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Event Planning 101: How to Plan an Amazing Event

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week 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!  

50+ Event Management Software Apps that You Need to Know

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month 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!  

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

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month 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!  

Breaking Down the Cvent Hospitality Product Portfolio

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

The transition from in-person events to virtual events has been quick -- and transformational. While event management and event planning will likely remain a core part of your hotel’s business, it likely will have morphed into a hybrid model that includes smaller onsite events with fewer people, augmented by remote options. On its face, this seems like a threat to the event-driven business model of many hotels. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll see an opportunity for your hotel to position itself as a knowledgeable advisor to event managers navigating this new reality. Things are definitely different -- and those changes bring opportunities as well. Here’s how Cvent’s hospitality product suite can enable your pivot and position you for success as you sell a new type of hybrid event model to event planners with its full end to end event management platform and marketing solutions.   Capture Leads with Group Marketing Solutions In an environment with fewer events, leads are even more precious. There’s less business floating around, so it’s essential to give your team the tools and features to capture and nurture leads. And it’s not just filling the top of the funnel with leads for your sales team; you also want quality leads. Your group business can only grow by attracting quality leads that are well-suited for your venue -- and thus primed to convert.  Group Marketing Solutions helps you identify, acquire, and convert leads with three core offerings: Sourcing network. The Cvent Supplier Network reaches over 92,000 event planners representing more than $19 billion in RFP value. The global reach of its venue sourcing platform means that you have more opportunities to find the ideal events for your venue. Planners turn to Cvent as the pathway to secure venues and so your presence on this platform is critical for driving new leads. Increased visibility. To make your venue stand out, your team benefits from a multimedia-rich marketing environment that puts your venue front and center. With tools to showcase what makes your venue unique, you can do a better job at differentiating your offering and landing the right leads.  To further engage with the planners using Cvent, you have a few other tools: the Cvent Audience Network, where you can reach event planners all over the web; self-serve, multimedia custom microsites to showcase your property to event planners searching for venues; and Search Ads so you can advertise to event planners researching venues like yours to augment email marketing to your existing database. These value-added visibility tools maximize engagement and give you targeted ways to speak directly to the right planners -- and increase your odds of success. It’s all about capturing quality leads for your sales team to work their magic.   Your team can create custom microsites to engage planners with images, videos and content about your venues and the surrounding destination.   Streamlined RFPs. Turn your website into a lead generation machine by streamlining how event planners submit RFPs. Event planners are busy; so it’s especially important to make it easy for them to submit their group requests. If you make it difficult, they will simply go elsewhere! The SpeedRFP White Label solution streamlines this workflow, enabling planners to submit complete requests right from your website so that you can quickly respond with a winning proposal. Speed, convenience, and accuracy increase the quantity and quality of RFPs. Planners will love it -- and so will your sales team, as they can manage leads from a centralized portal, spend less time chasing down details. and leverage integrations with sales and catering software. Streamline your RFPs and make it easier for everyone by embedding RFP submissions in your website.    Boost Profitability with Group Operations Solutions Once you've captured the leads and turned them into closed business, the next step is to effectively deliver a top-notch experience. By providing planners and attendees the tools and platforms to make life easier, you’ll increase the odds of future business.  Cvent’s solutions for Group Operations focus on collaboration, transparency, and incremental revenue, plugged right into your CRS, PMS, revenue management, distribution, sales, and catering systems: Custom event websites. Promote and manage your group hotel reservations with Passkey, a centralized system that integrates sensible upsells right into the booking flow so attendees can easily personalize their experience from prearrival to check-in. This is one of those win-win situations: the guest enjoys more control over their experience,  which makes the event planner and their client/organization look better -- and gives everyone an opportunity to capture more incremental revenue that makes the event more financially successful. Dynamic reporting tools also keep everyone informed with the latest event registrations and hotel bookings.     Planning tools. Event planners have a lot on their plate. It all comes down to managing the smallest details to deliver an exceptional event experience. Cvent event management makes their jobs easier with a drag-and-drop event diagramming tool. With this easy and self-serve solution, planners can diagram tables, seating and trade show floors, as well as plan food and beverage, stage, audio/visual, and entertainment. The tool enables enhanced collaboration between planner and client as well, so there’s less back-and-forth via emails and attachments. Fewer surprises and greater control make for a better experience --  and a more successful event for planners and their clients. Detailed reports. Out-of-block room bookings are stressful. These castaways could potentially mean that the group is on the hook for added expenses. Reduce out of block castaways with detailed reporting around room reservations to identify rogue reservations and bring them back into the room block. Reports also show real-time pick-up, pace, and room list data.  Reports also include analysis of event data around attendee engagement, event marketing efficiency, and other key data points throughout the life-cycle of an event.     Close More Business with Group Sales Solutions In addition to marketing and operations, sales can benefit greatly from tools to help them work smarter and close deals more quickly.  Manual data entry is a drain on sales team morale and effectiveness. For your group sales team, Cvent offers: RFP prioritization. An abundance of RFPs is a great problem to have. But it can also be overwhelming, leading sales teams to respond in a haphazard way. Cvent’s Lead Scoring eliminates doubt and sorts all incoming leads by score so sales managers focus on the right opportunities first. These machine-assisted intelligent lead scoring tools align timeframe, season, business mix and profitability to make your events business as lucrative as possible. The tool even evaluates planners’ alternative dates to find the best match for your property!     RFP operations. Sales managers spend a lot of time responding to requests. Manually managing this process is not just a headache but it drastically limits productivity. Reduce the burden on sales (and make their lives easier) with RFP management software that automates manual tasks and improves the quality of responses. For instance, you can easily see scheduled events across the property to avoid wasting precious response time on internal coordination. Sales teams can also generate custom contracts and banquet event orders so they can push less paper and close more business.     Real-time dashboard. Chasing group business is a daily battle.  So you need up-to-date analytics to shape your day-to-day. Cvent’s analytics dashboard simplifies your workflow so you can provide the most accurate proposals quickly, and monitor your progress. Integrated metrics, such as response time, decline rate, and insights into declined bids, align property, regional, and national sales teams around the current state of affairs. The CSN business intelligence tool can also benchmark performance and expand on market-level insights to strengthen your hotel's competitive positioning.   Grow Your Corporate Business with Transient Sales Solutions Especially in the current climate, scaling your corporate travel business is a challenge.  Securing more business means that you must discover transient demand and then move quickly and efficiently to close the best customers for your property. You'll also want to leverage market intelligence so that you outsmart the competition. To boost your transient business, Cvent keeps your property visible and nimble, so that you’re well-positioned to find and respond to corporate RFPs. Here’s how: Enhanced visibility.  Thanks to Cvent’s global sourcing network, you'll learn when new accounts are soliciting hotels in your area so that you can pitch for their business. Coupled with the ability to quickly respond to inbound market leads, this enhanced visibility gives your property a leg up when it comes to transient business. Digital tools. Marketing to corporate buyers requires consistency. You’ll also benefit from RFP scoring and lead visibility to keep your team on track when pursuing transient demand.  Market intelligence. With GDS access and comp set benchmarking, you’ll have a direct line to transient pricing trends --  and see your rejection metrics compared to others for detailed bid loss analysis. Armed with these insights, you can create quality responses that convert more often.   Bringing it All Together Trust and transparency. Control and collaboration. These are the blocks of success when it comes to group business. Your chosen event management software and group sales software solutions should make it easy for meeting planners engaging in venue selection and attendees who only engage with event technology upon arrival, which positions your property for repeat business as a valuable partner. And, with full real-time sync to your property’s core systems, you'll avoid tedious data entry and costly availability errors. There are many moving parts, changing conditions, and competing priorities when it comes to group sales; your technology should harness that energy and help your property live up to its full group potential!  

Hospitality Innovation is Thriving Despite the Crisis (Q2 Innovation Report)

by
Jordan Hollander
2 months ago

Innovation is alive and well in hospitality. Don't believe us? Check out the 47 new hospitality innovations that we cover in this report.  In the age of coronavirus we all catch ourselves thinking that the world is coming to an end from time to time. Don't worry, this article has nothing to do with coronavirus (but it's hard not to address the elephant in the room these days). In order to keep this article COVID free, let's run a scenario analysis using Hotel Tech Report's Innovation Wager™.  The wager considers four alternate universes based on two axes.  On our X axis we consider two worlds: Scenario A considers optimal decision making if the hotel industry does not recover, Scenario B considers what to do if you believe that it will. On our Y axis we consider what happens if we improve the way we do business with new technology and processes.  The wager shows us that in any potential outcome, it's always in our interest to improve the way we operate our businesses.  The only unacceptable outcome is the one where the world does not come to an end and we do not improve our tech and hotel operations processes.   So the next question is how did we choose our Y axis (i.e. update my hotel's tech and operations)?  The math is simple, if your hotel group's breakeven is at 25-30% occupancy and you're currently running at 0% you are essentially racing against time to hit that occupancy.  Global travel demand is unfortunately out of your control, so what can you do to get there as quickly as possible? You can improve your margins to lower your breakeven occupancy by getting more efficient at your property.  For this you may explore technology like keyless entry or staff collaboration tools to help your slimmed down team do more with less.  You can sell long term group business today to bring deposit revenue in ahead of those bookings and for that you'll need airtight sales tech and processes.  You could also get more efficient at acquiring guests to hit that 25-30% occupancy rate faster. In this article, we showcase 47 hospitality innovations that have been launched in the crisis.  As you explore ways to improve your margins, get smarter at guest acquisition and more - this list can put you on the cutting edge.  We've divided the article into five categories: Revenue Management Innovations Marketing Innovations Operational Innovations Guest Experience Innovations Sales and Meetings Innovations     BONUS: Look for the contactless badge next to products in the innovation report to identify technologies that will help your hotel go contactless, boost your recovery efforts and prepare now for the inevitable changes that are coming.  The tools have functionality that will enable you limit human physical contact to pre-emptively prepare for new government regulations and even more importantly, guest expectations.   Q2 Innovations in Revenue Management   1. OTA Insight Market Insight Tool OTA Insight’s Market Insight tool offers a smarter way to predict demand and price your rooms accordingly. Market Insight gathers and analyzes data from hotel web searches, flight data, events, holidays, online reviews, weather forecasts, and alternative lodging inventory to give your revenue team location-specific insights segmented into different customer groups. Learn more about your target guest’s booking intent and use real-time market trends to capitalize on revenue opportunities before your competition. 2. SiteMinder Insights SiteMinder Insights allows hotels to be smarter about their sales and marketing strategies while maintaining their brand integrity. This tool has monitoring and reporting capabilities that provide hoteliers a single place to access clear and actionable data on their local market, business performance and guests. This integration can help hoteliers make more informed decisions about hotel pricing and distribution, based on impartial data, as well as reveal insights that help get ahead of the competition. 3. Infor Price Optimizator Infor Hospitality Price Optimizer (HPO) is a mobile-first app that helps hotels price their rooms in a more accurate and timely manner. The algorithms that drive the app replicate the approach the guest takes to book a room: the system data from star ratings, location, pricing, and reviews to select which hotels are the valid competitors that should influence the pricing decision. he system automatically detects seasons and events for a dynamic pricing solution that updates throughout the day as needed.   4. HotelIQ Monthly Forecasting HotelIQ has been working on a Monthly Forecasting & Budgeting Tool that can generate forecasts and budgets for up to 12 months at a time. The platform pulls your real-time PMS data to use as a baseline, automating the burdensome task of maintaining spreadsheets and forecasting by hand. Easily edit figures, track performance, and generate market segment level forecasts and budgets.   5. IDeaS RevPlan IDeaS RevPlan is a total revenue forecasting, planning and enterprise consolidation tool. RevPlan can automate scientific forecasting, budgeting and financial submission for your entire property – from rooms to food & beverage and other income revenue streams. Save time and manual effort while driving greater profitability: RevPlan provides hotels the ability to forecast accurately and precisely.   6. RateGain MarketDRONE RateGain is launching MarketDRONE, a new feature for its rate intelligence platform OPTIMA. MarketDRONE tracks intra-day rates and rate-plan changes by hotels in real-time. Whenever a competitive hotel makes a rate change, your revenue manager receives an alert. Hotels are constantly changing rates for existing plans and introducing new rate plans close to check-in-date to sell off their unsold inventory and maximize revenue. As such, a revenue manager, on an average, may lose $1,000 or more per day by not acting on these intra-day market changes in real-time. With MarketDRONE, revenue managers do not have to pull out rate shopping reports on a daily basis to make the strategic decisions. The instant alerts provide them the market insights on the fly and basis that they can take the recommended actions on the go.   7. HotelTime Instant Reporting HotelTime Solutions is debuting Instant Reporting, a reporting and forecasting tool that helps revenue managers working at multi-location properties get a clear picture on their distribution. It aggregates data on key metrics across different properties. This tool makes it easy to get accurate reports, merging revenue center statistics at the chain level.   8. Hotelchamp Demand Tracker Hotelchamp’s new demand tracker will give revenue managers insight into how much demand there is predicted for future stay dates in their hotel. Set up automatic alerts to be notified when demand increases for a specific stay date. Get insights for a specific demand period to better predict trends in revenue.   9. HotelPartner Synergy Model HotelPartner’s synergy model is a new service offering for individual hoteliers that combines manpower, technology, and expertise in one package. The firm will offer a revenue management tool as well as the team to use it; the synergy model offers a blend of consulting, technology, and a revenue management solution tailored to your property.   10. 5stelle Business Intelligence 5stelle* is introducing a new business intelligence tool that provides 18 interactive dashboards. Get reporting on your reservation lead time, month-to-date revenue and occupancy, RevPAR analysis, and more all in one place.   11. Fairmas Advanced Revenue Planner Fairmas Advanced Revenue Planner simplifies the planning and controlling of all hotel revenues, either by market segment or by account line item, on a daily or monthly basis. The platform is built for different user groups – from department managers who need to plan on the operational level, to revenue managers for a detailed view of the total hotel, and to the general managers who can refer to its consolidated view. The  Pickup Planning feature allows a different way of planning that may be a more realistic approach depending on the day-to-day situation (e.g., How many more rooms do I still need to pick up to achieve my goal?).     Q2 Innovations in Hotel Marketing   12. Revinate Guest Data Platform Revinate’s Guest Data Platform is another take on consolidating guest information to deliver the insights hotel managers can use to drive direct bookings, provide a great guest experience, and increase profit. The Guest Data Platform combines guest data into rich, unified profiles that can inform your sales and marketing campaigns.   13. SHR Maverick CRM SHR Maverick™ CRM by Sceptre Hospitality Resources LLC is a new CRM system that unlocks information from third-party providers. This CRM shows your hotel data about customers no matter where they booked: direct, or through an OTA. Maverick gives hoteliers access to clean, consolidated guest data, including user behavior and booking habits. The platform includes a loyalty and rewards platform and integrates with Windsurfer CRS, Windsurfer CRO, Windsurfer IBE, and a built-in Campaign Management Platform.   14. D-EDGE CRM D-EDGE launched Guest Management, a CRM tool that integrates with the brand’s existing CRS product. Guest Management offers hoteliers a way to centralize data from your PMS, CRS, website, and other sources into one guest profile. By consolidating all data about each guest in one place, your team can more easily send specific, customized offers to guests, driving guest satisfaction and loyalty. 15. Dailypoint Content Bot The dailypoint Content Bot is a tool which pushes email communication finally to an individual experience with each guest. The bot pulls data from guest profiles in dailypoint to select content pieces from a library, offering individualized, concierge-style recommendations based on each individual’s unique needs. Content Bot allows your marketing team to get hyper-focused with messaging. Send a newsletter customized per person, rather than per target group.   16. Suiteness OTA Distribution Suiteness launched a partnership with Booking.com for travelers to book connecting hotel rooms and suites through Booking.com. When connecting rooms are available, they are booked 3.3x more often than multi-bedroom suites in the same hotel. Customer segments like families and groups are heading to AirBnB in droves because they demand more space and don’t want to risk showing up at your property only to find out they can’t get connecting rooms. Give them peace of mind and you’re more likely to win their booking.   17. RoomRacoon Integrated Upselling RoomRaccoon is developing an integrated upselling tool for its hotel management system.  This will allow clients of its HMS to offer add-ons like breakfast or room upgrades prior to arrival.  While there are quite a few standalone upselling tools on the market, RoomRaccoon is one of the first HMS players to offer this functionality.   18. AskSuite Booking Engine Chatbot AskSuite’s latest integration syncs your booking engine with their chatbot to recapture a guest who may be having trouble booking directly. For instance, if a traveler tries to book a room on an unavailable date, the chatbot will automatically respond with a message that there are no rooms available and suggest the next earliest date with availability. Or, the chatbot can be set up to suggest a nearby property from the same chain that does have availability. This integration helps your reservation team work more productively, captures more direct bookings, and standardizes customer service messaging on your site. Asksuite is also in the process of building a Smart Chat Distribution tool that can matches a reservation agent to an open chat, helping large reservation teams coordinate their responses to individual customers. Your property defines specific rules – using triggers such as language, communication channel, type of inquiry, and more – and the algorithm uses these qualifiers to send an open request to the right customer service representative. The goal is to improve your property’s customer service and make it easier for your team to work efficiently.   19. Profitroom WebAssistant Profitroom’s WebAssistant is a new tool for creating and maintaining your hotel website. The tool is built specifically for the hotel industry, with templates designed to set up booking pages that drive direct bookings as well as unlimited data transfer and automated free updates. This website builder is an option for hotel properties that do not have the budget to work with a digital marketing agency to set up their site.   20. Quicktext Lead Generation Quicktext’s chatbot aims to improve your sales cycle by generating new leads for your sales team. When a customer engages with this chatbot, the program checks your CRM to see if this user exists; if they do, the tool will add any missing contact details and customer interests as determined through the chat interaction. If this is a new customer, the bot will upload insights into your CRM that can be used by your sales and marketing team to send more personalized offers and marketing messages. The Quicktext bot interacts with 9% of online visitors each month; if you have 3,000 visitors every month, Quicktext will create 270 new leads to whom your team can market.   21. myhotelshop GmbH Link Travel Ads myhotelshop GmbH recently launched Link Travel Ads, a metasearch marketing platform for hotel chains, booking engines, and hotel marketing agencies. This tool is built specifically for properties that have struggled to run, manage and report metasearch marketing campaigns. Link Travel Ads will take you through the process from start to finish. With this tool, one account manager can manage campaigns for more than 500 different properties, with reporting and invoicing all in one place.   22. Experience Hotel Dedupe Experience Hotel, like D-EDGE, is trying to solve the problem many hotels have: multiple entries for the same guest. Hotel brands that have multiple properties with multiple data sources (the restaurant, spa, reservation system, etc.) tend to have duplicate profiles for the same guest in their PMS. Experience Hotel’s approach is Unified Customer Repository (UCR), a system that can identify all the duplicates in your guest list and combine every guest's details in one single profile. This allows your team to see an entire guest history in one place, and use insights from multiple sources to deliver personalized messages and offers.   Q2 Hotel Operations Innovations   23. hotelkit Facility Management Hotelkit debuted a new Facility Management platform that enables maintenance teams to  plan, schedule, and track corrective and preventive maintenance tasks. The tool help maintenance managers allocate resources such as time, money, and employees more effectively, and can automate and oversee daily maintenance routines. Get data and reporting on energy consumption or wear and tear of equipment to predict future expenses.   24. Mews Online Check-Out Mews Systems now offers an online check out feature aimed at reducing lines at the front desk and streamlining your property’s operations. Guests can checkout online without having to stand in a queue before departure; the platform sends housekeeping an alert once the guest has left, and your revenue managers can start upselling early check ins. Mews Online Checkout gives time back to guests and hoteliers alike with essential automation to guests who are in a hurry and hotels who are trying to turn around rooms.   25. HelloShift Inventory Management HelloShift is introducing Inventory Management to systemize the process of ordering and maintaining your stock of hotel supplies – parts, tools, equipment, linen, guest amenities, and more. Store detailed information about your supplies (warranty, brand, model, etc.), automate reordering, and reconcile inventory levels with regular checks. Reduce error that can lead to over and under-stocking, and reduce costs associated with ordering the wrong amount of supplies.   26. Bookboost Multi-Property Inbox Bookboost Guest Messaging added an all-in-one inbox with multi-property function that integrates messages from a number of channels into one inbox. Manage messages from your website, email, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and more in one platform. This allows one team member to oversee one unified inbox – a big gain in efficiency, especially for multi-property hotels.   27. Sertifi eConfirmations Sertifi eConfirmations allows travel companies to send payment digitally to travel suppliers (e.g., your hotel). Receive corporate credit card payments, virtual card payments along with the corresponding payment instructions, and guest information, such as check-in time and room preference, all at once – quickly and securely. All payment data is tokenized and transferred in a PCI compliant manner. Offer a smooth, hassle-free payment experience for corporate travelers.   28. Beekeeper Task Management Beekeeper’s Whispr Partnership will help frontline workers learn their job duties more quickly and help add consistency to your operations. Whispr transmits “motivational audio messages”, as well as work instructions in your employee’s preferred language through Beekeeper’s operational communication platform. Facilitate communication between your housekeeping team and management in an innovative and authentic way.   29. Telkonet Ecoinput Telkonet introduces EcoInput, a simple way to save energy and reduce your costs. EcoInput turns any light switch into an energy management device. Using the Zigbee wireless protocol, lighting can be controlled locally – e.g., guests can use the light switch as normal – or remotely via software or mobile control. Add sustainability and energy savings to your property without sacrificing guest experience.   30. Hoxell Quality Operations Hoxell has a new tool called Quality Operations. With Quality Operations, members of your team can send messages, create and assign tasks, and digitize workflows to improve productivity. The platform aims to streamline housekeeping activities, create direct communication channels, and improve reporting by reducing friction in communication and knocking down siloed reporting structures.   31. Mister Booking Payment Automation Mister Booking’s Payment Automation feature offers a simple way to process payment from your Hotel Management System. All credit cards collected as guarantee from OTA or booking engine can be verified and pre-authorized directly from the PMS. Automate advanced payments for all non-cancellable and non-refundable reservations, according to their payment conditions. It will save your team time by automating the administrative burden of payment verification.   Q2 Guest Experience Innovations   32. Crave AppLess Mobile Crave unveiled AppLess™ Mobile, a tool that gives guests access to guest services through location-specific QR codes. Guests simply scan a QR code and choose from the services you offer. Create multiple custom QR codes and post them at different points throughout your property: for instance, a QR code for ordering drinks at the bar, a QR code for catering in a meeting room, a QR code for more towels by the pool. AppLess™ enables frictionless digital experiences for consumers to access services on their own devices, without the need to download a mobile app. Includes payment technologies such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.   33. SuitePad Premium Docking Station SuitePad has two new products to share, the SuitePad Premium Docking Station and the SuitePad 10" Tablet. The SuitPad 10 is a premium version of their previous model, featuring a 1920 x 1200px resolution screen, larger battery for longer use, and 2GB of RAM for smoother content delivery. The docking station includes new features such as a bluetooth speaker, in-room presence sensor, and telephone handset. These features increase your property’s ability to send offers to guests at the right moment, and provide a premium in-room technology experience.   34. Volara Google Interpreter Volara introduced Google Assistant Interpreter Mode for Hospitality, a partnership with Google that facilitates real-time conversations with guests through instant translation. The tool translates between 29 different languages to help your staff welcome guests from diverse language backgrounds. Improve the guest experience and solicit reviews in multiple languages with this quick and easy translation platform. 39. TrustYou On-Site QR Feedback TrustYou’s On-Site Solutions Beta is a new product that solicits feedback during the guest stay using a QR code or short URL. This survey tool proactively asks each guest about their stay, escalating any issues occurring at your hotel for immediate attention. One hotel property that tested this product was able to increase their post-stay review scores by 3.8 points by asking for feedback in real-time.   35. Travel Appeal Destination Report Travel Appeal’s On-demand Destination Reports are tailor made for independent and chain hotels, DMOs, and tour operators looking for deeper information about their territory. These reports are available for any city, region, or territory within a few days, and can be used to analyze visitor groups, sentiment scores, trends, competitors, online channels, seasonality, and more. Compare different time periods (up to three years back) and learn about the reputation of the destination, individual sectors (F&B, retail, experiences, and more), and what topics are most discussed in relation to your specific area. Know what to highlight in your marketing campaign and help your concierge team craft the perfect experience for your guests.   36. LoungUp WhatsApp Messaging LoungeUp debuted its new WhatsApp Messaging function, adding a new way to communicate with guests. Use this tool to initiate contact with each customer before they arrive over WhatsApp. Send guests a way to check-in in advance, pay their deposit, book a shuttle to the hotel, or offer an upgrade. Automate some of the time-consuming administrative process and offer real, conversational exchanges with guests. With 1.5 billion worldwide users per month (as of January, 2019) worldwide, WhatsApp is the number one messaging platform, ahead of Facebook Messenger (1.3), Wechat (1.1), Skype (0.3), Snapchat, Viber and Line.   37. Zaplox Mobile Check-in Zaplox Premium iterates on Zaplox’s original product with new mobile-check in and mobile key functionality. This app integrates with most leading PMS and lock systems to streamline check-in. The custom-branded app allows your property to connect with guests before, during, and after their stay. Guests can use the Zaplox app to check-in, preauthorize their credit card, and complete the guest registration before they arrive at the hotel. Includes mobile keys with integration with lock vendors ASSA ABLOY, dormakaba and SALTO systems as well as large PMS providers, such as Oracle, Agilysys, protel, StayNTouch, Maestro, and more.   38. MyStay Mobile Check-in MyStay Check-in Agent is a tablet-based software solution that can make your check-in process 100% digital at the front desk and anywhere at your hotel. The tablet scans guest documents, and then prompts the guest to add missing information, agree to house rules, and sign the check-in card. This increases the accuracy of your guest data, streamlines the check-in process, and allows your team to focus on the guest experience rather than data entry.     Q2 Sales & Group Travel Innovations   39. OPERA Sales & Event Management Oracle’s OPERA Sales and Event Management Cloud (OSEM) helps hotels reduce the extra time spent managing data entry related to events. OSEM provides a single view of all a hotel’s event booking details and revenue across rooms and event spaces for easier audit and analysis. Properties can increase their event revenue by optimizing inventory, bookings, streamlining logistics and providing smooth event logistics. The tool helps streamline operations, increase communication and cooperation across departments, and respond faster to customers.   40. Atomize Group Booking Pricing Module Atomize announced fresh updates to its Group Booking Pricing Module with a tool that helps revenue managers to instantly calculate the optimal rate for groups. This module now presents both the total recommended price and displaced transient revenue for the group, along with details such as prices per room type and date. A separate module introduces the ability to email yourself the group pricing recommendation for future reference.   41. MeetingPackage Analytics MeetingPackage has a new analytics extension for meetings and events bookings that allows you to advertise your meetings and events the same way you would advertise your hotel rooms. The analytics extension allows Google Analytics to track the full customer journey, capturing the total revenue of the meeting/event. Measure the booking process from the very first ad click until the event date, and make smarter marketing decisions on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to drive valuable direct traffic.   42. SABA Hospitality Digital Conference Tool SABA Hospitality’s SABA Conference is a digital conference tool that provides automatic answers to the questions and requests of conference hosts and attendees directly to their mobile devices. From conference information, directions and amenities, and information on the surrounding area, all information is easily accessible in multiple languages, and can be presented in any format (e.g. links, videos, text, maps and images). Users don’t need to download a thing, making it easier for conference organizers to ensure all relevant information is received by attendees. Hosts and property operators simply enter the relevant information, and the platform presents it in a branded and engaging way.   43. EVENTMACHINE Instant Quote EVENTMACHINE IQ Instant Quote automatically plans and quotes events based on a few simple inputs, like date or event type. Rather than tasking an event manager to manually select and calculate event spaces, catering and equipment. Eventmachine IQ can reduce that manual effort. Get instant, custom quotes emailed in a professional PDF proposal.   44. Get Into MoRe Strategy Dashboard Get Into MoRe has built a new Strategy Dashboard advises whether or not you should allow an inquiry to proceed with booking your events space. One small event could easily reserve a space and prevent a more profitable, large event. Strategy Dashboard uses a red light/green light system to tell you if an inquiry is worth accepting – or if you should hold out for another booking request.   45. THYNK Meetings Management THYNK has a new product, MYCE, a customer-centric meeting events and venue management system. The flexible, cloud-based system uses Salesforce to automate the sales process follow-up with task automation and two-way integration with your PMS, POS, and other applications. Assign tasks across departments and add the group booking module to make it easier to manage event bookings.   Q2 New Innovations in Food & Beverage   46. Bbot Smart Ordering System Bbot Smart Ordering system allows guests to order room service on their phone from their room without downloading an app or signing up for a new service and integrates with popular hotel PMS and POS systems.  Guests order and pay for food + drinks right from their room without having to call down, which means you save on labor and menu management.  Bbot recently rolled out new PMS integrations including Mews & Opera.                   47. Apicbase's Production Planning Tool Apicbase’s Production Planning tool streamlines kitchen operations at your property by making food production reliable and repeatable. Save money and reduce food waste by up to 30% with automated to-do lists, real-time inventory updates, and a function that allows your team to predict how many quantities will be needed at each meal. Prep only what you need and make the most of ingredients in your pantry to lower your food budget.  

What You Need to Know About Amadeus' Complete Hospitality Portfolio

by
Hotel Tech Report
9 months ago

As you evaluate potential hotel tech vendors for your hotel, you’ve likely found yourself comparing smaller point solutions to those from a larger enterprise player, such as Amadeus for Hospitality. It's not an easy comparison to make: big companies have sizable technology teams supporting their clients but you can feel like a small fish in a big pond when you're just one customer of thousands. On the other hand, smaller startups can move faster and often give your hotel more attention. The hope is to find a solution that’s on the budget, available on your timeline and eliminates data silos. For hotels evaluating software for managing operations, service optimization, or group sales, Amadeus has a robust software suite that can be customized according to different budget, timeline, and needs. You can take one solution or all of them, according to whichever problem you need Amadeus to solve. The portfolio is wide-reaching and comprehensive, and Amadeus’ size and global scope makes it a formidable technology partner. But is it right for your hotel? Here’s what you need to know about the complete Amadeus portfolio so you can decide which products fit your hotel’s needs.   What Amadeus Does: Tools For Managing All Aspects Of Hotel Operations Amadeus offers a comprehensive software suite to manage all aspects of a hotel's operations. From managing reservations, distributing rates, supporting sales and catering, improving staff communication, and operating the property, the software works across nearly every touchpoint between guest, staff, and hotel management. On the marketing side, Amadeus also owns TravelClick, a complete marketing solution for hotels. For a more in-depth look at how this fits into the Amadeus portfolio of products for hotels, tab over to our recent deep dive into TravelClick suite of marketing tools.   Who Amadeus Is For: Mostly Larger Properties With Bigger Budgets And More Complex Needs In general, Amadeus builds technology for larger properties and portfolios with bigger budgets and more complex needs. However, that doesn't mean but certain products aren't oriented towards smaller independents and boutiques. Many Amadeus products can be purchased a la carte, which means that you can pick the products that fit their needs without having to commit to the entire portfolio. Certain products, such as HotSOS Mild, were built specifically with limited functionality to support select-service hotels. In addition to hotels, Amadeus also supports the efforts of casinos, stadiums, and restaurants to improve their communications with groups and optimize event spaces with profitable groups and meetings.   Manage Groups More Profitably To With Amadeus Sales and Catering Solutions With business travel set to rise around 4% each year until 2026, group business from meetings, events, and conferences will continue to be a massive revenue driver for many hotels. To ensure that your hotel captures as much business as possible, and then delivers those events profitably, Amadeus has several sales and catering solutions that connect event sales, operations, and management to maximize usage and optimize pricing for event spaces.  These tools also work well in concert, seamlessly sharing data across them so that a proposal moves fluidly from proposal stage to accepted deal to the event execution process. Sales CRM. Your hotel’s group sales success requires an organized team that tracks the pipeline, engages prospects over time, and maintains relationships with past event planners who may bring repeat business. Here are the Amadeus products to enhance productivity in your sales staff: Amadeus Sales & Event Management puts powerful reporting and data-rich dashboards in front of your sales and catering teams so they can make data-driven decisions around where to focus next. The software is mobile-optimized, can work across multiple properties, and supports automated workflows Central Sales solves the visibility issue so you can instantly see your sales team’s current pipeline. It’s a module that tracks leads and opportunities, and then translates those into an accurate forecast to assess progress towards sales targets. Group sourcing and RFP management. Amadeus has several tools to enhance your proposals by making them interactive, with rich media and personalized content. MeetingBroker is a tool that generates more leads for your hotel by allowing planners to submit their request for proposal directly to your venues. Event planners prefer self-service and this tool gives them what they want! eProposal enhances your proposals by better aligning them with each prospect’s unique needs. Proposals can be easily and quickly customized, so your team can make better proposals and get them in the hands of event planners more quickly. The fastest response often wins the business! Central Sales is above-property management’s view into sales team effectiveness. It’s also the main collaboration channel between above- and on-property teams, improving the distribution of RFPs to a portfolio of properties. Event planning software. These tools help everyone stay on top of details while remaining responsive to event planners, both before and during events. By empowering staff with tools to enhance their own productivity, you ensure that events can be delivered on time, on budget, and with the highest satisfaction possible. PlannerPortal is an add-on to the Delphi CRM tool. It’s a Salesforce extension that allows planners to see the same information as staff. This becomes a critical collaboration tool, where you can store documents and track change requests, keeping everyone on the same page -- and on track for a successful event and a satisfied planner experience. Amadeus PlannerPortal becomes a centralized hub for planner/staff interactions.   Hospitality Diagramming is an interactive tool that works on any device and lets event planners create diagrams and envision their event in your space. As planners turn their vision into reality, the visual helps your hotel win more business. The software also becomes a central repository for staff to design and organize floorplans for any event.    Planners can diagram events and visualize their events -- bringing them closer to contract.   Streamline Your Operations with Amadeus PMS and CRS Choosing a new property management system is a major decision, as is selecting a central reservation system to manage your hotel’s bookings. Once implemented, these technologies are fused to a property, rarely to be undone. That relative permanence makes this one of the toughest decisions to make. You need certainty that rates, availability, reservations, guest information, and other date flow across systems without fail, whether via Universal API integration or direct connect. The Amadeus central reservation system is a central hub for managing distribution and pricing among channels and allows your hotel to tailor offers to specific customer segments. With a single real-time view of the entire business, you can manage your guest experience while generating additional revenue by reacting quickly to changing market dynamics. The Amadeus property management system is an on-premise or hosted technology for single/multiple properties that combine channel and rate management into a single distribution solution with robust analytics and reporting. It also integrates sales and catering activities and retail/restaurant point-of-sale systems.    Optimize Service and Staff Productivity with Amadeus HotSOS Service optimization is a perfect use case for tech. It eliminates a manual and inflexible system that is rarely optimized for speed, efficiency, and staff experience. With all requests, communications, and other issues routed immediately to the relevant department, staff and guests are happier. And, with automated optimization,  maintenance requests and housekeeping schedules automatically adjust to the changing needs of our property in real-time. Amadeus’ service optimization products are quite popular, in use at over 70% of global hotel brands, which the company says saved hotels over $150 million in 2016. That savings came from reducing issues that affect guest satisfaction, responding to requests more quickly, and improving overall resource allocation. Housekeeping management is ideally suited for automation: using intelligent routing based on check-ins, stayovers, and check-outs, housekeeper schedules can be prioritized for efficiency. This means that you can reduce wait times for incoming guests and increase overall cleanliness. It also makes your staff happier as they are less rushed with last-minute requests and feel more in control throughout the day. Staff collaboration tools bring your staff together in a single communications channel to manage their daily tasks. Amadeus has two staff task management tools: HotSOS Mild, designed specifically to meet the limited needs of select-service hotels, and HotSOS, a full-featured enterprise product to automate daily operations, schedule preventative maintenance, improve intra-hotel communication and improve the quality of guest engagement. Thanks to its automated workflows, HotSOS minimizes the amount of time it takes to complete tasks. That not only reduces labor costs but speeds responses and reduces bad reviews around slow service. Most notably, you can build profiles and personalized experiences based on a guest’s history of requests and preferences.   Amadeus Pros and Cons According to its Customers  Amadeus has dozens of reviews across its many products. We’ve pulled out some of the highlights; we recommend checking reviews for specific products as part of your research process. Pros: An engineer from a resort in Anaheim says that HotSOS Mild is “Making life a lot easier” for monitoring maintenance and repair work. Direct of Sales and Marketing in Washington liked Amadeus Delphi’s “ immediate data sharing” with the PMS” as well as the fact that it “interfaces with Outlook so communications are easily viewed.” A group sales manager in Chicago liked Delphi’s “ease of use” when compared to other products that were “difficult to learn/update/adjust to an individual property’s needs.” Cons: One City Center hotelier in the Netherlands using the PMS reported “6 years of problems now and no real solution”  with “overselling rooms daily due to software problems.” One Delphi user at a Branded Hotel in Cambridge reported poor knowledge of support team, saying “ Almost every time I call support, the tech says let me check Google.”   Getting Started with Amadeus Amadeus is definitely not a self-serve player, where you can simply put in your credit card information and get started with set up. Pricing also varies. It ultimately depends on the basket of products that you choose to implement.  For certain products, such as the CRS, there’s utility pricing that offers low upfront cost and minimal transaction fees. Again, the actual pricing is property/portfolio dependent and will require engaging with sales.   It all starts with a demo: select your Amadeus product and click “Get Demo” to get a live look at how the product can help your hotel solve its current challenges.  

The Ultimate Guide to the Hospitality Industry (2020 Edition)

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

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

Cendyn: A Complete Overview of the Hospitality Cloud

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

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

Great Tech is the Key to Surviving the Thomas Cook Crisis

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 year ago

The collapse of global package tour operator and airline Thomas Cook was notable for its global impact. The company left hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded abroad and jeopardized the vacation plans of millions more. We’re not going to report on the tragic collapse of Thomas Cook since the news has been widely shared by nearly every major media outlet over the last couple of days.  This article is intended to help hoteliers like you that have been blindsided by this event and specifically those in European holiday markets who have been disproportionately affected. Wherever there is a crisis, there’s also learning and opportunity. This is a wake up call for hoteliers to strengthen their operations by diversifying their channel mix, as the insolvency highlights vulnerabilities of depending too much on a single demand channel. Below we outline 5 lessons to help hoteliers convert this short term crisis into long term opportunity but first we’ll give a quick background on what went down.   A quick overview of the Thomas Cook fiasco for those who aren’t familiar   The venerable brand, which was founded in 1851 and originated the concept of packaged tours, served 19 million people a year across 16 countries. That’s a lot of empty beds at hotels in these countries, leaving many hoteliers desperate for a lifeline.  Hoteliers report that Thomas Cook hasn’t made its payments since July.  And, as the Thomas Cook share price tumbled to just £0.0345 on its last day of trading before collapsing, it's unclear when -- or if -- hotels will receive these long-overdue payments. In many of these communities, the bankruptcy is a devastating blow to the local hospitality industry. In popular summer destinations such as Greece, Spain and Turkey, Thomas Cook accounts for 25% of their business. The pain is far-reaching: Thomas Cook accounted for 3.6M trips to the Canary Islands last year.  In Turkey, the local hotel association says many hotels are still owed £100,000 – £200,000 apiece. Spanish Trade Union expects more than 10% of it’s 130,000 local hospitality workers to be affected by the collapse. Greece’s PanHellenic Federation of Hoteliers projects losses up to €300m, of which the island of Crete accounts for €80-100m. In Tunisia, 45 hotels dealt exclusively with Thomas Cook, which reportedly owes €60 million for stays in July and August. #1: Use technology to diversify your channel mix   First and foremost, hotels must avoid reliance on a single channel. The Thomas Cook example makes this abundantly clear: fewer dominant channels dramatically increase risk. Expanding your sources of demand protects you not only from the extreme cases bankruptcy but also evens out the natural ebbs and flows. With a diversified channel mix, unexpected dips in demand will sting less. A metasearch manager, such as D-EDGE MetaGenius or Triptease Attract, maximizes your hotel’s presence on meta-search platforms. The technology optimizes your spend so that you can capture bookings without spending too much. Marketing spend can also easily be ramped up and down to account for any unexpected need periods. Channel managers, like the one from SiteMinder, dramatically expand the number of channels your hotel is distributed to. The right channel manager puts your hotel in front of consumers you may never have access to, such as inbound tourists from China. This expands your reach and lessens your reliance on only a few channels.    #2: Capture maximum revenue from your existing guests   Well done! You’ve won the booking and the guest has checked in. Now what? Rather than pursue the next booking, it's time to make the most out of your existing guests. Open the lines of communication, craft compelling offers for upsells and on-property amenities and make it a priority to increase incremental revenue. With a solid ancillary strategy, you’ll be more empowered and less at the whims of others. Ancillary upsell software, like that offered by Oaky and Revinate, helps you earn more revenue from things like up-selling room upgrades and other ancillaries. Since up-selling gives you the ability to earn more from the same guest, you'll be more profitable -- and less vulnerable to revenue dips from fewer bookings. A guest messaging platform, such as Whistle, Zingle, and Bookboost, gives you all kinds of new ways to communicate with guests. You could implement a chat widget on your website, use text messages to talk with on-property guests, or leverage automated communications to ensure the best guest experience. Each of these touchpoints is an opportunity to sell more to current guests. And, as you deliver better service, improved guest satisfaction will boost your reputation online. In-room tablets, like those from SuitePad, INTELITY, and Crave Interactive, are another way to connect with guests. As in-room concierges, tablets allow guests to find relevant information easily and quickly, which boosts satisfaction and leads to incremental revenue from selling in-destination activities and on-property amenities like spa and room service. More money from existing guests makes a healthier, more resilient business.   #3: Fortify your direct channel to shore up leakage   Leakage costs your hotel money. Each time someone books through an OTA or other third-party (rather than your direct channel) that’s leakage. There’s a related cost to each of those bookings, a cost that could be eliminated by capturing the booking directly. Reducing leakage means doing whatever you can to build your direct channel. With the right tech, your hotel can compete directly with OTAs by providing a similar booking experience. Proper digital marketing and web design ensures that your hotel presents a modern face to potential guests. Vendors (such as Screen Pilot and Travel Tripper) leverage years of hospitality experience to get you more direct bookings online. With an intuitive interface and appealing design, your website can become a great calling card. The agency can then help optimize your digital marketing efforts to get you more bookings at lower cost. A hotel booking engine works 24/7 so guests can book rooms right on your website to keep you competitive with other online platforms. Mews, Net Affinity and TravelTripper integrate a booking engine into your property management system to make inventory instantly bookable online. Long gone are the days when guests would call to book; to avoid leakage, you must provide instant booking on your website. With a direct booking platform, like those built by Triptease and Hotelchamp, you’ll have the tools to convert more lookers to bookers on your website. These tools transform your website into a conversion engine. Then, as you invest more in digital marketing to bring people to your website, you’ll see greater return on your investment because the site is primed to convert.    #4: Reduce friction for your sales team   Properties of all sizes can benefit tremendously from improved productivity on the sales side. By reducing friction for your sales team, you’ll improve outcomes, compress the sales cycle and close more group business. Closing more deals has the added advantage of boosting morale for your sales team, which builds momentumAre As your hotel endeavors to build a bigger group business, best-in-class technology amplifies this momentum and evens out the normal fluctuations in transient demand. With an online meeting booking platform, such as MeetingPackage, planners can self-serve. Many planners prefer self-service, especially for smaller events. An online booking platform streamlines inbound requests and reduces turnaround time. That way your sales team can focus on more complex offerings and close major deals that can make or break an entire year’s revenue target. A sales CRM for hotels is the heart of your sales operations. With powerful functionality from vendors like Social Tables, Amadeus Delphi or Event Temple, your sales team stays organized so they can prioritize prospects and pursue leads without delay. A few other upsides: Managing outreach in a single place encourages a collaborative mindset, fosters transparency and builds trust.    #5: Bring back your old guests   Past guests are your greatest assets. They’ve stayed with you before and know your hotel. You also know them somewhat, as you have already begun building a relationship. That means you don't have to introduce your property or compete for attention in a sea of unfamiliar hotels. Loyalty gives you more control over your business; it reduces reliance on third parties and diversifies your revenue streams. Loyal guests are also great advocates, enhancing your online reputation and promoting your hotel by word-of-mouth. Guest CRM and email marketing tools, like those from Cendyn and Revinate, are a hotel marketer’s best friend. Leveraging your database of past guests into new bookings requires thoughtful segmentation and effective messaging -- both of which are made easier with dedicated CRM and email marketing software. By crafting targeted campaigns based on rich guest profiles, you'll generate revenue from existing assets, all without any cost or commissions. And guests will appreciate the personalized approach. A loyalty program for independents can drive repeat visits and encourage more customer loyalty -- even without the global reach and recognition of the major brand. For instance, The GuestBook rewards guests with either 5% cash back, a 5% donation to their preferred charity, or 10% “Trip Cash” for future reservations. These incentives give independents another way to foster loyalty and build a healthy book of repeat business that’s not dependent on third parties.   *** Thomas Cook shutting down is a devastating blow to communities, businesses and consumers around the globe. It puts pressure on local economies in many countries. But it also provides a valuable lesson to hoteliers about relying too heavily on a single demand partner; diversification really does help mitigate risk. Hoteliers have some powerful tools at their disposal to build a resilient business that can endure even the most unexpected disruptions.  

Hotel Sales Strategies and the Software You Need to Power Them

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 year ago

Winning hotel sales strategies take into account a variety of factors related to internal business performance, competitive analysis and market trends.  Great hotel sales teams have a deep understanding of both their product (i.e. hotel rooms, catering spaces, amenities) and the greater market trends.  Great sales leaders conduct a regular SWOT analysis and value analysis to better understand their property's unique selling propositions (USPs).  The reality is that no matter how strong a hotel sales strategy is, every hotel sales & catering team needs the right tech to succesfully execute on those strategies. The right tech tools put your sales and catering team in control of their own destinies. Greater productivity and more automation of tedious tasks boosts job satisfaction and gives staff the confidence to do more high-impact work that leads to more revenue. Many solutions now also include predictive analytics to guide efforts automatically, helping staff to pursue the most promising leads effortlessly. The increased effectiveness also builds good will with guests. When staff more ably respond to requests -- with increased accuracy and 3D space visualizations -- event organizers feel much more confident in their venue selections. Best-in-class event management solutions also include strong collaboration features to build trust and boost conversions with event planners and organizers.   Here's a look at the essential tech for your sales and catering team.   Hotel Sales Platforms & CRMs Sales platforms and CRMs are the backbone of successful sales. The sales team needs to be organized and focused on the most lucrative leads first. A sales platform/CRM will give the sales team a centralized repository for tracking the sales pipeline so that promising leads don’t slip through the cracks. Other leads may need more nurturing over time; a dedicated CRM is a critical piece of this puzzle.   Hotels have one significant choice in this category: to use a specialized hospitality CRM or a major brand that serves all industries. For users of CRMs not specifically focused on hospitality, some feel a disconnect with customer service. It really comes down to whether you prefer a CRM solution with global scale or one targeted to hospitality. Global scale can mean that there are many strong integrations with existing tools, while specialization means that the tool delivers targeted functionality essential to hotels.   Here are the top three sales team CRMs for hospitality, plus one startup to consider. Salesforce: The most well-known CRM provider enables data-driven sales and marketing through its rich guest profiles and robust engagement tracking. The software is familiar to many, which simplifies on-boarding new staff. There’s a tradeoff there, however: specialized support may be harder to come by.     Amadeus Delphi: Amadeus’ CRM module is accessible on mobile and combines a detailed overview of function space with guest room availability so sales can act quickly and accurately. The Simple module supports hotels with less than 5,000 square feet of space, while the Advanced module extends to multiple properties, making this a solid contender for all kinds of properties.     Startup to consider: Quore Sales is an alternative to the major brand names mentioned above. The tool supports efforts across your entire hotel staff and ensures more transparency, accountability, and collaboration across your entire team -- without any legacy hangups.   Want to learn more about Hotel CRM?   Meetings and Events Intelligence When it comes to leveraging data to close more group business, it’s ideal to have a ‘second brain.’ There’s only so much capacity during the work day. And often, valuable nuggets are buried deep in the data. Meetings and events intelligence tools push further into the data to find opportunities, trends, and threats that enable sales teams to be more effective. While some other categories here include advanced reporting and detailed analytics, a standalone business intelligence tool often outperforms. The specialized focus means that the tool has a deeper set of data than the average event management software, and can truly unearth new insights that were inaccessible outside of a dedicated events intelligence tool.   Here are a few meetings and events intelligence tools that help you get more out of your data, as well as one startup to consider. IDeaS SmartSpace: The visual strategy management solution bridges sales and revenue with deep analytics around business trends and performance of a hotel’s event spaces. The tool includes a space utilization tool to illustrate effective use of space, as well as a pricing strategy tab that breaks down conversions by arrival data, team member, booking type, and meeting class.     KNOWLAND: Knowland helps teams achieve their group goals with deep analytics on group booking patterns, market benchmarking, and planner buying behavior. Predictive analytics based on “the industry’s largest historical database of actualized events” accelerate sales cycles by matching inbound requests with the highest likelihood of success Startup to consider: A winner of the 2019 HotelTechAwards, Get Into More’s strategic tool manages meetings, events, and groups for both branded and non-branded hotel. The tool visualizes data and enables better analysis outside of spreadsheets and reports. For properties building a la carte events/meeting technology, this is a go-to for business intelligence.   Group Sourcing & RFPs When sourcing groups, timing is everything. Strong RFP management capabilities ensure that your team is responding to the highest-value RFPs quickly and accurately. One of the biggest struggles faced by event planners is the lack of timely responses to their requests; some even complain that venues don’t even respond. This delay is directly tied to the increase in RFPs received by hoteliers. Reducing the delay is a main benefit for hoteliers that use an RFP management tool that streamlines responses. These tools can pull together responses quickly, and even provide more self-service options to event planners so that hotels have less work to do for each proposal. Group sourcing is also a key part of this category. The major players, such as Cvent, offer hotels a direct line to event planners. These tools are able to match hotels with groups by looking at the characteristics of each group and determine hotels that would be ideal venues. This makes inbound RFPs more likely to be a good fit for hotels, reducing staff labor and increasing the odds of closing group business.     Here are a few group sourcing options, as well as one startup to consider. Cvent Hospitality Cloud: Cvent’s platform achieves three things: help hotels find buyers through increased visibility, win business with lead scoring, and optimize business with metrics and business intelligence. Reviewers appreciate the ability to set up a profile at the property level that includes a variety of offers, which increase transparency with meeting planners.   Cendyn Sales Suite:  Cendyn also takes the platform approach. Its Sales Suite ties into Cendyn’s other products and centers around its eRFP automation, which reduces RFP response times while increasing the accuracy. Reviewers mention an innovative video chat function gives sales teams a way to differentiate proposals with video content.     Startup to consider: The top reviewed vendor in group sourcing/RFP management is Event Temple, popular with those who don’t want to tie into a larger platform with many bells-and-whistles. Reviewers love its all-in-one approach, which assists with everything from lead prospecting, client retention, email automation, ROI analytics, and performance metrics.   Event planning software Hoteliers use event planning software to manage the operational intricacies of on-property events. From collaborating on table layouts to providing a visual layer for event planners to request proposals, these tools improve the experience for everyone. By providing event visualization capabilities that represent your space and your resource inventory, you can deliver on the meeting experience, plan events faster, easier and more accurately. Ultimately, this makes event planners more confident and secure in their venue selections because they can visualize how the event may look in a particular space. There’s also the issue of uneven transfer of information. In traditional models of managing event sales, there can sometimes be some missed information in the hand-off from sales to catering. Event planning software ensures that hotels deliver exactly what’s been promised to the event organizer. There are fewer questions and stronger accountability. The   These are the top event planning tools, as well as one startup to consider. Amadeus Hospitality Diagramming: Amadeus’ diagramming tool allows properties to accurately plan events with organizers, planners, and guests. The intuitive interface via the web makes it easy to organize room plans, including a 3D virtual walkthrough of the completed room. Plans can be shared with others for review, feedback, and approval.   Social Tables: Owned by Cvent, the tool has expanded functionality to become integral to many event planners worldwide. The focus on collaboration between planners and properties on both mobile and desktop. The suite also features online sales and marketing solutions, 2D and 3D room diagramming, business intelligence for hotels, and event attendee management.     Startup to consider: Allseated’s scrappy approach appeals to independents and technologists alike: the freemium business model lowers barriers to entry and the immersive 3D walkthroughs of specific events is a huge bonus to event planners and guests.   Where Should You Invest Right Now? Sales and catering technology can transform the way your hotel approaches group business. With the right tools, your sales team can prospect more effectively and your catering team can deliver knockout events that make guests sing their praises. While this category of technology can be a lot to sift through, focus on the functionality with the biggest bang for your buck. If you already have a CRM (and your team actually uses it daily), then it may be best to focus on event planning software and diagramming solutions that give event planners a way to visualize their events. However, if your sales team isn’t using a CRM yet, now may be the time to invest in a holistic solution that provides both sales tools and event management. The most underinvested area within this space lies in meetings and events intelligence solutions.  Such solutions provide near instant ROI and should be considered by every type of hotel that has a decent group business mix. With a comprehensive capability at the heart of your group sales and event delivery operation, you’ll see a massive improvement in productivity, revenue, and client satisfaction.