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    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    April 10–11, 2019
    Palau de Congressos
    Palma, Mallorca - Spain

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    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    Minneapolis Convention Center

    June 17-20, 2019

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    Dubai, UAE

Five Major Trends from AHLA's 2018 Industry-Wide Lodging Study

Lodging Magazine 15 March 2019
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) this week released the results of its 2018 Lodging Survey, which is funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) and provides a detailed assessment of advancements in amenities, guest services, sustainability, and technology, in addition to other industry trends. Conducted by AHLA partner STR every two years, the survey takes into account responses from thousands of hoteliers across the country.

Convention Centers Worldwide Implement the InvoTech Uniform System to Improve Operational Efficiencies

InvoTech 15 March 2019
LOS ANGELES, CA - InvoTech Systems is the leading provider of advanced Linen Management, Laundry and Uniform Systems that integrate the latest RFID technology to increase profitability for hotels, resorts, casino operators, sports arenas, convention centers and theme parks. The InvoTech System installed at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), Australia manages the uniform inventory for 700 employees and has been part of InvoTech's extensive worldwide client portfolio since 2012. Click here for more information on InvoTech's Linen, Laundry and Uniform Systems.We Interviewed Mark Punchihewa, Uniform Manager at MCEC regarding the uniform activity at the Convention Centre:What made you be interested in an inventory management system?MP: We manage a large amount of uniforms and employees (700 staff and 10,000 garments). Manually managing the uniform inventory is very labor intensive.What processes were in place before using the InvoTech UHF-RFID Uniform System at the Convention Centre?MP: The only process in place was a manual process, we had no way of maintaining the inventory or knowing what we had. We simply kept a master list of uniforms and we loaded the racks using people's names.Do you now have better control on uniform purchases?MP:We now fully control the uniform purchasing and the budgets. We know what to buy and when to buy it. We also know who has what, all pieces are accounted for.How long did it take for you to start experiencing cost-savings and other benefits?MP: Cost saving benefits in about 6 months, many other benefits right away.How much time and labor are you currently saving per day?MP: Our labor savings are approximately 6 hrs per day / 42 hrs per week for us this represents thousands of dollars of savings per year.What would you say are the 5 most beneficial features of the Uniform System?MP: Controlling losses, purchases, assigning uniforms, washing cycles and laundry activity.What do you think is the most important benefit the system provides for businesses?MP: Labor benefits, time, purchases and inventory control.What is the report (or reports) that you use the most?MP: Inventory and purchasing reports.Do you find the system reliable and easy to use?MP: The system is very reliable and easy to use, self-explanatory. Never had any problems with the system performance.Is the User Guide a useful tool?MP: The User guide is a great addition in case we have questions about functionality.Do you find it easy to train others to use the system?MP: It is very easy to train others, and we usually just train them and give them access for certain functionality only.How good do you find the reports?MP: The reports are used daily, they are reliable and very useful.Have you used the Support Desk? If yes, how would you grade the Support Desk service?MP: We have used the Support Desk and have always been satisfied with the responses and response time. Time difference can sometimes be a challenge!Would you recommend this system to other convention centers/event spaces?MP: Yes, the system delivers so many benefits to operations like us, not sure how other places like ours do it without a system.If you were to move locations would you want to install the InvoTech Uniform System in your new location?MP: Absolutely!InvoTech has over 600 satisfied clients worldwide in more than 30 countries, including hotels, resorts, casinos, theme parks, stadiums, arenas, convention centers, medical centers, cleanrooms, and laundries. Why InvoTech? Because major brands like Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, MGM International, Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Universal Studios, LEGOLAND, Intel, Pfizer, Madison Square Garden, and Staples Center rely on InvoTech Systems to provide operational efficiency, full-accountability, and turn-key solutions for laundry, linen and uniform management. See what our clients are saying about us.

Weekly Roundup #11: Travel, Tech and Social Media

mycloud HOSPITALITY 15 March 2019
In a span of just a few months, Google’s threat to booking travel has become a looming even larger. Indeed, Skift said last October Google’s new hotel search is presenting a greater threat to booking rivals. Now the tech giant has added a full-fledged destination site for hotels, without any major fanfare, and has potential implications for booking sites, as well as Airbnb, on the lines of what it has done with its already very-popular Google Flights. Once the users go to Google’s hotel site and select a hotel, a “Book a room” button is very prominent.

"Super Angel" Dave Berkus on the convergence of PMS, CRS and hotel CRM

Hotel Tech Report 15 March 2019
Dave Berkus knows hospitality technology more than nearly anyone. Back in the early 1980s, his company, Computerized Lodging Systems, dominated the nascent hospitality technology market with one of the first electronic Property Management Systems on the market. The immediate popularity of the technology resulted in rapid growth for the company, which was recognized on the Inc 500 list -- twice. Dave also created FOSSE, the property management system technology that Marriott used for almost 36 years.

Secutech 2019 To Pinpoint Real-World Business Applications Through Six 'Smart Solution Pavilions'

Messe Berlin GmbH 15 March 2019
Asia's security industry is once again beginning to shift its attention towards Taipei, as preparations continue ahead of the 22nd edition of Secutech. As anticipation continues to build, the fair's organisers have announced details of six pavilions that will allow buyers to easily locate high quality products as well as the most relevant OEM and ODM partners for their businesses.Speaking about the benefits that the pavilions will bring, Ms Regina Tsai, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd, said: "Technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, robotics and biometrics have applications across many different vertical markets. The six pavilions will encourage cross-sector partnerships and highlight real-world business applications of some of these technologies. The market for tailor made security solutions in verticals such as transportation and factory is also continuing to grow, so we are delighted that we will be welcoming established brands with strong R&D capabilities that can accommodate the market."The coming edition of the show will take place from 8 - 10 May 2019 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre. In 2018, the fair attracted 427 exhibitors to over 22,000 sqm of exhibition space. With similar numbers expected at the upcoming edition, the six pavilions will provide an ideal starting point for trade visitors to carry out their sourcing and networking. Best-in-class building, factory and mobility products will be on offer across the zones as well as pioneering cybersecurity and surveillance solutions. Details of the six pavilions are listed below:AI + Software PavilionAs artificial intelligence continues to offer greater accuracy and operational efficiencies, the global demand for video analytics and recognition technologies has grown. With this market in mind, the AI + Software Pavilion will host the latest related innovations from a variety of leading AI specialists, including AiUnion, eRay, Lips, SkyREC, and TDV. Among the technologies to be showcased are facial recognition systems, license plate recognition systems, behaviour and gesture recognition systems, speech recognition systems, big data analytics software and more.Cyber security PavilionA growing number of endpoint devices including security cameras and access control panels are being interconnected through the IoT. This has in turn created a need for adequate cybersecurity provisions to ensure network security. Cutting-edge solutions that achieve this goal will be housed at the Cybersecurity Pavilion, including the likes of cloud security, risk remediation solutions, and network & endpoint security systems.Smart Factory and Industrial Safety PavilionThe applications of machine vision systems in factory and industrial settings are growing. Not only can the systems secure site perimeters and ensure worker safety, but they can also reduce labour costs and improve productivity. The Smart Factory & Industrial Safety Pavilion will allow trade visitors to delve into the latest developments in this field, by connecting them with top-notch suppliers of workplace monitoring systems, personnel identification systems, access control systems, smart patrol systems and more.Smart Living Pavilion Utilising the IoT to establish smart communities is a growing concept across Asia. Subsystems in buildings and homes can now be interlinked and controlled from centralised hubs in order to create smart homes and buildings. An international line up of brands with expertise in this field, including the likes of Full Enterprise, Jinlong, Link Savvy, Silicon Labs, Sonas, TUTK, Uhikari Technology, and Umbo CV have confirmed their participation at the Smart Living Pavilion, to showcase a selection of facial recognition, voice command, and deep learning technologies for smart living, elderly care and the smart hotel sector.Smart Parking PavilionAMTK, D-Link, Nietzsche, Smartway and Smart Living will join other leading suppliers at the Smart Parking Pavilion with the latest number plate recognition systems, parking management systems and real-time street parking solutions. These products have been in increasing demand because of crowded urban environments placing a premium on parking spaces. Mixed-use buildings such as shopping complexes, commercial buildings and hospitals are also requiring increasingly sophisticated car park management systems.Smart Transportation Pavilion Cities around the world are adopting smart transportation systems to overcome traffic congestion, increase road safety, and improve public transportation efficiency. To accommodate this growing sector, a selection of innovative 'smart' solutions for road, railway, petrol stations, and fleet management will be available at the Smart Transportation Pavilion from brands such as Axiomtek, D-Link, Korenix, Lantech and TIBBO. Secutech will take place from 8 - 10 May 2019 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre. The fair is organised by Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd and is part of a global network of Safety Security and Fire trade fairs. For more details, please visit Alternatively, please call Ms. Kirstin Wu at +886 2 8729 1017, or send an email to and security are increasingly important basic needs and, therefore, stand for a growing global market. With thirteen trade fairs, congresses and forums around the world, Messe Frankfurt brings together demand and supply worldwide with progressive, connected products, applications and services focusing on commercial security and the protection of buildings, spaces and people. The Safety, Security & Fire business cluster offers access to the dynamic markets of the Arabian Peninsula, Asia, Europe and South America.

Do I need to set up cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics?

Builtvisible Blog 15 March 2019
Deciphering whether you need cross domain tracking in Google Analytics (GA) can be a minefield! If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely already realised that this isn’t always a simple question to answer. Many of the existing guides out there are either unnecessarily complex or woefully out-of-date, making a tricky problem trickier still!

HotelREZ eyes UK hospitality growth

Hotel F&B 15 March 2019
After a decade of consistent growth for the UK hotel sector, with RevPAR increasing on average 4% since 2010¹ and GDS agency sales increasing YOY currently by 9%, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts is poised to celebrate its 15th anniversary by continuing to grow its portfolio.

IHG Pilots New Lighting Technology To Help Guests Sleep Better

IHG 15 March 2019
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world's leading hotel companies, has partnered with Healthe by Lighting Science, a global leader in innovative LED lighting solutions, to pilot the use of state-of-the-art circadian lighting to help guests sleep better while travelling.Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport will be the first IHG property to install the JOURNI Mobile Task Light in guest rooms. Designed using Healthe's patented GoodDay and GoodNight spectrum technologies, JOURNI allows access to the alertness and focus-enhancing spectrum during the day, and then easily change to the warm, sleep-enhancing spectrum at night. This versatile, dual-spectrum luminaire can help you to effortlessly bring energy-efficient, circadian lighting right to your hotel room. Ultimately, JOURNI also helps to regulate the body's circadian rhythm or 24-hour internal body clock which effects important biological functions such as sleep, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.Committed to investing and leading the way in the latest innovations and technologies to help guests sleep better, IHG already has programs in place across its brands based including:Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts Sleep Advantage Programme offers guests 100% cotton bed linen for unbelievable softness and This Works aromatherapy line that contain pure essential oils that help guests recover from the day's stress and to sleep more soundlyEVEN Hotels lighting profiles allows guests to change the colour of the lighting in their rooms to blue, red, green or yellow to either energise or relaxThe Holiday Inn Pillow Menu gives guests the option to choose between a varied range of pillows, from firmness to type and even fillingBrian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Global Guest Experience Shared Services, IHG, commented: "At IHG, we want to make sure our guests are getting the best night's sleep possible across our 5,600 hotels and portfolio of more than 15 brands. We are continually testing ways we can enhance the guest experience, loyalty and ultimately, owner value. Our circadian lighting technology pilot is the latest example of the work we are doing to innovate the guest experience. We're excited to be the first hotel company to pilot Healthe's JOURNI product and are already working on what's coming next."

OTA & Travel Distribution Update: BookingSuite pivots; TripAdvisor expandssponsored placements; rate detection services benefitting from wholesalerabuses

Meetings Today Blog 15 March 2019
This week’s Update includes a heavy dose of TripAdvisor updates. Once the dust settles a bit on this past week’s big news – the announced acquisition of Hotel Tonight by Airbnb – we’ll update everyone on the acquisition and its anticipated effects. Is it a game changer? I don’t think so. Does the acquisition expedite the inevitable standardization of products and services across all the major online travel distribution platforms, definitely. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s Update everyone.

Sabre takes inspiration from Spotify to help hotels sell more

PhocusWire 15 March 2019
Sabre Hospitality plans to release technology later this year enabling hotels to sell rooms and other services in a more flexible way.

The Streaming Companies That Are Changing How Guests Consume Media in Hotels

Lodging Magazine 15 March 2019
It’s probably fair to say that Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have completely changed the way most people consume media. Hulu recently announced that it has 25 million subscribers in the United States, and, according to Statista, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have about 58.6 and 26 million American subscribers, respectively.

Epos Partners With TableUp to Offer Online Ordering

Hotel F&B 15 March 2019
Cloud-based POS provider Epos Now has announced a partnership with restaurant software provider TableUp, an all-in-one solution for restaurants of all sizes that offers a personalized and convenient experience to both establishments and their customers.

Digital Diner Launches Solution to Resolve Tablet Turmoil

Hotel F&B 15 March 2019
Online ordering is showing up at restaurants across the country and for good reason. People want convenience and restaurants want to increase revenue. It’s a winning combination.

Fifteen questions to zero in on the "room of the future"

By Xavier Etcheberrigaray
Technology is necessary and useful, says Xavier Etcheberrigaray, but it's not the only component to building the future. Here he describes fifteen perspectives he and his colleagues thought about when tasked with the job of imagining the room of the future.

Eleven Releases Guest Wi-Fi Management eBook for Hotels

Hospitality Technology Magazine 15 March 2019
Eleven, a provider of cloud-based guest Wi-Fi management software, has published the Ultimate Guide to Guest Wi-FI Management eBook. Wi-Fi that just works continues to be the #1 most desired amenity. Yet, hotel brands still continue to struggle with how to deliver simple, seamless, and secure Wi-Fi when each of their properties has its own network hardware, software and service provider.

Hotel Trend Survey Reveals Priority Given to Tech, Green Initiatives, Millennial Desires

Hospitality Technology Magazine 15 March 2019
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today released the results of a comprehensive Lodging Survey, a detailed assessment of advancements in amenities, guest services, sustainability and technology, in addition to other industry trends. This recent survey underscores how hotels advance, accommodate and innovate the guest experience. Consumers can expect seamless transitions between their everyday lives and their lives on the road thanks to increased mobile compatibility, flexible dining options and welcoming accommodations.

Drivezy eyes $100M investment round and international growth

PhocusWire 15 March 2019
Drivezy has confirmed it is in the process of raising $100 million funding as it looks to expand into new markets, including the United States. The India-based car-sharing service has not named the investor roster as yet, only that it is likely to include backers from Japan and is hoping for participation from others in the U.S., Singapore and China.

In the Big Chair - Nicolas Brusson of BlaBlaCar

PhocusWire 15 March 2019
BlaBlaCar is an online marketplace for carpooling. Founded in France is 2006, it has since grown to cover additional markets as well as widening its offering to other transport modes.

How the Max 8 Confusion Impacts Business Travel

mycloud HOSPITALITY 15 March 2019
The grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft won't be super disruptive as airlines will work to keep cancellations at a minimum. It does add uncertainty to the global aviation sector as business travel is on the rise, though.

TUI CEO: Transformation is in the air

Hotel Online 15 March 2019
In today's global tourism market, to future-proof your business, you must vertically integrate and scale up, says Friedrich Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, speaking at the ITB in Berlin this week.

Channel distribution strategy - chain property v/s independent property

Hotel Online 14 March 2019
Hospitality businesses are highly relied upon OTA’s to deal with their inventory, online travel agencies play a significant role and are found to be providing properties with real-time information. A core part of this research found independent properties surprisingly have a “balanced channel blend” and distribution cost was a key factor in their overall distribution strategy and use of information. Chain properties conversely, had a “high impact” on their channel strategy.

RLH Corporation launches RLabs

Hotel Management 14 March 2019
RLH Corporation's desire to push the technology envelope is no secret—it just introduced a housekeeping robot in December—and now the company is making additional moves in that direction.
Article by Raj Singh

Humans and AI: How to Improve Guest Services in a New Collaborative Way

Go Moment 14 March 2019
The Guest Services GrindDon't get me wrong. People in hospitality like serving people - it's what they do, and generally why they were drawn to the industry in the first place. But day-in, day-out, guests pose a lot of the same exact questions, have the same needs, request the same information: "What's the WiFi password?" "How do I get to the hotel gym?" "I'd like to have some more towels sent to my room." "When's checkout?" Fielding these same questions over and over again can start to feel like Groundhog's Day, and that's when burnout can set in.According to the Deloitte Workplace Burnout Survey, even passionate employees can suffer frequent burnout which affects how they feel about their company and their job:Nearly 70% of employees felt their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization;21% said their company does not offer any programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate burnout;Nearly half of all millennial employees said they have left a job specifically because they felt burned out.AI To the RescueEnter AI solutions -- initiatives that relieve front line staff of some of the rinse-repeat cycles that lead to burnout and disengagement. AI can process volumes of data at scale. One single AI solution can take in multiple and concurrent inquiries and simultaneously send back appropriate responses. In hospitality, this means AI can be used to automate answers to common FAQs and manage multiple guest queries at the same time. Questions get asked and answered through an AI agent that guests access through their smartphone. This kind of AI agent - the "smartconcierge" - provides relevant, satisfying, instant answers to guests while at the same time relieving the employee of having to repeatedly do so (or do so as often).Smartconcierges have the intelligence to also know when they cannot help a guest -- when a human guest services agent needs to enter the equation. The smartconcierge then notifies the human agent and hands-off the entire conversation, context included, to the human agent so she can seamlessly pick up exactly where the AI agent left off. This limits guest frustration at having to start over, which in turn means a better guest experience. (Guests don't like boring repetitive actions any more than employees do!)With the smartconcierge in place as a guest's first go-to, the human guest services agent can instead focus on unique or higher-level, more stimulating problem-solving. This kind of AI solution actually ends up better engaging employees by as much as eight percent per year, as research conducted by Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration has shown. Research has also shown that better-engaged hotel employees directly correlates to employee retention and increased guest satisfaction, proven by higher Net Promoter Scores and TripAdvisor ratings. The employees win, the guests win, the hotelier wins - that's the win-win-win trifecta needed to succeed in this competitive market.Other Benefits to Hospitality AI-Human CollaborationThis winning combination of human and AI collaboration also has more hidden benefits but ones that are just as impactful:Smartconcierges are an agreeable way to get humans used to - an even interested in - what AI can do. Guests are already comfortable with text messaging, and smartconcierges leverage this common practice, enhancing it with human sensibilities. Hotel employees also interact with the AI on the back-end through simple, intuitive interfaces and see first-hand what the smartconcierge has already asked and answered for the guest. It's as simple as just reading someone else's messaging conversation... something we intuitively do with friends and family. In other words, smartconcierges humanize technology.AI makes the whole hotel smarter. Because smartconcierges collect interactive data that hotels can analyze to help improve operations, guest services, and the guest experience, nearly all employees can benefit and grow. In fact, when humans don't have to be bogged-down by dull, repetitive tasks, they can think more creatively, something AI can help them do. Recent research of 1,500 companies by Accenture found that firms achieve the most significant performance improvements when humans and machines work together.Humans + AI sell more together. While smartconcierges can promote suggestive selling - premium upgrades, room service order teasers, special promotional offers and the like - it's the humans who still need to think of what to sell and what the offers will be. AI is merely the technology to deliver human-devised sales content at the right time and in the proper context.The application of human and AI collaboration in hospitality creates far stronger guest and employee hotel experiences. If your hotel is looking to excel at experience, you need to explore this kind of collaboration today.
Article by Eric Bracht

Without a How-To Book for AV Services, Who is Training Hotel Staff on Sales, Set Up and Preventive Maintenance?

Electro-Media Design, Ltd. 14 March 2019
You've recently opened your hotel or refurbished some of your spaces and took all the necessary steps to ensure that the AV systems were installed properly and working efficiently. This is great news, but . . . who at the hotel will manage all this equipment? There are projectors, screens, flat panel displays, indoor/outdoor speakers, digital signage displays, and background music systems. There may also be portable AV gear, such as wired and wireless microphones, cables, portable projectors and screens, lighting instruments, mixers and adapters. Someone needs to be responsible for the proper care of these systems and equipment, such as preventative maintenance, managed operations, break-fix repair, and software updates. These activities require awareness, skills, procedures, and budgets.Being able to market your hotel as a meetings destination with outstanding technology services is an important marketing advantage. But this equipment doesn't operate on its own and it doesn't come with an AV Operations Manual. Someone must be responsible for selling, operating and maintaining this equipment to ensure delivery of successful, memorable meetings experiences.Ask yourself these questions:Who on premises should oversee AV systems and equipment? Is it Engineering? Catering/Convention Services? Information Technology? Who will provide the training to in-house staff on how to properly sell, maintain and forecast AV technologies? What about staffing? What roles and positions will you need to manage the sales, setup, operations, and maintenance of the AV systems and equipment?Who is going to write the step-by-step instructions for the hotel staff to know how to use this equipment? Who will the staff call when they have questions? There are no tech school courses being taught on how to setup, run, or manage AV services within venues. Currently, the only way to learn this is to work in an AV rental company, work with experienced AV staff or operate it by trial and error. There needs to be a solution that enables hoteliers to self-manage these processes reliably and consistently, without rigorous or costly training.Meet AVaStar. . . a managed-services solution that provides step-by-step guidance to manage every aspect of the AV services process. AVaStar is a new platform based on an AV as a Service (AVaaS) model and is supported by AV industry professionals with deep experience in the hospitality industry. Far more than just a software package, AVaStar is ideal for any property self-managing AV and looking for ways to enhance profits and the guest experience. AVaStar supports both technical and non-technical staff with the tools and resources needed to manage an AV operation within a hotel. It is designed to support hotel personnel with little to no experience managing, monitoring and measuring key AV performance indicators while providing tools that an AV team will appreciate, such as revenue and cost accounting, forecasting equipment needs and tracking required service and preventive maintenance. AVaStar enables hotels to provide self-operated AV services with confidence. Here's how AVaStar works:Bill is your hotel's banquet manager, and he was chosen to be responsible for AV services. This means he must plan and detail meeting technology needs, manage venue AV equipment and resources, coordinate with vendors to order additional equipment as needed, ensure portable and built in equipment is working and ready for customer use, all while controlling expenses . . . and technology isn't even Bill's primary responsibility.Unfortunately for Bill, the Event Management system he currently uses only enables him to add AV services to an event (and may allow him to enter inventory counts), nothing else. Bill must figure the rest out on his own, or not - and wait for the inevitable service failure. With AVaStar, Bill can access one dedicated platform to conduct all AV Technology activities in one place. Packed with industry intelligence, AVaStar guides Bill with the tools, resources, information and support that saves him time, effort and money.Too often we discover that AV equipment is not included in the hotel's preventive maintenance plan - but it should be. Rather than utilizing a separate software for PM procedures, we've added a preventive maintenance schedule module within AVaStar. It identifies which tasks must be performed periodically to keep the systems and portable equipment operating reliably and in optimum condition. It also identifies which tasks can be accomplished by the hotel staff and which need to be performed by a servicing technical contractor - and how often.Speaking of outside contractors . . . AVaStar takes care of them too. The system easily manages outsourced service providers and cross rental equipment vendors with just a few clicks.When it comes to self-managing your AV services and equipment, there is help out there. Outsourcing AV services to a third-party provider or going it alone are no longer your only options. AVaStar provides a better, more comprehensive and profitable way to allow your in-house staff to offer efficient and profitable AV services, driving revenue to your hotel's bottom line with confidence.

Seeing around the corner in 2018

By Lee Pillsbury
What lies ahead for the hotel industry? No one knows. We cannot see where economic indicators will go, where the next financial or political crisis will come from, or how consumer tastes will evolve in the future. As Lee Pillsbury argues, what we do know is that the pace of change is not only continuing but accelerating, across industries - and that the most critical skillset any hotel manager, owner or brand executive can have, is the ability to see around the corner.
Article by Stuart Pallister

Guest recognition: Leveraging technology to deliver enhanced personalized service - HITEC Europe Preview

Hospitality Net 14 March 2019
"As a hotel, we're not recognizing all of our guests, although we try," says Barry Thomas, Corporate Director of Information Technology at Rosewood Hotel Group and HITEC Advisory Board member. "A lot of hotels emphasize guest name usage but it's very tricky to do, especially in city hotels. If you've got a 300-bedroom hotel and the average length of stay is two nights, given the amount of traffic passing through the lobby and F&B outlets, it's very difficult to recognize and use the names of our guests unless they're very, very regular."Thomas, who will be moderating a panel discussion on guest recognition at HITEC Europe, has been looking into the ways companies from other sectors approach this challenge. Citing Uber, the tech and transportation firm, Thomas says that when an Uber pulls up at your door, the first thing they do is confirm your identity by using your name."I can order an Uber and within two minutes it's there and they know my name. Why then is it - when I've gone through the whole booking process and provided details such as preferences, likes and dislikes - I turn up at a hotel where I may spend thousands of pounds, instead of 10-20 pounds for a journey, yet the hotel doesn't know who I am when I arrive?""We invest a lot in recognizing our guests' return on their digital journey during the booking process," he says, "but what we're trying to change is how we do that at the property."Currently hotels tend to rely on the doorman or drivers to pass on messages about guests arriving. "We're doing things traditionally, using radios and taking the guest's name." Clearly though there's room for improvement."Every stay, you receive a pre-arrival survey. If that survey keeps asking you the same questions time and time again though, why as a guest are you going to complete it? As a hotel, we should know we've previously collected your preferences and just ask you to update them, rather than you telling me each time you like jazz, strawberries and foam pillows.""It's recognizing that you're an existing guest of ours. It's that recognition journey to make you feel valued because obviously we're competing for your business as a guest. So, we want to make your journey as seamless and as easy as possible. And we don't want to be constantly asking our guests to repeat themselves as there's nothing more annoying."CCTV is already being used in hotels, but reactively, in response to an incident. What other technologies then could be used to enhance guest recognition and yet be unobtrusive?Thomas points to a couple of examples. At Disneyland, visitors wear so-called MagicBands based on radio frequency technology which can be used to make payments at outlets and gain fast track access at rides.But would hotel guests be willing to embrace this type of technology? "I don't know about using these bands in a city hotel but in a big resort hotel, yes. A lot of luxury guests wouldn't wear a band around the property, but can we utilize other devices such as a mobile phone or (RF) room key?"Airlines provide another good example of using advanced technology. When at Los Angeles airport recently, Thomas (pictured right) was impressed by automated gates which allow passengers to board the plane through facial recognition. "It was a very quick process. So, I think we need to look at what other industries are doing to see how we can do this in our hotels."Privacy though remains a major concern as many guests may not be willing to be effectively tracked while on a hotel property."What level of privacy are our guests willing to give up for enhanced service? I personally would be willing to give up some level of privacy if it means better service. But that's not every guest though.""I'm not saying we should be putting wristbands on guests but how can we do this? Can we utilize beacon technology (that is, using signals from beacons) when guests use the Wi-Fi? Can we then start to locate them in order to recognize them?""We need to be one step ahead of the guest to deliver enhance service (such as a copy of a particular newspaper over breakfast)." If it can be done seamlessly, he says, staff will be able to tailor the service they deliver based on the guest's profile.Another major advantage, of course, would be enhanced security. "If we know who's in our building, at what time, that's a big plus for us." It would allow hoteliers to know, for instance, whether someone on the property has been banned from the hotel or is on a watch list.In short, advanced technology could allow hoteliers to be more proactive. "If a guest comes curbside, walks in, and the reception knows who that person is, we can pre-prepare their room keys for them. We can already be prepared so the guests meet the butlers who escort them to their rooms and make it a seamless journey.""Would they like this enhanced service? I honestly believe that people are willing to give up a level of their information for the benefits of it. But the question is, for the people who do not want it, who truly want to be incognito, how do we turn off these technologies that we're putting in place for the majority?"Clearly a great deal of research still needs to be done and Thomas acknowledges the hotel industry faces challenges, especially following the introduction last year of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which gives individuals more control over their personal data."I think people are a lot more aware about their own privacy and their rights to it," Thomas says. "Hotels have been recording CCTV for many years, so it's just how we're using that data."'Education is key' at HITEC EuropeFor Thomas, education is the main driver why he attends HITEC Europe. "Budgets are always tight within hospitality, so to be able to make a trip like this and get something from it, education is a massive part of why I attend HITEC Europe."As a certified hospitality technology professional (CHTP), Thomas says he needs to maintain his education credits "and this is a great way of doing that in one location and learn about what the industry is doing.""I've just moved into a new corporate role, at a time where Rosewood is going through a big expansion process. We've got more than 20 hotels in the pipeline and for us to scale at this rate, I'm going to need vendors and partners to work with. So, to be able to meet them in one place rather than have meetings over the course of three or more months, I can really condense this process and get some worthwhile face time with them."Barry Thomas, CHTP, is Corporate Director of Information Technology at Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, and is a member of the HITEC Europe Advisory Council. He will be moderating a panel discussion on 'Guest Recognition in an Uber-esque Way While in Property' at HITEC Europe which takes place in Mallorca, Spain, April 9-11.

HVS Market Pulse: Detroit, MI

mycloud HOSPITALITY 14 March 2019
Detroit’s image of a proper rust-belt city in the depths of despair during the Great Recession and the subsequent filing of bankruptcy in 2013 has been reshaped into an inspiring story of resilience and resurgence. Detroit’s economy is strong, with unemployment decreasing every year since 2014 and an employment base that continues to diversify. While the economic mainstays—General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler—still thrive in the city, other major employers belong to the financial and healthcare sectors; moreover, the technology sector continues to grow.

Hotel Pricing Optimization: Learning from Outside Industries

Hotel F&B 14 March 2019
While the hotel industry is truly unique, when it comes to price optimization, there’s a lot we can learn from outside industries. To help hotels develop a dynamic pricing optimization strategy that maximizes future profit, we examine industries from airlines to retail. And we find plenty of takeaways hoteliers can incorporate into their revenue management practices for greater success.

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