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Article by Mark Ross-Smith

Talking Data: Hilton VP of CRM Jonathon Wardman

·25 January 2017
Travel industry big data specialist, Mark Ross-Smith, speaks with Jonathon Wardman Vice President CRM at Hilton about hotel guest data, how Hilton is leveraging the use of data, and the success of the much publicized Stop Clicking Around campaign. Hilton has not fully embraced the power of big data and predictive analytics, and we hope Jonathon can provide more insight to what Hilton is up to in the big data space.Jonathon has been with Hilton for over 10 years in business technology roles. For much of his career, working on projects that design, build or implement revenue management systems. Jonathon took over CRM three years ago with the goal of expanding optimization, data-driven marketing and personalization across the customer journey and in all customer channels.Mark: Hilton collects a lot of guest, hotel and ephemeral data. What challenges do you face in utilizing this data?JW: We are very fortunate in that our guests are willing to engage with our brands more than ever. We are able to find out about our guests' preferences before, during and even after a stay. In return, our guests expect the most personalized experience possible. Delivering a consistent, timely, and relevant experience for every one of our guests is one of our biggest opportunities and one that we will continue to focus on as we continue on this personalization journey.Mark: To what degree is data-driven decision making used to improve the guest experience?JW: By booking directly with us, we can collect data about our guests' preferences. Does a guest want a room close to an elevator? Do he/she prefer a high or low floor? Does the guest need extra towels or pillows before check-in? By mining this data, we can anticipate our guests' needs and consistently deliver a great experience. We also conduct regular qualitative and quantitative research to keep up with our guests' changing needs and focus on what they care about most. We also analyze our own guest feedback from Hilton's SALT (Satisfaction and Loyalty Tracking) surveys to learn more. For example, we knew that Wi-Fi was the most widely used on-property amenity according to our customer satisfaction data, which is why we made it a complimentary benefit for all guests who book directly with Hilton.Mark: In 2016, Hilton launched the 'Stop clicking around' campaign to promote booking direct at Hilton.com. Can you share some insights and data around the success of the campaign?JW: The Stop Clicking Around campaign was a huge success, particularly as it relates to Hilton HHonors. We quantified the success of the campaign against our key pillars of measurement (i.e., membership base and satisfaction and tool/benefit usage). In the last year alone, the program gained more than 9 million new Hilton HHonors members. Awareness around the Hilton HHonors app has also surged to an all-time high. The app is now the highest rated travel app in the app store, downloaded once every eight seconds - that's more than 600 times an hour.Mark: How important is data-science to Hilton from a strategic viewpoint?JW: Our commitment to guests in return for sharing data and preferences is used to deliver personalized experiences. Data science is a key capability that enables us to find trends to help get smarter in product design (from where we build hotels, new brands, room design, pricing constructs), marketing (real-time, omni-channel, relevant and timely) and in delivering exceptional customer experiences.Mark: Data-driven or gut feeling marketing? What is the right balance?JW: It's definitely a balance. We work with a lot of data, and the biggest opportunity for us is knowing how to use that data and truly understanding it, especially as it relates back to the guest experience. Factor that in with a great marketing campaign, such as Stop Clicking Around, and you're able to attract new guests and find out more about our existing guests. Ultimately, it all works together to enable us to provide the best experience to our guests.Mark: Most hotels have a difficult time in selling premium rooms, and suites. How is Hilton leveraging big data/business intelligence to buck the trend and achieve higher paid occupancy in suites?JW: Hilton has a set of comprehensive tools to help hotels measure RevPar by room type and to optimally price /revenue manage premium rooms. We are continually reviewing the display and content used to market premium rooms, and we're currently testing retailing room upsell offers in the online booking path. Our digital check-in platform, which offers Hilton HHonors members detailed floor plans and personal room selection before arrival, is a logical platform on which to expand the retailing of premium rooms.Mark: 'Personalization' is an industry buzzword currently. Hotels have been on the forefront of providing highly personalised guest experiences for decades, but, moving forward, how do you see technology and the role of big data playing a deeper and more important role in guest personalization?JW: People depend on their mobile devices more and more and we're seeing this in the hospitality industry, as well. By giving Hilton HHonors members the ability to turn their phone into the "remote control" of their stay, members can personalize their stay and take any friction out of the travel experience. For example, members can use the app to view the hotel floor plan and choose their room based on the best view. Or if members want to by-pass the front desk, they can enable Digital Key to go straight to their room. By utilizing the app, we are also able to pull these preferences and gain a better understanding of what our guests expect and what they want out of their travel experience.Mark: What's the best use of, or most interesting use of big data/data science/BI you have seen in the travel industry?JW: Hilton recently won the ANA Genius Award for use of data science in matching offers to customers in our email and web channels. From our 13 brands and global regions, we ingest hundreds of offers each month. We employ sophisticated analytics to attribute offers, score customers' propensities and match the right offer to the right customer. This means computing trillions of possible combinations to find the optimal matches.

React Mobile Integrates Safety Platform with Amadeus Service Optimization Solution "HotSOS" Allowing Hotel Workers to Call for Help

Tourico Holidays, Inc. ·2h
SEATTLE - React Mobile, the company that offers the most effective personal safety solutions for enterprises, today announced that it has partnered with Amadeus to power widespread panic button alerting capabilities for global hotel brands utilizing Amadeus Service Optimization Solutions, (HotSOS and HotSOS Housekeeping). As a result of the partnership, hotel workers at more than 70 percent of global hotel brands in over 70 countries will now have emergency alerting capabilities available to them."A number of cities - including New York and Seattle - have passed local legislation that mandates the availability of a mobile panic button for every hotel worker," said Robb Monkman, Founder and CEO of React Mobile. "By combining the React Mobile Safety Platform with HotSOS and HotSOS Housekeeping, we're able to help Amadeus hospitality customers save time and money while addressing these new requirements. For those not yet mandated to enhance the safety of their employees, this is an opportunity to be proactive on a very important issue that will help to create a safe and confident workforce at hotels around the world."HotSOS is a cloud-based mobile solution for full-service hotels that manages the guest request, service order tracking, and preventative maintenance scheduling, while reducing costs. In particular, HotSOS Housekeeping automates the daily housekeeping operation, resulting in reduced check-in wait times and increased guest satisfaction. In 2015, HotSOS Housekeeping saved hotels $116 per guestroom by prioritizing the process of guestroom cleaning, digitizing the guestroom inspection process and mobilizing the management of the department virtually.Under its agreement with Amadeus, React Mobile will integrate React Mobile SOS widespread alerting capabilities into the HotSOS mobile offering. Hotels with the upgraded HotSOS offering can give their employees the React Mobile "Sidekick" panic button that will pair directly with a hotel worker's smartphone. The React Sidekick panic button allows users to activate a widespread emergency alert without having to access or unlock their smartphone in an emergency.Amadeus customers will also benefit from the React Dispatch Console, a software solution that helps corporate security professionals quickly identify incidents, shorten response times, document events - and ensure the safety of everyone under their protection. The React Dispatch Console combines alert management, computer aided dispatch, and incident reporting in one central application for improved situational awareness and faster response times. The technology enables emergency dispatch centers to receive React SOS alerts around-the-clock, as well as the ability to immediately identify the person in distress - and their exact location."The safety capabilities that React Mobile brings to HotSOS are of great value to our hospitality customers facing new legislation at the local level," said Lee Horgan, CEO of Amadeus Hospitality. "Implementation is extremely easy, and it provides a turnkey solution driven by a combination of GPS positioning and manual status updates provided by team members on an ongoing basis."One of Seattle's ten largest hotels, operating as part of the world's second largest hotel group, will be among the first properties to enhance worker safety as a result of the partnership.For more information about React Mobile or to learn more about its safety solutions for the Hospitality industry, visit: http://lp.reactmobile.com/i-124-seattle-hotel-safety/
Article by Michael Garvin

Why Location-Based Machine Learning Is the Smart Path to Personalization

RoamingAround ·4h
People are good at forgiving the capriciousness of other people. When our normally gregarious barista has a morning when he forgets to smile, he is easily forgiven -- chalk it up to "one of those days," we all have them. However, our tolerance and patience with quirky, unpredictable technology is non-existent. Which begs the question: with so many brilliant advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, why are so many businesses so far behind in adopting the kind of technology that can create true personalization?Hire your own engineerAnyone who has used voice recognition software understands that all it takes in one misinterpreted command and a user's annoyance quickly snowballs into expletives. But what most people don't realize is that machine learning saved SIRI from becoming Apple's version of Ishtar -- a big budget bust. Despite the verbal abuse SIRI takes on a daily basis, she is a machine learning success story. In a recent eye-opening article on Backchannel, Steven Levy details how machine learning and artificial intelligence permeate nearly all of Apple's products and services.We can forgive our fellow humans for erring, but machines are expected to be divine... all the time. This unbalanced expectation is why it is so imperative that businesses adopt mobile marketing technology that gets smart about personalization and engages without annoying.Most small and medium-sized business owners would be happy enough to hire a summer intern to take care of their tech needs, so the thought of implementing a mobile marketing initiative that incorporates machine learning may seem a bit daunting. While mobile engagement still sounds abstract to many, it is becoming necessary -- the good news is you don't need your own Apple egghead to do it. Other pioneers of machine learning like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have helped democratize the technology so smaller businesses can get in the game.What we "Like" vs. what we preferEvery business -- from hotels to hospitals to the corner cafe -- is at the mercy of reactionary negative reviews. But when that same reviewer is satisfied, their mounds of praise and proactive positive reviews tend to fall by the wayside. Even the data gathered from declared preferences such as social media "favorites" are misleading and a poor predictor of real spend. Just because somebody claims to like the latest Haruki Murakami novel doesn't mean they actually finished it -- or even bought it.Because of the discrepancy between preference perception and preference reality, the data from traditional machine learning is non-representative. The algorithms operating on it rely on brute-force to try to make up for insufficient contextualization. The result is the equivalent of a Facebook post from the top of the Eiffel Tower, when in reality the user is at the bottom of their parents' basement. Adding location aware technology to machine learning is the smart path to true personalization.Good data makes a good neighborhoodThe foundation of location-based machine learning takes as its foundation an opt-in, whereby users allow a mobile app to submit information about geographical locations visited throughout the day. Geo-data and dwell-time can be correlated against online rosters of locations with category keywords to make inferences about a user's preferences, buying habits, and demographics. It can supplement declared interests, spend events, and all other types of online data to grow exponentially better profiles over time. The patterns it identifies are more meaningful and representative of what the user really prefers. Adding location to the equation replaces assumptions with accurate conclusions.Think beyond the app and embrace the next generation of customer engagementTo be successful, mobile engagement must be precise and tactful. If the communications are annoying, embarrassing or inconvenient, the customer will quickly and unceremoniously ditch your app. A single download is hard enough -- forget about second chances.Adding location-based machine learning means filtering out those annoying promotional bad guesses and delivering useful content, offers and promotions. The app can predict real interest based on long-term, continuous, real-time sampling. Businesses that can capitalize on their customers interests at the right time, in the right place will establish their brand as valuable, personalized and trusted.It's what you do with the dataWhen data from location-based machine learning is aggregated from large sample sizes, it can give absolutely stellar reports. How often and in what locations do loyalty users visit the competition? What can a business infer based on their movements about age, sex, household income, and spending habits? With the right data a brand can keep the relationship with the customer warm while they're off-property, out-of-town or on a budget. Offering the right deals and communications that are relevant to real interests means that the relationship between man and machine is getting better all the time. The big guys like Apple, Amazon Google and Microsoft have laid the foundation, now it's time for smaller businesses to build their own castles in the sky.

The Mark Hotel Selects Agilysys Point-of-Sale Solutions to Boost Efficiency and Enhance F&B Operations

Agilysys ·10h
ALPHARETTA, GA. -- Agilysys, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGYS), a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, today announced that The Mark Hotel in New York City has selected InfoGenesis(r) POS and InfoGenesis(r) Flex to streamline food and beverage operations at the 150-room luxury property. The agreement continues the expansion of the company's leadership position in the upscale hotel and resort market.The Mark is a five-star property that features luxury hotel accommodations and residences as well as a fitness center, full-service salon, meeting rooms and several dining options. The hotel's executive team wanted both fixed and mobile point-of-sale solutions that would optimize efficiency and enhance guest service. The Agilysys InfoGenesis systems were an ideal fit, with state-of-the-art features and functionality that will enable the property to offer a quality experience in a variety of settings."With InfoGenesis, we have the best of both worlds - a combination of fixed and mobile point-of-sale solutions that deliver comprehensive functionality and maximum flexibility," said Imran Raja, director of information technology at The Mark. "InfoGenesis combines an accessible user interface with powerful reporting and configuration tools, and the system is easy to learn and easy to integrate with other solutions. We're excited about the opportunities it will give us to improve productivity, strengthen our F&B operation and enhance our market position as a premier New York City destination property."InfoGenesis POS is a comprehensive point-of-sale system that combines easy-to-use terminal and tablet touchscreen applications with industry-leading offline capabilities. Designed for a broad range of operations, it features real-time reporting, support for flexible menu types, and multi-language capabilities that drive service flexibility and increase operational efficiency. The system easily manages any combination of food, beverage and retail services, and integrates with other Agilysys applications and a wide variety of third-party offerings.InfoGenesis Flex is Agilysys' mobile POS solution that offers full point-of-sale functionality delivered on a convenient tablet device. InfoGenesis Flex provides signature capture, adaptable kitchen and receipt printing for large service areas, and a feature-rich mobile experience for foodservice operations. The solution is designed to keep revenue flowing in the most demanding high-volume environments, and its powerful offline capabilities ensure uninterrupted performance, even where Wi-Fi connectivity is inconsistent. Both InfoGenesis POS and InfoGenesis Flex are available as on-premise or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions."A reliable and feature-rich point-of-sale system is critical to creating and maintaining guest confidence, and InfoGenesis is one of the most powerful and dependable solutions on the market," said Jim Walker, senior vice president of global revenue at Agilysys. "Its flexibility and functionality will keep transactions flowing, ensure seamless integration with back-office technologies and give The Mark Hotel an edge against the competition. It will also enable the property to create lasting connections with guests that encourage loyalty and drive repeat business."The Mark Hotel, located in one of Manhattan's most exclusive neighborhoods, is steps away from Central Park and within walking distance of New York City's finest shopping, restaurants, galleries and museums. The five-star property features 150 rooms and suites, 10 residences, a 1,400-square-foot fitness center, full-service salon, 24-hour business center, and the hotel's signature dining establishment, The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges. The Mark is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, a collection of globally recognized independent hotels.

Legacy Hotels select Guestline's Hospitality Software Solutions

Guestline ·10h
Guestline are pleased to announce that Legacy Hotels and Resorts are now live with the Rezlynx property management system across the portfolio and have reported a strong increase in Average Room Rate since the implementation. Legacy selected Rezlynx, part of Guestline's unique, cloud hosted suite of solutions for the hospitality industry, to assist them in increasing revenues, streamlining operations and lowering costs.Legacy selected Guestline because of their requirement for a comprehensive business-driven solution that offered extensive hotel reporting functionality coupled with remote system access. In addition, Guestline's Support and Development teams were key infrastructure components in the selection and implementation process for Legacy - along with system ease of use, fully integrated EPoS and the extensive Conference and Banqueting offering.Tori Ackling, Revenue Manager at Legacy Hotels and Resorts explains, "The Guestline systems have allowed us to become much more efficient in our operations and in utilising the data collected across our properties. The two-way interface with Best Western allows information to be shared easily across the partnership making marketing and reporting a much simpler exercise.The Advanced Conference and Banqueting Manager has assisted us in driving more revenue growth across the properties and the Guestline systems are easy to use, allowing us to train new staff quickly and cost effectively.I cannot praise the Support department enough; they are fantastic and have always left us fully satisfied. The whole booking process is a much simpler and speedier process, making the customer journey much more enjoyable for our guests.Guestline is a company with great customer service and hands on support when required which is exactly what we wanted in choosing a provider."Legacy Hotels & Resorts have hotels across the UK and Southern Spain and are continually expanding their portfolio. In addition to the managed hotels, Legacy also offer a collection of 'Associate' hotels. These hotels are all privately owned and managed but have chosen to join the Legacy family.Rupert Gutteridge - Sales and Marketing Director at Guestline added, "Legacy Hotels & Resorts is an innovative hotel and leisure management Company and we are very pleased to be the chosen supplier to provide future proof software and services. The team needed a system that could accommodate the need for a cloud-based solution that could be used across the portfolio of properties and Guestline ticked all of the boxes."To find out how Guestline solutions can help your property, arrange a demonstration here.

Little Group is ready for authentic-style restaurant openings in Abu Dhabi with the implementation of new centralized, cloud-based POS solution

Xn protel 24 January 2017
Global hospitality management software and services company Xn protel Systems today announced the go-live of two restaurants, out of sixteen contracted new sites, for the Little Group. They are the Little Mexico, Saadiyat Island and Little Paris, Corniche in Abu Dhabi. The further fourteen sites will be opening in Al Wahda Mall and Yas Mal in Abu Dhabi and La Mer in Dubai throughout 2017.Abu Dhabi-based Little Group operates restaurant, catering and consultancy divisions. Its restaurants aim to offer diners authentic experiences from cities around the world, with Little Mexico and Little Paris already operating in Abu Dhabi and more to follow in Dubai. Established in 2016, the company is preparing to open Little New York, Little Roma, Little Soi Bangkok, Little Shanghai, Little Tokyo, Little Mumbai, Little Mykonos, Little Beijing and Little Honolulu in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.xnPOS is an enterprise, full-service, cloud-based, Point of Sale solution that enables single and multi-site hotel and food service outlets to reduce operational complexity and provide a faster, more efficient service, whether face-to-face or self-service. It is an easy to use, highly customizable, feature rich, multi-lingual, open and scalable solution, for use within table service, quick service and bar & kitchen operations. xnPOS is centrally managed with enterprise-wide scalability, while also being Android, Windows 10 mobile touch ready. It is fast, robust and enables mobile operations for staff.Thomas Gebler, Chief Culinary Officer, Little Group said: "Local-grown brands cater to the specific requirements of the local market and benefit from their owner/operator being right behind them to drive innovation and quality. Working closely with Xn protel we will provide our brands with the latest Point of Sale technology backed by friendly, efficient support to create smooth business operations and happy customers."Emmanuel Clave, Vice President GCC and India, Xn protel Systems comments: "We are delighted to be working with such a distinctive and exciting group of restaurant brands. Taking our belief that every business is unique, with its own requirements, we have made specific customizations and integrations to make sure xnPOS is a perfect fit for Little Group. We wish them huge success and look forward to supporting them all the way!"About Little GroupDreamed up by Thomas Gebler, a trailblazing lover of food and a seasoned restaurateur, Little Group is big on many things. From the colours on our walls to the flavours in our dishes, we are brave and we are bold. We move with the passion of Mexico and the tenacity of New York, the elegance of Paris and the energy of Mumbai. We know our cities, we know our food and we know how to have fun.When it comes down to the little things, we're big on those too. Honest, wholesome and hearty portions presented in hip, vibrant spaces and served by genuinely happy people; we think quality is in the detail.

Video - Is Your PMS Data Being Held Hostage?

Amadeus Hospitality Insight23 January 2017
The post Video - Is Your PMS Data Being Held Hostage? appeared first on Amadeus Hospitality.

Lift and Shift: A New NAVIS White Paper

The NAVIS Blog23 January 2017
"Lift and shift" is a phrase we use to discuss the process of reviewing your marketing and sales channels. When the data points to a channel with untapped potential, you've got to lift it up; when that channel drives revenue growth or reduces costs, you shift resources toward it.

Goodbye Compression, Hello Competition: How to be Competitive in a Post-Compression Hotel World

The NAVIS Blog23 January 2017
The basic principle of supply and demand has given all hoteliers, flagged and independent alike, some great opportunities to take advantage of compression in the past year, particularly since group business soared in 2016. Loosely defined, compression refers to periods of time when a hotel is near full occupancy. As a result of high occupancy rates, some hotels have had the opportunity to drive up ADR due to sold-out hotels on every corner.

Six Tips for a Data-Driven 2017

Hotel Online23 January 2017
As we approach a year that will very likely be marked with more uncertainty, increased competition from all directions and even more pressure to perform, many hospitality executives are making a New Year's resolution to take better advantage of their organization's data. With all of the buzz and hype around data and data science, it's easy to resolve to "get more of it". It's harder to actually do it.So, instead of letting your resolution to become more data-driven go the way of eating healthy and getting more exercise, let me kick off the New Year by providing some practical advice for a data-driven 2017.

2017 has arrived. What's your strategy?

Amadeus Hospitality Insight23 January 2017
A new year has begun and with it comes new goals and objectives. What are the top priorities for your organization? How do they align with other hospitality organizations?According to the 2017 Lodging Technology Study, respondents indicated that their top priority in 2017 will be a focus on improving digital customer engagement/guest loyalty. This area stands out from the other goals identified by a substantial margin.

Hotel Revenue Management: Collaboration is Key at Rainmaker OPTIMIZE2017

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog23 January 2017
This week I was interested to read an article in Hotel News Now entitled "Collaboration needed for revenue management in 2017". The article covered a recent "Connect with HSMAI" event that took place in my native London last week. The event - and hence the article - focused on an expert panel of hotel distribution of distribution and revenue management experts, covering a range of mostly marketing-related topics.
  • HITEC 2016 Opening Party Sponsored by ADB and HFTP
  • 2015 CHTP of the Year Frank Peugh, Jr, CHTP at HITEC 2015 in Austin, Texas USA
  • HITEC 2016 Opening Party Sponsored by ADB and HFTP
  • Speaker Lyle Worthington, CHAE at HITEC 2015 in Austin, Texas USA
  • HITEC 2016 Tech Talks
  • John Cahill Memorial Reception - HITEC 2016
  • HFTP Sydney Summit 2016
  • HFTP_WED_CS5_8563
  • HITEC 2016 Tuesday Keynote
  • HFTP_WED_CS5_8712

State of the art in digitization of the hotel industry

By Ralf Denke
With digital services and contents becoming a key success factor for our industry as a whole, more hotels will have to make similar courageous decisions, even if they seem risky and costly at first, writes Ralf Denke of Deutsche Hospitality. But the good thing in the online industry is that everything is measurable - helping hoteliers make informed decisions.

Hoteliers say profits, not revenue, should be mantra

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles23 January 2017
Hoteliers need to focus on maximizing profit, not revenue, as a new breed of investor places capital into the hotel industry and looks increasingly at driving returns, according to sources.Speakers at the 24th Annual Hotel General Managers' Conference said this type of investor has grown up in the world of online travel agencies and other disruptors and has witnessed more blurred lines between traditional and online channels than perhaps most hoteliers. Regardless of the hotel-OTA relationship, OTAs are here to stay, sources said.

Collaboration needed for revenue management in 2017

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles23 January 2017
Hoteliers need to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to driving profitability in 2017, according to speakers at a recent Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International event.Speaking on 19 January at the CitizenM Tower of London, Clinton Campbell, director of revenue management at Apex Hotels, stressed the need for collaboration.

Create a Hospitality Technology Experience Center

Hotel Business Review by hotelexecutive.com23 January 2017
Can you imagine your bank choosing not to provide a way to check account status and transactions outside of your monthly paper statement? Can you further imagine a popular franchise restaurant only having paper take-out menus? You would be forced to contemplate what other aspects internally within the organization would make doing business with them complicated and archaic. There you find your own personal underlying immediate expectation of baseline service and operational procedures, where a decision is often made instantly to move onto the next provider.

Emerging Meeting Data Technology That Will Help Hotels be More Strategic

Hotel Business Review by hotelexecutive.com23 January 2017
Meeting data and technology have evolved considerably since the days of the bulky,expensive mail ordered meeting planner guides and hotel catalogues. The ways in which hotels find and book groups is far different than the antiquated methods of not so long ago. As better technology surrounding meetings and events becomes available, hotels appetites for group business seems to also increase at a parallel pace making the need to keep the related technology evolving even more paramount. The companies that provide hotels with this meeting intelligence are continually developing new and more advanced methods of gathering this sought after data to keep up pace with the demand.

Nor1's CheckIn Merchandisingtm Solution Deployed at Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas to Enhance Guest Experience and Optimize Revenue from Premium Inventory

Nor1 23 January 2017
Santa Clara, CA -- The adoption of Nor1's Merchandising Platform has been expanded to include CheckIn Merchandisingtm at Atlantis, the Bahamas based 3,500 room mega-resort to enable their front-desk agents to merchandise their premium inventory and enhance their guests' stay upon arrival."We were very excited to get CheckIn Merchandisingtm up and running quickly after seeing how well eStandby Upgrade(r) performed in helping us enhance our guests' experiences while increasing demand and optimizing revenue for our premium inventory," stated Lynda Kopecki, Executive Director, Revenue Management and Distribution at Atlantis, Paradise Island. "By empowering our front-desk team to offer every guest a unique, personalized experience, CheckIn Merchandisingtm now allows us to enhance the experience of virtually all our guests, regardless of booking channel.""We are extremely delighted to have such a great and enthusiastic partnership with Atlantis," said Jason Bryant, Nor1's Founder and CEO. "We are confident that the Nor1 Merchandising Platform is capable of meeting and exceeding their expectations and are committed to working with them to further expand our relationship and the confidence they have in our solutions."About Nor1, Inc. Nor1, Inc. is the leader in hospitality merchandising technology. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices in Germany, Mexico and India, Nor1 provides data-driven pricing and merchandising solutions to maximize incremental revenues for hotels and resorts worldwide such as Hilton, IHG, Carlson Rezidor, Accor, and Wyndham. Nor1's patented, dynamic decisions intelligence engine PRiME(r), powers Nor1's Merchandising Platform including its signature eStandby Upgrade(r), eXpress UpgradeTM, CheckIn MerchandisingTM, and eReachTM solutions.Nor1 is creating the fusion between technology and guest experience. It's that combination of expertise and skill that have set Nor1 apart and continues to attract technology's most distinguished investors such as Concur Technologies, Goldman Sachs and Accel Partners. For more information, please visit www.nor1.com.About Atlantis, Paradise Island, BahamasAtlantis, Paradise Island is the world-renowned family vacation destination in The Bahamas, where water meets wonder. An ocean-themed resort on Paradise Island, Atlantis features a variety of accommodations built around a 141-acre waterscape, which includes fresh and saltwater lagoons, pools, marine habitats, as well as thrilling water slides and river rides for all ages. Encouraging adventure and inspiring exploration and curiosity, Atlantis' marine habitats and experiences are unrivaled. Home to one of the largest open-air marine habitat in the world, Atlantis has over 50,000 marine animals and 250 species throughout its numerous habitats. Dolphin Cay, the resort's interaction and education center, enlightens and allows visitors to discover the wonders of these remarkable ocean inhabitants in a hands-on experience. In addition to the Atlantis Casino, Atlantis boasts four alternate gaming venues; an impressive collection of luxury boutiques and shops; restaurants from first-class chefs including Nobu Matsuhisa, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Todd English; and the largest cohesive conference center, meeting and convention facilities in The Caribbean. With endless activities providing the means to live a legend, Atlantis is the expert in creating extraordinary memories for children, teens, and adults.The Cove Atlantis, a 600-room resort, features an open-air lobby and oversized suites designed by acclaimed interior architects Jeffrey Beers and David Rockwell. Guests of The Cove are privy to unprecedented services and amenities, breathtaking views of the ocean, an exclusive experience encompassing an adults-only ultra-pool with outdoor gaming, lavish cabanas, and more.For further information about Atlantis, Paradise Island, visit AtlantisBahamas.com. For reservations, call 800-ATLANTIS.Atlantis can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Atlantis, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AtlantisResort, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/AtlantisResort.

DataArt completes integration of JacTravel and TotalStay reservations data

Travolution20 January 2017
Work to merge the JacTravel and TotalStay reservations platforms has been completed by outsourcing specialist DataArt.JacTravel bought competitor TotalStay for an undisclosed sum in March 2015.
Article by Kiran Sunny

The life and times of the modern hotel management system

Hotelogix 20 January 2017
Plenty has been said about modern hospitality technology - especially hotel management systems. With the onset of cloud computing, technology adoption skyrocketed as independent hotel owners could now leverage cutting edge tools to compete with the evolved brands.However, with digitalization threatening to encapsulate every single aspect of hoteliering, maybe it's time to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture.Technology is meant to simplify life for the staff and ultimately aid in improving the guest experience - the holy grail of establishing a lasting hotel legacy.So the most important question you need to ask yourself before you invest is whether the product is going to help you boost long-term guest satisfaction, either directly or indirectly.Long-term guest satisfaction starts with efficient hotel management With management technology having permeated almost every sector of hospitality today, the larger brands are constantly on the look-out for new ways to stay ahead of what's quickly becoming the norm. However, many of their innovations are short-term fixes that don't really provide guests with value in the long run. A good example of this is the mobile concierge services offered by several upscale hotels. With apps for almost everything available today, such offerings may be attractive but add little value to the guest's stay and will hardly compel them to return.Streamlining back-end operations at the various departments of the hotel is a lot more effective. By implementing digital tools that enable the front office, housekeeping, restaurants and various bars to operate more efficiently, hotels can save valuable time and resources. In turn, this allows them to better attend to guests.Ensuring long-term guest satisfaction isn't just about providing guests with the latest features and gimmicks, it's about having structures in place that make guests feel valued throughout the course of their stay. This isn't always dependent on technology adoption - even merely instructing your staff to smile at guests whenever they see them can have a positive impact on their stay.Anticipating the various needs of your guests and being proactive, rather than reactive, is a great way to leave a lasting impression.The modern property management system needs to evolveWhile indeed they're critical functions, property management systems today can't get away with just organizing front desk and housekeeping activities. They need to support real-time integration to supplemental third-party tools - in today's scenario, that's almost as fundamental as other routine capabilities. Moreover, they need to enable hotels to leverage guest information in order to create effective retargeting campaigns.Competition in hospitality is growing rapidly, with things becoming increasingly scrappy between suppliers and distributors. Commissions are increasing at twice the growth rate of industry-wide revenue. In such a competitive scenario, it's no longer enough for hotel software to merely be tools to organize tasks and optimize resources - they need to help hoteliers build and scale their business.While integration to third party extras like revenue management systems and rate shopping tools can help, the PMS itself needs to offer some level of in-built functionality in these areas. A simple evaluation process also helps properties make a decision faster.For instance, a basic level of pricing automation can be of immense use to smaller hotels that want better pricing management without having to invest in an all-out revenue management system. Having the capability to automate room rates based on the occupancy level in the property enables hotels to generate more revenue when occupancy is high. Moreover, by lowering prices during periods of low occupancy, properties can create demand during the off-season.Mobile hotel management - a new era in property managementHospitality has come a long way since the PMS broke free of infrastructure and pricing constraints that kept the technology beyond the reach of small and mid-sized hoteliers. While the modern cloud-based systems are much easier to adopt, the introduction of mobile management systems is set to take accessibility to a whole new level. Traditional cloud-based systems require workstations and a certain level of familiarity with the system. However, considering that almost everyone today is familiar and comfortable with smartphones, mobile-based systems are quickly growing in popularity.Adopting mobile-based management technology allows hotels to lower their dependency on expensive workstations. It also broadens the property's scope for employability as they're no longer as reliant on experienced personnel.Mobile management isn't expensive to adopt either, and the software can be used on almost any android or iOS smartphone. A major advantage of such a system is the mobility - the staff can carry out routine front office operations such as the night audit, check-ins and check-outs on the move.Additionally, managers can change rates from anywhere - the system is essentially like having the PMS in one's pocket.In a constantly evolving landscape blighted by unpredictability stemming from guest behavior, economic conditions and other such factors, hoteliers need developers to push the limits of digital technology - they need tools that simplify their everyday life and allow them to spend less time reading reports and more time with guests.If you're in the market for a property management system, you would do well to look at systems that go above and beyond the basics like front desk management - invest in a system that's equipped to maximize your growth in all areas, today's environment demands it!Why not try Hotelogix? The free trial takes less than a minute to get started!

Revenue Management at the Hong Kong Grand: The Dine in Grandeur Dilemma

Cornell University School of Hotel Administration - Research & Publications20 January 2017
This case provides an interesting example of the trade-offs between revenue management, brand image, loyalty programs, and employee satisfaction. The Dine In Grandeur Program (DIG) is financially successful (see the discussion below), but might be causing displacement of regular, full-paying customers and could have a negative effect on the Hong Kong Grand's image. Furthermore, many employees and managers are unhappy with the program and find it difficult to implement. This case has been successfully used in a revenue management class, but could also be used in any service operations or service management class that includes revenue management as a topic. In addition, it could be used in a marketing strategy or services marketing class to illustrate the tradeoffs between revenue and brand image.

Dynamic wholesale rates: The new frontier in hotel distribution?

Duetto Research Blog20 January 2017
A smart but basic distribution strategy for hotels that want to maximize profitability goes like this: Start as far out in the booking window as possible by building your base of guests, most likely through negotiated group and wholesale business. Then yield your transient rates as the date approaches, ideally increasing price as you get closer to the date, so you can sell your last remaining rooms at a premium.
Article by Sheryl Kimes

The Future of Hotel Revenue Management

CHR 20 January 2017
Abstract : A survey of some 400 revenue management (RM) professionals finds that the application of hotel RM has gradually become more strategic and more centralized, but changes in RM practices have come more slowly than expected in the past six years. In particular, an earlier prediction that RM would be applied to all hotel revenue streams remains a work in progress, as does the use of mobile technology and social media as distribution channels. In addition, it is now more common for hotels to establish separate RM departments, as projected. Poll participants in the current research project suggested that, going forward, RM practices will be more fully integrated into all hotel operations, including function space (although these ideas have yet to gain much traction in the industry). These findings represent an update of a similar study on emerging trends in RM conducted by the author in 2010.Click here to read the full article
Article by Kelly McGuire

Six tips for a data-driven 2017

Wyndham 20 January 2017
As we approach a year that will very likely be marked with more uncertainty, increased competition from all directions and even more pressure to perform, many hospitality executives are making a New Year's resolution to take better advantage of their organization's data. With all of the buzz and hype around data and data science, it's easy to resolve to "get more of it". It's harder to actually do it.So, instead of letting your resolution to become more data-driven go the way of eating healthy and getting more exercise, let me kick off the New Year by providing some practical advice for a data-driven 2017.Keep in mind that not every organization is ready to bring in hard core data science . Organizations first build an organizational commitment to fact-based decision making. To do this, they must get in the habit of asking data-driven questions. They need to grow their analytically-minded talent, and they should invest in some basic data gathering and analysis technology (beyond excel). Before bringing on data science, they need to get used to asking for evidence to back up recommendations and conclusions. Only in this type of environment does the investment in data science really pay off.Whether you have already brought data science in, you are ready to invest, or you are just beginning your journey, here are six tips to set yourself up for a data-driven 2017:Start small: Every organization's data is a mess. Trying to bring order to the entire data sphere could take years. But good data is the core of good data analytics and good data science. Pick a smaller sub-set of data to work with from an area of the business that you either already know well, or have good contacts in who can help you clean and interpret the data. Smaller projects based on smaller data sets can have the advantage of faster time to completion, and therefore to value. So, divide your big vision into phases, with smaller data requirements. In our group, we always phase the delivery of our analytics solutions so the business gets some advantage quickly, and we keep momentum going. Sometimes the first phase is as simple as data visualization or automation. For example, we have been working on an analytical application to support owner recruiting efforts. In order to attract new listings, we need to demonstrate the potential performance we can deliver if the prospective owner were to allow us to manage their vacation rental property. We learned that existing process of pulling together performance data on comparable properties was highly manual and very time consuming. We needed that data for our modeling efforts anyway, so the first step in the project was to build an efficient database of current properties' performance, and make that data accessible to the end users through a visualization application. Automating the current process was extremely valuable to the recruiters, and relatively easy for us to deliver. The recruiters were excited to work with the new tool, and were much more receptive to the analytically driven performance predictions that came next. Never underestimate the impact of data accessibility! However, try to make your data accessibility project as self-service as possible, you don't want to be distracted by reporting requests during the modeling and application development process.Ask the right questions: When it comes to data science, the questions are way more important than the answers. It's very tempting to just dig in and see what the data says, but undirected analyses can end up exploring rabbit holes instead of having business impact. Make sure the questions you are asking are appropriate to the data set, and business-impacting. Try to get to the root cause rather than a symptom. Think about proactive, forward-looking questions like "what segments are most likely to respond to this upcoming campaign" or "what is the expected booking pattern from this feeder market" as opposed to reactive questions like "what was revenue last month" or "how much group business came from this channel".Last year, I had a chance to hear the founder of Data Kind, Jake Porway, speak. Data Kind is an organization that provides data science services to non-profits by matching data scientists that want to give back with problems to solve*. In one recent project, they helped the Red Cross to reduce fire-related deaths. Jake said that when the Red Cross initially came to them they were looking for a cost-effective way to distribute smoke detectors. Data Kind could easily have solved this problem, but instead they explored the root issue Red Cross was trying to solve, which was to reduce the number of fire-related deaths. They ended up building a predictive analysis to identify areas at highest risk for fire deaths, and target those communities for the smoke detector program. This analysis addressed the overall goal, rather than a task within that goal. The founder made the point that organizations that are inexperienced in data science often aren't aware of what's even possible, and therefore, don't always know the right questions to ask. This is really hard, but really important. Challenge your team to ask questions that get at the root cause, rather than identifying or analyzing the symptoms.Aim for high, measurable impact: If you can't measure your success, how will you brag about it?? In seriousness, your first few forays should be impactful, easy to understand and measurable. Within the start small philosophy from number one, think about a project that could have high business impact. You want to gain attention and build momentum. This matters at every phase of analytical maturity. When you expand capabilities or move into a new area, you need to find a high impact project with a high likelihood of success (and it doesn't hurt to have a project stakeholder with influence to brag along with you.) In the early days of analytics at RCI, my boss's team, then part of the Revenue Management group, had developed a reputation for good analytical work and demonstrated impact. They were operating in a highly manual revenue management environment, and saw the need for an automated analytical pricing solution. Unfortunately, there wasn't a commercially available pricing solution suited to the Vacation Ownership Exchange problem, so the team determined that they'd have to build their own. They were able to justify the initial resource and technology investment based on their previous good work, and knew that this could be a high impact project because it was directly tied to revenue. The forecasting and optimization solution they built generated $11 million in the first year, occupancy rose and deposited weeks did as well. This was a great justification for such a major investment, and the team continues to innovate on this solution, improving accuracy of valuations and member trading power. This goes to show that this advice holds at any stage of analytical maturity. The success of this project generated the momentum the organization needed to continue to invest in in-house analytical solution development. The analytics team went from a group embedded in a line of business to an enterprise-level, shared services organization, which is where we sit today. We've built analytical pricing solutions for all of our lines of business and continue to expand into other areas beyond pricing. One of my 2017 resolutions is to find my next start small, deliver high impact project that can bring the team into a new area and justify further investment (it's getting harder!).Document: This is a small one, but it is pretty important for the long term sustainability of your data efforts. When you have a small and scrappy team that is moving fast, has many different responsibilities besides your data analytics program, or is new at the job, it's easy to leave this step out. Unfortunately, several years later, when the person that built the report or analysis has moved on, it can be difficult to decipher the original builder's thought process. I'm not suggesting that you build giant users manuals, but do think about some standards or practices, and do have your analysts comment their work. It's time consuming, but will save a lot of effort later.Plan for the future: Despite starting small, build a vision for the future. This vision will definitely evolve over time, but you do want to do the best you can to be sure that any decisions you make today will not limit you in the future. For example, if you are starting with inventory data, but want to eventually add customer data, do you need to ask IT for more storage space now? If you are looking at BI tools, consider not only whether they can handle your current volume of data, but also how well they will do if that volume triples (or more). Build a roadmap for your projects that outlines the phased approach, but also the eventual end state.Get educated: There is a lot of hype around data science and data analytics. These terms have become such buzzwords that they are beginning to practically lose all meaning. The plus side of this volume of conversation is that awareness is building and executives are getting interested. The negative side is that they are now asking their teams to "get some data science now!" causing a big scramble. It's up to all of us to cut through the hype and find practical ways to bring data analytics and data science into our organizations. Read as much as you can. Find a few thought leaders whose opinions you trust, and follow them. Attend conferences and network with your peers. Pressure your vendor partners to speak in business terms and provide practical examples. We'll do our best to continue to cut through the hype in this blog, and I'll also point you to the people that I follow, and the events I attend that help keep me educated.At the Phocuswright conference back in November, Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for AirBnB, when asked what hotels should do to stay competitive with AirBnB, said that for hotels, "data science would be the new revenue management".This comment really struck home with me. I don't think he meant that data science would replace revenue management, but rather, the evolution of data science in hospitality would be similar to the evolution of revenue management. Twenty years ago, hotels had barely heard of revenue management, and today it's become practically a must-have, and a core component of most hotels' strategies.The same can happen for data science. The next opportunity to drive meaningful performance will come from applying data science to understand the guest, optimize operations and drive revenue and profits. As with revenue management, those companies that are able to truly understand and embrace data science will have a competitive advantage. Also as with revenue management, while the core data science techniques might be common across hospitality, the "magic" will come in the application. It will come from the strategies that are developed and the decisions that are made based on the results.We're here to help you get your data science program up and running - and to help your team understand the applications and techniques based on our experience. We look forward to your comments, feedback and insights.Best wishes for a happy, healthy and data-driven 2017! (Now go have a doughnut, you know you deserve it!)*I strongly encourage any data scientist to look into volunteering for Data Kind. It's a tremendous way to use your data science talents and skills for good. And it might help you meet a New Year's resolution to give back!

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

Wyndham 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.

Hotel Zeppelin Reveals their Secret to Back of House Staff Operations with ALICE

ALICE 20 January 2017
New York, NY -- Northern California's bold new Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco welcomes ALICE as their preferred hotel operations platform. The software provides seamless integration with back of house systems & operations.Operated by Viceroy Hotel Group, Hotel Zeppelin reflects San Francisco's rebellious counter-culture personality while offering state-of-the-art amenities and a premier hospitality experience. It makes sense then the hotel would select similarly cutting-edge and intuitively designed software like ALICE. The ALICE Staff solution streamlines staff communication and coordination, with a highly customizable interface that understands the unique needs and preferences of every staff member and team.Hotel Zeppelin adopted ALICE upon opening in March this year, largely attributed to the proven success reported by their sister property, Hotel Zetta San Francisco, as a user-friendly, mobile staff solution."I love the simplicity of it," said Antonio Flores, Hotel Zeppelin's General Manager. "[As compared with other systems I have previously used] it's quicker and more user friendly. ALICE makes it easy to communicate across the diverse languages and cultures of my hotel staff. My staff really appreciates its flexibility and customization and the fact it brings all of our departments together so nothing falls through the cracks or gets lost in translation."ALICE's co-founder and President, Alex Shashou, adds, "We're really proud that ALICE wowed Mr. Flores and continues to improve efficiency three fold at Hotel Zeppelin. Hotel Zeppelin joins our other highly successful San Francisco properties, like Hotel Zetta and Hotel Zephyr, and we look forward to empowering staff at many more hotels throughout the city,"ALICE offers a multi-tiered suite of solutions for hotels:ALICE Suite - an end-to-end system that allows hotels to run on one platform, connecting guests with the hotel, and all service departments within the hotel to one another - fully incorporating all of the individual ALICE solutions listed below.ALICE Staff - a complete, easy to use request management software that connects front-desk, housekeeping, maintenance and F&B teams in real-time, providing quick and simple ticket management, monitoring for completion time, and real-time mobile app for service staff on the move.ALICE Concierge - a tool to keep the concierge team organized and to connect the concierge and the guest instantly and seamlessly, providing guests with instant responses to requests - and saving the concierge time and effort in meeting those requests.ALICE Guest - innovative guest facing Mobile, Web and SMS tools, integrated to allow a full range of guest communication and functionality, pre-arrival and on property - including ordering services, real-time chat, and upselling.ALICE's solutions are in place in hundreds of distinctive hotels across the U.S., and have been recognized for innovation in enabling multiple departments in a hotel to respond to guests' requests quickly and easily.##About Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco: Set in an historic San Francisco building steps from renowned Union Square, Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco celebrates the city's progressive mindset and transforms it into a living story with a revolutionary attitude. Designed as a contemporary reflection of San Francisco's counterculture tradition, Hotel Zeppelin is rebelliously interactive with an engaging style that fosters exploration, innovation and collaboration. There are 196 impeccably furnished guest rooms including 20 suites. Amenities include 3,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a game lounge and a cafe. Hotel Zeppelin is located at 545 Post St in San Francisco, CA. For reservations, please call 415-563-0303 or visit the hotel's web site at http://www.hotelzeppelin.com/. Follow Hotel Zeppelin on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @HotelZeppelin About ALICE: Provide consistently excellent service. By joining all the departments of your hotel onto a single operations platform for internal communication and task management, ALICE helps your staff act as a team to improve guest satisfaction. ALICE Suite brings together your front office, concierge, housekeeping, and maintenance teams, and connects your guests to your hotel with our app and SMS tools. The ALICE platform is fully integratable with PMS, POS, and all other third party management systems.##

Maintaining data security despite employee turnover

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles20 January 2017
In the hotel industry, there's a great deal of employee turnover. New hires start behind the front desk, having direct contact with guests' personal and credit card information. Employees leave, sometimes for jobs outside of the industry, other times for a competitor. Sometimes companies have to fire someone, who could harbor a grudge against their former employer.A company's data security system is only as good as the people who use it. With so many people who come and go at a company each year, the risk of a data breach increases for companies without preventative policies and procedures in place.

5 things to know about hoteliers' tech expectations

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles20 January 2017
It's not uncommon to discuss expectations for how the hotel industry will be different in 2020, and many of those opinions are built around growing use of technology, particularly in guest rooms.But recent research from Peter O'Connor, professor of information systems and dean of academic programs at the France-based Essec Business School, shows the need to evolve goes beyond in-room streaming or other bells and whistles. The most significant growth, O'Connor said, might come from leveraging technology to make business operations more sophisticated.

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