Guest Experience is the New Loyalty: How Hoteliers Can Take Advantage of Technology to Elevate Guest Experience
Guest Experience is the New Loyalty: How Hoteliers Can Take Advantage of Technology to Elevate Guest Experience — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 25 Feb

For hoteliers, guest loyalty has become an increasingly elusive concept. A decade ago, brands would have focused on instilling loyalty through things like rewards programs or points. Now, it is more about creating an inspiring, fun, and authentic experience across the entire guest journey.

Smartphones and Their Effect on Guest Behavior
Smartphones and Their Effect on Guest Behavior — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 4 Feb

Smartphones are everywhere. Walk into any coffee shop, restaurant, or hotel lobby, and a high percentage of people engaged with their smartphone will be directly affected by the application they are reviewing. As consumers, we now look to our smartphones to converse with friends, purchase items online, look at a myriad of pictures, and yes, sometimes, to talk to another person.

Capitalizing on Millennial Hotel Guest Behaviors and Travel Trends
Capitalizing on Millennial Hotel Guest Behaviors and Travel Trends — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 10 Dec

If it seems like everyone in the hospitality industry is talking about millennials — well, that's likely because they are. With 2019 fading into the background, our collective feeds and conversations with industry peers are rife with discussions of what's to come and, subsequently, who makes up the most significant travel segments moving forward. As we determine those primary guest segments, a new question arises: Is guest behavior changing and, if so, who is leading the charge? What do they want? How will they influence our industry?

What to Expect from HITEC Dubai 2019
What to Expect from HITEC Dubai 2019 — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 4 Nov

Within an industry as competitive as hospitality, keeping up with, or rather, remaining ahead of trends will ultimately decide a brand's success. Those who fail to adapt and invest in those ideas and technologies which continue to move the needle and enhance the guest experience are sure to be left behind as our industry gears up for an exciting 2020. It is with this very mindset that we welcome the annual onset of The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), held in high regard as the world's largest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand. Hosted in Dubai from November 12th to 13th, the showcase will offer solution providers with unique access to the Middle East's hospitality market currently worth over USD 75 billion, attracting hospitality leaders from around the globe. Attendees gain access to valuable education and panels lead by top hospitality experts while witnessing the latest and greatest in hospitality technology on the showroom floor. Each year the event gets bigger and better, with the 2019 edition offering over 100 exhibitors and sponsors, 2,000 hospitality professionals, and 6,000 business meetings. HITEC has also assembled an impressive advisory panel, with 200 years of combined industry experience to address the Middle East's unique challenges and needs.

Mobile Devices and Their True Impact on the Hotel Industry
Mobile Devices and Their True Impact on the Hotel Industry — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 22 Oct

The next time you leave your home, take a look around you. As you scan your surroundings, I want you to look for a common theme; what do most passerby's have in common? Today, we exist within a revolution. The mobile revolution, to be precise. That common theme I just asked you about? It is almost definitively, the use of mobile technology. Wherever we go, and whoever we are with, the use of a mobile device is a near-unrivaled commonality. This year, mobile phone user penetration worldwide is expected to reach 63.4 percent. In January of this year, there were 3.986 billion unique active mobile internet users, and consumers reportedly spend more than 5 hours a day on their smartphones. Unsurprisingly, the hospitality industry finds itself within the crux of this mobile revolution — a movement that shows no sign of slowing down.

ONE Newsletter
MANY Sources
Brought to you by HFTP
The Unique Technology Challenges Faced by Large Hotel Chains (Part 2 of 2 Part Series)
The Unique Technology Challenges Faced by Large Hotel Chains (Part 2 of 2 Part Series) — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 24 Sep

The hospitality industry is on a path to technological innovation, and it shows no sign of changing course. Technology is — and will continue to be — at the core of a hotel's operations and the hospitality experience both in room, before and after the trip. As hotels around the globe face mounting pressure to keep up with or, better yet, remain ahead of evolving technological demands, vetting and selecting emerging platforms becomes integral to a property's success. With this in mind, we've developed a two-part series to address the unique technology challenges which large hotel chains face. In Part I (link to Part I) we spoke to the need for ease of integration and implementation, a centralized provider and high-touch support and service.

The Unique Technology Challenges Faced by Large Hotel Chains (Part 1 of 2 Part Series)
The Unique Technology Challenges Faced by Large Hotel Chains (Part 1 of 2 Part Series) — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 17 Sep

The hospitality industry, perhaps more than any other, is facing massive disruption. For large hotel chains, the continued onset and evolution of the digital age requires constant adaptation on behalf of brands. So as guest needs and expectations continue to evolve, hotels must establish nimble, flexible, agile hotel organizations.

Rethinking Hospitality Technology: How a Focus On Exemplary Service & Support Drives Customer Retention
Rethinking Hospitality Technology: How a Focus On Exemplary Service & Support Drives Customer Retention — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 20 Aug

Service is king across all industries. Those brands which establish and maintain top-tier service will not only survive but, more importantly, thrive in today's market. Hoteliers around the globe are investing an increasing amount of capital into the implementation of guest-centric technology. However, it's important to remember that while hoteliers focus on the provision of exceptional service to their guests, hospitality technology vendors assume a similar responsibility to that hotel. Just as a hotel's relationship with a guest doesn't end when they select "book now," a vendor's relationship with a hotel doesn't end when they choose to purchase their product. That's merely the first step of, ideally, a long-term, mutually beneficial customer-vendor relationship. In the world of hospitality technology, next-generation platforms (big or small) that demonstrate real staying power and industry-wide influence are those who understand that the customer, in this case, the hotelier, is king. Just as guest loyalty defines the long-term success of a hotel, customer retention will determine the continued success of technology vendors. Because when it comes to the purchase of technology, on-going exemplary service is everything. And yet, reports of poor service commonly plague industries around the globe, with studies indicating that 58% of people felt under-appreciated by companies they conducted business with in 2016. If anything, plights with customer service have become something of a bad punchline, as companies frequently undermine consumer expectations in the realm of on-going support. NewVoiceMedia's 2018 "Serial Switchers" report reveals that poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. That's up $13 billion since its last report in 2016. The stakes are higher than ever before, so why aren't businesses delivering? What can hospitality technology companies learn from this? Identifying a Successful Service Model Hotel technology today is all about innovation. Hospitality leaders are eager to invest in services and platforms which pave the way to a more streamlined, intuitive operational model that brings them closer to guests — with ease. With the right tools in place, properties can offer their guests enhanced connectivity, personalization, and convenience across every touch-point. At least, that's the goal. However, without a service model that genuinely supports a clients' immediate and future needs, hotel tech companies cannot truly drive innovation. After all, if a product can't adapt and evolve with the needs of the client, how can it truly be considered innovative? How can it help keep hotels a step ahead of guest trends, if it doesn't offer an agile infrastructure that's receptive to long-term growth? Let's consider a popular example. Apple is commonly regarded as one of the top customer service providers in America. In addition to its widely accessible service and repair centers, Apple also operates 28 service call centers in America that are positioned strategically to maintain quality service across the globe. However, this was not always the case. In the mid-1990s, Apple was struggling. Realizing the company was at a pivotal make-or-break impasse, interim CEO Steve Jobs decided it was time to shift their focus away from defeating rival companies, to providing better customer-oriented products and services. His envisioned Apple as a company that would 'serve the people,' developing innovative products and services that truly catered to the needs and desires of those who had been buying Apple's products since day one. Since then, Apple has dominated the market share as a leading, world-class provider in technological innovation and hands-on customer service. Another example of an exceptional customer-centric model at work can be observed via JetBlue airlines. While airlines commonly come under fire, especially across social platforms, for negative customer experiences, JetBlue has a reputation for attentive and responsive, personalized customer service. For example, in December of 2013, Paul Brown was flying JetBlue airlines when he casually tweeted that he couldn't grab his Starbucks coffee before boarding the plane because he was flying out of the smaller terminal at Boston's Logan airport. Within seconds of seeing the tweet, JetBlue sprang to action, and the airport customer service team delivered a Starbucks venti mocha to his seat on the plane. Brown was elated and raved about JetBlue on Twitter. While this is a rather specific example, it's essential to consider the underlying theme — the customer and the service a company provides them should always be top of mind.

The Dangers of Hotel Technology Consolidation
The Dangers of Hotel Technology Consolidation — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 16 Jul

Hoteliers are frequently faced with a common dilemma — how can a hotel work smarter, not harder? Within an industry that is hyper-competitive and subject to the on-going influence of guest demands, how can hoteliers ensure their property is best equipped to maximize revenue, enhance guest experience and streamline operations? The answer, more often than not, lies in technology. As hospitality technology becomes more complex and robust to suit the evolving needs of properties, legacy systems are being aptly replaced with new-age technology stacks. These technology stacks are represented by a collection of apps, platforms, and solutions that offer various key functionalities to a property, allowing it to establish an effective operational infrastructure. However, this brings us to a new challenge. The hospitality industry currently finds itself facing a technology consolidation conundrum. Quite the mouthful, wouldn't you say? Yet, that's precisely what it is; a conundrum, of sorts. Across our industry, we are witnessing the acquisition of countless smaller platforms, as their offering is merged into the service portfolio of hospitality technology giants. Not that long ago, for example, Oracle purchased Micros Hospitality, Amadeus purchased TravelClick, while RateGain purchased DHISCO — and the consolidation movement is only getting started. The big players in hotel technology are only going to get bigger. The true challenge lies in the aftermath of consolidation, and the potential for service and integration-related complications. Consolidation is a Double-Edged Sword On the one hand, technology consolidation has for years, and across industries, been considered an essential step in establishing long-term scalability. Companies crave the ability to do more with less, all while reaping the rewards of new efficiencies and solutions that allow them to grow and evolve. In this sense, the consolidation of technology is often viewed as the most effective way to establish better service, with a smaller 'footprint' and reduced cost. Companies can remove unnecessary complexity, cost, and redundant capabilities in favor of a more streamlined, lean technological model. In the case of hospitality, technology consolidation is the simplification of a hotel's technology environment. Rather than working with 5 or more separate vendors, companies can work with a larger vendor that offers a host of platforms and features that suit the needs of their business. This is great, in theory, but doesn't come without its unique set of challenges. A Higher Standard of Service — Or Is It? In some cases, increased simplicity can lead to enhanced service. However, in the case of hospitality technology consolidation, it's important to remember that hotel clients transition from being viewed as a 'big fish in a small pond', to a 'guppy in the ocean'. When working directly with vendors of smaller scale and a very specific offering, hotels can establish a more direct and responsive relationship. This more intimate arrangement lends itself favorably to a supportive, customer-centric relationship when hotelier's run into issues with that platform. When that smaller vendor is acquired by a large organization, however, resources are merged, and clients may not receive the same level of support when troubleshooting is required. This has become a rather well-known problem across the hospitality industry, as we bear witness to an influx of customer complaints following one of the largest PMS and POS vendor being purchased by a multi-vertical technology giant, claiming that the process to receive ample support has become a nightmare. Hoteliers are often unable to get through to a member of the support team, do not receive a callback and find themselves lost within a broken support system. Large-scale efficiency is important, of course, but it's equally important for that efficiency to not come at the cost of on-going customer support and the eventual demise of the client-vendor relationship.

Hotel Technology Implementations and Self-Educating Solutions
Hotel Technology Implementations and Self-Educating Solutions — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 1 May

The hotel industry has always tried to embrace change, whether it be technological, environmental or operational. However, the implementation of a new property management system or any new product into a hotel's operational ecosystem can be an incredibly painful experience. It can be time-consuming, distracting and hotels can lose employees during the switch from one system to another as the processes may change because many people tend to dislike change.

HITEC Dubai 2018 Highlights: FX1 launch, humanoid robots, AI, VR, and more
HITEC Dubai 2018 Highlights: FX1 launch, humanoid robots, AI, VR, and more — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 19 Dec

The 2nd annual HITEC Dubai, now the world's largest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand, recently came to a close on December 6th. This year's showcase garnered a great deal of anticipation from hospitality leaders, as the Middle East is fast becoming a favorite tourist destination to MICE and shopping travelers given its investment in airports and infrastructure and interest in hosting large-scale events. Dubai is expected to have 155,000 new rooms by 2020, with a further 10,000 plus rooms that need to undergo refurbishment prior to the Expo 2020 event. With Dubai being leveraged as a hotspot for massive industry growth and evolution, HITEC Dubai was created to provide Middle East buyers with access to top hospitality solution providers across the globe. Throughout the two-day expo, participants were expected to engage in a top-notch education program and witness the exciting debut of the latest (and greatest) in hospitality technology. Not only that but for the first time in Dubai, HFTP's expanding Entrepreneur20X (E20X) competition was introduced to give startups the opportunity to present their breakthrough business concepts to the industry.

Hotel Technology Implementation and Support Challenges in Emerging Markets
Hotel Technology Implementation and Support Challenges in Emerging Markets — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 8 Nov

We are approaching the end of 2018, and it's interesting to see that Emerging markets are a favoured investment choice. With credit to economic growth this year, hotel technology companies are eager to invest in these markets. To have a positive ROI of any technology investment, hotels need to partner with companies that are invested in implementation and support services — not just software.

What You Don’t Want to Miss at HITEC Dubai 2018
What You Don’t Want to Miss at HITEC Dubai 2018 — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 25 Oct

HITEC Dubai is just around the corner and it comes as no surprise that we have another great conference ahead of us. To start with, it's taking place in Dubai, better known as one of the most vibrant and awe-inspiring cities in the world and the designated tech hub of the Middle East. With HITEC representing a now global presence in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, hoteliers and guests alike can look forward to the discussion and celebration of hotel technology and the impact it has (and will continue to have) on our industry. HITEC Dubai will give Middle East buyers — who currently represent over 75 billion USD in buying power — access to the top, global solution providers in the hospitality market. Through means of a top-notch education program planned by the expert HITEC Dubai Advisory Council, as well as an exhibition debuting the latest in hospitality technology, HITEC participants will have the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the future of hospitality.

Horizontal Hotel Technology vs. Best of Breed in Emerging Markets - What is the Best Approach?
Horizontal Hotel Technology vs. Best of Breed in Emerging Markets - What is the Best Approach? — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 11 Oct

The hotel Industry is constantly evolving. This evolution is being driven by the never-ending changes in consumer demand. A hotelier needs to accommodate today's pace of change and create a memorable guest experience. Thus, it becomes essential to support hotel operations with the introduction of technology advancements and innovation so as to keep up with the guest's preferences and choices.

Emerging Markets and Hotel Technology – What does the Future Hold?
Emerging Markets and Hotel Technology – What does the Future Hold? — By Binu Mathews

IDS Softwares · 27 Sep

Industry experts agree that emerging markets are the future of growth in hotel technology. This means that having the capability to deliver innovative solutions along with servicing clients based in Africa, the Middle East and India should be top of mind for companies that want to be truly global.