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Ranked 12th (out of 72)
Top Alternative: Mews Systems
59 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
Certificate of Excellence
Ranked 12th (out of 72)
Top Alternative: Mews Systems
59 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
Certificate of Excellence

Reviews Summary

85%
Recommend
Ratings Summary
4.6
7 reviews
59 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More

Ranked #12 out of 72 in Property Management Systems

Ease of Use
4.6/5
ROI
4.4/5
Implementation
4.1/5
Customer support
4.3/5
Verified Customer Support

Frontdesk Anywhere’s customer support processes haven’t yet been verified by Hotel Tech Report.

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Frontdesk Anywhere Overview

Frontdesk Anywhere offers a complete Cloud based solution for Hotels. Manage your property, Online Distribution and revenue effortlessly through the cloud. To date, almost 1,000,000 hotel guests have had their stay managed with Frontdesk Anywhere ” from the initial online booking process through arrival, onsite operations and checkout. The company is focused on converging processes traditionally performed by separate systems into a single all-in-one productivity application. All modules are seamlessly integrated within the application and accessible from any computer and most mobile devices. The company is a privately held corporation based in San Francisco, California. Read more Less

About Frontdesk Anywhere

Founded in 2009 | Headquarters in San Francisco (United States) | 30 employees

Integrates with

  • Property Management Systems
  • Revenue Management Software
  • Channel Managers
  • Booking Engines
  • Point of Sale
  • Reputation / Review Management
  • Email Marketing & Hotel CRM
  • Rate Shopping & Market Intelligence
  • Mobile Key & Keyless Entry
  • Guest Messaging Software
  • Browse integrations (13 verified)

Pros & Cons

85% recommend

Manager report and details of the report including figures shown are very detailed to the point where with only one report can tell almost everything

Chief Operations Officer from Boutique

Easy to see the figures in one report but sometime difficult when we looking for some others report because they are difference name of the report

Resident Manager from Boutique

The Front Desk Software (PMS) is very intuitive and answers to the main needs of a receptionist or hotel managers tasks (invoicing, check in, reporting..). Simplistic functionality makes for easy use

General manager from Other in San Jose (United States)

Frontdesk Anywhere is a smart and easy software for Small to Mid-size property! 24 hours support

Sales Executive from Boutique

We are looking forward to using their full function of POS software. At the moment, we use the lite version that comes with the package but the result is great anyway.

Assistant to the General Manager from Boutique

Reporting isn't great, no report for lodging tax anymore. Support is okay normally and terrible when a major issue happens.

Owner/Manager from Other

Top Frontdesk Anywhere Alternatives

Hotelogix

Hotelogix is robust cloud based property management system designed to simplify hotel operations, increase market reach, drive more bookings and maximize revenue. Hotelogix provides solutions for both independent and group properties and is trusted by hoteliers in 100+ countries.

FIND THE PERFECT FIT

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GETTING STARTED

Download the 2019 Property Management Systems buyer’s guide

Free download

Features

  • Spa & Wellness Module
  • Channel Manager
  • EPoS
  • Revenue management module
  • Integrated CRS
  • Payment processing
  • Booking engine
  • Calendar view
  • Calendar view
  • Reservation management
  • Ancillary revenue tracking
  • Custom rates
  • RevPaR & ADR Reports
  • Housekeeping module
  • Direct billing
  • Group functionality
  • Online 24/7 support
  • Automated night audit
  • E-training
  • Mobile App
  • Centralized user & role management
  • On premise
  • Cloud based
  • Multi-currency
  • Multi-lingual
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Guest CRM
  • Guest profiles
  • Mobile access on any device

Active Markets

Pricing

Freemium (hotel can trial for free)
30 day trial
Monthly subscription (/room/month)

Free Property Management Systems Reports

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Recent Property Management Systems articles

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How Employee Engagement Drives Customer Loyalty

by
Oz Dogruyol

Investing in your employees’ knowledge and happiness are sure pointers that can lead to improved business outcomes. To achieve this, the relationship between business owners and the customers they serve must be properly cemented and built on trust. This is where your employees come into play, as they are the ones who play the role of connector between customers and your business. However, to get them to play this role effectively, it is imperative that you adequately train and equip your staff so that they are able to engage and create experiences that eventually lead to customer loyalty.Employees hold so much power in driving an organization forward and in getting customers committed to your brand. This is why it is important that your organization create an enabling environment that allows the fostering of your business’ core values as well as bring out the best in your employees. Every staff on your organizational hierarchy either has direct or indirect impact on the accumulation of your customer’s experience and ultimately on the customer’s perception of your business. Thus, the core values of your business should inspire each of your staff to play their roles impeccably and team up with other employees to achieve your company goals.So, how do you prepare your employees for the service they will render to your customers? Does your work environment inspire them to be the best they can be? Or does it inspire them to do the bare minimum to get by?Here are some key steps that play a vital role in building and sustaining a healthy work environment:  Organizational Culture:  One of the key drivers of employee engagement is organizational culture. The organizational culture of any business determines to a large degree the public’s perception of the business. This perception is highly driven by your employees and it is important that they not only conform to the culture, but play active roles as proponents of the organizational culture. What this perception from the public does to your business can be summed up in two different ways; it can either attract customers to your brand or repel them. No business wants the latter and this is why your organizational culture should be healthy at its core and resonate with every member of your staff.   Core Values:  These values are all about what your company stands for. Your core values should be communicated to your staff members so that they in turn act as ambassadors of your brand and extend these values to customers. After all, the employees who represent your brand are the first point of contact for customers, and therefore it is imperative that upon first contact, they create long-lasting positive impressions that will further solidify the core values of the company in the minds of customers.  However, challenges often arise when core values are not clearly communicated to staff, leaving them unaware of the weight of responsibility on their shoulders. So, how do you ensure that your team members make the core values a part of them while at work? Drafting a mission and vision statement and holding meetings on a weekly basis or fortnightly (as you find applicable) to reappraise each of the values is a good way to go. When these values are constantly on the minds and in the spaces of your employees and holds a special place as part of their daily activities in the office, it becomes so much easier to outline the challenges facing your business and execute strategies.   Engagement:  A Harvard study shows a strong correlation between employee engagement and customer loyalty, which in turn impacts business outcomes. In fact, many reputable studies have affirmed this link, but in a rather unfortunate twist, less than 40% of workers in the U.S alone are engaged with their jobs. Why does this matter? Put simply, there is a significant difference in the demeanor and results achieved by engaged employees and unengaged ones. Engaged employees want to make an outstanding, lasting impact in the roles they play for the company; they are not only interested in earning money, but in providing exceptional value and making a difference. How does this happen? Of course, the engaged employees are not special people born with any special innate abilities, but rather, they have learned and trained themselves to be that way. From playing active roles in the key decisions concerning their respective departments, to taking up extra responsibility and brilliantly finding solutions to challenges, these employees have made themselves invaluable assets for any business environment they find themselves in. Best of all, acting this way becomes a part of them when efforts are geared by the business owners towards empowering everyone and getting all hands involved, realizing that everyone has a role to play in delivering the brand promise.   Observation:  Businessman extraordinaire Richard Branson once remarked that, “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” People who aspire to hold leadership positions are often advised to pick up various leadership traits ranging from courage, integrity, dedication, being a great communicator, etc. Most often though, being able to listen and make correct calculations about your immediate environment are shelved aside and considered unimportant. Business owners want their employees to get work done without doing as little as checking up on them. An assessment of a business doesn’t start when the figures are returned, but from the general, internal feel gathered from employees. In fact, a lot can be said about how far a business is likely to thrive just based on that data. In essence, listening and observing create awareness about the extent of work and the ease or difficulty in getting it done. Furthermore, it makes you aware of likely challenges that might be looming on the horizon and gives you the opportunity to deal with them before they pose any serious obstacle to your business.   Regular Feedback:  To quote Tom Peters who is best known for his great book titled In Search of Excellence, “Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence, only in constant improvement and constant change.” For high performing companies “constant improvement” is not just a flashy catchphrase. It’s a true commitment based on feedback from across the entire organization. In the same way, one of the reasons engaged leaders are able to lead the field and create engaged employees is because they act differently and approach business from a different mindset. They proactively solicit feedback from customers and use it to formulate business decisions and improve the service in ways that empower employees. Feedback also allows us to build and maintain communication with others. More often than not, the number one reason for project failures, missed deadlines and misunderstood expectations among coworkers is miscommunication. Checking in with your team at regular intervals and providing regular feedback on an going basis is the best way to making sure that it never happens. Constructive feedback has numerous benefits for the giver, receiver, and the wider organization.   Consistency:  Maintaining consistency and reliability is without a doubt the true hallmark of a successful business. For instance, Hilton brand has this unique trait about it; it is known for its exceptional guest service, which cannot be found elsewhere. For businesses, the challenge of maintaining quality and being consistent with service delivery is vitally important in ensuring that customers remain loyal to the brand. With that said, a business can only achieve this outcome if the employees are kept happy, engaged and committed to the job they do. With this in place, employees will not need to be reminded of the company’s core values and goals intermittently, as it will be part of their daily routine when playing their roles and serving the customers.  Bringing It All TogetherThe extent to which customer loyalty drives the success of a business cannot be underestimated. Interestingly, since customer loyalty is directly tied to employee engagement, both of them hold equal importance to the success of any business. Thus, it goes without saying that business owners should not neglect the ones who serve the customers. A great customer service is one of the leading factors that guarantee long-term brand loyalty, but this cannot happen if your employees do not realize the importance of their roles and feel committed to the success of your business. Employee loyalty is a critical part of building customer loyalty.  When your employees are loyal and committed to your organization, they will feel a personal commitment to ensuring that their customers get the best kind of service in every single interaction.

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[PODCAST] Freehand Creator and Angel Investor Roy Alpert on Using Technology to Create Revolutionary Hotel Brands

by
Jordan Hollander

Prior to joining The Sydell Group, Roy worked as a consultant for Edition Hotels/Ian Schrager, Thompson Hotels, and the One Group where his focus was on developing nightlife and entertainment concepts and initiatives. Roy’s work focused on the development of hotel positioning strategies to enhance brand equity objectives. Previously, Roy worked for Morgans Hotel Group as the Marketing Manager at the Shore Club Hotel’s SkyBar. At Sydell, Roy’s work is focused on the development of food and beverage concepts, branding and marketing strategies, and strategic partnerships that together create the unique brand culture of Freehand.

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When to Upgrade Your Hotel Property Management System

by
Jeff Zabin

23% of hoteliers who have not upgraded their PMS within the past 3 years plan to do so in the next 12 months According to The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems  (released last month and now available for complimentary access), the vast majority of hoteliers believe that next-generation hospitality technologies are the number one way to catapult their businesses to ever-higher levels of operational performance and guest satisfaction. Given that the property management system (PMS) is at the forefront of these technologies, it's no surprise that nearly one-quarter (23%) of hoteliers who have not upgraded their PMS within the past 3 years indicate that they plan to do so in the next 12 months. The most advanced of these solutions have evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Driving technology innovation has been a mass migration to the cloud. This has led to increased software interoperability, data integration and mobility. As a result, hoteliers can now manage, track, analyze and optimize the constant flow of information across all parts of the property “ anytime, anywhere, and in a real-time fashion. By integrating with add-on modules and third-party solutions, a next-generation PMS allows hoteliers to readily create a property- or chain-wide system. They can centrally manage virtually all functions and departments, from concierge, guest services and banquet and conference functions to housekeeping, room maintenance and security management to golf, spa and other facility functions. According to the research, 91 percent of hoteliers "agree" or "strongly agree" that platform interoperability is an important success factor for hotel performance improvement. At long last, the grand movement to unify the disparate and fragmented technologies and data siloes that has been underway for years, even decades, is now an achievable goal. Standalone hospitality software solutions that fail to "talk" with one another are a dying breed. In their place, hoteliers are deploying technologies that can connect with the PMS and seamlessly share data in the cloud. These include the central reservations system or channel manager, the revenue management solution, the point of sale (POS) system, the guest response platform and the CRM and guest loyalty applications. A next-generation PMS also integrates with accounting software, keycard and access control systems, self-service kiosks and guest communication and entertainment applications. And the list goes on. Combined, these technologies can automate virtually all functions across the property ” and, if required, across multiple properties ” in a unified and integrated fashion. All of which begs the question: When is the right time to upgrade your PMS? The answer, as with many things in business and in life, is: It depends. For starters, different hoteliers will have different requirements of a PMS, depending on their property size, category and topography. A full-service hotel, for example, will likely require a far more robust and comprehensive system than a small, limited-service hotel, which may need only to automate basic functions like guest bookings, housekeeping, guest charges and maintenance management. A full-service hotel will likely have complex reservation, scheduling and inventory requirements, with a host of features they view as essential to support exceptional guest service. A small, limited-service hotel may have none of these requirements. Every hotelier under the sun, on the other hand, can benefit from more and better insights that can be used to drive revenue growth and improve the quality of the guest experience. The ability to delve into the mountains of PMS data to produce year-over-year evaluations, identify emerging market trends, analyze guest behaviors, etc., is a compelling benefit of a next-generation solution. In fact, almost three-quarters 73 percent of hoteliers view the ability to improve performance reporting and business intelligence as one of the biggest benefits one can expect to gain with the right PMS. What does the revenue forecast look like? How can we improve it? How are guests finding our property? What channels are they using to book reservations? Where are groups coming from? What are the margins on each channel? How well are we managing our labor costs? How well are we managing our reservation distribution channel inventory and pricing strategies? How can we capture more ancillary revenues? These are just a few of the mission-critical questions hoteliers should be able to answer quickly and accurately. If the current system falls short in enabling them to do that job due to technology shortcomings, then it may well be time to upgrade to more advanced platform capabilities. Before embarking on the research-and-buying journey, hoteliers should gain a clear understanding of their own technology requirements and weigh them accordingly. An Evaluation Checklist, such as the one provided in Chapter 2 of the new Smart Decision Guide (click here to access), is a good place to start. Hoteliers should also gain a sense for the extent to which an advanced PMS would likely improve operational efficiencies and the overall quality of the guest experience. This will help determine which solution best fits their needs and is most likely to deliver the benefits they seek.

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Hospitality Technology as a Guest Service Differentiator

by
Amanda Wisell

Whether it's a five-star property providing five-star service or an economy hotel ensuring a warm welcome and efficient service, a property's reputation and success are founded on friendliness, efficiency and face-to-face interactions with their guests. Today's hospitality technology has emerged as a crucial tool for hotels and resorts to meet those goals as they strive to balance their use of technology with classic and timeless customer service. Properties have developed several strategies to enhance service delivery with technology without diluting the essence of hospitality."Guests need to feel connected to us, not their phones or other tech gear so that they can truly relax and enjoy," commented Denny Grosclaude, Hotel Manager of Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, Washington. "Less tech and more personal engagement is always a good way to go."In today's digital landscape, guests' expectations are influenced by their experiences online where their preferences are automatically remembered. Guests know that Amazon can remember and suggest their favorite brand of shampoo. Their expectation now is that their favorite resort should remember their anniversary or the bottle of wine that they always purchase. Hospitality technology can provide the framework to make that level of guest service operationally feasible if the solution is carefully and thoughtfully implemented."Technology can automate processes but it needs to be carefully applied as there is no automation for personal interaction with guests, especially in the resort industry," noted Tjibbe Lambers of Otesaga Resort Hotel.Use Technology to Recognize Repeat Guests Building a closer relationship with guests is one of the ways that a property can distinguish itself amidst a sea of hospitality providers. Recognizing their repeat guests will go a long way toward establishing this relationship."We start by identifying return guests at the point of making a reservation," commented Susan Engler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Blue Harbor Resort. "Understanding the guest's history prepares us to have a better understanding of their expectations and provides a platform to deliver a personal level of service."Use Technology to Personalize Each Stay "We use technology to manage the guests' reservations, itineraries, communication and preferences “ even down to the color of flowers they like for their stay," commented Tanya Walker of Chateau Beaver Creek in Colorado.Crafting a unique and individualized stay is another guest service differentiator. With a combination of hands-on service and technology, hotels and resorts have the ability to ensure the guest experience reflects the unique preferences of each guest and exceeds their expectations.Singita Safari Lodges and Reserves in South Africa captures important guest details in their property management system prior to arrival. These room requests, dietary needs and personal preferences are automatically shared with the 12 different Singita properties, ensuring that guests enjoy this personalized attention from the moment of their arrival. Once on property, the guest's profiles are continually updated in SMS|Host with detailed information about their experience, their activities and interactions.At Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Alabama, reservationists have honed their listening skills. "We make notes in our guest-centric PMS as we speak to guests on the phone during the reservation process," noted Beth Bagley, Hospitality Manager at Pursell Farms. "We catch things that are important to them, even if they weren't necessarily relaying the information."This ability to use high-tech to power a high-touch service environment helps hotels and resorts create that memorable stay that attracts guests to return."Our shift supervisors write notes on all significant guest interactions and share them electronically with all departments so guests do not need to repeat themselves and staff can anticipate needs," commented Ted Horan, General Manager of Primland, a luxury resort situated in the Blue Mountains of Virginia.Building Specific Guest-Facing Applications Recognizing the shift in guest communication preferences, some properties are introducing guest-facing apps to facilitate service requests. Other properties are rolling out apps to assist with on-property text messaging and social engagement."With our guests and, particularly, millennials becoming increasingly technology focused, we recently launched a new app that allows our guests to communicate with us in their preferred messaging platform of choice," commented Marc Rodriguez, General Manager of Esperanza Resort. "With the app, they can make reservations at restaurants, arrange transportation and even request a margarita while at the pool."Using Technology to Cultivate Loyalty The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York automatically enrolls repeat guests into the Otesaga Select Program. The loyalty program offers individualized concierge service and rewards guests with personalized gifts, discounts and other benefits based on their visitations.The Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth, Michigan also invests considerable effort into their loyalty program with great success and engagement. "We have grown our loyalty club to over 24,000 families who pay to be a member," commented Jim Engel, COO of Bavarian Inn Lodge. They are able to leverage the transactional data of their loyalty club members to offer personalized and relevant offers.Overcoming Challenges in Deploying Technology As hotels and resorts expand their use of technology to power guest service, they face multiple challenges. Connection issues, integration problems and staff training are just a few of the hurdles that a property must leap in order to have a successful technology roll-out."At a rural resort with limited internet connection, where many activities take place in different locations or outdoor locations," commented Beth Bagley of Pursell Farms, "you can't always access property management systems or other programs you need to assist the guests. It makes it even more important for us to truly know our guests and anticipate their needs."Many of these challenges in deploying technology are not new - hotels and resorts have faced integration and training issues from the beginning. However, hospitality technology tends to be a fragmented ecosystem and properties have to deploy a myriad of new systems to keep up with the needs of their guests."The choice and variety of software to assist in digital engagement with guests is widespread," commented Jim Engel of Bavarian Inn. "Though no two companies offer the exact same features, none provide them all so comparing is difficult."For most properties, the value of adding software solutions to support guest service efforts far outweighs the challenges. Hotels, resorts and their technology partners continue to innovate, helping them extend the warm hospitality and service that characterizes this industry.

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Using the Magic of Mobile to Create the Connected Guest

by
Eric Liebman

In hospitality, the guest is King. Everything we do is focused on making the guest experience meaningful, pleasurable and memorable. After all, what's better for business then positive reviews, recommendations and repeat visits?Today's modern travelers are vastly different than their predecessors. Their expectations and needs are aligned with convenience and their mobile devices. It's no wonder so many technology trends are focused on how guests can use their personal devices before, during and after their stay. But how does a Hotel brand know what's realistic, what's just a passing trend and what's here to stay so you know what to invest in?The mobile experience starts during the booking process. A study by eMarketer found that 40% of hotel reservations in 2017 will be completed on a smartphone or tablet, and that number is expected to hit 50% by 2021. So your first priority is to ensure that your guests can find you through a mobile app or your website, which is optimized for viewing on a mobile device. Your more loyal guests probably have your app already, but new ones won't, so you'll still need to provide an optimal experience on their mobile screen.After your guest is booked, keep them connected to the app through push alerts. Let them know about some local activities, festivals, weather, restaurants or attractions they might be interested in during their stay. It's during this time that you can also engage them with potential room upgrades, pre-pay for a bottle of wine, and book a massage.When your guest arrives in town, send a traffic alert from the app to them know the quickest and easiest route to get to the hotel. If your guests flight was delayed give them a way to communicate in whatever way they choose - phone, text, email or in-app message - to let the front desk know so the room is not released. Allow them to check-in via the app “ ideally with the ability to choose their exact room. Near a meal time? Tempt them with Room Service items or special offers via the app and have a hot meal waiting in their room upon arrival. Now that's a 'wow factor'.Have you thought about mobile keys? A weary guest who traveled for hours may really appreciate bypassing the front desk and heading straight to their room for some rest and relaxation. This same guest would probably appreciate the ability to request services and products through the app or get assistance from the concierge desk.Once in the hotel room, make your guest feel right at home by giving them the ability to stream music, videos or their favorite TV shows to the in-room TV using their favorite service. 80% of smartphone users stream video on their devices according to NPD's Smartphone and Tablet Usage Report. Being able to use this service in-room helps solidify that your guests' experience is a top priority for your hotel.On check-out day alert your guest that their portfolio is ready to be reviewed. If all is well, your guest can check-out using the app and can confirm the payment is made in full. Any issues or challenges can be solved either through the app, in-person at the front-desk or however you guest chooses.After the stay is over, use the app to request feedback and to submit a review. You can also let them know of any special events or sales happening at certain locations they have visited in the past. Keep them connected to your brand through periodic messages, alerts and offers. Remember, a room is perishable, so why not offer your frequent guests a special room rate or upgrade on a room that is forecast to be vacant. Your Revenue Manager will love it. After all, your app is just as easy to uninstall as it is to download. If guests find value in what it provides they are more likely to keep it.As you can see, there are many ways to set up a positive mobile guest experience. If your hotel hasn't determined your mobile strategy yet, it's something that should be on your roadmap. As Millennials continue to make up a larger portion of travelers, their expectations are shifting to a largely mobile experience “ and your hotel should do their best to accommodate.

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Contemporary Hotel Renovations: What Can We Learn from Them?

by
Lillian Connors

Any time a hotel undergoes a renovation project, it’s with the aim to increase its value or expand the asset’s life. All the improvements are a smart move as they are bound to attract new guests and keep the regular ones coming back. Reasons for hotel renovation can vary, from converting an independent hotel to a franchise, rebranding or simply freshening up the appearance. Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution that will tell you exactly what to do – the competition in the industry is rather fierce and design trends are ever-changing, so hotels have no choice but try their best to stay on top of the game. Most of the times, when undergoing renovations, they are trying to keep up with the trends hotel construction as much as possible. What we’re witnessing lately are upgrades of a wide array of amenities and features, such as guest rooms, bar areas, pools and retail shops, so here’s a quick overview of these contemporary renovation projects. Guest rooms Most hotel renovations and transformations start with their number one feature – the guest rooms. Projects go from making rooms smaller to reducing room count in order to create larger suites or meeting rooms, or to simply split up oversized guest rooms. This trend with smaller rooms is driven by the millennials’ desire for more personal social interaction, and since this age group constitutes a large portion of the hotel guest market, it would be foolish to ignore it. Modern technological developments are another big game-changer when it comes to hotel room renovation. For instance, using smartphones instead of keys at some locations to enter the room has become quite popular. Some of the leading hotel franchises are in different stages of a digital key rollout and already allow guests to use their phones not only for room entry, but also for check in and out, room selection, and entrance to other hotel amenities. Amenities One thing that hotel executives firmly believe has the power to increase the customer base is providing their guests with special amenities, such as the rooftop bar that can bridge the indoor and the outdoor, or a sort of a work area in a divided lobby. It’s a great room concept and hotels are doing everything to take advantage of it. So, now we can see restaurants and bars integrated into the lobby, rather than being completely separated as a dining or drinking establishment. A car parking that is both eye-pleasing and fully secured is also a big plus in the eyes of your clients. With this in mind, you should use quality line marking paint to make the traffic flow and single parking spots clearly visible, in addition to investing in reliable security equipment and finding a trusted staff for the job.    Another key idea that hotel managers are keeping in mind is that after a long day of sightseeing or working with business partners, the guests really want is to relax and unwind. And, most frequently, it’s the swimming pool that they choose as their go-to place. This amenity caters to all personality types and ages, so upgrading it with new tiles, spectacular lighting or simply using pool paint to spruce it up and give it a quick makeover will surely be rewarding in all aspects.   Retail shops For a long time, on-site retail shops have been a sure way for hotels to drive traffic, generate income and provide guests with convenience, but the game has changed now, and shopping options are no longer limited only to hotel gift and souvenir shops. However, vacationers still love spending their money on things they can’t buy back home, so it’s up to the retailers to use this opportunity to strengthen their relationship with guests during their stay. As things change quickly in the hotel industry, if a retail store fails to build this kind of bond with the guests, the management will shut it down and during a renovation, replace it with another in-house amenity that can be more successful, such as a spa or a gym. To stay in the game, hotels are constantly on the lookout to maximize their space and generate revenue. Any type of hotel renovation is a considerable investment and an overwhelming task which comes with a certain risk. But, with the changing consumer tastes and industry trends, this is something hotels must do in order to stay ahead of the competition and keep making guests feel safe and comfortable in their home away from home.  

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Best Practices for Managing Your Hotel’s Next Property Improvements

by
Lillian Connors

  A PIP, or a Property Improvement Plan, is a set of requirements that must be met so that a hotel is in compliance with brand standards. For hotel owners dealing with branded and franchised hotels, PIPs are often an unwanted, yet unavoidable part of their work. In practical terms, it prescribes the expected quality standards for all interior and exterior elements, such as lighting, faucets, etc.   In reality, a PIP can get quite costly for hotel owners. So, we imagine that, every time they are due for a PIP, they must seriously consider whether it is worth keeping the property or if it is time to sell. In other words, they must compare the costs of a PIP with any projected gains, taking into account the current state of the market and their competition.   In the right market conditions, a PIP can be highly beneficial. If a PIP gives a hotel a chance to stand out among the competition, it can reward the owners with a greater market share and increased customer satisfaction, and thus a greater profit.   On the other hand, if a market is already saturated with hotels adhering to similar or higher standards, or if there’s no real interest for an improved hotel experience, or if any other circumstance exists that may threaten expected profits, then a PIP project could result in significant losses.   A PIP will often be required with the purchase of a flagged property, or it may be required of an already owned flagged property. Whichever the case may be, a PIP is generally the source of strain on the property owner’s finances. This is particularly true in today’s hotel landscape, where many franchises are taking the sustainability route and requiring the introduction of more energy-efficient elements across the board.   Property owners are often forced to take out a loan in order to complete a PIP. There are SBA funding programs specifically designed for this, and many lenders offer a variety of specialized PIP loans as well. Regardless of the chosen loan type, a PIP project completion is bound to be a meticulous, detailed process that involves many parties and substantial accompanying documentation.   Managing a PIP construction with so many variables is a daunting task. A timely completion is essential, as any setbacks to the construction work can cause serious damage through additional costs, liens, and a subpar customer experience. The absolute priority in this complicated process is ensuring that the contractors and subcontractors are paid out on time.     A  recent study has revealed that the construction industry has generated $40 billion in excess costs, primarily related to late payments and liens. The majority of these costs could have been avoided through an efficient and timely payments application.   That’s where Contract Simply comes in. Their construction loan management software is a smart and effective solution that ensures tidy paperwork and no missed or delayed payments. As  Contract Simply’s CEO Will Mitchell explains, by automating mundane tasks and centralizing budgets, invoices, and other relevant documentation, the software expedites the draw process and ensures timely payments for all parties. It uploads all contractor pay applications automatically and keeps track of project’s unique requirements, ensuring that all documentation is prepared and processed without wasting any time. Its documentation review system also allows you to react to any concerns and clarify potential issues to avoid funding delays.   Centralizing all relevant documentation enables swift payments to contractors practically the moment the draw is funded, and digitized receipt tracking prevents any lien issues and ensures a smooth construction and funding process.   The key to a successful PIP construction funded through a loan is maintaining pristine documentation and sticking to the agreed payment schedule. Quality construction loan software can take on a large part of that responsibility and alleviate the risks of construction delays, financial losses and unhappy customers.  

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Making your hotel property feel more like home

by
Lisa Apolinski

The hotel trend right now is to make properties feel warm and like your home away from home. With this trend, there are several areas you may want to add to your list at your property that have that home feel to them. The property lobby: Furniture in this area should be not only comfortable, but should also be cozy with intimate gathering sections versus large groups of furniture. Have enough seating to draw your visitors in to sit and stay a while. Lighting can also be used to create a warm environment. Think soft lighting here, including table or floor lamps that can be used for reading light. The property restaurant: Seating can be worked to feel more like home, with round tables and comfortable cushions on seats. Also, look at your chandeliers to see if they can be updated to be an eye catcher and more of an art installation. Speaking of art, choose pieces that reflect the décor of the entire property and adds a soothing effect to the restaurant area. The property meeting space: This area is where you can have less structured gatherings (not the standard ballroom, but other meeting spaces) such as outdoor terraces and lounge areas outside your meeting rooms. Think of this area as your den in your home, so should have potential bar areas, maybe a fireplace and even a TV for viewing. Add in some cozy seating and some blankets to use outside on cold evenings. While you may be focusing on making your guest rooms more home-minded, make sure you add these additional areas to your list to help make your entire property feel warm and inviting. Your property guests will notice and appreciate the attention to these areas and help them feel at home.

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Many of today’s Property Management Systems (PMS) suffer from poor levels of integration and a lack of support for hoteliers, a new report published this month has claimed.

by
Sophie Cartwright

The report, ‘h2c Global PMS Study: The Future of Hotel Management Systems’ quizzed executives from 110 global hotel chains on their technology needs. PMS technology is vital in the smooth running of hotels as it gives managers an overview of everything from bookings to sales and marketing functions, HR, payroll and amenities management. While poor support was ranked as a major gripe for hoteliers when it came to their current PMS provision (30%), the view on what they wanted in an ideal world was most revealing. Here, 58% called for better integration between their PMS and other systems. Also, on the wish-list was better mobile integration (41%); easy to use interface (36%) and access to better intelligence data (34%).   Download our guide to picking a hotel PMS here.   Similarly, hoteliers suggested today’s technology was not built with ease of use in mind. In Europe, a staggering 66% said they were only using a fraction of the functionality of their system. This contrasts with the fact that only one-third (38%) said they could use the PMS in a ‘guest-facing’ way, be that managing bookings or letting them access hotel services. “The h2c study demonstrates very clearly something that Guestline has been saying for some time – hoteliers don’t want to be IT experts. Instead, they want a PMS that is simple to use, intuitive and gives them the information in an understandable way. The report also confirms how influential support functions are for a hotel when choosing a PMS and that it is absolutely crucial to offer quick responses to problems. This is music to our ears at Guestline. Our systems are all built with APIs because we take the view that our customers are rarely starting from scratch and they need to integrate with many other systems. Hoteliers often add systems together as they grow and it is vital these different components talk to one another. Because we understand the needs of hoteliers, we have long taken the view that technology should add value to your business, not hinder your operation.” Andrew Williams, product strategy director at Guestline The report also revealed conflict amongst hoteliers over how technology was chosen and sourced. While 30% said they wanted a cloud-based solution, the deciding vote on purchasing decisions was very often left to IT departments rather than those at the ‘sharp end’ of the business. Williams added: “These findings prove that hoteliers are best served if they have a technology supplier that can work in tandem with them. Our cloud-based systems put hotelier’s needs at the heart of all technology development. We offer scalable systems, open APIs and work proactively with customers to tailor our solutions to meet their needs.” Michaela Papenhoff, Founder and Managing Director of h2c,commented: “Today’s market dynamics tie the resources of many vendors down to getting their technology right at the expense of support services. At the end of the day, both tasks are equally important to keep hotels happy.” says Michaela Papenhoff.    

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How Frustration with Bureaucracy took Matthijs Welle from a Rising Star at Hilton to CEO of Hotel Tech's Most Influential Startup

by
Hotel Tech Report

Prior to joining fast growing hotel tech startup and property management system provider Mews Systems, Matthijs Welle had a successful career as a hotelier at a major global hotel brand.  We sat down to ask him why he took such a major risk on what has now become one of the hottest technology startups in travel.  Matthijs was promoted to CEO nearly 2 years ago and the company has grown its employee count by nearly 5x under his stewardship.  In June of 2018, Mews raised a fresh €6 million round in venture funding from top firms Thayer Ventures and Notion VC to further accelerate the company's vision. Tell us about your career background in hotels After finishing Hotelschool, I joined Hilton's Elevator program, a graduate programme that was supposed to prepare me to become a General Manager within 7-10 years from starting. After successful completion of the programme in London and Johannesburg, I ended up at the Hilton Prague (791 rooms).  Here I joined as the Assistant F&B Manager (7 outlets) and was then promoted to the role of Front Office Manager. After this I was promoted to business development to become the Sales Director for the Prague Cluster. Thanks for the rapid growth of new hotels in our region after a few years a new position was created, which I was asked to take on, as the Sales Director Eastern Europe & Russia, which was an amazing opportunity to travel and understand business across many cultures and business environments. What was one technology that you couldn't live without in your former role in hospitality? Fidelio 6.0 - This system was up to 2012 at the core of our hotels and it contained all guest data and sales statistics. Despite its many downsides, it was an amazing system that stood the test of time. When did you first become interested in leveraging technology to become a better hotelier? At Hilton there is not one central repository for sales accounts, so if you wanted to know how much Company XYZ was producing, every hotel in the world had to send an excel sheet to headoffice called the "Sales Account Planner", and then some poor data analyst would take this and somehow add it all up. It was a complete mess and it caused huge frustrations with the employees whose incentives depended on this. It was 2013 and there was simply no reason for this archaic approach in my opinion, so I thought the time was ripe for some disruption. As a hotelier what was your biggest frustration with technology vendors? The lack of integrations between solutions, and the lack of mobility. For example I worked at a hotel with huge group business, so in order to conduct a group check-in, for the sake of speed we would have to preprint all keys, take manual swipes of credit cards (PCI Non-Compliant) on carbon copy paper and then manually preauthorize these afterwards. It could take hours of work. Unfortunately Fidelio was not a mobile solution, so there was no queue management on tablets, or any way to innovate reception workflows. What would you say is the most widely held misconception that hoteliers have about technology? Oracle has been the most widely adopted PMS solution in the industry, and they have educated hoteliers that its extremely hard and expensive to integrate different software solutions. Having built our own PMS with open API, I can confidently say that this is no longer true, and we stimulate hoteliers to integrate as much as possible to make their lives easier. Tell us about your journey from being hotelier into entrepeneurship? When Richard (my co-founder) approached me and asked me to leave Hilton for an exciting startup idea, my first thought was a hard "no", my career was going well and there was no need to leave. However slowly this idea started nagging at me, and my frustrations with the lack of innovation and bureaucracy in my role at Hilton  were making me think twice. I was 30 years old without kids or obligations and a solid resume, what did I have to lose? So I jumped ship (against the advise of several of my close ex-colleagues). Initially it was hard to adapt, to dress down (I wore suits that entire first year) and to be surrounded by people who were so different and hyperintelligent in their own field (designers/developers), but then slowly as we deployed the first hotels, I started seeing the huge potential of what we were building. Today we have ensured that our team is still calling the shots for all major decisions... and sometimes those are bad, but mostly its amazing to decide on something, and to then roll it out the next day if we so please. What was the most challenging part of moving from hotels into technology? From an early age I had gotten used to sleeping in Hilton Hotels, and I had never stayed in a hostel or down-market hotels, so that was quite a wake-up call. Secondly no one could have told me how hard it is to find the first 10 customers to buy your solution, which at that point was lacking all major features. It took a lot of willpower and vision to convince hoteliers to sign up, luckily 9 out of those first 10 customers are still with Mews today. Give us the elevator pitch for Mews Systems Have you ever stood in a queue at a hotel reception desk, wondering why in 2018 it takes such a long time to be handed your key?... so did we. We rebuilt the hotel management systems in the cloud & mobile optimized, freeing hoteliers from their reception desks. With features such as online check-in for guests, integrated kiosks, open API's, mobile housekeeping apps and powerful reporting suddenly hoteliers are back in charge whilst innovating guest experiences. Imagine that you're going to open the hotel of your dreams tomorrow.  What kind of hotel would it be? It would probably be a hostel. Some of the most profitable clients we have today are hostels, where you can have 6-8 people in a room you would traditionally only sell for 2 persons, whilst charging them for ancillaries such as toiletries, towels, lockers, etc.  Secondly this is the segment of clients who are quickest to adopt to new technologies embracing online check-in and automation. What technology would you leverage at your hotel? I would have Mews PMS / BookingEngine / Kiosk / HSK App / Payment Automation as the nervous system of my hotel with a 2-Way Channel Manager connection (this is a must for any hotel).  I'd add Oaky for upselling to increase my Total RevPaR and a 2-way connection with a Revenue Management Solution.  On property I would install 4Suites for seamless mobile door locks.  With regards to marketing I would use Revinate for CRM management and Triptease to help drive direct bookings.  For any other Cloud integration I'd leverage Zapier. What's one piece of advice you have for hoteliers who have dreams of working in technology one day? There are huge opportunities for innovation. If you have a strong resume, you have nothing to lose, you can always return back to hotels if it all fails. Go for it! What's one podcast, newsletter or book that you recommend hoteliers read if they'd like to eventually move into tech? TechCrunch is my absolute favourite. I feel that in travel there are no strong newsletters that cover technology in the most forward thinking way without being overly commercial. Look towards other industries to learn, and then adapt your learnings to the hospitality. What is your favorite hotel in the world? The Conrad Pezula in South Africa, we still talk about their amazing breakfast... What is the most exciting technology you've seen in the hotel tech space lately? If the guys at 4Suites scale their door lock solution, it could be really powerful, in order to be able to cheaply retrofit hotel doors, to enable them for mobile check-ins. What is one thing that most people don't know about you? Most people don't know how serious we are about taking over the hotel industry and becoming number 1 - we are on a life mission!

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What you need to consider when choosing a new property management system

by
Jordan Hollander

Property management software unites many core functions of a hotel in one place: check-in and check-out, room availability, reservations, billing, and scheduling housekeeping/maintenance. Some all-in-one PMS also pull in channel managers, and other elements of distributing your hotel’s inventory to third-parties   By coordinating reservations, availability, payments, and reporting in one central place, hoteliers have a better grasp of the real-time demand and performance of the business. That’s why choosing a PMS can be one of the most agonizing choices a hotelier makes.   When evaluating your property management software options, these are the most important features to consider.   Intuitive interface and easy-to-read dashboard   As hotel technology matures, there is less differentiation between vendors; as far as features and functionality, at least 80% is familiar across all top-rated hotel tech vendors. The actual differentiation is in the design. That's why our top two criteria when choosing a PMS are design-based. An intuitive interface, as well as an easy-to-read dashboard, go a long way in encouraging employee adoption, reducing training time, and generally improving the working lives of yourself and your team. The last thing you want is reluctance to use a particular software tool because it's ugly or hard to use.   In addition to the interface, a customizable dashboard becomes your real-time assistant. It’s Immensely valuable to have a centralized dashboard that can be adjusted to reflect an individual property’s most important metrics. This could be personalized to management only, or could also be shared across the team as a motivating tool.   A great PMS is one that your team will want to use. Since “good” design is in the eye the beholder, search for a System that balances functionality with an interface that makes sense to you.   Security   The property management system sits at the center of the hotel. The software itself, along with any third-party integrations, must be secure. Here are some facets of solid security:   GDPR-compliant personal data storage PCI-DSS-compliant processing and card storage Geographic diversity of servers to reduce downtime risk Bank-level encryption of all data Controlled access to the physical area for any on-premise PMS servers   A desirable PMS also has robust user access controls. To maintain guest privacy and payment security, Access to sensitive guest information must be restricted. An audit trail Should also be available to track any potential unauthorized user access.   In a world where data breaches make daily headlines, poor security practices of vendors can be a massive liability. Ask questions, probe for weakness, and determine if you trust this vendor as a proxy for your own brand’s reputation.   Flexibility and automation   You need a PMS that molds itself to your business, not the other way around. A modern property management solution must evolve alongside guest expectations. When you get stuck with “frozen in time” legacy software, it limits how you can adapt to the retailing and property management trends of the day. The worst-case scenario is when operations are constrained, rather than empowered, by software.   A great example of this is the ability to automate repetitive tasks. Modern, cloud-based PMS are capable of automating certain back-office tasks (such as reporting, which we discussed earlier). Even something as simple as automatically letting housekeeping know when a guest has checked out can have a massive impact on operational efficiency -- and management sanity.   Integrations   From channel managers and revenue management to business intelligence, CRS, and CRM the parade of acronyms (and vendors) exhaust even the most seasoned hotelier. Given the sheer number of hotel technology solutions, ease of integration is a top-of-mind for many hoteliers.       Download our guide to picking a hotel PMS here.     The right PMS is the one that plays well with your existing tech stack. Without the necessary integrations, a PMS cannot perform its functions correctly. It can also hinder staff productivity and trickle down to the guest experience. For example, if staff have to pull reservation details manually from a channel manager and put them into the property management system, errors will arise that affect your guests.   Adding custom integrations can be expensive, complicated and time-consuming. Aim for a PMS that integrates with all mission-critical software out of the box. When that's not realistic, you’ll need to budget for assistance from a hotel systems integrator that provides deep PMS integrations as a service. They will be faster and more accurate than one-off customizations from many PMS vendors while ensuring two-way connectivity that keeps records updated across all systems seamlessly.   Analytics and reporting   One of the reasons why integrations are so important is that a poorly integrated PMS impedes proper reporting. Sure, you can pull reports from within the system, but you also want to save stuff time by providing a fully-integrated tech stack that reduces (or eliminates!) any time spent on pulling manual reports.   Streamlined reporting allows management to spend time on more pressing priorities. As all hoteliers know, there never seems to be enough minutes in the hour or hours in the day. You want a PMS that makes reporting simple and straightforward, so you can focus on revenue-generating activities.   Pricing and customer care   We put this one last to encourage reversing the process when it comes to PMS selection. All budget certainly matters, it shouldn't be the first criteria. It's far more impactful to evaluate potential solutions according to functionality and set first, and then price them out. You may find that the more expensive solution provides greater functionality and increased opportunities for incremental revenue. Quite often, these solutions more than pay for themselves in unexpected ways.   As a rule of thumb with pricing, there is no rule of thumb anymore! Certain vendors charge by the feature and others charged by the room. Custom integrations quickly add cost. To compare vendors with different business models, we recommend calculating your own per room price for an apples-to-apples comparison.      There’s also a hidden factor in the pricing: customer service. When a vendor manages an attractive price, but without reliable support, it’s usually not worth the small savings. Inevitably, systems go down -- and often, the outage occurs during peak usage. The trade-off of short-term savings is rarely worth the long-term reputational damage, staff stress, and missed revenue opportunities related to poor customer service and downtime.   When your hotel is a small fish in a big pond, you may be overlooked by your vendor -- this is especially acute with some larger vendors. On the flip side, your hotel could be a major account for emerging vendors -- creating a risk that a vendor cannot stay afloat without your business. The best practice is to find a customer-focused vendor with sufficient scale and market traction that still maintains a strong customer relationship.   * * *                         As you begin evaluating different PMS vendors, visualize your tech stack and how each piece connects with the other. Workshop this with your direct reports on a whiteboard or in a mind-map tool. This process aligns the team, uncovers any false assumptions or overlooked needs, and wrangles a complicated process. Then you have a clear picture of any potential overlaps that might save money, expand revenue opportunities, or make for a better overall guest experience.        

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The future of hotel software is here: instant implementation, free integrations and apps for everything

by
Hotel Tech Report

Back when I worked in hotels drones were all the rage.  Amazon had announced that it was planning to make drone deliveries in the not so distant future and every major news outlet was covering the craze. Our team leveraged this trend to come up with a genius idea.  We would deliver champagne via drone to our $10,000 a night presidential suite as a PR stunt.  The antic got picked up in Fortune, Forbes, CNN and many other major media outlets. We ended up selling millions of dollars in corporate packages as a result of the stunt but that’s all it was - a stunt. Unsurprisingly, it turned out that humans were better at delivering champagne to guests than drones. Today voice, keyless and robots are great buzz for hotels to leverage in PR but the applications still need time to mature in order to deliver meaningful business impact.  Don’t get me wrong, these are nice amenities for guests and can be great ways to differentiate your hotel in the sales process but today we’re going to talk about the kind of paradigm shifting innovation that is likely to become more impactful than all of those concepts combined.  Frictionless technology experimentation and instant implementation is the single most important innovation since the internet started bringing online bookings to hotels. One only has to browse websites like Product Hunt to understand how innovative startups leverage technology to solve real business problems and scale their efforts.   There are countless apps serving startups with micro-SaaS products such as email automation, referral programs, website live chat and more.  Navigate to ‘Productivity Apps’ on Product Hunt and you’ll find more than 330,000 startups following an endless scroll of apps to solve their real world productivity problems. This is why the cost to launch (and operate) a startup has declined 20 fold in the last 10 years alone.   “Hardware? No, now you just put it on Amazon or Rackspace. Software? It’s all open-source. Distribution? It’s the App Store, it’s Facebook. Customer service? It’s Twitter — just respond to your best customers on Twitter and Get Satisfaction. Sales and marketing? It’s Google AdWords, AdSense. So the cost to build and launch a product went from five million . . . to one million . . . to five hundred thousand . . . and it’s now to fifty thousand.” ~B Lab   Fast, frictionless, intuitive and low cost technology has increased the velocity of innovation in all kinds of industries.  The ability for businesses to try and switch between products has forced creators to delight their customers or die and resulted in a digital renaissance. This single innovation is the proverbial puzzle piece that's been missing in hospitality but it’s finally here.  It’s been a game changer for forward thinking hotel companies who have improved net operating profits by leveraging new technologies to maximize unit economics.  Hotels are products just like the digital ones referred to in the quote above and technology is enabling them to operate at lower costs and distribute to wider audiences than ever before. We sat down with one of the movement’s most prominent change agents, Ulrich Pillau, co-founder of apaleo.  Uli’s vision is to facilitate a frictionless marketplace where hotels can implement micro-SaaS tech products instantaneously.  At the core of this vision is a second generation cloud property management system with rapid integration capabilities. What do IDeaS, Hetras and Fidelio all have in common?  Uli was behind all of them. With the help of his industry network Uli has put together the hotel tech dream team to build what he calls second generation cloud PMS. At first the apaleo pitch seems like a utopian promise to seasoned hoteliers:  implement your PMS in a day with no training needed and free integrations to dozens of apps. It almost sounds too good to be true but it's very real.  apaleo is already in market it’s using modern technology to bring Silicon Valley like frictionless innovation to hotels globally.     What was your background prior to starting the company? Some friends and I were part of the teams building up various worldwide software companies in the hospitality space. I spent over 10 years with Fidelio before until it was acquired by Micros and today it’s owned by Oracle. Subsequently we established with IDeaS the leading revenue management system for hotels and hotel groups. And lately we developed with hetras the first generation Cloud PMS for hotel chains (acquired by Shiji).   You have 14 co-founders at apaleo which is really unique - tell us about that. It is a very unusual story for a start-up. We had a vision for apaleo of developing the second generation of Cloud PMS which includes an App Store and open API Platform. As this is a big project we pulled together in Munich a group of 14 founders which are all top experts in their field, and a significant funding with the objective to attack the leading PMS firms within a few years.      Who was apaleo’s first customer? Our first customer was a smaller hotel group in Finland operating hotels which are entirely staffless, i.e. at hotel level there are no employees any more.  The founder was an old friend who was looking for a Cloud system to support & automate a complete mobile guest journey. He trusted us and when he saw what we were developing with apaleo, he was convinced this would become the best new PMS on the market.       Can you describe apaleo for those who may not know you yet? apaleo is a native cloud PMS which is lean and completely mobile running on any device. apaleo also offers the apaleo App Store where hotel groups & hotels can select their technology stack and pick any apps. or 3rd party software they need to operate their hotels. This is only possible because apaleo has taken an API first approach where all features and functionality are immediately available to other software which would like to integrate reducing cost for interfaces to 0.      Who is one mentor that has really helped you scale the business? apaleo in the background has a network of industry specialists which are all very relevant to our success. People on this list include the ex CIO for Hilton International, the founder & owner of an international hotel chain, the ex CEO of TravelCLICK and other top people on this level.     What's one commonly held belief that most hoteliers believe to be true that’s actually false? Hoteliers today have concerns that an implementation of a PMS or a conversion to a new PMS is a complex project that takes a long time and is very costly. This is actually false as with our native apaleo cloud PMS we are in a position to onboard a hotel very quickly at no cost.   What's the most surprising thing you've learned about scaling technology into hotels? The biggest surprise is how easily the technology & tools available today can address the scalability of platforms. We have used exactly these tools in order to make apaleo as scalable and user friendly as possible.   If you could partner with any vendor in hotel tech, who would it be and why? We accept as application on our app Store any app that is innovative and provides value & benefits to the hotel groups and hotels. apaleo will not work with any preferred partners as this is against of philosophy of an open platform where hoteliers can select their apps on top of the apaleo PMS. Our PMS users can find CRM, RMS, CRS, Channel Managers and more in the app store.  There are so many companies with great products we have run into that it would not be possible to select one or two.   Where do you see apaleo in 5-years? The founders and investors of apaleo have started the company with the vision to become the next generation PMS of choice for hotel groups and hotels. Subsequently we have plans to grow and scale the company very quickly around the world. Our technology enables this scalability. In a few years we will have thousands of properties on apaleo. Our scalability due to the underlying cloud platform and architecture is far superior to any other technology on the market. It will take some time, but there is not really a limit to what we can achieve with the apaleo store and the apaleo PMS. Our connected apps are really part of that journey and key to our success. apaleo is targeting the hotel chains worldwide so ultimately this market segment will be very big for us. However, because of the ease of activation of the apaleo PMS without implementation project even any independent can take advantage of the technology. Self onboarding through automation and no training required are the most important topics here. It is the move from a legacy PMS which is not really cloud to a new generation of platform. apaleo is fully mobile, device agnostic, easy to implement and use, and finally the hoteliers can select & connect the apps they want immediately. A PMS migration from any legacy PMS to apaleo is really easy and cost efficient relative to what hoteliers have come to expect. apaleo will never charge for configuration, set-up, training, interface fees or development just because it is not needed anymore. Implementation projects are a thing of the past regardless of what other PMS tell you. Already today we have smaller chains that take their new properties live on apaleo without even anybody from our company becoming involved. This certainly sets a benchmark for the future.   How will hotel management software change in the next 5-years? I think hotel tech is behind other verticals and does not invest as much money as needed in technology. Hoteliers take too little risk in trying out new things, but current legacy technology makes it also really difficult and expensive. In other industries people change systems every 5-7 years, in hotel industry only in 7 to sometimes 12 years.  That’s starting to change given competitive pressure on hotels to innovate. The market has moved from traditional on premise PMS and other systems to hosted systems (this is where unfortunately most of the PMS companies such as Opera or Protel are still today). That move was followed by the first generation of cloud PMS with hetras, Mews or Guestline. Today hoteliers want an entire open platform with easy to activate modules from the most innovative firms. The API first approach we have taken with apaleo for the hospitality industry is unique worldwide, and exactly addresses this requirement.   We firmly believe that the "all in one PMS" are a thing of the past. Today the hotel industry wants lean and mobile cloud PMS that is user friendly working without big projects or training. The PMS focuses on the important procedures that hotel really want to cover in this area such as reservations, pricing, inventory, distribution or payment. For all other areas there are specialised apps. which cover their fields very well, for example CRM or upselling. These apps can be easily integrated based upon the API First approach and there is no interface or certification cost any more.   Do you have any new products or feature launches we should know about? Our core products are the apaleo PMS and the apaleo App. Store, and we will focus to deliver the best open Platform as a Service for the hospitality industry. We are constantly enhancing the platform and API which has been published on our Website. We recommend to any technology company to become part of this initiative and list their app on the apaleo Store. As more apps become available on the apaleo Store, the easier it will be for hoteliers to put their own tech stack together and forget about today's world of legacy PMS.   What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to get into the hotel tech space? If you have a good idea, do not hesitate to making this reality. A great team of founders which are friends is key, and you should make sure you have good funding. The hospitality industry is traditionally slow in adopting new technologies, and in most cases you will need more time to grow the company than expected. Our experience has taught us to focus on one specific area and secure solid funding prior to scaling. We have seen many failures because start-ups underestimated the amount of money and time to market. MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the most critical thing here to keep in mind.  The most important determinant of success is an excellent team of founders that sticks together even in tough times. Focus on what you really can deliver best and make your ideas reality. Aside from the team, early customers are the next most important thing - find the best lead customers you can in the early days and they will be your top promoters if the offering is strong.

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This is the tech you need to streamline your hotel's operations

by
Hotel Tech Report

As any hotelier can attest, a modern hotel operation is a tangle of systems and technologies. Navigating the options can be overwhelming and frustrating, mainly because it's impossible to know how reliable the technology is -- or how responsive customer service will be during the inevitable outage. With such high-stakes, it's easy to get caught up in the details or to delay making a final decision. “For an industry that’s fundamentally about human interaction, it’s ironic that technology has come to be such a big deal. But in today’s and tomorrow’s world, being strategic about how you allocate your tech investment resources is critical to the hospitality mission.” -Mark Van Amerongen, COO, Prism Hotels & Resorts To get to the nirvana of seamless hotel operations, it takes the best technology, customized according to each property’s needs. Irrespective of how long it takes to identify these solutions, the result should be a technology suite that works well together and is adaptable to ever-evolving guest expectations. Security and data protection should also be a priority as a hotel builds out its modern hotel operations tech stack. While your hotel may not need technology from all of these categories, each category has its own merits to carefully consider. Ask tough questions, request introductions to existing customers to prove further, and don’t rush into a decision on your hotel’s operating systems.   Property management systems (PMS) The broadest category of software for hotel operations is the property management system. It structures the entire hotel operation, acting as the centralized resource across the property. From housekeeping to reservation management, everything flows through the PMS. Without a PMS, a modern hotel would struggle to thrive. Yet many hotels remain constrained by a legacy system that doesn't offer some of the most important features for a hotel to remain competitive in today's environment. So what makes a great hotel property management system? Paraphrasing an old idiom in business, the best PMS is the one you use. You want to provide the most intuitive and reliable system to empower your staff. You don't want to implement a system that frustrates and confuses. Inevitably, turnover increases and the guest experience suffers.     When evaluating potential solutions, consider the interplay between the PMS and the rest of your technology. Given the centralized role of the PMS, it's important that all software in a hotel’s tech stack integrate seamlessly. Knowing that a new PMS sits seamlessly within an existing tech stack is vital. You also want the flexibility to grow with your PMS is good peace-of-mind for hotel GMs. Module add-ons, such as for spa, revenue management, guest CRM, group functionality, and channel management, can boost the utility of the PMS without having to evaluate and onboard another vendor. Ideally, each tool has a real-time connection with the PMS to avoid latency and inaccurate data. In addition to integrations and connectivity, here are three other important features when evaluating a PMS vendor: Approach to customer service. Many features in hospitality technology are commodified, but customer service isn’t one. Helpful, responsive, consultative, always available -- these are all words you want to hear from existing customers as you evaluate your options. Automation. Automation is beautiful. It helps reduce errors from manual data entry, which in turn reduces labor cost associated with manual inputs. The labor can then be allocated to something The greater impact. The consistency of both staff and guest experience is also improved, which makes everyone happier. Real-time dashboard.  A centralized source of real-time information about your hotel proves invaluable over time. At a glance, everything is laid out for action. With this real-time view, issues can be handled quickly and efficiently before they escalate, and data can be deployed to rally staff around performance targets. The PMS is one of the most mission-critical software, so be thorough in your questioning of potential solutions. The most pressing question is how a company approaches customer support. Features can be copied; customer service can’t. When there's an issue with the PMS, you absolutely need the peace-of-mind that someone will be there to take your call and fix the problem.     Staff collaboration In an intensive operation such as a hotel, keeping the staff organized and on track is a challenge. Reliance on paper checklists, manual work assignments, and paper logbooks can lead to inefficiencies, double-work, and communication miscues. Upgrading to modern staff collaboration software automates processes to ensure more consistency across the various departments, increases transparency as far as performance, and unites communications into a centralized hub for easy management. When the team is on the same page, the hotel operates more smoothly and provides an enhanced guest experience. Another benefit of this technology is that it expands the role of the front desk into sales. By empowering the front desk team to enter leads and collaborate with sales, more revenue is achievable. These are the most impactful features to look for in staff collaboration tools for hotels: Intelligent routing. The technology should help teams work together more effectively to improve the guest experience. Guest want consistent responses, whether they communicate via email, text, or face-to-face. Software that intelligently routes guest request to the correct department means that there's less time spent directing traffic and more time spent on the task itself. Automations. Even the most well-trained staff makes mistakes. Staff management and collaboration software can automate away some of these mistakes by providing a consistent operational checklist. For example, upon completing one task, the system can assign another task based on that completion. Schedule task can also keep properties maintained overtime, without having to remember critical tasks or assign them manually. Reports, analytics, and audits. One of the benefits of using staff management technology is increased productivity. This is not conceptual: analytics and reports chart progress and identify areas for improvement with particular departments or team members. Auditing a task’s history also boosts visibility into potential bottlenecks.  After finding the vendors that have the desired features, the first question to ask them is how easy the software is to learn. Not every team member is tech-savvy, so the training and onboarding process is critical for successful adoption of a staff management tool.     Concierge software Guest-facing functions have the potential to make or break a guest experience. The importance of the concierge varies, depending on hotel category. For those hotels that haven’t traditionally deployed a concierge, technology can actually make this a cost-efficient perk to offer. For hotels with an existing concierge, concierge software makes the team more efficient and accurate with their guest recommendations. In the order of importance, look for hotel concierge software that provides: Cross-channel communications. Portability across channels is important to guests. They may go to the desk, and then want the concierge’s recommendations via mobile. The software should make this easy to do for concierges, and easy to access for guests. The ultimate win is to make a seamless experience no matter who is staffing the desk. PMS/CRM integration. Guest profiles shouldn't live independently of other systems. The richness of a guest profile Defines how successful Hotel can be in properly personalizing the experience. Data should flow across these systems to enhance the guest experience, reduce double-work, and make the concierge more impactful. Knowledge base. It should be simple to add knowledge to a repository to pull from. Concierge recommendations should be prompt and accurate; a knowledge base that collects important information makes for stronger curation skills. When discussing your needs with a potential vendor, start by asking about the typical implementation timeline and process. There may be factors that delay implementation, such as integrating with other systems, so you want to be clear what’s expected on your end -- and how long it will take on their end.     Housekeeping management software As guests check in and check out of the hotel each day, housekeeping has a lot to keep track of. In addition to making sure that rooms are available for incoming guests, each room turn must meet service specifications. Housekeeping processes and communications must be on-point to make this all happen smoothly. Housekeeping management technology eliminates uncertainty and helps each housekeeper manage daily workflow without sacrificing quality. The software also allows reliable tracking of performance across the entire department. To achieve these productivity gains, here are some of the most critical features of housekeeping management software: A focus on productivity. The right housekeeping management software helps your staff to be more productive through greater transparency and accountability. Look for software that provides detailed reports and helps you motivate your staff to improve performance over time. Mobile. This is obvious but often overlooked. Your stuff is going to be moving about the property and the tools need to move with them. It doesn't make much sense to have a digital system that requires a paper printout. Another key point: The best technology timestamps key events, delivering reliable data essential for accurate reporting. Real-time notifications. On-the-fly changes to room availability happen; For example, a priority guest requests early check-in for a suite that still needs cleaning. The system should ping the housekeeping staff in real-time to adjust priorities in real time. When it comes to housekeeping management, the most pressing question is usually how the solution integrates with existing systems, especially the PMS. Direct integration eliminates duplicate data entry, supports data integrity, and allows you to use the best systems for each department.     Guest feedback software Gathering guest feedback, and using that data to benchmark progress against performance targets, is a critical part of a hotel’s operations. Guest feedback gives the GM a near-real-time view of the guest experience, helping to identify areas for improvement and immediate attention. As a hotel incorporates guest feedback, it improves. A responsive management team can transform negative feedback into a positive experience that builds goodwill. As more sites pop-up with reviews, from Facebook to Google to lesser-known brands, a hotel’s reputation demands a modern solution that starts with guest feedback. If you can catch the bad feedback before it's posted in a review, and encourage the best experiences to be shared, then you’ve set your hotel’s reputation on track. This drives more new business, alongside encouraging more repeat business from guests that feel heard. When you're looking to manage your reputation with software for guest feedback, you’ll want the following: Guest history. It should be clear how many times a guest has provided feedback so that your team can communicate in a more personal and relevant way with the guest. These attributes are visible pieces of a guest’s profile. Responsive design. Guests will likely complete surveys or provide feedback via a mobile device. All surveys and forms should look just as good on mobile as on desktop. Integration. If the feedback loop lives only in the guest feedback system, it may prevent that feedback from being acted upon quickly. PMS metadata can provide that context right in the feedback tool, allowing a potential issue (such as a broken HVAC system) to be routed instantly to the right department. For a detailed insight into a vendor’s approach to guest feedback, ask them for references. This is the most important questions for such a critical guest-facing tool. You'll learn more from the implementation experiences of other hotels than from the vendor itself. Of course, this advice extends to all vendors; however, with guest-facing solutions, it’s especially useful to know how (and if) a vendor has delivered on its promises to other hotels.    

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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2019

by
Hotel Tech Report

Creating a great work environment is the single biggest determinant of success for any business.  Companies that foster great work environments attract the best people and the best people build the best products. A 2017 study that analyzed 326,000 employee reviews at publicly traded companies found that firms with high employee satisfaction outperformed the overall stock market each year by 135bp (1.35%).  A similar study of 400,000 employee ratings found evidence of a statistical relationship between employee perception and a firm’s future earnings. Sophisticated enterprise software buyers know that when they partner with a technology company, they are buying into not just its products but its vision, mission and team.  These buyers perform due diligence to understand the viability of any business that they plan to partner with and a deep analysis of employee satisfaction and vendor culture is part of that process.  Hotel Tech Report hosts this award not just to help the community find great jobs, but also to help fast track diligence for hotel tech buyers who want to learn about the best vendors to work with. Understanding organizational culture is important for software buyers because companies that create great work environments retain employees longer, service customers better and innovate faster. Perks like ping pong tables,  office snacks and vacation days are nice,  but our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list is determined by the glue that holds companies together. Each year we ask thousands of employees at hotel tech companies how they feel about their employers and anonymize the results.  The 2019 scoring is based on 7 key data points: Work-life balance: Please rate how well your employer promotes work/life balance. Personal development: How much importance does your employer place on your own personal development? Gender equality: How would you rate the opportunities available to women in your firm? Employee confidence: How much confidence do you have in the future of your company? Values alignment: How well do your values align with the culture of your organization? Employee engagement: How passionate are employees about the company? Growth prospects: How many open roles are there for your employees to grow into?   Without further adieu we give you 2019's 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech:       10. Triptease Our research on Triptease validates that the Company truly lives and breathes the ethos of its name.  Employees consistently cited off-sites and team trips as the highlights of their year. According to LinkedIn data, Triptease has grown its employee count 72% in the last 2 years.  Sometimes when companies grow that quickly, it’s hard to maintain a great team culture. With the team spread all around the world, Triptease brings new employees for training and team building to the LondonHQ.  New employees rave about the experience for the learning and friendships that come from it. Other notable events include Triptease’s renowned Direct Booking Summits (America, Europe, Asia) and a company wide Christmas party in Madrid (let us know if you need HTR on the scene to cover next year’s party - this one sounded like a rager!).  Triptease employees are constantly blown away by how much management cares. One employee cited an unexpected bonus for a month of killer performance and another described to us how open management is to employee travel focused on career development. Ultimately, Triptease is one a big happy family and employees around the world are constantly connecting through a multitude team building activities and trips.  Employees love the fast paced nature of consistently launching new innovative products. Check out open positions at Triptease     9. GuestRevu GuestRevu had a year in which critical company milestones rallied the team together.  Not only did GuestRevu acquire a large regional competitor but the team also launched a major version update that required all hands on deck.  Despite all the craziness of rapid growth, a new version launch and a major acquisition - one employee raved to Hotel Tech Report about how supportive the entire team was during the loss of a loved one.  Another told us that she often needs to bring her 9-year old to work where he is always made to feel welcome and at home. The firm is so committed to its team that it sent out a company wide survey asking what employees wanted to learn and then purchased everyone access to Udemy classes to help them develop those new skills. The marketing team took classes on video editing and is already leveraging those skills to develop a series of video case studies for GuestRevu. Check out open positions at GuestRevu     8. Beekeeper For a company building software to help teammates communicate better - Beekeeper takes employee engagement and experience very seriously internally.  As one employee told us, “Beekeeper does an excellent job of capturing feedback and always checking in to understand where you want to go and providing actionable feedback and support to get you there.” The Company promotes a healthy lifestyle through lunchtime sports and CrossFit.  Taking it one step further, Beekeeper offers unlimited PTO and flexible work schedules to accommodate the expectations of the modern workforce. Beekeeper’s culture exudes transparency and humility. One employee told us that the team was initially put off by management’s decision to require employees to clean dishes at an off site before they realized that this was all part of the team building.  This employee told us that the people they ended up washing dishes with ended up being their closest new friends and that the experience gave them an opportunity to bond in a way that most rarely do in the modern workplace. Another employee told us about a rewarding experience they had volunteering together at a homeless shelter. The team’s humility shined through further when a new employee (2 weeks in) alerted management about tensions between two departments.  Much to their surprise both teams were thrilled to hear their new colleague’s insight and showed their appreciation. Management even went one step further offering this individual to run a huge cross-departmental retrospective 5 weeks into their job. It’s not often that companies are so open to self-reflection and change coming from a new junior hire and we really admire the culture that Beekeeper has nurtured. Check out open positions at Beekeeper       7. Hotel Effectiveness Hotel Effectiveness is an incredibly successful company that largely flies under the radar of hotel tech buzz.  The Company provides revolutionary labor management software that we’ve covered here.  If there’s one word that sums up the Hotel Effectiveness team culture - it’s ‘performance’.  Employees are unilaterally motivated by consistently hitting lofty sales goals time and again.  As a testament to this performance driven culture - one employee told us that one time their boss had to tell them to go home early and make some time for family when they were overworking themselves.  This performance culture isn’t mandated from the top and is completely grassroots in that it’s driven by internal employee motivation and ambition. While you can expect to work alongside incredibly driven and ambitious colleagues at Hotel Effectiveness - they definitely know how to have a good time host a hilarious annual white elephant Christmas party. Check out open positions at Hotel Effectiveness     6. Revinate Revinate’s culture is characterized by constant iteration and testing.  The Company is always trying new things and that affords a ton of learning opportunities to team members.  This year while the technical team executed a full shift from hosted data center to cloud based AWS infrastructure the sales and marketing teams were tasked to rapidly grow the install base of the Revinate Marketing product.  Both teams executed with near perfection and everyone celebrated with an impromptu party where key team members reflected on the incredible achievements of such a relatively short time period. Revinate embodies the startup spirit with enterprise scale.  Revinate CEO Marc Heyneker is deeply involved in the day to day operations of the business and employees across the organization rave about his ability to inspire and teach. One employee told us a story about a serious head injury that left this person working remotely for several months.  His team made sure to make him feel included as part of the office through the entire time away but that was only the beginning. The employee recalled being shocked that over a year after his injury Heyneker pulled him aside to check in on his health and to ask what he could do personally to help. Check out open positions at Revinate     5. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds management recently surprised its team with a beautiful new San Diego headquarters equipped with a 14 ft indoor willow tree, a massive outdoor workspace, game areas, stand up workstations and more.  The environment is fun, welcoming and echoes the company theme - all things travel. Cloudbeds has an extensive wellness program because management knows that healthy employees are productive ones. This productivity paid off in 2018 where Cloudbeds achieved #75 on Inc Magazine’s fastest growing companies list.  How are they growing so fast you ask? Well it’s probably because CEO Adam Harris told the team he’d dance to any song of their choosing. We will keep you posted once we get our hands on the video from Harris’ co-founder Richard Castle. The Company maintains several internal chat threads exclusively for team sharing of funny photos, videos and memes - so we expect the video to surface there as well.  All jokes aside, Cloudbeds takes both employee and team growth very seriously. Each employee has weekly 1-1 meetings to review competencies and revisit their path to promotion. The Company is growing rapidly and there are constant opportunities for employees who prove themselves. Cloudbeds is also a 100% flexible organization where remote employees and those stationed at the headquarters all enjoy the ability to work from anywhere anytime.  Cloudbeds has fostered a culture where its team members truly enjoy hanging outside of work and building friendships important for their personal and professional lives. Several Ukrainian teammates trained for a marathon together and one customer success rep has leveraged her friendship with the UX designers to pursue her passion for design. After taking several courses independently the UX team has given her several opportunities to practice her skills on live projects. Check out open positions at Cloudbeds       4. Clock Software Clock Software is another company on our list that is growing insanely fast but doesn’t take itself too seriously.  One Clock employee told us that on their birthday coworkers wrapped his entire workstation and even put a bow on it.  The only complaint we heard from Clock Software team members was that they are growing too fast and needed more staff to manage the growth.  This is the best kind of problem to have. Clock is the oldest company on our list and celebrated their 22nd anniversary this year - a testament to the longevity of the business.  Clock founder Krasimir Trapchev has focused on growing the client base without scaling the team too quickly. Trapchev is all about execution and he’s prioritized building a long term sustainable business over rapid scaling which is extremely unique in an environment where funding is so plentiful that CryptoKitties, a company that enables users to breed and trade digital cats can raise $15M.  Clock is now starting to scale the team so it can take on more enterprise clients and its employees are fired up.  If you want to learn how to build a real business without massive amounts of venture capital - check out open jobs at Clock because Trapchev is the Mr. Miyagi of entrepreneurship and you’d be wise to make yourself his Karate Kid. Check out open positions at Clock     3. Screen Pilot Screen Pilot takes team building very seriously with activities like bubble soccer, a British Bakeoff (it’s ok we Googled it, too), volunteering at an animal shelter, an escape room and even a city wide scavenger hunt around its hometown in Denver.  The scavenger hunt and Screen Pilot’s quarterly volunteer days are a testament to Screen Pilot’s commitment to the surrounding community. While Screen Pilot is a top rated digital marketing agency, it’s a technology innovator as much as a marketing service provider.  The Company has created what it calls SP Labs where employees brainstorm ways to better leverage technology to help its clients win more direct bookings. Think of SP Labs like an ongoing internal hackathon with dedicated teams set on solving acute problems for clients. It’s this kind of innovative mindset that lead Screen Pilot to a 2018 Adrian Award for social content creation. Check out open positions at Screenpilot     2. Mews Systems If you caught the Mews Systems booth at WTM you might think that it was a rocket science company with all the lab coats and futuristic decor that earned it the Best Stand Award.  While Mews isn’t quite a rocket science company it is taking off like a rocketship having doubled its client base in the second half of 2018 alone. To support that kind of insane customer growth Mews had to 4x its team size in the last year - the fastest growth of any company in our list.  So how can a company even hire that fast? Mews attracts 40% of new hires via referrals. If that doesn’t say something about the company culture we don’t know what does. With that kind of insane growth supported by an $8M Series A in June you’d think it’s all business but Mews employees say it’s very much a “work hard, play hard” culture.  One employee told us that one of his favorite things about working at Mews is “daily banter with the boizz” - this kind of hilariousness is exactly what’s helped the Company take the industry by storm. Hoteliers everywhere are sick of generic jargon and boring brand marketing from hotel tech firms and Mews is the antidote. Employees frequently cite founder Richard Valtr and CEO Matt Welle as saying “At Mews we are family and we will take care of any family member in need."  Mews also boasts an extremely inclusive culture illustrated by the firm’s attendance at the Prague Pride celebration wearing special edition Mews gear to the event. The Company also has a shared value culture at its core and participated in UK Byte Night last year.  Byte Night prevents youth homelessness by having corporate teams sleep in the streets to raise awareness and funds for the cause.  Richard and team participated which is really cool and a statement to the quality of people that you’ll work with when you join the Mews team. Check out open positions at Mews     1. ALICE ALICE employees widely agreed that quarterly town hall meetings are the foundation of ALICE’s connected team culture.  ALICE staff loves the opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world, align around the company vision and get transparency into how the business is performing at a macro level. More than doubling its size in 2018, ALICE unsurprisingly had to upgrade its HQ office to add more space and acquire obligatory startup amenities like a cold brew keg, stand up desks and lockers.  ALICE goes so much deeper for its team and invests heavily in career development. Employees participate in a company wide book club, receive access to free Udemy courses and are nurtured along a very clear path to promotion.  ALICE employees talk about the clarity of path to promotion more than any other company’s employees on our list. Setting a clear path to promotion is important for making employees feel like they’re constantly progressing and puts them at ease knowing that there’s always room to grow internally.  Major consulting firms like BCG and McKinsey have perfected this art but rarely do we see startups who are able to provide such transparency to their staff - kudos ALICE management.One employee told us that she was promoted 4 times in the last 3 years - a testament to ALICE’s ability to reward top employees.  Even a remote worker was able to win ALICE’s Culture and Values Award twice in 6 months. This individual told us that they felt like they were on an island while working previous remote jobs - but felt very connected to the inclusive ALICE team. ALICE acquired GoConcierge this year and is making serious strides with major enterprise clients after its $30M Series B funding - a testament to the strong prospects for the firm and probably why employee confidence in the firm is best in class.  “When you receive a high five from the CEO, that says a lot about the culture of the company,” says one team member. High fives all around! Check out open positions at ALICE

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Hotel tech is a massive investment opportunity and PeakSpan Capital is doubling down

by
Hotel Tech Report

How many hotels are there in the world?  Back in 2012 STR estimated 187,000 hotels with more than 17.5 million rooms globally but we’ve seen estimates from Booking and Expedia north of 300,000 and that figure is growing at a rapid clip.  Hotels have a stigma for being slow to adopt technology but that’s changing quickly as digital natives moves into leadership roles at hotel groups around the world. Hotels are extremely complex businesses to run operationally with lots of moving parts.  How do you price across channels? Which channels do you focus on? How do you manage bookings? How do you service guest requests across shifts? How do you recruit and train new talent in a business with massive turnover? Hotels need software for all aspects of their complex businesses including: finance, revenue, operations, guest experience and sales.  The typical hotel can run on up to 15 different technology systems. Multiply that by the number of hotels in the world and it’s easy to understand this massive market opportunity.   Shockingly, tons of hotels today still run their operations on pen and paper or via on premise systems from decades past.  Cloud computing was a buzzword for the rest of the world back in 2010 but here we are nearly a decade later and hotels are finally catching up. When venture investors look at hotel tech they see the biggest online market in the world (travel) and a massive whitespace for technology companies that can solve real business problems and deliver strong ROIs for hotel clients.  They see a rapidly expanding middle class with discretionary funds for leisure travel and a booming corporate travel market for companies looking to connect employees and clients through meaningful in person experiences. Adding to these macro trends - fast, frictionless API integrations and the low delivery cost of cloud computing catalyze the perfect environment for outsized venture returns. Here at Hotel Tech Report we get tons of calls from investors asking us which companies they should consider investing in but few understand this market like Matt Melymuka at PeakSpan Capital.  Matt and his team at PeakSpan have developed a sophisticated understanding of this nuanced market opportunity and have put money to work in some of the most innovative and successful companies in the space such as Cloudbeds and Zingle. We have yet to meet an investor who understands this market better than PeakSpan so we were lucky to catch up with Matt to understand his view on the market.  Top venture firms like Thayer Ventures and TCV also invest heavily in the space but few offer the level of support and guidance to portfolio companies that Peakspan offers to hotel technology companies. The firm is unique in its thesis driven approach that has identified hotel tech as a key area for investment long before this thesis became mainstream. In this interview we’ll talk about the evolution of hotel management software, how customer messaging platforms are changing the way hotels interact with guests and why hotel tech companies need to build globally distributed teams in order to win.   PeakSpan's Matt Melymuka leads the firm's hospitality practice   How did you get into the wonderful world of venture? I've had the pleasure of working with growth-stage software and technology businesses my whole career, and have been a tech enthusiast my entire life. I started my career in investment banking and then transitioned to principal investing, as I really wanted to work more closely with entrepreneurs and teams who have a shared passion for innovation. While every stage of company development is interesting and unique, I have always focused on companies in the "growth phase", and really believe it is the most intellectually stimulating and exciting phase of evolution - companies that have matured beyond the concept in a garage phase and have answered some of the existential "Can we build it? Will they buy it?" questions, and are looking for a thought partner to provide capital and guidance as they look to navigate the next part of the journey. The challenges and opportunities our teams face are typically related to execution and developing/implementing sensible scaling initiatives, iterating our collective way into the optimal investment plan that drives resilient, sustainable growth and long-term value creation.   How does PeakSpan operate under the hood? PeakSpan has a simple, highly-focused mission: to be the partner of choice for growth-stage, B2B software companies. Our focus manifests itself across every area of our business, but I'll highlight three primary areas, as well as one philosophical tenet that underpins our strategy and approach to working with teams. First, we only invest in business-to-business software companies. Next, we focus on a tight roster of themes (we call them our "BluePrint Market Themes") as a firm, and Hospitality is one of those themes that I lead for PeakSpan. Third, we only invest in emerging growth-stage companies, which are businesses which as noted above have stripped away some of the binary risk levers associated with classic venture capital. The whole point and purpose of our focused approach is to develop true domain expertise in the categories we invest in, to cultivate long-term theses and informed perspectives on segment evolution (market dynamics, nuanced trends, competitive landscape, buyer dynamics, etc.) to enable strategic levels of rapport with the teams we partner with - from the first interaction and every one after that. Every time we meet with an entrepreneur, we should be bringing a distinct or unique insight or perspective to the table (informed by a breadth of experience) and adding value to that entrepreneur or team in some form or fashion. Lastly, we only put senior investment professionals (Partners) who are domain experts in the category at the tip of the spear, doing the first calls/meetings (and every successive call/meeting after that) with the entrepreneur, to enable a peer-to-peer, decision maker-to-decision maker dialogue that we firmly believe is more respectful and human beings prefer.   You've already lead some pretty sizable rounds in hotel management software companies - tell us about those investments. We've invested in i) Cloudbeds, a leader in the cloud-based property management system ("PMS") arena, providing an end-to-end solution encompassing property management/operations and channel management/distribution for independent hotels, hostels, B&Bs and short-term vacation rental owners, and ii) Zingle, a leading provider of guest engagement solutions, enabling hoteliers to deliver personalized communications with their guests across channels, at scale, with high efficiency through the application of AI-enabled automations and intelligent process/workflows. We led the Series B financings for both companies with meaningful 7-figure investments in each business. Cloudbeds offers a truly end-to-end platform, providing hoteliers with the tools and technology required to efficiently identify, attract, engage and convert potential prospects (channel management/distribution), as well as everything required to manage their property on the back end (property management/operations). The platform is easy to use and navigate, encompasses a rich feature set satisfying all core needs, and is offered at a disruptive price point/solution value.  The breadth and depth of Cloudbeds' platform is unmatched in market, and is supported by a best-in-class customer success effort, ensuring client experience is paramount.   Cloudbeds co-founders Adam Harris and Richard Castle ribbon cutting the firm's new San Diego office   Zingle provides a next-generation approach for hoteliers to engage with their guests in a highly-personalized, real-time manner, at scale with tremendous efficiency. The Company's platform gives control of the guest engagement and dialogue back to the hotelier, enabling direct, seemingly bespoke communications with their guests to ensure top tier satisfaction. Zingle intelligently leverages NLP and AI coupled with deliberate, intuitive workflows to deliver these individualized dialogues at scale, with strong efficiency. Guest requests are satisfied in real-time, enabling properties to differentiate through experience, while driving massive ROI through process automations and service efficiencies.   How do you come usually across your investments? In both cases, we had developed a deep perspective and investment thesis on the market opportunity for these businesses informed by our thematic focus, and reached out directly to the founders to start a dialogue. These businesses are exhibiting top tier performance across numerous vectors, and (not surprisingly) they were garnering significant interest from the investment community, so we had to work hard to prove value and demonstrate the impact we can bring as a partner to consummate the partnerships with these amazing teams. We're privileged and humbled to work with both of these companies.   What's one piece of advice you have for hotel tech entrepreneurs when raising capital? Similar to how we execute our own mission at PeakSpan, we're big believers in focus in company development. There is no need to cede ground on overarching vision and market opportunity, but pursue your mission with ruthless prioritization and by setting sensible, incremental goals and milestones, preserving optionality and alignment with your shareholders along the way.  One founder we once worked with had a great quote that I think about every day, noting "Most companies don't die of starvation, but rather indigestion." Biting off more than you can chew and introducing unnecessary operational risk into a business can be toxic, so set reasonable goals, attack them with focus, and then reevaluate and recalibrate as you continue to turn over cards of value creation along the way.   How do you think the hotel management software space will evolve over the next 5-years? Despite all the innovation that has taken place in the sector over the last decade, there remains massive, untapped opportunity and potential in many categories within the hospitality arena. Despite being one of the largest and most dynamic segments of the US and global economy, penetration of cloud-based technologies in the segment remains incredibly low, and the vendor landscape remains tremendously fragmented on a global basis. Cloud-based platforms combined with innovative go-to-market strategies will enable vendors to effectively and efficiently target, acquire and retain clients, delivering powerful solutions to clients across the full spectrum of property types, including the long-tail segment. Industry fragmentation and the disparate nature of data within the hospitality arena will continue to drive the need for systems to be developed with extensibility at their core, enabling quicker, lower cost implementations and seamless communication across platforms. There remain so many areas across the hospitality landscape that are under-penetrated or currently served by solutions that are deficient or ineffective - as an investor, this creates an incredibly compelling and exciting opportunity to partner with amazing entrepreneurial teams to capitalize on these opportunities!     People often say that hotels are a bit slow to adopt technology.  Do you agree? There is definitely some truth to the comment, and one of the main reasons from my perspective is the mission critical nature of the data housed in many of the platforms used by hoteliers today across their operations. This makes it harder to adopt new, innovative solutions than some other categories - even when solutions are better, faster, cheaper and more efficient, there can be operational issues that create friction when considering migration to a new platform.  I believe the tide is turning, however, as new technologies and approaches are reducing those barriers, and awareness/appreciation for the need to evaluate and implement next-gen technologies and (importantly) behavior/process change to drive efficiency across organizations has never been higher.   If you were leaving venture capital tomorrow to start a hotel technology company - what would it be and why? I won't give away my next area of focus, as there are a few areas I am really interested in investing behind, but I will categorically say that I would not want to be competing with Cloudbeds or Zingle. Both of these teams represent everything I look for in the companies I partner with - passion, grit, humility and integrity - and they are quickly establishing true market and thought leadership in their respective segments, supported by best-in-class technology platforms.   What is the most surprising thing that you've learned from investing in hotel tech? The fragmentation of the category globally continues to amaze me. This creates a lot of opportunity, however also (typically) requires the intelligent application of a globally-distributed team to compete on a truly global basis.   What is the best book you've read lately? Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is fascinating - I would describe it as Freakonomics for Anthropology. It provides an eye-opening perspective on human kind.  It's not a book, but I'm also completely hooked on the Freakonomics Radio podcast.     What is one thing that most people don't know about you? While I live in New York City and have for more than a decade, I am a die hard Boston sports fan, having grown up in the Boston area. I'll never surrender to the dark side!   For all the startups that might want to pitch in your office, what can you tell them about your investment criteria, etc. to help them decide if they are a good fit for your portfolio? We love to develop relationships early, and I am always interested in meeting with entrepreneurs who are going after strategic segments of the universe. In terms of specific parameters, we look for companies with $3-4M+ ARR, growing rapidly on a capital efficient basis, who haven't raised significant prior institutional capital.  We typically invest anywhere from $7-15M initially, and always look to lead the rounds we invest in.

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[PODCAST] FOSSE creator Dave Berkus uses lessons from history to predict the future of hotel technology

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Hotel Tech Report

In this episode we chat with Dave Berkus, one of the most prolific angel investors of all time.  Dave is the creator of FOSSE - the property management system that Marriott used for nearly 4 decades.  He is one of the most storied entrepreneurs in hotel technology and has invested in countless travel technology startups.   In the interview we cover topics such as: - How Dave landed the deal with Marriott to license his software - Why Marriott used FOSSE PMS for almost 4 decades - Why hotels in the future may not even need a property management system - The increasing importance of CRM, Business Intelligence and CRS - Why hotel general managers need to sharpen up on new skills or be replaced by robots   Enjoy the full podcast above, followed by a transcript of our conversation. Outside of the points covered above, Berkus shares the fascinating foundational story of the first property and yield management tools for hotels. *** Jordan Hollander: So I think there's something like 700 property management system vendors globally on the market today. I know that you weren't the first but what number were you? Dave Berkus: I think Computerized Lodging Systems was probably the third of the PMS companies. Eco was the first in Santa Ana, California. IBM was the second, and then there are several of us that contend that we were the third. But it was early. It was 1974 when I wrote it, and 1976 when it first began being installed in hotels. Lucky for me, the IBM system was being installed at the brand new Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles and the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Both of those IT managers gave me a chance to sit through a little bit of the process, and the night audits. From that, I had the idea that I could do it better and faster and cheaper with a mini computer and that's how it all began. That same Miramar Sheraton was the first customer. JH: So you created a property management system business in the days before most hoteliers knew what a property management system even was. What was the growth like in those early days? Was it really slow to start out? DB: From 800,000 in the first year to two million to 4 to 12 to 18 to 24 to 30 million. Then these are all 1980, 1981, 2982 and 1983 dollars.  About the same as a hundred million dollar business today. JH: Wow, those are some numbers that startups even today almost four decades later would be pretty happy with. A lot of companies think that the only way to get to that kind of scale is through enterprise deals, and I know that you pioneered one of the early ones. Can you talk about the partnership that you had with Marriott DB: I licensed it to Marriott in 1982. Marriott was to use it for a brand new concept that was being developed called Courtyard. They told me there would be 50 Courtyards, so we licensed it accordingly, and went through all the effort of getting ready to put multiple hotels on a single mini computer, which was rare, but I had done it numerous times for other smaller chains. We got three million dollars from Marriott for a universal license for the Courtyard Hotels. That was a lot of money back in those days. We sold them the MAI hardware and the usual markup was about 25%. So I can look at about 14 million dollars that we billed Marriott. So that's not bad at all. But they had the rights. I had no idea that Marriott would then begin to call this FOSSE and distribute it through Springfield, Fairfield, Residence Inns, all of their auxiliary products other than the Marriott and JW Marriott branded hotels. Today, it is now 36 years later. They are just coming to end of life on using it in 2,200 hotels. JH: To most of our listeners, it's going to be pretty unbelievable that a company like Marriott kept the same systems in place for almost 40 years -- especially a company like that that's known for being at the forefront of technology. But I'd like to point out that it's really not just Marriott. We've had some massive Innovations in the consumer and industrial sector when it comes to technology, things like cloud computing and universal access to Wi-Fi. Despite all of this, there's been really no rethinking of what it means to be a property management system and the job to be done. Can you talk about where you see the property management system playing a role in the hotel tech stack of the future? DB: The real question is where were we way back in the 80s when this became the absolute mandate for every hotel over 15 rooms, and where are we today? That story is the story we need to concentrate on. In 1980 or 82 or 84, all of the central reservation systems were written in the 60s. And they were on mainframes. In fact, some of those systems still survive today despite the fact that Amadeus is rewriting IHGs. There are other systems like Marcia that survive from the 60s. Yes, it's true that the UI has changed but it's still flat files on mainframe computer and that will certainly evolve over time. The central reservation systems own the guest name record; the guest name record is the critical element we need to talk about. The PMS systems are, for the chains at least, becoming increasingly less important, as they handle right now in-house functions only. So guest history, which used to be a gigantic important part of a PMS system has been stripped in most systems and is now very much part of the central reservation system. Whether you want to foam pillow or a special kind of anti-allergic something now is known chain-wide as opposed to just at that property where you made the request way back when. That's important. How many stays you've had and where you've had them: for analytics and Big Data, is really important. In fact, that's one of the things that Cindy Estes Green's company uses now as input from many of the chains to help them to understand better who their customers are, where they're going, and occupancy/future occupancy. Big Data's being used in very important ways but certainly not from the PMS system anymore. That leads to the question of: do we need a PMS system in the future? The answer is, for the short-run, yes. Property-based systems get rid of the problem of dependence upon any form of Ethernet or outside communications. In some areas of the country, the reliability of those systems still is a problem. 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. Then we have a single guest named record that doesn't have to pass through from one system to another to be validated that they are the same -- what happens if someone changes and address when he's standing in front of the front desk -- all of those things go away.   JH: When you say there's going to be a single PMS system or centralized system that's going to take care of all of those functions, do you mean to say that hotels are only going to have one type of software or do you think that there's room for specialists in different categories? DB: So you're always going to have best of breed in some areas. Take for example, revenue management, which is a very important part of all of this. It can either be a feature in a central reservation system or it can control everything else depending on where the real revenue is coming from. So Revenue Management Systems may end up being more important, for example, then CRM systems. Certainly both of them more important than just a simple accounting system at the front desk. We have some things to understand and to evolve over this next half a decade to decade and it's going to be interesting. This is not a stagnant industry, despite the fact that people think that every hotel has a system, therefore the industry is mature. JH: You briefly touched on the growing importance of systems like CRMs, customer relationship management, CRS central reservation systems and even touched on Revenue Management Systems. I know you have quite an extensive history in the revenue management space. Can you talk about your experience there and how it's informed your view on the market today? DB: So I was called at the time by both Marriott and Hyatt, both of them called me to their offices -- Hyatt, Chicago. Marriott, Washington -- to talk about their system and how it could be made into something that was much more. That was something more like the airline system. In the case of Marriott, they had what they had termed tier pricing. You become eighty percent occupied at a future date, then you close to government and other cheap rates. You become 90%, then you raise the rates by 10%. You become 100%, then you raise  the rates some more. That was tier pricing and that's all they had. Hyatt had nothing. So both of them said what can you do? I went home from both of those meetings and said, what can I do? The thought immediately occurred to me to copy the airlines. I happened to be a reseller for Burroughs, which became Unisys. And Burroughs let me in to see what was going on at Piedmont Airlines, and Piedmont had copied Sabre. I mean, this is all very insipid industry, isn't it? So I came in and saw the Piedmont system, came back and said even I can do that better. As I came back on the airplane from seeing the Piedmont system, I was up all night in a overnight flight designing what I thought to be a yield management system that would work for hotels. I wanted something different. Artificial intelligence was one of those terms you threw around back in those days, like we are today. In those days it was much more much more gravitas. So I called somebody I knew who had three programmers from MIT who knew how to program in the LISP  language, which was the programming language of artificial intelligence. It ran on a UNIX-based machine that was made by Texas Instruments. So I found these three programmers and hired them. I went to Texas Instruments, literally by flying to Austin, and having a meeting with them telling them what I intended to do and getting their buy-in. Together, we designed the very first artificial intelligence yield management system. So we had  two systems, two hundred and fifty thousand apiece. The owner of Sonesta refused to pay for it because he thought he could do it on the back of a napkin. I bought back the system from Sonesta and I told my chief programmer  to take this code, forget the fact that it's artificial intelligence, and make it a feature in the reservation system. It probably had 80% of the functionality, which we released as an $8,000 'check the box' feature and virtually every customer we had at the time began to order it. Yield management became something people could afford so they bought it -- even if they didn't use it in many of them didn't. That was the beginning and that was 1988. JH: So that year, 1988, was really the year that hotel started using data to make decisions about pricing globally. It's a huge transformational shift in the industry. As we look forward, what do you think the next 5 10 15 years look like and where some of the most important changes happening in the market? DB: Analytics are everything. Decisions are going to be made by analytics that are created by machines. There are a lot of people who will lose their jobs, and then maybe be retrained or other people take those jobs, that are now menial, especially in the back office. These roles have to be replaced by people or by machine analytics and people then act upon those analytics. The most important single change that's going to come is the fact that every piece of data that arrives at the central source, whether it be from a query and a lost sale, whether it be from a booking at a low price that might have been up-sold, whether it be an honored guest that was rebuffed because there was no occupancy. I'm giving many examples but there are hundreds of them. Each will be analyzed. You're going to find that much more capable decisions will be made to maximize revenue than have ever been possible before based upon AI and data analytics. That's your future. JH:  I definitely agree that business intelligence is a huge part of the future as we get a more sophisticated and granular understanding of where people are coming from, and how profitable certain segments are. To a large extent, hotels are still using some of these tools and datasets of the past and are waiting around on Tuesday for their compset report. DB: You gotta think of STR and Concur and a lot of these others as the equivalent of the central reservation systems of the sixties. It's nice to have them, they just haven't figured out yet how to make it actionable enough to be worth. So little for the money we need to pay today. JH: So STR is up for disruption, property management system, CRS, CRM -- pretty much everything is on the chopping block here. What are some of the most exciting opportunities that you're seeing today? DB: If we look at hotel tech and expand it to travel tech, which is really where Wayfare Ventures, our latest firm investment firm, operates, there are a lot of ways to do things that have nothing to do with what we were used to in the past. If you can get a plane in and out of a gate five minutes faster, and multiply that by the number of planes and gates that there are going in and out of airports in the US, you can save multiple billions of dollars. I mean that sounds strange over a year's time. If you can do the same thing in hotels by better serving a guest, by up selling that guest, by finding out whether guest satisfaction is a problem or an opportunity. Meaning: can you sell them meals even if the meals are delivered by a third party from outside the hotel? Whatever it be, there are a lots of opportunities now for revenue that weren't easily available in the past but are today. But the whole point is if guest satisfaction goes up and guests are able to do things they couldn't do before, like order a meal from text, then you're going to have better revenue and more satisfaction. Those are the ones the applications that are going to make some sense. JH: I agree with you there. We're seeing a huge amount of demand for our guest messaging software on Hotel Tech Report. We also see a lot of hoteliers looking for merchandising and up selling tools that can help them improve the guest experience while generating more revenue per guest, which is really a win-win on both sides. When you look at the investment landscape and your current portfolio, are there any companies that you're really excited about today? DB: Think of the hotel pool, the hotel spa, all of those things -- even the gym -- which lay fallow during many hours a day, especially in city hotels that are principally business occupied. So a little company called Resort Pass, which is one of our companies, came along and said what would happen if we contract with the hotel to bring in outside guests who are members of Resort Pass who make a reservation to use the pool for two hours when the pool would have never been used at all. The answer was these hotels love it because it's ancillary revenue for fixed assets that really have no other form of revenue generation because they're free to the guest. JH: Resort Pass has been really well received by the market. Like you said, it's almost a no-brainer for hotels. Why wouldn't you want to leverage and get some more revenue out of these underutilized spaces? I don't know the Resort Pass team personally, but I know a lot of the other founders that you've invested with, people like Adam and Richard over at Cloudbeds and John and Chris over at Whistle. Are there characteristics that you think really make great entrepreneurs stand out from the pack? DB: I love it when somebody in marketing or sales develops a company and says I feel the pain and let's try and solve the need. As opposed to what I see most often, which is an engineer says I really got an idea and I'm going to make that idea work. It's like pushing the rock up the hill because they didn't do the research. I have good stories about companies that flamed out, including some of my own, that didn't do the research and end up paying the price. JH: I know when you're investing in companies, you will generally look at the founders and see the quality of the team as one of your key drivers or Theses around an investment, but the other huge aspect is how big is the market and what are the market trends going on. So I wanted to ask what are some of the trends that you're seeing in the market and that you think have the strongest legs behind them. DB: That is a moving target. If you were to say I had an app 8 to 10 years ago, we might have been really excited because there weren't enough apps out there. Today, if you say you have an app, we're just gonna face the other way. So the today answer is we're looking very much at AI, robotics and data analytics. Tomorrow is going to be something else and it's going to be more sophisticated. So if I had to answer it today, it's those three things. JH: As we have a large hotelier audience on the show, do you think that the role of a general manager and a hotel is going to change in the coming years? It seems like we're moving away from an operationally-focused GM -- not to say that that's not important anymore -- but in the future, there's actually a huge shift towards being more analytical and almost acting like a product manager. What do you think that the GM of the future looks like? DB: The high-tech keynote that I gave in Toronto two years ago was entitled "Will tech take your job and it was addressed toward those managers and to the financial managers who were there in the audience. The answer is there are so many things that will be taken over -- not necessarily by robotics, that's the cleaning and the other things perhaps delivery to guests -- it's more the kinds of things that a manager has to learn to do to add value. A manager has to be able to add value by adding revenue and by increasing guest satisfaction. Those two things are not operational necessarily. As the operational thing that a manager today normally concentrates on. Tomorrow that manager is going to be a data analyst and he's going to be very much a marketing person, despite the fact that he'll have a department that supposedly assist at the property or in the chain to do that for him or her. JH: And where there's crisis there's always opportunity. I think that the general managers that are able to capitalize on this trend and sharpen up their skills are going to find that there's more opportunity than ever before in this market to add value and really take their careers to the next level.

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Learn how Kevin Brown went from Guest Services Manager to Product Marketer at a $30B dollar hotel tech company in under 4 years

by
Hotel Tech Report

Working as a front desk agent at a hotel is insanely hard work.  Hotel guests have extremely high expectations: they want to be checked in fast, they want amazing service, a 24/7 smile and they want to be upgraded to the best room for free.  They want you to know everything about them but not too much that it’s creepy. They want friendly conversation but they don’t want you to talk too much. Check-in systems break down, reservations are lost, overbookings happen and so much more can go wrong that is completely out of your control.  All that said the buck stops with you as the front desk agent. Rarely will guests ever call your GM to tell them how great you were but they are quick to let your boss know when you’ve messed up in their eyes. So you’re frustrated and stressed behind the front desk - what do you do? If you’re anything like Kevin Brown you’ll find your passion and put in the work to follow your dreams.  Today Kevin Brown is a Product Marketing Manager at Amadeus Hospitality, creator of global hotel management software like Delphi Sales & Catering, HotSOS operations software and core GDS solutions for hotels.  Most front desk managers and housekeeping managers would think that Kevin’s role today is out of reach.  The good news is that your successful career as a technology executive is completely within reach. To get there you’ll need curiosity, outside the box thinking, self guided learning and lots of hard work while your colleagues are going out for drinks after their respective shifts.   Here at Hotel Tech Report we’ve recently documented similar career rises like how Matt Welle parlayed his role as a Hilton sales rep into becoming CEO at Mews Systems, one of the hottest technology startups in the hotel software space and creator of a leading property management system for hotels. “What I wish I understood far earlier in my hotel career is that the hotel and travel industry actually set the standards of service for every other industry out there. The skills you develop in hotels DO translate, and frankly what you learn about service in the hotel industry is cutting edge.” ~Kevin Brown Kevin began his career in hotels at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, a property known for its sophisticated technology integrations and infrastructure.  While at the Cosmo, Kevin took every opportunity possible to learn about the technology under the hood of the hotel. His unquenchable thirst for knowledge led him into learning the intricacies of every system in the hotel and developing a clear understanding of what was working as well as what wasn’t.  Kevin took advantage of his role at the hotel to build relationships with technology companies, he became a power user of their products and they began learning from him as much as he was learning from them. When Kevin first met the Customer Experience Manager at Amadeus Hospitality he knew that’s where he wanted to be.  Kevin’s story is an incredible journey that demonstrates how you can leverage your role behind the front desk into a successful technology career so we interviewed him to learn tricks and tips for hoteliers who are thinking about a career in technology down the line.  Remember to build close relationships with your existing technology vendors, try lots of different technology products and never stop learning.   Can you tell us about your career background in hotels? My career in hotels is quite odd since I only worked in one hotel before I became a part of the tech industry.  I originally came from the marketing and production world of the music industry. It was by happenstance stumbled upon an opportunity at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  During my time there I was able to hold almost every major departmental role in the hotel division; both traveler facing and back of house areas. What I enjoyed most about working in hospitality was the blending of so many cultures and nationalities and how much I could learn from people.  The only part I dislike about the hotel industry is that it is the most overworked and underappreciated industry. What every hotel industry professional has to go through and deal with on a day to day basis is astounding. To create memorable experiences for travelers is truly nothing short of extraordinary, and yet a majority of the time the only feedback hotel staff get from travelers is negative.  Many travelers do not get to peek into how much talent and effort goes into making their stay amazing, and I think hotel staff like room attendants and call center managers deserve recognition for that level of service.   What was one technology that you couldn't live without while working at the front desk? I could not live without any tech that automated my work processes and ability to quickly turn data into knowledge.  Manual process and effort is the absolute bane of our industry, and with the rapid evolution of traveler and group expectations for personalization and quick response times I do not know what I would’ve done without those empowerment tools. I was lucky enough that I was immediately introduced to technology the moment I stepped foot into the hotel industry, and I feel like I was exposed to cutting edge stuff like chatbots, task automation, and traveler profiling years before hoteliers even knew about it.  When the Cosmopolitan opened, the vision of tech integration was a key foundation to the success of the hotel's brand. What would you say is the most widely held misconception that hoteliers have about technology? I think the single biggest misconception is that hoteliers think the solution to their traveler personalization problems is to invest in traveler facing technology and create an omni-channel experience.  The biggest problem hoteliers face is actually their staff turnover. What is the point of having traveler facing technology, without experienced staff that have the right technology to empower them to deliver on the brand experience?  Your staff must always come first if you want to truly personalize and fulfill your brand promise. This means hoteliers need to balance their traveler facing and staff facing investments more effectively. Tell us about your journey from hotelier into the technology industry. I am 100% a geek and love keeping up with the future of technology.  Once I got into hotels, with an immediate exposure to technology, it became a goal of mine to inevitably work with hotel technology. When I was a customer many vendors just wouldn’t listen to the real pain points that my teams had.  Many vendors that I was exposed to were just trying to sell their technology without showing me what value they were bringing to solve an actual problem that we had.  I developed a strong point of view on what great vendors did and what bad ones did so that I could start adding value and also to help me identify where I’d ultimately want to work. When I met my CEM (Customer Experience Manager) with Amadeus, he and I struck a solid relationship that built over time into a really strong partnership.  When my CEM decided to get back into hotel operations, he asked me if I wanted to replace him. Every staff member I met from Amadeus was solely focused on solving problems for their customers.  After my interview with my soon to be leaders, and learning that almost every one of my teammates worked in hotels in the past, I knew I had found my new home. The rest is history! What was the most challenging part of moving from hotels into technology? There really was no challenge for me.  For me, the adjustment was so surreal to see how greener the side of this world is that suits my passions when compared to the constant, fast-paced nature of hotel operations in Las Vegas.  I have to admit, I am lucky beyond measure to let my inner geek out, travel, meet incredibly brilliant people I can learn from, and tell stories that have real meaning for our industry. You obviously loved Amadeus as a customer even before you worked there, what is it that stood out to you about the company? Hospitality is all about the human connection and a property’s ability to deliver positive experiences for guests. Amadeus’ technology solutions provide cloud-native capabilities for the Central Reservations System, Property Management System, Sales & Event Management, Business Intelligence, Media, Guest Management solutions, and Service Optimization. These solutions not only cover the entire life-cycle of a guests’ journey, but offer properties the added benefits of usability, functionality, and visibility into guest data. This represents a game changer for the industry, as venues commonly work with multiple technology vendors and have fragmented views of their guests. Imagine that you're going to open the hotel of your dreams tomorrow.  What kind of hotel would it be? My dream hotel to open would be independent, targeted at middle upper to luxury travelers.  It would be small with about 75-100 rooms in the heart of Chicago or Las Vegas that catered to music, art, and entertainment with a 40’s-50’s post modern flair.  I would also ensure that the property had tactful touches of advanced technology bordering on science fiction levels of experience. I would love to find the right way to bring back the big band era style of hospitality.  That post-modern design, and the elegance back then was so timeless. Pairing that timelessness with technology would really be unique in a market so saturated with the same kinds of offerings. I would name it The Indigo.  Not only do I enjoy the color, but indigo dye has a really interesting history and it was one of the largest influencers in the globalization of the world. From a technology perspective I would focus on building the hotel with the best infrastructure out there so it was future proof for the next 10 years like fiber lines, BLE, mesh sensors, and building management automation.  Otherwise, if I didn’t I would have to keep upgrading every other year or so which is so much more expensive in the long run. I would actually highly limit traveler facing technology, and be tasteful with what channels and tech travelers were exposed to.  I would then invest in the best staff facing development tools and technology money could buy to ensure that  my staff could work smarter and not harder. I believe staff should always come before the guest, so I would want make every effort to ensure my staff to have every tool they need to easily conduct their day, maintain building integrity, and have knowledge about any traveler they interact with to make the ecosystem engaging and meaningful for both staff and travelers we would host. What's one piece of advice you have for hoteliers who have dreams of working in technology one day? Surprisingly, there are many hospitality tech vendors out there in the world with a majority of staff that have never worked for a hotel a day in their lives.  Because of this problem, I think we actually need more hoteliers to move into the tech space than ever before. Thankfully with Amadeus, I am surrounded by decades of hotel experience between my teammates, but almost everyone I work with shared a similar sentiment when they were in hotel operations. Many hoteliers think the moment the work in a hotel, they are sucked into a vacuum of an industry they cannot get out of, and that their skills cannot translate to other industries because travel is so specific.  What I wish I understood far earlier in my hotel career is that the hotel and travel industry actually set the standards of service for every other industry out there. The skills you develop in hotels DO translate, and frankly what you learn about service in the hotel industry is cutting edge. It takes years for other industry sectors to adopt hotel industry best practices, so you have more to your advantage than you think. What's one podcast, newsletter or book that you recommend hoteliers read if they'd like to eventually move into tech? Read everything by Malcolm Gladwell.  Blink, The Tipping Point, David and Goliath, read all of his stuff. His work opened my mind to new perspectives about how to help others, learn, and gain a greater understanding about what it means to be in service to others. Hospitality is about engaging with people, and dealing with human problems.  There is no uniqueness to the problems hoteliers face every day. Travel technology needs as much humanity as possible because travel is all about connecting with a place, with people, and with yourself. What is your favorite hotel in the world? As much as I have thought about this, I honestly cannot pick a favorite hotel in the world.  It is just too hard because every great hotel I have stayed at has always offered something different that I enjoy.  Each one stands out in its own way. However, I can say this: I think the best hotels in the world are the ones that anticipate my behavior and needs based on what they know about me, especially if they greet me by using my name. What is the most exciting technology you've seen in the hotel tech space that is not built by your own company? Why? Mesh networks and beacon technology.  I think that is one of the most impressive future hardware developments not only for hospitality, but for the world.  While it is an extremely fine line – where many data collectors have pushed the creepy line to the edge with tech like this – I think that mesh network and beacon technology can truly enhance the lives of travelers and consumers alike. What is one thing that most people don't know about you? I am an identical twin.

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Hotelogix founder to hotel industry “Artificial intelligence is not going to take your job”

by
Hotel Tech Report

One of the biggest misconceptions that hotel workers believe is that technology and artificial intelligence will take their job.  Here’s a news flash - it won’t. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at history. From early Mesopotamia to 17th century Europe economic growth grew at a steady pace.  Blacksmiths forged iron, tailors made clothes and so on. At the dawn of the industrial revolution many predicted that factories would displace this workforce and create mass unemployment.  In fact, the opposite happened and factories created an entirely new economy with explosive employment and economic growth. What we see time and time again is that game changing innovation creates growth that in turn delivers net positive jobs.  Hoteliers who want to succeed in the future are advised not to focus on the jobs that technology will displace but on the jobs that it will create. The same misconception from the Industrial Revolution resurfaced in the late 70s with the advent of spreadsheets.  Analysts thought that they would lose their jobs to intelligent computing programs but found that technology actually empowered them.  The top analysts of the 70s were those who were best at doing advanced calculations off hand while the top analysts of the 80s were the ones who knew how to effectively manipulate, visualize and analyze data in spreadsheets (check out this awesome history of spreadsheets). For the hotel industry it’s inevitable that automation and A.I. have been driving a more profitable business model.  The trend is also leading to a new breed of top hoteliers with a different kind of skill set. In our interview with FOSSE creator Dave Berkus, he told us that the hotel general manager of the future is going to require less operational knowhow and more analytical chops. Hoteliers believe that revenue managers will lose their jobs when artificial intelligence gets good enough. I believe that artificial intelligence is going to make revenue management an even more valuable skill because it will take more insight and analytical rigor to stand out from the competition set in a data-driven world. ~Aditya Sanghi At the core of this change is the property management system and few have changed the game for the PMS market like Hotelogix founder and CEO Aditya Sanghi.  Aditya has launched a wildly successful business in some of the toughest markets like Asia and Southeast Asia (due to language and culture differences). The product he and his team have built is so strong that it transcends these cross border discrepancies and is widely used by hoteliers around the world.  Hotelogix is becoming increasingly popular in markets like Europe and the United States - a testament to the incredible company that Sanghi has built. During this interview we learn from Aditya’s unique perspective on life, hotels and business.  We also talk about the future of hotel property management systems and what qualities hotel managers must focus on developing in order to succeed in the A.I. revolution. What was your background prior to starting Hotelogix? Hotelogix was founded by Prabhash Bhatnagar in 2008. Before Hotelogix, Prabhash used to offer web solutions’ services, where he interacted closely with many hotels. That’s where the idea of offering a cloud-based PMS to the mid-segment hotels germinated. I joined Prabhash as a Co-founder, as I was always interested in making a product for the global market, and Cloud PMS gave me a perfect opportunity to do so. Before that, straight out of college, I had co-founded another product-based company, EDISPHERE with my brother Ajay Sanghi. I believe that my early exposure to creating products played a great role in shaping my entrepreneurial journey. What made you decide to jump in and create Hotelogix? I had a burning desire to create a product that had global reach and appeal. India was not known as a hub for products back then and I always believed that products would drive the next phase of economy for the country. I started my corporate life as an entrepreneur. I am known to be a ‘happy-go-lucky’ kind of person and have never feared consequences. I think a major factor in becoming an entrepreneur is to not have a fear of failure. I come from a strong sports background, where winning and losing was part of the game. I believe that losing a battle is an integral part of winning the war, and one must enjoy the whole journey. I think I was better prepared to live the life of an entrepreneur because of my learnings from sports and my family background where ‘risk taking’ is normal. There is also a certain sense of joy and contentment in creating footprints for someone to follow. Any footprints that Hotelogix can create for other companies to follow will be a huge accomplishment for me. Changing the life of a customer is another factor that drives me. And, co-founding Hotelogix gave me a perfect opportunity to do that. I realized that the industry would soon transition to cloud PMS as the entire travel world was poised to go digital, and I took the opportunity to drive this change. On how it started… Prabhash had shared his idea in a ‘New Year Party’ in December 2007 while we were sipping whisky by the fireplace, on a chilly winter night. I think my decision was taken in a couple of hours of our conversation. All the above factors were too compelling for me to continue working in Informatica Business Solutions in Bangalore, where I last worked. I have taken some of the most critical decisions of my life in less than a couple of hours. And, I do not regret any of them. Who was your first customer at Hotelogix? Our first customer was in 2009, a small boutique hotel called Faros Suites from Lonian Islands, Greece. Convinced by our ‘try and buy’ model, they took a free trial of our PMS. Back then, we did not have any sales team and the founding team would respond to chat and email queries. After a few days of self-running trial with assistance on chat and email for concerns and clarifications, Angelo, the owner decided to go ahead with Hotelogix. Their decision to implement Hotelogix did not involve any huge financial investment, but it did involve their time and resource investment. They were moving from pen & paper to adopting our cloud solution. Such a transition is never easy. Wow, so your first customer signed up through a trial, is that something that Hotelogix makes widely available for hotels? Look to any industry and software buyers can try different solutions before they buy.  We believe that is the future for hotels too and have made trials available to any hotelier who wants to take our software for a spin.  Great hotel business starts with a powerful Cloud PMS and hoteliers should be able to see the product in action before they sign on. This is why hotels in more than 100+ countries trust Hotelogix Cloud PMS.  Hotelogix is a smart solution that helps our clients stay organised and connected. If you want to simplify your operations, get more business and keep your guests happier - don't take our word for it - try Hotelogix free. The Hotelogix dashboard is intuitive and easy to learn for new staff Who is one mentor that has really helped you scale the business? That would be Shekhar Kirani, from Accel Partners (our investors). He is also on our board for quite a few years now. Shekhar has taught us that it is ok to make mistakes, fail and move on fast. The day and age is not suited for over analysing things to take decisions. He also taught us to how to think like a funded company, and the switch that needs to be made from the ‘boot strapped’ mind-set. Here are a few more things that we have learned from him – On hiring – If you need one sales person, hire three. Choose the best person for the job without losing time. If more than one of them turn out to be good, it is never considered as a bad investment. On our website that is expected to generate demand – The first fold of your home page is for humans, and rest is for Google. Look at your website from that perspective. Don’t overly spend time trying to beautify what pleases the human eye but has no bearing on Google. On any process, like mailers to be sent once a form fill is done on the website - Just copy the follow up mails from some service that is successful and don’t waste time recreating it.  On focus: Shekhar has also worked closely with us to bring in lot of focus in the way we think of the road ahead. This helps us choose the next two battles to win, rather than going all out and not winning anything. Hotelogix team building exercise  What's one commonly held belief that most hoteliers believe to be true in your niche that actually is false? For example: Hoteliers believe that revenue managers will lose their jobs when artificial intelligence gets good enough. I believe that artificial intelligence is going to make revenue management an even more valuable skill because it will take more insight and analytical rigor to stand out from the competition set in a data-driven world. Hoteliers are used to looking at PMS as a cost centre of the hotel. With the maturity of Cloud PMS, the paradigm has changed. A PMS should not be considered as cost, but as a system that will help them grow revenues and business. Also, for most hoteliers, deciding on PMS is an operational decision whereas I feel it should be more of a strategic decision.   What's the most surprising thing you've learned about scaling technology into hotels? The most important thing that I have learned is the difference between products for a vertical vs. horizontal industry. When you are looking at a vertical industry like hospitality, you can’t ensure a frictionless scale-up unless you understand the behaviour of even the housekeeping staff. It requires going deeper into the domain and environment. Another great learning is to choose the battles to fight. ‘Is this the right time to solve this problem?’ is one question to be answered. Gut feeling is important but scaling up needs data backing. Instinct should get things on the table for consideration, but one needs to get to data points to decide on it. Thirdly, support is the most critical aspect of serving a hotel. Even if the product is not evolving and innovating as quickly, one must spend disproportionate time trying to understand how you can be more effective in your support. Is there a company that has been a particularly good partner for you? Yes. We have been partnering with several third-party solution providers to help hotels leverage the power of cloud technology. Some of them have been quite important to us. They are - Vertical Booking Channel Manager - The integration we did with Vertical Booking was first-of-its-kind back then. It was a complete two-way integration to support very critical aspects of OTA distribution like contract allotment vs free sale. Vertical Booking also stood alongside as a robust solution and the integrated offering is still what our customers enjoy. This was the first channel manager integration with Hotelogix and our customers saw instant benefits in terms of nullifying double bookings, getting more OTA bookings, increasing revenue and many more. TripAdvisor Review Express - Review Collection automation, and ability to influence reputation from Hotelogix PMS was the perfect thing to happen. Hotelogix was mainly a solution positioned for independent hotels and we have always believed that reviews are a great leveller between independent hotels and brands. Our customers saw how Hotelogix and Review Express integration seamlessly improved their TripAdvisor ratings, that benefitted them in terms of better ARR and more bookings. Where do you see Hotelogix in 5 years? 5 years from now, I imagine Hotelogix to be a word that is synonymous with Cloud PMS. Hotelogix will be more like an Operating System for hotels, providing various services on top of its PMS platform. We will be a product that is associated with simplicity that drives great customer value. We will be known as a catalyst to this change of bringing about automation to the mid and small sized hotels, and driving the change from on-premise to cloud-based systems for running operations. More objectively, Hotelogix will be the largest Cloud PMS in the South Asia and Southeast Asia markets and will be in the top 3 leading products in developed geographies like the North American market. How will the property management system and overall hotel management software space change in the next 5-10 years? Today, Hotelogix is mainly serving semi-service and limited-service independent and group properties like Hotels, Resorts, Apart Hotels, B&Bs, Hostels and more. You will see specialized product offerings for these different property types. You will also see Hotelogix becoming a key player in anything that needs booking of a room/desk like corporate housing and co-working spaces. Hotelogix as a brand will become a ‘Gold Standard’ in the industry and will be adopted by hotel management institutes to train their students on PMS. Hotelogix will be that self-serving platform that a hotel business can get up and running within no time – where he can quickly subscribe, adopt and benefit from the solution. This means a lot more smaller hotels will be able to avail of our solution without having to go through adoption challenges that come with a new PMS. Hotelogix is highly passionate about small to mid-sized hotel businesses. For a very long time, this segment didn’t have access to great technology as service providers across the globe concentrated on the five starred community, like Opera and Travelclick. Things are changing now. Tech providers are focusing on this segment as adoption of technology lagged in this sector. The popularity of this segment has also been purely driven by market dynamics, where travelers are now choosing to stay in independents and smaller properties. So, it’s time to focus on enhancing the guest experience for such properties. The community should look at creating more services/products that are geared towards the guest. Treating them like 5-star guests by leveraging AI driven technology can be used to serve and monetize better.                                                    What are some of Hotelogix's recent product innovations that hoteliers should be aware of? Hotelogix has released its Developer platform. Using this, third parties can develop apps on Hotelogix. Our firm belief is that hotel brands will become more like consumer tech businesses (like Amazon), and each one of them would have technology at the forefront to drive their brand strategy. This would mean, giving them the flexibility to develop apps that are not necessarily provided by us or any vendor, but are customised to their needs. We have toyed with this approach and it has been adopted by a couple of customers. I think this is the ‘Uber’ effect that ‘PMSs’ can provide to brands. Additionally, we would like to promote our Mobile Developer Platform and see if the industry feels it is of value to them. What advice do you have for hotel tech entrepreneurs? It’s a fantastic industry to be in as long as you can empathize with hotels and their guest experience. Hoteliers and hospitality professionals are a very interesting bunch of people. They have many anecdotes to share as they deal with people from all walks of life. Sometimes, entrepreneurs looking to get into the hotel tech space need to be ready to wait it out, if they believe their product will bring value to hoteliers. Like, in the case of Hotelogix, we were clearly ahead of time when we released our Cloud PMS way back in 2009. But now, the environment is great and cloud PMS has emerged as one of the hottest pieces of hospitality technology. Make technology such that it can be seamlessly adopted. A hotel already deals with so many challenges that adoption of something new can become a bigger challenge. Generally, people in operations are the users of technology and your product needs to fit seamlessly in their lives.

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"Super Angel" Dave Berkus on the convergence of PMS, CRS and hotel CRM

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Hotel Tech Report

Dave Berkus knows hospitality technology more than nearly anyone. Back in the early 1980s, his company, Computerized Lodging Systems, dominated the nascent hospitality technology market with one of the first electronic Property Management Systems on the market. The immediate popularity of the technology resulted in rapid growth for the company, which was recognized on the Inc 500 list -- twice. Dave also created FOSSE, the property management system technology that Marriott used for almost 36 years. Today, there are over 700 property management systems for hotels. With such a dense thicket of choices, it's hard to imagine the early days of hospitality technology. These are the days when only a few players dominated, offering truly game-changing solutions that defined how hotels began using technology to operate more efficiently and profitably. Dave is also an accomplished angel investor, having achieved an impressive 97% internal rate of return from over 150 investments to date. His Wayfare Ventures unites five partners from AIG, TAJ Hotel Group and Starwood, alongside a board of accomplished travel industry veterans, to make early stage investments in travel technology startups. Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander recently enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with Dave on the Hotel Tech Insider podcast, where the two discussed how Dave’s history in hospitality technology has shaped the way he sees the industry today. These are the most pertinent themes that reveal how this hospitality technology luminary sees the future of hotel tech, as well as what he looks for when evaluating both ideas and entrepreneurs for investment.   The future of the PMS With so many property management solutions competing for business, it's hard to envision a post-PMS future. Yet, this future is coming, Berkus says, due to the increased importance of the Central Reservation System. The CRS owns the guest name record, which has made it more of a centralized source of data than the PMS: The PMS systems are, for the chains at least, becoming increasingly less important, as they handle right now in-house functions only. Berkus notes that the cloud PMS companies of today are likely to be the players who evolve these CRS like capabilities so while he believes that their technology will remain a core piece of the tech stack, he believes that what it means to be a PMS will change more in the next 5-10 years than in the last 20 years combined. Guest history has shifted to the CRS, while the PMS has transitioned into a fully operational role for specific properties. As hotels have both consolidated and established micro-brands, the CRS naturally became the way to share guest preferences across the portfolio. The centralization of data cemented the role of the CRS at the center of modern data-driven personalization and marketing strategies. says Berkus:   Big Data's being used in very important ways but certainly not just from the PMS system anymore. The question then is: if the CRS could potentially supplant the PMS as the source of all-important guest data, will we need a PMS system in the future? Berkus says yes but the legacy PMS companies will be forced to innovate and more specifically open up their architecture to become platforms themselves because CRS, CRM and even Revenue Management companies of today have the requisite data necessary to become the center of the tech stack according to Berkus. Eventually, Berkus sees most hotels relying on a single cloud-based system that aggregates all functionality into one flow, which reduces errors and increases accuracy as it doesn't require passing information around multiple systems. A hybrid PMS/CRS/CRM solution means a single guest record that enables better, more accurate personalization. The consolidation of functionality also simplifies the tech stack and should help hotels effectively use existing data to power personalization at the individual guest level. A unified tech stack unleashes the full power of data-driven decision making, which will soon be table stakes for how hotels everywhere compete. Rather than relying on incomplete sets of data, hoteliers can constantly make decisions based on the holistic view. A unified tech stack can also be achieved through seamless integrations and Berkus says that “there will always be best of breed solutions in various categories.” This vision will take a while to achieve, and so the PMS will continue to play a critical role for hotel operations: If we look ahead ten 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. Even with this view, Berkus sees the potential for category leaders to dominate specific verticals, while still providing the essential services necessary to run a hotel. For example, revenue management, which may be a feature of a CRS or a standalone solution -- all depending on how an individual property derives its revenue, and the sophistication of its revenue generation strategies. Part of the problem, he says, is that people confuse hotel tech with quality hotel tech: just because a hotel has a system doesn't mean that it is a good system. For Berkus, this means that the hospitality technology industry has plenty of dynamism ahead of it and he believes that it’s far from maturity.   The transformative power of analytics For Berkus, the primary reason for the PMS’ uncertain future is due to its isolation from data and analytics. Even the most integrated systems have challenges when it comes to gathering data from disparate sources into a unified view. Even so, it’s the analytics on top of all of this data that drives profitable hospitality today. Whichever technology hotel uses, It must facilitate the types of analysis that drive “more capable decisions,” across the organization, says Berkus: Analytics are everything. The most important single change that's going to come is the fact that every piece of data that arrives at the central source will be analyzed. You're going to find that more capable decisions will be made to maximize revenue...based upon AI and data analytics. That's your future. The unsaid implications here is that hotels with a sub-par data and analytics approach will be left behind. Hospitality has become not just about the guest-facing product but also the hidden back-end of intelligent data capture and analysis. The top performers will effectively oscillate between analyzing the data and making clear improvements based on this analysis.   The data-driven hotel GM As data and analytics move to the core of a hotel’s operation, general managers must evolve their skill sets to match. While operations will never cease to be a part of a hotel general managers role, success in this role is increasingly about the ability to enhance profitability by effectively translating data analytics into actionable initiatives. Currently, GMs have a steep learning curve to build muscle memory around analyzing large amounts of data from disparate sources. As machines become more capable of doing the analysis on their own, the best GMs will be able to take action on the analysis presented by the tools to increase profitability, Berkus predicts: A manager has to be able to add value by adding revenue and by increasing guest satisfaction. Those two things are not necessarily the operational things that a manager today normally concentrates on. Marketing also matters more to the GM of the future. As marketing campaigns become data-focused, GMs will engage more deeply with their marketing teams to leverage a data-driven approach to spend marketing dollars more efficiently. It's all about the relevant message consumed in the right context, as GMs seek to add value in new ways.   Sourcing true pain points from sales and marketing Berkus is an active angel investor, and his recent announcement of Wayfare Ventures brings his focus to travel technology. When it comes to developing an idea, Berkus sees real value in entrepreneurs solving true pain points rather than perceived problems: I love it when somebody in marketing or sales develops a company and says “I feel the pain” and let's try and solve the need. As opposed to what I see most often, which is an engineer says I really got an idea and I'm going to make that idea work. The contrarian view is noteworthy in its opposition to the engineer-focused view espoused by many investors and technologists. Part of this view comes from the plummeting costs of cloud computing, as well as the prevalence of APIs which make it simpler to plug into an existing ecosystem without having to build as much technical infrastructure. Differentiation comes less from tech and more from truly knowing the problem and having clarity around what needs to be solved -- rather than building a technically-flawless solution that misses the mark and fails to gain traction because it doesn't solve an actual problem. An early-stage solution that solves a real problem for a specific segment sells itself and helps a startup gain traction at a lower cost. It’s expensive to convince people that a product solves a non-existent problem.   Market trends poised for investment As far as trends in the market that have potential, Berkus points to artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analytics as three disruptive forces. However, things change fast. Apps are no longer the hot commodity they once were. Today’s opportunities are all about AI, robots, and data analytics. When evaluating the most exciting opportunities for investment, Berkus expands his view to encompass all of travel technology. This expanded view allows him to see opportunities from the interconnectedness of the travel and hospitality industries, which is a core part of the thesis at Wayfare Ventures. It all comes down to using modern technology to find new revenue that may not have been easy to uncover in the past. Whatever it be, there are opportunities now for revenue that weren't easily available in the past but are today. But the whole point is if guest satisfaction goes up and guests are able to do things they couldn't do before, like order a meal from text, then you're going to have better revenue and more satisfaction.   Enjoy the full podcast episode here. Outside of the points covered above, Berkus shares the fascinating foundational story of the first property and yield management tools for hotels.

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This is why hotel brands shouldn't build tech in house

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Hotel Tech Report

When enterprise companies spend loads of money on technology they usually think about building tech in house so they can have more control over development and ultimately save money.  Sometimes this equation favors building tech in house and other times it does not. Several high profile failures in the hotel industry include a collaboration amongst all major hotel groups to create an online booking platform called Room Key which was eventually shuttered.  We’ll discuss this initiatives and more in detail below. Most sophisticated enterprise companies (think Nike and McDonalds) understand that they are not tech companies so they effectively outsource their tech R&D spend to 3rd parties that are focused on innovation.  Could McDonalds build software to help franchisees manage their listings? Yes, but they partner with Yext.  Nike could definitely build prototyping software in house for its digital products, but it chooses to partner with InVision.  Firms like Nike and McDonalds have become innovators by being experts at identifying trends and partnering with top tech companies to meet their core business goals. So the question is, if McDonalds and Nike outsource their respective technology needs - should hospitality companies really be building tech in house? We believe that when hotel brands try to build tech in house it ultimately brings them into precarious waters, here's why: 1. They lack the resources to compete with pure play technology companies 2. Hotel brands usually underestimate the ongoing effort required to maintain and scale a technology business (let alone multiple business lines and products)   Hospitality companies don't have the resources to compete with tech companies. Charles Schwab is a massive financial institution worth more than $60B.  The firm could easily build custom marketing automation solutions for the business but they choose to work with with Marketo because they know that Marketo will be able to innovate over the long run.  Even Citrix and Microsoft, technology companies themselves, use Marketo’s marketing technology so that they can focus on their core businesses. IDeaS, a popular revenue management software company and it’s parent company SAS just announced a 3-year plan to invest $1B in artificial intelligence.  SAS is a company that deeply understands the power of focus and investing in its core competencies. "If I want to host a SaaS application, I choose a cloud host. If I want to manufacture a consumer product, I partner with a company like Foxconn. If I need delivery for my restaurant I work with a delivery company. Yet, brands without a technology focus still believe it will be cheaper and more effective to build their own software internally when history has shown us, time after time, that these projects will be over budget, unsustainable, and competitively weaker than the professional tech products in the market." ~Adam Harris, CEO, Cloudbeds The median publicly traded software company spends 23% of revenue on R&D with many high growth firms spending 50% of revenue.  It’s hard to imagine that even Marriott could afford the spend levels to develop one competitive product let alone multiple product lines that compete with a myriad of different specialist software businesses.   Technology is not a static good. Sophisticated enterprise companies buy into the future of a tech product as much as the present. Technology requires immense amounts of capital to scale and increasing investments to remain competitive.  Technology requires even more upkeep than hotels. Where hotels build up their capital reserves and renovate roughly every 5-7 years, tech companies are constantly “renovating” their products daily through product sprints.  When enterprise companies “buy” tech they are partnering with tech companies for the future as much as selecting products for the present. The reason that the SaaS business model (recurring subscriptions) aligns value so well between buyers and sellers is because the product is constantly being reinvented so it forces tech companies to maintain their end of the bargain.  When you sign up for SaaS (software as a service) you are not only signing up for the product today but you’re buying into its roadmap for the future. Hotel companies that try to build tech in house are rarely prepared for the constant investment required to maintain let alone scale products and keep up with the ongoing massive investment, iteration and innovation of tech firms. So what does history tell us about hotel companies who have miscalibrated this decision? Starwood was bought by Marriott for $13B and itself has taken huge losses on technology investments when they were no longer able to invest enough to remain competitive. According to Starwood’s (now Marriott) 2015 10K filing, the firm took a $6M charge for “technology related costs and expenses that were no longer deemed recoverable.”  Go back further to Starwood’s 2013 annual filing for stockholders and you’ll find a $19M charge related to “technology related expenses” that the firm “decided to absorb” because they couldn’t collect from managed and franchise properties.     When we draw the analogy between maintaining software and maintaining a hotel, Starwood was effectively unable to properly renovate its technology and investors paid for it.  Every hotelier knows what happens when you let a property go too long without renovation and the same happens when software isn’t maintained properly. Similar to Starwood building tech in house and having trouble maintaining the infrastructure, Choice created Skytouch PMS internally with the vision of transforming the tech market and has similarly struggled. “In 2014, it [Skytouch] generated a net loss to the company of up to $20 million. Investors have pressured Choice to either make SkyTouch profitable, sell it, or close it down.” Choice stopped reporting the results of its Skytouch division and now includes those results within its “Corporate & Other” expense line (pg. 102 of Choice 2018 10K filing). So while Choice no longer gives updates on how Skytouch is doing - it is highly inprobable that a company like Choice would decide to include the a business unit as an expense line if that unit was doing well.  In addition to the Skytouch debacle, we've also heard that Choice is winding down its Choice Labs innovation division.  Accor, too, recently reported a $288M write-off on tech investments such as AirBnB competitor Onefinestay and concierge service John Paul. Accor even tried to sell it’s distribution to independents and shuttered the project after 2 years, here’s what happened in the words of Accor’s own spokesperson. “This initiative is no longer relevant in regards to the Group’s strategy and its new profile as per today.  Results are below expectations” Accor wanted to plug independents into its massive distribution which in theory could add a ton of value if executed well and even that didn’t work. Even when all the big hotel groups banded together to build the online booking platform Room Key they failed (Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott, Wyndham) - isn’t it time that hotel companies learned this lesson? Even Booking.com had to shut down it’s hotel software operations after some high profile acquisitions - a testament to how tough the business really is.   Conclusion: Hotel brands shouldn’t build tech - they should get better at buying it The lesson here is clear - hotel brands need to focus on what they do best.  They should leverage their scale and clout to secure great service and attention from tech partners. It’s up to franchisees and investors to ensure that operators stay focused. Hotel brands have insanely complex businesses managing many stakeholders who often have conflicting interests.  The business of running a hotel is a huge feat both operationally and from a revenue/distribution perspective. "Because the skepticism exists and because tech can take long, hoteliers reach the wrong conclusion. They decide to build instead of buy. I have witnessed a transformation in travel tech. Increasingly, hotels are embracing the rules of comparative advantage and are embracing tech where they can move fast, learn fast and benefit quickly." ~Alexandra Zubko (former IHG Lead Strategist) Because of these factors, hotel companies who want to succeed in the digital age should be experts at technology procurement and management.  Historically hotel brands have been very weak when it comes to technology procurement and management so many have tried to compensate for that weakness by building tech products in house. Unfortunately this strategy often leads to write-offs, burning piles of cash and consequently the executives who lead these disastrous projects being pushed out. "Great technology products enable a valuable job to be done to be easily performed with maximum success and consistent results. With the blistering pace at which the world is changing, our expectations change. That means jobs to be done change. And that means software needs to rapidly iterate and evolve. That is why the world is headed to simple, modular solutions that can nail jobs to be done as they evolve. The smartest brands know that to create compelling and lasting technology advantage, it’s now about identifying and bringing best-in-class interoperable solutions together into powerful system that gives lasting advantage.  From a cost, resource, time to market and life time value perspective, you’ll waste literally millions of dollars even before calculating the opportunity cost. Brands need to get amazing at hand-picking and investing in their strategic technology partners who are proven to design, build and iterate the purpose-built software hotels require, so they can then focus on delighting guests, growing locations and enhancing the value of their networks for franchisees." ~Marc Heyneker, CEO @ Revinate   Large enterprise brands have some clear motivations: (1) They want to expand to more and more hotels worldwide, and be able to do so quickly and efficiently. That means needing a consistent stack of solid technology that can be deployed, enabled and operationalized to run and add those hotels to the overall system. (2) They want to proudly position their Technology Stacks and enabled programs as unique value-adds that differentiate their Brand and their Brand value. So they can both convince Owners why they’re better, and monetize and justify their Brand fees in an age where consumer preference for brands is in decline. This sometimes gives large enterprises the false sense of belief that they need to build their own. In fact, building your own puts both goals in jeopardy, almost immediately. These multi-million dollar, multi-year, multi-faceted technology projects become sinkholes for capital investment, anchors to business progress and optimization, and turn into tough write-downs as we saw in the examples above. Hotel brands should instead be focused on rethinking their technology organizations to be better buyers and managers.  Corporate hotel purchasing units have historically focused on price negotiations and software customization (i.e. product roadmap hijacking) but in order for brands to thrive in today’s hyper competitive markets they are in need of a massive strategy shift. Red Lion Hotels Corporation is one such company that has taken a deep look at how it buys technology and optimizes its tech stack. Red Lion Hotels Corporation CIO John Edwards shared his firm's approach to technology vendor selection with Hotel Tech Report. "At RLHC, we have been able to establish ourselves as leaders in hospitality innovation by focusing on what we do best: finding the right technology partners to create solutions that meet our hotel’s needs. We believe that is the fastest way to change the technical landscape in our industry.  RLabs and Canvas Integrated Systems were created to house our already existing technology and innovation solutions, which provide customized best-in-class solutions for our hotels. Our tech stack includes well known industry solutions such as IDeaS, Opera, & WindSurfer as well as new industry solutions such as Monscierge and HAPI." Digitally savvy hotel owners want technological choice and they want the procurement benefits that brands command with scale.  The brand development teams that win in the digital age will be the ones who are able to deliver choice to owners around which technology vendors to use, the scale that comes with warehousing and leveraging data from that warehouse and the cost benefits that come from bundled negotiations with vendors.   Recommendations to hotel brands who want tech to be a core differentiator 1. Map out clear technology systems required to deliver on core business goals and all potential providers 2. Lay foundational infrastructure for open systems and clean data Design scalable processes to constantly beta test competitive products in the market and identify new products that can drive core business goals. 3. Set aside designated resources for technology management. Hotel groups should maintain a vendor CRM and dedicated staff for managing vendor relationships. This staff should also be tasked with collecting market insights and sharing new technological developments as well as vendor status updates on a regular basis with leadership. 4. Set clear and tangible KPIs with each vendor that must be met in order to retain the contract (e.g. customer support response time) Create clear roadmaps for switching systems in the event that suppliers do not deliver on KPIs 5. Invest in tech startups that fit your strategic criteria above! Highgate (invested in Stay Wanderful, Travel Tripper, LodgIQ, OTA Insight) and CitizenM (invested in Snapshot, exited to Shiji) have been incredibly successful executing on this strategy. They put strategic money to work then derisk their investments by giving those startups proof of concept in their properties. 6. For hotel companies that don't have the resources to start a fund internally like them there are great strategic venture capital firms that are focused on real estate and can do the heavy lifting for you - check out Metaprop VC and Fifth Wall Ventures. Investing enables you to gain access to innovation and lend your expertise without snuffing out the creativity. Leadership is about investing in great people and trusting them to do the work, not about micromanaging every aspect of the process yourself.

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Which Hotelogix Marketplace partners work best for your hotel?

by
Hotel Tech Report

Hotelogix is the latest in a line of hospitality technology vendors that have recently launched a marketplace. The thinking behind these initiatives is that existing customers should have a clear place to find integrations that work well together. By providing a source of vetted partners, hospitality technology vendors hope to improve implementations and encourage better long-term outcomes. The new marketplace features third-party solutions that integrate fully with the Hotelogix hotel management system. To navigate the latest marketplace, we’ve identified a few useful integrations for hotels of different sizes.   Top Marketplace Apps for Smaller Hotels Smaller properties prioritize reasonably-priced solutions that help staff provide better service more consistently, as well as provide functionality that makes independents more competitive with chains. These properties usually have less complicated operations without on-site F&B or spas. For properties that do have those on-site amenities, many available solutions have unneeded functionality -- which can make those solutions cost-prohibitive. Training and on-boarding also take center stage, as the smaller staff can’t afford to take too much time learning a new thing. Benefits must be observed quickly and without a long ramp-up period. Here are a few solutions that integrate with Hotelogix to help smaller properties compete more effectively. #1 Tripadvisor Review Express Tripadvisor Review Express allows hotels to automate the review process -- saving time for hotels with limited staff. Rather than spending time manually asking guests for reviews, this automation means less time spent requesting reviews and increases the frequency, recency, and velocity of reviews by encouraging every guest to leave a review. When used regularly, TripAdvisor claims that “the average Popularity Ranking for highly engaged hotels was 63% higher than their non-engaged counterparts.” As this guide to Review Express emphasizes, regular reviews keep engagement high and automated templates reduce manual work. Benefits of the integration: Review Express collects all TripAdvisor Reviews of the hotel added by recent visitors and Hotelogix makes sure that these are directly displayed on the Hotelogix front desk so staff can respond rapidly.     #2 Bookingsuite RateIntelligence Bookingsuite RateIntelligence is the Booking.com family’s rate manager, ideally suited for smaller properties that may not need a full-featured rate/revenue management solution. It's a cloud-based rate shopping tool that gives smaller properties an edge with access to the kind of rate intelligence used by larger brands. Smarter pricing decisions can be made based on market demand data and competitor intelligence, the Rate Manager. Benefits of the integration: Single login to access, instant access within Hotelogix to top five competitors’ rates on RateIntelligence, compare prices with competitors’ and update rates in your PMS, and single click to update rates on all your channels.     #3 Intuit Quickbooks Intuit Quickbooks has evolved into a comprehensive accounting solution, which is well-positioned in price and functionality for smaller properties. Quickbooks reduces headaches around manual management of invoices, and payables. It’s simple and efficient, with a handy “at a glance” dashboard to track performance. There’s a companion expense app so you can take pictures of receipts, and pull them into Quickbooks. Also, integrates cleanly with TurboTax if you decide to tackle your taxes solo. Benefits of the integration: Individual tracking and handling of credits and commissions given to TAs & corporate clients, as well as advanced payments & payments against settlements can be managed through separate account head.   #4 Mailchimp Email Marketing MailChimp’s email marketing software is simple to use and easy to access across devices. With its template and visual editor, the company has eliminated design barriers to creating classy email campaigns, as well as pre-arrival and post-stay communications. For small properties without a marketing function, the do-it-all GM can design templates, run campaigns and use analytics to get better with time. It’s generally recommended that hotel marketers work with email marketing and CRM platforms such as Revinate and Guestfolio but very small properties may not have enough guest data or return visitors to warrant specialized products.  Make sure to benchmark a generalist solution like Mailchimp with specialized solutions before adopting because bad email marketing can actually cost your hotel money through unsubscribes and sendability issues. Benefits of the integration: MailChimp lists update automatically with new bookings, cancellations, check-ins, and check-outs. Data imported into the relevant list includes room type, number of rooms, rate/package type, reservation booking deposit, tax amount, country, date of birth and gender of the guest. This information can then be used to segment lists and write copy for each specific segment.   #5 STAAH Channel Manager The STAAH Channel Manager handles online distribution so you can manage them easily from one place. When a customer books a room from one website, availability is automatically updated across all other channels including your property’s booking engine. STAAH also has an integrated suite of software, including a reputation manager, booking engine, website, and gift voucher manager, which can be a convenient one-stop-shop for marketing a small property. Benefits of the integration: Single log-in to make instant updates and manage multiple OTAs, as well as analytics to determine rates, stop-sell limits and evaluate the success of sales channels. Direct connection to PMS minimizes manual errors that lead to overbooking and double-booking.   Top Marketplace Apps for Mid-Sized Hotels Medium-sized properties may sometimes feel stuck in the middle: too large for solutions geared towards independents and yet too small for enterprise-level systems built to manage major operations. Many medium-size properties have F&B operations, sizable staff, and established revenue management procedures -- all of which require solutions with adequate functionality. Except without the enterprise-grade price tag!  Medium sized properties generally have larger teams, a marketing department and dedicated resources for functions like revenue management. Here are a few solutions that help medium-sized properties increase productivity and grow their business through better revenue management.         #6 SiteMinder Channel Manager SiteMinder’s channel manager provides the benefits of channel management to hotels with more complex online distribution needs. With granular controls over inventory allocations to individual channels, SiteMinder supports a sophisticated revenue management strategy. For medium-sized hotels that welcome guests from all over, the hotel’s base currency automatically gets converted to the currency of a particular transaction -- helpful for providing a consistent experience for guests. Benefits of the integration: The direct integration into Hotelogix eliminates any chance of overbooking or double booking, and also prevents errors arising from manual consolidation of booking data.   #7 Beonprice Revenue Management The Beonprice revenue manager maximizes profitability by optimizing rates for every room sold through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. The tool starts with a hotel’s historical booking data and then recommends pricing based on using local and national events, e-reputation, transportation price, weather forecasts and exchange rates. By automating rate setting using artificial intelligence and all the available data, medium-sized hotels can devote more time to optimizing other areas of the business. Benefits of the integration: Rates are published in real-time, using the latest data from the property management system. With this real-time, scalable, automated and flexible execution of rate publishing, hotels can more fully manage revenues and unlock the value of existing data within a PMS.   #8 Repup Review Management Repup reputation management helps hoteliers make sense of online reviews by aggregating all reviews into a single dashboard. Using a combination of natural language processing, data mining, and business logic, the tool evaluates performance so hotels can win more business, increase revenues and build customer loyalty. For mid-sized hotels with lots of moving parts, management won’t have a direct line of sight into everything; Repup can surface issues and identify problems before they magnify. Benefits of the integration: Hoteliers can access complete review data within Hotelogix front desk. The centralized dashboard showcases 60 days of reviews and social media mentions from over 15 online channels, such as Expedia, Booking.com, and Facebook. There’s also an option to configure Guest Feedback Form which can be shared with guests right from the dashboard.     #9 Xero Accounting Xero’s accounting software has become a popular choice for hotels with more complex accounting needs, such as multi-currency accounting, payroll, inventory management, and customized recurring online invoices for regular suppliers. For managers on-the-go, there’s a mobile app that mirrors many of the core management features of the web version. The platform is flexible: a robust set of integrations that medium-sized hotels plenty of control to customize workflows and sync Xero with POS, hotel CRM and other tools. Benefits of the integration: Room revenue, as well as corresponding taxes, commissions, and other charges are first recorded in Hotelogix and then automatically synced with Xero -- no more manual imports from the PMS to accounting software! Also, only fully settled folios get synced with Xero, which avoids a lot of headache around cancellations and unsettled folios.   Top Marketplace Apps for Hotel Groups & Large Hotels Larger properties and hotel groups employ more people and serve more guests across more complex operations. They need enterprise-level systems that can adequately manage all of these moving parts. The sheer number of options leads to a complex evaluation process. Any new tech tool must integrate seamlessly and work well with everything else in a hotel’s tech stack. There are many interdependencies that make a challenging road for implementation. Not to mention the fact that a larger operation has more stakeholders, such as security and IT, that must approve any new vendor. Depending on the group, and the tech being implemented, on-boarding new tools can take months -- or more than a year for more mission-critical systems that require careful testing. So ease of integration is paramount for larger properties and hotel groups. Here are a few solutions that help larger properties and hotel groups manage complexity at scale and leverage all available data to build a healthy business over the long-term.     #10 OneLoyalty OneLoyalty is a Loyalty Management Software that allows hotels without access to a larger loyalty offering to provide best-in-class loyalty programs to their guests. The independent hotel loyalty program also extends to employees and vendors, as OneLoyalty offers tools to engage across stakeholders to foster more loyalty. With OneLoyalty, hotels can offer rewards, coupons or other perks to their guests. A companion mobile app can ping guests with unique offers and alert guests to upcoming promotions. Benefits of the integration: With direct integration, hotels can more easily use the sales tool to attract more customers and increase the share of wallet. Customer profiles benefit from the direct integration, which makes for simpler segregation of customers to personalize offers and thus deepen re;relationships with past guests.     #11 Snapshot Business Intelligence Snapshot business intelligence tool positions itself as “hospitality’s data platform.” The comprehensive data analysis platform is the backbone of a hotel group’s data practice. Since Snapshot thrives with larger pools of data, the solution is ideally suited for larger properties and multi-property groups. The Snapshot sweet spot is facilitating access across disparate systems and data sources. Hotels benefit from enterprise-grade custom visualizations that surface insights derived from this comprehensive view into a hotel’s business. Benefits of the integration: Hotelogix sends all past and future bookings and transactions to SnapShot for accurate hotel data analytics. Your dashboard is updated after every night audit, as Hotelogix sends an incremental report to SnapShot automatically. In addition, Hotelogix helps track reviews and social follower trends from SnapShot thanks to connectivity to social media and TripAdvisor.   #12 Comtrol In-Room Devices Comtrol in-room devices have been providing networking and data communications for over 30 years. The stability of the company makes it a preferable partner for many larger operations that prize longevity -- after all, it’s important to know that a mission-critical vendor for communications, IT, and networking will be in business when you need them most. Comtrol gear ensures that the PMS maintains consistent contact and data transmission to accurately manage guest accounts. Benefits of the integration: With a direct connection into the PMS, Comtrol can ensure adequate functionality across in-room devices. For such an important part of the guest experience, such as room locks and keycards, this functionality must work without fail. In addition, there are potential benefits for enhanced customizations, such as personalizing the in-room entertainment with guest greetings and other guest-specific information.     #13 Vertical Booking CRS The Vertical Booking CRS integrates with over 200 channels, which gives larger hotels more granular control over inventory distribution and allocation. The company also provides on-going training, which is especially beneficial to large operations that will naturally experience higher turnover.  The CRS can be set-up to suit hotel groups and chains by defining which functions are managed centrally and which are managed independently for each property. In addition, chains can view performance at the chain level and property level, with staff assigned roles that offer access to the system according to individual roles. The graphic below maps the workflow for chains and groups. Benefits of the integration: A tight integration between the property management system and the central reservation system reduces errors and keeps the team focused on maximizing guest satisfaction. All reservations, whether made through the hotel's website or other channels, are instantly updated in the PMS. An added benefit for larger chains is that Vertical Booking’s CRS can integrate with multiple PMS, so if a new property has Hotelogix, it can be quickly integrated into the workflow.  

Recent Property Management Systems News & Community Updates

Guestline Wins Coveted People’s Choice Award in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report

Hotel Tech Report has named Guestline 2018’s People’s Choice Award based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world.  Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The People’s Choice Award goes to the single company across all categories who demonstrates the strongest customer relationships during the HotelTechAwards.  Clients came out to support Guestline in droves - it has been incredible to see” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander. Scaling a software business while retaining the boutique feel from a customer support standpoint is incredibly difficult.  The Guestline business has been growing at a rapid clip yet customers continue to reiterate that they have retained deep relationships with the company.  Guestline has grown its team by 42% in the last 2 years to keep up with increasing demand for its cloud based PMS system. Guestline customers rave about friendly trainers and 365 day customer support for its mission critical software. "Guestline has excellent service, second to none - especially for such a big company," said a U.K. based General Manager, “they give a very personalised service for a big organisation.”

Clock Software Named 2018’s Top Rated Property Management System in the HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report

February 12, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named Clock Software 2018’s top rated Property Management System based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world.  Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The Property Management System is effectively the operating system of a hotel. Historically the PMS market has taken a closed approach but we’re seeing an explosion of growth from providers focused on integrations, open architecture and cutting edge design,” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander. Clock Software is poised for sustained growth in 2018. Hoteliers recognized Clock’s truly world class implementation and on boarding where Clock exceeded the category average by more than 19%.  This focus on implementation is a testament to the importance of hoteliers adopting cloud based property management systems or risking quickly outdated infrastructure which can balloon costs and inefficiencies over time.  Clock has created incredibly easy to use software which can be implemented at lightning speeds which makes transitioning over easier than ever for hoteliers who realize benefits in no time compared to legacy providers. As one Malaga, Spain based General Manager told us that just two months after installing Clock, “We could see results of higher efficiency in our work through increased flexibility with workflows, more control over employee tasks and higher involvement of guests with Clock in terms of reservation, billing and marketing.” Read the full review and more at Clock PMS

Hotelogix Recognized as Finalist for Top Rated Hotel Property Management System (PMS) in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report

February 1, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named Hotelogix as a HotelTechAwards finalist based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world. Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The Property Management System is effectively the operating system of a hotel.  Some businesses have built systems that are designed to run on integrations and others have focused on building a one-stop-shop for smaller hotel groups looking to streamline operations.  Hotelogix has taken the later approach and their clients truly love the platform,” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander.  Hotelogix is poised for sustained growth in 2018 as it comes off of another record year.  Hotelogix customers praise the company for its rapid onboarding.  Legacy PMS systems can take months to install and get staff trained on where Hotelogix helps hoteliers launch in a fraction the amount of time. “I am very impressed with possibilities offered by Hotelogix. It covers all the activities of the hotel I am managing from making confirmed or provisional reservations, modifying them, moving them around in the the table in order to create more reservation space is remarkably easy. The system allows sharing important information about the booking, the special wishes of the guests, the condition of the rooms, arrival and departure details, transfers between the different departments and offices in the hotel so that perfect service can be guaranteed. The software is regularly updated and improved according to the advice of the users” a Tanzania based general manager commented regarding Hotelogix pivotal role within his operation.   To read the full review and more, head to: https://hoteltechreport.com/company/hotelogix

Mews Recognized as Finalist for Top Rated Hotel Property Management System (PMS) in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report

February 1, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named Mews Systems’ Commander PMS as a HotelTechAwards finalist based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world. Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The Property Management System is effectively the operating system of a hotel. Historically the PMS market has taken a closed approach but we’re seeing an explosion of growth from providers focused on integrations, open architecture and cutting edge design.  Mews has been a leader through its innovative open architecture and extensive partnership network with other software companies,” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander. Mews is poised for sustained growth in 2018 as it comes off of another record year.  Mews customers repeatedly note fast on-boarding, easy training and beautiful UX design - something unheard of in the legacy PMS market.  Perhaps the most compelling data from the campaign is around ROI.  Hoteliers have historically thought of PMS as a cost center; however, they rate Mews very highly on this variable and note that Mews cuts operational costs, training costs and boosts revenue by enabling them to easily integrate with 3rd party partners like Oaky’s merchandising platform that helps them drive incremental ancillary revenue. “Mews has completely changed our way to work. We can focus again on the most important thing in our hotel, which is our clients. The system is simple and only gives us what we need. The web based system gives us the access to any time. Check in online, Check in the lobby, in the room everywhere. As it is cloud based we can integrate anything with API's. The great surprise was, how easy the housekeeping team changed to the commander app and used it for the controlling of the rooms,” says Zurich based General Manager Michael Bohler. To read the full review and more, head to: https://hoteltechreport.com/company/mews-systems/

Want to attract guest to a summer ready hotel? Here’s how you do it right.

Hotelogix

  With summer almost around the corner, it is time to start redefining your hotel’s promotion ideas. As a hotelier you will have to make the best use of hotel summer ideas to grab this opportunity. Summers make for the most travelled season when it comes to family vacations. But at the same time hot and humid climates can make your guests fussy about the tiniest of things. This is why it is crucial to pay attention to little details that could make your guests feel at ease despite the weather.     6 practical ways to attract hotel guests this summer   1.      Be summer ready This is one of the most ignored yet basic summer promotion idea of hotels. Be prepared for season in particular. Keep in mind the requirements of guests as per the changing seasons. Your guests are sure to appreciate a wet towel and a cold welcome drink .  It also pays to be aware of how summer manifests in your region, since some states (or even cities within a state) tend to be hotter than the others. So design a summer-ready strategy that best fits your region. 2.      Market your property with promotions All your summer time preparations will be in vain if your guests don’t know where to find you. Promoting your summer-ready hotel is very important.  Your guests would want to venture outside instead of staying in. Promoting a cozy fireplace in summer, is a bad idea. Talk about exotic locations around your hotel that will appeal guests.  It’s the small hotel promotion ideas that often influence a guest decision.  Let’s imagine a family of 3 looking for a hotel to spend their vacations at. Hotels A & B are both summer-ready and have made great promotions too. They both lie near the same price bracket but Hotel B gets selected. Because it had the advantage of a bamboo forest nearby where the child of the family wants to camp at. 3.      Customize your menu for the season- This makes for a very important point during summertime. Food preferences change with seasons. People tend to prefer food that is light on the tummy and refreshing - fresh fruits, lots of different juices, soups and salads, etc. Most big Hotels change their menus with the change in season. Having a very exquisite spread of seasonal fruits and veggies is a smart way to attract hotel guests this summer. 4.      Take care of your presentation, online and offline How to prepare your hotel for the summer? A question that  bothers all hoteliers. Make sure you send in the right summer vibes in your presentation, both online and offline. Make sure your websites talk about packages and offers that make you have an edge over others. For example, having a tropical theme where employees in Hawaiian print shirts and serve coconut water to your guests. Get innovative and give your guests a summer vacation experience that they will not only enjoy but also cherish! 5.      Include games and activities that are summer friendly Summers will be the time when your guests spend most of their time outdoors.  While designing outdoor activities for your guests this summer, be mindful of the not exposing them to too much sun. Early mornings and late afternoons are best for outdoorsy activities like hiking, trekking, picnics, etc, that involve prolonged sun exposure. Make sure water dispensers are visibly placed at multiple spots in your property. This will help your guests quench their thirst without having to go looking for water every now and then.   6.     Encourage family or alone time Be smart to make the best of this opportunity and include family packages to attract hotel guests this summer. Plan in advance which amenities would be best suited for families with kids. Look out for fun activities that can include everyone in the family, in and around your hotel.  These are some of the best hotel summer ideas that will help you attract hotel guests this summer. The trick is to keep it simple, fun and practical such that families staying at your properties will feel at home, but will also be blown away by the guest experience!

5 Signs that You Should Be Switching to a Cloud PMS

Hotelogix

Regardless of the era, hotels have always had a way to manage their operations- be it registers, excel sheets, legacy systems or the more modern cloud based Property Management Systems. For each ‘already existing’ system to be replaced with a newer, more relevant upgrade, necessity has played a huge role. And this still holds true. Agreed, PMS has pretty much been accepted and adapted globally as the most efficient way of managing hotels, but this is just one battle won! If your aim is to succeed in the long run and win the war, you need to ask yourself if the PMS hotel software you are using right now is the one for you. · Does it suit your current needs? · Is it still as relevant as it was when you first implemented it? · What if there is a better, faster, simpler solution to your needs which you are unaware of? There are two things to consider here. On the one hand you have changing times- where you must adapt to the technological advancements and embrace the era of automation- on the other hand, your own hotel’s needs evolve with time. If you’ve been in the business for a decade or so, you would agree that managing your hotel’s operations back in the day was considerably different from what it is now! So, it is necessary for you to consider switching to a cloud-based PMS if you are still using traditional methods. And if you are already using a cloud-based PMS, it is important to carefully assess if the one you are using is still the best for you or if it is time to switch to a new hotel PMS.   5 signs that it's time for your hotel to switch to a new hotel PMS: 1. You have low visibility into your hotel operations The fundamental purpose of a PMS is to manage your hotel operations smoothly. It makes sure that all the processes are streamlined and everything that can be automated, is. A robust PMS simplifies otherwise complex tasks. But it isn’t a compliment to your PMS if you are completely in the dark about what is happening! If you find yourself more confused with data than aware then you might need to look into a simpler Property Management System. 2. Your staff is always struggling with one thing or another The real value of a PMS is put to test when your staff can handle it with as effortlessly and use it as effectively as you do! Another thing to watch out for, is, if your staff has to undergo several days of training to start using the system. A smart PMS is user-friendly, simple and transparent. Be it front desk management, housekeeping, the restaurant manager or any POS staff- every employee must be able to easily access and use the PMS. Unless you can claim to have saved ‘x’ amount of man hours every week since the implementation of your PMS, your PMS is not serving you very well and it is time to shift to a new hotel PMS. 3. Your current PMS isn’t well integrated This is one of the prime reasons why hotels change to a cloud-based PMS - the fact that it can integrate several independent solutions to become one holistic hotel management system. If your PMS provider charges huge fees to integrate with other services or doesn't allow integrations at all - it's probably time for a new PMS. The ideal cloud-based PMS support several integrations and make it hassle-free. For eg: a PMS that will take the load off you will be able to integrate easily with channel managers, revenue management software, payment gateways, restaurant POS systems, business intelligence tools, rate management tools at the very least. 4. You spend more on it than what you get from it In this day and age, when technology has paved way for smarter ways of getting things done, it is absolutely unacceptable to pay more to get less. A server-based PMS, also called as the legacy system, is so much more expensive when compared to a cloud-based PMS. Monetarily speaking, you spend on the infrastructure, training your staff, the maintenance, a dedicated IT team to make sure everything is up and running at all times. This apart, you must also account for all the loss you incur if the server crashes or for the downtime. You’ll have none of these hassles with a cloud-based PMS. 5. You don’t have numbers at your fingertips The saying “what you cannot measure you cannot manage” couldn’t be of more value to you as a hotelier. Unless you have all the data pertaining to your hotel at your fingertips, you cannot have complete visibility into your hotel operations. But how much can you possibly measure manually? How do you consider all the variable factors and understand what you have grown over a given period of time, your occupancy, your revenue, profit or loss, best price for a given season, etc. How much time do you think all of this would take? And this is just the basic data you need to be aware of. This is where a robust PMS hotel software does all this and more for you. Switch to a cloud PMS and you’ll discover just how simple it is to track, measure and stay on top of all the data relating to your hotel. In fact, you can also automate these reports to be sent to your inbox at a frequency that suits you best- daily, weekly, monthly, etc. You can revisit data from any timeline to compare. And because all this is stored on the cloud, you can access numbers on the go, whenever you want, wherever you are, from any device you use.  

No-shows and last minute cancellations are a Hoteliers worst nightmare. Hotelogix tells you 5 secret ways to avoid them.

Hotelogix

Imagine this! It’s about midnight and your front desk staff is about to perform night audit and then call it a day. But a certain guest who has made a reservation has not yet  turned up. You’ve waited all day but there’s been no correspondence from the guest. You know that it’s a classic case of “no-show hotel reservation” and it is a common occurrence in hotels.   A no show hotel reservation is probably a Hotelier’s worst, yet frequent nightmare. Dealing with situations that directly affect your profit margins, is a major challenge. As a Hotelier, you are continuously trying to increase your bookings and reservations. Given that you have invested many man-hours and resources into it, it is only natural.  Here are 5 ways to ensure lesser cancellations and no-shows: 1.Make sure you have a cancellation policy: Include a cancellation policy in your hotel reservation system and make it visible to your guests. Make sure that your customers are held responsible in case of a no-show. Include a deadline in your cancellation policy, before which your guests can cancel their bookings. In case a guest fails to show up, they should be liable to pay you for it. This way if a guest’s decides not to go ahead with the reservation in advance, he can cancel it before the deadline. This room will, then, be available for walk-ins or last minute bookings.  And if the guest ends up cancelling it after the stipulated time, he is aware of the cancellation fee and will pay for it. It’s a win-win for you both ways. 2.Offer discounts for confirmed bookings: This is another effective way to attract guests and reduce cancellations at your hotel. You can confirm the booking with your guest and then offer them a discount once done. You can throw in a clause here stating that if the guest pays upfront, they get a fatter discount. People love discounts and this is one of the easiest strategies to reduce no show rates. 3.Send them reminders about their booking: Apart from the obvious, this also works in building guest experience. Frame your message carefully so as to let them know that you look forward to their stay with you. Having a smart hotel booking software that integrates well with mobile devices is one of the many strategies to reduce no show rates. Set automatic emails and SMS that sends alerts and notifications about upcoming trips and deals you are offering. 4. Derive and act on insights from guest data: It’s important you check your reports regularly and understand important trends and KPIs that define your business. Not only will it help you in taking the right decisions but also suggest areas that need most attention. Understand which tours or packages generate the most no show hotel reservation and take immediate action accordingly. 5. Get in touch with guests when they don’t turn up: Empathize with the guest but be firm. At the end of the day, a no show hotel reservation impacts your revenue. In such cases, it is wise to talk to the guest and enquire what the reasons were. Explain calmly why you need to issue a no-show fee. Make sure, you still welcome them irrespective of the loss you incurred. Offer something intuitively, that might not be very significant to your property, but would make a difference to the guest. This might encourage them to re-book, but chances of a no show would be significantly lesser.

How hotel inventory distribution impacts revenue management

Hotelogix

Effective and efficient inventory distribution plays a major role in the overall revenue management strategy for hotels. A well-thought-out inventory management strategy helps revenue managers to sell the right room via the right channel to the right customer at the right time to maximize revenue. Here are some of the ways that show how hotel revenue management and hotel room inventory strategy are interconnected - Reduce overbooking, double booking and under booking In overbooking, you will have to say ‘no’ to guests who already had a booking at your hotel. Turned away guests will never like it, and they will talk about it on review sites and on social media platforms, for sure. This would damage your reputation and in turn, it will affect your room sales, online. Double booking is also a threat to your hotel, from a revenue management point of view. This, again, results in guest dissatisfaction, plus in loss of business for you. Under booking happens when all the rooms that you’ve allocated to a particular OTA/channel get sold, while some other rooms remain unsold given to some other channels. This leads to loss of opportunity for you. To address all three problems, you must adopt a cloud-based PMS that comes with a channel manager connect. This helps you to distribute your inventory and rates on multiple OTAs/channels. This mechanism will ensure that all the channels are updated in real time whenever a booking is done on an OTA, on hotel website or even in case of walk-ins. This works the same way when a room gets released or is made available for booking. This way, you can efficiently address overbooking, double booking and under booking. And once you are in a position to avoid such issues, it helps in selling more rooms to witness increased RevPAR.       2.    Leverage the power of a Central Reservation Office Inventory management at a group property can be a stressful task. When not done properly, this can derail your entire revenue management plan. This problem, however, can be handled with a smart Central Reservation Office (CRO) application in place. You can manage and sell inventory of all your properties centrally, from your group website and from the CRO. This would also assist you in managing rates and availabilities between the CRO and your group properties in real-time. Adoption of CRO also helps you to manage booking for itineraries and to accept booking for multiple hotels/room types across different check-in dates. Moreover, you can customize your booking engine, connecting all your properties using open API, which would help you to sell more directly to earn commission- free booking. 3.    Don’t ignore data; they are crucial for your revenue management effort Yes, data related your hotel’s inventory and their distribution plays a major role in your hotel revenue management strategy. Your hotel’s revenue managers should carefully consider data on – ·         Booking coming via OTA ·         Booking coming from offline travel agents ·         Walk-ins ·         Direct booking via your hotel website ·         OTAs that are giving you good business ·         OTAs that are giving less business ·         Seasons that gives you more direct booking/walk-ins ·         Overall occupancy percentage Additionally, your revenue managers should also analyze the aggregated data on local market demand and competitors’ pricing to come up with the right forecasting and pricing strategy to optimize room sales.

4 hacks to get more hotel reservations from your booking engine

Hotelogix

Have you ever wondered why OTAs give you more bookings? Why the average online hotel booking engine conversion rate stands at below 2% (Source) despite hoteliers spending on marketing and SEO activities? The answer is clear and simple – OTAs help potential bookers with all relevant information they would want while making a reservation. This means that your hotel website does not help convert lookers into bookers. So, how do you plan to address this issue? Have you ever tried to optimize its capabilities? If not, let’s see how you can get more out of your online hotel booking engine by adopting 4 simple booking engine hacks for hotels as explained below. 1.      Adopt a highly responsive website with an integrated web booking engine Now that you know that only 2 out of 100 visitors make hotel reservation via the hotel website, you must work towards having a website that has all the information a potential guest would look for. You need to ensure the real-time visibility of room availability and rates on your website. Your hotel descriptions and images play a major role in this effort and all the pages should load in as little time as possible. You must offer them a seamless booking experience. For your visitors, the booking process should not be a time-consuming affair. Don’t compel them to fill out every minute detail while making the reservation. It also pays to make your website mobile-optimized as today’s guests love to make hotel bookings using their smartphones. Upon booking completion, your guest should get an instant confirmation. This helps them believe that you will honour the booking. In short, you have to enhance the quality of your website and its user experience. 2.      Implement multi-language and multi-currency features Allow your potential guest to read your website content and know about you in their own language. You can do it at least for customers of your targeted countries. Let them see the room rates and such details in their currency, too. This would help you to broaden your market reach, to instil confidence in your potential guests and ultimately to create an edge over your direct competitors. 3.      Implement virtual tour and promote guest reviews Allow your website visitors to take a virtual tour of your property. It can be done when they are on your website. It would work well for you if they get to explore your property even before their arrival. Don’t forget to promote positive guest reviews to attract and influence potential guests’ booking decision. 4.      Offer ‘best rate guarantee’ Offer ‘best rate guarantee’ and the same should be in parity across all your other distribution channels. Also, you need to ensure that the rates you offer on your website are competitive enough against hotels that are your direct competitors. Additionally, to attract early-bird bookers, you must offer them an advance purchase rate. For example, you can run this campaign in October to attract more guests during end of the December – “Book now with us and avail 20% off on final bill during your stay between 25th – 31st Dec”. Most importantly, be loud and clear that their credit card details will be safe as you have implemented a secured online payment processing gateway. If you plan to generate more direct bookings to stay profitable, you must look at the important features of a booking engine that you plan to integrate with your brand website. Once implemented, don’t forget to analyse how your online hotel booking engine is working for you.

Efficient hotel distribution across right sales channels is the key to sell more room for hotels.

Hotelogix

For a hotel, a well-structured inventory distribution strategy is the key to sell more rooms. Not only that, it also helps the hotel increase its online visibility. However, what should a hotel do to ensure this? Should the hotel only work with OTAs, or it should look for other options? Let’s take a look at some of the recent trends in hotel distribution and how a hotel should go about it. Blockchain technology for hotel distribution A recent Nasdaq article has referred to Blockchain as the “future of hotel distribution” as it has the potential to enable a secure “commission-less” distribution. And to make this happen, there has to be a decentralized platform to connect guests directly with hotels. The good news here is that, a couple of Blockchain solution providers are working to come up with the much-needed decentralized platform. For example – Concierge.io leverages NEO blockchain as the mainstay of its commission-free hotel booking platform. Currently, only hotels in Vietnam are listed on this platform. But, Concierge.io aims to list around 10,000 hotels, globally. (Source) However, we need to wait and see how soon and how efficiently this latest technology will revolutionize the whole process of hotel distribution, to help hotels acquire commission-free booking. OTAs still play a major role Yes, this is right. Given their huge market share, OTAs are very important for hotel inventory distribution. Merely listing out your property on OTA platforms does not involve any cost. So, it is a good idea to get connected with all the OTAs in your target geographies. Though, only top performing OTAs will give you maximum booking, this exercise will help you boost your online visibility. Enhanced online exposure increases the chances of your brand being found by more guests. However, make sure that you have a cloud Hotel PMS that comes with a channel manager connect, to help you update rates and rooms across all the OTAs in real-time. Because, without this, you are bound to update all the OTAs manually which is a time-consuming task. Plus, this leads to overbooking and double booking. Concentrate on your brand website When integrated with a web booking engine, your hotel’s brand website becomes a potential source of direct booking. And who does not like getting more direct booking that helps save on OTA commission! That’s why, your brand website is the most obvious and most cost-effective inventory distribution channel. Your hotel website should have all the necessary information about your property. The booking engine should be easy-to-use for guests. Help them make the reservation by keying in minimal personal information. If you are targeting foreign tourists, make sure that you have the ‘multi-language’ and ‘multi-currency’ features in your website. If possible, incorporate a virtual tour feature and allow your potential guests to take a tour of your property, even before they make their decision of booking with you. Don’t forget to ensure that your hotel website is mobile responsive, as an increasing number of travellers are accessing hotel websites on their smartphones to make reservation. And most importantly,  promote positive guest reviews on your website to influence the booking decision of potential bookers. Drive booking via Facebook When Facebook is considered as one of the most important social media platforms that connects millions of travellers, you can not afford to just sit idle. It is a place where today’s travellers are sharing their hotel experience and photos, etc. And that is why, your hotel’s brand must have a strong presence on Facebook. Entice your potential guests with exclusivity - “We still have availability for the upcoming holiday session. Book now and avail 10% on F&B bills”. Moreover, to establish trust and to emerge as a hotel brand that cares for its guests, do respond to guest reviews on your Facebook page. In fact, be more proactive in responding to the bad ones. Additionally, you can leverage your FB page to do much more, like - providing travel advice related your area, listing out local events, etc. Most importantly, make it easier for your guests to book instantly with you by incorporating a clear ‘Book Now’ button. Work with metasearch engines This is another area of hotel distribution that has the full potential to help hotels generate direct booking. Metasearch engines help travellers search individual hotels through OTAs for rates and availabilities. They also throw up your hotel’s rates as mentioned in your website and that’s how a traveller finds your brand. If you work with metasearch engines with the right strategy, you can reduce your OTA dependency, for sure. Plus, with a metasearch engine’s ‘pay per click’ policy, you can save more on your distribution cost, too. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and list out your property on metasearch engines by promoting your real-time availability, rates, amenities and services. Be available on last-minute hotel room booking apps Do you know that up to 80% of last-minute hotel bookings are now made on mobile devices? (Source). That’s why it is highly advisable to feature your hotel’s inventory and rates (special rates in this case) on some of the popular last-minute booking apps. The increase in hotel booking via mobile is being driven by today’s travellers’ impulses, their decision to make last-minute reservations. Your unsold rooms are perishable items. You stand to lose the booking value/revenue if one room remains unsold today. Instead of losing the entire room revenue, why not sell the room via last-minute apps? You still get some revenue even after the discount you provide, and your guests get a good deal. And once they come to your property, serve them efficiently, make them happy and win over their loyalty. The internet has impacted the hotel distribution landscape in many ways. With the rise in the number of OTAs, metasearch engines and other distribution channels, as a hotelier, you need to be proactive so as to keep yourself abreast and make the most of them.

What is Generation Z and how can hotels attract them?

Hotelogix

 Hotel marketing ideas are increasingly shifting from traditional (read generic) to more ‘targeted’- whether it is geo-specific marketing, catering to a specific demographic or even a tiny subset of a larger demographic. And the next big thing that every hotelier is focussing on is the ‘Generation Z or iGeneration’. A generation that may be young but has more power to influence than any other; a generation that is not just tech savvy but whose online presence is stronger than any other generation ever!  What is the definition of Generation Z? To know who Generation Z are, it is important to know who the generation that precedes them- Millennials. Millennials are those people who were young adolescents in the year 2000. Which means Generation Z are the ones born in or after 2000, the oldest of whom would currently be about 18 years of age. I know what you’re thinking. And I can guarantee you that your skepticism is premature. Generation Z- Who are they?  I’d be making a massive blunder if I sat to compare the 19-year-old me to the current generation’s 19-year-old. Not only is the ecosystem drastically different for them, but also their perception of human interactions. There are several things that indicate that Generation Z is more forward thinking and progressive than any other generation in the past. And they have more clarity of thought and decision as well. They are more self-aware, more tolerant of diversity and so much more entrepreneurial in nature. How does all this relate to my hotel’s marketing Strategy for Generation Z? I’m going with the assumption that you already consider this demographic as a solid source of revenue and if you don’t, by the end of this article, you will! The most effective marketing strategies are those that take into consideration the target audience and create a buyer persona. This helps brands get their approach, messaging, imagery and content right. It is, therefore, paramount that you understand your audience. How Gen Z are affecting the hotel industry To drive home the point of just how the Generation Z are affecting the hotel industry, we are going to go down a path that we know will not disappoint. Statistics. Consider the following findings: 84% of seven to seventeen-year olds hold an influence on the family’s overall spending Categorically speaking, I am a millennial, and I cannot think of one single time in my teens (let alone my teens), when my parents sought my inputs on household decisions, expenses, etc. Gen Z holds the reins to the virtual world in most families today, allowing them to have a better understanding of their family’s choices. What they should buy, where they must dine, which part of the world they should travel to for holidays, where they must stay while on vacation, etc.  And if that doesn’t cut it for you, allow me to share with you another mind-boggling stat: 32% of parents say that their kids hold a lot of influence on vacations and spending and 54% of parents say kids have some influence. This is a clear indicator of the fact that the rules of the game are changing rapidly, and so should your hotel’s marketing strategy. While business hotels have started targeting millennials, leisure hotels should also actively target Gen Z as they have a say (if not the loudest one!) in the family’s vacation plans. Here are a few tips on how to attract Gen Z to your Hotel: Put together a comprehensive online marketing strategy: They are digitally connected. 92% of GEN Z’ers have a digital footprint and they are 25% more likely than millennials to say that they are addicted to their digital devices. You need to have a really, really strong digital game going in your hotel’s favor, if you are wondering how to engage with Gen Z customers.  Be present where they are. Get active on social media, make sure your display ads are visible wherever they hang out virtually, and generally stay in touch with what the Gen Z’ers are up to digitally, so you can accost them there. Honor your commitment and win their loyalty: They have a more elevated perception of loyalty. Gen Z’ers are as loyal to brands as brands are loyal to them. They are connected digitally to a wide network of people, so they are more than happy to act as promoters to a brand that delivers on what they promise. But disappoint them, and they will not spare you. Make sure you keep up your side of the commitment before you expect them to be loyal customers because that commitment is golden for Gen Z’ers. Be more innovative or better yet, disruptive, to appeal to them: Gen Z has grown up amidst Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vines and all this social media hullabaloo. They’ve grown up seeing unprecedented events like people becoming millionaires,thanks to social media in no time at all. In this world, there is no time or scope for anything technology that is ‘traditional’ (read: laborious) or time-consuming. It is all about working smart and being quick. Position yourself as a brand that celebrates the ‘unique’ and welcomes disruption. Your offers, discounts, packages, etc. could help you communicate this to the Gen Z’ers. Get creative and you’ll earn their respect! Bottomline is, the rules of the game are changing faster than we can catch up with. In this changing scenario, without ample support from technology to run your day-to-day operations, one simply cannot focus on the ‘what’s next’. If you want to be a long-term player in the hospitality industry, then it is about time you get a dynamic system in place that will help you automate your mundane tasks, so you can get to strategizing and brainstorming on how to attract Gen Z’ers to your Hotel.

How can hotels attract international tourists

Hotelogix

With the world becoming more and more connected, travel (especially, international travel) is no longer a luxury. As per recent statistics, the travel and tourism industry contributed over 7.6 trillion US dollars in 2016, to the global economy. This has fueled tremendous change within the hospitality sector as well, prompting more and more hoteliers the world over to open their doors to international travelers. Sounds like a lucrative idea! But how does one go about it? How can hotels attract international travelers? As a hotelier, what is your hotel strategy to attract foreign guests? How can you increase your hotel’s international bookings? We have you covered. In this article, we will discuss some of the most impactful ways to attract international tourists to your hotel. We’ve spoken so much about the power of having a digital presence in the recent past, it is almost impossible to fathom that there existed a world without it not-so-long ago. The internet has helped businesses uncover a window of myriad lucrative opportunities. So, it is really up to us to explore and exploit this opportunity which has tremendous potential. 1.         Geo-specific targeting In this day and age, every hotel should and will have a website. So, I prefer to carry on with the assumption that you have in place an operational brand website. Now, tools like Google Analytics allows you to easily gather data on certain aspects which will help you design an effective hotel marketing strategy. Some of the important questions that this data will help you answer and understand are: ·         From which country & region do you get maximum visits on your website? ·         What is the demographic that most frequents your pages? ·         Are the visitors mostly male or female? ·         Which season attracts maximum visitors from a certain region/country? How can you use this data to your hotel’s benefit? By creating targeted marketing campaigns. A.        SEO: Spend ample time on researching keywords and what is trending and what works for you. Again, identify the geo that brings you the biggest chunk of organic traffic and create a targeted campaign for that geo. Understand that keywords are specific to regions. So, make sure you identify the right keyword for the geo that you are targeting. Create a landing page specific to the keyword, in order to increase organic traffic. B.        Social Media: The power of social media is that you can make it as targeted or as generic as your need dictates. Most social media platforms, today, help you gather insights on where your audiences live. You can narrow down your marketing campaigns to target only those regions or countries where you are popular. For example, you run a hotel in Maldives and your Facebook insights suggest that a majority of your audience is between the ages of 23 & 30 from Croatia. In this case, your next move should be to push targeted ads on Facebook to people within that age group, in Croatia. You can narrow it down further to pick a specific gender, add a filter on proximity (for eg: >/< 50 miles of Zagreb), and so on. You can tweak the filters to your preference.  Make sure your ad copy resonates with the demographic so as to prompt them to make a reservation with you. The ad content could be in Croatian to make that much more of an impact. Engage with your social media followers and nurture an on-going association so that you become a familiar brand in their view. C.        OTAs OTAs are a blessing to hoteliers who wish to attract International hotel guests. As in the previous scenarios, identify the geo you wish to target, first. Your best bet, now, is to connect your Hotel PMS to a channel manager that allows you to tie up with the most popular OTAs in that region. Online searches for hotels are on the rise, the world over. By connecting with popular OTAs, you increase your visibility in that region and therefore, your chances of getting reservations also increase. Make sure your listing is effective, with realistic pictures of all your offerings. Be clear in your communications so that guests know exactly what they can expect. Don’t oversell or undersell yourself. D.        Website I’d mentioned it previously that my assumption is that you already have a website up and running. In order to attract international tourists, there are certain website features that are non-negotiable. A.         Incorporate the multi-currency feature in your online hotel booking engine which clearly communicates a message of global inclusion. B.         Multi-language feature puts global tourists at ease, as they can browse through your website in the convenience of their own language. Apart from the popular Spanish and French options, include the official language of those countries that you want to target. C.        Guest Reviews and ratings are mandatory to attract international tourists as it assures prospective guests that you are a hotel that delivers on promises. While all these factors do contribute to increased international reservations at your hotel, most of these will not be fully effective unless your have a cloud-based Property Management System in place. Wondering how an online PMS helps you attract international tourists? Here’s how: 1.       It helps you get more guest feedback by automating mailers and initiating requests for feedback on your behalf. 2.       It helps you connect with OTAs and other sales channels across the globe via a channel manager connect. 3.       Just having the multi-currency and multi-language feature on your website will not suffice. Your PMS also has to be robust enough to support this feature too as the web booking engine is also linked to it.

Hotelogix to exhibit its suite of multi-property PMS at ITB Asia 2018

Hotelogix

Hotelogix, a leading cloud-based Hotel Property Management System provider has today announced its participation in ITB Asia, 2018 from 17th to 19th October in Singapore. The company plans to showcase its enterprise-grade cloud-based Property Management System for multi-property operations during this event at booth No – B37. Organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd and supported by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, the eleventh edition of ITB Asia will be taking place at Marina Bay Sands. This three-day long annual event attracts thousands of professionals from accommodation providers to hospitality technology vendors. Speaking on this, Prabhash Bhatnagar, Founder at Hotelogix said, “We are excited to leverage from this great platform to exhibit our multi-property capabilities on the cloud. Our PMS offers access on desktop and mobile, and comes with powerful features to help chain hotels manage centrally, distribute seamlessly and operate profitably.” According to Prabhash, with Hotelogix PMS, chain hotels can manage and monitor multi-property operations centrally, from a single point. Additionally, it also helps users in real-time management of rates and availabilities between the Central Reservation Office (CRO) and their group properties. Plus, through Hotelogix, hoteliers can also get connected with several leading third-party solutions to boost their overall operations.  Expressing his views, Aditya Sanghi, Co-founder & CEO at Hotelogix said, “It is estimated that by 2020, SaaS will have overtaken traditional software deployment by over 25%. And as a trusted PMS partner of hotels operating across 100 countries, we are looking forward to interacting with the who's who of the hospitality industry at ITB Asia.” If improving your hotel’s efficiency and increasing revenue are your objectives, come visit us at ITB Asia 2018, Booth No. B37 from 17th to 19th of October. Meet us to find out how can you leverage our Technology Platform and API integrations to scale your Hotel Business. Book an appointment with us here: About Hotelogix Hotelogix provides a robust cloud-based Hotel PMS that helps hotels to automate and manage their end-to-end operations with ease. It also assists hotels to drive growth, increase revenue and to enhance their online reputation. The PMS is hosted on Amazon Web Services, and thus offers the much-needed stability and security to hoteliers. The company has rich experience in serving global markets with customers in 100 plus countries including developed geographies such as North America and Europe.  

How effective is a Hotel Reservation System in upselling your Hotel Rooms

Hotelogix

Upselling is a common way for hotels to generate more revenue. Whether you are a small, family-run hotel or a multi-property brand, it is just as efficient an option for every property type. Upselling is when a hotel prompts additional services to guests, such as a session at the spa, a breakfast buffet, etc. But hotels can also upsell rooms (otherwise known as room upgrade) to guests with the same intention as with upselling. Both of them not only help improve guest experience but also contribute to the hotel’s revenue. While there are several hotel upselling strategies, in this blogpost we will only discuss ways to upsell hotel rooms with the help of a Hotel Management System. But let’s understand how to approach a guest with an upselling suggestion. How to determine which guest will prefer what type of an upsell? The simple trick is to use the guest history feature of your hotel’s PMS. A robust PMS will allow you to look up all the details of guests who have stayed with you in the past. When they revisit your property, you could easily upsell a hotel room to them by looking into their preferences listed in the guest history data. Let’s say, the guest is a smoker and chose to move to a room with a balcony, the last time he stayed with you. This detail is recorded in the PMS and will come in handy, in case the guest revisits your property in the future! Now let’s get back to the topic- How can a Hotel Management System help you upsell rooms? Is a Hotel Reservation System powerful enough to enable hoteliers to upsell rooms? We’ll find out very soon but before that we’ve handpicked a few of the most reliable ways to upsell rooms with a Hotel Management System in place:   Restrictions: When we say restrictions, what we mean is that hotels can set restrictions on the minimum bookable nights or minimum bookable rooms. In other words, an online hotel reservation software can help you upsell rooms based on the number of nights a guest intends to stay with you (the length of stay) or based on the number of rooms a group of guests wish to book. An upselling opportunity is presented in such cases. Minimum Bookable Nights: This is a great strategy for hotels to upsell rooms to guests who stay for more than one night. If a guest books a room for 5 nights, then you can upgrade him to a better room for the sixth and seventh night! You could throw in an offer around this and run a promotional campaign too. Everybody likes a freebie or an upgrade, especially when it comes with no strings attached. Minimum Bookable Rooms: The approach is the same as for the above strategy except that in this case the factor that will present is the upselling opportunity is the number of rooms booked. If a group booking comes your way for 10 rooms, you could upgrade them to better rooms for a nominal price. This is a lovely way to delight multiple guests in one shot. And honestly, it wouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg, but it could fetch you a dozen of amazing reviews! Hotelogix gives hotels complete flexibility in defining your restrictions based on your hotel’s needs and target audience. Your front desk staff will have access to all the restrictions on their dashboard, as these can be pre-defined in the background. Packages: With a Hotel Management System in place, you can not only pre-define as many packages as you want, but also customize them as per need. While designing a package, you will have to keep in mind the season, your target audience, their spending capacity, your hotel’s offerings, etc. Taking into consideration of all these factors will help you get closer to your guests’ expectation and delight them. You should, ideally, have separate and unique packages for your corporate guests, your leisure guests, your millennial guests, etc. Make them as focused as you can to deliver maximum delight. Now, how can a package help you upsell your room? We’ll tell you. Consider a couple who wants to spend their anniversary at your property. The most obvious option is for them to book a room and then add on whatever services they wish to avail, during their stay. The other way of doing things (the clever way) is by offering a couple’s package or an anniversary special package to such guests. No, we aren’t asking you to offer them added services for no cost and incur losses! What this means is, simply give them the experience that they don’t even know they want, and they will pay you.  This couple, who earlier knew no better than to simply book a quiet, serene room now has a booking with you for a package that gives them a much better, cozier room, a spa session, a candle-lit dinner (and what have you!) for a tad bit more. It’s not that they don’t want to spend that much more, it is simply that they weren’t aware of all the offerings at your hotel. By designing a package, you encourage guests to not just upgrade rooms but also to give you more non-room revenue, thanks to the services and activities you will include in the packages! So, it isn’t simply upgrading rooms, but also an upselling activity overall for your hotel! Long stay discounts: Hotels can also increase chances of upselling, and thereby their revenue, when they offer long stay discounts. When a corporate guest or a leisure traveler makes a reservation that runs into weeks, you could use that to lure them to upgrade rooms. When such a reservation comes in, you could offer them a better option of a room for a nominal extra charge. This could work wonders because long-term guests take comfort more seriously than vacationers. Shelling a few extra bucks wouldn’t be as big a deal as living in lesser comfort! Shoulder nights This is a very commonly used hotel reservation strategy where hotels don’t make their inventory as transparent, in order to lure guests to spend an extra day or two. For example: Let’s say a guest wants to make a reservation for a deluxe suite for two nights, a Tuesday and a Wednesday. The hotel front desk realizes that this is a great opportunity for the hotel to upsell, as midweeks are when they get least amount of reservations. So, in order to increase the number of reservations, they implement the shoulder nights strategy. The front desk staff gets in touch with the guest saying they will not be able to honor the booking for that particular room-type for those exact nights, unless the booking included a day or two before or after. The staff would, of course, add that they would offer the additional nights at a lower price than what the guest was to pay originally. The guest, normally, would accept the offer and agree to add an additional night or two as it works out to be a good deal for them too!  Room Upgrades: This is the most commonly used strategy to upsell. In this case, the front desk staff or even a social media ad would inform the potential guest that the hotel would upgrade their regular room for a luxury suite (or whatever upgrade the hotel offers) for just a few extra bucks. HOW EFFICIENT IS A HOTEL RESERVATION SYSTEM IN UPSELLING ROOMS? Here’s the real deal. The purpose of a Hotel Reservation System is quite self-explanatory. It does not come equipped with all the other features that can support the upselling process. Only a Property Management System can do that. An HRS isn’t as feature-loaded, nor as dynamic. You could use the HRS as a dashboard to gather how many rooms are booked, vacant, available, etc. But the nuances that make a hotelier’s life easier are only available in a PMS. Think of it this way- A Hotel Reservation System is a subset of a Property Management System. The general myth surrounding small and mid-sized hotels is - that they do not need the advanced features of a cloud-based Property Management System. I would even go to the extent of saying that small and mid-sized hotels need it more than chain hotels. Simply because they need the online visibility more as they lack the luxury of a brand name, the marketing budget and so on. Smaller hotels need a PMS to not only upsell their rooms but also to connect with potential guests online. So how does one go about creating restrictions, designing packages, long stay discounts, etc. for guests on an online hotel reservation system? How can a Property Management System help you upsell your rooms through packages? Almost everything related to upselling can be predefined in the back end which the front desk can access in one click. Customizing restrictions, packages, etc. as per your requirement can bring in immense benefits to you. Hotelogix cloud-based hotel management system helps you out with your reservation-related tasks but it is also capable of so much more than that. From guest management to nurturing guest loyalty, from expanding your sources of bookings to integrations with revenue management systems, business intelligence tools, reputation management, accounting, POS management, etc.- Hotelogix is the PMS your hotel needs. Go ahead and get in touch with us to know just that and more and we’ll show you just how simple and effective these upselling features are! Get a free trial of Hotelogix cloud PMS or reach out to us on sales@hotelogix.com and we’ll be happy to run you through it all. 

Alexa For Hospitality - A New Member of Your Hotel Staff

Hotelogix

Once every few years, the world gets its hands on a piece of technology that really makes jaws drop. Of late this phenomenon has started to occur annually, keeping tech buffs, such as myself, on the edge of our seats counting down the days to the next update or a replacement to an already existing piece of technology. The hospitality landscape is no stranger to this phenomenon. Automation in the industry has, on a yearly basis, seen improvements apart from the array of other products aimed at assisting hoteliers and the properties they manage. One such development is in the field of voice automation which, over the last 5 years, has entered the home automation industry. Hotel’s, in a sense, are a home away from home for many, so it was but a matter of time that the hotel industry too followed suite and adopted the voice automation technology. Amazon definitely proved to be a visionary when earlier this year, they launched their voice assistant Alexa for Hospitality. Since its debut in 2014, the Amazon echo has gone through a major revamp and the reason for this is partly because of how far Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come over the years. The platform lets you teach your device new skills and the possibilities are endless considering the number of automation products the device is compatible with. Think of the device as a personal butler for the guests staying at your hotel. Now, imagine having one device for every room your property has and  what you get is an extremely personalised experience. What’s better is that you’ll never have to worry about them forming a union protesting and complaining about being overworked. What’s the set-up like? Well, it’s pretty simple. On the one hand you have the echo device, which is what your guests will be interacting with and on the other is the centralised console to which all of your echo devices are connected. This centralised console claims to be able to manage over a 100 devices, allowing you to: -       Specify device volume amd settings -       Check the devices state (On/Off) -       And remotely reset devices, prepping for the next guest How smart is it? Amazon has gone ahead and taught the device a couple of skills relevant to hotels. Some of them are: -       Contacting the front desk -       Ordering room service -       Helping guests with check-outs -       Ordering some provisions These are just a few of the skills that Amazon has teased, and it isn’t like Alexa cannot learn any more. Amazon provides you with the tools, documentation and code samples that can help you teach the device  skills based on the most common demands of your guests. For the most part Alexa is capable of booking you an uber and reading you the news, apart from the obvious home automation skills- Automation of  the electronics in your rooms to respond to your guests commands. Alexa is capable of redirecting guests commands to the right department in the hotel, enabling your staff to focus more on guest experience and improving it. If you’re under the misconception that the echo can’t make a conversation with your guests, i’m guessing you have never spoken to one. It’s smart, and how smart it can get, is all on you. This maybe a skill that you will have to develop over time, but Alexa can be trained to give some really witty replies. A great addition to this package is that users can sync their Amazon Prime accounts to watch their favourite shows and have access to their own playlists and audiobooks. If you’re worried about guests being skeptical about interacting with the echo, the urge to interact with the device is too strong to ignore. Unless you’re anti-technology and you’re under the misconception that the government doesn’t already know enough about you. No seriously, is it worth it? Let me be honest, the echo is no replacement for your Hotel staff, but it is a great addition to it. The thing with AI and machine learning is that it gets smarter by the day. There are no off days, no calling in sick and no unproductive days, just things it can and cannot do as of this moment. But you know technology, and the now yearly phenomenon I was speaking about. It will get better from here and that is certain. So if it’s not that great yet, why adopt this now? Well, the underlying advantage is data. Over time, data can not only help the machine learn but also help you derive insights that are sure to help you on the guest experience front. Yes, it is true that the device will be feature-rich in the future, but that skill for personalising guest experience will only come over time. The sheer number of tasks that the echo can be taught is, in a way, an extension of your imagination. I wouldn’t say you need to be a risk taker to adopt the echo as part of your staff but it requires some out of the box thinking to use this technology well. Yes, Alexa can notify you about the two extra pillows needed in Room no. 305, or the large pizza with extra cheese that Mark ordered, but why restrict Alexa to the trivial? If you have been having trouble collecting guest reviews, you could set up a simple Q&A for Alexa to ask your guest a series of questions during the check-out. Or maybe go one step deeper and get Alexa to prompt the elderly couple staying at your hotel to take their medicines at the right time. Maybe even act as a tour guide, suggesting the tourists staying at your hotel, the must-see sights in and around the city. Who knows, over time the Echo could learn enough to personalise the way it communicates with your repeat guests, referring to them by their first name and prompting them about ordering in their favourite meal or drink. In fact, why even call it Alexa? Personalise the wake word* for the echo and call it what you want. *Wake word is the keyword that activates the echo. We have a few hotels that adopted the echo way before they were retrofitted for hotels. The Marriott group will be adopting it for a few select hotels. Westin, St. Regis and Aloft Hotels to name a few, will be next in line for this revolution. Don’t let the size of your hotel determine whether you adopt this new wave of automation. Take wild guesses about the possibilities and make your decision because not all success stories are born from being conventional!

Hospitality Technology is now second nature

Hotelogix

Technology is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today’s changing hospitality landscape. Computing data is now more important than ever because of the weight of the data that flows for any given process, during any point of time. Hotels process a lot of data, on any given day- be it independent hotels or chains.From the number of reservations that take place to the requests raised by guests,  to stocking up on inventory, the list is endless. The advantage of mining this data is simple. To read patterns and behaviours in a particular time frame and offer predictions to optimise the way a particular process needs to be run. The misconception, though, is that data mining  isn’t something that’s of importance to medium to smaller properties. It is true that the larger chain hotels use data to predict fluctuations in the inflow of reservations and the outflow of materials to optimise allocation and purchase simultaneously. You could say it’s a more statistical approach towards increasing revenue. But that’s not all on how technology helps. New-age hoteliers are focusing on more than just predictive insights to run their hotels. Operational efficiency is also a concern as the man-hours saved and the optimum use of manpower also contribute to how profitable your hotel can be. Stepping away from the revenue earning streams, branding and advertising standpoints for hotels also contribute a lot to its success. Technology is also working in areas of increasing online reputation, guest experience and also the centralised access to data which helps in decision making. In an attempt to plot out the view of hoteliers on technology and its use in their hotels, here is a quick survey that will help us get a better understanding of how technology is playing a role in your daily hotel operations. The results of the survey will be shared with you soon after we have compiled this data. Here is a link to the survey.

RateGain and Hotelogix join hands to help hotels with real-time distribution

Hotelogix

RateGain, a leader in providing cloud-based distribution solutions and Hotelogix, a globally trusted cloud-based Property Management System provider have announced a technology partnership to help hotels across the world distribute inventory in real-time. The partnership would establish a two-way connectivity, where rates and availability from the Hotelogix PMS will automatically be pushed to RezGain, RateGain’s Channel Management platform for distribution across all the connected demand partners. Similarly, bookings on OTAs would also get instantaneously updated on Hotelogix PMS delivered through RateGain. Expressing his views on this partnership, Apurva Chamaria, Chief Revenue Officer at RateGain said, “This well-reasoned joint effort with Hotelogix indicates our commitment towards partnering with hospitality technology leaders that offer significant value to hotels. Through this association, we aim to offer a premium product to progressive hoteliers globally to help them maximize their business potential available across online platforms.” RateGain supports hotels across the globe to ensure real-time centralized distribution, zero overbooking and parity assurance with its Channel Management and DHISCO switch solutions. The company helps 500,000 hotels in over 191 countries in their effort to update rates and inventory across multiple OTAs, instantly. RateGain connects its hotel partners to over 127 leading OTAs and other sales channels. Commenting on this strategic alliance, Prabhash Bhatnagar, Founder at Hotelogix said, “RateGain is a global leader in Distribution technology space. We are excited about this alliance as it helps hotels to move onto the cloud with a comprehensive management and distribution solution.” Speaking on the usefulness of this integration, Anastasia D. Vorobyeva, General Manager at Ayurveda Bhavan Center, India said, “We serve to a sizeable number of international patrons and we attract them through 10 OTAs that we are connected to. With this integration, we now get to save time, and it will surely get us more OTA bookings. Plus, it has also ensured zero double-booking that used to result in guest dissatisfaction earlier.”

Managing Multiple POS Outlets is a Cakewalk With a Cloud-Based PMS

Hotelogix

Sample this – Hotel A has 50 rooms and is mainly dependent on room revenues to stay profitable. Reason - it has only one restaurant, and the management finds it difficult to integrate the traditional server-based PMS with their restaurant POS system. Due to this, they have to manually update the front desk with restaurant bills and other incidental charges to add to the guest folio. Is not it a time-consuming task that can lead to errors like billing discrepancies and even sometimes loss of revenue? Now sample this – Hotel B, in the same locality, also has 50 rooms but it has a restaurant, gym, spa and a gift shop. With multiple on-premise outlets to sell maximum non-room items, the management here can run the show better than Hotel A even if the occupancy level hovers around 70% to 80%.  Then, what really works well for Hotel B? Well, it has several smart POS systems for all its outlets. And, most importantly, the hotel’s cloud-based PMS integrates seamlessly with all the POS systems empowering the management to increase billing accuracy while saving time. Now that is smart hoteliering, don’t you think! In today’s fiercely competitive market, you need to stay one step ahead of your competition when it comes to adopting technology to grow your hotel business. Or else, you are bound to face operational bottlenecks like Hotel A. Here is how to deal with this – During the stay, guests can order food from your restaurants, use the spa, the  gym, the travel desk or the gift shop. For all these activities, guests usually pay during check out. . Because, it might not be convenient for them to keep paying every time they have have lunch, get a drink or even buy something from the gift shop. Don’t forget - this is an important part of ‘guest convenience’, too. So, in such cases, charges need to be posted directly to the guest folio in the Hotel PMS. The whole process needs to be properly streamlined as manually posting the bills can lead to multiple errors. You might end up charging more to a guest and this could lead to guest dissatisfaction. On the other hand, , you may face loss of revenue if you forget to post a certain amount on the final bill. Now, to avoid such confusion, you must ensure that your Hotel PMS and POS systems are integrated. With such an integration, bills from multiple outlets like F&B point, gym, or spa can be automatically charged to a guest room and the folio can be updated with no manual intervention. This whole process eliminates billing inconsistencies and helps you ensure a pleasant guest experience. But can you attain this level of automation with an on-premise PMS? No. Because, today’s  leading POS systems are all on the cloud. So, it becomes a tough and complicated task to integrate your on-premise PMS with your POS system that is on cloud too. Integrating multiple POS systems with your old and outdated legacy PMS is a mammoth-level hassle, that you’d much rather avoid. Not only is it cumbersome, it is also impractical in this day and age. Leverage the power of a cloud-based PMS A cloud-based Hotel PMS can come to your rescue ,in this case. Through open APIs, a cloud-based Hotel PMS can easily integrate with a POS system that is also on cloud. Hotelogix offers unlimited POS outlets which you can integrate to our cloud-based PMS. What this translates to, for you, is having all your hotel-related data under one umbrella, in one single system, on one dashboard. Moving from an on-premise system to a cloud-based PMS gives you the luxury of automation, accuracy, time and most important of all- convenience. We’ve helped thousands of properties, in as many as a 100 countries across the globe, fix their POS-related issues and bring them all under one single cloud-based Hotel PMS.

5 Reasons Why Cloud Hotel Management Systems Handle Multi-Property and Chains Better

Hotelogix

A Cloud-based PMS or a server-based one - which of these is the better option for chain hotels to manage their operations efficiently. If there was one major disagreement amongst hoteliers across the globe, it has to be on this. While some of them are convinced about the capability of cloud-based hotel management system, many of them still believe that hotel management software on cloud is not powerful enough to do so. Before we get into this debate, let’s look at the origin of both the types of hotel management software. While the global hospitality industry was introduced to server-based Hotel PMS in the 1980s, the cloud PMS came into the market almost two decades later and its adoption has picked up quite rapidly. Getting back to the issue of which Hotel PMS is suitable for big and chain hotel operations. This becomes little complex when both variants of hotel management system claim to manage operational functions including, guest bookings, keeping guest details, housekeeping, online reservations, posting of charges, point of sale and materials/inventory management, etc efficiently. We’ve been in the industry for over a decade now and we think it is high time that we busted this myth that a cloud-based hotel management system can’t help hoteliers in effectively managing their big or chain hotel operations. We will have a step-by-step approach to debunk this widely held but false belief.   Cloud is ‘current’ Hotel PMS, (the most prominent piece of hospitality technology), needs to constantly evolve, keeping in mind the ever-changing technology needs of hotels. But this is not true in case of the on-premise or server-based PMS. It’s mainly because server-based PMS providers don’t have enough scope to bring in further improvements in their applications. The codes are written in programming languages that were relevant in the 80s, but in 2018, it is unequivocally outdated. So, to sum it up, we can say that the on-premise PMS has not evolved enough to cater to the present-day technological requirements of hotels. It’s not like the server-based PMS vendors don’t understand the power of new-age cloud platform. In fact, some of them have tried to launch their cloud version by hosting their PMS on cloud. But, that’s the thing. Merely by hosting an on-premise PMS on cloud, doesn’t make it a cloud-native application. It still remains an on-premise software, hosted on a cloud server and managed by the PMS provider. However, a cloud-based PMS vendor can take advantage of the cloud environment and infrastructure to easily leverage new technology and improve upon the product and its features. Be it a small B&B with just a couple of rooms, or a large, independent hotel with 100 odd rooms or even a chain hotel, a cloud-based PMS can deliver real value to all types of properties.   Cloud takes the complexity out of your already complicated hotel operations Merely adopting a PMS will help you automate your hotel operations. But, is that enough? Won’t you need to work with OTAs to generate more indirect bookings? Don’t you need to have a web booking engine to get more direct booking? What about optimizing your revenue, increasing your online ratings and score and critical business insights to make informed decisions? Phew, sounds complicated, right? If you thought the complexities end there, you’re in for some not-so-pleasant surprise. Things get more complicated when you are running a group hospitality entity – let’s say a chain with 10 hotels. And if you think you can do all of this with a server-based PMS, here are some crucial things to watch out for...   You will have to spend a fortune with on premise That’s right. With a server-based PMS, you are looking at setting up expensive servers at all your 10 properties with dedicated IT staff to maintain them. You also need to constantly invest in hardware upgrades to ensure the PMS is up and running across all your properties. Plus, you do have to pay for software upgrades costs too. But with a cloud PMS, none of these worries will haunt you. You neither have to invest in servers nor in dedicated IT staff. Moreover, software upgrades are released free of cost. So, you can imagine the cost-saving is in here for you.   You won't struggle to work with third-party solution providers In case of on-premise PMS, integration with operationally imperative third-party solutions like revenue management solutions, online reputation management solution and business intelligence becomes a complex task. It’s because, many third-party solutions are now on the cloud, and their integration with an on-premise application becomes a forced one. Thus, it doesn’t help you leverage the power of those solutions to the full extent. Not only does it hinder your flexibility but also restricts your freedom to work with third-party vendors. Au contraire, this is how a cloud PMS can prove its efficacy in this case. You can efficiently deal with this situation when you adopt a cloud PMS. A cloud PMS is built on common Web Standards and Open APIs to enable smooth and seamless integration with a host of third-party solutions. Take this scenario, for example- you work with over 15 OTAs. A cloud hotel management software, that comes integrated with a Channel Management Software, will make your life simple. You just need to make changes related to your rates and inventory in your PMS and the same gets updated across OTAs via the channel manager. Now, do you still believe that a cloud-based PMS is not built to ensure efficient multi-property operations?   It will not help you go mobile Being installed at your property, on-premise PMS can only be accessed via desktops at your property. You can’t access the PMS and hotel data from outside of your property on your mobile. This means you can’t view your hotel KPIs while travelling. Now imagine the pain here when you have 10 properties in your group and you are out of your property. You are technically blind, right? But, if you are using a cloud PMS, you automatically gain mobility which is the most essential aspect of smart hotelier like you. You can remotely access the PMS on your mobile phone from anywhere you want to. You can view your property-level or group-level performance via mobile phone. This also helps you with a better staff to staff and staff to guest communications to ensure their (staff) improved performance and guest satisfaction. Moreover, your hotel’s millennial staff wouldn’t like to work on a server-based hotel PMS that is outdated. Around 90 percent of millennials see contemporary tech platforms as one of the most important aspects of a workplace. Because they belong to a new-age and they would like something that is new and cutting-edge. Given its user-friendliness and look & feel, your millennial staff would love to work on cloud PMS. This can lead to higher employee retention rate which would also help you save cost on new hiring and training.

Can hoteliers benefit from last minute booking apps

Hotelogix

It is common knowledge that the hotel business is extremely time sensitive. A room unsold for a night, will be unsold forever. It’s done, it’s history. There is no way to recover from that loss. You could, of course, use different hotel occupancy strategies and find ways to make up for that loss, but very objectively speaking- the time sensitivity is immense. This need to sell as many rooms as possible, every single day, is ubiquitous in the hospitality space. And one of the best things to happen to hoteliers in this regard is the concept of “last-minute booking apps’. Thanks to innovation in technology, hotels can now increase their occupancy rate owing to these apps. Hotel last minute bookings are huge in the mobile first world we now live in. This stat will validate this statement, if you don’t believe in the power of the mobile yet. “7 out of 10 same day hotel bookings are made through smartphones.” (Source)  In less than a decade, these apps have addressed a problem that has haunted the hospitality industry since… forever! Last-minute hotel booking apps help hoteliers sell their rooms, quite literally, in the last minute. Even if the room is sold at a much cheaper price than its rack rate, it is still a more lucrative option than having an unsold room!  There are several geo-specific apps that cater to this specific need in the market. These apps offer last-minute hotel bookings at discounts as high as 50, 60 or even 70%. Here are the top 3 reasons why your hotel should be listed on a hotel last minute booking app: 1.       There is a solution for every property type: Depending on whether you are a cozy B&B, a budget motel or a boutique hotel, you can pick an app that caters to your property type, so you address the right audience. A budget traveler will not look for last minute deals on an app that gives deals on fancy high-end hotels! Some of these apps cater to all. Research well and find the best app for your property type and size so your audience finds you easily. 2.       Increased chances of selling rooms As of August 2018, the average occupancy rate of the hotel industry in USA was 71.4% (Source). Almost suggesting that 1 in 4 rooms remains unsold in hotels, on an average. By listing yourself on a last-minute booking app, you increase your chances of selling every last room that is available at your property at discounted prices. 3.       Cash in on the guest experience quotient The thing about last minute booking apps is that bookers may not always find the exact room that they want. Meaning, it gives you the chance to appeal to a guest that may not necessarily be in your defined target audience. By offering such guests an impeccable guest experience, you stand the chance of getting a lovely review online which, in turn, can create more customers in the future. 4.       It’s a win-win- (This one’s a bonus) These apps are immensely popular today as they address a market need and are beneficial to both hotels as well as travelers! Imagine a traveler who had to make an emergency visit to your city, for whatever reasons. He gets off his flight at 3AM and logs into an app and makes a booking for the closest hotel, or the cheapest hotel, of the cheapest deal he can find on a decent hotel. No longer is the traveler helpless to make do with the first hotel he sees! And no longer do front desk staff have to stay up all night solely depending on a walk-in guest to fill up that unsold room! Everybody wins! We’ve discussed, in this blog, just one of the ways to increase and improve hotel bookings. There are many other ways to increase bookings and occupancy. With a Hotel PMS like Hotelogix in place, you can automate several operations that will help you distribute better and in real-time, allowing travelers to have the most updated information about inventory and rates. Get in touch with us now to understand how we can help you sell more rooms.

North Carolina’s Biltmore Greensboro Hotel achieves 40% increase in direct bookings

Hotelogix

Opened in 1903, located in North Carolina, the Biltmore Greensboro Hotel is a 3-star boutique hotel with 26 rooms. With an impeccable guest service, this century-old property strives to offer a pleasant and memorable stay experience to its patrons. Prior to using Hotelogix, the management at the property handled its operations using an on-premise system. But, they soon found it not up to the mark as they ran into several operational bottlenecks. They could not ensure the real-time update of rates and rooms on OTAs as the PMS was unable to integrate with a channel manager. It also restricted their capabilities to set up required POS outlets. Due to the lack of automation capabilities, they had to manage operations manually. Moreover, they were unable to access the PMS and hotel data from outside of the property.   Commenting on his decision to adopt Hotelogix, Brian Coleman, General Manager at the Biltmore Greensboro Hotel said, “Our search for the right cloud PMS led us to review few popular PMS providers. But we decided to go with Hotelogix due to its user-friendliness, rich and insightful reporting features and comprehensive automation capabilities.” Biltmore Greensboro Hotel has been able to see many benefits in the last three years since they started using Hotelogix. They have registered an overall increase in revenue by 40% which comprises 40% increase in direct booking and 20% increase in booking coming from OTAs. “With real-time and error-free distribution over OTAs, overbooking has become zero. Our operating costs have come down drastically since we’ve cut down on commissions, labor and overall reservation costs. It has also helped us save numerous man-hours, and we now get to spend the same building guest experience,” Brian added. Commenting on this, Aditya Sanghi, Co-founder & CEO at Hotelogix said, “Benefits witnessed by the Biltmore Greensboro Hotel is a testimony to our commitment towards empowering progressive hotels achieving desired business goals. We will continue to help our customers the way they leverage today’s smart hospitality technology via our cloud PMS.”

Hotelogix partners with Beonprice to help hotels maximize revenue

Hotelogix

Hotelogix, a leader in cloud-based Property Management System has announced the integration of its PMS with Beonprice, a leading provider of revenue optimization solution based on Artificial Intelligence to hotels. This strategic integration is designed to help hotels leverage business insights to price their rooms better and achieve improved profitability. Speaking on this development, Prabhash Bhatnagar, Founder at Hotelogix said, “Beonprice is a valued revenue management solution provider among mid-segment hotels, globally. The integrated offering will help Hotelogix customers with a simplified way to execute revenue management best practices and to come up with competitive room pricing.” Beonprice helps maximize hotel profitability by finding the best combination of consumer demand and hotel supply through patented SaaS Artificial Intelligence technology. It considers a hotel’s different client segments as fundamental criteria to help the hotel determine the optimal price for various room types, markets and nights of stay to increase revenue. Currently, the company serves around 2,000 hotels across the globe. Expressing his views on this association, Rubén Sánchez Martín, Founder & CEO at Beonprice said, “We are very satisfied with this alliance. Hotelogix is a trusted PMS provider to the global hotel industry. Through our association, we are sure to help more hotels globally in their effort to boost revenue.” Commenting on this alliance, Patricia Etchehun, Revenue Manager at Hotel Mulen Tandil, Argentina said, “Due to this powerful and much-needed integration, we have been able to keep an eye on market demand and competitors in real-time. And at the same time, we can now effectively follow up the forecast achievement from the marketing plan.  Based on forecast, demand and competitor, and with the invaluable tool that Beonprice & Hotelogix jointly offer, we easily come up with an accurate dynamic pricing strategy which already is showing positive results.” About Hotelogix Hotelogix provides a robust cloud-based Hotel PMS that helps hotels to automate and manage their end-to-end operations with ease. It also assists hotels to drive growth, increase revenue and to enhance their online reputation. The PMS is hosted on Amazon Web Services, and thus offers the much-needed stability and security to hoteliers. The company has rich experience in serving global markets with customers in 100 plus countries including developed geographies such as North America and Europe. About Beonprice Beonprice is a global leader of a Revenue Optimization solution based on Artificial Intelligence to maximize hotel revenue. Beonprice finds the best match between consumer demand and hotel offering through a proprietary AI SaaS technology. Beonprice already has more than 2,000 clients in more than 30 different countries, including international hotel chains such as Iberostars Hotels & Resorts, Room Mate Hotels, RIU Hotels & Resorts, Petit Palace Hotels, Lopesan, and Grupo Posadas, among others.

Drive revenue with attractive hotel packages

Hotelogix

When you aim to increase your hotel revenue, you can’t ignore the power of packages. Hotel packages are a tried and tested medium to drive bookings, increase occupancy, upsell non-room items and boost profits. They are an essential part of your hotel rate management, most importantly during the booking process, as they help you persuade potential guests to book with you. Travellers, no matter how you bucket them, love hotel packages and they tend to book with you if you offer them attractive packages. Not convinced? Here- Take a look at these statistics: According to TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer research, 44% of travellers are looking to book hotels with packages. ·         And moreover, guests who buy packages are less likely to cancel their reservations. ·         Packages are useful to attract repeat and direct customers. Now, don’t you think that you should try to increase your hotel revenue with packages? Here is how you can go about it – Be time-sensitive You generally do not need to worry about rolling out packages during peak seasons, when demand is on the higher side. But here’s the twist - To make the most of your peak season business and to ensure that your hotel is fully occupied, you can consider offering packages to your guests. For example – you can come up with “Book now to stay for 3 nights and pay for 2” and can mark the same package as “non-refundable”. This way, if the guest checks-in or even cancels the booking, you don’t stand to lose anything. Be creative Every hotel in your region offers packages or special discounts on Christmas Day or Valentine’s Day. You could get lost when promotions galore everywhere. So, why not get little creative? Take for example – Veterans Day. Be quick to create a theme around it, create packages for veterans’ families or even for armed force personnel. Launch a campaign around what you offer in advance and the see the difference. Leverage local events If your hotel is in New Orleans, you would have understood what I am trying to say here. Yes, we are speaking about Mardi Gras. In 2019, this will be on 5th March. Start with a well-designed campaign by early February, send out targeted emails and inform your guests about your offer. Create packages for groups by including passes for some popular joints like Café du Monde and Café Beignet and transportation facility to Jackson Square, etc. Do more For your guests, a hotel package is a combination of benefits that come at a fixed price. Look into your low season occupancy rates, create lucrative packages for couples or newlyweds by adding spa and restaurant coupons. Come up with special 2-3 day packages depending upon your location like a safari, sightseeing, dance parties, etc. Think of long school vacations like fall break, spring break, summer break, etc to create family packages by adding zoo passes for kids. How a cloud PMS helps you in this? A smart cloud-based PMS helps you create multiple packages. You can set date-wise validity for each and every package that you create. A Hotel PMS even allows you to set different booking & cancellation policy for every package. You can also define which of your packages are refundable and non-refundable. Once you are done with creating desired packages, your PMS takes makes your job easier. For example - the moment your front desk staff keys in the arrival date, departure date, classification of guests (family, group, newlywed and all), the PMS them displays the applicable packages for that particular date range.

Zingle Announces Four New Integrations to Help Hotels Further Personalize the Guest Experience

Zingle

CARLSBAD, CALIF. (PRWEB) JULY 11, 2019 Leading business-to-customer messaging solution, Zingle, today announced new integrations with several solutions commonly used in hospitality property operations, including Springer-Miller Systems, Maestro, Megasys, and Visual One. As hoteliers continue to look for ways to drive loyalty and personalize the end-to-end travel experience, the integrations allow teams to leverage the full power of Zingle’s AI-based guest engagement platform. With these new integrations, Zingle gains access to key customer data that allows hotels to segment customers, personalize communications, and deliver an elevated service experience. Ingesting critical guest and reservation information also enables Zingle to trigger the creation of service tickets based off of guest messaging conversations, as well as pass conversational intelligence to business intelligence tools to correlate customer communication patterns with spend. “Integration strategy is a critical piece of Zingle’s overall strategy,” said Ford Blakely, CEO & Founder of Zingle. “These new integrations allow our hotel and resort customers to leverage the wealth of data they have access to through their third party systems and put it to work through Zingle’s platform to improve operations, drive additional revenue and create memorable guest experiences.” Last month, the company rolled out several new artificial intelligence and analytics features aimed at increasing loyalty and personalizing the end-to-end travel experience, including auto-categorization, rollup analytics, intent-triggered automation, and conversation analytics.