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The Ultimate Guide to Hospitality Technology (2021)

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

Did you know the average small business uses 40 different software applications, and the average hotel uses around 20? In an ideal world, every system in your hotel’s tech stack would help you automate tasks, reduce costs, grow revenue, and deliver a five-star guest experience. But we understand that getting up-to-date on the myriad of technology solutions available to hotels can be daunting! Where do you even start? In this article, we’ll introduce you to each piece of the hotel technology landscape, from revenue management to reputation management and everything in between. Drawing on insights from over 10,000 hotel software reviews written by hoteliers across the globe, this article will also highlight some top software vendors in each category. For more detailed testimonials and additional software choices, you’ll want to click over to the full list of vendors. Let’s dive in!     9 Hotel Operations Software Tools that Drive Efficiency This category of software includes the most essential technology for hotel operations: checking guests in, reconciling accounts, handling payroll, and getting feedback from guests. Your hotel’s size and complexity will determine which systems you need; small, limited-service hotels might be fine with a PMS and a payment processor, but a large resort could benefit from each category of software. 1. Property management systems (PMS): The PMS is the central hub for hotel operations. In this system, staff can check guests in and out, create and manage reservations, pull financial reports, manage guest profiles, and more. According to user reviews and analysis of system functionality, the top PMSs are Cloudbeds, Clock, and HotelTime, though there are over a hundred more great systems on the market. 2. Staff collaboration tools: Hotel staff are scattered across different floors, buildings, and shifts, so a communication platform is necessary to keep everyone on the same page. Systems like hotelkit, Monscierge, and ALICE can replace analog methods like walkie-talkies and logbooks, plus they can track tasks, reduce manual errors, and increase efficiency. 3. Housekeeping and engineering software: These tools digitize the operations of your housekeeping and maintenance departments, with the ability to automate task assignment, monitor real-time status of rooms or issues, and track task completion. Top software in this category includes hotelkit, Flexkeeping, and ALICE. 4. Guest feedback and surveys: Do away with the paper comment cards and give guests a digital platform to voice their feedback, such as GuestRevu, TrustYou, or Revinate. Not only are these tech solutions easy for guests to use, but they also allow hoteliers to customize, automate, and analyze guest comments and complaints. 5. Accounting and reporting: If your hotel accepts payments from guests and issues payments to employees and vendors, then you’ll benefit from an accounting and reporting system like myDigitalOffice, M3, or Omniboost. A modern accounting system reveals opportunities to reduce costs and maximize revenue, plus makes your accounting team more efficient with automated reports and integrations with other on-site software. 6. Payments Processing: Most guests prefer to pay for their reservations with credit cards, but a payment processing system is necessary to get the funds from the guest’s card into your hotel’s bank account. Payment processors like Profitroom, Mews Payments, and Adyen charge a small processing fee, but they make getting paid as seamless as possible. 7. Labor management: Hotels have dozens, if not hundreds, of employees, so scheduling is no easy task. Software such as Hotel Effectiveness’ PerfectLabor™, M3, and UniFocus include forecasting, insight into labor costs, and integrations with payroll and timekeeping systems.  8. Meetings and events: Whether your hotel has one private dining room or several floors of ballrooms and breakout spaces, meetings and events software can support every step of the sales and planning process - and the event itself. Highly rated meetings and events software includes Proposales, Event Temple, and Blockbuster by Duetto. 9. F&B and point-of-sale systems: The pandemic accelerated demand for features like contactless menus and online ordering, so there has been a huge wave of innovation in the F&B software space. Vendors like RoomOrders, Bbot, and Oracle’s MICROS can help restaurants modernize their operations, cut costs, reduce reliance on delivery platforms, and strengthen relationships with customers.   7 Revenue Management Tech Systems that Improve Yield Strategy The goal of revenue management is to sell the right room to the right guest at the right price, and revenue managers leverage a variety of software to achieve their RevPAR goals. 1. Revenue management systems (RMS): The secret weapon of any revenue manager is the RMS; this system analyzes historical data, market supply and demand, and forecasts to recommend the rates most likely to maximize revenue and profitability. You might also hear revenue management software like IDeaS, Duetto’s Gamechanger, or Atomize referred to as “yield management systems” or “pricing engines.” 2. Channel managers: A channel manager is the link between a hotel’s property management system and distribution channels like Booking.com, Expedia, and the GDS. Channel managers such as SiteMinder, Cloudbeds’ myallocator, and D-EDGE’s Smart Channel Manager allow hoteliers to make changes in one system, their PMS, rather than managing rates on each channel individually. 3. Central reservation systems (CRS): Larger hotels or hotels that are part of a chain or group might use a CRS to centralize all bookings, whether they’re made by call center staff, the hotel’s own website, or a third-party channel. The CRS will then send reservations to the PMS for room assignments. Popular CRSs include Pegasus, Windsurfer, and GuestCentric CRS. 4. Rate shopping and market intelligence: A key to revenue management success is selling competitive rates, but how do you know what your competitors are selling? Rate shopping tools, like OTA Insight, Siteminder Insights, and D-EDGE RateScreener, do the heavy lifting for you and present competitor rates and market forecasts in user-friendly dashboards and reports. 5. Parity management: OTAs ask hotels to provide rate parity, meaning selling the same rate across all channels, and, as a hotelier, you don’t want OTAs to sell cheaper rates than your hotel’s website. Parity management tools, like OTA Insight, FornovaDI, and Triptease give hoteliers access to dashboards that monitor rates across all channels in real-time. 6. Business intelligence: Revenue managers love data, but sometimes all that data is too much for Excel to handle. Business intelligence tools offer better solutions for slicing, dicing, and visualising data through dashboards and reports suitable for studying historical performance or predicting the future. Top BI applications include OTA Insight, Scoreboard by Duetto, and ProfitSage. 7. Upselling Software: Driving incremental revenue per guest is possible with upselling tools that automate the entire process - and use profile data and historical trends to serve the most compelling, personalized offers to each guest, like room upgrades or F&B items. Tools like Oaky, EasyWay Smart Upselling, and GuestJoy also enable hoteliers to start the upselling process before the guest arrives on property.   9 Guest Experience Platforms to Improve Satisfaction Scores How do you create a five-star guest experience in the digital age? A plethora of systems exist to delight guests, from contactless check-in solutions to modern in-room entertainment. 1. Guest messaging: Messaging platforms allow hotels to communicate with guests via their preferred platform: text messaging, email, or even apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Top-rated systems like Monscierge, Whistle, and EasyWay support automated messaging and one central dashboard where staff can respond. 2. Keyless entry: Keyless entry software enables a guest to unlock their room or other secure areas like gyms or pools with a wave of their smartphone. Systems like Mobile Access by ASSA ABLOY, FLEXIPASS, and Openkey.co offer integrations with PMSs for a seamless arrival experience. 3. Guest apps: Digitize your in-room directory with a hotel app like ALICE, INTELITY, or Duve. These downloadable apps put everything guests need to know at their fingertips, from contact info and directions to room service menus and local recommendations.  4. Contactless check-in: In the wake of the pandemic, guests prefer a contactless arrival process, and software like EasyWay, Canary, and Duve make it easy for hotels to pivot to a fully digital check-in. Functionality includes ID scanning, digital registration cards, upselling, payment processing, and arrival time coordination. 5. In-room tablets: Just like the smartphone replaced our digital cameras and rolodexes, an in-room tablet can replace your rooms’ telephones, directories, room service menus, TV remotes, thermostats, and more. Tablet providers like SuitePad, Crave Interactive, and INTELITY are even proven to increase guest satisfaction and revenue. 6. Energy management: These systems have two goals: decrease your hotel’s energy costs and reduce your hotel’s environmental impact. Vendors like Verdant Energy Management Solutions, Telkonet, and EcoStruxure are designed with hotels in mind and seek to not only decrease costs, but also enhance the guest experience. 7. Guest room entertainment: Today’s guests want more than local cable channels on their guestroom TVs; systems like Monscierge ZAFIRO IPTV, and Sonifi provide interactive content and entertainment for all types of hotels, plus additional marketing and engagement opportunities you couldn’t get with traditional TV. 8. Mobile ordering/F&B: Bbot, RoomOrders, SABA F&B Ordering, and other systems provide an essential piece of technology for hotels and restaurants: mobile ordering. With this software, guests and customers can access menus, place orders, and pay from their smartphones, and F&B outlets can better manage order fulfillment and deliver an end-to-end contactless experience. 9. Hotel Wi-Fi: What was once a premium add-on is now an essential amenity at hotels, especially with a growing segment of travelers working remotely. To offer reliable high-speed internet access, hotels can partner with vendors like Cisco (Meraki), Percipia, or GuestTek that offer implementation services and ongoing support.   9 Marketing Tools to Lower Acquisition Costs and Drive Direct Bookings Of course, you don’t need any of the software listed above if nobody knows about your hotel! Marketing software allows you to tap into new audiences of guests and build relationships with your existing guest base. 1. Booking engines: For hoteliers seeking to increase direct business, a booking engine is essential. This software allows guests to book reservations on your hotel’s website by displaying rates and availability from your PMS, then integrating reservations into the PMS. Cloudbeds, Bookassist, and SiteMinder offer some of the best booking engines.  2. Reputation management: A reputation management tool helps you request, track, analyze, and respond to guest reviews across sites like Tripadvisor and Google and your own surveys. Some of the industry leaders are TrustYou, GuestRevu, and Revinate, and they can even assist in increasing guest review scores by revealing insights about guest sentiment. 3. Website builders and content management systems (CMS): Outsourcing your website design isn’t necessary with a CMS; these tools allow you to build, edit, and organize website pages and content, and they support integrations with booking engines, payment processors, widgets and more. Smart CMS by Bookassist, Profitroom, and Net Affinity are some of the top website builders. 4. Direct booking tools: If you want to increase direct bookings, then an app like Triptease, Hotelchamp, or TrustYou can boost the number of shoppers who complete bookings on your hotel’s website. These tools let you display personalized messages, snippets of guest reviews, price comparison widgets, and more - all of which give guests reasons to book direct instead of on an OTA. 5. Digital marketing agencies: Don’t have the time or resources to handle digital marketing in-house? A digital marketing agency can lend their expertise to help your hotel succeed in search engine marketing, social media, content creation, and PR. Bookassist, Avvio, and Net Affinity are some of the leaders in this space. 6. Social media tools: Whether you’re trying to build a new audience or stay in touch with past guests, social media is an important component of your hotel’s marketing strategy. Social media vendors like BCV, Sprout Social, and Travel Media Group can help you achieve your reach and engagement goals. 7. Metasearch and ad tech: Metasearch channels, like Google, Kayak, and Tripadvisor, are powerful drivers of traffic to your hotel website - if you leverage them effectively. These sites require special connectivity and a bidding strategy, and tools like Bookassist, Avvio, and Koddi will help you manage budgets, track attribution, and understand market dynamics. 8. Website live chat/chatbots: Potential guests shopping on your website want answers now - without needing to pick up the phone. A chatbot, like one from Asksuite, Quicktext, or Whistle, use artificial intelligence to answer guest questions quickly and accurately, plus capture leads and increase conversion on your website. 9. Hotel CRM: Your database of guest email addresses is a gold mine - if you can leverage it strategically. A CRM system, such as Revinate, Profitroom, and dailypoint 360, allows you to capture email addresses on your website, send automated messages throughout the guest’s journey, create segments of profiles with specific characteristics, and analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion.   F&B and MICE The food and beverage and meetings and events components of the hotel industry have their own technology solutions too. Whether you’re trying to streamline your room service offerings or support citywide conferences in a maze of meeting spaces, you can find software to help you execute any type of service or event. 1. Restaurant management: In order to run a restaurant smoothly, restaurateurs leverage point-of-sale software to manage stock in real-time, handle transactions, reserve tables, run reports, and more. Popular restaurant management software includes Vento ePOS, Oracle MICROS, and Lightspeed POS. 2. Mobile ordering and room service: Contactless service is the latest trend in F&B, but it seems likely to become the norm. Mobile ordering systems, such as Bbot, RoomOrders, and SABA F&B Ordering, allow restaurants to upload digital menus, accept online orders, and receive contactless payments, and customers can feel confident in more efficient service and accurate orders and bills. 3. Meetings and events intelligence: This category of software aims to help hoteliers maximize their meetings and events business by understanding market dynamics, uncovering insights about attendees, and optimizing pricing and space usage. Top meetings and events intelligence tools include Blockbuster by Duetto, IDeaS (SmartSpace), and Get Into More. 4. Group sourcing and RFP tools: Without software to assist, the RFP process is tedious. RFP software, such as Proposales, MeetingPackage, and Venuesuite, moves this process online and helps you to automate it, making all the back-and-forth more efficient and helping sales teams reach their goals. 5. Event management: Software doesn’t just help your sales team seal the deal, but also to plan and execute the event itself. Event Temple, Tripleseat, EVENTMACHINE, and others provide functionality to send proposals, get e-signatures, manage traces, communicate with clients, and create and edit BEOs and agendas.   Looking for more resources on hotel industry software? Download the free 2021 HotelTechIndex Market Leaders Report.

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The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Stocks in 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 months ago

The tourism industry is slowly coming off its worst year in history. Last year saw the lowest occupancies in the history of the industry.  Business travel was completely shuttered, and leisure struggled in most markets as planes were grounded.  Often in the darkest of hours, the best stocks and investing opportunities present themselves. Now, travel outlooks remain cautious but optimistic. Hotels are reopening and accepting bookings and the share prices of publicly traded hotel stocks as well as hotel REITS, or Real Estate Investment Trusts, are shifting back to post-Pandemic levels. The uptick in these share prices is inline with Wall Street’s overall performance lately. With the vaccine rollout combined with Congress’ $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package have boosted investors’ confidence. They were also encouraged by the Labor Department’s jobs report for February showing that employers added hundreds of thousands more jobs than expected. In turn, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both showed gains, an indicator that the market could be headed towards an upswing.  So whether you’re new to investing or already have experience in other investment sectors, now is the time to consider putting your money in the hotel sector. It’s an opportunity to put the adage “buy low, sell high” to the test. Once travel and tourism return to pre-pandemic levels, so will these stock prices. If you follow the traders on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets (WSB), you’ll know that the “tendies” or financial gain on the stock market, are lower when you buy stocks at their peak. Like this group of non-traditional Reddit investors and cryptocurrency speculators, accessing the metrics on hotel stocks should also reflect the new normal that we’re living in. Gauging a stock’s one-year, three-year or five-year performance today won’t present an accurate picture of its future potential as the drastic dip that all stocks experience in 2020 will dramatically skew that outlook.   Hotel Chain & Casino Stocks There are also a variety of hotel investments to consider, which translates to a number of diverse money-making opportunities. There are, of course, the major hotel brands like Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. as well as casino resorts like Wynn Resorts Limited and Caesars Entertainment, with which you’re probably already familiar. These are C-corporations that are primarily built on the business of hotel management, marketing and branding and often, franchise licensing. They pay corporate taxes on dividends. This popular mid- to large-cap stocks are popular investments because their brand names are well established globally and investors have likely stayed in the hotels. That first-hand experience of the products also tends to result in positive sentiment among investors, which helps to keep stock prices at reasonable levels and make them relatively safe bets. Prior to the pandemic, the most noticeable trend happening among these hotel companies was the introduction of new brands. The intent behind this move was to create more opportunities to expand franchise and management contracts in markets that were already saturated by other brands under the companies’ umbrella. However, the pandemic has stalled this growth strategy. Similarly, pipeline development also slowed and in some instances reversed course as hotel owners and investors pulled back once the pandemic hit and existing hotels began closing. Consequently, stock prices may remain somewhat stagnant until expansion plans are underway again.   Marriott International Inc. is arguably one of the most popular, if not the most well known, of hotel stocks. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the company has a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 brands in 133 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts globally. The stock trades as MAR on NASDAQ. In 2020, Marriott International generated over $10.5 billion in revenue and saw annual EPS decline to $0.31 from $1.16 in the 2019 fiscal year (FY). From 2009 to 2019, Marriott stock has returned 10% higher compared to NASDAQ composite and 44% higher compared to Dow Jones Large Cap. According to CNN Business, 18 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Marriott International Inc. have a median target of 135.00 with a high estimate of 175.00 and a low estimate of 119.00.  Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., (NYSE: HLT) operates and franchises 6,400 hotel properties under 18 brands in 119 countries in addition to licensing vacation ownership resorts. The company’s revenue for 2020 total $4.31 billion and annual EPS dropped from $3.04 in FY 2019 to $-2.56 for FY 2020. During the decade between 2009 and 2019, Hilton’s stock returned 126% higher compared to NYSE composite. As per CNN Business, the consensus among 18 analysts for 12-month price forecasts is a median target of 123.50, a high estimate of 140.00 and a low estimate of 100. Hyatt Hotels Corp. (NYSE: H) Headquartered in Chicago, Hyatt’s has 20 brands under its corporate umbrella and more than 975 hotels, all inclusive resorts and wellness resorts throughout 69 countries across six continents. 2020 revenue for the company was in excess of $2 billion although annual EPS for 2020 was -$6.93, which was a significant from 2019 annual EPS of $7.21. Between 2009 and 2019, the stock returned 28% higher than the NYSE composite. Fifteen analysts offering CNN Business a 12-month price forecasts for Hyatt Hotels Corp have a median target of 72.00, with a high estimate of 95.00 and a low estimate of 55.00. The median estimate represents a -14.11% decrease from the last price of 83.83. Accor SA (OTC Pink: ACCYY) This Paris-based company trades on the Euronext Paris exchange. However, U.S. investors can purchase shares through the Pink Open Market. The company’s product offering is comprised of 5,000 hotels and residences across 110 countries worldwide. Revenue for the full year 2020 €1.6 billion when annual EPS was -€8.69. Annual EPS for 2021 is estimated to be -€1.09. In the 10 years spanning 2009 to 2019, Accor returned 52% lower than the Euronext 100 composite. As reported by CNN Business, the 12-month price forecasts of 18 analysts for Accor SA has a median target of 8.38, a high estimate of 10.97 and a low estimate of 4.68.  Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHG) With $992 million in 2020 revenue, this hotel company has nearly 6,000 hotels throughout the America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australasia and China. More than 880,000 rooms are currently open and another 272,000 rooms are now in the pipeline. 2020 EPS for the stock declined 168.31% from 2019. However, IHG has returned 120% higher compared to NYSE composite in the decade between 2009 and 2019. The 12-month price forecasts of 20 analysts include a median target of 63.29, with a high estimate of 78.23 and a low estimate of 50.07. Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH) has more than 7,100 hotels or nearly 6,000 rooms, in over 40 countries and territories. Lodging options range from full-service and limited service hotels in the upscale, midscale, extended stay and economy segments. 2020 revenue was more than $774 million and 2020 adjusted diluted EPS was $2.22, a decrease of 49% over the prior full year period.  The stock also returned 168% higher than the NYSE composite over the 10 years from 2009 to 2019. The 10 analysts offering a 12-month price forecasts for Choice Hotels International Inc have a median target of 105.50, with a high estimate of 122.00 and a low estimate of 90.00. Wynn Resorts Limited (NASDAQ: WYNN) owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, Cotai. For the year ended December 31, 2020, operating revenues were $2.10 billion and annual EPS was $-19.37, a 1784.35% decline from 2019. In the 10-year period between 2009 and 2019, Wynn Resorts Limited (WYNN) has returned 75 percent lower compared to the NASDAQ composite. The aggregate 12-month price forecasts for Wynn Resorts Ltd have a median target of 120.00, with a high estimate of 157.00 and a low estimate of 99.00. MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is a global entertainment company with a portfolio of 29 hotel and destination gaming offerings that include casinos, meeting and conference facilities, live entertainment experiences and restaurant, nightlife and retail products. The Company is currently pursuing targeted expansion in Asia through the integrated resort opportunity in Japan. In 2020, net revenues were $2.2 billion for the company’s Las Vegas Strip resorts and $2 billion for its regional operations. MGM China had net revenues of $657 billion in 2020.  Adjusted EPS was a loss per share of $3.94 in 2020, compared to Adjusted EPS of $0.77 in 2019. MGM Resorts International (MGM) returned 115% higher over the 10 years from 2009 to 2019 in comparison to the NYSE composite for the same period. Fourteen analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for MGM Resorts International have a median target of 37.75, with a high estimate of 50.00 and a low estimate of 28.00.  Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: CZR) is one of the largest gaming-entertainment companies in the U.S. and one of the world's most diversified gaming-entertainment providers. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, in 1937, Caesars Entertainment has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions. Caesars Entertainment's resorts operate primarily under the Caesars®, Harrah's®, Horseshoe® and Eldorado® brand names. Caesars generated approximately 3.47 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020, when annual EPS was -$13.50 compared to annual EPS of $1.03 in 2019. The stock returned 59 percent higher than the NASDAQ composite in the 10 years over 2009 to 2019. The 12 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Caesars Entertainment Inc have a median target of 97.50, with a high estimate of 115.00 and a low estimate of 90.00.  Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) is a developer and operator of meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition or MICE-based integrated resorts, including Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and through majority ownership in Sands China Ltd., Sands developed the largest portfolio of properties on the Cotai Strip in Macao, including The Venetian Macao, The Plaza, Four Seasons Hotel Macao, The Londoner Macao, The Parisian Macao and Sands Macao.  The company recently entered into definitive agreements to sell its Las Vegas real estate and operations, including The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $6.25 billion. Casino and entertainment resort company Las Vegas Sands generated approximately 3.61 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020. However, EPS for the 12-months ending Dec. 31, 2019 was -$2.21, a year-over-year decline of 163.14%. But from 2009 to 2019, the stock returned 62% higher than the NYSE composite and 14 analysts collectively a 12-month price forecast with a median target of 67.50, a high estimate of 84.00 and a low estimate of 50.00.   Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) REITs are another investment option. Unlike hotel companies, hotel REITs –and all REITs for that matter— own, operate or finance real estate with the objective of generating income. Similarly to mutual funds, REITs combine the capital from multiple investors who earn dividends and avoid the risk associated with buying, managing and directly financing real estate assets on their own. These are good bets for investors who want a stable income stream.  However, REITs aren’t known for their capital appreciation, which is why they tend to show noticeably lower returns against index composites. For example, over the decade from 2009 to 2019, Apple Hospitality REIT Inc. returned 68% lower compared to the NYSE composite and during that same time period, Host Hotels & Resorts returned 40% lower than the NYSE composite index. Broadly speaking, a REIT’s 52-week high and low are more illustrative of the moderate risk they represent to investors.  You should keep in mind that the Pandemic has led to a trend where hotel assets are either being sold off to then be repurposed into other asset classes such as multifamily housing and senior living facilities or hotel owners and investors are themselves repurposing their hotel properties into other asset classes. REIT investors should be aware of this as the trend has the potential to change and even diminish the portfolios of hotel REITs. Like hotel stocks, there are a good number of hotel REITs to invest in, but these tend to be investor favorites because of their longevity and portfolios of reputable brands.  Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc. (NYSE: APLE) owns 233 hotels with more tan 29,800 rooms located in 88 markets throughout 25 U.S. states. The portfolio has a concentration of marquee names including Marriott-, Hilton- and Hyatt-branded hotels. Annual revenue for 2020 was $602 million and the median yearly earnings for 2021 are approximated at $0.54. In the 52 weeks ending on March 19, 2021, the highest price reached by the stock was 15.89. The lowest price was 5.36.A panel of eight analysts offered a collective price forecast with a median target of 17.00, a high estimate of 19.00 and a low estimate of 15.00.  Hersha Hospitality Trust (NYSE: HT) owns and operates 37 hotels totaling 5,845 rooms are located in New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, South Florida and select markets on the West Coast. The company’s revenue for the full year 2020 total $529.96 million while 2020 EPS was -$0.46. In the 52 weeks ending March 19, 2021, the stock price peaked at 12.9 and saw a low of 2.41087.  The nine analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Hersha Hospitality Trust have a median target of 10.00, with a high estimate of 21.00 and a low estimate of 8.00.  Host Hotels & Resorts (NASDAQ: HST) is the largest lodging REIT and renowned for its concentration of luxury and upper-upscale hotels with a focus on brands such as Marriot, Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Hyatt, Fairmont, Hilton, Swissôtel, ibis and Novotel. The company owns 76 properties in the U.S. and five internationally, totally 46,800 rooms. Host additionally holds non-controlling interests in six domestic and one international joint venture. The company did $65 million in revenue for the full year 2020 when annual EPS total  -$1.04. The stock price hit a high of 18.42 during the 52 weeks ending on March 19, 2021 and fell to a low of 9.06. Eighteen analysts estimated a median target of 17.00 in a 12-month price forecast, with a high estimate of 21.00 and a low of 13.00.  Park Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: PK) is the second largest publicly traded lodging REIT with a portfolio of 60 premium-branded hotels and resorts that comprise more than 33,000 rooms in city center and resort locations. The company reported $852 million in 2020 revenue and annual EPS for 2020 was $0.94. In the 52 weeks ending on March 19, 2021, the highest price reached by Park Hotels & Resorts Inc stock was 24.6. The lowest price was 6.04. The 14 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Park Hotels & Resorts Inc have a median target of 22.50, with a high estimate of 28.00 and a low estimate of 15.00.  RLJ Lodging Trust (NYSE: RLJ) has a portfolio of 1010 premium-branded, focused service and compact full service hotels in 23 states and Washington D.C. along with an ownership interest in one unconsolidated hotel. This REITs hotels are consolidated in urban areas and other densely populated markets where the barriers to entry are significant, but RLJ’s investment strategy of focusing on hotels with limited food service offerings, limited meeting space and consequently fewer employees, represents greater potential on returns.   Index Funds & ETFs Index funds and ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds are good bets for investors who want to put money into hotel stocks and hotel REITs while minimizing their risk. The benefit to index funds is that they are passively managed because they only track stock indexes. So the fees and expenses incurred by investors are lower. However, the hotel industry is extremely sensitive to changes in the economy. So gains and losses made on these investments will be a function of the greater business climate.  Keep in mind that not all stock indexes are index funds. The Baird/STR Hotel Index is widely regarded by hotel investors as an accurate barometer of the hotel industry’s financial performance. However, this index is not actively managed, nor does it allow direct investment. The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index and sub-indices are cobranded and were created by Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird) and STR. The market-cap-weighted, price-only indices comprise 20 of the largest market-capitalization hotel companies publicly traded on a U.S. exchange and attempt to characterize the performance of hotel stocks. ETFs are also considered low-cost investments. They can also have the added benefit of being more diverse investments since they can also include exposure to other real estate investments beyond the hotel industry. So they may not be as sensitive to shifting economies. Additionally, ETFs can include or comprise an entire portfolio of REITs, which on their own are not considered “qualified dividends” as per the IRS.  In other words, earnings on REITS are taxed at a higher rate. Despite the fact that REITs qualify for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s 20% pass-through deduction, they are still taxed at a higher rate than qualified dividends. ETF dividends can be taxed at the qualified rate provided the investor holds them for at least 60 days from the date of issue. Yet, there are ETF dividends that are not taxed at the qualified rate. So investors may want to confirm the tax rate before going in.  Also, keep in mind that the data by which you’re going to assess an ETF as an investment vehicle will differ from that used to assess any given hotel stock. These are not individual companies with annual revenues. Rather, an ETF is an investment vehicle comprising a portfolio of multiple companies and the portfolios are rebalanced, usually once a quarter. In turn, net assets change regularly. The revenue or other metrics for any single company within that portfolio is not an accurate representation of the ETFs’ performance as a whole.  In the meantime, here are a few ETFs worth considering: Nuveen Short-Term REIT ETF (BATS: NURE) This fund provides exposure to U.S. real estate investment trusts (REITs) with short-term lease agreements which may exhibit less price sensitivity to interest rate changes than REITs with longer-term lease agreements. The Fund seeks to track the investment results, before fees and expenses, of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Short-Term REIT Index, which is composed of U.S. exchange-traded equity REITs that concentrate their holdings in apartment buildings, hotels, self-storage facilities and manufactured home properties, which typically have shorter lease terms than REITs that invest in other sectors. The ETF was formed in December 2016; performance data for the last five years is not yet available. The fund has $26.02 million in net assets and the year-to-date daily total return was 12.11%. Its one-year monthly total return was 8.47% and its three-year monthly total return was 9.97%. The 52-week high was 31.22 and the low was 19.28. Wall Street analysts give this fund an N/A rating according to Marketbeat.com  Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Real Estate ETF (NYSE Arca: EWRE) The Invesco S&P 500® Equal Weight Real Estate ETF (Fund) is based on the S&P 500® Equal Weight Real Estate Index (Index). The Fund will invest at least 90% of its total assets in securities that comprise the Index. The Index equally weights stocks in the real estate sector of the S&P 500® Index. The Fund and the Index are rebalanced quarterly. The fund has net assets of $22.66 million. The year-to-date daily total return was 12.11%. Its one-year monthly total return was 11.52% and its three-year monthly total return was 11.33% and the five-year monthly total return was 9.01%. The 52-week high was 33.50 and the low was 21.60. Zacks gives this fund an ETF Rank of “Sell” at the time of this writing.  ETFMG Travel Tech ETF (NYSE Arca: AWAY) The ETFMG Travel Tech ETF is a portfolio of companies that are a subset of the global travel and tourism industry. These companies are engaged in the “Travel Technology Business” by providing technology via the Internet and internet-connected devices to facilitate travel bookings and reservations, ride sharing and hailing, travel price comparison, and travel advice. AWAY is an exchange traded fund (ETF) that seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield, before fund fees and expenses, of the Prime Travel Technology Index. The fund has net assets of $261.77 million.  The year-to-date daily total return was 20.07%. Its one-year monthly total return was 116.96%. No additional performance data is available as the ETF was launched in February 2020. The 52-week high was 34.54 and the low was 13.58. Based on WalletInvestor.com forecasts, a long-term increase is expected. The "AWAY" fund price prognosis for 2026-03-25 is 148.980 USD. With a five-year investment, the revenue is expected to be around +369.23%. Your current $100 investment may be up to $469.23 in 2026.   Hospitality and Travel Tech Stocks The travel industry is expected to benefit from pent-up demand. Despite this, many investors have exited their positions in asset-heavy stocks like hotels, airlines and cruise lines. But asset-light travel tech stock may appeal to investors who still want to cash in on an upcoming booking spree since these companies all play some role in the booking funnel.  Travel tech companies also have irons in just about every fire in the travel industry, from hotels and cruise lines to tour operators, airlines and restaurants. So they help investors spread their risk through diversified business interests within the travel and tourism sector.  But investors should also be cautioned that Wall Street is bearish on tech stocks right now. According to a survey from Bank of America, fund managers cut their tech weighting to the lowest overweight position since January 2009.  For investors who aren’t faint of heart, here are some stocks in the travel tech space that are worth considering right now:   Tech Plays: OTAs   Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) Expedia Group leverages platform and technology capabilities across an extensive portfolio of businesses and brands to orchestrate the movement of people and the delivery of travel experiences on both a local and global basis. 2020 annual revenue was $5.2 billion was 2020 annual EPS was -$19.00. Expedia Group Inc. returned 26% higher compared to the NASDAQ composite in the decade between 2009 and 2019. Twenty-seven analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Expedia Group Inc. have a median target of 165.00, with a high estimate of 211.00 and a low estimate of 120.00.  Booking.com (NASDAQ: BKNG) Booking Holdings (BKNG) is a provider of online travel and related services, available to customers and partners in over 220 countries and territories through six primary consumer-facing brands - Booking.com, priceline, agoda.com, Rentalcars.com, KAYAK and OpenTable. The company’s annual revenue for 2020 was $6.79 billion while annual EPS for 2020 was $1.44. In the 10-year period from 2009 to 2019, Booking Holdings Inc. returned 13% higher compared to the NASDAQ composite. Twenty-five analysts offered a 12-month forecast that included a median target of 2,550.00, a high estimate of 3,000.00 and a low estimate of 1,890.00 Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) Since its inception in 2007, Airbnb has grown to four million hosts who have welcomed over 800 million guests in almost every country worldwide. Annual revenue was $3.4 billion for 2020 when annual EPS was N/A. Airbnb shares began trading in December 2020. Therefore, no historical data is available. A 12-month price forecast from 26 analysts included a media target of 180.00, a high stimate of 240.00 and a low estimate of 130.00.  Trip.com (NASDAQ: TCOM) Trip.com Group Limited is a travel service provider consisting of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Qunar. Across its platforms, Trip.com Group enables local partners and travelers around the world to make informed and cost-effective bookings for travel products and services, through aggregation of comprehensive travel-related information and resources, and an advanced transaction platform consisting of mobile apps, Internet websites, and 24/7 customer service centers. The company report annual revenue of $2.8 billion for 2020 although annual EPS was N/A for 2020. Tripcom Group Limited returned 51 percent lower than the NASDAQ composite for the 10-year period between 2009 and 2019. In a 12-month price forecast provided by 34 analysts, a media target was set at 44.54, with a high estimate at 51.32 and a low approximated at 37.43.  Google (Alphabet Inc.) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Alphabet became the parent holding company of Google in October 2015. The company’s suite of products, through its subsidiaries, includes web-based search, advertisements, maps, software applications, mobile operating systems, consumer content, enterprise solutions, commerce and hardware products. The Internet’s annual revenue for 2020 came in at $180 billion. Annual EPS for 2020 was $58.61. However, Alphabet Inc. returned six percent lower than the NASDAQ composite for the 10 years from 2009 to 2019. Forty analysts offered a 12-month price forecast where the median target was 2,400.00 and the high estimate was 3,000.00. The forecast’s low estimate was 1,477.00   Tech Plays: Metasearch   Tripadvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) Travelers across the globe use the Tripadvisor site and app to browse more than 860 million reviews and opinions of 8.7 million accommodations, restaurants, experiences, airlines and cruises. Travelers turn to Tripadvisor to compare low prices on hotels, flights and cruises, book tours and attractions, as well as to make restaurant reservations. Tripadvisor is available in 49 markets and 28 languages. The subsidiaries and affiliates of Tripadvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP) own and operate a portfolio of websites and businesses, including many travel media brands: In 2020, the U.S.-based online travel company generated revenues of approximately $604 million and annual 2020 EPS was -$2.14. In the decade between 2009 and 2019, TripAdvisor returned 48% lower than the NASDAQ composite. According to a 12-month price forecast from 18 analysts, the median target is 38.50 and the high estimate is 62.00 while the low estimate is 20.00.   Trivago (NASDAQ: TRVG) Trivago is a global hotel and accommodation search platform used by travelers to search for and compare different types of accommodations, such as hotels, vacation rentals and apartments, while enabling advertisers to grow their businesses by providing them with access to a broad audience of travelers via its websites and apps. As of December 31, 2020, Trivago offered access to more than 5.0 million hotels and other types of accommodation in over 190 countries, including over 3.8 million units of alternative accommodation, such as vacation rentals and apartments.  The search platform can be accessed globally via 54 localized websites and apps available in 32 languages. Trivago’s annual revenue for 2020 was $284 million. However, 2020 EPS was -$0.8170. Trivago returned 156% lower from 2009 to 2019 compared to the NASDAQ composite. A price forecast offered by nine analyst for 12-months offered a median target of 2.67, a high estimate of 3.56 and a low of 1.27.    Tech Plays: Software & GDS Companies   Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for Sales, Service, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Supply Chain and Manufacturing, plus Highly- Automated and Secure Generation 2 Infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database. Total revenue for 2020 was $39.1 billion and annual EPS was $3.08. Oracle Corporation (ORCL) has returned 58 percent higher compared to NYSE composite in the ten years from 2009 and 2019. Twenty-one analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Oracle Corp have a median target of 73.00, with a high estimate of 93.00 and a low estimate of 57.00.  Amadeus (OTC: AMADY) Amadeus IT Holding S.A. is a Spain-based IT provider for the global travel and tourism industry. The company builds solutions for airlines and airports, hotels and railways, search engines, travel agencies, tour operators and other travel businesses through its global distribution system (GDS) and IT business. Amadeus provides search, pricing, booking, ticketing and other processing services in real-time to travel providers and travel agencies through its Amadeus CRS distribution business area. It also offers computer software that automates processes such as reservations, inventory management software and departure control systems. It services customers including airlines, hotels, tour operators, insurers, car rental and railway companies, ferry and cruise lines, travel agencies and individual travellers directly.  The company’s annual 2020 revenue were €2 billion and annual EPS was -$1.40. According to SeekingAlpha.com, “In the last decade Amadeus IT managed to grow its cash from operations every single year. The OCF-ratios on both a revenue and an equity level are exceptional. All the while management spends cash to grow the business via M&A and purchases of intangibles, but is also growing dividends each year for the shareholders. And as can be seen on both the balance sheets and cash flow statements, the company is managing its debt levels in a very prudent way. If there are no good businesses to buy, debt is retired.” SeekingAlpha also points out that the risk associated with investing in Amadeus is that most of its revenue is related to air travel.  In the 15 years or so prior to 2020, the growth has been robust, but Coronavirus has clearly changed that and the short- and median-term future of global air travel remain to be seen. Twenty-one analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Amadeus IT Group SA have a median target of 66.76, with a high estimate of 88.06 and a low estimate of 49.16. Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management.  Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than $120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. In 2020, the corporation generated $1.33 billion in annual revenue and had an annual EPS of -$4.42. Sabre Corporation (SABR) has returned 98% lower compared to NASDAQ composite. Four analysts offered 12-month price forecasts with a median target of 16.00, a high estimate of 18.00 and a low estimate of 13.00.   Did we miss any great hotel stocks? Let us know via live chat!    

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The 9 Most Futuristic High Tech Hotels in the World

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 months ago

The pandemic accelerated technological transformation across the hospitality industry. Contactless has become a must-have, fitness centers have gone virtual, guest communications have moved to mobile, and self-service has become standard. While some hotels found themselves rapidly deploying new technologies, other hotels have been playing the tech-long game for years. Here are some of the world’s most notable high-tech hotels. We've covered the tech strategies of great hotel groups like Viceroy and Noble House who implement everything from contactless check-in to digital concierge but this article focuses on some more wacky tech implementations with a bit of focus on form over function.  This list features some pretty cool hi-tech gadgets and hotel room amenities that go above and beyond the typical flat-screen tv.  Some of the cutting-edge technology on this list may off-put more traditional travelers but will undoubtedly hit the spot for tech-savvy millennials. Rather than layer technology onto the operation, these properties embed technology into the fabric of the operation, making it a focal point and key feature. Some use it as an Instagrammable moment at a specific location while others structure their entire brand around the tech-enabled guest experience. Either way, technology is front-and-center at these hotels.   Henn Na Hotel, Japan “The Robot Hotel” Tokyo has become the marquee high-tech hotel. The brand concept is “commitment to evolution,” which appears across its operation in the form of robots. Lots of robots! The brand claims to be the world’s first hotel staffed by robots -- and there’s really no disputing that, as guests are greeted by robots at the front desk. At one property, the front desk is even staffed by dinosaur robots and iPad kiosks, which is quite the experience.     Other high-tech features at some locations include a robot barista frothing lattes, espressos and teas, as well as a 360-degree VR space for guests to immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences. The hotel is also fully enabled with Wifi powered facial recognition, which eliminates the need for a hotel key altogether. Guests can access the property, and their individual guest rooms, seamlessly using biometrics. Very futuristic, indeed!   YOTEL, New York City The YOTEL brand has been synonymous with technology since it opened its doors near  Times Square. The showstopper was a massive robot arm dominating the lobby, providing automated luggage storage for guests (as well as safety deposit boxes to store valuables). The YOBOT also provides self-service check-in, which puts the brand far ahead of today’s contactless guest experience.   The rooms -- called cabins -- may be small, but YOTEL uses technology to deliver its promise to “give you everything you need, and nothing you don’t.” This includes Smart TVs so that guests can connect their own devices and choose their own entertainment. The guest rooms also use motorized beds as space-savers and motion-activated sensors for lighting and AC to reduce carbon emissions. It’s all about efficiency, delivering an outsized guest experience in even the smallest spaces.   Blow Up Hall 5050, Poland The Blow Up Hall 50/50 is an impressive mix of form and function. Designed by BAFTA-award-winning artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the hotel combines a restaurant, bar, gallery, and hotel into a unique vibe. There are several digital art installations, including a commentary on surveillance capitalism embedded right within the lobby.    The property eliminates the traditional touchstones of the hotel experience: there’s no front desk. The guest’s smartphone provides access to the property, from check-in to room keys to staff communications. The phone also acts as a room finder: after opening the app, the assigned room lights up and the door unlocks automatically. It’s these small tech flourishes that reinforce the property’s sense of mystery and intrigue.   Hotel Zetta, San Francisco At the center of Silicon Valley, the centerpiece of Hotel Zetta is most definitely its virtual reality room in the lobby. Designed by a local tech startup (naturally), the VR cube gives guests a fully-immersive opportunity to experience virtual reality. There are also Nintendo Switch consoles and Oculus VR headsets available so guests can experience next-generation technology in the comfort of their rooms.      Other tech touchstones include a vintage Atari Pong table in the Zetta Suite, which is modernized to include both the classic game and a Bluetooth speaker to play personal playlists. Each guest room is also equipped with Alexa-enabled voice control in every room. Guests can order a meal from room service, set an alarm or learn about on-property dining specials.    Kameha Grand, Zurich The Kameha Grand isn’t one of those kitschy places that you’re embarrassed to stay at. Quite the opposite: the high-end “lifestyle hotel” is part of Marriott’s Autograph collection. And, with rooms designed by Marcel Wenders, it’s got all of the trappings of a luxury property. Rooms     Our favorite rooms are, of course, the Space Suites. It’s the most futuristic room type on this list because it quite literally connects to space. The in-room TV features a live feed from NASA TV so that you can fuel those space dreams. The atmospheric vibes will contribute to that dreamy feel, with “outer space furnishings have been designed down to the smallest detail with a floating bed, pictures of galaxies, hovering astronauts and models of rockets.” Far out!   Virgin Hotels  The Virgin Hotel brand has always been tech-forward and guest-centric. Even prior to the pandemic, the brand empowered guests to control their own experiences right from the palm of their hand. Now, those features are dramatically expanded to be even more contactless.     Named Lucy, the app allows guests to skip check-in, using their phone to select rooms and unlock doors. Guests can also use the app to order room service, adjust room temperature, control entertainment (in-room streaming and Apple Music), plan their trip around the city, or even follow custom exercise routines by Fitbod. Following on smartly with its brand promise, the app also offers three preset lighting modes for guestrooms:  Get Lit for full brightness, Get in the Mood for dimmed relaxation, and Do Not Disturb for sleep. By putting all of these elements together into a single interface, Virgin Hotels puts the guest in control.    25hours Hotels Another brand that’s focused on high-tech without losing high-touch hospitality is 25hours. Thanks to an in-house multidisciplinary think tank, the Extra Hour Lab, the brand experiments with new ways of engaging with guests, both through digital and analog channels. That balance plays out in Cologne, where the record store greets guests alongside    Perhaps that’s one aspect that distinguishes the futuristic, high-tech hotels: those that understand how to inject storytelling into the experience alongside the latest technology.   Cityhub A hybrid between a comfortable hotel and a convivial hostel, Cityhub is futuristic in both its technology and its approach to hospitality. It’s part of a new wave of brands that blend categories and use technology to enable a more social experience. The Cityhub brand has an app but it also takes a cue from Disney and offers RFID wristbands. These bands are used not only for check-in and property access, but also  at the bar, cafe or vending machines, where guests can serve themselves and charge their rooms. Without having to constantly pull out their phones, there’s a more personal element to the experience.     Each “hub” has its own customizable lighting, temperature and audio streaming, so guests can control their vibe. There’s also an on-property social network, giving guests a digital lobby to meet and plan real-world adventures.   The Atari Hotel, Las Vegas (coming soon!) A notable mention is the upcoming Atari Hotel in Las Vegas.  This property will blur the boundaries between hotel and immersive experience, building on Las Vegas’ long history of blending entertainment with hospitality. The experience is straight out of Blade Runner: bright lights, massive marquees, and an “everywhere you look” focus on gaming.    The Atari Hotel points to a far-more futuristic vision of hotels than anything else on the market today. It very well could be the first hospitality experience built just as much for the virtual world as for the physical one. Guests can host friends in their rooms for gaming marathons, with consoles, batteries, and spare controllers available for delivery. The Atari Hotel may redefine the category and establish a new mainstream travel trend: the gamer circuit. -- What are your favorite high-tech hotel amenities? Let us know if we missed any key ones like hotels with crazy underwater speakers, air conditioning activated by motion sensors, cool touchscreen applications, and more!

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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hotel tech jobs and employers globally. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the hotel industry.  The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that 121 million of the 330 million jobs tied to tourism around the world will be lost in 2020.  Despite existential challenges, hotels and their vendors have proven resilient in the face of the biggest challenge ever posed to the hospitality industry by working together. But there’s always opportunity in crisis.  The pandemic has advanced digitization in the global economy by at least 5 years according to most experts.  Hotels that already had adopted technology like contactless check-in and guest messaging software have had a massive advantage since the pandemic broke out and the importance of technology for running a successful hotel business will continue to rise over the coming years meaning that demand for hotel technology talent will grow with it. Here at Hotel Tech Report, we’ve interviewed countless hoteliers about their journeys from being hoteliers into lucrative technology careers like Del Ross, Marco Benvenuti, Sameer Umar, and Kevin Brown. For hoteliers furloughed on the sidelines, there is an unprecedented opportunity to pivot into a technology career leveraging skills and knowledge from hospitality experience.   But which hotel tech companies should you apply to? Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of hotel tech professionals to find the best companies to work for in the hospitality industry. We ask respondents to rate their employers from 1-10 on these key variables:  Work-life balance Personal development opportunities Gender equality Confidence in company direction Values alignment 2021 Bonus Question: Rate your firm’s COVD-19 crisis response Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality tech jobs and (2) to help hotel tech buyers understand that it’s just as important to partner with great organizations as it is to find great software tools and products. Vendor culture is important to every aspect of a vendor relationship: Product: Great workplaces attract the best talent who make the best products Customer Support: Happy client reps give better service and stay around longer developing deeper relationships. Sales: When a sales team has high turnover, innovation gets strangled because there isn’t enough cash coming in the door to invest in innovation. Our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list features companies who foster wonderful work environments for employees.  In return, those employees deliver incredible products and services to clients. Without further adieu here are 2021’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech…     10. Siteminder (TIE) Right before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, industry leader Siteminder reached an incredible milestone earning itself unicorn status.  Under the stewardship of CEO Sankar Narayan the firm quickly composed itself when the pandemic broke out and began rolling out initiatives to support both employees and customers like its World Hotel Index sharing real-time data with the industry when historical data just wouldn’t cut it.  Siteminder has an internal slack channel called #stayingsocial dedicated strictly to team members having a social communal space in the age of remote work.  This is pretty typical for a small startup but much rarer in the world of 700 employee behemoths.  The great part about working at a large startup-like Siteminder is that there’s almost limitless upward mobility according to one employee working in operations at the firm, “They allow me opportunities to take on more responsibilities that are even beyond my scope to develop my skills and prep me up for bigger roles. They also give leadership training to enhance to continue developing my capabilities.”  If you’re looking for a fast-paced global startup on a world domination path - then you should absolutely be dropping a resume at Siteminder.  The best part is that they’ve got offices all around the world so even if you prefer the WFH life your colleagues shouldn’t be too far away no matter where you call home.     10. Atomize (TIE) This is Atomize’s first time making Hotel Tech Report’s annual Best Places to Work list but we doubt it will be their last.  In true Swedish fashion Atomize rates amongst the highest on the list for gender equality with a 50% ratio of men to women on its leadership team.  Atomize also rates very highly for culture alignment with a score of 97.8%.  Perhaps the biggest standout for Atomize was how highly employees rated the firm’s COVID-19 response and support for clients during a crisis.  “Everyone from finance to product development has chipped in to try to support clients. We have for instance developed a relief-program for those that are hurting really bad, we have updated the product to amend for the large drop in occupancy for hotels, etc,” one Atomize executive told Hotel Tech Report.  Atomize made it through COVID-19 without a single layoff which is a testament to the longevity of the business and its and commitment to team members.  During the crisis Atomize stayed calm, launched the 2.0 version of their core RMS product, and even found time to bring the team together for a BBQ this summer during a slow down in transmission rates.     9. Hotel Effectiveness Georgia (the U.S. state not the country) based Hotel Effectiveness is in the business of helping hotel owners more efficiently manage labor but the question is: how well do they manage their own labor? It turns out they do a pretty darned good job at fostering internal culture.  Prior to the pandemic labor costs were the biggest focus area for most hotel ownership and management groups - despite the shift in focus Hotel Effectiveness managed to grow through the pandemic all while placing a heavy emphasis on quality of life for employees.  Team members cite a high percentage of employees being groomed from junior roles into leadership positions, flexible PTO programs, and strong opportunities for women.  PTO is great but Hotel Effectiveness management goes one step further where they encourage team members to completely unplug and not even check email during their vacation.  Adding icing to the cake, employees raved about the firm’s response to COVID-19 where it was able to grow without any layoffs needed.  One engineer raved about the Company’s COVID-19 response, “Hotel Effectiveness immediately shifted priorities specifically to address the changing needs of our clients. Hotel Effectiveness provided new guidance materials, payment options, and built new features (such as Daily Wellness Check-In) under tight deadlines to meet the new needs of our customers.”     8. EasyWay Big congrats to the first-ever Israeli startup to make this list!  If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv or the Start-up Nation (Israel), perhaps a job interview with EasyWay is the excuse you needed to visit one of the most amazing cities in the world packed with beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a foodie scene that’s truly in a league of its own.  EasyWay is the quintessential startup with a mentality that so long as you hit your KPIs - the rest of your life is totally flexible.  An EasyWay executive’s quote to Hotel Tech Report about the last 12-months at the company says it all, “The work around the clock in the COVID-19 time was crazy.  We have developed so much stuff, that I almost miss this period. We've learned a lot from that, and staid on our feet! The rest of the team was great and it really gave me confidence in my own abilities.  If you're the kind of person who likes to work hard and play hard - you’d be wise to check out EasyWay’s open positions.      7. Asksuite This is Asksuite’s second year making the list and true to their commercial team’s motto “rockets don’t have reverse”, even a pandemic couldn’t slow down this high flying Brazilian startup.  Florianopolis may not be a hotel tech hub (yet) but the Asksuite team has access to lessons in language, hospitality and other training to upskill their way into global domination.  During the pandemic, leaders have made themselves available for 1:1 meetings to support all colleagues and perhaps it’s this close communication that leads Asksuite employees to rate 98% confidence in the future success of the firm.  Asksuite employees frequently cite an onboarding process that makes all team members feel like a part of the family in short order.     6. RoomRaccoon Despite the pandemic RoomRaccoon doubled the firm’s headcount in 2020 and achieved a major milestone in reaching 1,000 clients.  Employees frequently cite similar aspects of the culture as differentiators like their annual international week at the Netherlands headquarters and an inclusive onboarding program.  One employee within the marketing department told Hotel Tech Report, “This year RoomRaccoon decided to start hiring more new colleagues against the market trend of furlough and letting people go. To smoothen the onboarding process of our new hires we've created an E-learning program and two intensive onboarding weeks. So far we've onboarded 15 new hires since July 2020 that immediately are getting results. Something I'm really proud of!”  If you’re looking for an ambitious organization with a strong remote culture and complementary annual trips to the Netherlands - don’t hesitate and check out open listings at RoomRaccoon.     5. Alliants The Alliants story is the cure to the common venture funded business gone wrong story.  Alliants built the business developing custom software for ultra luxury hotel brands like Four Season and Jumeirah before ever dipping their toes into the SaaS world.  That means they’ve got killer products, an eye for design and engineering to back it up.  Starting in a consultative role for luxury brands has afforded Alliants a luxury not many early stage SaaS products have - cash flow.  How would this impact you when you apply for a role there?  Alliants employees are given a $5,000 stipend to invest in their own education and training.  Whether it’s a paid marketing course or intro to Ruby on Rails - at Alliants you will be able to create your own journey and take control of your destiny.  Have you ever had a boss block your calendar so people can’t book meetings with you? Well, Alliants employees have.  During winter months with less daylight, CEO Tristan Gadsby blocked the entire team’s calendars from 11:30am - 1:30pm to encourage team members to get outside, walk or simply catch some rays.  If that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will.     4. ALICE This ain’t ALICE’s first rodeo, well it’s their fourth if we want to be precise about it.  ALICE has made Hotel Tech Report’s Best Places to Work list 4 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021).  ALICE is an incredible place to work for former hoteliers because employees truly act as a strategic extension of their partner properties.  During the pandemic, ALICE quickly pivoted to rollout closure checklists and other free assets to help partners quickly reconfigure their operations for the new normal.  “The most memorable achievement while working at ALICE this past year was being able to provide support for our employees during the pandemic. The pandemic-related fatigue and anxiety impacted everyone and in different ways. We were able to provide support to our employees through group therapy sessions, health and wellness initiatives, increased one-on-one check-ins regarding fatigue, increased opportunities for learning and connection with one another virtually. I am so proud of how the leadership at ALICE has led us through the most difficult time in our industry's history, and with such care for both our customers, our industry as a whole, and our employees,” says one ALICE team member in an HR role.  Just as important as supporting clients through COVID-19 is supporting colleagues.  ALICE team members were constantly comforted that management understood the stress and challenges they were facing during this historic yet tragic year, encouraging an environment of transparency and honesty about how to cope with natural distractions from work in times of stress.     3. hotelkit Austria-based hotelkit is another repeat visitor on this list moving up from 4th to 3rd place.  Founded in 2012 by hotelier Marius Donhauser, hotelkit is a majority female-run business that’s growing rapidly but responsibly throughout Europe.  hotelkit’s team motto is “one team one dream” and while the team had to work remotely for a good portion of the year, colleagues are hopeful that 2021 will bring back the annual hotelkit Christmas party famous for great eats and poker.  Under Marius’ leadership, hotelkit has fostered a culture that feels like family so it’s no wonder that employees rate the culture so highly across every single vector.     2. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds may be the fastest-growing hotel tech company right now so while their headquarters are in sunny San Diego the Company has got Silicon Valley energy pumping through its veins.  Not to mention, Cloudbeds is extremely global with local managers in 40 countries. On March 11th (yes that’s right when COVID-19 took the world by storm) Cloudbeds announced the closing of an $80M funding round.  Cloudbeds employees tend to share two main things in common: (1) they are extremely performance-driven and (2) they LOVE to travel. One Cloudbeds employee within the operations department told Hotel Tech Report, “I managed to get promoted on my 1 anniversary day at Cloudbeds, I was so happy and everyone was so attentive to me during this process. Cloudbeds is an amazing company, full of amazing individuals, it's so nice to see the owners in our calls and engaged with us all at all times. I used to think I had worked at good companies, till I met Cloudbeds. This is where I want to stay and grow. It will be hard for any other company to take me from here.”  Cloudbeds has TONS of openings so make sure to browse their career page if you’re in the market.     1. Mews This is Mews’ 3rd year making the list ranking #2 in 2019 and #3 in 2020 - but this is their first year topping the list which is a testament to the strong culture at the firm.  Like most fast-growing companies, the pandemic wreaked havoc on projections and business plans for Mews leading to some difficult decisions needing to be made.  Mews not only came through what was maybe the darkest moment in the history of the hotel industry but came out stronger than ever before.  Mews leadership set a strong course for the business cutting expenses, reorganizing the team, rebranding, focusing on remote deployments, and even making an acquisition.  Quite a busy year - even if things had been normal.  Mews management has created one of those infectious startup cultures that can almost feel cult-like at times often intoxicating entire trade show floors (pre-COVID).  It’s not often that employees at an aggressive high-performance tier 1 venture-backed business get to see their founder dancing through a town hall (affectionately named Mews Con) in a silly costume.  Mews pivoted from hyper-growth mode into a sharp focus on profitability right-sizing the business and is poised to come out of the pandemic far stronger than it went in.  Lots of open roles to check out and we’re sure that list will continue to grow over the coming months.  

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Cloudbeds, SiteMinder & Room Raccoon Top People’s Choice Awards in the 2021 HotelTechAwards

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Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated hotel software in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the Top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards. The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity. The HotelTechAwards platform (by Hotel Tech Report) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products and companies that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The People’s Choice Award goes to a single company across all categories who demonstrates the strongest customer relationships during the HotelTechAwards.  Cloudbeds had more than 550 hotelier customers come out to share overwhelmingly positive feedback about Cloudbeds products in the midst of a global pandemic.  To have that kind of support from clients during the most challenging market in hotel history says all you need to know about Cloudbeds’ commitment to their partner properties,” says Hotel Tech Report CEO Jordan Hollander. Here’s the Official 2021 People’s Choice List: Cloudbeds SiteMinder RoomRaccoon Bookassist OTA Insight ALICE IDeaS Avvio Hoteltime hotelkit The key factors used to determine the annual People’s Choice Award include total verified customer reviews, geographic reach of reviews, and overall review sentiment and ratings. The best companies know that the most effective way to communicate their value proposition is to empower and amplify the voices of their happy customers.  The People’s Choice Award recognizes companies whose customers really value the relationship and partnership. “Twenty years ago we lived in a world where hoteliers just used one of the three or four technology systems out there and typically just ended up using whatever system they had heard of before.  Today there are thousands of SaaS choices in the market and dozens of great options available for most use cases but the market is moving so quickly that it’s hard for hoteliers to identify and keep track of the best products and companies.  This award honors the companies whose hotel customers are the most vocal advocates of their products to make that process easy,” says Hollander.   About the 2021 People's Choice Award The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity.  Early on as a startup, it’s easier for companies to maintain strong customer relationships with a limited customer base. But as a company grows its install base and scales globally, maintaining high customer satisfaction becomes increasingly more challenging.  Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated product in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards acknowledging the achievements of top innovators across all categories who embody the values, transparency, and customer-centricity that lie at the core of truly great companies. View Ranking Methodology>>

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Winners of the 2021 HotelTechAwards Announced

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Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced winners in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews contributed by verified hoteliers during the competition.  Winners are selected based on key performance metrics including product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing 10,227 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite tech products to run and grow their businesses.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Winning a HotelTechAward is a huge feat with the 2021 competition being the most competitive year ever.  Every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” During the HotelTechAwards, hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies review the top tech products used at their hotels to increase operating efficiency, drive revenue, and improve the guest experience. This data is used to identify the best hotel tech products and organizations. "The HotelTechAwards  are the only prize in the industry that is completely and transparently customer-driven — it's the hoteliers that decide who is best, and it's their opinion that matters most." Gautam Lulla, CEO at Pegasus. "We at SiteMinder believe strongly in the essence of openness; it is what underpins the very core of what we stand for, and the HotelTechAwards, through the program's data-driven and transparent process, aligns firmly with this value.” - Sankar Narayan, CEO at SiteMinder “This honor has deep, personal meaning as it is decided upon by our clients and represents our passion and focus for providing the most sophisticated revenue technology and comprehensive support.” Dr. Ravi Mehrotra Founder at IDeaS “The HotelTechAwards are a powerful stamp of approval for any company to possess and for hoteliers to trust. We value the HotelTechAwards process, which collects thousands of verified reviews from around the world each year.” Alex Shashou, Co-Founder at ALICE “HotelTechReport is the leading platform for technology in the hotel industry, and its meticulous and impartial verification process makes this one of the most prestigious awards.” Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen, Co-Founder at SuitePad The competition spans core areas of hotel software & technology: marketing, revenue, operations, and guest experience. 2021 Voting included participation from major hotel groups including Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Accor Hotels, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Rosewood, and thousands of independents. "We originally created the HotelTechAwards as a democratized way to help our fellow hoteliers quickly determine best of breed vendors based on data they can trust and the scope of the competition this year is a testament to how far the industry has come in the last decade.  The HotelTechAwards rating process is simple, transparent, and unbiased--judging is based on time tested ranking factors, publicly available data, and crowdsourced insights from verified hoteliers who have hands-on experience with each product.” The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and winners were selected from the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 127 countries.   Best Hotel Software Companies List >>

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2021 HotelTechAwards Finalists Announced

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Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced finalists in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews from verified hoteliers during the competition.  Finalists are selected based on key performance metrics like product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing over 10,000 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite software products.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Finaling in the HotelTechAwards is a reflection of quality every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” Hotel Tech Report authenticates reviews through a strict verification process.  Further, companies are ranked based on pre-defined objective data variables to avoid the biases present in other human judged competitions. "Based on real and honest customer feedback, the HotelTechAwards really do provide the most transparent view on how technology is perceived and used across the industry,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO at OTA Insight. The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and finalists are selected from more than 1,000 of the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 120 countries.   -- Competition winners will be publicly announced on January 12th --   Best Guest Experience Technology Finalists Guest Messaging Software: Whistle, EasyWay, Monscierge Guest Room Tablets: SuitePad, INTELITY Guest Survey Software: TrustYou, Guestrevu, Revinate Hospitality TV Providers: Monscierge (Apple TV) Mobile Key: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, FLEXIPASS Mobile Ordering: Bbot, RoomOrders Hotel Guest Apps: ALICE, INTELITY, Wishbox   Best Operations Software Finalists Property Management Systems: Cloudbeds, Mews, Clock PMS+, HotelTime Staff Collaboration: hotelkit, Monscierge, ALICE Hotel Management Systems: RoomRaccoon, Cloudbeds Concierge Software: ALICE Cyber Security & Fraud Prevention: Canary Technologies, Sertifi Digital Signage: Monscierge Housekeeping Software: hotelkit, ALICE, Optii Marketplaces & Integrators: Hapi, Dailypoint Preventive Maintenance: hotelkit, ALICE, Transcendent Restaurant Management: HotelTime, Oracle MICROS POS Employee Engagement Software: hotelkit, Hotel Effectiveness, Beekeeper Contactless Check-in: EasyWay, Canary Technologies, Wishbox Spa Management: HotelTime   Best Revenue Management & Finance Software Finalists Revenue Management Systems: IDeaS, Duetto, Atomize Business Intelligence: OTA Insight, Duetto, ProfitSword Central Reservations Systems: Pegasus Channel Managers: SiteMinder, Cloudbeds, D-EDGE Parity Management: OTA Insight, RateGain Rate Shopping & Market Intelligence: OTA Insight, SiteMinder, RateGain Reporting & Accounting: M3, MyDigitalOffice Upselling Software: Oaky, GuestJoy, EasyWay   Best Marketing Tech Finalists Booking Engines: Cloudbeds, Bookassist, SiteMinder Hotel CRM & Email Marketing: Revinate, Profitroom, Dailypoint Digital Marketing Agencies: Bookassist, Avvio, Net Affinity Direct Booking Tools: Triptease, Hotelchamp Website Live Chat and Chatbot: Asksuite, Whistle Independent Loyalty Programs: The GuestBook Metasearch & Ad Tech: Bookassist, Avvio, Koddi Reputation Management: TrustYou, Guestrevu, Revinate Hotel Website Design: Bookassist, Avvio, Profitroom   Best Meetings & Events Tech Finalists Event Management Software: Event Temple Group Sourcing & RFP Software: MeetingPackage, Venuesuite Meetings Intelligence Software: Duetto, IDeaS Sales CRM: Event Temple, MeetingPackage  

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Event Planning 101: How to Plan an Amazing Event

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Hotel Tech Report
10 months ago

From ticket revenue to customer retention and more effective sales prospecting, event management and corporate events can be extraordinarily lucrative for hospitality venues like hotels and restaurants. From tradeshows to nonprofit fundraising galas, events are the lifeblood of many hotel businesses but they can also be quite stressful.  They drain attention and resources from your organization in ways that can be counterproductive if you don't plan properly.  Weddings are the most stressful type of event since they're so high pressure - but with big risk comes big rewards. To avoid the downfalls of a poorly-produced event, you must be organized and thorough, using all the tools at your disposal to deliver a successful event. In our Event Planning 101 guide, we’ll walk you through a framework for throwing an amazing event. It may seem intimidating at first, but the comforting truth of event planning is that organizational skills go a long way.  We'll walk you through everything from hiring an event manager to leveraging event management software, planning for special events, and even how to approach large events.   Define Your Goals and Objectives Your event’s goals may seem obvious to you -- but those goals may actually be quite different among your stakeholders. Before you begin planning, you need to get everyone in one room and on the same page. Questions to ask: Why are we organizing this event? What are our expectations from the event? How will we measure its success? Where are there overlaps or conflicts when it comes to expectations and measurements of success? Is there anyone else not in this room that should be? Is there anyone in this room that shouldn’t be? By gathering stakeholders and taking the time to identify your main goals and objectives, you’ll have a strong foundation that leads to a more successful event. Otherwise, you risk a muddled event that tries to be too many things to too many people -- and ends up pleasing no one.  Once you establish your goals, write them down for clarity. Then, when you face the inevitable conflict down the line, you can refer back to your agreed-upon objectives. They become your ally to prevent the event from drifting too far away from its intended purposes. Also, each goal should have a quantifiable metric that you can use to evaluate success during the post-event debrief. Now, with goals in hand, you can work backward to ensure the event is structured to deliver for attendees and corporate stakeholders.   Assign Roles and Responsibilities Once goals are defined, it’s time to assign roles and responsibilities. Clarity is one of the most valuable things an event planner can provide. In fact, everything you do should be centered around reducing ambiguity! You want everyone to be on the same page, with clear expectations and tasks so that there’s no confusion about who’s doing what and when.  Ideally, these will be hashed out during the same kickoff meeting so that everyone is aligned around their tasks moving forward. As the event planning lead, it’s beneficial to have these assignments so that you can spread the workaround and continue to engage stakeholders in the event’s success.  Depending on the event type, and available internal resources, you may want to consider creating subcommittees, each with their own lead. This structures the event planning process and clarifies roles: Vendor management: This team handles everything related to third parties, such as securing a venue, finding a caterer, and handling A/V, among others. Programming: This group is responsible for building out the agenda for the event, including creating sessions and panels, securing speakers, finding entertainment, and anything else related to the event’s schedule. Marketing: This team tackles marketing and PR for the event, which includes press outreach, managing media on-site, social media, and more. Sponsorships: This group will bring on external sponsors that can help reduce the costs of the event.   Set Your Budget Once you have the parameters of the event and a rough outline of everyone’s roles and responsibilities, you’ll be in a better position to establish the event’s budget. You’ll be able to identify opportunities for sponsorship, as well as other revenue streams that can help cover the costs of the event. Some may be monetary and others may be “in-kind” contributions that trade publicity for donating goods and services. Some expenses to include in your budget: Venue. Include all related costs here, not just the venue rental fee: any required insurance, A/V costs...everything that has to do with the venue. If you’re doing an exhibition, also break out those costs. Design. Each venue comes with associated design costs: chairs, tables, flowers, etc. This is where you set aside money to spruce up the venue to create an atmosphere that matches your event.     Programming. Will you be paying keynote speakers? What about a band for the evening entertainment? Factor in all costs related to executing your desired programming schedule. F&B. Attendees must be fed and appropriately boozed up! You’ll want to align your spending here with the style and vibe of the event so that you aren’t overdoing it (or worse, underdelivering on expectations). Of course, if you’re doing a virtual event, one benefit is that you can delete this line item. Branding and Marketing. Every event requires attendees. What will you do to build buzz and sell tickets? Your investment here may also include a publicist, paid marketing, and organic marketing on your owned media channels. Staff Costs. Whether it's bartenders and servers or the cost of travel and accommodations for your support staff, you have to budget for all your staffing costs. You may want to include the relative cost of your own internal staff as well; that just depends on if you want to have a true cost accounting of the event. Contingency. Go ahead and add a 5-10% buffer to your budget for those unexpected costs that always pop up... You may also want to include any expected income so that you can evaluate profitability (or, for a company event, your break-even point). Even if you’re offering free tickets, put a price on those tickets to put a price on the event’s value to attendees. This provides a full accounting of the event so you know where you stand.   Consider Virtual Options As we all know, the global pandemic upended the events industry. But there’s been a silver lining: event organizers became focused on improving the virtual experience, something that most events had left on the backburner.  Today, event organizers must consider if (and then how) to integrate a virtual component into their events. So, whether it’s a virtual-only event or a hybrid event that blends in-person and online, you have a variety of tools at your disposal. Here are two to consider, each of which allows you to seamlessly integrate a virtual component into your event strategy: Cvent. Virtual events are now a major part of the Cvent hospitality portfolio. The Virtual Events platform includes an attendee hub for enhanced networking, scheduling meetings, video breakout rooms, and downloadable content.  Bizzaboo. This platform supports virtual, hybrid, and in-person events, which means that you can develop a broad slate of event types without having to splash out for new tools. Bizzaboo also has many integrations so that you can customize your experience. Attendify. With full browser-based streaming capabilities built right in, Attendify’s platform makes the virtual part of your event just as engaging as the in-person. There’s a branded community homepage, interactive sessions, and robust networking -- all of which make a virtual event come to life.   Lockdown the Logistics Even the most accomplished event planner needs time to plan a successful event. Give yourself at least 3 months' lead time, with an ideal window of around 6 months. When setting your date, don’t rush. Carefully consider public holidays (both in your host country and those that attendees may come from), look at competing industry events, and also take a look at school calendars. You’ll also want to reach out to your programming pillars, such as speakers and entertainment at the center of your event.  Then, once you have a few dates in mind (one target and two backups), reach out to your venue shortlist. You may find that the date actually helps you narrow down your choices. If you find that your top venue can’t accommodate your preferred dates, then you can either look elsewhere or circle back with your stakeholders to see if there’s flexibility. While you have to decide this for yourself, it’s often better to go with the ideal date than the ideal venue, as getting schedules to line up perfectly is nearly impossible!   Make Your Master Plan This is your “bible.” It’s the go-to document that should answer everyone’s questions. It’s the single source of truth. It can be updated over time, so be sure file names reflect the latest update and you have periodic reminders out for people to access the latest version Your master plan will build out all parts of your event: Venue, catering and vendor logistics Speaker and entertainment management, including contracts, travel and other logistics Estimated timeline, broken down by deliverable and task owner Registration management (both pre-show and on-site) Printing and signage Marketing and PR plan Programing, activities and entertainment Contact information for external vendors Think of this as your “save me time answering emails about every last detail” document. Not that there won’t be lots of emails! It’s just that you want to offer as much “self serve” information as possible so that you can focus on the important stuff.   Build Your Brand  Branding helps you define what the event stands for, who it speaks to, and what attendees can expect from it. Make sure that you reflect all of those things in your event’s brand! You want to have something that is both unique and relevant, a brand that resonates with your audience and ladders up to your company’s overarching brand voice and mission. When doing well, an event’s branding can withstand the test of time and become an institution. Think of Dreamforce in San Francisco or SXSW in Austin. A conference can become a pillar of your company’s entire marketing, branding, and retention strategy. Of course, even smaller events benefit from branding, which can make events seem more premium, exclusive, and intimate. Wield the power of the brand wisely!   Identify Partners to Amplify Success Once you’ve branded your event, you can go out to partners and sponsors that can make it even more successful. This approach depends on your event type. With for-profit events, sponsors may be revenue-generators. Or, with corporate customer conferences, they could simply help the event break even. For event planners that work with multiple companies, local partnerships with other small businesses can improve your margins, make your marketing more effective and/or improve the overall quality of your event offerings.  Keep in mind that the right partnerships can amplify your success in other ways. Partners can also become advocates for your event within other communities. For instance, you could partner with one of your biggest customers to participate in your annual marquee event, which amplifies the cross-marketing opportunities. The main criteria when selecting partners for your event is alignment: Make sure any brand you choose matches your own brand’s voice and aligns with your event’s purpose and tone.   Craft Your PR and Marketing Plans Once your event has a defined purpose, a clear master plan, a solid brand, and a slate of co-partners and/or sponsors, you’re ready to craft your PR and marketing plans. Here are the core elements to include: Earned media. This is your media and public relations plan. How will you reach out to the media and get them engaged with your event? Will you host the media on-site? What relevant stories can you use as story hooks? How can you engage speakers to amplify your PR efforts? Owned media. This is your company blog, social media handles, email newsletters, customer lists, and any internal employee networks. What content will you create before, during, and after the event? How will you leverage this content into earned and paid media? Paid media. This is all paid marketing activities. Which channels do your target attendees use most? Where can you find the best bang for your buck? Who will be managing the creative, copy, and ad placements?   Increase Meeting Frequency Closer to Event Meetings are the most effective way to convene the team and work through last-minute issues. Increase the frequency of your meetings as the event approaches so that you don’t have any nasty surprises. See the next point.   Define Your Day of Processes and Run-of-Show As you increase the frequency of meetings, you’ll also want to clearly define your day-of processes. This advance planning reduces surprises, increases clarity, and lowers stress (kind of). When in doubt, refer to the run-of-show! Your run-of-show should outline all relevant details, putting all essential information in a single spot so that you can focus less on conveying information and more on managing the event. Things can and will go wrong; you need to automate everything you can to give you the time and headspace to tackle the inevitable curveball. A run-of-show has a few must-haves: Contact info. Use the front page to highlight the contact information of the team leads. Clearly identify who is in charge of what so that the right person gets the query first, without having to chase someone else down. Schedule. An hourly breakdown of what’s happening where, who’s in charge, and what needs to be done by when. This is a project manager’s organizational dream!  Breakdown. The end of the event rarely marks the end of the work. Outline everything that happens after the show ends to make sure that breakdown happens in an orderly and timely manner.  Depending on the complexity of your event, you might want to have a run-of-show for each room/stage that includes a breakdown of everything happening each day. Then, pull those individual documents into a master run-of-show that makes the day of the event go smoothly.   Don’t Brush Off the Post-Mortem Pulling off a successful event is stressful --  and rewarding! Even so, no event is without its flaws. Don't brush off the post-event team meeting to discuss what went well and what could be improved. You must do this while it's fresh; otherwise, people will forget and the insights will fade.  Questions to ask your team: What went well?  What went poorly? If we were going to do this again, what would change and what wouldn’t? A proper post-mortem also includes attendee feedback. You may discover some areas that you hadn’t considered before or some issues that were overlooked. You also will get plenty of valuable insight into making the next event even better!  

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50+ Event Management Software Apps that You Need to Know

by
Hotel Tech Report
10 months ago

Whether you’re planning a single event or running multiple event experiences per day at a conference hotel, you can’t do it alone. In addition to your own team and your vendors, there’s another partner to help event organizers pull off another five-star function: event technology (and specifically SaaS solutions). A growing segment of event management solutions offer efficient organizational tools, automated marketing strategies, digital space planning systems, engagement solutions, and more - all with the aim of helping your events run more smoothly. Or maybe you’re grappling with the challenge of shifting an in-person event to a virtual setting; guess what, there’s an app for that! In this article, we’ll introduce you to over 50 event management systems and apps that can make a positive impact on your event, your attendees, your vendors, and even your own sanity during the entire event planning process. Let’s dive in!   Event Planning and Event Management Software Event professionals know that the secret to pulling off a great function is nailing the details - and those details are too much for your brain to handle! Event planning and management software organizes each component of the planning process in a streamlined system that lets multiple team members, vendors, and sometimes even clients collaborate. All-in-one Event Management Platforms Need a tool that does it all? Let one of these all-in-one event planning platforms do the heavy lifting. They’re ideal for sales managers or event staff at large hotels, venues, restaurants, or casinos. Cvent: As one of the most popular award winning and preferred event management systems, Cvent offers solutions for the full event process from start to finish. Cvent’s cloud-based platform includes modules for planning, event websites, email marketing, registration CRM and lifecycle marketing, event marketing surveys, and more, which make it a favorite of hoteliers and event planners who want maximum functionality in one system. Event Temple: This system is another favorite of hoteliers and sales teams who want to stream prospecting, contracting, and reporting processes in addition to creating BEOs and invoicing clients. Event Temple’s cloud-based software houses all the tools you need from the initial quote to the final invoice. Tripleseat: Designed not only for hotels, but also for restaurants and venues, Tripleseat offers solutions for capturing leads, building quotes and contracts, and managing events. Tripleseat offers integrations with apps like Constant Contact and Fishbowl to increase functionality.  Amadeus Sales & Catering: This cloud-based powerhouse offers a full suite of features for event planning, contracting, diagramming, billing, and reporting. Amadeus offers three tiers of functionality (essentials, standard, and advanced) so any organization from restaurants to casino hotels can find the perfect fit. Fonteva: Integrating directly with Salesforce, Fonteva makes use of the data you already have in Salesforce to seamlessly plan, promote, and execute events. The software works with virtual and in-person events, and it offers a mobile app for deeper engagement with attendees. Planning Pod:  Tailored specifically for virtual events and remote teams, this event planning tool includes modules for event planning, registration, venue booking, billing, and floor plan design.   Event Planning and Marketing Tools Perfect for smaller events or organizations with smaller budgets, these flexible event planning and marketing tools pack a lot of functionality into user-friendly software. Bizzabo: This all-in-one planning tool offers a jam-packed list of features with a focus on making data-driven decisions and increasing your event ROI. Features include a website builder, marketing automation, polls, and a mobile app, and Bizzabo offers special tools for sponsors, reporting, and customization. Splash: This event planning system offers powerful functionality that’s easy on the eyes. In a suite of pretty dashboards, Splash gives event planners tools to design attractive collateral, send marketing blasts, keep track of tasks, handle registration, and engage with attendees during the event, plus reporting tools to quantify the event’s impact. Wild Apricot: This membership management app also includes a module for event planning and management, in which planners can manage a calendar of events, sell tickets, build registration forms, and record attendance. Gruupmeet: Looking for event planning software without any extra features you aren’t going to use? Gruupmeet is a streamlined tool that only offers the essentials, including dashboards for event scheduling, attendee information, and marketing.  Whova: This feature-packed app offers virtually every tool necessary to execute a conference or social function, from attendee registration to lead gathering. It even offers a built-in, customizable event app to house maps, agendas, and notes. Momice: Who says event registration needs to be boring? Momice’s beautiful interface helps you craft eye-catching websites, marketing materials, registration forms, surveys, and more. But it’s not just pretty; Momice allows you to gather and analyze meaningful data from attendees or participants. rsvpBOOK: Specializing in ticketing and registration, rsvpBOOK’s online platform helps you promote your event through a customizable website and social media, then manage on-site or digital registration and check-in. Topi: Topi provides equally powerful solutions for planners and attendees; the planner portion of the software allows for effortless ticket sales and registration, while the networking and lead gathering modules help to increase event ROI for attendees and exhibitors. Eventbrite: A favorite of social organizations and schools, Eventbrite makes it easy for anyone to publicize an event and sell tickets.   Catering Management Software Looking for software specifically for the catering industry? These apps offer features tailored to the needs of catering businesses and restaurants. Caterease: This event planning and management software is customized for the catering industry with special features like an order pick-up and delivery dashboard. Caterease lets you book events, manage details via task reminders, and compile reports on one cloud-based platform. BetterCater: BetterCater offers proposal templates, packing lists, calendar tools, recipes, reports, and more in a cloud-based web app suitable for any type of catering or event business from food trucks to venues. Foodstorm: This catering and event management tool helps you increase sales, streamline internal processes, and automate tasks to free up valuable time. Catering-specific features in Foodstorm include online ordering, order tracking, invoicing, and reporting. PerfectTablePlan: If the only thing your event planning tech stack is missing is a great table planning tool, then PerfectTablePlan will fill that void. This simple, straightforward app allows you to manage floor plans and seating charts with ease for just one flat fee. Social Tables: For sales teams who work closely with event planners, Social Tables offers seamless collaborative tools that allow both parties to provide input on floor plans and diagrams and guest lists.   Project Management Tools Wondering how to track who’s responsible for what task? How do you hold everyone accountable? These project management tools make collaboration a breeze. Monday.com: Designed to help teams work better together, Monday.com offers tools for creating, planning, and tracking tasks on a variety of customizable “workspace” templates. Monday.com integrates with apps like Stripe, Mailchimp, and Twitter for even more powerful collaboration. Trello: Essentially a digital Kanban board, Trello allows you to create tasks, assign task owners, add comments, upload files, and more while keeping the tasks organized by category or stage. Trello also has a mobile app and integrates with other tools like Slack and Dropbox.   Event Marketing Software Planning the event is just one piece of the process; you also need to get the word out! These marketing tools help you promote your event, stay in contact with attendees, distribute tickets, and house event information. Social Media and Promotional Tools One of the most efficient and engaging ways to promote your event is via social media. But mastering social media doesn’t need to be challenging or time-consuming if you use one of these apps. Hootsuite: Use this social media dashboard to view all of your feeds in one place, schedule and automate posts, collaborate with teammates, and analyze your engagement. MeetEdgar: This social media scheduling tool helps you save time by automating and recycling posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Everwall: Display your social media feeds in real-time to encourage engagement at your event, including not only Twitter and Instagram posts, but also Slack, email, and SMS messages.   Other Marketing Tools Sometimes software doesn’t fit nicely into one category, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful! Ticketbud: Planning a ticketed event? Ticketbud is ideal for conferences or festivals with features for promoting the event, selling tickets, scanning or selling tickets at the event, and reconciling and reporting revenue. Avochato: If your attendees, vendors, or exhibitors are overburdened by too many emails, text messaging may be a better way to stay in contact. Avochato’s text message platform lets you automate text message campaigns and keep track of it all through Salesforce, Slack, or Zapier.   Event Operations and Engagement Software It’s showtime! These systems and apps help you execute a great event from registration to fundraising to surveys. Registration Forget the pens and paper; digital registration systems make sign-ups or sign-ins easier than ever. Regpack: This organizational solution includes a form builder, payment processing, coupon and discount capability, and customizable registration pages for any type of event or function. Member Solutions: Ideal for recurring events or events that attract the same attendees again and again, Member Solutions offers a registration form tool, email marketing features, a payment processor, promo codes, and integration with your website and social media feeds. Attendify: Attendify enables you to build customized registration pages and mobile apps for any type of event, plus an attendee database and reporting functionality. Brushfire: This event management software allows you to manage and customize the entire online event registration and check-in process, including support for kiosks and seat assignments, in one central place. Brushfire also offers a mobile app and a platform for digital streaming. Smartwaiver: Do away with the clipboards and paper forms and use Smartwaiver to digitize any waivers that attendees need to complete. Smartwaiver offers a tablet app and integration with your website. Conference Tracker: This cloud-based registration makes sign-in seamless, with functionality for badge printing, online registration, attendance certificates, and a variety of reporting features.   Attendee Interaction Tools Want to boost attendee engagement? Ask them what they’re thinking! These interactive polling apps are fun and easy to use. Kahoot: Create your own interactive quizzes or polls with this cloud-based tool. Participants can access the session via any web browser, and an impressive variety of customization options are available.  Slido: Suitable for polls and live Q&A, Slido integrates nicely into in-person or virtual presentations. Audiences can engage by opening a link in any web browser, and the presenter can display results in real-time.   Event App Builders Centralize your event information in a mobile app that attendees can access on the go with no coding required! CrowdCompass: As part of the Cvent family, CrowdCompass is a nice complement to Cvent’s event planning and management software. CrowdCompass’ app builder offers a template library, lots of customization options, a dynamic event guide, engagement and networking tools, and integrations with registration and ticketing tools like Eventbrite. EventMobi: This customizable event app tool lets you build an app to house all the information attendees need to know, from maps to agendas. EventMobi offers digital registration solutions and support for virtual events too. AppInstitute Event App Builder: Choose from one of AppInstitute’s templates to efficiently design your custom event app, upload and edit your content, and get it into the hands of your attendees. The app even supports ticket sales and automated alerts. Guidebook: Guidebook’s straightforward app building platform works for virtual or in-person events with plenty of customization and branding options, engagement tools like polls and maps, and integrations with tools like Salesforce and Mailchimp.   Fundraising Planning a silent auction or charity event? Use these tools to easily and securely manage fundraising activities.   GiveSmart: This fundraising app is ideal for virtual and in-person events, with functionality that includes support for silent auctions, mobile bidding, ticketing, and donations. OneCause: With a full suite of event planning tools, OneCause has everything you need to plan a fundraiser, from promotional tools to ticketing. You can manage auctions, online bidding, peer-to-peer fundraising, and more on the same platform.   Lead gathering Leave the business cards in the previous decade; these lead gathering apps will help you collect and take action on contact information for potential clients or partners. Akkroo: Designed for B2B trade shows and conferences, Akkroo helps you capture leads, convert sales, and calculate event ROI through its integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, and more. QuickTap Survey: Think of this app as your personal assistant during a trade show or networking event. Easily note down contact information for leads you meet, then export the data to Salesforce, Mailchimp, and more to take action.   Virtual Event Platforms If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of planning a fully virtual event, you’re not alone! As events switch to socially distant formats, a growing segment of virtual event software works with you to make digital events as powerful and meaningful as those in real life.  Boomset: Ideal for hybrid or virtual events, Boomset offers registration page templates, a digital business card tool, network functionality, and support for live streaming, Q&A, breakout sessions, and more. Highfive: This video conferencing software works equally well for internal meetings and large virtual events. Highfive lets presenters share their screens, stream a live event or presentation, or just use audio conferencing. The app integrates with Slack, Google Calendar, and more. Hubb: Hubb enables you to produce wow-worthy virtual events with just as much sparkle as in-person functions through its virtual event lobby. The app includes a plethora of customization options, task automation, reporting, and support for live-streamed and on-demand content.  Accelevents: Focused more on virtual “experiences” than uninspired traditional events, Accelevents’ virtual event solution supports both live streaming and on-demand content, plus offers a website builder, ticket sales, marketing strategies, fundraising tools, seat assignments, reporting, and more. Big Marker: This web-based virtual conferencing app makes webinars easy to host and attend. Big Marker’s engagement tools also help attendees stay engaged through live Q&A, polls, and comments, plus the system’s automation tools allow you to run the same webinar many times. WorkCast: Suitable for webinars, webcasts, and any other virtual conference or event you can think of, WorkCast’s solution offers a virtual content platform for up to 50,000 attendees. Engagement tools include polls and surveys, and WorkCast includes reporting functionality to help you maximize the event ROI. On24: As one of the most interactive virtual event systems in the market, On24 offers more than 20 engagement options to keep attendees interested and high-tech analytics that help you understand their thoughts and behavior. vFairs: If you want your attendees to have as close to an in-person conference or trade show experience as possible, vFairs offers the perfect solution. The software offers a Sims-like virtual event space where attendee avatars can mingle and network. Vendors can even set up custom virtual booths and host engaging webinars.   Do you have a favorite event management app that we didn’t mention here? Let us know!  

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What is a Banquet Event Order (BEO)? [+Bonus Templates]

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

From canapes to chiavari chairs, banquets and event planning requires an incredible amount of detail and the best event planners are perfectionists. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a conference, or a meeting, you’ll likely use a Banquet Event Order to keep track of the intricacies of the event. If you’ve never used a BEO before or you’re looking to brush up on your knowledge, this article will explain how to create and use a BEO and what information it includes. We’ll even give you a free BEO template to get started. With a good handle on BEOs, you can exceed your clients’ expectations and produce extraordinary events that are memorable for all the right reasons.   What is a Banquet Event Order (BEO)? BEO stands for Banquet Event Order, which is the contract that holds all of the details for an event as agreed upon by the client and the sales or catering team. The team at the hotel or event space, including the kitchen staff, catering managers, production crews, front desk agents, and security guards, rely on the BEO as the source of truth for all information that pertains to the event. Each event or function has its own BEO, and some events can have multiple BEOs. For example, a wedding might include a rehearsal dinner, a ceremony, a reception, and a day-after brunch, all of which would require separate BEOs. Similarly, a conference might include a keynote presentation and 8 different breakout sessions, all of which would need their own BEOs. Generally speaking, one BEO per event per function space is required. The catering staff compile a BEO packet that contains all of the BEOs for a given event or date, then they distribute it to various departments a few days in advance.   What Information Does a BEO contain? We’ve established that a BEO contains all the important details about an event, but what exactly are those details? What specific information can you find on a BEO? Basic event management details. On the top of the BEO, you can find the most important information about the event: event name, event venue, the date, the setup time/event date, the start time, the end time, the location (usually the name of the function space or meeting room), the expected number of guests, and the name and contact info for the catering manager responsible for coordinating the event. Food and beverage requirements. If the event offers any refreshment, from an urn of coffee to a gourmet buffet or 5-course menu items, it will be listed on the BEO - in detail. The F&B section of the BEO will describe exactly which dishes and beverages the client has chosen, as well as the method of service (buffet, passed hors d’oeuvres, etc.).  Room setup. Another important section on the BEO is the room setup, which outlines the furniture and equipment needed for the event and how it must be configured. For example, a wedding might require several round tables with 8 seats each, a head table with 6 seats, a dance floor, buffet tables, a table for the DJ, a speaker system, microphones, and more. A seminar, on the other hand, might simply require a few tables set up classroom style. Technology needs are also noted here, including all audio and visual requirements. It’s crucial that the BEO contains a lot of detail in this section, including the exact number of chairs, types of linens, or positioning of equipment, so the event staff can configure the room to the client’s specifications. Parking requirements. If attendees drive to the event, where will they park? The BEO will note whether the event includes self-parking or valet and whether parking is free or at a fee. The BEO should also specify an estimated number of vehicles so the valet and security departments can plan accordingly. Staffing needs and headcounts. The event isn’t going to run itself! The BEO outlines how many staff members are needed from various departments. Event staff can include cocktail or dining servers, bartenders, parking attendants, security staff, and public area attendants. Contact information for vendors. If the client has hired any external vendors, such as a florist and centerpieces, a band, or even an outside caterer, the BEO should include contact information for the vendors in case event staff need to coordinate with them. The event schedule and order of events. With so many moving parts, it’s essential that an event run according to schedule, and the BEO usually details the event agenda down to the minute. The schedule will help the event run smoothly and ensure each step, like starting the music or cutting the wedding cake, happens on time and in the right order. Pricing and billing information. A BEO is a contract, after all, and contracts contain the relevant pricing and billing details that both parties agree to. Prices on the BEO might be displayed as per-person fees, for a buffet, for example, or flat fees for A/V or function space rental. The BEO will also mention how payment will be handled - did the client pay upfront or will payment be collected at the end of the event?  Any relevant attachments and planning process. When it comes to specific information about an event, more is more! The client or catering manager may provide additional documents like floorplans, printed menus, agendas, gratuity expectations, special requests, outside vendors, binding contract details and photos of VIPs.   Who Creates a BEO? When and How is it Created? In most cases, the catering or sales manager in charge of the event creates the BEO. Together with the client, the catering manager organizes the specifics of the event and prepares a quote. At this point, the event is considered tentative. The catering manager might start a draft of the BEO at this point to store information about the event in one central place. After the client agrees and signs off on the quote, the event is considered confirmed. Some events are confirmed many months (or even years!) in advance, while others can be last-minute. In either case, the catering manager usually finalizes the BEO just a few days before the event. When the BEO is complete, the catering manager will send it to the client for a final approval, then he or she will distribute it to the relevant departments in the hotel. It’s important to note that the catering manager is usually not handwriting these BEOs; instead, sales offices often use technology to make the BEO process more efficient and error-free. Sales and catering software makes it easy to enter event-specific information into banquet event order templates that already contain static details that don’t vary between events. These systems can also store menus, pricing, and room setup information, making it easy to plug in preset menus and room configurations to receive an updated quote automatically. Beyond just creating BEOs, sales and catering software also enable sales staff to easily manage a client database, update pricing, and share information with other hotel departments and clients themselves.   Want to try making a BEO yourself? Check out these free BEO templates!