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How Technology is Helping Independent Hotels Develop Competitive Revenue Strategies

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 days ago

In recent years, many independent hotels have come to realize that technology gives them tools to compete with larger hotel brands in the digital marketplace, helping them to remain competitive and drive share of market.But how exactly can technology add value to a hotel like yours? Duetto, known for their pioneering revenue management software, recently spoke with independent hotels to better understand how they use technology to get ahead of the curve. In this article, we’ll share some of Duetto’s findings: real-life examples of hotels that make software an integral part of their revenue strategies. These examples may spark ideas and inspiration for you as you consider adopting technology at your own property.

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Hotel Front Desk: Here's What it's Like to Work This Job

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

A front desk agent is one of the most important jobs at any hotel, but what’s it really like to work as one? As a front desk agent, you’re the first person to welcome a guest to your hotel and the last one to bid farewell when they leave, so you’re responsible for the crucial first and last impressions as well as delighting guests throughout their time on property. If you’re curious about working as a front desk agent, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll dive into the tasks and responsibilities of a front desk agent, how to apply for a front desk role, and what career paths you can take after working as a front desk agent.

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6 Simple Ways to Create a Seamless Guest Experience at Your Hotel

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

 With guest expectations continually changing and new technologies popping up daily, how can you possibly stay on top of it all? You might feel paralysed by choice or unsure of where to begin; there are simply so many potential vendors to consider or new ideas to test. And let’s not forget about budget and resource constraints, since you probably don’t have a blank check to put toward endless bells and whistles for your guests. But even with limited staff and realistic budgets, hotels of any size can dazzle their guests with a five-star guest experience if you know which technology investments will pay off. Whether you own or operate a boutique hotel, an inn, guesthouses, or something else, this article will help you craft a smooth guest experience – leading to better review scores, more repeat guests, and higher RevPAR – by leveraging technology effectively.

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Payments as a Growth Driver in Hospitality

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Hotels and hotel chains that have been awaiting a post-pandemic travel boom are now facing an economic downturn that’s likely to constrain both business and consumer travel. As these businesses look for levers they can pull to increase revenue, reduce costs, and offer an outstanding customer experience, “payments processing” probably isn’t an obvious option.That’s probably because historically, payments providers have provided a commodity service that’s at worst viewed as an unavoidable cost center and at best treated as an afterthought. But this legacy model is now being replaced with a new way of thinking about payments, which is why we’ve partnered with Stripe to discuss how payments can catalyze growth for the hospitality industry.Modern providers need to do more than just process payments, because modern businesses have increasingly complex needs and consumer preferences are constantly changing. That’s why Stripe offers software to create optimized payments experiences, streamline revenue management, and facilitate a range of different business models from subscriptions to multi-sided marketplaces.These are the kinds of capabilities that hotels need to be thinking about as they’re exploring new ways to grow amidst our current economic climate. It takes a provider truly focused on technology to deliver what’s needed, and modern providers like Stripe are much more focused on building new payments technologies than traditional providers. For example, about 37% of Stripe employees are engineers, compared to only 11-12% of the teams at two major incumbents (according to LinkedIn employment data). By working with a tech company like Stripe, your business is able to build on flexible modern infrastructure–and ultimately execute faster.In this article we’ll explore the paradigm shift in hospitality from the legacy view of payments as a cost center to the modern view of payments as a revenue driver. We’ll cover the different ways that hotel businesses of all sizes can use payments innovation to their advantage using a modern provider like Stripe.

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How to Write a Hotel Welcome Letter (+Free Templates)

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Looking for ways to engage with your hotel guests? Or are you searching for initiatives that will help you improve guest review scores, even if you have fewer front desk staff than in previous years? Welcome letters (or welcome note) are a small but impactful element that sets each guest experience off on the right foot. These friendly messages can set the tone for a guest’s entire stay, and they can communicate important information that a guest needs to know.They can be branded, personalized, and even interactive - with QR codes, links, and social media handles. For such a meaningful touchpoint, welcome letters are quite easy to implement. With the best practices in this article and the templates we provide, you’ll get a big head start toward adding welcome letters to your guest journey (or elevating your existing letter templates).

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How Hotel Tech Powers Proactive Guest Service

by
Sarah Duguay
3 months ago

Mobile messaging, chatbots, contactless check-ins—-we wouldn’t blame you if the thought of instituting technology feels cold and unwelcoming. After all, advances in hotel tech are a result of streamlining operations in favor of a more automated approach. But the why behind hotel tech is not about less hospitality, it’s about better hospitality.Hotel tech is often touted as a time saver, which goes hand-in-hand with better hospitality. Time freed from conducting mundane paperwork thanks to hotel tech can be rerouted to providing other guest services, from organizing surprise-and-delight initiatives to in-person guest assistance.But the most compelling argument for hotel tech is how it supports proactive hospitality. Traditionally, hoteliers would cast a large net to catch guests, with hospitality commencing upon booking and check-in. Yet with developments in hotel technology, hoteliers can define their target market (or guest segments), create appealing content, and develop personalized offers and service—taking hospitality to the next level. Moreover, hospitality doesn’t end when a guest checks out. Through hotel tech, hotels can nurture relationships with their guests in a proactive way that garners repeat bookings.While at first glance hotel tech may seem to lack a human touch, the opposite is true. Through the thoughtful and human-designed application of chatbots, websites, email automation, guest databases, and guest messaging, hoteliers can provide personalized guest experiences through every stage of the guest journey: pre-stay, stay, and post-stay.

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How PMSs Help Mobile Applications Push Hospitality Forward

by
Jan Hejny
5 months ago

Guests’ satisfaction has been dependent on the work of hotel employees for a long time. However, hotels may not have enough staff (a common phenomenon today) or they may encounter understandable staff limits (people are not reachable nonstop or can be slow, etc.). This can lead to problematic situations such as check-in queues or insufficient communication with guests. Therefore, the dependency of guest satisfaction on the performance of the staff only may not be the best possible solution for a hotel. Especially nowadays, when there is an option to supplement the work of hotel employees with available systems. Mobile applications, software designed to improve the care that guests receive in hotels, are a typically great support for the work of staff. But it’s not just about mobile applications, the story of service improvements begins (traditionally) with PMSs. PMS and third-party systemsSeveral systems are available for hotels. However, in order for their operation to develop thanks to the use of these systems, it is necessary to connect them “to solid foundations”, i.e. a good PMS. Not only because PMS simplifies hotel administration and increases its efficiency, but also because it gathers lots of information that third-party systems need to use. That’s why, for the good of the hotels, the responsibilities of PMSs should include “openness”, which means they should be enabling integrations with third-party software. But not all PMSs work that way. In many places, it is a standard even today to use PMS which does not support integration. Such a hotel then becomes a “prisoner” of its own system and deprives itself of the possibility to move its services forward. On the other hand, this situation is ideal for PMS itself, it keeps the client in hand and does not let third-party software in. At the same time, the PMS tries to provide everything the hotelier needs through its native functions. But that will never work, PMSs cannot do everything. On the other hand, what they can (and must) be capable of, is collecting data and providing it to integrated systems. Quality comes firstNot using the data provided by PMS limits the hotel’s potential and profits. Problems may arise in various places – dissatisfied guests may wait a long time for check-in, staff may spend endless hours manually entering and processing data or sending emails to guests. But we can solve or even prevent all such problems today – thanks to mobile applications for example. Mobile applications complement (or substitute) the work of hotel staff. Just as hotel staff, mobile applications are guests’ company during the hotel trip, they only differ in the sense that some of them are “with the guests” throughout the whole stay whereas some accompany them just through part of it. But why does the choice of PMS matter when it comes to mobile applications? Because the quality of the integration is of the essence. The more features the mobile application has, the more data needs to be transmitted and the more complex integration has to be built. It is still true that PMSs must be an open platform (providing APIs and integrating third-party systems) but that’s just half of the story. They must also be able to build complex integrations, i.e. exchange data with complex systems such as AeroGuest, a mobile application that is with guests from booking to check-out. The amount of data this system needs is huge. The quality of integration is crucial. One small step for a hotelier, one giant leap for a hotelAs was said, the mobile application may accompany guests during part of their stay or take care of them from the journey’s start to its end. The choice of specific application(s) for a hotel depends on the hotelier – whether he wants to enable online check-in, install mobile locks on doors, automate communication with guests, increase revenue by supporting upselling, etc.In the category of systems that are with the guest “from start till the end”, we can find applications such as AeroGuest, which is a system that allows online check-in/out, online payment for a hotel room, an upgrade of hotel room via mobile phone, upselling or installation of mobile locks. The second category consists of applications (GuestJoy, MyStay, Upsellguru), which focus on part of the journey of hotel guests, that means for example on automation of communication with guests, enabling online check-in, or increasing the effectiveness of upselling. But if we distinguish the systems only according to how big part of the guest’s journey they can take care of, we remain too superficial. It is important to look deeper, for example, at the level of automation that various applications bring to hotels. There is a huge difference between online check-in meaning only pre-filling in the information or meaning taking care of the whole process via mobile phone (and thus not having to come to the front desk upon arrival) or between having to pick up a door key/card or not (and thus going straight to the room after arrival). Guests can also spot a difference between the possibility of ordering extra services or upgrading the room directly through the mobile application and the situation in which the application just informs guests and they have to write an email or ask someone in order to get some of the available services. It depends only on the hotelier which solution he picks. But whatever his preferences, the way to open the hotel to third-party systems must begin with the right choice of PMS. Its selection is a giant leap for the entire hotel, as it is the basis for the proper functioning of third-party systems that then take staff work and guests’ experience to the next level. That brings us back to the beginning. The more complex the application, the better integration a hotel needs. If a hotelier chooses the right PMS, his only limitations when picking mobile applications are his own preferences. 

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6 PMS Integrations that Save Time

by
Sarah Duguay
7 months ago

At the heart of operations, the property management system (PMS) powers efficiency and productivity across hotel departments, but is rarely a lone warrior when it comes to a hotel’s technology. Even small hotels work with numerous tech systems, including payment processing systems, electronic locks, and online distribution channels. Along with the PMS, all of these systems are key to serving guests and rely on some of the same data: guest credit card payments are processed via a payment gateway and also recorded in the PMS; key cards and digital keys are encoded through the locking system using reservation information; and OTA bookings must be entered into the PMS and inventory adjusted on your OTA channels. If these systems are working in silos, your staff have to act as go-betweens, manually duplicating data across systems, which is time consuming and prone to human error.You know what they say about teamwork—well, that applies to your hotel tech too. Through direct integration, your PMS can work with your other hotel systems to automate processes and save hotel staff a lot of time. Here are six key PMS integrations that will further enhance operational efficiency so that you and your team can spend less time behind a computer and more time providing an even better guest experience. Channel ManagementThird-party distribution channels, including GDS, OTA and metasearch channels, are a crucial component of almost any hotel’s distribution strategy. With their big advertising budgets and expansive reach, these purpose-built travel aggregators make properties more visible online and bring in a big chunk of bookings. When your online distribution channels are not connected with your PMS, your property’s availability and rates have to be updated to each of those channels manually, and reservations coming through them must be manually entered into your PMS. It’s an ongoing and time-consuming task with a high risk of overbooking if availability is not updated fast enough.But there’s a better way. Two-way integration between a hotel’s PMS and channel partner automates this important process, eliminating the need to duplicate data manually and improving accuracy. Through the integration, the PMS automatically pushes allocated inventory to the channel partner, including inventory updates and overrides. When a booking is made through a channel partner, the reservation data is automatically sent to the PMS and availability is automatically adjusted across all connected channels. Say goodbye to overbooking and hello to having more time for your guests! Payment ProcessingIf your property accepts card payments you’ll be working with a payment gateway, which securely communicates the guest’s payment information to the payment processing network. If your payment gateway is not integrated with your PMS, approved transactions must be manually posted to reservations in the PMS, slowing down the check-in/check-out process. With a payment gateway integration, payment information entered into the booking form is automatically sent through the payment processing network and transactions are automatically posted in the PMS in real time.Not only that, but a payment gateway integration also steps up security with point-to-point encryption and tokenization to protect credit card data from hackers and keep credit card numbers out of the PMS for PCI compliance. If you want to accept online payments through your property’s website, payment gateway integration is a must for an automated and secure online booking process and contactless check-in experience.Simplifying payments, authorizations and refunds, and improving security, payment gateway integration is one of the most important PMS integrations for any property. Room AccessElectronic lock and digital key integrations simplify access management and also speed up the check-in process. Key cards have been widely used across all hotel segments for decades. Times are now changing and more and more properties are shifting to digital (mobile) key solutions. Either way, let’s look at how integrating your room access solution with your PMS makes life at the front desk easier.A key card integration allows key cards to be encoded and managed directly through the PMS, which automatically sends relevant reservation data (room number, length of stay, etc.) to the key card system. This means that front desk staff no longer have to re-enter this information into the key card system manually, they just have to swipe the card to encode it.If your property is using a keyless access solution (mobile key or keypad locks), integration with the PMS automates key delivery to the guest upon check-in. In this case, the PMS automatically sends reservation data to your keyless access solution, which then generates a mobile key or keycode for the guest, automatically activating the key upon check-in and deactivating it upon check-out.Whether you want to implement a seamless contactless check-in experience or streamline check-in at the front desk, integrating your PMS with your locking system is key (pun intended). Point of Sale (POS)Along with the PMS, a POS system is essential for properties with an on-site restaurant. These core systems are a great example of two systems that work better together. Without a connection between the two, restaurant charges that are to be charged to a guest’s room must be communicated to the front desk and manually added to the reservation folio in the PMS. This manual process not only adds yet another administrative task to your front desk’s to-do list, but is prone to human error and billing discrepancies that can result in dissatisfied guests and lost revenue.When the POS system is integrated with the PMS, the software completes this task for you in real time. When a guest wants to charge a meal to their room, the transaction is entered into the POS system, which—via the integration—automatically queries the PMS to verify guest status, room number, and credit authorization limit. If the charge is approved, the POS system automatically posts the charge to the reservation folio in the PMS.Automating the process of posting restaurant charges to reservations with a PMS + POS integration not only saves hotel staff time but ensures billing accuracy, reducing customer complaints and preventing lost revenue. Revenue ManagementThe unprecedented market environment brought about by the pandemic has turned many hotels toward revenue management software (RMS) to better navigate and optimize room pricing. Continuously consolidating and analyzing hotel and market data to produce pricing recommendations based on sophisticated algorithms, automated RMS improve demand forecasting and remove the guesswork from the pricing process, saving hotel operators a lot of time poring through data and trying to foresee the future.Integrated with the PMS, the combined solution saves even more time. PMS data (including reservations, inventory, and availability) is a critical part of the revenue management equation and must be updated in the RMS in a timely, ongoing manner. Without an integration, that task is the responsibility of—you guessed it—you or your staff. But when your PMS and RMS are connected, all relevant PMS data is automatically passed along to the RMS via the integration at a transactional level for optimal forecasting accuracy, pricing and inventory control. In turn, accepted pricing recommendations generated by the RMS need to be updated to the PMS and the integration can do this too.Separately, both the PMS and RMS drive efficiency and revenue, but together they make an even more powerful team. SMS / Guest MessagingThe pandemic also accelerated the adoption of guest messaging / SMS applications to address the need for clear communications and contactless services. Mobile messaging is the preferred mode of communication for many guests, but if it isn’t integrated into hotel operations properly it can be inefficient and cause customer dissatisfaction.How can staff find the time to manage another communication channel? A successful guest messaging strategy depends on PMS integration. The integration between a guest messaging platform and PMS automatically sends reservation data to the messaging application in real time to trigger personalized routine text messages to guests prior to arrival, at check-in, during their stay and upon departure as defined by the property. Incoming messages and requests from guests are automatically matched to the guest’s reservation data to identify the guest and resolve issues faster.As guest messaging becomes a more prevalent guest communication channel for hotels, integration with the PMS maximizes efficiency by automating routine communications and ensuring no guest slips through the cracks.Hotel technology is designed to increase productivity and revenue and, just like people, your hotel systems can work better together to achieve their full potential.

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Adapting to Changing Traveler Behaviors and Expectations in 2022

by
Andrew Gogus
7 months ago

Understanding travel trends and behaviors has been somewhat more difficult to recognize in the midst of the pandemic. However, some undeniable facts remain for the changing traveler behaviors and expectations. It's important to learn and adapt in order for your business to reach its highest potential and maximize revenues.To begin, the traveler demographic is notably shifting and we will be seeing a great increase in the amount of Gen Z travelers. Generation Z, or Gen Z, includes anyone born between 1995 - 2012. This is the first generation that is digitally native. Meaning that the generation grew up with technology from a very early age. As some hoteliers might see this group as low-spending, that is in fact not true. Not only do the younger ones influence the destinations chosen by their parents, but older Gen-Zers are said to spend even more than regular tourists. Eager to travel and experience the world, young travelers are likely to return and give more value to the destination over their lifetime. According to UNWTO “Young people see travel as an essential part of their everyday lives, rather than just a brief escape from reality.”In order to capture the attention of the first digitally native generation, it's crucial to be as visible as you can online, provide a smooth booking process, and be able to offer customized promotions to guests. Grow Online Visibility Across New Booking ChannelsIt is almost inevitable that your property needs to have a strong online presence. This means not only having a website for your property that allows travelers to book but also being visible and listed on multiple different online travel agencies (OTAs).Being present on multiple different platforms greatly increases the segment of travelers you are able to reach. Different countries and regions have different booking habits when it comes to choosing an OTA, so it is important that your property is listed on those websites. According to Expedia, “Gen Zers turn 31% more to OTAs than they were prior to the COVID-19 crisis.” Surely, trying to manage your property on different platforms and keeping everything up to date, will be very difficult and time-consuming. This is where a channel manager will be the most beneficial to you and your property. A channel manager is a tool that enables hoteliers to connect to multiple different OTA’s and allows them to manage bookings and update inventory from one platform. Choosing the right channel manager will help you not only bring in more guests and maximize profits but also save time allowing you to focus on offering a seamless guest experience. Facilitate Quick Booking via Your Direct ChannelThere is a fundamental difference between older and newer generations. It's important to understand and leverage these differences to your advantage. According to global studies, while millennials have an attention span of 12 seconds, Gen Zers have decreased this to 8 seconds. This means you have an average of 8 seconds to make the best first impression and encourage the travelers into the booking flow. Doing so requires you to have a seamless booking experience. Enabling your guests to easily choose a room type, date, and payment method is essential. These can all be attained by using a booking engine. Booking engines are important tools that are easily placed into your website, and enable guests to directly book from your website without going to any 3rd party websites. This helps you provide the quickest and best experience for your guests. Choosing the right booking engine for your property will not only capture traffic but will also cause less frustration for both you and your guests. Easing the workload for your staff is also a huge benefit.  Having rates and availability synced and updated with each reservation, gives your team the time and energy to focus on different tasks, in return providing a better experience for your guests.  Offer Exclusive Services and PromotionsEven though the attention span may be shorter, Gen Zers actually recall advertising content better than millennials and Gen X. This plays a key role in retaining guests and them coming back for multiple visits. Younger consumers record a high rate of brand preference, meaning they relate closely to the brands they are choosing. They are attracted by a brand’s reputation on the environment, its customer care, and product exclusivity. Sustainability and eco-friendliness are major trends and should somehow be implemented to your property. Changes made can range anywhere from using recyclable materials, reducing waste, eliminating plastic utensils, to almost anything that shows that your business cares. Customer care and product exclusivity are other things you should consider offering. Being in the hospitality industry, it should already be pretty evident that customer care should be one of the highest priorities. Product exclusivity, on the other hand, may seem more difficult, but it actually isn't. Offering your guests special deals and coupons that can be used during the booking process, will provide a great deal of interest. These are where it's important to have a promotion engine integrated with your booking process because together they will provide a quick, easy, and rewarding experience. Promotions help you generate appeal and attraction - both of which will drive up bookings. Leveraging promotions to your advantage is important to capture all types of bookings.  Leverage a Hotel CRM to Drive LoyaltyUnderstanding the travelers’ new behaviors and expectations helps you make the right decisions. We see that the younger travelers prefer brands that align with their values and that they can have a bond with. GRM (Guest Relationship Management) tools help build a relationship with your customers that, in turn, creates loyalty and customer retention.  According to RjMetrics, repeat customers are likely to spend 300x more. Building this relationship may sometimes seem difficult, especially during these times. Guest relationship management tools help you get in contact with guests in their native language before their stay, help guests to make any travel arrangements they may need, and address any customer complaints quickly and effectively.You will also be able to interact with guests even after they have stayed at your property, which is just as important as before they arrive. Leaving a good impression even post-stay is a great way to leave the best mark.Considering the irreversible impact of the pandemic on the traveler behavior, the influential Gen Z and the ever-changing nature of the travel industry, it becomes inevitable for you to change the way you do business. Understanding these trends and adapting to them will help you make the right decisions and show you where you should focus more of your energy on. Whether it be providing your guests with a more seamless booking experience with the booking engine, simplifying your operations with the channel manager or improving your guest relationships with promotional coupons and following up with post and pre-stay emails. These tools will allow you to keep up with the new trends and attract travelers who have an entirely different mindset. 

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Hotel Sustainability: 27 Statistics Illustrating the Growth of ESG in the Hotel Industry

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Are you wondering if the industry’s focus on sustainable practices is just a passing trend or if the sustainable hotels movement is here to stay? Or are you looking for inspiration as you strive to make your hotel more diverse and inclusive? It’s not only travelers who are increasingly looking for more sustainable and ethical options where they can stay at hotels who focus on initiatives for a clean carbon footprint and minimal environmental impact like food waste reduction and reducing high impact guest experience touch points like daily room cleanings.Investors, hospitality management professionals and owners are recognizing that hotels that rate highly on the ESG scale are not only attractive investments, but they also provide the services and benefits that both guests and employees are looking for.Hotels are a large stakeholder within local environmental ecosystems and given the hospitality industry’s carbon intensive nature (i.e. flying on an airplane) hoteliers are sensitive to ensure that once guests arrive at their destination that they do everything they can to minimize impact. The good news is that there are tons of great options today like low-flow toilets, reusable refillable bottles, digital key cards, organic food, composting straws and energy-saving air conditioning.In this article, we’ll explain what exactly ESG means for hotels and run through 27 statistics that show ESG in the hotel industry is here to stay.