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5 Ways Concierge Technology Has Changed How This NYC Concierge Team Does Their Work

By Noah Lemiach, Head Concierge, SIXTY Hotels. Changes to websites bring out the best and the worst in people. A small change in how Facebook looks incites both rage and high praise from the internet masses. SIXTY LES has worked with ALICE since October 2014; the launch was initially met with apathetic resistance "Another Hotel Vendor?! We have too many systems already!". Now, my team searches me out to ask "When will ALICE start doing ____?" or "Can we drop ____ and start using ALICE instead"?We decided to look back at the changes and additions made in last year with ALICE. ALICE identified these needs through *many* meetings with our very opinionated staff, as well as with other hotels. One year ago these features only existed as "Wouldn't it be cool if we could use ALICE for ____?", now we have firmly moved to "I don't know how we lived without this". Here's our top 5 ALICE features we've become rabid fans of in the past year.1. Local Vendor & Contact DatabaseALICE first approached us and asked "What's the biggest feature that's missing to enable your concierge team to use ALICE?" We told ALICE they were lacking a way to maintain a local concierge database (restaurants, salons, lounges, etc). ALICE could have just built a basic address book and pat themselves on the back. Instead, one of their first questions was "Interesting; how do you find that information now?". "Most of the time; we use this thing called the interwebs." ALICE identified the ability to save a database of local information only solves part of the issue. The concierge team was spending most of their time scouring the internet and manually adding local vendor information we had found online, into our old online concierge database.When the ALICE team came back with the first version of Local; we were floored. They asked us to add our hotel restaurant into our new ALICE Local. In our old system, we would get ready to type "Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya" search for all the info online and manually copy and paste this info into our database. We only got as far as typing "Blu" and ALICE had already returned our hotel restaurant as a suggestion. With one click, the name, phone, website, full address, hours of operation, categories and a map were automatically populated. One more click, and ALICE automatically pulled in links from Opentable, Menupages, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Thanks, ALICE, for giving me those 10 minutes of my life back.Knowing the address and cross streets does not make a good concierge. What really makes a good concierge is knowing *who* to speak with at the restaurant, a concierge review, our favorite dish, and remembering to guide the guest past a tricky hidden entrance. This concierge specific information is what we are most passionate about. ALICE Local takes care of all the public information that everyone can find; and lets my concierge team focus on adding all those important details that require a concierge hand.2. SMS Text MessagingWhile Texting is not our most used feature, being able to send and receive text messages from guests within ALICE has been a lifesaver. If a guest prefers to text us, rather than downloading an app or calling; my team loves that this comes directly into ALICE. I think that this feature points towards ALICE's passion for becoming an integrated solution which works with our existing software, while also filling the void of software we may not have (like messaging). There are plenty of text message solutions out there; which only handle texting. We like that using ALICE for texting means one less system to constantly monitor. Aside from texting our guests; we also love that we can use ALICE to text our vendors (nightlife promoters, massage therapists, etc) and not worry about constantly checking our mobile phones to see if they have texted back.3. RemindersReminders are another great example of ALICE taking the time to find out what a concierge really needs, rather than just copying something that may already exist. Concierges are used to working from a calendar; any decent calendar program has a reminder option. These are usually limited to something like "remind me about this meeting 15 minutes before". Its very rare that a concierge wants to be reminded about a restaurant reservation 15 minutes before (that may be useful to the guest, but not to the hotel). Additionally, most calendar programs only let you have 1 reminder (and maybe the ability to snooze that reminder). ALICE worked closely with several concierge teams to find out what concierges mean when they ask for "reminders". Now, it's super easy to log a restaurant reservation request and then quickly create a reminder to call to make the reservation 30 days before, another reminder when we find out we need to convince the maitre d' to change from a party of 2 to a party of 6, and a third reminder to call to confirm the reservation the day prior. We love that ALICE realized that a "restaurant reservation" is not just 1 thing, it is a series of actions that need to happen at specific times.4. Digital Logs for Packages and Other ItemsThere are a lot of things a hotel needs to track that are not time definite. A restaurant reservation happens at a specific time, a guest wants more shampoo asap; but there are plenty of things we need to log that do not work well in a calendar. Lost and found, Guest Packages, Valet Parking - many of these things just need to "sit there" until a guest calls to inquire. If a guest receives a package two weeks before they are due to check in... hotels are not really worried about that package until the guest arrives. Additionally, we don't really need to see that package on a calendar at 10:30 AM, mixed in with that day's wake up calls and newspaper requests.Additionally, ALICE realized that in many cases, hotels consider these types of logs as completely self-contained. When a hotel is looking at their "Package" log, we do not want wake-up calls mixed in. ALICE makes it easy for us to still quickly see everything related to a specific guest (across Package Logs and Guest Requests); and also allows us to keep the separate logs we like. Our favorite is using the new Logbook feature to log all of our incoming and outgoing packages. With our old, calendar based, solution - we could only view our packages in one way at specific calendar hours/times. Now, we love that we can sort, filter, and view packages by guest name, storage location, sender's name, and more. We also love the "batch add" feature. Instead of logging 1 package at a time; we can quickly log many packages. Very useful when UPS drops of 20 packages at once! We've also started using the new Logbook feature for Lost and Found, Valet Parking, and we are looking forward to moving some of our other logs into the new Inventory Feature. It will be so much easier to click over to the Logbook section and quickly log something, rather than trying to remember what folder on the network drive we have saved a certain Excel Spreadsheet.5. ALICE's Client SupportALICE Support is, by far, the feature we've found we cannot live without. Many vendors out there are not passionate about changing their product or maintaining usage of their product once the contract has been signed. ALICE is in a very small handful of hotel vendors who strive to excel in these two areas. They never rest and have endless curiosity - constantly asking for feedback as to how they can make existing features better and what new features would be embraced. More importantly, I feel like they actually listen when they ask these questions. They are also great at assessing and improving our existing usage, sometimes before we even realize the issue. Its great to have two way communication with our hotel vendors. I can count on one hand the Hotel Vendors who would call me to say "Last month you logged 100 of this type of request, this month you've only logged 10. Is there something we need to change or update? Why do you think there was such a big drop?"Learn more about ALICE Concierge here: http://info.aliceapp.com/concierge. Schedule a demo of ALICE Concierge here: http://info.aliceapp.com/contact-us.Noah Lemaich, Head Concierge with SIXTY Hotels, has worked various luxury boutique hotels for over over 15 years. Noah has also worked in a variety of "line-staff" positions such as Bellman, Concierge, Front Desk Agent, and Houseman; as well as management level positions at the Front Desk, in Housekeeping, and in the hotel executive offices. Noah has worked in properties ranging from secluded seasonal resorts to busy metropolitan hotels; and has assisted with the opening/launch of over 10 hotels. Previously with Thompson Hotels from 2002-2013, Noah is currently based out of New York City and has been working with SIXTY Hotels since its creation in 2013.

ADB Showcasing Streamcasting Technology at HT-NEXT

ADB SA 29 March 2017
vuCaster by ADB enables hotel guests to use their smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable devices to project their OTT (over the top) content to the in-room TVvuTyme by ADB provides an in-room viewing experience equal to or better than home - with searchable Interactive Programming Guide, Over-the-Top services and moreDenver, Colo. -- Next month at HX-NEXT, ADB will showcase an interactive TV solution for in-room entertainment that enables guests to stream content directly from their mobile devices to the guestroom TV. An essential part of its vuTyme in-room entertainment platform,vuCaster streams or "casts" personalized programming from YouTube, Netflix, Pandora and other premium content providers onto the bigger in-room screen to deliver a frictionless customer experience without the guest having to provide their account login credentials.vuCaster will be on display at Table 19 during HT-NEXT, to be held April 10 to 13 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. With the theme "Be Frictionless," HT-NEXT will introduce hoteliers to technologies that create stays that are effortless, smooth, and with no difficulty. Both vuCaster and vuTyme are designed to remove friction in the guestroom by enabling an entertainment experience that mirrors what users are already familiar with at home."Guests expect the hotel TV experience to be as good as - if not better than - what they have at home," said Chris Dinallo, ADB CTO of Business TV. "When it comes to in-room entertainment, travelers would 'prefer' to watch content that they bring with them using the room TV because 'most hotels don't have any good channels or any way to know what channel is what.' We created vuCaster to make the streaming process as easy as possible."To stream content from smartphones, tablets, portable computers and other mobile devices to the TV, guests simply use the vuTyme on-screen menu to activate vuCaster," he said. "It's not necessary for guests to enter their account credentials for Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others. Once activated, guests launch the vuCaster app on their mobile device. By pressing the Cast icon, content is instantly streamed to the TV. It's frictionless. And, when content is being viewed on the TV, it frees up guests' mobile devices for other activities." vuCaster is powered by Google Casttm (a registered trademark of Google Inc). It is available on all new vuTyme deployments and can be retrofitted to existing installations.vuTyme delivers a complete set of in-room services, including live TV, Video on Demand, Pay-per-view, concierge, local channel, digital signage and targeted advertisements. It also provides Searchable Interactive Program Guide, direct-to-guest messaging through the TV, local attractions map with QR Code, Pause/Rewind/Fast-Forward Live TV, and other guest-friendly features."Hoteliers who are looking for an iTV solution that is high quality, easy to use, and offers a frictionless experience should visit ADB at HT-NEXT," Dinallo said. "vuTyme operates in the cloud, requiring no hotel head-end equipment - just a compact set-back box discretely mounted behind the TV. If streamcasting is on your hotel's wish-list for 2017, then it's time to experience vuCaster and vuTyme."For more information on ADB, visit our website at www.abdglobal.com.
Article by Maeve Walls

Don't Be Afraid to Prioritize Direct Bookings Over OTA Bookings

Net Affinity 29 March 2017
For example, hotel technology provider Mirai recently published an article on the difficult coexistence between Booking.com and your hotel website.They assert that the goal for hotels and Booking.com - and other OTAs - should be a balance, but that the hotel needs to ultimately take control of their inventory.In recent years, Mirai say, the "marriage" between Booking.com and a hotel has turned into something more one-sided, and hotels are waving the flag for freedom.As the OTA business grew more powerful in recent years, Booking.com and other online channels often captured large shares and charged commissions that are far too high to be beneficial to independent hotels. These high distribution costs meant that hotels made less profit despite a higher income.The Book Direct MovementThese high fees and increasing OTA strength sparked the book direct movement. The book direct movement is a determination for hotels to drive direct bookings at a lower cost per acquisition - lower than OTA costs, at the very least.It's important to note that no one is suggesting hotels throw the baby out with the bathwater. OTA's do provide essential exposure (especially for independent hotels), and they help fill low periods.Mirai describes this struggle to drive direct bookings as the 'conflict zone'. Since hotels are now competing with OTAs for bookings, they must limit the inventory they give to OTAs, break parity in prices (where possible), and fight for attention on paid search.This has caused some strife, from Expedia's 'dimming' of hotels to Booking.com's legal struggles over price parity.The Productivity Zone for Direct BookingsFrom all this evidence, it does seem like 'conflict zone' is the appropriate term.However, although it could be called a conflict zone, this area is in fact when the hotel is at its most productive. So, we'd like to propose calling it the Productivity Zone - conflict is simply one part of the picture.Although one of the necessary implications of the proactive book direct actions is conflict with OTA's, conflict is not the core reason for the action the hotel is taking.They are actively managing each distribution channel with KPI's in place to ensure each channel is performing best for them.That proactive stance lets hotels take control of their distribution strategy.Instead of falling back on OTA's as an easy option, hotels are carving out higher profit margins for themselves by putting in the work to drive direct bookings. That's fantastic!Put Your Hotel FirstThey key here is that hotels need to be wise to the agenda of each agency they use. This sounds obvious, but it's an easy mistake to make! Yes, everybody wants hotel bookings, but not necessarily for the same reason the hotelier does.As Mirai notes, "OTA's and Booking.com, like all businesses, primarily look out for their own profit (and not yours)." There is inevitably a conflict of interest. Profitable partnerships are possible, but you need to have clear limits and a strategy going in.It's very common for OTA's to make comments when a hotel begins to implement a book direct strategy. They might tell you that direct bookings are more expensive, or that you risk your hotel losing a 'preferred' status.They might even tell you that change is difficult, and you'll ultimately fail. Here's a well-known, thoroughly debunked piece from Expedia in 2016 arguing that direct bookings are costing hotels big - click here.Taking advice from an OTA on your distribution and marketing strategy is foolish. They are not giving to give you sound advice to help you grow your business directly. They'll give you great advice on profiting on their channels, but that's hardly the same thing.Hearing that no change is needed can sound great - after all, no one really likes to change.However, you're passing up profits, paying too much in commission, and losing on the chance to gain valuable guest loyalty if you don't!ConclusionMirai is correct in their analysis. It's vital for hotels to get advice on their strategy from the right people, and create a long term plan. Stick to that plan even if there's friction at the start. You'll reap the rewards soon, and you'll feel more in control of your hotel's bookings.If you need advice on implementing a book direct strategy (and who doesn't!), check out The Revenue Manager's Guide to Building Direct Bookings as a great starting point.Our top 100 clients saw 41% growth in their direct booking value on average last year. Since we partner with hotels specifically to drive direct bookings at a low cost, our success is your success. If you'd like to chat, send us a message here.

Hotel Staff Technology Introduced at a Hollywood Icon

ALICE 29 March 2017
New York, NY -- Hollywood's iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is using ALICE to optimize staff communication and increase guest satisfaction. The Hollywood Roosevelt, rated number 14 out of 300+ hotels in Los Angeles county, continues to prioritize guest experience, implementing ALICE Staff, ALICE's software module for guest request management in November 2016.As part of an ongoing commitment to staying on the cutting-edge of hotel communications and operations technology, ALICE was brought on board to ensure The Hollywood Roosevelt would continue its legacy of providing the best in guest service.Implementing ALICE Staff has changed the hotel's operations efficiency and approach to guest service management, with all communication and task management being centralized. Once a guest request is entered into ALICE (complete with the guest's location), the staff member in closest proximity to the guest can address the issue and easily let others know he's done so, right in ALICE. Keeping track of all employee activity in ALICE is also providing the hotel's management with actionable data. Managers can see what times are the busiest for staff, and optimize employee schedules appropriately."We are incredibly pleased with the easy-to-use interface of ALICE and implementing the new system has directly contributed to our team being able to handle guest requests in a timely and efficient manner, always prioritizing the guest experience and expectations," says Akshay Bahl, general manager of The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. "ALICE has helped us increase accountability and guest satisfaction."Alex Shashou, co-founder and President of ALICE is pleased the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is seeing tangible improvements in guest satisfaction so soon after launch: "The Hollywood Roosevelt is a Los Angeles institution. We're delighted we can help update the hotel's back of house and contribute to its legendary guest experience."

IDeaS helps hoteliers further optimise group, meetings and events revenue through Smart Space acquisition

IDeaS 29 March 2017
Tweet this: #RevenueManagement news: @IDeaS_RevOpt acquires @SmartSpaceStrat to bridge RM and meeting and event sales roles www.ideas.com/about/newsOn March 3, 2017, IDeaS Revenue Solutions acquired the business assets of Smart Space Strategy Limited. Smart Space pioneered a cloud-based, visual strategy management solution that helps companies analyse the business trends and performance of meeting and event space within hotels and conference centre venues.By combining Smart Space with IDeaS' suite of hotel revenue management solutions, IDeaS will continue to bridge the roles of revenue management and function space sales and marketing, signaling the growing need for technology solution providers to equip hotels with a more holistic approach to a combined sales and revenue management strategy."By combining our revenue management expertise with a function space sales and strategy-focused application like Smart Space, we can help our clients sell, market and manage meeting spaces with more precision and detail than ever before," said Sanjay Nagalia, chief operating officer for IDeaS. "This acquisition represents an incredible opportunity to blend traditionally siloed roles and will help integrate revenue management into the events business. We're thrilled to welcome the Smart Space family to IDeaS."Function Space Revenue OpportunitiesGlobal spending on meetings and events continues to rise, and the need for hotel and event managers to understand the impact of group business is critical. Smart Space creates a firm connection between revenue managers and event sales managers by providing visibility into meeting and event demand in a powerful web-based tool. It seamlessly pulls data from other sales tools to strategically manage meetings and event functions, allowing hoteliers to collaborate and create ideal pricing scenarios for group business.Additional InformationHeadquartered in London, Smart Space was founded in 2015 and presently all current team members will transition to IDeaS. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. All existing Smart Space client agreements will transition to IDeaS and be honoured under their current terms and conditions.Click here for more information about Smart Space.

How can technology shape the future of business travel | By Neha Arya

Hotelogix 29 March 2017
Millennials form a large segment of business travelers, and according to the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Indextm, by 2020 they shall comprise half of the global workforce. So a lot of the changes in the travel industry majorly depend on the needs of the new business traveler.So what does the future of Business Travel look like?Dominance of Digital Interaction - With the increased usage of Smartphones and tablets, 85% of all customer interactions will be digitized by 2020 as per Microsoft's predictions. Airline and hotel booking, blocking of seats, reserving dining options, adding extra facilities all shall be done via the Smartphone. All sectors of travel industry are now investing heavily in mobile friendly websites or apps so as to cater to their guest's needs and requirements. Today's travelers require information at the tip of their fingers and don't want to wait for it to be available.Combination of business and leisure trips - Today a business trip doesn't mean that the guest would be at work or at meetings from 9 to 5. Work timings, job descriptions etc. have changed drastically. Millennial travelers are interested in mixing business with leisure either during their trips or by extending their trips. Hotels are now redefining their concept of business hotels, guests don't just need internet access and business centers, but they are also looking at other local experiences that they can enjoy.Going Green - travelers as well as the hospitality industry are becoming more and more conscientious. They realize that we are constantly abusing our natural resources, so hotels, cruise, buses, flights etc are looking at ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint and are incorporating the same in their marketing collateral.Personalized Services - With the gap between business and leisure travelers being very thin, travelers prefer to have personalized services being offered to them. Via data collection by hotels or their booking gateways, guests expect to have more choices as per their past travel history. By lieu of Google based advertisements and direct marketing options, guests already have choices being sent to them as soon as they start even considering their travel options.Rise of sharing economy - In our previous blog we have mentioned how AirBnB's are giving hotels a run for their money. Business travelers as well as those who are staying at a particular place for a longer duration prefer Airbnb's or homestays rather than the conventional hotels, it offers more flexibility and space to themCashless payments - Digital money transactions are rapidly becoming the norm, digital wallets, online transfer are replacing cash and credit card transactions.Artificial Intelligence - Robots and kiosks are replacing the front desk in many hotels across the globe. Millennial travelers prefer instant check-ins and check-outs through kiosks are the best solution. Hotels also use Robots for their concierge service and other departments. Hilton Mclean in Virginia, USA has partnered with IBM and is using 'Connie', the hospitality industry's first robot butler as the hotel's concierge. Connie provides basic information such as the spa and gym timings, location of the nearest bank, things to do as well as personalized information for a consumer's needs.The Future of Business Travel looks extremely interesting and it shall keep changing at a rapid pace especially seeing the pace in which technology is constantly changing.Make your hotel more business-travel friendly with Hotelogix PMS. Take the Hotelogix trial here!

Hoteliers tell all in new SiteMinder report: "Being bookable and visible online is our No. 1 business focus"

SiteMinder 29 March 2017
A report by the global hotel industry's leading cloud platform, SiteMinder, has found that the ability to grow direct bookings and online presence is the top business focus for hotels this year. The finding, documented in SiteMinder's Global Hotel Business Index 2017 released today, is based on more than 2,100 survey responses from hoteliers at both independent properties and hotel groups around the world.According to the report, the ability to increase direct bookings and grow online presence is a higher business priority for hoteliers than mobile bookings or personalization to enhance the guest experience. The paradox, SiteMinder says, is that in spite of 95 percent of respondents ranking 'driving guests to book direct' as a challenge, only 37 percent nominated 'exploring new hotel technology and systems' as a high priority for their hotel business."The results of SiteMinder's inaugural Global Hotel Business Index is, again, evidence of the desire among hotels to maximize online channels and grow their business, but also the contradictory hesitation among them to try new technology that can support that effort. What hoteliers struggle to realize is that you can't prioritize one without the other," says Mike Ford, managing director at SiteMinder."Outdated technology and systems - and the high costs that typically come with those - are rampant in our industry. As the consumers, hoteliers are in a unique position to change that. However, it is on us, as an industry, to understand the reasons for these sentiments and to make our technology more affordable, more accessible and ultimately more beneficial for the hoteliers we design the technology for."Over the 12 months ending June 2016, hotel customers of SiteMinder generated US$16 billion in revenue using the company's cloud-based booking and distribution technology - a 116 percent rise from the same period two years prior. Of the US$16 billion, US$1.05 billion was made through SiteMinder's direct booking engine, TheBookingButton, to represent a 43 percent year-on-year increase.Mike Ford says, "We are clearly witnessing an unprecedented rise in online bookings - both direct and via third party channels. With the ability to be set up within days and pay a flat monthly fee as little as US$37 ongoing, SiteMinder's solutions are examples of how simple it can be for hoteliers to achieve their desire of increasing direct bookings and growing their presence online, and forego the perception that driving guests to book direct is a challenge."SiteMinder's Global Hotel Business Index also examines what keeps hoteliers passionate everyday, how closely they watch their competition, and the industry trends they believe will accelerate in the next 10 years. Download the report free at siteminder.com/resources.About SiteMinderAs the leading cloud platform for hotels, SiteMinder allows hotels to attract, reach and convert guests across the globe. We serve hotels of all sizes with award-winning solutions for independents and groups alike, wherever they are in the world.SiteMinder's products include The Channel Manager, the industry's leading online distribution platform; TheBookingButton, a wholly-branded booking engine for direct bookings via the web, mobile or social; Canvas, the intelligent website creator for independent hoteliers; Prophet, the real-time market intelligence solution that takes the guesswork out of pricing rooms; and GDS by SiteMinder, a single-point of entry to a six-figure network of travel agents and the world's major global distribution systems. With more than 24,000 hotel customers and 550 of the industry's top connectivity providers as our partners, today we have presence in more than 160 countries on six continents.For more information, visit www.siteminder.com.

Otrum Digital Signage integrates with Philips professional display solutions Android platform

Otrum 29 March 2017
"Otrum and Philips have a long history of cooperation, and we are thrilled to announce that our partnership now encompasses digital signage. At the upcoming HITEC Amsterdam conference, Otrum Digital Signage will be presented together with our Philips D-Line range - truly showcasing the power of embedded Android OS." states Franck Racape, EMEA Commercial Director, Philips Professional Display Solutions.Mr. Nigel Bateson, SVP Products at Otrum, comments "Otrum has been approached by a number of major clients who have expressed a wish to use Otrum Digital Signage software together with Philips professional displays. The benefit of an in-house R&D team meant that we could react swiftly to these demands. The digital signage software team were able to integrate the Philips Android screens with a short development cycle. We anticipate a significant market growth with the inclusion of Philips Android professional displays in our portfolio" About Philips Professional Display SolutionsPhilips Professional Display Solutions is operated by TP Vision and MMD, subsidiaries of TPV established in 2009 through a brand license agreement with Philips. TP Vision and MMD exclusively market and sell Philips commercial displays and Philips monitors worldwide. By combining the Philips brand promise with TPV's manufacturing expertise in displays, TP Vision and MMD use a fast and focused approach to bringing innovative products to market. TP Vision and MMD operate with their Global headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.philips.co.uk/p-m-pr/professionaldisplays

Urbanest Darling Square Bolsters Trendy Design and Reputation with Innovative Door Lock Solutions from ASSA ABLOY Hospitality

ASSA ABLOY Hospitality 29 March 2017
Stockholm -- Urbanest Darling Square (Urbanest), an intelligently designed student accommodation complex located in Sydney, Australia, has enhanced security and convenience by installing ASSA ABLOY Hospitality's Visionline wireless online solution alongside its VingCard Signature RFID door locks, equipped with mobile access compatibility. The locking solutions will work in tandem with ASSA ABLOY Hospitality's mobile app to create convenient mobile access for Urbanest's residents."Our student accommodation concept is based around providing residents with modern rooms and fantastic facilities that offer top technological solutions," said Matt Fountain, Operations Director for Urbanest. "We knew that to keep our vision going we needed to implement a locking solution that met the needs, not only technologically but aesthetically, of our residents. After months of research, we decided to reach out to ASSA ABLOY Hospitality for their innovative mobile access locking solutions. We knew the designs they used in combination with their technology would give our rooms the look we desired with the security that our residents need."ASSA ABLOY Hospitality's Mobile Access operates with secure Seos technology, creating innovative security solutions by collaborating with property management systems to assign digital keys to each room and securely deliver them to residents' smartphones. The technology generates an encrypted digital key within the ASSA ABLOY Hospitality app that pairs with a resident's smartphone, giving them exclusive mobile access to their room or suite. Once a resident swipes their phone, the app transmits the encrypted key using the device's Bluetooth capability, ensuring total room access security and convenience.Through implementation of the VingCard Signature RFID door locks, facility leadership additionally gains enhanced security functionality due to the platform's use of cutting-edge anti-cloning technology. With Visionline, personnel are also able to remotely monitor which keycards have accessed a particular area of the property and when. Any cards suspected of unauthorized use can consequently be deactivated remotely in order to minimize any threat to resident safety.The current installation is the first stage of this project for Urbanest, with stage two commencing later this year. The property currently offers 635 rooms for students and is centrally located near Darling Harbour. It is within walking distance from UTS, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Sydney, public transportation and multiple shopping centres.For more information on ASSA ABLOY Hospitality and its comprehensive line of locking solutions, please visit www.assaabloyhospitality.com.

New Edition of AHLEI's Front Office Textbook Shows Impact of Technology on Operations

Educational Institute 29 March 2017
The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has published the tenth edition of one of its bestselling textbooks, Managing Front Office Operations, by Michael L. Kasavana, Ph.D. This textbook provides a comprehensive overview of a hotel's front office and the role it plays in creating memorable guest experiences. Readers will learn how the front office interacts with other departments, strategies front desk personnel can use to help keep the hotel profitable, and how e-commerce and social networking affect front office operations.The tenth edition features several new sections related to the impact of technology on hotel operations, including information on social media platforms, mobile services, mobile device connectivity issues guests may experience in hotels, mobile payments, and how the Internet of Things will affect guest service. New material has been added on key cards and keyless entry technology. In addition, the section on income statements has been revised to reflect the most recent edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry.Managing Front Office Operations, Tenth Edition, is available in print and eBook formats, and is also available as a Distance Learning course.Educators at hospitality management programs in the United States can order this and all AHLEI textbooks directly from AHLEI, as the organization discontinued its distribution agreement with Pearson Higher Education, effective July 1, 2015. U.S. academic customers can place orders and request desk copies by contacting academics@ahlei.org or by calling 1.800.344.4381 or +1.517.372.8800. Industry customers can order online at www.ahlei.org.

Guestline appoints HotelREZ as a GDS representation partner

Guestline 29 March 2017
HotelREZ, one of the largest and fastest growing hotel representation companies in the world, has been appointed as a GDS and distribution partner to Guestline, a leading provider of cloud-hosted property management (PMS), distribution and digital marketing technologies for the hospitality industry.The two UK-based companies have already put in place a certified 2-way XML connection, which ensures hotel customers benefit from seamless connectivity between both providers. With this new partnership, Guestline customers are able to distribute real-time rates and inventory to the Global Distribution Systems (GDS), primarily used by travel agents, as well as to millions of other bookers using websites powered by the GDS worldwide. In addition to this, HotelREZ customers can benefit from Guestline's online merchandising platform, WebSuite, and channel management services.Guestline customers can also benefit from access to HotelREZ'S own network of preferred travel agencies and consortia partnerships, as well as its global demand programme, which includes corporate and MICE RFP generation."Recognising that the GDS is of great importance to hotels' bottom line, we decided to broaden our distribution offering by partnering with HotelREZ, who are recognised as a global leader in the hotel representation sector. Our certified 2-way connectivity has already proved beneficial to a significant portfolio of mutual clients, providing them with optimal revenue and yield capabilities. Coupling Guestline's Rezlynx PMS with HotelREZ's unique distribution capabilities adds significant value for customers." Rupert Gutteridge, Sales and Marketing Director at Guestline."Guestline offers a best in breed property management system, and exceptional service to its customers, so we are delighted to have been selected as a GDS representation partner. HotelREZ is continually focused on leading the market in providing a range of flexible entrepreneurial distribution, sales and marketing tools, aimed at independent hotels worldwide on an individual hotel or Private Label basis. We believe a combination of Guestline technology and our distribution platforms offers the very best solution for hotels looking for revenue growth." Mark Lewis, founder and CEO of HotelREZ.Guestline and HotelREZ working in partnership will provide hotels with significant business distribution capabilities and ensure the latest technologies are available to Guestline customers. Contact us here for further information.For more information on the suite of products and services available from Guestline, please visit www.guestline.com

International Hotel Management Group (IHMG) to implement Guestline's cloud hosted and mobile hospitality solutions across their hotel brands

Guestline 29 March 2017
The IHMG team selected Guestline as their preferred provider of centralised and integrated hospitality solutions to enable the efficient and effective management of each of the 11 properties from any device at any time from any location. It was essential for IHMG to upgrade from their previous disjointed, non-integrated system that also required manual loading of rates and availability across the group. With built-in rate management, this will no longer be an issue and will free time and resources for alternative duties.Guestline were selected to provide a scalable solution that will support the IHMG team with their extensive expansion plans across Europe. IHMG will benefit from an ongoing programme of product development and upgrades across the suite of products, enabling them to stay up to date with latest enhancements and to utilise the latest technology available to them.Inge van Laar, Manager Business Process & Information Technology at International Hotel Management Group said, "The customers' experience is of upmost importance to us. We are keen to increase automated processes wherever possible to allow the front of house teams to spend more time enhancing the guests' stay at the hotel and to minimise the customers' effort to book online - thus creating a seamless and enjoyable customer journey.We use Rezlynx mobile across a range of tablets to allow quick, easy & mobile check in and out of the hotels. The installation and training we received was second to none, the disruption to our business was non-existent and most of our data was seamlessly transferred from the old property management system to Guestline. We were concerned about losing the invaluable customer history data we have collected on our guests but, again, this was seamlessly transferred into Rezlynx with limited disruption experienced."The need for a hospitality solutions provider capable of supporting the requirements of a growing hotel group with improved reporting, smarter property management and mobile technology to develop their business and focus on lucrative revenue streams was very important to IHMG. The company can now benefit from flexible, easy to use technology, with clear overviews and comprehensive reports across the estate, accessible at any time from any place.Matt Willacy, VP of Strategic Business at Guestline added, "IHMG has embraced Guestline's superior solutions and has selected Guestline technology to power their operational efficiencies and enhance their effectiveness. IHMG is a very welcomed addition to Guestline's rapidly increasing customer base and we are looking forward to supporting the IHMG team during this exciting time of growth and expansion."To arrange a demonstration of the suite of hospitality software solutions available from Guestline, please visit www.guestline.com or contact us via enquiries@guestline.com
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Article by Jos Schaap

How Open APIs are Transforming the Hotel Industry

StayNTouch Inc. 29 March 2017
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been gaining relevance among hoteliers to transform their business and develop their digital capabilities for some time, but have they truly been harnessed to their full potential? As the 'digital glue' that links applications together, APIs foster collaboration with both internal and external partners and resources, and ultimately optimize operations and guest experiences. There is certainly a beneficial impact on the hotel industry when technology providers can integrate with other systems using proprietary or Open APIs to assist hoteliers in cutting costs, driving revenue and delivering exceptional service. However, with the vast number of vendors floating around the hotel technology industry, the utilization of APIs to drive results has become a driving force in hotel software selection.When one looks at the complexity of hotel operations, the complex nature of inventory distribution and all of the other touchpoints that affect a hotel, it's no wonder that systems need to communicate effectively with each other. In a Phocuswright research paper titled, APIs: A Strategic Imperative published in April of 2016, Bob Offett, the writer of the article stated that there is a growing API economy where there are a number of businesses solely focused on being providers of APIs. The growth of APIs has been surging, and this is a very good thing. It levels the playing field and enhances the decision-making process when looking at purchasing hotel PMS systems.In the paper, Offett writes that "APIs are the digital glue that enables new revenue for exciting business, and provides for new ecosystems, many of which have yet to be defined."The hotel industry is at a technological expectations cross-road. Hoteliers are inundated with a vast number of service providers, technology vendors/partners, and distribution challenges. Hoteliers have to deal with all of these issues, and on top of this, they have to ensure that their guests are happy. Being a GM/Owner of a hotel today is incredibly more complex than it was 20 years ago. Hoteliers need to look at companies that enable them to focus on the real aspect of why hotels were built in the first place. To offer a guest somewhere comfortable to rest and to deliver excellent service, ensuring that the next time the traveler returns, they choose to stay at your hotel. Of course, it also comes down to running a profitable property. Getting back to basics on-property should be a hotelier's top priority, leaving the technology to take care of itself.Many APIs are now trending towards open interface architecture, whereas in the past, technology companies looked at these types of integrations as revenue sources. Companies would keep the data behind private iron curtains, practically holding the hotelier hostage. The introduction of Open APIs is forcing technology vendors to add value to their primary offerings rather than trying to rely on revenue from interfaces. Ultimately this is a huge win for hoteliers. By working with technology partners that have a clean, Open API which other developers can readily connect to, hotels to can implement other systems without limitations and the fear of yet another cost.The technological beating heart of any hotel is the property management system (PMS). In the past, it was likely stored in the basement of a hotel, possibly connected to another "parent brand system" and also connected to other on systems such as the POS, a PBX, a Call Accounting system, a spa system, and so on. These connections would have been serial, and though they functioned and served their purpose, the hotel's technology infrastructure was unable to scale in concert with new platforms that no longer needed to reside on-premise.So, fast forward a few decades, and we are now in a time when new solutions for the hospitality industry are launched virtually daily. Many of these products are cloud-based and not handcuffed by antiquated technologies. Most of these systems seen as periphery systems -systems that are important such a guest engagement solution. However, if a hotelier does not implement one of these types of periphery systems, they may not be detrimentally impacted in the short term. The real transformation is happening with primary systems. Systems that are imperative to have in order to run hotel operations at the highest level.The main system, as stated early, is the hotel's PMS. Choosing a PMS that has the flexibility to deliver an Open API is key and will help you make viable future technology investments. Being able to implement a cloud-based PMS, with a Software as a service (SaaS) delivery model that enables a hotel to instantly connect with guest service applications, as well as many other applications, is finally a reality.As guest expectations continue to change and the technology that surrounds our industry keeps evolving, decisions related to transitioning to new platforms and solutions can seem daunting. Fundamentally, hoteliers need to look for systems that provide technological flexibility by using Open APIs, and ultimately, select innovative systems that deliver on their promises.

METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars demonstrates success rate of startups

Metro AG 29 March 2017
First class participating in the Accelerator for the hospitality industry is successful with investors: startups have attracted investments of more than USD 52 millionThird round of METRO Accelerator with new solutions for the digitisation of the hospitality industry begins on 11 September for a third timeApplications now welcome at https://hospitality.metroaccelerator.comAndreas Wuerfel strengthens the Accelerator team as Director Global Innovation Community at METRODusseldorf, 28 March 2017 - The startups participating in the first METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars have had great success with the international investor community through their digital solutions for the hospitality industry. The Accelerator programme's first class has so far managed to raise more than USD 52 million in funding. METRO is now opening the third round of the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality with the well-established cooperation of Techstars, in order to promote digital solutions for the hospitality industry. Startups can now apply on the website https://hospitality.metroaccelerator.com. The programme begins on 11 September in Berlin.With a current investment sum of more than USD 52 million, the 10 startups participating in the opening round of METRO Accelerator by Techstars in 2015/16 have achieved higher average investments than the startups in all programmes of the US partner company Techstars. Ten out of 11 participating startups are now active in the market and thus mirror the 90% success rate of Techstars startups. "We are thrilled about the success stories the participating startups have been showing in such a short period of time," says Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. "However, it is most important that we contribute to making our customers, entrepreneurs from the restaurant and hotel sectors, more successful in a sustainable way. The digital tools of METRO Accelerator help our customers in scaling their productivity and services and thus, growing even more competitively in a digital world."Success of startups through investments and partnershipsAmong the latest success stories are companies such as Flowtify: the provider of paperless quality management in the hospitality and food industry, won High-Tech Grunderfonds (HTGF) as an investor a few months ago. In exchange for a stake of 15 percent, HTGF invested EUR600,000 in the Cologne-based company.Participants in the second Accelerator programme in autumn/winter 2016 have also been able to claim some remarkable success already: Frag Paul, a digital staffing assistant for restaurant operators, has been cooperating with METRO Cash & Carry Germany."With METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars, we are offering exactly what many startups are lacking in order to get started: insights and contacts relating to the hospitality industry. The companies get the opportunity to expand one's own knowledge and client base through pilot projects," explains Andreas Wuerfel, Director Global Innovation Community at METRO. "It is precisely this mix that leads to good growth results for the participating startups." Wuerfel, himself a renowned expert on collaborations between major companies and startups, is strengthening the METRO Accelerator team."The close cooperation between Techstars as a leading startup network and METRO as one of the world's leading wholesalers has proven that there is a highly attractive market for digital solutions in restaurants and hotels for investors as well as operators. We still have a long way to go before we exhaust this potential," says Jens Lapinski, Managing Director Techstars of METRO Accelerator. "The third round of the Accelerator will push the boundaries here in every respect - we are now in a position to fully exploit the sales capacities for digital products that METRO has built up. This gives young companies significantly improved market access, and therefore a competitive advantage."Startups receive mentoring, market access and financial supportMETRO Accelerator for Hospitality powered by Techstars starts on 11 September 2017 in Berlin. After three months working with more than 100 international mentors, the startups will present their company to investors, leading industry representatives and members of the public at the so-called Demo Day in December 2017. The programme offers participants the following opportunities:10 selected teams receive an investment offer of up to EUR120,000 eachAccess to top management and the expert networks of METRO and TechstarsMentor advice from METRO and Techstars as well as other leading industry representatives, investors and entrepreneursFree use of co-working workspaces in the heart of BerlinMembership in the international alumni network of the Techstars and METRO Accelerator.Interested companies and start-up teams from all over the world can now submit their online applications to METRO Accelerator for Hospitality powered by Techstars Retail until 18 June 2017.Further information is available at: www.metroaccelerator.comUnder the umbrella of the METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars, METRO and Techstars, in two programs, help international start-up teams in the development of digital solutions. One of the programs focuses on solutions for the hotel, restaurant and catering sector while the second program is aimed at the retail industry. In the framework of the three-month programs organised in Berlin, experienced mentors and experts will in each case help ten selected start-ups to successfully develop their own business further with regard to customers and investors. The METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars was launched in 2015 with a regularly hosted hospitality program that is the unique in the world. More information available at www.metroaccelerator.comThe METRO GROUP Wholesale & Food Specialist Company (W&FS Co.) is an internationally leading specialist in wholesale and food retail. With its sales lines METRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as its other associated companies, METRO GROUP W&FS Co. operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people around the world. In 2015/16, METRO GROUP W&FS Co. achieved sales of around EUR37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. More information is available at www.metrogroup.de and https://wfsco.metrogroup.de/Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of start-up programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world's most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and Do More Fastertm. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey - from the idea to venture capital investments to M&A and IPO. For more information visit www.techstars.com.

Digital analytics, demystified: Three analytical techniques to amp up your digital efforts

By Kelly McGuire
"Analytics" is a big buzzword in every industry. The domain can seem complex and vast - and it is. Particularly in emerging areas like digital, there is a lot of noise around the techniques available and their application. Wyndham's Kelly McGuire shares with The Hotel Yearbook three popular digital analytics techniques that can help hoteliers drive value from their digital efforts, describing what they are used for and discussing the algorithms that underpin them in business language.

Duetto Announces Michael Schaffner as Head of its New Office in Germany

Duetto 29 March 2017
London -- Duetto, the market leader in hotel profit optimization technology, announced today that it has appointed to Michael Schaffner to head sales and service in the "DACH" region of German-speaking countries of Europe: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Schaffner is based in Munich and can be reached at Schaeffner@duettoresearch.com. The announcement comes as Duetto further accelerates it growth throughout Europe, where its cloud-based Revenue Strategy solutions are already in place at more than 700 hotels in 20 countries."We are happy to welcome Michael to Duetto," said Duetto CEO Patrick Bosworth. "Duetto's GameChanger application enables hotels to fully optimize revenue and manage distribution complexity, and our expanding suite of cloud-based solutions provides hotels with unprecedented tools for enhancing personalization and building loyalty in a rapidly-changing and highly competitive marketplace. We look forward to Michael's contributions as we continue to help hotels worldwide achieve new levels of excellence in Revenue Strategy.""I am pleased to join Duetto at this important and dynamic moment in the company's growth," Schaffner said. "From big brands to regional operating companies and smaller boutique properties, hotels in central Europe offer distinctive experiences in wonderful locations, but often lack the tools to optimize price and build loyalty among guests. I look forward to introducing the benefits of Open Pricing and Revenue Strategy to support their growth in the years ahead."Schaffner joins Duetto with more than 10 years of management experience in the hotel industry across Europe. He most recently served as Director of Sales and Marketing at Seranata Intraware and before that held several sales management positions at Nor1. He also held property management positions at distinctive hotels in Frankfurt and in the USA. Schaffner is active in industry associations and networking groups throughout Europe. He is a Lecturer at Ravensburg University of Cooperative Education, Ravensburg, Germany, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration.About Duetto Duetto delivers the most powerful Revenue Strategy solutions to the world's leading hotels and casinos, allowing them to better manage pricing, revenue and business-mix decisions with superior, actionable data.The unique combination of hospitality experience and technology leadership enables Duetto to provide new insights on pricing and demand as a true cloud-based software-as-a-service. With Revenue Strategy and Revenue Intelligence solutions that address the challenges of today's hospitality industry, Duetto helps hotels and casinos optimize profits and guest loyalty.Thanks to rapid marketplace adoption, Duetto is expanding in key markets throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. More than 1,500 hotel and casino properties in more than 60 countries have partnered to use Duetto's Revenue Strategy and Revenue Intelligence applications.

The Rainmaker Group to Present Total Revenue Management Approach for Casino Hotels at INFORMS 2017

The Rainmaker Group 29 March 2017
ALPHARETTA, GA -- The Rainmaker Group, (Rainmaker) the market leader in profit optimization solutions for the gaming and hospitality industry, is set to present a step-by-step approach to total revenue optimization for casino and gaming properties at the INFORMS 2017 Business Analytics Conference, being held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, April 2-4. The informative session, entitled "Vegas Predicts: How the Prophets of Gaming Called the Trend for Profit Optimization" will be presented on Monday, April 3 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. During this strategic session, which is in the Revenue Management and Pricing Track, Angie Dobney, Rainmaker's vice president of pricing and revenue management services, will detail the data-driven methodology behind the total revenue management approach that has been successfully implemented by many casino properties in recent years. Dobney will also explain the specific processes that revenue managers can use to strategically price and protect room inventory for the property's most valuable guests by segment, as well as by individual spending and play patterns."Since gaming revenue typically is significantly higher than room revenue, casino hotels have traditionally left money on the table by over-discounting and comping rooms without the real-time data to back up those decisions," said Tammy Farley, co-founder and president of Rainmaker. "A more strategic and profitable total revenue management approach goes far beyond those antiquated methods by considering the total value of each segment and individual customer, based on all available revenue streams, including gaming, room revenue and ancillary revenue such as F&B, wellness and retail. By factoring total spend into their pricing decisions, gaming resorts can refine their practices to significantly impact overall profitability of the property." Using this total revenue management approach to effectively optimize profitability, casino hotels have shifted from measuring their success by RevPAR, which is rapidly becoming outdated, to TRevPAR (Total Revenue Per Available Room) that includes revenue from both gaming and non-gaming activities. By forecasting demand for each customer segment based on total spend, casinos can determine the optimal mix of customer segments for each date and use real-time data to target them with the most strategic pricing and promotions for each."Casino hotels can win big by using data-driven solutions that also factor in total guest value by arrival date and length of stay, to ensure that rooms are always available for their most valuable customers," concluded Farley. "Hotels can forecast each segment's demand, determine the optimal mix based on the profitability of each segment, and then make pricing decisions that target this ratio. In our session at INFORMS, we will show them how to do this, step by step, in order to yield the best results." For more information on Rainmaker's revenue management and business intelligence solutions, please visit: http://www.letitrain.com/

Ming Fai to Showcase NEW Kube Essentials Mobile Device Charger at HOTELEX Shanghai

Kube Systems 27 March 2017
Visit Ming Fai in Stand E3J01 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center March 28 to 31Jericho, NY -- This week at HOTELEX Shanghai 2017, Ming Fai will unveil a new multi-device charger for guestrooms that features unmatched versatility in its charging output. Not only can the new Kube Essentials alarm clock power ALL mobile electronics, including smartphones, tablets, cameras, and wearable technologies, but it's AC output enables guests to charge laptops. With a small footprint and an even smaller price, the new Kube Essentials from Kube Systems will be on display in stand E3J01 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center March 28 to 31."For the first time, hotels across Asia Pacific will be introduced to a mobile device charging product that offers design versatility, powering capability, price point and small footprint in one unit," said Ming Fai Marketing Director Tracy So. "Kube Essentials offers a lot more for a lot less, including built-in charging cables - one Apple Lightning and one Micro USB -- that are upgradeable to next generation charging formats. For example, the Micro USB cable can be upgraded to USB Type-C (reversible plug capability). Kube Essentials also features two USB Ports and an optional wireless Qi charging pad that enables guests to drop and charge their compatible mobile device on a large four-inch surface. This product has everything today's hoteliers and guests need - and then some.""We are delighted that Ming Fai - as the authorized distributor of Kube Systems products in the APAC territory - will be revealing Kube Essentials at HOTELEX Shanghai," said Dave Weinstein, Kube Systems Vice President. "The 117,000 visitors and 4,800 overseas buyers attending this show will get to see it first - and offer it first to their guests as a must-have amenity. With mobile device charging solutions growing in high demand at major hotel brands across Asia Pacific, we are confident that Kube Essentials will be generating a lot of buzz at HOTELEX Shanghai."HOTELEX is a series of leading hospitality equipment, supplies and fine food trade fairs China, held in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou. HOTELEX Shanghai covers the entire hospitality and catering value chain from Catering Equipment, Tableware, Appliances & Amenities, Textile and Uniform, IT & Security, Fitness & Leisure, to Food and Beverage, Bakery & Ice Cream, Coffee & Tea, Wine & Spirits, and more.MORE FROM KUBE SYSTEMSIn addition to the Kube Essentials unveiling, Ming Fai will also showcase other Kube Systems solutions, including the LinkTechtm Charge Station/Player/Alarm Clock for guestrooms and the Kube 5 (KS) portable charging station for public areas. Both products are compatible with virtually all smartphones and tablets, and each can power up to six mobile devices simultaneously. The LinkTech product provides an in-room experience that enables guests to listen to their personal music while powering multiple devices at the same time all within proximity to each other and without a lot of clutter at the bedside. The Kube 5, when strategically placed in high-traffic public areas like the lobby bar or restaurant, keeps guests staying longer and spending more. It also has proven to be a value-added sales tool for meeting planners.Compatible with all Apple(r), Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices, LinkTech Clocks are available in black or white and come with or without Qi wireless charging. Each Kube Clock features an Apple Lightning, Apple 30-pin, and Micro-USB flip-out cable, two additional auto-sensing USB ports. LinkTech Clocks are programmed via an Android App. This app is part of the Mobile Room Programmer Kit and offers a GUI touchscreen experience, making it easy for hotel staff to customize each unit. The flip-out charging cables are modular to keep units from becoming obsolete, thereby protecting the owner's investment when charging standards change.The Kube 5 - which comes as a kit of five portable units and one charging tray - is ideal for restaurants, lounges, lobbies and meeting venues. If a guest is running low on phone power, hotel staff simply trades a guest's credit card or ID for the Kube portable unit and slips it into the appropriate slot in the Charging Tray. Each Kube can be programmed with a variable timeout function to limit user time and avoid power squatting. When Kubes are placed freely upon tables, optional locking points and security cables can be implemented for added security. Kube 5 provides up to nine hours of charge time at speeds comparable to those from wall outlets.For more information on Kube Systems, visit www.kubesystems.com. For details about the Ming Fai distribution network, visit www.mingfaigroup.com.
xmsEnterprise CRS

Xn protel Systems launches next generation cloud-based Central Reservation System xmsEnterprise CRS

Xn protel 27 March 2017
Global hospitality management software company Xn protel Systems today announced the general release and availability of xmsEnterprise CRS, a modular, cloud based, mobile ready, reservations and distribution platform. This follows successful pilot projects in Europe, UK, Middle East and Asia and more than five years' intensive software engineering led by Xn's USA based CTO Ken Fisher.Engineered for the cloud, xmsEnterprise CRS is designed for use by hoteliers, serviced apartment operators, online booking providers and reservation sales offices, globally. The system provides highly cost effective CRO/CRS operations, centralizing availability, rates, rules, inventory and content for all properties.Guest reservation processes are simplified, centralized and managed from one application for all booking channels. Two-way connectivity to PMS, OTA, GDS and ADS channels harnesses the power of the internet using open standards of technical integration and seamless interfaces, to reduce human effort and lower booking costs. The system removes barriers to rate and inventory distribution, simplifies mobile and web booking for guests, companies, agents and groups, using intuitive end-user screens throughout.xmsEnterprise CRS also enables global sale and inventory control of packages, room extras, upgrades and even interconnected spa services and golf tee time bookings. Authorized guest preference data is exchanged securely with CRM systems. Booking profiles are delivered seamlessly to CRM and PMS ensuring past preferences are saved for enhanced service delivery for regular guests.xmsEnterprise CRS provides a globally scalable, functional, cloud reservation system that can be managed from any web browser. It connects all booking types to your global sales offices, irrespective of source, with inventory synched to and from a hotel's property management system.The system can be used as a componentized solution with gradual expansion where relevant. Modules released include Distribution Management, Web Booking, Mobile Booking, GDS, OTA Direct, Channel Manager and Central Reservation Operations. A cost-effective pricing model ensures a match between global inventory count, business size, functionality requirements and budget. Delivered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS), xmsEnterprise CRS reduces cost and IT complexity.Travel industry distribution partnerships, utilizing HTNG industry interface standards, can readily build two-way interface bridges between their own cloud applications and xmsEnterprise CRS. Xn's open approach to distribution partnerships aims to remove barriers of inter-connectivity within the Industry's evolving and complex booking ecosystem.Xn protel Systems' Chief Executive, Greg Spicer said: "xmsEnterprise CRS provides a globally scalable cloud based CRS that drives low cost reservations from direct mobile and web bookings, while supporting seamless inter-connectivity to myriad booking partners. As a ground-up, cloud-based development undertaken entirely by our in-house software engineering team, xmsEnterprise CRS builds upon the extensive experience and domain knowledge gained over the last twelve years with our successful predecessor product Xn globalRES."We are proud and encouraged by the performance of xmsEnterprise CRS within a range of demanding projects conducted during our monitored release program. Based on extensive user feedback gained from initial global projects and with scalability tested on public cloud infrastructure up to 200,000 rooms, we are confident that xmsEnterprise CRS can scale up to support practically any accommodation business globally. Helping operators save cost, serve guests, drive top-line revenues and improve yields. We are very excited to formally announce the general release of xmsEnterprise CRS."
Article by Sarah Came

What Hoteliers Need To Know About Personalisation Technology

GuestRevu 27 March 2017
In today's world of easily accessible big data, personalisation (admittedly in variably successful forms) is ubiquitous. People you have never had a conversation with in your life send you marketing emails addressed to you by name, and Facebook wishes you happy birthday, knows what news you will be interested in, and makes videos of you and your friends.Businesses in all industries are becoming increasingly digital and data-centric, and the data-enabled push towards personalisation hasn't passed the hospitality industry by. According to research by Samsung, nine out of 10 hoteliers believe guests will expect their stays to be personalised by 2020, and, if you're worrying about guests feeling uneasy about the invasiveness of technology, don't - Software Advice, an online technology reviews firm, discovered that even technology as powerful as facial recognition software would be welcomed by 41% of guests if it was used to personalise their stays.Your guests expect you to know them before they arrive, they assume that you know what they want and are ready to provide it, and they expect to be treated as individuals - the best (and possibly only) way to do this is with data analytics. The data on your guests is everywhere - in their social media accounts, in their interactions with your website, in their IP addresses, and, if you ask them for it directly, in pre- and post-stay surveys.Many hoteliers have begun to take advantage of the ease with which modern technology allows them to collect and interpret data to enhance efforts at personalisation, so what kinds of tools and resources are available to help hoteliers implement personalisation?1. Tools for basic personalisationBefore you stride confidently out into the world of data capturing, ready to serve guests their favourite dessert of their childhood on the anniversary of their high school graduation, you need to perfect the task of remembering what guests have already told you.To make personalisation possible, you first need technology that makes it easy to store, retrieve and use guest data collected during the booking process (and previous stays). At the very least, you should know your guest's name, how to contact them, how many people are in his or her party and what room (or room type) they have booked.Of course, this kind of data is hardly complex, and you could collect and store it with a piece of paper and a pen. However, as basic as this information is, it is the foundation upon which the rest of your personalisation data will rest, so it is wise to collect it electronically.Centralised guest dataThe vast majority of hotels these days will use some kind of property management system (PMS), which collects this basic data about the hotel guests. Because the data collected in your PMS is the primary data you will build guest profiles upon, it is best to choose a PMS that can be integrated with any other technology you have in place, or might choose to implement in the future.Guest pre-stay communicationAnother basic building block for personalising guest experiences is simply asking guests if there is anything in particular that they want. Pre-stay surveys are an easy way to get started with personalising a guest's experience - for example, you can ask about bedding, toiletry and minibar preferences or check if guests have dietary restrictions.2. Tools for better personalisationIf you want to take personalisation seriously, travellers' experiences with your hotel's brand in the digital space can and should be personalised long before they decide to book with you.Personalising prospective guests' digital experienceAs soon as a person lands on your hotel's website, it is possible to track where in the world the session originates from, for example. This allows you to partially "personalise" that visitor's experience with your brand; you could offer your content in that country's official language, or show them your prices in the local currency.While it is possible to do so without one, a sophisticated content management system (CMS) will track information such as location and make it easy for you to alter the content displayed depending on a variety of criteria. These types of CMSs also make it easy for you to use cookies* to 'remember' visitors to your website.Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can also help with delivering the right message to the right person at the right time by helping you to segment your contacts, as well as allowing you to find out more about previous guests so that you can further personalise their future visits.Personalising future visits, sales and marketingThe process of collecting data that can help with personalising guest stays needn't stop after a guest's first visit. Post-stay questionnaires are a vital part of gathering the information you need to learn not only more about your operations and where your hotel is doing well and where you need to improve, but also more about individual traveller's likes and dislikes.This information can be used to personalise guests' future stays at your hotel (or at another hotel in your group), as well as to help you to discover what kinds of marketing communication guests might be interested in in the future so that you can send them more targeted offers.Although we have listed it as a more advanced tool from a personalisation perspective, some kind of guest feedback system should be part of every hotelier's basic management arsenal.3. Tools for over-the-top personalisationWhen it comes to personalisation, the line between just right and over-the-top will obviously be dictated by your guests' likes, dislikes and expectations. However, the sky seems to be the limit when it comes to personalisation technology, especially when you consider the myriad of possibilities provided by the powerful technology in guests' pockets - smartphones.Some large hotel chains have begun developing custom mobile apps that act as concierges in guests' smartphones, helping them check in and out, make dinner reservations and plan outings in unknown cities.Other apps have been developed that allow guests to control "smart rooms" remotely via their smartphones, so that they are in charge of their own personalisation experiences. Such technology can allow guests to customise room elements like lighting, entertainment options and temperature remotely.What about Human Resources?Of course, technology can't do it all alone, and even hotels experimenting with robot concierges still have human staff. Human resources are undoubtedly still needed to manage data analysis and personalisation efforts (for the time being at least), and it is questionable whether it would even be desirable for the majority of hotels to eliminate human interaction.The human touch, rather than the technology, is probably what most guests will remember about their stays. When used well, technology helps to facilitate the human interaction guests need for their stays to be special, and when technology helps to automate processes, it frees up staff members' time so that they can attend personally to guests.While technology systems can help you gather, store and retrieve valuable data, and make personalisation that much easier, it is also important not to rely too heavily on technology. The warmth and genuine interpersonal connection of good hospitality will often outweigh a fancy app.What about privacy and safety concerns?As soon as you begin storing data about individuals, you accept responsibility for the safety of that data. Because of the amount of data now being collected and stored by almost every website people visit, people are becoming more concerned about security and privacy.Make sure that people are aware of what information you are recording, use the information responsibly (and never sell it to third parties) and make sure you have done everything you reasonably can to keep people's personal data safe.Remember that different demographics will take differently to the knowledge that their interactions with you are being recorded, so it might be wise to gauge your guests' sentiments when it comes to the matter of privacy versus personalisation.How can a hotel get the most out of personalisation technology?In every touchpoint that your guest has with your hotel, from the very first time they visit your website to months, or even years, after they have stayed with you, there are opportunities to gather data about that guest and technology to help you do it.The key to getting the most out of this technology and the separate data points it collects is integration. Making sure that your different technologies are as integrated as possible with one another will allow you to build a rich, consolidated portrait of each guest over time, and allow you to collect and retrieve data in such a way that it is actually useful when it comes to personalising your guest experience.Creativity in your use of the data you collect will help you to stand out from the crowd - having tech that automatically addresses a person by name in an email is nifty, but it's not real personalisation. Technology can't do personalisation for you, its role is to provide you with the tools and information you need to make sure that your establishment's natural charm and hospitality is felt by each individual in a way that is meaningful for them.*While most people take cookies for granted these days, there are laws in some parts of the world that may require you get consent from your website visitors before you use some types of cookies.

Guestline showcase extensive suite of cloud based hospitality solutions at HITEC Amsterdam

Guestline 24 March 2017
Guestline, leading providers of hospitality software solutions with over 25 years' experience in the hospitality sector, will be showcasing PMS, distribution and digital marketing technologies at HITEC Amsterdam.The company will be demonstrating their comprehensive product suite, which includes the award winning property management system, Rezlynx, channel distribution technology and the extensive range of digital hospitality marketing solutions.Thousands of hotel properties worldwide are partnered with Guestline for their products and services, including Legacy Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels, Innkeepers lodge, Greene King, Best Western hotels, plus a growing range of other accommodation providers in other sectors including SACO Apartments and CRM students.A popular choice for independently owned properties, large groups, management companies, serviced apartments, pubs, hostels and student accommodation, Guestline hospitality software solutions are scalable, secure, functionality rich and highly recommended by users.The first of three HITEC events in 2017, HITEC Amsterdam, on March 28-30 at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, has seen pre-registration already exceeding the expected attendance numbers.Rupert Gutteridge, Sales and Marketing Director at Guestline, who will be attending the event with colleagues from Guestline, said, "2016 was a fantastic year for the Guestline team and 2017 has started out even better. We have seen incredible growth across the world as more and more properties are utilising the advanced hospitality technology delivered by our development team.As we move through to our next phase of growth, emphasis will be placed on extending integrations with third party services, strengthening our European presence and expanding into new territories.HITEC Amsterdam gives us the perfect platform to connect with professionals throughout the industry and our representatives will be available to demonstrate the software at stand 19."For further information on Guestline products and services or to arrange time for a meeting at HITEC Amsterdam, please click here.

Swiss Hotel Chain Movenpick Uses Cloud To Avoid 'Cemetery Of Brands' | forbes.com

FORBES 24 March 2017
Movenpick is hoping to escape what its CEO Olivier Chavy called the "cemetery of brands" during a presentation at Oracle Industry Connect here this morning. Profit margins in the hotel industry are between 1% and 2%, and are being squeezed by a combination of macroeconomic and industry-specific factors, such as a changing distributor landscape, tighter management agreements, and higher capital requirements for borrowing. But according to Chavy, hotel operators are under greater threat from organizations like Uber and Facebook, which can leverage platforms to create experiences. He noted that Uber is the world's largest taxi company yet owns no taxis; Airbnb is the world's largest hotel company yet owns no real estate. And he sounded a note of alarm, claiming that many in the hotel industry are evolving too slowly to survive. "In the hospitality industry, we are in the age of stone," he said.

How Monscierge is Killing the Cheeseplate

Monscierge 24 March 2017
We at Monscierge couldn't agree more. Over the last ten years, I've been privileged to work with some of the world's brightest hospitality minds. Our mission? To kill the cheeseplate. With help from one particular person in the industry - we've figured out how. Let me explain.In 2014, Monscierge and Dolce Hotels and Resorts entered into a relationship where we connected with the then VP of Technology, John Edwards. We've since embarked on a journey together discovering new ways to implement hotel technology. Now the CIO at the Red Lion Hotel Corporation, Edwards and the Monscierge team have worked to create a platform that transforms the guest journey from just "taking trips" to instead, "having experiences".The only way to get there was to start with a complete, unified work of technology that allowed hotels to connect and communicate with guests throughout the entire journey. Most industries had this technology years ago, and have set the bar high for user expectations with regard to what a platform like that can do, especially in hospitality, an industry thats very foundation is service.Beginning with thought-leaders like Edwards, we discovered more partners with similar goals and began building a new ecosystem of service, for the service industry.To accelerate the mission, Apple is helping us impact the iOS traveler's experience faster and better than we can on our own. And with options like Apple Financial Services our hotelier clients are able to support their largest-scale rollouts and get help managing their device inventories. With guidance from the teams at Apple, we are transforming the guest experience by using the Apple Watch combined with beacon technology for guest recognition, and putting iPads in guests rooms to recommend local experiences and book onsite amenities, and developing the Apple TV to order room service and stream guests' content better and faster. As an Apple MPP partner, we've built an experience center that realizes this journey; for others to experience first-hand using live product in the field.Monscierge's patented communication framework - delivered through Apple to the guests and staff of the Red Lion Hotel Corporation - will soon incorporate machine learning and AI to connect guests to immersive local experiences. Having the functionality and power of one platform combined with partners like John Edwards, Red Lion, and Apple - we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what's now possible in hospitality technology.We're now taking what we've discovered with Red Lion and deploying it with some of the world's largest brands. We're strengthening the connection between hotel staff and guests every day. We're customizing and personalizing the guest journey like never before. Yep. We're killing the cheeseplate.To visit the Monscierge Experience Center and see how we're killing the cheeseplate in hospitality, you can reach me at: killingthecheeseplate@monscierge.com
New Oracle MICROS Tablet 720
PRODUCT FEATURE – Oracle Hospitality

Oracle Hospitality Fosters More Meaningful Guest Experiences with New Mobile POS and Robust Analytics

Oracle Hospitality 24 March 2017
Oracle Industry Connect -- Today Oracle Hospitality announced the launch of two new innovations for food and beverage and hotel customers, at the annual Oracle Industry Connect event in Orlando, Florida. The new Oracle MICROS Tablet 720 provides new mobility capabilities for hospitality operators, while the launch of Oracle Hospitality Reporting and Analytics 9.0 provides food and beverage operations with a greatly enhanced solution for identifying revenue generation and cost saving opportunities."Hospitality brands of all sizes are looking for new ways to accelerate growth while delivering a differentiated guest experience," said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality. "With today's announcement we are providing our customers with a new ruggedized mobile POS capable of engaging guests in new ways across a variety of segments including hotels, restaurants, stadiums, casinos and cruise ships. Combined with the Oracle Hospitality Reporting and Analytics 9.0, we are arming food and beverage operators with new insights that can streamline the operations of their businesses."Enhanced Revenue Opportunities and Guest Experience with Oracle MICROS Tablet 720The new MICROS Tablet 720 is a durable mobile point-of-sale tablet designed to allow hospitality staff to engage consumers away from traditional terminals. The MICROS Tablet 720 combines the usability of traditional mobile devices with rugged features and extended battery life to meet the needs of unique hospitality experiences found at bars, casinos, cruise lines, hotels, restaurants and stadiums."For the hospitality industry, guest experience and speed of service are everything. Operators need to be able to provide amazing guest service wherever the guest is," said Jay Upchurch, vice president of strategy, Oracle Hospitality. "We engineered the new Oracle MICROS Tablet 720 to improve the way consumers and the hospitality industry engage with one another by providing a ruggedized device capable of serving customers in diverse environments and integrating with our existing Simphony and OPERA management suites for mobile access to real time data."Increased Revenue and Cost Control Opportunities with Reporting and Analytics 9.0The Oracle Hospitality Reporting and Analytics solution is used in over 50,000 restaurants, hotels, bars, coffee shops, stadiums, theme parks, and other hospitality operations around the world. Fully integrated with Oracle Hospitality POS systems, Reporting and Analytics provides managers with insight to sales, revenues, and other key performance indicators.The release of Reporting and Analytics 9.0 integrates with Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). Oracle's powerful analytics engine, OBIEE is renowned worldwide for its capability to provide visual reports that enable industry leaders to create a data-driven culture."With increasing competition, food and beverage operators need to be able to analyze their data and identify ways of cutting costs and increasing revenues," said Upchurch. "Reporting and Analytics is an integral part of our Simphony Cloud point of sale solution, which means that our customers are now receiving additional value with a powerful analytics system as part of their cloud POS service for no additional cost.""The integration of Oracle Business Intelligence with Reporting and Analytics is also another example of how the Oracle acquisition of MICROS is bringing benefits to our customers, as Oracle investment and technology are brought together with MICROS domain expertise."

Ocean Park Inn Chooses Agilysys rGuest(r) Solution Suite to Strengthen Operations and Enhance Guest Service

Agilysys 23 March 2017
ALPHARETTA, GA. -- Agilysys, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGYS), a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, today announced that Ocean Park Inn in San Diego has selected Agilysys' next-generation cloud-based rGuest(r) Stay property management system and the rGuest(r) Pay payment solution to strengthen operations and enhance guest service at the 72-room boutique hotel.The beachfront property caters to both business and leisure travelers, with its contemporary rooms and suites, in-room amenities and superior location on the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. The executive team wanted state-of-the-art property management technology that would address the entire guest lifecycle as well as a payment gateway that would secure guests' financial data and reduce the risks associated with credit card acceptance. After an extensive search, they selected the Agilysys solutions based on ease of implementation, guest-centric functionality and ability to drive competitive advantage."We strive for excellence in guest service, so we wanted technology that would facilitate and enhance the guest experience from check-in through check-out," said Elvin Lai, president and CEO of Ocean Park Inn. "rGuest Stay is a truly innovative property management system that not only will streamline our operational efficiency but also will help us connect more closely with guests, while rGuest Pay will secure guests' financial information and help protect the hotel against data breaches. We look forward to using these solutions to build our business, maximize revenue potential and, most importantly, offer more personalized service."rGuest Stay is a groundbreaking cloud-based property management system built on the Agilysys rGuest hospitality technology platform. The guest-centric, standards-based PMS relies on the rGuest open platform to enable rich integration with applications delivered from Agilysys, its partners and customers. It offers business-driven outcomes, helping properties increase revenue, reduce operating costs and strengthen guest connections. With integrated analytics, rGuest Stay also delivers real-time management information so that hotels can accurately forecast demand and scale services accordingly.Ocean Park Inn is also using rGuest Pay, the Agilysys payment gateway that enables complete and secure payment processing. It leverages one of the only payment offerings that includes: validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE), which reduces the potential for malicious hacking and fraud; a Payment Information Proxy (PIP) that secures data arriving via e-commerce interfaces; robust tokenization, which eliminates storage of cardholder data; and a full range of fixed and mobile EMV-ready payment devices that ensure compliance with new card security regulations."Hotels of all sizes are embracing the rGuest solution suite for its flexibility and guest-centric qualities," said Jim Walker, senior vice president of global revenue at Agilysys. "rGuest Stay takes property management to a new level of effectiveness with open architecture, unsurpassed product integration and a 360-degree view of guest information. And, with unparalleled security as a core requirement for rGuest Pay, hotels and other hospitality venues can be assured that cardholder data is safe and protected at all times. These solutions will work together to help Ocean Park Inn streamline operations, maximize profitability and engage guests more effectively."Ocean Park Inn is located on the Pacific Beach Boardwalk, within a few miles of area attractions and only 15 minutes from San Diego International Airport. The property features 72 rooms and suites, underground gated parking, an ocean view pool, and meeting space. Ocean Park Inn received the 2015 TripAdvisor 'Certificate of Excellence Award' for outstanding traveler reviews.

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