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Compelling Topics at Upcoming HTNG European Conference

HTNG 12 October 2017
HTNG announces session information and speakers for next month's 2017 European Conference on 7-9 November in Prague.The first two days of the conference will be filled with general sessions and concurrent breakout sessions. On the third day, the agenda will conclude with hoteliers-only sessions. HTNG conferences deliver programs that keep attendees up-to-date on emerging technology issues and trends in hospitality. This conference will provide knowledge, collaboration, networking and business development opportunities to a wide range of industry professionals.Keynote Speaker: Ben Ryan, Coach, Fiji Rugby SevensAttaining Optimal Performance Through People and Technology: Ben Ryan has been hailed as a national hero after leading the Fiji Rugby 7s team to the country's first Olympic championship. He pioneered use of GPS technology in team sports, but was challenged when he went to the Fiji programme and had no technology to work with. This session will explain how using the proper tools in coaching teams can be the difference between success and failure. Ben will share with the audience his stories and experiences to illustrate how to use innovation successfully rather than simply innovating for the sake of it.Session Topics:The AI Age: How Will Machine Learning and Intelligence Impact Travel and Hospitality? In this age of AI, computing power has caught up with our vision and is now becoming reality. Kanishka Agiwal, IBM Corporation, will give the audience a glimpse into the new future and how it will affect our industry.All Systems Go: Hotel Systems Dashboards: Graeme Powell, Veridicum, will teach valuable insights of dashboards that could be integrated into a product roadmap today.Are You Ready for GDPR? Charles-Albert Helleputte, Mayer-Brown Europe, will provide a high-level overview of the new regulation and the later session GDPR: Discussion and Drill Down will answer questions and dig deeper into the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).Blockchain and Hospitality: This session will cover the basics of blockchain technology at a strategic level, with guidance on key variations and the applications where they make sense.Blockchain Use Cases Deep Dive: In this session, speakers will explore blockchain use cases being addressed by Winding Tree (distribution) and Currency Alliance (loyalty).Enhancing the Guest Experience with Central Authentication: Chris Headings, Sunray, will explain how to deploy centralized authentication to hotels, while maintaining security best practices and leveraging the infrastructure already owned.How to Get Started with Blockchain: This session is targeted at front-line leaders of development organizations to provide tips and tricks for key decisions to make, what resources are available and common pitfalls.How Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Change Loyalty & Engagement for Hospitality: Chris Ruff, Glympse, will discuss how hotel brands can use AR and VR technologies to increase brand loyalty and why it's important to implement them to differentiate themselves.Innovation Through Accelerators: This session will discuss the trend of innovation, how it is considered a key factor of future success and how companies struggle with agility, risk taking and the frequent failures that are inevitable.IT Leadership Panel: Top-level hotel IT executives will share how they see technology evolving in hotels in the coming years.Know Thy Enemy: Utilizing Machine Learning for Adaptive Security: Dobias van Ingen, Aruba Networks, will teach the audience how continuous evaluation of threats against your hotel, brand and company through machine learning can keep your guests, staff and data safe.Additional Conference Speakers:Denis Baranov, DataArtFloor Bleeker, Movenpick Hotels & ResortsMarco Correia, Belmond HotelsCharles Ehredt, Currency AllianceTed Horner, E. Horner & Associates Pty LtdYves Lacheret, AccorHotelsJens Lapinski, TechstarsBrian Lewis, OpenJaw Technologies LtdDouglas Rice, Hospitality Technology Network, LLCAndrew Sanders, DataArtFinn Schulz, Schulz ConsultingJakub Vysoky, Winding TreeFor a full agenda and up-to-date list of speakers, please visit the HTNG European Conference page.Conference registration is open to any full-time employee of a company who owns, manages or franchises a hotel or hospitality company. For all other industry participants, HTNG membership is required.

Modern hospitality: Striking the right balance between high-tech and human

JLLH 5 October 2017
From iPad ordering to robot concierges, technology is automating many aspects of dining and hotel experiences - and freeing up staff to provide more personalized service.At some Aloft hotels, a robot butler known as Botlr delivers room service and towels to guests, leaving staff to deal with more complex queries. In CitizenM hotels, guests bypass front desk queues at self check-in kiosks with hotel ambassadors to answer any questions, while at the Andaz West Hollywood, personal greeters take guests through an iPad check-in over a coffee or glass of wine."Technology has substantially improved both the behind-the-scenes management and the guest experience in the hospitality industry," says Marko Vucinic, Senior Vice President and Acting Head of Hotels and Hospitality Group at JLL Middle East and North Africa. Online booking sites have transformed the way people find and book meals and accommodation, while apps such as Deliveroo are eliminating the need for restaurant staff to answer delivery calls. "Self-service technology is on the rise, as digital systems streamline processes from pre-payment to checking in and even dining experiences with new iPad menus."Meanwhile, loyalty apps and sophisticated customer relationship management systems allow hoteliers and restaurateurs to track guest preferences and personalize their benefits accordingly. For example, the Starbucks app learns its users' habits, then pushes unique offers to their phones, smartwatches or drive-thru windows."Technology has become very good at making services more efficient, providing more information for guests, and reducing costs," says Alexis Marcoux-Varvatsoulis, Consultant at JLL Foodservice Consulting. "But can it provide hospitality? I'm not sure it can."Hospitality is personalTraditional vanguards of hospitality have been the savvy waiter or concierge who could decode customers' wishes or make on-point recommendations using well-honed interpersonal skills. For brands whose key offering revolves around high-quality hospitality, this human factor and skill set will always be crucial. But where efficiency and speed are key to a brand's offering, technology can successfully replace human labor and cut costs without alienating guests, notes Marcoux-Varvatsoulis.Take fast-food chains, often the early adopters of industry technology. By year-end, burger chain Wendy's will have 1,000 restaurants with self-order kiosks, while McDonald's kiosks additionally allow diners to customize their burgers. In the mid-2020s, many fast-food restaurants could be fully automated, from the point of ordering to the burger-flipping.From the hotels' perspective, "budget to midscale hotel brands tend more to use technology as a replacement for human labor because there isn't a significant need for that additional level of customer service - which is what guests are paying for with higher-end brands," Vucinic says.In contrast, guests at many budget and mid-range brands are looking for convenience - and automated technology therefore helps create an experience which meets their needs.Getting the right mixYet as hoteliers look to boost spending on technology to provide their customers with increasingly personalized service, the impact of human connection can't be overstated. The number of interactions guests have with hotel staff directly impacts how they rate customer service, while 68 percent of diners agree that automation in restaurants takes away from their dining experience."Some hoteliers want to have technology features because that's what people increasingly expect, but they need to maintain a human factor as that's what guests are paying for," Vucinic says. "Hoteliers need to figure out the right balance for their particular product and decide which functions can be automated."Often, that entails the straightforward processes such as checking in and paying, where guests are not only unlikely to require a social connection, but would prefer to avoid waiting in line to do it.For some of the hotel groups and brands such as CitizenM and Aloft, an affordable, tech-centric experience is part of the brand offering, targeted towards Millennial customers who often prefer self-service and technology such as keyless entry via smartphone app.Conversely, at the Four Seasons, whose luxury brand is predicated on sky-high levels of customer service, the hotel app offers features in addition to what its human team can provide, such as GPS directions that users can show cab drivers in the local language and a facility to request housekeeping even if the privacy light is on - as well as direct access to the concierge for in-person assistance when required."The key objective of technology features is to add value to the overall experience brands are trying to deliver, not replace the human interaction," Vucinic says.At the Hilton McLean, Connie is a robot concierge that can answer routine questions and point the way to various hotel facilities - but rather than replacing any member of staff, Connie is intended to free up its human colleagues to focus on helping guests with more complicated queries."Using technology in hospitality should be all about improving the experience for guests," Marcoux-Varvatsoulis concludes. "Efficiency can go a long way to creating a good guest experience, but thoughtful, personal customer service is what turns a good experience into a memorable one."

Table Top Exhibit Space Sold Out for HFTP Annual Convention 2017

HFTP 3 October 2017
HFTP is pleased to announce table top exhibit space for the 2017 HFTP Annual Convention is sold out, with 30 organizations participating. HFTP has changed the event's vendor interaction to allow attendees to meet with vendors in a new table top format at the Annual Convention, scheduled for October 25-27, 2017 at Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate in Championsgate, Florida USA. Online registration is open for Annual Convention 2017."For 65 years at the HFTP Annual Convention, the association has provided an opportunity for hospitality finance, and later technology, professionals to learn and explore the tools available to help us be successful in our professions," said Frank Wolfe, HFTP CEO. "The table top exhibits complement that goal, presenting to attendees products and services dedicated to the hospitality industry. The full house only serves to present a good representation of what is on offer."The exhibits will be open during the Welcome Reception on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., as well as the following Thursday morning beverage breaks and luncheon - providing exhibitors with ample time to network with attendees. Visit the Annual Convention page on the HFTP website for complete information about all conference events, including the program schedule, hotel and travel details and more.Annual Convention also offers multiple sponsorship and advertising opportunities for companies to participate in the event even after exhibit space is sold out. The available branding packages will allow companies to increase impressions and engagement among attendees before and after Annual Convention. For more information about branding packages or sponsorship opportunities, please contact HFTP Director of Exhibits Paula Lerash, CEM at paula.lerash@hftp.org or visit www.hftp.org.Annual Convention 2018 is slated for October 24-27 at the new Omni Louisville Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky USA. For more information about HFTP's Annual Convention and other global activities, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at education@hftp.org or visit www.hftp.org. For the latest news, follow HFTP/HITEC on HITEC Bytes, PineappleSearch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@HFTP), Instagram (HFTP_HITEC), Flickr and YouTube.About HFTP Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) established in 1952, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe. HFTP uniquely understands the industry's pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. It does this via its expert networks, research, certification programs, information resources and conferences/events such as HITEC. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality-specific search engine, PineappleSearch.com. For more information about HFTP, email membership@hftp.org or download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website. Read industry updates on the suite of HFTP hospitality news sites: HITEC Bytes, Club Bytes, Finance Bytes and HFTP News.

Marriott International's AI-powered Chatbots on Facebook Messenger and Slack, and Aloft's ChatBotlr, Simplify Travel for Guests Throughout Their Journey

Marriott 29 September 2017
BETHESDA, Md. -- Marriott International - the hospitality industry's iconic leader in guest service - is expanding upon the heart of its hospitality, its hundreds of thousands of associates, by creating additional points of engagement for guests, powered by artificial intelligence.Recently, Aloft Hotels, the innovation incubator for savvy global travelers, launched the first ChatBotlr, a new chatbot available via text message that gives guests an additional way to make service requests. Driven by ahead-of-the-curve technology, Aloft's ChatBotlr empowers guests to request basic hotel services right from their own smartphones. Aloft introduced the first generation Botlr, a robotic butler, in 2014 as an inventive pilot program to allow front desk associates to respond more immediately to guest needs, one-on-one. This next evolution of Botlr, the ChatBotlr, is available to all our guests on their phones, anywhere and anytime they have a request. With ChatBotlr, guests may text to request services, information about the hotel, listen to the brand's #AloftLive playlist and connect with the front desk team during their stay, even when the guest is not on-property. By leveraging natural language understanding and machine learning, ChatBotlr gets smarter the more it interacts with guests. Early findings show that 2 out of 3 Aloft guests are interacting or making requests with ChatBotlr and the service has a five-second response time."By embracing emerging messaging technologies, we can expand service to our guests on their terms and through communication channels they increasingly prefer and feel comfortable using," said Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. "The delivery of on demand service enables Marriott to simplify travel, remove friction and power up even better service for our guests at more moments throughout their travel journey."Aloft's ChatBotlr joins Marriott's other newly implemented service innovations powered by technology. Marriott Rewards chatbots are available on Facebook Messenger, Slack and soon, We-Chat and Google Assistant, and serve loyalty members before, during and between stays. Marriott Rewards members on Facebook Messenger and Slack can research and book travel at more than 4,700 hotels, link their Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts, plan for their upcoming stay with articles from the digital magazine Marriott Traveler, and chat directly with Customer Engagement Center associates. Of Marriott Reward members using Marriott Rewards' Facebook Messenger this year, 44 percent received stay-related customer service such as changes to their reservation and 53 percent found assistance related to their Rewards account such as how to redeem points for stays. As technology becomes more integrated into our guests' daily lives, chatbots simplify the travel experience enabling guests to ask basic questions, make simple requests, and receive instant responses. They also free our Marriott associates on property from routine tasks, allowing them to deliver elevated, personalized hospitality to our guests.Messaging is growing in popularity with people in the U.S. spending an average of 200 minutes per day in messaging apps according to The Economist and recent reports show messaging apps as the number 1 most frequently used feature on mobile devices. Years ago, Marriott recognized the growing popularity of text messaging when it launched the Mobile Requests feature on the Marriott Mobile app in 2015 enabling guests to chat directly with hotel associates. Since then, 2.5 million requests have been received with more than half coming before guests checked in. Mobile Requests inspired Marriott to expand mobile communications options to guests using the device they always have at hand, their smartphone.Marriott's always-on approach to customer service enables the company to deliver the widest choice of engagement whether that is through messaging, call centers, or face-to-face on property with associates. Leveraging technology, we can deepen personalization, expand choice and connect our associates with our guests in a more meaningful way, as we lead the next generation of the guest experience.

Marriott Hotels announces winners of its 2017 TestBED programme

Marriott 27 September 2017
After being shortlisted from almost 150 applicants across 24 countries, eight start-ups pitched to a panel of judges last month, aiming to shape the future travel and hospitality experience. The panel included Georgie Barrat, presenter of The Gadget Show, in addition to tech industry leaders and senior Marriott figures. The following three start-ups were crowned the winners following a rigorous judging process:MyManuPiloting at: Frankfurt Marriott HotelA UK start-up that developed 'Click' - wireless earbuds that offer live voice translation to 37 languages. For Marriott Hotels 'Click' can offer the ability to communicate with guests in their native language and make their interaction with Marriott associates feel more seamless and natural. The technology can also be used for meetings and events held within Marriott Hotels.mymanu.comHiJiffyPiloting at: London Marriott Hotel Regents ParkA Portugal based start-up that developed an AI powered Chatbot designed for the hospitality sector. Using Chabot's Marriott Hotels can offer its guests with a variety of services using Facebook Messenger at any place and time and in an effective and efficient way.www.hijiffy.comOptishowerPiloting at: Amsterdam Marriott HotelA Portugal-based start-up that has developed smart meters to measure water and electricity consumption and the ability to provide associates and guests with analysis of usage. Marriott Hotels could offer its guests the ability to track their own consumption and be rewarded for sustainable energy use during their stay.www.optishower.comMarriott TestBED is now in its second year following its debut in 2016. The hugely popular accelerator programme attracts start-ups that aim to enhance the entire hotel guest experience. For more information, visit www.marriotttestbed.com.

OpenTravel to Host First Team-Based Challenge at Advisory Forum Next Month

HFTP 27 September 2017
OpenTravel Alliance (OpenTravel) will host its first team-based challenge next month on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 from 1:30-5:00 p.m. EST at the OpenTravel Advisory Forum - early bird registration rates and housing reservations are still available through this week. The Evolution of Connectivity in the Travel Industry challenge will evolve OpenTravel's ability to respond to disruption and innovation in technology. Teams, or individuals, of industry participants will recognize problems in the travel industry, and compete to propose innovative solutions to a panel of judges using OpenTravel standards. Mentors will also be available throughout the challenge to provide guidance and direction to participating teams.The OpenTravel Challenge will be moderated by Co-founder and former Tnooz CEO Gene Quinn, keynote speaker at the Forum. Quinn is a pioneer in digital media, technology and financial services and e-commerce. He has been a private investor, adviser and chairman to public and private companies in travel, media, marketing, financial services and web technology. Quinn was the first Senior Vice President of Online and Interactive at MTV Networks, home of Viacom's global entertainment brands MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and TVLand.Challenge contributors include all registered participants from project managers to developers, innovators, designers, business developers, marketers, revenue managers and more. Interdisciplinary and cross-functional teams will foster innovation and generate winning ideas. Participating teams can be self-formed prior to the event, or formed on-site. A selected team spokesperson will have five minutes to present the group's findings to the panel of judges. Presentations may take any form, i.e. coded application, mock-up prototype, story board, etc. Resources such as white boards, flipcharts, WiFi, stationery, and a projector will be available for participants to use."OpenTravel is excited to host its first interactive Challenge at this year's Advisory Forum in Florida next month," said OpenTravel CEO Mike Tinkey. "Industry activists will have the opportunity to collaborate and influence the direction of OpenTravel and its integral role in the travel distribution ecosystem."The judge's panel will consist of 2017 Advisory Forum keynote speakers, other selected speakers and industry leaders. Prizes will be made available to the first place team; the second and third place teams will also be recognized. The criteria for judging will be based upon the solution's likelihood to be adopted/implemented by a mass of travel participants, ability to solve a "pain point" in distribution, cost effectiveness, efficiency and interoperability. It should also be a driver for membership and participation in OpenTravel Workgroups and Project Teams.The 2017 OpenTravel Advisory Forum will take place from October 23-25 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in ChampionsGate, Florida USA. The event will be co-located, overlapping one day, with Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals' (HFTP) 2017 Annual Convention, running October 25-27. For more information on OpenTravel Alliance's 2.0 Standards or the OpenTravel Challenge, please contact Sandy Angel (Sandy.Angel@Opentravel.org) of OpenTravel Alliance.About OpenTravel AllianceOpenTravel Alliance is passionate about solving the problems inherent with connecting multiple systems within the complex travel distribution arena. Our mission is to enable the future of travel by driving the evolving digital experience for consumers. OpenTravel Alliance creates, expands and drives adoption of open specifications, including but not limited to the use of XML, for the electronic exchange of business information among all sectors of the travel industry.OpenTravel Alliance is comprised of companies representing airlines, car rental firms, hotels, cruise lines, railways, leisure suppliers, service providers, tour operators, travel agencies, solutions providers, technology companies and distributors. Tens of thousands of OpenTravel Alliance message structures are in use, carrying tens of millions of messages between trading partners every day.OpenTravel Alliance is a not-for-profit trade association, founded in 1999 by travel companies, with a primary focus on the creation of electronic message structures to facilitate communication between the disparate systems in the global travel industry. For more information on OpenTravel Alliance membership, new products, or projects, please visit http://www.opentravel.org or email info@opentravel.org.

GDPR for hospitality workgroup to start at HTNG

HTNG 25 September 2017
HTNG's GDPR for Hospitality Workgroup will produce an executive-level white paper to describe key considerations, use cases and impacts of these regulations. This paper will focus on top areas the hospitality industry must address in order to prepare for GDPR compliance (and vendor support of those use cases). Additionally, the workgroup will produce a GDPR assessment tool that will help professionals in the hospitality industry evaluate their company's ability to comply with the new regulation.For questions or for more information, please contact workgroups@htng.org.

Accor: What will be the hotel room of the future?

AccorHotels 20 September 2017
Travel through time with a hotel room and immerse yourself in the Roaring Twenties or in the modern style the future may bring. To every era its own style, to every style its own room. Record player or wireless speaker?Little in common between the twenties shiny rooms and the flashy and geometric style of the sixties! It is not only the design, but also the rooms' equipment that evolved. While the beginning of the century's petroleum lamps were not easy to maintain, today we can turn on the light with a clap of hands. A beep can open the curtains and a snap of the fingers can change the TV channel. This timeline of the past 100 year offers us a glimpse at the numerous transformations one single hotel room went by through the ages.A global perspective In cooperation with Lobke Elbers (Community Manager at TravelNext) and Patrick Kooiman (Writer at interiorator.com), AccorHotels BeNeLux teams are convinced that such original initiative is a great way to display content in a different and interactive way. The goal? Offer a reflection of every era's society through the hotel rooms' evolution... A travel through time that will seduce more than one!Are you not all madly curious about the hotel room of the future? Click here to view the timeline.

PolyU Study Finds Room Attribute Preferences Vital to Hotel Profit Maximisation

Hong Kong Poly 14 September 2017
Hoteliers are constantly faced with the problem of determining how much more customers might be willing to pay for certain room features, such as being on a higher floor or having a sea view. They can do so through experience or trial and error, the researchers note, but that does not necessarily match customers' valuations.Most customers consider certain attributes, such as "larger room space, free services, a quieter room, etc." as desirable, but knowing just how desirable they are for individual customers is critical. The researchers argue that customers decide how much they are willing to pay for rooms based on "their own unique needs and desires" and only make purchases if they believe the value of a room "matches or exceeds" the price charged.Understanding the real value that customers place on particular room features and services will, according to the researchers, allow hotel managers to set appropriate rate fences and thus maximise revenue and profit. Hence, they set out to measure the perceived marginal utilities of various room attributes in a luxury hotel located in downtown Hong Kong. By offering customers the choice of rooms on different floors, with different views and with access to different services, they aimed to calculate how much customers valued each attribute and the contribution of those valuations to their overall choice of room.The 262-room hotel had facilities such as a harbour view swimming pool, a spa, a health club, three restaurants, a ballroom and conference rooms. Through discussion with the hotel's managers, the researchers drew up a list of seven room attributes that customers would be able to choose in different combinations.The first attribute was price, with five levels from HK$1,600 to HK$3,200 per night. The other attributes included a choice between a city and a harbour view; three choices of floor (10th, 18th or 26th floor); free minibar with or without wine and beer; the use of a smartphone with free calls and data; and refundable or non-refundable cancellation. The seventh attribute was access to the hotel's club, located on the top floor with free breakfast, evening cocktails, exclusive check-in/out facilities and business facilities.In face-to-face interviews, customers were asked to pick between two hypothetical rooms with various combinations of the seven attributes. For example, Room A offered a city view room on the 10th floor, with access to the hotel club, a free minibar with alcohol, no smartphone and free cancellation for HK$1,600. Room B offered a harbour view room on the 26th floor, access to the club, a free minibar with alcohol and free smartphone, but no cancellation, for HK$2,400. As well as making the six choices, the guests provided information about themselves and their current stay.Of the 808 hotel guests interviewed over three months, the majority were on leisure trips and stayed for two nights. The largest group of individual guests was from the UK, followed by Australia and the United States. For their current stay in the hotel, more than half of the guests chose a harbour view and just less than a third chose a room with access to the club. The guests were well satisfied with their stays, giving the hotel an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 for overall quality.The guests paid HK$2,434 per room on average and spent around HK$500 per person each day on hotel facilities, although that amount varied widely. Almost two-thirds of the guests had already visited Hong Kong at least once, reflecting what the researchers describe as the "strategic positioning of Hong Kong as a transport and tourism hub in the Asia-Pacific region".Seeking to understand the guests' choices among the hypothetical room alternatives, the researchers found that the most influential room attribute was a harbour view, with guests willing to pay an additional HK$771 per room per night compared with a room with a city view. As this was considerably higher than the current premium of HK$400, the researchers suggest that the hotel, and by implication any similar hotel, could maximise revenue by charging much higher prices for these rooms. They calculate that charging an additional HK$371 on top of the current rate would increase the hotel's annual profit by HK$7.95 million.Access to the hotel club was the next most highly valued attribute, for which customers were willing to pay an additional HK$437 per night. This, however, was far less than the extra $980 for a room with club access that the hotel was charging, although that figure is not directly comparable because it includes facilities that were not included in the hypothetical rooms. Nevertheless, it seems that the hotel may have over-estimated the value of access to its club and the researchers argue that it could consider reducing the price tag, especially when it needs to fill rooms.Similarly, the guests did not seem to value the option of refundable cancellation as highly as the hotel itself, which charged $960 compared with customers' average valuation of HK$122. This difference could explain why less than a quarter of the customers interviewed had chosen this option for their current booking.The customers also indicated that they were willing to pay an additional HK$220 for a room located 10 floors higher, HK$226 for a mini-bar with alcohol and HK$160 for the free use of a smartphone. Although the hotel did not differentiate prices by floor and all guests had the same minibar and smartphone access, these values should be indicative of what the hotel and establishments like it could charge for such attributes.The researchers also considered whether customers' choices varied depending on if they were business or leisure tourists, and on whether this was their first trip to Hong Kong.The business travellers interviewed were less price sensitive and willing to pay 25% more on average than the leisure travellers. Greater differences were found between first-time and repeat travellers. In particular, first-time visitors were willing to pay 73% more than repeat travellers for a mini-bar with alcohol. The researchers observe that given the relatively low price of alcohol in Hong Kong, guests "may discover the low value" of beer and wine once they become more familiar with the destination. To capitalise on the preferences of first-time customers, they suggest, hotels could offer special deals on features that they value highly such as wine and beer in the minibar and access to the club.Ultimately, the researchers provide hotels with practical guidance on how guests really value the facilities they are offered. By adjusting their prices upwards according to the facilities that are valued more highly - such as a harbour view and a room on a higher floor - and adjusting them downwards for facilities that are valued less highly - such as free cancellation - hotels should be able to offer deals that better match guests' expectations. This would, the researchers conclude, "effectively stimulate room sales".Masiero, Lorenzo, Heo, Cindy Yoonjoung and Pan, Bing. (2015). Determining Guests' Willingness to Pay for Hotel Room Attributes with a Discrete Choice Model. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 49, 117-124.

HFTP Hospitality DPO Task Force Outlines Objectives as Industry Prepares for GDPR May 2018 Deadline

HFTP 14 September 2017
Preparing for the new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), a framework legislated by all EU member states with a required compliance date of May 25, 2018, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(r)) has taken the initiative to develop hospitality-specific guidelines and a certification for a Hospitality Data Protection Officer (HDPO). The building of these resources is underway by a team of 23 experts, recruited by HFTP to comprise the HFTP Hospitality DPO task force. The task force chair Alvaro Hidalgo, managing partner with FIRSTLOGIC Consulting based in Spain, has outlined the objectives for the group in the months leading up to the May compliance deadline, detailed in the post on the HFTP Connect blog, "HFTP Hospitality DPO Task Force Outlines Objectives as Industry Prepares for GDPR May 2018 Deadline."HFTP chief operations officer Lucinda Hart, CAE, MBA, explained why this initiative is integral to the association's strategic goals. "The GDPR is greatly impacting the hospitality industry and the dedication that HFTP and our members have committed to industry awareness demonstrates HFTP's commitment to assisting our stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization," she said.The HFTP HDPO Task Force held its first meeting July 14-15, 2017 at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Conference Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands."I am very pleased with the outcome of our first meeting held in Amsterdam this summer," said Hidalgo. "We have identified areas in which specific solutions (registration challenges, integration of DPO, communication with IT providers and others) are being analyzed, and we are confident to bring those solutions to the industry this autumn."When the task force met it set out to address the following:Identify the major challenges for the industry to achieve compliance, as well as the stakeholders involved;Provide guidelines to enable the industry to assess their specific needs to achieve compliance on time;Define the specific features of a Hospitality Data Protection Officer (HDPO) job role, and resulting from this, propose the structure of a HFTP HDPO certification;Establish a communication policy to create awareness within the industry.Hidalgo's post, details how the task force will address each of these areas. Part of the ongoing work for the task force and HFTP will be to continually provide related information to the industry to support compliance preparation. One of the first action items taken was to include a dictionary of terms related to the GDPR on the hospitality-specific site PineappleSearch.com. Referenced from the European Data Protection Supervisor, the glossary will be centralized with a library of hospitality resources.HFTP will host a HDPO education session at its upcoming Annual Convention on October 25-27, 2017. Wrapping up 2017, HFTP will produce its inaugural HITEC Dubai counterpart event, in partnership with Naseba, from November 14-15 - serving as the third, and final, HITEC of the year. In 2018, HFTP will bring back HITEC Amsterdam on April 11-13 in addition to the larger HITEC Houston on June 18-21. For more information about HITEC and HFTP's other global activities, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department ateducation@hftp.org or visit www.hftp.org and www.hftp.org/hitec/.For the latest news, follow HFTP/HITEC on HITEC Bytes, PineappleSearch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@HFTP), Instagram (HFTP_HITEC), Flickr and YouTube. For more information about HITEC Amsterdam, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at education@hftp.org, +1 (512) 249-5333.About HFTP Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(r)) established in 1952, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe. HFTP uniquely understands the industry's pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. It does this via its expert networks, research, certification programs, information resources and conferences/events such as HITEC. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality-specific search engine, PineappleSearch.com. For more information about HFTP, email membership@hftp.org or download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website. Read industry updates on the suite of HFTP hospitality news sites: HITEC Bytes, Club Bytes, Finance Bytes and HFTP News.

Intelligent Hospitality CEO Urges Hoteliers to Leverage their Data

Intelligent Hospitality 14 September 2017
Apo Demirtas, Ph.D., founder & CEO of Intelligent Hospitality, caught the attention of attendees as he challenged hotels to be proactive about utilizing their data in a meaningful way. On the "TMI? No Way! AI + BI = Trackable ROI" panel discussion, featuring industry leaders from Horwath HTL, Google Travel, Ernst & Young and HotelAVE, Apo spoke passionately about hotels needing to leverage the data resources easily accessible to them before chasing after lengthy and capital intensive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence initiatives.Dustin Bomar, Head of Industry, Travel at Google echoed this sentiment claiming that "while sources like Google can provide hoteliers with large amounts of data, ultimately it's not effective without also making use of the vast amounts of actionable data on their own hotels". Apo also spoke at the Cornell Hotel School's Atlanta Lodging Outlook, a sales, marketing and revenue management-focused event, on a panel moderated by Kirk Kinsell, the former CEO of Loews Hotels and IHG North America. Participating in a discussion on the use of Business Intelligence and leveraging hotel data, Apo stressed the importance of these techniques as part of modern hotel operations. His thoughts were warmly received, and he was immediately approached by several attendees looking to learn more.

Study: 31 Percent Of Restaurateurs Use Digital Technologies - A High Potential

EHL 13 September 2017
LAUSANNE, Switzerland --- A study by the METRO Chair of Innovation at the Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL) analyses use of digital solutions in the hospitality industry.- Currently about one third of the restaurant operators in Germany, France, Italy and Spain use digital technologies to facilitate their business processes.- The hospitality sector thus offers a high potential for digital solutions. 46 percent of the respondents rate technology as important or very important, 15 percent plan investments.- METRO AG supports its HoReCa customers in growing their success through digital innovations.The first study of the METRO Chair of Innovation takes a look behind the scenes of the hospitality sector and offers new insights on the use of technology in the restaurant industry in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. How do restaurants use digital solutions - or why do they refrain from using them, what are their demands? And why is it worth to drive digitization in an industry that is still largely operating in the analogue world? Now we have the answers.What does a steak on the menu have to do with digitization? Much more than one would expect, i.e. when the restaurant operator can focus on his core business, e.g. on preparing and serving a good steak, while state-of-the-art technologies facilitate or even completely take over other tasks related to his business. But, do restaurant owners in Europe actually want to be assisted by digital solutions? How are restaurateurs using technologies, which barriers need to be overcome and which processes in restaurants can be improved by means of digital solutions?The new study by METRO AG and the Swiss hotel management school EHL provides useful information. They joined forces under the METRO Chair of Innovation to investigate the digital future of the restaurant industry. "We conducted a quantitative survey in order to analyze the level of digitization in the restaurant industry. Indeed, it is essential to understand the situation before being able to identify solutions. This is why the METRO Chair of Innovation at EHL has undertaken this study which brings concrete recommendations to restaurant owners, with the intent to help them face their three main challenges: attract new customers, meet their clients' needs and manage their costs", says Professor Christine Demen Meier, head of the METRO Chair of Innovation.Great potential for technological supportIn the first study conducted by the METRO Chair of Innovation, 2,746 independent restaurateurs in Germany, France, Italy and Spain were surveyed. The result: 31 percent of the restaurant owners already use technologies at an intermediate and high level. 46 percent - that is almost half of the respondents - are open to the use of digital technologies, 15 percent are even planning concrete investments. The main reasons for the four countries which keep the restaurant operators from investing into digital support are lack of priority, high costs and development strategy.More success for METRO customers from the hospitality industryOlaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG, explains why his company wants to support the European restaurant industry. "Our goal is nothing less than the digitization of the hospitality industry. We are convinced that especially for small and medium-sized businesses, this will create substantial opportunities to become even more successful. We are talking about two million businesses in Europe generating around EUR400 billion in sales. If we help to digitize ten percent of these companies in the long-term perspective, we can make a substantial contribution to transforming the industry".If its customers are successful, this will also benefit METRO AG. "By building up digital competence, we want to further consolidate our position as a strong and trustful partner in the hospitality sector", says Koch.A wealth of ideas for digital innovationsA vast number of innovations to enhance productivity, service and competitiveness in the hospitality sector and intensify customer relationships are already available today. METRO AG has taken on the task of supporting the digitization of restaurant businesses, which constitute one of the key customer groups of this B2B company as their partner. To this end, the wholesale and food specialist created a new business unit and launched an accelerator program promoting start-ups for the third consecutive year in 2017.The business unit HoReCa Digital brings innovative technologies that improve the business processes and customer relations management of small and medium-sized hotels, restaurants and catering businesses to market maturity. The METRO Accelerator for Hospitality supports the matching innovations by leading selected start-ups from all over the world to success.The new study - and those that will follow - creates the foundation for achieving this goal as fast and purposeful as possible. Going forward will enable European restaurant owners to focus on what is really important to them: their core business.METRO is a leading international specialist in wholesale and food retail. The company operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2015/16, METRO generated sales of around EUR37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. With its sales brands METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as delivery services and digitization initiatives METRO sets the standards for tomorrow: for customer focus, digital solutions and sustainable business models. More information at www.metroag.de.

Tips and Strategies to Increase Your Direct Bookings

Brewer Digital Marketing 12 September 2017
Brewer Digital Marketing, a leading provider of innovative hotel software tools that serves more than 10,000 hotels worldwide, announced today its sponsorship of Direct Booking Summit, which will be hosted in The Westin New York at Times Square on September 27 and 28. The summit is the largest of its kind attracting hundreds of hotel decision-makers and industry influencers who come together with one goal in mind - increasing direct bookings.Along with the event sponsorship, Brewer Digital Marketing's CEO, Brad Brewer, and Vice President of Sales, Bob Kippola, are scheduled to speak on Day 1 at 11:10 a.m. Brewer and Kippola will cover a topic on Customer Insights and Analytics. Their session will address:Consolidate and optimize your customer dataHow to analyze your data and derive actionable objectivesImprove customer trust and transparency in a tightly-regulated environment"We are thrilled to host Brad Brewer, Bob Kippola and other inspiring speakers at this year's Summit," said Anastasia Reshetnikova, Global Events Director for the Americas, Direct Booking Summit. "These speakers are leaders in their fields and will share their collective wisdom on everything from negotiating with OTAs to digital marketing tips, and everything in between. This year's line-up is a hand-picked selection of carefully curated content, all delivered with empowering the hotelier in mind."Get event details and register for the event here.About The Speakers:Brad Brewer Brad founded Brewer Digital Marketing to help hotel companies shift bookings from expensive OTA channels to their under-used web assets.Recognized as the thought-leader in semantic search for hotels, Brad continually evangelizes the need for hospitality companies to understand the value of structured data. With over 15 years of experience, he is a trusted advisor to many of the world's leading hotel companies.Bob Kippola Bob has 25+ years of helping hospitality customers drive revenue using the latest technology via a consultative sales approach. From the earliest days of automated hotel technology, he has always been respected for helping customers adopt the newest ROI producing products and services.

VIDEO: Celebrating 90 Years: An HSMAI Video Story

HSMAI 11 September 2017
Take a journey through 90 years of innovation as HSMAI celebrates 90 years of fueling sales, inspiring marketing, and optimizing revenues for hotels and their partners. Founded in 1927 and celebrating 90 years in 2017, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide.

HSMAI Celebrates 90th Anniversary, Honors Leaders

HSMAI 8 September 2017
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) celebrated 90 years of fueling sales, inspiring marketing, and optimizing revenue, and honored current leaders and chapters at HSMAI's 90th Anniversary Celebration Dinner on September 6, 2017 at Lansdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg, Virginia. The Greater New York Chapter was named Chapter of the Year and the University of Memphis was honored as Collegiate Chapter of the Year. Other "Chapter Best of the Best" award winners were honored throughout HSMAI's annual Mike Leven Leadership Conference, held in the same venue September 5-6, 2017."Our chapters and their creative approaches to revenue optimization have strengthened HSMAI's commitment to fueling hotel sales over these past 90 years," said Fran Brasseux, HSMAI executive vice president. "We are proud to recognize these achievements and are appreciative of these chapters' hard work."Held the final evening of this year's Mike Leven Leadership Conference, HSMAI's 90th Anniversary Celebration Dinner recognized and honored HSMAI leaders and innovations. Fifteen Past Presidents and seven HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Award honorees were on hand for the celebration. The evening included remarks and remembrances from past and present HSMAI leaders including HSMAI Lifetime Award Winner Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association; Past Chairs Bruce Himelstein, BJH Group; Barb Bowden, Loews Hotels; Dorothy Dowling, Best Western Hotels & Resorts; current HSMAI Board Chair Jeff Senior, KSL Resorts; HSMAI Foundation Chair John Fareed, Horwath; incoming Chair Mark Thompson, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau; and HSMAI President & CEO Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA."We may be celebrating a major milestone tonight, but we'll also recognize a number of outstanding leaders and some special guests who have helped to grow HSMAI over the last two decades," said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president & CEO of HSMAI, in his opening remarks. He added, "We really feel HSMAI is 90 years young. Tonight is the celebration of many industry feats and firsts--but it's also the beginning of a new chapter for our game-changing organization." (For a brief recap of HSMAI's 90 years of innovation, view the 6-minute video, "Celebrating 90 Years: An HSMAI Video Story.")A special part of the anniversary celebration was devoted to presenting HSMAI's first-ever Hotel Sales Professional of the Year Awards. Adreana Bailey, National Sales Manager, Hilton DFW Lakes, was recognized as the HSMAI Hotel Sales Professional of the Year in the On-property category. Jane Pearsall, Senior Manager of Worldwide Sales, Global Business Travel, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, received the HSMAI Above-property Hotel Sales Professional of the Year Award.HSMAI honored chapters in the Americas Region for leadership, communications, membership, educational programming, and community involvement. The Frank W. Berkman Best of the Best 2016-2017 winners are as follows:Chapter Leadership Award WinnersGreg Bodenair, Boston ChapterErik Dorr, Arizona ChapterJason Edwards, North Carolina ChapterBlair Green, Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex ChapterLarge Chapter WinnersArizona, Special EventsGreater New York, Membership, PartnershipSouth Florida, EducationWashington, D.C., CommunicationsMedium Chapter WinnersBoston, Education, Membership, PartnershipDallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, CommunicationsMissouri, Education, Special EventsSmall Chapter WinnersAustin, CommunicationsBritish Columbia, Communications, Membership, PartnershipFlorida Keys, Special EventsNorth Carolina, PartnershipSeattle, EducationCollegiate Chapter of the YearUniversity of MemphisConference highlights included "deep dives" into critical topics such as volunteering, partnerships, recruiting, educational programming, and profitability. The conference kicked off with an executive interview with conference benefactor Mike Leven, CEO, Georgia Aquarium & Former President and Chief Operating Officer, Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Attendees were treated to an insightful discussion on harnessing the headwinds by Col. Nicole Malachowski USAF, first woman Thunderbird flyer, former White House Fellow, and former executive director of Joining Forces--the Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden military and veterans initiative. As part of the HSMAI Helps service program, attendees hand-stuffed more than 100 bears to give to a children's hospital.The conference was renamed the HSMAI Mike Leven Leadership Conference following a generous donation from the Mike and Andrea Leven Foundation in 2013. This year leaders came together at the Lansdowne Resort & Spa September 5-6. The conference was made possible by Conference Partners: The Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation, Anniversary Partner: Accor Hotels, Two Roads Hospitality, Lansdowne Resort & Spa, Booking.com, Visit Fairfax, and Visit Loudoun.

Ex-England and Harlequins captain Nick Easter to be guest speaker at HOSPACE2017 Gala Awards Dinner on 2 November

HOSPA 7 September 2017
In addition to being guest speaker, Easter will assist in presenting the prestigious annual HOSPA 'Inspirational Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2017' for Finance, Revenue Management and IT. The Gala Awards Dinner marks the climax of the one-day HOSPACE2017 international Conference & Exhibition, hosted by HOSPA - the UK's leading organization for hospitality professionals involved in Financial Management, Revenue Management, Marketing and IT.Easter, currently Harlequins (Quins) defence coach, won 54 England caps (captaining his country twice) and played 281 times for Quins, scoring 53 tries. He took part in three Rugby Union World Cups, including the 2007 final against South Africa in Paris.He won the first of his 54 England caps against Italy in the 2007 Six Nations. On his fifth appearance, he made history - becoming the first number eight to score four tries for England. This happened while beating Wales 62-5.Following a four-year absence, Easter returned to international duty for the 2015 Six Nations. During that competition, in the match against Italy, he became the oldest England try scorer. His final appearance for his country was in the 2015 World Cup, when he scored a hat-trick in a 60-3 thrashing of Uruguay.The highlight of his Harlequins playing career, starting in 2004 when he joined the club from Orrell, was winning the 2012 Premiership title. In April 2016, Easter took on a player-coach role at the club, but quickly recognised he couldn't give 100 per cent to both roles at the same time. This led him three months later to announce his retirement from playing to concentrate on his present role as Quins defence coach."We are delighted to welcome Nick as our HOSPACE2017 Gala Awards Dinner guest speaker," said HOSPA Chief Executive Jane Pendlebury. "I, like many, am a great Rugby Union fan. I know delegates will look forward, as much as I do, to hearing about Nick's remarkable career, ranging from his leadership on the pitch and his amazing try scoring achievements, to his undoubted coaching skills."For regularly updated information about HOSPACE2017 and the Gala Awards Dinner, visit: www.hospace.net. For bookings, telephone: 020 3418 8196; Email: bookings@hospa.org

HSMAI Region Europe welcomes TripAdvisor onto three new Advisory Boards

HSMAI Europe 4 September 2017
HSMAI Region Europe today announced that TripAdvisor has joined three new advisory boards: Service Operation, focusing on HSMAI Region Europe's newly-developed "Winning for Customers - The Service Pledge" programme; the Customer Loyalty & Relationship Advisory Board; and the Destination Marketing Advisory Board. TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site, is already an active member of the Digital Advisory Board.TripAdvisor will be attending HSMAI Region Europe's leadership day in Frankfurt in early September, and the 2017 agreement also sees a number of TripAdvisor employees joining HSMAI Europe as corporate members."We are very happy to continue the partnership with TripAdvisor and to have them active on our Advisory Boards," says HSMAI Europe President and CEO Ingunn Hofseth," adding: "In business today it's all about the customer experience. Everything is getting more and more transparent, booking and search engines become more professional. Margins for errors are so small. Together with highly educated professionals HSMAI Region Europe has worked out a generic method and process to build a service quality strategy for change management and relation management and we are now hosting educational programmes for candidates who would like to become HSMAI-certified Executive Coaches for our new programme, Winning for Customers - The Service Pledge. TripAdvisor is the perfect partner for us."Helena Egan, TripAdvisor's Global Director of Industry Relations, adds "We are pleased to be expanding our cooperation with HSMAI Europe to engage with the hospitality industry and drive awareness of the benefits of working with TripAdvisor."About TripAdvisorTripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site*, enables travellers to unleash the full potential of every trip. With more than 535 million reviews and opinions covering the world's largest selection of travel listings worldwide -- over 7 million accommodations, airlines, attractions, and restaurants -- TripAdvisor provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that's right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world's largest travel community of 415 million average unique monthly visitors,** all looking to get the most out of every trip. TripAdvisor: Know better. Book better. Go better.

ITB Berlin - Springboard for South American start-ups

Messe Berlin GmbH 29 August 2017
South American start-ups have time until 18 September 2017 to enter the 'Travelups Startup Challenge' with their innovations and ideas. A selection will be made based on three criteria: technology, sustainability and user-friendliness. After the jury has made its choice the ten best companies will compete in the challenge at FIT in Buenos Aires.In its role as a major global brand, ITB is represented at FIT (28 to 31 October 2017) on its own stand (no. 2022) with ITB Berlin, ITB Asia and ITB China.For more information click here.

Artificial Intelligence to be focus of ITB Asia 2017 keynotes

Messe Berlin GmbH 29 August 2017
Under the overarching conference theme of "The Future of Travel", the organisers of ITB Asia, Messe Berlin (Singapore), have announced that this year's keynote speeches will be delivered by industry leaders from IBM and Google, who will speak on the very latest trends in Artificial Intelligence (AI) including the impact, use and benefits of AI in the travel industry.Starting from 9am on 25 October, the keynote addresses will be delivered by Tony Menezes, Vice President of Industrial and Distribution Sector at IBM Asia Pacific and Rob Torres, Managing Director of Advertising and Marketing at Google. Sharanjit Leyl, Presenter and Producer at BBC News will moderate the keynote session.Tony Menezes will speak about the opportunities to fundamentally transform the travel industry with cognitive technology, and how IBM Watson is making travel experiences more personal, relevant and convenient. As Vice President, Industrial and Distribution Sector at IBM Asia Pacific, Tony Menezes is responsible for building and growing relationships across IBM's portfolio of industry solutions, software, services and platforms. Prior to this, Tony was responsible for business development and sales of Cognitive Industry solutions, based on IBM Watson, the AI platform for business.Rob Torres, Industry Director, Travel at Google will be speaking about how consumer expectations for seamless, assistive experiences in travel are higher than ever before. He will share how the Google Travel team is leveraging new digital trends and machine learning to build more immersive experiences for users across the travel journey. Google's suite of travel products includes Google Flights, Google Hotel Ads, Destinations on Google, and Google Trips."Artificial intelligence is making real waves in the travel industry and changing the way business is done. We're seeing an increasing number of travel and hospitality brands integrating AI into their online strategies in efforts to improve customer service and engagement and it is clearly a major trend that is here to stay. This year, we felt it was timely to have two influential experts in AI share their knowledge and insights at ITB Asia 2017, and we're delighted to welcome Tony Menezes from IBM Asia Pacific and Rob Torres from Google as keynote speakers for what will no doubt be a truly exciting start to this year's show", said Katrina Leung, Executive Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore) and ITB Asia.ITB Asia 2017 is expected to top the success of ITB Asia in 2016, where almost 900 buyers attended the show, leading to a 1:1 ratio between exhibitors and buyers whilst over 50% of buyers signed deals with exhibitors after the event. 43% of attending buyers had purchasing power of USD 500K - USD 1m and 85.7% of attending buyers were direct decision makers.For more information on ITB Asia 2017, visit www.itb-asia.comFor more information or interest to be a Conference Partner of ITB Asia 2017, please email: michele.koe@itb-asia.com or visit: www.itb-asia.com/conferenceAbout ITB Asia 2017ITB Asia 2017 will take place at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, from 25 - 27 October. It is organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd and supported by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau. The event will feature hundreds of exhibiting companies from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, covering not only the leisure market, but also corporate and MICE travel. Exhibitors from every sector of the industry, including destinations, airlines and airports, hotels and resorts, theme parks and attractions, inbound tour operators, inbound DMCs, cruise lines, spas, venues, other meeting facilities and travel technology companies are all expected to attend.

The Future of Revenue Management- Performance Measurement Video

IDeaS 29 August 2017
In a study co-sponsored by IDeaS, Sherri Kimes was able to connect with revenue managers from around the world, gathering insights to discover the outlook for hotel revenue manager attributes in 2020. Is your hotel ready?

AURA the Autonomous Service Delivery Robot

Millennium 22 August 2017
SINGAPORE -- Millennium Hotels and Resorts introduces a new guest service associate, AURA the Relay Robot, South East Asia's first Front-of-House Autonomous Service Delivery Robot in the hotel industry at M Social Singapore.Millennium Hotels and Resorts looked to increase productivity using a robotic solution with AURA helping to optimise operations, boost productivity and lift guest experiences to a new level starting from M Social Singapore.Situated along Robertson Quay, M Social Singapore is a 293-room lifestyle design hotel that thrives on an interplay of friendship, community and new experiences. Designed by Philippe Starck, it is the hotel for millennials and the millennial mindset by Millennium Hotels and Resorts, the hotel arm of property giant City Developments Limited (CDL). M Social Singapore, is the Winner of South East Asia Property Awards for Best Hotel Development 2016, Best Hotel Architectural Design 2016, Best Hotel Interior Design 2016, Best Green Development 2016 and Platinum Green Mark award. The second M Social in Auckland is set to open at the end of 2017.Developed by Savioke, she is the first deployment outside of the USA, who works alongside people in busy environments. As described by Savioke CEO Steve Cousins, "You put something in AURA, the Relay Robot, tell her where to go, and she will go there to deliver it, and then return to her docking station by herself." "AURA, can operate and ride in elevators, navigate her way to a guest's door, let them know that a delivery has arrived (guest phone rings), and then open its lid for guests when they answer the door," he continued.Currently, AURA delivers items like bottled water, towels, toiletries and amenities to guest rooms at M Social Singapore."As we innovate with technology and robotics, the heart of hospitality is actually about people. AURA frees human time to allow staff to be more engaged with guests at a deeper level. We are not replacing people with robots or technology, we instead want to use technology to further enhance our services. " said Vice President of Operations Singapore, Mr Lee Richards of the Millennium Hotels and Resorts.In the works are more AURAs to be launched in the near future for Singapore hotels under the Millennium Hotels and Resorts namely, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, M Hotel Singapore, Orchard Hotel Singapore and Studio M Hotel. AURA's brother who is yet to be named has the ability to cook different types of eggs. He will likely be introduced in the year 2018.

How hotels are turning day-trippers into overnighters

JLLH 22 August 2017
It's not just because of growing competition from home sharing platforms like Airbnb and VBRO. Whether they're driving or even flying to a nearby locale for a cultural event or for a business meeting, people often prefer to head in and out of their destination in one day rather than stay overnight.It's a familiar phenomenon to tourism professionals. In recent years, there were 12 million day trips to Denver, Colorado; and in Minnesota, 57 percent of travel was comprised of day trips--with 38.2 million day trips, compared to 29.3 million overnights.While not all day-trippers can be converted to overnighters, there are ways hoteliers can encourage visitors to extend their trip - which will also benefit their longer-term guests."The key is to create a guest experience that serves as a natural extension of the local environment," says David Holder, Vice President of Tourism, JLL. "Hotels that offer memorable encounters in authentic atmospheres can help win attention from short-term travelers."No guest left behindOf course, the big question is how. Winning over business travelers, for example, goes beyond simply offering the facilities they need to conduct business, such as great connectivity and meeting space. It might also mean providing special packages with room rates and dining options included or offering more elements of home, whether it's the ability to watch a favorite show via in-room streaming entertainment, or grab a ready-made breakfast bag for an early morning ride to the airport.For leisure travelers, it's often more about connecting them with the local events that sparked their interest in the area in the first place. Are they coming for the local music scene? Create a concert calendar to display in a public common area and provide easy-to-score tickets in the lobby. Even better, bring music in-house for live entertainment.Still, there are ways work and pleasure do mix, at least for hotels looking to woo both kinds of short-term travelers."What's attracting people to any given destination?" asks Holder. "Whatever it is that drives your prospective guests, embrace it. Make it your own, so that you can build on it to create interest and engagement for your guests."Answering that question can be invaluable, considering the Global Portrait of American Travelers shows that 68 percent of all vacations were planned with a specific attraction in mind.In addition, American vacation habits are changing. "Americans have been engaging in more localized vacations since the 2008 recession," says Holder. "The staycation trend is blurring the lines between local and longer-distance travelers, so day-trippers may be more amenable now to the idea of staying overnight in a nearby city when it's not strictly necessary."Tourism spend has increased steadily since the bottom of the recession, too, which bodes well for hotels that can convert day travelers into guests. This is especially true for American Millennial families, who intend to spend 19 percent more on their vacations in the next year. That means it's time for hotels to get creative to convince guests that an overnight stay is worth their time and money.A meaningful extension of the local experienceHotels are a key place to showcase local culture, from the artwork in the halls to the craft beer and food served in the restaurant and bar, explains Holder. "The lure of a soft bed isn't the only selling point to convert a day traveler into an overnight guest. You want them soak up the local culture so they're more likely to extend their visit or come back for more."Historically, hotels have served as community centers where locals and travelers came together and shared stories. It may be time to revive the spirit of those crossroads hotels. Mingling with locals can provide local experiences and insights that aren't available in guidebooks. It can also make common spaces seem like more exciting places to be.Food and drink are another key draw. But more than just a great menu, hotels can hook day-trippers by bringing local specialties to life with unique events. For example, wine country hotels might offer a sommelier-guided tasting evening, concluded by a champagne testing that tempts day-trippers to choose to stay the night just so they don't miss the signature mimosa at breakfast.Collaborating with local businesses, such as event organizers and theaters, might yield overnight packages and other deals that are more cost-effective than booking them separately, which will appeal to people who are daytrippers due to cost rather than out of choice. But it's not just about savings--creating easy access to tickets to the best entertainment in town can help a hotel feel like a natural gateway to the area.When hotels can offer a clear extension of the local experience whether for culture, sport or food, it makes it easier to see an overnight--or even multiple night stay--as time well spent.

HOSPA announces exciting Autumn 2017 line-up of seminars and discussions

HOSPA 16 August 2017
HOSPA - the Association providing unparalleled support for hospitality's Finance, Revenue Management, Marketing and IT professionals with career development, networking and up-dating on industry trends and developments - is delighted to announce its highly topical autumn line-up of discussions and seminars, open not just to HOSPA members but the hospitality industry as a whole.The HOSPA autumn programme for September 2017:Thursday 21 September: Bridging the gap between traditional and technologyVenue: The Rubens at the Palace, 39 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0PSTime: 6pmCost: PS10 for non-HOSPA members; free for HOSPA membersBookings: E: hospa@hospa.orgT: 0203 418 8196How Red Carnation's Rubens at the Palace and Hotel 41, both in London's Buckingham Palace Road, have themselves met the challenge of blending traditional service with the cutting-edge technology demanded by today's guests.Thursday 28 SeptemberStaff and Skills Issues in the Tourism and Hospitality SectorSeminar hosted by Mazars and run in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Tourism and Hospitality Group, and the British Hospitality Association (BHA).Venue: MazarsTower Bridge House, St. Katherine's Way, London E1W 1DDTime: 5.30pm for 6pmCost: PS10 for non-HOSPA members; free for HOSPA membersBookings: E: hospa@hospa.orgT: 0203 418 8196Speakers include: Jon Claypole, Partner, Tax Investigations and Employer Solutions, Mazars; Richard Karmel, Partner, Business and human Rights, Mazars, John Guthrie, Employment Policy Adviser, British Hospitality Association, Moderator: Gareth Jones, Partner - Head of Entrepreneurial Services and Head of Hospitality and Leisure, Mazars. Topics will include the sensitive service charge/tronc issue; the National Minimum Wage; staff uniforms; employee accommodation; and the impact of the Modern Slavery Act.The HOSPA autumn programme for October 2017:Thursday 5 OctoberFor hoteliers ONLY: HOSPA and Atos 1st Annual Roundtable Event: 'Transforming Hospitality, embracing Digital'Venue: Atos Business Technology and Innovation Centre, 4 Triton Square, Regent's Place, London NW1 3HGTime: 3.30pm to 7pmCost: Free for non-HOSPA members and HOSPA membersBookings: Limited spaces available.Speakers include: Juan Antonio Gomez Garcia, Research Analyst BDO UK Leisure and Hospitality. Focusing on how embracing digital can transform hospitality. An opportunity for hospitality leaders to meet and discuss latest trends impacting the sector, in a strictly no sales environment; and learn from keynote speakers. Delegates will have direct input into the inaugural 'Directive on Digital Transformation: Hospitality' report.Wednesday 18 OctoberHotel Asset Managers - Minimising the PainHow can the relationship between owner and manager - and the value of the hotel - be optimised?Venue: Sofitel St James's Hotel, Waterloo Place, London SW1Time: 6pm for 6.30pmCost: PS10 for non-HOSPA members; free for HOSPA membersBookings: E: hospa@hospa.orgT: 0203 418 8196Speakers include: Katie Benson, Vice President Operations, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Cody Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and Head of European Hotels, Starwood Capital, Frank Croston, Partner, Hamilton Hotel Partners, Richard Nottage, Owner, Sofitel St James's and Sofitel Grand, Amsterdam, Hugh Taylor OBE, Chief Executive, Michels & Taylor, Moderator: Russell Kett, Chairman, HVS London OfficeHotel operators expect their operators to increase their hotels' revenues, profits and values. Increasingly they are turning to professional hotel asset managers to help ensure this is achieved. So, what are the advantages - and limitations - of bringing in an asset manager? What are the various options - in-house or outsourced? Shouldn't an experienced hotel operator be able to look after all the owner's interests without such 'interferences' or can each bring out the best in the other? How can it be a mutually rewarding, enlightening and productive relationship? These questions and more will be addressed by the expert panel.

HFTP Hospitality DPO Task Force Holds First Meeting in Amsterdam, Moves Ahead on Building Resources

HFTP 15 August 2017
Preparing for the new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), a framework legislated by all EU member states with a required compliance date of May 25, 2018, international nonprofit association Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(r)) recruited a team of experts to develop Hospitality Data Protection Officer (HDPO) guidelines and supporting resources for the industry. In addition, the group is designing a certification program specific for HDPOs to demonstrate their competence with the specialized position. A key requirement of the GDPR is that companies who handle large stores of sensitive personal information must assign a DPO, and it is estimated that this could open approximately 28,000 positions across all industries.The HFTP HDPO Task Force held its first meeting last month from July 14-15, 2017 at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Conference Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands."I am very pleased with the outcome of our first meeting held in Amsterdam this summer," said Alvaro Hidalgo, managing partner at FIRSTLOGIC Consulting and HFTP HDPO Task Force co-chair. "We have identified areas in which specific solutions (registration challenges, integration of DPO, communication with IT providers and others) are being analyzed, and we are confident to bring those solutions to the industry this autumn."The HFTP HDPO Task Force consists of 23 members representing a three-dimensional cross section of the hospitality industry including: global, regional and local hotel operators; IT and service provider vendors (distribution, marketing, CRM, etc.); academics and counselors specialized in data protection regulations; members of large multinational groups as well as medium and small companies from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, United States, Switzerland, UAE, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain.The HFTP HDPO Task Force committee consists of the following hospitality industry leaders:Nigel Allport, vice president of EMEA at Digital Alchemy, United KingdomKen Bailey, managing director of public sector at Fortalice Solutions, USASjoerd Blum, CIO at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, The NetherlandsStephen Carter, OBE, general manager at Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, United KingdomDennis Collet, CEO at NextRound Ltd, United KingdomLuis del Olmo Pinero, president and chairman at Idiso, SpainRichard Harrington, director of finance of luxury at Splendid Hospitality, United KingdomLucinda Hart, CAE, MBA, COO at HFTP, USA Alvaro Hidalgo, managing partner at FIRSTLOGIC Consulting, SpainDaniel Johnson, COO at Venza, USATimo Kettern, director of IT at Lapithus Hotel Management GmbH, GermanyDennis-Kenji Kipker, research managing director at Universitat Bremen, GermanyJose Medio, Attorney, CIPP/us, CIPP/E, managing director at Privalis Group, USAIan Millar, CHTP, professor of IT at Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne, SwitzerlandBenny Nur, technical services director at Interstate Europe Hotels & Resorts, United KingdomTar O'Neill, CFO for Jamie Oliver Group, United KingdomSophie Pommois, project director of global distribution at Global Hotel Alliance, SwitzerlandStephanie Timsit, director of finance at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, United KingdomRajesh Vohra, director at Sarova Hotels Ltd., United KingdomCarl Weldon, FIH FHOSPA, COO Europe at HFTP, United KingdomFrank Wolfe, CEO at HFTP, USAJames Wright, vice president of IT field services EMEA at Hilton Worldwide, UAEOguz Can Yildirim, CHT, associate director of information risk management EAME at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Belgium"By its nature, the hospitality industry manages a vast amount of personal data. The GDPR will set a new standard for data processing/management that will impact both the finance and technology sectors, and any company that offers goods or services to EU residents," said Wolfe. "Unlike previous frameworks, GDPR includes companies outside the EU who either have customers that are EU citizens or who monitor the online identifiers of EU data subjects. HFTP has deemed it critical to develop resources to alleviate the hospitality technology operational changes ahead."HFTP will host a HDPO education session at its upcoming Annual Convention on October 25-27, 2017. Wrapping up 2017, HFTP will produce its inaugural HITEC Dubai counterpart event, in partnership with Naseba, from November 14-15 - serving as the third, and final, HITEC of the year. In 2018, HFTP will bring back HITEC Amsterdam on April 11-13 in addition to the larger HITEC Houston on June 18-21. For more information about HITEC and HFTP's other global activities, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department ateducation@hftp.org or visit www.hftp.org and www.hftp.org/hitec/.For the latest news, follow HFTP/HITEC on HITEC Bytes, PineappleSearch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@HFTP), Instagram (HFTP_HITEC), Flickr and YouTube. For more information about HITEC Amsterdam, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at education@hftp.org, +1 (512) 249-5333.About HFTP Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(r)) established in 1952, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe. HFTP uniquely understands the industry's pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. It does this via its expert networks, research, certification programs, information resources and conferences/events such as HITEC. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality-specific search engine, PineappleSearch.com. For more information about HFTP, email membership@hftp.org or download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website. Read industry updates on the suite of HFTP hospitality news sites: HITEC Bytes, Club Bytes, Finance Bytes and HFTP News.

With Hotel Operations Apps Increasingly in Demand, Facility for Hotels Stands Above the Rest

Travelers have long booked accommodations online, and many luxury hotels offer tech that lets guests use smart phones to operate thermostats, lighting, and televisions. These innovations are great, but the real difference-maker in hospitality tech is one most customers never actually see--hotel operation apps.These apps allow managers to simplify operations, improve efficiency, and modernize procedures. Too many hotels, unfortunately, still use outmoded tech, or, in extreme cases, pens, paper, and telephones.Hoteliers as a group are slow to adopt, and tech and hospitality have long made awkward bedfellows. The simple fact, however, is new hotel operations apps shouldn't be ignored.Here's what they do:-Free up resources and allow staff to deliver exceptional experiences to guests-Make it so staff members are not tethered to reception desks, instead using mobile devices such as tablets to keep in touch anywhere-Easily integrate with an existing PMS (Property Management System), allowing team members to access guest info on the go-Provide an easy-to-navigate dashboard with data and analyticsBut not all these apps are created equal, so it's important savvy hotel operators know the best choice.Facility for Hotels is a cut above other hospitality operation apps. Developed in a startup incubator, Facility saves time and paper, minimizing inventory loss and improving communication between departments, creating an overview of what's happening everywhere on a property.One 200-room hotel using Facility reports the following benefits:-200 man hours saved-15 percent less inventory loss-40% higher productivity-70% fewer phone calls-350 percent increase in reported maintenance issues-3000 less sheets of used paperUltimately, it's in guests' interest for hotels to invest in automation. As hotel operators know, tech will never replace individual service, but it can be a vital component for success.For more information about Facility for Hotels, visit www.facilityforhotels.com.

More Than Half the Hilton Portfolio to Be Digital Key Enabled by End of Year

Hilton 11 August 2017
Hilton today announced Digital Key will now be available at 362,000 hotel rooms across 2,000 hotels worldwide with the introduction of the exclusive technology at the Hampton Inn & Suites Washington DC-Navy Yard. The milestone demonstrates Hilton's continual ability to launch technology that improves the guest experience and do it on a global scale. Every new hotel that is opened worldwide, roughly one a day, is equipped with Digital Key technology.The award-winning Hilton Honors app is designed to make travel easier and put control back in members' hands so they get more out of their travel experience. From their smartphones, guests can book a room, check-in, choose their desired room from a digital floor plan set against Google Maps and request additional items to be in their room upon arrival. Hilton Honors members have widely adopted the app's technology features and continue to set new records for usage and engagement, including 30 million digital check-ins, 3 million room key downloads and more than 13.6 million doors opened. In the month of July, a door was unlocked with Digital Key every two seconds."We know our customers operate in a digital world and we are obsessive about embracing technology that helps remove the friction points from our guests' travel experiences. We've built a world of experiences at your fingertips with our app - you can check in, choose a room, set personal preferences and unlock your door using Digital Key," said Geraldine Calpin, chief marketing officer at Hilton. "We've more than tripled our rate of Digital Key hotel installs since 2016 and are on pace to exceed our goal of 2,500 hotels by the end of 2017, enabling us to scale across our 14 brands worldwide to deliver exceptional and consistent experience for guests everywhere."Digital Key is live worldwide in 185 markets today, and Hilton will continue to expand to new regions throughout the remainder of the year. By the beginning of 2018, Hilton has committed to have well over half of its portfolio of hotels across all 14 brands, equipped with Digital Key, creating a consistent technology experience for guests regardless of where they stay across the globe.Hilton is celebrating this milestone with guests on social media. Join in on the fun here. For more details and a list of current and upcoming properties with Digital Key, please visit HiltonHonors.com/DigitalKey.

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