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What is Sabre? The Company Building Travel Tech Since the 1960s

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

As a hotelier, you may have heard of Sabre Corporation– the major NASDAQ listed travel technology company based in Southlake, Texas offering GDS and property software (Synxis). You’ve also probably heard that Sabre Corp’s investors have been a bit disappointed of late with the stock down nearly 70% in the last 5-years and are looking to unlock value by unloading the hospitality solutions business (i.e. Synxis) to drive efficiencies in the core business.But how much do you really know about the organization and the technology solutions its contributed to the travel industry over the years? For instance, did you know that Sabre is actually an acronym, meaning Semi-Automated Business Research Environment? While it’s interesting to learn about one of the industry’s top technology pioneers, Sabre’s story can also provide inspiration if you seek to make your hospitality business more tech-centered and innovative. We’ll trace Sabre’s path from ideation to market leader and explore how the company stayed ahead throughout big changes in the travel world.

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6 Hotel Website Tips to Help You Convert Traffic Like an OTA

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

Are you trying to improve your website’s conversion rate and get more direct bookings? It can be frustrating to know that the majority - up to 99% - of people who look at your website end up booking on expensive third-party channels, while most guests do visit your website at some point during the booking process.Imagine the massive impact on your business if you could increase your conversion rate by just 1%. If your average booking is $1,000 and your website gets 20,000 visitors per month, a 1% boost in conversion would yield $200,000 per month of incremental revenue! But achieving a higher conversion rate on your website isn’t a pipe dream; it’s achievable when you make the booking process as smooth and easy as possible.In this article, we’ll share some actionable tips that will turn your website into a conversion machine and highlight how a next generation payment and booking platform like Selfbook can dramatically improve conversion on your hotel website. 

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The Ultimate Guide to Hospitality Technology (2023)

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

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

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How to Break Away From Room Categories

by
Markus Mueller
10 months ago

Why should hoteliers change the way they manage room inventory in the first place? The simple answer is: because they can make more revenue and increase customer satisfaction when guests are able to self-select room features that are relevant to them. By moving away from traditional room categories and taking a granular inventory approach, hoteliers can cover several new revenue-generating opportunities, including:• New revenue management tactics due to a higher number of price points• Upselling solutions of room features and services• Automatic room assignment and avoidance of free upgrades• Clear differentiation of own sales channels compared to third-party channels All of these elements can strengthen your brand value through positive guest recommendations and increase the chances of returning guests. Historically there were many good reasons to display and sell room inventory in a simplified way. However, technology has improved significantly and now allows hoteliers to reinvent their sales strategy by digitizing their inventory with all its uniqueness and selling directly through their own channels. With a granular inventory, hoteliers can create real differentiation from third-party sellers and are able to sell something that no one else offers. This could previously only be offered by email or phone, assuming the seller knew the rooms well. It depended on guest participation prior to check-in. Product Sales Approach in Other IndustriesOther industries have already learned from crises and optimized their online sales process years ago to meet the needs of the "connected consumer". In the airline industry, there was a lack of upselling opportunities to increase sales due to a non-differentiable product. The retail sector was increasingly forced to provide an appealing online sales experience due to advancing digitalization and pioneers such as Amazon. Clothing can now be tried on virtually and many products can be personalized according to customer needs. Airlines:• Additional price points due to different booking conditions• Differentiation through additional services - sales attributes• More than quadruple in ancillary revenues & baggage fees aloneOnline retail:• Configurator & filter functions to individualize the shopping experience• Extra revenue through product personalization options• Double-digit growth compared to traditional retailers Comparison of Two New ApproachesAttribute Based Selling: The hotel industry has long talked about adapting the airline approach of Attribute-Based Selling (ABS). This approach proposes breaking rooms into smaller attributes to increase potential upsell sales during the booking process. In an ongoing effort to improve return on investment opportunities, some major hotel chains are already piloting their beta versions of this approach, but they are a long way off final implementation.Room Feature Combination Sales: A newer approach than the one just described is feature-based room sales, in which rooms are clustered according to combinations of features. Additional experience dimensions are digitized and codified. With this new system, each room can be clustered into an individual combination, resulting in many more price points. Through this approach, the booking journey is much more experiential and the customer-centric approach leverages artificial intelligence to better align guests' needs with the hotel's sales strategy. New Sales ApproachesUsing a basic room category and selling individual room attributes on it (ABS approach): In this approach, the price is based on a room category with the lowest common denominator of the whole inventory (basic/standard room) and all other attributes can be added by the booker depending on whether he considers them relevant or not. When the booker adds attributes, the price of the room increases. Simple, right? The principle is to first select the basic room at an entry price and then add attributes such as bed type, balcony, air conditioning, connecting door, high floor, or even other services not related to the category, such as early check-in or late check-out. In terms of upselling, the ABS approach starts with the room rate, with attributes being added. It is up to the booker to decide which attribute is considered relevant. This method is copied from the airline industry and enables upselling at the point of purchase. The more attributes the guest adds to their shopping cart, the higher the final room rate. The price point of each attribute is transparent to the booker in the selection option. You can find further explanations of the ABS approach in the article from Hospitality Technology. Room Feature Combination Selling: A Guest-Centric Experience ApproachThe basic approach here is to move away from room categories as a whole and divide all rooms into room feature combinations. This allows rooms to be sold with both their unique features and a reduced number of features, and to be labeled differently. The guest has the possibility to select preferences and is shown corresponding room options as a percentage match. The booker is given the option to select the best room combination for them, with the bundled price points of the various room attributes displayed in aggregate (i.e. without displaying the price of the individual features). The approach not only allows the sale of all room attributes including connecting rooms, but also any inventory combinations a hotel can and wants to offer such as rooms next to each other, three rooms to a newly clustered offering, etc. This provides the basis for a radically new sales approach. More price points are naturally created by repackaging rooms in different ways and marketing them through different labeling. Upselling takes place during the booking process. The booker can select feature preferences, but without considering how much they are actually worth.Supporting statistics or studies on user preferences in terms of attributes or room characteristics are almost non-existent for the hotel industry. Since the approach of moving away from room categories is still very new and attributes can vary greatly from property to property, collecting data points to understand which attributes are preferred by which user profiles is a critical first step to understanding price elasticity and demand patterns. The Departure From Room CategoriesMoving away from selling by room category brings with it a high number of additional price points at the point of sale. The value of each room feature can be assessed differently depending on the reason for travel and personal needs. For example, traveling with companions such as a spouse or family, the purpose of the trip, or personal preferences can significantly change the value perception and price elasticity of each room feature. The more price points and options that can be intelligently offered and presented to each booker, the higher the booking conversion and value will be.In addition to additional price points, a new feature-based inventory management also offers the opportunity to enhance one's own brand and pursue a new sales strategy. Only granular inventory management can also enable a differentiated inventory offering according to target groups, individual pricing, and differentiated marketing activities. First Steps for Feature-Based Inventory ManagementIn principle, it is recommended to check your inventory to make sure it is up to date. In the end, the room turnover is the one with the highest margin.• Take the time to review your inventory, identify the differences, and record any previously undocumented features!• Download a template here to get started and customize it according to your needs.• Update your inventory in your relevant systems (PMS, IBE, CRS, etc.).• Define the way you want to sell through your direct channels and implement the approach starting with email and phone reservation requests.The next step is to review your current technology landscape to identify which solutions are already in place for this approach and which may still be needed. It may also be possible to replace several existing solutions with a single new approach. 

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How Are Hoteliers Adapting to Welcome Travelers Back in 2022?

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

We certainly don’t need to tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the travel industry. But despite all the pandemic’s negative effects, this unusual year has inspired many hoteliers to take the leap into new technology that will enhance guest stays in 2021 and beyond. According to recent studies conducted by Amadeus, people are eager to travel again, with 75% of survey respondents stating they would travel within just three months of loosened restrictions. Although many of those travelers might feel nostalgic about the world “before,” the data shows that travelers expect technology to help reduce physical touchpoints, encourage social distancing, and more. In fact, 84% of respondents said hotel technology would actually make them feel more confident that they can stay safe and healthy on the road.In this article, we’ll explain five key areas where hoteliers can strategically implement technology to give guests a warm welcome to the “new normal.” By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of guest expectations and exciting innovations in the travel and tech space. Staff Collaboration Tools Help Improve Team Efficiency at Lower Staffing LevelsWith 87% of travelers feeling skeptical that their peers are following health and safety guidelines, impeccable housekeeping and maintenance service is more important than ever. If guests think their fellow travelers didn’t wash their hands before pushing elevator buttons or opening doors, then your employees need to go above and beyond to keep your property clean. You’ll want to do whatever you can to avoid housekeeping mishaps that could break guest trust, and a key element of success is staying organized and avoiding lapses in communication between staff.Staff collaboration tools make teamwork a breeze - even with teams that work on different schedules or in different locations. Software like Amadeus HotSOS gives hotel managers and employees the power to log maintenance issues, centralize housekeeping requests, record guest preferences, and more. The app integrates seamlessly with Amadeus’ own PMS as well as 100+ other systems, so your tech stack can work harmoniously. “We use Amadeus HotSoS for logging guests’ needs as well as general area maintenance, such as lighting fireplaces, old light bulbs, clogged sinks, broken tiles, missing paint. To be able to log and communicate with housekeeping, engineering and bell in this manner is excellent,” a Resort Activities Manager in Rancho Palos Verdes told Hotel Tech Report.Collaboration tools like HotSOS not only reduce communication lags and potential friction between departments, but they can enhance the guest experience by helping staff provide faster and more accurate service. In a post-COVID world, it’s even more crucial that guest expectations are met (if not exceeded) and that hoteliers can reduce costs wherever possible. Use Customer Messaging to Communicate Compliance and SafetyLocal health restrictions are changing frequently, and today’s traveler needs to stay in the know - and they need to receive information from a trusted source, like from their hotel. Hoteliers are implementing customer messaging tools like Amadeus GMS to communicate rapidly changing regulations and standards with guests. Whether you need to alert guests about a new travel restriction or share the good news about reopening the spa, guest management technology can help you spread the word. 42% of respondents even say that technology that provides on-trip updates to local guidelines and outbreaks would make them more confident about traveling.If you’re considering adding a GMS to your hotel’s tech stack, you have no shortage of choices.Through customer messaging platforms, you can communicate with guests via their preferred method. Some guests prefer email, while others prefer text messages. Some platforms, like Zingle (which integrates directly into HotSoS, even support WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger). Plus, you can set up automated messages that will free up your employees’ time while increasing guest engagement. Ditch Guest Room Phones for Smart AssistantsHotel guest room phones have been slowly dying out for years and the advent of smart assistants like Google Echo and Amazon Alexa accelerated their decline. Why? According to the Amadeus research, 61% of travelers would like to use voice assistant technology if present in their rooms.Hotels and larger groups like Viceroy are welcoming guests back to hotels by eliminating in-room phones and allowing them to order via the same technologies they’re using at home like mobile apps and smart speakers. Smart assistants powered by software like Volara are preprogrammed to control every facet of the in-room guest experience going far beyond the capabilities of in-room phones without adding significant cost.Volara’s voice technology integrates seamlessly into Amadeus HotSOS to fulfill service requests.  “The reality is anything you can do to limit direct contact with other people and even our own surroundings is part of widespread change in personal behaviors. Guests no longer want to have to touch the remote control or use the guest room telephone to make service requests. If a guest has forgotten toiletries or needs to report maintenance issues for instance, or even play music, watch shows, set alarms, or request more towels, they will want to do so in a contactless manner.  Having the ability to simply ask an in-room voice assistant to help fulfill special requests and preferences will be an opportunity to increase guest Loyalty,” says Volara CEO Dave Berger in an interview on the Amadeus blog. Eliminating Lobby Crowds with Contactless Check-InLike with contactless ordering, offering a contactless way for guests to check in to your hotel is the welcoming touch that every traveler wants these days. Amadeus’ research shows that 62% of travelers would prefer to handle check-in and check-out via an app, so hoteliers that don’t yet have a technology solution for contactless check-in are making it a priority to implement one. Both guests and employees enjoy peace of mind when they don’t need to exchange physical credit cards, IDs, registration cards, and pens.“There are a number of ways the PMS can become a key component of the new guest experience. First, advanced two-way integrations with other supporting systems (CRS for instance) will allow for synchronized data across platforms to capture and make data actionable data coming from new apps. Second, many PMS systems provide simple and robust integrations with hundreds of third-party systems to make the implementation of new mobile services and tools simple and painless. Finally, some PMS systems offer open APIs, which make it possible to integrate with custom internal apps. This allows hotels and hotel chains to innovate at their own pace, and be more agile,” says Patrick van der Wardt, Head of Sales Specialists International, SO, S&C, PMS at Amadeus.Besides just providing a solution for check-in without physical contact, contactless check-in software can personalize the guest experience further by offering upgrades and add-ons that can lead to incremental revenue.--As we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, guest preferences and expectations are changing rapidly. COVID-19 ushered a new wave of contactless technologies and efficiency driving software into the hotel industry. As we prepare for a travel rebound, hoteliers are still in a prime position to optimize their tech stacks to ensure they are able to capture and maximize on new business opportunities. Every facet of the guest experience is being reimagined with the creative use of technology from booking to check out. Let market data like this Amadeus research and the needs of your own guests guide your technology decisions and set your hotel up for success in 2021. This content was created collaboratively by Amadeus and Hotel Tech Report. 

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The 9 Most Futuristic High Tech Hotels in the World

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

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

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2021 HotelTechAwards Finalists Announced

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced finalists in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews from verified hoteliers during the competition.  Finalists are selected based on key performance metrics like product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing over 10,000 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite software products.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Finaling in the HotelTechAwards is a reflection of quality every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” Hotel Tech Report authenticates reviews through a strict verification process.  Further, companies are ranked based on pre-defined objective data variables to avoid the biases present in other human judged competitions. "Based on real and honest customer feedback, the HotelTechAwards really do provide the most transparent view on how technology is perceived and used across the industry,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO at OTA Insight. The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and finalists are selected from more than 1,000 of the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 120 countries. -- Competition winners will be publicly announced on January 12th -- Best Guest Experience Technology FinalistsGuest Messaging Software: Whistle, EasyWay, MonsciergeGuest Room Tablets: SuitePad, INTELITYGuest Survey Software: TrustYou, Guestrevu, RevinateHospitality TV Providers: Monscierge (Apple TV)Mobile Key: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, FLEXIPASSMobile Ordering: Bbot, RoomOrdersHotel Guest Apps: ALICE, INTELITY, Wishbox Best Operations Software FinalistsProperty Management Systems: Cloudbeds, Mews, Clock PMS+, HotelTimeStaff Collaboration: hotelkit, Monscierge, ALICEHotel Management Systems: RoomRaccoon, CloudbedsConcierge Software: ALICECyber Security & Fraud Prevention: Canary Technologies, SertifiDigital Signage: MonsciergeHousekeeping Software: hotelkit, ALICE, OptiiMarketplaces & Integrators: Hapi, DailypointPreventive Maintenance: hotelkit, ALICE, TranscendentRestaurant Management: HotelTime, Oracle MICROS POSEmployee Engagement Software: hotelkit, Hotel Effectiveness, BeekeeperContactless Check-in: EasyWay, Canary Technologies, WishboxSpa Management: HotelTime Best Revenue Management & Finance Software FinalistsRevenue Management Systems: IDeaS, Duetto, AtomizeBusiness Intelligence: OTA Insight, Duetto, ProfitSwordCentral Reservations Systems: PegasusChannel Managers: SiteMinder, Cloudbeds, D-EDGEParity Management: OTA Insight, RateGainRate Shopping & Market Intelligence: OTA Insight, SiteMinder, RateGainReporting & Accounting: M3, MyDigitalOfficeUpselling Software: Oaky, GuestJoy, EasyWay Best Marketing Tech FinalistsBooking Engines: Cloudbeds, Bookassist, SiteMinderHotel CRM & Email Marketing: Revinate, Profitroom, DailypointDigital Marketing Agencies: Bookassist, Avvio, Net AffinityDirect Booking Tools: Triptease, HotelchampWebsite Live Chat and Chatbot: Asksuite, WhistleIndependent Loyalty Programs: The GuestBookMetasearch & Ad Tech: Bookassist, Avvio, KoddiReputation Management: TrustYou, Guestrevu, RevinateHotel Website Design: Bookassist, Avvio, Profitroom Best Meetings & Events Tech FinalistsEvent Management Software: Event TempleGroup Sourcing & RFP Software: MeetingPackage, VenuesuiteMeetings Intelligence Software: Duetto, IDeaSSales CRM: Event Temple, MeetingPackage 

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Hospitality Consultants from A-Z: What You Need to Know

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Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

We all know that hospitality consultants exist and that they bring hospitality expertise to any hotel business yet oftentimes we don't know exactly when to use them or what exactly they can do for our hotel operations.  Adding fuel to the fire, we think we often load tons of work onto our hospitality teams who are already being overworked.“How hard can it be?”You’ve likely heard this statement many times. And be honest: sometimes you’re the one saying it. We’re all guilty of this: where the perceived lift versus the actual time and resource investment makes a project seem achievable internally. So we make a plan, roll up our sleeves and get started...only to find ourselves quickly in over our heads. Oops. Now you’re behind schedule and there’s an urgency to find an external resource for help. Enter the hospitality consultant. Of course, this urgency will also cost you money. Like the old saying goes, you can have things fast and expensive or cheap and slow -- but never both.When approaching a big project, your best bet is to honestly appraise your team's limitations.  if there are clear gaps in skill sets or a need for a faster turnaround time than you were smaller team can deliver, begin evaluating relevant hospitality consultants. For projects that impact multiple departments, require specialized expertise or involve a major transformation, these consultants provide tremendous value.Once you know you need help, it can be really intimidating to find the right resource for your specific situation. That’s the goal of this A to Z guide to hospitality consultants: To guide your decision-making process as you build your shortlist. First, we’ll see the variety of projects that consultants take on; next, we breakdown the major hospitality consulting firms and then conclude with our list of the top independent hospitality consultants. Armed with this information, you can make the right decision and decide whether your project merits investing in an external consulting firm.

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What is a CRS? (Central Reservation System)

by
Hotel Tech Report
9 months ago

How can you maximize your hotel’s exposure in real-time among OTAs, travel agencies, metasearch sites, and the GDS? Good news: you do not need to spend your valuable time updating all of these channels individually. Instead, you can let a central reservation system (CRS) do the legwork for you.If you’ve never heard of a CRS  - or if you’re doing some additional research before choosing a system - then this article is for you. We’ll review all the features and benefits you can expect from a CRS, and we’ll answer some common questions about them. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to determine whether a CRS is right for your hotel and make more informed decisions about your hotel’s distribution strategy. What is a Central Reservation System?Let’s start at the beginning: what is a central reservation system exactly? A CRS system is used in the hospitality industry and specifically within hotel management to manage room rates and availability and to share this information across various distribution channels, like online travel agencies and the GDS. When a booking is made or rates are changed, the CRS adjusts your hotel’s rates and availability on all of your channels accordingly. The CRS also allows different users to create and modify reservations in one central place, like call center representatives or remote reservations agents.  The CRS is your central source of reservation data and typically comes with or at least seamlessly integrates into your booking engine and channel manager which ensures that hotel rooms aren't overbooking across different channels.  When a hotel room is booked on your hotel website, the CRS then shares that information with your property management system and pushes updated hotel reservation data to both your website and 3rd party channels such as GDS or online travel agencies.  It's important to know what isn't a "central reservations system"?  A central reservation system is not the single source of truth for guest profiles - that is where your hotel CRM comes in and it's also not the central repository of room inventory (PMS).A CRS centrally manages and distributes room inventory, rates, and reservations. The CRS typically receives inventory from the PMS, then distributes rates and availability in real-time to direct and third-party channels, including the hotel’s own website booking engine and call center (direct channels), as well as channel managers, online travel agencies, GDS, and metasearch (third-party channels). Reservations from these channels are sent back to the CRS and subsequently synced into the PMS for room allocation. Hotel revenue managers and marketing/e-commerce managers use the CRS to create various promotions and offers through rate plans for different channels and to adjust pricing quickly to be updated across all channels. Reservation agents also work in the CRS to manage reservations. Download the Free 2022 CRS Buying Guide Why Should I Use a CRS?A CRS offers a few major benefits to hotels and to hoteliers. When your hotel uses a CRS, you’ll enjoy better visibility on many distribution channels and, therefore, the potential for increased revenue and occupancy. As a hotelier, you can use your time more efficiently by automating tasks and integrating various systems.  You'll use this tool daily so it's critical that the reservations management software you choose is user-friendly.It's no surprise that major hotel brands view the CRS as their core technology - providing the core hotel distribution and channel management infrastructure to succeed in a hyper-competitive industry.  One of the top reasons to use a CRS is to gain better exposure on distribution channels. A CRS links your rates and availability to a multitude of online and offline channels. These channels include online travel agencies like Booking.com and Expedia, brick-and-mortar travel agencies, independent travel agents, the booking engine on your own website, your reservations call center, metasearch sites like Kayak and Trivago, and global distribution systems (GDS). With a CRS, you can easily sell rooms on many different channels, which increases your exposure to potential bookers.If you didn’t use a CRS and wanted to list your rooms on all of these channels, you would need to spend hours uploading rates, adjusting availability, and manually inputting new reservations. Not only would there be plenty of chances for human error, you simply don’t have time in your busy schedule for all of that manual work! A CRS unlocks opportunities for efficiency for reservations staff and revenue managers by doing the heavy lifting for you.With a CRS in place, you make all rate and availability changes just once, then the CRS distributes those changes to all of your connected channels automatically. A CRS makes running promotions, taking rooms out of inventory, or using dynamic pricing a breeze. A CRS also streamlines your reservations processes by housing all of your bookings in one place; everyone from front desk staff to call center agents can enter and modify reservations within the same system. In addition, your CRS can run reports automatically and integrate with other on-property systems (like your revenue management system) for further synergy. What’s the Difference Between a CRS and a GDS?On the surface, both a CRS and a GDS seem to offer similar functionality. These two systems distribute your hotel’s rates and availability to various channels. Is it necessary to use both? The difference lies in the types of channels each system connects to. A GDS can connect your hotel to a network of travel agents and corporate travel planners. A CRS offers connections to these partners too, but also to guests themselves via online travel agencies, metasearch sites, and your direct booking engine. For most hotels, travel agents aren’t the sole source of reservations. Today’s hotels also need connections to Expedia, Booking.com, and others - plus a solid booking engine to take direct reservations. For many hotels, a CRS can offer more value than a GDS alone can.  Amadeus is the largest GDS player in the world and also offers its own CRS.  Many GDS players branched into hotel software as a way to expand their offerings with integrated services geared at the same customers (hotels). Do I Need a CRS if I Already use a PMS?When you change rates or update availability, where do you do it? If you don’t already use a CRS, you probably make these changes in your property management system (PMS). You may be thinking, “well, what’s the difference between a CRS and a PMS?” Again, the difference lies in distribution. Property management systems are best suited to handle everything related to on-property operations. A PMS is ideal to manage check-ins and check-outs, housekeeping operations, and guest information. But when it comes to distributing your rates and availability, a CRS can offer connections and functionality that your PMS may not have. If your hotel’s PMS does not offer robust channel connections and you want to distribute rates and availability to more channels, then a CRS can add value.  Different types of hotels may not require a separate CRS.  For example, smaller boutique hotels may have an all-in-one Hotel Management System with a light weight CRS already built in. What are Some Popular Central Reservation Systems?Choosing a CRS will likely depend on your hotel’s brand affiliation or lack thereof. Hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott use proprietary reservation software, which means that every hotel connected to that chain uses the same, often proprietary, CRS. In many cases, connecting to their CRS is contractually required. These systems allow branded hotels to easily tap into the chain’s huge distribution network and for the chain to easily scale the distribution process as they add new properties.For independent hotels, the choice is not so clear cut. However, having more options means you can find a CRS that closely fits your needs. Some popular central reservations systems include Pegasus, Windsurfer, Amadeus (TravelClick), and Synxis, but that doesn’t mean these systems are the right fit for your property. When researching your CRS options, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. Do you want a system with exceptional customer support? Do you want additional marketing or promotional tools? And how much do you want to spend? Some systems are better suited for large convention hotels, while others have tailored features for small boutique hotels.Ready to take the next step in your hotel’s distribution strategy? A CRS might be the tool you need to connect to more distribution channels, sell more rooms, run a more efficient reservations department, and grow your hotel’s revenue.