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10 Mandatory Marketer Skills in the Hotel Industry & Beyond

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 days ago

Social media marketing and digital marketing made LinkedIn’s list of most in-demand skills in 2019. Research by Marketing Hiring Trends predicts that 44% of companies will want to hire more digital marketers in the coming years. From Google Adwords to content marketing, learning the marketer skills is a critical step to future-proofing your career and keeping you in constant demand. Digital marketing is a wide-ranging and diverse area where a marketer can develop different skill sets, from analytics to visual design to creative writing. Because more than 90% of online activity starts with a search engine, SEO and paid search marketing are critical tools for any marketer or entrepreneur. Content creation, email marketing, and social media strategy are needed at virtually every B2C company and deliver high ROI to businesses seeking to build 1:1 relationships with customers. Glassdoor’s data shows that the average salary for a digital marketer is around $61,000 per year. Digital marketers can get hired at agencies, directly by companies, or as consultants and freelancers. In the hotel industry, on-property marketers have the benefit of working with agencies who already possess these digital marketer skills.  Hotel marketing agencies like Net Affinity tend to become more than just service providers, they act like members of your team.  Top marketing agencies not only help you tactically execute on the skills we outline below but the best ones actually teach these skills to their clients.  If you aren't learning from your agency, it may be time for a new marketing partner. Hotels are best suited working with a firm that specializes in hotel marketing because they understand industry specific nuances such as Google Hotel Ads, lodging benchmarks & best practices, booking engine conversion rates and the latest hotel trends.  Net Affinity, for example, has built it's own booking engine which integrates closely with your hotel website to control the full purchase funnel.  Outside of these nuances, the marketer skills required to succeed in a digital world are relatively similar no matter what industry you’re in. These ten areas will help grow your marketing career more effectively, sharpening your skills and boosting your client’s marketing efforts in the process. On-site SEO Off-site SEO Conversion Rate Optimization Content Marketing Social Media Google PPC Metasearch Graphic Design Email Marketing Promotion Psychology   On-Site SEO A study by SEO experts Ahrefs found that 91% of online content receives no traffic from Google. That means the majority of websites out there aren’t getting any views from people searching on Google. On-site SEO prevents your hotel’s website from falling into that dark void of no views. On-site SEO refers to those factors on your website that impact the ranking of your page on Google. There are five main on-page SEO components that matter most when building your strategy:  User engagement: how do people interact with your website? Metrics for measuring your user engagement include click-through rate, bounce rate, pages per session, and return vs. new visitors.  Site structure: the way your website is built combines with your keywords and content strategy by preparing your website for indexing and crawlability. How easily can a search engine access, crawl, interpret and index your website? Is your site secure? Are your URLs clean and easy to understand? Content: keyword optimization plays a role in making sure your site is getting the traffic you need. To find keywords, use a tool like Google Keyword Planner, Moz, or Ahrefs. Then, add focused keywords into title tags and page titles. Create header sections that use header tags. Interlinking: Interlinking is when you add links in your copy to other parts of your hotel’s website. It enables customers to move with ease between content, increasing session time and decreasing bounce rate.   Mobile responsiveness: mobile is taking over the hospitality industry. And, Google has taken notice: starting July 2019, Google officially rolled out mobile-first indexing. Sites that aren’t mobile-optimized will receive a lower ranking than their competitors. Your site must be able to be read on any device. On-page SEO can get technical, but a basic understanding of the factors impacting your organic ranking can start you off on the right foot. Find a partner like Net Affinity – they’re a Premier Google Partner, meaning their experts are in the top 5% of agencies worldwide with deep expertise in on-site SEO. Work with their team to reach your organic traffic goals and gain bookings from Google and other search platforms.   Off-Site SEO & Link Building On-page SEO is dependent on the activity and structure happening on your hotel’s page. Off-page SEO, conversely, applies to elements occurring outside of your website. These elements include social media, your online marketing activities, and most importantly, links to your web pages from other websites. There are a number of ways to impact your off-site SEO. Google's algorithm uses “ranking factors” to improve your site’s visibility, and one of those factors is relevance. Does your page contain relevant information to a user’s search query? To meet the relevance metric, Google looks for “backlinks” or inbound links. These links remain the single most important factor in improving your off-page SEO ranking. When other websites recognize your page’s value, your domain authority goes up and your search engine page ranking will follow. Previously, Google’s algorithm would look to the number of backlinks to verify relevance. Now, it’s quality that matters: and the quality of the link incorporates a number of different factors, including: How often are you acquiring backlinks  How old is the link The text used to link back to you (does the anchor incorporate a keyword or phrase?) The domain authority of the linking site Number of visitors the link garners There are numerous ways to earn backlinks, including working with a PR agency, launching an influencer campaign, or pitching your hotel to bloggers and the press. Actively using your social media channels can also impact your off-page SEO.    Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Conversion rate optimization, CRO, is the process of increasing the percentage of your website visitors who convert to guests. To build a CRO strategy, investigate how a customer moves through your site, what actions they take, and what barriers are preventing them from clicking the “book now” button and completing their reservation. For a clear picture of what’s going on, start with your website analytics. Google Analytics can tell you:  Which webpage does a person land on to enter your site? What parts of your site does a person engage with? What channel or referrer brought them to your page? What device or browser are they using? Who are your customers (by geography, demographics, and interest)? Where do users abandon your site? A heatmap tool like HotJar can show you where users are scrolling, clicking, and leaving your site. Visualize areas of weakness on your page to optimize your site and capture more bookings. Net Affinity can also dive into your analytics to discover the true value and impact of your marketing channels, using that data to focus your marketing efforts toward higher conversion rates. Continuous optimization informed by your analytics means that your hotel can refine messaging, site speed, and other factors to improve CRO.      Content Marketing Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves generating valuable, relevant, and consistent content – blog posts, videos, social media posts, or podcasts, for example – to attract customers and drive conversions. By some estimates, “content marketing provides conversion rates about six times higher than other digital marketing methods.” Many hotel owners see stats like that and assume they must immediately start a blog. But, as we’ve argued in the past, hotel blogs and other forms of content work only when they’re relevant. No benefit comes from blogging for blogging’s sake: your content must work for your property and be interesting to your prospective customer. To get started with content marketing, determine who your ideal guest is, forming guest personas based on rich, actionably psychographic and behavioral traits. A persona should read as if you’re describing a single person, digging into their motivations and mindset to understand their mission when they visit your hotel site. Once you’ve defined your blog audience, develop a content calendar that offers stories, videos, or recommendations that help them achieve their mission. Don’t be shy about getting granular in your topics. The more specific you can be, the more likely your content is going to be relevant. Over time, content marketing can positively impact your SEO ranking as well as boost your CRO score. When done properly, content marketing costs about 62% less than traditional marketing tactics. Clearly, there’s a big payoff to be gained in building a thoughtful content strategy.    Social Media Management There are mixed opinions over what a hotel’s social media strategy should look like. Some hotels have benefitted from 6% of direct reservations coming from Facebook; others have discerned no notable difference from investing resources in social media platforms. The key takeaway to social media management is recognizing its value as a) an SEO and content marketing tool and b) a place for sharing. Social media profiles can boost your SEO when you share quality, relevant posts. You must offer your audience value to see the benefits of social media. This can be in the form of promoting a travel deal, highlighting a new spa service, or posting a travel guide to some top attractions near your property. The second reason to actively manage your social media profiles is that guests frequently share reviews and experiences on your pages. Net Affinity predicts that user-generated content is going to rise in 2020; your hotel can be proactive about sharing and responding to great reviews, as well as managing negative feedback. It takes a solid social media management strategy to know how to address both instances.    Pay-per-click and Google Hotel Ads Paid search has an immediate impact on your direct booking strategy. Net Affinity uses paid search to deliver insight on where your traffic is coming from and to help hotels connect with the right guests at the right price. This involves utilizing Google Ads and pay-per-click campaigns. Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is an advertising channel that promises to put your ad in front of a user at the moment they’re ready to book. It utilizes a pay-per-click model, meaning that you only pay when a user takes a specific action, like clicking your ad to visit your site or make a booking. Google Hotel Ads and PPC campaigns offer a way to earn back more direct bookings and counter OTAs. A smart keyword strategy involves a deep understanding of the services and queries for which your target guests are searching. Then, make your ad text “specific and unique to your hotel, mentioning benefits and descriptions which are clearly about your hotel,” recommends one expert. By doing so, “you can often appear more relevant to the user and earn the click over the OTA. The high level of specific relevance might also help increase your Click Through Rate, Quality Score and Ad Rank, the result of which can be a reduction in Cost Per Click.” Pay-per-click is a smart way to stretch your marketing budget, but to see real results, you need to dive into your website analytics and learn about your guests. Lean on Net Affinity’s expertise as a Premier Google Partner to ensure your bid strategy gets you results.    Metasearch Bid Management Metasearch engines like Google Hotel Ad, Trivago, and Trip Advisor have opened a new channel for independent hotels who wish to compete with large third parties, elevating their listing through smart bid management. Net Affinity leverages their relationships with several metasearch channels to bring new guests to your hotel website and convert clicks to bookings at a lower cost than OTAs. There are four key reasons why metasearch must be part of your marketing mix.  Gain exposure: metasearch immediately shows guests what they’re seeking – the price of a room. It allows them to quickly make a purchase decision and gives you a way to make more direct bookings outside of OTAs.  Take control from OTAs: metasearch gives your hotel a way to set a rate for specific stay dates and room type.  Competitive bidding: managing your metasearch gives you deeper insight into your market position to make sure OTAs aren’t undercutting your prices.  Diversification: position your listing as the more favorable option and open a new channel through which to gain bookings. Google, TripAdvisor, Kayak, and Trivago are the biggest metasearch channels you must understand. A digital marketing agency can help you test different metasearch channels to come up with the right strategy that delivers bang for your buck.    Graphic Design Lessons from Amazon, Zappos, and Expedia have proven that simple copy updates and changes in color theme on your website can increase revenue by double and triple percentage points. Graphic design is an element of your website experience that can’t be ignored.  The design of your site is the digital equivalent to the lobby of your hotel. It sends certain signals to your guests that can either entice them to book, or turn them away. Use high-quality images that are optimized for page speed and views on mobile devices. Adding video to your site can increase revenue per visitor by 27%. Show your rooms in a grid layout to enable site visitors to quickly scan to find what they’re looking for. Remove any distractions that prevent a user from completing their booking. Look to Sorrento’s Grand Hotel Royal for an example of a clean, straightforward home page that uses great graphic design elements. Unless you have a graphic designer in-house, it’s likely that you’ll need an agency to help design a website that is both functional and appealing. Find a website builder that gives you the flexibility to edit pages easily and add landing pages for your marketing campaigns. Your graphic design is only as good as the user experience, and it’s imperative that your agency partner recognize that.    Email Marketing According to research by Campaign Monitor, every dollar spent on email marketing led to a $38 return. That makes email marketing the most effective marketing channel out there in terms of ROI. Redirect spend from your social media marketing to email to capture higher ROI and develop higher brand affinity with targeted messaging and personalized offers. Email marketing requires four elements for success:  Customer segmentation: divide target customers into groups based on factors such as loyalty, lifetime spend, frequency and recency of stay. Valuable content: what does your email campaign deliver in value to the reader? Send content that is relevant as measured by an increase in conversions or a decrease in the unsubscribe rate.  Timing: 98% of all upsell revenue came from pre-arrival emails; your email must be timed for key moments in the guest journey.  Benchmarking: learn how your emails perform based on geography, segment, and email type to constantly improve. Setting up your email campaigns takes the right tools. What action do you wish your email recipient to take as a result of your message? Net Affinity’s booking engine incorporates automatic pre and post-stay emails to constantly help your property improve their reputation and services. Design landing pages that convert from your email campaigns, and send targeted upsell offers that capture additional revenue per guest.    Purchase Psychology & Creative Promotions Upselling, when done well, increases revenue and guest satisfaction simultaneously. Guests are expecting personalization; Google Traveler found that 36% of travelers are willing to pay more for tailored information and experiences. Understand why people click “buy” on an ancillary product to master your upselling technique. According to Psychology Today, “a buying decision is the result of a consumer learning pathway where the consumer must learn about a product or service and relate it to their specific situation to make a favorable buying decision.” Drive profit by creating promotions that utilize compelling marketing copy, vibrant and high-quality images, and strategic pricing. Show the guest that you understand their needs, delivering the promotion in a way that connects with the guest. A creative promotion can be anything from a cooking class from your on-site chef, a welcome package with local treats, or a partnership with a luggage transfer company to bring a guest’s suitcase door-to-door. Mine your website data to learn more about what will excite your guests and use those insights to improve the guest experience and drive revenue.   Where to start: Consumer Insights All of the skills above are tactical. Without understanding your consumers (guests and prospective ones) you can’t execute any of the digital marketing strategies outlined here with any precision. Hotels must be good at analyzing guest surveys and reviewing data to build customer personas; then, shape your tactics around these insights and personas.  

Hospitality Industry in 2020: The Ultimate Guide

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 days ago

This is the ultimate guide to the hospitality industry in 2020. And let me be clear about something: This is NOT a “10 Ways to Improve the Guest Experience” post. Yes, we’ll cover the most important ways to sharpen your skills on property. But this is a primer for those looking to excel in a hypercompetitive industry.  This is the ultimate resource for those looking to get an edge. This is also a great resource for industry vets to bookmark and reference back to when looking to brush up on all things hospitality. So if you’re looking to up your hospitality game this year, you’ll love this guide.   What’s Inside this Hospitality Industry Guide? Best Hotel Schools Hotel Industry Jobs Hotel Industry Conferences Top Publications Industry Organizations Largest Employers Books Every Hotelier Must Read Trends Impacting Hospitality Terminology & Industry Jargon Continuing education & certifications   What Makes the Hospitality Industry so Dynamic? With a global footprint and an annual revenue of well over $500 billion, it’s hard not to ignore the hospitality industry. A career in this exciting sector can be enriching and challenging, but you may be wondering where to begin. Whether you’re just getting started in your first hospitality job or considering a mid-career switch, this guide will reveal the ins and outs of the hotel industry. This guide will cover aspects of the industry like popular hotel jobs, hotel industry organizations, and recommended hospitality industry reads. We’ll even decode some hotel industry lingo!   Best Hotel Schools Some hospitality professionals begin their careers in an entry-level hotel job, such as a front desk agent, and climb the ranks by earning promotions from one level to the next. Other hospitality professionals, who knew they wanted to build a career in the hotel industry, might earn a college degree in a hospitality-related field in order to jump into a supervisory or managerial role upon graduation. While many colleges and universities have hospitality or tourism classes, only a few have entire schools dedicated to the hospitality industry. If you want to earn a degree from one of the best, here are the world’s top hotel and hospitality management schools. Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, this prestigious school offers a world-class hospitality education with a global focus. Courses are taught in English or French, and students are required to complete two six-month-long internships, often in different countries, before graduation. The school also focuses on culinary skills and restaurant management, and there are several “teaching restaurants” on campus, including one that has earned a Michelin star. Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration As part of the Ivy League, this program offers hands-on training in its on-site restaurants and hotel, plus a focus on academics in its Center for Hospitality Research and Baker Program in Real Estate. The school is located in Ithaca, New York and offers a dual degree program with the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. The School of Hotel Administration’s alumni network includes over 14,000 members and more than 50 Cornell Hotel Society clubs around the world. University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management Named for the owner of Florida-based Rosen Hotels and Resorts, this school is located in Orlando, Florida. It offers traditional hospitality management degrees in addition to specialized programs in theme park management, golf and club management, entertainment management, and event management. Students can earn Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degrees. Les Roches International School of Hotel Management This globally focused school has campuses in Switzerland, Spain, and China, which offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students can choose between specializations such as digital marketing strategies, hospitality entrepreneurship, and resort development, and successful completion of two six-month internships is required before graduation. University of Nevada’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration Located just a stone’s throw from the Las Vegas Strip, it makes sense that this school would offer some of the world’s best programs in casino management, golf management, and meeting and events management. Top hospitality companies visit the campus every year for recruiting, and students often work part-time or as interns during their studies. Hotelschool The Hague Located in the Netherlands, this school has campuses in The Hague and Amsterdam, which offer undergraduate and MBA degree programs. Courses are taught in English, and the school attracts students from across the world, who often embark on global hospitality careers upon graduation. Oxford Brookes University’s Oxford School of Hospitality Management This British school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with a focus on international hospitality. Students have the option to spend one year in an internship, and the school matches students with experienced industry professionals in a mentorship program. Glion Institute of Higher Education Known simply as Glion, this hospitality school has three campuses; the original is located about 40 miles outside of Geneva, Switzerland, and two satellite campuses are located in Bulle, Switzerland and London, England. Students can specialize in International Event Management, International Hotel Development and Finance, Luxury Brand Management, and more. Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business, School of Hospitality Business This school is most well known for its undergraduate degree program, but it also offers executive education and a minor in Hospitality Real Estate Investment Management. The school often hosts guest lecturers and speakers from various leading hospitality companies and encourages students to complete internships. Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management Offering a wide variety of courses, this school provides education in tourism destination management, catering management, revenue management, data analytics, and more. Students have the opportunity to earn dual degrees with other Virginia Tech programs, like Real Estate or Business. Online Hotel Management Degrees If full-time school isn’t the best option for you, a few e-learning platforms offer hospitality management degrees online. In addition to full degree programs, you can also find continuing education courses online to continue to hone your hotel management skills without committing to full-time classes. Some leading online programs include Florida International University’s online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, The University of Alabama’s online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, and eCornell’s suite of continuing education courses that range from revenue management to guest loyalty strategies.   Hotel Jobs & Career Paths: A Complete Breakdown If you’re certain that you want a career in the hotel industry, you’ll need to decide exactly which role is best for you. A wide variety of jobs compose the entire industry, so people with any type of background or experience can find success in one facet or another. It’s also common for people to start in one role or department, then switch, sometimes multiple times, between roles and departments to build a holistic understanding of hotel operations. General managers have sometimes worked in nearly every hotel department before reaching the GM role! It might seem daunting to apply for your first position, but remember that it’s quite common to jump between departments, if you later find there’s another role you would prefer. Corporate vs. on property hotel jobs Do you think all hotel jobs are based in actual hotels? Many hotel industry professionals don’t work in a hotel at all, but instead in a corporate office or headquarters that works closely with the properties themselves. Some corporate hotel jobs are even split between several properties, with the employee spending a day or two each week at a couple different hotels in one market. Corporate hotel jobs can include roles in marketing, revenue management, sales, reservations, and even branding and real estate development. Corporate hotel jobs can be a fantastic way for someone who is passionate about the hospitality industry to also gain experience working in a traditional office setting, and these jobs often offer the unique perspective of working with more than just one property. However, these jobs can be more difficult to find as hotel companies typically have just a handful of corporate offices, compared to a whole portfolio of properties around the world. Hotel Operations Are Highly Cross-Functional A successful hotel should operate like a sports team, with various departments responsible for different tasks, and the general manager acting as the team captain. Like positions on a soccer field, each position in a hotel requires different skills and work styles, and, while the roles themselves are unique, they’re all crucial to the overall operations of the hotel. General Manager: Every hotel is a business, the GM is the CEO. The GM is responsible for everything that happens on property, from steering the hotel’s strategy to making hiring decisions to resolving serious guest complaints. A general manager usually has his or her own office, but they spend much of the day meeting with the executive team or other departments or walking throughout the hotel and speaking with guests. A GM should be a true “people person” who has strong leadership skills, since they interact constantly with both guests and employees. Sometimes the GM also interfaces with the hotel’s owner or brand representatives, so communication skills are also important. Many general managers work their way up from other departments, perhaps spending a few years as a Director of Rooms. While the role of a general manager can be extremely rewarding, it’s also a challenging job, which carries a lot of responsibility and the flexibility to respond to problems around the clock. General managers typically have a decade or more of work experience in the hotel industry, and many hold college degrees in hotel management. Salaries can vary greatly based on the size and location of the hotel, with average annual pay between $75,000 and $140,000. Operations Manager: An operations manager sits below the general manager and is responsible for overseeing all of the operational aspects of the hotel, which is essentially everything involved in the delivery of a great guest experience. This role supervises the front office, housekeeping, sales, food and beverage, and any other operational department the hotel may have. Ops managers must have a wide range of leadership and communication skills, since their work involves leading teams of employees and solving problems. The operations manager role can be challenging due to the high time commitment and constant demands of both employees and guests, but it’s also a fantastic stepping stone for someone with the goal of becoming a general manager. Operations managers should have several years of work experience, and many hold degrees in hotel management. Salaries depend on the size and location of the hotel, but an average salary is between $51,000 and $95,000.  Housekeeping Manager: The housekeeping manager is responsible for everything required to cleaning guestrooms and the hotel’s public areas. But this role isn’t as simple as overseeing the washing of sheets. Housekeeping managers must coordinate housekeepers’ schedules, hire housekeeping staff, manage inventory, provide quality control checks, and work closely with the front office team. A housekeeping manager must be detail-oriented and a team player. While this role doesn’t work closely with guests, a big part of the role is motivating and developing the housekeeping staff, which can be a challenge in a department that traditionally has high turnover. Some housekeeping managers work their way up from the front desk or housekeeping teams, and others land the job directly out of college or as part of a management training program. Average housekeeping manager salaries range from $66,000 to $90,000. Front Office Manager: The front desk is one of the most important parts of the property, handling check-ins and check-outs, answering questions, and performing administrative tasks. A front office manager supervises the front desk’s operations, which can involve hiring, training, and motivating staff in addition to resolving guest issues. The front office manager works closely with the housekeeping manager to coordinate room cleanings, and the role also plays an important part in communicating guest complaints (or recognizing great guest experiences) to other departments. Front office managers should have excellent communication skills and a lot of patience. Like housekeeping managers, front office managers can get promoted from a front desk agent or front desk supervisor role. Some also come through management training programs. The average front office manager salary is around $42,000, but can vary based on the size and location of the property. IT Manager: Technology is no small part of hotel operations, with nearly every department using some sort of technology solution - from property management systems behind the front desk to reservation systems in restaurants. The IT team is responsible for ensuring all of the hotel’s systems are working properly in addition to maintaining guest-facing technology (like WiFi and electronic locks) and protecting the hotel from cyber attacks. The average IT manager salary is approximately $80,000. Engineering: The engineering team has arguably the most important job in the hotel: they’re responsible for ensuring the physical building is in tip-top shape. Someone working in the engineering team should like being hands-on and have a sense of pride for building they work in. Engineering managers and team members often have a background in maintenance work, perhaps having worked in an office building or hospital previously. The average salary for a hotel engineering manager is around $32,000. Revenue Management: Depending on the size of the property, a hotel might have one revenue manager or a 3- or 4-person revenue management team. Revenue managers are responsible for setting rates, managing the hotel’s online distribution channels, and forecasting rates and occupancy. Revenue managers should have both analytical skills and people skills, since the role involves analyzing historical and market data and working closely with front office, sales, and marketing colleagues. Some revenue managers come from front office or reservations backgrounds, while others find their way to a hotel revenue management job from another type of revenue management field, such as airline or rental cars. Revenue manager salaries vary based on the level of responsibility, but the average salary is around $65,000. Marketing: The marketing department’s key responsibility is to communicate the hotel’s value proposition, brand, and unique characteristics to travelers who may want to book the hotel. Traditional marketing methods like print advertising, are becoming less common, and marketing departments now focus on online channels, such as email newsletters and social media. The marketing team works closely with sales and revenue management to brainstorm upsells and promotions then decide which marketing channels to utilize. Hotel marketing professionals should be creative, resourceful, and articulate.  They should also be great managers because they’ll often need to oversee a hotel’s digital marketing agency where they’ll need to be well versed in marketing skills like SEO, PPC, CRO and more to be effective. Hotel marketing managers and coordinators don’t necessarily need to have backgrounds in the hotel industry, as many come to hotels from other types of marketing roles. Average salaries range from around $44,000 for coordinator roles to $63,000 for manager roles. Sales: The sales department is in charge of selling meeting space, arranging group room blocks, and planning catering and banquet functions. Small hotels may have just one sales manager who handles everything, while large hotels and resorts may have sales teams with coordinators, sales managers, and catering managers, some of whom may even be based remotely. Sales managers work closely with nearly every department at the hotel, from front office to food and beverage. Rather than working directly with guests, sales managers often work with event planners, like corporate travel planners and wedding planners, to decide on the specifics for the event or room blocks. Sales managers can work their way up from other hotel departments or come from other industries altogether. The average sales manager salary is around $60,000 but can be higher depending on the size of the property and commission or bonus structures.   Best Hotel Industry Conferences One way for hotel professionals to learn about trends and grow their networks is by attending industry events. Many industry organizations host small, regional events, while some other events are held annually and attract attendees from all over the world. ALIS: Held every January, the Americas Lodging Investment Summit is one of the world’s largest hotel investment conferences, with about 3,000 attendees every year. Lodging Conference: This annual conference attracts nearly 2,000 hotel general managers, CEOs, and owners for a few days of brainstorming and networking. The atmosphere is relaxed, with golf outings, shared meals, and think tanks that encourage the participants to come up with creative solutions for trends impacting the industry. Phocuswright Conference: Since Phocuswright is a hospitality industry market research company, it only makes sense that their annual conference would be rooted in data and trends. Their yearly event showcases speakers from the most cutting-edge facets of the industry, like CEOs of hotel technology start-ups, along with insight from Phocuswright’s own analysts. Skift Global Forum: Relatively new to the scene, this travel media company hosts several exciting annual events, including the Skift Global Forum, which explores the future of the travel industry. The Forum event brings speakers from cutting-edge travel companies and offers educational and networking opportunities for travel industry professionals. Indie Congress: The Independent Lodging Congress brings together independent hotel owners and operators for a few days of networking and idea sharing. Speakers include leaders of independent hotel, food and beverage, media, and technology companies.   Top Hotel Industry Publications The hospitality industry is constantly changing, thanks not only to technology, but also as a result of economic factors, legislation, politics, climate, events, and more. In order to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news, hospitality professionals read industry publications to keep them informed. These publications contain articles about new hotel openings, industry conferences, mergers and acquisitions, new technology for the hotel industry, and more. Hotel News Now: As the press arm of Smith Travel Research, a leading hotel industry analytics company, HNN publishes articles rooted in data from STR’s many studies and events. They track new hotel openings, closures, and brand changes, and their almost-daily “5 things to know” articles provide essential talking points on trends and industry news. Lodging Magazine: Published by the Americna Hotel & Lodging Association, this magazine is both a print magazine and an online news source. Topics range from new hotel openings to food and beverage trends to career development. HotelManagement.net: This media company delivers articles on topics such as technology, design, and strategies for owning and operating hotel businesses. In addition to their online content, they also produce the monthly Hotel Management print magazine. Hotel Executive: With a focus on providing relevant content for hospitality industry leaders, this online news site covers topics like hiring strategies, hotel design trends, and career development. Hotel Business: This media company isn’t only relevant for property-level hoteliers, but asset managers, owners, and investors too. They also produce an Executive Roundtable series which features insight from industry leaders. Hotel Business has both print and digital editions.     Most Influential Hotel Industry Organizations Many hospitality industry professionals will tell you that the industry feels very small. It’s not uncommon to run into former colleagues or classmates at events or trade shows - or to get to know fellow hospitality professionals in your area. Industry organizations play a big role in creating a sense of community within the hospitality space in addition to hosting events, holding conferences, and offering networking opportunities. HSMAI: The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International isn’t only an organization for sales and marketing professionals, but any hotel industry professional who plays a role in revenue generation. The organization has chapters all over the world and hosts educational workshops, networking events, and conferences. HEDNA: The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association started in 1991 with the goal of advancing the hotel industry through electronic distribution channels. Today, electronic distribution includes OTAs, the GDS, tour operators, technology solutions, and more, and the organization hosts educational events and conferences globally. AAHOA: As the largest hotel owners group in the world, Asian American Hotel Owners Association has over 18,000 members in the United States and provides a variety of educational and career development resources. The organization holds an annual convention and produces the monthly Hotelier magazine. AHLA: The American Hotel & Lodging Association works as a supporter and advocate of the hotel industry in the United States. The organization offers educational resources, provides networking opportunities, and hosts the annual Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS). BLLA: The Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association brings together a variety of independent businesses, from boutique hotels to fitness studios, fashion retailers, and wellness businesses. The organization helps its members succeed in largely corporate industries while retaining their unique character. HFTP: Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals began in 1952 and now operates offices and chapters around the world. The organization provides education, events, and resources for people in the finance and technology sectors of the hotel industry in addition to organizing the annual HITEC conferences.  HTNG: Hospitality Technology Next Generation is a trade association for hotel IT professionals and technology vendors. The organization aims to help hotels become more efficient and successful through implementing technology solutions.   Major Employers in the Hotel Industry Though the hotel industry is more than only chain hotels, global brands are the largest employers in the industry - and some of the world’s largest employers. Working for a major hotel company can offer benefits like complimentary hotel nights at properties around the world, a global network, and the opportunity to transfer to another property to grow your career.  Hilton: Hilton began when Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in Waco, Texas in 1919. Today the company operates 5,757 properties in 117 countries. 17 brands make up the Hilton portfolio, including Waldorf-Astoria, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn. Some of Hilton’s newest brands include the Curio Collection, the Tapestry Collection, and Canopy. Aside from its impressive brand portfolio, Hilton is known as a technology pioneer & innovator amongst the brands. Hilton’s corporate headquarters is in McLean, Virginia. Hyatt: In 1954, the first Hyatt House hotel opened near LAX airport, and during the company’s first few years, the strategy was to open hotels near airports with the expectation that air travel would continue to grow in popularity. That hypothesis proved correct, and Hyatt now has over 875 properties, 20 brands, including Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Hyatt Place, and a global footprint in more than 60 countries. Their headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. Marriott: The world’s 3rd largest hotel company started from modest beginnings with a family-run root beer stand in 1927, later opening their first hotel in Washington, D.C. in 1957. Marriott continued growing, adding new properties and brands to their portfolio, and in 2018, Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The combination of the two companies now includes 1.1 million rooms in over 5,700 properties, with brands like St. Regis, JW Marriott, and Courtyard by Marriott. Marriott’s headquarters is in Bethesda, Maryland. Accor: As Europe’s largest hotel company, Accor operates over 700,000 hotel rooms, about half of which are in Europe. The company was founded in 1967 and, after several acquisitions, now includes brands like Fairmont, Novotel, and Ibis and properties in 110 countries. Accor’s headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. IHG: Intercontinental Hotel Group is a conglomerate of several hotel companies, including Kimpton, Holiday Inn, and Intercontinental, which includes 5,795 hotels and over 860,000 rooms. While IHG itself was founded in 2003, the brands have longer histories. IHG has a few head offices, including one in Atlanta, Georgia and another in the UK.   The Best Hotel Industry Books Whether you’re trying to determine if the hotel industry is for you or if you’re an experienced professional looking for some inspiration, these books by industry legends are compelling reads for anyone interested in hospitality. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer: The legendary restaurateur and businessman tells his story of building his restaurant empire from Union Square Cafe to Shake Shack. Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp: You’ll find this book in the offices of general managers around the world, in which the founder of the Four Seasons brand shares his wisdom about taking care of not only guests, but employees too. Without Reservations: How a Family Root Beer Stand Grew into a Global Hotel Company by J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr.: The son of the founder of the Marriott hotel brand, Bill Marriott writes about the lessons he learned from his father and the key takeaways from building an iconic company. 100 Tips for Hoteliers: What Every Successful Hotel Professional Needs to Know and Do by Peter Venison: As a former hotel management textbook writer, hotelier, and frequent traveler, Peter Venison compiled his tips and tricks for running a successful hotel and being successful in the industry, making this book a good read for anyone curious about the hotel industry as well as hotel executives. Nuts!: Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success by Kevin Freiberg: With lessons that apply beyond just the air industry, this book shows how Southwest Airlines’ unique approach helped the airline built passenger loyalty and financial success. Looking for more great industry reads? Check out our 16 favorite hospitality books!   Major Trends Impacting the Hotel Industry Right Now Like every industry, the world of hospitality changes continuously. As a strong economy and new technologies make travel more accessible to people around the world, the industry is growing and expanding in new ways. Forward-thinking hoteliers should always be aware of the leading industry trends so they can ensure their own businesses stay competitive and relevant. Vacation rentals/homesharing: The rise of Airbnb led to vacation rentals, previously a niche market in leisure destinations, becoming a viable competitor of traditional hotels not only for vacationers, but also for business travelers and groups. As travelers try homesharing (some even developing a preference for it), traditional hotels can compete by offering more local experiences and home-like amenities while maximizing the features that set them apart, like unique food and beverage outlets and creative public spaces. Globalization and international travel: Thanks to the rise of technology, a growing global middle class, and people seeking experiences rather than material possessions, more people are traveling than ever - especially internationally. The number of international travelers has risen steadily for decades, with the most growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region in the last few years. Bleisure: For years, hoteliers treated business travelers and leisure travelers as two distinct guest profiles. Business travelers would typically stay during the week, and leisure travelers would book weekends. In recent years, the lines have blurred, with many business travelers choosing to include leisure time on their business trips, even extending their trips in some cases, leading to the term “bleisure.” Eco-friendly development: As consumers show a preference for sustainable businesses, hotels are going green - in more ways than just encouraging guests to reuse towels for an extra day. Some ways hotels are becoming more sustainable include eliminating single-use toiletry bottles, adding recycle bins to guestrooms, and using compostable to-go containers and utensils. A recent Booking.com study showed that 70% of travelers would be more likely to book eco-friendly accommodations. The hotel industry is incredibly dynamic going into 2020 so we couldn’t cover everything happening in this article. Want to learn about more hotel industry trends? Check out: 100+ Hotel Trends to Watch in 2020   Hotel Industry Terminology, Definitions & Jargon If you were to sit in on a hotel’s revenue management meeting, it might sound like the meeting participants are speaking another language. Acronyms, abbreviations, metrics and jargon. Occupancy: The percentage of rooms occupied during a given period of time. For example, if your hotel has 80 rooms, and 71 of them were occupied last night, then last night’s occupancy was 88.75%.  Occupancy = Rooms Sold / Total Number of Rooms ADR: ADR, or average daily rate, is simply the average rate sold during a given period of time. For example, if a hotel booked 71 rooms last night, and the total room revenue was $6745, then last night’s ADR was $95. ADR = Total Room Revenue / Room Nights Sold RevPAR: An abbreviation for Revenue Per Available Room, this metric is calculated by multiplying the occupancy percentage by the average daily rate (ADR). For example, if your occupancy was 88.75% and your ADR was $95, then your RevPAR would be $85.31. RevPAR = ADR x Occupancy % RevPAR Index: RevPAR is a great metric to determine how a hotel is doing today versus yesterday or compared to last year, but what about the hotel’s performance against the market? RevPAR index compares a hotel’s RevPAR to the RevPAR of a set of other hotels.  RevPAR Index = Hotel’s RevPAR / Total Sample Set RevPAR CPOR: This metric stands for Cost Per Occupied Room, and it’s calculated by adding up all of the expenses associated with a booked room, including housekeeping, utilities, laundry. Compset: Compset is short for Competitive Set, which is a group of approximately 4-8 hotels that your hotel views as close competitors. Typically, compset hotels are located in the same area, offer similar amenities, and sell similar rates. Chainscale: With so many hotel brands on the market today, Smith Travel Research’s chain scales organize them into quality classifications which represent roughly the same level of service and amenities. The chain scales are Luxury, Upper Upscale, Upscale, Upper Midscale, and Economy. For example, Four Seasons falls in the Luxury category, Residence Inn is Upscale, and Econo Lodge is Economy.   Hotel Industry Professional Certifications As hospitality professionals gain more experience in their fields, they may want to further their knowledge and credibility by earning an industry certification. Several industry organizations offer certification programs which could require specific work experience, an exam, or a course. Once certified, a hospitality professional can add the designation to their resume (or after their name on LinkedIn) to demonstrate their expertise in their field. CRME: Certified Revenue Management Executive. This certification is organized by HSMAI and is designed for revenue management professionals. It requires work experience in the revenue management field and a passing grade on an exam. CHTP: Certified Hospitality Technology Professional. This certification is organized by HFTP and is designed for professionals in the finance and information technology fields, such as hotel controllers or IT directors. CHRM: Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager. The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) organizes this certification, which requires either work or educational experience in a revenue management field and a passing grade on an exam. CHA: Certified Hotel Administrator. Also organized by AHLEI, this certification is for hotel general managers, assistant general managers, owners, or directors of rooms, and it requires at least two years of experience in an executive role and a passing grade on an exam. CHAM: Certified Hotel Asset Manager. The Hospitality Asset Managers Association organizes this certification, which has strict requirements that include letters of recommendation, years of work experience, an exam, and final approval by HAMA’s advisory board. CHHE: Certified Hospitality Housekeeping Executive. Organized by AHLEI, this certification is specifically designed for housekeeping executives and open to anyone who has worked in a managerial level in a hotel’s housekeeping department for at least a year. CHFE: Certified Hospitality Facilities Executive. AHLEI also offers this certification especially for hotel engineering or facilities leaders. At least 1 year of managerial work experience is required in addition to a passing exam grade. CFBE: Certified Food And Beverage Executive. Hospitality professionals working in kitchens, restaurants, or banquet operations are eligible for AHLEI’s food and beverage certification, which involves passing a test in addition to demonstrating relevant work experience. CHAE: Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive. Another certification run by HFTP, this one is designed for accounting professionals within the hotel industry. Candidates could be directors of finance, CFOs of hotel companies, or consultants. -- By now, your interest in the hotel industry should be sufficiently piqued. We invite you to continue learning - whether you’re new to the industry or not - by subscribing to industry publications, participating in industry organizations, or perhaps studying for a certification exam. This exciting field can open up a world of opportunities, build lifelong relationships, and take your career to new heights.   Did we miss anything in our guide? Let us know!  

SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store: 9 Tools You Need to Check Out

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

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

What is CRO and Why Does it Matter To Your Hotel?

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Well done: your hotel's direct marketing plan is driving more traffic to your website than ever before. Your hard work has paid off and you should actually be very proud of building a healthy direct channel. But how are your website conversion rates? Next-level hotel marketing mastery requires both demand generation skills and an ability to convert that demand into bookings. You can’t just generate the demand at the top of the funnel via metasearch and other PPC advertising, or inbound marketing techniques like blogging and influencer marketing; you need to then convert as many of those prospects into customers as possible. As you’ll book more business with the same amount of spending, your increased capital efficiency falls directly to the bottom line. This means that conversion improvements have a direct impact on your hotel profitability. The best part is that there are affordable tools like Hotelchamp that have been purpose built to deliver constant improvement and optimization for hotel websites. Ready to get started? Here's how to make conversion optimization a key part of your hotel marketing strategy.   What is CRO: The Science and the Impact CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, and it refers to the process of improving the number of people that complete a desired action on your website or online channels. The most obvious examples are the conversion rates of your website’s booking engine, or the number of lookers the turn into bookers. Conversions to revenue are obviously the most visible; you can also optimize conversions at any point throughout the funnel, such as on landing pages, proposals, newsletter sign-ups and third-party advertising. CRO is actually a theory backed by science. There's a copyrighted formula created by researchers at MECLABS that explains why people “convert,” or choose to take a specific action. Here's that formula:   C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a   To calculate C, the probability of conversion, you'll need five variables: the motivation of the user (m), the clarity of the value proposition (v), an incentive to take action (i), as well as the friction (f) and the anxiety (a) that prevents taking action. Notice that the most influential factors are the user’s motivation and the clarity of the “ what's in it for me” value proposition.   Therefore, effective CRO starts with a clear and detailed understanding of your target users and their respective motivations. Those motivations should then influence the words, visuals, and overall user experience so that the experience speaks directly to those motivations. You want to make sure that each aspect of the experience is primed for conversion, from the headline all the way down to the color of the “Book Now” button. That's the theory behind conversion optimization --  but what impact will it have on your hotel’s marketing efforts?   The 4 Key Benefits of CRO As you refine your conversion rate optimization skills, you’ll see four major benefits: Improved customer insight. A focus on CRO  requires you to have a deeper understanding of your customers. This is extraordinarily valuable, as it can affect all parts of your business. With successful customer insights driven your CRO strategy, you’ll increase the value of each interaction. This makes CRO the linchpin for your marketing strategy, says SEO expert and founder of Moz Rand Fishkin: “CRO is simply a must-have. CRO is the most important marketing activity because it makes every visitor exponentially more valuable.” Better ROI. CRO is the ultimate direct booking tool for hotels. Consistently improving your conversion rates means that you will always be getting more out of your marketing spend. And, since CRO can happen at different stages and at different points in your customer experience, many small improvements magnify.  That's due to the power of compounding: a 5% increase inJust a couple of places in your marketing funnel will lead to greater possibility than just a single Improvement. Here’s a quick example with simple numbers: a hotel has a 10% conversion rate of website traffic to newsletter subscribers and a 5% conversion rate of newsletter subscribers to bookings. So 1000 website visitors equals 100 subscribers and thus 5 bookings. Doubling both conversion rates would mean 200 subscribers for every 1000 website visitors, resulting in 20 bookings for every 1000 visitors. That’s quadruple the original number, and double what it would be if only one conversion rate increased. As you improve conversions across your business, the effects can be exponential!  Better user experience. CRO also just isn’t about making more money. Stronger conversions usually made the customers are finding the information they need when they need it. This creates a better customer experience and expands your property’s guest-centric mindset onto your digital experience as well. Enhanced trust. As long as you aren't exaggerating or flat-out lying to get people to click on an advertisement or some how to see if people on your website, CRO enhances trust.  It shows your potential customers that you are aware of their motivations and are speaking directly to them. about type of connection resonates deeply with guests and creates the perception that you “get” them.    Popular CRO Software Tools A proper conversion rate optimization strategy requires a robust suite of tools that enables experimentation, including proper testing of each variable, analysis of the most effective variations, and then automatically delivering the most suitable options. For a quick comparison,  let's look at Optimizely vs. HotelChamp. One of the CRO leaders is Optimizely. The popular software brings A/B testing to all of your digital channels. The platform allows you to create a variety of digital experiences, each with variations  After serving up the options to a statistically significant number of users, it analyzes the results and automatically updates accordingly. Optimizely pricing reflects its expanded functionality and can be too unwieldy for hotel marketers.     For software that's hotel-specific, look at Hotelchamp. It lands in the top three of our Popularity Index due to its ability to optimize your hotel website and digital marketing in real-time. In addition to its optimization tools, the company has invested in customer support to help hotels realize the full potential of the software. This is especially useful for CRO, which requires a blend of creativity and analysis to succeed; customer support is immensely beneficial.   Example of a hotel-specific pop-up from HotelChamp.      Head-to-head: Optimizely vs Hotelchamp So which vendor would win in a Head-to-Head battle? Optimizely is a wonderful tool for massive ecommerce firms and software companies; however, it’s expensive, complex and requires engineering to fully maximize the software’s value.  Further, Optimizely does not connect with booking engines or other hotel data sources. HotelChamp is a more approachable, affordable, and industry-specific tool that aligns with the most common interactions that hotels must optimize. This streamlines the software, making it “easy to configure and change,” per one HotelChamp review. Pricing: Optimizely pricing is less competitive than HotelChamp, which has a monthly subscription tiered by room count. As an industry-focused vendor HotelChamp is also incentivized to reinvest revenues into new and improved solutions for its hotel customers. Features: Hotelchamp is purpose-built for hotels with custom features that simplify CRO and give hotels exactly what they need without extra functionality to wade through.  Time investment: Hotelchamp is fully automated with its Autopilot feature. Hotels that use a digital marketing agency for social and metasearch advertising will be especially well-suited to optimize with Autopilot, as it makes collaboration with other vendors easier.   With HTR's Global Support Certification you can be certain Hotelchamp will be there when you need   Top Tips For Mastering CRO Experimentation drives successful CRO. After you choose which metrics you want to influence, try many experiments, analyze the data, and then use those learnings to repeat the process again. It's only when you do all three steps that you're able to fully optimize. As you start to develop your conversion rate optimization mindset, consider these top tips for mastering CRO. Get your analytics correct. If your hotel website doesn't have analytics set up, start there. Then, you'll want to create specific goals for each action that you want to optimize, preferably with a direct link to booking value so you can track revenue impact. From there, you can start testing specific points and the user experience and optimize methodically. Without analytics, there's no way to know what works! Start with highest impact pages. These are the pages that align directly with your goals. For most hotels, this means optimizing the booking engine to convert more organic and paid traffic. You may also consider building different landing pages for paid campaigns, so that the copy and visuals speak directly to the segment's targeted in the advertising. Compared to incremental improvements (such as testing button colors), these will have outsized impact compared to the time invested.  Experiment at the end of the funnel. Even though revenue goals are the most visible, optimizing at the top of the funnel can be quite overwhelming to start.  Consider moving all the way to the bottom of the funnel and optimizing backwards. These will be smaller numbers that show the impact directly.  Then, as you feel comfortable with the optimization strategy, start moving up the funnel. Finally, test your assumptions. CRO can be a humbling process. Don't let your fundamental assumptions get in the way of success! Brainstorm ideas of things to test by putting yourself in the shoes of the person consuming the content and try to give them what they need at that specific point in time. Let them show you what works for them. As you experiment with different experiences for certain segments, expand your personalization to adjust for channel, timing, and device.  Don’t forget reviews: TripAdvisor, OTAs. These reviews can prime travelers’ mindset prior to clicking through to your website. If they have read enough good reviews, they will have more motivated once they click through. If there aren't as many recent or positive reviews, you’ll have to overcome that lingering skepticism to convert them to a guest.   Where To Learn More About CRO? Conversion rates matter immensely to your hotel’s bottom line profitability.  As you start to learn and expand your own knowledge, check out these handy articles as resources for further learning. Hotel conversion rates explained: Learn about the stats and hotel-specific examples. Unbounce’s Conversion Benchmark Report Analyzes tens of thousands of landing pages to calculate the latest benchmarks for conversion performance. Our HotelChamp Deep Dive includes everything you need to know about the hotel website and marketing optimization tool.  Moz’s authoritative guide to CRO explores the key tenets of successful optimization, as well as some reminders about bad ways to do CRO. Also helpful: their 5-step framework for CRO. This landing page analyzer can give you some quick tips on improving the conversion of existing pages. Even hotels with modest website traffic can benefit from CRO. Here’s how to do CRO when you don't have much traffic. Get analytics-ready for CRO with Google Analytics 101.   

Hotel RevPAR is Dropping: How to Preserve Profits in the Downturn

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

There’s some bad news impacting the hotel industry. Two recent reports paint a picture of slowing growth in the US market due to where we are in the hotel business cycle. Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, the industry’s key performance indicator, grew by just 1.2% in the first half of 2019. Typically when we get into a full on downturn, owners tighten their belts and are hesitant to invest in technology.  The problem is that when hotels underinvest in tech, especially distribution tech like that provided by D-Edge, they are disproportionately hurt by a downturn. Having the right revenue strategy in place, channel manager and digital marketing agency partner allows hotels to control their destiny in the downturn and even steal share.  Most hotels can succeed in an upmarket but when economic conditions slow down - it reveals the hotel businesses that are ill prepared. In this article we’ll help you make sure that your property doesn’t fall into that bucket. The good news is that gross operating profit margins are at 38%, while the long-run average tracked by CBRE between 1950 and 2018 is 34%. U.S. hotels' occupancy rate is at 66% compared to the long-run average of 62.5%. Let’s unpack what these numbers mean for your hotel – and how you can brace your property for the inevitable.   The hotel business cycle, explained in simple terms Every business goes through a natural cycle of economic growth and decline. Typically there are four phases to a business cycle: expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. There’s no set intervals for each phase, but there are signs that can tell you which phase you’re in – and help you predict when there will next be a downturn. The expansion phase occurs between the trough and peak. On a macro-level, this is when the economy is growing: the GDP is increasing at a healthy two to three percent, unemployment is low, and inflation is around 2%. Expansion is the goal of any healthy economy, but eventually the economy “overheats” meaning the GDP growth rate moves above 3%, inflation is higher than 2%, and investors are too bullish, creating asset bubbles like the housing bubble of 2008. Then, the economy enters peak phase: this is the month during which expansion transitions into contraction. After peak phase, the economy starts to contract. The contraction phase takes place when GDP growth falls below 2%. If the economy contracts too much, it can cause a recession. Unemployment rises and investors may sell off their stocks. When the economy hits bottom, this is the trough phase, the fourth and final phase in the business cycle. Trough phase is the month when the economy transitions from contraction to expansion. How long each phase in the business cycle lasts depends on a variety of factors including:  Supply and demand Monetary policy The availability of capital Consumer confidence Fiscal policy For hotel businesses, the industry cycle typically lasts 7.3 years. The hotel industry acts as a canary in the coal mine for the overall economic cycle: the hotel industry leads peaks by roughly nine months on average and leads troughs by around six months. As a result, hotel owners don’t have the luxury of watching the economy dip and reacting accordingly. Forward-looking hoteliers must prepare for natural peaks and troughs before anyone else. How can savvy hotel owners read the signs? Supply and demand is a key indicator that many business owners rely on to signal an economic downturn. In the expansion phase, consumer demand indicates financial growth. Consumers are confident in the economy’s strength, using their disposable income to travel and book hotel rooms. When supply is outpacing demand in your market, it’s likely you’ll hit a recession sooner and that it will be more aggressive. But, shifts in price elasticity and new competitors like Airbnb entering the market can make it hard to read the signals in the noise. Price elasticity measures how changes in supply and demand impact an item or service’s price. The availability of substitutes is a key factor in price elasticity: for example, gasoline is relatively price-inelastic, given that there are no substitutes for powering our vehicles. Your hotel room prices, on the other hand, have many substitutes: Airbnb and other competitors with the same star rating, amenities, price range, location, and brand identity are abundant substitutes. This environment makes understanding where you stand in the supply and demand curve that much more complex.    Where are we in the economic cycle? Globally, there are signs indicating that we’re in for an economic slowdown, rather than another recession of the severity of 2008. Brexit is a major concern for the UK and the EU that will have repercussions for the global economy. There are fewer applications to major MBA programs in the US than in previous years. The turmoil surrounding US trade relations has led to a significant decline in international applicants to U.S. business schools; a trend that may foreshadow a slowdown of inbound travel. What do these signals mean for hotels? Experts believe that the impending downturn is expected to be bad for hotels, but not catastrophic. “Our outlook is slowdown, not recession, both in the economy and with hotel performance. Because there’s so much cushion now, even in a slowdown the U.S. lodging industry will be performing above the long-run average, and hoteliers will be able to meet their debt obligations,” said Robert Mandelbaum, CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research director of research information services. As we progress to the end of the fiscal year, hoteliers need to prepare for the predicted downturn by investing in the right technology before the economy starts to turn. 2020 is going to be a critical year for the industry and the hotels that have the right marketing & distribution technology in place will be the best suited to weather the storm.   How to prepare your hotel business for the economic downturn Hotels that don’t invest in the right technology will suffer the consequences of poor preparation. As we witnessed the tragic collapse of Thomas Cook, we learned some key lessons from their failure that can be applied to the economic cycle. Hotel owners must implement the right technology, like the suite of tools from D-Edge, to diversify their channel mix, maximize revenue from existing guests, optimize their direct channel booking experience, help their sales team succeed, and bring back repeat guests. One stark lesson from the Thomas Cook example: fewer dominant channels dramatically increase risk. Just as a smart investor diversifies their portfolio, so must a hotel owner. How many channels are funneling customers to book at your property? The more sources you can employ to maximize your presence and bring in bookings, the more secure your position in an economic downturn. D-Edge MetaGenius and other metasearch managers optimize your spend so that you can capture bookings without splashing out too much of your budget. At the same time, your property must maximize the traffic on your website. Demand will drop and along with it, so will web traffic. Make sure that your website is optimized by working with a vendor like D-Edge to ensure industry best practices around load times, SEO, and conversion rates. This will minimize your reliance on high-commission OTAs and help your property survive the contraction stage. Those lessons cover the revenue side of the profit equation: what about keeping costs down? The saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it.” If you can’t measure it, you can’t predict it, either. Building a lean budget to outlast the downturn takes having the right data and analytics at your fingertips. Install solutions such as a top tier CRS and data intelligence platform to make sure you have visibility into what’s going on in the market. A vendor like D-Edge can supply both to help your team stay ahead of the curve. Lastly, the unfortunate truth is that in a downturn, online travel agencies wield all the power.  During the recession of 2008, while hotel sales dropped, OTAs actually saw their aggregate hotel sales climb in 2009. Price-sensitive customers gravitated toward OTAs in search of the best deal. A channel manager like D-Edge ensures your property is connected to the proper channels and functioning properly to avoid overbookings or even worse, missed bookings. An economic downturn is on the horizon – hotels that fail to prepare now are likely to face the consequences of outdated technology.  

100+ Hotel Trends to Watch in 2020

by
Jordan Hollander
3 weeks ago

It’s official: the future is quickly approaching. The hospitality industry is changing faster than ever before and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the hotel trends impacting this dynamic business. Our team of experts put in dozens of hours researching trends and published the most comprehensive list online. Below we outline 100+ trends that range from renewable energy to new hotel designs, alternative lodging and everything in between.   We break the list up into nine overarching themes: Smart Rooms Going Green Changing Workforce Alternative Accommodations Technology Traveler Preferences Hotel Business Hotel Design Globalization   While we may not be at the point of beds that make themselves or self-cleaning bathrooms, technology and innovation are bringing new and exciting changes for hoteliers and guests. In addition to forward-thinking hotel tech, we’re seeing changes to the workforce and work culture, shifting guest preferences, and an increased focus on eco-friendliness.    Alright. 100+ top hotel trends curated by industry experts. Let's do this.   Smart Rooms The internet of things is spreading not only into homes, but also into hotel rooms. From access to streaming services to a room key on your smartphone, the essential amenities in a guestroom are becoming increasingly digital. Guests want concierge services or temperature controls at the push of a button (or tap of a finger), and voice-activated controls are expanding beyond simply asking Alexa to play your favorite song. These trends might sound futuristic now, but in a few years, guests will expect them. Many of these innovations require only minimal changes to a modern guestroom, so a forward-thinking hotelier can implement them quickly and efficiently.   1. Bring your own streaming: Portable streaming devices like an Amazon Fire Stick allow guests to pack their own movies or shows in their suitcases, but they can only watch them if the guestroom’s TV has a USB port.  Hotels can also leverage a platform like Enseo which allows guests to login to their favorite streaming accounts and then automatically get logged out upon check-out. 2. Wireless device charging: Cords are so last year. Wireless charging transfers power from a charging “mat” to a device like a smartphone or headphones, when the device is placed on the mat.  Hotels can leverage a platform like Chargifi to deliver wireless charging in guestrooms. 3. Smart controls: Digital controls for temperature, light, and power, such as a Nest, that can be adjusted and programmed with the tap of a finger from a smartphone or other device. 4. Tablet based control: Forget the traditional binder containing information about hotel services; guests want to see restaurant hours, room service menus, spa services, and area recommendations on an in-room tablet which can also play music, control the room’s lights and temperature, and make special requests. Some popular brands include Crestron, INTELITY, SuitePad and Crave.     5. Sound proofing tech: The new standard of soundproof windows uses acoustic technology to minimize noise from traffic, airplanes, or loud music, which means noise complaints can be gone forever. 6. Voice-activated controls: Upgrade a smart speaker, like an Amazon Alexa, to handle hotel-specific requests with a system like Volara. These systems make it possible for guests to use voice commands to request services like housekeeping or valet. 7. Smart mirrors: This high-tech amenity combines a TV screen and a guest room mirror. While shaving or brushing teeth, guests can watch the news, check the weather, or request hotel services via a concierge-style function.  Check out all the neat functionality that Savvy by Electric Mirror has to offer. 8. Keyless entry: A keypad code, a digital version of a room key, or an app on a smartphone eliminates the need for physical room keys and streamlines the check-in process.  ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions' award winning keyless entry is second to none.     9. Concierge video chat: With a quick scan of a QR code, communication systems such as Crave allow guests to talk, text, or video chat with hotel staff in real-time. Guests can skip the walk down to the front desk and staff can answer questions or handle requests quickly and effectively. 10. Smart TVs: Many guests want to watch their favorite Netflix show instead of cable, and a Smart TV - either with an integrated internet connection or an add-on like Apple TV or Roku - allows viewers to select their favorite streaming service from a catalog of apps.  Samsung and LG are unsurprisingly leading the pack when it comes to smart tvs for hospitality.   Back to Top   Going Green A focus on environmental sustainability isn’t new, but the degree to which guests expect (and prefer) eco-friendly products and services is. Simply suggesting that guests reuse towels for an extra day isn’t enough; today’s traveler wants to stay at hotels that have integrated green practices in all aspects of their business. From physical changes to hotel buildings, like the addition of solar panels, to F&B menus with more vegetarian and vegan choices, it’s evident that these environmentally friendly trends are here to stay.   11. LEED Certification: Short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, this global certification measures the eco-friendliness of a building. The assessment covers topics like water efficiency and indoor environmental quality, and building can earn Certified, Gold, Silver, or Platinum status. 12. Solar power: Hotels can utilize solar power either by generating power from their own solar panels or by purchasing solar power from their electricity provider.  The Hampton Inn Bakersfield used solar to take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit while also lowering its energy bills by 35-45%.   13. Water conservation: Any effort to minimize water usage can help a hotel become more green, from implementing slower-flow showerheads to using more efficient laundry machines.  IoT for hospitality provider INTEREL has been working on some really cool water conservation tech. 14. No plastic. Consumers are steering away from plastic, so hotels can react to this trend by replacing plastic straws, cutlery, water bottles, toiletry bottles, and to-go containers with compostable or reusable alternatives. Most major hotel chains are phasing out disposable plastic toiletries and California regulators have even banned them altogether! 15. Motion sensors: Hotels can conserve energy by implementing motion sensors that will turn off the power once no motion has been detected for a certain period of time. 16. Waste disposal: Add more eco-friendly options for waste disposal by introducing recycle bins in guestrooms and compost bins in F&B outlets. 17. Green friendly hospitality: Follow Starwood’s lead and encourage guests to minimize their environmental impact by skipping housekeeping service in exchange for hotel credit or loyalty points. 18. Meat alternatives in F&B: You know meat alternatives aren’t just “alternatives” when Burger King began serving the Impossible Burger, a plant-based burger option. Hotels can jump on the vegan and vegetarian trend by offering meatless options on every menu and clearly mentioning whether a dish contains meat or dairy.  Beyond Meat is another hugely popular brand of meat alternatives.     Changing Workforce While an increasingly digital world means that an employee’s tasks are changing, the workforce itself is changing too. These changes aren’t only in demographics, driven by the rise of Generation Z and a more global workforce, but also evident by a growing focus on safety, unionization, “gig” work, and human resources technology. Hoteliers must be cognizant to these changes in the workforce in order to hire effectively, reduce turnover, and keep employees safe and happy.   19. Global workforce and immigration: Technology makes a global workforce possible, with communication tools that can connect teams and drive efficiency. But as economic and political factors complicate immigration or force some people to relocate, hotels may face challenges in hiring or retaining employees. 20. Gen Z: Following the Millennials, Generation Z includes young adults born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. These young people are “digital natives,” meaning they’ve never lived in an age without the internet, and their views and habits around technology use and social media may be different than those of older generations.     21. Unionization: Unions, which are organizations that act on behalf of member employees to resolve legal conflicts or defend employee benefits, aren’t new to the hotel industry, but their relationships with hotel chains and rate of collection action, such as strikes, continue to evolve. 22. Safety regulation: 2020 will be the year of hotel worker safety, as several states and cities have passed legislation requiring hotels to implement employee safety devices (ESDs), and the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 5-Star Promise program provides additional resources for employee safety. ESDs range from fixed panic buttons behind the front desk to portable panic buttons for housekeeping staff. 23. Labor management: With capabilities like scheduling, resource allocation, and time-off requests, labor management systems are a crucial addition to every hotel department with staffing requirements. Hotel Effectiveness is one of the major players in this space that helps hotel owners improve profitability with more efficient labor management. 24. The gig economy: While Uber drivers may be the first thing to come to mind, this growing sector of the economy includes millions of professionals, contractors, and creatives who work independently or on a contract basis.   Back to Top   Alternative Accommodations Today’s travelers has a myriad of options for accommodations; besides traditional hotels, they can choose between vacation rentals, hostels, serviced apartments, treehouses, and even underwater hotels. As people travel more frequently and for longer durations - and as platforms like Airbnb allow any accommodation provider to reach a large audience online - the characteristics of accommodations themselves are changing. Before long, “alternative accommodations” won’t be strictly an alternative, but part of the mainstream.    25. Coliving: Solo travelers or remote workers who stay in one place for a while might opt for a coliving space, such as the Roam brand, which is a community designed specifically for its inhabitants to share living spaces, and sometimes workspaces, with a common attitude or goal.     26. Coworking: As remote work becomes more common, entrepreneurs and remote employees flock to coworking spaces like WeWork and Spaces to find not only fast WiFi and desk space, but also community and networking opportunities.  More interestingly, international hotel giant Accor launched its own coworking brand Wojo and hip boutique brand Hoxton is rumored to be working on a similar concept called Working From (we've worked out of the Hoxton Hotel Chicago and can tell you first hand - these guys know how to design awesome spaces). 27. Vacation rentals: Vacation rentals aren’t just for vacation anymore; besides the traditional rental home on the beach, the definition of “vacation rental” can include everything from apartments to cabins to Instagram-worthy Airstreams. 28. AirBnB: The popular booking site started as a way to rent a room in someone else’s home for a night, but it now includes entire apartments, luxurious homes, hotel rooms, treehouses, castles, and more. New additions to the site include tours and activities, adventure travel, and hotel inventory after the company’s acquisition of HotelTonight.     29. Mobile hotels: Rather than searching for a new hotel each time you travel, a mobile hotel, which is essentially a self-driving hotel room on wheels, travels with you. Though still in the conceptual stage, it’s a compelling idea for business travelers.  We're all used to sleeping on boats during a cruise and European travelers are familiar with luxe train services but how cool would it be to sleep comfortably on a bus and wake up somewhere else?  Super awesome.  Travelers can doze off in LA and wake up in San Francisco - skip the TSA precheck and wake up refreshed with Cabin.     30. Underwater hotels: Get up close and personal with marine life and coral reefs at an underwater hotel like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which also has an underwater restaurant.  Be prepared to shell out $22,000 USD per night ;) 31. Remote work: Virtual meeting technology and real-time communication tools mean that work doesn’t need to be limited by location. Some hotels already have remote revenue managers, but it seems this trend will enable even more hotel staff to work off-property on occasion or all the time.  For those who prefer the nomadic life, you should check out Remote Year, a firm that offers extended work remote and travel abroad programs and practically created the category.     32. Hometels: Blending aspects of hotels and vacation rentals, brands like Sonder and Stay Alfred operate short-term rentals with hotel-style standards and branding plus amenities like concierge service, in-unit laundry, and full kitchens. 33. Next gen hotel brands: As travelers crave more local experiences, the new generation of hotel brands, such as Life House, does away with cookie-cutter properties and incorporates the local area’s character in the decor, F&B, and personality of each hotel.   Back to Top   Technology It’s no surprise that a sizable section of our 100 hotel trends are technology-related. Innovation in the hotel technology sector has been blazing ahead at a rapid pace; previously expensive technologies like artificial intelligence and digital room keys are now more affordable than ever, and advances in payment systems and app capabilities mean that hoteliers and guests have exciting new options when it comes to booking, paying for, and actually experiencing a hotel stay. Though these may be “trends” now, they’re only going to become more commonplace.   34. Selling experiences: New technology allows hotels to add compelling upsell options for room upgrades, transportation, F&B amenities, tours, and other add-ons during or after the booking process.  Activity booking platform Peek is leading the charge to bring small tour operators and experiences online ultimately with the goal of making them money and making travel more fun.   35. A.I. based pricing: Many revenue management systems already use pricing algorithms supported by artificial intelligence, which determines the optimal prices by analyzing a slew of historical, forecast, and market data, and A.I. is likely to bring pricing optimization to restaurants, spas, and other outlets too.  Top revenue management system providers like IDeaS, Duetto, Atomize and Pace are leading the pack in the fight for dynamic yield management. 36. Bring your own device: Guests are reluctant to download a hotel app that they’ll only use once, so hotels can save money on hardware investments and increase guest engagement with an “app” that doesn’t require a download. With systems like Crave AppLess, guests simply scan QR codes posted around property or in a guestroom to access information via their smartphone’s web browser. 37. Mobile check-in: Let guests bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms with a mobile check-in process, which provides a digital room key on a guest’s smartphone instantly.  PMS provider Mews Systems has developed some really cool tech that allows guests to check-in via Apple Wallet.   38. Choose your room: With services like Hilton’s digital check-in, guests can choose their specific room before arrival, just like selecting a seat on an airplane. 39. Fitness on the road: Guests don’t want to sacrifice their workout routines while traveling, so hotels are investing in fitness programs that guests already know and love, like Peloton, or in their favorite fitness gear, like Westin’s lending library of New Balance products.     40. A.I. booking experiences: Hoteliers can optimize their websites constantly with the help of artificial intelligence, such as Hotelchamp’s Autopilot and Triptease Convert, which performs A/B tests to increase the rate of direct online bookings. 41. Emerging social media platforms: Now that hotels have mastered Facebook and Twitter, there are new platforms to focus on. Hoteliers can reach additional audiences with strategic use of TikTok videos and Instagram stories, for example. 42. Booking on mobile devices: More and more, guests are completing the entire booking process on their smartphones, so hoteliers must ensure their websites are mobile-friendly.     43. Blazing fast internet: WiFi isn’t a one-speed-fits-all amenity anymore; if your internet provider hasn’t made any upgrades in a few years, your WiFi might be too slow to stream movies or download large files. 50 megabits per second (mbps) is the threshold for adequate WiFi these days, and some providers, like Google Fiber, offer up to 1000 mbps. 44. Robot room service: While some hotels do away with room services entirely, others are turning it into a brand signature with a futuristic robot, like YOTEL’s YO2D2,  that does deliveries on demand.     45. Cool translation apps: As the volume of international travelers grows, so does the possibility of getting lost in translation. Equip your hotel staff with language translation tools, such headsets powered by Waverly Labs, to instantly translate spoken words and text.         46. Contactless payments: First we swiped, then we inserted the chip, and now we can pay by tapping a credit card or mobile wallet, so hotels must upgrade their payment technology to accept payments via near field communication (NFC).     47. RFID tech: Often found in key fobs and room keys, radio frequency identification (RFID) is a type of contactless security and communication technology that uses radio waves to transfer information. 48. Mobile concierge: Restaurant reservations, tour bookings, and area information in the palm of your hand; mobile concierge apps give guests instant answers and recommendations. 49. Open APIs/Integrations: In basic terms, an application programming interface (API) allows individual computers to connect with a server-based application, such as a property management system.  When an application has an open API, it can integrate with any other system without the need for a custom-built connection. 50. Automation: Letting systems handle “busy work” like answering common guest questions and sending reports can free up time for more important tasks. 51. Hotel app marketplaces: Leading hotel software providers like Mews, Cloudbeds, Protel and SiteMinder are now offering a catalog of add-on apps within the software itself, making it easy to add upsell tools, pricing intelligence, website builders, and other useful tools to an existing PMS. protel's Hotel App Store features Hotel Tech Report reviews   52. Self-service hotel software: Unlike hotel systems of the past that were expensive and time-consuming to set up, a new breed of self-service hotel applications allow hoteliers to configure the tool quickly and easily, sometimes even with a free trial. 53. Meeting venues going digital: The clunky RFP process is getting a major upgrade; with new tools designed especially for the meetings and events market, sales managers can distribute meeting space availability and pricing across 3rd-party channels, and clients and event planners can reserve venues online. 54. Lobby grab-and-go: These self-service “markets” allow guests to quickly purchase F&B at a self-checkout, which saves on staffing costs and helps hotel outlets compete with supermarkets and quick-service restaurants.  If you want to bring this awesome tech to your hotel, look no further than Impulsify.     55. Personalization: Hotels collect a slew of data about guests, but hoteliers rarely use that data to personalize the guest experience. With new customer relationship management tools (CRM) like Revinate and Cendyn, hotels can pull data points out of the cloud and into the guestroom to create a more tailored experience. 56. Cyber security: Data security hacks make headlines frequently, and with an increasing amount of sensitive data stored online, hotels need to ensure this data is stored securely to avoid a breach. 57. New payment regulations: The new Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) updates the outdated PCI regulations and requires more secure handling of sensitive data, like credit card numbers, and two-factor verification for purchases when the card isn’t present, such as online transactions. 58. Business text messaging: When guests and staff are glued to their smartphones, text messages can be the most effective method of communication. Text messaging platforms that offer automation and group messages are becoming more popular at hotels.  Some of our favorites include: Whistle, Zingle and Bookboost. 59. Voice search for hotel room bookings: “Alexa, book my hotel room!” Soon, travelers will be able to book their entire trip without tapping a finger, thanks to advances in voice-controlled apps and services.     60. AR & VR: Travelers want to know everything about a hotel before booking it, so what could be better than a virtual reality tour of a guestroom? In addition to VR, augmented reality will allow guests to experience a hotel by simply strapping on a headset. 61. Metasearch bookings: Metasearch channels, like Trivago and Kayak, aren’t just helpful for guests, they’re also profitable marketing tools for hoteliers who can bid for greater visibility and receive more direct bookings.   Back to Top   Traveler Preferences What does a 21st-century traveler want? The question seems simple, but the answer is certainly complicated. Travelers are seeking new experiences, whether through wellness, outdoor activities, gastronomy, or a specific interest like sports or music. They’re traveling solo, with a group, or on business, and they might learn about a destination or travel brand via social media, rather than traditional marketing channels. Today’s traveler has an open mind, choosing funky motels or glamping over standard hotels and even visiting emerging destinations before they’ve popped up on the tourism radar. By staying on top of changing traveler preferences, hoteliers can ensure their properties stay relevant to today’s traveler preferences.   62. Experiences not things. Travelers are buying less and doing more; instead of buying a new car or an expensive TV, they’re opting for longer or pricier trips, tours, or dining experiences.     63. Coffee culture enters hospitality: A growing segment of coffee connoisseurs literally will travel for coffee, or at least they expect a higher standard of coffee in the guestroom. 64. Bleisure: Blending work and vacation, a bleisure traveler extends a business trip to allow for a few days of leisure time. 65. Luxe motels: Hip doesn’t always equal expensive, and run-down roadside motels are getting a serious upgrade with trendy brands like Austin, TX-based Bunkhouse.     66. Experiential travel: Immersive travel experiences like yoga retreats, surf camps, and animal encounters that often offer unique activities and accommodations. 67. Music driven travel: Featuring on-site concerts and live DJs in the lobby bar, Marriott’s W Hotels is an example of a new type of music-focused hotel experience. 68. Glamping: Glamorous camping, literally, elevates the humble tent or yurt to a luxurious hideaway with high-end bathroom facilities, comfortable beds, climate control, and stylish decor. Ready to get out under the stars in style? Look no further than Glamping.com.     69. Rise of influencers: Popular social media profiles aren’t just racking up the “likes,” but also earning income by posting advertisements as marketing partners for hotels, airlines, and other travel brands.  One of our personal favorite influencer apps is Cameo.  If you haven't tried it, you're missing out.  You can hire celebs like Snoop Dogg to make you personal videos - it's gold.  There's even influencer networks purpose build to help you market your hotel like squarelovin. 70. Staycations: A vacation in your own city. Skip the lines at the airport and enjoy a hotel near home, what’s not to love? 71. Face-to-face business meetings in the digital age: Remote teams are common, so companies rely on in-person off-site meetings to bring employees together for trainings, launches, or team-building exercises.  This trend is why you see companies like Bizly totally crushing it right now. 73. Health & wellness travel: Rather than embarking on a new diet or exercise plan before vacation, travelers are choosing to travel specifically for health and wellness goals, booking experiences that include healthy meals, fitness classes, meditation courses, or lifestyle coaching. 74: Cannabis tourism: As marijuana laws loosen, a new segment of travelers are “going green” in a way that has nothing to do with the environment: traveling to a city specifically to explore the recreational drug.     75. Emerging markets as destinations: Travelers are branching out from the most popular destinations to up-and-coming places like Nicaragua or the Philippines in search of authenticity, new experiences, and cost savings. 76. Bring your pets on vacation: As more travelers bring their furry friends along, dog-friendly hotels, such as the Kimpton brand, provide special pet-friendly amenities like bowls and beds. 77. Medical tourism: With rising costs of medical care in Western countries (especially for non-essential procedures, like cosmetic surgery), people seeking treatment often find that the same procedure is much less expensive in Asia or South America - so much so that even with the cost of airfare and accommodation, they can save money.     78. Last minute bookings: Today’s traveler is spontaneous, which means they might not even know where they’re staying when they arrive at the airport. Apps like HotelTonight make last-minute bookings easy, but hoteliers might struggle with staffing and pricing as the booking window shortens. 79. Group travel & villa rentals: For multi-generational family trips or vacations with a big group of friends, travelers are choosing to rent a large home or villa instead of booking several hotel rooms. 80. Nomadic sabbaticals and family travel: A sabbatical doesn’t need to wait until the kids are grown; an increasing number of families are taking a year off (or longer) from the rat race to travel - even with young ones in tow. 81. Homeware hotels: Home goods companies like Muji and Made.com are entering the hospitality space with hotels decked out in their own homeware products. 82. Culinary travel: Whether by booking an accommodation on a farm, scheduling cooking classes, or traveling specifically for a Michelin-starred meal, food is becoming a key factor in travel decisions.     83. Sports-themed hotels: By investing in a state-of-the-art sports bar, like at the Omni Dallas, or planning once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl packages, hotels are jumping on the sports bandwagon with unique amenities for fans. 84. Theme park experiences: Theme park vacations are even more immersive when the hotel follows the theme too, like at the Star Wars Hotel or Legoland Hotel. 85. The rise of hosteling: No longer just an option for cash-strapped backpackers, hostels offer fun activities, new friends, and sleek design at emerging brands like Generator and Selina. 86. Couchsurfing is still alive: Though it’s a small portion of accommodation booking, couchsurfing has survived the rise of Airbnb and ultra-affordable hotels and remains a viable option for people looking for a cheap place to sleep and a way to meet people. Back to Top   Hotel Business In the hotel industry, 2020 will be anything but business as usual. While we notice a proliferation of hotel brands, we also see a focus on uniqueness, whether by incorporating cocktail kits as a guestroom amenity or by physically combining a hotel with a mall, gym, or apartment building. As the luxury segment soars, with trendy new brands like the Standard and the NoMad, we also see investment in the economy segment and    87. Brands are exploding: Hotel chains no longer consist of one or two brands; while Marriott takes the cake with a collection of 30 individual brands, other chains like Best Western and Hilton are also branching out with new brands. Time will tell whether these new brands offer enough differentiation and value for travelers. 88. Cool luxury hotels: A new era of luxury leaves stuffy lobbies and pretentious attitudes in the dust; modern brands like the Standard and NoMad Hotels place an emphasis on design, gastronomy, and spa for the next generation of discerning travelers.     89. Cocktail mixology in your room: Hotels are providing unique (and Instagram-worthy) local flavor with a new on mixology, whether by including cocktail-making kits in guestrooms or by investing in the cocktail program at the lobby bar.  Hotel guests are likely to find kits in their rooms like W&P Design's Old Fashioned Kit (also available in Moscow Mule for the Vodka lovers).     90. Micro rooms: Chains like YOTEL and citizenM prove that small rooms can be functional - even luxurious - with efficient use of space and removing unnecessary amenities like storage drawers and bathtubs. 91. Ultra affordable hospitality: Hotels aren’t just facing price pressure from their competitive sets; ultra low-priced brands like India-based OYO are renovating and modernizing aging motels in rural and suburban markets. 92. Death of the travel agent: With a wealth of travel resources and booking platforms available online, travelers are booking trips themselves, without the assistance of a travel agent, leading to the downfall of travel agencies and tour operators like Thomas Cook:  93. Mixed use spaces: When space is at a premium, new construction or renovation often involves combining several types of spaces, such as ground-level retail, a few floors of hotel rooms, and apartments on top.  Some hotel groups like Hoxton and Accor are even developing their own coworking concepts.     Hotel Design What will the hotel of the future look like? Based on these trends, it will be a lot less “big box” and a lot more “out of the box.” Hotel design trends show a focus on art, community, and uniqueness. Guests crave design that echoes the destination’s character, whether with local art or the architecture itself. In some hotels, the space itself is what drives uniqueness, with creative lobby ideas or public areas that showcase nature. 94. Hyper local design: Perhaps influenced by Airbnb’s local focus, guests prefer design that reflect the unique character of the destination, integrating area artists or cultural themes. 95. Indoor meets outdoor: Lobbies filled with plants and guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows show that guests want a connection to nature even in an urban setting. 96. Experiential social spaces: In an effort to build a sense of community in lobby areas, hotels are becoming more creative with the types of public spaces offered, from shared workspaces to kitchens to game rooms. 97. Green hotel brands: Hotel brands with a holistic focus on eco-friendliness are considered “green,” such as Marriott’s Element brand and the luxe 1 Hotels.     98: Eclectic style: Not simply a place to sleep, hotels are stretching their artistic limits with unique lighting, funky furniture, unexpected color schemes, and eye-catching artwork. 99. High-end art and gallery experiences: Hotel groups like are building integrated art galleries into their on-site facilities. 21c Museum Hotel has 70,000 square feet of combined exhibition space, solely dedicated to featuring contemporary art, open 24/7, 365 days and the best part is that it's free of charge. The museum offers a robust schedule of exhibitions, cultural programming and performances at each of our properties, all of which are also open to the public and free of charge. While you can't buy the art from the gallery, 21c offers the opportunity for guests to purchase special edition merchandise - bespoke items created through the collaboration between 21c and select artists - as well works by Cracking Art Group, amongst other merchandise from local makers that are curated by our team.     Globalization In a world so connected by business and economic ties, it only makes sense that globalization would have implications in the hotel industry. As globalization drives incomes in countries around the world, more people can afford to travel, which means that hotels face opportunities and challenges that come with accommodating new travelers from different places. Along with this rising middle class, increased income inequality further distances the highest earners from the rest. Luxury travelers continue to have an appetite for over-the-top experiences, so high-end hotels must continuously come up with creative and innovative offerings to wow their guests.   100. Changing demographics: The growing middle class in countries like China and India means more people have more money for travel, so hotels should prepare to welcome these travelers with language and cultural resources that they expect. 101. Rising wealth inequality: As the gap between the upper and middle classes widens, luxury travelers crave even more novelty, creativity, and over-the-top experiences.    Back to Top --   With a solid understanding of these 100 hotel trends, we’re prepared to play a successful part in the future of travel. There’s no doubt that technology, sustainability, and security will play a greater role in hotel operations in the next decade. Get a head start and begin to implement some of these trends at your hotel today.   Did we miss any big hotel trends? Drop us a line via live chat!    

The BookDirect Movement Is Here to Stay and This is What Hotels Needs to Know

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Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

The so-called “direct booking wars” rage on with the BookDirect movement, and yet, many hoteliers haven’t explored using one of the most powerful tools in their arsenal: a direct booking platform. Great software marketers know that the highest ROI investments happen at the bottom of your marketing funnel but hotel marketers often overlook this point.  Users, or prospective guests, that are already on your website and interested in your product are much cheaper to ‘sway’ than random internet browsers. When looking to improve your hotel marketing start at the bottom of your funnel and ask whether your booking engine is optimized.  Then shift your focus up the funnel to your website and then to SEO/paid acquisition as you tackle each area. When analyzing your hotel website look at conversion rates and compare them to industry benchmarks.  Go into a coffee shop and pay strangers $5 to try booking a room on your hotel website while you look over their shoulder and ask them to talk you through the process.  This is qualitative user research and next you’ll want to do quantitative user research. Quantitative user research comprises heatmaps and sophisticated analytics experiments.  For hotel marketers not well versed in data analytics it’s prudent to work with a direct booking platform that can automate this research and implement findings in real time automatically. Direct booking platforms like Triptease plug into critical decision points of the customer funnel to increase conversions. Metasearch ads draw in high-value customers to your hotel’s website. Once there, the tool guides website visitors to complete their booking with live chat, tailored messaging, and price transparency. Behavioral, room availability, parity, and CRS data captured throughout the entire process helps hotels compete with OTAs and other properties. Instead of paying the steep commission fees of an online travel agent, or spending your entire marketing budget to get new eyeballs, maximize the viewers you already have. Direct booking platforms build guest trust, save the hotel money, and provide benchmarking data to constantly optimize the website over time. Here’s why every hotel should be using a direct booking platform.    Direct booking software: key features and benefits   Triptease and other direct booking platforms intervene throughout the customer journey to help hoteliers identify and reach high-value guests. These platforms improve hotel website and booking engine conversion rates, monitor parity, and give hoteliers tangible data insights necessary to compete against OTAs and other properties. A direct booking platform will optimize your website to help you improve revenue, profitability, customer engagement and data. Direct booking platforms provide a way to test, analyze and optimize your landing page. A/B testing built into the direct booking platform gives hotels of all sizes a way to test messaging and see how actual humans respond, rather than guessing. The website your visitor sees is the best version of the site for their particular tastes, price point, and booking search. Once a guest is engaged with your site, the direct booking tool then uses a price check widget to boost trust with guests. It transparently shows the difference in price between booking directly through your website versus with an OTA. Other direct booking messages targeted throughout the website offer value-add bonuses for booking directly, making it easy for a guest to make a purchase decision. Direct booking tools track parity and compare rates to ensure that your hotel is priced competitively. Triptease’s Parity Monitoring product, for instance, monitors OTAs undercutting your rates as well as unpackaged wholesale rates, giving hotels the power to take ownership of how their rooms are priced. And, by keeping a close eye on parity, hotel owners can make sure guests are getting the best rate by booking direct. Live chat features built into direct booking tools are designed to remove any barriers to purchase. These automated messaging tools answer frequently asked questions guests may have while browsing the site. Chat functionality keeps a viewer engaged, removing pain points in the process to deliver a clear path to booking. And, lastly, direct booking tools give hotel owners the data and insights otherwise concealed by OTAs. See who books directly, where they come from, and who they are. Get the kind of granular, interaction-level data that OTAs leverage to make money from their own channels.   Overall, the functionality of a direct booking platform translates into these tangible benefits for your hotel:  Pay less in OTA commissions: never again pay large commissions for valuable guests. Use a direct booking platform to identify and reach the highest-value guests first, bringing them straight from search to the website.  Run a website that converts: offer a dynamic, personalized experience that anticipates guest behavior. Convert more visitors and increase direct bookings with the data a direct booking platform can provide.  Manage and monitor parity: easily monitor, manage, and optimize your parity to take back conversions from OTAs. Be transparent and offer guests at the best price by booking directly.   The data generated through direct booking platforms gives hotels the tools they need to build direct distribution channels that work for them, and to benchmark their website and customer journeys against broader industry data. See how your property is performing relative to the latest trends in guest booking.    Download the Free 2020 Buyers Guide The latest hotel industry direct booking trends   This year saw a lot of advances in how direct booking tools assist hotels. 2020 promises to be an even more interesting year as upgrades in personalization and segmentation hit many of the most popular direct booking tools on the market. Google’s plans to shape the future behavior of travel bookers became more clearly defined this year with the growth of Google Hotel Ads. According to Google, in the first six months of 2018 Google Hotel Ads helped participants receive 65% more leads year over year. In 2019, as long as a hotel is bidding in Google Hotel Ads auctions, they can appear on generic and brand searches alongside even the biggest OTAs. We believe leads generated through Google Hotel Ads will continue to grow in 2020 as the company improves and refines its product. Likewise, there’s been a shift this year in how data flows between various digital systems. Where unconnected systems and siloed data previously prevented hotels from winning bookings, the tide has shifted. Direct booking tools are playing a significant role in the success of a hotel’s direct booking strategy. Linking a property’s PMS, parity, behavioral and demographic data across the entire booking journey has put hotels toe-to-toe with OTAs when it comes to winning bookings. AI and machine learning are helping hotel websites become more effective digital lobbies by personalizing and automating messaging to create a valuable first impression that increases the chance of booking. Direct booking tools that integrate AI give your website a way to refine messaging depending on who’s visiting your website and from which channel. A great first impression creates a halo effect, meaning the guest will think favorably of your property over time. In brief, personalization and segmentation becoming even more sophisticated moving into 2020 but this added sophistication won’t actually add complexity for hoteliers. From the beginning of a guest’s search to the post-stay afterglow, guests are seeking an experience that feels tailored, thoughtful and built with them in mind. Here’s where data from direct booking can provide the insight you need to upgrade your guest experience without breaking your budget.    How to pick a direct booking tool for your hotel   Direct booking platforms offer many features, but these are the core ones you should make sure are included when picking your vendor.  Price comparison: show the guest the direct price alongside prices of chosen OTAs to increase confidence and trust.  Livechat messaging: use targeted messages to increase conversions and learn what converts from real time visitor performance Automated bot replies: add the ability to answer customer FAQs 24 hours a day without staff involvement. Intent triggers: add messaging options including exit intent, nudge, event-triggered notifications and pricing undercut.  Conversion templates: create and send personalized messages and triggered notifications from a range of ready-to-use templates Visitor segmentation: segment customers across a range of characteristics, including check-in date, booking date, length of stay, new vs returning, location (country or US state), and more. Parity monitoring: get a live feed of each instance when a guest searches on your website and you're undercut by an OTA. Benchmarking and insights: get a high-level view of how your business is performing in relation to similar hotels to improve your direct booking strategy.   Ideally, a direct booking platform will integrate seamlessly with your CRM, booking engine, and website CMS. Make sure to ask vendors about the support systems and processes they have to help you get set up and really coach you towards maximizing the value of whichever platform you choose.   Get started with a direct booking program at your hotel   Vetting direct booking tools starts with an understanding of the capabilities of the platform’s features: how accurate is the pricing data? Do you have a team committed to constantly checking and maintaining price accuracy? How sophisticated is the customer segmentation feature? Can you sort guests by country, URL (including URL-exclusion), check-in date, booking date (advanced or last-minute) and length of stay? Segmentation and pricing are the core value propositions of using any direct booking tool – a company should be able to give you ample feedback on what to expect from their platform and support team. It’s also important to learn how teams across different parts of your business can access insights from the direct booking platform. Can members of your marketing, revenue, reservations, and e-commerce teams all have visibility into your data? Do dashboard show conversion rates, parity rates, cost of sales? How easy is it to access performance metrics and benchmarking data?   For more information, download our buyer's guide for a closer look at vendors, pricing, and our top recommended tools for direct booking.     

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

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Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

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

Hotel Blogging: Simple Strategies for Marketing Success

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Are you tired of having a boring hotel blog that gets no traffic? You know there are opportunities to increase traffic to your hotel website, but probably don't know where to start. Is hotel blogging the best way to grow organic traffic? Do you even need a hotel blog? In this article, we're going to answer these questions and give you hands on hotel blogging ideas to kickstart your growth.  We'll then review 2 case studies and show you what these hotels do well, then give exact tips to get even more traffic that you can use for your own hotel blog. Let’s dive right in. The guest experience doesn’t begin at check-in anymore; with engaging blog content, hotels can start offering value to guests before they even start thinking about booking a room.  By the time these guests start considering which property to book at, you’ve already got a leg up on the competition. By leveraging local expertise and relevant recommendations, hotel blogs can reach thousands of potential guests in ways that OTAs simply cannot. However, a blog might not be necessary for every hotel right now. Perform a SWOT analysis of your hotel’s overall marketing strategy. If blogging fits within your hotel’s overall needs and objectives, then it may be time to invest in the following best practices and content ideas to create an exceptional hotel blog. But creating a blog is only half of the journey; partnering with a digital marketing agency like NextGuest Digital will provide the expertise and exposure necessary to put your blog in front of the right readers.  A hotel digital marketing agency like NextGuest will even help develop content for your website that is purpose built to bring in prospective guests.   Does your hotel even need a blog?   A 21st-century hotel must have a website, social media profiles, and a blog - right? Not so fast. Though a blog might seem like a necessary part of a hotel’s online presence, no benefit comes from blogging for blogging’s sake. In fact, cranking out a multitude of posts may do more harm than good without carefully choosing topics and producing high-quality content. When it comes to hotel blogs, choose quality over quantity - or choose not to have a blog at all, such as the Maven Hotel in Denver, which dedicates resources to other marketing channels, like Instagram. Compelling hotel blog content shouldn’t be robotic and needs a personal tone.  Great hotel blogs showcase unique characteristics of their hotels, offer tips about the area and highlight influencers that resonate with the hotel’s brand. After creating a great blog post, the next step is to share it with the hotel’s target audience, whether by social media, an email newsletter, or in other publications. If a hotel’s marketing team is confident that they can uphold a high standard of content and distribute it to an audience of readers who are likely to book rooms, then the hotel might enjoy benefits like increased website traffic and conversion, better performance in the search results, broader brand awareness, and greater guest loyalty.   The Maven's website was designed by NextGuest Digital   What makes a great hotel blog?   Just as revenue management seeks to sell the right room to the right guest for the right price, a hotel’s blog content should also try to deliver the right content to the right guest at the right stage of the booking process. The first step in building a great hotel blog is to determine who your ideal guests are and create guest personas unique to your property. Guest personas start with high level naming conventions like families, business travelers, or bachelorette parties - but that’s only the start.  Great personas contain rich actionable psychographic and behavioral traits. They should read as describing a single person and deeply encapsulate their motivations and mindset. Once you’ve nailed down your blog’s audience, then you can provide specific recommendations and or stories that would be most relevant to them.  Many marketers have trouble with this because they may be in a back office or even in corporate. Don’t stress though, use this as an excuse to get out from behind your desk and go mingle with guests in the lobby.  Have open ended conversations with them for a couple hours just casually talking about their trips and you’ll come up with dozens of hotel blogging ideas. Hotel 48LEX in New York City, a NextGuest Digital client, publishes blog articles like “How to Ride the NYC Ferry Like a New Yorker” and “What to See at the Bryant Park Winter Village” that are hyper-relevant to their target audience.   48Lex's blog has rich content for LGBT, Sports Fans, Families and more   Specificity is key to a great hotel blog. Rather than speaking in general terms about the hotel and the market, a blog gives you the opportunity to showcase exactly what makes your hotel or market special. Using concrete details and descriptive words, you can illustrate unique decor features, recommend things to do in the neighborhood, or even tell about a fascinating bit of history from the hotel’s past. These specifics help your post become engaging and memorable.   Mix up your content with these unique hotel blogging ideas   Set your blog apart from the rest with one-of-a-kind articles that readers will remember. The blogosphere is full of “10 Things to do in [insert city name here]” posts, so take a different approach and you’ll be rewarded for being unique.   Film video blogs of area attractions and activities One of the best ways to develop engaging content for potential guests is to collaborate with existing ones, and one of the best ways to generate traffic is to post articles about popular area attractions. People search for “Golden Gate Bridge,” for example, around 360,000 times per month, which shows that potential guests want to know about your market’s top attractions and activities. What better way to help them picture a future trip than using video from a real guest’s visit! Encourage guests to film their experiences by offering free tickets to major attractions if they submit their footage, then you can incorporate the footage into rich, fresh, and authentic content about the area. Furthermore, blog pages with more informative content tend to perform better on the search engines than thinner articles do. If you develop a highly useful and comprehensive page about an area attraction, it will generate better traffic than a simple paragraph about the attraction. Complement the footage with descriptive text that answers questions or addresses apprehensions travellers might have.   Compile statistics or create infographics about the local area Hotels have access to a pool of guest data via post-stay surveys, and this data can be quite interesting to local destination marketing organizations or travel publications. Turn your standard guest satisfaction survey into a dynamic research tool by adding survey questions that you can incorporate into a compelling blog post. Perhaps ask guests about which attractions they visited or what the purpose of their trip was. Using this data, you can create infographics or charts that other industry publications might want to link to, which will generate additional readers, build brand awareness, and add to your blog’s backlink profile.   Interview Instagram influencers Just getting started on social media? No problem! Rather than waiting for your follower count to grow, get your hotel in front of thousands of social media users immediately by partnering with Instagram influencers. Search through the profiles of popular restaurants or trendsetting hotels in town to find out which influencers resonate with your hotel, then reach out to them and collaborate on a feature for your hotel blog. Perhaps they can provide curated restaurant recommendations or uncover some local hidden gems. Once you’ve posted the article, be sure to share it with them so they can then share it on their social media channels.   Looking for more content inspiration? Add these creative ideas to your hotel blog’s pipeline:  Employee spotlights or interviews Recipes from your hotel’s restaurant or bar Packing guide for each season Special promotions for your hotel’s social media followers Updates about new amenities, services, or staff members Calendar of upcoming area events or festivals Sneak peek of renovations Dictionary of local lingo and abbreviations   Make sure your hotel blog’s technical aspects are up to par   Even if your content is the best in the world, readers will have trouble finding your blog or staying engaged until the end of the article if the website’s technical aspects fall short. From website design to search engine optimization, make sure to build a solid technical foundation so your content can really shine. Follow these tips to ensure your blog is easy to find and read:   Target local keywords: Many travelers begin to research destinations and hotels on search engines, so it’s crucial that your blog performs well in the search results. A great way to become more visible in search results is to write blog posts using topics or keywords that a large number of people search for - even if the topic might include competitor hotels! For instance, a blog post like “The 17 Best Hotels in LA” is a nice way to target the high-performing keywords “hotels in LA.” Use intriguing and shareable headlines: A blog’s title is only a few words long, but those few words are the most important ones in the entire post. Why? Because in the couple of seconds while a potential reader to reads the headline, they’ll decide whether or not to click on the post. Try including lists, questions, or “how to” guides in your headlines and maintaining a balance of easy-to-understand, powerful, and emotional words. Build a network of backlinks: Besides targeting specific keywords, another strategy to increase search results placement and traffic to your blog is to develop backlinks. A backlink is a link to your blog which is placed on another website, for example, an influencer’s travel blog or a news site. If securing backlinks is a challenge, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency to help promote your content.   Real life hotel blog case studies & analysis   Eager to see how these strategies work in the wild? Check out these fantastic hotel blog articles, learn why they work and learn what can be done by hotel marketers to get improved results:   NextGuest Client Apex Hotels’ post Seven Facts You Didn’t Know About Bath: In this article, Apex Hotels does a great job targeting the keyword “facts about Bath” (the article ranks at #4 in the search results), but this keyword doesn’t get many searches, only about 40 per month. In order to gain more visibility, we may want to create a new article that targets more popular keywords like “population of Bath,” which receives 3,600 monthly searches, and “history of Bath,” which gets 1,300 hits per month. While historical content might not seem like something that the hotel’s guests would be interested in booking this is a great way to bring in cultural tourists, school groups and history buffs.     How to Plan the Perfect Cabo San Lucas Wellness Retreat by NextGuest Digital client Resort at Pedregal: This post is  just informative and well-written, but its target keyword, “yoga retreat in Cabo San Lucas” keyword, only receives about 40 searches per month. Resort at Pedregal may want to write a similar article that targets what might seem to be competitive keywords like “yoga retreat Costa Rica,” which receives 6,600 monthly searches, in order to gain visibility to travelers who are looking for warm-weather yoga retreats. Resort at Pedregal could provide a list of yoga retreats in Costa Rica, along with helpful information for readers, and then explain why a yoga retreat in Cabo San Lucas is comparable or even preferable, which could sway the reader’s travel plans and turn into a booking at the resort. Resort at Pedregal’s marketing team could then reach out to the retreats mentioned in the article and ask for a backlink or social share in order to boost visibility even more and building the article’s authority on Costa Rica yoga retreats. Before long, traffic will be rolling in!   Remember these keys to hotel blogging success   As with any big project, building a great hotel blog takes time, but investing in your online presence can yield impressive results. Focus on quality content rather than quantity, and ensure that your content is unique, engaging, and relevant to your ideal guest - starting with a headline that just begs them to click. A blog is an excellent opportunity to show off your hotel’s personality and value proposition, so working with a digital agency that understands content and search patterns is crucial to securing the readers you want. Let the experts at a firm like NextGuest Digital handle email marketing, SEO, blog post distribution, and more while you focus on creating hospitality experiences that guests will want to write about!   Are you a hotel marketer who's too busy to blog? Browse our list of top rated hotel digital marketing agencies to find a partner who can grow your web traffic today.  

Cendyn: A Complete Overview of the Hospitality Cloud

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

There are three key aspects of any hotel’s revenue generating operation: sales, marketing and revenue management.  Collaboration between these three functions is critical and Cendyn’s Hospitality Cloud provides a one-stop-shop for each department to work in tandem. The job of sales is to bring in new group business, marketing is tasked to bring in leisure direct business and revenue managers sit between (or above) both functions ensuring that their hotel has optimally priced rooms and well merchandised offerings across channels to maximize tRevPAR. As the revenue engine for hotels, sales and marketing acts to keep beds full and profits flowing while revenue management uses data to forecast demand, optimize pricing, and maximize profitability. To keep this engine going at full speed, hotels must continuously improve by keeping their revenue, sales, and marketing teams working in tandem to build a healthy business across both group and leisure segments. Without that alignment, silos create inefficiencies, reduce trust -- and cost your hotel money. Cendyn is the only company today that offers both a leisure (marketing) and group (sales) CRM for Hotels.  The firm addresses this interplay between sales, marketing and revenue with its Hospitality Cloud by delivering solutions for each role. “The hotel is an ecosystem, everything connects and affects one another. Being aware of what Marketing is trying to promote and communicate could affect our decisions [in Sales and Revenue]." -Kevin Chan, Revenue manager at JC Resorts In support of this ecosystem, the Hospitality Cloud offers distinct products that align Marketing, Sales and Revenue teams around optimal pricing, better client communication, and guest-first marketing. This ecosystem feeds into itself, with each area enhancing and amplifying the others: Marketing generates demand, Sales converts demand to revenue and Revenue crunches the numbers to optimize pricing across the ecosystem. Here’s how these three focus areas empower your hotel’s digital marketing, sales outreach, and revenue management to bring your hotel more profitable business while saving your team time and stress.   A One Stop Shop: Hotel CRM, Web Design and Digital Marketing Services   Email Marketing and Hotel CRM have become linchpins for hotel marketers. That’s because effective digital marketing requires rich guest profiles that inform your digital marketing operations. These profiles allow you to segment and personalize messages to serve the right message at the right time which ultimately increases conversion rates and bookings while decreasing costly email unsubscribes. The beauty of email marketing is that you don’t have to go out and find all new customers - which is expensive.  Email marketing is high ROI because the acquisition cost is next to nothing. It’s always cheaper to bring back old guests than to go out and find new ones.  Another asset to email marketing exists in your targeting options. You have enough information about historical guests that you can quickly leverage this resource to act on need periods.  Let’s imagine that occupancy is unusually low this weekend. We can use that information to run a targeted promotion to guests who stayed at our property last year during this season and also came from drive markets. Because of the compelling interplay between digital marketing, CRM and web design, your hotel may benefit from using a single provider like Cendyn.  For example, let’s imagine a campaign where we want to sell out our suites on Mothers’ Day. We’ll want to start by exporting a list of families of 3 or more who have previously booked a suite at our hotel from our CRM.  We’ll then create a Facebook lookalike audience to run some ads towards that base group as well as the lookalikes. Finally, we’ll run an email campaign to our core group after we’ve warmed them up with ads showcasing our property’s unique selling proposition with a focus around property USPs targeting families (e.g. great brunch buffet, nearby hiking trails, spa).  In this kind of situation, it is often beneficial to work with a single vendor like Cendyn who can create omni channel campaigns in an efficient manner vs. coordinating with multiple parties. Here’s how Cendyn’s Marketing Cloud delivers more cost-effective digital marketing to book more direct revenue: eInsight CRM provides multi-property operators and enterprises with a hotel CRM module that maintains rich guest profiles. With more detailed guest information and enterprise-level marketing automation, revenue managers can target segments with precision and drive repeat bookings by running campaigns customized to each specific segment. Each campaign’s analytics then informed your the next campaign, to keep improving your conversion rates. KPIs: Repeat guests %, direct bookings %, Email open rates, Email conversion rates. Guestfolio CRM is a CRM designed for boutiques and independents that centralizes guest information into a single dashboard. Guestfolio was a Cendyn acquisition and has been part of the portfolio for some years now.  These rich guest profiles make better guest experiences. For instance, easy access to a guest’s history means that loyal guests can be reliably recognized at check-in with a special thank you. These details can then be automatically pulled into your marketing workflow so you can speak 1:1 with your guests with pre-arrival, on-property, post-stay and re-engagement nurture campaigns.  KPIs: Repeat guests %, direct bookings %, Email open rates, Email conversion rates. Personalized marketing efforts also benefit from observing trends in guest data to adapt guest engagement strategy according to the latest guest demographics and stay patterns. For example, Guestfolio reviewers have seen positive impact from marketing automation that sends surveys soliciting reviews. With intelligent routing that segments guests based on review score, one hotel found opportunities to improve less-than-stellar reviews. What's the point of having all this useful data if you don't use it? Cendyn’s digital marketing suite uses your existing CRM data to enhance targeting with PPC, social, display, and metasearch ads to past guests (and those with similar profiles or intent-to-purchase). With SEO, you keep your hotel’s website ranked highly to avoid leakage to third party channels. Whether it's attracting bookings for past guests or finding new ones, the suite attributes conversion across channels to get you more bookings for less money. Rinse and repeat. KPIs: Clickthrough rate, cost per conversion, average booking value. Cendyn’s digital marketing team can also modernize your hotel’s online infrastructure. If potential guests land on an outdated, slow, or poorly-functioning hotel website, they are far less likely to book. A thoughtfully-designed website with modern functionality, such as a CMS that allows customizable marketing content, enhances your hotel’s reputation and gives guests the confidence to book. Better hotel web design and faster page load speeds also help improve your search engine rankings to drive more traffic.  KPIs: Web traffic, Website look-to-book/conversion rate, bounce rate, page load speed, average booking value.   Close More Groups With Streamlined Workflows, Customized Proposals And Real-time Collaboration   Prompt responses to event planners are how your hotel competes winningly. According to Cendyn data, hotels that respond to RFPs first win the proposal 70% of the time. The takeaway? Your hotel must respond quickly to RFPs...but without sacrificing the proposal’s quality (or your hotel’s profitability) in the name of speed. To balance speed with accuracy, responses must also be coordinated with relevant colleagues in catering, events, revenue, and marketing; this ensures that proposals are realistic and profitably priced by not overpromising or sacrificing more lucrative transient business.   "The most effective thing that a revenue manager can remember is that "group is king."Having a sound relationship with your sales team will allow you to strategize around groups, find the base where you need it, and ultimately give you the biggest impact." -Adam Richards, Revenue Manager at Hilton Cendyn’s Sales Cloud empowers hoteliers with a set of tools to not just win more group business, but also win more profitable group business. These tools keep you organized and expand your hotel’s reach so that you can reach new prospects, increase your conversion rates, grow total revenue per event,  and nurture a reputation for world-class events management. With eProposal, you can show planners how responsive and helpful your venue is by answering questions clearly and succinctly, all in just a few minutes. You’ll win more business by increasing the number of responses without sacrificing quality. For independents, Cendyn offers ePLite, a simplified client-facing solution that allows smaller properties to leverage the power of custom proposals. KPIs: Average response time, RFP response rate, proposal conversion rate, average deal value. eMenus makes menu management hassle-free. With interactive design, dynamic upselling, a budget/profitability calculator and real-time updates across channels, the software increases menu accuracy, enhances profit, and makes for a better user experience for guests, planners, and staff. The software integrates with eProposal, so you remove guesswork and price accurately to protect the profitability of the F&B portion of your event proposals. KPIs: Staff time to update menus, F&B sales via online menus, upsell conversion rate on premium items, % growth in F&B sales for events, profitability % of event F&B, satisfaction score of event planners.  Getplanning enhances collaboration with clients so that your team can deliver knockout events that turn satisfied planners into repeat business. Often, it’s easy to focus only on closing that next group and overlook the technology that makes existing events successful. With features like document sharing, real-time notifications, task management, and configurable views based on client, property or team, the software streamlines collaboration to keep events on track. KPIs: % of returning event planners, satisfaction score of event planners, staff time spent managing events, staff satisfaction score.   Consolidates Demand Data so Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Can Optimize Prices Across Channels   Cendyn’s recent acquisition of Rainmaker Group has brought a complete revenue management solution into its portfolio. The Revenue Cloud consolidates past, current, and future demand data into a single view to align revenue, sales and marketing around optimal pricing recommendations. These tools also make your staff more productive, empowering them to do more meaningful analysis that leads to impactful actions -- such as reducing acceptance of unprofitable groups and adjusting group quotes dynamically according to demand. To remove guesswork and increase accuracy based on the latest data, hotels can leverage three tools in the Revenue Cloud portfolio: grouprev is a meetings and events tool that enables smarter pricing decisions so your hotel wins more group business. With grouprev, group pricing becomes less of a guessing game and more of an exact science.  By using data from across your property to make optimal pricing recommendations, the tool protects transient rates with forecasted displacement analysis and compares that displacement to the total potential value of a given group. This means that sales always prices groups to convert, while still optimizing space utilization and protecting profits in other areas of the business. KPIs: ADR, RevPAR, GOPPAR, gross revenue from groups, group wash %. Grouprev users report impressive revenue lift, with some seeing up to an 8% increase in group revenue after implementing the solution. On HTR, recommendations mention the responsive customer service and the user-friendliness of the interface, which makes it easy to find the ideal rates for a given group. guestrev is a hotel revenue management system built to optimize profit across your entire property.  These granular demand forecasts are based on Total Guest Value, which tracks a guest’s total spend across your property, as well as seasonality, length-of-stay, and events. Armed with these forecasts, you can better align revenue with marketing to move beyond static rules to dynamically capture more room and non-room revenue across segments. KPIs: ADR, RevPAR, GOPPAR, occupancy rate, gross revenue, Total Guest Value, pickup/pace. Customers highlight the impact that this data-based Total Guest Value approach has had on their revenues, with most seeing a seven to ten percent lift in revenues by accounting for both room and non-room revenue. revintel is a BI tool that pulls demand data and future forecasts from your PMS, RMS, and third-party market demand into one view so you can monitor trends in your segment mix, channel mix, traveler booking patterns, and total on-property spend. Then revenue managers can collaborate with sales and marketing to make any required adjustments to your marketing, room and event pricing and inventory availability. KPIs: Channel mix, room type mix, ADR, RevPAR, gross room revenue, gross non-room revenue, booking window. Reviewers appreciate revintel‘s ability to master complexity and provide the confidence to take action based on data and demand forecasts. One called the tool “worth every penny,” as it revealed valuable insights across segments and stay patterns. *** Whether your hotel is an independent or a multi-property, whether it needs one tool or the entire suite, the Cendyn Hospitality Cloud provides a wealth of opportunity by aligning Marketing, Sales and Revenue. From analyzing your property’s data for valuable insights and improving your group sales conversion rates to streamlining your demand generation activities, the software suite can truly transform the way your hotel does business across functions.