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Award-Winning Alfond Inn Enhances Luxury Experience with In Room Wine by the Glass Powered by Plum

Plum 12 March 2019
Plum, the hospitality industry's revolutionary technology that aims to revolutionize in-room dining programs, today announced that guests staying at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park, Florida, can now enjoy the convenience of in-room wine on demand in the property's upscale suites.The Alfond Inn at Rollins has been singled out once again as a top hotel in the Conde Nast Traveler 2018 Readers' Choice Awards. The hotel was also just named Central Florida's Best Wedding Venue by the Orlando Sentinel's Best Bets awards for the second year in a row, as well as the Best Local Hotel for Meetings and the Best Local Place for Weddings by the Orlando Business Journal. The property is a refined and stylish boutique hotel that offers 112 guestrooms, 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, along with many unique event spaces, the award-winning Hamilton's Kitchen restaurant, a pool, fitness center and beautiful outdoor courtyards. Currently deployed exclusively in their suites, the Alfond Inn is the second hotel in Orlando to offer Plum."For hotels to establish, strengthen and sustain lasting relationships, guest experience is everything," says Debbie Potter, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Alfond Inn. "Since we've introduced Plum, the feedback has been great. Our guests are delighted and can't help letting us know how much they love the unique treat in their room."Catering to guests has changed dramatically over the years, yet most hotels have struggled to keep up when it comes to updating their F&B services. Guests want a frictionless, personalized experience that makes them feel as if they are at the height of luxury and care. That is where Plum comes in. Much like a high-end Nespresso appliance, Plum delivers the convenience of a perfectly preserved and chilled glass of wine to guests in the comfort and privacy of their hotel room. Plum holds and preserves two bottles, uses cloud software to track and bill guests, while also letting the hotel staff know when the guest needs a new bottle. For the benefit of hoteliers, Plum has software that rewards guest loyalty and can recognize a birthday or anniversary. All this comes together to enable hoteliers to unlock new revenue streams, while reducing delays and demands on staff."General Manager, Jesse Martinez of the Alfond Inn, adds, "Our guests deserve the best and with Plum, they enjoy a unique luxury amenity which makes their experience even more memorable. Plum is an offering that is going to keep us at the number one spot for hotels in Florida and help set us apart to become number one in America.""We're honored to be partnering with the elegant Alfond Inn," said Founder and CEO of Plum, David Koretz. "Plum is a next-gen amenity that is going to fit in perfectly with the ambiance at this already exquisite boutique hotel."Along with the Alfond Inn, Plum has partnerships with leading independent hotels and chains, including the Four Seasons, St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Sheraton, Westin, Auberge, Gemstone Collection, Woodside and Rosewood flags.To learn more, visit hotels.plum.wine.
Article by Adam Hoydysh

Exceeding Guest Expectations Across Generations: Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers

Plum 6 March 2019
How exciting is it, to live in a time during which industries and brands are continually re-inventing themselves in tandem with the rapid evolution of technology and innovation(s)? Exciting -- absolutely, but these frequent consumer-driven shifts also create a unique challenge for industries hoping to keep their finger firmly on the pulse of modern expectations. And with the influx of millennial consumers, it's not merely a matter of remaining technologically savvy -- brands also need to demonstrate an understanding of generation-specific desires and preferred service models. In the case of hospitality, we arrive at the ultimate question; what does the modern guest look like? Is marketing to the millennial masses vastly different from previous generations? What trends are forecasted for 2019, and how will those affect travel and hotel brands in their pursuit of long-term guest loyalty? Luckily, we can shed some light on this topic. MillennialsMillennials are inherently value-driven consumers. I don't mean value regarding the best perceived monetary value, though. Rather, I'm alluding to their desire to interact with brands who demonstrate an intimate understanding of their core values. In fact, millennial purchase behavior(s) are rooted in a different set of values than previous generations. These include:Quality and varietyConvenienceThe history/story/team behind a product or serviceA brand's innovations, philosophies, and techniquesAuthenticitySustainable footprintPersonalizationAcross industries, these are the primary drivers of millennial loyalty (which, for the record, is notoriously more difficult to earn), and hospitality is indeed no exception. Millennial travelers are actively seeking out travel experiences that are unique, with sustainable properties that have a history or local ties. They also seek innovative technology and hospitality brands which exercise a deliberately authentic voice and epitomize a more personalized service model.Furthermore, millennials deeply value the opportunity to experience something novel or exclusive. The Deloitte study, "Winning the Race for Guest Loyalty," found that millennials highly value exclusive experiences more than other groups, with 66% of polled millennials indicating that unique experiences matter, compared with just 50% of travelers in all other age groups.When looking at the list of values above, how many can you check off for your property? And if those aren't currently pillars of your service model and offering, how can you work them into your brand strategy? Baby BoomersWhile millennials have consumed a great deal of attention from brands over the past few years, baby boomers are not to be forgotten. Especially considering their generation is expected to inherit a whopping $8.4 trillion by 2030 and most of them will soon be 'empty nesters.' As 'baby boomers' represent anyone born between 1946 and 1964, it's important to identify their desire for a more hybrid service model. While they demonstrate an appreciation for modern technology and those subsequent conveniences, they also grew up in a time in which a high-touch, traditional service structure was the norm. With this in mind, baby boomers respond positively to 'outstanding' and personalized experiences with brands -- which, luckily, settles in nicely with the millennial preference as well. To appeal to baby boomers, hoteliers should consider the ways in which they can better connect with those guests on a personal level, to make their stay meaningful while still appealing to their penchant for simplicity. So, how can you curate a more simplified, but meaningful experience? Think affordable luxury, clean accommodations, personalized communications and user-friendly technology that delivers convenience.Generation Xers Situated between baby boomers and millennials, we have the Generation Xers -- born roughly between the years of 1965 to 1975. With a front row seat to much of the technological evolution that has occurred over the past few decades, Generation X is the perceived middle child generation that may often be overlooked in the eyes of brands. However, when considering Gen X's strong connection to both baby boomers and millennials, impressive spending power and their strong brand loyalty -- it's ever-important for brands to get to know their preferences, too. So, what do Gen Xer's want? Well, it's not actually that complicated. Being a technologically savvy generation, Gen X travelers appreciate a mobile experience -- one which is rooted in convenience and self-service. It's reported that 60% of Gen X use a smartphone on a daily basis, while 67% use a laptop/PC daily - which surpassed the 58% of millennials who use laptops/PCs daily. They are noted as the generation that reads the most reviews, and thoroughly researches brands/services before making a purchase decision. With this in mind, hotel properties must remain especially aware of their online presence, while ensuring their offering is communicated clearly and effectively online. Similar to their generational counterparts, Gen Xer's value sincerity and authenticity from brands, and are likely to approve of (and demonstrate loyalty to) those hotels who show an understanding that every guest has a unique set of needs and expectations. By offering a more personalized travel experience with access to self-service technology, hoteliers can effectively appeal to the Gen X group of travelers.Keeping up with the.... TechnologyIn the hospitality industry, technology is a priority across all demographics. A recent study found that 34% of hotel guests rank outdated technology in guest rooms as the most frustrating aspect of their stay. Further, 38% said the front desk taking too long to complete requests and 31% cited delays in service from hotel staff. This really comes as no surprise -- with the rapid adoption of modern technology, long-standing administrative frustrations such as these no longer seem justified. Today, all demographics demonstrate an undeniable penchant for instant-gratification across all touch-points of the consumer experience. Don't believe me? Consider the following:- Consumers rarely wait more than two to four seconds for a website to load- In 2017: Google had 3.8 million search requests, more than 400 hours of video was uploaded to YouTube, viewers watched 87,000 hours of video on Netflix, and 65,000 photos were uploaded to Instagram. All in just one minute.- Only 26% of individuals polled say they would wait longer than 30 minutes for takeout food, and 41% of consumers say they would not wait longer than 15 minutes for a ride requested via a mobile app.This all ties back to a common theme -- the modern desire for instant gratification. With this in mind, it becomes ever-important for hotel and travel brands to invest in new technology that allows for a more streamlined experience. Convenient, fast and efficient should be the adjectives of choice when describing the service process at any hotel in 2019. Luckily, with the latest innovations in hospitality technology, everything from the check-in process to serving a glass of wine can be nearly offered in a self-service model, serving up a dose of instant gratification at every touch-point.So, what does the modern guest look like? Well, there's no one answer to that question -- and perhaps that's precisely the point. The 'modern' guest spans across generations and traveler 'types' to encompass anyone currently seeking out an exceptional travel experience. Gone are the days of a "one-size-fits-all" hospitality service model -- modern guests demand their own, unique fit, every stay. Ultimately, this represents a call for a more individualized service offering and an intimate understanding of each guest. Modern guests are leading the charge to a new and improved hospitality standard, and it's up to hotel properties to keep up -- or risk being left behind.
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Plum Sees Record Growth in 2018 Fueled by Strong Demand for Innovative In-Room Wine by the Glass Technology

Plum 26 February 2019
Plum, the hospitality industry's revolutionary technology that serves wine by the glass, today announced that 2018 was a record breaking year of sales and 2019 is continuing on this wave with notable new deals and implementations at leading hotels in major US cities."We're thrilled to celebrate a record year and are already working to continue that trend in 2019," said David Koretz, Founder and CEO of Plum. "Our success is driven by the results our clients have seen in terms of delighting their guests, standing out from the competition, increasing F&B revenue, and the overall improvement of guest engagement. The sales numbers and positive guest reviews speak for themselves."In just the last year alone, Plum was deployed across 15 markets including Orlando, DC, Napa Valley and Phoenix, with prestigious brands that include Waldorf Astoria, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Auberge, Sheraton and Rosewood. The company is starting out 2019 with tremendous momentum with new partnerships with properties in Denver, Nashville, and Fort Lauderdale.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 comes into play. Much like the popularity of Nespresso's in-room coffee service, Plum offers on-demand, chilled red or white wine. With each pour, Plum tracks, bills guests, and notifies housekeeping when a bottle needs to be replaced."Today's guests are accustomed to sophisticated technology at home, and they expect it in their hotel room too," adds David. "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, so hotels are looking to invest in the latest self-service and in-room amenity offerings. There are 4M luxury and upscale hotel rooms globally, and 90% of the guests who stay in them identify as wine drinkers, so this represents an exciting opportunity to improve guest service, increase profits and reduce labor costs just by implementing Plum."To learn more, visit hotels.plum.wine.
Article by Adam Hoydysh

Don't Neglect the Bottom Line: Why Amenities Matter to Your Guests

Plum 21 February 2019
Within the modern hospitality climate, hotels are expected to offer a balance between high-tech and high-touch service, a personalized experience with data-backed insights, a share-worthy property aesthetic, mobile communications, luxury upgrades and so much more. And yet, a quick glance through TripAdvisor reviews will reinforce the understanding that, when it comes to hospitality, the bottom line is just as important as those more obvious elements of a guests' stay. You know what they say; the devil is in the details, and the guest experience is no exception.Gone are the days where travelers are simply looking for a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, guests today crave an enhanced, novel experience that either encompasses all the comforts of home (and more) or allows them to indulge in uncommon luxury. What does this mean? Well, just as hotels need to invest in their property, their staff and their operational technology, they absolutely have to invest in their amenities.In fact, PwC's Consumer Intelligence Series Report on hotel brand loyalty revealed that room quality is the #1 reason both business and leisure travelers choose a hotel.Let's put this theory to work. In the first scenario, imagine you've checked-in to your hotel which features a modern, sprawling lobby, speedy self-service check-in and friendly, thoughtful staff. As you make your way to your room, you take in the surrounding view while a staff member tells you about an incredible restaurant on the property that you must try while visiting. Once you enter your room, you set aside your luggage and scan your surroundings. The room is clean and laid out nicely, but you're disappointed to realize there is no in-room coffee maker. As you make your way to the bathroom, you also notice that you've only been given one small bar of soap to be used between the sink and the shower. You shrug this off, kick off your shoes and take a seat on the bed to turn on the TV. Unfortunately, you only have access to 10 or so channels and none of them seem to be playing anything of interest. Naturally, you turn over to your phone to connect to the hotel Wi-Fi and scroll through social media, but the Wi-Fi seems to be spotty and pages simply aren't loading as quickly as they should. At this point, it's getting late and you realize you haven't eaten since the flight, so you skim through the room service menu and decide on a glass of Cab Merlot, steak and vegetables. Around 20 minutes later, you finally hear a knock at your door and intercept your dinner along with a cling-wrapped glass of wine.Now, let's consider a second scenario. Your check-in process remains the same, only when you arrive at your room you realize it's equipped with an in-room Nespresso as well as an in-room wine appliance. Your bathroom is decked out with high-end shampoo and body wash, and the TV even has complimentary Netflix. The Wi-Fi is free and fast, and you've even been provided with an in-room iPad to control features such as the TV, alarms, lighting and temperature. Even better? Rather than waiting for your glass of wine to arrive with dinner, you're able to serve up a glass immediately, using the in-room wine appliance.While the hotel in both scenarios manages to capitalize on a positive property experience, the first hotel is lacking in terms of in-room amenities. Sure, these might seem like minor details in theory, but let's face it, guests often judge a hotel by the amenities it keeps. Ask yourself -- if you were the guest, which experience would you be more likely to rave about to friends and family, or write a positive review about? Ultimately, those hotels which invest in high-end amenities are making a brand statement that modern guests are extremely receptive to, and which contribute to a memorable stay.After all, in an age where consumer loyalty is especially difficult to earn, it becomes more important than ever before for companies to go above and beyond in their delivery of customer service. For those hotels hoping to curate a more luxurious guest experience, this could mean:Complimentary pick-up/drop-off chauffeur servicePlum in-room wine on demandComplimentary Netflix or streaming service on a SmartTVExtra charging ports and/or an in-room iPadAlexa or Google voice-activated assistantPillow menuUltimately, paying mind to the bottom line to curate a seamless and thoughtful guest experience (throughout every touch-point) allows guests to feel comfortable and at home, while experiencing memorable luxury both in-room and on the property. While this may represent one piece of the guest satisfaction puzzle, amenities represent an important opportunity to invest in an enhanced guest experience and truly differentiate your hotel.
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Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Partners with Plum to Bring On Demand In Room Wine By the Glass to Guests

Plum 7 February 2019
Palo Alto, California - Plum, the hospitality industry's revolutionary new wine by the glass appliance, announced today that Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, will be featuring their next-gen on-demand wine experience in all Villa Suite accommodations, to surprise and delight guests and further elevate their stay.With its luxurious grounds and iconic architecture, the Arizona Biltmore has been a landmark destination and haven for celebrities, diplomats, presidents, and guests from all walks of life since opening in 1929. By leveraging Plum's innovative technology, the award-winning property will now offer a unique, new luxury amenity. The service will be available in the resort's spacious one- and two-bedroom Villa Suites. These settings are uniquely suited to this fresh service as they offer a distinct home away from home feel with a fully functional kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining areas, and bedrooms with indulgent bathrooms that include large Roman tubs.Across the industry, 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 elegant 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 working with one of the most iconic hotel brands in the world. We believe this partnership will take guest personalization to the next level and represents the future of hospitality."Plum has already signed deals with leading independent hotels and chains, including Four Seasons, Marriott, SBE Group, Langham, Hyatt, Hilton, and Rosewood flags.To learn more, visit hotels.plum.wineAbout the Arizona BiltmoreThe Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort has been an Arizona landmark since opening in 1929. The legendary Grand Dame remains one of the most recognized resorts in the world for its distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright architectural style, luxurious facilities, and storied history as a playground of the rich and famous. Throughout 2019 the resort will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a series of guest experiences that honor its rich history in modern fashion. Set on 39 acres at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, the Arizona Biltmore offers: 740 guest accommodations; a 22,000-square-foot spa with an extensive menu of natural healing treatments and restorative therapies; eight swimming pools including the Paradise Pool with a 92-foot-long water slide; two 18-hole golf courses; and six restaurants and lounges.To learn more about or experience the Arizona Biltmore please visit www.arizonabiltmore.com or call 855-689-2878. For more information about Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts please visit www.waldorfastoria.com or news.waldorfastoria.com.
Article by Adam Hoydysh

Single-Serve, On-Demand Wine for Hotels: The Future is 'Here' and 'Now'

Plum 24 January 2019
This trend towards the careful curation of a seamless, customized experience across seemingly every category, has settled with significant weight onto the desks of hospitality leaders. After all, hospitality is, at its core, an industry forged on the principle of establishing a guest connection and exceptional service. Hoteliers are in the business of marketing experience, rather than merely a product or service, that evokes a desired feeling and response in each guest that ultimately drives loyalty and revenue.We are witnessing an exciting shift into a time during which data-driven insights, artificial intelligence, virtual experiences, digital amenities, and mobile solutions are becoming the norm. Guest service, while still holding on to its traditional roots where necessary (i.e., guests who prefer a high-touch experience), is offering a level of instant gratification, self-service and guest-centric convenience that was never before possible.What we're trying to say here, ultimately, is that the future is here -- and it's 'here and now!'Frictionless Service Why does the 'buzzword' frictionless hold so much value in the recent economy? Because the today's consumer simply doesn't want to wait. Rather, they don't have to. Over time (and with the nudge of technology), we have learned to embrace a wide-spread culture of instant gratification. Perhaps primarily inspired by the internet, most of us expect to access information instantly, communicate instantly and make purchases, well... you guessed it: instantly. Look to the rise of Amazon's same-day delivery program, the consumer embrace of virtual voice-activated assistants such as Alexa or Google Mini, AI-powered concierges and self-checkout stores. While some people will continue to show a preference for a conventional shopping process, many of us are making rapid strides towards a future that offers a faster, more seamless path to purchase.In the realm of hospitality, this becomes especially exciting. The age-old complaints surrounding lines at the airport and hotel front desk? Well, those can be easily remedied with the introduction of technology like check-in kiosks and mobile apps. What about losing your room key? That's no longer a concern, for those hotels offering mobile keyless entry. However, it doesn't end there -- the demand for a frictionless service has found its way into hotel rooms as well. What does that look like, you might wonder? Well, it looks like a guest having a perfectly chilled glass of wine after a long day, but without the wait.With new, cutting-edge luxury amenities, more and more hotels are looking to offer guests services that were traditionally limited to more manual processes (room service or restaurant service) within the comfort of their hotel room, at the simple touch of a button. The Plum wine appliance delivers wine by the glass, with consumption that is tracked and billed via integrated cloud-based software and automatically charged to the room. If that's what the future of in-room service looks like, perhaps coupled with a Smart TV and some complimentary Netflix... count us in.Right Time and Place Drives Revenue Never doubt the power of impulse, especially when it comes to buying decisions. The widespread shift to autonomous retail environments isn't just about the needs of the customer; it also benefits companies regarding consumer spending. In fact, 84% of Americans admit to making impulse buys, nine out of 10 millennials have purchased something impulsively, and studies suggest that impulse buying translates to gratification. This pattern is often empowered by 'opportunistic purchasing' desires, meaning that consumers are inspired to make that purchase based on a perceived deal, opportunity or convenience.So, what's the best way to tap into impulse and opportunistic purchasing within the hospitality market? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. With the help of technology, hoteliers have the unique opportunity to remove operational delays that act as obstacles. This is where self-service amenities become especially valuable, and likely represent an exciting area of technological development moving forward. With on-demand conveniences such as Plum, hoteliers can create revenue generating opportunities when and where guests are most likely to indulge their impulses.Looking Ahead Hoteliers can increase their revenues by catering to this trend of instant gratification and learning how to encourage impulsive buying behavior. Though a relatively new concept, it is ultimately a win-win for hotels and guests. Guests are treated to an experience which is consistently more convenient, reliable and personalized, while hotels can benefit from the competitive differentiation, better reviews, increased loyalty and a boost to the bottom line.If you ask us, this frictionless, here and now future sounds pretty exciting.Interested in learning more about Plum to bring on-demand in-room wine by the glass to guests? Click here.
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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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