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INTEREL Appoints Jeff Johns as SVP Americas

INTEREL 17 July 2017
Dubai, UAE. 17 July 2017: INTEREL, the world's fastest growing manufacturer of integrated room technologies in the luxury hospitality industry, has announced the appointment of Jeff Johns as the company's SVP Americas, who is responsible for leading INTEREL's growth in the region.With 18 years' experience in hospitality technology and a strong background in product design and engineering, strategy and sales for integrated guest room technology, Johns offers a wealth of knowledge in complex technology solutions and large-scale projects.Florian Gallini, Group CEO of INTEREL, said: "In the Americas, demand continues to grow for INTEREL's products and services. Our vision at INTEREL, combined with our industry leading technologies, enables hoteliers to improve customer experiences by better leveraging technology. With Jeff joining the INTEREL team, we look forward to seeing take-up of our solutions optimised to match changing hotelier needs and expectations."Prior to joining INTEREL, Johns worked with Sony, Enseo and INNCOM by Honeywell. His enthusiasm to join INTEREL comes as the group experiences significant growth and recognition for innovation and technology leadership in hospitality."Throughout my career, I have sought opportunities to work with market leaders who are at the forefront of new technology. This is certainly the case with INTEREL, where I will be leading the growth of the business in the Americas, while contributing to INTEREL's global growth."This comes at a time when sector-specific technology is advancing at an incredible rate and hoteliers are looking to leverage emerging hospitality solutions in Bluetooth wireless and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies," commented Johns.Focused on enhancing the hotel guest experience and optimizing an operator's energy consumption, INTEREL's system philosophy is driven by their responsibility towards the environment - seeking to deliver greener and more sustainable operations by building on the efforts of hoteliers who are focused on reducing their properties' energy consumption and costs.

Guestline announce partnership agreement with Digital Alchemy

Guestline 14 July 2017
Guestline and Digital Alchemy, a leading provider of CRM solutions in the hospitality marketplace, are pleased to announce a partnership agreement.Digital Alchemy's team of hospitality veterans create industry-leading CRM solutions for hotels, spas, and resorts. Their passion for the hospitality industry has driven them to develop digital marketing solutions that drive revenue and empower property management teams to raise the bar for guests like never before.Digital Alchemy has a proven solution that, when paired with Guestline solutions, will allow properties to drill down into customer data and ensure every opportunity to drive revenue is optimised. They offer pre- and post-stay targeted email communications, including Confirmation Emails, Pre-Stay Reminder Emails, PostStay surveys, targeted email offers and more. Digital Alchemy's professionals are dedicated to increasing guest engagement while turning your guests into customers for life."Phase 2 of Guestline's growth is well under way with focus being put into our 3rd party integrations and partners. We are passionate about collaborating with a huge selection of hospitality focussed, industry-leading services to ensure every aspect of managing a property is met. Digital Alchemy are leaders in the field of guest management, relationship management and using social engagement to increase revenue, which we recognised as a fantastic addition to the Guestline product suite. We are looking forward to working closely with the team at Digital Alchemy to empower our users with the latest technology available." Andrew Williams, Development Director at GuestlineNigel Allport, Vice President, Business Development at Digital Alchemy added, "We are very pleased to be partnered with Guestline to offer our mutual clients hospitality-specific Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and email marketing solutions. This will enable properties to increase sales, reduce no-shows and drive additional revenue.Digital Alchemy's aim is to help personalise the guest experience while simultaneously assisting the hotels' overall marketing and revenue generation objectives.We recognised Guestline as a leader within the hospitality sector. Our partnership will give Guestline clients access to world-class guest communication and digital marketing services which will bring a new dimension to driving revenue and empowering hotels to raise guest loyalty and repeat visitors"To arrange a demonstration of the suite of hospitality software solutions available from Guestline and details on Digital Alchemy, please contact us via enquiries@guestline.com.

INTEREL Improves Guest Experience And Operational Efficiency At Palazzo Versace Dubai Through Advanced Integration

INTEREL 13 July 2017
Dubai -- INTEREL, the world's leading provider of integrated guestroom control and energy management systems for the hospitality industry, is working to connect the room with the operational staff.Hotels utilise INTEREL to enable their guests to control light, climate and request housekeeping, butler service and more, and can benefit from increased operational automation and an improved ability to service guests more efficiently through an integration to the Amadeus HotSOS platform.The first property in the world to take advantage of the new solution is the prestigious Palazzo Versace in Dubai, UAE. Sandra Tikal, General Manager of the hotel, said: "At Palazzo Versace Dubai we've selected the INTEREL Guest Room Management System and Amadeus HotSOS as the best-in-class solutions for guest room automation and staff workflow management. The integration between the two systems allows for seamless transition of guest requests in the room into our operational workflow system and enables our staff to work more efficiently, be more attentive, and respond to guest needs quicker than ever before."Anytime a guest makes a request via the INTEREL glass panel in the room, it immediately and automatically raises a work order ticket, where the correct member of staff is assigned to assist. Once the request is in process, the guest can receive feedback on the glass panel in the room to know their query is being attended to, creating a seamless and direct interaction.INTEREL's Group CEO, Florian Gallini said: "It's been an excellent experience working with the Amadeus team, both from a technical and strategic perspective. We are glad to debut this new integration at a leading property such as Palazzo Versace Dubai and look forward to enable additional use cases using our connectBsmart infrastructure."INTEREL's award-winning connectBsmart solution serves as an IoT infrastructure in the hotel room, allowing virtually limitless use cases for improved operational efficiency and new guest experiences in the hotel.The integration is now generally available for all customers and interested hotels should contact their regional INTEREL or Amadeus account manager.

Honeywell Improves Guest Comfort, Helps Lower Utility Costs By Nearly 25% For Best Western Premier Park Hotel

Honeywell 13 July 2017
Madison, WI -- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today announced its INNCOM guestroom automation and energy management project at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel, referred to locally as Park Hotel, in Madison, Wisconsin, is helping them save nearly 25 percent on guestroom energy costs."Environmental responsibility and maximum guest comfort were primary goals when we started our renovation project in 2015. This is why we selected Honeywell for the project," said Jay Mullins with Mullins Group, the property's owner. "We have had no temperature complaints since we installed Honeywell's system. The INNCOM thermostats are easy for guests to understand and an analysis shows guestroom utility costs dropped by approximately 23.5 percent. Honeywell monitors each room's environmental equipment operation and helps us run a more efficient hotel. If everything worked as well as Honeywell's INNCOM system, life would be better."The Park Hotel installed Honeywell's INNCOM system based on its advanced INNcontrol3 technology and easy-to-use guest thermostat controls. "We needed to replace Park Hotel's unsatisfactory guestroom thermostats and related system with a proven solution and researched several energy management companies and their systems," said Jason Barron, project consultant at Pearson Engineering, which oversaw Park Hotel's HVAC, energy management, environmental, and electrical upgrades. "After we installed the INNCOM controls our year-over-year comparison for the same period showed overall property electrical consumption down 17 percent, and gas down 25 percent. We expect winter results to be even better," Barron said.INNCOM systems installed by The Best Western Premier Park Hotel include:INNcontroltm3 real-time guest room energy control systemWireless Deep Mesh NetworkE528 Smart Digital Guestroom ThermostatsFastPack API integration with Saflok RFID guestroom door lock systemHoneywell's INNCOM E528 programmable thermostats adapt to Park Hotel's three existing types of heating systems and other equipment, and respond to the guest's temperature preference while they are in their room. Honeywell's system uses guest door sensors to recognize a guest's entry. When the guest leaves, the thermostat sets the temperature to an optimum alternate setting that reduces unnecessary energy use. When the guest comes back, the room returns to the guest's preferred temperature. The E528 units simplify installation and operation and are compatible with almost any type of hotel HVAC equipment. "The INNCOM thermostats adapted perfectly with our three types of HVAC units that each had different voltage requirements. They even let guests control air movement with three fan motor speeds," Barron said. "Our old system could not do that."Guest comfort is a priority for the Mullins Group and INNCOM thermostats are easy for guests to use. "Honeywell's INNCOM thermostats have a large backlit LCD display with controls that guests understand. This lets them create a comfortable guestroom temperature quickly and easily," said Jay Mullins. "The system adapted perfectly to Wisconsin's seasonal temperature fluctuations.When a guest checks in at the front desk, the property management system (PMS) communicates with the thermostats to set the room temperature to a comfortable setting and waits for the guest to enter the room and select their preferred temperature. If a checked-in guest leaves the room, the system returns to the setback temperature. "INNCOM interfaces with our Saflok guest door lock system," said property engineer Tom Bormett. "If a housekeeper enters a room, the Saflok system recognizes by the key that it is not a guest and keeps the temperature at the setback point to optimize energy use."The INNCOM thermostats communicate with the Park Hotel's INNcontrol3 real-time guestroom energy management system and PMS over an INNCOM wireless Deep Mesh Network (DMN). The DMN monitors sensors in each room's HVAC equipment and sends continuous status updates to the INNcontrol3 console in the engineer's office. The hotel's electronic guestroom door lock system also uses the DMN to communicate with the hotel's PMS and INNcontrol3."The INNcontrol3 system monitors each room's temperature, HVAC operation, and door status. The system displays a detailed 3D graphic image of our hotel that shows occupancy, energy consumption and other factors that relate to guest comfort and safety," said Bormett. "It notifies my team if property fans or other equipment are not operating properly or if the room's temperature is different from the thermostat's setting. These notifications enable us to send staff to the room to make a repair or adjustment before the guest is aware of the problem."Honeywell was also involved in the Mullins Group renovation of The Best Western Premier Park Hotel. "We knew Honeywell was a solid name brand with the depth of resources we would need for ongoing support, but we got much more," said Mullins. "Honeywell's installation team caught several construction errors that saved us time and trouble. With both Honeywell's energy management and our Saflok electronic door lock system using one Deep Mesh Network, we run more efficiently. The INNCOM system keeps our guests comfortable, our systems running optimally, and lowers our utility costs." About Honeywell Home and Building TechnologiesHoneywell Home and Building Technologies (HBT) is a global business with more than 44,000 employees worldwide. HBT creates products, software and technologies found in more than 150 million homes and 10 million buildings worldwide. We help homeowners stay connected and in control of their comfort, security and energy use. Commercial building owners and occupants use our technologies to ensure their facilities are safe, energy efficient, sustainable and productive. Our advanced metering hardware and software solutions help electricity, gas and water providers supply customers and communities more efficiently. For more news and information on Honeywell Home and Building Technologies, please visit http://www.honeywell.com/newsroom.Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 software-industrial company that delivers industry specific solutions that include aerospace and automotive products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help everything from aircraft, cars, homes and buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.

What Influences OTA Content Score?

ICE Portal 13 July 2017
Most importantly, your hotel images tremendously affect your content score. More specifically, the quantity of images, their size and if they are tagged will make the difference. Consumers are more likely to engage with properties that have more photos, especially if they are large. Also, using meta tags will ensure that the appropriate photos are shown to appropriate consumers, increasing the likelihood of them booking.OTAs also rank your content based on Room Type associations. Filling out Room Types for the images representing your property will improve your ranking and attract relevant consumers who are most likely to book.Rates also influence content score. Rates offered directly on the hotel's brand.com website and also the rate comparison to competing hotels will affect OTA ranking.A high content score is essential to a high page rank on OTAs, but there are also other things hotel marketers can do to increase conversion. Offering packages with partner companies, effectively responding to guest reviews and offering value-add services can also entice travelers to book.

The Raphael Hotel Earns 20% Increase In Website Conversion

Brewer Digital Marketing 13 July 2017
Brewer Digital Marketing, a leading provider of innovative hotel software tools that serve more than 10,000 hotels worldwide, announced the launch of The Raphael Hotel's new website. This historic Kansas City boutique hotel is part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott International, and managed by Lighthouse Property Management.While the hotel's website was already performing relatively well, the ever-changing search landscape brought with it many new and untapped revenue opportunities. Lighthouse Property Management partnered with Brewer Digital Marketing to design and build a new website--focused on personalized guest experiences--with the hopes of driving higher engagement and better conversion."Always remember that the customer is the star, and personalizing content is what will make your hotel stand out in a very saturated space," says Brad Brewer, CEO of Brewer Digital Marketing. "When your hotel's website has the ability to sense and adapt to what each traveler wants, you'll get more conversions, traffic, and repeat visitors--and overall happier customers. That's exactly what we strive for when developing websites for our clients."Brewer Digital Marketing built the new website on their Hotel Marketing Web Platform, which leverages modern structured markup conventions and earns Rich Results in Search. The platform takes standard HTML web pages and turns them into searchable objects that can change and adapt based on a customer's search intent.Within a month's time, the new site delivered the following results:Web Traffic - The hotel's web properties are saturating search results with new and increasingly relevant content that travelers find useful:+20% in Google Search click-through rate+77% in organic search traffic+129% in local search trafficConsumer Behavior - Visitors are finding the site relevant to their search intent:+59% in sessions+66% in pageviews-51% in bounce rateOnline Conversion - Travelers are finding the hotel's offerings fit their lodging criteria:+10% in conversion rate+20% in total conversions"The results for The Raphael have been impressive and immediate since the launch of the new site," said Steve Miller, Director of Operations, Lighthouse Properties, owner/operator of the hotel. "The progressive web app platform delivers relevant information more quickly than any of our previous sites - which we believe accounts in addition to structured markup for the increased traffic, and more importantly, bookings." Brewer Digital Marketing was able to achieve these results in a short period of time by following best practices in search and by using the latest structured data conventions for hotels, including Hotel Rooms, Restaurants, Events, Offers, and Tourist Attractions.

Competition - The biggest challenge to revenue management strategy

EyeforTravel 13 July 2017
The effect of competitors is the biggest headache revenue managers face when creating their pricing and distribution strategies according to the new Aggregating Data Streams for More Effective Revenue Management report from EyeforTravel, which is free to download now.Exactly half of the revenue managers surveyed for the research find that their competitors create difficulties when trying to set their own pricing, noticeably ahead of any other category EyeforTravel asked about. Unforeseen events are the next most important challenge at 43.8% of respondents, followed by attribution of sales channel, which has come up as an issue across previous EyeforTravel research.The difficulty in measuring and predicting competition has only become harder over the last half decade as hotel comparison sites have widened the competitive pool and made product comparison easier for the consumer. Not only this but the rise of alternative accommodation sites have introduced a new stream of supply into many markets.So, what can revenue managers do to understand their competitors better and maximize their property's performance in competitive markets?The report finds that revenue managers should build a comprehensive competitor set (compset) that looks at more than just proximity of other accommodation options. Instead, revenue managers should understand their own property's attributes and the type of guests it attracts and build out to encompass rivals wo are fighting for the same customer.When it comes to setting the prices themselves the report urges caution in the part of revenue managers. The report notes that numerous studies have found that reducing prices in order to compete has long-term damaging effects for properties. Overall, properties that maintained higher average daily rates performed better, with the effects of cutting price not boosting occupancy enough to make up for the shortfall in income. Furthermore, consumers do not view prices rationally, with an accommodation purchase asking them to consider a complex matrix of factors. Indeed, a lower price may even indicate lower quality to some consumers that a property is if lower quality.Therefore, hotels need to consider the individual advantages that their property enjoys and only look at the very nearest competitors who are most likely to be vying for the same customer segments. If hotels are to try and win against their peers on price, then the report advises that hotels should not attempt to undercut the direct competition by more than 5%."It is natural, almost reflexive, for revenue managers to try and bring prices down to below their competitors, especially if their booking window is not where they want it to be," says Alex Hadwick, Head of Research at EyeforTravel. "However, our findings suggest that this could make life even harder for revenue managers in the future as they look to raise prices again and hit bottom lines. This especially so as RM is shifting away from just setting rates to working across the business to measure profitability and sell ancillaries more effectively. We found 71% of revenue managers believe that the discipline should be recognised as revenue management. This is not to say that competitive pricing is not important but it seems that revenue managers need to be thinking about all of their property's features and not just trying to be $10 cheaper per night than their rivals."Click here to download the research now and get the full report, including:The effect of competitors on pricing, how to account for them and what strategies to take to get a competitive edge.Understanding and constructing predictive analytics.Understanding the costs of a business's channel mix and how to win direct bookings.The state of the industry's approach to ancillary revenues.The key metrics every revenue manager should be working toward.The future of a revenue manager's role and the skills they will require.

Meetings Innovator iVvy Partners with DHISCO for Hotel Inventory

DHISCO, Inc. 12 July 2017
DALLAS -- IVvy Inc., an Australian company that developed the first global distribution platform for meetings and events, has selected DHISCO Inc., the world's leading hospitality distribution company, to power its hotel booking engine.IVvy, based in Queensland, Australia, said the partnership will enable it to expand its offerings beyond meeting and event space to room inventory."Our global distribution platform provides real-time availability, rates and inventory for function space, caterings, group accommodations and event supplies," said Lauren Hall, iVvy founder and CEO. "Through our partnership with DHISCO, we can continue to build upon our solutions for making the meetings and events planning and booking process as efficient as possible while offering clients access to the most competitive and accurate room rates and availability."DHISCO CEO Toni Portmann said the partnership is an example of what can be achieved through industry collaboration."IVvy's objective is to address a huge opportunity in the meetings industry," Portmann said. "As the world's largest hospitality distribution company, we can connect iVvy to hundreds of thousands of hotels around the world. DHISCO will help them, along with our hotel partners, develop the connections and relationships they need to bring meeting planning into the 21st Century."IVvy recently debuted in North America with the opening of a New York office.About DHISCO Inc. DHISCO Inc. is the world's original and leading hospitality distribution company, providing the most reliable and advanced technology to connect hotels around the world with online travel agencies, global distribution systems, metasearch engines and other travel partners. Since 1989, DHISCO has built its reputation on providing the most efficient and affordable means to market, capture and book hotel reservations. Today, it moves more than 13 billion transactions a month for more than 110,000 hotels.About iVvyIVvy Inc. offers meeting planners the ability to search, compare and book function space, catering and group accommodations online 24/7 by reviewing real-time availability, rates and inventory posted by venue operators, then manage events using an easy-to use, cloud-based platform and custom websites to attract and register attendees and manage their experience. IVvy serves over 12,000 users in 13 countries.

Heart of America Group Selects Broadvine to Revolutionize Reporting and Analytics

Broadvine 12 July 2017
Raleigh, NC -- Broadvine, a leader in Business Intelligence and Analytics software for the hospitality industry, announced today that it is implementing its cloud-based Reporting modules, including Labor Management, for Heart of America Group, one of the premier design, construction, and management companies in the Midwest."As both owners and operators of over 16 properties in the Midwest, Heart of America knows their General Managers' time is best spent with their guests instead of creating spreadsheets," said Shawn Barber, CEO of Broadvine. "With Broadvine, Heart of America Group will have real-time information at their fingertips and enable data driven decisions that drive profitability and increase guest satisfaction.""Broadvine's Reporting software will enable us to analyze our properties' performance and metrics from a single place ," said Chuck Ullrich, CFO of Heart of America Group. "Our brand leaders, corporate team, and properties will have the information and analytics needed to ensure we are meeting our financial and service level goals."Broadvine's application delivers robust Business Intelligence via Reporting, Forecasting, Expense Management and Labor insights to hotel management companies worldwide.About Heart of America GroupStarting with a 100-seat restaurant back in 1978, The Iowa Machine Shed, Heart of America Group has evolved into one of the Midwest's premier design, construction, and management companies with a 39-year history of developing award-winning properties. Currently Heart of America Group is located in ten metropolitan areas across six Midwestern states. For more information, visit www.heartofamericagroup.com.

RoomKeyPMS Partners with Cendyn to Provide Customer Relationship Solutions for Hoteliers

RoomKeyPMS 12 July 2017
VANCOUVER -- RoomKeyPMS has integrated with Cendyn to provide hotels with marketing automation and guest intelligence for multi-property and multi-brand implementations. RoomKeyPMS has previously offered integration with Cendyn's Guestfolio Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product, but this latest integration includes Cendyn's eInsight CRM.Cendyn eInsight is a cloud-based CRM tool that provides hoteliers with unmatched insights for personalization. With this integration, hoteliers have access to enhanced guest profiles, highly targeted multi-channel communications and robust analytics that are designed to increase engagement and loyalty in new and returning guests. For instance, loyalty membership is now tracked within RoomKeyPMS to allow for automated loyalty welcome letters.Relevant data on guest profiles, reservations and loyalty membership can also be shared between the RoomKey and Cendyn systems to better serve the needs of their clients. This will allow both RoomKeyPMS and Cendyn's main users to improve campaign conversion, guest satisfaction and customer retention at their properties. In 2016, Cendyn's top 25 customers saw an average of a 33:1 ROI when using their products.The new integration services large chain hotels with enterprise capabilities and access to consolidated data. It offers hoteliers insights into guest reservations, room stays and inquiries leading to measurable impact and revenue growth."We're delighted to add RoomKeyPMS to our integration portfolio. Their customer base is a very good match for the type of hotels we partner with. By adding this robust integration to our footprint, we are continuing to expand our reach as the most connected CRM provider in the industry," says Michael Bennet, SVP, Global Marketing + Business Development at Cendyn."Cendyn is a significant vendor for Hotelier CRM systems. This integration provides us with additional opportunities for adoption with other eInsight properties and provides RoomKeyPMS as an option for all Cendyn's CRM client base," says Colin Kelso, Product Management Lead at RoomKeyPMS.For more information, visit www.roomkeypms.com and www.cendyn.com.About CendynCendyn is a cloud-based software and services provider that develops integrated technology platforms for driving marketing, sales and event performance in the travel and hospitality industry. The Cendyn Hospitality Cloud offers the most complete set of innovative software and services in the industry, covering hotel marketing, guest engagement, group sales and event management. With offices in Boca Raton, Atlanta, Boston, San Diego, Toronto, Whistler, London and Singapore, Cendyn proudly serves more than 30,000 hotel clients in 143 countries with enterprise spend levels in excess of $1 billion. About RoomKeyPMSRoomKeyPMS is your single, integrated hotel software provider. RoomKeyPMS integrates to hundreds of hospitality systems and drives revenues with no transaction fees, while saving time with a user-friendly system. Every year their cloud platform is trusted to handle over 20 million transactions for hoteliers. Their customers agree: RoomKeyPMS is the leading cloud-based hotel PMS that is easy to use for front-desk staff, insightful for revenue managers and robust for executive teams. RoomKeyPMS will give you the power and control to maximize your RevPAR and ADR with a product offering unmatched in the industry.

Staff At This California Resort Turned to Hotel Communications Technology When Radios Became Unreliable

ALICE 12 July 2017
New York, NY -- Southern California escape, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, has selected ALICE's mobile request management software ALICE Staff to improve staff communication across the 87-acre resort. ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations platform, connects every department in a hotel with one platform for all staff communication and guest requests.Prior to ALICE, The Ranch LB - which is nestled in the majestic, but signal-blocking Aliso and Wood Canyons - was challenged by poor cell phone and radio reception, which frustrated staff communication and operations. Fortunately, they had recently installed state-of-the-art WiFi across the property during a three year renovation, and sought a mobile staff communications system, like ALICE, that could run on WiFi and replace their unreliable radios.Staff at The Ranch LB, who have been using ALICE since March of this year, are thrilled with how easy it is now to communicate with one another, regardless of where they are on property. Previously, when the resort's staff relied on radios to relay guest requests or internal work orders, lags in communication were a common occurrence. When the radios cut out completely, staff would often have to traverse the vast property to find the right staff member to communicate the message to. This caused routine delays in daily tasks such as inspecting guest rooms or picking up room service trays.Now, with ALICE, and the newfound connectedness the platform provides, staff members in every department (which, at The Ranch LB, includes front desk, engineering, housekeeping, reservations, spa, events, and F&B) are delighting in their new productivity. Even the resort's head chef has downloaded the ALICE staff app, happy he can now enter his own maintenance requests (such as the walk-in cooler not chilling) from his phone instead of having to go to the front desk to ask them to radio out for assistance.Although managers at The Ranch LB chose ALICE primarily to improve staff communication, they're pleased with how other features of the platform have benefitted other aspects of the resort's operations. As a manager, Front Office & Spa Manager Kelly Dwyer appreciates ALICE's reporting tools, which have helped her as the hotel winds down its multi-year renovation: "It's helpful from a trend standpoint to see which rooms are having issues again and again. If there's persistent leaking in a particular room or building, I can be proactive about following up with vendors to make sure things get fixed. Having maintenance issues tracked like they are in ALICE has been incredibly useful."

Volara and Hotel Technologies to Bring New iAVS1 Docking Station for the Amazon Echo Dot to Hotels

Volara 11 July 2017
New York and Rahway, N.J. -- Volara, the leading provider of voice-based guest engagement software for the Amazon Echo, is working with Hotel Technologies Inc., a trusted leader in hotel bedside solutions with their iHome hotel bedside audio and power products, to offer hotel clients the iHome(r) iAVS1 Docking Station for the Amazon Echo Dot.Today, with the iAVS1 Docking Station, hotel guests can enjoy stereo sound with the Reson8(r) speaker technology, a high-contrast dimmable clock display, and a USB universal charging port for personal mobile devices. The iHome iAVS1 Docking Station provides this much-needed functionality not found in any other Amazon Echo Dot integrated hardware today."Hotels want to benefit from voice-based guest engagement on the Amazon Echo Dot, but many have been hesitant to add another piece of hardware to an already crowded bedside table," said David Berger, Volara CEO. "The iAVS1 from iHome replaces existing clock radios and will look beautiful in any hotel room. As important as the guest engagement functionality of Volara's solution, this new hardware incorporates all the functionality - including great speakers, a charging port, and dimmable clock display - that hotel guests have come to expect from iHome."When Volara's software is running on an Amazon Echo Dot docked in an iAVS1 from iHome, hotel guests can ask the solution questions typically asked of a hotel concierge, valet, housekeeper or bellman."Alexa, ask the hotel what's going on tonight.""Alexa, ask the hotel to bring me more pillows.""Alexa, ask the hotel to bring my car to the front."Interactions like these can bring the concierge's voice right into the guest room or be routed seamlessly into existing hotel software and immediately dispatched to the appropriate staff. Integrations include popular hotel software like HotSoS, SynergyMMS, Salesforce, Kipsu, TrustYou Messaging, Zingle, and many others.Volara enables hotels to extend their respective brands to the voice-medium. Use cases are custom-tailored to each hotel's business objectives, but some popular use cases include:Room requestsConcierge recommendationsVoice-only promotionsPersonal greetingsCompendium informationCustom gamesLoyalty programsAnd more . . .Volara is engaging guests today in leading properties, including: JW Marriott San Antonio, Alexis Hotel by Kimpton Seattle, TheWit by Hilton DoubleTree Chicago, Marina Del Rey Hotel and Hotel EMC2 by Autograph Collection, among many others.Features of the iHome iAVS1 Docking Bedside Speaker for Amazon Echo Dottm include:Removable inserts for both 1st & 2nd Generation Amazon Echo DottmStereo Sound from the Reson8(r) speaker technologyHardwired aux-in cable to play Amazon Echo Dot audioLarge High-contrast clock displayCapacitive touch display dimmer with 8 levels of brightness controlBattery backup for clock2.1 Amp micro USB charging cable connection for the Amazon Echo DottmUSB universal charging port for mobile devicesAudio Output: 6 watts RMS"We are happy to support Volara's new voice-based guest technology software for Amazon Echo Dot products," said Ely Ashkenazi, Managing Director of Hotel Technologies. "iHome's compact bedside solution is the perfect complement to Volara's new hotel software technology by bringing a clock interface, exceptional sound and a USB port for charging mobile devices, all of which are important to hotel guests."To learn more about the Volara voice-based guest engagement solution with iAVS1 Docking Station from iHome, click here or email info@volara.ai.About Hotel Technologies, Inc.Hotel Technologies brings "the science of feeling at home"tm to hotels and their guests. Affiliated with SDI Technologies, a 60-year-old consumer electronics powerhouse, Hotel Technologies designs, develops, engineers and manufactures state-of-the-art intelligent electronic products and patented technologies for hotels and resorts. Products include easy-to-program branded electronic clock radios that are guest-friendly and inviting to hear. For more information, go to www.hoteltechnologies.com or call, toll-free, (888) 74-HOTEL -- (888) 744-6835.

Announcing FindHotels.nyc - New Booking Platform for NYC Hotel Association Members

Kognitiv 11 July 2017
NEW YORK -- The more than 60 million visitors who travel annually to New York City now have a better way to search and book hotel accommodations in the Big Apple: FindHotels.nyc - a full service, one-stop booking site featuring all of New York City's best hotels.The new platform, launched this month by the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC) in partnership with Kognitiv, provides nearly 300 member hotels with a direct-to-consumer platform where they can advertise up-to-the-minute deals on rooms and other attractions, organized by neighborhood and by experience."We are breaking new ground with this initiative and there is a high level of excitement within the industry around its potential," said Vijay Dandapani, President & CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City. "With FindHotels.nyc, Kognitiv offers New York City hoteliers a turnkey travel program for the Hotel Association that will better connect customers directly with local hotels instead of passing through third-parties who can sometimes be disreputable or advertise deals that aren't one hundred percent accurate."The site's launch comes at a time when travelers have more options than ever when booking accommodations - including illegal hotels advertised through home sharing services where customers aren't always made aware of their legality. Most home share listings in New York City are illegal under State Law."The FindHotels.nyc platform is the next frontier of our longstanding commitment that guests have the best possible experience when they visit a hotel in the greatest city in the world," Dandapani continued.Ashwin Kamlani, Executive Vice President of Hospitality at Kognitiv, added, "We are excited to be a part of this new initiative that gives New York City hoteliers their own distribution channel that opens a wealth of opportunities to attract travelers by booking through the Hotel Association, assuring them of quality, credibility and integrity with their choice of accommodations."Kognitiv's focus is on connecting hotel asset owners with consumer audiences worldwide. Within the HANYC program, Kognitiv will add power to the association's digital advertising campaign by ensuring the HANYC logo is positioned on metasearch engines like Tripadvisor, right next to Expedia, Priceline and others. Kognitiv runs travel programs for major consumer brands, including more than 50 unique destination markets to drive consumers to book on official tourism or hotel association websites.About the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc.Serving the Hotel Industry since 1878, the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. is one of the oldest professional trade associations in the nation. Its founders' mission was to establish an association that would serve as the voice of the hotel industry, supporting its members with the highest standard of services and best available resources. Today the Hotel Association of New York City represents more than 280 of the finest hotels in New York City with more than 80,000 rooms and approximately 50,000 employees. It is an internationally recognized leader in New York City's $5 billion tourism industry.

Flexi-lets opt for Guestline's superior hospitality solutions to manage apartments

Guestline 11 July 2017
Flexi-lets are the latest serviced apartment provider to select Guestline's award winning, fully integrated hospitality software solutions in order to drive online bookings and provide access to comprehensive availability and rate management tools.Flexi-lets required a system that is continually developed to remain at the forefront of technology, without costly upgrades and equipment purchase costs; in short a property management system that is suitable for the unique and complex nature of the serviced apartment industry and the functionality to deliver a multi-site PMS."We have been following Guestline's progress for a number of years now and we were keen to adhere to a cloud based delivery model, which Guestline offer. This made our decision a lot more straightforward and, combined with Guestline's WebSuite, re writing our front end and developing this all under one supplier, it made commercial sense. Guestline have clearly developed their solutions and procedures and we are delighted to be using their software for our day-to-day operations." Paul Caudell, Chairman - Flexi-letsSpecialised in providing cost effective serviced accommodation for large multinational companies as well as small to medium businesses, Flexi-lets can cater to all needs. Prime locations make Flexi-lets a popular choice with free high speed WIFI and creature comforts for guests such as Egyptian cotton linen and kitchen starter packs.Nathan Ridgwell, strategic sales consultant at Guestline added, "Our work with Flexi-lets is a fantastic example of managing multiple serviced apartment sites from one central system. Rezlynx allows Flexi-lets to centralise operations like channel distribution, rate management and reservations to reduce costs and drive efficiencies."Paul concluded, "I would definitely recommend Guestline and I'd like to thank all of the team for their commitment to our project - with particular thanks to our head trainer Karen Fisher, without who's patience, knowledge and work in to the early hours on more than one occasion, we would not have achieved our go live."To arrange a demonstration of the suite of hospitality software solutions available from Guestline, please visit www.guestline.com or contact us via enquiries@guestline.com

Xn protel welcomes Edinburgh Collection's Haymarket Hub Hotel Edinburgh to the protel family with a super quick PMS implementation

Xn protel 11 July 2017
The Edinburgh Collection is a portfolio of hotels in Edinburgh Scotland, which consist of five properties that are 5-star, 4-star and 3-star rated. New from The Edinburgh Collection comes a brand new style of hotel for the capital. Convenient, contemporary and connected the Haymarket Hub Hotel (189 bedrooms), is Scotland's first smart phone hotel using Handy. Forget no-frills and basic, the Haymarket Hub is the hotel upgrade for the millennial, it's business class not budget class - but with an affordable price tag.protel SPE/MPE is an on-premise or hosted property management system for independent and group hotels, serviced apartments and other accommodation businesses. It is internationally proven, feature rich and trusted worldwide. It seamlessly connects to all major hotel systems to empower staff, increase profits and support the growing needs of a hotel business.Ricky Kapoor, Managing Director, The Edinburgh Collection said: "We had to make sure protel was up and running in time for the completion of the purchase of Hub Hotel because the previous owner's IT systems were being switched off on the completion date. Our biggest challenge was the fact that the time between exchange and completion of the property was very short.Ricky continues, "We can't praise Xn protel enough for making sure we achieved our mandatory operational go-live date and for helping to minimize disruption within the hotel. They also made sure the transfer of our data went smoothly."Alan O'Riordan, Managing Director UK and Europe, Xn protel Systems comments: "We welcome the Hub Hotel and its team and we're delighted to have been able to help get them up and running so quickly."About The Edinburgh CollectionThe Edinburgh Collection is part of Palm Holdings which specialises in hospitality services, business services, construction as well as property acquisition & development. The business has interests in the UK, Canada, USA and India The new acquisition of the Haymarket Hub Hotel brings the number of bedrooms at the Edinburgh Collection to over 400. The group is now very well placed to provide a variety of accommodation styles for those looking for luxury breaks to corporate and leisure visitors seeking excellent value for money. Each of the Edinburgh venues offers its own unique character and appeal.

MyCheck Achieves Oracle Validated Integration with Oracle Hospitality Simphony POS

MyCheck LLC 11 July 2017
New York, NY -- MyCheck, a leading provider of mobile payment platform solutions and a Gold level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), today announced it has achieved Oracle Validated Integration of its MyPOS solution with Oracle Hospitality Simphony Point-of-Sale (POS) Client.To achieve Oracle Validated Integration, Oracle partners are required to meet a stringent set of requirements to ensure solutions successfully and reliably meet the needs and priorities of the customers. Through this integration, MyCheck will create a custom mobile payment experience for any hotel restaurant or food-and-beverage outlet running on Oracle Hospitality Simphony with no special hardware or unique reporting tools required. With the app, customers can view the live bill, split checks among diners, tip their server, pay their bill using any stored payment method they choose, including credit card, debit card, PayPal, Android Pay, Apple Pay, MasterPass, Visa checkout and more, and receive rewards for their patronage."Achieving Oracle Validated Integration gives our customers the confidence that the integration between MyPOS and Oracle Hospitality Simphony is functionally sound and performs as tested," said David Hicks, vice president, Worldwide ISV, OEM and Java Business Development, Oracle. "For solutions deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or both, Oracle Validated Integration applies a rigorous technical review and test process that helps to reduce deployment risk and improves the user experience of the partner's integrated offering.""MyCheck is delighted to obtain Oracle Validated Integration for its MyPOS solution and expand its product reach through the Oracle Gold level membership," said Shlomit Kugler, MyCheck CEO. "As a global company, we have the responsibility to connect with hardware and software solutions that bring about best practices for delivering frictionless customer experiences. MyCheck's participation in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and this newly obtained Oracle Validated Integration further extends our commitment to the Oracle community and enables customers to easily reap the benefits of MyCheck. We look forward to leveraging the power of the Oracle Cloud to help us achieve our business goals."By integrating MyPOS with Oracle Hospitality Simphony, MyCheck is enabling customers to engage with the hotel at multiple F&B touch points. Guests can use the joint technology platform to order ahead from the hotel's mobile app or mobile web and request that F&B items be delivered to the room, poolside, Cabana or anywhere on property. The system is intuitive and sends the request directly to Oracle Hospitality Simphony at the appropriate time. Oracle Hospitality Simphony even notifies MyCheck when items are unavailable so that only items that can be sold are being presented to users. With this type of deep integration, hoteliers are giving their customers an even more frictionless and personalized experience. Together, MyCheck and Oracle are driving more efficient operations, higher server tips and faster table turnarounds for their customers.About Oracle Validated IntegrationOracle Validated Integration, available through the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), gives customers confidence that the integration of a complementary partner software product with an Oracle "on-premises" Application has been validated and the products work together as designed. This can help customers reduce risk, improve system implementation cycles, and provide for smoother upgrades and simpler maintenance. Oracle Validated Integration applies a rigorous technical process to review partner integrations and partners who successfully complete the program are authorized to use the "Oracle Validated Integration" logo. For more information, please visit Oracle.com athttps://solutions.oracle.com/scwar/scr/AboutPartners/validated-integration/index.htmlAbout Oracle PartnerNetworkOracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) is Oracle's partner program that provides partners with a differentiated advantage to develop, sell and implement Oracle solutions. OPN offers resources to train and support specialized knowledge of Oracle's products and solutions and has evolved to recognize Oracle's growing product portfolio, partner base and business opportunity. Key to the latest enhancements to OPN is the ability for partners to be recognized and rewarded for their investment in Oracle Cloud. Partners engaging with Oracle will be able to differentiate their Oracle Cloud expertise and success with customers through the OPN Cloud program - an innovative program that complements existing OPN program levels with tiers of recognition and progressive benefits for partners working with Oracle Cloud. To find out more visit: http://www.oracle.com/partners.TrademarksOracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Visa Services 2.0

VisaHQ 10 July 2017
Washington, D.C. -- If you've ever started a visa application online and lost your progress when you switch programs or devices, you know just how frustrating it can be to start from square one. Wouldn't it be amazing to never have to worry about this again?VisaHQ, a leader in visa application innovation since 2003, is making this a reality with its revolutionary chatbot. This chatbot will allow travelers around the world to ask visa-related questions, begin their visa applications, and get answers to frequent general inquiries about VisaHQ.One of the most exciting features of the chatbot is that it will remember exactly where users were in their conversations, even if they switch platforms multiple times. Travelers will be able to start their discussions on Skype and end them on Facebook seamlessly. Other popular platforms, including Slack, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage, will also be supported.VisaHQ has long taken pride in having a quick turnaround time for travelers. Chance Morrison, HBO executive assistant to the CEO stated, "Everything with VisaHQ was positively perfect - I'm so appreciative that I was able to receive my passport in one day. Without it, my trip wouldn't have even happened." The launch of the chatbot will further increase the company's efficiency, making the entire visa or passport application process frictionless and simple.Although the first chatbot was developed in 1966, it has taken 51 years for a company in the visa industry to harness this technology to make life easier for travelers from all over the globe. VisaHQ is proud to be the company that is taking this leap into the future.VisaHQ trusts you'll agree with Thomson Reuters executive assistant, Audrey Sonberg, who said, "I can't believe how easy it is to now apply for a visa for my travelers. Not only is the online system so easy to use, but VisaHQ really adds a human component to the entire process. I've told all of my colleagues to never use anyone else again!"This chatbot is a true game changer for business travelers. We invite you to stay tuned for further updates about this exciting release.https://businessvisahq.com

Whitepaper: Omni-Channel Strategies for Hotels

Benbria Corporation 7 July 2017
Today, travelers are increasingly using their mobile devices to research their trip, book their accommodations, manage their travel plans, and more. This is why it's so important for hotels to adopt omni-channel strategies and connect with their guests digitally as well as through traditional means. This white paper will outline what an omni-channel strategy entails and why text and mobile engagement are an essential part of it.

Why Travel Brands Need to Be Investing in Chatbots

EyeforTravel 7 July 2017
Deploying chatbots on these channels can yield real rewards according to EyeforTravel and Travelaer's new Are Bots Worth the Bother? report, which is free to download now.The top travel apps currently reach into the millions of users, with apps from Booking.com and TripAdvisor leading the way, however, the top social media and messaging apps pass the billion mark. Facebook Messenger currently claims more than 1.2 billion users. Not only this but usage of social media and messaging apps is estimated to have shot up by nearly 400% in 2016. Therefore, it is becoming a matter of necessity for travel brands to have a first-class social media strategy, of which chatbots should form a core element.The growth is opening up a whole new channel where customers can make direct bookings with travel brands, strengthening the link between brand and consumer and lowering distribution costs. Already brands such as Icelandair and French national rail operator's digital arm Voyages-sncf.com, both of which feature as case studies in the report, have made thousand of bookings using bots on Facebook Messenger.However, the primary use for chatbots is for customer service requirements. As consumers conduct more travel research on mobile and have to manage complex itineraries through mobile, chatbots are well placed to help to consumers and drive loyalty through improved and much quicker interactions but travel brands are struggling to come to this realization, the report notes."Our research shows travel companies don't take Facebook Messaging with customers seriously," says Mike Slone, chief experience officer at Travelaer. "Most don't respond to customers via Facebook Messenger within a week, much less have a chat bot. The small percentage of travel bots that are live don't impact the customer journey in a meaningful way, are gimmicky and don't fit into an overall digital strategy. Customer service is the most demanded feature, not commerce."Therefore, travel and tourism brands need to work harder to improve their chatbot services and their ability to respond to complex customer requirements. Doing so can help to alleviate the load on teams across a business and increase customer service levels.Indeed, it is critical for brands to focus on making chatbots work with, rather than replacing, humans says the report. With such a new technology most are using the system to help with the most common questions, such as luggage queries for Icelandair and room service questions in the case of Edwardian Hotels, both of which feature in the report. Icelandair note that currently the chatbots deal with just 10% to 15% of queries typically but this is expected to grow.For more on chatbots and to download the report click here and find out:How market conditions are creating an environment ripe for chatbots.How many chatbots are deployed with travel brands currently and what level of functionality they have.How they work, what tasks they can perform, and where their limits are.What the costs associated with a chatbot are and how it can help your brand save money.How chatbots can improve customer service.What effect they are currently having and will have on the travel industry.Download the report now.

Why hotel distribution is no longer a job, but a button | By Mateus Coelho

SiteMinder 6 July 2017
It made me wonder whether - or, rather, hope that - one day soon, I'd be reading a similar article about the demise of slow, onerous and manual data entry at hotels. As both someone who flies the hotel technology flag and stays at numerous hotels around the world, I really look forward to that day.It seems a long way away, though, doesn't it? But is it possible? I truly believe so.Thanks to the power of cloud-based channel managers, and the integrations that are made possible through this technology, distribution no longer has to be a job. It's a button. Or, at least, it can be.The search for hotelier freedomOver the last few decades, the front desk has evolved from being a physical table to cloud-based software.It's an evolution all hoteliers today must be embracing. As Peter O'Connor, professor of information systems and dean of academic programs at Essec Business School, puts it: "Archaic systems aren't collecting the right data, and when they do (the data is) siloed and can't be used together."Interestingly, it's an issue many hoteliers clearly realize. In late 2015, SiteMinder and Revinate released groundbreaking research which found that, behind managed guest relationships, integrated technology systems were the second most critical need of hoteliers when it came to distribution and online marketing.The finding was encouraging, as it affirmed that hoteliers are recognizing the freedom modern technology can provide to maintain a property without having to physically be there. And, as we know too well, today's hoteliers must wear many hats - they need to understand room distribution, online marketing and revenue management just as well as they know hotel operations - so being able to run their property efficiently is both a tremendous benefit and a growing need.A recent survey by Starfleet Research is further proof of this. Ninety-six percent of those who responded to the survey said the integration of their property management system with different technologies, to create a 'command and control center' with a 360-degree view of operations, was either 'important' or 'very important' to them.Because, with seamless integrations, comes powerIn spite of the latest research, sadly too many hoteliers today continue to operate in silos, using on-premise technology rather than solutions which are cloud-based and have the ability to literally connect a hotel property to the world.I know, for some of these hoteliers, it feels easier to just put up with the technology they are using because of the scars of installing it all those years ago. As our partners from StayNTouch have said, the easiest decision is not to make one. But at what cost?With mobile phone users being forecast to reach 4.77 billion in numbers in 2017, there are obvious reasons why mobile is continually a hot topic in the trade press and at any major trade conference. However, I find what is often understated is the equal importance of mobility to hoteliers, and, with that, the cruciality of seamless integrations and strong connectivity which lie at the core of automated transactions - and hotelier freedom.SiteMinder provides a platform that more than 200 property management systems seamlessly connect into today. That's more than any other hotel technology platform, because we believe the front desk should be the single source of data and truth for hoteliers; data that should be shared - distributed - to guests in real-time, with the click of a button.In late 2016, Jose Morilla, commercial director of Hoteles Casas y Palacios de Espana, said the integration of SiteMinder's Channel Manager with the group's property management system marked a real "turning point" in the way online bookings were managed. The integration was responsible for lifting the group's occupancy and average daily rate by fifteen percent that year. Additionally, for Mr Morilla, the integration meant the group could "optimize and sell our rooms right up to the last minute without any fear of being overbooked".Hotel distribution doesn't have to be a full-time job. The integration of a property management system with a cloud-based channel manager not only provides hoteliers a centralized view of their guests' journey, it provides efficiency that simply wasn't possible thirty years ago.Importantly, a tightly-integrated distribution setup significantly lowers costs and provides hotels the tipping point for exponential growth in reaching and converting more guests.So, will I soon be reading about the demise of slow, onerous and manual data entry at hotels? Only time will tell.

Derby Hotels Collection Partners with iRiS Software Systems to improve their Guest Experience and Innovation

iRiS Software Systems 6 July 2017
Derby Hotels Collection is steeped in history and tradition; a big part of that tradition has been to provide outstanding service and is fundamental to the group's values. By embracing technology, this allows Derby to combine traditional with modern. As guests increasingly become more sophisticated and technologically aware, providing a digital experience is becoming ever more important and Derby have decided to create an innovative experience in doing so.Derby are using the iRiS platform to provide a responsive solution to enable guests to have hotel and brand information at their fingertips for any guest device: smartphone, tablet and laptop.The hotel group have started with the responsive solution with the aim to progress at its own pace with the other core modules on the iRiS Guest Experience Platform (GXP)."We see iRiS as an important partner for our guest engagement. Not only do we want to reduce our footprint through less paper and collateral in the hotel and rooms, but we want to be innovative. We want to inspire guests to make their next purchase, to engage them on property to be informed, to purchase in-room dining and make a la carte restaurant bookings, and to have whatever they need at their fingertips. If they want to talk to us in person, we are here. If guests want to engage through technology, that is here too - it is about offering a choice." said David Martinez, Digital Marketing & eCommerce Manager for Derby Hotel Collection.The iRiS GXP platform offers several modules which the hotel group can also make use of:"If our guests decide to open their door through their smartphone, iRiS can assist. If they want them to check-in through their phone, again iRiS can enable it. We see iRiS as a partner to move forward with at our own pace." commented Mr Martinez.iRiS Software Systems entered the Spanish market back in 2013 working with the Westin Palace Madrid and says the market has moved forward a long way since then:"We have seen considerable interest from both small and large hotel companies in Spain and Portugal. Derby Hotels Collection has hotels of character and we are proud to complement their excellent service and partner with such a prestigious group. We look forward to working together to provide something really special for their guests." said Chris Newton-Smith, CEO at iRiS Software Systems.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------About iRiS Software Systems:iRiS is a global leading enterprise applications platform provider, creating innovative mobile and web solutions for the hospitality industry. iRiS's multi-tenanted, cloud-hosted Guest Experience Platform (GXP(r)) increases revenue, reduces costs and improves the end-to-end guest experience for hotels in any language. At the heart of the platform is integrations, with most major hotel back-end systems and third party providers such as door-lock providers, already integrated to, with constant ongoing development. More than 3,000 hotels and restaurants worldwide choose to work with iRiS for their ability to deliver tomorrow's guest experience, today. As well as working with large hospitality groups, iRiS also works with smaller independent companies to deliver an outstanding guest experience while consistently generating increased revenue for hotels, restaurants, serviced apartments and bars.More information: www.iris.netEurope: Europe@iris.net Tel: +44 20 7099 9252 Americas: Americas@iris.net: +1 778 835 0653 Middle East: middle-east@iris.net APAC (Hong Kong): +852 8193 0113About Derby Hotel Collection:Derby Hotels is a collection of 22 hotels and apartments ranging from 3* to 5* in the key cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and London. Each property has its own unique style and character providing a choice that will suit your destination and personal style of break. Each hotel houses a unique art collection making them small museums of artistic and cultural value.More information: http://www.derbyhotels.com/

U.S. Advisors Named by iVvy, Marking North American Debut

iVvy 5 July 2017
NEW YORK (July 5, 2017) - IVvy Inc.., a global event and hospitality technology company based in Queensland, Australia, today announced the appointment of technology consultants Kathy Misunas and Flo Lugli as U.S. advisors to support its launch in North America.The company, which recently announced the opening of its New York office, created the first global distribution system for meetings and events, providing real-time availability, rates and inventory for function space, catering, group accommodations and event supplies. IVvy serves over 12,000 users in 13 countriesMisunas, who joins iVvy's Advisory Panel, is cofounder and principal of Essential Ideas, a boutique advisory firm with offices in New York. Lugli, who will serve iVvy as a nonexecutive board member, is principal of Navesink Advisory Group LLC, a strategic business advisory and consulting services firm in Fountain Hills, Arizona,Lauren Hall, iVvy cofounder and CEO, said Misunas and Lugli will bring "immense global distribution expertise to support our growth in the U.S. and other markets," adding: "We are fortunate to add their experience to our team's capabilities. With their counsel, we look forward to scaling new heights."Misunas formerly was CEO of AirTreks Inc., based in San Francisco; cofounder, president and CEO of brandwise LLC in New York; and CEO of the former Reed Travel Group in Secaucus, New Jersey, responsible for OAG, Travel Weekly and Weissmann Travel Reports as well as technology, services and marketing units, including TravelNet, Utell International and ABC Corporate Services.She started her career with American Airlines as a reservations sales agent and advanced through leadership of the various departments of the Marketing Automation Group. She was named an officer of the company and president of the Sabre Travel Information Network in 1988 and appointed president and CEO of The Sabre Group as well as senior vice president and chief information officer of AMR Corp. in 1993.Misunas served on the Executive Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council, is a lifetime member and former trustee of the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, now known as the Travel Institute, and participates in the technology-focused Research Board as an alumni member.She is a member of the boards of Tech Data Corp. in Clearwater, Florida, and Boingo Wireless in Los Angeles and advises several businesses, councils and academic institutions. She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors."IVvy has created a dynamic new MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) approach that has already achieved significant progress in aggregating different areas of the hospitality industry into unique platform offerings," she said. "I look forward to engaging with this winning team."In addition to leading Navesink Advisory Group, Lugli is nonexecutive chairman of Dubai-based Global Hotel Alliance, the world's largest alliance of independent hotel brands, bringing together 35 hotel brands and more than 550 hotels in 76 countries using a shared technology platform for sales, marketing, distribution, loyalty and customer relationship management services.From 2009 to 2013, she was executive vice president of marketing for Wyndham Hotel Group in Parsippany, New Jersey. She held multiple executive roles with Travelport, a travel technology and services provider based in Parsippany, from 2001 to 2009.Lugli was president of Wizcom International, a technology subsidiary of the former Cendant Corporation that provided a technology and distribution platform for the hospitality, car rental and tour industries. She joined Cendant in 1987 and served in various roles, including vice president of worldwide sales & marketing for Cendant Hospitality Division.Lugli began her career in the travel industry in 1983 as a sales & marketing team leader for the former People Express Airlines, based in Newark, New Jersey.She serves on the boards of several travel technology start-ups and a business incubation firm that has launched 10 companies. She has volunteered as a member of many hospitality and technology associations and and was recognized as one of the most influential women in hospitality technology by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP),.Calling iVvy "a leading hospitality technology startup with a strong vision and expansion plan," Lugli noted that the company successfully expanded from its base in Australia to New Zealand, Asia, Europe and now the United States since launching seven years ago.

How to Make a Successful Travel Chatbot

EyeforTravel 5 July 2017
Chatbots are getting increasingly sophisticated and capable of mimicking human conversation behaviors, but what should these bots aim to do and how can brands deploy a chatbot successfully? The new Are Bots Worth the Bother? Report from EyeforTravel and Travelaer reveals all and is free to download now.The good news for brands is that the cost of implementing a relatively simple chatbot is not a huge investment and is coming down as more providers move into the space and natural language processing becomes more sophisticated. The cost of implementing a bot typically ranges from EUR15,000 to EUR50,000 according to the report. "These aren't a significant investment for an airline when they're spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, a year on other digital experience products," says Mike Slone, chief experience officer at Travelaer.However, travel brands need a foundation of data and the resources to monitor, test and support the bot. Without this, there is potential for the bot to go astray. Data is key as brands first need to identify and understand what are the key pain points for customers first and seek to address these, rather than setting objectives beforehand.For luxury hotel brand Edwardian Hotels they began by creating apps for staff to record notes on guests, service rooms, check breakfast tables and monitor their work schedules. Icelandair started with their social media team and looked through what came up most frequently in their interactions.In both cases, these brands looked at what their customer-facing staff were being asked most by their customers and then sought to address these queries, freeing up time for their staff to focus on more complex tasks."Instead of saying 'we're going to build an acquisition tool', we look at the customer journey, how a customer interfaces with a firm and its existing digital products," he says. "We look for a gap where there's a huge customer need and maybe a chatbot could help. Then we come up with a strategy to apply the chatbot to solve it - that way, we know the chatbots will be much more successful in terms of customer satisfaction and metrics."Brands then need to monitor their bot and make sure that it is learning from each interaction in the right way. "The first version was built around understanding key words but had difficulties with the difference between: 'what's the luggage allowance for Europe?' and 'I lost my luggage in Europe.' It's a delicate situation to handle a bot telling the customer who has lost his luggage that the luggage allowance is two bags!" Said Gudmundur Gudnason, director of digital business development for Icelandair.The results speak for themselves as the brands in the report, which include Skyscanner and KLM, were able to drive bookings, boost ancillary sales and increase customer service. Customers have even been fooled into thinking they are talking to an actual person and leaving TripAdvisor reviews or cash tips for their artificial helpers!For more on chatbots and to download the report click here and find out:How market conditions are creating an environment ripe for chatbots.How many chatbots are deployed with travel brands currently and what level of functionality they have.How they work, what tasks they can perform, and where their limits are.What the costs associated with a chatbot are and how it can help your brand save money.How chatbots can improve customer service.What effect they are currently having and will have on the travel industry.To download the full report, please click here: http://1.eyefortravel.com/LP=17415?extsource=pressrelease

TELUS to launch National Hospitality Wi-Fi for hotels across Canada

TELUS Hospitality Solutions 5 July 2017
TELUS has been working with hoteliers in British Columbia and Alberta, bringing the highest quality Wi-Fi services to properties through the TELUS PureFibretm networkNow, TELUS is proud to announce that Hospitality Wi-Fi will be available nationwide later this year.Wi-Fi is a simple thing that feels seamlessly integrated into one's day - often no one even thinks twice about it - but it becomes hugely apparent when guests experience a bad connection or lag time in service. TELUS knows the value that solid Wi-Fi brings to the hotel stay and is excited to bring the experience of TELUS Hospitality Wi-Fi across the country to all Canadian hotel properties.TELUS Hospitality Wi-Fi allows multiple guests in the same hotel room to simultaneously use their devices without having to worry about lag or interruption. Hotel guests can go from their room to the lobby and around the property without requiring reauthentication. This self-healing and self-optimizing solution leverages access points from industry leader, Cisco Meraki.Hotels requiring brand compliancy can rest assured knowing that TELUS Hospitality Wi-Fi can mesh, filter content, create franchise splash pages and Service Set Identifiers. TELUS also offers support for tiered Wi-Fi offerings with PMS integration.In addition to Hospitality Wi-Fi, TELUS will continue to offer Optik TV(r) for Business, High Speed Internet Access for front desk and back office operations, and innovative IoT solutions specific to the hospitality industry in BC and Alberta via the PureFibre network. TELUS is committed to putting customers first by bringing the right solutions to hotels across the country.

Scenic Hotel Group to Leverage ReviewPro's Guest Intelligence to Deliver Memorable Experiences

ReviewPro 4 July 2017
ReviewPro announces a new partnership with The Scenic Hotel Group in New Zealand to help properties across the entire group enhance the guest experience. All 18 properties will now have access to in-depth analytics from ReviewPro's Online Reputation Management solution and Guest Satisfaction Surveys to drive improvements and boost guest satisfaction. 100% New Zealand owned and operated, The Scenic Hotel Group prides themselves on offering true Kiwi hospitality at the hotels in New Zealand, Tonga and Niue. Consisting of three brands Heartland Hotels and Scenic Hotels, Suites & Resorts plus the Te Waonui Forest Retreat, the group offers distinct levels of quality, comfort and value.The Scenic Hotel Group decided that in order to deliver on the promise of each property reflecting the unique identity and personality of their region, they needed to listen carefully to what guests were saying about their experiences, preferences and needs. As a result, the brand has implemented ReviewPro's Guest Intelligence Suite to access meaningful performance metrics to identify issues and take action to create the best possible experiences for guests.Chris Clayton, ICT Manager, Scenic Hotel Group commented on the recent partnership, "ReviewPro was chosen ahead of other products due to the full feature set, ease of use and outstanding pre sales support from both the team in Australia and Asia. We were able to speak directly with the product managers in Europe to help answer some of the more technical questions we had before committing to the product." RJ Friedlander, CEO of ReviewPro added, "The spirit of genuine hospitality is firmly at the heart of the Scenic Hotel Group which aligns with our own values at ReviewPro. Our solution will provide the brand with a vital platform to not only capture valuable guest insights, but also to act upon them across the entire group to boost online rankings and revenue." With this latest new client agreement, ReviewPro continues to consolidate its position as industry leaders in Asia Pacific and further expand its global client base of over 30,000 hotels. For more information on ReviewPro, please contactpress@reviewpro.com.

Travel Brands Falling Short in Chatbot Deployment

EyeforTravel 4 July 2017
The report looked into how far travel brands have made use of Facebook Messenger to deliver customer service and booking to customer. It finds that while 93% of these airlines have a Facebook page, and 81% a Messenger link, only 38% of the 206 contacted responded to researchers' messages, with a third of those contacted taking at least a week to reply.The full report can be downloaded here.From the just over a third of airlines that responded through Facebook, most used generic messages pointing to their website or reservation team, but not necessarily including links or numbers.The report notes that airlines are not alone, with no vertical in the travel space yet to fully take advantage of this emerging and powerful technology.Companies are beginning to get a handle on replying to customers, with nearly two-thirds of airline brands (64.1%) getting back to customers within 24 hours, ahead of hotels, airlines and car rental companies in that order. Hotels also performed well, with 81% of brands monitored responding in under week. However, when it came to driving potential customers towards a booking, both fared far less well. Just under half of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) half provided assistance for booking through a Messenger chatbot, compared to 18.8% of car rentals, 15.2% of hotels, and 8.7% of airlines.The report finds that brands need to move into this space as consumers are spending increasing time using social media and messenger services and are also gradually coming to expect to interact with brands over this medium as well. Moving onto these mediums can provider travel and tourism brands with a low cost booking channel and also ease the burden on customer service provisions according to the report.For more and chatbots and to download the report click here and find out:How market conditions are creating an environment ripe for chatbots.How many chatbots are deployed with travel brands currently and what level of functionality they have.How they work, what tasks they can perform, and where their limits are.What the costs associated with a chatbot are and how it can help your brand save money.How chatbots can improve customer service.What effect they are currently having and will have on the travel industry.

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