Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Toronto, ON, Canada
Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference
November 14–15, 2017
The World's Best Hotels Choose ALICE for Guest Messaging, Staff Operations, Concierge Technology, And More
New York, NY -- ALICE - the hospitality industry's leading operations platform, which connects all the departments of your hotel for improved staff communication and task management - will be showcasing new products and features at this year's HITEC in Toronto, June 26-29, Booth 1245. You can schedule a meeting with our team here.ALICE's partners include 3-5 star independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. ALICE can also be integrated into your own app or website via ALICE's API. Hotels and groups on the ALICE platform include Two Roads Hospitality, SIXTY Hotels, One&Only Resorts, Viceroy Hotel Group, and Leading Hotels of the World.Read how serene Wine Country escape MacArthur Place, Sonoma Hotel & Spa is using ALICE's Guest Messaging to remove the bottleneck at the front desk. They selected ALICE's Guest Messaging and Staff request management technology to provide convenience to guests with messaging technology they're already familiar with and which doesn't require downloading an app, and ease for front desk staff, who now field many fewer phone calls, and can respond to guest text messages and dispatch guest requests all with one system.Read how Colorado's popular Copper Mountain Resort uses ALICE to coordinate their staff across twenty-six buildings and three different base villages. ALICE has replaced emails, phone calls, radios, and paper logs to provide one centralized place for all requests and internal work orders from guests, unit owners, the front desk, a separate management team, multiple restaurants, event spaces, and other mountain operators, improving staff communication and productivity.Read how ALICE's concierge technology helps an already standout concierge team at SIXTY SoHo "iron out the kinks." The highly-rated team is using ALICE's concierge task management software to improve team coordination and efficiency on the job. The hotel's Chef Concierge says ALICE's functionality (which includes a Google-powered Vendor Database, robust tagging and filtering, itinerary and confirmation printing, and logbooks for package management) sets it apart from other concierge technologies he's used.If you're looking at technology as a means to improve your hotel's performance , stop by Booth 1245 to meet the ALICE team and see a live presentation of our technology. Hoteliers interested in attending HITEC for free can email us at email@example.com for more information. We also invite you to book a meeting in advance, for a personalized demo of ALICE.
ALICE 20 June 2017
Each year, we at ALICE run an analysis on the companies in attendance, and here are some of our findings:The CategoriesMore so than 2016, companies in attendance this year at HITEC are more diverse than ever before. This includes a wide range of categories from hardware to marketing and everything in between. Last year, 2016, had a makeup that included 28.8% hardware companies, 9.6% technology services (which include services ranging from technical support to computer networking), and 8.6% media solutions. With hardware earning the top spot again in 2017, this majority is much smaller than past years (20.2%), and technology services have closed the gap now making up 14% of the event. Other top segments include media solutions (11.8%) and property management systems (10.2%). Although the top categories seem to have become more balanced, there is no sign of any new break-out product categories this year.The NewcomersAlongside 276 returning companies, there are a bunch of new and exciting companies joining the mix this year. Some interesting and impressive newcomers at HITEC 2017 include Nonius, Pure HD, and Dormakaba. Using booth size as a (questionable, but fun) gauge for company ambition, these newcomers have noticeably large booths.A few years ago, HFTP started the popular E20X competition, a forum for innovative startups to pitch their cutting-edge ideas to a room full of attendees and a panel of expert judges (of which Dmitry, our CTO, was one last year). A few notable new entrants to this year's competition include Angie, HotelFlex and Bizly. All 13 entrants will be on the floor to meet with and are a great starting point for inspiration.Angie - The soon to be released smart-room AI for guest voice control that took the HTNG 2017 Innovation Award a few months ago.HotelFlex - An incremental revenue platform out of the U.K. that runs search on all flight times to help hotels offer early and late checkouts in already empty rooms for a fee.Bizly - A beautifully designed and already popular meeting platform that empowers everyone across the company to book their own events.Bigger Booths Than Last YearSome returning companies worth noting with a significant increase in booth size include First Data, Active Networks, and DCI-Design Communications LLC. These are just a small sampling of companies whose booth sizes have increased, which may signal substantial company growth.Going BigThe following companies have some of the biggest booths at HITEC this year:iRiS Software SystemsWorld Cinema, Inc.Samsung ElectronicsAT&TOracleAs the conference comes to a close, it's certainly worth checking out some of the amazing sites of Toronto while you're there! Some of the most popular attractions the city has to offer include the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market, and the amazing park located on the Toronto Islands. We recommend Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse for a world class steak and Canoe Restaurant & Bar for an amazing view!Headed to HITEC? Share with us the companies you're looking forward to meeting!And while you're there, we invite you to stop by our own (pretty big) booth (#1245) to learn how ALICE can improve your guest service, cut costs and drive revenue at your hotel.Making the Most of HITECAlong with learning about all the great tech companies and seeing what the future of the hospitality industry will look like, there are numerous panels, discussions, sessions, and keynote speakers worth checking out and learning from during your time at HITEC. Make sure to check out Dave Berkus start off the week with his session "Will Tech Kill Your Job?", Monday at 4:30, as well as other keynote speakers Alex Tapscott, Kevin Rosen, and Robert Villanueva. To learn more about these speakers and what they will be discussing, click here. Also, dont miss out on the event's opening party at 6:30 on Monday, as this will be a great place to network and meet the new faces of our rapidly expanding industry!ALICE co-founders Justin Effron and Alex Shashou will also be speaking at HITEC this year. On Monday, June 26th, at 2.45pm, Justin will join the education supersession "How Are You Going To Pay For It?", to discussion the challenges of figuring out the right IT strategy for your company and the different methods of financing these plans. Later in the week, on Wednesday, Alex will join two panels on guest technology. During the 2.30pm "Text Your Guests?", Alex and other industry experts will share best practices for adopting a messaging strategy, plus benefits and challenges of doing so. On the 3.45pm panel "Are Mobile Apps in Hotels Dead?", Alex and his co-panelists will discuss which apps are best suited to meet guests needs, how hotels can differentiate their brands with mobile apps, whether mobile apps can keep guests happy and avoid negative reviews, and how apps can keep guests connected to the hotel before, during and post-stay.With what is sure to be a hectic, and extremely informative week at HITEC, make sure you give the HITEC SCHEDULE a good glance to ensure you don't miss any of the awesome events that HITEC has to offer!
ALICE 15 June 2017
New York, NY -- Long Island's trendy The Montauk Beach House is using ALICE's guest messaging and staff technology, ALICE Guest and ALICE Staff, to improve their front desk staff coordination and guest service.Prior to ALICE, front desk staff at the seasonal property managed guest requests and coordinated their activities via email and walkie-talkie. The volume of email from guests and calls to the front desk would often strain a small front desk staff tasked with managing other staff departments, greeting guests, and fielding concierge requests. Last year, The MBH's management chose ALICE in order to upgrade their guest communications and help the front desk communicate with each other and with guests.In the heart of downtown Montauk, and just a few steps from the beach, The MBH draws a young, well-heeled clientele looking for a unique, laid-back summer experience. ALICE's guest engagement toolset, which includes a Beach House-branded app and guest text messaging (which doesn't require downloading the app), is a perfect fit for this tech-savvy crowd.Stella Garces, Director of Rooms at The MBH, has been delighted by the reception to these new guest communication channels from both guests and staff. For guests, in-app messaging and text messaging comes naturally. Common messages from guests include requests for more in-room amenities and towels, as well as inquiries about local events and recommended restaurants. The hotel's staff, meanwhile, love that they can now communicate with guests prior to arrival, and have created a library of messaging templates to send to guests prior to check-in and throughout their stay.Because The MBH's front desk staff doubles as concierge, pre-arrival communication with guests enables the busy staff to create customized itineraries for guests before they even arrive on property. Staff can use ALICE to email these itineraries directly to guests or print them out and hand them to guests at check-in, cutting down on extra visits to the front desk. Concierge specific tools within ALICE, like the Google-powered vendor database known as "Local," let front desk staff assemble online lists of favorite places that any staff member can access at any time to provide recommendations to guests.Staff at The MBH are also benefiting from ALICE's logbook functionality, which the team is using to manage their lost and found. Prior to ALICE, the front desk staff managed lost and found with both online and offline files, but still occasionally forgot to update them or submit all the necessary information. Now, with ALICE, it's easy for staff to take quick notes about the whereabouts of a guest belonging, attach a photo if necessary, and tie the information to a guest profile. This has resulted in a lot less stress when a guest calls the front desk to inquire about a lost item."Staff love how user-friendly ALICE is," says Ms. Garces. "ALICE gives us one centralized place for all guest messaging and guest request management, which has made our lives at the front desk a lot easier. Even text messaging, which is intended for guests, has made things better at the front desk, allowing us to provide personalized service quickly. It's evident how much our guests appreciate these new tools as well."
ALICE 13 June 2017
The ALICE co-founders will join other industry experts in two back-to-back panels at HITEC to discuss the future of the guest experience.As enthusiasm over guest apps wanes, guest messaging grows in popularity. But is the app really dead? And, if so, should you be texting with your guests instead? The ALICE co-founders will join two back-to-back panels at HITEC to explore the role of apps and guest messaging in hotel guest engagement strategies. Both sessions will take place on Wednesday, June 28th, starting with the Guest Messaging panel at 2.30pm, and the Mobile Apps panel at 3.45pm.In "Text Your Guests?", experts will share best practices for adopting a messaging strategy, plus benefits and challenges. The panel will also discuss the choice between brand native apps and third-party solutions, strategies for enhancing guest relationships and experience, avoiding app fatigue, exploring marketing opportunities with text messaging, and future of text messaging in the hotel industry.In "Are Mobile Apps in Hotels Dead?", the panel will discuss which apps are best suited to meet guests needs, how hotels can differentiate their brands with mobile apps, whether mobile apps can keep guests happy and avoid negative reviews, and how apps can keep guests connected to the hotel before, during and post-stay.As the founders of ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations platform, Alex Shashou, Justin Effron, and Dmitry Koltunov share a unique perspective on how best to optimize guest messaging at your hotel. Mr. Shashou wrote recently about how guest messaging can provide a convenient and personalized way to engage with your guests, if you do it right. You can read his piece, published in eHotelier, here.Both guest engagement panels are complimentary for all full conference pass holders. Hoteliers interested in attending HITEC for free can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. For a live demo of ALICE's Guest Messaging technology and full suite of staff operations products while at HITEC, click here.
How a Midtown Manhattan Boutique Hotel Ditched Radios - And Their Noise and Confusion - for Improved Staff Communication and Task Management
ALICE 8 June 2017
New York, NY -- Luxury Midtown Manhattan boutique, Kimberly Hotel & Suites, has selected hospitality operations platform ALICE to improve staff communication and efficiency at the 194-room hotel. ALICE unites all staff departments together with a shared work management and communication system. The Kimberly Hotel's housekeeping, engineering, room service, front desk, and concierge teams have all been using ALICE since February 2017.Implementing ALICE has had an immediate impact on staff productivity throughout the hotel. Prior to ALICE, the Kimberly ran their operations with pen and paper, walkie talkies, and a fair bit of staff locomotion (hotel employees frequently traversed the hotel to relay tasks and information to one another).Now, all guest requests and internal work orders are placed by all staff directly into ALICE. And, in just a few short months, the Kimberly's staff have all but ditched the noisy and unreliable walkie talkies. Attendant productivity increases are evident across the board, none more so than in the engineering department (one of the more mobile of the hotel's staff teams). From prosaic tasks, like changing a lightbulb, to more complicated feats, like fixing an HVAC system, all work orders are assigned, accepted, and closed right in ALICE, obviating the need to ride the elevators back and forth between the main office and where the team is needed next. The Kimberly's Director of IT, Kevin Fullerton, says the "photo attachments" feature in ALICE has been incredibly impactful in this regard. Because staff can now snap a photo of something on their mobile devices and attach it to a task in ALICE, the engineering team now knows exactly what to expect - and what tools to bring - when they head to their next job. "Previously, when someone said there was a small scratch in the wall, and it turned out to be a big gash, engineering would have to return to the office to collect a different set of tools. Now, because there's a photo of the issue, the team can come prepared, saving a lot of time in the process," Mr. Fullterton added.As a manager, Mr. Fullerton also appreciates the accountability and consequent motivation ALICE has brought to his employees. Part of the reason why ALICE has had such an impact on staff productivity, he says, is because of the healthy does of competition it's introduced on-property. Over a few short months, he's seen response times on tasks decrease dramatically, as employees race with one another to accept and complete tasks.Mr. Fullerton admits he and other managers had reservations about introducing technology to his diverse staff, some of whom aren't necessarily "tech savvy." He says he's been surprised, however, by how quickly everyone, "from our youngest to our oldest," has taken to ALICE. He attributes part of this embrace to how user-friendly ALICE is in comparison to other legacy hotel technology systems, as well as to how hands-on and supportive ALICE's client success team is.
ALICE 6 June 2017
Join ALICE and Duetto for a conversation about how technology decision makers can leverage cloud technology to propel hotel performance on Thursday, June 15, at 12pm EST.In this webinar, ALICE and Duetto will share best practices for:Transitioning from legacy systems and analog processes to cloud-based applications built to meet guests' expectations for digital convenience, while coordinating hotels' back-office operations and fostering collaboration.Conceptualizing an IT stack less reliant on in-house systems that lets properties focus on guest service while technology specialists concentrate on innovation, integration and interoperability.Driving profitability by lowering costs for technology while increasing revenue through greater guest service and revenue strategies.Setting up a modern tech stack that aligns all stages of the customer journey to optimize the entire experienceClick here to SAVE A SEAT (sign up even if you can't attend, and we'll send you a recording). Both ALICE and Duetto will also be at HITEC. Stop by booth 1245 to meet with ALICE or schedule a meeting.About ALICE: By joining all of your hotel departments with a single operations platform for internal communication and task management, ALICE helps your staff act as a team to provide consistently excellent service. ALICE's main product - 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 also available as specialized software and mobile applications for your staff (ALICE Staff), your concierge (ALICE Concierge) and your guests (ALICE Guest). Each module can be integrated with your PMS, POS, and third party management systems. ALICE's partners include 3-5 star independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. Third-party service providers also leverage the ALICE API. ALICE was founded in 2013 by Justin Effron, Alex Shashou, and Dmitry Koltunov, and has raised $13.5M to date. Meet ALICE at HITEC at booth #1245About Duetto: With cloud-based applications that address hospitality's increasing complexity in distribution and technology, Duetto provides powerful Revenue Strategy solutions to optimize profit and guest loyalty. Its GameChanger and ScoreBoard apps deliver key insights into pricing and consumer demand for hotels and casinos.The holistic Revenue Strategy championed by Duetto produces not only greater revenue and profit, but also a lift in market share relative to users' competitive set. In 2016, Duetto's fully deployed hotel clients recorded an average RevPAR Index lift of 6.5%. The company now partners with more than 1,500 hotel and casino properties in more than 60 countries and has offices in seven major markets throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Meet Duetto at HITEC at booth #110
ALICE 1 June 2017
Marketing to your guests isn't just about winning them over at planning and at booking. There's actually seven steps to the customer journey, and technology can help you optimize your marketing, every step of the way.When marketing your hotel to your guests, it's tempting to think there are only two phases of the guest journey that matter: planning and booking. As a result, many hotels optimize their technology for just these two stages.The reality, of course, is that the guest experience doesn't end at booking. It's actually cyclical - cycling from planning through booking through the guest's stay to planning again. While the exact number of phases in the guest journey is up for debate (Google says five, we say seven), what's important is there are multiple stages of the guest journey that together create the guest experience. In each of these stages, the hotel has the opportunity to use technology to optimize the guest experience for more bookings, more loyalty, and more revenue.The Seven Stages of the Guest LifecycleDreamTechnologies: Search engines (Google), social media networks (Facebook, Instagram), online media (Conde Nast Traveler), discovery apps (Hitlist).Every hotel stay begins with someone dreaming of going to a particular place or having a particular kind of experience.In this phase, the guest hasn't yet honed in on your hotel. They have an idea or a dream: a Hawaiian escape, New York City with friends, or a conference for work (maybe not a dream, but a requirement!). They have a certain experience in mind, but are still exploring the opportunities and finer details. The hotel's role in this phase is to be as relevant and discoverable as possible. Hotels will want to optimize their search engine presence, be visible in the media and on social media, and make sure they're on the radar of travel discovery apps, like Hitlist or Hotel Tonight.https://www.hitlistapp.comSelectTechnologies: Your website, OTAs (Expedia), your affiliations (Leading Hotels of the World, Skylark), review sites (TripAdvisor).The average traveler visits over 20 different travel websites before making a booking decision! Your hotel's challenge in this stage is to cut through the noise and stand out from the competition.In this phase, the guest needs a reason to book with you instead of with your competition. Selecting your hotel over others will come down to a variety of factors. Given TripAdvisor's influence online, a decisive factor will be your hotel's reputation (TripAdvisor appears on the first page of organic search for 99% of unbranded search terms, and 93% of travelers say they're influenced by online reviews). (In this regard, your hotel's reputation is in many ways is a reflection of the level of service at your hotel (something we'll get to later...)).Also important in influencing the selection of your hotel is your website (how optimized for search is it? How compelling is its imagery? Is it optimized for mobile?), your presence on the OTAs (are you discoverable?), your membership with affiliate brands (like Skylark) and whether or not offline affiliations (like membership with Leading Hotels of the World) aid in online discovery.https://skylark.com/BookTechnologies: Your website and its booking engine (TravelClick, Avvio), direct booking technologies (Triptease, SiteMinder)At this phase, the guest needs a reason to book on your website instead of anywhere else. A booking engine optimized for your website (like Avvio) and an effective loyalty program help here. So too do innovative technologies like Triptease's Direct Booking Platform and SiteMinder, which work with hotels to improve their direct booking conversions. Of course, an optimized website (facilitated by companies like TravelClick) is a must as well.https://www.triptease.com/PrepareTechnologies: Pre-arrival guest messaging (ALICE, Checkmate), upsell platforms (Nor1), trip-planning/concierge services (Porter & Sail).The time of booking is when your guest is perhaps most excited about your hotel and their upcoming trip. Hotels will want to capitalize on this phase by engaging with their prospective guests. Use this phase to learn the reason for the guests' trips and help them plan their stays.If hotels have an in-house concierge, they can use messaging tools like ALICE to help their guests plan activities prior to arrival. Hotels can also outsource their concierge to services like Porter & Sail, which will work with your guests to plan activities as soon as they've booked their stay. Hotels can also use this time to upsell guests on rooms, amenities, and activities, with tools like Nor1.Developing a relationship with guests in this phase will help you provide them a better in-stay experience and increase the chance they'll share their experience and return.http://www.nor1.com/StayTechnologies: Guest messaging (ALICE), service optimization technologies (ALICE).Many hotels don't think of the stay phase of the guest journey as a "marketing" phase, but they should. In fact, as we often say here at ALICE, the customer experience is your best marketing, strongly influencing the same guest's propensity to share their experiences and return (and inspire others in the dream and selection phases of their journeys as well).Much of the guest experience comes down to the quality of service your hotel provides and, increasingly, the degree of convenience you offer your guests. ALICE improves your guest service by helping your staff get on the same (digital) page. ALICE's request management platform connects your staff departments for seamless communication and streamlined task management. And ALICE's dedicated concierge technology gives concierges the tools they need to excel at their jobs and exceed guest expectations.Meanwhile, ALICE's guest platform, which includes mobile apps, an open API to plug into your existing mobile app, and messaging (SMS), puts all your hotel's services and amenities at your guests' fingertips, for the ultimate in convenience and guest satisfaction.http://info.aliceapp.comShareTechnologies: Review collection technologies (Medallia), social sharing and advocacy platforms (Flip.to), online review sites (TripAdvisor).It's a natural impulse to want to share good experiences with others. Three quarters of U.S. travelers share their trip experiences on social networks, while 97% of Millennials say they share pictures while traveling (on channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat).Hotels should encourage guests to share their experiences. For one thing, the collective reach of your guests is enormous and incredibly targeted. Your guests can introduce you to travelers just like them--the perfect demographic for your hotel--before competitors have even had the chance to win the relationship.Plus, according to Cognizant, word of mouth is the single most important factor in selecting a hotel. And 84% of people say they trust reviews from friends and family over any other type of advertising.Encourage promotion of your hotel through your guests with tools like Flip.to, the marketing platform that lets guests become advocates and introduce your brand worldwide.The platform earns and tracks new bookings while growing brand awareness, web traffic, warm leads and a library of authentic content highlighting the travel experiences your guests are sharing with your hotel at the center.You can use this user-generated content on your website, and share guest content via your own social channels, which will help influence other guests early on in their own customer journeys.TripAdvisor is also an important channel for the share phase of the guest journey because of its outsize influence on the early phases of other guests (80% of travelers read 6 to 12 reviews on average before booking a hotel). While encouraging guests to share their experiences to TripAdvisor is important, but so too is responding to these reviews. Indeed, 85% of users say a thoughtful management response to a bad review improves their overall impression of a property.Lastly, inspiring guest sharing isn't just about generating contributions to public forums like review sites and social media. Encouraging guest feedback via internal channels is also an important part of hotel marketing during the share phase of the guest journey. This is because it can allow you to preempt issues before they make their way to public forums, and also because soliciting customer feedback can lead you to make improvements to the guest experience that will increase the likelihood of his or her return. Services like Medallia help hotels collect this guest feedback across a variety of channels.http://www.flip.to/ReturnTechnologies: Email marketing, remarketing campaigns, social media (TravelClick CRM, Cendyn)It's no secret a returning guest is "cheaper" than a new guest. But a returning guest means so much more than money saved in marketing - it's the surest sign you've provided an exceptional guest experience. And it's also a virtuous circle. Every time a guest returns to your property you have the opportunity to "know" the guest a bit more, allowing you to increase your personalization and improve the guest experience with every stay.While the experience on property is the best marketing to influence a guest's return, tools like email marketing, remarketing and social media (your hotel's and other guests'), as well as a compelling loyalty program can also help remind the guest of the fantastic time he or she had on property and ensure their return. Investing in a CRM, like Cendyn's, is the surest way to have the data and functionality to run these email, remarketing, and social campaigns.http://www.cendyn.com/***As you can see, marketing to the guest is much more than guiding them from planning to booking. In fact, marketing has a role in all seven phases of the guest journey: from dream, through stay, and all the way until return (and return again).Most importantly, marketing to your guest doesn't just concern his or her online interaction with your hotel. It also concerns the guest's actual in-person experience on property. By reconceiving marketing's role to extend to all seven phases, hotels have a tremendous opportunity to craft a lasting and impactful relationship with the guest - a relationship that can be nurtured and strengthened by the right technology.
ALICE 31 May 2017
But winning reviews is not the only game in town. Learn how ALICE - the hospitality industry's leading operations platform, which connects all the departments of your hotel for improved staff communication and task management - can make all the difference to your guests' experience on-property and drive loyalty for years to come.Hotels and resorts using ALICE's staff, concierge, and guest engagement technology (which includes guest text messaging) have seen improvements in service increase guest satisfaction, with appreciable increases in bookings, loyalty, and revenue. You can read more about how ALICE helps optimize your guests' on-property experience here.If you're looking to move your marketing to include the guests' on-property experience itself, stop by Booth 1245 to meet the ALICE team and see a live presentation of our technology. Hoteliers interested in attending HITEC for free can email us at email@example.com for more information. We also invite you to book a meeting in advance, for a personalized demo of ALICE.
ALICE 30 May 2017
New York, NY -- Colorado's Copper Mountain Resort is using ALICE's staff operations platform and guest engagement solution to improve staff communication and efficiency, and provide even more digital conveniences to guests. The resort, located at the base of popular ski-destination Copper Mountain, has been using ALICE since November of last year.Copper Mountain Resort's Lodging General Manager, Steve Miller, was looking for a guest engagement tool to enhance communication with guests, but quickly realized ALICE could also transform staff operations behind the scenes. As an expansive resort that offers lodging in over 26 buildings across three different base area villages, and with employees spread throughout, Copper Mountain had a couple of unique challenges when it came to coordinating its staff. For one, guest requests and internal work orders, which come from a wide-range of stakeholders (including guests, unit owners, the front desk, a separate luxury management team, and multiple restaurants, event spaces, and other mountain operations) were being communicated via a variety of channels (phone, email, radio, and in-person), making it difficult to organize work, dispatch it correctly, and keep track of everything. Use of radios in particular was challenging in regards to effective communication. And while radios provided staff with mobility, maintenance technician activity in particular remained organized from a central dispatching location.Now, with ALICE's staff management system, condo maintenance technicians are saving time and are working more efficiently. Because they now receive new work orders as notifications on their mobile devices, they no longer have to stop what they're doing to take notes about an incoming order. Attaching photos to orders has also simplified communication for the team, who no longer has to provide detailed explanations about location or equipment condition. So too, being able to see a list of open tickets on-the-go means maintenance technicians can accept orders most geographically proximate to them, instead of returning to the dispatch building to receive their next task.Copper Mountain Lodging GM Steve Miller is also excited about the conveniences ALICE is providing the resort's guests. Copper Mountain has built ALICE's guest application into the resort's own innovative Copper Mountain Resort app, which provides resort-goers with services like lift times, trail conditions, weather reports, a resort guide and the ability to book lodging and other skier services. Building ALICE - which lets guests request housekeeping, bellman and maintenance services, and communicate directly with the front desk - into their existing guest offering is helping their staff provide even more exceptional service, as evidenced on TripAdvisor.Lodging GM Miller's appreciation of ALICE extends beyond the product's benefits to the experience of working with the ALICE team. "The leadership at ALICE has been very engaged with us as we've worked together to customize the platform to our exact needs. They've taken our product feedback and requests and really helped adapt the system in a way that works best for each of our teams."ALICE has found the partnership with Copper Mountain Resort to be similarly fulfilling. Says Justin Effron, ALICE co-founder and CEO: "After only a few months, Copper Mountain has become one of our highest volume users, proving just how necessary a mobile, cross-department staff solution is to running a complex, high-standard operation like Copper Mountain Resort. We look forward to continuing this productive relationship."
ALICE 25 May 2017
Hundreds of hotels and luxury residences worldwide are partnered with ALICE to improve their staff operations and guest experience. Stop by Booth 1245 for a live product demo.New York, NY -- ALICE - the hospitality industry's first operations platform, which connects all the departments of your hotel for improved staff communication and task management - will be showcasing new products and features at this year's HITEC in Toronto, June 26-29, Booth 1245. To schedule a meeting with our team, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.ALICE's partners include 3-5 star independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. ALICE can also be integrated into your own app or website via ALICE's API. Hotels and groups on the ALICE platform include Two Roads Hospitality, SIXTY Hotels, One&Only Resorts, Viceroy Hotel Group, and Leading Hotels of the World.ALICE will be demonstrating new additions and updates to the company's product line, including:The New Concierge ExperienceNow that guests have easy access to their own apps and services, guests expect more from their concierges. ALICE features like the updated itinerary, updated reminders, and brand new package management tools are helping the concierge and front desk exceed guest expectations.Guest Text MessagingMessaging is exploding as an engagement channel at hotels - everyone knows how to text, and it doesn't require downloading any apps. ALICE's improved text messaging feature set allows hotels to leverage messaging as a way to provide personalized service and upsell to guests at scale.Photo AttachmentsA picture is worth a thousand words. Attaching photos to internal notes and work orders means communicating between staff members - particularly maintenance, engineering, and housekeeping teams - has never been easier. Learn about the new photo attachments feature in ALICE's dedicated hotel staff technology, ALICE Staff.If you're looking to streamline staff operations for a better guest experience, stop by Booth 1245 to meet the ALICE team and see a live presentation of our technology. You can also write to us at email@example.com to book a meeting in advance.
Renowned Sonoma Hotel & Spa MacArthur Place Came for Guest Texting, Stayed for Radio-Free Operations
ALICE 23 May 2017
New York, NY -- MacArthur Place, Sonoma Hotel & Spa has selected hotel technology platform ALICE to upgrade their operations and provide convenience to guests through mobile messaging. The hotel is using ALICE's full suite of products - ALICE Guest, ALICE Concierge, and ALICE Staff - for their guests, concierge, and staff departments respectively.MacArthur Place, a 64-room, historic Wine Country estate, just steps from Sonoma Square, was looking for a way to text message with guests when they came across ALICE. Recognized as one of the "World's Best" Hotels in Conde Nast Traveler's annual Reader's Choice Awards, MacArthur Place has always viewed innovation in the guest offering and an outstanding guest experience as highly intertwined. The hotel was the first hotel in the region to offer their guests WiFi, as well as the first to offer electric car charging stations, and MacArthur's executive team sought guest messaging as a way to differentiate their hotel even further by improving the accessibility of their offerings and amenities with a technology already familiar and beloved by guests.As the executive team anticipated, guests at MacArthur Place are delighted with how easy text messaging makes it to communicate directly with the hotel. And importantly, the hotel's staff are impressed with how seamlessly responding to guest texts fits into their operations, now that they're managing their work on the ALICE platform. Because MacArthur moved their task management from their PMS to ALICE, adding another guest engagement channel, like texting, doesn't burden the hotel's staff with an additional technology system. When a text comes in from a guest, staff are notified and can respond right away in ALICE, dispatching requests or follow up work orders to their colleagues without switching to a different system or radio-ing out.Guest messaging is proving particularly useful for MacArthur's staff and guests when it comes to communicating whether or not a guest's room is ready for check-in. As Kevin Virgo, MacArthur's Director of Operations described it, communication between guest and staff was particularly fraught when it came to this specific issue. Prior to ALICE, guests would call the front desk prior to arrival to find out whether or not their room was ready. This required a lot of sleuthing by staff behind the scenes, while the guest was placed on hold. Now, the front desk can just text the guest when the room is ready, giving guests peace of mind, and alleviating anxiety for staff. Other popular use cases for texting on property include quick confirmation of dinner reservations from the concierge, as well as leveraging the personal, real-time nature of the medium for guest recovery - something that's really resonating with guests.In addition to guest text messaging, other aspects of the ALICE platform are improving operations at MacArthur Place. The hotel's front desk staff are excited to move management of guest lost and found from paper spreadsheets to ALICE's digital log. Attaching photos of found items to tickets and tying tickets to guest profiles radically simplifies a formerly challenging process. The hotel's seasoned concierge team, meanwhile, uses ALICE's dedicated concierge software, with its online vendor database and digital itinerary builder, to help them deliver the personalized service the hotel is known for. The hotel's concierge particularly like how they can print and email guest itineraries that can be more easily updated than those they previously crafted by hand. They also appreciate that there's now one central log for all guest activities, appointments, and reservations that can be accessed by any team member on any shift.Implementing ALICE across every department also means staff have to rely a lot less on radios, and staff and guests are enjoying the newfound peace and quiet. Mr. Virgo admits he was initially skeptical the hotel could run without radios, primarily because of the ease and speed of communication they provided his staff. Yet, just a few months into using ALICE, staff have discovered shortcut keys within the ALICE staff app, and Mr. Virgo believes staff are now more and better connected than they ever were before. "The staff think we bought ALICE just for them," Mr. Virgo admits. "We were looking for technology that would enhance the guest experience, and we wound up with a technology that's enhanced our staff operations as well."Lastly, Mr. Virgo commended ALICE for its ease of installation. As a long-time Director of Operations at MacArthur Place and at other hotels, Mr. Virgo has overseen many software and system implementations, but said ALICE - as a cloud-based software, with a user-friendly interface and experienced trainers - was by far most stress-free launch of any new hotel technology he's experienced. "We were definitely surprised how fast it was to train every department and get the system up and running," he said.
ALICE 18 May 2017
New York, NY -- SIXTY Beverly Hills has selected ALICE's hotel staff and concierge technology - ALICE Staff and ALICE Concierge - to streamline task management and improve staff communication. The luxury boutique, just steps from storied Rodeo Drive, joins sister properties SIXTY SoHo and SIXTY LES on the ALICE platform.Implementing ALICE has transformed operations for all staff departments, including the front desk, which now has much more time to devote to guests. Since all guest requests and internal work orders are entered into and followed up with directly in ALICE, the front desk no longer has to route tasks or radio colleagues to determine the status of a request. Guests who stop by the front desk can get answers to their questions right away, and guests who call the front desk no longer have to be put on hold while staff quickly try to get in touch with other team members.Other departments also now spend much less time on the phone. With ALICE, housekeeping and maintenance now manage their tasks on mobile devices, eliminating the need to call the front desk in between assignments. ALICE has also improved communication within and between these teams via photo attachments (which let staff instantly communicate issues with photos taken right on their mobile devices), and ALICE's translation portal (which helps non-English speaking staff continue to communicate with one another in their native language).The Concierge department appreciates using a concierge system that is integrated with those used by the other staff departments. Being able to submit requests to other departments via ALICE on behalf of guests, means the concierge team can assist guests with requests which may might be better directed toward another department. And because this can be done just by typing quickly into ALICE, a Concierge can attend to this while still talking with guests or fulfilling other tasks.SIXTY Beverly Hills Front Office Manager Taryn Wolfe is delighted with how logging staff activity and guest requests with ALICE has provided her a greater understanding of her operations, as well as ensured more accountability for her team. With ALICE, there's now a record of communication, (digital) paper trail of assignments, and insight to how long it takes for certain tasks to be completed, as well as who completed them. "Everyone calls her 'trusty Alice'," says Wolfe. "She's the greatest confidant you could have."ABOUT ALICE: 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 provide consistently excellent service. ALICE's main product -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 also available as specialized software and mobile applications for your staff (ALICE Staff), your concierge (ALICE Concierge) and your guests (ALICE Guest). Each module can be integrated with your PMS, POS, and third party management systems. ALICE's partners include 3-5 star independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. Third-party service providers also leverage the ALICE API. ALICE was founded in 2013 by Justin Effron, Alex Shashou, and Dmitry Koltunov, and has raised $13.5M to date.
ALICE 17 May 2017
The Rise of the Outsourced, Virtual ConciergeOutsourcing concierge services in hotels is nothing new - bus companies and other hospitality brands have been placing their agents in hotels for years - but the ubiquity of the smartphone has facilitated a new, innovative breed of outsourced service provider, that of the virtual concierge.Virtual concierges provide the same benefits to guests, but through digital means. On the front end, the guest experience differs from the traditional outsourced concierge model, as the guest never "meets" these concierges, but interacts with them instead through a mobile application or SMS. On the back end, however, the virtual concierge job is very similar to that of a hotel concierge. The concierge makes suggestions, books reservations, orders services, and tracks the status of requests, just as an in-house concierge would.Why You Want Your Virtual Concierge Service Connected to Your Hotel with Request Management Technology1. Every time your guest makes a request to your virtual concierge, that's a valuable piece of guest data you want associated with that guest's profile. This guest information can be used to enhance the guest's stay, and hopefully future stays, at your hotel. You want your outsourced concierge to be using a request management system that is integrated with the system your in-house guest teams use, in order to centralize this data and leverage it for better service and guest experience.2. Additionally, your virtual concierge will often receive requests for items and services outside of his or her mandate, such as request for more towels or the WiFi password. Without a shared request management system, the concierge facilitating the request for more towels has to pick up the phone, call the hotel, and hope the request gets fulfilled. The agent is unable to confirm to the guest the request has been filled without calling the hotel again and tracking down the status of the request, which might involve a long and fraught chain of communication. This is operationally challenging for your hotel and compromises the guest experience. In contrast, if both your in-house staff and virtual concierge service use a request management system, guest requests can be handled seamlessly, even if they're addressed to your outsourced concierge, but require fulfilment by your staff.In ConclusionBecause request management technology unites all hotel staff members - in-house or outsourced - on the same request management platform, it is the ideal solution to integrate the activities of virtual concierges with the those of a hotel's internal teams. Without a request management system to unify your outsourced concierge service with the rest of your hotel staff and operations, you run the risk of compromised guest service and losing valuable guest data. With request management technology, you get all the benefits of outsourcing the concierge function, without any of the drawbacks.
ALICE 9 May 2017
New York, NY -- Brooklyn's Wythe Hotel is using ALICE's hotel management technology to improve staff task management and staff communication. The 70-room waterfront factory turned independent hotel has been using ALICE's staff and concierge technology - ALICE Staff and ALICE Concierge - since June of last year.Before ALICE streamlined task management across the hotel's departments with a single system, Wythe shared guest requests and internal work orders between employees via a series of shared Google docs, notepads and sticky notes. This system worked well at first, but soon, staying on top of tasks became difficult as the amount of information employees had to consult and share amongst each other increased. This manual system also challenged basic concierge work, as neither the notes nor the internal list the Wythe's concierge relied on were searchable.With ALICE's concierge tool, Erin Webb, Wythe's head concierge, can now efficiently search for any restaurant or service listed in ALICE's database of vendors. ALICE lets users categorize vendors they import to the database using any number of tags. When a guest asks for a hotel's favorite restaurants that serve small plates and great wine, for example, it's now easy to quickly pull up a list of recommended places tagged with "favorites," "wine," and "small plates." "Before ALICE, it was really hard to present that information elegantly and in an accessible way," says Webb. "ALICE has been a game changer."ALICE is also helping Wythe's front desk staff juggle their many responsibilities. Unlike many hotels today, most of Wythe's bookings are made direct, and often over the phone. Wythe's front desk staff double as reservationists. Adept at multi-tasking, they now have more time to devote to guests. Because all guest information is entered right into ALICE, working at the front desk no longer means manually entering the same information in several different places, or following up with colleagues to see if work has been done. By cutting down on redundancies, and displaying all information in an easily accessible "calendar view," ALICE is letting Wythe's staff get back to the business of hospitality. "Hospitality is a tough job," says Webb. "ALICE has made our lives easier."Wythe has been a valued partner to ALICE over the past year, beta-testing ALICE's package management product and guest texting functionality. After ALICE alpha-tests its products in-house, the company selects a few partner hotels interested in working together with ALICE to optimize new features and components of the ALICE suite of products. Wythe's tech-savvy operations teams have provided ALICE with weekly feedback to help evolve ALICE's ideas to fit the needs of ALICE's partner hotels. When it came to testing ALICE's new package management tools, Wythe was eager to move from their physical log to a digital, centralized hub for logging packages. Wythe's front desk team have also been enthusiastic when it comes to experimenting with guest SMS. It's taking time to figure out the best way to introduce the product to guests, but staff and guests are seeing instant value from the ability to text when rooms are ready, or to let guests know their dry cleaning has been placed in their rooms, among other use cases. "Texting guests is allowing us to maintain our values of hospitality, but also adapt to the times," says Webb.
Hospitality Technology Veteran and Wellspring of Energy Wendy Zapach Joins ALICE as Director of Sales, North America
ALICE 2 May 2017
New York, NY -- ALICE, the operations platform powering the world's best hotels, is excited to announce hospitality technology sales and leadership veteran Wendy Zapach has joined the company as Director of Sales, North America.Zapach joins ALICE from Yext, where, as Director of Sales, she covered major hospitality partnerships, such as Savre, Vizergy, HeBS Digital, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Prior to Yext, Zapach served as the Director of Sales at TravelClick, where she was responsible for a $8.5M book of business. A President's Club winner every year, Zapach sold more than $7.5M of new business during her four-year tenure, and built the Boston region into a thriving company portfolio. Zapach also has a strong background in hospitality. She served as Director of Sales & Marketing at Bermuda's Tucker's Point Hotel & Spa from 2009-2012, and was also Leisure Sales Manager at the Boston Harbor Hotel from 2004 to 2009.Zapach brings valuable leadership experience to ALICE, as well as longstanding relationships with industry decision makers and hotels. Zapach served as a player coach in her previous leadership roles, excelling as a mentor in the ranks of the TravelClick sales organization as well as in her previous positions.A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Zapach is an avid runner and a wellspring of energy. She currently resides in Reading, MA, with her husband and two children.ALICE welcomes Zapach as a key member of the company's executive team. Zapach joins ALICE at a time of rapid growth. Founded in 2013, ALICE has raised $13.5M in funding, most recently closing a $9.5M Series A in December, 2015, which was led by Expedia. Over 200 hundred hotels across the country and around the world have chosen ALICE for the transformative effect joining all hotel staff departments onto a single platform has for improved task management and employee communication. ALICE's guest engagement toolset is also helping its clients deliver exceptional service with cutting-edge innovations like guest-to-staff texting."Wendy's hospitality-based sales experience and deep network of industry relationships will be a tremendous asset to our team," says ALICE's CEO and co-founder Justin Effron. "The Northeast is a crucial market for us, and Wendy will be able to elevate our profile in the independent hotel market there in a big way. We're also looking to her to help us build and mentor our sales team."Zapach is looking forward to getting started: "ALICE provides something I feel passionate about: exceptional guest service. The innovation we're bringing to the hotel community is exceptional and I'm eager to help hotels facilitate better communication, both internally and externally."
ALICE 19 April 2017
Whether it's booking travel online, buying a book or watching porn, for years, the role of technology has been to improve our access to information and our ability to act on that information. As a result, consumers have become increasingly independent and able to satisfy their needs through technology. In economics this is called disintermediation - the removal of intermediaries from a supply chain, or the "cutting out of the middlemen" in connection with a transaction or a series of transactions. We've seen Uber do it to the taxi companies, airlines to the travel agents and so on. In the hotel, that "middleman" has always been the concierge - the highly polished, extremely knowledgeable "Golden Keys," who could unlock the best restaurants in town for the guests who asked the nicest. The concierge was historically the guests' access point to all the information they were seeking on local services and products.With the advent of the smartphone, however, the concierge role has come under threat. The proliferation of review sites, social media recommendations, and online booking platforms has given guests the ability to discover and take care of everyday requests themselves. Many people are calling this age the Concierge Economy (or Convenience Economy), one in which countless networks of digitally coordinated workers deliver products and services to people who are cash-rich but time-poor. As the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2015, "there is an Uber for everything now." When you combine these Uber-for-X offerings with the online booking platforms that can satisfy your restaurant (OpenTable) and theater (Ticketmaster) needs, you can justify the notion that a guest can effectively serve as their own concierges today.Consumer technology is outpacing concierge technology, leaving many in our industry to undervalue the necessity of a highly trained concierge and many concierges frustrated at their inability to perform at the speed and personalization required to impress our clientele.- Noah Lemaich, Chief Concierge of Sixty HotelsBut reports of the demise of the concierge role have been greatly exaggerated, as you will see. Indeed, let us consider another reality. Nothing has changed. A guest has always been able to figure out what to do and research how to do it. I know it seems shocking to think of a world without my beloved Google Maps, but there was a time when I stopped by the concierge to ask for a map and directions every time I left the hotel -- at that time, doing so was simply the most convenient option. This reality is true of all these on-demand apps. Consumers are not choosing them because they are cheaper but because they are more convenient and in almost all cases, we are paying a premium for this convenience. An item in a vending machine is more expensive than the same one at a store because someone else has applied resources to make sure it's more conveniently located. In our industry, convenience premiums are placed on the items in the mini-bar, the amenities brought up to our rooms and the WiFi now on planes. The point is that consumers value time and effort and technology has not changed our values.Technology has rarely changed what we do, just how we do it. A concierge has always been a luxury not a necessity, just as having a driver has been over renting your own car. The problem today is that technology thus far has affected everything around the concierge, but not yet the role itself. The concierge has become less convenient than the service apps I use because the service apps live on my phone and in most hotels, the concierge does not. So, in a world of mobile technology and information overload, we have to create a new model for concierge, one in which convenience is achieved through technology, and one in which guests are able to continue paying their convenience premiums but to the concierge instead of an outsourced service provider.How Technology will Support the Concierge of the FutureThe concierge of the future needs to be supported by technology made expressly to enhance the role and place him or her at the center of the guest experience. Perhaps a better name for this role is "Guest Experience Manager." This technology needs to augment and advance the concierge in his or her ability to: Project Manage, Communicate, Curate Information and Personalize.1. Project ManagementConcierges today need technology that lets them master their guests' itineraries and accommodate the planning that's needed often months in advance, as well as in the split seconds after a request is made.A concierge is not just the person who secures the guest a romantic corner table on Valentine's Day. A concierge, rather, ensures everything before, during, and after that corner table is exactly as the guest wants it. There's much that goes into this. Just listen to Erik Rocca, Concierge at Thompson Nashville describe what's necessary to coordinate a single evening for just one guest:"Jack Barnes, Corner booth at Balthazar...... 7:47 PM, hates even numbers...Two Negroni's on the rocks waiting at the table....Must be seated in Antonio's section, the Head Waiter for over 20 years. Red Roses. Mr. Barnes has a special note for his wife to be delivered by the Maitre D at 8:13 PM. Two tickets to the heavyweight fight at Madison Square Garden. Seats must be in Section 201 or in Mr. Monroe's Box Seats, but only if he offers, of course. Car waiting to take them back, 15 minutes before the fight ends to miss the traffic. Keys at the desk with today's papers for a night cap.""Any concierge," says Erik, "can tell you that the job is not always easy, especially in a luxury market. Guests are demanding and particular, and they have every right to be. Being a great concierge and hotel is about delivering outstanding customer service within a non-stop twenty-four-hour cycle."The concierge role is one that requires extremely accurate project management. Stitching together an evening, whether it is as grand as that of Mr Barnes or as simple as a trip to the movies, takes time and effort. Imagine a whole trip, and then multiply that by the number of guests at your hotel at any one time, plus those guests who plan their trip in advance in arrival. While guests may be increasingly booking their travel online, 77% of all in-stay tourist activities are actually still booked offline and in-destination, according to Robin Berrendorf, Co-Founder at MyEventBUTLER.The app world has done a great job at facilitating the "right now" requests, but a concierge needs to accurately manage requests for activities and items far out in the future as well as those that require immediate attention. Much of the software being used by concierges today (or lack of software) creates a barrier to the concierge performing this orchestration flawlessly. Most concierges are using either spreadsheets or very simple task management tools. To be more convenient and helpful to guests than the apps on their phones, concierges need technology attuned to the project management needs of the role.2. CommunicationConcierges today need technology that makes it easier for guests to communicate with them than it is to communicate with their apps.How we communicate with one another has changed significantly over the past ten years. Phone calls are on the wane, and messaging (be it through SMS, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger) is becoming increasingly prevalent - both between friends and between consumers and businesses. Guests staying at your hotel will expect to communicate with your staff in the method of their choosing, in the way that's most convenient to them.Hotels can't afford to ignore their guests' communication channel preferences. Take the example of Netflix vs Blockbuster. Both companies provide(d) the same exact service - letting you watch a movie at home. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster had 60,000 employees, 9,000 stores and a market cap of $5bn. Today, Netflix has a market cap of $59.38bn, which is exactly $59.38bn more than that of Blockbuster, which filed for bankruptcy in 2010.When it comes to technology, we must continuously hew towards convenience. If the concierge isn't able to join the guest on their preferred communication channel, then the guest must walk up to the desk or call him or her, which takes effort and diminishes convenience. As long as this technology gap remains, guests will continue to outsource their service needs to a provider who is at their fingertips (and I will continue to use my Google Maps).As the concierge role becomes more of a guest experience hub, it's imperative their communication abilities keep pace with that of their guests.3. Information CurationConcierges today need technology that helps them help guests cut through the information overload that exists today.When the travel industry first introduced online booking platforms, travel agents all over the world went out of business. What need was there for a physical agent, if guests could book themselves online and hotels could access their guests directly? Over the last few years, however, we are starting to see this trend reverse, and witness a resurgence of the travel advisor (the new travel agent). This is because with so much content being produced, we now live in a world of information overload. Travellers crave adventure and new experiences. They also want experiences that are local and authentic. With so much information and "advice" out there it's hard to see the forest through the trees, no matter how many algorithms we create to achieve this. Again, its time vs money and while we can curate our own trips, people value the opinions and reassurances of other humans. When it comes to the hotel experience, the concierge is there to help (much like the resurging travel agent). Even Airbnb has their hosts now communicating through messaging technology with guests around their trips to help facilitate and suggest local experiences that will make the trip memorable. Just as the number of travel advisors is set to grow 10% through 2020, there remains a big opportunity for the content curating concierge.4. PersonalizationConcierges need technology that helps them make guests feel special and valued.Just as we want to experience the world as a local, we also want to be treated as one. The future of guest experience is a highly personalized one. It is one where the hotel recognizes you not just for your booking loyalty, but for who you are as an individual and how you like to enjoy your travel. One of the key reasons we choose hotels in general over Airbnb is for their service. One of the key reasons we will go back to the exact same hotel is because we are remembered. Leading Hotels of the World found their members who felt recognized by the hotel had a 3x higher guest satisfaction score.This is where technology will have its biggest impact. As hotels adopt platform and messaging technology, every single action and communication from a guest will have some form of digital trace. Staff are getting rid of radios and moving to digital too, and even the complaints and requests made by guests are becoming digitized. Thus, as the entire hotel technology ecosystem becomes integrated, the amount of data we have on our guests is growing exponentially. Everything from a complaint to an allergy will become usable data.While we recognize that much of this data is not useful and that there is a data overload, artificial intelligence is progressing to a point where we are not far off from being able to surface the right guest to hotel staff at the right time. The concierge of the future will be able to use this data to create a truly personalized experience. Moreover, concierges who are trained in the art of hospitality will be advantaged to deliver this personalization in a way that feels authentic, which is something technology itself cannot do. As Skift wrote in their mega trends for 2017, hospitality needs to bring back its humanity. But this does not mean no technology, rather it means using technology to support hotel staff to deliver the experience of hospitalityGuests have not changed what they are doing, just how they are doing it. Hotels will continue to need their concierges, because guests will continue to want convenient, human driven hospitality experiences. However, the concierge will only survive and thrive if given the right technology - the right technology to become a holistic guest experience manager, as the changing role requires. Guests will need to communicate with their concierge as seamlessly as they do with their apps. Concierges will also need tools for curation and personalization, in order to safeguard the industry's ability to deliver unique and memorable travel experiences.
ALICE 11 April 2017
New York, NY -- The Gregory Hotel and The Renwick Hotel - a pair of historic boutique hotels in Midtown Manhattan - are using ALICE's operations technology and guest engagement platform to improve staff coordination and provide convenient communications options to guests.Both hotels have a strong legacy of New York City hospitality. The Gregory opened as the Gregorian Hotel in 1903 and quickly became a popular residence for the famous and well-to-do. The Renwick began its life as a home to artist studios and intellectuals and is a member of Historic Hotels of America(r). Both hotels were restored (and, in the case of The Gregory, renamed), and reopened as swank New York City boutiques in 2015.Prior to implementing ALICE, operations at the 173-room The Renwick Hotel (a member of the Curio Collection by Hilton) were managed with pen and paper, with guest calls and requests logged on a shared spreadsheet. Now, the hotel's front desk, engineering, and housekeeping teams all manage their operations with ALICE, which has greatly increased the efficiency with which the departments can log guest requests and dispatch them to the correct team or individual. Logging guest requests and establishing patterns over time has allowed the housekeeping team, for example, to optimize the replenishment schedule they use to place items like water bottles and towels in the guest rooms. The maintenance team, meanwhile, appreciates how establishing patterns in work orders can help point to more fundamental underlying issues, like plumbing problems across an entire building wing, as oppose to in a specific room. Logging numerous work orders regarding shelving that would come loose from bathroom walls led the team to determine the shelving itself was faulty and that they should replace it altogether, rather than go room by room as issues arose.Before ALICE, teams at The Gregory were also tracking activities and requests manually, as well as relying on walkie talkies, which were often obtrusively loud and unreliable. ALICE, in contrast, lets staff at The Gregory be specific with their communication. Entering text-based guest requests and work orders into ALICE means nothing can be misheard or skipped over, and attaching images makes communicating the nature of an issue or its location effortless. The Gregory's Director of Operations, Natalie Bogan, also appreciates how keeping this record of communications and activities makes her job as a manager easier, allowing her to check in every morning or after a long weekend to see instantaneously the status of operations at her hotel. She also keeps her own notes in ALICE, ensuring everything she needs to manage the hotel is in one place.Both The Renwick and The Gregory are using the guest-facing component of ALICE's hotel technology, ALICE Guest. Michael Hillier, General Manager of The Renwick, and The Gregory's Natalie Bogan love the convenience ALICE provides to their guests. ALICE's guest engagement toolset, which includes a guest-facing app and SMS texting, lets guests request housekeeping, bellman and maintenance services, and communicate directly with the front desk. "Offering guests the ability to text and use the app to place requests makes a lot of sense. We're on our phones all the time anyway. It's a lot easier than calling the front desk and potentially being placed on hold, and you can also place requests off-site," says Hillier. Natalie Bogan agrees, "Texting guests creates an immediately personal experience."ABOUT ALICE: 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 provide consistently excellent service. ALICE's main product -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 also available as specialized software and mobile applications for your staff (ALICE Staff), your concierge (ALICE Concierge) and your guests (ALICE Guest). Each module can be integrated with your PMS, POS, and third party management systems. ALICE's partners include 3-5 star independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. Third-party service providers also leverage the ALICE API. ALICE was founded in 2013 by Justin Effron, Alex Shashou, and Dmitry Koltunov, and has raised $13.5M to date.
ALICE 30 March 2017
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.
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."
ALICE 22 March 2017
New York, NY -- The Radisson Hotel El Paso Airport is saving their employees time and improving their teams' internal communication with ALICE's staff operations management platform.The 239-room full-service hotel, which has been using ALICE since the beginning of the year, is running their front desk, maintenance, housekeeping and bellmen communications and task management on the platform.Prior to using ALICE, the Radisson El Paso communicated entirely via radio. Without the ability to record exchanges and requests, this made it difficult to track staff activity or establish staff accountability. Sometimes requests and directions would get missed by staff altogether, frustrating employees and impacting service. The constant chatter of the radio was also intrusive for both staff and guests.Now, with ALICE, staff have a newfound peace of mind. For one, the constant radio chatter - and the shortcomings of radio - are a thing of the past. Then, there's all the time ALICE is saving the El Paso team. For example, before ALICE, El Paso's head of engineering used to end every day by manually entering reports (which were often unfinished) into his Preventative Maintenance program. Now that his PM program has been built into ALICE, and his team are constantly updating ALICE throughout the day, he can apply his time at the end of the day more productively.ALICE has also saved time for the Front Desk. Prior to ALICE, the Front Desk team kept a manual "make it right" log, which recorded guest incidents and resolutions. Staff spent time logging requests and complaints, often pulling information from separate places, like other department logs or PM systems. Now, ALICE serves as their virtual, centralized log - all issues, regardless of department, are easily accessible and all in one place, and no one has to spend time tracking anyone else down to find an answer to a question or get an update on a request.ALICE has also transformed internal communications for El Paso's large (~100 person), multilingual staff. There is now a record of every exchange and messages between staff cannot be overlooked. Features of the ALICE platform, like picture attachments, are also reducing miscommunication. Instead of explaining there's chipped paint in the corner of a room and where it is, for example, the maintenance and housekeeping teams can now just easily snap a picture.El Paso's staff aren't the only employees who are benefitting from using ALICE. The Radisson's management now have insights to their operations that weren't previously attainable, like how long it takes their employees to respond to requests and how long it takes them to complete tasks across various departments and activities. "It's very helpful as a manager to see the progress our departments are making," says the El Paso Radisson's Director of Operations Danielle Adams, of ALICE's reporting functionality.Ms. Adams also describes how ALICE provides her and her team with important context to guest reviews. For example, she explains, a guest recently left a complaint about having asked for towels, but then not receiving them. Previously, it would have been difficult for Ms. Adams as a manager to know which staff member responded to the guest request, but then didn't deliver the towels. Now, with ALICE, she has visibility to the precise chain of events. "No one can drop the ball with ALICE," Ms. Adams says.When selecting an operations technology for their staff, the Radisson El Paso's management also evaluated alternative vendors, but chose ALICE for its broad functionality and its value for price.ABOUT ALICE: 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 provide consistently excellent service. ALICE's main product -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 also available as specialized software and mobile applications for your staff (ALICE Staff), your concierge (ALICE Concierge) and your guests (ALICE Guest). Each module is fully integratable with PMS, POS, and all other third party management systems. ALICEs partners include 3-5 independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. Third-party service providers also leverage the ALICE API. ALICE was founded in 2013 by Justin Effron, Alex Shashou, and Dmitry Koltunov, and has raised $13.5M to date.
ALICE 7 March 2017
New York, NY -- Celebration Suites in Kissimmee, FL is using ALICE to improve its staff communication and guest request management.Prior to adopting ALICE in the summer of 2016, Celebration Suites ran its operations with a paper-based system. For a 550-key operation spread across 21 acres, this added an onerous amount of reporting to staff activity, with the result that logs were often incomplete and overlooked. This occasionally led to confusion behind-the-scenes, compromising guest service. Indeed, the hotel's staff quickly saw the value of bringing request management online, with the improved organization, transparency, and accountability that comes in so doing.Kissimmee's Celebration Suites has a number of characteristics that make ALICE a particularly good fit. The property is vast - 550 guest suites across more than 20 buildings and 21 acres - with staff using golf carts and radios to communicate with one another. By logging guest requests and internal messages into ALICE on their mobile devices, staff can now communicate with one another seamlessly throughout the property. Because Celebration Suites recently upgraded their WiFi - not just in the guest suites, but in the staff quarters too - it means mobile devices running ALICE function better than radios!As a limited service hotel, Kissimmee's Celebration Suites runs with a team of staff much smaller than hotels of comparable size. And, with its proximity to Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld, the hotel averages a 90% occupancy rate. This means the hotel's staff have to work with incredible economy in servicing their guests. Now, with the efficiencies brought to its operations by ALICE, the hotel's staff can deliver its guests an intimate and attentive hospitality experience, despite the challenges the property's size presents.Brian Wong, Celebration Suites' General Manager, immediately saw the value of ALICE when it was first demoed to him, but had reservations his staff would switch from the paper-based system they'd run the hotel with for years. That skepticism has been allayed. The staff's average response time to requests is down by 45%, with 67% of issues responded to in under 11 minutes. Moreover, the team's completion time on outstanding issues has been reduced by 32%, which has afforded them more flexibility to proactively assist guests.Mr. Wong attributes some of these gains to ALICE's usability; the simplicity of the technology's user interface meant adoption was quick, regardless of his staff's level of comfort with technology. He also praises ALICE's support team for setting his team up for success: "The experience of working with ALICE has been resoundingly positive - we're very pleased with the company's customer support," Mr. Wong says.Alex Shashou, ALICE's co-founder and President, says Kissimmee's Celebration Suites is an exemplary ALICE client: "With more that 10,000 packages held and delivered for guests in the last seven months, and close to 1,000 housekeeping and 1,000 maintenance tickets logged in the system, it's is truly incredible how hard the team at Celebration works to operate the property. We're so pleased we can work with them to help improve guest satisfaction and provide fantastic hospitality."***ABOUT ALICEBy 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 provide consistently excellent service. ALICE's main product - 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 also available as specialized software and mobile applications for your staff (ALICE Staff), your concierge (ALICE Concierge) and your guests (ALICE Guest). Each module is fully integratable with PMS, POS, and all other third party management systems. ALICEs partners include 3-5 independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. Third-party service providers also leverage the ALICE API. ALICE was founded in 2013 by Justin Effron, Alex Shashou, and Dmitry Koltunov, and has raised $13.5M to date.
Corigin Real Estate Group Selects Operations Platform ALICE to Deliver Hospitality and Convenience to their Tenants and Staff
ALICE 28 February 2017
New York, NY -- Corigin Real Estate Group, a preeminent developer, owner and operator of New York City real estate, has partnered with ALICE to improve its resident experience and staff operations at eight New York City properties. Corigin selected ALICE, which powers operations and guest engagement at hundreds of hotels and luxury residences in the United States and around the world, to elevate its tenant offering and improve property management and service delivery across its portfolio.Corigin, which launched with ALICE in November of last year, is using ALICE to power its white-label mobile app for their residents. The app allows their residents to pay rent, submit maintenance requests, receive building information and communicate with staff, all through a convenient and intuitive user interface.The company is also using ALICE's staff-side mobile application to organize its employees, who provide services across their portfolio. Prior to ALICE, employees relied on emails and phone calls to communicate maintenance requests. Without ALICE's task management toolset, they often lost time shuttling between properties unnecessarily. Now, maintenance workers and porters log into ALICE in the morning and have easy and immediate access to their daily schedule. The app also allows employees to communicate directly with their residents, which saves time and improves the level of service Corigin offers its residents.ALICE is also providing building managers with tools to better manage their staff and gain insights to their property operations. With ALICE, managers can designate and delegate tasks to different employees, see how fast staff members are responding to work orders and how quick they are completing daily assignments. Managers can also use ALICE to request feedback from tenants and find opportunities for improvement via the system's analytics and reports.Corigin Real Estate Group had been looking to build their own tenant app and staff dispatch system in-house. But, when they came across ALICE, adopting the technology was an easy decision. It's been made even easier by the successful partnership the two companies have had since November, working together to forge a solution customized to the real estate group's requirements: "The ALICE team has been exceptionally easy to work with. The system is already very customizable, but ALICE worked closely with us to deliver a system that adapted exactly to our needs. The final result is an improvement in property management efficiency and the standard of hospitality we are offering our residents," said Corigin's Managing Director Christopher Jett about his company's selection of the ALICE platform."We're excited our partnership with Corigin is proving so successful for both their staff and their residents," says ALICE co-founder and CEO Justin Effron. "Luxury residential is a natural extension of our work with hotels, and we're delighted Corigin shares our vision of elevated hospitality through technology and efficiencies won through a platform approach."To learn more about ALICE's products for both hotels and luxury real estate, please get in touch.ABOUT CORIGIN: Corigin is a private holding company specializing in real estate and venture capital through Corigin Real Estate Group and Corigin Ventures, respectively. Corigin is based in New York and is led by Ryan Freedman, its Chairman & Chief Executive Officer.Corigin's Real Estate Group is a preeminent developer, owner and operator of New York City real estate. The Group's platforms span development, multi-family rental apartments, student housing, property management and lending. Each platform operates under a culture based on innovation and excellence focused on delivering the highest standards within their respective asset classes. The execution of these standards is driven by the experienced, dedicated and impactful individuals that make Corigin great at what they do.Corigin Ventures is an early-stage investor of capital and support to tech-enabled startups in high-growth markets led by inspirational teams. Founded on our deep desire to innovate the real estate space, Corigin Ventures leverages operational expertise and cross-industry relationships to deliver on its mandate. Free of limited partners or sector constraints, Corigin Ventures focuses on Seed and Series A investments.ABOUT ALICE: 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 provide consistently excellent service. ALICE's main product - 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 also available as specialized software and mobile applications for your staff (ALICE Staff), your concierge (ALICE Concierge) and your guests (ALICE Guest). Each module is fully integratable with PMS, POS, and all other third party management systems. ALICEs partners include 3-5 independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. Third-party service providers also leverage the ALICE API. ALICE was founded in 2013 by Justin Effron, Alex Shashou, and Dmitry Koltunov, and has raised $13.5M to date.
ALICE 21 February 2017
New York, NY -- Curacao's Floris Suite Hotel - Spa & Beach Club is delighted to announce that using ALICE's operations platform is increasing staff efficiency and guest satisfaction at the hotel. The 72-suite, adults-only resort adopted ALICE's Suite product two years ago to improve both its staff and guest experience. ALICE Suite brings a hotel's departments and its guests together on the same platform for improved communication and request management.Guests at the Floris Suite Hotel are using ALICE's guest application to conveniently place requests and order food and beverages from anywhere on the expansive property, including poolside and on the beach. Guests appreciate the luxury of being able communicate with staff wherever and whenever, without having to find a hotel phone or swing by the front desk.Staff at the hotel are using ALICE's back of house technology and mobile application to improve their efficiency as they provide guest service across the large resort. ALICE is proving particularly advantageous to the engineering department, as the technology provides a centralized and accessible place to keep track of maintenance issues. This lets the department more easily identify patterns in equipment malfunctions and then assign preventative measures. Recording guest requests with ALICE has also yielded valuable insights. By logging guest complaints about getting the in-room safes to work, for example, Floris Suite's management knew they had to improve the instructions accompanying the safes in their guest rooms. Prior to using ALICE, staff were using radios and pen and paper, which made it difficult to see larger operations and guest service issues, such as this one.Frank Holtslag, General Manager at the Floris Suite Hotel says the impact of using ALICE over the past two years has been evident: "Most guests that stay with us aren't used to having this type of technology available to them at a hotel. They can now talk to staff from anywhere they like, which gives them a lot of freedom. It's been really well received and they've written nice reviews on TripAdvisor about it. ALICE has really helped us deliver even better service than we were delivering before."Justin Effron, ALICE co-founder and CEO added, "We're pleased ALICE is providing Floris Suite's staff and guests so much convenience and utility. Floris Suite is one of our longest standing clients and we're grateful for such a productive partnership."
ALICE 15 February 2017
The Nolitan's GM appreciates how ALICE asks the right questions, listens, and works to tailor the product to the hotel's needs.New York, NY -- New York's trendy Nolitan Hotel is using ALICE's dedicated hotel staff product, ALICE Staff, to manage their engineering operations.The Nolitan's General Manager, Bogdan Docu, first learned about ALICE as Front Office Manager at the Hotel Gansevoort, where he was impressed with how receptive the ALICE team was to listening to and acting on product feedback. When he moved to the Nolitan, he knew he needed to work with the company again, selecting ALICE's software for management of his back of house early last year.The Nolitan Hotel, a 57-room boutique located in New York's hip Nolita neighborhood, uses ALICE Staff to improve the coordination and accountability of its engineering team. Before ALICE, the hotel used radio and pen and paper to organize their back of house operations and assign incidents and guest requests. Tasks could be easily missed, and it was hard to keep track of recurring maintenance issues. With ALICE Staff, the Nolitan engineering department now has perfect visibility to its assignments, and can track and preempt maintenance issues throughout the property. For the first time, Nolitan's management also has insights into the department's performance - they can use ALICE's reporting functionality to see how their staff is deployed, how long tasks are taking them, and whether or not they need to make adjustments.While the Nolitan's GM Mr. Docu is pleased with the increased efficiency and accountability of his engineering department, he is perhaps most impressed with how fruitful and refreshing it has been to work with the ALICE product team. "The big guys in hotel technology, they're often like, 'This is our product - take it or leave it,' but ALICE is exceptional in its willingness to listen to and accommodate the client. It's what sets ALICE apart," Mr. Docu said."We're delighted the Nolitan is finding ALICE so important to their back of house operations. We appreciate all the valuable product advice Bogdan and his team have given us over the years, and we look forward to continuing our productive partnership," adds Justin Effron, ALICE's co-founder and CEO.
ALICE 14 February 2017
In recent years, the package situation at many hotels has become untenable. This is especially true for hotels where the concierge and front desk are responsible for package management, because concierge technology today doesn't account for package management alongside the other requirements of the job. When evaluating concierge technology, look for systems that help concierges with a dedicated package management toolkit, in addition to all the other concierge-supporting functions of the technology platform.___Each year, more and more packages get delivered. In the one month between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, an estimated 1,500,000,000 packages were delivered in the United States. No doubt many of those packages wound up at your hotel.At certain hotels, like many of the boutique properties we work with in New York City, package management is the domain of the concierge or front desk agents. As the number of packages arriving at a hotel each day has increased, we've seen that concierges without the right technology to help them manage it all, have experienced their roles become less about providing concierge services, and more about stemming the incoming tide of packages.It wasn't always this way. Just as Amazon Prime has changed the game for brick and mortar retail, shipping and logistics, urban congestion, and even the residential doorman, packages have quietly become a dilemma for hotels. Before Amazon Prime, guests would often ship themselves business materials, or garments for events, or special purpose, bulky equipment, like skis. But the e-commerce explosion and cheap or free shipping mean it's often cost effective for guests to have items shipped right to their hotel, particularly during the holidays, and especially if coming from overseas.What happens when concierges don't have a dedicated package tool?Guest items go missing: When incoming packages aren't logged, or logged manually, it's easy to misplace these items. Hotels then have to devote employee time (concierges, front desk agents, and security) to hours and hours of "detective work" (watching security footage, pouring through logs, etc.). When items aren't found, hotels often have to compensate guests, which is very expensive and a poor guest experience.Huge amounts of employee time are lost to manual inventory: Going package by package to record 13 digit-long tracking numbers takes up an enormous amount of time your skilled employees could be devoting to pleasing your guests.Vulnerability to shift changes: A paper- or excel-based package management system, or no formalized system at all, is prey to shift changes. When the team member who logged the package leaves for the day, so too does a lot of the knowledge associated with that package (who logged it, who sent it out, what time of day it was marked delivered, etc.). If a guest comes by the front desk after hours to ask about a package after hours, they're often out of luck.How things change with a technology that provides tools for every aspect of a concierge's role, including package management.Easily scan tracking numbers when packages are received.Create labels - and tickets - for items without tracking numbers. Not all packages are "packages." For items like garment bags and mailing tubes you can create a ticket for the item, print the ticket label, attach it to the item so you can log it, and then check it out when it gets picked up.Gain full transparency for all your hotel staff: Any staff member can log into the system and see the status of a package and its associated information.Gain full accountability: You can mark in the system when the package was given to a guest and print a receipt to record a signature.Give guests peace of mind: Once a package is inventoried, you can send an email to the guest to let them know their package arrived.Further delight guests by scheduling outgoing packages.Get insights: A reporting tool helps you analyze package volume and processes, and provoke questions like whether you should charge for packages to supplement revenue.Manage packages as part of a larger set of functionality concerning all inventory: You can use the system to also manage hotel amenities, loaners, and lost & found.Manage packages, while also using the technology to perform all the other parts of he concierge job.For 2017, resolve to do something about your hotel's package problem. Empower your concierges and front desk agents with technology that provides tools for every aspect of their role.
ALICE 7 February 2017
Few roles in the hotel have been as affected by technology as that of the concierge. Mobile internet and apps have decreased the reliance of most guests on the concierge, while at the same time changing the relationship concierges have with their own workplace tools.ALICE Concierge is a modern-day toolset for concierges that acknowledges the demands of today's guests, as well as concierges' own expectations of technology. It's a product attuned to the challenges and opportunities of the modern concierge role, and the importance of the concierge role to the hotel when it comes to guest engagement and service differentiation.What about the concierge role has changed?Mobile devices and the mobile internet have changed the way in which travelers are dependent on the concierge.Before Google Maps, guests almost always stopped by the concierge for directions on their way out. Today's guests, by contrast, are more informed about their options, and how to get there.However, there's still a big need for discovery and local insight.77% of guests' trip planning still happens on property. Guests continue to seek the expertise of the concierge, particularly when it comes to distilling this abundance of easily-accessed information. Guests also continue to need help planning and scheduling their stay. Today's concierges need tools to leverage, organize and share their local knowledge.On-demand and consumer-friendly technologies have changed expectations of guests and concierges' expectations of their own technology.Today's technology facilitates instantaneous delivery of services and experiences, and guests come to your hotel expecting the same on-demand services and instant access to information they enjoy in their everyday lives. Today's concierges need a toolset that includes real-time guest communication and intuitive, usable technology to quickly facilitate guest requests.Consumers today gravitate toward messaging, even when communicating with businesses.And messaging has clear advantages for hotels looking to engage with their guests (it's sticky, conversational, and tied to an identity). Today's concierges need a guest communications toolset that includes real-time messaging.In many hotels the concierge is the conduit for the guest experience, and guests will therefore ask concierges for services and amenities outside the purview of the concierge role.Today's concierges need technology that is integrated with the systems of other departments. This allows them to dispatch guest requests to other staff members and then have full visibility to the status of those requests as they are being filled (information which they can then, in turn, relay to guests).Industry forces are giving the concierge role new meaning.The sharing economy, the growing import of reviews and social media to bookings, and the decline of traditional loyalty programs are all converging to make service the big differentiator for hotels. Today's concierges need tools that enable them to provide exceptional service and be that differentiating factor.The growing boutique segment doesn't always employ a dedicated concierge, yet guests still expect concierge-type services from their hotels.This means front desk staff and bellmen often have to perform parts of the concierge role, in addition to their own responsibilities. Concierge technology that integrates with other front and back of house technology can empower these staff to provide concierge services, as well as perform their other tasks.Online retail continues to challenge package or inventory management at hotels. Often this task falls on the concierge.Every year more packages get sent, and every year, more packages make their way to hotels. Many hotels currently process guest packages manually, or use systems configured for inventory specifically (not hotel-type inventory), which are not integrated with other hotel technology. Today's concierges need a tool that includes a robust inventory management component.What does a modern day concierge tool, like ALICE Concierge, look like?Here are the essential features of a modern day concierge tool:Request TrackingRemindersLocal Vendor DatabaseIn-App Messaging and SMSItineraries and Letter ConfirmationsDigital Logbook: Packages and Lost & FoundRequest TrackingWhat it is: Request Tracking helps your concierge to manage, assign and track all guest requests and internal incidents.Why it's important: Your concierges are being asked to book all sorts of activities by guests, even before those guests arrive on property.From dinner reservations that need to be made months in advance, to car services that need to be booked the day of, a concierge team has to work together over the course of a guest's journey to book and track all the services being requested. No one wants to disappoint a valued guest and a request tracking tool helps ensure nothing slips through the cracks.With all requests logged and worked on in the app, every team member in your hotel can answer whatever questions guests might have about the status of their requests. Even other departments, such as the night shift when the concierge team goes home.RemindersWhat it is: Reminders lets your concierges set when and how often they want to be reminded about a task that needs to be taken care of. This is to ensure all important steps are taken and completed ahead of time for a given request. Reminders also add context to requests, by including relevant info like guest information, phone numbers, internal notes and social links.Why it's important: Basic reminders - the kind that pop-up one time in advance of an appointment - aren't useful to a concierge. Most guest requests require multiple steps to fulfill them, and hence, multiple reminders attached to one request. Customizable reminders lets concierges link multiple reminders together, in a way that makes the most sense for the particular task at hand. Say, for example, a guest requests a dinner reservation for a few months out. Most restaurants will not accept a reservation for more than a month in advance. Concierges may want to set a reminder for their team to book the restaurant one month prior to the requested date, another to confirm with the restaurant a day before and a third to print the confirmation in advance of the guest's arrival.Local Vendor and Contact DatabaseWhat it is: Local is your digital black book. Powered by a Google database, Local lets concierges and front desk staff save information for any business or contact they or their guests call upon. Simply enter a fragment of a restaurant name or any other business, and Local will automatically find the business address, phone, hours, website, categories, and all their social links (Yelp, Facebook, Opentable, Foursquare, and more). Then your concierge can add other notes, such as their contact person or favorite menu recommendations. Your concierge can also create an endless number of lists from this information to save and print out for guests asking for recommendations.Why it's important: Your hotel's neighborhood helps set it apart. As such, it's to your advantage to build up a local database of area information that can be used by guest-facing teams to create memorable trips, filled with great activities and dining experiences. By putting all this information at your concierges' fingertips, a Local vendor database saves concierges valuable time and helps you impress your guests.In-App Messaging and SMSWhat it is: Guests can communicate with your hotel's concierges in real-time, with in-app messaging functionality and SMS texting (the latter does not require guests to download an app).Why it's important: Studies show that increasing guest engagement leads to improved guest satisfaction and customer loyalty and messaging is fast becoming the new interface for communication between businesses and consumers. Through the app, Guests can communicate with your concierge team on their own terms, via rich in-app messaging or easy SMS texting. Room not ready? "We'll text you when it is." Stuck in town? "Text us and we'll send a car." Additionally, request status updates and notifications give guests peace of mind that the work is being done for them.Itineraries and Letter ConfirmationsWhat it is: Print, email, or text your guests their itineraries and letter confirmations with your hotel's custom branding. The itinerary tool allows you to place all guest booking and events into a branded PDF document for your guest in chronological order, and even include walking, biking, bus or driving directions from your hotel.Why it's important: Guests often ask for confirmation of their booked activities. The Itinerary feature enables concierges to place any pertinent guest information in an organized and hotel-branded document they can email, print, or text to the guest. This ensures guests have easy access to the confirmed reservations and bookings made by the concierge during their stay. Concierges love how quickly this document can be generated, customized and sent to guests or printed, instead of creating their own in Microsoft Word.Logbook: Packages and Lost & FoundWhat it is: The Logbook allows your hotel to record all incoming and outgoing packages and lost & found items. Our easy to use solution can be shared across multiple departments to optimize communication, and ultimately, customer service to your guest.Why it's important: Inventory management can be a surprisingly large part of a concierge's job, but most concierge tools don't provide concierges with the tools they need to manage inventory as well as perform their regular concierge duties. Every minute spent logging a package is less time with guests. Every five minutes spent finding package results in a more frustrated guest. Leveraging innovations from residential buildings that receive hundreds of packages a day, a conciegre app is a quick and easy solution to save time in logging and finding a guest's belongings.You can learn more about ALICE Concierge by clicking here. Please schedule your demo of ALICE Concierge here.