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From Startup To Live In Nine Months: apaleo Launches Cloud PMS In Record Time

apaleo GmbH ·57m
apaleo, the creators of the Open Hospitality Cloud, announced the completion of multiple milestones. Not only did they complete the development of the first native-cloud PMS, they also released an integrated IBE (internet booking engine), certified their two-way integration with Booking.com, achieved PCI-compliancy and took their first hotel customer live. The entire project is built on top of the Open Hospitality Cloud, the API-based ecosystem that enables multiple companies to rapidly build apps and components."The record-breaking speed in which we built this PMS is due to the revolutionary architecture of the ecosystem on which it is based," said Uli Pillau, CEO of apaleo. "Not only is the development more efficient, but the reliability, security and performance is magnitudes stronger than anything we have seen before in hospitality technology."The pilot customer will open its doors in 2018. Currently they are taking reservations via the IBE on their own website, via Booking.com and via the group call-center."We didn't merely build a standard integration with Booking.com; we implemented some of the newest and most advanced features Booking.com has to offer" added Benni Schmid, co-founder of apaleo. "Of course it helps that several members of our technical team have done this before."The Open Hospitality Cloud ecosystem represents a new paradigm in hotel technology. No longer are hotel companies forced to choose a proprietary, monolithic product. Open Hospitality Cloud solutions are collaborations of multiple software vendors who have agreed on a common API. This enables hotel companies to build their dream solution using their favorite components and apps from different vendors, with the confidence that all the pieces fit together.apaleo is currently taking orders from European hotels. The company management will be in London at the World Travel Market at Excel from 6th to 9th November. Interested hotels and partners may contact wtm@apaleo.com to schedule a meeting.

INTEREL Appoints Alana Witte as VP Global Key Accounts

INTEREL 22 October 2017
Dubai -- INTEREL, a leading provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for the hospitality industry, has appointed Alana Witte as the company's VP Global Key Accounts, responsible for leading INTEREL's strategic relationships with global hotel brands and driving large-scale projects.Prior to joining INTEREL, Alana led the global growth of Revinate, a SaaS start-up that built one of the hospitality industry's leading online reputation and guest satisfaction technologies, in the Middle East & Africa, where she launched Revinate's Dubai and Cape Town offices.Florian Gallini, Group CEO of INTEREL, said: "INTEREL's solutions are available in more than 30 countries and used by 20 million hotel guests. We aim to grow our reach further by developing strategies that lead to large-scale roll outs with our key accounts, thus maximizing utility and staff efficiencies for our hotel partners. Alana's experience working with hundreds of hotels means she is perfectly placed to champion these partnerships and accelerate our global expansion."Alana commented: "The one consistent thing I've learned working with scores of hotel groups is that every hospitality brand is completely different; I'm committed to working with our largest, strategic key accounts to support their distinct IoT and energy management strategies with bespoke solutions. I'm looking forward to supporting not only our partners with this collaborative approach, but also our regional teams, as together we strive to ensure we're a preferred technology partner for all our clients."Focused on enhancing the hotel guest experience and optimizing an operator's energy and water 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.

Rainmaker and StayNTouch Partner to Help Hotels Increase Bookings, Optimize Revenue and Boost Profitability

The Rainmaker Group 19 October 2017
ALPHARETTA, GA. and BETHESDA, MD. -- The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), a leading provider of cloud-based hospitality revenue management software solutions, and StayNTouch, an innovator in mobile technology and property management systems for hotels, today announced a partnership agreement whereby Rainmaker's guestrev solution is integrated with StayNTouch's Rover cloud-based property management system. The integration will help hotels increase bookings, optimize revenue and boost profitability.An early adopter of the integrated solution is Basecamp Boulder, a boutique property in Colorado managed by Filament Hospitality. "We are excited about the integration between Rover PMS and guestrev because it will enable us to easily leverage the data that exists in our PMS to improve the accuracy of our demand forecasts and pricing," said Ingrid Summerfield, president of Filament Hospitality. "Each of these solutions is powerful on its own; together, they provide an unbeatable combination that not only will ensure more profit-driven business decisions but also will give our property a competitive advantage."The guestrev solution, Rainmaker's flagship product, provides hoteliers with the tools they need to forecast demand at the finest level of granularity, model the impact of events and detect demand patterns often missed by human analysis, and strategically align sales and marketing efforts to increase bookings and maximize revenue. Built on Rainmaker's total guest valuation methodology, guestrev enables properties to better understand demand and set rates that optimize guest room and non-room revenue across various segments to maximize total guest value.The Rover PMS is StayNTouch's cloud-based property management system that streamlines operations from front desk to housekeeping. It is compatible with any device and offers simple monthly pricing that includes training, integrations and configuration."We are pleased to partner with StayNTouch to bring our innovative revenue optimization solution to its customer base," said Tammy Farley, president of The Rainmaker Group. "This integration will allow Rover PMS users to leverage the power of guestrev to suggest the most appropriate room rates; and, as a result, increase profitability. This is an exciting partnership for hotel customers and for us, as we look forward to helping properties outperform their revenue and profit objectives.""In the highly competitive hospitality industry, accurate and timely information is critical to success," said Jos Schaap, chief executive officer at StayNTouch. "The integration between the Rover PMS and guestrev enables properties to forecast demand, set accurate pricing and improve year-over-year performance. We are committed to providing state-of-the-art technology to our customers and are thrilled to partner with Rainmaker to bring this groundbreaking solution to hotels around the world."About RainmakerRainmaker is the hotel revenue and profit optimization cloud. The company partners with hotels, resorts and casinos to help them outperform their revenue and profit objectives. Rainmaker's cloud-based solutions for transient and group pricing optimization, forecasting, and revenue-centric business intelligence are designed to help hoteliers streamline operations, enhance revenue optimization processes, improve lead performance, and drive guest bookings. Recognized as one of the top privately held companies in the United States, Rainmaker has been named to Inc. 5000's 'Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies' for the last seven years and to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's list of '100 Fastest Growing Companies in Atlanta'. Rainmaker serves hospitality customers throughout the world from its corporate headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga. and from offices in Las Vegas, Portland, Ore., and Singapore. To learn more about Rainmaker and its suite of hotel revenue and profit optimization solutions, visit www.LetItRain.com.About StayNTouchStayNTouch is a software-as-a-service hotel property management systems company focused on developing solutions that help hotels increase service levels, drive revenue, reduce costs and change the way they attract guests. Developed with mobility in mind, the company's pioneering platform enables properties to create lasting relationships with guests by delivering personalized service levels. StayNTouch operates on tablets and smartphones, empowering hotel employees to go above and beyond in exceeding guest expectations at every touch point. Powering more than 75,000 rooms globally, the company's game-changing solution frees hotels from the constraints of legacy and premise systems and dramatically streamlines operations, increases margins and revolutionizes the way front-line staff connect with guests. StayNTouch is a partner to many of the industry's leading hotels, resorts, casinos and chains. For more information, visit www.stayntouch.com. Media Contacts:Melissa Andrews, The Rainmaker Group, 407-342-7829,mandrews@letitrain.comFrewoini Golla, StayNTouch, 301-799-3280,Frewoini@stayntouch.com

The New Standard in VR web-based technology is here: VDroom

VDroom 19 October 2017
VDroom is setting the new standard with VR websites for the hospitality industry. Following the likes of Israeli power houses like Wix (website builder), Waze (GPS Navigation) and Mobileye (Driving safety), VDroom is changing the way people engage with VR images and book their accommodations.Tel Aviv, Israel -- VDroom is soon-to-be the first company ever to provide hotels and holiday apartments the opportunity to access VR content from a web-based browser.VDroom is the first ever web-based, hospitality platform presented in virtual reality. It provides hotels and holiday apartments the opportunity to build a VR website that users can conveniently access, easily navigate, and save time when booking online. That is, without companies losing traffic. In fact, VDroom is designed with SEO in mind to increase organic traffic, direct booking, and revenues for many sites.The founder of VDroom, Michal Hubschmann, realized that online travel agents were becoming too expensive and inefficient to work with. That's where VDroom comes in. The services that VDroom provides enable companies to be as creative as possible with their content by helping them to create fully HTML-editable image uploads as well as a variety of meta tag constructs through their site. These features grant better communication with search engines for optimal SEO."With our VR site, you really have the opportunity to achieve, succeed, and make it look good while you are doing it. Never before has the hospitality sector been able to use VR to boost direct traffic and bring increased revenue to their sites." -Michal Hubschmann, CEO of VDroomAs of today, there are no other sites in the industry providing the same services that VDroom does.And while App-based VR technologies help hotels captivate a larger audience, web-based VR technologies with VR booking capabilities like VDroom help increase the company's direct booking conversion rates as clients surf and explore the VR website.VR web-based technology is the future of the hospitality industry. It's the way forward in encouraging current clients to keep coming to their site and shift new clients away from today's online travel agencies. VDroom showcase its innovation on October 27, 2017, at the ITB Asia Travel Trade Show at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.INNOVATION TRACK LOCATION:Marketing - Content is the new king:using rich content to better market. Time: 10:00 am - 13:00 pm Location: Knowledge Theatre, Basement 2, Sands Expo and Convention Centre.About Michal HubschmannThe founder of VDroom, Michal Hubschmann is an Israeli entrepreneur. Having studied hotel management and working professionally in several significant hotels, she is an expert in the industry. She founded her first successful company EASYTOBOOK.COM in 2004 that sold to BCD Travel on 2011 Now, she is working on her most recent project, VDroom, to help hotels and holiday apartments grow their business in the most Page 2/3 If you have any questions regarding information in these press releases please contact the company listed in the press release. Our complete disclaimer appears here - PRWeb ebooks - Another online visibility tool from PRWeb efficient, cost-effective, and convenient of ways.For more information, visit www.vdroom-travel.com Hotel presentation : https://www.slideshare.net/MichalHubschmann/vdroom-the-world-first-bookingexperience-in-vr-79624290

Avoiding the RevMan Bottleneck: How to Efficiently Manage Your RFPs

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 19 October 2017
Bottlenecks are an inconvenient part of everyday life. We experience them in traffic, at the store checkout, and especially the DMV. Even though we have to tolerate them in our daily world, we shouldn’t have to put up with the inefficiencies that bottlenecks create when we’re trying to process group business requests for proposals (RFPs).

Netflix and Why the Future of Streaming Looks Like Old-School TV

harvardbusiness.org 19 October 2017
Netflix hit the industry with some bombshell moves this month. First, it announced that it plans to spend $8 billion on original content next year (including on 80 new movies). This is far more than any other online player. Obviously, this is great news for its 100 million-odd customers worldwide.
Article by Abby Ward

Understand Your Guests to Increase Conversion Rates

Net Affinity 19 October 2017
Do you know who your website content should be targeting, who's visiting your site and who's actually parting with their cash to make the booking? If you can't answer those questions, it's time to start building a picture of your target market in order to better meet their requirements and wishes.You can do this by tailoring your rate plans and packages to suit various guest types. You can also use data segmentation to send and display the right content to the right people. Be it for email marketing campaigns, or display and remarketing ads.Whilst you should be looking at your own guests in careful segments on a property level, it's helpful to take a look at the industry at large. This data can tell you who you should be trying to talk to and on which platform and devices.Across our portfolio of clients with 12,800,000 hotel website sessions for the first half of this year, we have monitored each transaction to find out those answers. Of course, this data is purely for guests who made their booking online, so keep in mind that there are guests who book over the phone, or in some cases in person, who are not represented in these figures.Let's take a look at the demographic of people who have visited our client sites and those who booked, from Q1 and Q2 2017:Who VisitsWomen made up the majority of visitors. The ratio of female to male users is more than 2:1, at 69% female and 31% male. This may reflect that more women are doing research, or that women simply prefer to visit more sites during their research.The young adults are the most enthusiastic travelers. 56% of visitors to hotel websites are 25-44, and the strongest demographic is 25-24 (28.8% of users).Who BooksWhile more women book than men overall, this number is skewed by the higher number of women visiting sites. On the whole, men convert 1.5 times more often than women, although they contribute less revenue and transactions overall.As far as the age of your guests is concerned, the same pattern as above holds true for transactions and revenue as well. Those aged 25-44 make up about 55% of transactions and revenue.However, it's worth noting that those aged 45-54 and those over 65 convert more often. This suggests that by the time your more mature guests reach the website, they are more ready to book. Younger ones, most dramatically those age 18-24, tend to shop around a bit more before committing to a booking.5 Ways To Implement Guest Data Into Your StrategyAsk your guests for information at checkout: name, email address, age, gender, occupation.Train your front desk in collecting data for each guest. Such as what the purpose of their trip is etc.Tailor your packages for each of your top segments. This could mean using value ads such as a free drink on arrival, or by using local events to make your hotel standout to those attending them.Segment your data for marketing purposes. For example, send your Valentine's Day campaign to males, with a special offer to save them money and hassle.Make sure your data storage processes and systems are GDPR compliant. A new regulation coming into force in May 2018 has significantly tightened up laws around storing and using data, so make sure you're clued up on it.For more interesting insights from our client data, check out our Digital Trends Report.

How machine learning boosts personalisation in travel

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration 19 October 2017
Data is everywhere but how do you create value for individual users? It isn’t easy but in this case study we hear how data science can deliver more personal results Consider this common hypothetical scenario. A user opens a browser and taps in ‘cheap flights from Boston to London’. Needless to say, what appears first in search are the ten blue links from Google. After some surfing, the user is then drawn to a metasearch engine like Skyscanner, Kayak or Momondo, where flights can be filtered by date and price. Here the cheapest deal is, let’s say, from Norwegian Airlines, and as the meta aggregates offers from various providers, the user again opens multiple links to deals from online travel agencies (OTAs). Time spent on each site is never much longer than around 30 seconds.

Dive in and Discover at the 2017 Annual Convention

HFTP Connect 18 October 2017
As a first-time participant to the HFTP Annual Convention (possibly the first from the Middle East area), I will be looking for all of the insights the event will provide during its three-day agenda later this month. I believe this convention will be the best of its kind (those of an educational and informative nature) and provide tremendous networking opportunities.

Launch of FCS Analytics Provides Hoteliers with Total Business Intelligence Solution

FCS Computer Systems 18 October 2017
Singapore -- FCS Computer Systems, a leading global provider of comprehensive hospitality guest services applications and solution design services, announces the launch of FCS Analytics V1.1, the latest addition to the company's growing portfolio of hotel technology solutions. A new state-of-the-art business intelligence platform, FCS Analytics offers a comprehensive overview of a hotel's entire operation through a single interface that fully integrates vital data from FCS and third party property systems. By providing complete customisation of the data that is presented in user-friendly analytical reports, FCS Analytics V1.1 ensures that hotels are equipped with the precise information needed to make informed decisions that maximise property efficiency and revenue."With the sheer number of systems that properties need to run their operations effectively, hoteliers are routinely inundated with a wealth of data that can be leveraged to fine tune services, enhance guest satisfaction and boost profits," said Richard Leong, Product Manager for FCS Analytics. "Yet because such a large amount of information is not easily consolidated and analysed, hotels often find themselves missing critical opportunities for improvement. FCS Analytics V1.1 therefore ensures that all relevant data is seamlessly brought together in a way that is easy to understand and that allows hoteliers to quickly implement any necessary changes."Know the Workings of Your Property Inside and OutFCS Analytics works by automatically extracting raw data from hotel systems and translating it into standardised information that can be easily interpreted. The system then stores the information within a data warehouse that can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. Data that can be stored and reviewed includes guest and sales information that can be used to determine the profitability of specific services or promotions. Department performance can also be analysed and compared to determine if there are any areas that require improvement or that could be streamlined to lower costs. Data Insight Whenever and However You Need It A key advantage of FCS Analytics V1.1 is the ability to customise the type of data and amount of detail analysed. By logging into a single program, users can instantly create personalised dashboards by dragging and dropping various data visualisations, in order to easily obtain a complete picture and make assessments between an array of different system sources. Featuring a convenient report builder and scheduler, the system also allows hoteliers to automatically compile the desired information to be sent to them on a specified periodic basis.For more information on the full benefits of FCS Analytics V1.1, please visit. www.fcscs.com/analytics/
Article by Richard Evans

I have my Exit Survey Results...now what?

The Revenue Report Card 18 October 2017
Exit Survey used in 1985.In 1985 I was fortunate to sit next to the general manager of the Waldorf Astoria at Cornell's general manager program. His presentation on exit surveying affected my hospitality life for the next 30 years! When I returned home I put what I had learned into play. I started a small exit survey business on the side and put a program into over 20 hotels. By following the exact "Waldorf" model, these hotels received a 63% average response from every guest that stayed with them. Who could argue? This was an amazing result. I'll share one of the tallied feedback reports with you below.What you see above is the exact exit survey used. It was simple, limited in scope and guests filled them out when presented at check-out at the front desk. I'll share the exact sequence of that presentation. It is why we received such high feed back.NOTE: Times, of course have changed and so too has exit surveying. The surveys today are emailed and more elaborate. They are sent after the guest leaves, and my understanding is that an average return is about 32%. It, however uncovered so many more aspects of guests' experiences, staff performance and an overall outlook of properties then what I was getting. Which is better? For detail, clearly today's model.I had the opportunity to recently discuss exit surveying with Kyle Buchner, the CEO of Navis (the Navis Way) who have taken exit surveying to the next level. They send 2 surveys, one while the guest is still in house (or mid-stay), and the extended version after check out. It allows management to quickly respond to in-house guest needs.Before I make this presentation, let me reiterate the theme:I have my Exit Survey Results...now what?In 1985 when a guest came to the desk to check-out the agent would say, "Mr. Smith, while I prepare your folio, would you take a moment to fill out this brief survey? It will help us improve." The agent would turn away and the guest would be left with the survey, an envelope and pen. The envelope would be sealed and dropped in a lock box. Again, 63% responded.TIP: A big part of collecting such a high number of surveys was in allowing the guest ample space and privacy while the folio was being prepared. TIP: In Vacation Rentals, during the check-out visit, the guest is asked if he/she would fill out a survey during the final walk through by the VR agent. This is also highly affective.Results should always be tallied within 2 days and the "Waldorf Plan" was put into playEach week a Task Force chaired by a senior manager and eight hourly staff members (hourly staff changed every month) met. Each would be provided with the tallied results and all guest comments. A real life example, without comments, is shown below.Since surveys then were tallied by an assistant administrator on excel, he/she would immediately create a requisition for housekeeping or maintenance regarding reported problems.NOTE: A dripping faucet irritating a guest at night might not have been uncovered for weeks. Now it could be identified and dealt with immediately. NOTE: Exit Surveys today are tallied digitally with a quicker turnaround time.The "task force" reviewed the feedback received:Exceeded ExpectationsMet ExpectationsFell Short of ExpectationsThe questions on the survey received the following scores on "Met and Exceeded Expectation" above:Hotel Overall 85.4%Check-in Experience 97.8%Comfort of Bedding 86.1%Quality of Housekeeping 89.8%Restaurant 82.6%These results were also posted in each department each weekHourly staff inevitably would go back to their peers and discuss results. As weeks went by staff would excitedly gather around the bulletin board to check the "scores" and discuss them. Guess what? Results improved. As scores rose the staff would congratulate one another. Recognition and reward became an important part of property improvement.TIP: We would present the most recognized staff members with a $100 check at the properties monthly luncheon.Would you consider staying with us again? A valuable question. The 90.6% affirmative response above meant that these guests were immediately placed on the email list. With all we spend in bringing guests to our properties, the Repeat Guest revenue channel, with an average channel cost of 3%, has the majority of revenue earned going directly to the bottom line.Staff recognition is also a powerful tool. It became a competition of sorts and everyone was proudly wearing their name tags!TIP: In over 8 years we would see the same winners time after time. (The concierge was always a shoe in!) So we changed the reward system so that each department would recognize their leader. The comment section is also extremely valuable. The question what did you enjoy the most was almost always the same. Most hotels I dealt with were oceanfront properties and the standard answer was "the beach", the ocean", "the beach", "the ocean"... So not much to be learned there most of the time.The question, what did you enjoy least about your stay is very valuable. It would bring things that needed to be dealt with, to our immediate attention and that brought about a great deal of task force discussion, problem solving and ultimately resolution.Example: Food arriving late or cold from room service, housekeepers speaking loudly in corridors before their shift, uncomfortable mattresses, requested towels never delivered and the like. TIP: The Navis mid -stay survey uncovers issues as the guest is experiencing them and allows management to recognize, correct and make amends with guests; and in close to real time!Each problem was solvable. The "task forces" duty is to discuss and find solutions and then to formally pass them on to the general manager. The GM would make an assessment of Page 5 recommendations and when appropriate, create Standard Operating Procedures to resolve issues.Staff looked forward to the "task force' meetings and their involvement gave them a sense of pride and feeling of "ownership" in contributing to the company's success.Finally, we would change the opening five questions on the survey periodically if conventions were in town, groups were in house or we wanted to test different areas our guests' stay and experience.Exit surveying, is one of the most powerful tools I have every used in operating hotels and vacation rentals.Thank you Waldorf Astoria!The "Definitive Study of Vacation Rentals" can be purchased by contacting me atRichE1212@gmail.com. It will be available on Amazon.

Voyat Debuts Voyat Black, Latest Platform Release that Brings Hotels and Guests Even Closer Together

Voyat 18 October 2017
Voyat, the company that helps hospitality brands use custom communications to drive direct bookings, today launched Voyat Black, the latest platform release that builds on the Voyat eCommerce Optimization Platform to target high-value traffic with data-driven and highly-relevant messages. The new features go further than ever before in helping hotel brands enhance customer interaction and boost direct revenue."Our services keep advancing while our mission remains the same--to bring hotels and their guests closer together and use technology to level the playing field between direct and third-party channels," said Benjamin Habbel, co-founder of Voyat and VP of Global Business Development at parent company Intent Media. "The new Voyat Black platform features smart algorithms that instantly recognize the hotel's most relevant audiences, enable websites and booking engines to more efficiently work together to convert guests, and mimic particular strategies deployed by OTAs. With the release of Voyat Black, our ability to blend eCommerce best practices with luxurious design, brand and tone is unmatched in the industry."The Voyat Optimization Platform 'sits' on top of the hotel website and booking engine and encourages travelers to book directly. Essentially, it allows hotels to identify smart audiences and effectively merchandize their rooms and product offering on the website and booking engine for each visitor. It features three main components: Voyat Direct Experience, which delivers beautifully designed dynamic messages that increase direct bookings; Voyat Direct Insight, which creates data-driven insights based on constant A/B testing; and Voyat Direct Membership, which modernizes closed user group pricing for loyal customers.Voyat Black, which supports Voyat Direct Experience, builds on these capabilities with greater targeting and functionality. The suite includes:Intent-Based Targeting: This advance enables hoteliers to further customize messages and offers based on a sophisticated analysis of each site visitor's specific travel preferences, and where they happen to be in the planning process. Targeting parameters span business travelers, leisure travelers, big spenders, etc. This level of segmented outreach is vital in a field where relevant content offers significant benefits: A survey commissioned by IT services provider Infosys survey shows that 62% of consumers favor personalized offers, and 86% say it influences their purchases.Resume Your Search: This simple but powerful feature instantly connects return visitors to their earlier searches by recognizing parameters that were previously set. The link back forges a deeper connection with the prospective customer and identifiably improves the overall user experience.Urgency Messaging: This service alerts site visitors to the number of people researching or booking the hotel at the same time, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will book right away, rather than delay the purchase and perhaps opt to book on a third-party site."At Highgate, one of our core values is to remain innovative in an ever-changing market," said Andre De Araujo, Vice President of e-Commerce at Highgate Hotels. "We understand that there is no simple formula to closing the direct booking with a potential hotel guest - it takes a full portfolio of services that help us meet individual needs in particular situations. Hospitality is all about creating a custom experience for guests, and the new product suite from Voyat goes even further than before in personalizing communications to meet specific needs online."
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Next-Generation Hotel Property Management Systems: Everything You Need to Know

Starfleet Research 18 October 2017
Last month, Starfleet Research, the leading provider of best practices IT market research for the hospitality industry, announced the release of The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems. It is now available for complimentary access.This popular and authoritative guide, now in its fourth edition, serves as an invaluable resource for hoteliers seeking to implement a next-generation property management system (PMS) or to upgrade their current platform capabilities.The new Smart Decision Guide has been updated and expanded to highlight a number of emerging trends, including recent enhancements in analytics and reporting capabilities that are allowing hoteliers to generate more and better insights from their mountains of guest and operational data. It also emphasizes the importance of technology interoperability and data integration.With upwards of a hundred solution providers actively developing and marketing property management systems, it can be difficult for hoteliers to know where to start with the research process. The best of these solutions are impressive by any measure. Still, different solutions have different features, capabilities and competitive strengths.How should hoteliers go about determining which solution best fits their needs and will most likely deliver the benefits they seek, with minimum hassle and expense? According to the research, there are many factors to consider, with some of them invariably carrying more weight than others.The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems provides a framework for weighing these considerations in the context of their property's specific needs and strategic priorities. It offers practical advice and a roadmap for success for not only selecting the right solution but also for maximizing its value over time while driving continuous performance improvement across all parts of the property.The research is based on data collected from 233 qualified survey respondents across different geographies, different types of lodging properties and different levels of the organization.Among the key findings:23% of hoteliers who have not upgraded their PMS within the past 3 years plan to do so in the next 12 months89% of hoteliers believe that hospitality technologies are key to not only addressing many of their current challenges, but also to catapulting their businesses to ever-higher levels of operational performance and guest satisfaction91% of hoteliers "agree" or "strongly agree" that technology platform interoperability and compatibility is a key success factor for hotel performance improvement96% of hoteliers believe that the biggest benefit to be gained with the right PMS is the ability to improve guest satisfaction and the quality of the guest experience87% percent of hoteliers view the ability to generate analytical reports that reveal actionable insights that can help drive performance improvement as a key success factor with PMSThe 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems was independently produced, providing for unbiased, fact-based information. Content developement and distribution was made possible by the following industry leaders: Agilysys, Infor, Maestro, Oracle Hospitality and Sabre.Click here to access the Smart Decision Guide.About Starfleet ResearchEvery year, Starfleet Research, the IT market research arm of Starfleet Media, benchmarks best practices in technology-enabled business initiatives across thousands of hotels and resorts around the world. Starfleet Media also now publishes Hotel Technology News. Other recent hospitality-related Smart Decision Guide titles include The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Guest Experience Management, The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hospitality Revenue Management and The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Restaurant Management and POS Systems.

Boosting direct hotel bookings with personalization as the solution

By Kristian Valk
In the past few years, we have seen an increasing effort by hotels to improve their direct channels so as to reduce their dependence on online travel agencies (OTAs). Hotelchamp's Kristian Valk writes that hotels should not get rid of OTAs and third parties but aim for a better balance to manage control over their own distribution.

Two Formerly Rival Hotel Technology Vendors Come Together to Create Something Special for The Greenwich Hotel

ALICE 18 October 2017
ALICE, the operations platform that empowers hotels to deliver a better guest experience through consistently excellent service, is celebrating a successful year of partnership with New York City's Greenwich Hotel and Alta, the tablet provider that enhances a guest's stay by allowing users to discover and request available goods and services.Through this partnership, guests at The Greenwich Hotel have been requesting services and amenities as well as uncovering the surrounding area, all without having to swing by the front desk or call down to reception. Tablets are available in every room in the hotel and come pre-loaded with the Alta app. These services include room service, digital newspaper and magazine subscriptions, dinner and spa reservations, and more. Guests can also download the Alta app to their mobile devices and have the same access on the go.Beyond the value this partnership offers guests, hotel staff now have an optimal system for communication and task management. Requests placed by guests on the app arrive to staff via ALICE. This creates one comprehensive system and solves the notorious industry problem of needing to deal with multiple technology platforms. The Greenwich's housekeeping staff have traded their noisy radios for mobile devices running the technology."Alta has figured out what makes for a great user experience," says Alex Shashou, ALICE co-founder and President. "It's one thing to offer guests an app to download, but quite another to literally put the app into the guests' hands via this in-room tablet as Alta has done. When we learned about their technology we saw a way to improve how guest requests make their way to hotel staff through our API, and together improve the experience for the guests at The Greenwich."Originally both platforms came to The Greenwich as separate vendors; Alta for its guest-facing, in-room technology, ALICE for its ability to streamline staff communications and fragmented back-of-house management."When ALICE came to us and said we had complementary technologies and suggested we integrate, I was initially skeptical, because I thought we were competitors," said Nicholas Wirth, one of Alta's co-founders and its CEO. "It turns out ALICE was right." With Alta, ALICE's first hardware partner, ALICE had a great opportunity to work through the kinks of their API, which was new at the start of the partnership.While many hotels have found guests to be reluctant to download their app, The Greenwich has seen industry-high engagement rates of more than 80 percent since the launch of the program in the summer of 2016. Additionally, it seems that guest spend for items available through the application, like room service, are up.According to Philip Trulove, The Greenwich Hotel's General Manager, "This isn't about replacing human interaction, it's about enhancing it. Providing our guests with this technology is a way for us to keep pace, and I can see having this constant connectedness is undoubtedly the way of the world."This partnership furthers ALICE's mission to improve the delivery of hospitality through customer-driven technology., ALICE recently announced $26 million in Series B funding from Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) and acquired GoConcierge, a leading concierge software platform.For more information on ALICE, please visit: https://info.aliceapp.com.For more information on Alta, please visit: www.getALTA.com.About ALICEALICE has created the first complete communication, cost savings and revenue generation operations platform for hotels, which enhances the guest experience and connects all points within the hotel to simplify guest service, and make it more cost-effective.Since the company was founded in 2013, ALICE has gained serious traction in the industry working with many of the world's leading hotel brands, including Two Roads Hospitality, Dream Hotel Group, Grupo Posadas, SIXTY Hotels, NYLO Hotels, and Leading Hotels of the World. For more information, visit https://info.aliceapp.com. About ALTAAlta is a digital guest engagement platform for hotels. Launched in mid-2016, Alta's integrated software and hardware solution enhances every stay by empowering guests to discover and request any goods or services available to them. Hospitality providers use Alta to showcase their unique offerings and maintain a real-time communication channel with their customers - elevating the entire guest experience. To contact us or learn more, please visit www.getALTA.com.

AI in the Hotel Industry: A snapshot of the potential impacts

SiteMinder Blog 18 October 2017
The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) is nothing new. It has populated classic novels and films for decades. The theory and imagination always existed for such a creation, but technology was too limited for it to exist in reality.

Five Myths About Property Management System Integrations

SMS Blog 18 October 2017
Integration is a hot button topic in the hospitality world. New systems and opportunities appear each day, while longstanding PMS and CRS providers work furiously to integrate with the latest additions to the hospitality technology landscape. The situation can be frustrating for both the hotelier and the PMS provider. However, everyone has the same goal to ensure that hotel and resort systems communicate effectively. Let’s dispel these five common myths about PMS and integration.

The Future of Revenue Management Series: Revenue Managers

IDeaS Blog 18 October 2017
The function of revenue management within a hotel organization has evolved significantly since its inception. The proliferation of industry data and channels only solidifies what we’ve already realized: revenue management is in the midst of an analytical tsunami.

Avendra to be Acquired by Aramark

Avendra 18 October 2017
Avendra, the leading North American hospitality procurement services provider, today announced that its Board of Managers reached a binding agreement with Aramark Corporation (NYSE: ARMK) to acquire the company for $1.35 billion. Avendra is owned by founding shareholders Marriott International, Hyatt, Accor, ClubCorp and IHG.Avendra was launched 16 years ago by merging the procurement divisions of its founding shareholders. Today, Avendra is a leader in hospitality procurement services, serving 8,500 hotels and other hospitality businesses in the Americas providing a range of procurement and supply chain services to its customers, including hotels, golf clubs, universities, multi-family housing buildings, as well as other segments.Wolfram Schaefer, Avendra's President and CEO, said: "We are very enthusiastic about this evolution for Avendra. We think the combination of Avendra and Aramark, a company admired and respected around the world, will bring additional value to both our customers and supplier partners. Our process for creating valuable contracts and providing hospitality expertise will only get stronger and our commitment to world-class customer service will continue to be the foundation for all we do.""Most importantly, I want to thank the Avendra team for competing day after day at the highest level, with the utmost integrity," Schaefer continued. "Their unwavering efforts and continual focus on delivering value to our customers and suppliers propelled us to this day."As part of the agreement, Marriott, Hyatt, Accor and ClubCorp have agreed to commit to a 5-year procurement agreement with Aramark and Avendra.Leeny Oberg, Chairman of the Avendra Board and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Marriott International, said, "Avendra has become very successful. From its beginnings serving founding shareholders, Avendra has added non-founder customers who now make up the majority of company revenue. Avendra's Board believed this was an appropriate time to take Avendra to the next level by considering opportunities, including sale of the company, to further increase the company's purchasing power. As part of Aramark, we believe Avendra will continue its growth, driving greater scale and value for the benefit of its customers."Eric Foss, Aramark's Chairman, President and CEO, commented, "We're excited to welcome Wolfram and the Avendra team to the Aramark family. Combining Avendra's powerful procurement capability with Aramark's leading supply chain management expertise will bring increased growth, buying scale, and improved service levels to both Avendra's and Aramark's customers, while strengthening our industry reach and competitive positioning."The transaction is subject to the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. The parties expect the transaction to close before year-end. Once the transaction closes, Avendra will become an Aramark business unit headed up by Wolfram Schaefer.Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP provided legal counsel to Avendra. J.P. Morgan acted as lead financial adviser to Aramark, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel.About AramarkAramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, state-of-the-art healthcare providers, the world's leading educational institutions, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world. Our 270,000 team members deliver experiences that enrich and nourish millions of lives every day through innovative services in food, facilities management and uniforms. We operate our business with social responsibility, focusing on initiatives that support our diverse workforce, advance consumer health and wellness, protect our environment, and strengthen our communities. Aramark is recognized as one of the World's Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE as well as an employer of choice by the Human Rights Campaign and DiversityInc. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fornova partners with eRevMax to create a one-stop shop for smart distribution, benefiting hotels worldwide

Fornova 18 October 2017
NEW YORK and GENEVA -- Fornova announced that it is joining forces with eRevMax, bringing its market intelligence and market visibility tools to the eRevMax LIVE OS platform. Now hotels that visit the platform for best of breed technology solutions can access Fornova's industry leading Strategic Distribution Management tools, which provide unparalleled insight into a hotel's online market position, efficacy in selling across markets, and recommendations to help optimize distribution.These benefits will also be available to hotel companies and properties that are common clients of Fornova and eRevMaxFornova's CEO, Dori Stein, said, "We are pleased to join with eRevMax to help hoteliers optimize distribution." He continued, "Joining Fornova's Strategic Distribution Management tools with the LIVE OS platform will help hotels leverage the fundamentally dynamic nature of the online marketplace, price their products better, and distribute them more effectively. It's a great way to optimize the booking path to a hotel's advantage - and maximize visibility."Fornova's patented technologies for scanning, extracting and analysing massive amounts of information from the online marketplace provide an advanced solution that allows hotels to collect and analyse all the available information from the market, to better understand how their hotels are priced, ranked and presented on the different online distribution channels. "LIVE OS is the first hospitality platform that brings together all the tools that hoteliers need to make smart technology decisions, regardless of brand affiliation or the size of the property. Fornova's cutting edge technology helps hotels better understand their market position and stay one step ahead of the competition," said Yoram Ben-Zvi, Chief Operating Officer at eRevMax. "Utilizing Fornova's Smart Distribution solutions adds an even greater tool-set available on the LIVE OS platform to any hotels looking to effectively manage and control their distribution in real-time."About FornovaFornova's intelligence-based technology drives dynamic online distribution for the hotel industry. Based in Israel with offices in London, Amsterdam and New York, Fornova's solutions are gaining rapid adoption, serving more than 13,000 hotels worldwide, and have won recognition as the most cutting edge market intelligence and market visibility tools available. www.fornova.com.About eRevMaxeRevMax is the Gold Standard in connectivity, supporting hotels through channel management, rate intelligence and connectivity solutions. The company connects multiple online channels to the hotels' PMSs to seamlessly deliver ARI updates and reservations.eRevMax works closely with more than 350 channel and technology partners helping more than 9,000 hotels worldwide to increase revenue opportunities and streamline business processes. It is the connectivity partner of choice for large hotel groups, mid-scale chains as well as small properties in both luxury and budget segment worldwide providing solutions through its core product brands - RateTiger, RTConnect and LIVE OS.For more details, please visit http://www.erevmax.com/ or contact marketing@erevmax.com.###
Article by Jeff Zabin

When to Upgrade Your Hotel Property Management System

Starfleet Research 17 October 2017
According to The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems (released last month and now available for complimentary access), the vast majority of hoteliers believe that next-generation hospitality technologies are the number one way to catapult their businesses to ever-higher levels of operational performance and guest satisfaction.Given that the property management system (PMS) is at the forefront of these technologies, it's no surprise that nearly one-quarter (23%) of hoteliers who have not upgraded their PMS within the past 3 years indicate that they plan to do so in the next 12 months.The most advanced of these solutions have evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Driving technology innovation has been a mass migration to the cloud. This has led to increased software interoperability, data integration and mobility.As a result, hoteliers can now manage, track, analyze and optimize the constant flow of information across all parts of the property - anytime, anywhere, and in a real-time fashion.By integrating with add-on modules and third-party solutions, a next-generation PMS allows hoteliers to readily create a property- or chain-wide system. They can centrally manage virtually all functions and departments, from concierge, guest services and banquet and conference functions to housekeeping, room maintenance and security management to golf, spa and other facility functions.According to the research, 91 percent of hoteliers "agree" or "strongly agree" that platform interoperability is an important success factor for hotel performance improvement. At long last, the grand movement to unify the disparate and fragmented technologies and data siloes that has been underway for years, even decades, is now an achievable goal.Standalone hospitality software solutions that fail to "talk" with one another are a dying breed. In their place, hoteliers are deploying technologies that can connect with the PMS and seamlessly share data in the cloud. These include the central reservations system or channel manager, the revenue management solution, the point of sale (POS) system, the guest response platform and the CRM and guest loyalty applications.A next-generation PMS also integrates with accounting software, keycard and access control systems, self-service kiosks and guest communication and entertainment applications. And the list goes on. Combined, these technologies can automate virtually all functions across the property -- and, if required, across multiple properties -- in a unified and integrated fashion.All of which begs the question: When is the right time to upgrade your PMS? The answer, as with many things in business and in life, is: It depends. For starters, different hoteliers will have different requirements of a PMS, depending on their property size, category and topography.A full-service hotel, for example, will likely require a far more robust and comprehensive system than a small, limited-service hotel, which may need only to automate basic functions like guest bookings, housekeeping, guest charges and maintenance management. A full-service hotel will likely have complex reservation, scheduling and inventory requirements, with a host of features they view as essential to support exceptional guest service. A small, limited-service hotel may have none of these requirements.Every hotelier under the sun, on the other hand, can benefit from more and better insights that can be used to drive revenue growth and improve the quality of the guest experience. The ability to delve into the mountains of PMS data to produce year-over-year evaluations, identify emerging market trends, analyze guest behaviors, etc., is a compelling benefit of a next-generation solution. In fact, almost three-quarters 73 percent of hoteliers view the ability to improve performance reporting and business intelligence as one of the biggest benefits one can expect to gain with the right PMS.What does the revenue forecast look like? How can we improve it? How are guests finding our property? What channels are they using to book reservations? Where are groups coming from? What are the margins on each channel? How well are we managing our labor costs? How well are we managing our reservation distribution channel inventory and pricing strategies? How can we capture more ancillary revenues?These are just a few of the mission-critical questions hoteliers should be able to answer quickly and accurately. If the current system falls short in enabling them to do that job due to technology shortcomings, then it may well be time to upgrade to more advanced platform capabilities.Before embarking on the research-and-buying journey, hoteliers should gain a clear understanding of their own technology requirements and weigh them accordingly. An Evaluation Checklist, such as the one provided in Chapter 2 of the new Smart Decision Guide (click here to access), is a good place to start.Hoteliers should also gain a sense for the extent to which an advanced PMS would likely improve operational efficiencies and the overall quality of the guest experience. This will help determine which solution best fits their needs and is most likely to deliver the benefits they seek.

New Casino Loyalty Feature Will Help you Book More Loyal Guests

Duetto Research Blog 17 October 2017
The Find My Rate app gives you instant access to your guests’ loyalty rates anywhere, anytime. Casino hosts and front desk employees are using it daily to quote personalized rates to guests at their properties by simply entering in their member IDs and stay dates. We’ve added a feature that’s going to help streamline your workflow after a guest has decided to stay with you. The casino host can simply click the “Reserve” button next to the desired room type to add the reservation request to a brand new Reservation Queue screen.

SnapShot and CS-Solution Join Forces to Provide First Class Hotel Analytics to Hoteliers in Vietnam

Snapshot Blog 17 October 2017
SnapShot, leading provider of fully integrated applications for the hospitality industry, announced today that it has entered a partnership with Vietnamese PMS and Technology company CS-Solution. Through this partnership, CS-Solution clients can now use the complimentary SnapShot flagship product, Analytics, which allows hoteliers to apply in-depth analysis of their property happenings, on and offline.

Duetto Announces Revenue Strategy Partnership with Owner of Harry's Home Hotels

Duetto Research Blog 17 October 2017
Duetto, the hospitality industry's leader in Revenue Strategy technology, has partnered with Harry's Home, Adlers and Schwarzer Adler in Innsbruck, run by the influential Ultsch family, to bring the cloud-based applications GameChanger and ScoreBoard to Austria, Germany and Switzerland. 'The DACH region is a place where our company and The post Duetto Announces Revenue Strategy Partnership with Owner of Harry's Home Hotels appeared first on Duetto.

Duetto Announces Revenue Strategy Partnership with Owner of Harry's Home Hotels

Duetto 17 October 2017
Innsbruck, Austria -- Duetto, the hospitality industry's leader in Revenue Strategy technology, has partnered with Harry's Home, Adlers and Schwarzer Adler in Innsbruck, run by the influential Ultsch family, to bring the cloud-based applications GameChanger and ScoreBoard to Austria, Germany and Switzerland."The DACH region is a place where our company and our approach to hotel Revenue Strategy have gained serious momentum, thanks to partners like the owner and operator of Harry's Home," said Patrick Bosworth, Co-Founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Duetto. "We look forward to implementing our applications and our Open Pricing philosophy in order to enable fast, sustainable growth for Harry's Home throughout the region."For five generations, the Ultsch family has operated some of Austria's most notable hotels, beginning with the historic Hotel Schwarzer Adler in Innsbruck. In 2006, they developed Harry's Home Hotels, which now has four Austrian properties, a German location in Munich, and its first Swiss unit, set to open in 2018 in Zurich. The family also opened the Adlers Hotel, a 75-room boutique property in Innsbruck, in 2013.The company's eight hotels will adopt Duetto's Open Pricing app, GameChanger, and its forecasting and reporting solution, ScoreBoard, across more than 600 rooms. The group has plans to expand to 25 owned or franchised Harry's Home locations by 2021, said Florian Ultsch, the company's Director of Business Development and a fifth-generation member of the hotelier family."We see Open Pricing and Duetto's data-driven approach to Revenue Strategy as keys to meeting the ambitious growth targets we have set for our Harry's Home brand," he said. "We sought a technology solution that could make the most of our experience in the hotel industry, and Duetto was a natural fit for the vision we have for the future of our company."By adopting Open Pricing, the foundation of Duetto's GameChanger application, Harry's Home will now be able yield rates more rapidly and with greater flexibility, drawing on web shopping regrets and denials data to better measure price sensitivity. ScoreBoard, the intelligent-reporting application, will enable the company to compile and centralize up-to-the-minute reports on performance data and forecasts, display custom reports in minutes, and deliver big-picture insights across the entire company with one click.About Harry's HomeHarry's Home Hotels combines the traditional values of hospitality with the needs of modern guests, offering several different types of spacious studio accommodations for business and leisure travelers. To provide the level of support between a hotel and an apartment, Harry's Home offers travelers the flexibility to pay for customizable accommodations.Harry's Home first opened in 2006 in Graz, before expanding to Linz, Dornbirn and Vienna. In 2015, Harry's Home opened its first hotel outside Austria, in Munich. The brand will open its first Swiss location in Zurich in 2018.Harry's is owned and operated by Hotelgruppe Fam. Ultsch, which has been run by the Ultsch family from Innsbruck for five generations. For more than 100 years, the family has owned the renowned Schwarzer Adler Hotel in Innsbruck, as well as the Adlers Hotel, a boutique property opened in 2013.Harald "Harry" Ultsch and his wife Sonja-Sophie Ultsch have managed the company since the late 1980s.

SiteMinder named among The Silicon Review's 50 best companies to watch

SiteMinder Blog 17 October 2017
A decade of market disruption has earned the global hotel industry’s leading cloud platform, SiteMinder, a place on The Silicon Review’s 2017 list of the ‘50 Best Companies to Watch‘. The Silicon Review is one of the leading magazines for business and technology professionals around the world, focusing on innovative enterprise solutions developed by established industry providers.
Article by David Lund

Hospitality Financial Leadership - Continually upgrade your system

The Hotel Financial Coach 16 October 2017
The flip side of this is: Don't change or make the people wrong--it is the system that's wrong and the system needs to be changed. Then we will get another result. Keep working the system five percent at a time. Always be re-programming your system, i.e., what version of Windows are we on?We tend to look at the chaos at work and in our own lives and we want to blame someone or something for it. It is the victim crying out that we have been unjustly punished and sentenced to suffer in the mess we are in. We need to rise above this and look at the system we use; see the system that exists and change it.Unlock the systemWhat is the next thing in the system that needs to be re-programmed, what is the next thing that needs upgrading and strengthening? Do not play the fool's game and expect a wholesale complete re-vamp of your system. Constant incremental improvements win the race.In the following situation I will use the example of the monthly commentary:As it stands now, department managers are providing useless information on what happened last month and the upcoming month's information is the same. It seems they write in a different language that I can't understand. I am held hostage by their lack of commitment to this and they do not care. Do you hear the victim? Let him out of his cage.Back to owning it:The system I have is one where the department managers are made wrong on a regular basis because they are not living up to my expectations. Really, this is the case. What have I done to strengthen my monthly commentary system? What new software releases have I made to "our" commentary system? I own this mess and I am going to straighten it out and strengthen it. Make changes every month to make the commentary better.Owning it:My new system release this month entails a 1-1 with three of my biggest commentary customers (department managers) where we review the basics of a good commentary, one that does not regurgitate the numbers. A commentary that explains the variances based on a review of the assumptions for the month and what actually happened. Ah - a little light.... We agree to the format. The managers are actually relieved to have a blueprint to use. Why didn't anyone tell me about this before? Next month I will do three more customers.My system just got 5 percent better. What will my next system upgrade be? Maybe I will co-host a 20-minute workshop on creative writing. I know my public relations manager is a keener and this is something he would love to do. I just need to ask him to help me....Systems are everythingDo not ever stop releasing new versions of your system. Every month we get to upgrade and strengthen our systems. The window opens every month.What upgrade will we release this month?What! A month goes by and no new software release. Come on! Be Microsoft, release an upgrade!If you would like a copy of any of the following send me an email at david@hotelfinancialcoach.comHotel Financial Policy Manual - Inventory of "Sections"Hotel Financial Coach "Services Sheet"F&B Productivity SpreadsheetRooms Productivity SpreadsheetFinancial Leadership Recipe F TAR WEnhanced Flow Thru Cheat SheetVisit my website today for a copy of my FREE guidebookThe Seven Secrets to Create a Financially Engaged Leadership Team in Your Hotelwww.hotelfinancialcoach.comCall or write today and arrange for a complimentary discussion on howyou can create a financially engaged leadership team in your hotel.Contact David at (415) 696-9593.Email: david@hotelfinancialcoach.comwww.hotelfinancialcoach.com

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