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Cloud5 Streamlines Guest Engagement with Volara Partnership

Cloud5 Communications 21 June 2017
CHICAGO -- Cloud5, hospitality's #1 communications technology and services platform, is partnering with Volara to offer WiFi powered voice-based guest engagement for hotels and resorts. The partnership is a natural extension of Cloud5's holistic hospitality communications platform designed to deliver an exceptional stay experience for today's always-on hotel guests. Cloud5 will be showcasing Volara in booth 1029 at HITEC 2017 in Toronto next week. To schedule an appointment, click here.Automated guest engagement is disrupting guest services, demanding hotels and management companies to rethink how they connect with and serve clients on the guests' medium of choice."Cloud5 provides the backbone of the hotel engagement infrastructure," said David Berger, CEO for Volara. "Together, Volara and Cloud5 provide a streamlined solution for hotels to service guests and build loyalty."Imagine the convenience and cost savings of handling guest requests, inquiries and greetings automatically on the prompt of your guest's voice. Volara provides device agnostic guest engagement software running on hardware like the Amazon Echo that is fully customized to each property. For guests who want immediate answers simply without calling into the front desk, Volara offers a quick and frictionless guest-aware solution.Service applications include:Personal greetings from the hotel general manager or host of an eventCurated recommendations directly from the hotel conciergeRequests routed directly to the appropriate member of hotel staffIn-Room controls powered by voiceYou can find Volara's software deployed today at hotels across the country, including:JW Marriott, San Antonio, TXHotel EMC2 by Marriott, Chicago, ILTheWit Hotel by Hilton Doubletree, Chicago, ILKimpton's Alexis Hotel, Seattle, WAMarina Del Rey Hotel, Marina Del Rey, CAThe Wayfarer, Santa Barbara, CAHotel Walloon, Walloon Lake, MIAcme Hotel, Chicago, IL"We're excited to partner with Volara to offer hotels the one-stop convenience of advanced converged data and telephony services, plus guest engagement," said Mark Holzberg, Cloud5 Communications Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. "Automated guest engagement solutions are a natural extension of the hotel network that Cloud5 can effectively deliver to our hotel clients, enabling them to build better, longer guest relationships, eliminate negative reviews and increase revenues."About VolaraVolara is the provider of custom voice-based solutions to the hospitality industry. Named a TechOvation semi-finalist by Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) and an Alexa Enterprise Agency by Amazon, the only such agency focused exclusively on the hospitality industry, Volara's proprietary software creates a hotel business tool atop the leading hardware and natural language processing platforms. Volara's proven best practices enable high utilization rates and an optimal guest experience, ensuring hotel guest engagement is personal and remarkable. Volara enables hotels to serve guests more efficiently and subtly influence their behavior while leaving them with a warm feeling toward the brand. For more information, please visit www.volara.io.
Article by Mitch Huskey

Top 5 Mistakes Hotels Make with Wi-Fi

Cloud5 Communications 1 June 2017
Let's review the top 5 mistakes that hotels make in delivering HSIA to guests, and how to fix them and get on the path to your best hotel online guest experience!#1 Ignoring guest usage trends.Don't' make the mistake of not listening to your guests. By listening, we mean understand your data analytics. Knowing when your peaks and valleys of demand occur and the type of applications your guests are accessing allows you to ensure you have the right service available.The key metrics you want to follow are:Number of user sessions online per hourTime session startedLength of sessionBandwidth utilizationData transferred (both upload and download), indicating the range of apps from video streamline to emailMake sure your HSIA provider offers reporting that demonstrates trends and provides insight into improving service levels for your guests. These insights will help you understand when you need to increase capacity, offer tiered service levels and load balance high traffic periods.#2 Deploying for yesterday instead of tomorrow.Hotel guest Wi-Fi usage trends will not decline if your hotel is growing and occupancy is on the upswing. So, plan for your next phase of growth today. There are more bandwidth-hogging applications on the horizon that your guests will be logging into soon. Be prepared. It is more cost-efficient to have a Wi-Fi growth strategy that's agile and can change with your needs.Ask your HSIA provider for strategies that keep you ahead of the bandwidth game:Load balancingSD-WAN bandwidth orchestrationNetwork management toolsQuality of Service (QoS) prioritize network traffic#3 Thinking no one will notice you don't meet your brand standards of service.Believe us. Guests will notice. Standards are set because they matter to your guests. When you don't keep up with brand or industry level recommendations. Service to your guests suffers and so will your hotel ratings. Guests rate good Wi-Fi at the top of the list for hotel requirements, right alongside a comfortable bed and free breakfast.The first thing that guests do when the Wi-Fi service is poor is take to social media sites like Facebook or TripAdvisor. Bad scores have a long life online and will impact your bookings and ADR.Some top hotel brands are seeing their guest satisfaction scores plummet due to poor enforcement of standards.If you have HSIA standards, enforce them with your properties.If you don't have HSIA standards today, get them. (Email us at info@cloud5.com for information on the right standards from your hotel type and size.)#4 Losing extra revenue available with tiered service.Don't be afraid to charge your big bandwidth users. For guests with multiple devices and high demand for streaming apps like Netflix or Hulu, introduce a tiered service. Guest that want reliable streaming services will pay the small incremental fee and it will prevent service quality issues for your other guests. It's a nice revenue stream that can go towards helping fund your next project.#5 Installing it and forgetting it.Don't assume your network won't change - quickly. Your network is a living ecosystem. It changes daily based on your guest profile, occupancy, and events being held at your property. Make sure you and your HSIA partner are monitoring your network 24/7 for bandwidth management, service interruptions and traffic fluctuations that impact your service. A typical HSIA network is upgraded every three years and during that time, you may add additional features such as Enterprise Network Management, Conference/Event Wi-Fi service, or additional bandwidth.
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Award-Winning Naples Grande Beach Resort Selects Cloud5 for Hosted Telephony

Cloud5 Communications 11 April 2017
CHICAGO -- Naples Grande Beach Resort, a Conde Nast Traveler Top 5 Gulf Resort with 474 rooms and 3 miles of sugar-sand beach along the gulf coast of Florida, selected Cloud5 Communications to implement a state of the art cloud-based telephony system for guests and staff, and future-proof its voice network. The fully integrated voice solution includes Hosted PBX with Hosted Voicemail, Call Accounting, Auto-Attendant, and PMS Interfacing. Reflecting the resort's focus on modernizing and optimizing its technology, the Cloud5 solution provides Naples Grande with a holistic, cloud-based system that streamlines operations and improves guest service, while reducing the property's overall telecommunications costs.Naples Grande Beach Resort now enjoys integrated voice communications with enhanced call routing across the property, PMS integration for seamless guest service, and a future-ready infrastructure, featuring a cloud-based system that will not depreciate or degrade over time. As part of the PBX replacement project, Cloud5 upgraded the resort's 120 property-wide staff office phones to state-of-the-art Polycom VVX phones, which enable crystal clear voice quality and advanced functionality for all staff members, including the in-house call center agents."Cloud5 offered an advanced voice solution that delivers robust functionality for resort-wide communications," said Hans Schmitt, Vice President of Asset Management for Northwood Hospitality and General Manager at Naples Grande. "With Cloud5's hosted solution, our systems are always current with the latest software functionality, without the need to purchase future expensive upgrades or interrupt hotel operations. We're always operating with the most advanced features that allow us to deliver fast, reliable guest service across our expansive resort. This upgrade has even reduced monthly telecommunications expenses which adds value directly to our bottom-line."Hoteliers are future-proofing their systems by migrating to the cloud. Today, rapidly evolving technology, retirement of carrier TDM services, increasing demands of guests, reduced phone system revenue, aging onsite equipment, and complex multi-vendor relationships eat into revenue and increase costs. In response, thousands of hotels have chosen Cloud5 to streamline and upgrade telecommunications, leveraging world-class hospitality industry dedicated customer service, including 24/7 technical support."For a world-class property like Naples Grande, guest service excellence is mission critical in the 'always open' nature of the resort. A provider that ensures reliable communications between guests and staff is a must," said Mark Holzberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Cloud5. "We are delighted to partner with Naples Grande to keep them ahead of changing network needs and guests' demanding requirements."Cloud5 was selected as a key technology partner after rigorous evaluations of several systems by Naples Grande Beach Resort with Enterprise Solutions Providers (ESP), the network manager and technology advisor for the resort and its owner, Northwood Hospitality."We needed a partner that could handle a large-scale system replacement," explained David Schlief, Director of Hotel Technology for ESP. "Cloud5 was selected for its experience with advanced telephony installations and expert technical team. The property-wide upgrade of staff, guest rooms, meeting space, plus 5 restaurants/bars required meticulous planning - and was executed without a hitch!"Cloud5 provides a full range of hosted and on-premise solutions to manage voice networks cost effectively while optimizing guest service. The solutions are fully equipped with features needed to run a hotel and interface with its property level systems including POS and PMS - such as Hosted Auto Attendant, Voicemail, Call Accounting, 911 alerting, phone-based check in/check out, posting of call revenues to guest folios, integration to housekeeping codes, and more.For more information about Cloud5 Telephony Solutions, visit www.cloud5.com, or call 877.241.2516.About Cloud5 Communications Cloud5 Communications simplifies complex networking and support for the hotel industry. It delivers a comprehensive user-friendly platform that brings together advanced cloud-based data and voice solutions, including end-to-end High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA), converged networks, hosted PBX/VOIP, network design and WAN/LAN management, as well as contact centers, for more than 4,000 hotels, touching more than 1,000,000 users. The rapidly growing company has more than 500 employees worldwide with its headquarters in Chicago. Visit www.cloud5.com.About Naples Grande Beach ResortThe resort has 474 guestrooms including 29 gulf view suites and 50 garden villa suites plus more than 83,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Every room features a private balcony with direct views of the Gulf. Guests of the hotel have access to five on-site restaurants and bars, three heated outdoor pools, a full-service luxury spa, 8,000-square-foot fitness center, business center and an award-winning tennis facility with 15 courts. The property is surrounded by 200 acres of a protected mangrove estuary intertwined with a system of bridges and elevated walking paths, providing access to three miles of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico. Visit www.naplesgrande.com.
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Cloud5 Partners with Mitel to Expand Voice Solutions

Cloud5 Communications 6 April 2017
Chicago, IL -- Cloud5 announced that it has been appointed an Authorized Partner in the Mitel Hospitality Program, further expanding its suite of telephony products and services to enable hotels to meet their customers' evolving needs with flexibility and cost efficiency. This collaboration provides hospitality clients with Cloud5's proven cloud-based voice, networking, and support solutions, alongside the award-winning MiVoice premises-based communications products offered by Mitel, a global leader in enterprise communications."The power in the combination of these products is the Cloud5 Auto-Attendant dynamic routing capability that links both cloud and premises-based telecommunications solutions into a seamless management tool for analyzing marketing data, customer behavior patterns, and operational improvements," said Chris Wieland, Chief Technology Officer, Cloud5.With changing guest technology and growing demands, hotels want choice in their communications solutions and that means a range of options, including both cloud ("hosted") and premises-based systems. Cloud5 now offers its growing customer base either platform that can be combined with features that bridge premises solutions with the cloud to enhance functionality and provide a migration path for future technology growth."We are excited to launch this partnership to deliver more choices to our hotel clients," said Mark Holzberg, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Cloud5. "Bringing together Mitel, a recognized leader in communications, with Cloud5, a hospitality networking and communications innovator, is a huge win-win. Our partnership complements Cloud5's offering to deliver a full range of flexible voice solutions with a cost-effective migration path to the cloud for hotel operators. We look forward to bringing the full solution to our growing user base in the weeks ahead."In addition, Cloud5's stand-alone Hosted Auto-Attendant, featuring customizable call routing, can be deployed with a hotel's legacy PBX, giving the property instant modernization and dynamic control over incoming calls and potential bookings. The full hosted voice solution of Hosted Auto-Attendant, VoiceMail, and Call Accounting complement all telephony platforms."Good communications is at the foundation of every great guest experience," said Jim Davies, Vice President of Vertical Initiatives, Mitel. "Cloud5 and Mitel's combined capabilities provide hotels with the flexibility they need to deploy and deliver a solution to help increase staff efficiency and provide guests the best experience possible."For more information about Cloud5's solutions, visit www.cloud5.com or call +1 877.241.2516.About MitelA global market leader in enterprise communications powering more than two billion business connections, Mitel (Nasdaq:MITL) (TSX:MNW) helps businesses and service providers connect, collaborate and provide innovative services to their customers. Our innovation and communications experts serve more than 60 million business users in more than 100 countries. For more information, go to www.mitel.com and follow us on Twitter @Mitel.
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Thousands of Hotels Leverage Cloud5 SIP Trunking to Reduce Costs and Create a Migration Path to Cloud-based Communication Services

Cloud5 Communications 15 November 2016
Cloud5 is helping hotel brands and independents cut communications costs by an average of 50% and future-proof their network strategies, with a proprietary, hospitality-specific SIP Trunking solution. The seamless deployment of Cloud5 SIP service with existing hotel PBX hardware and systems eliminates high-cost carrier lines, and prepares hotels to easily upgrade communications infrastructure in the future.Hoteliers are already feeling the pinch to adopt such upgrades: rapidly evolving technology, retirement of carrier TDM services, "always-on" guest needs, reduced phone system revenue, aging onsite equipment and complex multi-vendor relationships eat into revenue and increase costs. In response, nearly 3,000 hotels have already chosen Cloud5's SIP to streamline and upgrade telecommunications. The decision to go to SIP is not only prudent planning but reduces costs by eliminating traditional telcommunications lines and usage fees. An important benefit of Cloud5's SIP is access to hospitality-industry dedicated customer service, including 24x7 technical support for one-phone call trouble resolution."The hotels in our portfolio represent a diversity of brands and markets, but we find it easy and beneficial to partner with Cloud5 for our changing communication needs," commented Rodney Forni, Chief Operations Officer of Pacific Inns. "The Cloud5 SIP Trunking provides our hotels with a low-cost, fixed rate phone solution that can grow with us, with 24x7 access to technicians that understand our hotels infrastructure and needs."Pacific Inns is an award-winning provider of hotel management, development and consulting services with 22 hotels currently under management spanning the United States."When choosing a SIP service, hoteliers need to select a provider that understands their infrastructure and systems as well as the 'always open' nature of the hotel business. A provider that can also layer on hospitality-designed Hosted PBX, Auto Attendant and High Speed Internet Access (HSIA) with PMS integration and a single point of contact for guest and staff support makes life a lot better for hoteliers," said Mark Holzberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Cloud5 "Choosing a SIP provider that doesn't understand the hospitality business can lead a hotel down a dead-end, without a flexible upgrade plan and multiple vendors in the mix as they work to keep pace with changing network needs and guest requirements. In this time of rapid technology change and disruption, no hotel should end up on that dead end road."Moving to SIP Trunking provides the first step for hotel migration to an integrated, cloud-based data and voice network, delivering more control, flexibility with the ability to grow easily with new technology and applications. Cloud5 SIP is an easy first step for hotels - they keep their current phone numbers and do not experience any down time - enabling them to plan their migration in stages by using their current phones and legacy PBX until ready to evolve to a full cloud-based PBX solution.Cloud5 provides a full range of hosted solutions to manage voice and data networks cost effectively while optimizing guest service. The solutions are fully equipped with features needed to run a hotel and interface with its property level systems including POS and PMS - such as Auto Attendant, 911 alerting, phone-based check in/check out, posting of call revenues to guest folios, integration to housekeeping codes, and more.For more information about Cloud5's SIP Trunking Solutions, visit www.cloud5.com, or call 877.241.2516.
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Gaining Momentum: Cloud5 Adds Key Industry Leaders to Team

Cloud5 Communications 20 October 2016
As hoteliers battle the challenges of keeping up with rapidly evolving communications technology and controlling their higher costs, Cloud5 Communications announced growing demand for its advanced solutions and an expanded team, adding senior professionals in operations, marketing and sales.Cloud5 is the recognized leader in translating complex communication needs into simplified networks and strategies, resulting in unmatched network efficiencies, improved guest satisfaction and revenue enhancement opportunities for its clients. The new hires come at an opportune time as Cloud5 attains its next level of growth, achieving 4,000 hotel clients and receiving coveted network standards certifications for several major hotel brands.These team additions allow Cloud5 to further expand its ability to serve rapidly growing customer demand, driven by the industry's continued movement toward more advanced, integrated data and voice networks. More hoteliers are looking for long-term strategies that take into account guest trends for high volume data and streaming applications as well as anticipate new requirements in new areas such as location-based messaging and mobile guest services.Mark Holzberg, Cloud5 Communications Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer said, "With these new industry experts now part of Cloud5, we're even better equipped to elevate our support and operations processes to serve the complex needs of our hotel clients and expand business development efforts, responding to the accelerating demands for integrated data and voice solutions."The appointments announced today, include:Steven Heselius, Senior Vice President of Operations. A 25-year hospitality industry veteran, Steve manages all aspects of the growing Cloud5 technology operations and support teams, including implementation, project management, provisioning and service. Prior to Cloud5, Steve held leadership positions in hospitality technology and operations with global brands such as Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos and Ginn Clubs & Resorts.Katrina Pruitt-Andrews, Vice President of Marketing. Katrina leads Cloud5 marketing communications and branding, including public relations, web, events, advertising, direct marketing and sales engagement. She brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience with industry leaders such as MICROS, Sabre, and Travelclick, and a track record of helping deliver high value, actionable insight to the market.Jeff Smith, Director of Business Development. Jeff is focused on developing Cloud5 customer relationships in the Western US from his base in Los Angeles. He works with hotels, owners and management companies to optimize integrated HSIA, hosted PBX/VOIP and WAN/LAN network solutions to deliver quality service to staff and guests. Prior to Cloud5, Jeff was with HIS and Quadriga Americas, and now brings 20 years of consultative business development experience to Cloud5.Graham MacDonald, Director of Business Development. Based in the mid-Atlantic region, Graham is an experienced hospitality technology business development professional. Focused on the eastern US, Graham helps hotel operations, management companies and ownership groups derive operational and guest service value from robust cloud-based data and voice solutions plus enhanced networking. He brings a wealth of knowledge from his experience at companies such as PureHD, Single Digits, Swisscom and iBAHN.Alexandre ("Alex") Fux, Senior Enterprise Sales Engineer. Alex provides high-level engineering and product support for the most advanced customer networks and applications. He builds and nurtures long-term relationships with clients, providing product and technology guidance for complex requirements, as well as solutions design and engineering for advanced networks, specializing in major accounts. Alex has many years of experience in the US and Europe through his work at Single Digits and Swisscom.Holzberg concluded, "Today's hoteliers face the twin challenges of fast-evolving technology demanded by guests to meet their rapidly changing communications needs, and the imperative to contain operating costs with solutions that meet those needs. Cloud5 delivers simple, all-inclusive, cutting-edge solutions in a single place - helping hotels create communications strategies for the long term, and achieve cross-platform efficiencies never available before. We're thrilled to announce the expansion of our team to accelerate our company's growth, and our customers' success, in the weeks ahead."Cloud5's integrated solutions provide innovation, cost effectiveness and operational efficiencies, to let hoteliers save time and money as they meet increasing guest demands for seamless technology with ease, while driving revenue and profitability at the same time.
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Cloud5 Communications Contact Centers Experience Dramatic Growth and Expansion

Cloud5 Communications 15 June 2016
Cloud5 Communications is the premier North American provider of hotel and travel industry contact centers, Cloud-based voice offerings, guest Internet solutions as well as full-service network design and management. Trusted by both large and small brands worldwide, Cloud5 is continually innovating to deliver the ultimate solution in integrated communications. Today, the company announced that one of its core business units, its contact center services, has been experiencing dramatic growth over the past year.The addition of new resources to handle an increase in business from such notable hotel companies as Sonesta Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton Hotels as well as additional volume from a premier credit card company, proves that Cloud5 has the right people, the right training program, and a guest relationship engagement model that enhances its clients revenue up-sell and drives increased retention. Cloud5 has significantly expanded its hotel brand and management company support services in 2015 and Q1-2016. This growth includes the addition of three new hotel brands and the expansion of support to both new and existing hotel management group clients. This success has stemmed primarily from the superior revenue generation and efficiency achieved by the company's unique multi-CRS platform capabilities.Cloud5 contact centers are continually exceeding industry norms related to revenue conversion, service level, and quality. The company averages 5% to 7% points above industry averages in all areas, but the most important is revenue conversion up to 9% higher for their clients. Cloud5's proprietary process and well-trained agent teams are designed to become a unique extension of their client's brands and are well versed in every facet of their client's business, enabling them to convert calls into reservations more effectively. Cloud5's continued focus on empowering agents into contact center 'superstars' is the reason that their clients see such significant results."The desire and requirement to deliver exceptional service is at the forefront of every facet of our business," said Robert Post, CEO of Cloud5 Communications. "Our unique technology infrastructure and process is built to enable our people in the contact centers to become superstar advocates for our clients and the exponential growth in 2015 and 2016 validates their effectiveness and our customers trust in our service."Post explains that the changing nature of today's guest requires Hotels to differentiate themselves based on engagement and service. Guest experience is the number one priority for most hoteliers, and the strength of our contact center services to be more effective in tailoring communication directly to guests' needs is a key differentiator. There has never been a better time to serve the hospitality and travel industry, and we look forward to eclipsing our past accomplishments in the months and years ahead for our clients."Attendees of HITEC 2016 are invited to visit Cloud5 Communications at booth #1432. To learn more about how Cloud5 solutions can help you drive demand, lower costs and increase efficiency, visit Cloud5.com or call 1-877-241-2516.
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Cloud5 Communications Unveils New Brand and Showcases Latest Innovations at HITEC 2016

Cloud5 Communications 9 June 2016
Cloud5 Communications will debut its new global brand identity this month at the 2016 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC), the world's largest hospitality technology conference. As a featured exhibitor at the June 20-23 event in New Orleans, Cloud5 will be offering an exclusive preview of their cutting-edge advancements in hospitality telephony, Internet and contact center solutions at booth #1432.Cloud5 has been at the front-line of innovation of cloud-based telephony solutions, guest Internet access (HSIA), network design and management, as well as contact center services for hoteliers who view their network as a strategic tool for mastering the evolving needs of enterprise communications and guest service. The company has transformed the industry with its innovative offerings and continues the evolution by delivering services from carrier-hotel data centers and driving measurable value for hoteliers with its unique combination of best in class technology, methodologies, services and support for mission critical hospitality systems.While customers will continue to access their property information and 24x7 Support via Cloud5's customer-friendly online portal and current phone numbers, the company's public website can now be accessed at www.cloud5.com. Cloud5's fresh logo has been designed to highlight its cloud-based technology, and the new tagline reflects the company's mission - CONNECT, ENGAGE, UNIFY. The rebranding as Cloud5 Communications comes on the heels of significant operational enhancements over the past 12 months and represents its movement into a new phase in delivering value, innovation and service quality to hoteliers."Our next phase is about continued investment in our business to shape the future of guest communications and experience," explains Bob Post, the company's CEO. "Our strengths begin with our two new data centers combined with our expertise in the management of data networks, voice networks and contact center services for major hotels and travel brands. We remain the only telephony company to control our datacenter and I.P. and provide SIP services, Auto Attendant, and Hosted PBX. In addition, all of our solutions are developed and managed in-house, so there are no third-party software suppliers, consultants or contract programmers. Our data centers allow us a unique position in the WAN management niche as we can provide error detection/correction across our platform while allowing properties the freedom to use existing circuits. We are also proud to be recognized for the superlative performance of our hospitality contact centers in revenue conversion and our agents' proven ability to communicate more effectively with consumers than any other provider."For hoteliers, Cloud5 delivers the most reliable cloud-based, converged communications technology backed by an experienced team to enhance efficiency while increasing reservations, guest engagement and loyalty. Providing these solutions within one integrated platform by a single provider enables hospitality and travel brands to simplify operations, reduce costs and drive profitability.Post adds, "HITEC is a great place for industry professionals to connect and learn about the latest trends and technologies that will help them stay competitive and take their business to the next level. We are looking forward to sharing the exciting things we are doing and connecting with our partners, colleagues, and valued clients."Attendees of the upcoming conference are invited to schedule a meeting with the Cloud5 Communications team by contacting info@cloud5.com. To learn why more hotel brands choose Cloud5 to help them exceed guest expectations, increase profits and maximize efficiency, please visit www.cloud5.com or call 877.241.2516.
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An Interview with Robert Post on What's Next for Hotels Serving the Always-Connected Guest

Cloud5 Communications 1 June 2016
when you can't get a connection from your room, or the lobby WiFi is more like dial-up. Every GM and asset manager knows the competitive importance of reliable Internet for guests. Strong WiFi is like running water in your guest room - it's assumed, and it had better work every time, or your reviews will take a hit and your guest satisfaction, along with loyalty, will suffer. With our existing network architecture, expertise in WIFI and understanding of the needs of the always-on guests, Cloud5 can provide hotels with an integrated solution for all their dynamic communication needs. We're able to grow with them and ensure their staff and guests are always connected.What do you think the future holds for guest communication on the property?Asset managers need to face the harsh reality. The burden on hotel networks will expand exponentially as guest devices and applications demand high-performance access to these networks. So, they need to be prepared. The internet of things (IoT) and the 'always-on' guest have redefined the communications strategy of hotels and restaurants. We see the need for a 'living, breathing' network that can scale in capability and capacity without creating unplanned CAPEX events. What's really needed is trust - trust that your provider can engineer the right solution for you, and keep it evolving year after year and not break the bank doing it. This is what Cloud5's originating premise was over a decade ago, and we think it is why we continue to innovate successfully, providing the solutions that fit the dynamic nature of our business.Do you think that hotels will be able to keep up with the invasion of guest-facing apps? Do you see a clear winner in this space?The market will determine who is the winner or winner (s). Some hoteliers hope to extend their loyalty program into this area, but the consumer will ultimately decide who wins and loses. As with any technology shift, there will be a co-existence of solutions, and the key is to have a platform that is agile and dynamic to respond to market changes. Hoteliers are better off letting the consumer market decide how they wish to connect and having systems that are flexible. Hotelier's focus should be on building the infrastructure to handle emerging demand with a reasonable economic value proposition to the consumer. For example, WiFi costs should be transparent -- bundled in the room rate vs. separately charged. Guests hate being surprised by a paid WiFi login when they get to their room. Instead of arguing over tiered bandwidth solutions, and exorbitant upcharge fees to guests (you know, streaming media versus just email), they need to think about a service that delights rather than disappoints their guests. If hoteliers go to a trusted partner - one with experience in the unique requirements of guests not just the cheapest WiFi or mobile app provider, they will get a future-proof solution that can change with the needs of current and future guest, effectively and profitably.What do you feel is more important - guest engagement or guest communication? If you listen to hotel marketing teams, they are all a buzz about guest engagement. However, the answer is that it depends on the guest. Hotels need to define guest communication as the level of engagement the guest wants with your property at any point during their stay. Sometimes I want and need the hotel to "be all over me" and other times I want you to leave me alone to relax and unwind. This subtle difference requires creating a simple and elegant, interactive communication mechanism between you and your guests to engage 110% when needed and stand down otherwise. It is not easy, but providing those types of sticky technical solutions with hotel guests in mind is what Cloud5 is known for.About Robert (Bob) Post, President and CEO of Cloud5 As President and CEO of Cloud5 Communications, a leading provider of cloud-based communications technology and services to hospitality, Bob leads a global staff of 500 employees serving more than 4,000 hotels with 1,000,000 users. Clients include independent hotels and top brands such as Marriott, IHG, Hilton, La Quinta, Motel 6, Extended Stay of America and Red Roof Inn. He is also the former Chairman and CEO of TravelClick, Inc. and the current Executive Chairman of The Knowland Group, the leading provider of Group segment analytics to the Hotel industry. Bob is also a former executive and corporate officer at MICROS Systems, Inc., a prominent hospitality technology provider, recently acquired by Oracle Corporation.Bob attended the Wharton School of Business and has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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