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ALICE to Showcase Their PMS Integrated Products and Speak About the Future of Connected Hotel Operations at Maestro User Conference

ALICE 20 April 2018
ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations platform, will be showcasing its complete suite of hotel management and guest engagement products at the Maestro User Conference, April 23-26. Click here to schedule a meeting with our team.ALICE integrates directly with Maestro PMS (as well as most other Property Management Systems). The integration between ALICE and Maestro gives hotels a holistic view to the guest journey -- from booking to post-stay. By combining the booking and billing information collected by Maestro and guest preference and request history recorded by ALICE, hoteliers have actionable data to improve guest service.At the conference, ALICE's Co-Founder and President, Alex Shashou, will be giving a presentation on the "Future of Connected Hotel Guest Experience Management." The presentation, on Thursday, April 26 from 10:40 am-12:00 pm, will dive deep into how hotels can learn from connected industries to better their own guest experience and compete in today's digital service age."We are thrilled to be speaking and exhibiting ALICE at the Maestro User Conference," says ALICE's Senior Sales Executive Leigh Sansone. "We understand that Maestro users place a high value on increasing their business productivity, so we are excited to show them how easy ALICE integrates with Maestro PMS to improve their hotel's operations and guest satisfaction."ALICE joins all staff departments onto a single operations platform to streamline staff operations and enhance the guest experience. ALICE's suite of products include concierge task management software, housekeeping and maintenance software, and a guest app and text messaging solution. ALICE partners with independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies, and recently acquired concierge technology provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Maestro and ALICE integrations work seamlessly with your reservation information. If you're looking to improve your hotel's operations and streamline staff communication to increase guest satisfaction, stop by the ALICE table and see a live presentation of our technology. Alternatively, hoteliers interested can book a meeting in advance, for a personalized demo of ALICE.

Woodside Hotel Group is California Dreaming with ALICE to Standardize Operations And Communication Across Their Portfolio

ALICE 17 April 2018
ALICE has been selected by multi-generational owned luxury properties, The Woodside Hotel Group, to enhance their internal communication, concierge operations, and guest engagement, across seven of their ten stunning properties in Northern California. ALICE is the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, connecting every department of the hotel with one platform for all staff communication and guest requests. ALICE recently acquired concierge software provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Before ALICE, the Woodside Hotel Group used various methods of communication and task delegation, including pre-shift stand up meetings, spreadsheets, and radios to communicate internally and entrust each task had been completed. Wanting to standardize the group hotel operations and communication, Adam Knight, Vice President of Operations, acknowledges the Woodside Hotel Group was looking for "a single platform to manage guest engagement and employee work flow that was user friendly and easily plugged into each environment."Immediately, hotels such as Bodega Bay Lodge, Napa Valley Lodge, and Indian Springs saw the benefits of ALICE to help implement concierge duties for when a concierge is not present on site. With ALICE's logbooks, action items such as itinerary creation, lost and found inquiries, package management, and special amenity requests are now easily managed for the entire team to execute.Priding themselves on providing personalized and sincere customer service for their guests, the Stanford Park Hotel and Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa use ALICE's guest messaging tools to communicate with their guests. ALICE's automated messaging functionality makes it easy for hotels, such as those within the Woodside Hotel Group portfolio, to quickly send text messages before, and during a stay, and after their guests check out.Prior to ALICE, Woodside had various systems in place to keep track of hotel performance, which meant aggregating data was labor intensive. Now, the Woodside can seamlessly communicate data-driven results to the wider team. By having hard data at their fingertips, senior management can pinpoint areas of improvement and set key performance indicators against different metrics."We are able to affirm that our speed of service score has increased nearly 18% since introducing the ALICE platform," Knight emphasizes. "Our associates get up to the minute, relevant information that makes it easier and more efficient to do their jobs and in turn, provide a higher level of guest service."

Hospitality Technology Specialist Custodio Barreiros Joins ALICE as Company Officially Expands into Europe

ALICE 12 April 2018
ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, welcomes Custodio Barreiros as Director of Enterprise of Europe to enlarge ALICE's footprint internationally.Custodio joins ALICE after the company's acquisition of concierge technology GoConcierge. The increased traction in recent months has resulted in a tripling in the size of its salesforce across North America and Europe. Thousands of hotels around the world have chosen ALICE for the transformative effect joining all hotel staff departments onto a single platform has for improved task management and employee communication. ALICE's guest engagement toolset is also helping its clients deliver exceptional service with cutting-edge innovations like guest-to-staff texting.Custodio joins ALICE from Amadeus, where he managed an impressive roster of hotel groups, including IHG Europe, Jumeirah Group, Maybourne Hotel Group, The Dorchester Collection, plus various other properties across Europe, Middle East, Africa, and India. This experience gave Custodio a deep appreciation for the power of technology to help streamline hotel operations and elevate the guest experience.With more than two decades of hospitality experience, Custodio brings a wealth of industry knowledge and key connections. "I'm excited to be at the threshold of ALICE's expansion into Europe," Custodio highlights. "I'm looking forward to leveraging my relationships within the European hotelier community to not only help ALICE grow, but to help our clients grow with ALICE as well."Growing up in a family of hoteliers, hospitality has always been an essential ethos for Custodio. During his six-year tenure at Grange Hotels, Custodio executed numerous business development activities, which focused on building long-term relationships with clients and developing successful brand standards. He has also held senior positions in sales, responsible for driving sales and achieving revenue for major hotels such as the DoubleTree by Hilton London, New Connaught Rooms and InterContinental Hotel Group."Custodio deep expertise in hospitality technology sales and hotel service optimization makes him an ideal fit for the ALICE team," said ALICE's Head of Business Development, Jessica Kramer. "The expansion into Europe is a critical market for ALICE and Custodio will be able to elevate our profile in the boutique hotel market immensely."A graduate from University of Westminster, where he received a Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages, Custodio is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. In his spare time he enjoys motorbiking across the English countryside near his home in Andover, Hampshire, UK.Custodio will be joining Kramer at HITEC Amsterdam this week, where he is eager to introduce ALICE's vision of connected hotel operations to Europe's hospitality leaders. If you're looking to improve your hotel's operations and streamline staff communication to increase guest satisfaction, stop by Stand 207 to meet Custodio and see a live presentation of our technology. Alternatively, hoteliers interested can book a meeting in advance, for a personalised demo of ALICE.

ALICE to Attend HITEC Amsterdam to Introduce its Suite of Guest Messaging, Staff Operations, and Concierge Technology Products to the European Market

ALICE 10 April 2018
New York, NY -- ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations platform, is officially launching in Europe and will be exhibiting its complete suite of hotel management and guest engagement products at this year's HITEC Amsterdam, April 11-13, at Stand 207. Click here to schedule a meeting with our team.ALICE joins all staff departments onto a single operations platform to streamline staff operations and enhance the guest experience. ALICE's suite of products include concierge task management software, housekeeping and maintenance software, and a guest app and SMS messaging solution. ALICE partners with independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies, and recently acquired concierge technology provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Before the company's official European debut, ALICE had been building an enthusiastic following amongst the region's hoteliers and ownership groups looking to streamline their staff operations and elevate their guest service.ALICE cuts down on paper and "eliminates detective work" at Hotel Des Trois Couronnes, a Leading Hotel in the heart of Europe. Staff at this Swiss hotel are thrilled that ALICE has replaced the piles of paper previously used for lost and found, package management, registration cards, shift handovers, concierge notes, messages to housekeeping, and so much more. Management is just as excited, now that they have data on guest requests and staff productivity.When WhatsApp messages and emails became insufficient to keep Con Questa's growing concierge services team organised, ALICE's concierge software came to the rescue. Con Questa selected ALICE's concierge software to keep their growing team organised and aligned to better serve their high-end clients. ALICE helps Con Questa to facilitate short- and long-term planning, create client profiles, and keep a log of client activity and preferences that is accessible to any team member.Before ALICE, the Brooklands Hotel in Surrey was using multiple communications tools to align staff cross-property. By centralising staff communication all in one place with ALICE, the hotel achieves "the highest standards of personalised service, delivered seamlessly" to their guests.Custodio Barreiros, Director of Enterprise, Europe, and Jessica Kramer, ALICE's Head of Business Development, will be representing ALICE at HITEC Amsterdam this week, and are eager to introduce ALICE's vision of connected hotel operations to Europe's hospitality leaders, "ALICE has gained impressive traction in the industry in North America, working with many of the world's leading hotel brands, including Two Roads Hospitality, SIXTY Hotels, NYLO Hotels, and Leading Hotels of the World," Kramer emphasizes. "We are excited to give all those in attendance at HITEC a first hand experience of ALICE's best-in-class products."If you're looking to improve your hotel's operations and streamline staff communication to increase guest satisfaction, stop by Stand 207 to meet the ALICE team and see a live presentation of our technology. Alternatively, hoteliers interested can book a meeting in advance, for a personalised demo of ALICE.

Concierge at your Fingertips: ALICE Partnered with Forbes Travel Guide to Bring First Text Messaging-Powered Concierge Service to the Forbes Luxury Summit

ALICE 5 April 2018
ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations platform, partnered with Forbes Travel Guide during their annual Luxury Summit, to create the event's first text messaging-powered concierge service. By offering the Summit's hundreds of attendees concierge service at the push of a button, ALICE demonstrated just how convenient and compelling text messaging with hotel staff is as a way to deliver a superior guest experience.ALICE attended the Luxury Summit to celebrate its designation as the Forbes Travel Guide's Official Staff Operations Technology Provider for 2018. Thousands of hotels across the country and around the world use ALICE to improve guest communication and staff operations, and, in the case of ALICE's Forbes hotel partners, ensure the rigorous 900-point Forbes property checklist is met. In the five years since the company's inception, ALICE has taken the hospitality industry by storm. ALICE's vision of a single, unified hospitality operations platform that bridges communication and data silos between departments is helping the company's hotel partners deliver consistently exceptional service and guest experiences.ALICE was the perfect text messaging technology for the Luxury Summit, as it allowed the tech-savvy, but very busy crowd of hotel general managers, owners, and managing directors to request concierge-style services and information in between a packed schedule of events. ALICE's Customer Success Specialist and former concierge, Valerie Coello, who was previously concierge at the Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York City, was there for every attendee's beck and call. Coello received text requests from 24% of attendees, which included requests for dinner and spa reservations, event logistics and information, confirming RSVPs, and even a very last-minute tux fitting.The 450 text conversations Coello exchanged during the Forbes event reveal the extent to which technology can help facilitate hospitality. Coello emphasizes that ALICE's messaging service, which is intended to connect hotel staff with guests and vice versa, is, at its core, a way to connect people with people. "With the rise of chatbots, I think people were pleasantly surprised to receive real-time information from a real-life person and not just get an automated, impersonal response," says Coello about attendee reception to the service. "I was able to personally tailor the message with the information provided, resulting in the attendees feeling like their needs had been met."Today, giving your guests a convenient way to get in touch with hotel staff and concierges has become table stakes for luxury brands, and hoteliers are increasingly recognizing that text messaging needs to be part of the mix. "Guests' expectations are evolving and we're constantly looking at ways to communicate with our guests in the way that is most comfortable to them," General Manager for Le Parker Meridien, Sylvie Fayolle, emphasizes. "We use ALICE for pre-arrival, to say, 'Hey, your room is ready, we're ready for you to come by the front desk to pick up your keys.' We're also continuing this interaction with them throughout the day. That has really enhanced the communication we have with our guests." Hotels using ALICE's Guest Messaging are also finding consistent communication pre-, during- and post-stay heightens guest satisfaction and leads to increased brand loyalty.Beyond facilitating concierge service and front desk requests, texting can be an effective channel to engage with guests in other ways, such as helping to build post-stay relationships and expedite lost and found requests. On most occasions, for example, lost and found inquiries happen after a guest leaves the hotel, clouding the memory of an otherwise possibly wonderful stay. Texting allows direct interaction between guests and hotel operators, meaning the request can be both immediate and effective. Once the item has been found, the hotel can quickly next advise next steps for the guest to secure their items back. "ALICE gives us one centralized place for all guest messaging and guest request management, which has made our lives at the front desk a lot easier," said Stella Garces, Director of Rooms at The Montauk Beach House. "Even text messaging, which is intended for guests, has made things better at the front desk, allowing us to provide personalized service quickly. It's evident how much our guests appreciate these new tools... ."Head here to learn more about how ALICE Guest Messaging can improve your guest experience.

Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Hits the Operations Efficiency Jackpot When Using ALICE

ALICE 3 April 2018
New York, NY -- Located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, the Plaza Hotel & Casino has selected ALICE's housekeeping and maintenance software, ALICE Staff, to sync together their interdepartmental communication to increase operations efficiencies and employee accountability. ALICE is the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, connecting every department of the hotel with one platform for all staff communication and guest requests. ALICE recently acquired concierge software provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Just steps away from the popular Fremont Street Experience, the Plaza Hotel & Casino has more than 1,000 rooms and suites, an 80,000 sq. ft. casino, multiple restaurants, its own wedding chapel, and a variety of outdoor amenities. Before ALICE, the extensive property was using a multitude of tools to assign work across large departments, including housekeeping, front desk, and engineering. The vast size of teams meant that miscommunication inevitably happened."Previously, Housekeeping and Engineering relied on guest issues being communicated through a variety of means, including verbal guest requests, emails, work cell phones, and direct communication from front desk staff," said Assistant Executive Housekeeper Elaine Zerr. "The real-time status of a request couldn't be efficiently tracked, and as a result, the guest would be inconvenienced and upset."Now with ALICE, the hotel can hold team members accountable on a day-to-day basis. Each department gets easy access to internal work orders and guest requests, sees who is responsible for the specific task, and then gets real-time status updates through to completion. The system is also customized to meet the specific operations requirements of the hotel."We now have the ability to have our teams and departments be accountable to the operations of the hotel," Syrona Jones, Director of Housekeeping, emphasizes. "The team can communicate with each other more efficiently, issues are addressed faster, and the hotel can identify maintenance trends and business insights - all thanks to the ALICE system."About the Plaza Hotel & CasinoLocated in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, the Plaza Hotel & Casino combines a vintage Rat Pack attitude with modern styling and personal customer service for the ultimate Vegas experience. First opened in 1971 and built on the site of the original Las Vegas railroad depot, the Plaza has 1,003 renovated rooms and suites, a classic Vegas showroom, downtown's only bingo hall and 30,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space. Guests enjoy a variety of dining options led by the Rat Pack-styled Oscar's steakhouse in the hotel's iconic glass dome overlooking the Fremont Street Experience. Hundreds of slot machines, from the latest games to traditional coin machines, and nearly two dozen table games comprise an 80,000-square-foot casino floor, which is also home to downtown's largest race and sports book. A fully renovated rooftop pool and recreation deck, complete with private cabanas, hot tub, food truck, tennis court and dedicated Pickleball courts, provide guests with a variety of outdoor amenities. For more information on the multiple award winning Plaza Hotel & Casino, visit www.plazahotelcasino.com.
Article by Alex Shashou

Getting Ready For The GDPR: What Hoteliers Need To Know

ALICE 15 March 2018
IntroductionALICE has been working hard to fully understand the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) and its obligations on us and our customers. We'd like to share what we've learned in order to help hoteliers and anyone else who has to figure out what is going on.1. What's the GDPR and why should I care?In essence, the GDPR was brought into effect to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). Building upon the 1995 Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC), the GDPR was approved by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission on April 14, 2016. After a two-year transition period it will become enforceable across the 28 member states on May 25, 2018.The GDPR gives power back to the consumers by forcing companies to become transparent in how they are collecting, storing, and sharing their customers' personal data information. Although the GDPR applies to any organization or business collecting data on EU citizens, the nature of hotels and the various data holding sources such as OTA bookings and PMS systems escalate the regulation for travel and hospitality industries.As ALICE grows and expands to new markets, we are complying with the GDPR to ensure our privacy settings are being adequately integrated, allowing our partners to adapt at every stage of the life cycle of customer personal information data.2. Which hotel staff need to know about the GDPR?Decision makers and key people in EU and EEA-based hotels should be aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. This would include at least the following roles, if they exist: General Manager, Head of Marketing, and the Revenue Manager. Each of these roles deals with a significant amount customer and employee data. These leaders should read this FAQ and look further into how to comply within the areas they are presiding over.3. What kind of information should a hotel be cautious with?All data about persons in the EU are covered under the GDPR. This includes both guests and employees. Hotels should document what personal data they hold, where it came from and with whom it is shared. Hotels may need to organise an information audit."Personal data" is any data about an identifiable person. A person can be identified by their name, phone number, email address, reservation number, IP address, or any information that allows them to be uniquely identified.The GDPR grants extra protections for "sensitive data." This includes personal data that reveals any of the following:trade union membership, which may be revealed by event attendancebiometrics for the purpose of uniquely identifying someone, such as a fingerprint stored for opening doorshealth status, which may be disclosed in guest requestssex life or sexual orientation, which may also be disclosed in some guest requestsThe following are less likely to show up in hotel systems, but should still be understood to be sensitive in case they do show up:genetic dataracial or ethnic originpolitical opinionsreligious or philosophical beliefsAll of the above types of sensitive data can only be handled with explicit consent. If this kind of data is collected incidentally, it should be removed immediately to avoid undertaking new obligations for the protection of that data.4. How does GDPR affect the software hotels can use?All rules that hotels must follow also apply to the software they use. If a hotel uses a product to process its data, that product must adhere to all the same obligations that the hotelier has. Every single vendor who receives personal data from a hotel must share a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) with the hotelier to confirm that the vendor is compliant with the rules of the GDPR. The DPA must dictate the purposes for which the processor is processing the data.If a hotel is using a software given to it by its brand or flag, it may not be in complete control of how the gathered information will be used. In that case, as joint controllers of the data, the hotel and its brand would need to draw up a contract that explicitly states their relationship with regards to managing data. Both parties would need to communicate the relationship to both guests and employees.5. Can EU hotels use software vendors or software on servers based outside the EU?Yes, but there are limits to how data can be transferred outside of the EU/EEA. Most major cloud service providers and many other companies, such as ALICE, have systems in place to address these rules. To confirm that a cloud service is compliant with the GDPR, hoteliers need to make sure:They have a Data Processing Agreement in place. These agreements are required for all data processors, not just international ones (GDPR Art.28[3]).There is a lawful basis for transfering the data (GDPR Rec.39, 40, 41; GDPR Art.6[1]), which can be through the service provider's membership in the Privacy Shield, signed standard contractual clauses, or other mechanisms allowed under the GDPR. Most companies will be relying on the GDPR's standard contractual clauses.The transfer is mentioned in the hotel's privacy policy and the purpose of the transfer is explained.6. What do hotels need to do about their vendors?For each vendor that processes guests' personal information, a hotel needs to do the following:Determine the type of data the vendor processes.Determine the purpose for which the processing is happening.Obtain a Data Processing Agreement.If the vendor is outside the EU, sign the standard contractual clauses (usually part of the Data Processing Agreement mentioned above), or confirm that the vendor is a member of the Privacy Shield.Mention the vendor in the hotel's privacy policy, along with the purpose of the vendor and how the data will be used.Confirm that the vendor can handle data rights requests with a SLA under one month (e.g. 25 days).7. How should a hotel communicate privacy notices to guests?You should review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation. You should review how you seek, record, and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes. Refresh existing consents now if they don't meet the GDPR standard.Hoteliers may need to speak with customers at check-in if explicit consent is required for any forms of data collection that require it, such as consent to marketing communications. All loyalty programs need to be examined for similar requirements if data is used in a way that requires consent.8. Do hoteliers or vendors need to encrypt their databases?It depends. The GDPR recommends that companies take steps to protect all personal data, but it does not specify what those steps have to be. Instead, companies are asked to identify the risks to personal data and do what is appropriate for those risks. Encryption is one of many options available to protect data, but it is not specifically required by the GDPR.Article 32 of the GDPR gives the following options, none of which are strict requirements, but which should be considered for their benefits to your guests' data privacy:the pseudonymisation [obscuring the identities] and encryption of personal data;the ability to ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services;the ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident;a process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the processing.9. How can hoteliers make sure they are able to honor requests for data portability, correction, or erasure, a.k.a. "the right to be forgotten"?Customers, employees, or anyone whose personal data is stored at a hotel may request that their data be erased. They can also ask for a copy of all of their data (right to data portability) or for their data to be corrected. There are cases in which this does not need to be honored, for example if there is an ongoing contractual or legal requirement to retain the data. But in most cases, the request will need to be honored. Recital 59 of the GDPR requires these requests be answered within one month. This period can be extended under exceptional circumstances, by requesting for another month.In order to be able to handle these requests in time, hotels need to plan in advance how requests can be honored. Each location where data is stored should be mapped out with a plan on how to address the rights request for data in that location. Each vendor also needs to be vetted to confirm they have a similar plan in place. Vendors should have an SLA that is less than a month (e.g. 25 days), in order to give time for communication between you and the vendor on each end of the process when a request happens.For data portability requests, the law requires the data be given to the customer in a standardized format for transfer to other companies. Since at the moment there is no industry standard for this kind of data to be transferred from a hotel, you must use a generic but easily transferable format, such as text files with headers and comma-separated values.10. How should hotels handle children's data?Within the EU/EEC, a "child" is defined as someone younger than a country-defined age between 13 and 16. For most cases, hotels will not need to rely on children's' or parent's consent to process guest information, since the primary basis for data processing is handling reservations. However, in cases where consent is the basis for data processing, for example, for marketing purposes, children's data needs to be handled with extra care.You should start thinking now about whether you need to put systems in place to verify individuals' ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity. Children's data can only be handled with explicit consent when consent is required.Best practice is to avoid collecting and storing data about children unless it is legally required or absolutely essential for handling a reservation.11. Do hotels need to hire Data Protection Officers (DPOs)?You should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation's structure and governance arrangements, even if you are not formally required to have a DPO. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer, and this designation depends on the volume and sensitivity of the information. At the chain and large group level, a DPO is almost certainly required, but for individual hotels, the law is not yet clear and you should seek guidance from your local counsel as to whether it is required.12. Do hotels outside the EU/EEA have to do anything to comply with the GDPR?According to Article 3 of the GDPR, the regulations cover activity happening within the EU or data processing by organizations based in the EU. When an EU citizen travels outside the EU, their activities outside the EU are no longer protected by the GDPR unless the organization processing the data is based in the EU.However, a booking process that happens between a person in the EU and a hotel outside the EU is considered covered by the GDPR. Data that is collected in the EU during that process is an activity happening within the EU. So hotels outside the EU do collect data that is covered by the GDPR as part of the online reservation process. This data needs to be protected with the appropriate safeguards dictated above.13. What are the consequences for not complying with GDPR?Businesses can have fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or $24.6 million (EUR20 million), whichever is higher for not complying with the GDPR rules.

Anna Geraty is ALICE's New England Ambassador

ALICE 13 March 2018
New York, NY - ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, welcomes Anna Geraty as Senior Sales Executive of New England.Anna joins ALICE at a time of rapid growth for the company, following its $26M Series B funding in August, and the company's acquisition of concierge technology rival GoConcierge the following month.Anna is a hospitality professional who has worked on property for more than 15 years, amassing a deep understanding of hotel operations, revenue management and sales. With a proven track record at the Pyramid Hotel Group since 2006, Anna excelled in a variety of sales and business development positions and was promoted to Area Director of Sales and Marketing in January 2013. She presided over sales, revenue and marketing efforts for multiple locations, including The Envoy Hotel, the Residence Inn Boston Downtown Seaport, the Residence Inn Boston Back Bay-Fenway, and the Residence Inn Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf. Anna was also concurrently overseeing Revere Boston Common in Group Sales, Business Travel and Conference Services and Catering.As the Director of Sales and Marketing for Residence Inn Tudor Wharf in 2012, Anna spearheaded her team in attaining Sales Team of the Year. She was also a Care Cup Winner in the same year for achieving the highest gross operating profit percentage and RevPAR Index. Anna graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Boston College.Anna will succeed Head of Sales Wendy Zapach in championing ALICE's growth in New England, allowing the sales leader to direct her focus to management and strategy for the burgeoning team."New England is an emerging tech hub," says Anna. "While hotels have been slower to acclimate, the tide is certainly changing. Hotels in the region are looking to invest in ways to achieve expedient service that will elevate the guest experience."A resident of Boston all her life, Anna spends her free time by the ocean or running. She finished the Boston Marathon in 2014 to fundraise for the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where she volunteered as Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Group between 2012 to 2015.ALICE is the industry leader in hospitality operations technology. Close to two thousand hotels across the country and around the world have chosen ALICE for the transformative effect joining all hotel staff departments onto a single platform has for improved task management and employee communication. ALICE's guest engagement toolset is also helping its clients deliver exceptional service with cutting-edge innovations like guest-to-staff texting.Head of Sales Wendy Zapach expressed her full confidence in passing on the baton: "Anna is a hotel insider and veteran in New England. I have worked with her personally over the last 12 years and witnessed the growth in her sales & marketing career. As a well-respected, well-known and well-liked hotelier, Anna will be able to open doors and have access to decision-makers from day one."

San Francisco's Hotel Zelos, Part of the Viceroy Hotel Group, Selects ALICE to Increase Operational Efficiency and Enhance the Guest Experience

ALICE 7 March 2018
San Francisco's Hotel Zelos, a Viceroy Hotel, has selected ALICE's suite of hotel technologies to streamline staff operations and enhance the guest experience. Hotel Zelos, which joins sister properties Hotel Zetta and Hotel Zeppelin on the ALICE platform, is using ALICE's concierge software, ALICE Concierge, ALICE's housekeeping and maintenance software, ALICE Staff, and the company's guest text messaging solution, ALICE Guest. ALICE is the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, connecting every department of the hotel with one platform for all staff communication and guest requests. ALICE recently acquired concierge software provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Hotel Zelos, located in San Francisco's historic Pacific Building in the SOMA district, chose ALICE to replace a service optimization system the hotel's management inherited from the hotel's previous owners (Hotel Palomar operated on the same site from 1999 until 2015). Hotel Zelos' General Manager Sietse Nabben was excited to implement ALICE; a few years ago, he played a significant role in the installation of ALICE at one of his previous properties in Marin County. He saw outstanding results not only in guest service feedback and operational efficiency, but also as a cost control system. Nabben had been looking for an operations toolset more dynamic and intuitive than the legacy software he inherited, and based on his previous experience, he knew immediately how easy it would be to train his growing team on ALICE.Using ALICE has made an immediate impact to the hotel's operations. Because there's now a record of all guest requests and internal work orders (which can be easily analyzed by time of day and day of week), management is better able to align staff availability with guest demand, and thus make more data-driven decisions when it comes to scheduling.Hotel Zelos' staff, meanwhile, appreciate the many ways ALICE is improving communication between departments and providing them efficiencies in their work. Tyler Gard, Hotel Zelos' Director of Rooms, says the housekeeping and maintenance teams have really taken to ALICE's photo-taking functionality, which lets users snap a photo of a broken lamp or scuffed carpet, for example, and attach it to a ticket, letting their colleagues know immediately where to look and what tools to bring (obviating a lot of cross-communication and trips back and forth). Photo attachments also come in handy when it comes to cataloging guest lost and found items. Now, when guests call the hotel to ask about a lost item, the front desk agent can satisfy the guest right away. Instead of putting the guest on hold, relaying the inquiry to housekeeping, and hoping for a timely response, the front desk can immediately tell the guest whether or not the item has been found, quickly allaying any anxiety.ALICE is also helping Hotel Zelos better manage the many guest packages the hotel receives daily. Like many city-center hotels, Hotel Zelos can't rely on a loading dock area to process and store packages, and so the sooner the front desk staff can log packages and remove them from the lobby, the better. ALICE's package management tool helps Hotel Zelos record, maintain, and easily access a log of incoming and outgoing packages, saving the front desk team time they can now spend with their guests."For me, ALICE is the entire package," says Nabben. "It's not just staff tickets, it's also lost and found, it's also packages, it's also texting," he enthuses. Indeed, the hotel is successfully engaging guests with ALICE's guest messaging technology, which helps staff build a rapport with their guests from the moment of booking. "Texting is a great way to engage with guests in a way many of us now communicate. We're seeing that by sending a simple, personalized text before the guest arrives, we can positively impact guest satisfaction and help drive guest loyalty," Nabben adds.And, just as Nabben predicted, training his staff to use ALICE has been easier than any legacy hospitality solution he and his team have used previously: "There's a lot of turnover in our industry, so it's essential we use tools that are easy to train and easy to use. The reason why using ALICE is so intuitive for all of our staff is because it's similar in functionality and design to many of the apps we all use already in our daily lives," Nabben explains. "ALICE's innovation is not only that it streamlines hotel operations, but that it does so in a user-friendly way."

Holland's Premier Concierge & Lifestyle Service, Con Questa, Uses Concierge Technology to Keep Them Organized, Aligned, and Continually Delighting Their Clients

ALICE 28 February 2018
Con Questa, Holland's premier concierge & lifestyle service, has selected ALICE's concierge software to keep their growing team organized and aligned.ALICE is the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, used by independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels. ALICE recently acquired concierge software provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Founded in 2006 by a pair of former Les Clefs d'Or concierges, Con Questa only recently expanded from its original founding pair to a team of six. While a technology mix of WhatsApp messages and a shared email inbox was sufficient to coordinate client itineraries and record client preferences for a two-person company, the founders soon realized they would need a more robust solution to support the growing team and client base.Because of the very specific nature of concierge work, Con Questa sought a technology solution that would facilitate both short-term and long-term planning, as well as support the creation of client profiles, where all client activity and preferences could be recorded and instantly accessible to any team member.After scouring the market, Con Questa found their ideal solution in ALICE's concierge technology, ALICE Concierge. ALICE Concierge, which was built under the guidance of some of New York City's leading concierge teams, is purpose-built for concierge work, with features like request tracking, reminders, a vendor database, itineraries and letter confirmation creation and guest/client messaging.ALICE has made a big difference to how Con Questa manages its work and communicates as a team, says Silke van Mourik, one of the company's lifestyle managers. The first thing her team does when they start work in the morning is open ALICE, she says, which gives everyone full visibility to the day's work and the status of pending requests. Not only is she able to see her own to-do list, but she can see what her colleagues are working on as well. This means when she is on vacation, or off-site scoping locations and services for clients, others on her team can help her support her clients in her absence. In addition to appreciating the "shared" nature of the ALICE system, she also values particular functionality of the software like "reminders," which allow her to easily manage client activities, like a week's-long vacation, that require multiple phases of planning and a complex schedule of work."With ALICE, we finally have a tool to both support our growing team, as well as help us in our mission to provide the most personalized, high touch concierge services for our clients as possible," says van Mourik.

ALICE Named Forbes Travel Guide's Official Staff Operations Technology Provider for 2018

ALICE 22 February 2018
With new hotel products and technologies emerging at a dizzying rate, hoteliers need a simple way to learn about the ones that can make meaningful improvements to the guest and staff experience. That's why Forbes Travel Guide introduced their Brand Official Program in 2017, designed to point the world's best hoteliers towards products and services worthy of endorsement. ALICE, the industry's leading Hospitality Operations Platform, was named the Guide's Official Staff Operations Technology Provider for 2018.CEO of Forbes Travel Guide Gerard J. Inzerillo expresses his confidence in the newly-appointed brand official: "We are extremely pleased to select ALICE as the Official Staff Operations Technology of Forbes Travel Guide. It is essential that staff members at a hotel communicate with each other to satisfy many of the 900 standards by which we evaluate a property. ALICE personalizes its product to meet the needs of each property with whom it partners."ALICE has taken the industry by storm in the five years since the company's inception. In an industry eager to bridge communication silos between departments, ALICE's vision of a single, unified Hospitality Operations Platform has been met with great interest by the community, with already over 2,000 hotel partners benefitting from the platform."We are extremely proud to be honored by Forbes Travel Guide," says Alex Shashou, ALICE Co-Founder and President. "We built ALICE with Forbes' rigorous 900-point checklist in mind. With our mission to help hotels deliver consistently excellent service, who better to learn from than Forbes?""ALICE is innovative and trained to the standards that we use to rate a property. It is constantly modifying its technology based on each client it works with, listening to feedback and adapting offerings to meet that client's specific needs and wants," Mica Hill, SVP of Brand Development for Forbes Travel Guide explains. "In the end, we really admire the way ALICE allows a property's team members to communicate effortlessly with each other, which results in a more engaged guest and a better overall guest experience."ALICE will be at the Forbes Travel Guide Luxury Summit in Los Angeles next week to meet with hoteliers looking to learn more.

ALICE Voted a Top Staff Task Management & Collaboration Platform in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

ALICE 20 February 2018
ALICE also took top honors in HotelTechAwards' "Best Concierge Software" category, and was a top-three finisher in this year's award for "Best Place to Work in Hotel Tech.""NO more spreadsheets. Anything that you use a spreadsheet to track, get rid of it and switch to ALICE." - Director of Guest Services, Indiana ALICE's staff task management and collaboration platform, ALICE Staff, garnered rave reviews, with hoteliers recognizing the software's usability, customizability, and exceptional support as just some of the elements that set it apart from the competition."Our staff can finally communicate!" - General Manager, New York One manager, from an independent property in Laguna Beach, explains the transformative effect recording all guest and staff requests in ALICE has for preventing work from being overlooked:"ALICE's staff application is an extremely effective technology solution. It allows our team to submit both guest and staff requests and assign them to different departments such as Housekeeping, Engineering, Guest Services, Food & Beverage, etc. An example would be that a guest is requesting extra towels in their guest room or a team member is requesting that a wall in a meeting room be painted. It ensures that a task will be assigned to a staff member and then completed so that nothing is overlooked. It allows for tracking so that way you can see when the task was assigned and when it was completed. It prevents from having to use a radio or sending an email to have something completed. The great thing is that is it used on a Mobile Device so you can carry around the device and app with you wherever you go."To read this and other reviews of ALICE's staff platform head to Hotel Tech Report.ALICE's staff task management and collaboration platform empowers hoteliers to manage staff work and guest communication across departments with a single system. By joining all departments together (from front office and housekeeping, through to maintenance, valet, and F&B) and bridging the communication and task management silos that challenge traditional hotel operations, ALICE helps staff act as a team to provide consistently excellent service. ALICE further improves the guest experience by connecting staff with hotel guests via an app and/or text messaging tools, giving guests convenient ways to communicate with staff, without burdening staff with more technology to manage."Hotel technology that hotels actually need!" - General Manager, New York ALICE's vision for a unified hospitality operations platform has made waves in the industry. The company, which has raised $40M and partnered with over 2,000 hotels, was also a top finisher in the four other categories in which it fielded products: Concierge Software (category winner), Mobile Apps, Guest Messaging Platforms, and Engineering Software."Great way to enable real-time communication with your team." - General Manager, Miami The HotelTechAwards leveraged real user data - ratings and reviews - to determine the winning products across the twenty-eight categories of hospitality products Hotel Tech Report showcases. Hotel Tech Report creates its "HT score" from a variety of factors, including the number of user reviews submitted and the quality of user ratings across four areas of assessment: likelihood to recommend, return on investment, customer service, and ease of use.To learn more about ALICE's staff task management and collaboration platform and request a demo, visit the ALICE website.For more reviews of ALICE, head to Hotel Tech Report

ALICE Named a "2018 Best Place to Work in Hotel Tech"

ALICE 14 February 2018
ALICE is excited to share it has been named a '2018 Best Place to Work in Hotel Tech' by HotelTechReport, for creating and maintaining a culture that fosters employee satisfaction along with business growth. HTR surveys thousands of hotel tech employees around the world about what it's like inside the operations of the industry's greatest technology companies. Being on this list is truly and honor and a testament to our commitment to our people.Like the industry we serve, hospitality is one of our core values. We continually aim to anticipate needs, build empathy, be generous, and most of all, be genuine. We believe it's important to act with integrity and to build relationships with the people around us. It all starts with our team."ALICE employees have autonomy to work from home when needed because management trusts that they've hired a team who will stop at nothing to become an industry standard in short order." --Hotel Tech Report"ALICE has prioritized scaling the company and protecting its culture as a pillar of its continued growth plan on a go-forward basis. Investments in people and technology to support growth and its culture are more evident than ever. We win when the team wins." --Ian Adelstein, ALICE Head of PeopleALICE has grown from 3 humble founders to a global team of 80+, since its inception in 2013. Our workforce has hubs in NYC, Los Angeles, Latin America, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, and beyond. A goal of 100+ employees in 2018 requires special people to come aboard and contribute. We encourage you to reach out to our People team via the Careers webpage, directly via people@alice-app.com or by visiting HotelTechReport, Linkedin and Glassdoor to learn more about how you fit into our growth plan and apply. Every role is critical to ALICE's success. We hope you find your contribution and opportunities for personal and professional growth equally rewarding!

ALICE Voted Best Concierge Software in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

ALICE 12 February 2018
The HotelTechAwards leveraged real user data - ratings and reviews - to determine the winning products across the twenty-eight categories of hospitality products Hotel Tech Report showcases. Hotel Tech Report creates its "HT score" from a variety of factors, including the number of user reviews submitted and the quality of user ratings across four areas of assessment: likelihood to recommend, return on investment, customer service, and ease of use. ALICE's concierge software garnered rave reviews, with hoteliers recognizing the software's interface design and usability as just some of the elements that set it apart from the competition. Extolled one Assistant General Manager, who uses ALICE not only at the concierge desk, but also across all staff departments:"[ALICE is] a true game-changer for our entire team! For our property size (200 keys, Upper Luxury), ALICE provides everything we need. ALICE is extremely easy to use at all levels of tech proficiency. It has dramatically reduced paperwork and time lost in radio or phone communication while providing accurate tasks and needs from inside and outside clients alike.Its vast capacity for reporting at every level also provides the perfect training tools, not to mention proper monitoring of effectiveness of our associates and the perfect "paper trail" for all transactions.The only thing we don't seem to like about ALICE is that we didn't discover it sooner! It has been a true game-changer for our Housekeeping, Engineering, Room Service, Front Desk and Concierge Departments - just to name a few of the Departments which have benefited the most since its implementation."(To read this and other reviews of ALICE Concierge head to Hotel Tech Report).For ALICE, this win is an auspicious start to a year in which further innovation and development is scheduled for the concierge software. After acquiring leading concierge technology provider, GoConcierge in September 2017, ALICE has embarked on an ambitious technology roadmap for their concierge software."It is very encouraging to win this award, in particular because it was voted on by our customers and people with first-hand experience using ALICE. This year has gotten off to an amazing start and we are very encouraged about our roadmap for the year ahead.We believe that GoConcierge and ALICE coming together and uniting as one team allows us to leverage our vast industry experience and passion for developing the most impactful tools for concierge among other departments. We share a commitment to creating the world's best concierge software and are investing more money and development efforts to achieve this than ever before. With an expanded team, we are now able to deliver enhanced functionality faster than ever and we are gaining insight from our Concierge Advisory Board, made up of ALICE users, on desired features and functionality for delivering service excellence. Proudly, we believe that Together We Are Better! We look forward to welcoming you to ALICE."Alex Shashou, Co-Founder & President and Adam Isrow, EVPALICE's vision for a unified hospitality operations platform has made waves in the industry. The company, which has raised $40M and partnered with over 2,000 hotels, was also a top finisher in the four other categories in which it fielded products: Staff Task Management & Collaboration, Mobile Apps, Guest Messaging Platforms, and Engineering Software.To learn more about ALICE's concierge software and request a demo, visit the ALICE website.For more reviews of ALICE Concierge, head to Hotel Tech Report.

Grupo Posadas Partners with ALICE to Standardize Operations Across Their Portfolio of 147 Properties

ALICE 6 February 2018
Leading hospitality operations platform ALICE has been selected by Grupo Posadas S.A.B. de C.V., the largest hotel operator in Mexico, to power operations for their portfolio of 147 properties. Uniting all eight of Grupo Posadas' hotel brands with a robust technology platform will support and improve standardization of operations across the group and provide for insights from guest request and staff performance data only possible at scale. This partnership with Grupo Posadas' 147 properties is the largest client partnership for ALICE to date - one which Grupo Posadas is committed to increasing to 300 properties by 2020.Partnering with ALICE will enable Grupo Posadas to meet three key management goals:The creation of an Enterprise Business Intelligence Dashboard that will serve as a single dashboard with data inputs and KPIs per department for General Managers and corporate management. Data on guest requests, internal work orders, and employee productivity will drive insights at the corporate, brand, and individual hotel levels.The ability to standardize management: With ALICE, Posadas Corporate will be able to distribute tools and checklists to all General Managers and other hotel department managers to ensure that every property completes certain essential tasks, from Fiesta Care, to the Posadas rooms and public areas maintenance program, to corporate initiatives. Completion of these tasks is essential for brand level consistency and efficiency, as well as to develop management staff under Posadas' culture and values to support its growth.The consolidation of technology systems: Today, guest requests, which come through Grupo Posadas' guest application, Ana, or are entered manually, are tracked in the group's in-house operations software Minutero. Radios are used for dispatching and internal work orders are not tracked to the company's satisfaction. By integrating with Ana, and replacing radios with smart devices that run on the ALICE platform, ALICE will improve efficiency and provide, for the first time, reporting on service times and work across every department.As the only platform available with a guest API and tracking of guest and internal requests, ALICE is uniquely able to help Grupo Posadas consolidate tools, while capturing and reporting on more hotel data. "We built ALICE with the vision of creating efficiencies within a hotel and improving accountability by uniting all staff and all departments with a shared technology. Implementing ALICE at 147 properties and providing Posadas Corporate with a single dashboard for complete visibility into and control of their operations is the pinnacle so far of our platform vision," says ALICE CEO Justin Effron about the new partnership.Enrique Calderon, Vice President of Hotel Operations at Grupo Posadas, highlighted, "This platform is, without a doubt, a great tool that will support us in the management of each of the hotels we operate; from the measurement and assurance of the objectives of the managers and collaborators, as well as the documentation and resolution of requirements of our guests. With this system, we are not only optimizing our processes, but it will also allow us to provide a better service for the benefit of the company and our owners."###About Posadas: Posadas Hotels is Mexico's largest and most important hotel operator, with more than 160 hotels and 25,000 rooms in beach and city destinations across the country. With its varied brand portfolio, including Live Aqua, Grand Fiesta Americana, Fiesta Americana, Fiesta Inn, One Hotels and The Explorean by Fiesta Americana, Posadas enjoys international recognition and respect. Posadas has been listed on the Mexican stock exchange (BMV) since 1992. For more information, visit: www.posadas.com.About ALICE: ALICE 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 http://info.aliceapp.com.ALICE is hiring Spanish-speaking Sales and Implementation specialists to help us expand our presence in Central and South America. Please visit https://info.aliceapp.com/careers to learn more.
Article by Alex Shashou

How Can Hotels Increase Revenue Without Putting More Heads in Beds?

ALICE 5 February 2018
The rise of the sharing economy and the digital revolution are leading to new ways of thinking about what a hotel can be. By leveraging hotel assets, people and services in innovative ways, hotels have unprecedented opportunity to open new revenue streams, improve loyalty, and grow their customer base.In early 2017, AccorHotels celebrated its 50th anniversary by announcing AccorLocal. A program designed to integrate the brand's hotels into their surrounding communities, AccorLocal invites a new way of thinking of what a hotel can be and provides a blueprint to other hotels looking to leverage their properties and services, as well as foster community, in less traditional ways."Ninety-nine percent of what we have done for 50 years has been based on the guy coming from outside of town. A traveler, from a different city, from a different country, which I think is interesting, but not too smart. Because we missed a population which is 100 times greater and better and easier: The guy living next door. The local inhabitants. They live around the hotel, or they go to an office around the hotel, and 90 percent of them never dared coming into the property, because they're fearful that we're going to be asking, 'What's your room number?' They don't need a room, but they may need a service." Sebastien Bazin, Accor CEOAnd it's not only Accor that is moving towards what the brand calls "augmented hospitality." In South London, Bermondsey Square Hotel is offering its services to neighborhood Airbnb hosts and guests. Participants in the SquAIR program - offered within a one mile radius of the hotel - can take advantage of the hotel's concierge, housekeeping, and maintenance services, key management, luggage storage, and a reliable point of contact. Even less formally, the concept of hotel-as-community-hub is familiar to anyone who has spent time in any of the Ace Hotels, which, as Ian Schrager likes to say, "activate" the lobby with its bars that hosts community nightly socializing activities. Indeed, for years, boutique hotels have led the charge in this regard, serving as hotspots for nightlife and entertainment. Take The NoMad Hotel here in New York, which knocked out two of their worst bedrooms to make a stage for a 40-person magic show that has been sold out for three years.Other industries have also been augmenting their core offering and using community to help them grow revenue, improve loyalty, and draw new customers to the brand. As brick and mortar retail has been increasingly imperiled by e-commerce, "experiential retail" has become a buzzword. The idea is exemplified by Apple stores, which are some of the busiest and also highest-grossing stores in any city - with their Genius bars, group classes, in-house entertainment series, and sales people that double as educators. IKEA, meanwhile, has become just as much a destination for meatballs as it has for hard-to-assemble furniture. Educational outfits like General Assembly have used coworking space and networking events to help them sell classes. Some restaurants that are idle during the day are realizing they can monetize their underused space for coworking space, and, finally, exercise brands like CrossFit and SoulCycle have become empires by wielding community as a competitive advantage.By thinking beyond the physical boundaries of the hotel and broadening the definition of a hotel guest, there are now exciting opportunities for hoteliers to tap new revenue streams and engender loyalty. "What can I offer [local residents] by way of service?," Accor's CEO Sebastien Bazin asks. "Food and beverage? Dry cleaning? Key service? Leave their luggage? Recover a rental car? Drop it off? When you enter that universe, you say, 'My God, I have everything that the digital world wants.' I have John Paul [concierge services] where I can interact with them. [We're] changing, radically, your mindset, and entering revenue that can grow 20 to 30 percent a year."Accor's reimaging of what a hotel can be is a clear response to the competitive pressures of the sharing economy, both in terms of its value proposition as well as its business model. Airbnb has, since its humble air mattress beginnings, laid claim to the "authentic" and "community-oriented" guest experience, something the company has doubled-down on with its Belong Anywhere campaign and its expanding activities business, Airbnb Experiences. The company's rapid growth is in many ways attributable to travelers' growing appetite for authentic, experiential travel, and AccorLocal and similar initiatives are a way to ground hotel in their communities and meet this shift in traveler demands. So too, this reimagining of the hotel is also a response to Airbnb's asset light and labor light business model. As Bazin describes, the AccorLocal program is an attempt to turn a potential liability (a large amount of capital locked in physical assets and labor) into a strength (multi-purpose community hub), through the leveraging of underutilized assets that is the foundation of the sharing economy: "Throughout these assets and addresses I'm already open 24/7 and I have 240,000 people," he explains.A less obvious, yet equally important driver of AccorLocal and similar programs, is the concept of the digital platform, which makes this "hotel as a platform" model possible. In the 2016 book, Platform Revolution, a "platform" is defined as a business model that "uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem in which amazing amounts of value can be created and exchanged." With their many different interactions, players, and services, hotels already act as a platform, before even considering external stakeholders in the way AccorLocal does. This makes hotels ideal candidates for platform technology that facilitates the exchange of information and services internally, as well as permits the integration of external tools, channels, and vendors that successfully opening up the hotel requires. With a solid technology foundation in place, the hotel-as-platform becomes both immediately possible and sensible. Indeed, the hotel-as-platform approach is paying off for the hotel brand, with Accor posting record operating profit for recent period in which financial information is available. As travel publication Skift puts its, Accor "is taking bold steps to bring the traditional hotel company into the future," and, says Bazin, "We're entering a new adventure where there's boldness, innovation, and risk taking."For the hotel industry, the platform approach - the idea of unifying systems across departments and allowing for the integration of external tools, channels, and vendors - provides an opportunity to leverage technology holistically to bring every person and every department together. Running a hotel is tough enough without having to deal with closed technologies that don't work together and don't let you build on top of one another. Indeed, introducing an app, like the one that serves the AccorLocal program, to a hotel's technology lineup would add prohibitive complexity to a hotel's operations without a platform underpinning. Read more how platform technology can transform hotel operations.____While AccorLocal provides a useful starting off point for opening new revenue streams and growing a customer base, there are many ways hotels can start to think about repositioning their assets and services and taking advantage of community. To start the conversation, we asked our industry friends Cendyn, Duetto, Hitlist, HotelFlex, HTNG, SevenRooms, Travel Tripper, and Volara for their ideas for ways in which hotels can look beyond lodging and RevPAR to fulfill their hotel-as-platform potential:Local membership services: gyms and beyondThe idea of unbundling hotel services and making them available to those not staying at the hotel might be new in the 'west', but when I lived in the Middle East it was common for expats to buy subscriptions to hotel's gyms, since there weren't as many standalone sports clubs.If locals are becoming hoteliers through Airbnb and the like, why shouldn't hotels become offer local services offers as well? Repurposing underutilized space and services may be what hotels need to do to stay relevant in a world where they no longer have a monopoly on the accommodation market.Gillian Morris, CEO, HitlistFrom conference rooms to parking spaces - everything is for rentI saw a new product a couple of months ago that was invented by an MIT grad working at Amazon.He created at device that could be installed on or near any commercial or residential parking garage to allow the owner to rent their unused parking space(s).Amazon Spaces is now in pilot with apartment building garages surrounding the Amazon campus. Hoteliers already have several options to generate revenue on unused parking spaces, but Amazon Spaces is a solution that may help smaller hotels generate revenue with garages that are not compatible with similar booking apps like Spot Hero, ParkWiz and SpotOn.Armand Rabinowitz, Senior Director of Strategy and Workgroups, HTNGFlex your check-inHotels at their core are time-based assets with hoteliers in the business of maximising the amount of time each room is sold for.However, due to guest arrival and departure times hotel rooms sit empty for large quantities of the day. The average hotel room actually sits empty for 7 hours between the previous guest departing and the next guest arriving, costing the hotel considerable lost potential revenue. Over the last couple of years, hoteliers have been plugging these gaps with day-use bookings - selling the room for a couple of hours to new guests. However, a much more profitable technique is to plug these gaps by upselling existing guests with early check-ins and late check-outs.Currently, hotels will wait for guests to request early check-ins or late check-outs. However, if guests are specifically targeted with the offer hotels can generate considerable incremental revenue. In our experience at HotelFlex, hotels can expect 20% of guests to convert each paying on average 15% on top of their room rate for earlier check-in flexibility. And, because the room doesn't need to be re-cleaned, any revenue generated is pure profit and goes straight to the hotel's bottom line. Max Shepherd-Cross, CEO, HotelFlexLeverage contextual relevance in a frictionless wayBelow are some ways hotels are generating more revenue, without hosting more guests:Appending special offers to contextually-relevant interactions. For example, when a guests asks Alexa or Google Assistant about the pool, hotels are sharing special offers for the pool bar. When a guest asks about places for dinner, hotels are sharing special offers for the hotel restaurant.Scheduling prepended or appended promotions at specific times during the stay. For example, Volara enables the hotel to schedule promotions through Alexa or Google Assistant to share information about Sunday Brunch beginning at 12pm on Saturday... or share information about the spa whenever its forecast to rain... or highlight any special events happening at the property upon check-in.Offering special "Alexa rates" for bookings of voice-enabled rooms can increase ADR.The frictionless nature of voice means that guests actually use it. The personal and natural interactions facilitated by Volara's software means that promotions feel more like helpful suggestions and lead to higher conversion rates compared to other media.David Berger, CEO, VolaraPersonalize the upsell with new-age CRMThe concept of a hotel as a centerpoint for excellent services (not just sleeping rooms) is very on point with the cultural trends of rethinking spaces, community hubs and desire for "the experience." Food, drink, spa, pool and meeting space are just a few of the services housed inside hotels, but only now are smart hoteliers truly turning their properties inside out to discover the additional revenue opportunities that can come when they leverage their existing assets or services to create more revenue. With a true hotel CRM, hoteliers can tap into the opportunity to upsell ancillary services like these onto existing room night bookings. Hotels can also leverage a hotel CRM to utilize their database of guests to sell goods and services outside of room nights, like high-end goods from a gift shop, to yoga classes in the spa, restaurant offers to a day at the pool. All based around past guest behaviors and indicated likes kept in a hotel CRM that can be segmented for marketing offers.Michael Bennett, SVP Global Marketing, CendynEmbrace an Open Pricing philosophyBringing in more guests comes with its own acquisition costs, either in commissions to online travel agencies or in money out of the hotel's marketing budget. But pricing strategy is the lever completely within a hotel's control that has the greatest potential for making more money without selling more room nights.The most important thing hotel revenue managers can do is to find the price for every booking date and room type that will make the property the most money. Don't estimate demand and just sell out your rooms for too low a rate to hit your forecast. Instead, measure the conversion and pick-up when you change your prices. If you can yield rates higher and still get people to book them, that's your most important indicator of demand.An Open Pricing philosophy lets hotels price their rooms more flexibly, setting rates for any booking date, distribution channel, room type or customer segment independently, not according to static discounts off a "best available" rate.Such an approach helps hotels grow revenue while addressing the complex picture in digital distribution, where acquisition costs are rising and OTAs' are innovating new ways to sell hotels' room nights online.Marco Benvenuti, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, DuettoConsider F&BThe tides are changing in the hospitality industry. Dining, and other food and beverage programs, are becoming truly unique experiences for guests, and they are more than willing to pay for it. It's a primary driver for what people are looking for when they travel, and how they look to spend their money as a local.Hotels have a competitive advantage in this area, as they can strategically use F&B programs to attract and engage loyal guests at home and on the road, while increasing revenue and building long term guest relationships.The hotels at the forefront today are designing highly attractive programs, strategically integrating the resulting guest data across their hotel portfolio to create highly personalized experiences.For example, welcoming hotel guests at the restaurant with special tables, tagging reservations with a guests' loyalty status, or customizing in-room amenities based on past F&B purchases - even customizing hotel stay packages with F&B offerings. The common factor across the industry leaders is the use of technology to share and leverage guest data across the hotel and F&B outlets to create exceptional guest experiences.Joel Montaniel, CEO, SevenRoomsGet more from your loyalty programTechnologies that allow for integrated loyalty bookings and smart upsells are an easy way to strengthen revenue streams from your most loyal guests. This is especially true for hotels with a significant percentage of repeat bookings, like gaming and leisure properties. These types of hotels usually run in-house loyalty programs that allow guests to take advantage of comped rooms, upgrades, spa treatments, restaurant discounts, etc.By integrating the loyalty program into the direct booking process, customers no longer have to call for deals, they can book their loyalty offers directly online. This affords the hotel an opportunity to understand what type of trip the guest is looking for at the time of booking, and delight the guest upon arrival with customized upsells and offers.Gautam Lulla, President, Travel TripperThe fantastic ideas above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking beyond lodging for revenue opportunities. As a society, we have never been closer to one another - anyone can sign up to do almost any job. Hotels looking to become a hub within their communities could leverage this familiarity much further. Since starting ALICE five years ago, we have seen all sorts of interesting ideas from our hotel partners looking to leverage their resources uniquely. We have seen GMs of ours offer their housekeeping services to nearby Airbnb rentals, we have seen locals paying for hotels to collect and store their packages during the day, and we have seen rooms being sold by the hour.If you are willing to look past RevPAR to concepts such as revenue per available minute, or even the addition of a new metric: revenue per local, then the opportunities are boundless. This is a world where you and your hotel staff can get as creative as you want.Alex Shashou, President, ALICE_____The AccorLocal program is still evolving - after being piloted in Paris in 2016, it was rolled out to Accor hotels throughout France in 2017, with plans to expand it worldwide this year and next. Because it's intended to be customized to each property based upon local needs and hoteliers' relationships with local businesses, we're sure to see many different permutations of the program. For hoteliers, that means offering their guests a variety of local services and experiences, such as fitness classes via local boutique gyms, food deliveries from nearby restaurants, or pay-by-the-hour car rental services through partnerships with local dealers. Meanwhile, local residents will be able to use the program to take advantage of their local hotels' offerings, be it in the form of visits to the spa, fitness facilities, or co-working spaces, or by having access to takeaway breakfasts, printers, ironing rooms, and parking - all without having to book a room. Ultimately, Accor CEO Sebastien Bazin says Accor will get into "zillions" of services, among them "having hotels assist locals with simple tasks and solving everyday solutions like holding packages or keys or recommending the best services nearby."
Article by Justin Effron

3 Reasons Why Focusing On Guest Satisfaction Is A Losing Battle

ALICE 2 February 2018
Trying to understand the capricious whims and complex emotions of human beings you're hoping to please is an exercise in futility at best and can actually harm your relationships at worst. Why? Because pretending to know someone you don't really have a deep relationship with can come across as presumptuous and insensitive. And should your guesses actually be correct, you can inadvertently come across even worse because no one likes to think of themselves as being that predictable.So what's a GM to do to make their guests feel right at home? The solution is to not make their stay anything like home. Make your guests feel like guests! In this regard, we've listed three common pitfalls of trying to placate clients that hotels often fall into, and their respective solutions. By putting the focus on a winning culture instead of winning over customers, you'll be more effective in getting the desired result: satisfied guests who'll want to return again and again.1. If You're Trying To Guess What Guests Want, You're Probably Getting It Wrong The same guest doesn't necessarily behave the same way from one visit to the next. For starters, that guest could be on a business trip, family vacation, romantic getaway, or girls' night out. Even if it's always a business trip, what's the nature of the business this time around? Is it pitching a new client, trying to keep from losing a client, or being wooed as a client by another business? Is it an easygoing trip or a stressful one where everything is on the line--including his or her job? What's his mood like now? What's the season? What's going on in her life?If your hotel bases its services and amenities on what a particular guest wanted the last time they stayed with you, you're probably not going to get it right. So why even try? No one expects you to. What guests expect is great service, convenient amenities, comfortable accommodations, and the preferences they'd requested for this visit. Just do that and do a spectacular job of it, without trying to know what your guest will want before they do.2. Great Service Is More Important Than Great CustomizationHotels have yet to get service so perfect that they're ready to focus on customized stays. For the most part, these highly specific techniques aimed at generating loyalty fail to leave guests with the loyal connection that was intended. As discussed above, people don't necessarily want the same thing every time, but even if some of your guesses are correct, guests are rarely all that impressed. Knowing that they like decaf in their room or a certain kind of pillow isn't going to impress anyone about the quality of your service or details of your memory. It only serves to remind them that you've got a profile on them in your computer.What would impress them a lot more is a staff that makes them feel good by remembering their names, asking about their families, and wanting to know about their lives. People love to talk about themselves. They feel positive about those who like them and are like them (similar interests, values, etc.). You want a staff that remembers guests, asks how they've been, and genuinely seems to care. And the kind of staff that tends to do that, is one that's happy and productive. By better incentivizing staff and giving them better tools to do their jobs, you'll see much greater impact on the guest than leaving their favorite board game in their room. And this brings us to our last point.3. Stop Guessing What Guests Want And Start Focusing On Staff SuccessTrying to proactively predict what every guest wants is labor-intensive, resource-draining, and usually off the mark. However, giving your staff what they want is much easier since you know them better and have more control over providing the benefits they desire. The labor market is more competitive than ever at hotels. In a 2015 report, Deloitte found employee turnover at hotels to be as high as 31%--nearly double the average rate for other industries. Your best option to attract higher quality employees with fewer turnovers is to provide them with a great place to work. That means creating a positive, uplifting culture that's as stress-free as possible and focuses on teamwork so the entire staff feels a sense of pride about their role in it all.Easier said than done? Perhaps, but it is being done, by a rapidly growing number of hotels and other service-industry establishments around the world. And most of these transitions to a more united, positive, and proactively-pleasing staff are happening quite quickly and inexpensively. While there are certainly benefits to bringing in consultants, motivational speakers, or staff-whisperers of sorts, these days one of the quickest and most effective way to make huge leaps towards having a happy hospitality staff is to use an integrated hospitality platform.In the 2016 book, Platform Revolution, a "platform" is defined as a business model that "uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem in which amazing amounts of value can be created and exchanged." With their many different interactions, players, and services, hotels already act as a platform in many ways. This makes them ideal candidates for platform technology that facilitates the exchange of information and services between these various players, making life easier for a hotel's staff.Hotels adopting an integrated hospitality platform into their operations can not only integrate the various systems already in use, but also create a new master system that's able to link with guests, vendors, and of course, staff. All staff--from the front desk and concierge to housekeeping and maintenance. Those using such platforms quickly become more efficient at communicating between departments, getting service data they've never had before, and getting it all to work together as a cohesive unit. Hence the term, "integrated."In short, the impressive timesaving, stress-reducing, teamwork-building, and revenue-generating benefits of integrated platforms offer immediate value, making them far and away the quickest way to achieve staff satisfaction. For starters, by choosing integrated technology that is simple to learn and use, the entire staff becomes like a well-oiled machine--speeding up with the routine tasks of the existing workforce while lowering training times and costs for incoming staff.Hotels are at the forefront of customer service. Not in a way that a consumer brand is, where you have a dedicated team for it and no one else need bother, but in a hotel, every one of your staff doubles as a customer service agent. "Take care of your employees and they'll take care of your customers," J.W. Marriott famously said. With time freed up thanks to more streamlined systems and automation of many of their communication steps, employees can be deployed for other functions and increase their ability to service more guests. Every minute a staff member is spending, trying to work around poor technology (or lack of any technology), is a minute they could be spending maximizing your guests' experience. Making technology work well for your staff, as Snapshot CEO Stefan Tweraser corroborates, will help your staff work well for your guests. So, to put Mariott's and Tweraser's wisdom together, take care of your staff by making their lives easier through technology and they'll take care of your guests.The time and money saved from using effective technology and having a happy staff with little turnover leads to a positive cycle that includes more lucrative incentives for employees. This in turn makes them happier and more likely to make guests happier as well. It works like this: an integrated hospitality platform enables staff to be more effective and efficient, which makes them happier while saving the hotel time and money with less overtime, turnover, and sub-quality service. This in turn leads to a more pleasant work environment, which leads to a more positive ambience, better service, and happier guests more likely to leave positive reviews and bring in more guests. This creates more money for the hotel allowing for more pay for staff and capital for investments. This leads to even happier staff with even better service, and more fulfilled guests and the cycle goes on and on--all without the hassle of trying to customize your hotel to fit your guests. Instead, you'll attract the right guests to your hotel. And that's just easier for everybody.Reprinted from the Hotel Business Review with permission from www.HotelExecutive.com

Concierge Connoisseur Karen Clancy Joins ALICE in Building a World-Class Concierge Technology Sales Team

ALICE 25 January 2018
New York, NY - ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, welcomes Karen Clancy, as Senior Sales Executive of the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.Karen was previously the Director of Sales of GoConcierge, a concierge technology rival acquired by ALICE in September, following its $26M Series B funding in August.Karen learned the keys of a concierge at The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii, where she began her journey as a Lobby Concierge in 1991. A true hospitality enthusiast, Karen wore many hats during her long-standing service with the world-renown hotel group. In 1994, she was promoted to Concierge and Guest Recognition Manager, providing VIP Concierge services for high profile guests ranging from celebrities in the entertainment industry to royal families. After five years in a concierge role, Karen progressed to Rooms Operations Manager at The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, where she oversaw restaurant reservations and PBX for three years, before kicking off her sales career in business travel at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey.With her rich experience in sales and front-of-house operations known far and wide, Karen was poached to become the Vice President and Director of Sales at Concierge Assistant, a pioneer in the concierge technology space. Upon its acquisition by GoConcierge, Karen transitioned to Director of Sales and fronted the growth of a loyal customer base alongside Founder Adam Isrow. Karen holds a B.A in Communication and Media Studies from California State University - Long Beach.Having worked in the industry for over two decades, Karen identifies with the pains of legacy communication in hotels and has experienced first hand the need for technology to streamline operations. When asked whether the concierge role is threatened by technology, Karen rejects the thought. "The concierge puts together the puzzle," she says. "Guests want to do everything, and the concierge organizes them an elegant itinerary. Technology only provides the resources for them to do their jobs better and more efficiently."ALICE is the industry leader in hospitality operations technology. Close to two thousand hotels across the country and around the world have chosen ALICE for the transformative effect joining all hotel staff departments onto a single platform has for improved task management and employee communication. ALICE's guest engagement toolset is also helping its clients deliver exceptional service with cutting-edge innovations like guest-to-staff texting."Karen Clancy is iconic in the concierge community and luxury hotel space. From the start of her career with Ritz-Carlton through the development of Concierge Assistant and most recently GoConcierge, her reputation as a friend and supporter to the concierge community is unparalleled," says Wendy Zapach, Head of Sales."We plan on leveraging her relationships for our entire sales team and are eager to learn from her knowledge. Karen will specifically tackle the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii, and we believe that with her background in California and experience living in Hawaii, she is the ideal fit."
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5 Ways Platforms Can Transform Your Hotel Operations

ALICE 18 January 2018
When it comes to hotel management, there are so many demands starving for a slice of your fiscal pie that it can become overwhelming to figure out where funds can be utilized most effectively. But surprisingly, the most important concern of guests is something hotels can drastically improve upon. "Staff Service" was found to be the top guest complaint found in online reviews, according to a survey of attendees at last year's Revenue Strategy Summit (RSS). Although resolving this issue may seem like a daunting task, it is actually very simple thanks to today's technology.In the 2016 book, Platform Revolution, a platform is defined as a business model that "uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem in which amazing amounts of value can be created and exchanged."This immediate value includes impressive time-saving and revenue-generating benefits, which make platforms the best use of budget funds.Here are five reasons why you should budget for a hotel platform in 2018:1. Businesses Embracing Platform Strategies Are Thriving (And Vice-Versa)From Airbnb and Uber to Amazon and Netflix, businesses utilizing platforms are shaking up industries. This new model resolves issues of communication gaps that have been plaguing hotels for centuries, as platforms allow hotels to consolidate their front desk, concierge, maintenance, housekeeping, and operations departments with guests and vendor relations, which has proven imperative for hotels to compete with lodging service. Seamless communication through platforms leads to accountability and efficiency, and enables hotels to adapt to the fast-changing demands of guests expectations. But that's only the beginning. Even better platforms have an advanced open Application Programming Interface (API) that connects hotels with other systems that may be currently in place, including PMS, POS, and third-party management systems. When combined with the wealth of data stored on times, costs, and ratings, the platform is able to reveal valuable data for GMs to gain insight into what are the most cost-effective options.2. Guests are Getting the MessageFor today's tech-savvy consumer, customization and instant gratification aren't an added perk. They're a way of life. Text messaging has become the favored means of communication due to its ease of use and convenience, and has exploded in recent years as the engagement channel of choice at hotels, and not just among Millennials. Pew Research reveals that 99% of text messages are read by recipients and 90% read within three minutes of delivery - it's no wonder texting is replacing the traditional means of communicating with guests. By allowing guests to request services more easily and using guest activity to personalize messages, texting also increases engagement and drives guest loyalty.The best hospitality platforms funnel text messages into the same integrated back-end to create an organized text trail that neither phone nor in-person conversations provide. Keeping guests happy has never been more of a priority before due to the increased impact of online reviews on revenue, as today's guests have easy and instant access to write about their experience on their mobile phones and in real-time across multiple channels. The challenge for most hotels is that there is no system of accountability to find out how long housekeeping is taking to deliver pillows, or for maintenance to fix a broken A/C, so many hotels are discovering their issues the worst way possible - reading about them in online reviews. The right hotel platform offers a more proactive approach through data reporting, and fixes issues before they become widespread or even before they happen to begin with.3. The Best Way to Improve Performance Is to Measure ItWhile most hotels rely on radios to communicate with staff, radios don't offer systems to track fulfillment, make note of issues, or allow guests to voice a complaint if a service didn't meet their expectations. These interactions have no traceability, using paper records are difficult to coordinate, and guest requests are not captured in a searchable place so hotels can't learn about guest habits over time. Hotels using analog tools have no idea what their issues are, so they can't fix them. Not only does a shared platform enable staff and guests to communicate together to know when things are going right or wrong, it also provides a trackable system of metrics for management to know how long services are taking and where things can be improved.4. Easy Set Up and Quick Learning CurveMost GMs are so consumed with putting out fires, they feel that they don't have time to invest in long-term solutions that will prevent all those problems to begin with. Successful leaders are those that take measures to prevent problems from returning. The reality is, not only is the pain of upgrading short, it's not even as painful or time-consuming as most GMs assume. In fact, most hotels making the switch to hospitality solutions can start with a slow roll in a matter of weeks and are fully converted within a couple months or less. Another worry is whether consumers really be embracing new technologies quickly enough to make the investment worthwhile. Executives at Blockbuster had asked the same question when they had an opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million back in 2000. Sure, that's a different industry, but where are all the hotels these days without irons, key cards, and WIFI? Hotels who adopt technology early and implement platforms to ease customer communication will come out on top with the new generation of travelers.5. You Can't Put a Price Tag on SecurityWhether caused by nature, machinery, or man, life-threatening emergencies do happen. When they do, it becomes extremely important to have the most streamlined method of communications available. A platform integrated with security systems can assess the situation and go on lock-down if necessary and can send an emergency message to all staff and guests immediately at the touch of a button. The right platform can not only offer data to help make security assessments, but can also help you manage them if they're already in progress.

How a Small Guest Services Team Delivers Five-Star Service

ALICE 11 January 2018
Luxury Napa Valley hideaway Milliken Creek Inn & Spa, a member of the prestigious Four Sisters Inns collection, is using ALICE's concierge technology, ALICE Concierge, to help their four-person front desk team provide guests with the kind of exceptional concierge service expected of a much larger team.Guests of Milliken Creek Inn, a 12-suite boutique that sits on a lush three acres overlooking the Napa River, count on the property's guest services team to help them take full advantage of everything this idyllic wine country hotel and locale have to offer. For the Inn's four front desk staff (who not only double as the property's concierges, but also have other roles in the hotel, including General Manager!), this means helping guests plan their trip from the moment guests book their trip through the time they checkout. Milliken Creek's front desk team therefore need a robust tool like ALICE that can help them coordinate complex guest itineraries and facilitate the multi-step planning and booking processes that characterize concierge work.In addition to using ALICE to book guests' offsite activities like vineyard and winery tours, restaurant reservations, and spa appointments, Milliken Creek's front desk staff use the technology to help them organize on-property activities like their nightly wine- and cheese-tasting hour, assign and coordinate pre-arrival amenities like champagne and rose petals, and to also keep track of items loaned to guests, like DVDs.Staff at Milliken Creek Inn appreciate many aspects of ALICE's technology that were not features of the concierge software they used previously. This includes the "user-friendliness" of the tool, as well as ALICE's text messaging functionality, which allows the Inn's staff to easily confirm guest reservations with the spa's therapists and keep records of those exchanges that are accessible to any hotel employee. Most importantly, they value the professionalism ALICE's printed itineraries and confirmation letters and emails confer the concierge operation. Says Tamara Mims, Vice President at Four Sisters Inns, "The guest itineraries and confirmation emails we can create with ALICE are better looking and more professional than anything we've had in the past. Achieving the same consistency and sophistication in formatting without ALICE would take our front desk staff a lot of time they don't have. ALICE, in this way and more, makes our lives much easier.""What sets Milliken Creek Inn apart from other Napa hotels is the level of service we offer our guests, despite our size. Our concierge program is an important part of this, and our ability to cater to our guests the way we do would not be possible for a four-person team without the help of a very capable and reliable piece of software like ALICE. It's as if we had another member of our team!," adds General Manager David Jessup.

Implementations Director Rafael Lozada Joins ALICE to Help Lead Next Stage of Company Growth

ALICE 20 December 2017
New York, NY -- ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, welcomes Rafael Lozada, as Director of Customer Implementations.Rafael joins ALICE at a time of rapid growth for the company, following its $26M Series B funding in August, and the company's acquisition of concierge technology rival GoConcierge in September. A versatile leader with 15+ years of service delivery experience in technology-based companies, Rafael will help ALICE scale customer activation and ensure excellent service. Rafael's fluency in both English and Spanish will also allow ALICE to accelerate product implementation in Mexico and the greater Central America region, where company sales have increased in recent months.Rafael comes to ALICE from TravelClick, where as Director of Implementations Americas, he managed a team of 40+ Implementation Managers across three businesses and seven product lines, representing 35% of all new sales implementations. Prior to joining TravelClick, Rafael was Practice Director, Midsize Solutions at Hubbard One, where he led a team of Project Managers responsible for the implementation of websites for mid-sized law firms, a new segment of product he helped create. Rafael has also held Senior and Manager positions at Accenture, Stericycle, and Consorcio Credicard, where he began his career. Rafael has a B.S. in Systems Engineering from Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela, and a M.B.A in Corporate Finance from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business."We are excited to have Rafael lead our next stage of growth," said Scott Bieker, ALICE's VP, Business Operations. "Rafael's experience and exemplary customer knowledge will provide a solid foundation for our customers and Customer Success team."ABOUT ALICE:By joining all the departments of your hotel onto a single operations platform for internal communication and task management, ALICE helps your staff act as a team to provide consistently excellent service.Since the company was founded in 2013, ALICE has gained serious traction in the industry working 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. The company acquired concierge technology provider GoConcierge in 2017. For more information, visit https://info.aliceapp.com.ALICE is hiring Spanish-speaking Sales and Implementation specialists to help us expand our presence in Central and South America. Please visit https://info.aliceapp.com/careers to learn more.

How This Luxury Wine Country Resort Overcame Staff Miscommunication

ALICE 13 December 2017
Renowned Wine Country getaway, Carneros Resort and Spa, has selected ALICE's concierge software, ALICE Concierge, and its guest text messaging technology, ALICE Guest, to improve front of house operations and elevate the guest experience. This implementation of ALICE leverages the company's integrations with both HotSOS and Springer Miller. ALICE is the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, connecting every department of the hotel with one platform for all staff communication and guest requests. ALICE recently acquired concierge software provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Carneros Resort's management was first drawn to ALICE for the product's itinerary creation tool, which produced itineraries "far more visually appealing than what we currently were producing on site," says Jonathan Vail, Assistant Director of IT, but were compelled to purchase the technology after discovering how it would allow them to consolidate the multitude of different systems used to run the resort. Indeed, prior to ALICE, Carneros Resort's management was frustrated by an inability to integrate all of their different technologies. "This created an environment where we had all of the information available, but had no ability to leverage the information quickly when we really needed it. That is when we began exploring our possibilities with ALICE," explains Vail.With front desk staff often communicating with one another over email and paper notes, the engineering team using HotSOS, and the concierge team using GoConcierge, guest- and other property-critical information remained siloed by department. "This led to excessive amounts of internal emails and phone calls from users trying to pull information they already had access to. A simple guest issue could easily be over-complicated or missed, due to miscommunication," says Vail.Carneros Resort's management selected ALICE with the goal to unify all these systems - seeing ALICE as an easy-to-use tool that would "provide a window into every spectrum of the guest experience." Adds Vail, "ALICE will give us ability to easily view all of our relevant guest information and turn that data into action. With the guest communication tools provided by ALICE, we will have the ability to improve the guest experience like never before. Not only will we be able to communicate more effectively internally and externally, but we will be able to anticipate guest needs and manage the guest experience from a single platform."

Why Boston's Best Hotel Decided to Give Its Staff an Upgrade

ALICE 6 December 2017
The iconic Boston hotel XV Beacon has selected ALICE to enhance their internal communication, concierge operations, and guest engagement. The award-winning property (Travel + Leisure's #2 Best Hotel in the U.S, and #1 Best Hotel in Boston and #1 in the state of Massachusetts, as voted by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler), implemented ALICE's housekeeping and maintenance software ALICE Staff, ALICE's concierge software, ALICE Concierge, and ALICE's guest text messaging solution, ALICE Guest, in August of this year. ALICE is the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, connecting every department of the hotel with one platform for all staff communication and guest requests. ALICE recently acquired concierge software provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Prior to implementing ALICE, staff at XV Beacon relied on radios, telephones and emails to communicate within and between departments, with the hotel's three-person concierge team using concierge technology GoConcierge. While GoConcierge helped the concierge team stay organized and aligned, the lack of a shared technology platform across this concierge-driven hotel challenged communication between the concierge team and other departments, and caused guest data to be siloed.Upgrading all departments to ALICE has made an immediate impact on staff alignment. "With radios, communication sometimes was unclear and delegation of tasks was sometimes misconstrued," says XV Beacon's Chef Concierge, Anthony Collito, "With ALICE, there's no miscommunication. Having digital confirmation of all staff exchanges and a permanent record of guest information is key for follow up, tracking and production reporting to management."One aspect of ALICE's concierge technology that has benefitted Collito's concierge department is the ALICE Logbook, which migrates paper logs to the cloud for easy access and analysis. Collito and his team use the Logbook to keep track of house car activities - XV Beacon offers guests complimentary trips around downtown Boston with their fleet of chauffeured Lexuses - and creating a digital repository for all trips makes the monthly audits the team does much less time consuming than before.Using ALICE's guest messaging technology has also made things easier for Collito and his department. Prior to ALICE, Collito used a spare phone to text with guests - the seasoned concierge saw early on how guests preferred to receive time sensitive information by text - but sharing a phone between team members created complications and made it difficult to record guest preferences and keep records of guest interactions. Using ALICE's guest messaging platform to text with guests means all text exchanges are permanently attached to a guest's profile and this information is accessible to all hotel staff. Collito and his team use messaging to let guests know about their rooms being ready, as well as to communicate reservation and itinerary information.Collito also appreciates the insights ALICE affords him as a manager. Because ALICE creates a record of all internal work orders and guest requests, managers are able to gain meaningful appreciation of individual and department-level productivity. Collito says this has improved accountability and team efficiency.

Hotel Operations Technology Has Reduced Staff Communication Complications By Some 60-70%, Says Resort GM

ALICE 29 November 2017
Aruba's Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, which implemented ALICE's full suite of hospitality technology products in August of this year, can already report meaningful improvements in staff communication and guest satisfaction. The intimate and picturesque resort, set on award-winning Eagle Beach, is using ALICE Staff, ALICE Concierge, and ALICE Guest to align its front of house and back of house teams, as well as provide its guests with convenient ways to get in touch with the hotel. ALICE is the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, connecting every department of a hotel with one platform for all staff communication and guest requests. ALICE recently acquired concierge software provider GoConcierge to augment its technology and customer service offering.Before implementing ALICE in the summer of 2017, staff at Amsterdam Manor communicated with one another primarily through radios, emails, and phone calls. This siloed method of communication challenged accountability and alignment (it wasn't uncommon for multiple of the resort's hyper-attentive staff members to address the same concern simultaneously), and, in the case of radios, created a noisy distraction for both guests and staff. When staff were out of range of the radios, or didn't respond right away, staff would spend time tracking each other down across the 13-acre property, hampering productivity.Now, after only a few months of using ALICE, Amsterdam Manor's General Manager Alfred Kaufmann estimates communication complications have been reduced by some 60- to 70%. Whereas previously, determining the status of a guest request required a chain of exchanges between staff members, now, everyone on staff can log into ALICE and immediately see the status of the guest request or internal work order.Kaufmann says his staff have responded enthusiastically to how much easier ALICE has made communication and coordination. "My staff can now quickly check in with each other online. When someone comes on shift, they can just post a short message, 'Hey guys, I'm here,' and everyone who needs to know, is notified seamlessly." The GM also says he's pleased with how open staff of all ages have been to embrace the technology. Earlier concerns about whether some of his staff would be as quick to take to ALICE as others were quickly allayed, once everyone saw how useful this new type of communication would be.For Kaufmann, use of ALICE represents a sea change in his ability as General Manager to oversee his staff, as well as keep up to the moment with activity on property. "For me, ALICE is fabulous. In the morning, I can look at the ALICE log and see immediately the activity from the day before. If there is a problem with the A/C somewhere on property, for example, I can see it in the log and in the tickets and I can see whether or not the issue was resolved. This makes things very open - I can see exactly what's going on at all times."Most importantly, Kaufmann says ALICE is helping him where it counts, and that's in the guest experience. "We do this for one reason," Kaufmann says of his and his team's drive for better operations, "and that's guest satisfaction. ALICE allows us to respond to guest requests and guest issues far more quickly than we could before. Establishing a record of guest preferences and requests also helps us improve our relationships with guests and better anticipate their needs."
Article by Alex Shashou

Attitude is Everything, and Other Pointers for Messaging Your Guests

ALICE 28 November 2017
At first blush, the pairing of Poncho (a cheeky chatbot that tells you the weather, with no obvious ties to the hospitality industry) and ALICE (a hospitality messaging product that doesn't use chatbots) seems an unconventional choice to host a conversation at HX about chatbots and guest conversational interfaces. But, as a lively discussion between the panelists and audience made clear, there's a lot hospitality can learn from the popular consumer product Poncho, and a lot more to messaging - especially in this industry - than chatbots.Here are a couple of takeaways from ALICE co-founder Alex Shashou's HX panel on Monday:Attitude is everythingWhether your hotel's messaging is chatbot-driven, completely staffed by humans, or something in between, deciding on a tone of voice that represents your brand is essential.One of the things that distinguishes Poncho from other weather apps and conversational interfaces is its distinct personality - one that is both humorous and smart. The product's founder knew what kind of voice he wanted from the product's inception, and so he hired a team of writers from Upright Citizens Brigade, a renowned improv theater and training center here in New York, to infuse weather updates - something that could easily be dry and forgettable - to something compelling and sticky. Poncho updates its responses every week or two, incorporating current events, and learning from past interactions, to keep its users delighted and engaged.Hotels starting with chatbots or messaging don't need to do a lot of soul-searching to find their voice - knowing what tone to strike with guests is integral to a hotel's brand and likely well established before diving into messaging. The trick is adapting this voice for a new medium.The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas made headlines earlier this year when it unveiled Rose, its concierge chatbot that you can text for nearly anything you might need during your stay. Digital marketing agency R/GA worked with The Cosmopolitan to "create a spirited personality that reflects the mystique" of the hotel. The result is something that's both playful and helpful, as well as a bit sassy - perfect for Las Vegas. When Travel + Leisure asked Rose where to find strippers, Rose apparently replies: "I love playing pretend, so I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," followed by the Hear No Evil monkey emoji. She also added "Let's keep this PG-13 if you know what I mean."Whether you're designing a chatbot or implementing messaging, establishing brand guidelines for the medium is essential to upholding brand standards and honing in on a particularly unique or compelling voice (like in the case of Rose at The Cosmopolitan) can even set your property apart.Chatbots definitely have more buzz right now, but maybe human-driven messaging, or a hybrid solution, will work better for your hotel.When Alex asked who in the audience was already using chatbots at their hotel, one hotelier explained how she had intended for her hotel's messaging program to be entirely automated, but realized it would need to include (and would benefit from) staff-generated messages. Indeed, having automated messages for certain frequently-occurring interactions saves her staff time, but there's a long tail of possible exchanges that the average chatbot can't account for. This doesn't matter much when it comes to weather apps - if Poncho doesn't recognize a user message he will tell you he doesn't understand and prompt you to try again - but it's incompatible with hospitality, which requires every guest request and exchange to be addressed to the highest standard possible. It's for this reason we think the happy medium for most hotel messaging programs will be a mixture of automated and staff-generated responses. This will save staff time - particularly for a messaging program at scale - but still allow for real, truly personalized human exchanges.Start slowWhen it comes to messaging for the first time, many hoteliers fear being overwhelmed by messages and being too slow to respond. Alex understood the concerns but reminded the audience that, before messaging, we were all concerned that we couldn't engage with our guests on mobile at all. Alex's advice to those embarking with messaging is to start slow. Pick a handful of guests to roll this out to at the start, see what engagement is like and how your staff enjoy it, and gradually promote the service to more people. As you expand, you'll learn how long it takes your staff to respond to queries, and how frequently, and at what times of day, guests are most likely to reach out. One thing you'll learn right away, Alex says, is that facilitating ten guest interactions over text is a lot more operationally efficient than taking ten guest phone calls. Even moving a few of those calls to the front desk to text conversations as you slowly roll out the program will have an immediate impact on your operations.Choose a messaging platform to get all the benefits of messaging with none of the drawbacks of doing it from your personal phoneDuring Alex's panel, a hotelier from the audience enthused about the power of text messaging to create lasting and profitable relationships with guests, describing how a guest engagement program born out of necessity (all she had was her phone) eventuated to something far more prized than a collection of customer emails. But what happens when she goes on vacation, Alex asked, or wants to sell the business? All that valuable data and guest history stays with the phone and its user. The same goes for all hotels that try texting guests from staff phones at the front desk and the concierge desk. If a concierge is having conversations with a guest on his own personal phone, none of that guest history or guest preferences gets recorded by the hotel, and none of that information is easily accessible to other staff members during that guest stay or subsequent stays. This is not scalable. That's why we recommend using a dedicated messaging tool to run a messaging program at your hotel, ideally one that is integrated with the technology your staff uses to manage their work. That way, all guest information is retained and easily accessible, regardless of who on staff is doing the texting.

ALICE's Guest Messaging Recognized As Most Innovative Hotel Technology at HX 2017

ALICE 21 November 2017
A panel of industry experts awarded ALICE the top honor at the third annual HX TECHPitch - a tech innovation competition held during HX: The Hotel Experience - here in New York City last week, November 12-13.Deanna Ting, Hospitality Editor at Skift, Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City, and Valerie Ferguson, Director, Experience Planning and Integration, Hotels & Resorts at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts judged the competition.ALICE faced some hot competition for the award. Finalists included Maidbot, makers of a housekeeping robot, Openkey, providers of mobile keyless hotel access, Remi, a smart mirror from Mirror Image and KEYPR, VDroom, a direct marketing platform that enables the creation of virtual reality websites for hotels, and Verdant, an energy management system.In his pitch for ALICE's ability to help staff forge meaningful relationships with guests, company Co-Founder and President Alex Shashou set the stage by pointing out that, despite our best attempts, we're failing as an industry when it comes to delivering hospitality in today's digital age. He showed the audience a recent overview of customer satisfaction benchmarks by industry, which revealed that the hotel industry ranks behind banks, behind supermarkets, and even behind phone companies, when it comes to customer satisfaction! "By knowing your name, an Uber driver knows more about you than most hotel staff. Domino's delivers pizza with more transparency than room service. Siri fulfills more of your local queries than your concierge." The list goes on, Alex explained.We should all take inspiration, he said, from one hotel group that was willing to take a risk to improve guest engagement. "They played to win, instead of playing not to lose," he said, "This group came to us and said, 'What if we could take our guest app, that doesn't work as well as we want it to, and connect it to your staff platform?' We said yes. So, they took our Guest API and our staff platform and had their own developers build our messaging tools and our services into their guest app. They then launched ALICE at their hotels and let their front desk respond in any way they wanted. Of course, we thought this would be risky - no one knew what would happen, but the best thing possible occurred - guests and staff loved it, and started conversing. And true moments of hospitality started to happen."Despite the optimistic message, Alex was surprised by the win: "When staff operations technology competes against robots, the robots usually win. This award is an important endorsement from the industry that platform technology that streamlines staff communication and task management is a valuable technology breakthrough that can make a big impact on the guest experience. We thank the judges, and look forward to reconnecting with everyone again at HX 2018."ABOUT ALICE: ALICE 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 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. ALICE was founded by Dmitry Koltunov, Justin Effron, and Alex Shashou, and has raised $39M to date. The company acquired concierge technology provider GoConcierge in 2017. For more information, visit https://info.aliceapp.com.

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