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Article by Janel Clark

How are we supposed to know what to do with all this data?

SnapShot GmbH 5 December 2018
Hospitality is now a data driven industry. Data is everywhere: data relating to our business performance, data relating to our guests and their preferences, and data relating to the market and our direct competitor set. There is a vast amount of data available with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created every day, according to Domo.Hotels are employing Data Scientists to analyze the information collected and to translate it into something that can be understood and used. However, not everyone has the luxury of access to a data scientist team. And equally, not everyone recognizes their importance or has the resources available to invest in the role. In a recent interview with Janel Clark, SnapShot's Head of Education, she highlights the importance of education within the hotel data and hospitality technology atmosphere.Is it that the hotel industry doesn't value data enough? Or is it simply not a priority?JC: On the contrary, I believe that smart hotels recognize that the better we know our guests and can provide for their needs to create amazing experiences, the more successful our business. We do that by collecting data and analyzing the trends. But I also believe that the terms "Big Data" and "Data Scientist" can be overwhelming for the average, traditional, independent hotelier.Until recently, hospitality has not been known as an early adopter of innovation and technology and has remained under-serviced by enterprise-capable technology suppliers. However, in the last 7 years, the industry has begun to recognize the value of data and innovation and how it can improve the guest experience and the bottom line at the same time. It has been several years since we started talking about the use of big data to improve guest experience and performance, but the reality is that only a few hotels have the knowledge and experience to know how to do this in practice: to know what data to look at and how to use it to make decisions.What are the challenges in implementing data into everyday hotel operations? JC: I see two challenges:Technology - Revenue Management is now acknowledged as a core business function but how many hotels invested in an automated system? According to Hotel Technology, 57% of hotels planned to increase their technology spending in 2017, in comparison to the previous year. With the growing number of hotel software and applications, this number will surely increase in the years to come.Hotels must invest in tools that allow data to be collected, harmonized and easily analyzed.Training - each Manager's skill set is very focused on their own area, often very operational...More automation means more time saved to set strategies. A recent study by Brookson Enterprise found that managers are spending 4 hours per day producing, managing, and updating reports. With automation, managers can allocate the time formerly spent on manually dealing with reports on other pressing matters.Again, using Revenue Managers as an example, when this discipline was first introduced into hotels, Reservations Managers were often "promoted" to a new position, but without any training, new skills or knowledge, and guidance. They were left to learn by trial and error or learning on the job, and quite often, lost opportunities through their own lack of knowledge.What can hoteliers do to integrate data practices into their hotels?JC: We are seeing the same issue now with Data Scientists, but on a bigger scale. Data is important, but with so much of it available, how can hotels know what is the most important? There needs to be more investment in training to show team members how to read and use data to make decisions."If there is no resource for a Data Scientist - teach your people how to read data and what to look for."Invest in the right tools and invest in your people. As systems become more integrated, shouldn't staff also be more integrated? Education breaks down silos between departments, teaches us to share data insights, and truly understand how each team needs to be connected to drive performance and success.To improve performance, we need to embrace and invest in technology, and invest in training for our people - show them how to use the great tools that are now available, show them how data is our friend and not something to be feared. We must teach them how each department integrates with others, how we share the data, and how the data can be used. They absolutely need to know about this.What's next for technology in the hospitality industry? When it comes to future of hotel technology, AI, or artificial intelligence, is no longer a futuristic concept. AI is already present throughout the industry and will continue to grow as the industry's technology develops. According to AltexSoft, AI and data science are interlinked and being used within the industry to improve hotel business for purposes including revenue management, operational analytics, and customer experience improvement. Within revenue management, hotels are using AI to better calculate and predict customer behavior to develop more strategic pricing strategies. Without these technological solutions to analyze the enormous amounts of data available to hotels, particularly the larger chain hotels, revenue managers would have a much more arduous task ahead of them to manage pricing. Regarding operational analytics, AI is necessary in all aspects of a hotel's operations. A hotel is essentially its own ecosystem with countless operations taking place simultaneously, independently and dependently. With AI monitoring real-time observations of operational activities, hotels are able to improve their processes and increase efficiency. As more AI tools for performance evaluation, social media tracking, competitor set monitoring, brand evaluation, data analysis, and so on, become available, hotels can make more data driven decisions and better serve their guests. When it comes to customer experience improvement in hotels, AI technology is becoming increasingly a part of communicating with guests. With high-speed connectivity comes the need for faster and smarter responses to keep up with the customers' demands and standards. Hotels have been introducing automated check-in services through smartphone applications, 24-hour chatbot services, automated guest communications for pre-check-in and post check-out, facial recognition systems for check-in, and smart rooms that can connect with your pre-existing applications. As hotels install more guest-facing technology into their properties, guests will start to have higher technology-related expectations and AI will only help meet those needs.The need for technology and AI is inevitable in both hospitality and education. Without educating hoteliers on the importance of technology and data, it will only deter the development process and future integrations that are coming, whether hotels are ready or not. Training staff in technology and adopting a data culture for hotels is crucial in preparing for the future. Data silos are being broken down and bridged together, hotel technologies are integrating more and more with each day, and artificial intelligence tools are being adopted in hotel applications, operational practices, and even guest communications. The importance of education and technology is only going to increase with time and hotels need to prepare for these changes by looking at technology and an accompanying data strategy as a differentiation, which can enable superior guest experiences.
commercial

Which hotel APIs should I be asking vendors about for my hotel?

SnapShot GmbH 31 July 2018
As seen in our previous article about application program interfaces, or APIs, are the "backbone of any digital network of programs. They are how we connect the various hospitality software, applications, and programs that keep our hotel operations running on a daily basis."Given the increasing amounts of hotel technologies being created by various vendors and utilized in the hospitality industry, integrations between the numerous software and programs in a hotel are becoming of paramount importance. Without APIs to break down the barriers between different systems, what is the point of purchasing and installing all of this hotel technology if they cannot even connect to each other?To put it simply, an API is the intermediary between two types of technology that allows them to communicate with one another. The API is essentially the middleman who receives requests from one program and sends responses from the other.With the growing number of PMS, POS, data dashboards, social media platforms, analytics tools, communication applications, etc., there is the subsequent need for more open APIs to allow for all of these systems to integrate and work together. You've seen our SnapShot Marketplace. There are countless hotel applications being developed as we speak and without APIs, your hotel PMS would not be able to benefit from these new applications and keep up with competitors who are advancing in hotel technology.Summary of Hotel API CategoriesFor the sake of better understanding hotel APIs, we have identified them as categories and types. When it comes to hotel API categories, we are referring to the functionality of the API and how they are applied in a hotel. API types, on the other hand, are the technical terms that describe the protocols in an API.According to ProgrammableWeb, as of early 2018, there were over 19,000 listed available APIs and the number continues to increase with time. Currently, their directory lists 112 APIs relevant to the hospitality industry. Meanwhile, HTNG has created an API Registryto provide details on hotel APIs, in addition to integrations, products, and companies. With the shared goal of further integrating the technology of the hotel industry, these lists have helped to gather and present hotel APIs to the hoteliers in an industry that has traditionally been private and non-transparent. To better understand the types of hotel APIs, we have broken it down into three categories: operations, distribution, and guests and analytics.OperationsOperations APIs are more commonly referred to as the Property Level Interface and are described as pretty standard APIs available from most PMS. These APIs can be used to manage door locks, credit cards, telephones, food and beverage systems, and other similar systems. When it comes to functionality, operations APIs can integrate with your PMS or other systems to check or change room occupancy, check customer details with check-in and check-out, and manage reservations and housekeeping schedules. The systems that most frequently use operations APIs in a hotel are PMS, POS, keycard systems, and AC systems.DistributionDistribution APIs are can also be known as ARI (Availability, Rates and Inventory). Their functionality mainly consists of retrieving or modifying rates, retrieving or modifying occupancy, and delivery reservations. These types of APIs are used by OTAs, booking engines, and CRS systems to distribute rates and reservations across systems. They are mostly dependent on the CRS and PMS for availability.Guests and AnalyticsGuests and analytics APIs provide guest information, email, and profile data. While they mainly rely on PMS, they are also often complemented by external data such as social profiles and CRS data. The main uses are revolving on personalization and marketing. In regards to functionality, guests and analytics APIs retrieve or update guest information and retrieve guest information. The systems that mostly use these APIs are customer/guest relation managers.Out of all the three categories, operations APIs are the most common one used as even small hotels which handle distribution have a credit card interface. Nonetheless, it is dependent of the establishment, only the very advanced ones will have connectivity for guest and analytics, while many others stick to operations and distribution, in some shape or form.Types of APIsUnfortunately, APIs aren't as simple when it comes to the actual programming and coding. There are many different kinds of APIs, whether they are protocols or web services. Two of the most used APIs are RESTful, or REST, and SOAP, which both use various formats and codes within.While most hoteliers don't require using these technical terms for their day-to-day jobs, it is important for the decision makers in hotels to have a general understanding of the types of APIs to better manage their properties. For instance, if a general manager wanted to enhance their hotel's PMS by integrating with a guest analytics tool, they would need to research and select from a handful of options available in the market. All of these guest analytics tools would be built by different developers using varied API types. Thus, if the general manager already had a general idea of the different types of APIs, they would be able to make a well-informed decision without having to spend time consulting with the IT department.In order to ask vendors specific questions about their open APIs, it is best to understand the technical types and the advantages and disadvantages to each one.RESTful APIA RESTful API breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules. Each module addresses a particular underlying part of the transaction. This modularity provides developers with a lot of flexibility. RESTful APIs are based on a newer and often more flexible system than SOAP APIs.Pros - It is a contemporary technology with message format that is the easiest to understand. Additionally, it requires minimal time to set up and can return data in multiple formats (JSON, XML etc).Cons - Restful only works on top of the HTTP protocolSOAP APISOAP is a messaging protocol that allows programs that run on disparate operating systems (such as Windows and Linux) to communicate using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and its Extensible Markup Language (XML). Many newer APIs are based on RESTful standards.Pros - From a programmer's perspective, SOAP works really well if the IDE or framework you are using provides good support for it. It follows a formal enterprise approach and works on top of any communication protocol.Cons - SOAP brings lots of overhead. It uses only XMLSOAP and REST are webservices, when there are also different types of schemas which are used to return the output from the REST and SOAP. Two main formats to exchange data between webservices are JSON and XML.JSONJSON is a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate. It is used within a SOAP or RESTful API.Pros - It is a leaner, generally more readable format. It has low overhead, is infinitely flexible including nested objects, and allows for fast parsingCons - It has no validation support and limited primitives (strings, numbers, bools, objects)XMLXML is a data-interchange format which is older than JSON and often contains more data. Most interfaces use one of these two. It is used within a SOAP or RESTful API.Pros - XML provides great use when considerable volumes of data with numerous attributes are to be transfer between API messages. And if the validity of the data needed to be guaranteed XML could be used in combination with an XSD, this way it could be validated (by itself XML is no more valid than JSON).Cons - Some developers may consider the format to be complex and it adds to the overhead for data processing. Which hotel APIs should I be asking my vendors about?As we all know, hotels have numerous departments from revenue management to housekeeping to sales and marketing. In order to run operations smoothly, hotels employ a PMS that covers most of these divisions. However, there as there are many add-on technologies available to hotels today, the number of vendors we are using continue to grow with each application or tool we install.First off, if your hotel hasn't selected a PMS yet, you should ask them if they provide open APIs since your PMS is the core of your hotel's operations. If your PMS cannot connect to any of the other systems in your hotel or add-on applications, your functionality will be very limited.APIs deal with large amounts of data, so is your data safe? It's imperative that vendors use APIs with the appropriate security measures to protect the importing and exporting of data between technologies.While open APIs grant access and connectivity with other technology software's data, it is important to clarify with the vendor exactly what type of information you will be able to see and use. For instance, the SnapShot Marketplace API, which allows third-party developers to place hotel applications on its platform, grants access to certain data points. Currently, the SnapShot API allows other software to access transactional data from external PMS, in regards to reservations, financial transactions, and group reservations. While more and more types of data are expected to be available as APIs develop, it is still crucial to ask your vendor exactly what you will be receiving through their API and when.Worried about your data's security? Here are some suggested security messages taken to protect breaches in open APIs:Most current version of communication security (HTTPS/TLS 1.2 or 1.3) and ideally encryption above and beyond what is provided by HTTPS/TLSReverse proxy URLClient certificateAdvanced authentication models such as OAuth 2.0Authentication/role modelAccess to a limited set of customers/accountsEnsure secure loggingThese security measures are also applied to Snapshots API, which is in line with industry standard. Additionally, SnapShot's API, for example, deals with transactional data, but never touches any personal data such as credit card information. Thus, the API can still provide the data to a hotel and be used for analysis, but remains safe from leaking any valuable information.At the end of the day, a hotel's main priority is to provide the best experience for its guests while running a profitable business. However, with the increase in reliance on hotel technology, in order to meet these goals, hotels must use technologies that can communicate with one another. If you really think about it, APIs are everywhere in the hospitality industry - PMS, online booking platforms, reservation tools, messaging applications, social media platforms, guest review websites, and so on. As the industry becomes more and more connected with integrations and open data platforms, it's becoming imperative to use technologies with open APIs. According to Iris Steinmetz, Vice President of Product and Partnerships at Snapshot "As integration needs in hospitality further increase, the awareness for open APIs will grow, consecutively shrinking the high barriers in accessibility and certification processes which are currently often in place, making the data available again to the real owners of it, the hotels."
Article by David Turnbull

If I'd had more time, I would have been a Data Scientist

SnapShot GmbH 2 March 2018
Nearly 20% of business time is spent searching for information.[i] That's one full day per week. I know the impact of this lost time all too well. During my many years spent running an outsourced revenue management service for brands like citizenM and 25hours, my team of revenue managers racked up countless hours collecting data. Not to mention the tiresome process of formatting the data in Excel. It genuinely pains me to think about how much more analysis time my team could have performed if they'd had clean data available at their fingertips.Back in 2012 already, I knew there was a better way. And I knew it involved killing those spreadsheets and gaining back that productive time. This is how SnapShot came to be. We replaced the time spent digging around for data and the cumbersome formatting process with a demand management application (DMA) for hotels. Launched in 2014, it put into the cloud all the tools (forecast, budget strategy) a hotel would need to manage its demand. However, the DMA wasn't flexible enough for our customers, especially hotel groups, whose bigger pain wasn't being given a new interface to manage the data, but rather the flexibility to access the right data at the right time.Snapshot On Demand was the answer. Built to sit both above PMS as well as above property, it gives data and insights to hotel groups at the push of a button. This means no more scrambling for hours to get the data and visualize the quarterly reports, and no more banging your head against the wall when the MD wants a spontaneous deep dive on a demand or revenue issue.Moreover, it permits to hotels to clean and map segments across properties and regions so that data is understandable and actionable. It's crucial to understand how fundamental this ability to clean and map key performance data (especially on a multi-property level) is to reporting and BI projects, and why so many of these fail.Data scientists spend 60% of their time normalizing data. And these are data scientists. They are not revenue managers or marketing directors or reservations managers or group sales directors or general managers, all who almost certainly have far less experience dealing with mass amounts of data. Imagine how long it takes for the average commercial analyst or revenue manager to clean up and segment data across varied properties. The answer: too much. (Note, also, that second to the amount of time spent cleaning data, data scientists spent the most time collecting data. The problem spans industries.)Forbes [ii]The most frequently overlooked step when it comes to data is the last one--the visualization. According to Dataconomy, visualization is one of the only means humans have for understanding complex analytics. Our brains are only able to process two to three pieces of information at one time and frequently consumer behavior requires understanding more than that.[iii] When represented visually, however, we can grasp the patterns and trends that emerge from large amounts of information. If we skip this step, however, the data becomes far less actionable.We have heard from the market that hotel groups spend a lot of time, effort and budget on BI projects via providers like Tableau and PowerBI that have ultimately gone nowhere because it's too hard to get the data. That's why we added a BI Connector to On Demand, which pushes reports to tools like Tableau automatically so that the data can be easily visualized and reported upon, allowing hotels to complete those pesky--and vitally important-- projects that have been on hold for ages.On Demand comes with a third component, a dedicated API, where groups can build custom applications and dashboards. The opportunities are endless: create a customized dashboard interface, or an app that tracks channel costs and automatically pivots your inventory strategy based on pre-set criteria; or one that ties housekeeping and check-ins together to improve efficiencies; or one that predicts guest behavior. The list could go on and on.Despite the obvious arguments that developing and implementing such proprietary applications and algorithms is a distraction from a hotel operators core focus, the reality is that hotels will need time to explore and identify patterns in their data. Investing now in resources that make the sharing of key PMS and Non-PMS data will yield positive results, before the first "idea" for a custom app has been committed to.What it comes down to is this: in the past, effective data collection and visualization has been such a pain that hoteliers sit paralyzed rather than actioning their data. With SnapShot On Demand, there are no excuses. The issue of how much time and effort it takes to deal with data has been solved, so hotels don't need to sit restlessly on valuable data anymore. So, it's time to ask yourselves, if you could gain back one day of productivity each week, would you take it?David and the SnapShot team will be hosting drinks at ITB this year in Hall 8.1, stand 127, beginning at 4:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. To learn more about SnapShot On Demand, RSVP to the event here.[i] https://www.cottrillresearch.com/various-survey-statistics-workers-spend-too-much-time-searching-for-information/[ii] https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2016/03/23/data-preparation-most-time-consuming-least-enjoyable-data-science-task-survey-says[iii] http://dataconomy.com/2017/05/big-data-data-visualization/
Article by Margaret Ady

How To Keep The Heart Of Your Hotel Beating

SnapShot GmbH 14 September 2017
Technology is the beating heart of the hotel. Without a PMS, how would we even begin to serve guests? Without distribution channels, how would guests book rooms? Without a CRM, how would we create loyalty? Right now, most hotels get away with disorganized technology, because they've had no choice. Legacy systems haven't meshed with new cloud-based systems and a patchwork of different technologies for different purposes have been cobbled together. As with cooking, everything works better when all the moving pieces work together because no one tool does everything on its own.Right now, we have all of these systems--the PMS, CRS, CRM. Then there are the ancillary tools, such as mobile check-in, travel review monitoring, social media tools, distribution tools, forecasting technology, room allocation software, and so forth. Multiply each of these by four or five and maybe, just maybe, you'll get close to the number of different systems that must integrate in order to keep a hotel running. And the biggest problem is that they rely on one another, but they don't play well. They don't integrate, at least not with ease. We have each of these systems with its own data, and one system's data isn't talking to another system's data without complicated intervention. It's a mess. But it doesn't have to be.Instead of this mess, it should be structured and organized, much like Julia Child's peg-board full of organized pots and pans. While organization is useful of course, the key value is having each and every piece of technology integrated. No more missing pieces--data falling off from point A to point B. No more silos, where data from point A can't even get to point B. If A needs B in order to work, it's right there, ready and waiting.The ramifications of a fully integrated tech stack are many. Creating custom applications becomes a possibility because integration is no longer a setback. Guest outreach can be personalized (for real this time). Service levels can be improved--and monetized. Consider if the housekeeping app above speaks automatically to the mobile check-in app, which then triggers a text to a guest with an early check-in option for an additional fee. Or a guest survey app speaks to the email marketing app, which triggers an offer for a guest based on specific keywords the guest used in the survey. Best of all, a fully integrated tech stack allows hotels to compare all data sets and glean truly actionable insights about their guests and their business - insights that can drive more revenue and more efficiencies.Further, the benefits of a tech ecosystem of this nature include consistent data security and faster communication between technologies. As Todd Hotaling of Lodging Hospitality Management said regarding major issues affecting system integration in the hospitality industry, "My priority is how frequent (speed) and seamless our systems interface (direct connect) with the often urgent and significant revenue-impacting decisions being made throughout the day" (Hospitality Technology). Increased frequency of communication (a by-product of integration) between technologies is the foundation for better information, faster solutions, and, most importantly, increased revenue.In the 1940s, the University of Illinois formalized the idea of the "kitchen work triangle," a set of rules that defined the location and distance between the sink, the oven, and the refrigerator for optimal efficiency and use. Most modern kitchens are designed based on this notion that the essential tools of the kitchen work best when they are aligned in a specific way. We are at a critical juncture in the hotel industry, one that requires that our growing number of technologies begin working together seamlessly, that our essential tools are aligned. The beating heart of hotels depends on our redefining the way we organize our technology in a way that we can successfully build upon. It isn't as simple as a triangle, but it is as accessible.
commercial

SnapShot and StayNTouch Partner to Provide Hotels Across the US with a Smarter Analytics Tool

SnapShot GmbH 18 July 2017
Berlin, Germany -- SnapShot, leading provider of fully integrated applications and analytics for the hospitality industry, announced today that it has joined forces with the American hotel property management systems company, StayNTouch. Through this partnership, StayNTouch customers will have complimentary access to SnapShot's trademark Analytics dashboard, which provides hoteliers with in-depth insight into their properties' happenings, on and offline.SnapShot Analytics aggregates pricing, benchmarking and PMS data, as well as TripAdvisor reviews, social media statistics, and Google Analytics, all of which appear on a single, easy-to-use dashboard. Information is updated daily, so hotel managers always have access to the latest data regarding their properties.Furthermore, StayNTouch customers will be able to take advantage of the other applications in the recently released SnapShot Marketplace, a fleet of tools which are fully integrated to each partner PMS's data, so that hoteliers can start using the apps immediately. SnapShot Marketplace tools, designed specifically for the hospitality industry, cater to hoteliers managing single- and multi-property businesses.SnapShot and StayNTouch have been working together over the last few months to help educate hoteliers on how to make the most of the technology available to them. In April, the companies joined Travel Tripper in hosting a webinar on building the perfect hotel tech stack."It has been a pleasure working with StayNTouch, helping hoteliers to better understand the data they have in front of them on a daily basis," said Clive Wood, SnapShot's Vice President of Business Development for the East Coast. "We look forward now to equipping StayNTouch's clients with the tools they need to make better, quicker, and smarter business decisions," Wood continued."The successful hoteliers in today's ultra-competitive hospitality marketplace are looking to understand their customer better in order to provide a differentiated guest experience from pre-purchase to check-out," said, Jos Schaap, CEO and Founder of StayNTouch. "With SnapShot's powerful toolset integrated with their StayNTouch PMS, these hoteliers can now make decisions and take action quickly and effectively."If you are a StayNTouch customer, activate your SnapShot Analytics dashboard here. To find out more about Analytics and Marketplace, visit the SnapShot website.About StayNTouchStayNTouch is a "Software as a Service" hotel property management systems (PMS) company focused on developing solutions that help hotels raise service levels, drive revenues, reduce costs, and ultimately change the way hotels can captivate their guests. Developed with mobility in mind, the pioneering platform enables hotels to create long lasting relationships with their guests by delivering personalized service levels that today's guests require.StayNTouch operates on tablets and smartphones, empowering hotel employees to go above and beyond in exceeding guest expectations at every touch point. Powering over 75,000 rooms globally, our game-changing solution frees hotels from the constraints of legacy or premise systems, dramatically streamlines operations, increases margins, and revolutionizes how front-line staff connect with guests.StayNTouch is a trusted partner to many of the most forward thinking hotels, resorts, casinos and chains in the industry, including Yotel, Zoku Amsterdam, Valencia Hotels, The Freehand Hotels, Modus Hotels and the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. For more information, visit www.stayntouch.com.
Article by Margaret Ady

High Tech or High Touch? What Hotels Need to Know About Technology Adoption & Guest Service

SnapShot GmbH 13 July 2017
So exactly how much can be automated, or more to the point, how much should be automated? (And, really, at what point does it cease to be a hotel when there is no service?) Clearly, almost everything can be technologized, so hotels are confronted with just where and how much of the human touch is needed to create a satisfying guest experience.The question of high tech or high touch lies with your guests. In some ways, we need a new market segment based on technology needs. Some segments want as much automated as possible, but many of these guests want just as much, if not more, control over their experience as those who prefer one-on-one service. And then there are guests who want to hold hands all the way through the process; this is their definition of hospitality and asking them to download an app to check in won't do. With technology, these guests actually get better service because staff is more available to walk them through the process.The answer to the question of high tech or high touch isn't an easy one because the answer is: options. You can take any aspect of hotel operations and service to the cloud as long as you offer guests easy access to staff person at any point along the way. Perhaps a guest wants to book online, check in via mobile, control her AC from an app, and request a pillow via text message--all of these are absolutely possible. BUT she also wants to make her spa reservation on the phone, because she has some specific needs and wants to be sure she can properly get the message across to guarantee the ideal experience.If technology tasks hotels with offering more options, does it actually uncomplicated anything? Does it save money and time? Still a resounding yes. Especially in cases where the technology is integrated with major systems and when hotels have maximum control over the technology and the way it functions. Every time a guest is satisfied by technology, which is more often than not these days, or every time messaging helps staff communicate an issue more quickly, or every time one fewer front desk person takes the elevator to the eleventh floor, efficiency is achieved. Each time this happens, energy and space are made for the instances where guests desire a person. These very critical moments are more effective and more meaningful.So let's say you can automate anything pre-stay, during stay (except for housekeeping itself), and post-stay. Let's say you can integrate major systems and streamline your internal communication, using messaging that interacts with the PMS and the CRM. What specifically still needs the human touch?Most importantly staff should be present. And by "present" we mean that they should not only be visible, but they should also be clearly available and ready to engage. As reliance on technology for guest services increases so does the need for staff to appear undistracted. Having staff at entries and exits--whether at the front desk, the spa, the restaurant, or on checkout--is essential.Additionally, the phone becomes (surprisingly) more important. Every call should be answered, and the speed of answer matters more than ever. When guests decide they need to speak with someone, someone should be available as soon as possible, including reservations, guest service, housekeeping, and so forth. This is the tradeoff for the efficiency of technology. Availability and responsiveness are paramount for the personal moments that matter to guests.Hotels aim at every turn to prioritize efficiency and cost-saving measures while continuing to offer the highest possible level guest service. If the person-to-person elements of guest service are handled well, and they really are fairly simple, technology adoption can better serve hotels and their guests.
Article by David Turnbull

No More Excuses - It's Time For A Change

SnapShot GmbH 26 June 2017
Technology is not static, it's flexible, and just like processes and services in hotels, it needs to adapt to quickly changing guests expectations and market demands and, if possible, anticipate them. Hotels need to be able to add, tune, upgrade or even completely change their technology stack quickly. Scalability and adaptation to market changes must be a hotel's mantra when choosing a technology provider.This is a challenging and overall pretty new concept, because the legacy systems that have been in place in hotels need to urgently integrate with an entire new generation of SaaS solutions. That said, hotels that manage to embrace this new concept will have a competitive edge.So why is this concept so difficult for hotels to embrace? For one, there is too much friction between softwares. Integrations are the weak link of our industry. Even for some of the best tech companies, integrations can involve months of development and testing to create stable connections.But despite frequent outages, data validation struggles and lengthy waits to be "scheduled", the necessity to integrate prevails. Hoteliers keep accepting that "that's the way it is." That mentality coupled with long sales cycles leave hotels in a technology paralysis. Hotels buy and install key customer-facing technology then sit for seven years complaining about it before making a change. That idea is a scary one, particularly if we look at how quickly technology is changing.Hotels must fundamentally change the way they look at technology planning, purchase and usage. They should consider their technology systems as platforms (rather than servers in the basement) that can be constantly optimized, tweaked and adjusted.Technology needs to have multiple options or versions that fit various segments of hotels. Not every hotel needs an enterprise in mind designed operating software that can handle every task imaginable. So why should they pay for that? Hotels need a modular technology choices, that allows them to pick out the features that they want and need.This modular approach is scalable and doesn't require large upfront fees that swallow-up valuable CAPEX with non-questionable recurring maintenance costs, no matter if the hotels are using the system or not. Flexible pricing models allow hotels to be nimble, adding or removing parts they don't need, in order to keep their technology lean and cost efficient for any property size.Hoteliers can then download apps in seconds and A/B test before paying for the one they want. This flexibility translates itself into changing purchase and usage expectations of the same hotelier when buying hotel technology.With this freedom, as the business grows, the hotel can add features. If business needs change and a feature is no longer needed, the hotel can easily remove it.Hoteliers need to be able to do what hoteliers to best - meet and exceed their customer's expectations. To do this however they need to work with vendors and an entire technology community that promote greater interoperability, flexibility and open access to the data needed to power their guest experience.On paper, all-in-one or full technology stacks are practical for a hotel, but they too need to be able to integrate with new apps and integrate with multiple providers - the grass is always greener. And taking into consideration that an "insignificant" app today could be the next big thing of tomorrow, continuous R&D is a must.The large tech industries have long understood the concept of building platforms that work unilaterally. Our industry needs to adapt to that thinking.The good news is that many incumbent technology providers realize this, reflecting the changing mindset and fickleness of the hotel client base they serve. As we build those systems with open and flexible integrations and pricing, hotels can improve service quality and focus on taking care of guests in ways that no other industry can. Because, at the end of the day, that's what hospitality is really all about.
commercial

SnapShot Expands US Business With New Clients and Growing Teams in New York and San Diego

SnapShot GmbH 14 June 2017
Wood, who serves on the board of directors for the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA), brings a wealth of knowledge and relationships to SnapShot in the United States. Previously, he led GTA's hotel connectivity and chain business from an operational and commercial perspective."I am very excited for SnapShot to take the next steps into the American market," said Wood. "We are currently at a turning point in hotel technology, where streamlining hotel operations is not just focus, but a necessity. I look forward to working with our partners to help their clients adopt fully integrated applications, leading to optimized operations and ultimately maximizing hotel performance," he continued."We are entering the golden age of hotel software where hoteliers have an opportunity to differentiate their offerings by assembling and integrating unique sets of applications," said Jos Schaap, CEO and Founder of mobile technology and PMS company, StayNTouch. "We are proud to partner with SnapShot, who is a foundational leader in this endeavor."Today, with more than 3000 hotels on its platform, Berlin-based SnapShot has five commercial centers across the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific. In May 2017, SnapShot launched the SnapShot Marketplace, a fully-integrated ecosystem where hotels have access to applications designed specifically for the hospitality industry. Among these is SnapShot's flagship app, SnapShot Analytics, which provides an overview of PMS and performance data, Google Analytics, social media, OTA reviews and more on a single dashboard.As part of its growing focus on the American market, SnapShot will be attending HITEC Toronto in June. To schedule an appointment with SnapShot at HITEC, follow this link.To find out more about SnapShot, please visit www.snapshot.travel.
commercial

SnapShot Analytics is Now Available to Bay Lakes Customers

SnapShot GmbH 19 April 2017
SnapShot Analytics is a powerful tool that monitors and interprets hotel performance. Users of Lodgical Solution, Bay Lakes' flagship property management system, who add SnapShot Analytics, will be able to view and share information about their property in new ways. SnapShot Analytics aggregates data from Lodgical Solution, pricing and benchmarking data, TripAdvisor, Google Analytics and social media. This data, updated daily, is conveniently presented on a single dashboard.SnapShot Analytics is part of the fleet of apps that make up SnapShot Marketplace, a hub of cutting edge tools to better manage day-to-day and longer-term operations for single and multi-property companies. As the apps are fully integrated, hoteliers can start collecting valuable information as soon as they sign up for their chosen products."We have worked hard, together with Bay Lakes, to provide North American hoteliers the latest in hotel tech," says David Turnbull, co-founder of SnapShot. "We look forward to welcoming hoteliers to our platform and helping them seamlessly gather the information they need to improve guest experience and boost revenue."Bay Lakes Information Systems has over 30 years of experience in creating property management software for hotels in the United States and North America. Bay Lakes' solutions are tailored to hotels of all sizes, from single properties to larger corporations."Property managers use a variety of reports from Lodgical Solution, as well as data from other applications, to make timely marketing decisions about their properties," said Greg Swain, the founder and president of Bay Lakes Information Systems. "This strategic partnership with SnapShot allows managers to look at a single dashboard that conveniently combines data from multiple sources. Analytics that used to take hours to accumulate are now available at a click of a button."If you are a Bay Lakes customer, activate your SnapShot Analytics dashboard now.To find out more about SnapShot Analytics, please visit the website.About Bay Lakes Information SystemsBay Lakes Information Systems is an industry leader in providing property management software built by the people who use it. Founded in 1984, Bay Lakes has a long history of working closely with property managers and incorporating their suggestions to create better software.Bay Lakes' products include the Lodgical Solution property management software, software packages for point of sale, payment processing and room tax filing, and the InnLine visitor information portal. Bay Lakes' clients include hotels, hotel condominiums, vacation rentals, timeshares, campgrounds and marinas across the United States and North America.For more information, visit baylakesis.com.
commercial

Can Hotel Software Be As Easy to Manage as Your Smartphone?

SnapShot GmbH 10 April 2017
The business of life is complicated, and, yet, I can basically run the whole thing on my iPhone. (And when I do, I'm freed up to spend more time with my people.) Hotels are complicated, but there's no reason they can't be managed from an iPhone either. Actually, we're not suggesting you use your iPhone to manage your hotel, though you could and maybe should, but what if you could pick and choose and customize apps to manage your property with the same ease as a smartphone? Snapshot's new Marketplace aims to do just that.Where hotels have had overwhelming challenges with managing the software for different aspects of the property is, more often than not, the integration piece. With so many different softwares--some of which integrate and some of which don't--hotels have ended up with a mess of technologies to manage. And they don't all play nicely with one another.As you well know, hotel software is available for just about everything, but as it stands, each time new software is added, it's a major process. Conference calls, getting buy-in on budget and functionality, contracts and infinite changes, implementations and integrations, and onboarding. And then we multiply this process by so many softwares: from revenue management and housekeeping workflow to travel review management and check-in and checkout technologies. But these things all affect each other. Revenue management is closely tied to guest perception and, therefore, travel reviews can influence rates. Housekeeping workflow is closely tied to check-in and checkout technologies. (Imagine if you can make ancillary revenue when the room comes available early and the guest is notified immediately that for a small fee they can check in right now.) As a result, guest satisfaction may increase, which then influences rate management. SnapShot Marketplace offers one fully integrated space in which to handle all of these interconnected and constantly moving pieces.Hotels can have a central location where PMS data is already integrated and all applications are available within one single login. Think of it like an iPhone with screens full of apps that can easily be added and removed. And, of course, if you want to create a new app, there's always that option, with access to API documentation that allows a hotel to customize to their exact specs.If something's not useful, let it go. If you want to try on something new, download it and give it a whirl without having to worry if it integrates with your PMS, and without having to sit through demos all day or spend valuable hours talking to sales people. Which brings up another good point... no more running contracts by the legal department or, worse, riding out contracts on software that isn't working for your property. No more data security concerns to address every time you look at a new piece of software.All of those basics are set, so hotels just get to play around with what works, making business, dare we say, fun again! And tapping into the crazy potential to change the way we manage hotels in a big way. Every single time we improve the process of managing hotels, you know who wins? The guests. When guests win, we all win.
commercial

SnapShot and Hotech Partner to Provide Hotels Across Turkey with an Advanced Analytics Dashboard

SnapShot GmbH 23 March 2017
Under this partnership, Hotech's AmonRa PMS and Otello Hospitality ERP users, in total 1200+ hotels, will now have access to SnapShot Analytics, a powerful tool that allows hotels of any size to interpret their performance by combining data from PMS, RMS, CRM, reputation aggregators, social media, website statistics and more into one simple to use dashboard."Being able to analyze and understand PMS data is crucial to any hotel's success. We are excited to add Hotech's data to our SnapShot Analytics dashboard so that hotels across Turkey can not only understand this data, but also compare it to other key performance indicators," said David Turnbull, co-founder of SnapShot. "This partnership allows Hotech's clients to understand and act upon their data to ultimately improve the guest experience."Since the Hotech was founded, the company has developed comprehensive software solutions for hotels in Turkey, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Turkmenistan and Macedonia. Further expansion to countries across Europe and the Middle East is planned, notably to Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland and Egypt."Besides adding a powerful tool to our wide solution range, we are also very pleased to cooperate with a new global partner, SnapShot. This cooperation will provide us with more strength to continue on our mission to maximize clients' revenue as well as add more solutions in order to ease their success," said Hamdullah Turgut, founder and CTO of Hotech.PMS companies can find out more about SnapShot here.
commercial

The Hotel Technology Revolution We've All Been Waiting For

SnapShot GmbH 24 February 2017
Ask hoteliers about their biggest pain points, and technology integration will invariably be among them. Hotels require a complex array of software and data sets to operate, and most of them still operate in silos. This makes data inaccessible and difficult to analyze.The hospitality industry is in need of a technology ecosystem: one hub where all hotel data is centralized, structured, and connected. The SnapShot Marketplace is exactly that. It is where hotels and great technology meet.What is the Snapshot Marketplace?With one log-in + one navigation + all data, the Marketplace offers hotels one central location to manage and customize their technology. With the look of an app store and an easy-to-navigate platform, the SnapShot Marketplace allows hotels to pick and choose the applications that they need to effectively run their business, as well as test out new applications and share data from any application to hotel staffers via Fabric, SnapShot's very own hotel messaging tool. And all of the property data is already there and ready to use. With it, hotels can customize their entire software stack, integrating all the moving pieces and making the data work for them.What does this mean for hotels?A technology revolution. Hotels are able to integrate all of their data. Everything. Then they are able put it to maximum use.The ramifications of a technology ecosystem of this caliber are massive. Rather than cobbling together fixes and integrating a few technologies, hotels will officially have access to true data integration in which all the major systems can actually work together. This opens the door to superior predictive intelligence, the foundation of personalized guest communication. It offers revenue management insight based on better data. It will drive more profitable bookings, as hotels are able to more accurately evaluate where their highest value and highest volume business is originating.With Fabric, teams will be empowered by the data now at their disposal. Aligning teams--group sales, reservations, F&B, marketing, and so forth--begins with giving them access to the same high-level, holistic data, as well as empowering them with custom, automated alerts and tasks that can be sent to specific people or teams. When an entire hotel can communicate about that data with ease and from anywhere, these teams become a part of the same, hyper-productive ecosystem.Above all, hotels will have access to exactly the tools they need to create better pricing strategies, better marketing campaigns, and better guest communication because each hotel is able to customize its applications to fit its exact needs.What does it mean for hotel technology as we know it?The Snapshot Marketplace includes a developer portal with full API documentation. Any hotel technology company or freelance developer can build apps off of Snapshot's data. The goal was to remove the burden of building integrations so that hotel technology companies and developers could focus on building great technology, not getting access to data. This accessibility also means that if a hotel doesn't see the exact application that it needs, it can easily build a custom app (either in-house or commissioned by a third-party developer). In fact, several companies already have new applications in development for the Marketplace.The hospitality industry has long been in need of a data solution that connects instead of divides, a technology solution that works together for the greater good of the hotels that depend on it. Snapshot Marketplace is the solution.To learn more about the Snapshot Marketplace and how it is revolutionizing the hospitality industry, visit https://www.snapshot.travel, or to see it live, book a demo with us at ITB.
Article by David Turnbull

Why Hotel & Travel Tech Needs More Entre- & Intra-preneurs

SnapShot GmbH 1 February 2017
Travel is big business. In fact, it is one of the biggest businesses around. In the US alone, travel accounts for over 10% of the country's GDP (World Travel & Tourism Council). But it is a hard business for tech companies, and infamously a very non-friendly market for startups.As we all know, innovation comes from entrepreneurs who are crazy enough to challenge the status quo and build something new and exciting. Few have succeeded in changing things. Airbnb bypassed the entire hospitality industry and created a major ecosystem of alternative short-term rentals. And while Uber isn't the first thing one would consider when one looks at the travel industry, they too have gone out to create a whole new ecosystem essentially by bypassing the existing companies.One could argue that the reason these startups came and stole so much market share is because existing industry leaders focused more on what they had, and lost the opportunity to innovate.Let's take an example that is close to home. TripAdvisor did exactly what hotels didn't feel comfortable doing, making reviews open to everyone. They now exert so much power that even the best hotels need to remain sharp to ensure they keep delivering great service. What they've done for the hotel industry is just a little less than a conduct a revolution. TripAdvisor has managed to change how hotels operate to the point where the guest once again is king.However, they started as a small team with a polarizing idea and the odds weren't really in their favor.When the OTAs came along, way before anybody believed it could be done, they essentially did what many hotels didn't want to do - invested in new technology and attitudes towards the storage and management of valuable data (inventory, pricing, digital assets and consumer behavior). The result is that they've redirected hotel distribution from a game owned and controlled mostly by hotel chains and travel agents.The point is, hotel and travel technology needs operators and technologists who are ready to promote change -people who will dream big, challenge the status quo and do what existing companies won't do, because most hotel and travel technology companies are so busy doing what they do (operate), that they haven't the time or focus inventing the future.And yet rather than embrace the vision of the few hospitality entrepreneurs around, as an industry we tend to be overly cautious, even suspicious of new entrants and new categories within hotel tech, leaving a tiny percentage of "early adopters" to assume this risk and quick to judge when solutions fail or take longer than planned to realize.In some respects, it's understandable. The lifeblood of any new hotel technology company is acquiring the hotel's data and this requires integrations, typically with a hotel's property management system (PMS). For hotels, this is a costly and time consuming process, even if the product they are buying has the necessary integration and they the hotel are sat in the correct version of the PMS. For the PMS companies, this also becomes a significant bottleneck as supplier after supplier requests their own unique data and integration request.The result is we are an especially hard industry to innovate in, due to the fragmentation and on-premise nature of most systems and lack of investment in up-to-date data formats and delivery methodologies. Systems that are hosted in the basement of the hotel might be perceived as safe, but they provide no value in an industry that is rolling (slowly) towards entry into the data economy.But that is exactly the point.The next big thing in hotel and travel technology "could" be artificial intelligence. It "could" be connected devices or sensors & beacons that make hotel services and experiences more intuitive. It could also be none of those.Some have put forward the idea of hotels being a sort of local service hub in addition to renting rooms. Others are talking about embedding other travel services into guest stays.There are simply hundreds of ways that the hotel and travel industry can evolve.I can't predict that future, but what I know for sure is that it will take innovative entrepreneurs and hotel operators establishing in-house R&D teams, who are ready to take risks in order to evolve an age old and beloved industry into for the next generations.What all these visionaries will need is access to data. The less friction there is to exchange data, the faster and easier it will be to integrate systems and increase the potential for innovation.As hoteliers and hotel tech companies, it is our duty to help the industry move forward. Hotel and travel technology companies understandably want to protect their revenue. Building closed systems with a high barrier to (data) entry might be a wise short-term business solution, but it is also the safest way to becoming irrelevant. The investment to shift from the basement to the cloud, might be daunting for smaller companies who make a stable living on these solutions. But simply put, the time is running out for operators who fail to invest.The answer obviously isn't to go and build something yourself, however as a hotel operator, you must start to challenge your vendors and decide is my data sufficiently accessible to permit future innovation.However hotels can't sit back and wait for the entrepreneurs. The same mindset, as intrapreneur, has to sit within the hotel operation, where either formal or pseudo R&D teams need to experiment with different technologies (once the data freedom has been achieved).With access to the data, could a data scientist at a nearby university build for your hotel, a customized predictive pricing tool. Or could A/B test 2 or 3 different mobile check-in apps before deciding which vendor gets your business.In my opinion, we're on the verge of significant revolution in how hotels value what is their "brand" on what technology is needed to create unique guest facing products and experiences. As search changes, mobile computing takes over and cloud-based, data accessible systems are a standard rather than the outlier. With every major shift in technology comes a major shifts in industry. This time however, the technology empowers the consumer, not the business.
Article by Margaret Ady

No More Spaghetti: Where Hotel Technology Must Go in 2017

SnapShot GmbH 13 January 2017
A fly on the wall of a conversation about hotels and technology will almost invariably hear the word silos. How are technology silos holding us back, for instance? Data silos are a barrier in any organization, but this term doesn't adequately convey the true mess that the hospitality finds itself in. The problem is that silos suggest order. Some logical grouping of like things. But this is hardly what we have in hospitality anymore.Enter, Exhibit A! The Spaghetti Chart!The spaghetti chart illustrates the reality of the situation. The PMS continues to be at the core, but channel management, revenue management, reservations software, CRMs, mobile technology, and the multitude of other tech pieces that come together to offer a whole administrative and guest experience swirl around the PMS haphazardly.Hoteliers struggle just in managing the technology. Making good sense of highly valuable data buried deep in the spaghetti is virtually impossible.And yet, a projection for 2017 is that hotels will begin interpreting their data usefully; it is the "ultimate intelligence," according to Skift. It really is. However, calls like this for hotels to focus on data science in order to do better at understanding the wealth of available information sometimes overlook an important step. Data organization must come first, and data organization begins with technology integration. Integration is often thought of as the merger of two systems; however, in the case of hotels, it must be considered as a process of creating, as the dictionary definition goes, "an integral whole."So this year, rather than skipping ahead to pie in the sky data interpretation--though this is certainly the ultimate goal--first we have to consider the framework that allows data to be understood. That framework looks like a platform that brings the spaghetti into one well-organized strand of information that allows all the information to be understood within the context of the greater whole. A technology ecosystem, an integral whole.An ecosystem such as this has one point of entry rather than 20 different log-ins. It is a place where hoteliers can more easily make sense of key data that influences revenue management decisions, key distribution strategies, and customer relationship information because the ecosystem gives it context and make it instantly more usable.The last several years have seen a lot of new ideas--some of them brilliant--around hotel technology. Guest services technology such as smart room keys and electronic in-room concierge services. Screen casting apps, room selection technology, and smartphone apps that facilitate reservations. Mobile technology that allows hotel staff to better communicate. There are hundreds I could list here. Sometimes these technologies are built into an existing technology, such as a PMS, and sometimes they integrate with one. There is a risk that all of these added technologies take us further away from being able to truly serve the guest unless we harness the ability to integrate properly. Integration is the path to a strong foundation--one strand rather than a mess of spaghetti--and once we have achieved a strong foundation, we can make sense of the data that then allows us to better serve guests.
Article by Margaret Ady

2017 Predictions: Emerging Trends in Hospitality & Technology

SnapShot GmbH 5 January 2017
Did you know that "complexify" is a word? It means, not surprisingly, to make something more complicated. As a big believer in the value of big data, it's hard to say this, but thus far it seems that data has mostly served to complexify hospitality. CRM data, PMS data, review data, guest acquisition data, marketing analytics... these moving pieces are a bit like a solar system without a sun to anchor them. They float around serving little purpose rather than working in unison toward a common goal. To give data some gravitational pull, we must de-complexify it (this one may not really be a word, but you get the drift). As we move through 2017, almost every trend that surrounds hospitality and technology will revolve around making data more accessible, integrated, and useful. Here are five ways we believe big data will evolve in 2017 to better serve the hospitality industry so that the industry can better serve guests.From Silos to Full IntegrationThe first step toward making data more usable is integration. With so many different softwares built to serve different purposes, the hospitality industry is stuck with data silos. This leaves hoteliers struggling to simply manage the data, much less make meaning of it.Take guest acquisition costs. This is just one essential data point among many that should inform sales and marketing decisions. Tnooz's Sean O'Neill offers an apt metaphor for trying to sort out guest acquisition costs, saying that "at any given moment, you may not know what your tax cost for living in a particular place is. You usually have to pull information from multiple sources to calculate it."[i] With so many points of distribution that have variable fees, it is still highly improbable that any hotelier has an adequate system for determining the true cost. Without this information, informed decisions are out of reach.This idea applies to the whole of data. Most in the hospitality industry are scrambling to make sense of silos of data; however, if it is properly integrated into dynamic dashboards, apps and so on, it becomes instantly more usable. This technology exists, but it will get smarter (i.e., more useable) and, as a result, will see more widespread adoption. Those that adopt will find they have a competitive edge in the speed and accuracy of analysis as well as decision-making.Predictive IntelligenceIn his critique of big data Colin Nagy notes, "Data should be in service to the human touch, and allow the front line to over-deliver consistently. The fewer moving parts to make this happen, the better. Because let's face it, complexity often means lack of adoption and sometimes trying to pop a figurative wheelie fails miserably (and wastes money)."[ii] We couldn't agree more.Integration is the first step to reducing complexity but that needs to be followed by strategies that are in service to guests. To this end, strides in predictive intelligence will take bits of information like geography, age, travel patterns, etc. and send communication specifically designed to reach the right guest at the right time. The best use of data is the one that effectively helps you understand the guest. Fortunately, this also benefits the guest in multiple ways, as "with less choice but more relevant choice, shoppers have an improved booking experience."[iii]Big Revenue ManagementThe only thing as important as guest service is making sure that this service makes money. While growth in the volume of travelers isn't anticipated this year, growth in spend among those who are traveling is expected. This is a big opportunity. As the industry moves from a revenue model based on an individual room to a model based on the value of the guest, data about guests and about other forces outside of a property's control--weather, events, competitor rates, etc.--must be integrated for maximum revenue management opportunities. Thus far, the hospitality industry has relied "solely upon property management systems (PMS) and central reservations systems (CRS) to set business rules, yet these tech platforms fail to leverage a growing number of data sources required to manage increasingly volatile demand in most hotel markets."[iv] Recognition of this fact is the first step toward addressing it. Now big data will follow with the tools to make revenue management more effective by helping hotels integrate internal and external data.Chat, Bots, and Better CommunicationIn 2016, the industry lost its collective mind over chat and bots. In 2017, this trend will evolve beyond simply consumer-facing bots that help travelers during the booking process. Internal communication, file and data sharing, and more will be done on chat, improving the way hotels communicate and run their businesses. In fact, this form of communication will be the glue that ties all hotel software together, drastically improving internal communication and data accessibility.Along with these chat tools will be bots. I'm not sure if it sounds too much like robots or it's just intimidating, but the (insanely useful) idea of bots seems to send many within the hospitality industry running. If you fall into this category, just have a look at Slack's very warm and fuzzy assortment of bots that make simple requests so much easier to execute.It's hard to be intimidated by Polly the poll bot, right? Right now, bots mostly improve internal communication or help execute on some basic customer service requests through FB Messenger and WhatsApp. In the next year, expect wider adoption of bots in the industry to improve both guest communication and staff communication, both of which can improve the guest experience tremendously.Up With MobilityMobile is everything this year. I could flood you with statistics on mobile usage, but I'm guessing you understand by now that not only do consumers spend more time on mobile than on desktop, they are also researching and booking on mobile. They carry around their devices while they're on the road and in their room and in the restaurant and at the bar. And like it or not, mobile communication is, in many ways, faster and more effective from an operational standpoint. When it comes to big data, going real-time and mobile is essential to ensuring that multiple people on a property have the same access to the same high-level data at the same time for informed guest service and the best strategic thinking.ConclusionThis is the year when we will finally see data start to become more manageable and, as a result, we will begin to see a greater ability to customize the data to serve specific purposes. The hospitality industry has only just begun to understand the scope of what is available to them--to harness the data if you will--and the savvy next step is to begin to do valuable things with it. This "doing valuable things" will become easier as our industry works to de-complexify big data in 2017.____________[i] Kalibri Labs Points Hotels Toward the True Cost of Guest Acquisition. Tnooz. June 2016.[ii] Nagy, Colin. Why Simple In Travel Can Be So Much Better Than Big Data. Skift. June 2016.[iii] The Future of Personalized Marketing in Travel. Boxever + Skift. 2014.[iv] Staying Ahead of the Curve: A Tech Checklist for Hotel Revenue Managers. Skift. June 2016.

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