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Hospitality Innovation is Thriving Despite the Crisis (Q2 Innovation Report)

by
Jordan Hollander
2 weeks ago

Innovation is alive and well in hospitality. Don't believe us? Check out the 47 new hospitality innovations that we cover in this report.  In the age of coronavirus we all catch ourselves thinking that the world is coming to an end from time to time. Don't worry, this article has nothing to do with coronavirus (but it's hard not to address the elephant in the room these days). In order to keep this article COVID free, let's run a scenario analysis using Hotel Tech Report's Innovation Wager™.  The wager considers four alternate universes based on two axes.  On our X axis we consider two worlds: Scenario A considers optimal decision making if the hotel industry does not recover, Scenario B considers what to do if you believe that it will. On our Y axis we consider what happens if we improve the way we do business with new technology and processes.  The wager shows us that in any potential outcome, it's always in our interest to improve the way we operate our businesses.  The only unacceptable outcome is the one where the world does not come to an end and we do not improve our tech and operational processes.   So the next question is how did we choose our Y axis (i.e. update my hotel's tech and operations)?  The math is simple, if your hotel group's breakeven is at 25-30% occupancy and you're currently running at 0% you are essentially racing against time to hit that occupancy.  Global travel demand is unfortunately out of your control, so what can you do to get there as quickly as possible? You can improve your margins to lower your breakeven occupancy by getting more efficient at your property.  For this you may explore technology like keyless entry or staff collaboration tools to help your slimmed down team do more with less.  You can sell long term group business today to bring deposit revenue in ahead of those bookings and for that you'll need airtight sales tech and processes.  You could also get more efficient at acquiring guests to hit that 25-30% occupancy rate faster. In this article, we showcase 47 hospitality innovations that have been launched in the crisis.  As you explore ways to improve your margins, get smarter at guest acquisition and more - this list can put you on the cutting edge.  We've divided the article into five categories: Revenue Management Innovations Marketing Innovations Operational Innovations Guest Experience Innovations Sales and Meetings Innovations     BONUS: Look for the contactless badge next to products in the innovation report to identify technologies that will help your hotel go contactless, boost your recovery efforts and prepare now for the inevitable changes that are coming.  The tools have functionality that will enable you limit human physical contact to pre-emptively prepare for new government regulations and even more importantly, guest expectations.   Q2 Innovations in Revenue Management   1. OTA Insight Market Insight Tool OTA Insight’s Market Insight tool offers a smarter way to predict demand and price your rooms accordingly. Market Insight gathers and analyzes data from hotel web searches, flight data, events, holidays, online reviews, weather forecasts, and alternative lodging inventory to give your revenue team location-specific insights segmented into different customer groups. Learn more about your target guest’s booking intent and use real-time market trends to capitalize on revenue opportunities before your competition. 2. SiteMinder Insights SiteMinder Insights allows hotels to be smarter about their sales and marketing strategies while maintaining their brand integrity. This tool has monitoring and reporting capabilities that provide hoteliers a single place to access clear and actionable data on their local market, business performance and guests. This integration can help hoteliers make more informed decisions about hotel pricing and distribution, based on impartial data, as well as reveal insights that help get ahead of the competition. 3. Infor Price Optimizator Infor Hospitality Price Optimizer (HPO) is a mobile-first app that helps hotels price their rooms in a more accurate and timely manner. The algorithms that drive the app replicate the approach the guest takes to book a room: the system data from star ratings, location, pricing, and reviews to select which hotels are the valid competitors that should influence the pricing decision. he system automatically detects seasons and events for a dynamic pricing solution that updates throughout the day as needed.   4. HotelIQ Monthly Forecasting HotelIQ has been working on a Monthly Forecasting & Budgeting Tool that can generate forecasts and budgets for up to 12 months at a time. The platform pulls your real-time PMS data to use as a baseline, automating the burdensome task of maintaining spreadsheets and forecasting by hand. Easily edit figures, track performance, and generate market segment level forecasts and budgets.   5. IDeaS RevPlan IDeaS RevPlan is a total revenue forecasting, planning and enterprise consolidation tool. RevPlan can automate scientific forecasting, budgeting and financial submission for your entire property – from rooms to food & beverage and other income revenue streams. Save time and manual effort while driving greater profitability: RevPlan provides hotels the ability to forecast accurately and precisely.   6. RateGain MarketDRONE RateGain is launching MarketDRONE, a new feature for its rate intelligence platform OPTIMA. MarketDRONE tracks intra-day rates and rate-plan changes by hotels in real-time. Whenever a competitive hotel makes a rate change, your revenue manager receives an alert. 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, a revenue manager, on an average, may lose $1,000 or more per day by not acting on these intra-day market changes in real-time. With MarketDRONE, revenue managers do not have to pull out rate shopping reports on a daily basis to make the strategic decisions. The instant alerts provide them the market insights on the fly and basis that they can take the recommended actions on the go.   7. HotelTime Instant Reporting HotelTime Solutions is debuting Instant Reporting, a reporting and forecasting tool that helps revenue managers working at multi-location properties get a clear picture on their distribution. It aggregates data on key metrics across different properties. This tool makes it easy to get accurate reports, merging revenue center statistics at the chain level.   8. Hotelchamp Demand Tracker Hotelchamp’s new demand tracker will give revenue managers insight into how much demand there is predicted for future stay dates in their hotel. Set up automatic alerts to be notified when demand increases for a specific stay date. Get insights for a specific demand period to better predict trends in revenue.   9. HotelPartner Synergy Model HotelPartner’s synergy model is a new service offering for individual hoteliers that combines manpower, technology, and expertise in one package. The firm will offer a revenue management tool as well as the team to use it; the synergy model offers a blend of consulting, technology, and a revenue management solution tailored to your property.   10. 5stelle Business Intelligence 5stelle* is introducing a new business intelligence tool that provides 18 interactive dashboards. Get reporting on your reservation lead time, month-to-date revenue and occupancy, RevPAR analysis, and more all in one place.   11. Fairmas Advanced Revenue Planner Fairmas Advanced Revenue Planner simplifies the planning and controlling of all hotel revenues, either by market segment or by account line item, on a daily or monthly basis. The platform is built for different user groups – from department managers who need to plan on the operational level, to revenue managers for a detailed view of the total hotel, and to the general managers who can refer to its consolidated view. The  Pickup Planning feature allows a different way of planning that may be a more realistic approach depending on the day-to-day situation (e.g., How many more rooms do I still need to pick up to achieve my goal?).     Q2 Innovations in Hotel Marketing   12. Revinate Guest Data Platform Revinate’s Guest Data Platform is another take on consolidating guest information to deliver the insights hotel managers can use to drive direct bookings, provide a great guest experience, and increase profit. The Guest Data Platform combines guest data into rich, unified profiles that can inform your sales and marketing campaigns.   13. SHR Maverick CRM SHR Maverick™ CRM by Sceptre Hospitality Resources LLC is a new CRM system that unlocks information from third-party providers. This CRM shows your hotel data about customers no matter where they booked: direct, or through an OTA. Maverick gives hoteliers access to clean, consolidated guest data, including user behavior and booking habits. The platform includes a loyalty and rewards platform and integrates with Windsurfer CRS, Windsurfer CRO, Windsurfer IBE, and a built-in Campaign Management Platform.   14. D-Edge CRM D-Edge launched Guest Management, a CRM tool that integrates with the brand’s existing CRS product. Guest Management offers hoteliers a way to centralize data from your PMS, CRS, website, and other sources into one guest profile. By consolidating all data about each guest in one place, your team can more easily send specific, customized offers to guests, driving guest satisfaction and loyalty. 15. Dailypoint Content Bot The dailypoint Content Bot is a tool which pushes email communication finally to an individual experience with each guest. The bot pulls data from guest profiles in dailypoint to select content pieces from a library, offering individualized, concierge-style recommendations based on each individual’s unique needs. Content Bot allows your marketing team to get hyper-focused with messaging. Send a newsletter customized per person, rather than per target group.   16. Suiteness OTA Distribution Suiteness launched a partnership with Booking.com for travelers to book connecting hotel rooms and suites through Booking.com. When connecting rooms are available, they are booked 3.3x more often than multi-bedroom suites in the same hotel. Customer segments like families and groups are heading to AirBnB in droves because they demand more space and don’t want to risk showing up at your property only to find out they can’t get connecting rooms. Give them peace of mind and you’re more likely to win their booking.   17. RoomRacoon Integrated Upselling RoomRaccoon is developing an integrated upselling tool for its hotel management system.  This will allow clients of its HMS to offer add-ons like breakfast or room upgrades prior to arrival.  While there are quite a few standalone upselling tools on the market, RoomRaccoon is one of the first HMS players to offer this functionality.   18. AskSuite Booking Engine Chatbot AskSuite’s latest integration syncs your booking engine with their chatbot to recapture a guest who may be having trouble booking directly. For instance, if a traveler tries to book a room on an unavailable date, the chatbot will automatically respond with a message that there are no rooms available and suggest the next earliest date with availability. Or, the chatbot can be set up to suggest a nearby property from the same chain that does have availability. This integration helps your reservation team work more productively, captures more direct bookings, and standardizes customer service messaging on your site. Asksuite is also in the process of building a Smart Chat Distribution tool that can matches a reservation agent to an open chat, helping large reservation teams coordinate their responses to individual customers. Your property defines specific rules – using triggers such as language, communication channel, type of inquiry, and more – and the algorithm uses these qualifiers to send an open request to the right customer service representative. The goal is to improve your property’s customer service and make it easier for your team to work efficiently.   19. Profitroom WebAssistant Profitroom’s WebAssistant is a new tool for creating and maintaining your hotel website. The tool is built specifically for the hotel industry, with templates designed to set up booking pages that drive direct bookings as well as unlimited data transfer and automated free updates. This website builder is an option for hotel properties that do not have the budget to work with a digital marketing agency to set up their site.   20. Quicktext Lead Generation Quicktext’s chatbot aims to improve your sales cycle by generating new leads for your sales team. When a customer engages with this chatbot, the program checks your CRM to see if this user exists; if they do, the tool will add any missing contact details and customer interests as determined through the chat interaction. If this is a new customer, the bot will upload insights into your CRM that can be used by your sales and marketing team to send more personalized offers and marketing messages. The Quicktext bot interacts with 9% of online visitors each month; if you have 3,000 visitors every month, Quicktext will create 270 new leads to whom your team can market.   21. myhotelshop GmbH Link Travel Ads myhotelshop GmbH recently launched Link Travel Ads, a metasearch marketing platform for hotel chains, booking engines, and hotel marketing agencies. This tool is built specifically for properties that have struggled to run, manage and report metasearch marketing campaigns. Link Travel Ads will take you through the process from start to finish. With this tool, one account manager can manage campaigns for more than 500 different properties, with reporting and invoicing all in one place.   22. Experience Hotel Dedupe Experience Hotel, like D-Edge, is trying to solve the problem many hotels have: multiple entries for the same guest. Hotel brands that have multiple properties with multiple data sources (the restaurant, spa, reservation system, etc.) tend to have duplicate profiles for the same guest in their PMS. Experience Hotel’s approach is Unified Customer Repository (UCR), a system that can identify all the duplicates in your guest list and combine every guest's details in one single profile. This allows your team to see an entire guest history in one place, and use insights from multiple sources to deliver personalized messages and offers.   Q2 Hotel Operations Innovations   23. hotelkit Facility Management Hotelkit debuted a new Facility Management platform that enables maintenance teams to  plan, schedule, and track corrective and preventive maintenance tasks. The tool help maintenance managers allocate resources such as time, money, and employees more effectively, and can automate and oversee daily maintenance routines. Get data and reporting on energy consumption or wear and tear of equipment to predict future expenses.   24. Mews Online Check-Out Mews Systems now offers an online check out feature aimed at reducing lines at the front desk and streamlining your property’s operations. Guests can checkout online without having to stand in a queue before departure; the platform sends housekeeping an alert once the guest has left, and your revenue managers can start upselling early check ins. Mews Online Checkout gives time back to guests and hoteliers alike with essential automation to guests who are in a hurry and hotels who are trying to turn around rooms.   25. HelloShift Inventory Management HelloShift is introducing Inventory Management to systemize the process of ordering and maintaining your stock of hotel supplies – parts, tools, equipment, linen, guest amenities, and more. Store detailed information about your supplies (warranty, brand, model, etc.), automate reordering, and reconcile inventory levels with regular checks. Reduce error that can lead to over and under-stocking, and reduce costs associated with ordering the wrong amount of supplies.   26. Bookboost Multi-Property Inbox Bookboost Guest Messaging added an all-in-one inbox with multi-property function that integrates messages from a number of channels into one inbox. Manage messages from your website, email, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and more in one platform. This allows one team member to oversee one unified inbox – a big gain in efficiency, especially for multi-property hotels.   27. Sertifi eConfirmations Sertifi eConfirmations allows travel companies to send payment digitally to travel suppliers (e.g., your hotel). Receive corporate credit card payments, virtual card payments along with the corresponding payment instructions, and guest information, such as check-in time and room preference, all at once – quickly and securely. All payment data is tokenized and transferred in a PCI compliant manner. Offer a smooth, hassle-free payment experience for corporate travelers.   28. Beekeeper Task Management Beekeeper’s Whispr Partnership will help frontline workers learn their job duties more quickly and help add consistency to your operations. Whispr transmits “motivational audio messages”, as well as work instructions in your employee’s preferred language through Beekeeper’s operational communication platform. Facilitate communication between your housekeeping team and management in an innovative and authentic way.   29. Telkonet Ecoinput Telkonet introduces EcoInput, a simple way to save energy and reduce your costs. EcoInput turns any light switch into an energy management device. Using the Zigbee wireless protocol, lighting can be controlled locally – e.g., guests can use the light switch as normal – or remotely via software or mobile control. Add sustainability and energy savings to your property without sacrificing guest experience.   30. Hoxell Quality Operations Hoxell has a new tool called Quality Operations. With Quality Operations, members of your team can send messages, create and assign tasks, and digitize workflows to improve productivity. The platform aims to streamline housekeeping activities, create direct communication channels, and improve reporting by reducing friction in communication and knocking down siloed reporting structures.   31. Mister Booking Payment Automation Mister Booking’s Payment Automation feature offers a simple way to process payment from your Hotel Management System. All credit cards collected as guarantee from OTA or booking engine can be verified and pre-authorized directly from the PMS. Automate advanced payments for all non-cancellable and non-refundable reservations, according to their payment conditions. It will save your team time by automating the administrative burden of payment verification.   Q2 Guest Experience Innovations   32. Crave AppLess Mobile Crave unveiled AppLess™ Mobile, a tool that gives guests access to guest services through location-specific QR codes. Guests simply scan a QR code and choose from the services you offer. Create multiple custom QR codes and post them at different points throughout your property: for instance, a QR code for ordering drinks at the bar, a QR code for catering in a meeting room, a QR code for more towels by the pool. AppLess™ enables frictionless digital experiences for consumers to access services on their own devices, without the need to download a mobile app. Includes payment technologies such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.   33. SuitePad Premium Docking Station SuitePad has two new products to share, the SuitePad Premium Docking Station and the SuitePad 10" Tablet. The SuitPad 10 is a premium version of their previous model, featuring a 1920 x 1200px resolution screen, larger battery for longer use, and 2GB of RAM for smoother content delivery. The docking station includes new features such as a bluetooth speaker, in-room presence sensor, and telephone handset. These features increase your property’s ability to send offers to guests at the right moment, and provide a premium in-room technology experience.   34. Volara Google Interpreter Volara introduced Google Assistant Interpreter Mode for Hospitality, a partnership with Google that facilitates real-time conversations with guests through instant translation. The tool translates between 29 different languages to help your staff welcome guests from diverse language backgrounds. Improve the guest experience and solicit reviews in multiple languages with this quick and easy translation platform. 39. TrustYou On-Site QR Feedback TrustYou’s On-Site Solutions Beta is a new product that solicits feedback during the guest stay using a QR code or short URL. This survey tool proactively asks each guest about their stay, escalating any issues occurring at your hotel for immediate attention. One hotel property that tested this product was able to increase their post-stay review scores by 3.8 points by asking for feedback in real-time.   35. Travel Appeal Destination Report Travel Appeal’s On-demand Destination Reports are tailor made for independent and chain hotels, DMOs, and tour operators looking for deeper information about their territory. These reports are available for any city, region, or territory within a few days, and can be used to analyze visitor groups, sentiment scores, trends, competitors, online channels, seasonality, and more. Compare different time periods (up to three years back) and learn about the reputation of the destination, individual sectors (F&B, retail, experiences, and more), and what topics are most discussed in relation to your specific area. Know what to highlight in your marketing campaign and help your concierge team craft the perfect experience for your guests.   36. LoungUp WhatsApp Messaging LoungeUp debuted its new WhatsApp Messaging function, adding a new way to communicate with guests. Use this tool to initiate contact with each customer before they arrive over WhatsApp. Send guests a way to check-in in advance, pay their deposit, book a shuttle to the hotel, or offer an upgrade. Automate some of the time-consuming administrative process and offer real, conversational exchanges with guests. With 1.5 billion worldwide users per month (as of January, 2019) worldwide, WhatsApp is the number one messaging platform, ahead of Facebook Messenger (1.3), Wechat (1.1), Skype (0.3), Snapchat, Viber and Line.   37. Zaplox Mobile Check-in Zaplox Premium iterates on Zaplox’s original product with new mobile-check in and mobile key functionality. This app integrates with most leading PMS and lock systems to streamline check-in. The custom-branded app allows your property to connect with guests before, during, and after their stay. Guests can use the Zaplox app to check-in, preauthorize their credit card, and complete the guest registration before they arrive at the hotel. Includes mobile keys with integration with lock vendors ASSA ABLOY, dormakaba and SALTO systems as well as large PMS providers, such as Oracle, Agilysys, protel, StayNTouch, Maestro, and more.   38. MyStay Mobile Check-in MyStay Check-in Agent is a tablet-based software solution that can make your check-in process 100% digital at the front desk and anywhere at your hotel. The tablet scans guest documents, and then prompts the guest to add missing information, agree to house rules, and sign the check-in card. This increases the accuracy of your guest data, streamlines the check-in process, and allows your team to focus on the guest experience rather than data entry.     Q2 Sales & Group Travel Innovations   39. OPERA Sales & Event Management Oracle’s OPERA Sales and Event Management Cloud (OSEM) helps hotels reduce the extra time spent managing data entry related to events. OSEM provides a single view of all a hotel’s event booking details and revenue across rooms and event spaces for easier audit and analysis. Properties can increase their event revenue by optimizing inventory, bookings, streamlining logistics and providing smooth event logistics. The tool helps streamline operations, increase communication and cooperation across departments, and respond faster to customers.   40. Atomize Group Booking Pricing Module Atomize announced fresh updates to its Group Booking Pricing Module with a tool that helps revenue managers to instantly calculate the optimal rate for groups. This module now presents both the total recommended price and displaced transient revenue for the group, along with details such as prices per room type and date. A separate module introduces the ability to email yourself the group pricing recommendation for future reference.   41. MeetingPackage Analytics MeetingPackage has a new analytics extension for meetings and events bookings that allows you to advertise your meetings and events the same way you would advertise your hotel rooms. The analytics extension allows Google Analytics to track the full customer journey, capturing the total revenue of the meeting/event. Measure the booking process from the very first ad click until the event date, and make smarter marketing decisions on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to drive valuable direct traffic.   42. SABA Hospitality Digital Conference Tool SABA Hospitality’s SABA Conference is a digital conference tool that provides automatic answers to the questions and requests of conference hosts and attendees directly to their mobile devices. From conference information, directions and amenities, and information on the surrounding area, all information is easily accessible in multiple languages, and can be presented in any format (e.g. links, videos, text, maps and images). Users don’t need to download a thing, making it easier for conference organizers to ensure all relevant information is received by attendees. Hosts and property operators simply enter the relevant information, and the platform presents it in a branded and engaging way.   43. EVENTMACHINE Instant Quote EVENTMACHINE IQ Instant Quote automatically plans and quotes events based on a few simple inputs, like date or event type. Rather than tasking an event manager to manually select and calculate event spaces, catering and equipment. Eventmachine IQ can reduce that manual effort. Get instant, custom quotes emailed in a professional PDF proposal.   44. Get Into MoRe Strategy Dashboard Get Into MoRe has built a new Strategy Dashboard advises whether or not you should allow an inquiry to proceed with booking your events space. One small event could easily reserve a space and prevent a more profitable, large event. Strategy Dashboard uses a red light/green light system to tell you if an inquiry is worth accepting – or if you should hold out for another booking request.   45. THYNK Meetings Management THYNK has a new product, MYCE, a customer-centric meeting events and venue management system. The flexible, cloud-based system uses Salesforce to automate the sales process follow-up with task automation and two-way integration with your PMS, POS, and other applications. Assign tasks across departments and add the group booking module to make it easier to manage event bookings.   Q2 New Innovations in Food & Beverage   46. Bbot Smart Ordering System Bbot Smart Ordering system allows guests to order room service on their phone from their room without downloading an app or signing up for a new service and integrates with popular hotel PMS and POS systems.  Guests order and pay for food + drinks right from their room without having to call down, which means you save on labor and menu management.  Bbot recently rolled out new PMS integrations including Mews & Opera.                   47. Apicbase's Production Planning Tool Apicbase’s Production Planning tool streamlines kitchen operations at your property by making food production reliable and repeatable. Save money and reduce food waste by up to 30% with automated to-do lists, real-time inventory updates, and a function that allows your team to predict how many quantities will be needed at each meal. Prep only what you need and make the most of ingredients in your pantry to lower your food budget.  

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Business Texting

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 months ago

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

The Hotel Industry is Pioneering How to Leverage WhatsApp for Business

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 months 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
5 months ago

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

Hotel Front Desk Software is Converging With Back Office Systems

by
Jordan Hollander
7 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
6 months 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.  

Guest Messaging: 7 Stats Every Hotelier Needs to Know

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

It’s no secret that text messaging is an increasingly popular way to communicate. You text your kids, you text your friends, and you may even get a text from your dentist when it’s time for a cleaning. But how can text messaging be an asset to the modern hotelier? Communication platforms like Zingle provide a breadth of guest messaging solutions that not only solve communication challenges, but also enhance the guest experience and lead to higher guest satisfaction scores. In this article, we’ll explore how hoteliers can implement guest messaging strategies in response to 7 recent statistics about texting.   Text messaging is the fastest way to reach someone When today’s consumers want information, they want it ASAP. 78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases, so when information needs to be communicated quickly, text messaging is the perfect way to do so. For instance, if crucial details about an event must be communicated to a guest, email may not be the best way to do so, since they might not even open the email until after the event happens. A text messaging strategy will ensure guests receive the right information at the right time.   People actually read their text messages Have you ever had a guest ask a question about a policy or amenity when the answer was definitely already sent to them via email? Perhaps it’s time to switch to text messages for those important details, since the open rate for text messages is a whopping 82% in the US. Instead of letting upsell offers or marketing messages sit in your guests’ spam folders, send text messages with the most critical information for maximum impact - and more incremental revenue.  In addition, Zingle’s integrations with property management systems like Opera allow hoteliers to personalize messages with details about the guest’s stay.   Text more, talk less; millennials prefer to text Wondering how to best communicate with millennial guests? Phone calls are so last decade; over 83% of millennial consumers said they text more than they talk on their smartphones. What does that mean for hoteliers? Millennial guests are less likely to call the front desk when something goes wrong or they have a question. With Zingle, hoteliers can easily connect with the next generation of travelers by opening a channel of communication where these guests are most comfortable.   Most people keep their smartphone at arm’s reach When 89% of people always have their smartphone easily accessible, mobile communication is undoubtedly going to be the most intuitive method of contact. When sending a text message is the most convenient way to contact the hotel, front desk teams might receive an influx of questions and comments. But incorporating texting into your hotel’s operations doesn’t have to be a hassle. Instead of using front desk agents’ valuable time, let a guest messaging platform automate the routine communication tasks, like replying to frequently asked questions or routing guest inquiries to the correct department.   Compared to email, consumers read more texts than emails - and faster Communication with guests isn’t limited to the time they’re on-site; the pre-stay experience begins before the guest even books their reservation, and the post-stay experience continues after the guest departs. When 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive, hoteliers want to ensure that guests actually read their confirmation messages, marketing blasts, and reminders to write a guest review. Zingle’s customizable platform can optimize any hotel’s messaging cycle, from pre-stay to post-stay. Text messages from brands get positive reception Adding texting capabilities is a fantastic way to add value to your brand, since 91% of users who opted in to receive texts from a brand see those messages as “somewhat” or “very useful”. Keep a pulse on the real-time guest experience with a guest messaging platform that can automatically send text messages asking for mid-stay feedback. These text message conversations can provide personalized service and valuable insight about what’s going well and what needs resolution. If the guest reports an issue, Zingle can route the case to the correct department, for example, housekeeping, so service recovery can happen immediately.   Young consumers see companies who text favorably How can a text messaging strategy impact your hotel’s guest review scores? 77% of consumers aged 18–34 are likely to perceive positively a company that offers text capability, which means simply offering texting as a method of communication can enhance a guest’s experience. Furthermore, Zingle’s mid-stay feedback requests and quick responses make personalized, attentive service easy to deliver. After guests depart, Zingle can also send a gentle reminder to write a guest review, which helps to ensure those positive service experiences leave an impact on the hotel’s guest review scores. Bring your hotel into the digital age with a comprehensive guest messaging strategy that utilizes guests’ preferred communication method: texting. Guest messaging platforms like Zingle can provide property management system integrations, inter-department communication, and even automated responses to frequently asked questions, so your operational efficiency will increase along with guest satisfaction. In addition to text messages, Zingle allows guests to use their preferred method of communication, whether it be email, WeChat, or Facebook Messenger. Upgrade your hotel’s guest messaging platform and reap the benefits of happier guests and more efficient staff.  

How to improve guest satisfaction with Zingle's messaging tech

by
Hotel Tech Report
9 months ago

Everyone texts -- and not just with friends and family: 9 out of 10 consumers prefer to text businesses they frequent. And, increasingly, many turn to messaging apps for regular communications: 55% of U.S. consumers use a mobile messaging app at least once a month. The proliferation of inbound communications channels creates complexity for hotels; it’s just not simple to manage, track, and triage requests across so many different channels.  This complexity is why more hospitality brands are implementing guest engagement technology. The tech pulls guest communications into a single platform, enabling guests to communicate seamlessly with hotels via text messaging, apps, and social media.  These platforms generally rely on automation and A.I.-powered chatbots to augment human customer service agents, a trend that Salesforce sees as growing by 241% in the next 18 months. The combination allows for a more nuanced approach to customer service, pushing predictable requests to chatbots and complex interactions to humans. This combination increases the relevance, accuracy, speed, and convenience of your guest communications. A recent SalesForce report predicts a 241% increase in usage of A.I. chatbots across travel and hospitality. One of the leading guest messaging platforms serving hospitality brands is Zingle, which enables hotels to provide more consistent, accurate communications through whichever channels guests prefer. The platform also streamlines comms for staff, uniting all conversations in one place so nothing is overlooked.  The benefits of stronger guest engagement is threefold: improved operational efficiency, better guest satisfaction, and higher RevPAR. Staff is more efficient, wastes less time, and respond to requests quicker, so guests are more satisfied and leave better reviews (and thus higher RevPAR).  Here are three key ways that Zingle’s guest engagement platform increases the relevance, accuracy, speed, and convenience of your guest communications.    #1: A more personalized experience Personalization is certainly buzzed about -- but it’s no longer just a buzzword, it’s a best practice. For hotels, this plays out in very specific ways, such as these two recent experiences from Hotel Tech Report staff with hotel guest messaging platforms. The Thompson Cape in Cabo used a guest messaging platform to ask about allergies during our stay last September.  We disclosed a severe allergy to pumpkin seeds which enabled the hotel to ensure all outlets (e.g. the pool bar, room service, etc.) were able to help us avoid incident. More recently, at the Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami during Amadeus’ customer conference, a front desk agent named Dante texted the guest to let them know of his availability for any issues; sure enough, the key didn’t work and Dante sent a new one up after a single text avoiding what could have been an extremely poor arrival experience. These experiences underscore just how much personalized texting can help to improve the guest experience and mitigate risk of issues while on property. Unfortunately, there’s still a disconnect between what consumers expect and what hospitality brands deliver. In a 2018 Epsilon survey, 87% of respondents said they are more likely to do business with travel websites/apps offering personalized experiences. And yet only 64% say travel brands currently deliver personalized experiences either very or somewhat well. The gap between consumer expectations and actual performance is a massive opportunity across a hotel’s operation. For marketers, personalization can boost conversions for things like end-of-stay surveys and review requests. For GMs, personalization means more efficient allocation of resources.   Notable feature: Put your hotel at the leading edge of personalization with Zingle’s modules, called “zings.” Each zing is customizable to respond to specific triggers, similar to setting up marketing automation workflows or email drip campaigns. These flows allow hotels to customize how messages are routed, and what happens on specific triggers. For instance, hotels can personalize a checkout survey or escalate a lost-and-found request to the right person.     #2: More streamlined communications  There’s nothing worse than a hotel that silos guest communications by channel, as it leads to a poor experience -- a guest may have messages unanswered or have to explain a situation over and over to whomever is tasked with answering a particular channel.  And that’s not just frustrating for guests: Hotel staff also struggle with siloed guest communications, as knowledge isn’t always shared across shifts. Without a single source of truth, there’s a bad feeling of always playing catch up.   Part of providing a consistent experience means that guests are able to communicate how they like with the hotel. Guests want to be able to chat, text, or call, and know that the requests are all being monitored. They don’t care how they make a request; they just want requests answered -- and fulfilled -- promptly.  A guest messaging platform helps hotels meet that expectation. With a single platform for communications, staff aren’t constantly toggling between tools and can respond to guests across all channels (including popular messaging apps like WhatsApp). The fact that Zingle’s A.I.-driven system also answers common questions and escalates service issues to humans means that it’s like having a new staff member working 24/7.  Hotels that use Zingle emphasize how easy it is for both guest and staff, saying that it is a “wonderful amenity that streamlines communication.”  “We like the ease of contacting guests. This is great for special in-house offers at the outlets, we have seen extra revenue at the spa when we send out specials. It's also great to alert groups when the function has been moved inside due to weather. We had a pipe break a few weeks back and used Zingle to alert the guests that the water would be shut off from 1-3.” ~ Assistant GM from Clearwater, United States The fact that this GM identifies both guests and associates as strong advocates underscores how powerful a unified communications platform can be. Staff is less stressed, confused, and overwhelmed managing new and existing requests, and guests get the support they need quickly on channels they already use. This consistency help hotels deliver the best experience possible -- and to quickly resolve emerging problems before they escalate.  Notable feature: Zingle’s platform resolves common guest requests with intelligent routing. There are also “quick keys” for common messages, which saves agents time when responding directly to guests. The intelligent routing and shortcuts reduce the amount of time staff spends on repetitive responses while also quickly getting guests the information they seek.    #3: A more empowered staff A guest engagement platform makes staff more productive. Guests receive responses personalized to their requests, some of which are boilerplate responses to common questions (“Where’s the gym”) and others are written by customer service agents. With Zingle handling routine requests, staff can devote more brainpower to complex tasks. The Salesforce report we mentioned earlier also found that: Chatbots make customer service agents 64% more efficient and frees them up to spend more time solving complex problems.   Guests also get frustrated when hotels make it difficult to find answers to common questions. With customer service agents spending less time on repetitive responses, it benefits both teams and customers alike. Staff have more bandwidth to resolve those thornier guest issues which results in a better guest experience.  For example, let’s say a front desk agent is busy answering a phone call about the pool’s opening hours. Zingle’s A.I. could have answered that question on its own, freeing up the front desk agent for higher-impact tasks, such as taking a new reservation or handling a high-touch guest request. As La Cantera Resort & Spa’s Director of Revenue confirms in a recent review, Zingle’s automation makes guests happier and frees up staff so that more can get done:    Read more Zingle reviews Notable feature: Sentiment-based alerts. Zingle actively monitors inbound communications, acting as a 24/7 sentry for your property’s guest experience. Overlooking a negative message can poison the guest experience -- and damage your brand. Zingle’s sentiment-based alerts allow you to prioritize resources so that the most pressing situations are addressed first. This automatically identifies opportunities for service recovery -- and ensures that a bad situation doesn’t get worse.      Bringing it all together With its cross-platform messaging, Zingle will keep your staff organized and on-point, uniting guest communications in one place -- regardless of channel. The platform does all the work, reliably and consistently. Guests don’t even need to know how their requests are processed. The platform simply routes it all according to a property’s rules, without any intervention. For pricing, Zingle offers a free trial so hotels can try before they buy. After the trial, there’s a one-time implementation fee and a monthly subscription charged on a per room basis. To get set up, you’ll need to thoughtfully map out your guest touchpoints, connect your communications channels to the platform, and then train staff. Zingle’s team has 10 years of experience, so implementation actually becomes a great opportunity to improve operations.   One final piece of data to guide your decision in choosing a guest messaging software: consumers prefer a blend of chatbots and human agents. It’s not as simple as replacing one for the other. By implementing a A.I.-driven model that relies on the strengths of both bots and humans, hotels stand to benefit immensely from an improved guest experience that results in better reviews.    

How Whistle used Lean Startup strategy to become the hotel industry’s favorite guest messaging platform

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 year ago

When non-technical entrepreneurs start a tech company, they usually start by spending ~$50,000 for a software development agency to go build their cool new idea.  Startups that begin this way often burn through resources quickly and double down on markets before they even understand them. Steve Blank’s Lean Startup methodology has helped thousands of startups avoid these pitfalls.  The methodology teaches startups to run a series of experiments that help founders learn quickly about the markets in which they’re operating without burning through resources too early.  Running lean also forces entrepreneurs to get out of their comfort zones (usually behind a computer) and perform deep market research with prospective clients. Blank’s Lean Startup strategy  is centered around the concept of an “MVP” (minimum viable product).  The idea with an MVP is to build the absolutely least amount necessary to prove or disprove a hypothesis.  According to Blank, creating a successful business from scratch begins with developing a hypothesis, analyzing the risks involved, then setting out to disprove each of those risks using the least resources possible. Lean Startup practitioners are non-technical hackers in their own regard, they start by asking the right questions and then build creative low cost solutions to answer those questions. Chris Hovanessian’s  journey and the founding of Whistle is straight out of the Lean Startup playbook.  Whistle’s guest messaging software is world renowned today, but when Chris started his business most hotels didn’t even know what “guest messaging” was.  Chris, like most entrepreneurs, started with a problem.  While working in the corporate relocation business he noticed that he was able to give clients great customer service when they were at home but when they got to their respective destinations, many of them didn’t have local phone (or data) plans so they were left in the dark and it created tons of problems from a customer experience perspective.  He also noticed that they were communicating on a variety of platforms like SMS, Viber and WhatsApp when they were home and that messaging was becoming both cheaper and more widespread. Chris believed that messaging was the future and had a hunch that it would completely change the way businesses delivered customer service. "Texting is the most frequently used form of communication among Americans younger than 50.  Sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for Americans younger than 50. More than two-thirds of 18- to 29-year-olds say they sent and received text messages "a lot" the previous day, as did nearly half of Americans between 30 and 49." ~Gallup To validate his hypothesis, Chris began talking to dozens of local business owners from all walks of life.  One day, while speaking with a hotel manager, he realized that messaging could add a ton of value for hotels given their complex operational needs, employee shift schedules and given hotels’ maniacal focus on delivering a great guest experience.  After coming to this realization, Chris scheduled a series of meetings with local hoteliers to validate his hypothesis. Before meeting with a second hotelier, Chris created mockups of what the messaging product would look like so that he could get more detailed feedback on the concept.  Before the end of the meeting, that hotelier inquired about pricing and asked when they could go live. Chris partnered with co-founder Jonathan Rojas, a sales guru and college friend, then found a technical partner and built an MVP for that client since they didn’t even have a product yet - the rest is history.  Chris’ partner Jonathan even started working part time as a front office manager to perfect the product and deeply understand how it was being used by clients. Steve Blank often tells entrepreneurs to “get outside the building” and Jon’s decision to work at a hotel while starting the business was exactly that. Hotels may not have known about guest messaging when Chris and Jon started the business, they certainly do today.  Whistle has won Top Rated Guest Messaging Platform in the HotelTechAwards for 2 years in a row and the company is now in hundreds of hotels around the world.   The old guard often saw technology as a risk to the human experience of hospitality and messaging has proven to do exactly the opposite by creating stronger connections between hotel staff and guests.  Our cell phones are highly personal to us, they’re the first thing we check in the morning and the last thing we see before we go to sleep. They’re how we connect with friends, family and colleagues. Any hotel that doesn’t offer the ability for guests to text for service is missing a huge opportunity to surprise and delight. I had an incredible messaging experience while traveling to Mexico recently.  Before we arrived at the hotel we were asked if anyone in our group had allergies - a proactive touch that likely saved us a trip to the hospital due to my friend’s severe pumpkin seed allergy.  Our room was below the rooftop bar so when the DJ got too loud we texted the front desk late at night. To our surprise, the hotel staff told us that they felt terrible and were happy to upgrade our room at no additional charge to get us away from the noise.  Messaging enabled the staff to turn what could have been an awful experience into a moment of surprise and delight. The best part is that we didn’t even have to pick up the phone. We caught up with Chris to learn about the Whistle founding story, how hotels can transform the guest experience through messaging, the biggest mistake that hotels make today and more. Whistle CEO Chris Hovanessian speaks on a hospitality panel with former Starwood CEO Jeff Lapin   What was your background prior to starting Whistle? I attended Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in 2011 with a major in Business Administration - Entrepreneurship. At LMU, I gained hands-on experience with starting companies from A-Z, met my cofounder Jonathan Rojas, and was also a chapter founding member of professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi - Psi Epsilon. During my last semester and after graduating from LMU, I began working in corporate relocation. There, I worked with Fortune 500 companies to relocate their executive and personnel between headquarters, and to the U.S. Through this position, I gained exposure to certain aspects of hospitality, and immediately realized the importance of streamlined communication. What made you decide to create a guest messaging company before most hotels even knew that they needed this kind of software? In the corporate relocation world at the time, my clients came to the U.S. and primarily stayed in hotels. Once they arrived, their mobile phones were essentially useless, as they did not have new data plans in place and would have been charged enormous fees. As a result, all logistics were planned weeks in advance via email. If I needed to get in touch with the client, one of the only ways was to call their hotel and ask to be transferred to their room. As you can imagine, they were not regularly boarded up in their rooms. Through this frustration, I quickly found a better solution: ask clients to download various mobile messaging applications that were popular in their country at the time (e.g. Skype, Viber, and many others), and to connect to WiFi as often as possible. With this approach, I was more likely to engage in real-time communication. Then one day, when coordinating with multiple clients at once through multiple channels, it hit me - I need an aggregate solution, which supports all channels! We jumped in and started Whistle thereafter, using the lean methodology and identifying Hospitality as the most apparent application for the software. Who was Whistle’s first customer? Al Munguia, of the Jupiter Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Before we even built a product, we used the Lean Methodology to get off the ground. I was conducting interviews with willing participants to determine the pain points, and eventually to shape the MVP. Al was the second interview I conducted during the “Solution Stage”, which is where you show mockups or a wireframe of the potential product, and then gauge feedback for improvements and enhancements. 10 minutes into the call, he asked, “this looks great, how much does it cost?” I wasn’t prepared to answer that question so I just threw out a number, and he told me to let him know when they could start. I said one-week, and then we got to work building the platform!   Most hoteliers know that guest messaging is a must have today and there are lots of players in the market but Whistle has won top rated guest messaging platform for 2 years in a row, why do you think that is? Messaging started off as a nice-to-have, but is quickly evolving into a requirement, similar to WiFi a decade ago. Whistle is the easiest GMP to get started with; we offer a free trial with no commitments, you can get setup in minutes, and you will see results on the first day of usage. Whistle will boost your guest engagement levels, drive up your guest satisfaction scores, provide ancillary revenue, improve your operational efficiency, and streamline all of your departments’ logistics -- our customers can’t live without it.   Whistle's guest messaging software helps hotels run more efficiently and deliver impeccable service   Who is one mentor that has really helped you scale the business? We’re so lucky to have such a strong circle of mentors, it’s truly amazing - I wish I could name them all! Someone who’s been there with us every step of the way is Michael Panesis: President and Chairman Emeritus of Tech Coast Angels Central Coast, Founding Member of Santa Barbara Angel Alliance, and the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship for Cal Lutheran. Mike has helped us in nearly every aspect of the company, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him. The one piece of advice that really stuck with us was, “Keep selling!” We followed through with this approach, gained more ground, and eventually the pieces started falling into place: more people started believing in us, the product evolved, the team grew, and our impact tremendously improved. What's one commonly held belief that most hoteliers believe to be true that actually is false? “Messaging is impersonal, you can’t replace in-person interactions.” The aim of messaging is not to replace in-person interactions or even phone calls, it is to fill the customer service whitespace or void that exists today. There are a large portion of travelers and consumers today who are not communicating with your organization because you may not have the proper means. With the increasing influx of technology separating the hotel staff and guests (e.g. OTAs and Mobile Room Keys), messaging is one of the main components connecting hotels with their guests today. What's the most surprising thing you've learned about scaling technology into hotels? The hotel industry is very hard to break into as a new company, but then gets easier as your brand grows. We’ve all seen overnight virality in the B2C space, but hotels tend to have their guard up more-so than any other industry I’ve experienced. It’s a tight-knit community, and as a result, it takes time to grow organically and reach the inflection point. You can pump out all the marketing and metrics around your company’s impact that you want; if no one knows you, they’re likely not going to work with you. Have been a particularly good partners that have helped Whistle scale along the way? For Whistle, PMS partnerships in general have been especially powerful for both us and our PMS partners. It gives us the opportunity to grow, while providing tremendous added value to our PMS partners, making their product more sticky because we can ultimately extend their reach into the guest journey whereas the PMS usually is just used by the hotelier. Where do you see Whistle and the guest messaging space in 5-years? For the guest messaging category as a whole, artificial intelligence and machine learning  will become more prevalent. AI has progressed significantly within the last two years, and we are beginning to see it provide more value. Messaging will also begin to touch more hotel software categories, beyond the guest and past the PMS/CRM. I think we’ll also begin to see consolidation within the category, speaking from the business perspective. We see Whistle in tens of thousands of hotels around the globe, providing a holistic messaging platform for guests and all departments/aspects of the hotel. People think messaging capabilities have matured, when realistically we’ve barely scratched the surface. Is there anything that the hotel tech community can do to be helpful for you? We’d really like to learn more about marketing best-practices in hospitality tech. We have a great solution with strong impact on direct bookings, and we’d like to get the word out more! What's one piece of advice that you have for entrepreneurs looking to get into the hotel tech space? It’s hard, but definitely worth it! The hotel industry is fun, traveling is literally part of the game, and everyone knows the importance of letting loose every once-in-a-while. Just like in any other industry: make sure you do your research ahead of time, find early adopters/partners, and do everything in your power to learn from them over time and keep them happy. What is the best book you've read lately and why? “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, by Ben Horowitz. It came out a few years ago, but I just got around to reading it last year. This is a book for founders by a founder, now VC. It’s all about the ugly bits and hard truths of entrepreneurship, not the glory. It’s very comforting to learn of others’ horror stories, because it’s usually largely untold. You come away from this book understanding that most of the hardships you go through are actually very common, and that you’re not crazy after all! I highly recommend it. What is your favorite podcast I love The Joe Rogan Experience What is one thing that most people don't know about you? For the past 7 years I’ve practiced a form of intermittent fasting called time-restricted eating, where I eat only one meal per day and am fasting for the rest of the day. Fasting has helped me feel a lot healthier.

The Definitive Guide to ITB Berlin 2019: 5 Key Trends That Every Hotelier Must Know

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 months ago

Last week Hotel Tech Report attended ITB to discover the most cutting edge innovations in travel and hotels.  Each year thousands congregate at Messe Berlin to connect with peers, partners and clients from around the globe. Below are 5 key trends that every hotelier needs to know about this year.  In this article we outline each trend, tell you how it impacts your hotel and give an overview of the companies that launched or showcased on trend products at ITB.  For those of you who couldn't make it to Berlin we also cut a reel from the show so you can get the next best thing to being there.   Check out Hotel Tech Report's official ITB Berlin 2019 Recap video above   5 key trends & takeaways from ITB 2019   1. Automation is going mainstream 2. Software tools are breaking down operational silos 3. Hotel software is moving towards self service 4. App marketplaces are soaring 5. Meeting venues are getting wired up     Our take on automation in hotel software   Automation allows for time consuming, tedious and repetitive processes to be handled completely by software. When a task or process reaches the limits of the software’s capability, the appropriate team member is looped in to take over which is a beautiful thing. Let’s face it, if you’ve ever worked in a hotel you know that there are dozens of repetitive tasks that seem like a computer should be able to handle and in many cases perform even better, and now they can.   Automation frees up staff to focus on the things that those computers can’t handle like high level strategic thinking, trying new products and serving guests. Many hotels are still afraid that technology and the personal touch are conflicting ideas; however, innovative hotel groups are realizing that technology and automation actually enable them to focus on the personal aspects of experience in a way they couldn’t when they were bogged down with repetitive tasks.   What's new in automation? IDeaS launches Investigator to let revenue managers uncover the rationale behind automated pricing decisions by asking Alexa. IDeaS announced Investigator, an intuitive way to answer your management's question: How did you achieve that price and those results?  IDeaS G3 is the most popular RMS on the market and now clients can ask the system via Amazon Alexa to rationalize the decisions that it automates to provide transparency into the decision making process that is out of a revenue managers hands and handled by the systems powerful A.I. engines.   Hotelchamp launches Autopilot to help hoteliers leverage web data and user behavior to deliver personalized web experiences to boost conversion.   Hotelchamp announced Autopilot technology, which wants to transform how hotels approach their online guest bookings and experience. Autopilot uses AI to deliver an adaptive experience that is tailored to every single website visitor, and is completely GDPR compliant. Using an A.I. engine to identify customer segments and audiences, Hotelchamp Autopilot can automatically serve the best information for each guest.  Autopilot has been trained using pre-populated content, insights from the Hotelchamp data science team, and millions of A/B test impressions. Using this knowledge and live insights from the hotel’s website, Autopilot recognises and personalizes the website experience in real-time to convince visitors to book direct. All Hotelchamp tools can now be controlled by Autopilot, meaning the system will only deploy the right tools at the right time to the right audience. This process happens in real-time and is entirely personalised to each individual website visitor and moment in the booking phase.   Crave Scheduler enables hotels to send targeted automated messages generating $5,000/mo in late checkouts.  With the amount of times mobile comes up in conversation and the media, you might think BYOD (bring your own device) is the only way to go but the reality is there are lots of occasions where hotels just simply don’t have the ability to get a guest’s contact info or get them to download an app.  Crave Interactive has a unique, and near unavoidable, position in the guest’s periphery with its in room tablets that see upwards of 90% guest engagement. At ITB, Crave announced a new feature called Crave Scheduler that puts a unique spin on automation allowing hotels to set rules to send target messages to guests.  One of the prime use cases that Crave customers have been taking full advantage of is timed late checkout offers which have seen upwards of $5,000 month in revenue at Crave hotel partners who received early access to the feature.   UpsellGuru announced "Auto Pilot" which automates the entire up-selling process. Upsell Guru now sends targeted emails, calculates the dynamic minimum and maximum upgrade bidding prices, sets up the system to decide which offers to accept and when, updates the PMS - all fully automated not requiring human interaction. The new feature allows hotels to up-sell their rooms & ancillary services  without moving a finger. This saves hotels plenty of time and allows them to use the system without having to log-in on a daily basis. They’re initial trial was successful with a British chain of 30 hotels where they achieve GBP 65,000 per month in up-selling revenue without any manual human work.   Quicktext showcased its website chatbot to help guests find answers faster while unlocking $140,000 in requests per 100 rooms.  With Quicktext, guests can book at your hotel through a conversation (on various channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Website Live Chat and SMS), something that has been mainstream throughout Asia (specifically China) via WeChat but has been slower to catch up in the West.  The most practical use of chatbots is on a hotel website where prospective guests often get lost looking for basic information.  A chatbot can answer critical questions instantly like “how far is your hotel from the convention center?”, “what is the best way to get from the airport to the hotel on public transportation?” and “can we add a cot to our room?”.  This helps shorten the time needed to research the hotel and in turn increases conversion into your booking engine flow.    Humanise.AI had Gem on display boasting automation of 80% of inquiries.  Humanise.AI announced automated web-chat for hotels ensures that guests get an immediate response most of the time, but can still summon a member of hotel staff when needed. When hotels use human-only web-chat systems, they often struggle to respond to enquiries quickly enough, meaning guests leave the web site before they get a reply. With Humanise’s Gem product, they claim to automate ~80% of enquiries, radically improving the guest service and improving conversion-ratios for direct bookings.   SABA put its multilingual guest request and F&B ordering chatbot on display. SABA Hospitality Technology announced a bespoke and fully automated hospitality chatbot (SABAGuest Request).  This multilingual chatbot and digital F&B ordering platform provides guests with a seamless communication experience, without the need for downloads. It provides operators the opportunity to eliminate language barriers, provide instant answers to all guest requests and enquiries, and engage with guests on their preferred communication platform: messaging. This allows for the redeployment of staff away from call centers and other low-value repetitive tasks, to engage in meaningful guest interactions that help build long-term guest loyalty.       Our take on breaking down silos in hotel organizations   It’s no secret that hotels have historically suffered from siloed organizational departments because historically without better communication tools and access to data, teams were essentially on an island in their own physical locations.  Technology companies are starting to realize that their products and tools can help hoteliers to become more effective by aligning departments around common goals, systems and data. At ITB we saw a lot of this happening as evidenced by a shift where CRM companies are starting to focus heavily on the operational applications of their guest data where historically that data has just been used for marketing purposes.   Who's breaking down operational silos? TravelClick weaves Demand360 data into its Campaign Advisor toolkit to leverage market intelligence data to optimize marketing campaigns fostering collaborative efforts between revenue and marketing.  TravelClick announced the addition of Demand360 to the Campaign Advisor toolkit. Building on last year’s email send time optimizer, Campaign Advisor now allows hoteliers to take the guesswork out of marketing by providing them with recommendations on when to run marketing campaigns based on predictive occupancy in the market.  Demand360 is the hospitality industry’s competitive market intelligence product providing forward-looking reservation metrics and competitive share by segment and channel. Hoteliers using TravelClick’s GMS and Demand360 products will have access to current and projected occupancy data versus competitive sets to best identify the most valuable time periods to run campaigns, allowing them to avoid offering discounts and packages during peak market occupancy and place campaigns when they need it most. A huge pain point for hoteliers is knowing when to send promotions and emails to customers, as hoteliers do not have a clear picture of how their future occupancy compares with their comp set. It’s hard to determine the most valuable time to run a campaign. The Campaign Advisor and Demand360 integration, which is proprietary to TravelClick, takes guesswork out of the equation and enables hoteliers to leverage market data to feel confident that they are choosing the best time to run campaigns and capture demand.   Serenata CRM announced Decision Maker, a solution that combines business intelligence with campaign management. Serenata Intraware's Decision Maker allows different users groups like owners, management, operations and marketing to view the same data but from different perspectives to get an optimal view of the hotel operation, identify potential problems and take corrective actions.  The Decision Maker KPI dashboard gives a high-level insight into revenue, OTA share, loyalty contribution and other key metrics and trends. Other dashboards give subject matter experts from operations and marketing the ability to drill-down and identify the root cause for a problem and based on this insight create marketing campaigns using micro-segmentation to mitigate the problem without changing tools or breaking the workflow.   Cendyn announced eNgage which brings marketing’s CRM data and customer profiles to front line operations teams bringing the gap between marketing and operations.   Cendyn's next generation product empowers front-line and call center staff to instantly access guest profiles including historical guest feedback, membership information, brand-wide stays, social profile information and more. Used in conjunction with Cendyn’s eInsight hotel CRM, eNgage sits on top of a hotel’s property management system or call center application and intelligently guides staff to create authentic, meaningful encounters and upsell offerings based on guest history, preferences and loyalty status. This lightweight application can be accessed on any device and features configurable messaging prompts and data displays. Like all Cendyn products, eNgage integrates seamlessly with other hotel systems, utilizing an open architecture that ensures the accuracy and completion of guest information for all team members at every touchpoint in the guest journey. Cendyn’s eNgage solution allows hoteliers to provide the right approach to personalization for guests throughout their stay. eNgage brings to life all the data that hotels are collecting on guests and it displays it in real-time through an application window that always sits on top of the hotel PMS. For staff on the front-line, access to data instantly is critical for them to manage their workload and allows them to navigate every situation elegantly with customer service and upselling, so guests feel known and valued, not overly monitored.   Fornova expands its business intelligence offering to create a cross department interface for data insights.   Fornova announced that they recently acquired HotelsBI, a hotel Business Intelligence platform. With this acquisition, Fornova now caters to all roles and departments in the property and chain.  With this acquisition, Fornova now has three product offerings; Distribution Intelligence, HotelsBI & eCommerce Optimisation. HotelsBI simplifies the process of analysing internal and external data sources thanks to simple, intuitive dashboards - enabling faster, data-driven decisions to optimize hotel performance.   Revinate’s CRM is now being used by front desk staff and showcased the scalability of its platform on newly AWS servers.   This shift allows Revinate to scale more efficiently and ultimately open guest data to new departments.  Revinate showcased the capabilities that get unlocked when front desk staff and managers can access CRM data.   MeetingPackage.com brings revenue management and pricing optimization to your sales team.   The Company announced a partnership with IDeaS revenue solutions to bring real time dynamic pricing to meeting venues.  When paired with MeetingPackage’s online booking engine for event spaces, this is a truly groundbreaking development providing hoteliers with real time insights to optimize pricing and a seamless, intuitive, flexible and real time booking experience.        Our take on self service software in the hotel industry   This is one of the trends that we’re most excited about at Hotel Tech Report.  Freemium and free trials are ubiquitous in the software world but it’s not until recently that it’s broken into the hotel market.  The challenge historically with hotel software has been that you need to ingest data from core systems like the PMS to make any software work; therefore, it’s hard to offer a free trial or self service.  As the hotel software market moves this direction we’ll continue to see exponential upticks in innovation and sophistication. Another key reason that hotels don’t like trying technology is because even if they like the solutions that they try - they’re so busy that they don’t want to add one more thing onto their teams’ respective plates.  Long complex implementations have stifled innovation for years and lead to a massive trust gap between buyers and sellers. At ITB, Oaky cracked the code on this problem by launching it’s simple onboarding wizard which helps hotels go live in just a few simple steps.   Who's helping you take things into your own hands? Oaky’s new self service onboarding lets hoteliers start upselling in under 5-minutes.   Oaky announced an onboarding wizard which allows hoteliers to go live themselves, by completing a few steps. This reduce onboarding time and effort, and allow hotels to buy Oaky from marketplaces and go live without human touch. Inside the wizard they’re putting together many millions of upsell moments, and predicting the optimal upselling set-up based on the type of hotel and its guests. From combining variables around the upsell, with data around the guest and the property - they suggest the optimal setup for the hotel (what deals to sell, which content, and so on) which also predict how much conversion and ancillary revenue guests that have not yet booked will spend using this setup. In today's revenue management, the room rate is often based on the room and not taking predictable revenue from segments into account. This upsell variable can impact the distribution decision and help hotels better price their rooms.  When the revenue management system knows the upsell spend of a guest from various booking channels, they can deduct the distribution costs and end up seeing how to price their rooms for a more profitable booking. Some segments spend 20% on top of the ADR, which makes sense for the hotel to 1) have an upsell setup that allows for that, and 2) an RM strategy that takes it into account to acquire more of those (more profitable) guests.   Atomize’s self service functionality lets hoteliers try out automated revenue management on their own time.   Atomize showcased its advanced revenue management platform that has flexibility that allows hotels to control as much or as little as they’d like when it comes to revenue strategy.  Atomize’s mobile first platform has been designed from the ground up with the idea that hoteliers should be able to go live and try it out without ever speaking with an Atomize rep. The company’s founder, Leif Jaggerbrand told us that he’s had clients come in that his team has never met from countries he’s never heard of.  This dynamic is widespread in the broader SaaS industry and companies like Atomize are bringing this dynamic to hotels.   Cloudbeds’ PIE bakes new revenue management capabilities native into the PMS. Cloudbeds announced PIE - Pricing Intelligence Engine. PIE is built directly into Cloudbeds hospitality management suite. It is seamlessly integrated with the entire Cloudbeds suite, including PMS, booking engine and channel manager. This helps hoteliers and hosts who want one easy-to-system to manage everything.  Many of Cloudbeds’ clients have never used revenue management software before so this provides a lightweight way for them to get started making better pricing decisions.       Our take on hotel software app marketplaces   Marketplaces are nothing new to the software industry.  The reality is that it’s impossible for one technology company to be the best at everything.  Historically the hotel tech industry has taken a different approach where incumbents have tried to bolt all functionality into the PMS and maintain a closed architecture but that is rapidly changing as hoteliers are increasingly unwilling to work with closed vendors and sub-par tools. In response to the shift most forward thinking providers are taking towards open architectures, several innovative cloud PMS companies have taken note from tech darlings like Salesforce, Intuit and Apple by creating marketplaces.  These marketplaces facilitate seamless integrations and eventually the ability to easily try new products with the click of a button making it easier than ever to find the best tools to grow your hotel business. Cloudbeds, Mews, Hotelogix, protel and Apaleo were the latest entrants into the marketplace space each launching their own native marketplace baked into their PMS empowering hoteliers to easily tap into a plethora of best-of-breed tools to grow their businesses right from their PMS.  eRevMax was the first non-PMS marketplace on the market and Snapshot was next but SiteMinder and more recently BookingSuite are clear favorites in the race to marketplace dominance.  Hapi is also taking a unique and differentiated approach by building a marketplace that is solution agnostic.  Hoteliers should note that none of these marketplaces have gained significant traction from a demand perspective so the field is wide open.  While the idea has been around for some years we are still in the early innings.  Two-sided marketplaces require supply and demand to develop but those rarely happen simultaneously. Each of the players below has focused on signing supply/tech partners lately so it will be interesting to see which is able to deliver the best user experience and actually change the way hotels interact with their software.   Who's who in the rise of marketplaces Cloudbeds Marketplace. On top of announcing its native revenue management tool, PIE, Cloudbeds announced the official rollout of its marketplace offering enabling its 20,000+ hotel clients to access a variety of best-of-breed 3rd party tools to mix and match to find the perfect fit.   Mews Marketplace. In a blaze of glory Mews Systems continued its streak of creative conference displays to showcase its marketplace with this year’s theme of Pimp Your PMS (a parody of MTV’s Pimp My Ride) and its booth was cleverly referred to as ‘The Pitstop’.  In true Mews style, each team member was adorned head-to-toe in race car pitstop jumpsuits with patches for various apps that are integrated into their marketplace. Touche team Mews, touche...   Hotelogix Marketplace. Hotelogix Marketplace launched at ITB and is a one-stop shop for all the hospitality technology needs of a hotelier. It helps hoteliers find and evaluate best-in-class Hotel Technology products on a single platform.   Hapi.   Hapi is taking a unique and differentiated approach by building a marketplace that is solution agnostic.  Why is this important? By being solution agnostic, Hapi's marketplace is freed from the confines of being locked into a single PMS.  In fact, Hapi offers technology partners (ie marketplace apps) a way to normalize fragmented and messy data into a streamlined and unified structure opening up the potential to integrate to multiple PMSs (as well as various other hotel systems).  Their marketplace offering enables partners to gain exposure to hotels on the platform and enables hotels to tap into other available systems that are connected to Hapi.  Although Hapi is a smaller marketplace with only about 30 partners currently, its connectivity to multiple solutions from companies like Oracle, Infor and Salesforce signals a great deal of potential.   apaleo. apaleo announced its One connection, where data from all pre-connected tools within apaleo's store is available directly within apaleo’s property management system. No switching between browsers or systems. It happens all too often that hoteliers start off their work day organized, and then somehow within a matter of hours (or sometimes even minutes!), end up with dozens of browser tabs open and many systems running. Especially for front desk staff, it takes tons of clicks and searching around to find the info they need, when they need it. It isn't pleasant. With apaleo One, all the info that hoteliers need is visible within apaleo's PMS, saving staff time and creating a more seamless journey for guests.   protel Services Marketplace (SMP).  While not quite its first appearance, protel proudly featured its services marketplace at ITB showing off its shiney new native ratings and reviews (syndicated from yours truly) to help hoteliers research, vet and discover the best tools to grow their businesses without leaving the protel app store.  Pretty awesome! From the protel team, “The SMP empowers protel customers to choose from a variety of certified and evaluated 3rd party technology vendors covering all the essential hospitality technology services, such as RMS, CRM, PMS and POS. In other words, it's THE App Store to start integration with protel. It's also the point of entry to integrations for any 3rd party vendor to showcase and offer their powerful services to our 14,000 customers around the globe.”   The protel SMP marketplace features reviews from Hotel Tech Report to deliver transparency for its users   BookingSuite App Store (by Booking.com).   BookingSuite unveiled its app store for the first time where hoteliers can use single sign on (SSO) to activate new apps.  Many hoteliers are naturally wary of relying more on Booking.com or giving them more data, but overall it is a clear strategic move by Booking to provide more value to hoteliers to mend their often shakey relationship. BookingSuite’s approach is similar to the way LinkedIn, Google, Amazon and Facebook allow users to login to 3rd party apps with their APIs. The difference between BookingSuite and these other tech giants is that they want to take commissions (into perpetuity) from technology vendors. The commission vendors pay in the BookingSuite App Store is 25% for year 1, then 15% into perpetuity.  If you are a vendor with an average monthly revenue of $800 per hotel and a 7 year average customer lifetime that means you'll be paying Booking $2,400 in year 1 and $10,080 over the duration of the contract to acquire that single customer. In our opinion, this fee will eventually be passed to the end user (hoteliers) over time and is just another form of integration fee. Google and LinkedIn give away this service free to foster innovation and strengthen their respective platforms. So while BookingSuite’s tech is innovative we’re concerned about their commercialization model and understand why hotels and vendors might want to remain cautious.   eRevMax.   eRevMax rolled out updates to its LiveOS platform that allows its hotel clients to centralize the usage of various software applications into one interface using single sign-on.  While the LiveOS platform was one of the first to offer a marketplace offering, they seem to have fallen behind the competition with a limited range of apps available but seems to be pushing forward continuing to try to continue to explore the potential of LiveOS as a central operating platform, that can plug in various systems to help hotels make critical and time saving decisions across multiple systems without having to piece the data together manually.       Our take on wiring up meeting spaces for easy booking   During November’s Phocuswright event Hotel Tech Report tried to book the rooftop of several hotels for a client event.  In order to book the spaces we had to go to the hotel websites and fill out a form, then wait for responses from sales reps.  Some websites didn’t even have a form so we had to manually email reps based on contact info from their website (that we had to dig around for).  Out of the 5 desired locations which were some of the hottest hotels in downtown Los Angeles - not a single one responded within 24 hours and 1 didn’t respond to our inquiry at all.  Then to make matters worse, by the time they responded the first question was ‘how much budget do you have to spend’. Needless to say, this was a pretty horrible customer experience so we decided to take our business elsewhere and avoided hotels all together for our event. Imagine if you had to write to a hotel to inquire about availability.  Now imagine that when you wrote, the hotel wrote back asking “what’s your budget?”  The idea is absurd. Hotel websites and OTAs have wired up the industry to make sure this would never happen again.  It starts the relationship off with a bad taste for the customer and completely undermines the intended nature of a collaborative ally that a sales manager should be for any client but especially given that they are a prospect who intends to spend thousands of dollars to throw an event.  Meetings and events contribute $325B of direct spending in the U.S. alone (source AmexGBT) - so it’s about time this highly profitable inventory  got wired up.   Who's laying the groundwork to wire up meeting venues? MeetingPackage.com brings channel management and a seamless booking experience to your meeting space inventory.  Meeting Package’s Joonas Ahola Joonas also announced his firm’s launch of a meeting space channel manager which allows  inventory and rates to syndicate not just on a hotel’s website but across a myriad of 3rd party channels that have popped up to help them find new demand to generate additional revenue .  Meeting spaces today can be booked on platforms like AirBnB as well as on niche marketplaces like Breather, Bizly and VenueBook.   Venuesuite launches demand side marketplace to help venues and planners work better together online. Announced its direct booking platform (or marketplace) that helps venues & planners work better together online. The platform significantly simplifies the RFP process and sourcing of venues. The time required to book a venue for a meeting/event is reduced from days to minutes.  Both planners and venues. It enables planners to find venues fast, book instantly and configure meetings & events 24/7. For venues it generates more revenue via qualitative leads & higher conversion rates as prices are shown upfront to bookers. Within 10 months 1,000+ spaces available in The Netherlands via dedicated venue partners who've joined the new way of online (platform) working.       Other notable product launches and showcases Business Intelligence Pegasus announced its Business Intelligence Platform. It's difficult, if almost impossible to transform raw data into actionable insights - it pains most hotel companies, particularly independents.  Pegasus BI combines guest data from multiple sources and deliver it with automated intelligence and an easy-to-understand dashboard. Hoteliers can gain immediate insights that allow their properties to increase bookings, revenue, occupancy and profitability. Revenue Management RevControl announced rate recommendations calculated by room type separately. This announcement is specifically meant for hostels where the rate difference between private rooms and individual beds in a dormitory is huge and unrelated. It is now possible to use a separate set of business rules for each room/bed type and link each room/bed type to its exact match at hotels in de comp set to get individually calculated rate recommendations for each room/bed type.   RateBoard announced revenue management modules for leisure hotels. RateBoard offers a special module for leisure hotels, taking historical  holiday seasons from different countries, matching this data with the booking window of the different nations and optimizing the forecast due to this important factors. HotelPartner Yield Management announced the implementation of success-based billing models.  The implementation of success-based billing models aligns incentives between HotelPartner and clients since they don't charge new partners without having achieved added value in regards to room revenue.  This is an interesting and innovative approach - we're curious to see how it works as demonstrating uplift is a really difficult thing to prove given market fluctuations and the massive # of variables that can't be controlled. Marketing Travel Tripper announced Real Time Ads & Metasearch Direct. These tools help hotel marketers minimize costs and maximize RoAS on their digital marketing campaigns. Real Time Ads is the first digital marketing tool that allows hotels to advertise—in real time—their rates, availability, popularity and more right on their Google search ads, delivering double the conversion rates. With Metasearch Direct, Travel Tripper has helped hotels generate 38x their spend on metasearch with our direct connect to Google Hotel Ads. Their unique commission model means that independent hotels with smaller budgets can play on the metasearch channel without any risks—and for less cost than an OTA commission. Travel Tripper announced ADA Monitoring Platform. Many hotels in the U.S. are in constant risk of ADA compliance lawsuits simply because their websites are not accessibility friendly. Not only does the TT Web team offer full-service ADA audits on websites, but they also have built out an automated ADA monitoring platform that performs website checks in real time to ensure compliance. Hotel marketers are immediately notified whenever an element of their site falls out of the accessibility guidelines (for example, lack of alt tags, color contrast etc.) Serenata CRM & IgnitionOne launched a next generation CRM partnership that combines both historic guest information combined with real-time intent data. By tracking and scoring website visitors interests and propensity to convert hoteliers can tailor messaging, content and offers, both on the website and in the booking engine accordingly to this data. The scoring technology also supports new guest acquisition by identifying unknown website user that show high interest in a hotel property or a specific offering from the hotel. Based on the interest and score, the visitor can be prompted with personalized newsletter invite. This approach has proven to massively increase the number of newsletter signups, something necessary for many hotels after recent introductions of privacy regulations like GDPR that eliminated a large part of the hotels marketable profiles due to lack of marketing consents.  The newly created newsletter subscription profiles are enriched with the interests and intent information from the IgnitionOne scoring engine monitoring the hotel website and can be used for marketing purpose complementing the historical data points already stored in Serenata CRM. With Serenata CRM and the real-time intent triggered personalization powered by IgntionOne you can deliver a true personalized experience for your guests and website visitors to drive incremental revenue. Integrator announcements HAPI announced it’s recent Salesforce integration following a 2-way oxy connect with Oracle’s PMS dailypoint™ - software made by Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. GmbH announced a data cleansing solution which allows hotels to automatically clean, correct, and de-duplicate their guest profiles and push that data back to the hotel’s PMS. The fully automated, AI-based process includes hundreds of steps, reviewing all key data points within the guest profile. It removes duplicate profiles, corrects mistakes made from human errors, corrects addresses for more than 240 countries and ultimately creates one single, accurate guest profile for each guest. This data is stored in the central data management solution by dailypoint™ as well as pushed to the hotel’s PMS so that data is accurate across all key sources. Operations Betterspace GmbH announced Smart Check-out feature with digital invoice and the Self-Ordering function, both for the digital guest directory iQ Tab.The Smart Check-Out enables guests to comfortably check out of the hotel and allows them to view and split their invoice digitally and receive it by e-mail. Thanks to this feature, long waiting lines at the reception desk are a thing of the past. Self-Ordering for the digital guest directory gives guests the opportunity to order food and drinks with the digital guest directory - without leaving the hotel room. Orders are sent directly to the hotel restaurant Both features simplify operational workflows, optimize processes and thus relieve staff and relax guests. This reduces administrative/bureaucratic efforts, saves time and money and the time saved can be devoted to what is important: hotel guests. Customer Alliance announced Customer Experience Hub extending their surveying capabilities from solely focused on post-stay reputation and review gathering into the full guest journey. The Customer Experience Hub allows hoteliers to customize automated messaging based on events through the guest journey to collect feedback and pipe it in real time to the department or team member who can act on it to recover fast, improve the guest experience and in-turn--improve review sentiment and gss scores. Travel Appeal announced Mobile Coach, a mobile app designed for on-the-go managers. By combining artificial intelligence with human experience, the Coach is able to detect even the most granular details from customer feedback. It’s the perfect solution for obtaining actionable insights about everything that really matters to a business. Review and operations  management, made simple. The Coach app not only improves and simplifies business strategies, but helps users manage and respond directly to customer feedback - reviews, posts and photos published by customers are
 delivered directly to your mobile. Uncover what your clients really think to offer the best experience and maximize satisfaction. Live updates and a seamless user experience allow managers to track competitors and monitor brand reputation while also collaborating and assigning tasks to staff members. hotelkit GmbH announced a HOUSEKEEPING module.  Their existing platform is used by over 40.000 hotel employees in more than 800 hotels worldwide. This new solution now focuses on all housekeeping needs and guarantees high-quality housekeeping standards through fully digitalized processes. Through an easy and modern paper-free task allocation, housekeeping processes are way more efficient. The workload can be distributed efficiently according to an employee's time and skill credits, thus, productivity is enhanced. Through digital checklists, quality standards are significantly high and the entire cleaning process can be monitored easily through real-time tracking. Smooth and efficient housekeeping routines are a crucial aspect in hotels, as cleanliness is particularly important when it comes to the guest decision making process. However, typical housekeeping processes within hotels are still highly inefficient. In order to be able to substantially increase guest satisfaction, hotelkit HOUSEKEEPING was developed together with several luxury hotels - among them the Sacher Hotel Vienna and Salzburg, and the Radisson Blu Hotel Hamburg Airport. As all processes are digitized, fast reactions, increased quality standards, and high guest satisfaction can be guaranteed! Knowcross announced PANIC BUTTON.  Hospitality workers are subjected to an inordinate amount of sexual harassment and abuse, which is why as a technology provider we considered the introduction of  Panic or Safety Buttons as our way of giving back to the industry. Panic buttons give hospitality workers the ability to summon assistance when needed. PANIC BUTTON helps hotels to provide a safer working environment by instant reporting of harassment complaints by hospitality workers by using technology such as GPS and Bluetooth. Guest Applications & Devices Criton announced multiple property group functionality which was piloted with London-based Cheval Residences became the first brand to adopt the new product. Created specifically for the hospitality sector, the new product gives accommodations providers with multiple properties a platform to include information on each one within a single parent app.  With locations across the capital city, luxury serviced apartment specialist Cheval Residences are the first group to adopt the new technology with eight of their luxury properties contained within their new app. Group functionality is a game-changer for multi-property organizations like Cheval; enabling them to showcase the unique personality of each property while reinforcing their brand, increasing direct bookings and driving loyalty from new and repeat guests. GuestTraction announced online check-in to reduce queuing at Front Desk by moving check-in to pre-arrival. More than a third of guests polled (38%) indicated that a source of frustration was the front desk taking too long to complete requests.