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Hotel Operations Software Articles

Why Isn't All This Technology Improving Productivity?

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 days ago

The past decade has focused heavily on digital media innovations, which “occupy a mindshare that's out of proportion to their overall economic importance” (Vox) but haven't lead to large productivity improvements in the economy. The truth is that, while consumer media companies like TikTok and Snapchat have captured consumer eyeballs (and investor capital), they don’t necessarily increase the productivity of the average worker. In fact, productivity gains have stalled noticeably in the past ten years. In part, this is due to investors’ search for the next unicorn, which usually focused on companies with potential for global monopolies. Investors wanted in on the next big (consumer) thing. Today, however, with just a handful of global companies controlling the lion’s share of consumer attention, achieving scale for B2C has become prohibitively expensive. In pursuit of the next big opportunity, investors are now looking at B2B companies as “the next wave of unicorns.” These companies focus narrowly on industry niches with plenty of room to run as far as leveraging technology to improve margins, streamline operations, and reduce inefficiencies. For hotels looking to buck the historical trend and invest in more technology, this is a welcome evolution. Healthy competition means that hotels don’t have to rely on the same legacy companies they’ve been stuck with for decades. There are now more vendors serving the industry than ever before, which brings prices down and quality up. We’re in a Golden Age of Hospitality Technology, where hoteliers have their choice of intelligent solutions that solve real world problems and increase productivity. One of those problems facing hotels is how to do more with less. In a world of staffing shortages and high turnover, productivity has become a pressing priority. It’s also a competitive advantage; if you can run your hotel more efficiently, and thus more profitably, you’ll have more pricing flexibility and be more resilient in the face of changing market dynamics. Here’s everything you need to know about productivity and its place in today’s hotel industry.    What is Productivity? Productivity is a measure of labor efficiency; it's calculated by comparing the amount of  goods and services produced with the number of hours needed to produce those goods or services. It's an important business metric as productivity gains fall straight to the bottom line; a more efficient staff makes more profit for the company. Some measures of productivity in hospitality are: How long it takes to complete a maintenance request How many rooms each housekeeper cleans How many guests your front desk agent checks-in How much revenue each room makes  How many covers a restaurant server handles How long it takes to fulfill a guest request In each of these cases, optimizing each asset (human or room) boosts productivity (and profitability). And that’s where technology comes in: it’s the ultimate productivity enhancer. To maintain service standards in spite of these staffing challenges, hotels can now implement staff collaboration tools that boost productivity and enhance communication across all departments, These tools, such as the Quore operations platform, give hotels a competitive edge in the competition for talent while also making existing staff happier more productive.   So Why Isn't All This Technology Improving Productivity? Productivity gains have been a feature of the modern economy. As technology filtered its way through the economy, workers were able to do more with less. Businesses benefited from a greater return on their investment and workers faced fewer menial, mechanical tasks. The result was a steady and reliable rise in productivity, powered by the adoption of technology in all aspects of global business.      Elsewhere, global productivity gains have noticeably slowed.  Productivity gains in the industries that employ the most people, such as retail, restaurants and hospitality, have been far less transformational until relatively new innovations like Quore have come onto the scene. As we all know from experience, front-line workers in these industries still work much in the same way as they have for decades. The U.S. economy operates at 18% of its digital potential. The sort of productivity gains that digital technologies should be enabling are not showing up in the broader economy. -McKinsey Digitization Index For the world’s largest industries, such as hospitality, this digital gap has prevented productivity gains from reaching the level of transformation seen in industries such as financial services, media, and professional services - but that is starting to change. Why is that? Reason #1: Work vs Play For one, our productivity calculations don't do a good job of accounting for the differences between digital and physical transformation. Our current wave of innovation hasn’t impacted productivity in ways that electricity or plumbing did. It also doesn’t effectively account for the impact of consumer platforms, such as Snap and TikTok, on how we play versus how we work. As Vox concludes in a well-reported piece on the impact of technology  on productivity, these consumer platforms have captured leisure time without necessarily having a positive impact on productivity elsewhere: “Technology is changing how we play and relax more than it's changing how we work and produce.” We’ve also reached a point where the biggest productivity opportunities have been met by technology: factories are mostly automated and the big transformations are complete. These productivity gains have accrued unevenly, focused mostly in industries where automation transformed the very nature of the work (think factories and fields). Reason #2: Underinvestment in Technology While consumer-facing platforms exploded in value, industries like hotels and restaurants have historically underinvested in technology, limiting potential productivity gains. This lackluster transformation appears in the data: according to Gartner’s Lodging Technology Study, the industry invested only 3.5% of its revenue into information technology (IT) solutions. This underinvestment is partly due to marketplace dynamics, as much of the tech innovation over the past decade was in consumer-facing technologies. This underinvestment creates a “digital gap” that is exacerbated by a lower “degree of digital usage” in the hospitality industry, says McKinsey. The research also found that “digital engagement between companies and their suppliers and customers is five times larger in the leading sectors than in others.” In other words, industries like hospitality just aren’t using digital technologies as effectively as their peers in other industries and aren’t unleashing comparative productivity gains which is why they should consider investing in productivity and hotel operations software like Quore to make their operations more efficient. Reason #3: The Nature of Work Historically, technology has made it easier to get work done by increasing the efficiency of workers worldwide.  Automation enables workers to produce more with fewer inputs, while communication and project management tools make each hour more productive. However, these productivity gains have slowed measurably in the last ten years, with the gains especially anemic in the industries that employ the most people, such as retail, restaurants, and hospitality. The nature of the work affects productivity. These industries often higher lower-skilled workers at lower rates, which makes investing in productivity-enhancing Technologies less appealing. Also the nature of work is manual in ways that make automation difficult.  It's really challenging to have a robot make the bed, for example. In addition, these are customer-facing roles, defined by high-touch human interactions that defy automation.    How To Increase Productivity At Your Hotel Digitization and productivity are closely linked. Over the last 20 years, the top digitally-enabled sectors enjoyed a 2-3x increase in productivity and profit margins over their peers. And those that lag on the digitization front also have lower productivity performance, which is why hotels must act now to increase productivity in the workplace. One of the toughest questions is where to invest first? Between revenue management systems, housekeeping management software, business intelligence tools and a dozen other hospitality technology categories listed on Hotel Tech Report, there are many ways to improve productivity at your hotel. Many hotels start with staff collaboration tools which improve productivity, accuracy, and communication across departments: maintenance techs will prioritize projects more efficiently; housekeeping managers will manage shifts more efficiently; your front desk will deliver better service room cleaning schedules; and your general manager will benefit from actionable reports that benchmark performance over time. Whichever technology you start with, it’s advisable to have a method for establishing a productivity mindset at your hotel. You need to do three things: make productivity a priority, identify bottlenecks and invest in the right tools. Prioritize. It may take some convincing to show management and staff why productivity matters. After all, monitoring productivity can come across as Big Brother. Focus specifically on how it will make work like better for staff while also improving the guest experience. Most workers are frustrated by inefficiencies, so focus on the “why” and win allies.  Identify.  With organizational buy-in, you can now turn to identifying the biggest bottlenecks. Look for two things: issues that directly impact the guest and behind-the-scenes interactions between staff. Eliminating bottlenecks in those two areas will have the highest impact. Once you’ve identified the areas for improvement, align everyone around the right metrics: rooms cleaned per hour, guests served per shift, average guest request response time, ancillary revenue per room  Invest. To avoid further disruption from companies like Sonder and AirBnB, hotels must get better at buying and investing in technology. As you evaluate vendors, refer back to your specific bottlenecks and ask each vendor how their solution helps solve those. Then, invest the time and money in a pilot to trial the most promising solutions. You can then evaluate performance and base your investment decisions off actual data. Hospitality may have traditionally lagged other industries in adopting productivity-related technologies, but things have changed. “Boring” B2B unicorns are finally delivering the greater productivity gains seen in other industries. With a proper approach to evaluate, purchase, and implement software, supported by a modest budget, your hotel will capture the upside of greater productivity: happier guests, more satisfied staff, and more profitable resource allocation.  These efficiency gains simply make your hotel better, across the board. And, as a powerful ally in building productivity-driven profits, these tools help you build a culture of incremental improvements, helping your hotel get just a little better each day. Over time, this means major gains -- and a healthy return on your technology investment.  

Digital Transformation in the Hotel Industry

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

“Digital transformation” is one of those buzzy phrases that gets thrown around, much like “big data” and “artificial intelligence.” Few leaders, however, actually recognize how digital transformation impacts their business. Digital transformation is not just about technology investment, but refers to the ways organizations restructure themselves to adapt and alter corporate culture to empower innovations that leverage technology and take their businesses to new levels of growth. The term ‘digital transformation’ was coined in the late 1990s to describe the first time a customer was connecting to a company via a website or other digital channel. As the internet matured companies started to connect all processes and devices into networks. Nearly every company has gone through a digital transformation to learn how to leverage data, retain talent, grow their revenue, and innovate. Today, digital transformations have achieved a macroeconomic scale. “By 2018, the number of IoT devices is expected to double, spurring the development of 200,000 new apps. By 2020, spending on cloud services will be more than $500 billion, three times the current level.” digital transformation is at the forefront of nearly every industry’s investment priorities. Hotel owners seeking to harness this trend are adding a holistic PMS system like Oracle OPERA to their technology stack. A PMS is a perfect example of a tool that can be deployed to help achieve a specific business goal. Successful digital transformation takes focused planning, targeted technological integration, and professional development – along with the right PMS. Here’s how hotel teams are bringing digital transformation to their business.    What is Digital Transformation? Digital transformation at its core refers to the ability of an organization to change its approach to technology, people, and processes to impact business performance and deliver value to consumers. As one expert describes, “Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver.” Digital transformations involve some digitization of assets and/or increased use of technology, but for a transformation to be successful, it must holistically involve cultural and operational changes as well. This might mean a change in leadership, the adoption of a new business model, evolving the company culture, or reassessing how the company delivers value to its customers. Companies are often motivated to attempt a digital transformation when new competitors enter the market. A perfect example is Uber’s rapid success – and subsequent disruption – in the transformation market. Their model forced had a widespread impact on taxis, car rental agencies, car manufacturers, and even bike companies like Citibike, forcing these companies to learn how to incorporate similar technology into their business model. Digital transformations are rarely self-motivated; and often, these transformations fail due to lack of preparation.     Digital Transformation Examples: Learning from Failure Unfortunately, less than 30% of digital transformations succeed. There are a few reasons why digital transformations aren’t successful, but a common thread among failed transformations is lack of focus. Consumer goods leader Proctor & Gamble’s unsuccessful digital transformation perfectly epitomizes why focus is imperative for hoteliers seeking to undergo their own transformation process. In 2012, P&G attempted to become “the most digital company on the planet.” If this sounds like a far-reaching goal, it was – and too broad a goal to be achievable. This unspecific goal led to broad initiatives that lacked purpose. In practice, P&G’s initial approach was “anywhere, anytime shopping” with the goal of abandoning marketing in favor of “personal conversations” with consumers. It was an ambitious (and ambiguous) goal with unsurprisingly subpar results. When the economy slumped, P&G’s digital transformation imploded; the CEO was asked to resign and the company had to reassess their approach. As Harvard Business Review describes, “P&G could probably have lost little ground to competitors had it invested in digital in a more targeted fashion. Today it does so; no digital initiative is undertaken at P&G if it doesn’t fit the strategy closely and if it’s not hardwired to value.” The lesson here? Hotels should break out their digital transformation into small, achievable efforts directly connected to a business outcome. At the brand level hotel chains should not build tech in house and should partner with best in class tech vendors.  By definition, successful digital transformation takes integrating new technology with your processes and people. Hotels must focus on one area of improvement at a time, rather than trying everything at once.    Digital Transformation Strategy For Hotels Hotel owners know there are many goals a digital transformation can help achieve. The mission in approaching digital transformation is to pick the goal with the highest impact. Digital transformation can help to:  Increase digital revenue and website traffic Reduce operational costs Improve product and service quality Improve customer outcomes Pick one of these goals, or something similar, to begin your digital transformation. Pegging your technology acquisition to a specific outcome will drive the operational and personnel changes necessary to be successful. If anything, the P&G experience proves that your goal should drive the adoption of new technology; and your goal must be specific and focused. Imagine a scenario in which your hotel decides to increase digital revenues across your properties. One obstacle toward gaining digital revenue is a high volume of overbookings. Overbookings occur when the total number of rooms reserved by guests during a certain time period is more than the number of rooms available. Hotels often overbook to mitigate losses from no-shows, cancellations, or early check-outs; however, overbookings also indicate poorly run operations. In this scenario, one potential digital transformation initiative could include the adoption of a new property management system – like Oracle OPERA – that includes an intelligent accommodation management tool. This tool avoids overbookings of specific room types and ensures that rooms are cleaned and maintained in a timely manner. The platform automatically enforces booking rules, schedules, and availability of item inventory to deliver a great guest experience and ensure there are no added costs from bringing guests to a second location. A PMS can also play a significant role in a second example of digital transformation: improving customer outcomes. In this scenario, a hotel is trying to solve for long wait times at check-in. Oracle OPERA is equipped with a mobile version to allow staff to check-in guests via any smartphone or tablet. The mobile platform also allows for reservation management, room status, task sheet management, room maintenance, and real-time updates on rooms and maintenance requests. Your team can go mobile to improve efficiencies around the property and meet the needs of guests quickly – leading to an overall better guest experience and shorter wait times.   Bringing Digital Transformation to Your Hotel A digital transformation is as much about the operational and cultural changes you make as it is the technology. A PMS can provide many solutions for reaching your business goals: but, having the right leaders in place is also critical. Oracle’s many digital upgrades work only as far as your training program, lines of communication, and other staff support tools do. Three of McKinsey’s five factors that contribute to the success of digital transformation are people-oriented. Their analysis of successful digital transformations found that hotels must have the right digital-savvy leaders to steer the way; empower teams to work in new ways; and, lastly, to build the skills and capabilities of entry-level workers (and future leaders). Only when hotel owners consider their digital transformation outside the narrow window of tools and platforms – and tie their digital transformation to measurable business results – can they be successful.  

Cloudbeds Review: What You Need To Know About its Hotel Management System

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

For independent hotels, hostels, bed-and-breakfasts and boutiques, it often makes sense to reduce the options under consideration and select a single solution to help you manage your hotel. The best hotel management system (HMS) can open up new channels to bring in more revenue, reduce the stress of day-to-day operations and generally make your life better by giving you back more time in the day so you can focus on what matters: providing the kind of experience that inspires positive reviews and repeat guests. One of the more popular HMS vendors is Cloudbeds, which lands at number three on our popularity index. The Cloudbeds ratings and reviews summary shows relatively strong ratings across the board. It maintains an average 4.1 rating with verified customers, as well as a 96% recommendation rate. Let's jump in and see what Cloudbeds is all about.     What Cloudbeds Does: The Operating System For Your Hotel   The Cloudbeds hotel management software is built to be a reliable, steadfast ally  across all aspects of your hotel. Think of it like the operating system for your hotel. Always on and always there, it’s an all-in-one solution that reaches across your operation to make things run more smoothly and more profitably.  "I love that Cloudbeds is entirely vertically integrated so there's no need to get one company to handle the booking engine, one for the channel manager, one for the PMS.  Cloudbeds has it all." ~Hostel Manager in Chicago (read more reviews) For hoteliers who don’t want to deal with legacy systems or stitch together a patchwork of technologies from multiple vendors, a single integrated system is the way to go. The benefits of a single solution are threefold: Accuracy. A single solution works seamlessly, ensuring that data is accurately and quickly shared across all systems. A patchwork of vendors leads to potential errors due to data not transferring from one system to the other.  Sanity. Multiple vendors means multiple contracts, multiple logins, and multiple interfaces. All of which complicates your life -- not to mention makes on-boarding new staff even more challenging. Cost & value. A single vendor can save your money by offering complete functionality at a better rate than you would get from multiple vendors.   Who Cloudbeds is For: Mostly Independents   Of the 20,000 customers Using Cloudbeds, the vast majority of our independent properties, boutiques, and breakfasts and hostels. Vacation rentals also use the software, although that's generally limited to professional operators with more than one property. That's not to say that multi-property brands aren't using Cloudbeds. It's just that those brands tend to have more complex use cases that don't easily align with the product’s core functionality.   Why Cloudbeds: the 5 Essential Features   As a single solution, Cloudbeds’ hotel management software combines six core capabilities that support specific objectives: A booking engine to take reservations right on your website. Your hotel website is your calling card, it’s your online billboard showcasing everything that makes your property unique. It's an essential part of your hotel’s identity. With a booking engine that turns lookers into bookers, you can reduce leakage to OTAs and capture more commission-free direct bookings. This also means that you own the guest relationship. So you can do things like send scheduled pre-arrival emails with property information and potential upsells (room upgrades, in-destination activities), as well as post-stay emails to encourage more reputation-building online reviews.   The Cloudbeds booking engine interface remains consistent across devices.    Other valuable functionality of a hotel booking engine: works on smartphones and tablets so that your property is bookable across all devices; promo codes so you can optimize digital marketing for conversions; upsells within the booking flow to improve your total revenue per available room (tRevPAR); and integrated payments so you can stop taking payments manually.    A channel manager to distribute your hotel widely. If most of your bookings come from a single channel, an unexpected downtick in demand can prove disastrous. It's a best practice to diversify demand by getting your hotel in front of as many potential guests as possible. That's what the Cloudbeds channel manager does: it distributes your inventory across hundreds of OTAs and metasearch sites -- over 300, in fact -- and lets you set channel-specific rates so you focus first on the most profitable channels, i.e. those with high demand and low commission. This exposure means that you can earn revenue from from far-flung countries that you may not otherwise be able to access. For example, getting your hotel in front of Chinese travelers via Ctrip, a popular OTA in that country. Cloudbeds is also a preferred software partner with Airbnb, so you can distribute your property on one of the most-trafficked travel portals.   Front desk software to manage daily operations. Guaranteed connectivity is a top benefit of going with an integrated hotel property management system like Cloudbeds. With the PMS communicating clearly and reliably with your booking engine and channel manager, you avoid overbookings or lost reservations…and all the related stress.      The Cloudbeds Property Management System is a breeze to use: From the centralized calendar view, simply drag and drop reservations to check them in and out. To adjust reservations, click in from the calendar view. Each reservation is tied to a guest profile, which puts guest data at your staff’s fingertips so they can track preferences and recognize repeat guests. On the marketing side, the PMS automates your guest communications, so you can send pre-stay emails (with upsells) and post-stay review requests to build your online reputation. There’s also an available housekeeping module to keep tabs on room cleanliness and prioritize housekeeping. "The look is simple, but it can do everything.  Drag and drop reservations from room to room.  Edit pricing in seconds.  Need client info for a checkout? It's in front of your eyes in seconds.  There's no waiting for anything to load.  It's there.  And software rollouts happen seamlessly." ~Boutique Hotel Owner in Czechia (Read more reviews of the Cloudbeds PMS)   A revenue management module to optimize your rates and identify trends. Smaller properties usually don't have the budget or need to deploy a full-featured revenue management solution, such as IDeaS or Duetto. But that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from one! Cloudbeds puts pricing automation and business intelligence in the hands of hotels of all sizes with its Pricing Intelligence Engine (PIE).  The pricing automation is really powerful. Rather than manually setting the rates in response to property, market, and competitor dynamics, PIE offers rule-based automation. You set a rule -- such as increasing your rates by 10% when you hit 80% occupancy -- and the system will do it automatically, even if you're out of the office. Alternatively, you can set the system to trigger a notification when a specific threshold is met, Such as your competitor dropping it's rates by 5%. The next time you login, you can review these alerts for potential action. PIE also gives hoteliers access to a robusts data dashboard, which combines data from your HMS with local market data. You'll be able to track and analyze important data, such as your occupancy rate, RevPAR, ADR, and total nights sold, alongside relevant market data to benchmark your performance and identify upcoming opportunities.    A hotel app marketplace to connect your HMS to your existing tools and software. Even with an integrated system, you may find other solutions that you want to integrate with the core hotel management system. The main benefit of direct integration is seamless data sync. Let's say, for example, you want to send a reputation builder email from TrustYou at check-out. Without an integration, you would then have to pull that information from your PMS, log into TrustYou, and schedule. It makes a huge difference when these sorts of things can be automated -- no matter how busy you are, you can rest assured that workflows are executed as planned. To see if your current technology play is well with Cloudbeds, check out the list of integrations on the Cloudbeds Marketplace first.     Cloudbeds Pricing, Implementation and Hotelier Reviews   The Cloudbeds pricing model adjusts on a sliding scale based on the number of active rooms on each property. Then, there are several tiers that include different levels of functionality: Essentials, Plus, Premier, and Enterprise. You'll need to upgrade if you're looking to take advantage of things such as advanced rate plans, customized booking engines, housekeeping management, and the integrations marketplace. In addition, the PIE revenue, payment processing, and groups module are all add-on features for an additional fee. For implementation, Cloudbeds provides ongoing training available online via scheduled training sessions. With these 24/7 training options, it becomes much easier to onboard new staff quickly and effectively. Several verified reviews of Cloudbeds emphasize the strength of the company’s training and support, mentioning “quick support via email,” “great customer service,” and “easy to learn” with “lots of tutorials available before calling support.”  Cloudbeds has one of the best help and training centers in the industry with detailed step-by-step tutorials guiding users through key functionality to optimize their businesses. Want a custom price quote for your property? Get Pricing   Conclusions: Is Cloudbeds Worth It?   If your hotel is looking to consolidate into a single platform, Cloudbeds is a popular choice. You'll need to consider your data migration and be sure to get everything in writing so you can confidently trust that the company will deliver successful migration without interrupting your operations. It's also possible to select only certain portions of the Cloudbeds portfolio. If that's what you're considering, be extra sure that your existing technology will integrate seamlessly. Part of the value of an integrated hotel management system from a single vendor is that it eliminates the worry of uneven syncs. Another consideration: fast-growth companies, such as Cloudbeds, can sometimes mean that implementation and customer support can be uneven. While the majority of HTR reviews are positive, it's best to ask for yourself and push for clear terms related to implementation and ongoing training. Overall, if you're looking for a powerful hotel management system that costs less than securing technology from multiple vendors Cloudbeds is a solid choice. Fewer tools to manage means less time wasted switching between tools and streamlined training and onboarding for new staff through a single vendor. You’ll also benefit from seamless communication between tools so there's no latency or errors. And, since Cloudbeds integrates with other solutions, you can customize as your needs evolve. That gives you one of the most valuable assets: flexibility to grow and adapt as you see fit. Ready to try Cloudbeds? Get a Free Demo  

100+ Hotel Trends to Watch in 2020

by
Jordan Hollander
1 week ago

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

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

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

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

Hotelogix: Everything You Need to Know About Its Hotel Management System

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

An all-in-one hotel management system (HMS) packs a lot of functionality into a single solution and Hotelogix is one of the most popular chosen amongst the HTR community. We know that researching and vetting HMS vendors is extremely time consuming so we've done some of the work for you.  We've interviewed Hotelogix clients, researched the product and synthesized dozens of verified customer reviews into the analysis below. Let's dive in. For small-to-midsize properties, as well as certain chains and resorts, an HMS often makes sense because it streamlines the overall hotel operation. From back office to bookings, housekeeping to channel management, the best hotel management system helps hoteliers prioritize tasks, manage staff, expand distribution and analyze performance, all from the same place.   There are three main benefits for selecting a single vendor for your hotel management needs: Accuracy. An all-in-one solution plays well together, which means that data is accurately and quickly shared.  choosing multiple vendors can lead to data-related issues, which can cause errors when data doesn't match up or syncs slowly. Complexity. Managing multiple vendors means multiple contracts, multiple logins, and multiple interfaces. This dramatically increases back office complexity, and requires more training to on-board new staff on multiple tools. Cost. Selecting multiple vendors a la carte may actually increase your costs, whereas a single vendor offers complete functionality at a more favorable rate.   When evaluating a hotel management system for your hotel, consider Hotelogix HMS, the second-most popular HMS vendor on HotelTechReport. Thanks to consistent high ratings on ease-of-use, implementation, ROI and customer support, Hotelogix HMS maintains an average 4.1 rating with verified customers, as well as a 98% recommendation rate. Here's a complete overview of everything you need to know about the Hotelogix approach to hotel management software.   What Hotelogix Does: An All-in-One Hotel Management Solution   Hotelogix pulls together everything you need to run your hotel into its cloud-based hotel management system: a channel manager, which distributes your hotel’s inventory widely across multiple channels to increase its exposure and thus boost bookings. a property management system, which organizes reservations, streamlines housekeeping management,  and Gifts the front desk the tools they need to manage the day-to-day operations.  a booking engine, to power your hotel's direct booking efforts. an online reputation management tool, so that you can stay on top of what is being said about your hotel online and respond accordingly.  a business intelligence tool, so that you can benchmark and track metrics in a single dashboard and then act on these trends to optimize your hotel’s performance. a revenue management tool to provide local market demand data, occupancy forecasts, rate recommendations, and competitor rate intelligence. Working together, these individual components simplify operations, create more revenue opportunities and increase reach so that hotels can operate more profitably.     Who Hotelogix Is For: Small to Medium-Sized Hotels, As Well as Resorts and Smaller Chains   The majority of Hotelogix’s customers are smaller independents. This includes bed-and-breakfasts, city hotels, and serviced apartments. Given the all-in-one nature of the software, some properties find that the functionality is still a bit more than is necessary, said one GM in a recent customer interview conducted by HTR:   “A good solution for small to mid-sized properties. We chose Hotelogix because it is cloud-based and an affordable system with excellent support. We all think it is very easy to use. There are an overwhelming amount of functions, however. We do not use many of them because we are not a large-scale hotel.” That same operator also pointed out that Hotelogix is a solid choice for properties on a budget, saying: “The cloud-based aspect is important, every new staff is able to use it with their own laptop. It saves a lot of time and budget for our daily operations.” Another reviewer echoes this sentiment, saying that the Hotelogix HMS is as “as simplistic or complex as you need it to be” and provides “great value for the small operator.” That’s not to say that Hotelogix  doesn't offer robust tools for those with more complex needs, such as resorts and multi-property operators. For resorts, the company offers a flavor of its software as a resort management system. Resort-specific functionality include a Rates & Package manager for bundling and rate management, automatic assignment of airport pickups, quick check-ins for groups and the inclusion of guest meal plans in F&B point-of-sale. This helps resort operators tailor their offerings to each guest in advance of their stay and then delivering those offerings via a consistent on-property guest experience.   How Hotelogix Fits Into a Multi-Property Management Scenario   For multi-property operators, Hotelogix has a specific set of functionality that centralizes operations into a single platform. These features include a central reservation office, group revenue management tools, profile management for corporates and travel agents, and cross-property guest profiles. Reports can also be pulled across the properties, providing that higher-level view of portfolio performance. Given the price of more enterprise-grade solutions, such as Oracle Hospitality, Hotelogix is a good value. Also: Hotelogix has a global footprint of customers in over 100 countries who use the software in one of its many available languages, such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, Arabic, Thai and Turkish.   Why Hotelogix: Notable Features For Hoteliers   In addition to the property type specific functionality mentioned above, the Hotelogix all-in-one platform has some essential features that set it apart from competing hotel management solutions:   Run your hotel on the go with a complete hotel management solution in the palm of your hand. The Hotelogix mobile hotel app brings together check-in, checkout, housekeeping and F&B ordering into a convenient interface for operators. This untethers staff from desktop computers and reduces hardware costs for those operators looking to allow staff to use their own devices.      With the app, staff can create room reservations, scan guest IDs to capture details easily, check guests in and out, Assign and track housekeeping tasks, manage F&B outlets, settle folios, and access reports.  For chains, the app can also be used to manage multiple hotel properties, so no matter where you are, you can maintain control and visibility.   TripConnect’s deep integration with TripAdvisor drives direct bookings through reputation management and digital marketing. TripConnect, Hotelogix’s hotel distribution software, features a two-way sync with TripAdvisor so you can automate review collection and drive direct bookings via advertising. To automate reviews, Hotelogix integrates with TripAdvisor Review Express so that you can send automated review collection emails to recently checked-out guests, and then monitor those reviews from your Hotelogix PMS. To drive direct bookings via Hotelogix’s TripConnect campaigns, you can display your hotel’s rates and availability and capture commission-free bookings either by cost-per-click or pay-per-booking. The integration of TripAdvisor digital marketing simplifies the process and makes it easy to capitalize on TripAdvisor demand.   Frontdesk PMS software helps you stay on top of guest communications with automated SMS outreach and database decluttering Multi-channel guest messaging shouldn't be reserved for only the major brands. Hotelogix’s Frontdesk PMS allows your hotel to communicate with guests and the channels they prefer, such as text messages. The automated messages can be sent at whichever stage of the guest journey you prefer: on reservation creation, modification, cancellation, check-in, checkout, or even post-stay, for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Hotelogix also helps verify guest information, such as phone numbers and emails, so that your database remains accurate and uncluttered. That way, when you pull data from your PMS to do email marketing or to create look-a-like audiences for digital marketing, you'll have the  most accurate information possible.   Read more reviews of the Hotelogix HMS   A marketplace that connects your favorite tools into the HMS While some hotels may get everything they need within the Hotelogix HMS, others may want to connect other technologies to perform certain functions. To facilitate this customization, Hotelogix launched its Marketplace of third-party services that work together seamlessly. These integration partners include revenue management tools, such as BEONPRICE, business intelligence platforms, such as Snapshot, and reputation management platforms, such as RepUp, among others. To explore more, we’ve broken down which Hotelogix Marketplace Partners work best for hotels of different sizes.   Intelligent housekeeping module keeps your rooms organized and accurately allocated, all with the PMS Rather than relying on separate housekeeping software, Hotelogix customers can use the integrated housekeeping module to assign tasks, close out rooms for maintenance, and set up automations to avoid putting a guest in a dirty room. The module syncs with the PMS so management can consult color-coded room status information to build each day’s daily list of tasks. This streamlines cleaning and reduces the time it takes to prioritize staff resources. For room allocation, the Dynamic Room Allocation manager ensures that the best available room is allocated to each guest by analyzing available inventory alongside parameters such as housekeeping status and room occupancy. By doing this automatically and in real-time, your staff can check-in guests more quickly and without potentially embarrassing mistakes.    Hotelogix: Pros and Cons According to its Customers   As the second most popular hotel management system on HTR, Hotelogix has garnered 45 reviews from hoteliers across the property type spectrum. Between these reviews, and an in-depth user interview conducted in fall 2019 with an independent operator, here are the pros and cons according to verified Hotelogix customers.   Hotelogix Pros:   “Easy to maintain or update allotments of rates to OTAs”  “Tab display for different reservations within the main calendar page” “For overbookings from OTAs, they will notify in a timely manner, and those failed reservations can be managed and re-pushed once allotments are open.” “The customer service is the best. Never need to wait for responses and can trust they will work on whatever issue you have.” “They are constantly improving the product by adding new helpful features.”   Hotelogix Cons:  Cluttered interfaces and a “booking engine that’s not that intuitive for guests” with “many mismatches in rates between what the guest sees and what’s actually being offered.” For smaller operators, there is “Almost too much functionality. When we train new employees it takes 2-3 weeks to ramp them up because there are so many functions and certain ways to input information.” “It takes time to implement integration with new software.”   Getting Started with Hotelogix HMS   For hotels interested in trying Hotelogix before committing, the company offers a 15-day free trial, no credit card needed. Beyond that, the HMS is offered on a per room/per month basis depending on the desired functionality: Premium, Premium Plus, or Platinum. Each tier also has a minimum billing threshold so smaller properties should take note. Multi-property operators will need to contact sales for a custom quote. On the  support side, customers do mention good things about Hotelogix’s support staff. While the company has not completed HTR’s Verified Customer Support Certification, Hotelogix does offer 24/7 support that one hotelier called “Amazing,” explaining further that the “Best thing is when you send a request to tech Support Team, within a Min. they reply (NOT Auto reply).” Another reviewer called the team “professional” and always available to sort any issues.”    Read more reviews of the Hotelogix HMS   Conclusions: Should You Choose Hotelogix?   For smaller properties looking for competitive functionality at a reasonable price, Hotelogix is likely to be a great fit. As we’ve seen, it may even provide more than you’re looking for. Even so, having unused functionality could be the incentive you need to start exploring new ways to integrate technology into your independent operation. For larger properties, there’s some serious value to the enterprise-level version of Hotelogix. It may not be the prettiest or most intuitive interface, but it gets the job done by providing essential functionality without breaking the bank. In these cases, Hotelogix may work best alongside a dedicated business intelligence tool and revenue management system. That way you get the advantages of robust reporting and analytics, alongside the core hotel management functionality.  One final note: Be sure to take the time to evaluate all available solutions in the hotel management system category. When asked to share advice for a newcomer, one hotelier interviewed by HTR had this recommendation: “Evaluate all functions you need (like channel manager, booking engine, financial support, etc.) before you make the decision.” That’s excellent advice which is a best practice when evaluating any options in hospitality technology. Invest the time to read relevant reviews, talk to colleagues, and test solutions. Finding the best solution for your hotel is well worth the time it takes to yield the best result: a piece of technology that fulfills its promise to make your life easier, earn you more money, improve guest satisfaction, or make your operation run more smoothly.  

What is Hospitality? An In-Depth Look For Professionals

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Have you ever thought about what hospitality means to you -- and how it applies in different areas of your life? What does hospitality mean at work? With family at home? In line at the grocery store? What about with friends out at dinner or your kid’s soccer game? In many ways, hospitality is contextual; how exactly you exhibit it depends on the situation. What it means to be ‘hospitable’ is fairly universal and cross-cultural: being friendly, warm, welcoming, and helpful to others, especially strangers. That last bit is why hospitality remains important after all these years: it comes down to basic human interactions of being genuine, generous and sincere. When practiced every day, hospitality leads to a deeper sense of connection and belonging with the people around us -- and also happens to have immense health benefits, such as reducing stress and protection from illness. One of the most challenging elements of hospitality is that it is simultaneously personal and universal. There are certain non-negotiables: warmth, humility, the ability to listen and solve problems. And then there’s the spectrum of interpretations for each operation: casual vs formal, familiar vs distanced, laid-back vs luxury, convenience vs cost. As we’ll see, it’s this blend of generalized expectations and personal preferences that define the industry today.    What is Hospitality? Expert (and Dictionary) Definitions   As an industry, the hospitality industry was born out of casual arrangements between locals and weary travelers looking for a safe place to rest their horses and lay their heads. A basic meal and some ale was also usually a part of the bargain. These casual stays then evolved to become more than just a place to stay. Serving an increasingly-mobile class of merchants, nobles, scholars, and priests, the hospitality industry was born. 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.” (Webster Dictionary).      As a human-centered philosophy, hospitality has been infused in most major religions and cultures. The ancient Greek concept of Xenia refers to the guest-host relationship in “which human beings demonstrate their virtue or piety by extending hospitality to a humble stranger.” The New Testament promotes the virtues of hospitality, in which locals generously take in travelling Christians unable to find safe places to sleep, while Hinduism features a principle of the “guest is God. ” So how does that guest-centric history relate to the way that today’s titans approach hospitality? What does hospitality really mean to those at the top of the industry?   It’s about trust and empowering staff, first and foremost. Restaurateur Danny Meyer, who recently announced a partnership with Hyatt’s newest brand Caption, centers his philosophy of “enlightened hospitality” on hiring great employees. The right staff translates directly into exceptional experiences, which is why employees are the most important stakeholder group, followed by guests, the community, suppliers, and investors. Danny explains why in his book Setting the Table:  “The only way we can consistently earn raves, win repeat business, and develop bonds of loyalty with our guests is to ensure that our own team members feel jazzed about coming to work. Being jazzed is a combination of feeling motivated, enthusiastic, confident, proud, and at peace with the choice to work on our team.” Of course, labor is a top struggle for hoteliers, so it’s more important than ever to consider your working conditions and building a culture that retains top talent.   It's about understanding technology’s place in the modern hospitality mix. Hospitality legend Ian Schrager offers a simple explanation for the longevity of his brands, such as Morgans hotels: it’s the product, not the technology, that defines the guest experience: “It’s always about the product. It’s not about the reservation system, or about all the other things that generic properties concern themselves with because they have nothing distinctive to offer. It’s about the product.”  And that means using technology intentionally, he tells Skift: “Why can’t we automate the execution in the hotel business, but bring back the amenities through the services and the visuals of food and beverage and the entertainment factor? Make it as efficient as possible so you can pass those savings on to the guests.”   It’s about touchpoints and micro-experiences that make each guest feel valued and at “home.” Ian Schrager distils this down into four words: “taking care of people,” while Joie de Vivre founder, author and former head of hospitality at Airbnb Chip Conley sees the goal of hospitality as “turning strangers into friends,” which is why he chose to call hotel staff “hosts.” Bill Marriott echoes similar sentiments, saying: “This is what it's all about: Taking care of people, making them feel good when they're away from home, making them feel that they're appreciated and recognizing them. You can't do that with a computer. You can only do that with personal contact and that's what we talk about all the time — the importance of personal contact.”   It's about building something greater than the sum of its parts. Hospitality is where warmth and genuine sincerity meet to create something greater than the sum of its parts. For each of the people quoted here, hospitality was a calling, a passion that not only became their life's work but inspired generations of hospitality professionals as well. As Ian Schrager frames it, the secret to a great hotel is putting all of these pieces together, from design to technology to talent, in a way that “one plus one equals three.” In a lot of ways, hospitality is similar to Hollywood, insofar as it’s about motivating a diverse group of professionals to create something none of them could create on their own. Liz Lambert, founder of Bunkhouse Group, calls it “magic” when a hotel becomes part of the fabric of a place, saying: “This is the trend that most hospitality companies are trying to figure out: How to create real experiences. There’s no playbook for it. It’s really about the creativity and shared passion of the group doing the work.”   What Isn’t Hospitality? Knowing the Difference   So what's the opposite of hospitality? Is it, as the thesaurus suggests, frostiness, unfriendliness, ungraciousness, coldness, abruptness? Yes, indeed. As isolated facets of the guest experience, calling someone by their first name is not hospitality. Neither is butchering their last name, avoiding eye contact while typing into a computer or asking “have you stayed with us before” to a loyal guest. Hospitality also isn't a checklist, something to be completed with detached operational efficiency. “It's remarkable to me how many businesses shine brightly when it comes to facing the tasks that emanate all the warmth of a cool fluorescent light.”  -Danny Meyer In other words, hospitality isn't the same thing as service. It’s about knowing the difference between service and hospitality -- and delivering on both. Service is transactional (the tasks of running a hotel) while hospitality is genuine (the human element of running a hotel). In Setting the Table, Danny Meyer underscores the importance of balancing both service and hospitality to deliver exceptional experiences: “understanding the distinction between service and hospitality has been at the foundation of our success. Service is the technical delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipients feel. It takes both great service and great hospitality to rise to the top.” With the recent rise of brands that see themselves more as tech companies delivering services rather than hospitality companies delivering experiences, such as Sonder and Lyric, there’s a very real risk of conflating service delivery with true hospitality -- and potentially watering down the core principles that have been driving the industry for centuries. One of the dangers of the commodification of the hotel industry (due to the stubborn price-based mentality exacerbated by online comparison shopping tools) is the equal commodification of the guest. When guests choose hotels mostly by price, it's easy to detach from the hospitality mindset and see guests simply as dollar signs contributing to KPIs in a spreadsheet.   What is Hospitality Management? Applying Concepts to the Profession   Many of the precepts underpinning hospitality management as a profession are based on the history of the industry, which stretches back to 15,000 B.C., the first documented instance of one tribe hosting another at the Lascaux caves in France. In the late Middle Ages, as merchants like Marco Polo explored the Far East, Mongolia’s Ghengis Khan developed a road system to move letters and goods through his massive territories, building thousands of resting places, known as “posthouses.” These inns began to welcome merchants, scholars, messengers and other traveling elites, and hospitality began to flourish alongside global commerce. By the late 1700s, the industrial revolution had accelerated the industry’s growth across all major cities and trade routes, leading to an explosion of professional hotels in the 1800s. By the 1900s, luxury hotels arose to cater to the world’s industrialists and the newly-rich capitalists, who began traveling in earnest as aviation facilitated global business travel, culminating in a major hotel boom starting in the 1980s that, in many respects, continues today. In those last 150 years, the industry expanded from the core principles of hospitality -- welcoming guests with a friendly smile, a safe space, and a comfortable room -- to hotels targeting all types of guests what different amenities, service levels, and price points. The maturing of hotels meant that hotel management was now a bonafide profession, with global appeal, and supported by schools like the Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (founded in 1893). For those who aspired to manage hotels, it quickly became a requirement to learn about financial management, hotel marketing, and staff selection and training. Hotel management was now a real profession -- and a good one at that!    Connecting Current Trends to Essential Hospitality Traits   Today, successful hotel management centers around understanding how to harness current technology to leverage trends and deliver hospitality consistently. For a framework, the latest tech trends in hospitality can be coupled with their corresponding hospitality traits    Trend: Airbnb’s continued professionalization  Hospitality Trait: Anticipating guest needs. As more travelers turn to professionally-managed short-term rentals, hotels must do an outstanding job at anticipating guest needs and showing the timeless value of on-premises hospitality. There are certain things that even a professional rental can't match: a warm smile and greeting of hotel staff, immediate help when you need it, and someone there to anticipate your needs.   Trend: Mobile devices everywhere  Hospitality Trait: Using welcoming words and exuding warmth with the “10 and 5 rule.” The 10 and 5 rule says that staff should acknowledge and warmly smile to any guests within 10 feet, and make a sincere, audible greeting within 5 feet. Staff should strive for each interaction to create a genuine connection with guests; in a digital world, analog interactions carry more weight.    Trend: The talent crunch Hospitality Trait: Good communications skills -- especially listening. As turnover rises and it becomes harder to hold onto talent, hotels must train staff on the power of micro-communications. Danny Meyer says “hospitality is a dialogue” which “requires listening...and following up with a thoughtful, gracious, appropriate response.” Train your staff to provide prompt, responsive, and specific feedback rather than cold platitudes. For instance, rather than “we are sorry for any inconvenience” (which suggests that the guest may actually not be inconvenienced), the response would be: “ I'm so sorry you can't take a shower. Maintenance will be up in 10 minutes. I'll follow up in 20 minutes to make sure that it’s fixed.”   Even as these trends rise and fall, the core principles remain constant. After all, the hospitality industry has been around for thousands of years. It's one of the world's oldest industries and remains a bright spot for cultural exchange, business development, and good, old-fashioned rest-and-relaxation. Hospitality is a shared global language that has become a fundamental part of the shared human experience. Guests remember not just the standard service but the extraordinary hospitality that makes them feel welcome and appreciated. That’s what it’s all about!  

Tried and True Strategies for Post-Stay Surveys: How to Collect More Positive Guest Feedback

by
Valerie Castillo
1 month ago

Guest surveys are one of the most efficient ways of encouraging feedback and they have the potential to boost a hotel business. In this best practice guide, we are focusing on the tried and true strategies of creating successful post-stay surveys in order to ensure more positive feedback and higher levels of guest satisfaction.  With over 10 years in the hospitality industry, TrustYou has gathered and leveraged a multitude of insights, often times provided by our trusted clients. The following tips on how to build post-stay surveys are based on the strategies that have proven to have a positive pay-off.     To start on a general note, it’s important to consider the following overall survey best practices: Provide multilingual surveys in order to cater to international travelers. It will not only encourage your guests to complete a review but they will also feel valued. Stick to a simple, unsophisticated, and to the point writing style. Consider that your guests are already doing you a favor by taking their time to complete the survey, so there’s no need to overcomplicate things. Typically, minimizing surveys to 1-2 dropdown/checkbox answers, 3-5 ratings, and one long text answer will take your guest about 5 minutes to fill out. As a rule-of-thumb, avoid asking for more than 1-2 long text answers. Most long surveys are not completed and a larger number of open questions tend to discourage respondents Try to use only one page for the entire guest survey in order to encourage its completion. Moving on to the more specific strategies that ensure a positive outcome, here’s what you should consider when creating guest surveys:   Personalize the header  The header is the way in which you introduce your intentions of getting feedback and you encourage your guest to move forward with the survey. It is recommended to personalize the header with the guest’s name in order to give it a more personal and friendly touch.    Mention the value of the review Before you start asking questions, it’s important to let the guest know what’s the actual value of his review. You can start by explaining that his feedback is highly appreciated and that it will help improve the hotel services and any future experiences. Make the guest feel heard and valued from the very beginning and you stand higher chances of getting a completed survey.   Explain the rating system Let your guests know what they’re getting into. Right after making the introduction and explaining the value of honest feedback, explain the rating system used in the survey. Whether it’s based on a scale from 1-5, satisfaction levels, or any other type of rating system, make it clear from the beginning in order to avoid misunderstandings and less than accurate answers.   Include the type of trip at the beginning If this is something that is valuable to you and your business, make sure to inquire about the type of trip in the beginning of the survey. Based on this, you can anticipate the reasoning behind the following answers and even build a customer profile that will lead to more personalized future experiences.   Start with non-mandatory ratings The final goal is to receive answers and honest feedback but keep in mind that not everyone has an answer for everything. Some questions should be mandatory and some should be more flexible. It is recommended to start with the non-mandatory ratings in order to ensure that respondents don’t feel “trapped” - that is something that can lead to an abandoned survey.    End with (not too many) open questions  Questions that enable multiple choice answers are the most efficient ones and generally, respondents are more eager to provide feedback to these them. However, sometimes open answers are needed in order to explore a more complex inquiry. Open questions should not be mandatory and we recommend to stick to one or two. Otherwise, people might get discouraged and not complete the survey.   Locate the overall score at the end of the survey The overall score is meant to summarize the rating that guests provide to the overall hotel experience. Keep it at the end of the survey, as a natural succession and a wrap-up. Also, it we recommend to attach a “review text” to the overall score in order for guests to be able to express any final impressions or suggestions.   Inquire about stand-out staff This isn’t mandatory and you decide if this is helpful for your business, however we encourage it to shine a spotlight on your most deserving staff. All you have to do is add an extra question at the end of the survey inquiring about any stand-out members of the hotel staff. Guests appreciate the human touch and the opportunity to praise your exceptional staff, which can also be used as a method to reward and encourage your personnel.   Ask guests is they want to receive newsletters/be contacted by staff If you wish to follow up with guests after their stay or even send out a future newsletter, include this information in the guest survey, at the very end. You can use a drop-down question that would enable guests to choose the option that they prefer in terms of future hotel-guest communication. This encourages loyalty, and improve your CRM.   Publish to Google This is not a question per se but rather a way for you to gain online visibility and leverage feedback towards a higher exposure. When using the TrustYou survey solution, you can add an option at the very end of the survey. This means that guests can choose to have their feedback published on the hotel’s Google listing to make it public and even more valuable.   

Buying a New PMS: It's Not as Difficult as You Think

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

A property management system is the backbone of any hotel’s operations, which is why these tools spark such strong opinions among hotel owners. The PMS software suite is used to coordinate reservations, manage room availability, accept payments, check-in guests, and more. Property management systems are the central artery for all activities taking place at a hotel property. Finding the right system is crucial. Unfortunately, many hotel owners still haven’t found a PMS system that works for them. One survey by Fuel Travel uncovered that 55.2% of hotel managers were not satisfied with their current PMS provider. At a minimum, a PMS should give hotel owners the ability to better manage and monitor the key metrics needed to run their business (e.g. average daily rate, occupancy, and RevPAR. Switching to a cloud-based system like the latest version of Oracle OPERA gives hoteliers the ability to keep pace with the needs of an increasingly mobile traveler. A property management system is supposed to make it easy to manage your on-site workflows. Here’s what a PMS can do for your hotel team – and why you must vet your PMS vendors carefully.    What Can the Right PMS Do For Your Hotel Property? Many PMS systems still in use at hotels are outdated and ill-equipped to integrate with new mobile platforms of the future. Understanding how a PMS can benefit your hotel is the first step in moving toward upgrading your platform. Improve your guest relationships and make your operations more efficient by finding the right PMS for your property. Property management software gives you new tools to surprise and delight your guests, as well as to reduce some of the friction points before and during their stay. The right PMS can reduce errors from overbookings, lead to a seamless check-in experience, and facilitate accommodating customer requests by remembering a guest’s preferences. Oracle’s PMS, for example, shows your on-site team details such as a guest’s stay history, previous communications, and past service requests. Rich guest profiles make it possible to provide high-grade service without adding a burden to your existing operations. Along with offering a great experience, your hotel captures its full potential revenue by integrating a PMS with other key hotel software such as a channel manager, revenue management system or CRM. A property management tool maintains advanced rate and room availability restrictions, as well as pricing options: best available rate, dynamic rates, daily rates, base rate, and negotiated rates. The PMS stores these data points and distributes them through an integrated channel manager to ensure your hotel grows it’s revenue efficiently. Make more money by letting your PMS adjust rates quickly across all of your channels based on market conditions.     Beyond managing rates, a PMS can also automate tasks like managing room inventory and teams. Oracle’s smart PMS tool allocates room inventory to avoid overbooking and manages traffic between your front desk and housekeeping staff to make sure the rooms are clean and ready for guests. Some tools allow you to monitor market data, create automated rules and triggers adjust prices and provide insights related to pace, pickup, and occupancy. Connections with third party integrators like Hapi can automate many of your hotel’s operations by facilitating a seamless connection between systems: from managing checklists, to running reports, to scheduling your staff. Save hours spent switching between applications, manual calculations, and recovering from errors by finding the right PMS and tailoring it to your property’s needs. And, ideally, your PMS should be equipped to handle the travelers of tomorrow. Mobile is a must-have feature of any property management system. Oracle’s Cloud Service gives staff access to check-in/check-out, reservation management, room status, room maintenance, and task sheets on any smartphone or tablet. Travelers, too, expect to be able to check-in via mobile device. 60% of guests will choose a hotel that gives them a mobile check-in option over a hotel that doesn’t have that capability. Your hotel PMS must be equipped to handle mobile check-in and keep up with the needs of guests.    What’s New in the PMS Market? There are a lot of new developments revolutionizing the PMS market. This year has seen innovations in the way a hotel operating system managers guests, greater access for small, independent properties, and the advent of cloud-based features. Where previous iterations of property management software treated each guest as a transaction, today’s PMS products put the guest first. Oracle, for example, offers a loyalty support feature that builds a guest profile based on their previous behaviors. Properties can use customer data to build packages and upsell relevant services based on guests’ previous length of stay, spend at restaurants and bars, and other preferences. Today’s property management systems are more accessible and affordable for small, independent properties. Our research shows that a budget PMS starts around $50 per month and scales upward based on number of rooms and implementation complexity. Lastly, the next generation of property management systems integrates cloud technology, offering a way to deliver new innovations, features, and updates continuously based on customer feedback. Today’s hotel operating software won’t become outdated at the same rate as the last generation of tools: it’s an investment that will continue to pay dividends over time.    Criteria For Selecting a Property Management System A PMS must integrate with your existing booking engine, channel manager, and email marketing or CRM tool for your property to see the full benefit of using a property management tool. A PMS linked to your booking engine can keep track of guests and move them around as needed to reduce the likelihood of overbooking. When used in conjunction with your channel manager, a PMS can utilize smart pricing to grow your revenue depending on market trends. And, used with your CRM system, a PMS will track guest preferences to empower your team to provide a five-star experience. PMS vendors each offer different bells and whistles with their software, but these are a few of the key features your system should include:  Intuitive interface: easy-to-use interface so your staff can pick up the system quickly Reservation modification: keep track of guests and move them around as needed  Centralized dashboard: monitor key metrics and get daily reports at a glance Customizable taxes and fees: modify taxes, fees, and cancellation policies to suit your business. Government compliance: comply with local tax and regulations  Guest communication: send automated pre and post-stay communications to your guests. Reporting suite: generate detailed production and financial reports Channel availability: sync availability to multiple channels in real-time   How to Compare & Dilligence Cloud PMS Vendors Every hotel owner has a unique set of needs at their property a PMS can solve. When vetting a platform vendor, here are some of the questions to keep in mind. How quickly can I train new staff with this system?  The hospitality industry has notoriously high employee turnover.  Every time a team member leaves, their replacement must be retrained. Training costs place a huge burden on your operational budget – even more so if your PMS is difficult to understand. Make sure the PMS vendor provides the regular training support you will likely need. Which channels and/or channel managers do you connect to?  Premium PMS systems will sync your availability to multiple channels in real-time and provide booking engine functionality. Other vendors will also offer an all-in-one solution that reduces the overhead of managing and learning multiple systems. What kind of support is offered, and when can I contact them?  A property management system is supposed to make your job easier. But, when a PMS fails and you can’t take bookings, the system quickly becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Every minute your system is down, you’re losing revenue and your team members get demoralized. Make sure the vendor’s customer support team is available to troubleshoot 24/7/365. Ask how long will it take for the vendor to respond to your support calls. What training materials does the vendor have available? What’s their NPS rating from current clients? How does your platform help me comply with the regulations in my region?  Make sure the property management system can be customized to support your local language, taxes, and government regulations. Can your platform scale with your business? How open is your system to support 3rd party software integrations? Without the right integrations, like housekeeping and room assignments, a hotel is impossible to manage. When you miss out on the right integration to upsell, you miss out on revenue. Don’t pay through the nose to integrate with other software – especially with so many open APIs available.    Not sure which PMS is right for your hotel? Use our Property Management Software Finder to get FREE custom recommendations.    

How to Leverage Collaboration Tools in Your Hotel Business

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

There’s no silver bullet to fix every issue at your hotel property, but if there were, it might look a lot like a staff collaboration tool. Service optimization depends in large part on managing hotel staff in different parts of the property, at different times, working on different tasks and collaborating on complex projects. Historically, service optimization was a hydra of checklists, manuals, staff training, two-way radios, and memos. Staff collaboration – and, consequently, service optimization – has evolved thanks to software like hotelkit. Our research shows that collaboration software can reduce unnecessary phone calls and ineffective processes – thereby saving hotels up to three minutes per guest request. For every 1,500 guest requests, hotels can save in the ballpark of $1500, or $1/request, simply by implementing service optimization software. Hotelkit and other collaboration tools offset high employee turnover by storing your key SOPs and other documents in the cloud and making them accessible to employees wherever they are in a hotel (or off property). Most importantly, they help your operations team run like a well-oiled machine through seamless communication and task tracking. Service optimization software is now critical for hoteliers seeking to improve operational efficiency, deliver five-star guest experiences, and increase RevPAR. Here’s what you need to know about procuring staff collaboration software.    Why every hotel needs collaboration tools Hotels with staff collaboration tools reap the benefits of improved operational efficiency, better guest experiences, and increased revenue per available room. Where hotels used to rely on paper checklists and uncoordinated teams working in silos throughout the property, hotel operations software streamlines staff and processes more efficiently. A cloud-based hotel operations platform like hotelkit aligns your team through a single platform, providing a way to manage tasks and delegate throughout the day. Decision-making becomes more transparent, leading to better results and higher employee engagement. By offering transparency, a collaboration tool empowers your team to deliver a great guest experience. Digitizing communication keeps all employees up to date on a property’s shifting priorities as guests check-in, enjoy their stay, and depart at different times. Teams can share ideas, tackle challenges, and delegate effectively in structured workflows. Guest needs, requests, and complaints reach the ears of the right people to solve the issue quickly. And, lastly, a service optimization platform offers knowledge continuity and standardization in service. Hotelkit provides a way to document standard operating procedures and an employee handbook in one place, so employees can refer to policies and procedures from any device at any time. Provide continuity between shift changes, new employees, and between different property locations.    The 2020 Hotelier's Guide to Collaboration Tools: Download Here   Hospitality trends impacting collaboration tools: staff turnover, globalization and quality standards This year, collaboration tools have become even more powerful, adding on some exciting new capabilities. 2019 was the year of messaging, mobile, and consumerization of the enterprise. The top hotel collaboration tools improve communications between hotel staff and guests by introducing text and chat capabilities. With real-time guest messaging from in-room tablets or mobile apps, hotel teams need the ability to coordinate quickly and effectively. Tools like Slack and Intercom are already popular at hotel properties, and we expect to see industry-specific software continue to innovate in this area. Today’s guest is more mobile-first than ever before. Guests prefer to receive text updates more than most forms of communication. More than 83% of millennial consumers said they text more than they talk on their smartphones. The “mobilization of everything” applies to staff collaboration tools as well. Hotel teams are increasingly comfortable with mobile technology in the workplace. And, lastly, the consumerization of IT means that unless a software tool is intuitive, your hotel staff will be slow to adopt it. The consumerization of IT is a trend coined by Gartner to describe how employees approach workplace devices and technologies from the point of view of a consumer. When tools and technologies at your hotel are outdated or considered “old school,” it’s less likely that your hotel team will use those tools – leading to no productivity gain. There’s a clear imperative to upgrade your service optimization and communication tools to help your team work better. Where are staff collaboration tools evolving next? We predict that employee turnover, globalization, and quality standards will define the next iteration of service optimization platforms. Employee turnover in the hotel industry is shockingly high. By one estimate, “the hotel and motel industry alone experiences an employee turnover rate of 73.8%––exponentially higher than the annual average of 10-15%.” Retaining the right people within your organization is becoming more and more difficult, and collaboration tools are vital to maintaining institutional knowledge.  Globalization and the rise of diverse teams means staff collaboration tools need to be equipped to manage communication issues as they arise. Highly diverse teams, such as housekeeping, must overcome language barriers and miscommunication due to cultural differences.  Finally, we expect that 2020 will see much higher quality standards and guest expectations. Guests will only be more demanding, seeking out personalized experiences and high-tech add-ons in addition to high-quality standards. Service optimization platforms must provide efficient internal communication and quality management. Where does this leave hoteliers? Hotels without collaboration software will fall behind and struggle in a world with rising employee turnover rates and increasingly global teams.   Selecting a staff collaboration tool for your hotel There are dozens of great staff collaboration tools on the market. Knowing what to look for as you select a platform for your hotel is half the battle. These are just a few of the key benefits a tool like hotelkit will cover:  Task checklists: to manage daily routines and assign clear responsibilities.  Task traceability: to add accountability and ensure timely completion of tasks. In-app translation: to help multilingual staff collaborate.  Alerts & notifications: to prevent costly mistakes and missed deadlines. Reporting & analytics: to help spot trends, escalate issues and identify opportunities to improve.  SOP handbook: to store a hotel’s hub of knowledge.  Shift handovers: for clear communication between shifts. Integrated messaging ability: for seamless messaging across departments and with guests Your staff collaboration tool must integrate with your PMS and, if you have them, in-room tablets, as well as any other guest messaging tools you use. Vet every vendor to make sure they have the integrations you need to set your team up for success.   Getting started with collaboration software Collaboration software should be intuitive and easy to learn to offset the high staff turnover rates in your industry. It should be straightforward enough for even your most technically-challenged staff member to understand. Hotels change management companies all the time, so look for a software tool that can adapt and scale with you – without having to adapt to another plan. The software should support all your stakeholders, not just those in an operational role.  And, last but not least, it’s imperative to ask your vendor how their tool can show measurable success: in RevPAR, in guest satisfaction, and operational efficiency. For more information, download our buyers guide for a deep dive on vendors, pricing, and our top recommended tools for service optimization.