When hotels began to reopen with skeleton crews mid-way through the pandemic, the broader industry started to think about hospitality technology as the key driver to running stronger businesses despite weaker resource availability. Hotel Tech Report traffic data illustrates that despite a sidelined hospitality workforce - there is more interest in hotel technology than ever before. HTR recently publicized platform data showing 270% growth from March 2020 to 140k+ monthly hoteliers in May of 2021 (14-months into the pandemic). Vendors are innovating in lockstep with hotelier demand for new technology. Last week our team headed to the first HITEC event since 2019 to scout the latest innovations and save you time staying up to date with recent hotel tech product launches. This article is packed with the latest tools being developed by top tech firms to help you optimize and grow your hotel business. While researching for this article, our team reviewed 96 different product/feature launches to curate the list below based on the most exciting innovations in the market and then synthesized the top 50 innovations into six key trends. Please reach out via live chat if we've missed a critical innovation or trend! WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECAP: Leveraging tech to tackle labor issues The guest experience is getting a major digital makeover Mobile checkin is the new black Guest data management is in the spotlight Empowering commercial leaders to level up their strategy & efficiency Vendors are gearing up to help simplify payments for hoteliers Trend #1: Leveraging tech to tackle labor issues If you ask any restaurant, retail shop or hotel owner these days 'how's it going?', their first response will likely be to tell you how difficult it is to find and retain talent. The mass service industry layoffs and furlows at the beginning pandemic coupled with the elogated impact on the global travel industry from the Delta variant caused a mass labor exodus from the hospitality industry. While city centers continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic, many drive market destinations in many geographies are booming so much so that some have even surpassed pre-pandemic REVPAR levels such as the California wine country and are struggling to staff back up. Whether you're in a booming drive market destination and need labor now, or you will need it when city centers begin to recover--the labor struggle is real and tech companies have their sights set on coming to the rescue by launching new products and features to help do everything from retain your talent more effectively to manage your property with fewer staff. M3 Launches labor. Designed for hoteliers on the go, M3’s Labor Management app, M3 Labor, allows hospitality professionals to quickly access their hotels’ labor information and adapt in real time to the labor needs of their properties. Not only do employees get up-to-date visibility of their schedules and work histories, but property managers also have access to labor variances and managing employee time details, all available in the palm of their hand. UniFocus ShiftGenius. ShiftGenius is a unique scheduling and shift filling feature that introduces flexibility and control for employees and covers the needs of the business. Operators find coverage faster and know that the RIGHT people are filling the shifts. Hotel Effectiveness launches CoverageFinder™: Hotels are experiencing a “coverage crisis” - they cannot find the labor to address the needs of the hotel, the guests, or the team. CoverageFinder makes it easy to identify available labor from within the cross-trained hotel team, the portfolio’s “sister” hotels, and contract staffing firms. Turnover is a massive problem. The Risk Retention Dashboard identifies which associates in each department are at risk of leaving and recommends specific actions that managers can take to prevent turnover and avoid the costly impact of a lost team member. HelloShift launches a housekeeping app. Housekeeping Management app is a quick and efficient way to see at a glance the status of all of the housekeeping tasks at your hotel or property. In one view, know which rooms have been assigned and prioritized, and which rooms still need to be assigned. The quick and simple drag and drop functionality and the ability to bulk reassign rooms make housekeeping management problems a thing of the past! Harri launches Carri Chat & Apply. Carri is an AI-powered chatbot built to assist hiring managers in screening, accessing, and coordinating interviews with viable candidates. Carri transforms traditional job applications into meaningful conversations to engage candidates and improve talent acquisition efforts. eTip launches digital tipping product. eTip helps hotels to better attract, retain, and motivate staff with an app-less tipping and review platform. With eTip, staff receive an increase in compensation and a boost in morale, guests enjoy better service, and managers can act on guest feedback in real time. Beekeeper launches housekeeping app. Beekeeper Work is an intuitive app that will transform how your team tends to daily Housekeeping operations. Team members on their feet can get things done with a simple tap of their finger. No training. No I.T. set up. No corporate approvals. Just easy technology rolled out in days. And it’s available in every language too so no one gets left behind. Trend #2: The guest experience is getting a major digital makeover While the pandemic will certainly not be looked back upon fondly, some good undoubtedly has come of it. While there are so many areas that human interaction can add value in the guest experience, there are also so many areas that manual processes, wait times and antiquated systems have plagued the guest experience for decades and the pandemic gave the industry the nudge that it so desperately needed. Whether that's digitizing compendiums to reduce paper waste and create interactive experiences that generate revenue, ridiculously seamless contactless grab and go stations to meet guest needs in real time or in-stay sentiment analysis to identify and recover from service glitches on the spot--vendors continue to rollout new features and tools to help you leverage technology to become one of your hotel's greatest assets when it comes to delivering a unique and differentiated guest experience. Whistle Digital Guest Book. Whistle introduces a configurable digital guest compendium for a completely contactless experience. Hotels can now offer a rich portal and directory of information, which guests can access through messaging. Impulsify Contactless grab and go. Impulsify announces the arrival of their completely contactless grab-and-go kiosk for lobby retail transactions. Their ShopPoP kiosk now provides a QR code to give users the option of going "Touchless" when purchasing items at their increasingly popular self-service pay stations used by the hospitality and multifamily industries. Flexkeeping Automated Daily Hotel Report. The Automated Daily Hotel Report by Flexkeeping contains all critical information hoteliers need to know to ensure that their team is meeting their set standards. The report provides data on every department - from room service, housekeeping, and maintenance performance all the way over to guest complaints and service slips. EasyWay launches Guest Sentiment Powered by OpenAI. EasyWay AI is now able to automatically detect guest sentiment and act accordingly. For example, if EasyWay AI identifies that a guest is happy and is a potential brand ambassador, it will automatically send them a survey on TripAdvisor, and ask them to share their amazing experiences on social media. GoMoment launches Ivy Offer. Ivy Offer lets hoteliers extend unbeatable offers such as extended stay, late checkouts, and food & beverage offers to their guests via text messages. These offers are conversational, personalized, targetted and appropriately timed (when guests tell us they are enjoying their stay, we offer them the chance to stay an extra night at a 20% discount), resulting in repeat, incremental profit. Guests read 98% of Ivy Offer messages within 3 minutes (based on client data). Niio and Samsung debut digital art stream for public spaces. Samsung and Niio art are partnering to bring easy access to digital art on-demand to Samsung Profesional Displays to transform any screen into an engaging digital art canvas. With access to thousands of digital artworks from the world’s best artists, Samsung clients can seamlessly display individual works of their choosing or play art streams curated by mood and style, 24x7 to one or multiple sites. Turnkey solution without requiring additional hardware or rights management. Bookingwhizz Automated Guest Journey with Whatsapp. The CRM module connects directly with the PMS and/or channel manager, automates guest notifications and promotions from predesigned campaigns. The hotel or group can schedule these notifications based on their business needs. SensorFlow launches SmartREM (Smart Room Energy Management Solution). When guests leave the room empty with the HVAC running, SensorFlow's occupancy sensors and smart thermostats communicate this data to the gateway. The gateway then uses AI to react to the real-time occupancy data and automatically switches off the HVAC or adjusts it to a more energy-efficient setting to save energy, without needing any manual intervention from hotel staff. If guests leave the room with the HVAC running and the pool/balcony doors or windows are open, the HVAC is then automatically adjusted to ensure proper ventilation and prevent condensation issues while saving energy. When SensorFlow's sensors detect that guests have returned, our gateway then automatically resets the HVAC to the guests' previous settings. VenueLytics launches 24/7 AI Smart Concierge. VenueLytics provides industries first fully integrated 24/7 AI Smart Concierge to automate contactless guest engagement, housekeeping, maintenance and other guest requests across WiFi, WhatsApp, SMS, WebBot and Facebook Messengers. Hotelinking launches WiFiBot. Hotelinking developed a system called WiFiBot that automatically solves the Internet connection problems using IoT (Internet Of Things) technology and without the need for staff or a technician to intervene. This solution proactively monitors any device connected to the network regardless of the vendor to detect performance issues, and continuously evaluates components to maintain and optimise their availability to avoid downtime or network failures. Moreover, it analyses all relevant information related to the use of WiFi by guests and its proper functioning and performance. Trend #3: Mobile check-in is the new black If you are an HTR regular then you probably know what we think about hotel brands building their own tech, but to give some credit where credit is due back in 2015 Starwood identified the potential of mobile checkin and invested heavily in it because they saw what was coming. If we can checkin for a flight on our phone, why can't we checkin for our hotel rooms? The reality is that mobile check-in is another area that has boomed during the pandemic with contactless everything as the new normal. As hardware comes down in cost and mobile checkin goes mainstream, vendors are sprouting up left, right and center creating new opportunities for hoteliers to offer mobile checkin solutions empowering saavy hoteliers to be more prepared for guest arrival, reduce front desk wait times, go contactless and even get some new checkin tricks up their sleeves with digital signatures, payment authorizations, upsells and more. Maestro launches mobile check-in. Allows Maestro customers to enable guests to check-in on the fly, on their own personal mobile device, with no 3rd party app download required, creating a self-serve environment from their own device. GTRIIP Launches Selfie Check-in. GTRIIP processes hotel check-ins using our OCR engine to read international passports and local photo IDs. We use our face verification engine powered by computer vision to match the face (with a selfie) against the photo ID. This check-in process can be completed on the web. Onres launches mobile check-in. Enables Onres customers to increase incremental revenue by up to 30% with Contactless [Early] Check-in and Late Check-out, Upgrade your Room, and Add Add-ons. RoomKey PMS launches mobile check-in. 100% digital paperwork built into the RoomKey PMS from mobile check-in through check-out. Automated payment and room release to better inventory management CODE2ORDER launches COVID-19 Vaccination Pass & Test-Certificate. Hotel guests can upload their vaccination pass or test certificate during the online check-in at hotels or during their stay at the hotel (required for hotel stays in Germany). The upload can be easily done by using their own Smartphone without further app downloads. Hotels can check the uploads in the CODE2ORDER Backend. Trend #4: Guest data management is in the spotlight Whether you look at Tiktok in social, Visa in payments or Netflix in entertainment--its clear that companies who have harnessed the power of unique customer data have realized massive profits. The strange thing is that the hotel industry sits on a treasure trove of travel spend and guest preference data yet most hotels have still only scratched the suface of what they can do with this data because ultimately you need the right tools, structure and processes to actually act on it. The good news is that if anybody knows just how valuable and powerful data can be its tech companies, and they're gearing up to help you harness one of your company's most valuable assets. Hapi launches Hapi Connect for Salesforce. Hapi Connect integrates hotel companies' data into Salesforce Cloud environments in real-time, helping hoteliers to innovate using the world’s leading CRM. Hapi Connect for Salesforce allows companies to centralize data and tailor each step of the guest journey, driving loyalty and increasing conversion. Oracle Hospitality Integrations Platform. The Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform (OHIP) offers hotel operators and integrators unprecedented access to all of the capabilities that OPERA Cloud has to offer. By making available over 3 thousand REST APIs and a full self-service experience end to end, operators and integrators can now design, build and release their integrations in matters of days rather than weeks or months thus accelerating time to market and reducing costs. Bookboost launches CRM. Guest messaging platform Bookboost also extended it's product to offer guest segmentation and email marketing. Manage your first-party customer data to track interactions to create personalised guest messages. Utilise a single system to manage guest engagement and build strong relationships. Clairvoyix Launches Hospitality Solution for Opera in the Cloud. The Clairvoyix Hospitality Solution for Opera in the Cloud brings fully integrated transient sales and marketing automation to Oracle Hospitality customers. Utilzing the Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform, Opera in the Cloud customers can immediately start direct marketing to valuable past guests as past guest data is automatically transferred to the Clairvoyix Hospitality Solution. Guestjoy launches repeat customers. Guestjoy launched a hotel CRM system for marketing managers in smaller hotels that helps them to build a customer database who is interested in getting special campaigns and offers. The tools they are using only allow them to set up a newsletter without knowing the background of a customer. Duve Guest Segments. Duve's Guest Segments allow hoteliers to send different messages to different guests, based on their profile and data you’ve collected from them. This includes reservation details, personal information, and more. With Guest Segments, hotels can use both pre-scheduled or instant messaging to create a message to specific guests and provide an improved guest experience. Datavision DVGuest Analytics. Datavision is adding powerful guest analytics features to our comprehensive business intelligence platform. Guest data is extracted and combined from a single source (PMS) or a variety of additional sources (Spa, Golf, Dining, CRM, etc.) supporting a 360-degree views of guest value, spend patterns and stay behavior. LaaSie launches Helix. Laasie has extended its core Reward Marketplace technology beyond the hotel website and booking engine, to bring personalized rewards to email campaigns. Each recipient of the campaign receives a uniquely personalized reward offer that resonates with his/her interests, demographics, and purchase behavior. iReckonU launches IKnowU Customer Data Platform. The IKnowU Customer Data Platform emerges as Ireckonu’s latest way to leverage its proven CORE Middleware. Synchronizing with your various PMS, CRS and other service delivery systems, IKnowU will become your system of record for clean, consolidated guest profiles. IKnowU’s powerful features include match & merge, identity and privacy management, subscription enrollment, communication control, behavioral and event data, and AI-assisted segmentation. It can also bring in third-party data. Simplotel Guest Connect. Simplotel Guest Connect helps hotels convert their website content (promotions, and offers) into an email template with a single-click. Also, with a property management system integration, hotels can send mails and upsells to guests who book through any channel. Trend #5: Empowering commercial leaders to level up their strategy & efficiency The term commercial refers to the concept that while historically there have been silod departments within hotel companies like revenue management or marketing, these walls are quickly being broken down as departments become more deeply entertwined. The catalyst for this evolution in decades old operating model has undoubtedly been technology and the transparency, access to information and interconnectedness that it has unlocked. This is not the first time breaking down departmental silos to emphasize a more hollistic commercial strategy has been a key theme of one of HTR's innovation recaps and it certainly won't be the last. Impala Contracting. Say hello to fast and easy hotel direct contracting. Whether it’s signing new deals or managing existing ones, Contracting by Impala enables direct contracts between hotels and tour operators, agencies or corporate travel platforms. We take away the costly integrations and lengthy negotiation cycles to negotiate deals in days, not months. List your hotel for free IDeaS Profit Optimization. Profit Optimization for IDeaS G3 RMS considers any combination of servicing costs, ancillary revenue and associated margins, and acquisition or channel costs. This approach enables hotels, resorts, casinos, and more to get the most profitable guests into their property, while maximizing other inventory beyond the guest room, such as restaurants, bars, retail, and activities. HotelIQ Decision Cloud. With the new HotelIQ Decision Cloud, hoteliers can organize data, analyze it, plan next steps, and collaborate with their team and across their organization. In doing so, we aim to give hoteliers the lenses they need to pull insights from complex data sets and make more intelligent decisions. RateGain launches Demand.ai. RateGain launched an AI powered demand forecasting tool, that helps hoteliers and other travel companies track hyper-local demand and the underlying factors impacting demand – thereby helping them optimize their commercial strategy. Event Temple Launches Chain Management Dashboard. Event Temple’s Chain Management Dashboard is an above property sales enablement tool for chains and multi-property management groups. Organizations now have a hub to view bookings, leads, accounts, contacts, reports, and manage sales across multiple properties. Pace launches Restrictions Management. Take control of your business mix. Use restrictions to control your business mix. Pace will suggest when to close out corporate rates and maximise revenue from your transient business. Avvio launches allora ai Hotel Booking Retention Engine. Avvio developed a Hotel Booking Retention Engine that sits within the allora.ai booking engine to counteract the rise in hotel room cancellations. They did this by identifying at risk bookings, and alerting hoteliers in an actionable format, so that measures can be taken to protect bookings. allora.ai’s Hotel Booking Retention Engine uses machine learning and data science to assess cancelation risk for every individual booking on the books. MeetingPackage launches group pricing module. MeetingPackage offers venues to sell in a transactional way via their own channels and through distribution. Venues are able to manage pricing of Meetings & Events services flexibly from one centralised place to all distribution channels. For example, minimum spend requirement, meeting package price per delegate or meeting room price per hour, half-day, full-day. Including seasonal prices and corporate negotiated rates. ProfitSword enhanced currency conversion functionality. ProfitSword has updated the application to support viewing reports in any currency desired. As part of this update, we allow multiple exchange rates to be defined for any currency pair, depending on your reporting needs. The firm added flexibility to reports allowing a user to choose an exchange rate based on the data being reported eg; balance sheet data converted with a month end exchange rate, accounting data with month average, and budget with an annual exchange rate all in the same report. InnRoad launches new Pace and Pickup reports. innRoad's new Pace & Pick Up Reports are designed to give users easy access to their property's performance with the click of a button. Users can compare their performance over time and see if they are above or below on their occupancy, revenue, and rooms sold. Avalon Analytics launched automated PowerPoint presentations. One of the pain points of a revenue manager is the time spent preparing for weekly and monthly meetings. This remains true at hotel-level and above-property level, where you may need to prepare a market performance review for senior executives, ranging from VPs Operations to Owners. Generate 20+ PowerPoint slides for your weekly revenue meetings and month-end owner meetings within minutes. Avalon allows you to load entire presentations that are always up-to-date and ready to be delivered to your inbox. D-EDGE Launches MediaGenius. D-EDGE provides hoteliers with an all-in-one platform to manage and monitor digital media campaigns: search, metasearch, display, and social media. With MediaGenius, hoteliers can easily follow the evolution of income and bookings generated via AdWords, analyze their campaigns’ performance, and fine-tune their strategy. The Hotels Network Launches Bench Direct. BenchDirect by The Hotels Network is an interactive analytics platform for hotels to benchmark their direct channel performance compared to the market and competition. The tool provides hotels with competitive insights across more than 30 key metrics specifically related to direct bookings. VoucherCart launches enterprise. VoucherCart Enterprise is a SaaS software product used by international and national hospitality operators with responsibility for marketing, sales, and revenue across multiple business units/member organisations. It enables them to promote and sell vouchers, gift cards, memberships, and tickets (pre-paid instant delivery) associated with their products and services and manage these centrally across all member organisations allowing cross-organisational redeem and usage, while also supporting voucher management and sale at member organisation level. Hotel Res Bot Launches AI Channel Manager. Many distribution partners such as Secret Escapes don't have interfaces to transfer bookings automatically, which means they simply send an email and reservation staff must manually enter these bookings into the PMS. The HERA AI Channel Manager reads those incoming emails and automatically pushes them to your PMS directly or via your CRS or traditional Channel Manager. Trend #6: Vendors are gearing up to help simplify payments for hoteliers If you follow the tech world, you know that payments are big money. You don't have to look far to see a massive head turning round like Stripe's $600M Series H (who even knew series H was a thing...), Affirm's market debut 100% pop or Plaid's (almost) $5B+ merger with Visa that was later blocked by regulators. Other than being the lifeblood of every business on the planet, payments infrastructure is so immensely valuable because its extremely challenging to develop and maintain compliance. While there are tons of payments solutions out there, there are few that have truly built out domain specific offerings specifically for the hotel industry to meet its unique challenges (and opportunities) and hotel tech companies are spotting the opportunity. Cloudbeds Payments. Hotel payment processing has been complicated for too long. Cloudbeds Payments provides easy, transparent and contactless payment processing that is fully integrated into the Cloudbeds Hospitality Platform, saving your property time and money. Bbot Tab Sync. Keep guests happy and servers relaxed with Bbot Tab Sync, a seamless addition to the Bbot Order + Pay solution. Plus, activating Tab Sync for in-venue and in-room dining guests gets you exclusive access to our BOGO deal on handheld devices! Adyen partners with Shiji to simplify hospitality payments. This new integration simplifies the payment process for hospitality businesses by removing the need for a list of platforms and suppliers which usually includes separate processes for property management systems, food and beverage point of sale, and guest experience platforms not to mention the different payments service providers for each. SmartHOTEL launches SmartCONNECT for Payment. SmartCONNECT for Payment ensures that hotel guests’ payments can be made quickly, securely, and hospitably. With the click of a button, payments for online and offline bookings are automatically billed by the payment service provider of choice and processed directly on the guest folio of the hotel’s Property Management System (PMS). dailypoint™ Launches Payment Link. The dailypoint™ Payment link is part of the Booking Manager. It allows hoteliers to automate payments and process them securely according to PCI and PSD2 regulations. Implementing the payment link relieves the reservations department and minimizes the risk of fraud since no more credit card data is being processed directly or stored at the hotel. RoomOrders Launches Digital Tourist Hubs. The RoomOrders digital tourist hub is an ordering and payment network of hospitality providers (hotels and resorts connected to surrounding vendors in a revenue-sharing model) to protect from accommodation giants like Booking dot com and AirBnB and restaurants from delivery giants like UberEats and GrubHub as well as excursion and tours agencies like Expedia and TripAdvisor.
Hotel Mobile Key & Keyless Entry Software Articles
Did you know the average small business uses 40 different software applications, and the average hotel uses around 20? In an ideal world, every system in your hotel’s tech stack would help you automate tasks, reduce costs, grow revenue, and deliver a five-star guest experience. But we understand that getting up-to-date on the myriad of technology solutions available to hotels can be daunting! Where do you even start? In this article, we’ll introduce you to each piece of the hotel technology landscape, from revenue management to reputation management and everything in between. Drawing on insights from over 10,000 hotel software reviews written by hoteliers across the globe, this article will also highlight some top software vendors in each category. For more detailed testimonials and additional software choices, you’ll want to click over to the full list of vendors. Let’s dive in! 9 Hotel Operations Software Tools that Drive Efficiency This category of software includes the most essential technology for hotel operations: checking guests in, reconciling accounts, handling payroll, and getting feedback from guests. Your hotel’s size and complexity will determine which systems you need; small, limited-service hotels might be fine with a PMS and a payment processor, but a large resort could benefit from each category of software. 1. Property management systems (PMS): The PMS is the central hub for hotel operations. In this system, staff can check guests in and out, create and manage reservations, pull financial reports, manage guest profiles, and more. According to user reviews and analysis of system functionality, the top PMSs are Cloudbeds, Clock, and HotelTime, though there are over a hundred more great systems on the market. 2. Staff collaboration tools: Hotel staff are scattered across different floors, buildings, and shifts, so a communication platform is necessary to keep everyone on the same page. Systems like hotelkit, Monscierge, and ALICE can replace analog methods like walkie-talkies and logbooks, plus they can track tasks, reduce manual errors, and increase efficiency. 3. Housekeeping and engineering software: These tools digitize the operations of your housekeeping and maintenance departments, with the ability to automate task assignment, monitor real-time status of rooms or issues, and track task completion. Top software in this category includes hotelkit, Flexkeeping, and ALICE. 4. Guest feedback and surveys: Do away with the paper comment cards and give guests a digital platform to voice their feedback, such as GuestRevu, TrustYou, or Revinate. Not only are these tech solutions easy for guests to use, but they also allow hoteliers to customize, automate, and analyze guest comments and complaints. 5. Accounting and reporting: If your hotel accepts payments from guests and issues payments to employees and vendors, then you’ll benefit from an accounting and reporting system like myDigitalOffice, M3, or Omniboost. A modern accounting system reveals opportunities to reduce costs and maximize revenue, plus makes your accounting team more efficient with automated reports and integrations with other on-site software. 6. Payments Processing: Most guests prefer to pay for their reservations with credit cards, but a payment processing system is necessary to get the funds from the guest’s card into your hotel’s bank account. Payment processors like Profitroom, Mews Payments, and Adyen charge a small processing fee, but they make getting paid as seamless as possible. 7. Labor management: Hotels have dozens, if not hundreds, of employees, so scheduling is no easy task. Software such as Hotel Effectiveness’ PerfectLabor™, M3, and UniFocus include forecasting, insight into labor costs, and integrations with payroll and timekeeping systems. 8. Meetings and events: Whether your hotel has one private dining room or several floors of ballrooms and breakout spaces, meetings and events software can support every step of the sales and planning process - and the event itself. Highly rated meetings and events software includes Proposales, Event Temple, and Blockbuster by Duetto. 9. F&B and point-of-sale systems: The pandemic accelerated demand for features like contactless menus and online ordering, so there has been a huge wave of innovation in the F&B software space. Vendors like RoomOrders, Bbot, and Oracle’s MICROS can help restaurants modernize their operations, cut costs, reduce reliance on delivery platforms, and strengthen relationships with customers. 7 Revenue Management Tech Systems that Improve Yield Strategy The goal of revenue management is to sell the right room to the right guest at the right price, and revenue managers leverage a variety of software to achieve their RevPAR goals. 1. Revenue management systems (RMS): The secret weapon of any revenue manager is the RMS; this system analyzes historical data, market supply and demand, and forecasts to recommend the rates most likely to maximize revenue and profitability. You might also hear revenue management software like IDeaS, Duetto’s Gamechanger, or Atomize referred to as “yield management systems” or “pricing engines.” 2. Channel managers: A channel manager is the link between a hotel’s property management system and distribution channels like Booking.com, Expedia, and the GDS. Channel managers such as SiteMinder, Cloudbeds’ myallocator, and D-EDGE’s Smart Channel Manager allow hoteliers to make changes in one system, their PMS, rather than managing rates on each channel individually. 3. Central reservation systems (CRS): Larger hotels or hotels that are part of a chain or group might use a CRS to centralize all bookings, whether they’re made by call center staff, the hotel’s own website, or a third-party channel. The CRS will then send reservations to the PMS for room assignments. Popular CRSs include Pegasus, Windsurfer, and GuestCentric CRS. 4. Rate shopping and market intelligence: A key to revenue management success is selling competitive rates, but how do you know what your competitors are selling? Rate shopping tools, like OTA Insight, Siteminder Insights, and D-EDGE RateScreener, do the heavy lifting for you and present competitor rates and market forecasts in user-friendly dashboards and reports. 5. Parity management: OTAs ask hotels to provide rate parity, meaning selling the same rate across all channels, and, as a hotelier, you don’t want OTAs to sell cheaper rates than your hotel’s website. Parity management tools, like OTA Insight, FornovaDI, and Triptease give hoteliers access to dashboards that monitor rates across all channels in real-time. 6. Business intelligence: Revenue managers love data, but sometimes all that data is too much for Excel to handle. Business intelligence tools offer better solutions for slicing, dicing, and visualising data through dashboards and reports suitable for studying historical performance or predicting the future. Top BI applications include OTA Insight, Scoreboard by Duetto, and ProfitSage. 7. Upselling Software: Driving incremental revenue per guest is possible with upselling tools that automate the entire process - and use profile data and historical trends to serve the most compelling, personalized offers to each guest, like room upgrades or F&B items. Tools like Oaky, EasyWay Smart Upselling, and GuestJoy also enable hoteliers to start the upselling process before the guest arrives on property. 9 Guest Experience Platforms to Improve Satisfaction Scores How do you create a five-star guest experience in the digital age? A plethora of systems exist to delight guests, from contactless check-in solutions to modern in-room entertainment. 1. Guest messaging: Messaging platforms allow hotels to communicate with guests via their preferred platform: text messaging, email, or even apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Top-rated systems like Monscierge, Whistle, and EasyWay support automated messaging and one central dashboard where staff can respond. 2. Keyless entry: Keyless entry software enables a guest to unlock their room or other secure areas like gyms or pools with a wave of their smartphone. Systems like Mobile Access by ASSA ABLOY, FLEXIPASS, and Openkey.co offer integrations with PMSs for a seamless arrival experience. 3. Guest apps: Digitize your in-room directory with a hotel app like ALICE, INTELITY, or Duve. These downloadable apps put everything guests need to know at their fingertips, from contact info and directions to room service menus and local recommendations. 4. Contactless check-in: In the wake of the pandemic, guests prefer a contactless arrival process, and software like EasyWay, Canary, and Duve make it easy for hotels to pivot to a fully digital check-in. Functionality includes ID scanning, digital registration cards, upselling, payment processing, and arrival time coordination. 5. In-room tablets: Just like the smartphone replaced our digital cameras and rolodexes, an in-room tablet can replace your rooms’ telephones, directories, room service menus, TV remotes, thermostats, and more. Tablet providers like SuitePad, Crave Interactive, and INTELITY are even proven to increase guest satisfaction and revenue. 6. Energy management: These systems have two goals: decrease your hotel’s energy costs and reduce your hotel’s environmental impact. Vendors like Verdant Energy Management Solutions, Telkonet, and EcoStruxure are designed with hotels in mind and seek to not only decrease costs, but also enhance the guest experience. 7. Guest room entertainment: Today’s guests want more than local cable channels on their guestroom TVs; systems like Monscierge ZAFIRO IPTV, and Sonifi provide interactive content and entertainment for all types of hotels, plus additional marketing and engagement opportunities you couldn’t get with traditional TV. 8. Mobile ordering/F&B: Bbot, RoomOrders, SABA F&B Ordering, and other systems provide an essential piece of technology for hotels and restaurants: mobile ordering. With this software, guests and customers can access menus, place orders, and pay from their smartphones, and F&B outlets can better manage order fulfillment and deliver an end-to-end contactless experience. 9. Hotel Wi-Fi: What was once a premium add-on is now an essential amenity at hotels, especially with a growing segment of travelers working remotely. To offer reliable high-speed internet access, hotels can partner with vendors like Cisco (Meraki), Percipia, or GuestTek that offer implementation services and ongoing support. 9 Marketing Tools to Lower Acquisition Costs and Drive Direct Bookings Of course, you don’t need any of the software listed above if nobody knows about your hotel! Marketing software allows you to tap into new audiences of guests and build relationships with your existing guest base. 1. Booking engines: For hoteliers seeking to increase direct business, a booking engine is essential. This software allows guests to book reservations on your hotel’s website by displaying rates and availability from your PMS, then integrating reservations into the PMS. Cloudbeds, Bookassist, and SiteMinder offer some of the best booking engines. 2. Reputation management: A reputation management tool helps you request, track, analyze, and respond to guest reviews across sites like Tripadvisor and Google and your own surveys. Some of the industry leaders are TrustYou, GuestRevu, and Revinate, and they can even assist in increasing guest review scores by revealing insights about guest sentiment. 3. Website builders and content management systems (CMS): Outsourcing your website design isn’t necessary with a CMS; these tools allow you to build, edit, and organize website pages and content, and they support integrations with booking engines, payment processors, widgets and more. Smart CMS by Bookassist, Profitroom, and Net Affinity are some of the top website builders. 4. Direct booking tools: If you want to increase direct bookings, then an app like Triptease, Hotelchamp, or TrustYou can boost the number of shoppers who complete bookings on your hotel’s website. These tools let you display personalized messages, snippets of guest reviews, price comparison widgets, and more - all of which give guests reasons to book direct instead of on an OTA. 5. Digital marketing agencies: Don’t have the time or resources to handle digital marketing in-house? A digital marketing agency can lend their expertise to help your hotel succeed in search engine marketing, social media, content creation, and PR. Bookassist, Avvio, and Net Affinity are some of the leaders in this space. 6. Social media tools: Whether you’re trying to build a new audience or stay in touch with past guests, social media is an important component of your hotel’s marketing strategy. Social media vendors like BCV, Sprout Social, and Travel Media Group can help you achieve your reach and engagement goals. 7. Metasearch and ad tech: Metasearch channels, like Google, Kayak, and Tripadvisor, are powerful drivers of traffic to your hotel website - if you leverage them effectively. These sites require special connectivity and a bidding strategy, and tools like Bookassist, Avvio, and Koddi will help you manage budgets, track attribution, and understand market dynamics. 8. Website live chat/chatbots: Potential guests shopping on your website want answers now - without needing to pick up the phone. A chatbot, like one from Asksuite, Quicktext, or Whistle, use artificial intelligence to answer guest questions quickly and accurately, plus capture leads and increase conversion on your website. 9. Hotel CRM: Your database of guest email addresses is a gold mine - if you can leverage it strategically. A CRM system, such as Revinate, Profitroom, and dailypoint 360, allows you to capture email addresses on your website, send automated messages throughout the guest’s journey, create segments of profiles with specific characteristics, and analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion. F&B and MICE The food and beverage and meetings and events components of the hotel industry have their own technology solutions too. Whether you’re trying to streamline your room service offerings or support citywide conferences in a maze of meeting spaces, you can find software to help you execute any type of service or event. 1. Restaurant management: In order to run a restaurant smoothly, restaurateurs leverage point-of-sale software to manage stock in real-time, handle transactions, reserve tables, run reports, and more. Popular restaurant management software includes Vento ePOS, Oracle MICROS, and Lightspeed POS. 2. Mobile ordering and room service: Contactless service is the latest trend in F&B, but it seems likely to become the norm. Mobile ordering systems, such as Bbot, RoomOrders, and SABA F&B Ordering, allow restaurants to upload digital menus, accept online orders, and receive contactless payments, and customers can feel confident in more efficient service and accurate orders and bills. 3. Meetings and events intelligence: This category of software aims to help hoteliers maximize their meetings and events business by understanding market dynamics, uncovering insights about attendees, and optimizing pricing and space usage. Top meetings and events intelligence tools include Blockbuster by Duetto, IDeaS (SmartSpace), and Get Into More. 4. Group sourcing and RFP tools: Without software to assist, the RFP process is tedious. RFP software, such as Proposales, MeetingPackage, and Venuesuite, moves this process online and helps you to automate it, making all the back-and-forth more efficient and helping sales teams reach their goals. 5. Event management: Software doesn’t just help your sales team seal the deal, but also to plan and execute the event itself. Event Temple, Tripleseat, EVENTMACHINE, and others provide functionality to send proposals, get e-signatures, manage traces, communicate with clients, and create and edit BEOs and agendas. Looking for more resources on hotel industry software? Download the free 2021 HotelTechIndex Market Leaders Report.
Want to install a great locking system for room access control at your hotel? Hotel door locks are one of the most important and underrated features of your property. Guests and employees engage with your door locks every day, and if the lock technology and hardware falls short, it can mean unhappy guests and dissatisfied team members. There are lots of variables around locks. Technology, security, aesthetics, and more. Are they minimalistic or do they ruin hallway design? Do they use classic RFID or a card reader? Do they offer contactless check-in options or will keyless entry void the deadbolt warranty? Electronic hotel locks also need to provide high security for guests who entrust hoteliers. Even a single breach of security in a hotel room can lead to irreparable reputational harm for a hotel business. In this article, we’ll introduce you to one of the industry’s most popular electronic lock solutions: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions’ VingCard. In addition to explaining the differences between VingCard’s various offerings, we’ll share some best practices and alternative hotel locks to consider so you can secure a smooth entry experience at each door at your property. Standard VingCard Models Looking to upgrade from an old magstripe lock system? VingCard’s Signature, Classic, and Flex models offer secure, reliable RFID technology and a modern look without breaking the bank. Let’s explore the benefits and differences between these three options. VingCard Signature With a small footprint on the door, the Signature model is ideal for hotels that strive for a clean, minimalist look along with a high-tech locking mechanism. In the photo below, you can see that the VingCard Signature component is the small black rectangle above the door handle. This model can be combined with a variety of handle styles for a totally customized look. Pros: Takes up little real estate on the door, works with many handle options and supports ASSA ABLOY’s Mobile Access system which allows guests to unlock the lock with their smartphone. Cons: Limited functionality besides simple locking and unlocking. VingCard Classic Like the Signature model, the Classic offers modern RFID technology for seamless unlocking of guestroom or back-of-house doors. Unlike the two-piece Signature, though, the Classic model is just one piece of hardware - the RFID reader, door handle, and keyed lock are housed in one unit - making it an ideal replacement for magstripe locks that take up similar space on the door. This model is compatible with several handle options so you can customize the lock’s appearance. Pros: Good solution for upgrading legacy magstripe locks, minimal maintenance needed. Cons: Takes up a lot of space on the door, looks clunky. VingCard Flex Another great option for upgrading legacy locks is VingCard’s Flex lock. The biggest benefit of this one is that it requires minimal modification to the door - no drilling required! This aspect makes installation a breeze and allows you to easily upgrade to a more minimal lock style at a future time. Pros: No need to drill into the door, supports a variety of handle and finish options. Cons: Clunky appearance, takes up a lot of space on the door. Speciality VingCard Models Searching for a lock that pushes the envelope in terms of style and functionality? VingCard offers two upgraded models, Allure and Essence, that may better suit the needs of luxury or design-forward hotels that don’t want to compromise function for fashion - or want some additional high-tech features. VingCard Allure Combining RFID lock technology with electronic information panels, the Allure lock system is packed with features. The locking mechanism is controlled by an exterior panel, which is positioned on the hallway side of the door and displays information like room number and “do not disturb” status. From an internal panel, guests can tap “do not disturb” or “make up room” buttons so the information shows on the exterior panel rather than hanging a sign on the door. The RFID reader is housed on the exterior panel, and it communicates wirelessly with the door locking mechanism. Pros: Sleek look, serves as a communication tool in addition to a door lock, variety of LED panel lighting options. Cons: More intensive installation process, more expensive than other lock options. VingCard Essence For hoteliers who want the most understated look possible, the Essence model tucks the RFID reader within the actual door to eliminate the chunky appearance of a traditional RFID reader. This model supports entry via both RFID keycards and Mobile Access, making it a good choice for guests at all levels of tech-savviness. Pros: RFID reader works from longer distances than other lock options, clean design. Cons: Small footprint on door makes it less than ideal for replacing magstripe locks. VingCard Alternatives Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in VingCard’s offerings? Not to worry; you can find several other reputable companies that specialize in electronics locks for the hospitality industry. Dormakaba’s Saflok locks are worthy competitors of VingCard’s models; the Saflok MT RFID in particular is quite similar to the VingCard Signature and Classic as a replacement for legacy magstripe locks or an entry-level RFID lock. Pictured: Dormakaba Saflok MT RFID In addition to the MT model, Dormakaba offers the sleek Quantum RFID and Quantum Pixel, which are similar to VingCard’s Essence in terms of minimalist design. And the feature-packed SR3 offers nearly equal functionality to VingCard’s Allure with separate informative and control panels on the corridor and interior sides of the door. Pictured: Dormakaba SR3 Like VingCard and Dormakaba, SALTO offers a catalog of electronic door locks that range from purely functional to cutting-edge and stylish. The Ælement Fusion, for example, rivals VingCard’s Essence with its minimalist look and Bluetooth compatibility. Based on your exact specifications and budget, you may find you prefer one lock vendor over the rest. With the right locks in place, you can unlock seamless guest experiences and reduce poor reviews related to lockouts and security. Did we miss any of your questions about VingCard locks? Let us know!
Want to install a great locking system for room access control at your hotel? Hotel door locks are one of the most important and underrated features of your property. Choosing the right access system also affects your hotel's ability to innovate in the future by adding contactless access and mobile key or integrating data with other systems. Guests and employees engage with your door locks every day, and if the lock technology and hardware falls short, it can mean unhappy guests and dissatisfied team members. In this article, we’ll introduce you to one of the industry’s most popular electronic lock solutions: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions’ VingCard. In addition to explaining the differences between VingCard’s various offerings, we’ll share some best practices and alternative hotel locks to consider so you can secure a smooth entry experience at each door at your property. Standard VingCard models Looking to upgrade from an old magstripe lock system? VingCard’s Signature, Classic, and Flex models offer secure, reliable RFID technology and a modern look without breaking the bank. Let’s explore the benefits and differences between these three options. VingCard Signature With a small footprint on the door, the Signature model is ideal for hotels that strive for a clean, minimalist look along with a high-tech locking mechanism. In the photo below, you can see that the VingCard Signature component is the small black rectangle above the door handle. This model can be combined with a variety of handle styles for a totally customized look. Pros: Takes up little real estate on the door, works with many handle options, and supports ASSA ABLOY’s Mobile Access system which allows guests to unlock the lock with their smartphone. Cons: Limited functionality besides simple locking and unlocking. VingCard Classic Like the Signature model, the Classic offers modern RFID technology for seamless unlocking of guestroom or back-of-house doors. Unlike the two-piece Signature, though, the Classic model is just one piece of hardware - the RFID reader, door handle, and keyed lock are housed in one unit - making it an ideal replacement for magstripe locks that take up similar space on the door. This model is compatible with several handle options so you can customize the lock’s appearance. Pros: Good solution for upgrading legacy magstripe locks, minimal maintenance needed. Cons: Takes up a lot of space on the door, looks clunky. VingCard Flex Another great option for upgrading legacy locks is VingCard’s Flex lock. The biggest benefit of this one is that it requires minimal modification to the door - no drilling required! This aspect makes installation a breeze and allows you to easily upgrade to a more minimal lock style at a future time. Pros: No need to drill into the door, supports a variety of handle and finish options. Cons: Clunky appearance, takes up a lot of space on the door. Speciality VingCard models Searching for a lock that pushes the envelope in terms of style and functionality? VingCard offers two upgraded models, Allure and Essence, that may better suit the needs of luxury or design-forward hotels that don’t want to compromise function for fashion - or want some additional high-tech features. VingCard Allure Combining RFID lock technology with electronic information panels, the Allure lock system is packed with features. The locking mechanism is controlled by an exterior panel, which is positioned on the hallway side of the door and displays information like room number and “do not disturb” status. From an internal panel, guests can tap “do not disturb” or “make up room” buttons so the information shows on the exterior panel rather than hanging a sign on the door. The RFID reader is housed on the exterior panel, and it communicates wirelessly with the door locking mechanism. Pros: Sleek look, serves as a communication tool in addition to a door lock, variety of LED panel lighting options. Cons: More intensive installation process, more expensive than other lock options. VingCard Essence For hoteliers who want the most understated look possible, the Essence model tucks the RFID reader within the actual door to eliminate the chunky appearance of a traditional RFID reader. This model supports entry via both RFID keycards and Mobile Access, making it a good choice for guests at all levels of tech-savviness. Pros: RFID reader works from longer distances than other lock options, clean design. Cons: Small footprint on door makes it less than ideal for replacing magstripe locks. VingCard Alternatives Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in VingCard’s offerings? Not to worry; you can find several other reputable companies that specialize in electronics locks for the hospitality industry. Dormakaba’s Saflok locks are worthy competitors of VingCard’s models; the Saflok MT RFID in particular is quite similar to the VingCard Signature and Classic as a replacement for legacy magstripe locks or an entry-level RFID lock. Pictured: Dormakaba Saflok MT RFID In addition to the MT model, Dormakaba offers the sleek Quantum RFID and Quantum Pixel, which are similar to VingCard’s Essence in terms of minimalist design. And the feature-packed SR3 offers nearly equal functionality to VingCard’s Allure with separate informative and control panels on the corridor and interior sides of the door. Pictured: Dormakaba SR3 Like VingCard and Dormakaba, SALTO offers a catalog of electronic door locks that range from purely functional to cutting-edge and stylish. The Ælement Fusion, for example, rivals VingCard’s Essence with its minimalist look and Bluetooth compatibility. Based on your exact specifications and budget, you may find you prefer one lock vendor over the rest. With the right locks in place, you can unlock seamless guest experiences and reduce poor reviews related to lockouts and security. Did we miss any of your questions about VingCard locks? Let us know!
In the age of technology, connectivity is critical to property and brand-wide success—and it affects every aspect of rising industry trends around security and mobile payments. To find the right vendors and put the right tech in place, you need the right information. You need to know how the tech you’re looking at is going to integrate with the systems you already have in place. So before anything else, view the tech through the lens of your SOPs. What would a day in the life of your staff look like? Are there significant gaps in functionality or connectivity? If so, it’s a no-go right from the start. If not, it’s time to dig into specifics. Here are four key pitfalls for hoteliers to know and avoid in order to find success: 1. Hotels have more technology than ever—and when systems don’t communicate, the business consequences can be devastating. Between your PMS, POS, and staff collaboration tools, there’s plenty to worry about. Add in guest-facing tech and hotels can suddenly have more different solutions than time to sift through them. And if a single cog in the machine isn’t working in conjunction with other things, it can be a disaster for operations. Before signing up with a new vendor, make sure what they’re offering will integrate with the critical systems your property already uses on a daily basis. Your tech should maximize your staff’s efficiency, not add extra stress or unnecessary steps. To further ensure a quality integration, look for a vendor that builds their integrations directly. A more advanced integration is much more likely to be certified or otherwise validated by others. 2. When operations suffer due to bad integrations and siloed data, the guest experience suffers as well. When systems don’t communicate, information is either duplicated or never shared at all causing guest requests to never get fulfilled or get fulfilled twice. And this isn’t something staff can be expected to handle or track. The reality is, many simpler integrations pass less information which creates a shallow and less efficient system. Make sure you are getting integrations with depth—the more information your systems can share the better. If you want to ensure the vendor you are looking at has effective integration and consistent guest satisfaction, go to the source. Ask to speak to a customer who is currently using the integrations you need. Get your questions answered by someone who can vouch for how things affect the guest experience and day-to-day operations. 3. Security is absolutely essential to connectivity. Here’s what to watch out for on that front. If a vendor declines a security audit, there’s a reason. A good place to start is by asking if their integrations meet industry standards from organizations like HTNG (Hospitality Technology Next Generation) or OTA (OpenTravel Alliance). Are they directly involved with those industry organizations? And find out if they have regular security audits. No confident vendor declines a security audit. They aren’t easy for anyone, but they’re necessary and they exist for a reason. You need to know if their system is secure. Declining an audit is a huge problem and an indicator a vendor may not be all they say they are. Seasoned vendors will understand that request from the beginning. 4. Payments are among the highest levels of integration to achieve and the thing everyone wants right now. Payments are the most in-demand integration: are the vendors you’re looking at prepared? If a vendor has payments capabilities right now, that’s an indicator they’re advanced and up to speed on the latest developments in hospitality. Ask: Do they process or facilitate mobile payments—namely, do they leverage a PCI-compliant payment gateway that has authorization and settlement capabilities specifically for lodging? If they do, huge green light. If not, a little worrying. Beyond the overall importance of connectivity and how it affects trends like security and payments, buyers should be looking for a trustworthy vendor above all else, and knowing which questions to ask during the buying process plays a key role in determining that. So there you have it: those are some of the red flags you should be watching for—but what are the green flags? If you want to find a vendor partner that goes above and beyond, there are two quick things to check for: a dedicated team for integrations and a product roadmap that demonstrates ongoing commitment to innovation. If a vendor has both of those things, they’re likely not just good at what they do, but great at it. For more in-depth vendor questions, check out 10 Questions to Ask Vendors Before Your Next Purchase.
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!
Will 2021 see the return of travel? As vaccinated populations grow, many international governments are looking to energize the travel industry with discussions around “vaccine passport” programs and the reopening of borders ahead of the all-important summer tourist season. As the year progresses, will there be a significant spike in demand for flights and hotels? And in which markets? Will road trips and outdoor destinations continue to be popular to accommodate social distancing or are travelers setting their sights on more exotic locales? It’s important for hoteliers to prepare for a few different scenarios this year based on consumer confidence levels. To best capture available demand and ease travel-related concerns, hoteliers will want to focus on providing guests a clean, welcoming environment. Meet the Expectations of “Generation Clean” Cleanliness will remain a top priority for travelers this year and will weigh heavily in their decision to book accommodations. In a recent traveler survey, 2 out of 3 people say COVID-19 prevention measures are very important to know before they book, while only 25% say price is the key driver behind selecting their next destination. That means the “Generation Clean” traveler is prioritizing health and sanitization in booking decisions and wants to feel the property is doing enough to ensure their safety. As a hotelier, make sure to communicate the cleanliness standards and protocols your property has put in place. Add these details to your website and booking engine to make the property more attractive to shoppers. Pre-arrival emails that highlight specific safeguards your property is implementing, and what type of experience guests can expect onsite will be welcome and appreciated. Provide Stress-Free Contactless Experiences Expectations for contactless experiences such as keyless entry, mobile check-in/out, and automated service requests were already on the rise before COVID-19. Current social distancing guidelines have accelerated the adoption of contactless technology and digital experiences. Contactless experiences not only drive convenience, but 62% of guests prefer to check-in and out through a hotel app. The introduction of these digital touchpoints can also provide hoteliers with opportunities to drive ancillary revenue and collect more actionable data to deliver memorable experiences. For example, if you know your guest has checked into their room via the property’s mobile app, perhaps consider sending them a text message or push notification to see if they’d like to order contactless room service. These digital interactions are a welcome addition to travelers’ experiences and lets them know you are still offering attentive service, even though your staff is not immediately visible. Personalize Each Step of the Guest’s Journey Hoteliers are discovering that loyalty is evolving beyond point-based reward programs to entice repeat bookings. COVID-19 has advanced the pace of technology adoption to build better guest experiences. With low room rates in abundance and high uncertainty around travel guidelines, non-price factors such as trust and the ability to deliver safe and memorable experiences are increasingly driving booking behavior. In fact, 79% of consumers say they are more loyal to brands with higher levels of personalization. Every pre-trip questionnaire, email, digital service request, or mobile purchase is a building block for a personalized experience. But hoteliers need integrated systems to make true personalization a reality. By leveraging centralized data across your technology stack, hoteliers can convert guest preferences and profile details into actionable information for service delivery staff. After all, a personalized experience is a differentiated experience that can ultimately earn you a lifelong customer. In a world where travel is evolving rapidly, some consumer expectations and behaviors are sure to become standards. Hoteliers need to take bold action to embrace these changes and elevated expectations for cleanliness, contactless experiences, and increased personalization. By focusing on integrated technology to deliver these priorities, hoteliers will ultimately drive more demand for their business and deepen their connection with guests.
If you’re building a new hotel or upgrading hotel rooms in an existing property, you may feel overwhelmed at the plethora of door lock options. Hotel door locks today are more complicated than simple deadbolts and door handles. Electronic door locks in the hospitality industry require access control mechanisms and even keyless entry software systems to operate in a way that meets evolving guest expectations. Door locks, besides providing a simple security measure, give you an opportunity to provide a better guest experience when you choose the right one for your property. Wondering how to choose? In this article, we’ll explain the various types of door lock systems and hardware, and we’ll provide some key considerations in making your decision. Let’s get started! First Things First: Overview of Door Lock Hardware While door locks might seem like a somewhat trivial part of the guest experience, they can actually create either a frictionless experience or cause a big headache for guests and employees. Since door locks are present not only on guestroom doors but also on amenity areas (gym, business center, etc.) and exterior entrances, guests and employees will interact with them frequently. The first decision you’ll need to make is which type of door lock hardware is best: full-body locks or separate component locks. What’s the difference? Full-body locks Also known as unibody locks, full-body locks are one single piece of hardware. The handle, reader, and locking mechanism are one structure. Full-body locks come in a variety of finishes, like stainless steel, and the battery is often housed on the inside side of the lock. These locks usually require little to no modification on the actual door, meaning they’re quick and easy to install. Although they might look a little clunky, they cover roughly the same surface area as a traditional magstripe lock, so they’re a good solution if you want to upgrade from your old magstripe system with minimal modifications to the door. Separate component locks As the name suggests, separate component locks include two separate pieces: a reader and a lock handle. These locks take up much less real estate on the door, giving them a more minimalist look, but the installation is slightly more complicated as it requires two steps - installing the handle and installing the reader. However, separate component locks give you more flexibility for future lock upgrades or changes since they have a smaller footprint on the door, and since most store the battery inside the door itself, these locks have a more attractive design. How Do You Open It? Overview of Door Lock Technology Now that we’ve explained the two main types of door lock hardware, you may be wondering which type of unlocking technology is best. Software and hardware must work seamlessly to facilitate a seamless customer journey via the internet of things. Unless you’re a historic B&B, perhaps, you probably won’t be using mechanical door locks with a traditional key. Instead, you’ll want to bring your property into the 21st century with a secure and convenient electronic locking system. The four most popular types of door lock technology are magstripe, PIN code, RFID, and BLE. That’s a lot of acronyms, so let’s explore each one in more detail. Magstripe These old-school locks were once the cutting edge of lock technology, but today, many hoteliers are eager to upgrade to a more secure system. Guests or employees unlock magstripe locks with a keycard that has a magnetic strip, similar to a credit card. The keycard can be programmed to allow access to only certain rooms or during a specific timeframe. However, magstripe locks are notoriously glitchy, and the keycard can be easily deactivated near electronic devices (like smartphones), so many guests run into lockout situations that require them to return to the front desk to reactivate their keycards - not an ideal experience! PIN Code Many locks require an access item for entry, like a keycard, fob, or smartphone, but a PIN code lock only requires a numerical code. A PIN code lock has a keypad where users can type in their code. Simple PIN code locks have a static code that doesn’t change (unless you change it manually), but today many electronic PIN code locks allow codes to be changed remotely and as often as necessary. Certain PIN code locks even integrate with your property management system and automatically assign a unique code to each reservation. While guests don’t need to carry around a key for these locks, they do need to remember their code. RFID Radio frequency identification technology is becoming increasingly common as a better version of magstripe locks. Instead of magnetic stripe keycards, RFID keycards are embedded with an RFID chip that is not easily deactivated and can store more data and permissions than a magstripe keycard can. To unlock the lock, guests simply wave the RFID card in front of the reader, so it’s less error-prone than swiping a magstripe keycard. While RFID technology sounds like the obvious upgrade from magstripe locks, it’s important to note that RFID keycards are significantly more expensive than magstripe keycards. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Though it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, Bluetooth low energy locks allow guests to unlock doors with their smartphones. The smartphone sends an encrypted “message” to the lock so only guests or employees with the right permissions can gain entry, meaning this type of lock is very secure - especially since there’s no possibility of losing a physical keycard. One hurdle in BLE lock adoption is the requirement that guests download an app that works with the lock system, but in recent years guests have gotten more accustomed to digital hotel amenities, so the app download isn’t as much of an obstacle. In fact, BLE locks can be a big benefit in today’s hotel landscape since they are totally contactless - guests can check in online, bypass the front desk, and let themselves into their room. How to Choose the Ideal Hotel Door Lock System There’s a lot of choice when it comes to hotel door lock hardware and software. Before making a purchase decision, you’ll want to weigh your options and determine what your priorities are. Do you want a lock that’s easy to install, or is a stylish look more important? Do you want guests to use a keycard, a PIN code, or a smartphone to gain access to their rooms? And how much do you want to spend? Magstripe locks, for example, are less expensive than RFID locks, but magstripe locks are more likely to cause guest experience issues and lockouts. BLE locks don’t require any type of keycard, but they do require every guest to install a smartphone app, which can cause confusion among less tech-savvy travelers. Once you’ve narrowed down the type of hardware and technology that would work best for your property, you can engage in conversation with a lock vendor that offers your ideal lock system. Popular hotel door lock companies include: ASSA ABLOY Dorma kaba Onity Salto Schlage With the right lock and lock technology, you can turn the simple act of entering a guestroom into a positive guest experience. Before you start down the path of a hardware provider you'll want to explore keyless entry system cost and features to ensure that whatever hardware you land on will be flexible enough to work with the software that meets your hotel's needs and to ensure that the software won't void your hardware warranties. Ready to move beyond hotel door locks and explore keyless entry solutions providers? Check out the 10 Best Mobile Key Vendors for Hotels.
Wondering what RFID technology is? Even if you’re not familiar with the acronym, chances are you use RFID technology in your everyday life without even realizing it. RFID is a key component for IOT (internet of things) connectivity. Do you have a pass for your parking garage or a fob to access the gym? Or maybe you’ve accidentally triggered the security alarm when leaving a store because the security tag was still attached? These are all examples of RFID in use, but they’re not the only use cases for this versatile technology. RFID has real-world applications across many businesses such as industrial supply chain manufacturers, retailers, theme parks, and even cruise lines. In this article, we’ll explain what exactly RFID technology is, study some interesting examples of RFID technology in hospitality businesses, and explore some innovative ways hoteliers can use RFID to deliver better guest experience and operate more efficiently. What is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)? An RFID system is simply a cost- effective technology that uses radio waves to send a signal from a chip to a receiver. RFID stands for radio-frequency identification, and this type of wireless technology involves two parts: a tag and a receiver. The tag contains a microchip with a unique code, and the receiver contains components to process the signal transmitted by the tag. Tags can be either passive (no battery, activated by the receiver) or active RFID tags (battery-power source, emits a signal that the receiver picks up). RFID tags are very small but can contain a lot of information ranging from identification numbers to pages of text; they are often embedded in merchandise tags, key fobs, name badges, credit cards, and even pets! In a clothing store, for example, an employee could use an RFID reader to scan tag-embedded merchandise to instantly see more information about the item or ring it up at the check-out, similar to how a barcode is used. There are different types of RFID tags writes the RFID journal, "In general, low-frequency and high-frequency range tags are read from within three feet (1 meter) and UHF RFID tags (ultra-high frequency) are read from 10 to 20 feet. Readers with phased array antennas can increase the read range of semi-passive RFID tags to 60 feet or more." Read range can also vary depending on environmental factors that effect the strength of radio signals. Although RFID technology isn’t new (it was patented in the 1970s), its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years as the technology became cheaper and more applications were developed. Depending on the type of tags and readers, RFID technology can be adapted to a wide variety of industries. In healthcare, RFID tags are used to keep track of prescription medication to ensure they don’t end up in the wrong hands. In-car manufacturing, RFID tags are attached to parts to monitor their progress along the assembly line. And in office buildings, RFID tags allow employees to enter the building or a specific floor with a wave of their name badge while keeping the doors locked to outsiders. RFID Applications in the Hospitality Industry It’s no surprise that hospitality businesses want to take advantage of RFID technology too, especially when it offers speed, security, and a high-tech touch. Hotel and travel businesses usually begin by leveraging technologies like RFID for access control systems and asset tracking. Due to the pandemic, contactless guest journeys have increased uptake of RFID, Bluetooth and NFC (nearfield communication) technology. Let’s explore how Disney, Coachella Music Festival, and Royal Caribbean use RFID technology to enhance their guest experiences. Disney’s MagicBand ticketing solution Paper tickets for Disneyland are a thing of the past thanks to the RFID-powered “MagicBand” system that Disney rolled out in 2013. The MagicBands are plastic wristbands embedded with an RFID chip that guests can use to enter their room at a Disney resort, gain access to theme park attractions, charge food and beverage purchases to your account, and more. Before MagicBand, guests would need to juggle room keys, theme park tickets, credit cards, and cash, but the MagicBand consolidates all of those functions into one device. Throughout Disney resorts and parks, guests can access surprise features by tapping their MagicBands at specific touch points. Besides pure functionality, Disney also turned the MagicBand into a marketing vehicle; Disney fans can purchase MagicBands in their favorite color or emblazoned with their favorite animated character. RFID wristbands at Coachella At a music festival, the last thing you want to do is wait in long lines. And festival organizers are always seeking ways to improve security and catch counterfeit tickets. Seeing an opportunity to meet all of these objectives, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival rolled out an RFID wristband solution that allows faster entry into the festival and eliminates the risk of counterfeiting. Coachella even went one step further than smart cards by placing the chips on wristbands. Festival-goers are issued wristbands embedded with RFID chips that each have a unique identifier, meaning that it’s essentially impossible to copy them. Instead of security staff scrutinizing every paper ticket upon entry, attendees simply scan their wristbands at RFID readers at the festival entrances to gain nearly instantaneous access. The readers can process many more attendees per hour compared to the traditional entrance process, which means Coachella’s music lovers can get to their favorite stages faster. How can hotels use RFID technology? Due to its relatively low cost, ease of use, and potential for operational efficiency, RFID technology can be an attractive solution for hoteliers looking to elevate their guest experience. But how, specifically, can RFID deliver value to your hotel? Door locks: One of the most popular use cases for RFID technology is guestroom entry. Compared to a traditional keycard, RFID-equipped cards offer hoteliers more control over security. Front desk staff can activate and deactivate cards remotely and review logs to see where and when a card was used. From a guest’s perspective, RFID keycards are easier to use than traditional credit card-style keycards (simply wave it in front of the door lock transponder to open the door), and the ability to deactivate lost RFID key cards gives guests peace of mind. RFID cards can also be more cost-effective in the long term as they don't get demagnetized. Controlled amenity access: Besides granting entry to guestrooms, hoteliers can also use RFID technology to control access to amenities, parking, event spaces, and more. If a guest did not pay for parking, for example, the front desk agent could deactivate access to the parking garage on the guest’s key card. Or if the guest booked a club-level room, access to the executive lounge can be enabled on their key card. On-site payments: Outlets like restaurants, bars, and spas can use RFID technology to streamline the payment process. If guests have RFID-enabled keycard that contain payment information or room-charge information, guests can simply pay with their keycard. By eliminating cash and credit cards from outlets, the risk of theft or declined transactions decreases and each transaction takes less time. Inventory management: In addition to key cards, RFID tags can be embedded on physical items in the hotel to assist in inventory management. For example, RFID tags on minibar items can alert hotel staff to low stock rather than tasking housekeeping staff with monitoring stock levels. Or RFID tags attached to employee uniforms or linens can help hotels keep track of laundry processes and know when to order more. Theft prevention: Most hoteliers have a line item in their budget to account for replacement of stolen items like pillows, hair dryers, and dishes. RFID chips on these frequent “souvenirs” can tell hotel staff when an item has left the building and give them the opportunity to recover the stolen item. Do you have any questions about RFID technology in hotels? Let us know!
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed how we travel in myriad ways. The guest of the future has new expectations of their hotel stay; health and hygiene now take priority for hoteliers and guests alike. One way hotels can protect the health and safety of their guests is by providing a frictionless guest experience starting with a contactless check-in process. Recent surveys have found that contactless check-in and a touchless journey can help guests feel more comfortable staying in a hotel, with 26% of consumers indicating they want digital room keys and 35% asking for contactless payment options. Many hotels are already implementing contactless check-in procedures by partnering with top-rated contactless check-in software providers. From virtual credit card authorization forms to passport scanning property management systems to mobile key to QR code menus, the hospitality industry has been innovating at a rapid clip to stave off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns. Here’s what that means in practice – and how your hotel staff can use technology to help enforce social distancing with long-term benefits. This article outlines contactless check-in for beginners in the hospitality industry, if you're looking for a more advanced strategy guide to implementing these processes at your property - check out our 2021 Contactless Check-In Buyers Guide. What is Contactless Check-in? Many people perceive contactless check-in as a one-step process. In reality, contactless check-in involves everything from valet parking to keyless entry according to Viceroy Hotels Global Head of IT Darren Clark. For check-in to be truly contactless, your hotel needs to factor in each step of a guest’s arrival and anticipate the points at which human contact can be prevented or replaced with technology. Consider the traditional check-in process. A guest would arrive at the hotel and be greeted by the valet or doorman. A concierge may ask to take their luggage to their room. The guest will wait in the lobby – usually along with other travelers – to interact with the front desk team. Hotel guests must provide identity checks like passport and credit card so that the front desk agent can complete their registration card before handing them a key to their guest rooms. There are multiple contact points throughout this entire process, not to mention the unlikelihood that social distancing will be possible in the hotel lobby or front desk queue. Contactless check-in, however, uses technology to minimize these contact points. Mobile check-in allows guests to check-in before they arrive via mobile device or on-site via a self-check in kiosk, thereby minimizing time spent waiting in communal areas as well as contact with the front desk staff. Some properties accomplish this by providing an app in which guests can log in and tap to receive their room details. Other properties provide self-service technology, such as tablets or kiosks, to confirm their details and check-in. Keyless entry gives guests access to their rooms immediately upon arrival, using a Mobile Key on their device to lock the door. This technology removes the process of visiting the front desk upon arrival and also eliminates the hassle of lost keys or keys that demagnetize and must be replaced during their stay. The best part? Guests are already familiar with both mobile check-in and keyless entry, thanks to existing offerings by Hilton and Marriott. Hilton guests, for example, downloaded 7.6 million mobile keys through the app in 2018, a testament to the success of the brand’s digital check-in push. The Benefits of Contactless Check-in Contactless check-in isn’t just a pandemic work-around: guests like the efficiency and convenience of managing their own arrival process. And, hotels can save time and money by adding technology to their check-in process. Even before the pandemic, keyless entry was an increasingly important feature for travelers. According to survey data from Openkey, Keyless entry leads to an average increase of 7% in guest satisfaction scores Guest satisfaction scores drop by 50% when there’s a 5-minute wait at check-in 46% of travelers say a mobile key solution is an important on-property feature for them 49% of travelers say “their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the hotel room, i.e., mobile key.” Likewise, hotels are able to run more efficiently through mobile check-in and keyless entry technology. Mobile check-in saves time and effort for staff, as documentation, T&Cs, and on-site offers can be sent to guests pre-arrival. Mobile check-in solutions help hotels gather customer insights about their guests: learn what their preferences are with a pre-arrival questionnaire, and see which offers and amenities a guest chooses to learn about before their stay. It’s also a simple way to send through upsell offers, highlight on-site features, and capture ancillary revenue without having to meet face-to-face. Tips for Making Check-in at Your Property Contactless With the right technology, implementing contactless check-in is relatively painless. It does, however, take some proactive communication with guests so that they know what to expect before arrival. Send pre-arrival emails detailing the check-in process and what security measures your team has put in place on-site. This email should accomplish two things. First, it should reassure guests that you are taking their health seriously. Second, it should give guests step-by-step instructions for how to check-in through their mobile device or onsite kiosk, as well as how they will receive their room key. Share this information at least 12 hours before their arrival. Make sure to send information about every step of the arrival – including whether there will be a valet, what the mask requirements are, and if someone can expect to have their temperature taken and recorded. When the guest arrives, make sure that there’s clear signage to let them know what to do next. Provide the same step-by-step check-in instructions that you sent via email. Include directions to find different areas of the property and to help guests learn how to use keyless entry. And, of course, provide hand sanitizer stations throughout the lobby.