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A.I. and Voice Search -- 2018's Top Travel Trends | forbes.com

FORBES 1 June 2017
At the recent MarketHub Americas 2017 conference, Sam Turner, sales director at Hotelbeds Group, spoke about the growing role technology - and particularly data - will play in the future of travel. I caught up with him following the conference about the travel industry's biggest challenges in 2018 and beyond.

Hotels add plugs, ports for device-laden guests - usatoday.com

USA TODAY 25 May 2017
Stephen Delaney travels with a laptop, an iPad, two cellphones and a backup power pack to keep all his devices charged.When he walks into a hotel guestroom, he scours for the power outlets and USB ports."I hate when a hotel room does not have conveniently placed plugs," says the Franklin, Tenn., USA TODAY Road Warrior and health care IT consultant. "Unfortunately, there are many hotels that have not yet added plugs on top of desks, nightstands, etc."

Drink Up, Business Travelers. The Minibar Is on the Way Out | nytimes.com

nytimes.com 24 May 2017
Do you think of hotel rooms as having spacious, old-school desks, the kind that invite long hours of working? And bureaus with a half-dozen drawers? Minibars, too? Well, perhaps you haven't stayed at a hotel lately.Ben Schlappig, a 26-year-old travel blogger and consultant, has spent more nights in hotels than many people will in a lifetime. So he knows firsthand about the changing design of guest rooms, and he is not completely happy about it.

Entrepreneur 20X: Wi-Fi, Upselling and Digitalizing Daily Operations

HFTP Connect 29 March 2017
On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, HFTP’s hospitality start-up pitch competition Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) took place in Europe for the first time at HITEC Amsterdam. Each participant had four minutes to pitch their business concept, followed by four minutes for the expert judges panel to ask questions. I did notice that most of the start-ups were evolving around one (or more, in some cases) of three main hotelier-focused goals.

Time to Come in from the Cold

HFTP Connect 28 March 2017
The weather may be cool this coming week, but there will be lots of hot new products and warm-welcome networking opportunities at HITEC Amsterdam (#HITECams).

The Times They Are A-Changin'

HFTP Connect 27 March 2017
Written By: Fee Naaijkens. HITEC Amsterdam kicks off tomorrow on 28 March with its pre- conference events, and I am thrilled to be attending the event as a guest blogger this year. Amsterdam is going to be teeming with hospitality professionals from all over the world this week. But for a popular destination like “Mokum” (the locals’ nickname for their city), dealing with so many out-of-towners is a piece of cake. With the increasing number of hotel guests visiting the Dutch capital every year, running a hotel here should be all smooth sailing from now on, right? Not quite. There is something brewing that is about to shake up the hotel landscape across all of Europe.

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

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

Marriott Introduces the Next Generation of Hotel Room Entertainment | thestreet.com

6 March 2017
The next time you walk into a hotel room and the TV has a welcome with your name on it, make sure you thank Enseo.Started 17 years ago by tech guru Vanessa Ogle, Enseo is an in-room entertainment and media solution for hotels like Marriott (MAR) , Gaylord, Fairfield, Ritz-Carlton and Millennium. Enseo helps you get your own Netflix and stream your own music in your hotel room.

Hoteliers Comb the Ranks of Tech Workers to Gain an Edge | nytimes.com

nytimes.com 16 February 2017
The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks.More than ever, guests look to their phones and computers to research, book, stay in and communicate with hotels. That translates to critical technology needs in information security, mobile development and systems integration.

Hoteliers Comb the Ranks of Tech Workers to Gain an Edge | nytimes.com

nytimes.com 15 February 2017
The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks. More than ever, guests look to their phones and computers to research, book, stay in and communicate with hotels. That translates to critical technology needs in information security, mobile development and systems integration. Inside hotel operations, data analysis can help find new customers, make a dining room more profitable or provide information to executives making business decisions.

Does Your Hotel Rate Really Matter? | fueltravel.com

fueltravel.com 15 February 2017
Many hotels and hoteliers automatically assume that price is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a hotel. But how important is price actually? In our 2017 Website Behavior Study, we asked more than 2,000 leisure travelers to rank six factors from most important to least important when it comes to choosing and booking a hotel.

Hackers Hijack Hotel's Smart Locks, Demand Ransom | fortune.com

Fortune.com 30 January 2017
A resort hotel in Austria has been the target of a series of hacks, including one that crippled the electronic "smart locks" on guest rooms. The attack prevented guests from accessing their rooms and prevented the issuance of new key cards, highlighting the potential fragility of systems in the so-called "internet of things." Lacking other options, the four-star Seehotel Jagerwirt paid the hackers a modest ransom in Bitcoin to reactivate their systems.In a followup statement to Bleeping Computer, the hotel's Managing Director Christoph Brandstatter emphasized that no guests were locked into their rooms, because international fire codes mandate that electronic hotel locks must open from the inside even in the event of system failure.

How to Plan Your Next Vacation With a Chatbot | nytimes.com

nytimes.com 18 January 2017
Need to book a hotel on the go, or a friendly dinner recommendation while exploring a new city? There's a bot for that.In fact, there are now chatbots for all kinds of things, from weather updates to health advice, as the popularity of smartphone messaging apps driven by artificial intelligence grows.

Four trends that will reshape marketing in 2017 | martechtoday.com

martechtoday.com 16 January 2017
I've been a marketer and entrepreneur for more than 20 years, and each year seems to bring a new whirlwind of change. In 2016, social media grew even more powerful, dictating the news and shaping our public discourse. Chatbots and artificial intelligence started to gain traction and are opening entirely new avenues for brands to reach customers. And the shift to mobile continued to gain steam, with everything from ordering dinner to booking a vacation now done on smartphones and tablets.Marketers are racing to keep up, and 2017 is about to bring more changes. Here are four trends I see shaping marketing in the coming year:

Study: Netflix now more popular than adult entertainment in hotel rooms | foxnews.com

foxnews.com 12 January 2017
When it comes to in room entertainment, a new study says that today's hotel guests may just want to Netflix-- without the "chill."According to data from Enseo, a company that provides in room entertainment solutions for some of the world's biggest hotel brands like Marriott, more hotel guests are streaming a show or movie from Netflix in hotels that have axed pornographic video-on-demand (VOD) than ordering traditional adult-themed programming.

A World-Renowned Futurist Reveals The Hotel Of The Future | forbes.com

FORBES 11 January 2017
World-renowned global futurist Dr. James Canton envisions hotel experiences that include supersonic travel and DNA-driven spa treatments, so what can we expect in the next decade? Canton, a former Apple Computer executive, author and social scientist, worked in conjunction with Hotels.com, to present the Hotels of the Future Study at a recent conference in San Francisco. In the study he describes hotels with everything from RoboButlers and virtual reality entertainment to hotel restaurants based on gourmet genomics and the emergence of neurotechnology to make sleep more refreshing. Canton, who has advised three White House Administrations and over 100 companies, believes these megatrends will shape the future of the hotel experience and that the RoboButler is the change we will most likely see first. Although, he also notes that plans are already underway for a supersonic hyperloop route from Los Angeles to New York City. Canton kindly agreed to give Forbes readers a more in-depth look at his thinking. Below he weighs in on what all of this will look like and why we should embrace the next wave of technology.

Meet Rose, the Sassy New Bot Concierge in Las Vegas | travelandleisure.com

10 January 2017
As more hotels adopt virtual concierge apps to meet guest needs, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has taken it a step further by creating a uniquely designed robot concierge with a distinct personality. In early January, the hotel unveiled Rose, a flirty chatbot with a sense of humor. When guests check in to the hotel, a front desk representative gives them a card that reads: "Know my secrets. Text me," and "I am the answer to the question that you never asked." The card also bears Rose's phone number, which you can text for nearly anything you might need during your stay. (In the background, staff of The Cosmopolitan are on hand to administer anything that Rose cannot.)

The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry | econsultancy.com

econsultancy.com 10 January 2017
At the end of last year, we asked a few experts to predict the social media trends we'll be seeing in 2017. Live video was a running theme, as was virtual reality. However, we thought we'd take the opportunity to explore another interesting topic - artificial intelligence (or AI).More specifically, the use of artificial intelligence in the travel industry. Why? Well, it's already making waves. Providing travel brands the perfect opportunity to connect with consumers and enhance customer service - we've seen a number of businesses experimenting with the technology.Here's how, along with a few of the most interesting examples to catch my eye.

Hotels eye 'high tech, high touch" move to firm up business | enterpriseinnovation.net

enterpriseinnovation.net 9 January 2017
Changes in consumer expectations for fast Wi-Fi, helpful guest assistants and loyalty rewards have prompted the hospitality industry to invest in technology that enhances the guest experience and provides added convenience for smartphone check-in, location-based offers and services and digitally-enabled loyalty programs.Results of the global Zebra Hospitality Vision Study show that 77% of hotels/resorts surveyed worldwide are expanding Wi-Fi coverage, to help move staff to mobile computers for more guest interaction, expand location services for guests and deliver reliable wireless access.

Study finds travellers including expenses already included in hotel rates | travelandtourworld.com

Travel And Tour World 27 December 2016
Research from HRS and GBTA found that companies are paying double rates for the extras that have already been negotiated with suppliers as travellers are including them in expense reports. In most of the cases, it is seen that wifi is included in the hotel rate but more than a fifth of travellers surveyed buy this extra on-site.

Choosing The Right Hotel Tech: Why You Need an Open Stack Solution | snapshot.travel

Snapshot GmbH 6 December 2016
The amount of software that hotels use is increasing every year. Not all of it is necessary, but some of these tools are of course extremely useful. And as the industry continues to utilize more digital tools and the internet, those who don't adopt the major tools or channels will get left in the dust. To stay competitive hotels need more tools to better understand their guests and improve service. Today it's a competitive advantage, tomorrow, not having them is a disadvantage.

Cold in Your Hotel Room? By Voice or Tablet, You Can Change That | nytimes.com

nytimes.com 14 November 2016
Need to dial down the thermostat in the middle of the night? Want to open the curtains at daybreak? How about turning out the hall light at bedtime? These are some of the tasks that no longer require you to get out of bed in the new generation of automated hotel rooms."It's not a question of laziness, it's a question of efficiency," said Eric Marlo, the global brand manager and head of innovation at Aloft Hotels, which recently introduced hotel rooms that respond to voice commands.Using Apple's audio assistant Siri in 10 pilot rooms each at the Aloft Boston Seaport and the Aloft Santa Clara in California, guests can request a change in the temperature, adjust the lighting or ask for information on local attractions.

Reimagine revenue management | tnooz.com

tnooz.com 4 November 2016
Search engines, OTAs, review sites, metas and other tools have changed the way travellers look and book rooms. But revenue management has remained the same during my fifteen years working in the business.We are still so caught up in managing rates, availability, inventory and occupancies on a daily basis that there are a lot of opportunities that are being missed, so caught up in a department-driven processes that we are losing focus on critical changes happening in the world around us.

2017 Hotel Pricing: A Tale Of Two Coasts | By Elitemeetings.com

Elite Meetings International, Inc. 23 September 2016
Research presented at the annual conference of the Global Business Travel Association this month (July 15-20) in Denver presented a mixed picture of what planners could expect in the coming months when it comes to negotiating 2017 hotel rates.For North America, the trade group for travel managers is predicting hotel rates will jump an average 4 percent, the steepest increase of any global region. In fact, projected rates in most other regions (Asia Pacific and the Middle East & Africa among them) are expected to decline, compared to 2016.

Panel: Think outside the room for new revenue streams | hotelnewsnow.com

HotelNewsNow 20 September 2016
With worries about the state of the hotel cycle and slowing rooms revenue growth, hoteliers are looking for new and novel ways to drive revenue and profitability at their properties.Speaking during the "Beyond rooms and F&B: Total revenue management practices" panel at the Hotel Data Conference, sources said there are several ways that many hotels are leaving money on the table.Isaac Collazo, VP of performance strategy and planning for InterContinental Hotels Group, said there are lessons to be learned from how music festivals and amusement parks manage to create tiered experiences based on how much consumers are willing to pay."There are ways to make things easier for the customer and make revenues on that," he said. "At music festivals, you can buy a regular ticket or a VIP ticket. In hotels, we don't really think about things that way. We need to figure out what's a VIP item we can charge for. It helps make the experience better and makes money for the hotel."

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