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The 9 Most Futuristic High Tech Hotels in the World

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

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

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Preparing for Demand Ramp-Up with the Right Revenue Strategy

by
Alexandra Fjällman
2 months ago

The world felt hopeful when the first COVID-19 vaccine was announced several months ago.  Today, vaccines are being distributed worldwide. Many countries are starting to relax restrictions and re-open their borders.  That’s fantastic news for the travel and tourism industry even without a clear timeline. We still know that local and regional recovery will begin as soon as governments give the go-ahead.  Now you need to ask yourself: is your property ready for the rebound? And if not, which tools will get you ready quickly?   COVID-19: The Effect on the Hospitality Industry Worldwide As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded, STR regularly shared performance trends and outlooks for every corner of the world. We take a short look at how Covid-19 hit leading hospitality markets and what we can expect down the road.  Europe Europe's average occupancy fell to 11.4% when lockdowns began in April. For all of 2020, average occupancy reached 33.1% thanks to a relatively strong summer season. Slow vaccination programs and a lasting second lockdown in most European countries leave us with a bleak outlook for the coming 90 days.  Asia After arrivals plummeted in February and March, average occupancy across Asia fell by 30%. However, since many countries in the region managed the pandemic well, several of them have already seen a rebound in domestic travel. In China, for example, the outlook is positive. There, the average occupancy rate is only 10% below that of 2019 among open hotels. Destinations that focus primarily on international guests, like Vietnam and Thailand, are still struggling more. But hopes are high that reopened borders will bring quick recovery.  Middle East Overall, the Middle East boasted a relatively strong performance in the past twelve months. Right now, its average occupancy even outranks China and the US. This is partly because destinations like Dubai never closed their borders. Still, current OTB business is rather low, especially given that the postponed EXPO 2020 is coming up.    Vaccination Campaigns Are Gaining Momentum World in Data and the Bloomberg vaccine tracker show the latest progress of global vaccination programs. Israel leads the list with 50% of people being fully vaccinated. The US and Chile have both passed the 11% mark. The UAE and Bahrain are getting ahead well, too. The faster this progress spreads around the world, the sooner pent-up travel demand will hit the market.  Given Europe’s strong summer season and China’s overall strong performance, the outlook is positive. But, of course, there is no set timeframe to work with. That’s why now is the best time for hoteliers to set up the tools they need for guidance in this incalculable time.   Winning During the Recovery Phase with a Powerful RMS Every region’s recovery phase will look different, so generalized predictions are pointless. Patterns from previous crisis bounce-backs or other historical data won’t help either since Covid-19 was so different from everything else. Despite all that, you must get ready for the ramp-up phase. Only then you’ll be able to seize every opportunity it offers you and get your business going again.    Collecting your data manually - an inadequate method Gathering data manually to inform your rate changes is still possible, but it should be a thing of the past. Staying on top of dynamic markets and detecting trends early on simply isn’t possible with this approach. Especially in the volatile recovery period, this could cost you many opportunities to drive revenue. Using an RMS (revenue management system) solves that issue by helping you set optimized rates every time demand shifts. But which capabilities should an RMS have? Read on to learn which ones are crucial for ramp-up, recovery phase, and beyond.   Forward-looking demand data If you want to make accurate revenue forecasts and create successful promotions, you need forward-looking data. This covers everything from overall search volume for your location and flight searches to length of stay queries. For the best insights, use an RMS like Atomize which breaks this data down by source market. Collecting this information manually would cost you hours and it would likely become outdated before you had a chance to evaluate it. Let your RMS gather this data to reveal emerging trends and high-demand dates in the future. Seeing this develop in real-time lets you optimize your revenue strategy ahead of your competition. That way you’ll be ready for every demand shift and have the chance to target high-potential source markets with tailored offers.    Automated, real-time pricing If you update your prices manually, you’ll always play catch-up with the market and will miss revenue-generating opportunities. A modern RMS with automated real-time pricing solves this problem in two steps. First, it continuously monitors your market for the slightest changes in demand. Whenever it’s necessary, the RMS will send you a new rate suggestion. You can approve or reject it manually. While this option gives you more control, the time it takes you to approve the suggestion creates a lag, and opportunities may be lost. Avoid this by going for fully automated rate updates. In that case, your RMS changes all prices automatically and they’ll always be in line with the most recent market developments. This option saves you hours of precious time and ensures you’re making the most of every opportunity.   A faster way to do group displacement analysis When event planners can start organizing in-person events again, you’ll get a lot of inquiries all at once. Analyze your options carefully. Does your future-facing data predict high transient demand for the date in question? If so, will it come via your website or high-commission OTAs? Evaluating these and other aspects will cost your team time and energy. Use an RMS to make faster, data-based decisions and get the most profitable contracts for your property.    Multi-property capability for property clusters If you’re in charge of several hotels, use an RMS with a multi-hotel set-up to save time. Instead of having different log-ins and windows for every property, you can see all your hotels’ data on a single dashboard. You’ll see immediately where to focus your attention, make changes and support your on-site team.    You’ve made it through this tough past year. You know that recovery is around the corner, so don’t let it sneak up on you. Get your hotel ready for returning demand and leverage a cutting-edge RMS to get a step ahead of your compset.  Yes, investing in new tech can feel like a financial burden these days. That’s why Atomize is offering a risk-free option that lets you benefit from their time-saving automation and forward-looking data when you need it most - during the recovery phase.  

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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 months ago

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

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

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 months ago

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

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Winners of the 2021 HotelTechAwards Announced

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 months ago

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

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2021 HotelTechAwards Finalists Announced

by
Hotel Tech Report
5 months ago

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

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This is How Future Demand Data Can Solve Your Revenue Management Struggles

by
Alexandra Fjällman
2 months ago

Due to the developments in recent months, it has become clear that historical reference points do not offer the guidance they once did. But while this may make hotel forecasting seem impossible now, it’s more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hotel industry especially hard, and we are still facing great uncertainty. Revenue managers are under pressure to maximize revenue from the little business a hotel has. At the same time, hoteliers find it challenging to set the correct prices in today’s shifting markets.  This has led the hospitality industry to talk more about forward-leaning data, how to access it and use it to optimize revenue and help to forecast demand more accurately.   Future Demand Data Provides a Unique Competitive Advantage for Hoteliers  To be successful in this new landscape, relying solely on on-the-books (OTB) data is not enough. Hoteliers must rethink their approach and adapt to the current market conditions by using advanced resources. Then they can move beyond the recovery period, find new demand pockets and revenue streams which might require developing new business models and/or new concept offerings. Moving forward, the key to success for today's hoteliers will demand a proactive, data-driven approach supported by innovative tech tools and top-of-funnel demand information.  Top-of-funnel data will revolutionize the industry by providing hoteliers with the capability to better predict true demand based on booking and travel intent. On top of that, the ability to gain these insights automatically by supportive tech solutions will be a total game-changer and provide a unique competitive advantage for hoteliers.    “Historical reference points don't offer the guidance they once did. Hotel forecasting is extremely challenging in these times, however, looking into the future and planning for it has never been more important. Revenue managers must focus more on current and forward-looking data to predict demand and adjust pricing at the right time. Understanding true demand data in the future, like for example the intent to travel, will allow revenue managers to create realistic forecasts which will no longer be based on historical on-the-books data,” says Alexander Edström, CEO at Atomize.   Benefits of using Future Demand Data in Your Revenue Management Strategy Using forward-looking data brings many valuable benefits you won’t get just from looking at historical data.  Among other things, using forward-leaning data can help you do the following: Identify high-demand days and market anomalies to stay ahead of the game and maximize revenue.  Monitor hotel booking demand and booking intent in your geographical hotel market, 365 days into the future. Stay ahead of your competition since the availability and adoption of future demand data is still extremely low in the industry. Since this may sound a bit abstract, let’s look at three ways you can apply predictive, forward-looking market intelligence in day-to-day decision-making to maximize your revenue.    Leverage Localized Demand Insights Forward-looking demand data takes into account how demand for your destination is trending in various source markets. Once you know which markets are interested in your city and which stay dates they’re searching for, you can create geo-targeted ads and promotions for this source market. Use this to direct more of the existing demand to your property and let your RMS support you with optimized rate suggestions.   Get Deeper Competitive Insights Pair forward-looking demand data with competition insights to understand how your competitors are reacting to changing demand in the short and long term. Having this bird’s eye view of the market helps you accurately position your property among your primary compset and in the market overall. This means you reduce the risk of outpricing yourself all while maintaining optimal rates following real-time changes in the market.   Complete Market Overview for Refined Revenue Strategies Top-of-funnel data looks beyond current competitor rates and trends on OTAs. It gives you the bigger picture by including GDS, flight, event, holiday data and much more. Since this is much more data than any team could ever collect and analyze manually, a business intelligence tool comes in handy. It will give you the chance to see your market and future demand as a whole instead of just individual snapshots. Use this information to refine your revenue strategy and optimize tactics and decisions both in the short and long term. “Market conditions for hoteliers have changed drastically with fundamental shifts in traveler behavior and constantly evolving demand patterns. Understanding traveler search patterns and upper-funnel data has become essential for hotels to capture demand before their competition,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO of OTA Insight.   In AtomizeRMS the users will be able to Identify high demand days and market anomalies. The demand data from Market Insight will be processed together with Atomize’s other data sources, including both historical and future on the books data, to identify dates with high future revenue opportunities. How Can I as a Hotelier Get Access to Forward-Looking Data? Until recently, OTAs have mostly possessed a monopoly on forward-looking demand data. Business intelligence tools like OTA Insight’s Market Insight can now reveal this data to hotels providing hoteliers with aggregated data sets that reflect hotel booking demand and travel intent in any geographical hotel market, 365 days into the future.  To take things a step further and ensure rates are always optimized in real-time, this data can be fed directly into an RMS to improve rate recommendations. A recent partnership between Atomize RMS and Market Insight enables hotels to do exactly that and to better navigate current and future markets by providing more insight into the volume of travelers searching for and arriving in their respective markets. For a hotelier, this brings a unique competitive advantage and provides better conditions to predict, forecast, and boost future business, revenue, and profitability.  

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The 20 Biggest Travel Technology Innovations of the Last 50 Years

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

In many respects, 2020 was supposed to be a milestone year. It has a pleasant ring to it, with balance and heft. It also had a convenient correlation to the optometrist’s shorthand for perfect vision. Well, 2020 certainly was a milestone -- but for reasons that no one ever could have predicted.  Given that hindsight is always 20/20, we figured it was time to look back on the history of travel and pull out some of the most important innovations in travel technology over the last half-century. It was a period of tremendous growth, with major expansions of the industry in all directions: land, sea, air. The tourism industry grew from around 165 million in 1970 to 1.5 billion in 2019 (obviously 2020 is an outlier here, so we went with 2019).   Technology was a tremendous force in driving this growth in travel, mirroring broader trends in technology-fueled growth across the global economy. So which travel tech innovations had the greatest impact and fundamentally and positively changed the trajectory of the industry? Here's a timeline of the most important moments in travel technology over the last 50 years. Each signifies a milestone that influenced travel’s journey, ultimately becoming a global industry that provides opportunities for millions of people. The travel industry is changing rapidly and even the dominant online travel agencies aren't safe from disruption.  New technology from augmented reality to next-gen social media like TikTok will continue to change the way we get inspired, where we go and how we share our travel experiences.  Pressing questions lie ahead as we think about the next 50 years and to predict the future it's important that we first understand the past.   The past informs our thinking around transformative questions like: If virtual reality becomes ultra-realistic will we still want to travel in the future? Will biometrics safety tech be so accurate that we'll no longer have lines at the airport? Will the internet of things (IOT) help travel companies deliver hyper-personalized travel experiences? Let's hop on a time machine through the last 50 years of travel innovation!   January 1970: The 747 officially enters service The era of mass tourism really took off with the Boeing 747, which was in and of itself a technical marvel. For the first time, tourists could be transported in large numbers across vast distances. Both leisure and business travel became not just more practical and convenient but also a bit more affordable, as airlines could lower prices by packing more people into a single aircraft.      October 1971: Magic Kingdom opens in Florida And with it began the relentless global march of theme parks worldwide. As the first expansion beyond Disneyland in California, it not only heralded the beginning of an era of mass tourism and packaged culture -- but also the idea that technology could enable more fluid in-person experiences: the entire kingdom was built one story above ground level to accommodate utilidors, the passageways that cloak all operations from public view. That preserves the fantasy -- and put the “magic” in the kingdom.     1976: SABRE opens to travel agents  Since going live in 1960, the GDS had transformed how American Airlines managed its bookings. But the real moment that mattered was when SABRE opened up to travel agents. This meant that travel agents could more efficiently serve customers and thus accelerated the popularity of package tours, resort destinations and last-minute travel. Eventually, of course, Amadeus and Travelport entered the market, further fueling travel’s digital transformation, such as OTAs making self-serve travel a reality.     1976: FOSSE installed as Marriott’s first PMS Dave Berkus wrote the code for his PMS in 1974, growing his business rapidly as he installed his property management system at more hotels. Eventually, Marriott licensed the technology, called it FOSSE, rolled it out worldwide...and proceeded to use it for nearly three decades! The PMS was a companion to existing Central Reservations Systems, which managed reservations externally but didn’t offer functionality to manage internal operations and the guest experience.  Today, there are nearly 700 PMS vendors, alongside other hospitality technologies that help hotels manage operations, reservations and customer relationships.   Legacy tech held sway for decades, but cloud-based options are loosening the grip. [source]   1976: Foreign currency exchange replaces gold standard With the Jamaica Agreement among IMF member countries, floating exchange rates became the global norm. Travel between nations would eventually be influenced greatly by the relative value of each country’s currency, creating a new dynamic in how travel trends unfolded around the world. Fluctuations in currency valuations would now influence the ebbs and flows of travelers based on their home currency’s relative strength and weakness.    May 1981: American Airlines launches loyalty program American Airlines wasn't the first to launch a loyalty program (that honor goes to the defunct Texas International Airlines). But it remains the world’s largest and longest  continuously operating loyalty program. Marriott followed closely after, launching its loyalty program in 1983. Loyalty would eventually become a billion-dollar business for hotels and airlines, who benefited from the rise of premium rewards credit cards.  An early AAdvantage loyalty card shared on FlyerTalk Forum September 1983: GPS goes public  Originally developed for military use, President Ronald Reagan opened the system up to the public in September 1983 after a Soviet jet accidentally shot down a Korean passenger plane. Since then, GPS has been the lynchpin for so many of travel’s transformation technologies. What would rideshare be without mapping? How popular would the iPhone have been without point-to-point directions? Would travelers be comfortable exploring new places in such great numbers without the help of digital maps? The cost would have been too prohibitive for any one company to develop this technology on its own.   A military GPS tracker prior to its public release [source]   January 1988: The first STAR Report  The STR report has become the world’s most indispensable source of market intelligence for the hospitality industry. With the Smith Travel Accommodations Report (STAR), hotels could use actual aggregated data to measure performance against similar hotels. The STAR became indispensable and maintained its place at the center of a revolution in data-driven market intelligence.   The STAR report became an essential part of hotel revenue management.    Early 1990s: Marriott creates Demand Forecasting System Taking a cue from the nascent application of revenue management in the airline industry, Marriott created a Demand Forecasting System for its full-service hotels and a Revenue Management System for its limited service ones (read the genesis story here, it’s a good one!). By building models to predict demand, the hotel could more accurately price its rooms and optimize its revenues. This strategy was obviously transformative and became widely used across the industry -- especially as cloud computing made revenue management more practical for hotels of all sizes.   October 1996: Microsoft Expedia Travel Services Expedia started as an internal project within Microsoft. Its launch in 1996 heralded a sea change in the way travel was booked. No longer reliant on travel agents and ticketing departments, travelers could now research and book travel for themselves. Eventually joined by Booking.com, Google and hundreds others, Expedia entered the scene just as millions of people were accessing the internet for the first time.  As pure-play technology companies, OTAs rapidly cemented themselves at the center of the industry.    An early version of the Expedia website [source] February 2000: Salesforce launches its Web API The first enterprise application programming interface (API) was launched by Salesforce at its IDG Demo conference. Its XML API was the first out of the gate, unleashing a wave of innovation as businesses could share data with other companies and customers in an entirely customizable manner.  As APIs proliferated, data silos fell. Organizations could build applications that pushed and pulled data across products internally, while also making data more accessible to external partners. This accessibility drove innovations around open APIs, which enabled hospitality brands to build customized tech stacks with two-way data sync, all at a lower-cost than legacy tech.     The original Salesforce site. [source]   2001: First review added to Tripadvisor Tripadvisor began as a personalized trip planning website that aggregated reviews from guidebooks. But a small button asking visitors to add reviews took off, with eager travelers leaving reviews en masse. As the first user review site in travel, Tripadvisor began to wield extraordinary power over traveler decisions. Hotels began to watch their online reputations closely, focused on both responding to reviews and getting guests to share positive experiences online. Yelp followed in 2004, cementing user reviews at the center of the online reputation economy. June 26, 2001 from the Wayback Machine.   June 2004: CouchSurfing and “live like a local” home-sharing  Conceived in 1999 and launched in 2004, CouchSurfing was a precursor to the commercialization of home-sharing by Airbnb. Alongside other sites like Hospitality Exchange, it offered travelers an online platform to connect with locals. These “hosts” would not only share their homes with travelers but would often become local guides, showing travelers a real slice of local life -- yep, this was also the original “live like a local” brand promise!  [source]   April 2006: Google Translate introduces instant translation While translation services transformed the way that we communicated across cultures, instant translation changed how we interact in real-time with others. Google Translate was the first mainstream instant translation service. Launched in 2006, it started off as browser-only and struggled to be accurate and sensible. Even in its earliest iteration, it was a tremendous help to travelers. Today, the app now supports 109 languages, with 500 million users translating 100 billion words per day. The app also translates photos and has a “conversation mode” so travelers can communicate fluidly with others. Instant translation also became a standard feature on Apple's latest iOS 14 update, which includes a Translate app that supports 10 languages. Users can download languages for offline translation and can also set up automatic language detection, which makes it a must-have tool for any traveler.   Google Translate’s simple interface made instant translation easy   August 2006: Amazon Web Services and cloud computing Cloud computing has been a fulcrum for innovation. Dave Berkus, investor and inventor of FOSSE PMS, sees cloud as central to the future of hospitality technology: “If we look ahead ten years, and certainly beyond 10 years, it would be easy to see a single cloud based system integrating everything from CRM to reservations to the accounting functions at the properties, all the way through all forms of marketing and follow-through.”  Amazon Web Services accelerated adoption of cloud computing by making it easy for companies to access shared server space on a “pay what you use basis.” Eventually embraced by Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle and others, cloud computing helped enterprises reduce IT infrastructure costs and increase flexibility. For startups, the technology was even more transformative, as it reduced upfront IT costs and simplified scaling up to accommodate demand.   [source]   June 2007: the iPhone changes everything After the GDS, which streamlined the buying and selling of travel via phone and online, the iPhone arguably had the biggest impact on travel. It was the start of the mobile computing era, which would eventually put smartphones in the hands of billions of people worldwide. Now travelers could take their computers wherever they went, meaning that they could make reservations at restaurants, search for things to do and, most importantly, stay in touch with friends and family while traveling. The smartphone became an indispensable tool -- and massive fulcrum for the growth of the industry, becoming cameras, contactless credit cards, room keys, taxi dispatchers, check-in counters, mobile travel agents and local guides.   The first iPhone on display in 2007 [source]   August 2008: Airbnb ushers in the home-sharing economy Originally called Airbed & Breakfast, Airbnb essentially commercialized the CouchSurfing model of connecting travelers with locals offering a place to stay. It gave homeowners a way to monetize unused space and fulfilled the emerging “live like a local” traveler ethos. The company would eventually transform the entire hospitality industry by expanding the diversity of accommodation types worldwide. Hotels were threatened, local governments bristled, and Airbnb grew to be a behemoth. The concept would rapidly expand to other assets, such as cars, boats and RVs, forever changing the economics of stuff -- and giving travelers an entirely new way to experience the world.   2010: UberCab launches rideshare revolution Taxis had long been a pain point in travel. From unknown wait times and handsy drivers to cabbies not wanting to go to certain neighborhoods and price-gouging at the airport, grabbing a cab was always a bit fraught. Now, with cabs on demand, pricing was transparent, wait time was visible and a driver’s reputation upfront. Travel would be forever different.   Early images of UberCab   October 2011: Apple integrates Siri into iPhone 4  Voice forever changed the way that we interact with our devices. The journey began when Apple integrated its Siri voice technology into the iPhone 4. As one of the earliest efforts in voice control, it was far from perfect. But it signaled a shift in thinking about the flexibility and accessibility of our digital devices.  The adoption of voice accelerated with Amazon's Alexa in 2014 and Google's voice assistant in 2016.  With all the major players integrating voice, it's now become a ubiquitous way to interact with our devices -- including the curtains, lights and appliances in smart hotel rooms!   Original coverage of voice control by Engadget.   November 2014: Digital keys become the next must-have Demagnetized cards are frustrating -- even more so when you happen to be in Vegas and the front desk is half a mile away. The first hotel chain to introduce digital keys was Starwood, who piloted the SPG Keyless program at 10 hotels in November 2014. Other brands followed close behind, with Hilton announcing a similar pilot later that year.  Since then, keyless has become standard across hotels worldwide. Digital keys also became a clever driver of loyalty, as digital keys could only be accessed by members.  Keyless entry also has become a major part of the vacation rental experience, allowing owners to manage properties remotely without a traditional “hand off” of keys. The ease of access was welcomed by guests, which often valued the self-service aspects of vacation rentals in the first place.   Keyless entry becomes standard as hotels partner with technology vendors worldwide.   2014: Uplift brings “buy now, pay later” to travel Even before Diner’s Club launched its charge card in 1950, most department stores offered some sort of installment plan. Then, as banks began to issue credit cards that didn't need to be paid off each month, America turned to credit and installments fell out of favor. Other regions preferred installment payments over credit, with certain countries (like Brazil) maintaining a strong consumer desire to pay in installments. In 2014, FinTech startup Uplift began offering its core service: a “buy now, pay later” installment option integrated directly into the payment systems of major travel suppliers. There’s also Affirm, which integrated with Expedia in 2016, and FOMO Travel, which offers interest-free payment plans for travel booked through its partners.   Uplift integrates within the checkout flow [source]   Bonus: Travel insurance The first known seller of travel insurance was James Batterson, who opened his travel-focused agency in 1864. For those who could afford to travel, the insurance was a must-have, given the risks of traveling long during that era. Today, travel insurance has become a global industry with a variety of options that range from stand-alone policies, add-ons to existing health insurance policies and benefits attached to premium credit cards.   Travel insurance is an important innovation as it provides peace of mind and confidence for travelers. Travel insurance that can be customized to individual needs offers a backstop to uncertainty for travelers. Of course, the global pandemic revealed how complex the product has become, with many travelers realizing that their policy did not cover COVID.   -- The tourism industry is one of the most exciting and rewarding career paths one can take - staying on top of travel technology trends is critical to success.  Did we miss any major innovations? Let us know over live chat so we can add yours to the list!    

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Here’s How Hoteliers Can Attract New Travelers in the Post-COVID Era

by
Kamesh Shukla
7 months ago

COVID-19 has had deep and far-reaching impact on the tourism industry. And, while the world waits for a universally-safe vaccine, most businesses – especially hotels – are starting to plan for the future. How will consumer tastes change as a result of the pandemic? The “new guest” of the immediate post-COVID era will have different needs and expectations of their hotel stay. Property managers can start building services and amenities that meet the demands of the first influx of travelers to arrive after the lifting of COVID travel restrictions now – because only by investing in the right tools and technology today can you get an edge on your competition then. Here’s how traveler expectations have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and what your hotel needs to do to win more bookings in the future.   Who is the Traveler of the Future? Travelers are paying close attention to how all brands – and especially hotels – are communicating and reacting to the pandemic. Brands that are perceived as “insensitive” to keeping guests safe, or seen as not taking precautions seriously, will be punished in the post-COVID era. There are a few data points from RateGain that demonstrate this point. First and foremost, guests are putting health and safety first. Hotels can expect to see a 4x increase in questions around property restrictions and safety procedures. If your property can’t give a satisfying answer to how it’s keeping guests safe, your brand will suffer: 60% of travelers punished brands for being insensitive in their response to the pandemic. The guest of the future is also turning to social media to learn more about your hotel’s safety protocols, as well as room availability. RateGain found that 65% of Indian travelers prefer getting brand updates on Facebook. In fact, few travelers are turned off by brands that advertised during the pandemic – 92% of those surveyed by RateGain said they could understand the economic stress the pandemic caused and didn’t feel that it was inappropriate to advertise during the crisis. What does this mean for your hotel? The post-pandemic guest is looking for balance in the way your property communicates. More communication is definitely preferred – guests want to hear from your hotel regarding availability, safety protocols, and opening/closing restrictions. This guest wants your property to acknowledge the severity of the crisis and to show how your team is taking every precaution to stay open to travelers responsibly. This guest is open-minded when it comes to marketing messages; they won’t punish your property for continuing to run promotions, so long as you demonstrate you’re putting the guest’s needs first and foremost. On social media especially, your marketing team must strike the right balance between promotion and precaution.   Building the Digital Experience Before the pandemic, guests interacted with a hotel brand primarily through the physical experience (e.g., how comfortable was the bed?) and the service experience (e.g., how easy was the check-in process?). Now, there’s a third layer through which the hotel will leave an impression with a guest: the digital experience. All three pillars will be important to meeting the needs of the post-pandemic traveler, but hotels are currently least equipped to capitalize on the digital experience. The digital experience incorporates technology and online platforms to meet guest needs virtually – before, during and after their stay. The digital experience is the primary way to make a post-pandemic guest feel seen, heard, and cared for by the hotel’s physical and service experiences. Here’s what this means in practice.   Drive Revenue by Prioritizing Guest Safety Integrating this digital experience with a property’s amenities and service offerings is key to driving revenue. For a general manager, winning the guest of the future starts by clearly following global health and safety standard operating procedures – and communicating these measures as transparently as possible using social media and email to win guest trust. Digital tools can simultaneously reduce variable costs at the property while meeting guest demand for social distancing measures. In your operations, implement touchless check-in and contactless room-service for your F&B team. Shut down buffet-style dining options and add healthy meals to your menu. Augment the service experience with immunity-boosting in-room snack options. And, evolve the physical experience by creating a safe in-room experience and offering a digital concierge. These measures both personalize the guest experience and drive revenue by supplying amenities that guests actually want. Sales and marketing teams should focus their effort on improving your hotel’s reputation using guest feedback. This team must communicate what is being done to improve safety at your property as well as to promote user-generated content, providing social “proof” that your hotel is being honest and transparent in its effort to keep guests safe. Harness positive customer reviews to win trust with travelers by showing, rather than telling. Make sure you’re regularly updating your social media profiles, OTA listings, and website with all precautions your property is taking. Finally, revenue managers will play an outsized role in attracting new travelers following the pandemic. New data from RateGain shows how the market has become much more dynamic since COVID-19 started:  A hotel changes its room rates 5x per day 60% of users seek to access content via mobile 45% of activities can be automated using technology That technology can lead to 50% cost savings 26% of work is accomplished outside traditional work hours What do these numbers mean for revenue managers? The digital experience isn’t just for guests: revenue managers need a reliable rate intelligence platform that can integrate with your existing Revenue Management system to optimize rate shopping and monitor real-time rate changes, improving your price strategy accordingly. You also must be able to capture mobile-first guests – otherwise, you’re missing a massive competitive advantage.   Three Ingredients to Attracting Post-COVID Travelers It’s hard to know when the pandemic will be over, but it’s possible to start pivoting your hotel’s operations and outreach to be prepared for that inevitable eventuality. The new guest will expect to have consistent, positive service, physical and digital experiences with your hotel. Focus now on three key investments which will help your hotel win more bookings from post-pandemic travelers:  Cognitive revenue management: how can a digital revenue management tool help you optimize pricing in a dynamic market? Can you improve competitive intelligence and use booking data to show the guest you know and anticipate their needs? Smart distribution: how can your brand partner a channel manager to simplify room distribution? How can you improve discovery with OTAs and other new channels? Targeted social media: how is your brand listening to customers on Facebook and other platforms? How are you sharing your safety measures transparently? How can you build your brand reputation using customer reviews and other user-generated content?  By focusing on the digital experience, your hotel can drive revenue and increase brand trust with the first post-pandemic travelers.  

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What is Average Daily Rate (ADR)? How is it Used in the Hotel Industry?

by
Hotel Tech Report
8 months ago

RevPar may be the hotel industry's favorite KPI (see: What’s RevPar?) but ADR (average daily rate) is a close second! And the truth is that they are closely intertwined. So, even if you are still confused about the jumbled terminology of hotel revenue management, we're here to sort you out! By the end of this article, you'll understand how to calculate ADR and how to interpret and influence it in your hotel’s revenue management strategy.  Average daily rate metrics aim to help business owners understand the average price rooms are being sold for in isolation.  By pulling metrics apart we are better able to identify problems and opportunities to forge stronger revenue strategies.   What is ADR? (Average Daily Rate) ADR stands for average daily rate and is widely used in the lodging industry as the best indicator for hotel room rate quality since total revenue metrics can be obscured by other factors like ancillaries or food and beverage. For real estate businesses and specifically hotel operators with perishable inventory, pricing strategies can make or break profitability.  The formula for ADR is simple - just divide the total rooms revenue at your hotel by the total occupied rooms.  So if you have $10,000 in rooms revenue and 100 rooms sold, your ADR is $100.  The "A" in ADR stands for "average" because you'll usually be looking at YTD (year to date) or TTM (trailing twelve months) averages.  You can really use this metric for any given time period but you'll need to make sure key performance indicators are always being compared apples to apples for a time perspective.  It's a common mistake to divide rooms revenue by total number of rooms - this methodology can lead to artificially deflated RevPAR since it accounts for unoccupied and complimentary rooms. ADR= Room Revenue/Occupied Rooms ADR shows hospitality industry revenue managers how well they are doing at maintaining the pricing strength of their properties. An ADR that's trending upwards or downwards can be a worrisome sign or it can be the result of a clear revenue management strategy. Evaluated on its own and out of context, ADR doesn't tell the full picture of a property’s performance.  Context comes from using ADR as a performance benchmark for comparing one hotel against another.  Hotel revenue manager will create a “competitive set,” made up of hotels that attract similar types of guests, and then track the performance of the individual property compared to the comp set. If your hotel’s ADR is higher than other properties in your compset, it may have resulted in fewer bookings (i.e. lower occupancy) because you are less price competitive than other hotels all else equal. In other words, when a traveler compares your hotel to similar hotels, the lower rate will entice them to book with a competitor. Generally, this is a bad thing; you want your hotel to be competitively priced so you don’t lose bookings! In general, lower rates will result in higher occupancy and higher rates will result in lower occupancy. However, this is a bit simplistic, as we’ll cover in the next section on tactics to influence ADR. Generally speaking there is no such thing as "good ADR" in isolation because you'll also need to consider and compare occupancy with historical results and the compset to see how your property is doing.   ADR is a component of RevPar Alongside occupancy rate, a property's ADR impacts RevPar (or revenue per available room), a key industry metric that tracks interactions between a hotel’s ADR and its occupancy rate. Hoteliers love RevPar because it shows how well they’re doing relative to similar hotels when adjusting for the number of available rooms. It's also a helpful revenue management signpost, showing how well a hotel generates revenue from its rooms.  To boost RevPAR, you can increase ADR and/or occupancy; a higher ADR and occupancy rate means more revenue per available room. However, as we mentioned already, there’s a breaking point where a higher rate reduces demand.  In general, you increase your rates too much, your occupancy will go down. This can actually be a net positive for revenue, as long as you’re increasing your rate enough to account for the lost occupancy. But it can also cause a dip in occupancy that can’t be made up with higher rates.  For example, let’s say you decide to push your RevPar up by increasing ADR from $120 to $140. The occupancy at your 100-room hotel goes from 60% to 50%, which means your RevPar goes from $75 to $70. But now you are servicing 10 fewer rooms, which can save you money on the operations side. And, you can then target guests at that $140 rate and rebuild your occupancy. If the initiative succeeds, your RevPar ends up at $84 ($140 ADR*60% occupancy). Win! The effect of increasing or lowering prices on reducing or increasing demand is known as the price elasticity of demand. Thankfully, price isn’t the only thing that affects hotel revenue. Factors such as geography, traveler demographics (income, etc), hotel category and macroeconomic trends also affect the relationship between rate changes and occupancy.  Sometimes, a higher ADR results in more bookings and a higher RevPAR. Like during periods of high demand, when inventory is constrained in the local market and consumers are far less price-sensitive. Or, as we saw in our example, a hotel can take steps to position itself as a more premium brand to increase ADR  without necessarily decreasing occupancy. The complex dynamics and interplay between pricing and demand is the cornerstone of revenue management.   Tactics: How to Influence Hotel ADR ADR is a fairly straightforward hotel performance metric: to increase it, raise your rates! However, as we saw above it's important to consider the impact of rate increases on your hotel’s overall revenue potential. Blindly increasing rates to boost your ADR can reduce occupancy and thus revenues. On the other hand, strategically increasing rates can actually lead to more revenue! It's a bit counterintuitive but it's true.   Tactic #1: Brand Marketing Thus the top tactic to influence your hotel’s ADR is to focus on brand marketing. There are three reasons why investing in premium brand positioning can be the most rewarding tactic in the long-term: You can command higher rates. If your brand is perceived as premium,  You can set your right tire without risking occupancy dips. In some cases, higher rates of loan can make your brand seem more premium! Pricing psychology is a funny thing! Loyalty is more profitable. If your brand fosters strong loyalty with past guests, you’ll rely less on public discounting and promotions. Rather, you can market directly to past guests and offer exclusive discounts and promotions that don't require you to pay commissions. You'll also notice that strong loyalty supports strong price position, as you won't have to publicly discount rates to generate business. Self-reinforcing cycle. As you build your book of higher-end guests, your premium positioning will build on itself. A strong brand also acts as a buffer to any downward pressures. That way,  if you have had ones, your brand is already well-positioned in the eyes of consumers and won't necessarily have to resort quickly to blanket discounts.   Tactic #2: Segmentation Another way to influence ADR is to segment your marketing so that you are better matching message to each audience. By segmenting in this way, you’ll be able to yield higher rates because you’ll speak more directly to each guest segment.  The best example of this is with targeting past guests with loyalty marketing. These guests already know you’re property -- and hopefully love it! That means they are not just more likely to book direct but also less price-sensitive overall. These guests aren’t just looking for deals, they’re looking for predictable and familiar experiences that fulfill their expectations. In general, capturing more revenue from past guests also lowers your distribution costs and increases your net ADR (see next tactic).  Since segmentation allows you to have different messages for different audiences, you can also section off certain cohorts for a more premium offer while keeping discounts focused elsewhere.  One lever to achieve this price-based segmentation is to leverage the power of package promotions. The benefit of packages is that you’re able to hide the actual rate of the room within the broader package. This is a fantastic tool to boost ADR, as you can create “value-added” packages that don’t actually cost you much more to deliver, such as a complimentary welcome drink or meals included. Once you subtract the true cost of delivering these add-ons, you’ll be left with a healthier ADR.   Tactic #3: Distribution Costs All revenue is not created equal. Each channel that sells your hotel rooms has its own associated costs. So one approach is to focus on Net ADR, or the amount of money that your hotel keeps after paying all distribution costs for each booking. While this won’t be a metric you can use for benchmarking against your compset, its great for internal tracking of how profitable your distribution strategy is. By optimizing your channels, you reduce commission costs and increase net revenue. This will have a direct impact on profitability. And it will also make you more competitive in the marketplace; since you are securing bookings more profitably, you’ll have more pricing power when it comes to setting your rates against your competitors!   Tactic #4: Upsells and Rate Restrictions Another path to higher ADR is to sell more to upcoming reservations and current guests. By convincing guests to upgrade to a higher category of room, you’ll increase your ADR without having to increase the public rates. This avoids the occupancy issues of increasing your public rates and keeps your hotel competitive in the marketplace. When setting up your automated upselling initiative, consider doing more than just upgrades to bigger rooms. Can you create a package that offers exclusive access to amenities or some sort of upgraded experience beyond a bigger room? These are often seen as more valuable by guests, who then are willing to pay a bigger price premium than you may get from category upgrades alone. Rate restrictions are also a powerful tool, especially non-cancellable rates. Since guests aren’t able to cancel the booking, you can offer a better rate. This appeals to value-minded guests and reduces annoying last-minute cancellations, which can wreak havoc on yields. Length of stay is also another rate restriction to experiment with. Try different LOS requirements, such as a Friday/Saturday night stay, to better yield longer stays. While encouraging longer stays may not necessarily increase ADR (last-minute and weekend bookings are usually more expensive), it can help you maintain occupancy and keep supply low enough to merit higher ADRs.