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Oracle’s Vision for Nor1: Double Down on Machine Learning and Attribute Based Selling in Hospitality

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 hour ago

Have you ever had a guest complain that their service level or room didn’t meet expectations? I was recently at a hotel where I paid for a premium ocean view on a special occasion but arrived to find that I was given the worst version of this room type with a severely obstructed view. This arrival experience was awful and despite the hotel making the situation right by upgrading us - there was an easier solution, more granular attribute-based selling.  When traveling by air, we can select our preferences down to the seat, row, and even pay a premium to bring heavier luggage.  Hotels are a bit behind on this front, but Oracle’s acquisition of Nor1 may prove to be a step in the right direction. In this article, we’ll talk about the trend towards attribute-based selling and walk through how this product combination may just be the solution the hospitality industry has been looking for.   What is Attribute-Based Selling? Let’s take a step back; what is attribute-based selling? In the traditional hotel booking model, a guest chooses a room type out of just a few options. Perhaps the guest could choose between a Standard Queen room, Deluxe Queen room, or Suite. Maybe every room includes parking and breakfast, but the guest needs to pay extra for a late check-out. But what if the guest really just wants a basic room, with no parking or breakfast, but needs a late check-out? Under the traditional model, the guest would be “paying” for parking and breakfast even though they aren’t using those amenities, and they might feel frustrated about paying for a late check-out. What’s the solution here? Enter attribute-based selling. If you’ve booked a flight in the last few years, you’re probably familiar with this model. Essentially, you only pay for the features you want, and you can pay extra for the amenities that really matter to you. At a hotel, for example, a guest would start with a basic room, then choose to upgrade to a king-size bed or add parking or breakfast - or not. Maybe the guest could even pay extra for a room on a high floor or for a late check-out. We can think of it as a sort of “unbundling” of all the components in a room type or rate plan. Not only does attribute-based selling allow the guest to truly customize their stay, this model allows hoteliers to more accurately forecast and track amenity usage (like parking and breakfast) and generate incremental revenue.   Understanding OPERA,  Nor1, and the Product Interaction Today We’ve established that Nor1 provides upselling solutions, but how does it work? Nor1’s products tie their upsell recommendations to data, pulling in details like length of stay, number of guests, guest history, arrival date, and more to tailor each offer to the individual guest. Nor1 offers products for each step of the guest’s journey: eStandby Upgrade: offers room upgrade requests and add-ons (like early check-in or attributes like a high floor location) at the time of booking. At this point, the guest can simply request an upgrade, but it won’t be confirmed until closer to their check-in date, or with no-cost integration to OPERA, the guest request can be automatically fulfilled with no interaction on the part of the hotel eXpress Upgrade: if the guest doesn’t accept the original upgrade offer, the system re-targets them. If the guest turns down the offer again, the system “learns” from the interaction to provide more relevant offers to future guests. The guest may also receive an another offer at check-in CheckIn Merchandising: gives front desk agents tools to offer and confirm room upgrades during check-in, plus offer add-ons like discounted drinks at the lobby bar or attributes like a balcony or a water view room. Oracle Hospitality provides products for hotels, resorts, casinos, restaurants, and more, and the company’s two flagship hospitality solutions are their property management system, OPERA, and their restaurant management system, Simphony. OPERA is either cloud-based or on-premise, and it has a slew of features like detailed guest profiles, loyalty tracking, advanced rate management, and a mobile version. Recently added to OPERA Cloud is a new Foundation level targeting  smaller, limited-service hotels which complements the existing functionality in OPERA for mid-size, full service properties.  Simphony, a point-of-sale system for restaurants, allows restaurateurs and employees to manage everything from online orders and digital menus to reservations and waitlists. So how do OPERA and Nor1 interact in a pre-arrival environment? Via the no-cost Nor1 OXI, OPERA feeds the reservation data that Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade and eXpress Upgrade need to make targeted, personalized upsell recommendations and to trigger offers that are sent to guests. In addition, front desk agents use Nor1’s CheckIn Merchandising solution during the check-in process to facilitate upsell offers, like room upgrades, by keeping CheckIn Merchandising open alongside OPERA.   Benefits the OPERA + Nor1 Combination Beyond Attribute Based Selling In this case, one plus one does not equal two; the sum of OPERA and Nor1 are greater than the individual components because of the benefits hoteliers can realize when the systems work together. Most importantly, Nor1’s entire upsell flow will integrate directly into the -OPERA  interface, which means staff will no longer need to switch between the two applications. Recommendations will also be more personalized because Nor1 can tap into richer data from the OPERA. The two systems can also deliver time savings by automating room assignments instead of manually assigning upsold rooms, plus Nor1 can get a more precise view into availability and can upsell more granularly based on the nuances of individual rooms. The two systems working in tandem will make upselling accessible to new market segments. Historically upselling has been cost-prohibitive for smaller hotels and delivered limited ROI in limited-service, midscale, and economy hotels. Not only will the out-of-pocket software cost and the staff needed to manage upsells decrease, but the systems are sophisticated enough to provide unique upselling options even at properties with limited F&B, on-site amenities, and room types. Oracle and Nor1 can also leverage Simphony, the restaurant management system, to offer unique and personalized food and beverage options for guests, and the guest behavior will prove advantageous in driving guest loyalty. For example, if Simphony knows that a guest orders a particular bottle of wine during every stay, then Nor1 could promote an upsell offer that includes that specific beverage choice. Another benefit, while less flashy than personalized upgrades, is that Nor1 can leverage Oracle’s massive investment in data management, security, and compliance. As a global, Fortune 100 company, Oracle’s resources are on a different level that a smaller company like Nor1 couldn’t gather on its own. Users of both companies can now benefit from peace of mind that their guests’ data will be secure. Ready to bring personalized upselling to your property? There’s no better time to implement a solid strategy than now, as you prepare to welcome guests again.   This content was created collaboratively by Oracle Hospitality and Hotel Tech Report.

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How to Break Away From Room Categories with Attribute Based Selling

by
Markus Mueller
5 days 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 R New revenue management tactics due to higher number of price points R Upselling solutions of room features and services R Automatic room assignment and avoidance of free upgrades R 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 Industries Other 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 alone Online 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 Approaches Attribute 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 Approaches Using 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 Approach The 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 Categories Moving 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 Management In 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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The 9 Most Futuristic High Tech Hotels in the World

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 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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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 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

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Hotel Tech Report
6 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

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Hotel Tech Report
6 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

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

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Hotel Tech Report
10 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.  

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5 Ways to Boost Revenue with Suggestive Selling

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Your hotel has invested a lot in the overall guest experience. Your restaurant has a brand-new seasonal menu; your spa has been completely revamped; your concierge has tons of special offers ready to promote. How can you make sure guests are discovering all these amenities? Suggestive selling targets guests with specific, personalized offers that make it easy for guests to say “yes” to making a purchase. The benefits of suggestive selling can lead to a better guest experience, as well as more incremental revenue for your property. Suggestive selling and upselling can help guests enjoy all your property has to offer – all you need is the right tool to time your pitch to the right guest at the right time.   What is Suggestive Selling? Suggestive selling is a sales technique where your employee asks the customer if they would like to add an ancillary product or service to their original purchase. The goal is to increase the purchase amount of the customer and boost revenue at your hotel. Here are a couple examples from other industries: a barista might ask if a customer wants a pastry with their coffee a retailer might suggest an extended warranty along with a new appliance. The ancillary product is usually of lower value than the item the customer intends to purchase. Suggestive selling benefits your hotel in that it only takes slightly more effort to gain additional revenue. Rather than launching an entirely autonomous marketing campaign or sales effort, your employee is targeting a customer already in the mindset of making a purchase. It’s much easier to convince someone to add items to their cart once they are already committed to checking out. Moreover, since the add-on product is of lesser value than the original purchase, it’s much more likely that the customer will be willing to add it to their transaction. Customers benefit from suggestive selling too. Suggestive selling can entice a customer to try something they might not normally select on their own. “A customer might not normally get this product or service, but because it is new, different and exciting they're willing to give it a try. Or, it might be a special night for the customer (birthday, promotion) and they want to get something different to remember it by,” writes one expert. The right type of suggestion can build brand affinity and customer satisfaction. Suggestive selling varies slightly from upselling, but the two techniques align when your hotel upsells the right offer at the right moment, benefitting both your property and the guest. Upselling focuses on suggestions that drive sales or profits. While a suggestive sell is adding a pastry with your coffee order, an upsell would be to get a large latte for just a dollar more than a medium latte. When done properly, upselling results in more incremental revenue and better guest experiences. This is where a tool like Nor1 will help your hotel staff make the right upsell offer. Nor1 uses targeted pre-arrival upselling to highlight products and services at your hotel after a customer has already booked their stay. Their timed email campaigns send the right message with a personalized offer to each guest for easy upselling of all the amenities at your property.   How Can Hotels Leverage Suggestive Selling? Suggestive selling can be used in myriad ways, but hotels should focus on three key channels to avoid spamming guests with upsell offers. These three touchpoints are: on a website, in email marketing, and through your call center. Beyond which channel you use, the other key factors in leveraging suggestive selling at your hotel are timing and reach. Many hotels delegate upselling to their front desk staff; this means they miss out on other, better opportunities to unobtrusively spotlight an add-on product or service. Properties who don't automate this process are missing major upsell opportunities. Automation approach increases reach and awareness for offers. Here are a few places where suggestive selling can seem natural – and raise awareness of products a guest may want to purchase. Share news about your property. Use your email list to share events and promotions strategically. What’s new at your hotel? Did you just renovate your spa? Are there new items on your restaurant menu? Send a targeted email to someone who’s just booked a stay displaying relevant news about upcoming features at your property – e.g., “Make your stay even greater by testing out these new dishes at our restaurant.”  Personalized website messages. A direct booking tool can present each visitor to your website with unique, targeted features based on their buyer persona. As someone is going through the booking process on your site, one of these tools can suggest special offers, deliver specific reviews, and personalize content depending on what each visitor is seeking. For instance, after someone books a family vacation, the booking confirmation page can present an offer for deals on kids’ meals at your on-site restaurant.  Demonstrate product knowledge. Through your call center, using a live chat tool, or on your website’s FAQs page, make sure there are plenty of opportunities to suggestively sell while answering a guest’s questions. For instance, if a confirmed guest asks if your property has an on-site gym, take that opportunity to see if they want to book a private session with a trainer during their stay. Showcase room upgrades in the booking path. Help guests clearly understand the differences between room types and rates right in your booking engine to make it easy for a guest to select the right room for their trip. One idea? Show the square footage of each room right next to each room type. Provide a short, clear description about what makes each room unique and why it costs a certain amount relative to other room types. This can entice guests to size up and spend more once they see that one room has superior amenities over another.  Suggest complementary items and share best features. Use a guest’s browsing history and customer profile to suggest items that fit their trip profile. For instance, a hotel in Orlando might see that a guest is looking for information about connecting rooms, we might infer that they’re a family and offer a “All About Mickey Package” that includes Disneyland tickets and transportation to the park. If a guest is looking at the cheapest room type, we might display an offer for a date that is even cheaper or ask if they’d like 20% off for adding another room night. Suggestive selling is all about learning about the guest to provide offers that align with their needs. The right suggestive offers feel natural, promote add-ons that are easy to add to the cart, and are timed to reach the guest at the right moment.   The Shift from Suggestive Selling to Upselling Upselling is just as powerful as suggestive selling. Upselling allows your property to target guests who have already booked a trip to your hotel, and expand revenue even after the sale is already made. These guests are highly likely to buy from you and are 100% free to market to with specialized offers; there’s no cost of acquisition because this customer has already become a future guest. Successful upselling is a win-win for the hotel and the guest – but only when the offer matches the guest profile. Offering a family vacation package to a business traveler won’t resonate. This is where personalization comes in and it pays to work with a specialist provider like Nor1. Upsell software can send optimized pre-arrival emails that suggest deals and services specific to the customer profile they can add on with one simple click. At set intervals along the guest journey, tools like Nor1 automatically sends out personalized messages promoting room upgrades and other services three to five days before arrival. It’s a powerful way to encourage discovery about your property and suggest items for a guest to add to their stay.  

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21 Hotel Amenities Ideas You Should Consider Now

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

With so many new hotel brands, competition from short-term rentals, and new technologies, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to make your hotel stand out in the eyes of hotel guests.  Renovating your property is expensive and time consuming but hotel amenities are an easy and high impact way to stand out in your competitive set. How can you do it all - be original, earn 5-star guest reviews, and generate social media buzz - without dropping rates? Let’s go back to basics and look for ways to enhance the guest experience. Put yourself in the guest’s shoes: what are the pain points you experience while traveling? What do you wish you could bring along, and what amenities would really make a difference in your stay? Today’s guests crave novelty and utility. They want to be surprised with hotel amenities that they’ll actually use. For example, Westin partnered with New Balance to provide running shoes and exercise gear for guests who want to maintain their workout routine while on the road. In this article we’ll briefly cover the basic hotel amenities that every property needs and then dive into 21 unique amenities that will help you win the hearts and minds of guests.   Essential Hotel Amenities (Basics Checklist, Toiletries, etc.) Before diving into our list of unique amenities, we want to make sure every hotel has the basics covered. These amenities used to be a main selling point for hotels, but now they’re par for the course. Simply put, when guests stay at a hotel, they expect these items to be readily available and free of charge:   1. Toiletries (e.g. Shampoo, lotion, etc.) 2. Personal care (combs, shaving cream, razor, shower cap, hair dryer) 3. Coffee Kit (maker, coffee and creamer) 4. Tissue box 5. Bathrobes and slippers Ready to take things to the next level? Many hotels now offer elevated amenities to better compete with vacation rentals. If your hotel is located in a market with a lot of competition from Airbnb - or if you’re just looking to grab a competitive edge - consider making these amenities available 6. Free breakfast: Guests want to save money and enjoy the convenience of either cooking their own breakfast or enjoying breakfast just steps from their room. When most short-term rentals include kitchens, hotels can compete on the breakfast front by offering some sort of free breakfast option, whether it’s a continental buffet or a sit-down hot meal. 7. Options for pillows: Many guests have allergies or strong preferences for certain types of pillows, so you can make your hotel feel more like a home by offering down, foam, and hypoallergenic pillows available. 8. Free WiFi internet access: Remember the days of hotel WiFi that cost $20 per day? Well, some hotels are still stuck in that era. Free WiFi is quickly becoming an amenity just like shampoo: guests expect it, and they don’t want to pay for it. For some guests, no free WiFi can be a deal-breaker.  Want to go above and beyond? Let guests stream their favorite TV through platforms like Netflix via your hotel room TVs. 9. Free parking: Parking is another way to compete with short-term rentals. Some short-term rentals include a parking space, so if your hotel’s parking comes at a fee, that’s another reason for guests to opt for an Airbnb. We recommend doing some research on short-term rentals in your market to see what the parking trends are.  The more upscale your hotel, the more guests will expect valet parking. 10. Premium coffee: Elevate your in-room offerings by swapping the cheap packets of no-name coffee for freshly ground beans from a local roaster - or even a luxe Nespresso machine. If upgrading the in-room coffee isn’t feasible for your property, consider adding a machine in the lobby that can whip up cappuccinos and lattes. 11. Gym or fitness center: Today’s guest doesn’t want to sacrifice their workout routine on the road, so even if your hotel doesn’t have its own fitness center, guests will appreciate discounted rates (or, even better, free classes or gym time) at a nearby fitness facility.   Creative (& Unique) Hotel Amenities   12. Mobile Check-In: We hear a lot of buzz about guestroom technology and sustainability within hotel operations, but this innovation isn’t only limited to the guestroom. With a tech-forward property management system like Hoteltime, you can streamline your check-in process and make your front office more eco-friendly. Hoteltime's offers a completely paperless check-in with no registration cards to sign and no printouts. Instead, the entire process is handled on a tablet through integrations with check-in kiosk hardware providers. After the guest is checked in, they can leave comments via online comment cards, and when they’re ready to depart, the front desk agent can send their folio via email. In contrast to printing several copies of the guest’s bill, Hoteltime's system makes it easy to sign and send folios electronically, which saves time and paper.   13. VIP Shopping at Local Merchants : Do guests shop or dine at local restaurants when they stay at your property? If they do, they’ll certainly appreciate a little extra discount or some freebies! If you're a luxury hotel with a concierge they should already have great relationships and if not, it's time to start building them! Create a customized area coupon book to help guests save money and encourage them to eat or shop local. This project doesn’t need to be something that you take on by yourself; partner with local businesses to create a neighborhood coupon book that includes restaurant offers (like a complimentary dessert), shop discounts, a free fitness class, or discounts on tours or activities. It’s a win-win for your hotel, your guest, and your local business neighbors.   14. Room Amenities: In-Room Tablets: Let’s be honest, the in-room information binder is so last millennium. Upgrade your guestroom guide to a digital format on a tablet to make it easier for guests and your staff to use. Guests can find all of the information they need at the tap of a finger, like room service menus and restaurant recommendations, and they can even contact the front desk via instant messenger with some guestroom tablet apps.   15. Enthusiast & Hobbyist Tech: For a truly unique hotel experience, you can provide technology that caters to specific guest interests. Based on your guest profile, certain amenities might not be relevant, but some could lead to guest loyalty for life. For example, cater to guests to love to golf by converting a seldom-used meeting room to a golf room with a golf simulator. If your hotel doesn’t have the space to add a full fitness center, consider purchasing a few Peloton bikes that can be delivered to guestrooms upon request. Though the bikes can be pricey (approximately $2400 each), the cost can be a lot less than the expense of building out a full gym.    Photo from Golf Digest   Unique artwork can also deliver a more memorable guest experience. Appeal to your art-loving guests with eye-catching artwork in guestrooms and public spaces. Some hotels even add functioning art galleries within their lobbies to create a truly sophisticated experience - and art available for purchase creates the opportunity to bring home a one-of-a-kind souvenir.   16. In-Room Cocktail Station: We’ve already discussed how higher quality coffee can make a big difference in guest satisfaction, and another way to elevate your in-room beverage experience is with a unique guestroom cocktail station. Infuse some local flavor into guestroom amenities with a recipe and the ingredients for a signature drink that reflects the history or character of the property, just as the Troubadour Hotel in New Orleans does with their signature old fashioned.    Photo of cocktail welcome amenity   Alternatively, offer a more memorable cocktail experience by adding a Porthole infuser to your guestroom amenity lineup, which lets guests mix their ideal combination of herbs, fruits, and spices in the morning and sip a flavorful drink in the evening.   17. Local History at Turndown: Current trends show that guests want a more local experience when they stay at hotels, and what could be more local than some interesting tidbits about the hotel’s or area’s history? Make the turndown experience even more special by placing a postcard or trinket with a unique story on the bed (perhaps in addition to a little sweet treat) in the evening.      Or maybe you’d like to take a page from the Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s book; during turndown service, this iconic, romantic property in Lake Como shares love letters found in the hotel’s walls. Now that’s a turndown service you wouldn’t forget!   18. Room Purification: Especially in urban markets, hotel rooms should be oases of calm. As a guest, you want a break from street noise, crowds, and city smells. Create the optimal environment for easy breathing with a guestroom air purifier, which isn’t only a nice amenity to have, but also a necessity for people with allergies or respiratory problems. Companies like Pure Wellness offer high-tech air sanitization specifically for hotel rooms, which make it possible to maintain hypoallergenic and great-smelling spaces with minimal extra effort.   19. Relaxation Devices: After a long flight, a stressful day of meetings, or just the unpleasantness of jetlag, guests want to relax when they’re in a hotel room. Why not offer a little something extra to help your guests clear their minds? Think of what you like most about a spa: calming music, good aromatics, maybe even a massage. How can you replicate a spa-like experience in your guestrooms? Scent diffusers, soothing eye pillows, and noise machines are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement, so adding relaxation devices to your room amenities is certainly not a stressful task. If you want to deliver a truly unforgettable in-room relaxation station, consider adding a Myostorm massage ball, a unique product that was recently featured on Shark Tank. Other massage options include a foot massager or a neck massager, like these from Homedics.   20. Powerbank for the Road: Imagine you just got off a long flight, pulled up Google Maps to find your hotel, and completed mobile check-in. How terrible would it be to find that all that smartphone use drained your battery and you can’t take photos of your beautiful hotel room! Give travelers a much-appreciated (and unexpected!) amenity by offering power banks in the room or for rent at the front desk. As a bonus, you could encourage guests to post something about your hotel on social media in exchange for using a power bank! Or, for an over-the-top welcome gift, give guests a complimentary, hotel-branded power bank to take home.   21. Rollaway Tent: Let’s not forget about the youngest guests! Treat the little ones to memories of a lifetime with an above-average rollaway: a rollaway tent. This cool amenity is lots of fun for kids, and it gives parents some privacy when the whole family shares a room. For more brownie points,    Photo of The Bed Tent by Privacy Pop   That wraps up our list of 21 hotel amenities that you should consider right now. With a little extra thought, you can introduce amenities that provide local experiences, useful functionality, and character that will keep guests coming back for more. Did we miss any creative ideas? Let us know!