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StayNTouch Reveals 7 Questions to Ask Every Hotel Technology Provider Before You Say YES! [CHECKLIST]

StayNTouch Inc. ·11h
A new checklist has been launched by StayNTouch(r), to help hoteliers make the right choice when investing in a new hotel solution. The checklist, titled, 7 Questions to Ask Every Hotel Technology Provider Before You Say YES! was developed to enable lodging companies of all sizes to make better decisions as they consider moving to a new property management system or other hotel solution.Despite the benefits of adopting new technologies being clear, many hoteliers struggle with the process of contracting with and service providers, particularly the hospitality industry which often demands the use, multiple vendors. Even for companies that already manage multiple, complex systems, the process can be challenging and inconsistent. Most hoteliers have no structured guidance through the decision-making process, and without a standardized approach, many have signed agreements that have not been a good fit for their business. This is where the checklist can help.Highlights of the checklist include:The unstoppable rise of mobileImpact of social media and guest reviewsExpectations for messaging, notifications and chatRevenue and service potential of personalized offers"Before you select a hotel technology partner, it's critical to compare the level of service offered by different providers, as well as identify your own objectives and requirements," explains Jos Schaap, CEO of StayNTouch. "Due to the complex nature of our industry, hoteliers almost invariably omit some considerations, leading to consequences for the property when problems later arise. We worked with our industry consultants to put together this checklist which covers some of the most important questions you should ask--and the answers to listen for--to help ensure you're making the best decision."Click here to download 7 Questions to Ask Every Hotel Technology Provider Before You Say YES! or visit http://go.stayntouch.com/7QuestionsforHotelTechProviders_ContentLandingpage.html

Tourico Holidays Develops & Launches Olympus X

Tourico Holidays 27 July 2017
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tourico Holidays, one of the world's fastest growing wholesale travel brokerage companies, today announced that it has developed and launched Olympus X, a proprietary platform designed to help travel distribution clients improve inventory accuracy, identify hotel deals with the highest profit margins, and increase sales. The first-of-its-kind interactive dashboard also provides detailed monthly reports where clients can view all of their bookings, total room nights, cancellation ratios, average daily rates (ADR), year-over-year and month-over-month growth, the best hotel opportunities for boosting profits, and many other valuable data points.Olympus X also enables Tourico to view client inventory and bookings and offer its sales support. Using the platform, Tourico can help identify high-margin hotels and ExclusiveDeals, Tourico's selection of pre-purchased hotel room blocks, that a client may be missing from its inventory. The intuitive program maps out a client's sales region and ensures inventory from that area is current, while prioritizing the best hotel deal options. The platform enables Tourico sales managers to monitor client trends, recognize areas of opportunity, and help clients strengthen their margins."Olympus X is truly the first all-inclusive, interactive platform for travel distributors that not only allows them to capture real-time data that is critical to day-to-day operations, but it also identifies areas of potential improvement and growth," said Lev Koutamonov, the Vice President of Professional Services for Tourico Holidays. "Never has there been a singular platform that proactively updates and assists travel distributors with their business, and offers them the automated reporting that brings it all together."Several industry-wide problems led to the development of Tourico's professional services technology. Until now, Tourico sales managers did not have visibility into clients' systems regarding Tourico product, making it extremely difficult to identify how to improve sales and profits. Fragmentation of information and business tools was also a primary obstacle for clients, preventing them from improving their reaction time and efficiency."Between great company leadership, a team of highly qualified engineers, developers, and programmers, and working directly with clients on process improvement, we were able to create a solution to a longstanding industry issue," said Koutamonov. "We're looking forward to using the new platform to help all of our clients take their businesses to the next level."

What Craft Beer Teaches Hotels

IDeaS Blog 27 July 2017
We talk a lot about the evolution of hospitality and revenue management as a whole. Changing industry dynamics and newly-tapped data sources have more so turned this evolution of ours into a revolution — shaking up hotel technology, profit performance and organizational structures in the process.
Article by Robert A. Rauch

Revenue and cost strategies for boutiques, independents

R. A. Rauch & Associates, Inc. 27 July 2017
Let's look at the revenue components of an independent hotel. A savvy sales team can make or break your hotel as group business generally books well in advance to provide the ideal base business. Without the power of a brand sales team and the tools that they provide, your independent hotel's sales efforts need to ensure that they are utilizing the right channels to effectively capture transient demand.While global distribution system business is mostly pay-to-play, it provides exceptional return on investment in the right markets. Responding to requests for proposals from national accounts can be tedious, but it is an essential piece to your revenue puzzle. Local negotiated rates are equally important for your sales team to seek out. These accounts are special rates set up with local businesses that have travel needs in the area and driven by the relationships your team develops with the travel manager of the company.Direct bookings are the most cost-effective business for boutique hotels, so it is always the goal to drive business to our own booking channels. Identifying what percent of business you need from group sales, GDS and online travel agencies is paramount to a successful revenue strategy. Understanding the cost of all of your booking channels allows you to properly layer in business by evaluating the effective average daily rate and adjusting your available rates accordingly. Set occupancy thresholds for your hotel as key indicators of when to increase your rates.Balancing meeting rooms and sleeping rooms has always been tough for revenue managers who have not been on the group sales side of the business and salespeople not familiar with RFPs. They must equip themselves with new tools. Identify your hotel's ideal rooms-to-space ratio to optimize profits on any piece of group business and to ensure your revenue manager and sales team are on the same page.Events and other contributing factorsWhile events might not provide a large number of roomnights, they do get people in the door of your hotel and help marketing efforts. If your hotel has an in-house food-and-beverage department, then capitalizing on these events is even more critical to achieving financial success and should be incorporated into your revenue strategies. Farm-to-table and locally-sourced product is expected at every dining occasion, and healthy options are also prized in today's market. Ensure your F&B team is keeping up with the latest event software--we use Social Tables)--healthy living trends, maintaining creativity and adjusting their menus accordingly.A destination is a high contributing factor in the decision-making process, so your sales team should highlight all of the attractive aspects of the local area. Does your hotel have a great bar for guests to grab a happy hour drink after their meeting? If your hotel is limited on amenities, then provide information on your local area and everything that could be attractive to a first-time visitor. The "work hard, play hard" mentality has taken the market by storm, so even if a client is looking to host a business meeting, they will also be exploring what to do once their meeting is finished.Digital marketingThe importance of marketing in your overall revenue strategies cannot be overstated, as it is the crux of how your boutique hotel sets itself apart. Establishing your hotel's identity and voice and ensuring that they are effectively communicated to all outlets is a must. Without the power of a big brand behind you, you are awarded the chance to create a brand that really defines the hotel and the experience your team provides. Your social media platforms create a stage for your hotel's voice to be heard, so their importance is far greater than they would be for a branded hotel. Develop creative packages and collateral that capture the guest experience to set yourself apart from a franchised hotel. These pieces tell a story that evokes a potential guest's wanderlust and shows value.Your website should be constantly updated with local happenings, events and hangouts to keep up with search engine optimization (SEO) changes that stress local focused searches. This is a complete advantage over branded hotels that have monotonous websites with limited control over content. The goal is to create a local community hub that provides exceptional content to any visitor.Revenue management should never be on the back burner, especially for boutique hotels. Strategies need to be constantly looked at and questioned so that they can evolve. Pay attention to your rates daily and check them multiple times per day during peak demand periods. Schedule weekly revenue meetings with your hotel's key managers so that everyone involved is staying engaged and on the same page with your current strategies. Independent hotels can adapt quickly to changes in the market, so use this to your advantage.Good luck!

Nor1 and Lindner Hotels & Resorts Expand Their Partnership to Utilize the Full Nor1 Merchandising Platform Product Suite Across Lindner's Portfolio

Nor1 27 July 2017
Santa Clara, CA -- Nor1 and Lindner Hotels & Resorts announced their agreement to expand utilization of the Nor1 Merchandising Platform to include eXpress Upgradetm and CheckIn Merchandisingtm, in addition to eStandby Upgrade(r), already in use throughout the Lindner group of 37 outstanding European hotels. "We are very pleased that Lindner has embraced the use of the full Nor1 Merchandising Platform across their portfolio to enhance guest experience and maximize revenue opportunities for their premium inventory," said Jason G. Bryant, Nor1's Founder and CEO. "We are confident that our products will not only achieve those goals, but will also create operational efficiencies that will free up their staff to even better serve their guests.The Nor1 Merchandising Platform maximizes revenue and guest satisfaction for hotels and resorts worldwide with its mobile-first, data-driven solutions by utilizing machine learning and predictive analytics to make highly relevant offers when guests are ready and willing to buy the products and services that will enhance their trip."Nor1 has proven to be a great and accommodating partner for Lindner during our use of eStandby Upgrade(r). That, along with the successes that we've enjoyed in maximizing revenue for our premium inventory; and ancillary products and services made complete sense for us to see how much further expanding our partnership to include eXpress Upgradetm and CheckIn Merchandisingtm could take our hotels," stated Insa Becker, Corporate Rooms Division and Central Project Management, Lindner Hotels & Resorts. "The significant increases in incremental revenue and guest satisfaction achieved after integrating both products into our daily processes at three of our properties, confirmed our expectations and we couldn't wait to implement at the rest of our hotels.""By empowering our front desk staff to quickly and easily upsell guests to our premium inventory, CheckIn Merchandising(r) has had a very positive impact on them," said Peter Wirbelauer, Front Office Manager, Lindner Congress Hotel, Frankfurt. "The Nor1 Merchandising Platform has created operational efficiencies for many of our other staff members as well."About Nor1, Inc. Nor1, Inc. is the leader in hospitality merchandising technology. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Nor1 provides data-driven pricing and merchandising solutions to maximize incremental revenues for hotels and resorts worldwide such as Hilton, IHG, Carlson Rezidor, Accor, and Wyndham. Nor1's patented, dynamic decisions intelligence engine PRiME(r), powers Nor1's Merchandising and Intelligence Platform including its signature eStandby Upgrade(r), eXpress Upgradetm, CheckIn Merchandisingtm, and eReachtm products.Nor1 is creating the fusion between technology and guest experience. It's that combination of expertise and skill that have set Nor1 apart and continues to attract technology's most distinguished investors such as SAP, Goldman Sachs and Accel Partners. For more information, please visit www.nor1.com.About Lindner Hotels & Resorts37 hotels and resorts in seven European countries - that is the basis for the ambitious and innovative concepts of Lindner Hotels AG. The family-managed company is one of the leading hotel chains in Germany. 19 hotels in major cities, 11 spa and sport resorts (1 in development) and a holiday park belong to Lindner Hotels & Resorts. In 2016 the new brand me and all hotels was launched - 6 hotels (5 in development) belong to Lindner Hotels AG as well.Each hotel has its own unmistakeable character and offers its guests lifestyle perfect in every way. Some hotels were taken on when they were experiencing financial difficulties and have been successfully repositioned on the market. In recent times, franchises have been added. Like the group's existing hotels, these offer individual holiday concepts, excellent quality, and innovative spa experiences. Exceptional locations, stylish architecture and great attention to detail make Lindner Hotels AG a unique mixture of many-sided holiday hotels and exclusive business addresses. CEO Otto Lindner has received several awards for his pioneering approaches and hotel concepts. For the Lindner Hotel BayArena, the first stadium hotel, he garnered the "Hotelier of the Year Award". For the Lindner Park-Hotel Hagenbeck in Hamburg he received the European award "Hotel Property of the Year 2009". His way of management was also awarded several times in the domains of human resources, leadership and personnel development.Website: www.Lindner.de / English: www.Lindner.de/en.htmlMedia Content: www.lindner.de/bilderTwitter: twitter.com/lindner_hotelsInstagram: instagram.com/lindnerhotelsFacebook: facebook.com/LindnerHotels

Sometimes it's the simple things

Triptease Blog 27 July 2017
I spent today at the Revenue Strategy Summit hosted by Duetto, SHG and Kalibri Labs. There was much talk of technology’s role in improving guest experiences and shaping the role of the Revenue Manager. Topics close to my heart. But as I thought about my last few hotel stays, something quite different jumped out. I recently took my wife for a four-day break to Turks & Caicos - two nights in one hotel, and two nights in another. In the first hotel I encountered some minor issue and found myself asking for help at reception. It took a full hour to resolve, with the receptionist running back and forth between me and the GM - who was apparently sitting in an office directly behind reception. As I gradually became more frustrated, I asked whether it might be easier for me to speak directly to the GM, but he preferred to remain comfortably behind his locked door.

Why your hotel's channel manager needs the help of a room pricing tool

SiteMinder Blog 26 July 2017
It’s likely you’re already aware, and have seen the benefit, of channel management technology. If you are using a channel manager you’ll know how important it is for expanding your hotel’s distribution and optimising the way you manage your rooms. With a channel manager you can connect to as many online channels as you want, including online travel agents, your own booking engine, and a GDS.

ReAlign, eUnite and reEnage with Oracle Hospitality at this Year's RetailNOW Show

Oracle Hospitality Check-In 26 July 2017
Oracle Hospitality is ready for a four-day experience at RSPA’s that is RetailNOW show, taking place in Las Vegas from August 6th – 9th. RetailNOW is the only show in the United States dedicated to hospitality and retail technology providers. The show is the perfect occasion to learn about the latest in hospitality technology and what opportunities exist in the marketplace. The Oracle Hospitality team will be at RetailNOW in booth737 showcasing how we can provide technology solutions to the POS industry and improve the operating efficiency of F&B processes with:

Rainmaker Continues Strong Growth Trajectory with Record Setting First Half of 2017

The Rainmaker Group 26 July 2017
ALPHARETTA, GA - July 26, 2017 - The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), the hotel revenue and profit optimization cloud, experienced record setting growth through the first half of 2017, adding to its momentum in becoming the de facto standard in hotel revenue management software and services. Since January 2017 Rainmaker has expanded its reach in the number of properties using its platform, with a 41% increase in grouprev(r) and 21% increases in both guestrev(r) and revintel(r). Additionally, in this same time period, Rainmaker's revcaster(r) platform has activated nearly 500 new properties globally, surpassing 5,000 active installs for that product line."It has been a banner year so far for Rainmaker as a company and for our entire team," said Tammy Farley, Rainmaker president. "Our solutions continue to bring exceptional results to each hotelier and casino operator we work with, and our partnerships continue to grow beyond our projections. I attribute this continued success to our staunch dedication to developing the most advanced technologies and continuing to expand our platform, while remaining focused on supplying the best client support and problem solving for all of our current and future customers."Using advanced math and science-based algorithms, Rainmaker's integrated platform of solutions is designed to help hotels and casinos streamline their operational efficiencies, enhance revenue optimization processes, improve lead performance and generate greater demand from every segment of their business.For more information on Rainmaker's hotel revenue and profit optimization cloud, please visit www.letitrain.com.

Survey: Marketers Remain Skeptical of Artificial Intelligence as a Solution

KoMarketingAssociates 26 July 2017
ICUC Social recently conducted its “Artificial Intelligence Survey” to determine how marketers feel about AI and its usefulness at their companies. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of AI on a scale of one to ten, with ten being “extremely important.” In terms of impact, marketers gave AI a 6/10, indicating that it is not currently “a game-changer.”

Provenance Hotels chooses IDeaS G3 RMS to advance revenue strategy in 2017

IDeaS 26 July 2017
MINNEAPOLIS--IDeaS Revenue Solutions, the leading provider of revenue management software solutions and advisory services, is delighted to announce the expansion of its relationship with innovative hospitality management company, Provenance Hotels.With increasingly elevated revenue management opportunities achieving consistent market share growth of 3 percent - and a partnership with IDeaS that spans back to 2012 - it was an easy decision for Provenance Hotels to continue their long-standing relationship with IDeaS.With nine properties currently running on the flagship IDeaS Revenue Management System (RMS), Provenance's entire portfolio is slated to transition to IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (IDeaS G3 RMS). "We are very excited to transition all of our hotels to IDeaS G3 RMS as part of Provenance Hotels' strategic investment to elevate our revenue management and distribution platforms. This is technology designed for the decade ahead, while our competitors are operating on systems designed for the previous two decades," says Leslie Lew, vice president of revenue strategy for Provenance Hotels."Provenance looks forward to the added benefit of IDeaS' analytics and business insights to improve revenue, market share and profitability to strengthen our competitive advantage as profit-focused hotel operators. As more and more data becomes available, we count on IDeaS' superior analytics to cut through the 'data noise' and give our revenue leaders actionable intelligence at their fingertips - focusing on improving results rather than drowning in data," Lew added.Provenance Hotels owns and operates unique independent hotels, each with their own hand-crafted story, with several hotels under active development. Prior to implementing their current system in 2012, Provenance Hotels executed revenue management strategies through highly manual processes in central reservation systems and property management systems. Upon implementing IDeaS' RMS, Provenance Hotels saw consistent share growth in all represented markets."Provenance is an innovative hotel company looking for a leading revenue management partner," explains Jane Stampe, managing director for IDeaS. "After carefully reviewing multiple providers, Provenance selected a partner with a demonstrated commitment to their needs as a growing organization, and is equally invested in their success as a company and as individual hotels." About Provenance HotelsFounded in 1985 and headquartered in Portland, Ore., Provenance Hotels specializes in financing, developing and operating award-winning independent hotels with distinct and deeply integrated art stories. The portfolio includes Hotel deLuxe, Hotel Lucia, Heathman Hotel and Sentinel in Portland, Ore., Hotel Max and Roosevelt Hotel in Seattle, Wash., Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Wash., the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in New Orleans, LA., and Hotel Preston in Nashville, Tenn. Provenance Hotels will open Dossier in Portland in August 2017, Hotel Theodore in Seattle in November 2017 and the Woodlark in Portland in spring 2018. The company can be found online at www.provenancehotels.com.About IDeaS With more than 1.5 million rooms priced daily on its advanced systems, IDeaS Revenue Solutions leads the industry with the latest revenue management software solutions and advisory services. Powered by SAS(r) and with nearly three decades of experience, IDeaS proudly supports more than 9,500 clients in 111 countries and is relentless about providing hoteliers with insightful ways to manage the data behind hotel pricing.IDeaS empowers clients to build and maintain revenue management cultures - from single entities to world-renowned estates - by focusing on a simple promise: Driving Better Revenue.IDeaS has the knowledge, expertise and maturity to build upon proven revenue management principles with next-generation analytics for more user-friendly, insightful and profitable revenue opportunities - not just for rooms, but across the entire hotel enterprise. For more information, visit www.ideas.com.

Now Available for Download: HEBStrategy Q3 2017 Hotel Digital Marketing, Technology, and Trends Whitepaper

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog 26 July 2017
HEBS Digital’s third installment in 2017 of “HEBStrategy,” a series of whitepapers that cover the latest news and trends in hotel digital marketing and technology, is now available for download! The HEBStrategy Q3 edition assesses the climate of the hospitality industry, explores creative approaches to brand loyalty and guest recognition programs, and highlights key findings hoteliers should be mindful of in auditing their hotel digital marketing strategies.
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How AI Will Change the Way We Make Decisions

harvardbusiness.org 26 July 2017
With the recent explosion in AI, there has been the understandable concern about its potential impact on human work. Plenty of people have tried to predict which industries and jobs will be most affected, and which skills will be most in demand. (Should you learn to code? Or will AI replace coders too?)

Emerging developments in the CRS market and their implications for hotels

By Michaela Papenhoff
The CRS landscape is seeing dynamic changes. Michaela Papenhoff, Managing Director of Dusseldorf-based h2c, provides us with some valuable perspective. Although hotels talk to their guests every day, the hospitality industry is still far behind the retail industry when it comes to system integration, customization and digitization, she says. Hotels and vendors as well as consultants must put their heads together to initiate the change needed.

Minor Hotels partner with CRM leader, Cendyn

Cendyntm 25 July 2017
Cendyn, the leading CRM and sales platform in the hospitality industry, has been selected as the partner of choice for Minor Hotels, a diverse spectrum of hotel chains and brands connected to the needs and desires of today's global travelers.Cendyn was selected by Minor Hotels to help drive loyalty and improve engagement with their guests to deliver the right communication, to the right guest, at the right time. Using unrivalled connectivity to third party vendors, reporting and analytics, Cendyn will provide all five brands in the Minor Hotels group with true intelligence of every guest, across all their hotels, no matter what channel they came through.Eric Cartwright, Director Loyalty & Partnerships, Minor Hotels, commented, "We are delighted to begin our relationship with Cendyn. As a CRM leader, Cendyn embodies what Minor Hotels feels to be a like-minded partner. While we grow beyond our current state, following our roadmap of expansion, we need to future-proof our customer platforms to allow us the ability to immediately recognize our valued, repeat guests as well as our first-time guests in a manner that augments our existing DISCOVERY loyalty program, by delivering insights on each individual so that we can drive loyalty through service delivery, analytics, and timely communication. As we expand, this platform will enable us to easily add functionality and service to our growing portfolio, without the need to rethink platforms."Cendyn will implement a guest intelligence solution utilizing data collected from multiple sources to provide a true, single profile of each guest. This visibility will enable every brand in the group to gain a clear understanding about the history and preferences of each guest in real time, regardless of how they booked."We are honored to be partnering with the prestigious Minor Hotels group. One thing that resonates with Minor Hotels is their drive to put the guest first in everything they do." said Charles Deyo, CEO & President of Cendyn. "Using Cendyn's fully integrated eInsight CRM solution will allow each of their five brands to harness their data to better understand their guests and improve how they engage and drive loyalty with them. Year on year, Cendyn's eInsight CRM customers continue to see increased brand loyalty from their guests which has led to significant return on investment for each of our clients. We look forward to seeing such growth with the Minor Hotels group."Using data to pave the way in how hoteliers communicate with their guests has revolutionized how they can learn more about their guests' interactions, drive direct bookings, maintain brand presence with their most valuable guests and stay competitive in their market. Cendyn's CRM and Loyalty Suite enables hoteliers to keep their guests at the forefront of what they do, and concentrate on providing exceptional, personalized customer service at all times.About Minor HotelsMinor Hotels is an international hotel owner, operator and investor currently with 154 hotels. As an international hotel group, we passionately explore new possibilities in hospitality with a diverse portfolio of properties designed intelligently to appeal to a variety of travellers, serving new passions as well as personal needs. Through our Anantara, AVANI, Elewana, Four Seasons, Marriott, Oaks, St. Regis and Tivoli properties, Minor Hotels operates in 24 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Europe and South America. With dynamic plans to expand our existing brands and explore strategic acquisitions throughout opportunistic markets, Minor Hotels pursues a vision of a more passionate and interconnected world.

Urban Creation Implements ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access and Locking Solutions at its New Stylish Student Accommodations

ASSA ABLOY Hospitality 25 July 2017
Stockholm - July 25, 2017 - Bristol, UK-based property developer, Urban Creation, has successfully implemented the ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access solution at two of its new student accommodation sites. The Manor House and Charlotte's Rise, historic buildings converted by Urban Creation into stylish student residences, are now offering secure and convenient access through ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access and VingCard Signature RFID door locks, allowing tenants to gain entry to their rooms and suites with a quick swipe of their mobile device.Urban Creation turned to ASSA ABLOY Hospitality's innovative technologies to create a unique and streamlined experience for its student residents, making it the first company in Bristol to launch the technology within a student accommodation. An added convenience for both residents and property managers is that check-in is immediate upon the start of each student's lease through the mobile access app, and the app automatically checks them out at an agreed-upon time at the end of the lease."We are always looking for clever new ways to improve the experience of tenants in our properties and we think this will help to make their stay a smooth one," said Jonathan Brecknell, director and owner of Urban Creation. "The move chimes with our ethos of creating homes that are both stylish and practical to live in, paying careful attention to all the little details that make a home a home - from clever storage space to logical layouts."ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access not only streamlines the check-in and check-out process, but also removes the risk of student residents losing physical room keys, which is a security risk and creates added costs for replacing keys and door locks. If the student's phone is lost or stolen, the key can easily be removed from the mobile app remotely to prevent unauthorized entry. Additionally, The VingCard Signature RFID door locks offer the two properties state-of-the-art security, through powerful and innovative anti-cloning features that prevent unauthorized access.For more information about ASSA ABLOY Hospitality and its comprehensive line of locking solutions, please visit www.assaabloyhospitality.com.
Article by Jos Schaap

Software as a Service? Better Focus on the Service!

StayNTouch Inc. 25 July 2017
According to Gartner, the worldwide market for public cloud services will be worth $204B in 2016. Of this $204B in revenue, SaaS will make up for 20.3% of the addressable public cloud services market.Applications are not only being delivered via SaaS, but they are also focusing heavily on mobile as the mobile landscape becomes increasingly necessary to run business efficiently and effectively. In the hotel industry, the introduction of a SaaS solutions combined with mobile usability is creating a new world of customer interaction and relationship building. There are really no limits to how the combination of SaaS and mobile will continue to embed itself into the hotel and travel industry.The service aspect of SaaS can be divided into several sub-services. These sub-services include distribution of the product, pricing of the product, management of the product and finally support of the product.Distributing a SaaS solution via the Internet has no physical need for indirect distribution because it is not "physically" distributed and it can be deployed almost instantaneously. In the hotel industry, the hotelier will still require multiple systems to manage their business, but as more and more solutions providers begin delivering their solution via SaaS, there will be less of a requirement for intermediaries and partners.The price models associated with a SaaS deployment are also service-oriented. No longer are there significant up-front CAPEX expenditures required to implement a primary or secondary system that will help you manage your hotel more effectively. SaaS providers generally price the solution via a subscription fee model that is charged via a monthly fee or even at times based upon occupancy. This enables the hotelier to budget effectively for expenses that in the past would have disrupted their yearly budget allocation taking monies away from guest facing priorities and having to sound large amounts of money on invisible upgrades. Most SaaS providers also work with the hotel in order to come up with the best pricing model that works for both parties involved.The management of a SaaS solution is virtually unseen by the hotelier. The maintenance of the platform along with upgrades are implemented instantaneously and isn't something that must be dealt with on property. Solutions that are premise-based create an operations headache. Whenever an upgrade or fix is required, the system has to be shut down in order to install the upgrade - which inevitably has an impact on operations. This is no longer the case with SaaS.In concert with the management of a SaaS solution is the support of the software. There is a myriad of backend dashboards that a SaaS provider has at their disposal which enables them to track system performance and even before a glitch is experienced with the system that would impact a hotel's operations. Problems can be anticipated and proactively addressed via the support and monitoring team. Also, when there is an issue that requires direct support, no support representative no longer have to "tunnel into your system" to see what is happening because with SaaS they are right there with you, investigating the problem and rectifying it ASAP.All of these elements are truly service oriented, but the delivery of a SaaS solution adds one more element of service that sometimes goes unnoticed. SaaS systems drive opportunities for higher levels of guest engagement. Employees don't have to be tied to the front desk or within other areas of the hotel because the SaaS solution can be available using most any type of mobile device. With cloud-based access, the executive team can keep an eye on operations or make changes when they are off-property. This would never have been possible just five years ago. Software as a Service is gaining momentum month to month, year to year and it will continue to do so. Most hoteliers are ready for a shift, as they're frustrated by the traditional cycle of buying a software license, paying for a maintenance contract, and then having to go through time-consuming and expensive upgrades. Many hoteliers believe they should have more control over the relationship with their technology provider and SaaS gives that to them. The future is extremely bright for SaaS companies and for those hotels that choose to move towards SaaS implementations.

HotelTap Workplace Cloud Communication Tool Now Available as Mobile App

HotelTap 25 July 2017
Alameda, Calif. -- Today owners and operators of limited-service hotels with 50+ rooms are communicating with staff and responding to guest requests faster and easier than ever before now that the HotelTap "digital log book in the cloud" is available as a Mobile App for Apple and Android devices, as well as Amazon tablets. HotelTap replaces notebooks, paper tickets, sticky notes, internal emails, spreadsheets, text messages and radios for recording and responding to guest requests, performing and tracking maintenance tasks, and resolving customer complaints. The new HotelTap mobile app is designed to share information via push notification between those who "need to know," from department to department, employee to manager, and manager to owner."Customers were asking for better functionality and ease of use on smaller devices like cell phones and tablets vs. the desktop or web link to access HotelTap," said Sandip Jariwala, HotelTap founder. "To support that experience, developing a native language for mobile devices was the only way to go. Now that we are offering the HotelTap Mobile App, hotel staff are interacting with the system more efficiently than ever before. It's saving considerable time for staff conducting room inspections, and mobile push notifications is proving to be the fastest way to receive requests and share them with appropriate staff or departments. Even bilingual employees are finding the HotelTap mobile app to be the easiest way to communicate."Hoteliers are using the HotelTap Mobile App for:Pushing mobile notifications to employeesSetting tasks and marking them completeResolving complaintsManaging Waitlists, Lost & Found and Group ReservationsCreating recurring checklists for shifts, inspections and preventive maintenanceSearching messages or information with tags and wordsRetrieving equipment records to make informed expense decisionsAttaching documents, photos and videos to notes and tasksStoring data and notificationsFiling Daily Activity Reports to keep a paper trail of communicationsReceiving data security with daily backupsMobile App Streamlining Management / Maintenance TasksThe Hawthorn Suites By Wyndham - Oakland/Alameda was the first property to go live with HotelTap when it launched in 2015. It also was the first hotel to test the Mobile App. Selma Becirovic, assistant general manager, said the new format is dramatically helping her to be more efficient."I've always been a huge fan of HotelTap, and now that it's available as a Mobile App, I love it even more," Becirovic said. "Before, I would receive text messages with employee or guest requests and have to enter my responses into the digital log book. That was fine, because any digital process is better than a manual one. Now that we are using push notifications within the app, my job has been made that much easier. When a push notification comes in, I can immediately see the posting, rather than having to click on a link that would take me to the system where I would select a message to retrieve it. Now, with just one click, I can reply to whomever needs my help. The HotelTap Mobile App keeps me connected with everyone and everything that is happening at my hotel."Migrating from the desktop version of HotelTap to the Mobile App format is easy. Once a user logs in, everything functions as it had before - just better. And, because HotelTap is available to hotels in a subscription model, there is no additional cost to operate the system via the Mobile App vs the desktop.Victor Gonzalez, shift manager responsible for preventive maintenance at the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham - Oakland/Alameda, said he appreciates the HotelTap Mobile App for its "convenience.""Being able to receive push notifications from anywhere on property through the HotelTap Mobile App is such a huge time saver," Gonzalez said. "Rather than having to check in with the front desk to see what needs done, I can be anywhere on the premises. When a work order comes in - whether it's a push notification to fix a leaky faucet or address a problem with a TV - I can respond immediately. Better yet, updates happen in real time. Rather than waiting to log back in to see if tasks are complete, I can see everything in real time. The HotelTap Mobile App consolidates everything we need in one convenient, digital format. Gone are the days of walkie talkies and sticky notes; all you need today to communicate effectively and manage maintenance efficiently is the HotelTap Mobile App."Schedule a DemoHotelTap is available for one low annual fee, based on a hotel's size. The system provides 24/7 security, as all property data is securely stored on HotelTap's cloud servers with daily backups. Round-the-clock LIVE technical support also is provided. To schedule a demo of the HotelTap Mobile App, click here. For more information on HotelTap, visitwww.HotelTap.com or call (844) 381-7221.

trivago now provides hoteliers with access to its travel demand data and over 5 billion room rates

trivago 25 July 2017
Dusseldorf, Germany -- trivago has now made over 5 billion room rates visible to hoteliers around the world. With its new Rate Insights feature, trivago grants hoteliers access to an unbiased and comprehensive set of data on traveler demand and competitor prices, enabling them to compare room rates from over 250 booking sites as well as official hotel websites on a single dashboard. Through Rate Insights, which is part of the complete metasearch marketing solution trivago Hotel Manager PRO, trivago is empowering hoteliers to establish competitive pricing strategies.trivago Business Intelligence data reveals that independent hotels visible on trivago have on average 8,000 rates online a year. Johannes Thomas, Chief Revenue Officer and Managing Director at trivago, said: "We understood how difficult it is for hoteliers to find, monitor, and analyze competitor room rates across hundreds of booking sites." He added: "We were quick to realize that the price comparison data we provide to travelers is equally valuable for hoteliers. Therefore, we created a rate shopper that gives hoteliers easy and actionable access to this data, as well as data on traveler search volume that reveals fluctuations in demand. No other rate shopper has this combination of data in this amount and with this granularity."Instead of gathering data from just a few booking sites, Rate Insights aggregates rates from over 250 websites and makes it easy for hoteliers to compare them by room type and other variables. It also enables hoteliers to respond quickly to changes in the market and anticipate what upcoming local events can be leveraged to boost RevPAR. Hoteliers overcome the time-consuming challenge of monitoring the market, their competitors' prices, and their own. They know when and by how much to adjust their direct rates and all those listed with OTA partners to stay competitive online."With the Rate Insights feature we're able to see our competitors' prices and position ourselves in the market. And the statistics are beneficial when there are sudden changes in the market and we need to adapt accordingly." Maximilian Kaufmann, Managing Director, Hotel Alte Krone, Kleinwalsertal, AustriaUtilizing data is becoming more and more crucial in making decisions that will lay the foundation for future success. By displaying its rate and traveler demand data on a single dashboard with simple analytics, trivago has made it easier for hoteliers to access, understand, and act on data to increase their competitiveness online.For more information: http://hotelmanager-blog.trivago.com/en-us/rate-insightsAbout trivago Hotel Manager & Rate Insightstrivago is reinventing the way hoteliers connect with travelers online - via trivago Hotel Manager. With 1.4 billion visits per year to 55 localized websites available in 33 languages, trivago is a leading hotel metasearch for travelers around the world. As of June 30, 2017, there are already over 300,000 hoteliers across the globe using the metasearch marketing platform to build a unique hotel profile so they can boost their ranking on trivago and drive direct bookings on their own website. trivago Hotel Manager currently operates in ten languages across 21 localized platforms. Rate Insights is available with trivago Hotel Manager PRO, the full solution that provides hoteliers with additional analytics and promotional tools to help them be more competitive online and stand out in search results.To find out more, visit www.trivago.com/hotelmanager/proAbout trivagoFounded in 2005 and headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany, trivago is a global hotel search platform focused on reshaping the way travelers search for and compare hotels. trivago's mission is to "be the traveler's first and independent source of information for finding the ideal hotel at the lowest rate." As of September 30, 2016, trivago's global hotel search platform offered access to approximately 1.3 million hotels in over 190 countries. trivago's platform can be accessed globally via 55 localized websites and apps in 33 languages.
Article by Maeve Walls

The Missing Link in Book Direct Strategies: the Front Desk

Net Affinity 25 July 2017
Hoteliers have been putting huge amounts of efforts into building solid book direct strategies. However, your fantastic strategy to align your goals for marketing & revenue might be missing a crucial element. Beyond ensuing that both departments communicate well, there's another link missing for a lot of properties: the full inclusion of your front desk staff in the goals and strategy.More and more responsibility has been given to front desk teams, and tasks have increased and diversified. However, how well are you communicating the purpose and importance of tasks designed to improve your revenue strategy?These tasks include:Establishing the purpose for guest visitIdentifying a return guestEncouraging an OTA booker to book directly next timeReservations out of hoursUp-selling on arrivalThese are big ticket items. However, too often, little explanation is given as to why these items are so important to the hotel's long term strategy. Additionally, many hotels don't seem to incentivise front desk teams to excel, or encourage healthy competition for the sales items.Taking the time to fully train your front desk staff and include them in your property's major goals will give you huge returns over time.Let's take a look at these tasks and why they're so important, one by one:Purpose of VisitsHow much time does marketing spend laboring over the market segmentation of guests? So much of a hotel's marketing spend and strategy is centered around the current market segmentation for hotel guests, and the areas where they want to grow.However, the simple phrase "if you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out" is core here. If the purpose of the visit is not being recorded accurately at reception, then your hotel's segmentation process is flawed at best.Identifying a Return GuestYour front desk staff are the members of your team best placed to physically recognise a return guest and possibly spot whether or not a duplicate profile has been created for this guest.It's still a big ask on a busy reception desk, or at a larger property. To make sure you have an accurate record, reservations staff must be fully aware of why measuring returning guest numbers is so key to your revenue strategy. They must also be motivated.Encouraging Guests to Book Direct Next TimeEncouraging guests to book direct on their next stay is one part of an overall strategy. However, does your front of house team understand where they fit in?Your front desk team are reinforcing a message about the merits and benefits of booking directly with the hotel. This will hopefully already have been clearly featured on the hotel website and featured in the in-room literature.The front desk team become the face of this message in your hotel.The front desk team are the first voice or face to face encounter the booker will have with your hotel. The way guests are treated on calls, during check in and over the course of there is hugely important. It is the measure of whether the perception put forth by the hotel online then lives up to the reality.Reservations & Up-sellingBecoming a charming sales person, both on the phone and in person, requires a whole different skillset. Charming and encouraging a guest to make a booking or to enhance their stay in some way takes both talent and training. Sales skills need proper training, not just a script to use.Money shouldn't take precedence over the motivation to provide a great guest experience. However, if teams aren't incentivised to close sales, what's in it for them? They already have a full task list of work to fill their day. Incentivising here also helps foster healthy competition, some banter and will help the team become more of a team.Train, Include, Value and RewardIt cannot be stressed enough how important it is to properly train front desk teams. They must know how to use the various systems and handle the standard items of check in and check out, balancing accounts, and more. Here is a thorough list of front desk skills.The technical aspects aren't the most important part of the job, though. The value of committing meaningful time to upskill team members fully in sales skills, customer service and the bigger picture of your hotel's strategy is inestimable.Make sure your hotel's overall goals are specific and valuable. As Todd Cline writes, "There's no doubting the value of goals. Without them, it is too easy to become situation-oriented, and allow the environment to dictate responses instead of strategy. However, the key is to limit the number of goals. Successful execution relies on a disciplined approach that focuses on just a few critical principles." What are your hotel's critical principles?Your front desk teams must be included and valued for their core role in the end success of the actual guest experience. The guest experience is the result of the work marketing and revenue have completed to deliver the guest to the website and completing their booking. Make sure it's worth it.

Back to the Futurecasting

IDeaS Blog 25 July 2017
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” Those famous words were spoken by a confident Doc Brown as his time-travelling DeLorean careened into the future. Doc and Marty McFly were quite the dynamic duo and, thanks to some seriously cool inventions and a great deal of intuition, these two always achieved their desired outcome in the end.

Phocuswright Battleground: 16 of Travel's Most Innovative Companies Compete in One-Day Event

Phocuswright 25 July 2017
Phocuswright Innovation PlatformBattleground: The AmericasSeptember 12, 2017The Plug and Play CenterSunnyvale, CASunnyvale, CA -- Phocuswright has created a stand-alone Battleground event. Debuting September 12 at the Plug and Play Tech Center, the world's largest startup accelerator, 16 finalists will compete for a chance to take the stage at the annual Phocuswright Conference in November.Battleground will feature the most innovative early-stage travel startups from North, Central and South America. This one-day event is dedicated to bringing promising travel innovators into the limelight to demonstrate fresh ideas in front of potential investors and partners.Attendees will have an unprecedented chance to see the industry's youngest innovators live for an entry fee of just $199."We will showcase for our first-time attendees the next market-changing innovations, fresh ideas, new partners and investment opportunities," said Simon Lehmann, Phocuswright President. "With this expansion we give more members of our industry a chance to see the future on stage and get excited about the amazing possibilities for the future of the travel industry."The event will feature a keynote from Sam Shank, CEO & Co-Founder of HotelTonight, a panel conversation state of innovation and investment in travel, and a Phocuswright research presentation of insights from the upcoming The State of Startups 2005-2017 report series.During the Battleground, participants have six minutes each to demonstrate their innovations to a panel of sometimes ruthless and uncensored judges. The top two companies will move on to present at Summit during The Phocuswright Conference among 1,800 of the most influential leaders in travel.Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley is a venture fund, innovation platform, startup accelerator, and corporate innovation consultancy.For those interested in applying, applications close on July 31 - and this year, there is no fee to apply or demonstrate. Eligible applicants will be part of a startup company 4 years or younger, based in North America, Central America or South America, have $2M or less in funding and pass a rigorous Phocuswright screening.Attendee registration is also open.

HFTP and OpenTravel - Announce Newest Partnership in Systems Standards Horizon

HFTP 25 July 2017
The nonprofit groups, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(r)) and Open Travel Alliance (OpenTravel) have announced a partnership to accelerate the support of travel industry distribution standards, as well as the creation and adoption of hospitality technology standards across the entire spectrum of the global consumer travel experience. Of top priority to both organizations are mobile standards for use within the industry, which are first on the work list.To facilitate the intended projects, OpenTravel will co-locate its corporate office with HFTP Global headquarters in Austin, Texas, USA, starting in August 2017. The move will enable the organizations to combine resources to help develop standards that ease communications between disparate technology systems, enabling stakeholders to conduct business more efficiently.More than 25 years ago, HFTP was given a mandate by its members to lead in establishing information processing practices and standards explains Frank Wolfe, CEO for HFTP. He said, "HFTP represents stakeholders from the cruise line to the casino, fairway to foodservice, the motel to the midway, and the resort to recreation, across the globe. OpenTravel also represents every one of these verticals, and by partnering on this objective, both of our organizations will better serve our stakeholders."Individually, the two organizations represent stakeholders that do not fully overlap; but combined, there are no other groups that encompass this broad horizontal reach. OpenTravel represents the enterprise and HFTP represents individual professionals, together they represent the full consumer experience."OpenTravel's 1.0 XML Messaging Standards are paramount among the travel standards and our new 2.0 Object Model will positively impact the consumer experience for years to come," said Mike Tinkey, CEO for OpenTravel. "OpenTravel continues to enable the future for the connected consumer end to end with their business and leisure travel across all aspects of travel including, but not limited to, airlines, lodging of all types, cruise lines, car rental firms, railways, ground transportation, leisure suppliers, solutions providers, service providers, travel agencies, tour operators, technology companies and distributors, and events of all types. HFTP's resources will allow us to accelerate standards awareness, adoption and utilization."Both HFTP and OpenTravel are in the process of planning upcoming events in Orlando, Florida USA. Visit the organizations' respective websites for the latest updates at www.opentravel.org and www.hftp.org.About OpenTravelOpenTravel is a global not-for-profit trade association founded in 1999 by travel companies across all travel verticals, with a primary focus on the creation of electronic message structures to facilitate communication between disparate systems in the travel industry. OpenTravel is the source of the most adopted cross industry technology standards that enable business and leisure solutions driven by the travel industry. For more information on OpenTravel membership, please email: info@opentravel.org.About HFTPHospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(r)) established in 1952, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe. HFTP uniquely understands the industry's pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. It does this via its expert networks, research, certification programs, information resources and conferences/events such as HITEC. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality-specific search engine, PineappleSearch.com. For more information about HFTP, email membership@hftp.org or download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website. Read industry updates on the suite of HFTP hospitality news sites: HITEC Bytes, Club Bytes, Finance Bytes and HFTP News.

New Luxury Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Installs the InvoTech RFID Uniform System

InvoTech 25 July 2017
LOS ANGELES, CA -- InvoTech Systems, Inc., a solutions provider for hotels, casinos, and resorts worldwide, announced The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah implemented its RFID Uniform System to manage uniforms for 600+ person staff. InvoTech has implemented inventory management systems for hundreds of international hotel, casinos, and resorts worldwide. Please click here for more information on InvoTech's uniform, linen, and laundry systems for efficient operations.InvoTech has several Uniform System installations in the Middle-East, but this is the first in Saudi Arabia. The InvoTech Uniform System is used in more than 35 Ritz-Carlton hotels worldwide.The RFID technology allows for multiple uniforms to be processed simultaneously and automatically. The InvoTech Uniform System establishes a perpetual uniform inventory and has extensive reporting capabilities to determine and forecast appropriate uniform purchases. The system manages employee uniform assignments and tracks laundry activity without manually sorting and hand-counting. This provides significant cost saving benefits by eliminating losses, reducing purchases, and lowering laundry bills."The InvoTech on-site installation services were very professional and knowledgeable. The training was on-point and clear. During the implementation and installation, the InvoTech installer made sure that that our staff were very comfortable with the daily processes and the managers understood the reports and benefits.", said Sudhir Gogeneni, Assistant Director of Rooms "The luxury hotel is true to every sense of the word, and the uniforms reflect the same standards. Monitoring the upkeep of the uniforms will ensure that reflection stays true to what The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah is trying to achieve, which is one of the many benefits our Uniform System provides.", said Oswald Lares, InvoTech Systems, Director of Sales & Marketing.InvoTech's clients include Madison Square Garden, Universal Studios Hollywood and Florida, MGM Resorts International, The Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott, Hilton Hotels, Loews Hotels, Mandarin Oriental, and the Empire State Building. International clients include LEGOLAND Dubai and Japan, Venetian Macau; MGM Macau; MGM Cotai; Park Hyatt Sydney, Australia; Perth Arena, Australia; Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, Korea; Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore; Systematic Laundry, Singapore; Genting Malaysia; and Palace Resorts and Laundry, Mexico.About The Ritz-Carlton, JeddahThe Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah boasts striking architecture and elegantly designed spaces. InvoTech's UHF-RFID Uniform System will manage The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah inventory for its 600+ employees operating in this 224-room luxury hotel with two restaurants, spa, 20 meeting spaces, conference facilities, press room, ballrooms, and a full array of other amenities.Located along the Al Hamra Corniche and overlooking the Red Sea, the palatial hotel celebrates classical design with Arabic accents featuring Royal Suites that blend the essence of glamour, Saudi heritage and provoke a feeling of Royalty. The hotel experience also offers exceptional dining venues that combine authenticity with regal ambience. As befitting a hotel of such imperial stature, guests are offered a selection of gourmet dining venues, including Reyhana, the signature all-day dining buffet restaurant featuring international favorites; and Karamel lobby lounge for leisurely breakfast, lunch or the signature afternoon tea. For more information on The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah, please visit www.ritzcarlton.com/jeddah
Article by Jogbojogbo Abdulrahman

On Chatbots and the Hospitality Industry

Hotels.ng 25 July 2017
In the hospitality industry, one which is built around making the customer alpha, communication and information transactions must be smart, swift, insightful and analysable. Chatbots are hence the perfect tool for this type of communication and service provision. They live in messaging apps where today's internet user spends a significant portion of his time, they are also cheap in the long run and can provide deep insights into customer preferences that can greatly improve offerings for the the customer, the alpha.In 2017, the key players are still trying to figure out how to build the perfect chatbot - smart, capable of understanding complex semantics, and conversing with the customer as an experienced service rep would. Today's chatbots, limited as they are by the available underlying technology have been deployed by several players in the hospitality industry - flight providers, hotels and more.Hotels.ng, a Nigerian OTA looks at existing and projected applications of chatbots and attempts to estimate the net effect that they might have on the entire industry in years to come.Bookings and reservationsBrands that require that bookings be made - flights, hotels, tour guides and more are already rolling out functional chatbots. Using these bots is convenient, simple and gives an air of chatting with a friend. Hipmunk recently upgraded their chatbot to allow for group planning and chats on their Facebook Messanger based platform. It's easy to see how this can be adopted for OTAs providing group tours.Expedia and Kayak are some other early adopters of chatbots for the purpose of making reservations.Learn user preferencesBy silently sitting in the background, and potentially collecting information such as correlation between geolocation and time versus brand-specific actions carried out, smart deductions can be made as to the user's behavioural tendencies and preferences. Also, past responses, questions and queries that the customer made can be automatically processed to give actionable insights into the customer. Brands can as a result offer personalised and customised services to the customer and increase the chances of delighting him and spending less to acquire each dollar from him than they normally would.Customers can also be retargeted in the future with higher precisions. Brands are able to engineer a greater correlation between the time of the customer's need, and the content and timing of chats sent with a marketing intent.Upselling to clientsWith chatbots, brands can more easily induce customers to make more expensive purchases, upgrades, and add-ons thereby increasing the chances of squeezing more value out of the client without appearing over enthusiastic. Products and services can be upsold or cross-sold through casual suggestions to the client.Top-of-mind awareness (TOMA)The modern day internet user spends more time on messaging apps than they do on social media. In the fight for users' eyeballs, chatbots which mostly live in messaging apps therefore provide very great opportunities for subtle top-of-mind awareness campaigns. TOMA is defined as awareness campaigns aimed at making a brand the first a customer thinks of when asked an unprompted question about a brand's category.Cost effective customer supportEventually, AI driven chatbots become smarter through learning. When they become sufficiently smart and are able to handle complex queries, brands spend less on the supervision of chats, customer support, and can dedicate saved funds into other segments of the brand.Challenges & ControversiesAs with most novel technologies, chatbots too have controversies and challenges tied to their successful implementation. A few pressing ones are discussed below:Threat to existing jobs: As in all forms of automation, job shifts occur and jobs designing and managing the automation always displace the jobs that previously ran the processes. Markets will always demand for more reliable, cost effective, and faster processes making these threats to jobs an occurrence that can be managed but not eliminated.Sharecropping: To tap into what makes chatbots powerful for brands - large audiences, they have to be sharecropped on platforms that host the most people thereby expanding the potential reach and influence of the brand. Facebook, Wechat, and Amazon Echo are a few popular platforms that host numerous chatbots. They are popular because people want to interact with brands on platforms where they already interact with friends. Understandably, this hands over reins of control to the messaging and voice AI giants, but it's a reasonable compromise that should be made.-Privacy concerns: Chatbots have the potential to offer so much personalised information and services that they might come off as intrusive. Care must therefore be made while designing them to handle information transactions at levels of personalisation that are at par with the target audience's temperament toward AI. Helpful can easily become creepy.-High cost of build: Chatbots can be expensive to build. In the long run however, they are almost always smart investments as they bring down operational costs, open up new opportunities for brands and help generate more revenue.-Lack of empathy: Chatbots can come off as stiff or robotic. While this is not a problem for many, a few people are put off by it. Most primitive chatbots work like a search engine that search for some keywords that then trigger predetermined responses. AI driven chatbots are however more capable of handling more complex queries and conversing as a human would.ConclusionChatbots are simple, ubiquitous, and highly effective. AI driven chatbots also become better and smarter with use so while the wide adoption by hospitality brands will create job shifts, it will also create new opportunities that will allow for better personalisation of experiences for the customer.In one line, the hospitality industry will be benefit greatly from the adoption of chatbots.

10 data science insights from the Trainline

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration 25 July 2017
The discipline of data science is not for the fainthearted but at Trainline, an innovative, independent digital rail platform for rail travel, it’s at the heart of everything As head of data science at Trainline, Fergus Weldon, who will be speaking at EyeforTravel’s Smart Travel Data Summit 2017, is at the coalface of innovation. In an exclusive interview he shares ten things he knows about data science today.

5 Tech Nightmares in Hospitality Management (and How to Prevent Them!)

Glion Blog 25 July 2017
Why All Hospitality Management Professionals & Businesses are Vulnerable… In the realm of hospitality, customer satisfaction and fidelity are vital and technology can either nourish or damage that relationship. It’s probably one of the most vulnerable industries for tech fiascoes for three main reasons:

The next era of hotel distribution: Connecting supply and demand in the moments that matter

By Javier Delgado Muerza
Because a hotel's inventory is perishable, the core of the hospitality business, according to Google's Javier Delgado Muerza, is to manage occupancy in such a way that revenue is optimized. To do this effectively, you've got to connect with travelers in a relevant way in every moment that matters, he says.

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