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St. Regis First Hotel in Washington, D.C. Metro to Feature Plum In-Room Wine By-the-Glass Amenity

Plum 16 January 2019
Plum, the hospitality industry's revolutionary new wine by-the-glass appliance, today announced that the St. Regis Washington, D.C. is the first D.C. Metro-area hotel to offer guests a next-gen, on-demand experience. The Plum appliances, which dispenses a perfectly preserved and temperature-controlled glass with every pour, have been installed in St. Regis suite rooms, elevating and transforming the guest experience.Situated only two blocks from the White House and moments from the nation's capital's most significant attractions, The St. Regis Washington, D.C. has played host to dignitaries, royalty, and refined travelers for nearly a century. Renowned for its polished opulence, daily Afternoon Tea, and evening champagne sabering ceremony, the St. Regis Washington, D.C.'s abundant elegance and luxury suits Plum's innovative solution perfectly."Guests in our luxury suites enjoy truly personalized experiences, including the attention of our St. Regis Butler Service throughout the duration of their stay," explains Joseph Mattioli, General Manager at St. Regis. "What better, new way to distinguish ourselves and deliver upon our brand promise than through this truly sophisticated and unique offering from Plum."The hotel in-room wine experience has remained largely unchanged for nearly 50 years. Meanwhile, guest preferences have changed dramatically. Today's guests want personalized service, choices, and convenience. This is where Plum's technology has revolutionized the industry-- offering automated, by-the-glass, perfectly chilled wine to guests, within the comfort of their hotel room. The unique in-room appliance holds and preserves two bottles, uses cloud software to automatically track and bill guests, while also alerting housekeeping when it is time to replace an empty bottle. Plum also enables hoteliers to recognize and reward guest loyalty, celebrate a birthday or anniversary, and instantly send an amenity at the touch of a button. The self-service model also empowers hoteliers to unlock new incremental revenue streams, while at the same time, reducing delays and demand on staff.Founder and CEO of Plum, David Koretz said, "We're proud to be partnering with another of the world's most elegant hotel brands and in one of the most important cities of the world. Plum is not just a product -- it's a transformative hospitality experience - and we continue to revolutionize the way guests enjoy wine, one glass at a time."Plum has already partnered with leading independent hotels and chains, including Four Seasons, Marriott, SBE Group, Langham, Hyatt, Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, and Rosewood flags.To learn more, visit hotels.plum.wineAbout St. Regis Washington, D.C.Revered as one of the Capital's finest addresses, The St. Regis Washington D.C.'s luxurious Italianate exterior, dramatic public spaces, richly designed guest rooms and impeccable service create a luxurious, residential environment that have long made this iconic hotel the destination for royalty, statesmen, business magnates, politicians and celebrities since its opening in 1926. With 172 sumptuous guest rooms and suites, The St. Regis Washington, D.C. is ideally located in the heart of the capital, just two blocks from the White House and steps from the city's finest shopping, restaurants and museums. Additionally, the hotel offers St. Regis' legendary Butler Service, world-class dining including the hotel's signature restaurant and the hotel's iconic St. Regis Bar.About PlumPlum reimagines every aspect of the wine-by-the-glass experience. The world's first appliance that can serve a glass of wine just as the winemaker intended, Plum allows hoteliers to satisfy the moments that inspire guests to enjoy a glass of wine in the hotel's room product. Plum delivers an unforgettable experience - and profits - in extraordinary style, one glass at a time. To learn more visit www.plum.wine
Article by Adam Hoydysh

Why Hotels Should be Serving Up Self-Service to Gain a Competitive Advantage and Inspire Guest Loyalty

Plum 3 January 2019
The basic premise is that guests should have choices available to them, within every stay, that allows them to navigate a hotel property in a manner which appeals to their individual preferences. In some cases, this may call for a high-touch experience, developed through frequent, personalized and direct interactions with staff. In other cases, this may call for a low-touch stay designed for those guests who are more interested in an experience which is defined by seamless and efficient service -- often of the self-service variety. In fact, over the last few years, we've witnessed a widespread consumer shift towards self-service automation through the likes of TV streaming sites (such as Netflix), the debut of Amazon Go's first automated retail stores, Uber, Ritual, Uber Eats and so much more. For many consumers, this represents an exciting opportunity to experience a fast, efficient shopping or service process that puts them in control and maximizes their time at the simple touch of a button. In a recent survey, 66% of shoppers admitted they prefer self-service technology over interacting with a retail sales associate.There's no denying it -- the self-service model is rapidly growing in popularity across industries and is, subsequently taking the hospitality realm by storm as well.From hotel check-in and airport kiosks to car rental stations, keyless entry to hotel rooms, mobile concierge and more, the self-service revolution is demonstrating compelling staying power across various guest touch-points. While some guests will always prefer a more traditional hospitality model, providing guests with alternative options for how to interact with their hotels allows for a seamless, often digitalized and instantaneous experience that benefits guests and hotel staff alike. Moreover, while the self-service revolution began with an emphasis on mobile check-in/out and hotel apps, it's quickly expanded into the realm of in-room appliances too. From in-room Nespresso machines to Alexa voice-activated assistants and on-demand wine (by the glass), hotels are aptly realizing the revenue opportunity presented by self-service, in-room offerings.Consider this: reports show that US wine consumption sits at over 770 million gallons, with total US wine sales sitting at $62.7 billion in 2017. There are 4M luxury and upscale hotel rooms globally, and 90% of the guests who stay there are wine drinkers. 58% of this fine crowd drink wine weekly, and 78% monthly. There's no denying it -- wine remains a dominantly popular beverage choice amongst various generations.However, some guests (depending on the nature of their travel) are less likely to stick around public areas (bars) and would prefer a self-service option. The hotel in-room wine experience has remained largely unchanged for nearly 50 years. Meanwhile, guest preferences have changed dramatically. Business travelers want to enjoy a glass of wine while they catch up on email or watch TV in the privacy of their room. Leisure travelers want to be able to take advantage of a resort property by enjoying a sunset on the balcony. This is where PLUM comes into play -- offering by-the-glass, chilled wine to guests automatically, within the comfort of their hotel room.Business travelers, as an example, often have strict itineraries that dictate the course of their trip. With meetings to attend and deadlines to meet, corporate guests are likely to show a preference for streamlined features such as mobile hotel apps, in-room coffee in the morning and perhaps an on-demand glass of wine at the end of the day. Providing luxury, non-essential amenities with the help of self-service technology allows for increased visibility, purchasability and, most importantly, convenience for each guest. However, does the increased propensity to buy stem from more than just convenience? In a recent study, it was found that when a liquor store changed from face-to-face to self-service, the market share of difficult-to-pronounce items increased by over 8%. The researchers concluded that consumers might fear being misunderstood or appearing unsophisticated. Not only that, but a 2004 experiment revealed that when using a self-service kiosk, McDonald's customers spent 30% more on average. These examples are likely influenced by a few factors: decreased social friction (the elimination of any perceived judgment surrounding an order), complete control over the purchase and a desire for privacy. While not every guest will express the same purchase motivations or tendencies, the inclusion of self-service options simply allows each guest to choose their preferred purchase experience -- representing an essential step toward hyper-personalization.The self-service model also helps to reduce demand on room-service staff, allowing for a more streamlined service model. As we've already witnessed across other touch points (check-in/out, keyless entry, etc.), the embrace of new technology allows hotel staff to focus on the in-person touch points that matter most, while other low-touch touch-points are swiftly addressed via high-tech amenities. Within this structure, hoteliers also arrive upon an opportunity to further enhance the guest journey. With Plum, hoteliers can reward VIP guests and celebrate special occasions with complimentary wine, as well as instantly recover a service experience before it has a chance to become a negative review. Considering that companies lost $75 billion in 2017 from customers switching to competitors due to lousy customer service, any opportunity to prove attentive service and consideration to guests' needs is pivotal. Think of this as another customer service insurance policy, by enabling hotels to instantly recover service such as noise, odor, or a broken remote control by granting a guest a complimentary Plum pour. And with seamless integration into your PMS and POS, the decision to enhance your in-room food and beverage strategy is that much easier.With this in mind, it's no surprise that hoteliers are looking for more opportunities to tap into the on-demand dynamic that so many modern guests seem to prefer. From seamless check-in to seamless, by-the-glass wine, self-service amenities can truly represent an integral, memorable differentiator for each guest and each stay.Is your hotel looking for a way to stand out from the competition, increase revenue and keep guests coming back? If so, we can help. Click here to learn more.
Article by Adam Hoydysh

The ROI of Exceeding Guest Expectations

Plum 18 December 2018
The answer is, indisputably, yes.Any hotel that understands the ever-increasing importance of guest satisfaction, can easily recognize the ways in which a more seamless and personalized offering is becoming paramount across the hospitality landscape. Why? Because if you aren't meeting (or ideally, exceeding) guest expectations, you aren't attracting guests or establishing long-term guest loyalty. And if you aren't creating a community of loyal guests, well... another property will.In a recent whitepaper published by Deloitte, it was noted that "In order to win and retain guest preference, hotels should be more thoughtful about how people and technology, powered by insights, weave together to deliver authentic hospitality." After all, building long-term, guest loyalty is an on-going investment, one which can be supported across various touch-points of the hospitality experience.So, let's take this understanding a step beyond guest check-in and operational technology, all the way into the hotel room of each guest. How can hotels affirm their dedication to a more modern, personalized experience with the provision of non-essential, luxury items and in-room services?Guest Relations Manager at The Thief Hotel, Dominic Gorham, explains, "I believe the future of service will be based in informality. It has to be more relaxed, more instantaneous." In fact, today's concept of luxury has evolved in tandem with industry shifts in guest expectations. Moving beyond the high thread-count sheets and impeccable rooms with sprawling design and amenities, modern luxury focuses more on the complete guest experience and provision of instant gratification. And while the cornerstones of 'luxury travel' will remain, the marriage of traditional service and new-age technology allows for a leaner, more accessible version of modern luxury. Because guests today aren't just looking for a bed to sleep in; rather, they crave an experience that allows them to indulge and feel catered to both on and off property.This can be achieved through luxury service staples, as well as the basic amenities. After all, guests expect hotel properties to meet their expectations with luxury upgrades, but if you exceed their expectations on the non-essentials too, demonstrating that you've truly considered every aspect of their stay, they'll surely take notice.Ultimately, non-essential luxury and in-room services represent a wealth of opportunity for hotels to go above and beyond for their guests, which is the true competitive differentiator in today's landscape. This can include a number of amenities and considerations such as free, in-room WiFi, a Smart TV with Netflix etc., extra chargers, in-room Nespresso, a built-in iPad control for lights/temperatures and, our personal favourite, in-room by-the-glass wine. After a hectic day of travel, work or sightseeing, many guests may prefer a low-touch, self-service model that allows them seamless, instant gratification and luxury.Virtualizing an amenity, such as by-the-glass wine, allows hotels to not only significantly reduce labor costs, but appeal to an instantaneous, low-touch service model for each guest. Forget waiting around for room service to serve up a cling-wrapped glass of wine after a 20 minute delay and added surcharges, or scrambling around in the hotel minibar. Instead, hotels can offer each guest an automatic, perfectly preserved and chilled glass of wine on demand. The in-room appliance uses cloud software to automatically track and bill guests, while also alerting housekeeping when it is time to replace an empty bottle. This not only represents a unique and modern offering to hotels of various sizes, but caters to the modern guests' evolving demand for convenience across every touchpoint of their stay.And in case you're not entirely convinced that the inclusion of luxury, non-essential amenities and services will provide your property with the ROI of an enhanced customer experience, consider this:A 2014 study of the Value of Customer Experience amongst two $1 billion+ businesses published in Harvard Business Review (HBR) managed to quantify the effects of good customer experience. The researchers found that "after controlling for other factors that drive repeat purchases in the transaction-based business (for example, how often the customer needs the type of goods and services that the company sells), customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience". And considering that 68% of the customers change brands/providers due to poor customer service, the argument for the prioritization of customer service becomes undeniable.So, ask yourself -- are you ready to invest in an enhanced guest experience that paves the way for the long-term ROI of happy, loyal guests? If so, we can help. Click here to learn more.
Article by Adam Hoydysh

Navigating the Changing Landscape of In-Room Food and Beverage Service

Plum 4 December 2018
Let's take a moment and consider these scenarios: In the first scenario, you're in town on a business trip and having just landed from a long flight -- coupled with a layover delay -- you're ready to settle in for the night and finish off some work. After checking-in and collecting your things, you make your way to your room and do a quick scan of the amenities. There's a mini-fridge situated in the far corner of the room, and a room service menu left on a small coffee table. You roll your suitcase to its respective spot beside the bed, kick off your shoes and grab the menu to look through its offerings. It's been a long day, and a glass of wine sounds like a pretty tempting nightcap to pair with emails. But as you look through the menu, you consider the delivery charge, and the time it will take for that wine glass, wrapped in cling wrap, to actually end up at the door. 'Is it really worth it, for one glass of wine?' You ask yourself... In the second scenario, you roll your suitcase to its respective spot beside the bed, kick off your shoes and grab the menu to look through its offerings. However, something else catches your eye, first. You notice that your room features an automatic wine by the glass device, serving up a chilled and preserved bottles of red and white wine by the glass, on-demand. The decision is easy, you help yourself to a glass (tracked by a cloud service) and get going on those emails, wine in hand. We like the sound of the second scenario best, don't you? Over the years, the landscape of the in-room food and beverage experience has changed to meet the evolving needs and expectations of guests. We've witnessed the transition from the days of room service to mini-bars (with people to staff them), online ordering and now, in-room devices to cater to an on-demand experience. This comes as no surprise, as the travel and hospitality industry have, at large, adopted a more personalized approach as we continue to transition into the 'Age of the Guest'. With prospective travelers demanding more from the hotels they frequent, the ability to provide a seamless travel experience and responsive, on-demand service are more critical than ever before. In fact, according to studies, 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago. Curating a seamless, service-driven food and beverage strategy becomes especially important to hoteliers when we consider the primary revenue streams hotels rely on. First, hotels generate revenue from initial bookings and, second, they generate additional revenue from each guest while on the property. This represents a wealth of opportunity for hotels to connect with the "new hotel guest" as we look to those travelers who not only expect an enriched food and beverage experience on the property, but also within the comfort of their room. So what does this have to do with wine, you might wonder? Well, a lot, actually. Online sales of beer, liquor and wine for delivery grew 32.7% in 2017, according to reports. By far the most popular kind of adult beverage bought on the web is wine, which represented more than 65% of online alcohol sales during the 25-month period. Again, this comes as no surprise, as we observe a consumer shift in favor of self-service technology and instant gratification. The installation of in-room appliances enable hotels to increase sales while offering unparalleled convenience and unique amenities. This keeps modern guests happy, while also helping to lessen the burden of cost associated with traditional food and beverage programs and upkeep. In today's world of instant gratification, there are new and innovative ways of delivering services and products that readily meet and exceed the expectations of guests. This is where Plum and the new wave of beverage service comes into play. Much like the rising popularity of Nespresso's in-room coffee service, Plum offers on-demand, chilled red or white wine, with cloud-based tracking of consumption to enhance in-room profit. Considering 80% of luxury hotel guests drink wine regularly, this represents an exciting opportunity to improve guest engagement, increase direct bookings and reduce labor costs. Moreover, for anyone thinking, 'Well, if there are restaurants and room service available on-property, why would guests be interested in an in-room wine appliance?" consider this: Hotels have been pushed to adapt their offerings based on modern consumers and their everyday habits. Once an admirable profit center, hotel revenue from traditional services such as phone calls, in-room pay per view movie rentals, and mini-bars are becoming a thing of the past. Today's guests are accustomed to sophisticated technology at home, and they expect it in their hotel room too. So, what do you say -- are you ready to exceed guest expectations by offering the Plum experience? Click here to learn more.

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