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Cutting back on wait times: How hotels can save months of time with the right PMS

apaleo GmbH By Uli Pillau
Apaleo's Uli Pillau walks us through the criteria and benefits of choosing a PMS wisely.
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Hiisi Homes Selects apaleo PMS to power its 11 properties

apaleo GmbH 16 April 2019
Finland based serviced apartments, Hiisi Homes, announced today that it has selected and successfully rolled out apaleo as its core PMS. Replacing an old system, the move to apaleo has also allowed Hiisi Homes to connect 3rd party systems as well as custom-developed systems, all within a matter of weeks.The eleven properties across eight cities in Finland cater to forward-thinking people, that want the comfort of home away from home. To impress these tech-savvy people, it became clear that the serviced apartment provider would need to update its systems, beginning with its property management system."For us, it was crucial to have a flexible PMS that can quickly connect with applications that we need or develop. apaleo's system is simple to set up and gives us the most open platform on the market to connect all systems we need to run our business, from distributing inventory to automation of daily tasks to guest-facing applications," says Markus Veikkolainen, Partner and Chief Commercial Officer of Hiisi Homes.Within a matter of weeks, all properties were set up and live. After a simple set-up of one property on apaleo, Hiisi Homes had a blueprint for all its additional properties. Using this blueprint, Hiisi Homes was ready to scale. apaleo then made it possible to automatically clone rate plans and room types to the other properties, making the PMS rollout a cinch. Then, all other systems were connected, and staff were trained on the new tools."Some might think it sounds crazy to roll out all new technology in such a short period of time. With legacy systems, yes. But luckily, it is 2019, and the world of connected systems is now available for all kind of accommodation providers to embrace," exclaims Markusapaleo's property management system is built with this sort of connectivity in mind. Because it was built with an API first, it is the world's only PMS to guarantee that everything - every single piece of data - in its PMS is also completely available, accessible and integrate-able. This ensures that hotels never face a situation where a system can't make use of every single feature in apaleo's PMS. It also removes all the frustrating costs traditionally associated with integrations (services, support fees, time spent waiting)."Hiisi Homes has a future-facing view of how hotel technology should work, and the company has made its vision a reality. We're excited to partner with such an innovator and look forward to partnering with Hiisi Homes to further scale its business and entire technology stack," said Philip von Ditfurth, Co-founder of apaleo.About Hiisi HomesHiisi Homes family growth company was born by the lake Hiidenvesi from three homies' passion for entrepreneurship. Our mission is simple. We want to provide local and personal experience in Your home away from home with outstanding self-service.Nothing beats home right? But hey we are not a lot worse than home. We do things in a way that represents our crazy team of Homies. We can tap ourselves on the shoulder once our residents still remember us on the week after the departure.Choose us and Be our Homie!#painuhiiteen #homesforhomies
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MA Micro-Apartment Hotels selects apaleo as its core operating system, serving a demanding new generation of business travelers

apaleo GmbH 26 March 2019
MA Micro-Apartment Hotels will open 500 serviced apartments in Q1 and Q2 2020 in Munich and Aschheim (Dornach). These serviced apartments will serve the needs of long staying business travelers, actors and athletes, as well as fair visitors and tourists.The design and equipment of the apartments is tailored to the picky tastes of today's travelers, who, in addition to enjoying the comforts of a private apartment, also enjoy common areas in which to socialize, such as a complete open lobby with a pink laundrette, a gym, a restaurant with a New York cocktail trolley, a cinema, a supermarket and even common working spaces.Apart from the design, technology plays a very important role in providing an unforgettable guests journey, without waiting times and lines. MA Micro-Apartment Hotels was searching for such a technological solution which can automate mundane tasks and provide guests with an unforgettable digital journey. After careful market research MA Micro-Apartment Hotels chose apaleo, which comes with a pre-connected store from which MA Micro-Apartment Hotels can click-to-connect all the best systems to run its property. apaleo's PMS also automates much of the guest journey, from automated check in/check out, payment collection, and other operational tasks."It was very important for us to have a technology that will follow our vision of providing unforgettable experiences to our guests. Today's guests are much more demanding than before, and with the ever-changing technology landscape, we anticipate that guests' expectations will only continue to rise. apaleo's system is ideal because it can be adapted to the new demands of guests in a very short time," says Denis Mair, Chief Operating Officer of MA Micro-Apartment Hotels. "Not only is apaleo incredibly flexible, but the entire system is also so easy to use that staff can be trained and working with the system immediately. This saves us time and costs, which we can rather invest into initiatives that will provide our guests with unique experiences with our brand."apaleo's next generation cloud system is built in a way that any other system can be integrated in just a few seconds and without any additional costs. With this approach, hoteliers have complete freedom to choose their own stack of systems, based on their business needs and guest demands."apaleo was built to provide hoteliers with a system that is simple to use and quick to go live, without additional costs like set up fees or integration fees. Our goal is to remove the headache that has long been associated with getting new technology up and running because there are enough other things to worry about when running a hotel," said Philip von Ditfurth, co-founder of apaleo. "We are very proud to work with MA Micro-Apartment Hotels and to power its new openings. We look forward to seeing this innovative concept come to life!"About MA Micro-Apartment Hotel Holding GmbHMA Micro-Apartments Hotel Holding GmbH is a complete new apartment hotel group, founded by Prof. Stephan Gerhard and Nermin Grosch, and it will operate apartment hotels through Germany and Austria. The plan is to expand the range of serviced apartments by around 1,000. Eight other locations in economic and metropolitan regions have already been envisaged and MA Micro-Apartment will be responsible for operations.
Article by Uli Pillau

It's not worth the wait!

apaleo GmbH 13 March 2019
If you're one of the many hotels or chains out there that is trying to get a new PMS up and running, but you are struggling with two, three, or more months of wait times to go live, then you may want to reconsider your PMS vendor. Here's some food for thought:Installation/Go Live Should Take Hours or Days, Not MonthsA reasonable time to wait to have your hotel up and running is a couple of days, maximum. Depending on your hotel's set up, this time could be reduced to a couple of hours or less. In fact, with apaleo, if your hotel feels so inclined, you could even set up your hotel yourself, at your own pace. You don't have to even take my word for it - try it yourself!Part of the reason for the reduction in wait times is because next generation PMSs like apaleo can do the entire activation remotely and with minimal effort. Which brings me to another important benefit that comes as a byproduct of reducing time and complexity to get a system live: setup fees become a thing of the past, which can save hotels thousands of euros.Integrations should be immediate and cost-freeOne hotelier that I spoke to recently had been waiting for nine months on a key integration, and still had no clear deadline in sight. When your entire system depends on having these integrations live, this kind of wait is unacceptable.Your PMS vendor should allow any and all systems to connect with ease and without extra costs. apaleo, for example, comes with a pre-connected store where hoteliers can simply click to connect systems - no wait times, no extra fees. And, if a system isn't there yet, the connection can be built with minimal effort. This is only possible when the PMS is built on an open platform with a public API.Training should be simple and on demandOnce your hotel or hotel chain is set up with its PMS and all integrations, you and your staff should be able to work with the systems immediately, not wait to coordinate a time for consultants to come and train the team. These on-site trainings come at a heavy cost, in terms of fees, travel expenses, and man-hours wasted. Reduce this time and eliminate the cost with a PMS that is so simple to use that staff can be up to speed with remote support through guides, exercises, and webinars. And, if an issue arises, the PMS should provide a 24-hour ticketing system to fix any issues.Automating hotel operations should be simpleOnce the entire system is live and running, your PMS should allow your hotel or hotel chain to reduce the amount of time spent on mundane tasks. You know, the repetitive work that your staff does (or rather, hates to do) manually, day in and day out. Things like check in/out, manually entering payment details, night audits, etc. These things cost your staff (and in most cases, your guests) time, and they are prone to human error. So, find a vendor that allows you to automate these tasks. It will save time, make staff more satisfied, improve your guest experience, and keep more money in your hotel's pocket.Bonus roundThe next generation of PMSs, like apaleo, offer much more than just time savings. Costs are drastically reduced, with no need to pay set up fees, integration fees, or consultants to help with set up and training. Because integrations pains are removed, you also get the freedom to test new systems or tools without any risk, allowing for more custom, innovative combinations of technology at the hotel as well as systems that better support the digital guest journey.We all spend enough of our lifetime waiting. Let's remove wait times (and unnecessary fees!) wherever we can, particularly in business where waiting can cost money. Find a PMS vendor that isn't going to make you wait.
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STAYERY powers its digital guest journey with apaleo at the core

apaleo GmbH 11 March 2019
STAYERY caters to young professionals, which have their own unique set of expectations when traveling: a modern, recognizable brand, simple check-in, great value, and more. Architecture and design is crucial, but technology surely plays an important role on the operational side. The STAYERY team knew they needed a core system that could automate tasks to reduce wait times and connect seamlessly to other systems that the serviced apartment brand wants to use. After assessing the market, it became evident that apaleo was the one for the job. Its easy-to-use PMS, coupled with its completely open platform and store allowed STAYERY to fully automate check-in/check-out and connect applications like Hotelappz for CRM and guest communication, UP booking engine (IBE), a channel manager, and even its own, self-developed check-in terminal. All was set up and live in a matter of days."We had some concerns that getting our technology stack set up would be a hassle, but apaleo is so quick and easy to work with. In fact, we were able to do the setup of our first property almost entirely on our own with little support. We even plan to bring the coming properties live completely on our own," said Hannibal DuMont Schutte, Managing Director and founder of STAYERY. "apaleo is also the only provider that doesn't charge exorbitant set up and integration fees, saving us on costs which we can pass back to our guests vis-a-vis highly competitive room prices."apaleo's quickly growing platform allows hotels and apartments to completely customize the way they set up their systems and applications to improve the digital guest journey for guest segments of all shapes and sizes, from Gen Z to Boomer and beyond."Hotels have struggled long enough with their PMSs - hidden fees, long wait times for set up and integrations, difficult to use systems...it shouldn't be such a headache," said Philip von Ditfurth, co-founder of apaleo. "We've really enjoyed watching STAYERY prepare to go live with a set of forward-facing technology that is sure to dazzle its guest segment. And the setup STAYERY chose is ideal for the upcoming rollout."About STAYERYFounded in 2016, STAYERY operates boutique apartments throughout Germany. The STAYERY in Berlin-Friedrichshain with 85 apartments already received its first guests at the beginning of February. A further STAYERY with 126 apartments will open in autumn 2019 in Bielefeld directly at the main railway station. New openings are also planned in Cologne with 28 apartments and in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen with 139 apartments.
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SV Hotel successfully introduces apaleo to power its new digital strategy

apaleo GmbH 1 March 2019
After working with inflexible, complicated, legacy property management systems, SV Hotel realized that it was time to adapt its digital strategy. The group's new approach was to find a leaner system that was easy to set up, easy to use, and would allow applications to connect seamlessly. Stay KooooK, SV Hotel's new extended stay brand, which will open its first two hotels in 2020, helped to spur on this change. With only one staff member on property, the concept required more automation, freeing up time so that the host could take care of guests. After evaluating many providers, SV Hotel began a pilot with apaleo based on its ease of use, flexibility, and, most importantly, shared vision for the future of hotel technology."Running a hotel is complicated enough. We didn't need technology to make it more complicated. apaleo takes technology headaches out of the equation. Our first pilot hotel, Hotel Amaris in Switzerland, was set up in a matter of days with pre-integrated systems like a CRM, channel manager and guest facing apps," said Kornell Otto, Director of Project Management of SV Hotel. "apaleo's future-facing system and team has allowed us to make our technology vision a reality."apaleo's open platform and store full of pre-connected applications has provided the perfect environment for Hotel Amaris to connect applications like apaleo's Booking.com Direct Connection and eZee for channel management, HotelAppz for CRM and Code2Order for all guest facing communication. It has also automated many of the tedious tasks at the hotel, including check-in and check-out, and night audits, freeing up countless hours of time for staff and improving the guest experience."We are excited to partner with SV Hotel as it transitions away from closed, legacy systems to open and nimble technology. SV Hotel shared apaleo's future-forward vision for hotel technology. From the beginning, apaleo has been built as an open platform that allows hotels to connect any and all innovative applications that they want to use," said Philip von Ditfurth, co-founder of apaleo."Since forming apaleo, our team has been clear in our vision of creating a core PMS and open platform that allows hotels to connect apps with ease. The company's fast growth and enthusiasm from hotels and hotel groups validates that our vision is the right way forward for hotel technology. Hoteliers looking to learn more should visit us at ITB in hall 10.1, stand 113 and can book a meeting here," said Uli Pillau, CEO and co-founder of apaleo.About SV HotelSV Hotel is part of the SV Group, an innovative catering and hotel management group with three business segments: community catering, public catering, and hotel. The head office is in Dubendorf (CH) near Zurich. As a franchisee, SV Hotel operates the Marriott brands Courtyard, Residence Inn, Renaissance and Moxy in Switzerland and Germany. In addition, individual hotels in Bern (La Pergola) and Olten (Amaris) belong to the portfolio. Ten more hotel projects are currently being planned. These are Moxy Hotels in Bremen, Hamburg, Dusseldorf City, Lausanne and Bern, a Courtyard in Freiburg, the two brands Moxy and Residence Inn in Munich and an extended-stay hotel in Bern and Nuremberg. The openings will take place over the next three years. SV Hotel launches its own brand Stay KooooK for the first time with the Extended Stay Hotels in Bern and Nuremberg. It is aimed at the new generation of contemporary travelers looking for a convenient place to stay for longer stays at a fair price. www.sv-hotel.ch, www.sv-group.com, www.staykooook.com.
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apaleo One Gives Hoteliers the Ultimate Seamless Experience Between Systems

apaleo GmbH 27 February 2019
Open property management system, apaleo, already connects to any hotel application, but with its recently released apaleo One connection, data from all these pre-connected tools is available directly within apaleo's property management system.For example, take passport and ID scanning tool, Adria Scan. It recently used apaleo One to scan guest IDs and passports directly into apaleo's PMS. Just imagine...Paper forms. We love to hate them. Guests don't enjoy filling them out when ID or passport details are required upon check in. Front desk staff don't enjoy manually adding these details to their property management system. Even if the data can be scanned to reduce some of the manual work, front desk staff are left clicking between dozens of different systems to find the right information.With apaleo One, hotels use Adria Scan to scan guests' IDs or passport details and watch all the information populate directly within apaleo's PMS in seconds. No forms, no manual entry, no extra systems. Just collect a guest's passport, click to scan it, and you're done."Using paper forms at check-in creates a clunky guest experience within the first few seconds of the guest arriving at the hotel. It also takes away time from your front desk staff. We wanted to fix that," said Andrea Stubbe, co-founder and product owner at apaleo. "What's also really exciting about this partnership is that all the data goes directly into apaleo's product using a new user interface integration. This reduces the amount of systems and browser tabs that the hotel needs to have open."Additional integrated partners, including Atomize, HotelAppz, and RoomPriceGenie are already building similar connections directly within apaleo's PMS, which will further reduce the amount of systems that have to be opened and clicked through at any given time."Deep integrations add immense value for hotels, giving them the ability to use and understand guest data in real-time. Perhaps most importantly, it allows hotels to plug in the systems that are the best and most innovative in their space," said Rui Teixeira Guerra, CEO of HotelAppz. "apaleo One takes these integrations one step further by tightly connecting the systems so that hotels can see all important data in one screen rather than in multiple different browser tabs."Hotels looking to see live demos can stop by apaleo's innovation hub at ITB (reserve a spot, space is limited) or can schedule a meeting here to get to know apaleo better.
Article by Margaret Ady

The Hotel Love Match: How to Connect The Right Hotel Technology with the Right Traveler

apaleo GmbH 15 February 2019
We say, "It's actually not so hard." One of the solutions to the tech problem is for hotels to re-evaluate the way they prioritize and integrate technology. Instead of beginning with a laundry list of possible technologies to implement (i.e., mobile check-in, voice-activated in-room tech, rate optimization and distribution technology, and so forth), start with the guest. Hotels know--or should know--who they are after. The ideal guest. And every ideal guest has a different set of needs and wants. How hotels prioritize hotel technology has everything to do with making a love match between the right technology and the right travelers. And the Guest Journey Game is here to help.How It WorksThere are six basic types of travelers. Among them, Cobi, Gen Z (young, hip, looking for a good time at a great price); The Family (has a lot to consider to keep everyone happy); and Paula & Ricky, The Couple (anniversaries and long weekends, here we come).Unless you're a Moxy, most hotels will find they have two or three different love interests out of the six. Choose the one that has the most synergy; the one your hotel can best cater to or finds to be the most profitable. (You can always do more than one Guest Journey, anyhow.)Since we're talking love interests, let's talk about Paula & Ricky. The Couple. It's their first anniversary, but they're still paying off the wedding. They're looking for a reasonably priced staycation but want the experience to be stellar so reviews matter. Hotels that play the game will walk through the experience through Paula & Ricky's eyes, identifying things like whether or not rates are optimized automatically with the most up-to-date rates on all the sites they would visit; if opportunities to add roses or champagne to the reservation have been presented; if the check-in process is clunky or smooth; and how easy it is to book activities once they're on-site. After all the choices have been made, the game, created and sponsored by apaleo, will send you a note about how well you did at reaching your target traveler along with a report about what Paula & Ricky really want in their stay.The Guest Journey Game Report offers confirmation of how well you're doing, a detailed look at the traveler profile and what they want in their stay, the core technology set-up that can deliver it, and the add-ons they need to drive the perfect guest journey. For instance, they're in the early 30s and cost-conscious. They DO want personal touches and a cozy hotel, and they DON'T want to wait in line or be bothered with screaming children. Hotels will learn how they book, how long their average stay is, and more. A section called "How to Run a Hotel They Love" details everything from revenue management tools to upselling needs to point of sale technologies that properties need to close the deal and keep Paula & Ricky coming back for more. Details on "The Additional Wow Factors" encourage hotels to think beyond the basics about things like ancillary activities, experiences, smart rooms, and more.Cobi, the youngest and tech-savviest of the bunch, wants more from the tech experience than Paula & Ricky. He's going to want flexible technology, judge the hotel on the seamlessness of the digital experience, and is more inclined to use the in-room tablets and chat features, like a digital concierge.Hotels may find they've got it in the bag with one traveler type but are missing key technologies with another valuable traveler. At the root of reaching all six travelers, however, is a solid cloud-based PMS with open APIs that allow technologies to be added with ease. The parts that most concern hotels--the architecture and the integrations--are solved for when the core system is competent for what a hotel needs in the 21st century.When asked what guest-facing technologies hotels will focus on in the coming year, two out of three hoteliers asked by HotelNewsNow said voice-enabled technology. The third focused on automation via mobile apps. And these may well be where these particular properties need to focus with their ideal guests. However, it only makes sense to look toward the guest first--follow their lead. For some, voice-enabled technology just doesn't matter. For others, like Cobi, it's everything. Knowing that hotels simply can't enable every tech solution, it makes sense to go after a foundation that will offer flexibility and build on exactly what will make your guests happy, and make your property more profitable.
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Build your ideal guest journey and learn how to make it a reality

apaleo GmbH 11 February 2019
Technology has changed guest expectations, making it more difficult than ever for hotels to understand how to best cater to their guests. apaleo has launched a pick your adventure style game designed to help hotels understand which guest segment they want to go after and how to best cater to them.Hoteliers can choose from a variety of guest types like business travelers, families, tech savvy Gen Z, and more. They can then build pieces of that guest's journey to receive a custom report about the guest's profile, the systems required to cater to the guest, and additional accommodations to create the perfect guest journey.50+ hotels are already working with apaleo to improve their customer journey with fast, easy to use, pre-connected technology. Hotels that are eager to bring their ideal guest journey to life can visit the apaleo team at ITB (hall 10.1, stand 113).Happy building!
Article by Margaret Ady

Love the one you're with: how hotels can use technology to keep their best staff

apaleo GmbH 28 January 2019
Every hotelier knows that there's not enough love to go around, what with all different kinds of guests wanting all different kinds of things. You've got your high maintenance guests with a thousand questions, your sloppy mess makers that drip pool water all over the floors and leave cracker crumbs all over the room, guests who squeak into the breakfast buffet at one-minute until you're trying to pack it up, and the ones that change rooms three times.Room occupancy is expected to be high again in 2019, but room rates aren't growing as much due to an excess of new supply. This means you've got a whole lot of guests in your city hotel asking for a whole lot of things but you're not getting substantially more money for the rooms. And this means that your staff are working extra hard to keep up, but you're probably not paying them any more than you were last year because who can afford it without more room revenue to draw on. Further, you likely have one of the highest turnover rates in the industry.So when we say love the one you're with, we're not talking about your guests. You have zero control over who walks in the door to stay the night, but you have tons of control over whom you hire to keep your hotel running. Most hotels focus so much energy on the guest that they overlook how to keep their staff. The turnover rate in hotels is an astounding 73.8%; it should be in the 10-15% range (DailyPay). Three quarters of staff will leave this year. It's an expensive problem to have.The costs of losing employees pull from many areas of the business, including poor customer service when employees disengage, higher recruiting costs, lost training costs plus the training expense of a new person, and the ripple effect of productivity problems for remaining staff as well as the viral spread of negativity that can happen when dissatisfied employees start grumbling. Just one unhappy employee is a big expense.So, apaleo's a property management system. What do we have to say about employee retention? In other words, what does your PMS have to do with staffing? It's a two-fold issue, which is a bonus because it means you can have double the impact. The first impact is in retention. The second is in training and usability.On RetentionA frequent refrain these days is that good technology will keep staff focused on the guest, improving customer service metrics. This is totally true. But better core technology will also make for happier staff. When your hotel is filled up with children who've spilled syrup on every table in the dining area and the adults are all overwrought from either too much sightseeing or too much family time (or both), your staff is maxed out, too. They need to be able to do their jobs expediently. Cumbersome technology--whether it's a slow-loading legacy system or a subpar user experience--decreases job performance and satisfaction. Especially for front-of-house staff, an easy-to-use PMS can make or break their ability to do their jobs successfully, and for everyone else, the PMS must integrate fully with all other core systems to reduce time toggling between systems and/or manually handling data transfers.We can't overstate the importance of retention for the lean limited-service sector. Data analysis by the Center for American Progress has shown that when an employee making $50,000 or less exits, the organization will spend around 21% of the position's salary to replace him (StandDesk). And that's just the out of pocket expense. While technology alone won't keep an employee, good technology will contribute to an overall more productive and more satisfied employee, who will hopefully be paid accordingly and incentivized.On TrainingSo you work on retention through technology improvements and, perhaps, some workplace adjustments or a benefits analysis, etc. But with the hospitality industry's staff attrition history, your hotel won't get to 15 or 20% for a long time, if ever. Training will always be a necessary focus for hotels, but it doesn't have to be a pain point either. In developing software, many hotel technology companies have overlooked how important a super-quick onboarding process is for hotel staff. We mean that your employees should be able to pick up a new core technology in a matter of minutes. Complicated technologies are inadvisable and altogether unsustainable when you have digital natives, who have been served up the savviest, easiest-to-use interfaces their entire lives, coming to work for you. And they just aren't necessary. The PMS may handle complicated processes but using it shouldn't be complex.If you can't be with the one you love...Then spend time thinking about those you're with. Those you've chosen to run your hotel. Though the correlation between technology and employee satisfaction may seem loose, it's not - especially as new generations enter the workforce. Take a minute to survey your staff about their feelings toward your technologies. What are their pain points? What works? These are valuable insights that will ultimately help you keep them working with you longer. Solid technology can't make up for lower-than-average wages or a bad manager, but it can make the difference of keeping several employees on board longer simply because they are both less frustrated and better able to do their jobs.
Article by Margaret Ady

How to compete with Airbnb by thinking like a tech company

apaleo GmbH 14 January 2019
Airbnb is the scorpion of accommodations. There's one, actually more like five, in that downtown condominium complex right around the corner from your hotel. These accommodations have snuck into your hotel's turf are hiding in plain sight with low operating costs and a cozy kitchen where guests can make their own breakfast that's better than the cereal at your free breakfast buffet.Back in 2016, Brian Younge of Colliers International Hospitality and Leisure Group noted that Airbnb not only has an impact on hotel demand but that impact will be felt most by limited service hotels. Airbnb supply "siphons demand from a lot of the limited-service properties in core markets and high tourist areas," said Younge (BisNow). Makes sense. Luxury travelers still want the services that Airbnb doesn't provide so the upscale market just won't see the same hit.This isn't the only way that the Airbnb scorpion stings limited service hotels. Pair this with a reduction in compression nights, when hotels would normally fill rooms at a much higher rate during big events, and limited-service hotels are in a tight squeeze. Compression nights have been on the decline, and it's mostly because of the likes of Airbnb and HomeAway. Dina Gerdeman writes for Forbes, "That's bad news for hotels, which have traditionally earned their biggest margins when rooms were scarce and customers were forced to pay higher rates."The (potentially) fatal blow: limited-service hotels are seeing the most growth, with 407,000 rooms coming online in 2018-2019 in the U.S. alone, which means not only competition from private rentals, but also stiffer competition from your hotel peers.What's a hotel, particularly a limited-service hotel, to do? Get in the head of the scorpion. Strip Airbnb down to its core. Peel back the hospitality mask that it wears and under the surface, you'll find a technology company (As is Uber. As is Expedia.). Each is built on savvy core technology where budgets and innovation go toward creating a better user experience. Limited-service hotels don't have this luxury, since, you know, they're saddled with an actual product on real estate with investors and owners. However, the chief way this hotel segment will compete against the scorpions of the hospitality world is to think like a technology company. Invest in user experience (in other words, the guest journey) wherever possible. Create administrative efficiencies via technology. Use technology to help you grow and generate more revenue.To do this, hotels must break out of legacy software that doesn't connect. In fact, it's not just legacy software that's problematic--even some tech that was released just yesterday doesn't integrate. This is where you must dig deepest when committing to new technology. You must ensure that you have open access and the ability to bring on new innovations that will change the way you do business. Opening up the possibilities of trying out new technologies that work seamlessly with core systems is the only affordable and viable path for hotels to slyly transform themselves into technology companies.So little is about the room anymore when it comes to hotels and so much is about the guest's experience of being able to choose how he or she wants to engage (i.e., automated check-in/out, texting for housekeeping, etc.). The technology for this category likely stays in the background because most midscale and economy properties aren't going to be adding tech bells and whistles to the rooms without taking a chunk out of already tight room margins. 2019 will be this behind-the-scenes technological innovation gives urban hotels competitive superpowers, becoming the scorpions that nobody saw squeeze through the door.PS: If you want to start thinking like a technology company, but don't know where to start, here's a tip - update your core system so that it can adapt to any new technology that you throw its way. This buyer's guide is a good starting reference.
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A hotel's definitive guide to property management systems in 2019

apaleo GmbH 10 January 2019
Switching to a new property management system can feel like a huge, complicated process. The research phase alone can take months, followed by difficult (and confusing) pricing discussions, complex set-ups, and long lead times before going live. But it doesn't need to be this way. To make things a little easier, apaleo has created a comprehensive guide to help hotels navigate the entire PMS landscape.The free guide is meant to save time and arm hoteliers with all the information needed to make an informed buying decision in 2019. It includes:The latest trends and expert opinionsThe core functionalities to look forQuestions hoteliers should ask (and the answers you want to hear)A detailed look at integrationsCost, implementation, and timelinesSuccess and further readingHere's to an uncomplicated buying process in 2019 and beyond.
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Digital Advent Calendar Offers Hotels Software Deals, Event Tickets, Pro Tips, and More Throughout December

apaleo GmbH 30 November 2018
apaleo, the ultra-connected and simplest-to-use property management system, has teamed up with technology partners and industry associations to bring hotels a little holiday cheer throughout December. Its treat-a-day giveaway is packed with exclusive offers on hotel technology, discounts to industry events and publications, best practices and more.The interactive calendar consists of twenty-five cubes, each of which contains hand-picked content for hoteliers. Beginning December 1st, one cube will be unlocked daily, revealing new treats like best practice guides and videos, discounts on innovative software across a variety of categories (revenue management, upselling, housekeeping, etc.), tickets to industry events, credits for press syndication, and more.The treats are all available here. Hoteliers are encouraged to visit the calendar daily to unlock new content. Of course, remembering to come back each day can be a chore, so apaleo will also make it simple hoteliers have the option to sign up for daily reminders when new offers become available.Happy holidays, on behalf of apaleo and its partners who participated in the holiday fun, including Oaky, Pace, Abitari, Hospitality Industry Club, Hsyndicate, and many, many more!
Article by Margaret Ady

Building a tech stack based on what your guests need (rather than just using everything that's available)

apaleo GmbH 13 September 2018
It's called overindulging. And it isn't just happening at the breakfast buffet. It's running rampant in hotel tech.We are bombarded every single day with new technologies, urgent trends, sniffs of what our competitors are implementing, "how-to" guides, interesting sales pitches, and the like. The tech buffet is as full as it's ever been. CRM. Of course. Revenue management system. Yup. Channel management technology. Mmmmhmmm. Artificial intelligence. Yes, please. Blockchain technology. Okay, that sounds good. Energy controlling apps. Sure, why not, that's like putting a vegetable on my plate--It's good for me, right? Mobile keys and self-service apps. Yup, no brainer. Interactive displays, virtual reality, location-based marketing, chatbots, facial recognition. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.Approaching the tech buffet hungry is a very bad idea. Every hotel has different needs, different guests, and different concepts. The one thing that every hotel needs in order to build the right tech stack is a solid PMS backbone. From there, hotels should, instead of devouring everything that hotel tech has to offer, stop. Take a moment, think about your strategy, focus on the things that will boost profitability and improve guest experience. It will save you from an upset stomach and an empty wallet later. If you're still hungry, you can always add on or test a new app later.Consider some of the unique concerns and technical requirements for just a few different hotel types:Small, Independent Hotel: Streamline Guest ServiceSmall hotels generally run a tight ship. With a far more limited staff, many staff have multiple roles. Creating a tech stack that frees them up to serve guests in the moment by doing some of the automated tasks for them can have a real impact on the bottom line. Small hotels might avoid big-time revenue management tools or sparkly non-essentials, such as virtual reality, and instead focus on apps that will turn the property into a well-oiled machine. Consider, instead, coupling a simple to use cloud-based PMS with a lean RMS that requires little to no staff training and can automate pricing adjustments. Guest-facing technology will depend heavily on your guest segments. For instance, if you serve a tech-savvy crowd, think about a self-service model that may be comprised of mobile keys, automated check-in, texting for linens, and self-serve check-out. Or maybe you're just embracing the digital age and need to focus on building the best core technologies, such as a great internet booking engine with a user-friendly interface or automated confirmation emails with a personalized touch. Each of these gives guests the autonomy they want by automating the basics so staff can focus their attention on the areas of service where human touch makes the difference.Flagged Hotels: Cover the Basics Before Undertaking Bells & WhistlesThe trouble for big hotels and chains: there's staff and frequently the budget to implement all manner of technology. With fewer limitations, how do you choose from the smorgasbord of tech? It's riskier territory for big hotels because the opportunity is big but too many technologies can dilute the impact and you want to be sure they are all integrated. Hone in on your goals and have your revenue manager look closely at where you can create real change. All will need the core PMS, one that is cloud-based with open APIs to give bigger brands the flexibility they need. From there, real change will look different for different brands. Some will need measurement tools; others will add process controls; still others will enhance guest services. Hilton, for instance, has deployed a platform gathering data from 4,500 hotels regarding energy performance. The platform is the first step in creating a system-wide approach to conservation. Big hotels will want to be sure they have covered revenue management apps, distribution, and guest-facing technologies, such as self-service apps before diving into major measurement on behind-the-scenes tools.Resorts: Uniformity is the GoalNo category understands the challenge of the buffet better than the resort, with golf, restaurants, tennis, spas, horse-backing riding, three different pools, evening s'mores by the fire, and so much more. Offering consistent service across all rooms and activities can be a real challenge. Doing so requires integrated systems that give the guest the feeling of interacting the same way for every kind of reservation (i.e., a spa reservation should look and feel like a tee-time reservation). Once guests arrive, they should be addressed the same way at different locales. Managing inventory across the various outlets must be streamlined in a way that management can evaluate the costs and revenues. The focus when building a tech stack should be on creating consistency, not generating more technology, unless it's clearly needed.Business Hotels: Make Everything EasyIf the bulk of your business is business, that might be a bonus. Your needs are far clearer than some other categories. Distribution strategies are paramount to ensuring you get those last-minute business trip bookings. Group and conference center technology serves the bottom line. Focus also on apps that streamline check-in, check-out, dry cleaning, room service, restaurant selections, and so forth to give business guests more time to do what they came to do. The more successful they feel when they leave, the more successful you have been during the stay.I'm all for trying new things. And hotels should be too. Go to the buffet and go bananas if you really want. But you'll find that the most painless approach to tech is to get your foundation set (read: a cloud-based PMS that can easily connect - no disparate technologies!). Then test new technology methodically and only if and when it will really boost the productivity and profitability for your particular property type. Instead of piling everything on your plate, take it one (or two) at a time. If you're still hungry after the pancake dessert course, grab another plate and dig in. I won't judge. [?]
Article by Margaret Ady

Dinosaurs: Great for Movies, Not for Software

apaleo GmbH 28 August 2018
While the Jurassic Park blockbusters live on, dinosaurs, do not. There are a handful of theories explaining their extinction: An asteroid. Climate change. The exorbitant amount of resources needed to sustain their giant bodies. Some even say that their brains were too small for their big bodies. Despite the mystery, a changing environment and their generally huge scale are frequently part of the debate.One direct descendant of the dinosaur was able to survive. Yep, you got it, the bird. Interesting that a micro-version of the dinosaur, one that is compact, light, efficient, and adaptable is what remains. Is this foreshadowing for what's to come with technology? Are we at the end of the technological Cretaceous period (a Techtaceous period, if you will)? I think so.Big, all-inclusive dinosaur technology is dying out and being replaced with smaller and more agile setups. It is a move from monolithic software to microservices, and Amazon, Google, Netflix and Uber are among the companies that have made the transition. They are doing this for good reason; monolithic architecture is difficult to sustain.Monoliths vs. MicroservicesMonolithic architecture refers to the traditional approach of building software as a whole - one, interdependent and often large component (CMSWire). If you need to scale up, you must duplicate the whole system with more machines. Adding new features or functionality can impact the entire system because deployment must be done as a whole.Contrast that with a microservices architecture, where an application is developed with many small services that can be independently built, tested, deployed and maintained. These services can even be built in different programming languages. This structure allows developers to "segment and isolate sections of a software, resulting in, 'little software components [that] talk to each other via APIs, [which can be] scaled independently,'" says [John] Rector, [Co-found of DialPad].Applying these concepts, on a very basic level, to the setup of hotel software, there is one clear monolithic system that is reaching the end of its productive life. It's the legacy property management systems (PMS). These unwieldy dinosaurs require too many resources, and they have become inefficient and ineffective at this scale. Traditional PMS providers have tried to do it all, growing beastly software that attempts to cover everything. But, in doing this, most of these systems have features that are half-baked, old and clunky. And don't even get me started with deploying new features - this can take eons.New solutions function more like the microservices model, building a sturdy and savvy core PMS that uses public, open, two-way APIs to connect to the apps and services that a hotel or chain needs. Think of it as the compact descendants of the dinosaurs--the birds of technology.The benefits of the birdAdopting this new, more agile setup requires a mindset change for many hotels. The PMS has its core features (reservations, inventory, rates, accounting, payment) without all the bells and whistles. Hotels then have the freedom to choose the bells and whistles by selecting from pre-built apps that are already connected via an API. Just click to connect. Innovative (or picky) hotels can even build their own apps. Best of all, hotels get to choose which ones they need and which ones they like (i.e., two apps may do the same fundamental thing, but based on user interface or functionality, one might be preferable to another).Hotels that rethink their software with this approach will find many benefits, including:Freed up development efforts - Developers don't need to waste time working on problems that have already been solved.Speedy deployment - Microservices, according to ButterCMS CEO Jake Lumetta, "allow for fast, independent delivery of individual parts within a larger integrated system." And they are easier to "recompose and reconfigure."Less risk - If there are problems with a microservice, it doesn't affect the entire system, only the application with the problem. For hotels, this means problems are easily fixed without affecting the core PMS.A better product - Perhaps the biggest gain for hoteliers is that their technology stack becomes stronger and more tailored for their business - they can pick the best, newest and most powerful applications that all work together.Adopting a micro-services model means that hotels have the central system (the PMS) and then either develop their own applications or use an application already developed on the open API. Either way, hotels only use what they need. Some hotels need food and beverage applications, revenue management, upsell, reputation management, CRM, distribution, housekeeping and maintenance, sales and catering, and spa management and some only need one or two of these. Hotels are paying dinosaur fees for a whole lot of services they won't ever use. But with microservices, they pick what they need. And it works better.The Post-Techtacious EraAs things -be they dinosaurs or technology - grow, they get harder to manage. They require more maintenance, they have more dependencies, and they require more and more resources until they can no longer be sustained. Then they become extinct. By "building an application consisting of many small services that can be independently deployed and maintained, don't have any dependencies but rather communicate with each other through lightweight mechanisms and lack a centralized infrastructure," the whole system works better (Elastic.io). Microservices are the future of a more streamlined technological future. So, let the dinosaurs stay in the past and in the movies. It is time to embrace their descendants - the little birds with the big benefits that hotels need.
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apaleo expands to the UK with appointment of Alan O'Riordan

apaleo GmbH 1 August 2018
Based out of London, O'Riordan will be responsible for leading apaleo's UK and Ireland business development, as well as the international growth of apaleo, beginning in August 2018. He has also joined the community of apaleo shareholders which consists of the founders, apaAngels and apaChamps.O'Riordan brings more than 19 years of experience and a successful track record to the team, having worked with PMS' such as protel and Guestline in different capacities. In his most recent role, he was Managing Director, UK & Europe, at Xn protel Systems."I wanted the next step in my career to be with a true technology innovator - a company that could bring about genuine positive change in the hospitality industry. Having extensively researched the hotel technology market, apaleo impressed me the most. Its team of founders, technical people and partners is outstanding," says O'Riordan. "apaleo's API-first approach, together with a native cloud PMS and the apaleo Store is unique. Its ability to develop this entire platform in less than a year shows the team's focus, and I am excited to lead business development efforts to make apaleo a global player in the industry."Uli Pillau, one of the original apaleo founders, comments, "apaleo spent the last year heavily focused on building a flawless platform. We are now entering our next phase, in which we will focus on growth and expansion. Alan's great experience, reputation, and leadership is exactly what we were looking for in this phase. We look forward to growing our presence under Alan's leadership."As part of this expansion phase, apaleo is seeking to hire more exceptional candidates for various roles within the company, particularly motivated developers looking to build products that will disrupt the hotel industry and talented sales and marketing candidates with proven track records of success. Candidates are encouraged to submit their applications here.Uli Pillau continues, "apaleo's team and culture impresses many who first meet us. Everyone at the company acts as a true founder. The team's passion and set of core values allow us to be agile, move quickly and deliver on features and promises. This isn't always the case with bigger companies with corporate environments, and we think our hotel customers and development partners will see a clear benefit from our agile approach."About Alan O'RiordanSince graduating with honours in German, French and international marketing in 1991, Alan has worked in sales, marketing and general management for over 25 years. He has in-depth knowledge of hospitality and hotel technology, having worked closely with some of the world's most prestigious hotel companies during his 19 years with Guestline and Xn protel Systems.
Article by Margaret Ady

From Tech Dependent to Tech Savvy: How Hotels Can Get Ahead of the Curve

apaleo GmbH 11 July 2018
Patrick Fisher of Thomson Reuters notes that, "As technologies become more and more pervasive across industries and functions, companies as varied as Goldman Sachs, Exxon, GE, Citi, and Walmart are all becoming technology companies as well." Hotels may not be peddling technology, but they are profiting off of their ability to offer guests innovative technology solutions as well as their ability to use technology to do better business. Even if hotels aren't ready to be labelled technology companies, hotel operations have evolved from an industry that once utilized technology to a technology-dependent industry.However, as Futurecast notes, a tech dependency doesn't necessarily mean the users are tech savvy. Even when it comes to digital natives/millennials. Adapting technology to our needs can be a challenge even for those immersed in it. Perhaps this is why hotels are more tech-dependent than ever but most will report they are lagging behind the tech curve.So how can hotels move from laggards to innovators? Here's a look at what tech savvy companies are doing to stay ahead of the curve.Review the budgetTech-competitive hotels dedicate budget to technology. 71% of hotels that consider themselves innovators will increase technology budgets in the coming year, according to Hotel Technology's 2018 Lodging Technology Study. Hotels that do not reallocate the technology budget will fall behind the curve. Increasing the technology budget does not necessarily have a negative impact on the bottom line. This shift will is likely increase efficiency and will, over time, have positive revenue ramifications across departments. Consider this when budgeting.Source -- Hotel Technology: 2018 Lodging Technology StudyReinvent the central technology systemFor many years now, the PMS has been the heart and core system for most hotels. As the 2018 Lodging Technology Study notes, "The PMS has truly become the central hub of hotels, being tasked to do a myriad of different functions." While in theory this sounds fine, in practice it presents problems. In trying to tout all-encompassing feature lists, PMS vendors develop poorly implemented functionalities that would be better developed by app developers specialized in these areas (think upsell, mobile check in, BI/reporting, etc.). But most PMSs do not connect with these third party applications, so hotels are stuck with their PMS's functionalities or none at all.Hotels that want to drive their technology forward will need to rethink the requirements of their PMS and reinvent how it is used within the context of the hotel's full technology stack. Tech-savvy hotels will search for lean PMSs that offer a fully open 2-way API. This allows the hotel to use core functionality from its PMS and add additional features by connecting its favorite apps and micro-services at the click of a button. The hotel can then grant these apps access to the information stored in the PMS and write back data to the PMS so that all technology works together seamlessly. Approaching the PMS this way creates the most innovative scenario hotels have seen to date. It might initially feel risky to make the jump, but what's riskier is relying on proprietary, closed legacy systems that don't innovate at all.Self-disrupt to innovateSelf-disruption - not to be confused with self-destruction - is when companies find ways to evolve or completely overhaul their current mode of operating before another company beats them to it. A good example is when Apple knowingly killed its iPod sales with the iPhone. It is common practice at major tech corporations, and Gartner reports that by 2020 five of the top seven digital giants will self-disrupt.Hotels can get ahead of technology by doing the same. Self-disruption will mean different things for different hotels. For a traditional, single property hotel, it may begin with switching to a native, cloud-based PMS in order to create operational efficiency, train new staff faster, and access data on mobile devices while on the go. For a hotel with tech-savvy business travelers, it may mean connecting new technology that allows for faster (self) check-in - or better yet, setting up the infrastructure to run a staffless operation. For Marriott, this meant introducing voice technology, with the recent announcement of Alexa-enabled rooms. The opportunities are endless, but one thing is clear: hotels that take the time to reflect on guest needs and self-disrupt will succeed in an already saturated market. Technology, guest access to it as well as operational innovation, will become one of the things that differentiates hotels and drives guest loyalty in the coming years.Say it out loud, "My hotel is a technology company"In fact, almost all companies are technology companies now. Even at a coffee shop, if the Wi-Fi is lousy or the POS hiccups every time the tablet is spun around to get a signature, the business will suffer. Hotels that embrace the fact that they are as much a technology company as they are a hospitality organization will inherently put technology at the center where it needs to be. Let's face it, marketing runs on technology, reservations run on technology, revenue management runs on technology, as does F&B, the spa, the gift shop, housekeeping. You get the drift. Hotels that aren't actively prioritizing technology and actively working to change the entire organization's mindset will lag behind.Recruit and hire tech-savvy leadersWhile it shouldn't be a pre-requisite for every executive team member to have worked in Silicon Valley, hotels do need to hire at least one staff member who handles technology. By this, I do not mean hardware. Not the person who makes sure the computers run. I mean a high-level developer, tech lead or CIO who can review and consult on proposed technology purchases. One who can speak to the true assets and drawbacks of the technology. One who can see if it integrates with the rest of the tech stack. This way the hotel will know when a vendor says that they integrate fully that they actually mean it (because, loads of companies say they do, and it's not always true).It may seem odd to discuss forward-thinking technology without mentioning the latest buzzworthy tech like AI, VR and blockchain, but this emphasis on individual technologies is how lagging hotels have gotten where they are - just trying to keep up with the next thing. It's time for hotels to take stock of how they budget, prioritize, implement, and innovate with technology, which requires a philosophical change at the senior level. One that says, Technology is as much our priority as hospitality because it is required to deliver the experience our guests expect. Instead of piecemeal tech solutions doled out to different departments based on who's most in need, hotels must create a holistic technology strategy, one guided by hospitality principles but led by technology know-how.
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Margaret Ady joins apaleo's founding team as the company enters new growth phase

apaleo GmbH 29 June 2018
In her role, Ady will be responsible for apaleo's brand positioning, marketing, and strategic growth. She brings a wealth of experience, having most recently led marketing for Berlin-based SnapShot, and prior to that, for TrustYou. Before joining the hospitality technology scene, Ady held key leadership roles at The Walt Disney Company and The Oprah Winfrey Network."apaleo's API first approach is forward-thinking and will disrupt the hospitality industry by removing the bottlenecks that previously held us back. apaleo's open platform gives hoteliers and app developers alike the freedom to innovate," says Ady. "I'm looking forward to growing apaleo's presence as we drive the hospitality industry into the future.""Margaret has a track record as one of THE leading marketing experts at the crossroads of hospitality and technology. We wanted her to join our founding team as nobody else can do better in helping to shape the next generation of hospitality technology - the API first revolution," says Martin Reents, one of the original apaleo founders.As part of its growth phase, apaleo is expanding its Munich-based team across nearly all business units with exceptional, driven candidates seeking to change the industry. Open positions can be found on apaleo's website here.Margaret Ady continues, "one of the things that impressed me about apaleo is its superhero team, which is passionate, hungry, experienced, and smart. The team's attitude allows us to stay agile so that we can deliver new features and functionality quickly, setting us apart from the competition. I see this as a huge asset for hotel customers and app partners."
Article by Philip von Ditfurth

Lightning Speed & Why It Matters

apaleo GmbH 21 June 2018
With technology, there is "what it does"--the functionality--and then there's "how it does it," as in how fast, how accurate, what the interface looks like, and so forth. Functionality is that by which we decide we need a technology--a new POS, PMS, CRM--and so the "how it does it" becomes a secondary consideration. The way a technology does what it does gains weight as you move through the evaluation process. When you are presented with competing technologies--those that seem to do the same thing on the surface--the differences start to become clear and the "how" takes on a new magnitude of importance. For instance, legacy property management systems can take months to set up, a typical cloud-based PMS can take weeks, and one with self-service set-up (hint hint: apaleo) alows a property to be set up in minutes. That's right, minutes!Why does this matter so much and why should it be a primary consideration? Of course, there's the simple fact of speed. Who doesn't need more time, more productivity, and faster employees? According to the Hospitality Technology 2018 Lodging Technology Study, among the Top 12 Tactical Objectives hotels have for this year are reducing the cost of managing technology (#4) and increasing employee productivity (#5). The two go hand-in-hand.In order to meet these goals, hotels must give more priority to how technologies do what they do. 1). Setup speed and length of training required, 2). user interface efficiency, 3). Ease in which it can connect to other core systems, are all key components of this evaluation. Whether you're looking to reduce turnover among front desk staff or to increase efficiency, a speedy, intuitive technology will do both. What won't accomplish these goals are closed property management systems that require hours upon hours of set-up, two weeks of training to onboard, and no ability to connect innovative apps. Hotels need systems that take just minutes to set up a new property with inventory, services, rate structure, and policies, as well as add on innovative apps to help run the business.There's more than the act of moving faster--and the implied time and money savings--at play here. In his article, Four Reasons Speed Is Everything, Adam Fridman writes that if you're not fast, your competitors will be and that companies should establish a culture of speed, because "no company in any industry can get ahead with a slow culture" (Inc.). The hospitality industry, even as it has grown in lodging supply and demand, finds itself repeatedly behind the curve with technology. The lag is understandable given the scale on which many hotels must operate and the cost to implement new procedures (another benefit to a speedy and easy-to-use PMS), but there is an undercurrent of resistance to change or, at the very least, slowness to adapt, that runs deep and holds the industry back. One essential aspect of embracing new, innovative, and fast technologies is that it moves the whole industry ahead, and those on the forefront of the movement will be more successful than their competitors.We have entered a phase in which the pace of technology has increased exponentially, but as economist Larry Summers notes, "productivity statistics on the last dozen years are dismal." About this, Vox Editor Ezra Klein says, "There's a simple explanation... It's changing how we play and relax more than it's changing how we work and produce." Hotels have the opportunity to go from lagging technologically to a leading technological industry simply by embracing technologies that help them get ahead, setting a new pace for not only staff productivity but also for guest service. It's time for hotels to play in the technology space in a bigger, more thoughtful way. As CNBC's Todd Haselton puts it, "Every company is a technology company now... as tech has quietly become the beating heart of efficiency in every firm." And speed is one of the most important components.
Article by Uli Pillau

The One Thing Every Hotel Should Consider When Purchasing Hotel Technology

apaleo GmbH 13 June 2018
Every hotel technology, whether for guests or back of house staff, has the same end one way or another--that is, to improve the guest experience. Reaching that end requires that the technology is easy to use. Here are four ways that choosing technology with the best ease of use will save your hotel operational costs and will improve the guest experience.1). User AdoptionNo matter how elegant the technology, how many bells and whistles, if the technology isn't easy to implement and use on a day to day basis, user adoption suffers and the technology either won't be used properly or won't be used to its fullest.For hotels, the problem of technology adoption is growing. Alan Zaccario, VP of information technology for New Castle Hotels & Resorts, tells Hotel Management, "Ironically, the most complicated systems have little in the way of training. They rely more on vendor engagement." When staff must depend on lengthy training and/or vendor engagement in order to use the core systems of a hotel, they are necessarily less apt to use the technology to its fullest.2). Efficiency = Better Guest ServiceWhen staff don't use technology correctly or completely, they are less efficient, and, therefore, less successful at serving guests. Long-time hotel technology consultant Jon Inge says, "If you improve efficiency, you have fewer distractions for the staff so they can automatically start giving better guest service."Additionally, a fully integrated tech stack saves substantial time on simple, operational tasks and reporting. When systems are properly connected, many tasks can be automated and new tools specific to the hotel's business model can be added or removed with ease.The easiest place to start increasing efficiency through integration is with your PMS. When evaluating a new PMS, hoteliers should ensure that the PMS is native cloud-based and non-restrictive in terms of number of integrations (note: one sure-fire way to know if the PMS platform is completely open is to see if it has a public, open API).3) Save on Staffing ResourcesFurther, hotels that have technologies that can be easily adopted also avoid adding staff unnecessarily. Hotel Uhland implemented the apaleo PMS along with Hotellistat for revenue management. Set up was complete in less than a day and the simple user interfaces that allowed them, for instance, to drag-and-drop pricing helped the property avoid adding more staff to manage channel distribution and rates.4) Tech That Survives TurnoverIt's common knowledge that the hotel industry has among the highest turnover rates of any industry. Estimates tend to fall in the 30% range. During high season, the effects of turnover are felt intensely. Usability is paramount, especially for core technologies, when turnover rates are high. It keeps existing employees happier and more effective when technology they rely on helps them speed up at critical low-staff periods and training is minimal for rapid onboarding with new staff.With digital natives entering the hotel industry in greater numbers, the demand for better usability will grow and frustration with legacy systems will skyrocket. It makes sense to incorporate ease of use as a primary consideration for all tech integrations from here on out.
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apaleo Wins EyeforTravel Europe's 2018 Startup Award

apaleo GmbH 8 June 2018
apaleo seeks to drastically change the world of hotel software by creating an open property management system (PMS) platform that connects all key hotel systems quickly and seamlessly. The apaleo PMS is at the core of these systems and can be set up in minutes. It is the first PMS which is purely based on a fully open 2-way API that allows hotels to grant applications access to all the information stored in apaleo, as well as allow them to write back data to the PMS. apaleo's public API allows hoteliers to innovate without major risks, integration hassles, long wait times and hidden fees. Developers and software vendors can easily connect to apaleo, and hotels can even develop their own, custom apps with ease. Applications are housed in the apaleo Store, opening the possibilities for hotels to connect to pre-integrated, innovative apps - guest or staff facing - with one click."We are excited to receive this award because it indicates that the industry is ready for a change. Hoteliers and innovators alike shouldn't have to struggle with integrations pains caused by legacy systems," says Philip von Ditfurth, co-founder of apaleo. "We look forward to enabling forward-thinking hotels to embrace the digital future."apaleo was founded in 2017 and launched in less than a year with a team of twelve passionate developers and industry veterans. After its product officially entered the market in March, apaleo has already onboarded several hotels and hotel chains across Europe, has welcomed more than 30 app developer partners, and has grown its team to twenty.apaleo has made it simple for hotels to switch from legacy systems. If your hotel is ready to enjoy the freedom of working with the apps you love, learn more about apaleo or schedule a live demo here.

Is Your Hotel's Data Secure?

apaleo GmbH 8 May 2018
Is Your Hotel's Data Secure?How To Process Payments Risk-FreeAre you taking the right actions to make sure that your hotel's data is secure? There are security measures and standards in place to ensure that you and your guests aren't at risk, particularly when processing payments. Here are the details about these standards, what they mean for your hotel, and how to ensure that you are safe.An Overview of PCI DSSWhat is PCI DSS?PCI DSS is short for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Opposed to GDPR, the PCI DSS is not a law, but a standard defined and maintained by an independent entity created by major payment card brands. Whenever you want to accept credit cards from brands like VISA and MasterCard, you are required to be compliant with this security standard. The PCI DSS can be seen as a collection of best practices or rules on how to treat the sensible payment card data entrusted to you by your guests in order to prevent data breach and fraud.Do I have to be compliant?Whenever you make a contract with a payment service provider to process credit cards on-premises or online, you will have to demonstrate your compliance. Depending on the payment provider or the acquiring bank and the size of your business you have either to fill out a self-questionnaire or might even have to conduct an on-site audit with a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA).What can happen if I am not compliant with PCI DSS?If payment card data entrusted to you is leaked and misused the payment brands will penalize the acquiring bank. Those fines might be passed to you as a merchant if you are found to be non-compliant. They can be somewhere between 5,000 EUR and 100,000 EUR for every month you are non-compliant, and, in the worst case, you might lose the right to accept payment cards from the major payment card brands. In addition, you could face legal issues and a damage of your reputation. So, best is to see the rules from the PCI DSS as a guide that helps you to secure your business.Choosing Compliant Technology PartnersHotels can ensure that they remain PCI DSS compliant by choosing technology partners that are PCI DSS certified. This applies to any technology that the hotel uses to process payments, which, for most hotels will start with their PMS. As apaleo was building its PMS architecture, PCI compliance was considered from the start, so we were certified within a matter of weeks.How do technology partners get certified?Technology providers should conduct on-site audits to prove compliance. At apaleo, these audits are conducted yearly. QSA Adsigo inspects the technical implementation to identify any potential risks how sensitive cardholder data can be leaked and also checks our security policies and processes. When compliance can be validated, technology providers receive an AOC. apaleo customers can download ours here. With this AOC and the acknowledgment of responsibility from your provider, hoteliers can easily fulfill the requirement 12.8 from the PCI DSS on service provider management.A Hotel's ResponsibilitiesTechnology partners like apaleo allow hotels to run their business in compliance with PCI DSS, but there are still things you need to take care of. Full details on which requirements you need to fulfill can be found on the official website of the PCI Security Standards Council.E-Commerce and Mail Order / Telephone Order (MoTo)If you accept cards on your website and other online channels like booking.com, or you accept credit cards for mail and telephone orders, then the PCI requirements will be related to restricting user access to cardholder data, ensuring compliance of your service providers and maintaining an incident response plan at max. This also depends on your bank or payment service provider.Card-present with modern IP based card terminalsIf you also process payment cards on-premises using a modern IP based terminal connected to the payment service provider through the internet you will be exposed to additional requirements. Most banks or payment service providers will only obligate you to this high standard if you are processing a high volume of terminal transactions though. The payment service provider Adyen, which is used for payment processing in apaleo, currently only sets these high standards if you process more than 1mio transactions.If so, then you will have to clearly separate the network of the IP terminals from the other networks in your hotel and have firewall rules in place that ensure the terminals can only communicate with the payment service provider through securely encrypted connections. All systems connected to the network of the IP terminals will belong to the so-called card data environment (CDE). Only authorized persons should have access to those systems, which also implies heavier policies and documentation efforts to you. On top of that you will have to run a quarterly external vulnerability scan.
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Death to PMS Interface fees!

apaleo GmbH 27 March 2018
If the industry agrees that this shouldn't be such a hassle, why is it still a pain? The reason lies with the legacy Property Management Systems (PMS) which still dominate the market. They are closed, monolithic, and often unwilling to work with third-party tools.Barriers of legacy technologyLegacy PMS technology typically gets a bad reputation for being difficult to use, not user-friendly and slow. They are individually set up for each account, which means that the initial implementation and set up can take time thanks to server set up, installs and configuration. Once set up, all upgrades (including new integrations) must be done manually, since they are specific to each server - there is no common setup across accounts. So, before building any update or new integration, a legacy PMS provider must first evaluate the cost and benefit based on the expected return of a customer over its lifecycle. If building the interface can provide a return, it is added to the queue, where a hotel could wait months or even years for the new version.Hidden fees stack upBecause PMS vendors control the timeline and acceptance of requests for interfaces, they can pick and choose if and when to work on them. When a request is accepted, it is often at such a high cost that the connection is not worthwhile for the hotel to pursue. Technology companies may have the opportunity to build their own integration to the PMS but face similar challenges - the integration comes with high certification fees and take months or even years to build.The costs do not stop there. The PMS then starts charging their clients, the hotels and chains, with significant interface fees per hotel per interface. Often hotels only find out about these additional fees, which may add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of euros, only after the final integration is complete. And, on top of these fees, the PMS vendors again add additional fees for installation and support of the interface. These fees are lucrative for the PMS vendors. The interface fees are often significantly higher than the cost of the PMS software license itself.No incentive to change the business modelIn the current model, the only winners are legacy PMSs, which are reeling in fees from hotels and technology vendors and are dictating the speed at which technology can be adopted.Both hotels and tech companies lose - hotels don't have an easy way to connect their preferred tools and certainly don't have the ability to test new products, and technology companies must allocate significant resources for building integrations.The industry seems to have accepted this as the norm, without demanding change from PMS providers. It is time for hotels and technology companies to demand a better way, otherwise, legacy systems will continue to monopolize their influence and stifle innovation. So how can we as an industry put an end to costly PMS interface fees, long wait times, and siloed technology?A better way with cloud PMS and open APIThe first thing is simple. Hotels should look for next generation, cloud-based PMSs. Cloud-based PMSs come with many advantages. They can be setup quickly - sometimes even in a self-service style by the hotel itself - because they don't require any on-premise installation. Once setup, hotels can begin using the PMS almost immediately. Cloud-based PMSs are also scalable and accessible anywhere, so hotels can grow and access their data from any device.Because cloud-based PMSs are new compared to their legacy friends, they tend to have a more user-friendly user interface, saving hotels time and resources on training and onboarding new staff. Considering the high turnover rates at hotels, this can be a huge benefit.Adding features, building integrations and setting up new hotels become simpler and faster with a cloud PMS. When an upgrade is made on a cloud-based PMS, it can be done once, for all customers. No queue, no wait times.While cloud-based PMSs makes it easier to build new integrations, this alone will not solve the problem. The PMS should have a public, open API that allows any third-party software to connect to the PMS. This API must be 2-way, allowing apps to write data back to the PMS and vice versa. This open approach allows integrations to be completed within days and eliminates certification fees for third-party tech companies and interface license fees for the hotel or hotel group.While many companies preach cloud-based PMSs and open APIs, most still come with hidden fees and workarounds. It is time to remove the barriers that traditional PMS providers have created and break the current business model of legacy PMS players. It is time to claim once and for all that PMS interface fees are dead!
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What technology is required to operate a staffless hotel?

apaleo GmbH 6 March 2018
So how can hotels go unmanned while still ensuring that guests remain satisfied throughout their entire guest journey? The answer lies in the hotel's technology. Here's how PLACE TO SLEEP Hotels manages its staffless hotels.Pre-arrivalAs with most hotels, guests can easily book a room directly through the hotel website, through any major OTA, or by calling the hotel's central office, where a motivated team supports all service requests. However, at PLACE TO SLEEP Hotels, once guests make a reservation, they automatically receive a confirmation email generated by Swedish company, Loopon. As part of the reservation process, guests have options to customize their stay with vouchers for breakfast, coffee and more, which can be redeemed at a partner cafe near the hotel.Prior-to-arrival, guests receive a PIN code via email and SMS, which can be used to open the main door to the hotel as well as the guest's room throughout the stay.In-houseOnce on premise, the guest is automatically checked in once his or her code is used at the hotel room, meaning that the guest does not have to spend time in a queue just to let the hotel know that he or she has arrived. Additional services can be offered at the hotel by the online kiosk at the hotel's entrance which is connected to apaleo.There are systems at play behind the scenes as well. PLACE TO SLEEP hotels uses apaleo's cloud PMS to automate room assignments and Adyen Payments to process credit card payments, all without manual work from hotel staff.Post-stayJust like the automated arrival process, there is another time-saver for guests at the time of the check-out: The guest can simply leave the hotel without any sign off and will be automatically checked out at noon, when the PIN code is also automatically deactivated. An invoice generated by apaleo will be delivered via email.Making the process run smoothlyIn order for a staffless hotel to work well, the hotel should reduce the number of room types to a required minimum. This means that a large number of rooms are essentially equal. These rooms do not have different sizes or rates.Policies and prices for early check-in or late check-out must be entirely clear and not open for negotiation. Either there is no such thing as early check-in or every hour of early check-in (when available) requires a certain fee, which is automatically posted. Group bookings are simply multiple individual bookings.With all these policies and technologies in place, the hotel can indeed run essentially on its own. Some people, such as housekeeping are still required, but even the communication with housekeeping staff can be automated. At PLACE TO SLEEP Hotels, housekeepers are informed via apaleo's housekeeping app, which notifies the staff as to which rooms need to be cleaned. The team can then clean the room and update the status of the room within the app so that it is ready for check-in.BenefitsWith such a reduction in personnel, the hotels that operate unmanned has two major benefits.Firstly, they do not require a high number trained staff and therefore have lower fixed operating costs, which in turn means they can operate even smaller units profitably. This enables a blue ocean strategy for the PLACE TO SLEEP Hotels by allowingexpansion to smaller destinations and 'secondary locations' of major cities where demand is lower and indeed too low for a traditional full-service hotel, but enough for a small staffless unit.Secondly, they can save a significant amount of money. These savings are passed on to the guests via highly competitive rates, and the hotel itself can choose how to invest the savings - in particularly nice rooms, excellent locations, or a combination of the two. In addition, the company can increase the profits and run a highly lucrative operation from day one.Jan-Henrik Holmlund, co-founder and CEO of PLACE TO SLEEP Hotels, says, "We are very proud of the highly effective hotel concept we have created. The results we produce with our hotels and through the technology automation can beat almost all of the traditional hotel concepts we are aware of.""The guests love the easy and mobile-friendly guest journey and getting rooms at a great price," he adds. "We see a significant interest in Finland and the Nordics in having many more hotels in that region, and next will be an expansion to other European countries. The PLACE TO SLEEP Hotels' financial model using automation allows us to operate properties with profits hardly seen before in the industry in destinations with lower demand. Innovation is at our very core, so it was vital for PLACE TO SLEEP for find an innovative partner with a next generation PMS. We believe in the big vision and team of apaleo which we have known for many years."What's next?Are you looking for a more flexible PMS that can help you to embrace the digital age? apaleo founders will be at ITB in Berlin, stand # 114-117 in hall 8.1. Hotels looking to book a meeting with the founding team may do so here.
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apaleo to present new Cloud PMS and the apaleo Store in Berlin at ITB 2018

apaleo GmbH 27 February 2018
apaleo, the innovative Munich based company developing a flexible and scalable cloud PMS fully equipped with a 2-way API and a store that delivers pre-integrated apps for hotels looking to embrace the digital age, announced today that it will be in Berlin for ITB 2018 running 30-minute Setup Shows that will showcase how simple its next generation cloud PMS is to set up.The PMS, which is built for single and multi-property hotels, is easily set up and supports all mobile devices. apaleo clients enjoy access to a growing number of third-party apps, including a modern Internet Booking Engine (IBE), 2-way integrations with distribution channels such as booking.com as well as specialized components for certain hotel areas covering guest communication, rate management or housekeeping.Uli Pillau of apaleo, says, "In 2017, we concentrated entirely on the development of the PMS and the Ecosystem with quicker results than expected. There are already over 30 innovative third-party companies doing integrations using the apaleo public API. We created a comprehensive offering of excellent software components for the hospitality industry."Over the past few weeks, apaleo has onboarded its first hotels and hotel groups in several European countries.Regarding the plans for 2018, Pillau adds: "In 2018, we are building many new product enhancements and will begin to roll out apaleo to hotels in key destinations in Europe, including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, UK, France, Spain and the Nordics. We are also committed to adding more applications to our marketplace so that hotels have access to pre-integrated, highly innovating tools that will help hotels keep up with the latest technology. The apaleo Core PMS is in the background so hotel groups and hotels can have their preferred partner in each category working together as part of a seamless platform."apaleo is working on the platform with a core team of 20 people in Munich, Germany. Hotels and hotel groups that want to become more digital and address the needs of today's travelers can use the apaleo systems which is entirely independent of hardware. The apaleo Cloud PMS can be activated within a very short time without going through an extensive installation and onboarding process.The apaleo team will prove its fast set-up during hotel demos at ITB (stand #114-117 in hall 8.1) and show how they can be fully set up in 30 minutes or less. Hotels looking to book a demo can do so here.
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Removing The PMS Nightmare: How One Hotel Set Up a New PMS and Fully Integrated Revenue Management Tool in A Matter Of Minutes

apaleo GmbH 19 February 2018
One hotel, unsatisfied with its current setup, decided it was time to make a change and searched for a better way.Hotel Uhland, an independent property located in the heart of Munich's city center, struggled with its legacy PMS. The system itself was clunky and did not offer simple, integrated solutions for managing rates, channel management, and more. The team was spending too much time and manual work on its pricing, taking away from time that they could be spending with guests.Susanna Worle, General Manager of the hotel, notes, "We are a rather small team with a very personal touch to the guests. A challenge we are facing is positioning our unique offering on the competitive Munich market. Technology is playing a critical role to stay in the race. But as a small team it has become nearly impossible for us to deal with the increasing complexities integrating the tools we really need."Worle began her search for a flexible PMS that could be set up quickly and could easily connect to core revenue management tools. Her goal was to find a solution to optimize the hotel's rates using data like competitors' rates, events, historical data and business on the books, without manual work and the possibility of human errors.After extensive research, she settled on apaleo, a fully cloud-based PMS with a pre-integrated marketplace of applications in a variety of hotel software categories. Through the apaleo marketplace, Worle selected Hotellistat for its revenue management tool, which provides a simple drag-and-drop interface to adjust prices and update rates in the apaleo PMS.To Worle's surprise, the entire set up was a breeze. She notes, "It is amazing how easily we can manage our prices with Hotellistat - not to mention that the rates are automatically updated in our apaleo PMS and synchronized with our OTAs without a channel manager. Because Hotellistat is pre-integrated with apaleo, the setup was done in less than one hour."With numerous comparison and filter options, Worle and her team were able to analyse the price of room per category, length of stay, occupancy, cancellation policies and included services. What's more, by a simple drag-and-drop, Hotel Uhland can adjust prices to its competitors' rates. And with a click of a button, optimize and update rates into the apaleo PMS, saving countless hours of work without the need to hire additional staff.Download the entire case study here.Want to see how you can set up your hotel with a new, flexible PMS in less than an hour? Book a demo with apaleo at ITB!

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