner inventory, which allows them to display their rates and availability, promotions, packages and offers in real-time. Therefore, hoteliers can easily showcase their inventory and the website visitors can book a room seamlessly. Apart from the completely customizable appearance and infrastructure, with its minimalist and effective design, the new Booking Engine will encourage potential guests to make a reservation, resulting in a boost in reservation revenues. HotelRunner’s third-generation Booking Engine is different from its competitors in many ways: Seamless real-time inventory update, completely customizable appearance, availability calendar, and packages and offers tab. The properties can set market-specific payment methods and pricing, upload 360° virtual tour photos, set all their rate types, and create campaigns seasonally, integrate virtual POS or online payment systems to provide a secure booking experience. However, the newest, the most functional and unique feature of HotelRunner’s third-generation Booking Engine is the “Recommendation” feature. With this newly-added feature, the most suitable alternative room and price option for their guests is displayed as a recommendation. Read HotelRunner Reviews   -- Did we miss an innovative launch? Let us know via live chat!  

Hotel Technologies: Everything You Need to Know About In Room Tablets

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Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Increasing total revenue per guest is one of the most powerful ways to grow profits at your hotel and hotel technologies like tablets are generally the quickest way to achieve that growth. There are lots of very hotel technology has trade-offs and limitations. Hotel apps tend to have low download rates making it hard to drive significant revenue gains with this channel. Email marketing often gets lost in spam folders so it can be a gamble to reach guests on property. Text messaging works great but requires opt-in given the current data privacy climate which can limit your marketing list. Hotel owners looking to upsell guests on property know they need a way to reach as many guests as possible. One of the best ways to do so? In-room tablets. Core guest needs, like the ability to make requests, order room service, and control in-room entertainment are well-served by guest room tablets. Crave Interactive and other tablet vendors offer a simple, straightforward upgrade to the guest room directory that improves guest satisfaction scores virtually overnight. These tablets are not just fancy digital compendiums: they have enabled hotels to send targeted, automated messages generating $5,000/mo in late checkouts. Experienced hoteliers utilize in-room tablets to market amenities like bookable spa appointments, F&B offers, and local tours – driving incremental revenue in the process. Despite the many myths that proliferate, guest room tablets are an investment that pays for itself. Here’s what you need to know about procuring tablets to upgrade the guest experience.   Hotel Technology Breakdown: Benefits of Tablets in Guest Rooms   In-room tablets measurably improve the guest experience: properties that work with tablet providers like Crave Interactive can see up to 95% guest engagement rates and 93% positive TripAdvisor reviews. Along with these customer-facing benefits, in-room tablets reduce operational costs and bring in incremental revenue with minimal effort from your team. Guest room tablets reduce operational costs and help your teams work more efficiently. Digitized tablets remove the need to print paper and manually distribute flyers under the doors of hundreds of guest rooms. Easily make changes in real-time – to your F&B menu, tour offerings, spa menu, or any other ancillary service. In-room tablets let your team be more responsive and flexible with your on-site offerings. In-room tablets give guests the ability to discover all the services a hotel has to offer with a few finger taps. Tablets give your guests an easy way to discover the information they need in an appealing, user-friendly format. Alleviate the burden on your concierge or front desk by giving guests a way to manage their stay and purchase services independently, without picking up the phone or having to download an app. Self-service lowers barriers to purchase and increases revenue. Some tablet providers, like Crave, offer a way to dynamically price and yield ancillary services depending on demand, generating more revenue in the process. When there’s a big game on,  send an alert to all tablets for $5 off drinks during half time. If the spa seems empty, offer a coupon for 30% off spa services that day. Guest room tablets deliver these critical messages and show real-time data on who viewed those messages. Amazon Echo and Sonos have brought digital controls into the homes of mainstream consumers. In-room tablets extend this experience to the travel industry. Guests control lighting, temperature, drapery, privacy, and staff service requests all through the same interface. The tablet should also be equipped to communicate with your housekeeping software, allowing guests to make housekeeping and engineering requests and access in-room entertainment. The return on investment speaks for itself: while ROI varies based on the size and services of a property, nearly all hotels that have installed in-room tablets report a positive and measurable ROI, typically in excess of 300%.      Tablet Technology in Hotel Rooms is a Profit Driver When Used Properly   A report by Skift in 2016 walked back their initial analysis that in-room tablets were “overkill.” The capabilities of this year’s tablets – and the trends we look forward to in 2020 – make it clear that guest room tablets are here to stay. Dynamic pricing is something not every tablet vendor offers. Those who do, however, unlock the ability to price items based on need periods and guest profiles. The data gathered through in-room purchases and tablet browsing is invaluable. In the future, we see further proliferation of dynamic pricing, as well as expanded use of in-room offers. Hotel owners who test offers and segmentation methods to their guests can use this data to capture wallet share, offset OTA commissions, and increase profitability. This year, tablets also capitalized on the voice-activated tech popularized by Amazon, Google, and Apple. Tools like Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming so integral to consumers’ lives that feels abnormal to not have that same technology in hotels. Because these tech leaders are all-in on smart home devices, the cost of hardware is decreasing, providing a window of opportunity for smart hoteliers to digitize rooms at a lower cost. Tablets have also begun to cut down on the clutter of in-room charging ports, hard-wired phones, smart speakers, nightlights, and TV remotes – without losing functionality. Hotels that integrated sophisticated and fully integrated in room tablet tech can save energy by automatically closing drapes and lowering air-conditioning output when guests leave the room. Tablets offer a meaningful way to lower costs in addition to building revenue.    Hotel Tablets: Key Features & Integrations   There are many features and integrations that tablets can offer, and the bells and whistles you elect to add will depend largely on your budget and property size. In general, though, look for these features and integrations.  Hardware consolidation: the device reduces clutter by offering charging/power ports, smart speakers, and phone capabilities. Dynamic pricing: the platform changes the price of items based on factors including need period and guest profiles to maximize revenue.  Easy-to-use interface: is the tablet intuitive for guests? Does it have a help button? Bespoke hardware: only hardware designed for hotels should be considered for in-room tablets (i.e., not Sonos or some other consumer device). Language support: the tablet should offer multiple languages and live message translation for international travelers. Reporting and analytics: does the vendor provide data on guest activities that you can use to improve operations? In-room tablets must also integrate with your existing systems. Look for a product that works with your PMS, point-of-sale, and communicates with your staff via guest messaging or hotel operations software. A restaurant POS integration is critical, as guests can order their room service directly and upselling options are easily added to boost revenue. Likewise, integrate guest messaging services and ticketing request system to better optimize staff, reduce costs and increase guest satisfaction.   How to Select a Hotel Tablet Vendor   Tablets have a bad reputation for being expensive to purchase and implement. And while that may have been true in the past, today’s tablets can be categorized under operating expenditures and rented for a lower price. When vetting different products, keep costs at the forefront of your decision-making process but make sure to properly model revenue gains and expense reductions.  A tablet provider that is 2x as expensive might end up being the “cheaper” option if it can bring in 5x the revenue. Tablets such as iPads may be familiar to guests, but they’re more expensive per unit compared to companies that manufacture hardware specifically for hotel rooms. Find a vendor who works specifically in the industry to keep your costs down. Next, make sure your supplier offers remote support, 24/7. They should be able to troubleshoot in case something comes up, as well as update the operating system regularly from a distance. Make sure the tablets are easy to install; some companies will deliver tablets ready to be plugged in and connected to the WiFi. If this is not the case, will the supplier offer their services via the cloud? Can a hotel update their content without interfacing with the support team? It’s imperative that hotels can update their own content on the tablet when the need arises. Lastly, ask the supplier what your property can expect in terms of ROI. Through a combination of in-room cost savings, optimization of staff, and expanded revenue streams, some properties see an ROI of 300%. A vendor should be able to give you a holistic estimate based on the number of rooms at your property, your current operations, and their platform capabilities. For more on selecting and implementing in-room tablets, download Hotel Tech Report’s 2020 Hotel Tablets Buyer’s Guide. Read more in our featured reviews and case studies for extra confidence in your purchasing decision.  

Hotel Front Desk Software is Converging With Back Office Systems

by
Jordan Hollander
2 months ago

One of the fastest-growing trends in hospitality is the rise of integrations supporting hotel operations, yet many hoteliers are unaware of how technology partnerships can advance their goals. While much of the focus has been on the guest experience, hoteliers are now beginning to shift to staff facing technologies due to a rise in operating expenses and stagnant RevPAR. To understand more about this issue, Amadeus hosted a panel of partners and experts at the 2019 Amadeus Hospitality Customer Conference to explore how integrations impact OPEX costs, staff productivity, building maintenance, and guest engagement. Moderated by Jordan Hollander from Hotel Tech Report, representatives from Zingle, Hilton Hotels, Assa Abloy, and Swire Hotels shared their views on integrations, implementation, and where technology is moving for staff and guests. Check out the videos and podcast below to find out how you can take advantage of integrating your tech stack to create better experiences for both staff and guests.    

Great Tech is the Key to Surviving the Thomas Cook Crisis

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

The collapse of global package tour operator and airline Thomas Cook was notable for its global impact. The company left hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded abroad and jeopardized the vacation plans of millions more. We’re not going to report on the tragic collapse of Thomas Cook since the news has been widely shared by nearly every major media outlet over the last couple of days.  This article is intended to help hoteliers like you that have been blindsided by this event and specifically those in European holiday markets who have been disproportionately affected. Wherever there is a crisis, there’s also learning and opportunity. This is a wake up call for hoteliers to strengthen their operations by diversifying their channel mix, as the insolvency highlights vulnerabilities of depending too much on a single demand channel. Below we outline 5 lessons to help hoteliers convert this short term crisis into long term opportunity but first we’ll give a quick background on what went down.   A quick overview of the Thomas Cook fiasco for those who aren’t familiar   The venerable brand, which was founded in 1851 and originated the concept of packaged tours, served 19 million people a year across 16 countries. That’s a lot of empty beds at hotels in these countries, leaving many hoteliers desperate for a lifeline.  Hoteliers report that Thomas Cook hasn’t made its payments since July.  And, as the Thomas Cook share price tumbled to just £0.0345 on its last day of trading before collapsing, it's unclear when -- or if -- hotels will receive these long-overdue payments. In many of these communities, the bankruptcy is a devastating blow to the local hospitality industry. In popular summer destinations such as Greece, Spain and Turkey, Thomas Cook accounts for 25% of their business. The pain is far-reaching: Thomas Cook accounted for 3.6M trips to the Canary Islands last year.  In Turkey, the local hotel association says many hotels are still owed £100,000 – £200,000 apiece. Spanish Trade Union expects more than 10% of it’s 130,000 local hospitality workers to be affected by the collapse. Greece’s PanHellenic Federation of Hoteliers projects losses up to €300m, of which the island of Crete accounts for €80-100m. In Tunisia, 45 hotels dealt exclusively with Thomas Cook, which reportedly owes €60 million for stays in July and August. #1: Use technology to diversify your channel mix   First and foremost, hotels must avoid reliance on a single channel. The Thomas Cook example makes this abundantly clear: fewer dominant channels dramatically increase risk. Expanding your sources of demand protects you not only from the extreme cases bankruptcy but also evens out the natural ebbs and flows. With a diversified channel mix, unexpected dips in demand will sting less. A metasearch manager, such as D-EDGE MetaGenius or Triptease Attract, maximizes your hotel’s presence on meta-search platforms. The technology optimizes your spend so that you can capture bookings without spending too much. Marketing spend can also easily be ramped up and down to account for any unexpected need periods. Channel managers, like the one from SiteMinder, dramatically expand the number of channels your hotel is distributed to. The right channel manager puts your hotel in front of consumers you may never have access to, such as inbound tourists from China. This expands your reach and lessens your reliance on only a few channels.    #2: Capture maximum revenue from your existing guests   Well done! You’ve won the booking and the guest has checked in. Now what? Rather than pursue the next booking, it's time to make the most out of your existing guests. Open the lines of communication, craft compelling offers for upsells and on-property amenities and make it a priority to increase incremental revenue. With a solid ancillary strategy, you’ll be more empowered and less at the whims of others. Ancillary upsell software, like that offered by Oaky and Revinate, helps you earn more revenue from things like up-selling room upgrades and other ancillaries. Since up-selling gives you the ability to earn more from the same guest, you'll be more profitable -- and less vulnerable to revenue dips from fewer bookings. A guest messaging platform, such as Whistle, Zingle, and Bookboost, gives you all kinds of new ways to communicate with guests. You could implement a chat widget on your website, use text messages to talk with on-property guests, or leverage automated communications to ensure the best guest experience. Each of these touchpoints is an opportunity to sell more to current guests. And, as you deliver better service, improved guest satisfaction will boost your reputation online. In-room tablets, like those from SuitePad, INTELITY, and Crave Interactive, are another way to connect with guests. As in-room concierges, tablets allow guests to find relevant information easily and quickly, which boosts satisfaction and leads to incremental revenue from selling in-destination activities and on-property amenities like spa and room service. More money from existing guests makes a healthier, more resilient business.   #3: Fortify your direct channel to shore up leakage   Leakage costs your hotel money. Each time someone books through an OTA or other third-party (rather than your direct channel) that’s leakage. There’s a related cost to each of those bookings, a cost that could be eliminated by capturing the booking directly. Reducing leakage means doing whatever you can to build your direct channel. With the right tech, your hotel can compete directly with OTAs by providing a similar booking experience. Proper digital marketing and web design ensures that your hotel presents a modern face to potential guests. Vendors (such as Screen Pilot and Travel Tripper) leverage years of hospitality experience to get you more direct bookings online. With an intuitive interface and appealing design, your website can become a great calling card. The agency can then help optimize your digital marketing efforts to get you more bookings at lower cost. A hotel booking engine works 24/7 so guests can book rooms right on your website to keep you competitive with other online platforms. Mews, Net Affinity and TravelTripper integrate a booking engine into your property management system to make inventory instantly bookable online. Long gone are the days when guests would call to book; to avoid leakage, you must provide instant booking on your website. With a direct booking platform, like those built by Triptease and Hotelchamp, you’ll have the tools to convert more lookers to bookers on your website. These tools transform your website into a conversion engine. Then, as you invest more in digital marketing to bring people to your website, you’ll see greater return on your investment because the site is primed to convert.    #4: Reduce friction for your sales team   Properties of all sizes can benefit tremendously from improved productivity on the sales side. By reducing friction for your sales team, you’ll improve outcomes, compress the sales cycle and close more group business. Closing more deals has the added advantage of boosting morale for your sales team, which builds momentumAre As your hotel endeavors to build a bigger group business, best-in-class technology amplifies this momentum and evens out the normal fluctuations in transient demand. With an online meeting booking platform, such as MeetingPackage, planners can self-serve. Many planners prefer self-service, especially for smaller events. An online booking platform streamlines inbound requests and reduces turnaround time. That way your sales team can focus on more complex offerings and close major deals that can make or break an entire year’s revenue target. A sales CRM for hotels is the heart of your sales operations. With powerful functionality from vendors like Social Tables, Amadeus Delphi or Event Temple, your sales team stays organized so they can prioritize prospects and pursue leads without delay. A few other upsides: Managing outreach in a single place encourages a collaborative mindset, fosters transparency and builds trust.    #5: Bring back your old guests   Past guests are your greatest assets. They’ve stayed with you before and know your hotel. You also know them somewhat, as you have already begun building a relationship. That means you don't have to introduce your property or compete for attention in a sea of unfamiliar hotels. Loyalty gives you more control over your business; it reduces reliance on third parties and diversifies your revenue streams. Loyal guests are also great advocates, enhancing your online reputation and promoting your hotel by word-of-mouth. Guest CRM and email marketing tools, like those from Cendyn and Revinate, are a hotel marketer’s best friend. Leveraging your database of past guests into new bookings requires thoughtful segmentation and effective messaging -- both of which are made easier with dedicated CRM and email marketing software. By crafting targeted campaigns based on rich guest profiles, you'll generate revenue from existing assets, all without any cost or commissions. And guests will appreciate the personalized approach. A loyalty program for independents can drive repeat visits and encourage more customer loyalty -- even without the global reach and recognition of the major brand. For instance, The GuestBook rewards guests with either 5% cash back, a 5% donation to their preferred charity, or 10% “Trip Cash” for future reservations. These incentives give independents another way to foster loyalty and build a healthy book of repeat business that’s not dependent on third parties.   *** Thomas Cook shutting down is a devastating blow to communities, businesses and consumers around the globe. It puts pressure on local economies in many countries. But it also provides a valuable lesson to hoteliers about relying too heavily on a single demand partner; diversification really does help mitigate risk. Hoteliers have some powerful tools at their disposal to build a resilient business that can endure even the most unexpected disruptions.