Keeping guests entertained has always been part of a hotel’s requirements—especially at resort and leisure hotels. Evening entertainment, free cable TV, and on-site activities such as table tennis or pool were all classic hotel entertainment options, but what will the 21st century bring for hotel entertainment? Outside the world of hotels, digital entertainment has grown to become the largest media industry in the world. The video game market is valued at a staggering $65 billion in the US this year alone, and Netflix earned a whopping $25 billion in revenue in 2020, and 2021 looks set to be another bumper year. But, with such drastic changes happening outside of the hotel room, it’s about time more efforts were made to bring entertainment like Netflix casting, digital games, and other forms of modern digital media to the hotel room. In this article, we’ll highlight just how hoteliers can utilize modern digital media channels to improve the stay for hotel guests and bring the hotel experience in line with the modern world. Bringing Hotel Rooms into the 21st Century As things currently stand, hotel rooms usually have a TV with access to cable or satellite TV subscriptions, but beyond this, there’s usually very little in hotel rooms to keep hotel guests entertained while they’re there. Now, you may be asking, “why would a guest stay in a hotel just to spend their time in the room? Surely they’ll spend most of their time outdoors?”. This is a valid argument, but what if the weather is bad for their entire stay? What if they have young children who need to be constantly kept entertained? Or what if the idea of chilling out in a hotel room, catching up on their favorite Netflix shows, and ordering room service, is what appeals to them the most? By assuming that there’s a low demand from guests to have access to modern digital media in the hotel room, hoteliers are unwittingly losing out on the potential to drive revenue from in-house outlets. If hoteliers keep guests engaged and content in their hotel room, they’re more likely to stay on-site, and maybe order room service or decide to eat in the hotel restaurant. This is a massive financial incentive for hoteliers to improve the level of digital entertainment in hotel rooms. Casting Netflix and Other Platforms Straight to the Hotel TV With account-based streaming now being the preferred way for many people to consume their favorite shows, it opens up a new array of possibilities for hoteliers. Casting—when a user streams content from their personal device to another device like a TV—is a hugely popular form of watching shows on platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+. However, due to security concerns over the possibility of guests’ account details being stolen, many hotels don’t offer this cutting-edge technology. For hoteliers that really want to offer their guests a seamless experience, where they can continue watching Tiger King or The Queens Gambit in their hotel room from where they left off at home, there are some solutions out there. SuitePad’s SuiteCast solution, for example, gets around the security issue by automatically logging out and deleting any user details data between guest stays, effectively overcoming one of the biggest blockers for this kind of technology. By enabling guests to take their home streaming experience into the hotel room, hoteliers will demonstrate that they understand what guests really want—more control over their hotel stay experience. If guests want to spend their time adventuring outdoors, that’s fine, but equally, if guests want to stay in their room, binge-watching The House Wives of Beverly Hills and ordering room service, there should be nothing stopping them! Digital Gaming in the Hotel Room Of course, watching TV isn’t the only pastime people enjoy—gaming is now one of the biggest multimedia activities in the world. Yet, this is another feature that many hotel rooms lack. Access to high-speed internet and the development of state-of-the-art gaming systems means people can now fight dragons, play football, or race cars with their friends in a virtual world. So why haven’t hotels adapted to add gaming to the hotel room experience? One answer could be down to logistics. Many hotels lack the WiFi infrastructure necessary to enable high-speed gaming in all rooms. With the development of high-speed internet and 5G moving at an incredible rate, it won’t be long before this barrier is overcome, but for the time being, this is a realistic barrier for hoteliers. Another answer is that hoteliers currently have no way of ensuring that guest’s details are kept private. Much like using a Netflix of Amazon Prime account, gamers store sensitive data on online profiles that allows them to play from wherever they are. The problem for hotels is that there are currently no solutions that allow guests to log into their Playstation, Xbox, or Steam account with the knowledge that they will be securely logged out. As gaming becomes equally as big as watching TV in the modern world, hotel tech companies will need to think of ways to bring high-quality gaming into the hotel room in a secure and convenient way. This is one area that we expect will develop in the next five years or so. However, not all guests crave fast graphics and online gaming. Many guest room solutions actually enable guests to play simple games in the hotel room—and they are very popular. The popularity of these simple yet addictive games just goes to show that there is a demand for gaming in the hotel room. Data from SuitePad, which provides games on their guest room tablets, shows that many people still enjoy playing games as a pastime. The most popular game played on SuitePad devices in 2020 was Memory, which clocked up over 100,000 sessions among hotel guests using SuitePad devices. In second and third places came Sudoku and Chess which both clocked in at just over 76,000 sessions. Considering this was a year when fewer people were staying in hotels, these numbers suggest that there is a demand for more interactive entertainment options for guests in the hotel room. It also shows that despite being offered more modern games such as Angry Birds, many guests still prefer the timeless classics. Providing Convenience by Giving Guests More Control There are things hoteliers can do right now to make the in-room entertainment experience more convenient for guests. For example, centralizing some of the hotel room’s features is a good example. Many people actually now use their smartphones to control their TV, and it won’t be long before many TV companies phase TV controls out altogether—they’re just another unnecessary piece of equipment cluttering people’s homes. Using smart devices to control TVs also enables a much greater depth of control. For example, you can search for programs using filters such as genre and language, and you can have an overview of the TV schedule on your smart device screen rather than needing to flick through channels to find something to watch. These solutions are already available for hotels. SuitePad TV Control is one example, but this feature is also popular across many in-room tech providers. For hotels that want to quickly improve the in-room entertainment experience that guests have at their hotel, this is a great quick win that can be implemented at short notice and for a nominal fee. Breaking into the Digital Hotel Room Market Although there are many options out there for hoteliers, it’s important that they still offer some of the original in-room entertainment options that guests have come to expect. Right now, not everyone has a Netflix subscription, so hotels should still offer cable TV options. However, as more and more services continue to be offered on digital platforms, cable TV, and other legacy entertainment options will become obsolete. In this sense, investing in digital entertainment options for your hotel should be done sooner rather than later, as your competitors will soon be making these investments, and you don’t want to be left behind at a time when the industry is going through such profound change. If you’re an enthusiastic and innovative hotelier, you’ll need to start assessing your future hotel room entertainment options now. No doubt offering innovative entertainment ideas will drive business, but whether you are a hotel chain or an independent hotel, creating these high standards will make you and your brand an industry leader. If you’re serious about offering better hotel room entertainment, now is the time to strike, because this space is soon to be one of the hottest areas in modern hotel technology.
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Today’s traveler can book their flight, reserve a stay, and even unlock their guest room via apps on their smartphone - but what about ordering a burger at your hotel? In a recent survey, 47% of travelers say they would be more likely to order room service or dine-in a hotel restaurant if mobile ordering were available. Overall, guest preferences are increasingly shifting towards contactless options, there’s no better time to implement an online ordering system for guests. In fact, 87% of Americans who use food delivery apps say that mobile ordering technology has made their lives easier. That convenience also translates into direct P&L impact where mobile ordering is proven to boost average order values. The best part is that the world has gone appless meaning that your guests can place orders directly in your hotel's POS system without ever downloading an ordering app onto their device. Guests anywhere in your hotel’s ecosystem should be able to order with a few clicks whether they’re at the restaurant, pool, in-room, on the beach, or even the golf course. While mobile ordering might seem like a no-brainer, choosing the right restaurant or room service ordering system can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to follow as you research and ultimately implement a system that’s best for your unique property. Let’s get started! Develop an Initial Business Case for Online Orders at Your Hotel or Restaurant Before making changes to your tech stack and SOPs, it’s crucial to ensure all key stakeholders are on the same page. The first step in implementing a mobile ordering system is to actually clarify why - and if - you need one. Set up a discussion with anyone involved in the decision, including not only restaurant managers, servers, and the F&B director, but also representatives from the front office (who will undoubtedly need to answer guest questions about the system), the finance team (who will handle a new billing process), and IT (who will help to implement the system). “Working more than 100 of the leading hospitality brands like Marriott, Hilton, and Intercontinental we typically find that modern hospitality businesses demand a lightweight solution to sell food and beverage offerings on guests’ own devices. Operators are looking for app-less solutions that don’t require downloads and they are demanding rapid low-cost rollouts,” says RoomOrders CEO Eugene B. Jones. In this discussion, you’ll want to refine your goal: why do you want a new restaurant ordering? And why now? It’s also worthwhile to discuss the pros and cons of your current technology vendors to get a sense of existing pain points and opportunities for improvement. Want to educate yourself further before speaking with your team members? Check out the 2021 Guide to Mobile Ordering Software. Set Measurable Goals Prior to Engaging Potential Technology Vendors How will you know if your mobile ordering system is delivering the results you want? Setting measurable goals is one of the most important steps as you explore mobile ordering at your hotel. Your goals should include a specific target and a timeframe in which you want to reach them. For example, is your primary goal to increase average order value? Maybe you set a goal to grow order value by 50% in the next six months. Perhaps you want to decrease room service response time by 80% over the next quarter. Or you might want to boost overall restaurant order volume by the end of the year. According to Mr. Jones, RoomOrders increased in-room dining checks by 40% at the Hilton Boston Downtown and 122% at the Hilton Sydney. It’s important to set aggressive yet attainable goals based on the success of similar properties. Gather Data to Understand Your Restaurant KPI's Prior to Mobile Ordering Now that you have your goals, how will you know when you meet them? Before implementing a new system, make sure to gather benchmark data related to the goals you’ve set. If you plan to increase your average order size, then you’ll want to pull a report showing your current average order size - and maybe average order size over the last year or two so you can understand seasonal fluctuations. As you gather this data, create a list of your other software partners (like your PMS or POS) that would require integrations with the new restaurant ordering system. Ideally, data from the restaurant ordering system would flow seamlessly into your existing tech to make reporting a breeze. Build a Vendor Shortlist of the Best Restaurant Online Ordering Systems Once you’ve established the goals you want to reach and have gotten buy-in from all of the relevant teams, the real research begins. By reading user reviews, case studies, and articles written by industry experts, you can get a good picture of the mobile ordering system landscape. You can also uncover some nuggets of information from your own network; hoteliers who have implemented ordering systems for their own restaurants can be great resources to answer any questions and provide references. “When choosing between vendors you’ll want to test ordering functionality to ensure the best possible user experience for guests. You’ll also want to compare business models and forecast fees based on various levels of income. For some hotels, a flat subscription is preferable and others prefer a per-transaction fee to align incentives. You’ll also want to explore back-office functionality and reporting capabilities to optimize your business mix over time.” said Jean Baptiste Pigeon, a 37-year veteran hotelier, who has led IHG branded properties across Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa, and now advises RoomOrders. As you conduct research, you’ll find that different systems offer some different features and functionality. It’s helpful to create a list of features you want and score them based on importance. With this priority list, you can objectively compare the specs of various systems to determine whether they might be a good fit for your hotel. Features to consider include: Online menu content management system Mobile payments Upselling and add-ons QR code scanning Analytics and real-time reporting PMS and POS integrations Credit cards and online payments Mobile app download required Guest facing ordering experience Kiosk ordering solution add-ons like iPads or Android tablets Ready to start your shortlist? Head to our list of the 10 Best Mobile Ordering Software Vendors. Participate in Demos and Get Price Quotes Once you've studied up on the category, the best way to determine whether a system is right for your hotel and your needs is to compare different systems. As you narrow down systems of interest, you’ll want to schedule demos and see the software tools in action. During demo sessions, keep an eye out for a few things: User experience: Is the interface user-friendly? Is it easy to learn how to use the system? You certainly don’t want your new restaurant ordering system to make your restaurant service slower. You'll also want to make sure it's easy for guests to order and checkout on their devices. Data reporting capabilities: What analytical features does the system include? How can you pull reporting that shows your average order value, order volume, response time, and other key metrics? Without reporting, you won’t know if you’re meeting your goals, so this functionality is critical. Ease of updating content: How easily can you change the price, description, or photo associated with a menu item? What about controlling which menu items show in certain timeframes through the day? You’ll want a system that allows for as much flexibility as you need - and makes it easy to perform updates to keep your menus current. Customer service: Where do you go for help? Will you receive a dedicated account manager? Is there a 24/7 support hotline you can call? Or is customer support limited to a ticket queue? Based on your hotel’s needs, you might want to look for systems with more hands-on support. Look for HotelTechReport’s Customer Support Certification badge for confidence that the system offers solid options when you need assistance. At this stage, you’ll also talk about monthly fees to determine which system makes the most sense for your budget. Some systems operate on a monthly subscription model, while others charge a commission (either % of revenue or a flat fee per order). Take the time to model out the pricing for your restaurant over the next year or beyond; how much commission would you pay if you achieve your revenue growth goals? How much would you pay in subscription fees? Knowing how much you’ll pay over time can help you make a future-proof decision. “Our main consideration was the level of commitment and risk involved before we could witness significant improvement in our operations and guest experience,” said Food and Beverage Director at the luxurious Hotel Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I in Barcelona, Angelo Vassallo. “We decided upon a solution [RoomOrders] that offered enterprise software with free implementation, zero investment costs and immediate results, as well as no lock-in contracts.” Finally, as you close in on that ideal software, make sure to test it out in the wild. Ask for a demo account, then ask real guests to take it for a test drive. By watching guests place orders and listening to their feedback, you can get a sense of the system’s true benefits and costs. Do guests find it confusing? Does the system encounter a glitch? Or is it totally effortless? Even the most feature-packed system can hurt your restaurant’s performance if it’s not truly user-friendly. Ready to start your search for a restaurant ordering system? Check out our list of the 10 best mobile ordering systems for hotels based on verified reviews from your peers. This content was created collaboratively by RoomOrders and Hotel Tech Report.
The pandemic accelerated technological transformation across the hospitality industry. Contactless has become a must-have, fitness centers have gone virtual, guest communications have moved to mobile, and self-service has become standard. While some hotels found themselves rapidly deploying new technologies, other hotels have been playing the tech-long game for years. Here are some of the world’s most notable high-tech hotels. We've covered the tech strategies of great hotel groups like Viceroy and Noble House who implement everything from contactless check-in to digital concierge but this article focuses on some more wacky tech implementations with a bit of focus on form over function. This list features some pretty cool hi-tech gadgets and hotel room amenities that go above and beyond the typical flat-screen tv. Some of the cutting-edge technology on this list may off-put more traditional travelers but will undoubtedly hit the spot for tech-savvy millennials. Rather than layer technology onto the operation, these properties embed technology into the fabric of the operation, making it a focal point and key feature. Some use it as an Instagrammable moment at a specific location while others structure their entire brand around the tech-enabled guest experience. Either way, technology is front-and-center at these hotels. Henn Na Hotel, Japan “The Robot Hotel” Tokyo has become the marquee high-tech hotel. The brand concept is “commitment to evolution,” which appears across its operation in the form of robots. Lots of robots! The brand claims to be the world’s first hotel staffed by robots -- and there’s really no disputing that, as guests are greeted by robots at the front desk. At one property, the front desk is even staffed by dinosaur robots and iPad kiosks, which is quite the experience. Other high-tech features at some locations include a robot barista frothing lattes, espressos and teas, as well as a 360-degree VR space for guests to immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences. The hotel is also fully enabled with Wifi powered facial recognition, which eliminates the need for a hotel key altogether. Guests can access the property, and their individual guest rooms, seamlessly using biometrics. Very futuristic, indeed! YOTEL, New York City The YOTEL brand has been synonymous with technology since it opened its doors near Times Square. The showstopper was a massive robot arm dominating the lobby, providing automated luggage storage for guests (as well as safety deposit boxes to store valuables). The YOBOT also provides self-service check-in, which puts the brand far ahead of today’s contactless guest experience. The rooms -- called cabins -- may be small, but YOTEL uses technology to deliver its promise to “give you everything you need, and nothing you don’t.” This includes Smart TVs so that guests can connect their own devices and choose their own entertainment. The guest rooms also use motorized beds as space-savers and motion-activated sensors for lighting and AC to reduce carbon emissions. It’s all about efficiency, delivering an outsized guest experience in even the smallest spaces. Blow Up Hall 5050, Poland The Blow Up Hall 50/50 is an impressive mix of form and function. Designed by BAFTA-award-winning artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the hotel combines a restaurant, bar, gallery, and hotel into a unique vibe. There are several digital art installations, including a commentary on surveillance capitalism embedded right within the lobby. The property eliminates the traditional touchstones of the hotel experience: there’s no front desk. The guest’s smartphone provides access to the property, from check-in to room keys to staff communications. The phone also acts as a room finder: after opening the app, the assigned room lights up and the door unlocks automatically. It’s these small tech flourishes that reinforce the property’s sense of mystery and intrigue. Hotel Zetta, San Francisco At the center of Silicon Valley, the centerpiece of Hotel Zetta is most definitely its virtual reality room in the lobby. Designed by a local tech startup (naturally), the VR cube gives guests a fully-immersive opportunity to experience virtual reality. There are also Nintendo Switch consoles and Oculus VR headsets available so guests can experience next-generation technology in the comfort of their rooms. Other tech touchstones include a vintage Atari Pong table in the Zetta Suite, which is modernized to include both the classic game and a Bluetooth speaker to play personal playlists. Each guest room is also equipped with Alexa-enabled voice control in every room. Guests can order a meal from room service, set an alarm or learn about on-property dining specials. Kameha Grand, Zurich The Kameha Grand isn’t one of those kitschy places that you’re embarrassed to stay at. Quite the opposite: the high-end “lifestyle hotel” is part of Marriott’s Autograph collection. And, with rooms designed by Marcel Wenders, it’s got all of the trappings of a luxury property. Rooms Our favorite rooms are, of course, the Space Suites. It’s the most futuristic room type on this list because it quite literally connects to space. The in-room TV features a live feed from NASA TV so that you can fuel those space dreams. The atmospheric vibes will contribute to that dreamy feel, with “outer space furnishings have been designed down to the smallest detail with a floating bed, pictures of galaxies, hovering astronauts and models of rockets.” Far out! Virgin Hotels The Virgin Hotel brand has always been tech-forward and guest-centric. Even prior to the pandemic, the brand empowered guests to control their own experiences right from the palm of their hand. Now, those features are dramatically expanded to be even more contactless. Named Lucy, the app allows guests to skip check-in, using their phone to select rooms and unlock doors. Guests can also use the app to order room service, adjust room temperature, control entertainment (in-room streaming and Apple Music), plan their trip around the city, or even follow custom exercise routines by Fitbod. Following on smartly with its brand promise, the app also offers three preset lighting modes for guestrooms: Get Lit for full brightness, Get in the Mood for dimmed relaxation, and Do Not Disturb for sleep. By putting all of these elements together into a single interface, Virgin Hotels puts the guest in control. 25hours Hotels Another brand that’s focused on high-tech without losing high-touch hospitality is 25hours. Thanks to an in-house multidisciplinary think tank, the Extra Hour Lab, the brand experiments with new ways of engaging with guests, both through digital and analog channels. That balance plays out in Cologne, where the record store greets guests alongside Perhaps that’s one aspect that distinguishes the futuristic, high-tech hotels: those that understand how to inject storytelling into the experience alongside the latest technology. Cityhub A hybrid between a comfortable hotel and a convivial hostel, Cityhub is futuristic in both its technology and its approach to hospitality. It’s part of a new wave of brands that blend categories and use technology to enable a more social experience. The Cityhub brand has an app but it also takes a cue from Disney and offers RFID wristbands. These bands are used not only for check-in and property access, but also at the bar, cafe or vending machines, where guests can serve themselves and charge their rooms. Without having to constantly pull out their phones, there’s a more personal element to the experience. Each “hub” has its own customizable lighting, temperature and audio streaming, so guests can control their vibe. There’s also an on-property social network, giving guests a digital lobby to meet and plan real-world adventures. The Atari Hotel, Las Vegas (coming soon!) A notable mention is the upcoming Atari Hotel in Las Vegas. This property will blur the boundaries between hotel and immersive experience, building on Las Vegas’ long history of blending entertainment with hospitality. The experience is straight out of Blade Runner: bright lights, massive marquees, and an “everywhere you look” focus on gaming. The Atari Hotel points to a far-more futuristic vision of hotels than anything else on the market today. It very well could be the first hospitality experience built just as much for the virtual world as for the physical one. Guests can host friends in their rooms for gaming marathons, with consoles, batteries, and spare controllers available for delivery. The Atari Hotel may redefine the category and establish a new mainstream travel trend: the gamer circuit. -- What are your favorite high-tech hotel amenities? Let us know if we missed any key ones like hotels with crazy underwater speakers, air conditioning activated by motion sensors, cool touchscreen applications, and more!
It seems like you can order anything with a few taps on your phone these days: a ride from Lyft, groceries from the local supermarket, and those things you didn’t know you needed from Amazon. Hospitality businesses like restaurants and hotels are quickly jumping on the mobile ordering bandwagon, a trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic. An estimated 70% of Americans now use food delivery apps, and 87% say mobile ordering has made their lives easier. Many restaurateurs also have found that their revenue and average order size grew after implementing mobile ordering and by taking advantage of partnerships with rapidly growing apps and delivery services like Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash. What can you learn from hotel chains like Hilton and dining establishments like McDonald’s and Starbucks that have strategically adopted mobile ordering? These brands have figured out how to streamline the ordering process, increase average order value, drive brand loyalty, and more. In this article, we’ll share their secrets to mobile ordering success so that you can find opportunities to push your own ordering technology toward the future. Lesson #1: Hilton Properties Understand that Mobile Ordering is the Key to Improving Average Order Value Many hotels still place paper room service menus in their guestrooms and accept room service orders over the phone. For tech-savvy guests, that ordering process can feel as out-dated and clunky as pulling out an atlas instead of opening your Google Maps app. In an effort to boost room service revenue and operating efficiency, the Hilton Boston Downtown partnered with mobile ordering app RoomOrders. With the app in use, the hotel could eliminate those in-room menus and realize a slew of benefits, although it did take a few days to set up the app, input menu details, and take photographs of the menu items. Within a few months, the hotel increased its order value by 30%, reduced the rate of order errors, and delivered an overall better guest experience. And, most importantly, the data provided by RoomOrders helped the Hilton Boston Downtown measure exactly what results mobile ordering delivered. Lesson #2: Don’t Build Your Ordering App in House - Just Ask McDonalds It can be tempting to want to build your own custom ordering system in-house, but even major brands have grappled with operational challenges as a result of developing their own tech. In most cases, the better option is to work with an expert who can share a wealth of experience in the mobile ordering space. Though McDonald’s is known as a leader in efficiency, the restaurant chain should have realized its core competencies lie in cooking - not coding. Instead of incorporating an existing mobile ordering app, McDonald’s developed their own, and it led to chaos at their restaurants. As the app rolled out in 2016, employees were required to handle more tasks and adjust to a new service flow, which increased the average wait time. Some employees decided to quit rather than take on more work for the same pay. If McDonald’s had collaborated with a company that specializes in mobile ordering, the rollout could have enhanced the guest experience (and employee morale!) instead of hurt it. Lesson #3: Dominos Used Mobile Ordering to Grow Loyalty (and their Competitive Moat) In a mobile ordering landscape dominated by a few big names - UberEats, Doordash, and the like - Domino’s has doubled down on its efforts to build guest loyalty through its Piece of the Pie program. A key reason for restaurants to encourage customer participation in loyalty programs is to gather their data, like their name, order history, and preferences; a restaurant receives very little information about a customer who orders through a third-party app. All of Domino’s mobile orders go through their own platform, rather than third-parties like UberEats, giving them a competitive advantage over other restaurants that rely heavily on such channels. It’s easy to understand why customers would choose Domino’s mobile ordering app over a third-party; Domino’s has launched AI-powered forecasting and GPS driver tracking so customers get updates on their order with 95% accuracy. Customers can even order with voice technology through their Amazon Echo or Google Home. Plus, the Piece of the Pie loyalty program lets customers earn points on every order and redeem points for free pizza. What could be better than that? Lesson #4: Starbucks Case Study Shows that Mobile Ordering Brings in New Customers If you feel the urge to return to Starbucks again and again, it’s probably not just because of the coffee. Starbucks’ mobile app hooks customers with its user-friendly interface, and the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program allows customers to collect stars that they can redeem for freebies. When placing a mobile order, Starbucks customers can completely customize their beverages, from the temperature to the number of pumps of flavor syrup. The app can remember your preferences and favorite orders, so each order feels personalized. Since the mobile ordering at Starbucks launched in 2016, the company has worked out the kinks and eliminated bottlenecks so the mobile ordering process is nearly seamless today. As a result of Starbucks’ investment in their mobile ordering system, almost 25% of their orders in Q4 2020 were placed on mobile. And overall order volume continues to grow: "Almost all of our same-store sales growth is from those customers that we have digital relationships with and those that are in our Starbucks Rewards program," Starbucks CFO Scott Maw said at a JPMorgan forum in March 2018. Lesson #5: Chick-Fil-A Uses Mobile Ordering to Surprise & Delight If mobile ordering seems like a necessary evil in today’s hospitality world, Chick-Fil-A proves that mobile ordering can actually enhance the service experience. Rather than simply an order-placing method, Chick-Fil-A uses mobile ordering to surprise and delight their customers. The Atlanta-based company hired an alum of Google and Facebook to head their Digital Experience efforts, and in June 2016 the Chick-Fil-A app launched. To celebrate the milestone, everyone who downloaded the app received a voucher for a free sandwich. The freebies continue even though the app is no longer so new and novel. In addition to earning points that can be redeemed for free food, Chick-Fil-A’s app surprises customers with unexpected freebies. It’s the digital equivalent of comping a customer to thank them for their patronage, a practice that Chick-Fil-A didn’t want to lose in the era of smartphones. Want to know more about mobile ordering in the hospitality industry? Ask via live chat or reach out to firms like RoomOrders who are experts in the space and have already perfected the technology or download the free Official 2021 Guide to Mobile Ordering Software for Hotels. This content was created collaboratively by RoomOrders and Hotel Tech Report.
Telephones have been a key component of the hotel room for well over a century—even the most rundown motel will have one (although it might not always work!). Aside from allowing guests to communicate with the outside world from the comfort of their own room, they also enable guests to communicate with the hotel staff directly. Room service, wake-up calls, and late check-out wouldn’t exist without there being telephones in hotel rooms. But, has the time come for hotels to move on with updated technology? The general public has certainly moved on from using "standard" telephone systems in the home, with more and more people now choosing to get rid of their landline phone altogether and instead solely rely on mobile devices. The same will soon be happening in the hotel room as hotel telephones are due for an upgrade! The Success of the Hotel Telephone Hotel telephones have well and truly stood the test of time. In fact, the first telephone call ever made in a hotel room was supposedly made by Alexander Graham Bell himself in 1877 at London’s prestigious Brown’s Hotel. Although modern telephones look and feel quite different from Bell’s initial invention, the basic technology behind them is essentially the same. This is where they have been so successful—they are reliable and recognizable. Almost everyone in the world knows how to use a telephone, even if they’ve never actually seen or used one themselves. Hoteliers don’t need to worry about hotel guests walking into a hotel room and being perplexed by the strange contraption in the corner. Additionally, telephone systems are reliable. In an industry where your reputation can make or break you, having reliable technology is essential to keeping guests happy. Hoteliers can be confident that guests will be able to order room service, make bookings, or receive their wake-up calls without complications. These were the main reasons put forward by Chad Collins, VP of sales in the Americas for VTech in a 2018 interview with Hotel Management. But, things have changed significantly since 2018—we’ve had a global pandemic that has completely changed how we view modern communication technology. The pandemic has changed modern communication technology The global pandemic forced many of us to use digital forms of communication more than ever before. While people from older generations such as the baby boomers would have once been more comfortable with simple legacy telephone systems, they’re now using digital forms of communication more than ever before, and they love it! One of the most popular digital communication platforms, Zoom, saw a huge increase in 2020, with over 300 million participants per day communicating through the platform as of June 2020. The fears that hoteliers once had about baby boomers and other older generations not being able to use hotel room technology are now outdated. It seems that people from all generations have really embraced modern communication technologies, so it’s time for hoteliers to realize this and offer their guests a more modern telephone system too. What is a Digital Telephone System for Hotels? A digital telephone system, such as SuitePad’s SuitePad Phone, is a telephone system that relies on modern digital technologies. While old analog systems used coaxial cables to connect telephones to the hotel’s in-built telephone system, digital telephone systems rely on modern wifi technology to carry calls through a technology called voice-over-IP (VoIP). Modern wifi systems have a huge capacity, so moving calls onto the in-built wireless network of the hotel won’t have an impact on the overall performance of the hotel wifi but makes calls much clearer and more stable than traditional telephone systems. Another defining feature of digital telephone systems for hotels is the access device. Traditional phone systems use telephones or sometimes have loudspeaker options. They use analog buttons that easily get dirty, stuck, or even broken. Digital telephone systems use digital interfaces to make calls. These could be hotel room tablets, mobile devices, or even hotel TV systems. Making calls through digital interfaces offers a much more pleasant experience for guests. They get to experience the sleek design that they’ve come to expect with using modern mobile devices such as smartphones. In addition, digital systems allow hoteliers to add an additional layer of convenience—they can add buttons that directly put guests through to certain departments in the hotel so guests don’t need to punch in any numbers at all. As the technology advances, hoteliers will also be able to offer their guests the choice of having video chat and multiple participant calls—a feature that has proven popular during the pandemic and is set to stay. The Benefits of Digital Telephone Systems: Cheaper, Updateable, and Sales-Oriented As digital telephone systems rely on wireless technology, there’s no need to ensure the physical upkeep of the aging analog telephone system. This is a massive advantage for older hotels because the upkeep of analog telephone systems can need extensive work and cause structural damage. This also gives hoteliers more flexibility with hotel remodeling jobs as they no longer need to take into consideration the internal analog telephone system when making structural changes. Updating digital telephone systems is also very simple. All you need to do is download a simple update to the system and you’re ready to go. If your system requires a hardware upgrade, there will be no complications with installations as it runs on a wireless network—all you need to do is connect the new hardware and the system is ready to go! Hotels that install digital telephone systems will also benefit from the other features that come with digital hotel technology. For example, hotels that install hotel guest tablet systems as digital telephone systems will also profit from the other associated benefits of this technology such as interactive digital menus, the ability to send push notifications, and the implementation of a digital guest directory. These features all increase in-house sales, boosting revenue and driving a strong ROI. The Future Outlook for Hotel Telephone Systems The pandemic has shown people what digital communication technology can really do and it’s unlikely people will revert back to analog systems of communication once the pandemic has passed. For hotel businesses, this is the green light to digitize their telephone systems to meet the demands of modern guests. With digital phone systems, hotel businesses will be able to save on expensive repair costs to their aging analog telephone systems, easily update their telephone systems as the technology advances, and offer guests the modern experience they expect from modern hotels. The hotels that install this technology first will benefit the most by getting ahead of the competition at the earliest possible time.
Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hotel tech jobs and employers globally. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the hotel industry. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that 121 million of the 330 million jobs tied to tourism around the world will be lost in 2020. Despite existential challenges, hotels and their vendors have proven resilient in the face of the biggest challenge ever posed to the hospitality industry by working together. But there’s always opportunity in crisis. The pandemic has advanced digitization in the global economy by at least 5 years according to most experts. Hotels that already had adopted technology like contactless check-in and guest messaging software have had a massive advantage since the pandemic broke out and the importance of technology for running a successful hotel business will continue to rise over the coming years meaning that demand for hotel technology talent will grow with it. Here at Hotel Tech Report, we’ve interviewed countless hoteliers about their journeys from being hoteliers into lucrative technology careers like Del Ross, Marco Benvenuti, Sameer Umar, and Kevin Brown. For hoteliers furloughed on the sidelines, there is an unprecedented opportunity to pivot into a technology career leveraging skills and knowledge from hospitality experience. But which hotel tech companies should you apply to? Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of hotel tech professionals to find the best companies to work for in the hospitality industry. We ask respondents to rate their employers from 1-10 on these key variables: Work-life balance Personal development opportunities Gender equality Confidence in company direction Values alignment 2021 Bonus Question: Rate your firm’s COVD-19 crisis response Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality tech jobs and (2) to help hotel tech buyers understand that it’s just as important to partner with great organizations as it is to find great software tools and products. Vendor culture is important to every aspect of a vendor relationship: Product: Great workplaces attract the best talent who make the best products Customer Support: Happy client reps give better service and stay around longer developing deeper relationships. Sales: When a sales team has high turnover, innovation gets strangled because there isn’t enough cash coming in the door to invest in innovation. Our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list features companies who foster wonderful work environments for employees. In return, those employees deliver incredible products and services to clients. Without further adieu here are 2021’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech… 10. Siteminder (TIE) Right before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, industry leader Siteminder reached an incredible milestone earning itself unicorn status. Under the stewardship of CEO Sankar Narayan the firm quickly composed itself when the pandemic broke out and began rolling out initiatives to support both employees and customers like its World Hotel Index sharing real-time data with the industry when historical data just wouldn’t cut it. Siteminder has an internal slack channel called #stayingsocial dedicated strictly to team members having a social communal space in the age of remote work. This is pretty typical for a small startup but much rarer in the world of 700 employee behemoths. The great part about working at a large startup-like Siteminder is that there’s almost limitless upward mobility according to one employee working in operations at the firm, “They allow me opportunities to take on more responsibilities that are even beyond my scope to develop my skills and prep me up for bigger roles. They also give leadership training to enhance to continue developing my capabilities.” If you’re looking for a fast-paced global startup on a world domination path - then you should absolutely be dropping a resume at Siteminder. The best part is that they’ve got offices all around the world so even if you prefer the WFH life your colleagues shouldn’t be too far away no matter where you call home. 10. Atomize (TIE) This is Atomize’s first time making Hotel Tech Report’s annual Best Places to Work list but we doubt it will be their last. In true Swedish fashion Atomize rates amongst the highest on the list for gender equality with a 50% ratio of men to women on its leadership team. Atomize also rates very highly for culture alignment with a score of 97.8%. Perhaps the biggest standout for Atomize was how highly employees rated the firm’s COVID-19 response and support for clients during a crisis. “Everyone from finance to product development has chipped in to try to support clients. We have for instance developed a relief-program for those that are hurting really bad, we have updated the product to amend for the large drop in occupancy for hotels, etc,” one Atomize executive told Hotel Tech Report. Atomize made it through COVID-19 without a single layoff which is a testament to the longevity of the business and its and commitment to team members. During the crisis Atomize stayed calm, launched the 2.0 version of their core RMS product, and even found time to bring the team together for a BBQ this summer during a slow down in transmission rates. 9. Hotel Effectiveness Georgia (the U.S. state not the country) based Hotel Effectiveness is in the business of helping hotel owners more efficiently manage labor but the question is: how well do they manage their own labor? It turns out they do a pretty darned good job at fostering internal culture. Prior to the pandemic labor costs were the biggest focus area for most hotel ownership and management groups - despite the shift in focus Hotel Effectiveness managed to grow through the pandemic all while placing a heavy emphasis on quality of life for employees. Team members cite a high percentage of employees being groomed from junior roles into leadership positions, flexible PTO programs, and strong opportunities for women. PTO is great but Hotel Effectiveness management goes one step further where they encourage team members to completely unplug and not even check email during their vacation. Adding icing to the cake, employees raved about the firm’s response to COVID-19 where it was able to grow without any layoffs needed. One engineer raved about the Company’s COVID-19 response, “Hotel Effectiveness immediately shifted priorities specifically to address the changing needs of our clients. Hotel Effectiveness provided new guidance materials, payment options, and built new features (such as Daily Wellness Check-In) under tight deadlines to meet the new needs of our customers.” 8. EasyWay Big congrats to the first-ever Israeli startup to make this list! If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv or the Start-up Nation (Israel), perhaps a job interview with EasyWay is the excuse you needed to visit one of the most amazing cities in the world packed with beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a foodie scene that’s truly in a league of its own. EasyWay is the quintessential startup with a mentality that so long as you hit your KPIs - the rest of your life is totally flexible. An EasyWay executive’s quote to Hotel Tech Report about the last 12-months at the company says it all, “The work around the clock in the COVID-19 time was crazy. We have developed so much stuff, that I almost miss this period. We've learned a lot from that, and staid on our feet! The rest of the team was great and it really gave me confidence in my own abilities. If you're the kind of person who likes to work hard and play hard - you’d be wise to check out EasyWay’s open positions. 7. Asksuite This is Asksuite’s second year making the list and true to their commercial team’s motto “rockets don’t have reverse”, even a pandemic couldn’t slow down this high flying Brazilian startup. Florianopolis may not be a hotel tech hub (yet) but the Asksuite team has access to lessons in language, hospitality and other training to upskill their way into global domination. During the pandemic, leaders have made themselves available for 1:1 meetings to support all colleagues and perhaps it’s this close communication that leads Asksuite employees to rate 98% confidence in the future success of the firm. Asksuite employees frequently cite an onboarding process that makes all team members feel like a part of the family in short order. 6. RoomRaccoon Despite the pandemic RoomRaccoon doubled the firm’s headcount in 2020 and achieved a major milestone in reaching 1,000 clients. Employees frequently cite similar aspects of the culture as differentiators like their annual international week at the Netherlands headquarters and an inclusive onboarding program. One employee within the marketing department told Hotel Tech Report, “This year RoomRaccoon decided to start hiring more new colleagues against the market trend of furlough and letting people go. To smoothen the onboarding process of our new hires we've created an E-learning program and two intensive onboarding weeks. So far we've onboarded 15 new hires since July 2020 that immediately are getting results. Something I'm really proud of!” If you’re looking for an ambitious organization with a strong remote culture and complementary annual trips to the Netherlands - don’t hesitate and check out open listings at RoomRaccoon. 5. Alliants The Alliants story is the cure to the common venture funded business gone wrong story. Alliants built the business developing custom software for ultra luxury hotel brands like Four Season and Jumeirah before ever dipping their toes into the SaaS world. That means they’ve got killer products, an eye for design and engineering to back it up. Starting in a consultative role for luxury brands has afforded Alliants a luxury not many early stage SaaS products have - cash flow. How would this impact you when you apply for a role there? Alliants employees are given a $5,000 stipend to invest in their own education and training. Whether it’s a paid marketing course or intro to Ruby on Rails - at Alliants you will be able to create your own journey and take control of your destiny. Have you ever had a boss block your calendar so people can’t book meetings with you? Well, Alliants employees have. During winter months with less daylight, CEO Tristan Gadsby blocked the entire team’s calendars from 11:30am - 1:30pm to encourage team members to get outside, walk or simply catch some rays. If that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will. 4. ALICE This ain’t ALICE’s first rodeo, well it’s their fourth if we want to be precise about it. ALICE has made Hotel Tech Report’s Best Places to Work list 4 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). ALICE is an incredible place to work for former hoteliers because employees truly act as a strategic extension of their partner properties. During the pandemic, ALICE quickly pivoted to rollout closure checklists and other free assets to help partners quickly reconfigure their operations for the new normal. “The most memorable achievement while working at ALICE this past year was being able to provide support for our employees during the pandemic. The pandemic-related fatigue and anxiety impacted everyone and in different ways. We were able to provide support to our employees through group therapy sessions, health and wellness initiatives, increased one-on-one check-ins regarding fatigue, increased opportunities for learning and connection with one another virtually. I am so proud of how the leadership at ALICE has led us through the most difficult time in our industry's history, and with such care for both our customers, our industry as a whole, and our employees,” says one ALICE team member in an HR role. Just as important as supporting clients through COVID-19 is supporting colleagues. ALICE team members were constantly comforted that management understood the stress and challenges they were facing during this historic yet tragic year, encouraging an environment of transparency and honesty about how to cope with natural distractions from work in times of stress. 3. hotelkit Austria-based hotelkit is another repeat visitor on this list moving up from 4th to 3rd place. Founded in 2012 by hotelier Marius Donhauser, hotelkit is a majority female-run business that’s growing rapidly but responsibly throughout Europe. hotelkit’s team motto is “one team one dream” and while the team had to work remotely for a good portion of the year, colleagues are hopeful that 2021 will bring back the annual hotelkit Christmas party famous for great eats and poker. Under Marius’ leadership, hotelkit has fostered a culture that feels like family so it’s no wonder that employees rate the culture so highly across every single vector. 2. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds may be the fastest-growing hotel tech company right now so while their headquarters are in sunny San Diego the Company has got Silicon Valley energy pumping through its veins. Not to mention, Cloudbeds is extremely global with local managers in 40 countries. On March 11th (yes that’s right when COVID-19 took the world by storm) Cloudbeds announced the closing of an $80M funding round. Cloudbeds employees tend to share two main things in common: (1) they are extremely performance-driven and (2) they LOVE to travel. One Cloudbeds employee within the operations department told Hotel Tech Report, “I managed to get promoted on my 1 anniversary day at Cloudbeds, I was so happy and everyone was so attentive to me during this process. Cloudbeds is an amazing company, full of amazing individuals, it's so nice to see the owners in our calls and engaged with us all at all times. I used to think I had worked at good companies, till I met Cloudbeds. This is where I want to stay and grow. It will be hard for any other company to take me from here.” Cloudbeds has TONS of openings so make sure to browse their career page if you’re in the market. 1. Mews This is Mews’ 3rd year making the list ranking #2 in 2019 and #3 in 2020 - but this is their first year topping the list which is a testament to the strong culture at the firm. Like most fast-growing companies, the pandemic wreaked havoc on projections and business plans for Mews leading to some difficult decisions needing to be made. Mews not only came through what was maybe the darkest moment in the history of the hotel industry but came out stronger than ever before. Mews leadership set a strong course for the business cutting expenses, reorganizing the team, rebranding, focusing on remote deployments, and even making an acquisition. Quite a busy year - even if things had been normal. Mews management has created one of those infectious startup cultures that can almost feel cult-like at times often intoxicating entire trade show floors (pre-COVID). It’s not often that employees at an aggressive high-performance tier 1 venture-backed business get to see their founder dancing through a town hall (affectionately named Mews Con) in a silly costume. Mews pivoted from hyper-growth mode into a sharp focus on profitability right-sizing the business and is poised to come out of the pandemic far stronger than it went in. Lots of open roles to check out and we’re sure that list will continue to grow over the coming months.
Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated hotel software in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the Top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards. The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity. The HotelTechAwards platform (by Hotel Tech Report) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products and companies that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The People’s Choice Award goes to a single company across all categories who demonstrates the strongest customer relationships during the HotelTechAwards. Cloudbeds had more than 550 hotelier customers come out to share overwhelmingly positive feedback about Cloudbeds products in the midst of a global pandemic. To have that kind of support from clients during the most challenging market in hotel history says all you need to know about Cloudbeds’ commitment to their partner properties,” says Hotel Tech Report CEO Jordan Hollander. Here’s the Official 2021 People’s Choice List: Cloudbeds SiteMinder RoomRaccoon Bookassist OTA Insight ALICE IDeaS Avvio Hoteltime hotelkit The key factors used to determine the annual People’s Choice Award include total verified customer reviews, geographic reach of reviews, and overall review sentiment and ratings. The best companies know that the most effective way to communicate their value proposition is to empower and amplify the voices of their happy customers. The People’s Choice Award recognizes companies whose customers really value the relationship and partnership. “Twenty years ago we lived in a world where hoteliers just used one of the three or four technology systems out there and typically just ended up using whatever system they had heard of before. Today there are thousands of SaaS choices in the market and dozens of great options available for most use cases but the market is moving so quickly that it’s hard for hoteliers to identify and keep track of the best products and companies. This award honors the companies whose hotel customers are the most vocal advocates of their products to make that process easy,” says Hollander. About the 2021 People's Choice Award The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity. Early on as a startup, it’s easier for companies to maintain strong customer relationships with a limited customer base. But as a company grows its install base and scales globally, maintaining high customer satisfaction becomes increasingly more challenging. Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated product in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards acknowledging the achievements of top innovators across all categories who embody the values, transparency, and customer-centricity that lie at the core of truly great companies. View Ranking Methodology>>
Hotel Tech Report has announced winners in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews contributed by verified hoteliers during the competition. Winners are selected based on key performance metrics including product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more. Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing 10,227 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite tech products to run and grow their businesses. It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history. Winning a HotelTechAward is a huge feat with the 2021 competition being the most competitive year ever. Every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” During the HotelTechAwards, hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies review the top tech products used at their hotels to increase operating efficiency, drive revenue, and improve the guest experience. This data is used to identify the best hotel tech products and organizations. "The HotelTechAwards are the only prize in the industry that is completely and transparently customer-driven — it's the hoteliers that decide who is best, and it's their opinion that matters most." Gautam Lulla, CEO at Pegasus. "We at SiteMinder believe strongly in the essence of openness; it is what underpins the very core of what we stand for, and the HotelTechAwards, through the program's data-driven and transparent process, aligns firmly with this value.” - Sankar Narayan, CEO at SiteMinder “This honor has deep, personal meaning as it is decided upon by our clients and represents our passion and focus for providing the most sophisticated revenue technology and comprehensive support.” Dr. Ravi Mehrotra Founder at IDeaS “The HotelTechAwards are a powerful stamp of approval for any company to possess and for hoteliers to trust. We value the HotelTechAwards process, which collects thousands of verified reviews from around the world each year.” Alex Shashou, Co-Founder at ALICE “HotelTechReport is the leading platform for technology in the hotel industry, and its meticulous and impartial verification process makes this one of the most prestigious awards.” Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen, Co-Founder at SuitePad The competition spans core areas of hotel software & technology: marketing, revenue, operations, and guest experience. 2021 Voting included participation from major hotel groups including Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Accor Hotels, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Rosewood, and thousands of independents. "We originally created the HotelTechAwards as a democratized way to help our fellow hoteliers quickly determine best of breed vendors based on data they can trust and the scope of the competition this year is a testament to how far the industry has come in the last decade. The HotelTechAwards rating process is simple, transparent, and unbiased--judging is based on time tested ranking factors, publicly available data, and crowdsourced insights from verified hoteliers who have hands-on experience with each product.” The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and winners were selected from the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 127 countries. Best Hotel Software Companies List >>
Hotel Tech Report has announced finalists in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews from verified hoteliers during the competition. Finalists are selected based on key performance metrics like product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more. Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing over 10,000 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite software products. It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history. Finaling in the HotelTechAwards is a reflection of quality every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” Hotel Tech Report authenticates reviews through a strict verification process. Further, companies are ranked based on pre-defined objective data variables to avoid the biases present in other human judged competitions. "Based on real and honest customer feedback, the HotelTechAwards really do provide the most transparent view on how technology is perceived and used across the industry,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO at OTA Insight. The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and finalists are selected from more than 1,000 of the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 120 countries. -- Competition winners will be publicly announced on January 12th -- Best Guest Experience Technology Finalists Guest Messaging Software: Whistle, EasyWay, Monscierge Guest Room Tablets: SuitePad, INTELITY Guest Survey Software: TrustYou, Guestrevu, Revinate Hospitality TV Providers: Monscierge (Apple TV) Mobile Key: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, FLEXIPASS Mobile Ordering: Bbot, RoomOrders Hotel Guest Apps: ALICE, INTELITY, Wishbox Best Operations Software Finalists Property Management Systems: Cloudbeds, Mews, Clock PMS+, HotelTime Staff Collaboration: hotelkit, Monscierge, ALICE Hotel Management Systems: RoomRaccoon, Cloudbeds Concierge Software: ALICE Cyber Security & Fraud Prevention: Canary Technologies, Sertifi Digital Signage: Monscierge Housekeeping Software: hotelkit, ALICE, Optii Marketplaces & Integrators: Hapi, Dailypoint Preventive Maintenance: hotelkit, ALICE, Transcendent Restaurant Management: HotelTime, Oracle MICROS POS Employee Engagement Software: hotelkit, Hotel Effectiveness, Beekeeper Contactless Check-in: EasyWay, Canary Technologies, Wishbox Spa Management: HotelTime Best Revenue Management & Finance Software Finalists Revenue Management Systems: IDeaS, Duetto, Atomize Business Intelligence: OTA Insight, Duetto, ProfitSword Central Reservations Systems: Pegasus Channel Managers: SiteMinder, Cloudbeds, D-EDGE Parity Management: OTA Insight, RateGain Rate Shopping & Market Intelligence: OTA Insight, SiteMinder, RateGain Reporting & Accounting: M3, MyDigitalOffice Upselling Software: Oaky, GuestJoy, EasyWay Best Marketing Tech Finalists Booking Engines: Cloudbeds, Bookassist, SiteMinder Hotel CRM & Email Marketing: Revinate, Profitroom, Dailypoint Digital Marketing Agencies: Bookassist, Avvio, Net Affinity Direct Booking Tools: Triptease, Hotelchamp Website Live Chat and Chatbot: Asksuite, Whistle Independent Loyalty Programs: The GuestBook Metasearch & Ad Tech: Bookassist, Avvio, Koddi Reputation Management: TrustYou, Guestrevu, Revinate Hotel Website Design: Bookassist, Avvio, Profitroom Best Meetings & Events Tech Finalists Event Management Software: Event Temple Group Sourcing & RFP Software: MeetingPackage, Venuesuite Meetings Intelligence Software: Duetto, IDeaS Sales CRM: Event Temple, MeetingPackage
Travel is, for the moment, no longer the easy escape from daily life that many once sought. The health and safety restrictions necessary to combat COVID-19 have complicated everything from getting on a plane to ordering at a restaurant. For hotels, nearly every element of the guest experience needs to be reconsidered to prevent the transfer of the virus. Before, a guest would simply pick up the phone to order room service. Now, guests are wary of high-contact surfaces – and may not want to use the phone. Room service must be left outside the door, rather than delivered in person. Guests wishing to dine at your on-site restaurant must make a reservation to ensure capacity restrictions are met. All these added precautions put additional burden on your housekeeping team already operating with reduced staff – again, due to capacity restrictions. Many hotel properties are thinking outside the box about how to create a safe, yet satisfying, guest experience. Mercantile Hotel is experimenting with a robot concierge named Suga. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac has created a set-menu meal package of three meals a day, delivered to the room or in the property’s restaurant. Singapore’s hotels are going all-in on “automation and artificial intelligence” as well as “self check-in kiosks, mobile check-in, chatbots, direct booking applications, contactless payments, and digital in-room dining services.” Robots aside, there is one stand-out solution that’s easy to implement at properties of all sizes: QR codes. The use of QR codes to enhance the guest experience isn’t that new or revolutionary. Many properties are using QR codes to provide instant access to hotel information, such as services and amenities, guest check-in, room service, and more. Crave AppLess™ marries QR codes with seamless technology to help a property to maximize revenue and be cost-efficient. The pandemic won’t impact travel forever, and Crave AppLess™ offers a frictionless (and touchless) experience for guests as well as a new avenue for hotels to capture incremental revenue in the time of coronavirus, and beyond. Crave AppLess™ in Brief Crave’s newest offering, Crave AppLess™, is elegant in its simplicity. The product creates custom QR codes a guest can scan to order room service, explore amenities,and pay for products and services using a range of methods, including Apple Pay or charge to room. QR codes can be added to guest rooms, restaurant tables, cabanas, and other locations around your property – as well as in your booking emails. 71% of guests prefer to use a QR code versus downloading an app. With Crave, there’s no download required: as the name suggests, AppLess™ gives guests frictionless access to digital services on their own devices. Guests can simply point their phone cameras at the custom QR codes to access services customized to your hotel and your brand. How does Crave AppLess™ work? With Crave AppLess™, guests can explore amenities at your property without touching shared surfaces like menus, directories, and in-room phones. It’s an easy way to increase the health and safety of your guests and staff. Here’s an example of how Crave AppLess™ facilitates a better guest experience – without overworking your reduced staff. Load your hotel's menu into the easy-to-use CMS. Include pictures, descriptions of dishes, and modifiers. Crave’s customer success team is highly experienced and will even set-up your menu for you ensuring seamless configuration and deployment. Put a QR code sign in guest rooms. Crave’s AppLess™ uses location-intelligent QR codes to enable guests to access the menu in addition to other amenities – spa services, for instance. Guests can simply point their camera at any code. Guests can even opt-out of housekeeping and control who is able to access their room through the mobile web, reducing your housekeeping costs. Guests scan the QR code sign and place their order. With the platform’s integrated easy payment with Apple Pay and Google Pay, guests can pay for food and drink to be delivered to their room. The kitchen automatically knows it's from a specific room, sends, and charges to their PMS. No additional manual labor from your team is needed to fulfill the customer’s request. Contactless delivery is easy. There are longer-term benefits to adding Crave AppLess™ at your property, too. First and foremost, the flexibility of Crave AppLess™ means you can add infinite points of discovery to your property. As your offerings grow and change, you can make digital adjustments to your guest services compendium without interrupting or disrupting the guest experience. Save money – and trees – in the long run as you cut down on paper and printing costs. As a modular solution, AppLess™ can be used as a really simple, low-cost solution that simply provides links to PDF menus and directories. Once implemented, upgrading with additional services and functionality is easy. As your hotel’s requirements evolve, AppLess™ can evolve with you - adding functionality like a digital concierge service to make more incremental revenue from commissions. Your guests benefit from the instant and easy access to explore all your services – without having to download and sign up for an app. The integrated payment feature also lowers any barriers to completing the checkout process. Guests don’t have to go through the hassle of visiting the concierge or front desk to pay, and your property benefits from higher incremental sales – especially from day guests. Capture higher revenues from F&B, spa bookings, and concierge services. Is Crave AppLess™ right for your property? At the end of the day, Crave AppLess™ is a low stakes, high reward investment you can make to boost revenue now and in the future. Customers have never enjoyed downloading an app; an easily scannable QR code circumvents the many steps it takes to get set up with a new app that a guest won’t use. Your property can benefit from incremental revenue and excellent service that drives loyalty and repeat visits – all while keeping your team and guests safe. Get in touch with Crave to request more information. This content was created collaboratively by Crave Interactive and Hotel Tech Report.