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The Journey from IT Manager to VP of IT with Virgin Hotels’ Jason Doebrich

by
Jordan Hollander
2 days ago

How far do you want to take your career in hotel IT? If you have aspirations to make the leap from on-property to a corporate or regional role, then you’ll be inspired by the career trajectory of Jason Doebrich, the VP of Technology at Virgin Hotels. We had the chance to talk with Jason about his experiences working at several top hotel companies, serving in both on-premise and corporate roles. Jason offers some great advice for anyone looking to further their career in hotel IT and shares exciting anecdotes about his challenges and learnings along the way. After graduating from Florida State University with a degree in Information Science, Jason started his career as an IT manager at Morgans Hotel Group in Miami Beach. He worked on-property first, then became the Regional IT Director overseeing the Shore Club, Mondrian, and Delano. Jason’s next career move took him to Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, where was the on-site Director of IT at the Mandarin Oriental Miami for several years before earning a promotion to a regional role, in which he oversaw IT for all the Mandarin Oriental properties in the US as the Corporate Regional Director of IT. In 2022 Jason joined Virgin Hotels as their Vice President of Information Technology. As Jason explains, IT is a challenging and fast-paced career. In the hospitality industry, technology is a complex vertical, which involves building partnerships with technology vendors and thinking creatively to solve problems. Although some non-tech folks might think so, technology cannot solve every problem in hotels, so IT professionals need to work hard to implement technology seamlessly while also using critical thinking skills to figure out whether the problem at hand can be solved with people or process improvements.

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How Hotel Owners Can Benefit from Mobile Tech Tools

by
Nikolai Kronborg
2 weeks ago

Firstly, mobile services allow hotels to improve their operational efficiency. Mobile digitalization facilitates the automation of tasks that otherwise have to be performed manually by hotel staff. These can be eliminated by having guests do it themselves in advance (e.g. fill in the information, registration card, check-in and out, online payment, choose and allocate rooms, chat, book spa, dinner, or golf reservations, etc). Besides requiring fewer human resources from the hotel that could be spared or employed in other higher-value tasks, the best part of this self-administrated service is that by transferring the tasks to the guests, it further improves their experience and satisfaction. Mobile digitalization gives freedom for guests to find their own convenience.   Connect with guests on-the-go and extend the relationship beyond the duration of the stay Secondly, mobile services lead to a more customer-focused service and create a more personalized and on-premise accessible experience. For instance, more than 50% of American leisure travelers would use an app to add extras on-the-go during their hotel stays. Mobile services also help to maintain long-term relationships and two-way communication anytime during the guest’s journey and better manage loyalty programs.   Optimizes the value per guest and targets their specific needs In turn, this widens the opportunity to target guests’ specific needs, hence allowing hotels to focus their strategy on the optimization of each guest’s value. Mobile apps have an additional advantage, they work as direct channels to guests by integrating with customer support and feedback systems, as well as with broader online review platforms. Lastly, mobile apps can potentially capture late bookers. Over 70% of same-day hotel reservations are made on smartphones, thus, an optimized mobile experience can be the key to unlocking the value of late bookers,- and re-bookings.   What are guests really expecting from mobile hospitality? Guests want pre-arrival check-in and avoid reception queues. A study conducted by Ipsos and Aeroguest asked guests what characteristics they would value the most in their hotel experiences. We found out that Wi-fi and breakfast are essentials for every stay and in most cases could be deal-breakers. However, if we look into what mobile hospitably can add to the stay, then the best experience includes being able to check in earlier, check out later and cut these two steps shorter by avoiding queues and crowds in the reception, thus supporting a more convenient and contactless hotel stay. These are also the top two benefits that both business travelers and tech-savvy hotel guests are hoping their hotels will make available.   QUESTION: CHOOSE THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURES OF MOBILE HOSPITALITY (the size of the picture is proportional to the utility level. Only 11 features are shown, total utility sums to 100%)   Guests are willing to pay to select their own room Having a room with a view and being able to select a specific room within the desired room type is also among the most valued features. This capability directly addresses another aspect that this study found guests to be unsatisfied with their hotel experiences. “When I book a room, I want to know what I am getting” This feature breaks the uncertainty factor and provides the choice and transparency needed when evaluating which hotel room to pick. Guests will know if the room meets their needs, where it is located, what view it has from the window, and if the requested extras have been acknowledged. This is another feature that mobile hospitality providers such as AeroGuest support, but not all hotels, web services, and apps give this opportunity to guests,- it is very difficult to build and has to be two-way integrated to multiple PMS across the world. An even more relevant aspect though, is that hotel guests are willing to pay to select their own room. 42% of hotel guests and almost 60% of business travelers would be likely or very likely to pay for choosing a specific room, and these would be willing to pay, on average, an extra 7% of the room price to choose their ideal room.   QUESTION: HOW LIKELY WOULD YOU BE TO PAY EXTRA FOR CHOOSING A SPECIFIC ROOM BEFORE ARRIVAL?   QUESTION: HOW MUCH WOULD YOU BE LIKELY TO PAY FOR CHOOSING YOU OWN ROOM?   In sum, mobile services not only yield operational efficiencies but also allow to upsell of some completely new services such as room selection and adding extras before and during the stay and to better capture re-booking.  

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Where is Mobile Hospitality Headed?

by
Nikolai Kronborg
1 month ago

The adoption of mobile technologies has taken the fast lane ever since the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has halted the industry. As a response to the challenges of the pandemic, mobile travel solutions have emerged as an appealing option to re-affirm consumer confidence that safety can be maintained when traveling. It seems that the adoption of both effortless and touch-free mobile solutions will have a lasting impact. Even though the need for safety takes precedence during these times of fear, the need for convenience is the main driver and will last beyond the hype of the pandemic.   Where is mobile hospitality headed? Mobile-enabled services are no longer an accessory in the hospitality industry to satisfy a niche need for speed or convenience for a narrow group of guests, but rather a necessity that enhances any guest’s travel experience. With or without a mobile strategy, every hotel owner should ask the following questions: What benefits are the growing mobile-centric hotel guests driven by? How should hotels adapt their services and where should they focus their attention to meet consumers’ expectations and needs in the hospitality service?   Mobile hospitality is a win-win for both hotels and guests The main reason why hotel owners should consider a mobile strategy is to give the business more operational efficiency and offer guests a more customer-focused experience while saving time and space for higher-value tasks and strategic revenue management. For guests, mobile hospitality rests on two benefits, the increased convenience of effortless travel and touch-free experiences.   Mobile-centric services make stays effortless and streamline the whole journey, thus improving the guest experiences First and foremost, an effortless journey will directly impact guests’ experience and satisfaction. Regardless of being a shorter or longer stay, for business or leisure, hotels work as an extension of our home. Likewise, to the same extent that we have the need to make our home lives convenient, functional, and comfortable, as hotel guests we expect just the same level of easiness. Mobile services are not only more streamlined than more traditional services, but they also have the power to connect the whole journey and several experiences seamlessly.   How can hotel owners benefit from mobile hospitality? Mobile digital services improve operational efficiency while improving guests’ travel experiences.  Firstly, mobile services allow hotels to improve their operational efficiency. Mobile digitalization facilitates the automation of tasks that otherwise have to be performed manually by hotel staff. These can be eliminated by having guests do it themselves in advance (e.g. fill in the information, check-in and out, online payment, choose and allocate rooms, book spa, dinner, or golf reservations, etc). Besides requiring fewer human resources from the hotel that could be spared or employed in other higher-value tasks, the best part of this self-administrated service is that by transferring the tasks to the guests, it further improves their experience and satisfaction. Mobile digitalization gives freedom for guests to find their own convenience.     Connect with guests on-the-go and extend the relationship beyond the duration of the stay. Secondly, mobile services lead to more customer-focused service and create a more personalized and on-premise accessible experience. For instance, more than 50% of American leisure travelers would use an app to add extras on the go during their hotel stays. Mobile services also help to maintain long-term relationships and two-way communication anytime during the guest’s journey and better manage loyalty programs. Optimizes the value per guest and target their specific needs. In turn, this widens the opportunity to target guests' specific needs, hence allowing hotels to focus their strategy on the optimization of each guest’s value. Mobile apps have an additional advantage, they work as direct channels to guests by integrating with customer support and feedback systems, as well as with broader online review platforms. Lastly, mobile apps can potentially capture late bookers. Over 70% of same-day hotel reservations are made on smartphones, thus, an optimized mobile experience can be the key to unlocking the value of late bookers. In sum, mobile services not only yield operational efficiencies but also allow to upsell some services such as room selection and adding extras during the stay to better capture late bookers.  

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The Top Channels to Connect with Your Hotel Guests For An Engaging Stay

by
Sandra Holland
1 month ago

Today there’s no shortage of new and engaging ways to connect with your guests. From modern channels like Twitter and Facebook Messenger to more traditional channels like email or SMS, understanding what channels you should leverage is key to developing an exceptional experience. In this blog, to help you select the right channels and uncover what’s trending in hospitality, we’re sharing the top channels hotels should be considering. Let’s explore.   Considerations Before Adopting Channels Before jumping into what channels are thriving in the hotel industry it’s critical to understand what will work for you specifically. In order to uncover this, consider; Channels your guests are already using  Channels that resonate with your overall objective Channels that align with specific tasks or service opportunities  Having these points top of mind will help you select channels with a more strategic mindset. In turn, providing the tools to drive loyalty and maximize return.   4 Channels To Consider For Your Hotel It goes without saying that over the years, guest preferences have changed greatly. As new channels emerge and capabilities expand, it’s important to always be in the know. Below we highlight some of the top-performing channels to date with a promising future in hospitality. Email For decades email has been a top communication tool with guests. And while historically, email has been used to send booking confirmations and check-in/out details, today, email is used for much more. With the “always-on” mindset, email is a great way to connect with guests during their stay. Inviting them to excursions, informing them of upcoming specials, and communicating with them about any requests. Further, email is a great way to collect feedback, encourage reviews and most importantly opt into your marketing flow. Once they’re in, it’s easy to upsell, cross-sell, and provide timely updates on hotel happenings. WhatsApp Over the years, WhatsApp has grown tremendously, offering unique features that cater directly to businesses. As a benchmark, today 2 billion minutes of WhatsApp calls are made every day, and the number of WhatsApp users in the United States alone is projected to reach 85.8 million in 2023. For hotels, this growth is even more apparent, as it’s grown in popularity due to its real-time capabilities. Connecting with reception is simplified and since most travellers use the app, it's a great way to encourage conversation. Further, using WhatsApp and its business features, hotels can set up their own business  profile, templated messages and offer features like read receipts, video calling, group chats, status updates and more. It’s a great way to engage guests from the moment they walk onto your property to well after they’ve left.   Phone A traditional channel that’s still used quite commonly, a phone call is an effective way to encourage direct communication. Connecting guests to different departments like reception or housekeeping, it allows guests to address their issues in real-time. That said, with phone calls, there are a few downfalls including; reception being inundated with requests, no digital receipts and as more and more digital channels emerge, less appeal. In this instance, it’s important to monitor your customer's preferences, along with industry trends.   Tablets In and Out of Room Whether you have a tablet in-room or have a tablet beside reception, using a digital screen is a great way to offer room service options, communicate with various departments, promote any upcoming specials/events and ask for feedback. The great thing about tablets is that they’re intuitive, offer flexibility, and simplify the experience for those who don’t want to download an app or are hesitant about calling in. In addition, tablets can collect a range of information about your guest and their preferences. Over time this can be useful in understanding upcoming trends with future guests, or to personalize a stay.   Communicating on Multiple Channels While offering one channel in line with customer preferences is a great place to start, the key to a thriving guest experience is offering multiple channels that work together for a cohesive experience. This means adopting an omni-channel mindset. One that considers customer preferences and ensures that if a guest decides to hop from one channel to another, the brand experience doesn’t change. This is crucial as today, many businesses adopting multiple channels aren’t keeping experience top of mind. In fact, 61% of surveyed customers claim they haven’t been able to easily switch from one channel to another when interacting with a brand. For hotels, streamlining the process could be as simple as dedicating specific employees to address conversations, allocating hours of the day to check the various channels you offer, or more efficiently, adopting a customer experience solution that consolidates all messages.   Considering a Solution To Streamline Communication As mentioned above, the idea of adopting an omni-channel program can seem overwhelming, especially for a hotel. However, with the help of a sophisticated customer experience solution, managing communication between customers can be simplified through a consolidated inbox. Taking all the channels you offer a CX solution will bring them into one inbox and showcase sentiment in real-time. This deters employees from having multiple windows open and potentially missing an incoming message. In that same breath, having a key CX solution can also help in terms of hotel request management. With the ability to tag and route messages to their appropriate department, the request is always seen by the right employee for a prompt and accurate response. In addition, employees can message each other internally for any out-of-scope questions and mark the inquiry as resolved to ensure there is no overlap. Lastly, a customer experience solution can help you better understand your customers and their preferences. With analytics on channel type, location, time to respond, employee performance, trending topics, and more, you can offer channels that align with your objectives and correct service to ensure a seamless experience every time.

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Boost Hotel F&B Revenue with Workflow Management

by
Kamini Patel
2 months ago

Today’s hotel guests are not only looking for a comfortable place to stay, but memorable dining experiences as well. Over the past couple of years, however, new trends have significantly reshaped the hotel industry’s F&B operations and workforce. Hoteliers must find new ways to satisfy guest demand and increase profit margins. The right technology helps you better manage F&B workflow and boost your bottom line. Today’s hotel guests are not only looking for a comfortable place to stay, but memorable dining experiences as well. With consumer’s pent-up demand for restaurant service remaining high, food-and-beverage (F&B) service can be a major contributor to your hotel’s positioning in the market, helping you drive unique guest experiences and differentiating your business from competitors.  Yet the past couple of years have reshaped the hotel industry’s F&B operations in ways that have significantly impacted profit margins. According to the 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, food, labor and occupancy costs are expected to remain elevated. And 40 percent of restaurant operators are not yet open to full capacity for on-premises dining, with 7 in 10 reporting that it’s due to staffing shortages. On top of this, there’s increased demand for curbside pick-up, take-out and delivery services. A key way of addressing these challenges lies in choosing technology solutions that optimize management of F&B workflow. The right solutions can mean the difference between becoming more lucrative or experiencing a quick demise. With an advanced hotel application, you can improve key aspects of your F&B workflow as well as your bottom line.   Create Efficiencies with Mobile Reservations Making restaurant reservations via phone calls is quickly becoming a thing of the past. A hotel app that offers guests the ability to book a table online offers a number of benefits for the guest and your F&B workflow. First, it improves the guest experience by giving them the freedom to plan in advance and make their bookings while on-the-go. Research from the 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study revealed that 53 percent of your guests expect the ability to make their dining reservations online. On the operations side, a mobile-first reservation system helps you better manage waitlists and provide speedier seating, eliminating the cost and hassle of pagers by letting you text guests when their table is ready. An automated system eliminates reservation mix-ups and accidental double bookings that can occur due to the stress of front-of-house (FOH) staff dealing with constantly ringing phones. And because an app offers the capability to include additional comments, you can plan ahead to personalize service for those guests needing a high chair or celebrating a special event.   Streamline In-House Dining with Online Ordering Providing the ability for guests to place F&B orders via your hotel app using their personal mobile devices is another efficient and easy-to-use digital option that benefits workflow. For in-house dining, because you’ll no longer require servers to take each order, you can operate effectively with less staff. In fact, 80 percent of restaurant operators say that labor savings is a top benefit they’ve experienced when implementing online ordering, along with easier order processing and higher average checks. The entire system is expedited because guests can place orders as soon as their ready. This translates to less wait time, faster table turnover, and thus greater revenue. Online ordering increases accuracy since guests are communicating any meal customization and special requests themselves. And it satisfies the expectations of today’s guests, particularly younger travelers, with 43 percent of Millennials and 55 percent of Gen Z-ers preferring to order food and beverages via an app on their smartphone.   Improve Food Delivery Services with Online Ordering Mobile ordering also creates efficiencies with room service and food delivery. Since no human is required to take orders, guests are no longer stuck on hold while team members juggle calls during peak hours. And GPS location within an app makes it easy to deliver food or cocktails directly to guests on your property, whether they’re in their room or lounging poolside. The self-service aspect of online ordering simplifies the process and allows for revenue-lifting increases in order volume. On average, restaurant operators see a 43 percent increase in order frequency for takeout and a 29 percent increase for delivery orders. Another benefit is that apps collect F&B analytics from guest orders. Hotel restaurant operators can use this data to track fulfillment and delivery times, monitor inventory and analyze which dishes are most popular. The data also allows you to develop promotions designed to build off-peak demand, target specific guest segments and create discount strategies. Over half of restaurant operators state that these tailored promotions are much more effective than standard promotions.   Digital Options Improve Menu Management & Marketing Switching from physical to digital menus gives you the flexibility to include multiple menus within your hotel app, such as separate menus for your in-house restaurant, room service and group events. You can also develop custom menus, reducing time-consuming phone calls with questions about ingredients or gluten-free options, and satisfying the majority of your guests that expect the ability to preview menus and nutritional information online. Menus can be changed and updated instantly without the need for staff to physically swap them out in the restaurant or waste time replacing them inside in-room compendiums. Unavailable options can be removed in real time, helping you avoid guest disappointment. You can also boost revenue and streamline F&B marketing by promoting specific menu options at optimal times, such as offering a special on warm, comfort foods during cold days, suggesting specific food and drink pairings, and highlighting menu options that give you the highest profit margin.   Enhance Internal Communication with In-App Text & Chat In hotels, texting or chat for internal communication offers immediacy as well as the ability to track conversations. It speeds up workflow by allowing tasks to be communicated and handled more quickly. And it also expedites the tedious and time-consuming job of employee scheduling. Contacting a large number of staff via email or phone call isn’t practical, especially when it comes to time-sensitive notifications such as shift changes and event updates. Automated text messaging within a hotel app creates an efficient way for hotel restaurant operators to instantly contact staff. It also makes it quick and easy for employees to handle tasks such as searching for substitutes, trading shifts with co-workers or requesting vacation time.     Mobile Payment Simplifies BOH Operations The standard payment process is time consuming, requiring manual card entry, verification, reconciliation, chargebacks and disputes. Mobile payment through an integrated app allows restaurants to simplify back-of-house (BOH) operations by directly linking dining POS systems to your hotel’s PMS. This lets you easily assign a specific guest room to an F&B order so that the invoice is applied to the guest’s account with just one click. When guests pay directly through your app, it also diminishes mistakes and drastically reduces reconciliation times. Furthermore, you enhance satisfaction and loyalty because you’re meeting guests’ expectations, with 84 percent of all demographic groups preferring restaurants accept digital, contactless payment options.   In Summary  An integrated hotel application provides an ideal platform for improving overall hotel F&B performance by incorporating self-service reservation booking, mobile menu options, online ordering and payment solutions along with internal chat and texting features. When you implement the right solution, you create a winning synergism that delivers significant efficiencies to your F&B workflow while improving guest satisfaction and profitability at the same time.

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How Hotel Apps Answer the Challenge of a Post-iOS 14.5 World

by
Kamini Patel
2 months ago

After one of the most challenging eras in the entire travel and hospitality industry, we’re finally starting to see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, with STR forecasting that demand, ADR and RevPAR will fully recover to 2019 levels by 2023.  But with the pandemic not yet completely in our wake, a fresh challenge is already cresting the next wave, and it’s impacting hotels worldwide: operating in a post-iOS 14.5 world. “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” ~ The Economist   The Impact of Apple’s iOS 14.5 Update on Your Hotel Business There are now 1 billion iPhone users across the globe, giving Apple an unprecedented power to influence the way consumers use their mobile devices. With the iOS 14.5 update that took place on April 26, 2021, they’ve wielded that power in a way that significantly impacts your ability to market and grow your hotel business. With Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT), users can now choose whether or not they wish to share their data and browsing habits with third parties such as Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. In the recent past, platforms such as Facebook offered great places for hotels to advertise as well as connect with their customers due to the abundant data these platforms collected about people’s demographics and interests. The trouble is that when you ask someone whether or not they want to be tracked, the majority will say “no.” According to Flurry Analytics, three weeks after the iOS 14.5 upgrade launched, the number of U.S. users who had opted in to allow app tracking averaged less than 6 percent. As a result of the update, the pool of user data has considerably shrunk, causing hoteliers to become much less efficient in targeting and connecting with their ideal audiences. In addition, as opposed to using actual real-time data, Facebook can now only give hotels access to “modeled” conversions, which use aggregated data to inform them on how their marketing campaigns are performing. This lack of high-quality data is having a detrimental effect on the digital marketing efforts of hotels. When using the Facebook platform, hotels must now cast a wider net, spending more money to get in front of more people who may or may not be interested in their offerings. The bottom line? Hotel operators who relied on popular platforms such as Facebook are now struggling to promote the right offer to the right audience at the right time.   A Developing Trend: The Third-Party Cookie Crumbles Unfortunately, Apple CEO Tim Cook’s push to add more privacy features to the Apple ecosystem is not a purely isolated incident. It’s a developing trend. For a while now, companies have been able to collect data on people without anyone being fully aware that they were doing so. They accomplish this using third-party tracking cookies. Companies that don’t have a direct relationship with your customer can plant third-party cookies to track a person’s online behavior across different websites. They collect personal data and segment it based on demographics, psychographics and other key points. These companies serve as intermediaries, and they then sell their valuable third-party data to other companies that use it to enhance their marketing efforts. In 2021, 83 percent of marketers relied on third-party cookies. But third-party cookies are crumbling. A Consumer Reports February 2020 survey revealed that 96 percent of U.S. residents believe companies should do more to protect the privacy of their personal data. Firefox and Safari have already phased out third-party cookies, and Google plans to join their ranks in 2023. So now, with third-party data on its way out, hoteliers must learn to implement the power of first-party data.   The Value of First-Party Data for Hotels Research from Think with Google and eConsultancy uncovered a key trend used by top companies: They use first-party data to build stronger customer connections. First-party data is data that belongs to you because you collect it directly from your guests, so it’s unaffected by Apple’s privacy update. This fact – along with the growing shift away from third-party data – means that first-party data holds immense value for hoteliers for several key reasons. It's Accurate: Because you’re receiving your information directly from your guests, you are assured that the data is accurate and reliable, unlike third-party data that must be aggregated from the data sets of outside sources. Furthermore, since the data comes from your audience, it’s more relevant for your business. Complete Ownership: First-party data is data that you own. As you continue to nurture your guest relationships, you’ll be able to add new details and refine your data sets, keeping the data up-to-date and precise. It’s a renewable resource that continues to build on itself, delivering benefits that allow you to optimize your marketing and guest experience. A Hedge Against Privacy Regulations: Global privacy regulations are most definitely shifting in favor of the consumer, and relying on first-party data helps you comply with global data protection laws. Because your guests choose to interact with your hotel, they understand who is collecting their data and why. A holistic first-party data practice at your hotel also gives you more control and transparency over what happens with that data.   Hotel Apps: An Ideal Source of First-Party Data An effective way to access a rich supply of first-party data is by connecting with customers and potential customers via a hotel application. As opposed to relying on intermediaries such as Facebook, an app provides hotel brands with a direct link to guests. Current and prospective guests can conveniently interact with a web-based or native hotel application, allowing you to gather first-party data and build relationships with them before, during and after a stay. During the pre-stay period, in-app interactions and search queries can provide sources of information about guest and potential guest preferences, family status, and details such as upcoming anniversaries and birthdays. You also have the ability to highlight specific property features, amenities and local attractions, raising your property profile and encouraging direct bookings (another great source of first-party information). When guests are on-site, you can gather useful information by examining direct chats and mobile messaging along with in-app behavioral data. You can collect information on demographics like age, gender, profession, geographic region, interests, shopping behavior and transactional data. Post-stay in-app interactions offer opportunities to gain unique feedback through follow-up survey responses. An advanced application also lets you incorporate data from your PMS, POS and CRM so that you can connect all of your first-party data points to build a single, holistic view of each guest journey. You can use this accurate, real-time data to create personalized experiences that garner greater guest loyalty, and targeted marketing promotions that are more likely to convert. The Benefits of First-Party Data via Hotel Apps The accurate first-party intelligence that you gather from a good hotel application delivers a number of benefits that help you tailor your messaging, shape the guest experience and improve your overall operation. Increased Marketing Campaign ROI: A poll commissioned by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) showed that nearly 70 percent of respondents like at least some ads tailored directly to their interests. Instead of having only a vague picture of your customers, the first-party data you receive from your hotel app gives you a granular view of your guests. You can use that data to segment guests by specific attributes and deliver targeted marketing-that-doesn’t-feel-like-marketing messages – achieving higher conversion rates and optimizing campaign ROI. Optimized Guest Experiences: The direct relationship hotels establish with app users provides opportunities for guest experience optimization. You better understand guest needs and can anticipate requests in ways that take personalization to the next level. With control and ownership of your own data, hotel brands are perfectly positioned to personalize communications and customize experiences based on a guest’s interests, location, purchase history and more. Greater Trust, Engagement and Loyalty: Nearly 90 percent of your guests prefer using a hotel app to manage their stay. Your in-app interactions – and the data you gather from them – are built on a trusted relationship, as opposed to going behind guests’ backs to cobble together personal information from intermediaries. With consistent in-app communication, you can quickly update your guests’ ever-changing information, adapt offerings to their preferences and help solve their problems, ultimately achieving higher levels of trust, engagement and loyalty. Retargeting Capabilities: Another benefit of directly interacting with guests through your hotel app is your ability to harness the power of retargeting. Retargeting ads prompt return visits from those people who engaged with your app, maybe clicked around a bit, but left without booking. The average click-through rate (CTR) of a retargeted ad is 10x higher than the CTR of a typical display ad.   In Summary Access to accurate and detailed guest data is table stakes for hotel businesses and should be a requirement for any hospitality software you choose. It’s the accelerant that helps propel you ahead of your competitive set. Due to the iOS 14.5 update and the rapid decline of third-party cookies, you can no longer rely on intermediaries to provide that data. Moving forward, it’s imperative for hoteliers to rethink their data collection strategies. By employing an advanced hotel application, you gain access to the premium fuel of first-party data – giving you greater control over your data destiny, your marketing efforts and your guest relationships.  

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50+ Hospitality Statistics You Should Know (2022)

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

Wondering just how big the hospitality industry is? Or curious to learn how the COVID-19 pandemic affected hotel employment, revenue, and occupancy? In this article, we’ll dig into over 50 shocking statistics about the accommodations industry tapping critical datasets such as the bureau of labor statistics, travel industry organizations like the AHLA and Statista. These stats touch on global trends, history, brands and independents, and even guest preferences and loyalty. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of employment in the hotel industry and booking trends too. By the end of this article, you’ll be a more knowledgeable hotelier with a pulse on the latest hotel industry news. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

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What Does a Night Auditor Do in a Hotel?

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

If you’re considering a full time or part time night auditor job - or preparing to hire a night auditor - you’ve come to the right place. While many people are familiar with the job of a hotel front desk agent since it's during the day shift, the night auditor’s responsibilities aren’t as well known despite providing high paying entry-level positions at hotels. In this article, we’ll explain what a night auditor role entails, what skills will set you up for success as a night auditor, and offer advice for landing a night.

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Self Check-in Kiosks For Hotels: 2022 Hotel Kiosk Guide

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Are you grappling with a tighter budget at your hotel, a staffing shortage, or changing guest preferences toward contactless options? The hospitality industry is more resource constrained than ever and you're not alone. It can be challenging to deliver a high standard of service when faced with constraints like reduced hotel staff due to rising labor costs. However, the guest experience doesn’t need to suffer if you have fewer employees or less face-to-face interaction. Self-service options like check-in kiosks can bring a slew of benefits to guests, employees, and hotel owners and managers. Everyone knows that first impressions determine the majority of our perceptions about brands and people - the check-in experience is no different and it's highly correlated with overall customer satisfaction. In this article, we’ll explain what a self check-in kiosk can do, how it plays into the contactless hotel trend, and we’ll show you how your hotel can achieve better guest satisfaction scores, higher profitability, and greater productivity by implementing self check-in kiosks.

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QR Code Menus: A Step-By-Step Guide for Hotels & Restaurants

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 months ago

Searching for ways to engage with guests in the post-pandemic world? Looking to streamline your restaurant operations? Or just curious to dig into the data and learn more about your customers’ ordering behavior? QR code menus offer solutions for all of these needs, and they’re rapidly growing in popularity in all types of hospitality businesses, from hotels and restaurants to concert venues and sports arenas. Perhaps you’ve even used a contactless menu as a customer! QR code menus bring a lot of benefits that physical menus don't provide, so you might be wondering how you can implement them in your own business. The restaurant industry (and hospitality in general) has undergone a massive digital transformation in the wake of the pandemic but these are not short lived trends - they are long term shifts in how we do business. This article offers everything you need to know about QR code menus; we’ll explain the upsides and downsides, and walk you through the implementation process. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to launch your own QR code menu strategy.   What is a QR Code Menu? Let’s start by defining what exactly is a QR code menu. A QR code menu is a digital menu which you can access by scanning a QR code with your smartphone. When you scan the QR code, your smartphone will open a webpage where your menu is hosted. Many restaurants place QR codes directly on tabletops, on small paper cards, or on plastic placards. A hotel could display a QR code on the front desk or somewhere in every guestroom. Each QR code directs to a unique webpage, so, for example, you could configure one QR code to direct to your lunch menu and another to direct to your dinner menu. Unlike traditional paper menus, digital QR code menus can offer functionality besides simply showing menu items, such as the ability to pay or submit feedback. And these digital menus can deliver a slew of benefits for restaurant owners, managers, staff, and guests that make them a nice upgrade from paper menus.   Key Benefits of QR Code Menus Why would a restaurateur forgo paper menus for QR code menus? Let’s explore the most compelling benefits that these tech-enabled menus can provide. Easy to modify: One reason that restaurateurs love working with digital menus is that any menu changes can be completed with just a few clicks and published immediately. Run out of a menu item? You can simply hide it from the digital menu. Need to fix a typo? No need to reprint the menus. Want to adjust pricing based on day of week and meal period? That’s all possible with digital menus.  Beautiful and strategic menu design: In addition to seamless changes, QR code menus are designed to be as easy to read as possible, and you can take advantage of promotional tools that let you highlight specials or recommended pairings. Safe and contactless: In light of the pandemic, customer preferences have shifted overwhelmingly toward contactless options, and restaurant menus are no exception. Customers don’t want to touch the same paper menu that other guests have just handled. QR codes let your customers access the menu while only touching their own smartphone. Cost- and time-savings: When your staff don’t need to print and organize paper menus, they will have more time to interact with customers or take care of other side work. In addition, QR code menus enable quicker turnover of tables since  More eco-friendly: Are your guests conscious of their impact on the environment? Unlike paper menus which must be thrown away after use or anytime the menu changes, digital menus have no environmental consequences.  Faster service: In a quick-service restaurant setting where customers order at a counter, or at a busy bar, QR code menus can enable customers to browse the menu at their own pace without needing to interact with a server first. Eliminating the need to ask for a menu can accelerate the speed of service. Collection of customer data: Some digital menu platforms come with a suite of analytical features. You might be curious to see how much time customers spend on each menu page, or perhaps you want to test a few variations of photos, formatting, or menu descriptions. Digital menus can offer insight into customer behavior in ways paper menus cannot.   Considerations for QR Code Menu Decisions It’s important to note that QR code menus are not the perfect solution for every business. Before deciding to switch away from paper menus, you’ll want to think carefully about some possible downsides. First, in some restaurants, paper menus are part of the experience. A Michelin-starred establishment might want to continue using high-quality paper menus while crafting a romantic ambiance with no smartphones in sight. In this case, QR code menus would actually detract from the experience. In addition, if your restaurant guests aren’t very tech-savvy, or if your restaurant doesn’t have a strong cell signal, then QR code menus might cause more problems than they solve. In addition, be mindful that introducing any new feature, like digital menus, will require training and at least a few days to get accustomed to the system, so you probably don’t want to launch your QR code menu during peak periods.   How to Implement QR Code Menus If the benefits of QR codes sound appealing to you and you’re excited about using them in your venue, you’re probably wondering where to start. Let’s outline the process to implement QR code menus, starting from the beginning. Decide what functionality you need. QR code menu platforms range from simple to complex. Is your restaurant a no-frills counter-serve joint that only has a few menu options? Maybe a simple QR code menu would be best. Or maybe your restaurant has several different menus for different day parts, and you’re interested in as much analytical muscle as possible. Then you might want to opt for a cutting-edge digital menu system with all the bells and whistles that offers integrations with your other on-site software. Do you need a POS integration, PMS integration or just mobile wallet and credit card processing checkout.  Different mobile ordering systems serve different use cases.  Regardless of the dining experience at your establishment you should be thinking about digital menus as a strategy and not just an online menu PDF. Understand your budget. How much do you want to spend? The most basic QR code tools are free, or you can pay a monthly subscription or small percentage of sales for more robust functionality.  With free QR code menus typically  you get what you pay for (or don't).  PDF food menus typically mean that you can't save cost on labor, can't monetize through highly profitable digital upsells.  In most use cases more premium partners have very strong ROIs - just look at what industry sweethearts like Sweetgreen, Dominos and Starbucks have been able to do by investing in digital. Choose a system. Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, it’s time to choose a software vendor. If you’re going the low-cost "cheap and dirty" route, you might opt for Eater.Menu or HappyTable. For more sophisticated mobile ordering technology with integrations and checkout/payments via contactless QR code menus, you’ll want to look into Bbot, Crave, and RoomOrders. Each system has a slightly different user experience, so we recommend taking advantage of some free demos to try a system before you buy it. Create your menus. Now for the fun part! You can now start building your digital menus. You’ll want to add menu item descriptions, pricing, and upload photos if the system allows. You might want to create separate menus for different meal periods, drinks, desserts, and more. Some systems let you highlight special offers or seasonal menu items, so you can leverage some marketing tactics. Other systems might simply prompt you to upload a PDF menu. Train your staff. Before putting your QR codes into the wild, you’ll want to train your staff so they are familiar with the system and can help guests use it. For example, if a guest is less tech-savvy, your staff should be able to help them access the menu. In addition, you can train managers on the process for making updates to the menu. Display your QR codes. Customers can only scan your QR codes if they can find them, so you’ll want to show the codes in convenient, obvious spots, like on tabletops or inserts within plastic displays. Modify your menu as needed. After launch, anytime you need to make menu changes, you just need to update the digital version. Eager to bring QR code menus to your hotel, restaurant, or venue? There’s no better time to give customers a safe, contactless, and user-friendly way to access your menu.