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How Can Brands Measure the Financial Returns on Their CEM Program?

CloudCherry Blog 15 November 2017
Most organizations recognize that customer experience has become the main competitive differentiator. To that end, more companies are introducing customer experience management (CEM) programs in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. But many aren’t getting the results they hoped for. This is where the necessity of measuring a CEM program’s financial returns comes in.

How digital assistants are transforming the travel experience

PhocusWire 15 November 2017
What seems straight out of Hollywood – a 100% AI-driven flight travel assistant that “talks” to users in real time – is actually a real-life product called TARA that helps people change their travel plans if needed without having to talk to an actual person. Presented by Rajnish Kumar, the CTO of ixigo, at the Launch during last week’s Phocuswright Conference, TARA is touted as a “fast, hyper-personalized, unbiased and available 24/7” travel agent of the future. Its premise is simple: provide real-time support to people in their native language (a challenge with offshore customer service) and have all of the travelers’ information at its virtual fingertips.

Marriott unveils IoT hotel room of the future

Marriott 15 November 2017
The IoT Guestroom Lab - powered by Marriott's Innovation Lab at the company's corporate headquarters - explores concepts that have the potential to elevate the guest experience, create more efficient hotel room design and construction, and contribute to Marriott's global sustainability efforts and goals. As the hospitality industry's "smart" hotel room, the Lab allows multiple responsive IoT systems, devices and applications to communicate with one another to serve guests and optimize hotel operations."We know that our guests expect to personalize almost everything in their lives, and their hotel experience should be no different," said Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. "By teaming with best-in-class partners, we are leveraging mobile and voice-enabled technology to give our guests the ability to set up the room to best meets their needs - whether that is creating the ultimate relaxation environment or one that enables productivity for business travelers.""At Samsung, we aspire to make life easier and better for our consumers, whether they're at home or their home away from home," said James Stansberry, Senior Vice President and General Manager of ARTIK IoT, Samsung Electronics. "Partnering with Legrand and Marriott, we can offer users unprecedented levels of control and personalization, thanks to our end-to-end IoT services powered by the ARTIK platform and the SmartThings Cloud. From intuitive lighting to voice-activated room controls, we're delivering customizable, intelligent experiences that make our consumers' lives more convenient, productive and secure."Developing an intuitive system is critical as Marriott seeks to continuously innovate the global guest experience across its 30 brands. The technology inside the IoT Guestroom Lab allows, for instance, a user to ask a virtual assistant for a 6:30 AM wake-up alarm, to start a yoga routine on a full-length mirror, request additional housekeeping services and start the shower at the desired temperature stored in their customer profile - all by voice or app."We're proud to be innovating with industry leading partners to get closer to revolutionizing the guest experience, along with hotel operations and even hotel construction," said Karim Khalifa, Senior Vice President, Global Design, Marriott International. "Together with Samsung and Legrand, we are well on our way to creating the hotel room of the future.""At Legrand, we offer a suite of power, light and data solutions that bring power and connectivity to previously untapped locations. Legrand is partnering with Marriott to improve the guest experience in a cost effective and intuitive manner. This work further supports our Eliot Program in North America, Legrand's global IoT program that encompasses our ambition, drives our product innovation and fosters our partnership in the IoT space," said Ken Freeman, Senior Vice President of Demand Creation, Legrand. "Legrand's product portfolio can elevate a property by turning everyday features into lasting highlights. We are thrilled to collaborate with Marriott and Samsung to conceptualize and deliver on the future traveler's needs."Marriott is working towards a future where hotel owners would have a seamless, transparent and flexible end-to-end solution that requires minimal equipment, while customers would enjoy an integrated experience with access to their own data and information, as well as accessible voice and mobile-optimized controls. Such systems would also benefit hotel operations and improve personalized service by, for instance, allowing staff to provide services at a guest's desired time.Following the three-month-long IoT Guestroom Lab, Marriott, Samsung and Legrand will analyze feedback to continue innovating with IoT technology. Consumers will start to see elements of the technology in hotel rooms within the next five years.

The rise of the robots: How AI is being used for content creation on travel sites

PhocusWire 15 November 2017
Get this: do away with of all of the content creators for the various travel and leisure websites and replace them with robots that generate content in “real life” language – complete with local and regional dialects. This was the view of Kevin Ashbridge, vice president for global travel and leisure solutions at translation technology company SDL, when he made the proposition at The Phocuswright Conference last week. According to Ashbridge – who admitted that while the technology wasn’t perfect, it could be perfected “if given time” – automating the creation of content would be able to bridge the challenge of delivering personally and contextually relevant content at the rate of technology adoption.

Royal Caribbean eyes new technology, virtual and real

PhocusWire 15 November 2017
On the cruise of the future, check-in counters, guest services desks and in-room phones will be relics, replaced by facial recognition, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) last week showcased the various ways that passengers on its three brands -- Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises -- will experience technological innovations going forward, some much sooner than others. Passengers on some Royal Caribbean cruises this year (the Oasis and the Allure of the Seas) will be able to check in, order drinks and reserve shore excursions and dinner reservations on their smartphones, using the cruise company's new app, which will debut this year on 13% of the line's ships, half of the fleet in 2018 and on 100% of its ships by 2019.

HEBS Digital's 'Closing the Loop on the Travel Journey' Article Featured in The Hotel Yearbook 2018 - Technology

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog 15 November 2017
The Hotel Yearbook has just launched The Hotel Yearbook 2018 - Technology, an e-book offering technology insights from hospitality industry thought leaders, and HEBS Digital is proud to be featured in this respected publication. In 'Closing the Loop on the Travel Journey,' Max Starkov, President & CEO, and Margaret Mastrogiacomo, Vice President, Strategy at

Can You Be a Great Leader Without Technical Expertise?

harvardbusiness.org 15 November 2017
There is a broad assumption in society and in education that the skills you need to be a leader are more or less transferable. If you can inspire and motivate people in one arena, you should be able to apply those skills to do the same in another venue. But recent research is rightly challenging this notion. Studies suggest that the best leaders know a lot about the domain in which they are leading, and part of what makes them successful in a management role is technical competence. For example, hospitals managed by doctors perform better than those managed by people with other backgrounds. And there are many examples of people who ran one company effectively and had trouble transferring their skills to the new organization. Over the last year, I've been working with a group at the University of Texas thinking about what leadership education would look like for our students. There is broad consensus across many schools that

The hotel technology that is changing guest experience and how your property can use it

SiteMinder Blog 15 November 2017
There’s always so much discussion around what’s next in hotel service and technology. The focus on guest experience has intensified in reaction to the rising expectations of global travellers, with new technology and strategies being developed to meet this challenge. However, the future has quickly become the present. Industry-changing innovation is now upon us and the time has come for hotels to stop planning for them and start implementing them. Here are the key guest-facing technology features your hotel should be taking advantage of to optimise guest satisfaction.

A Quick Guide to Important Meetings & Events KPIs

IDeaS Blog 15 November 2017
The discipline of revenue management continues to evolve and expand into more revenue-generating areas of a hotel. As hotels start to think about some of these key areas where revenue management can have a major impact — meetings & events (M&E) is often at the top of that list. Hotels have ADR, occupancy, RevPAR and even more profit-focused metrics like GOPPAR to evaluate the success of their guest room strategy. When building a strategy for M&E, here are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help your next great revenue management strategy take flight.

Hospitality Technology Sales & Media Specialist Leigh Sansone Joins ALICE to Continue Company Expansion into the Midwest

ALICE 15 November 2017
ALICE, the hospitality industry's leading operations technology, welcomes travel technology sales leader and digital marketing professional Leigh Sansone as Senior Sales Executive for the Midwest and Toronto.Leigh joins ALICE at a time of rapid growth for the company, following its $39M Series B funding in August, and the company's acquisition of concierge technology rival GoConcierge the following month. Leigh will help ALICE grow the brand and open new markets for the company.Leigh comes to ALICE from TravelClick, where for the past five years, Leigh consistently scaled company ranks, becoming an expert in hotel e-commerce, distribution, and technology. Leigh joined TravelClick in New York City as a Media Analyst in 2012. After a series of quick promotions, Leigh rose to Director of Digital Strategy in 2014, and was again promoted to Director of Sales for Miami, Florida in 2015. Leigh consistently outperformed her peers, winning numerous awards during her tenure at TravelClick, including Sales Specialist of the Year in 2014, and in 2016, Sales Rookie of the Year and 100% Club. At the time of her move from TravelClick to ALICE, Leigh was the local market expert for more than 300 hotels, having successfully supported and expanded a $5M book of business. Leigh is a graduate of The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and holds a BSBA in Finance.ALICE is the industry leader in hospitality operations technology. Close to two thousand hotels across the country and around the world have chosen ALICE for the transformative effect joining all hotel staff departments onto a single platform has for improved task management and employee communication. ALICE's guest engagement toolset is also helping its clients deliver exceptional service with cutting-edge innovations like guest-to-staff texting."We are so excited to have Leigh join our team in Chicago," says Wendy Zapach, ALICE's Head of Sales. "Chicago and the Midwest are excellent markets for ALICE, with beautiful and unique independent properties. Leigh's being a native gal with local contacts and connections is going to make an impact for ALICE right off the ground."

RoomKeyPMS Releases First Artificial Intelligence Feature to Help Hoteliers Create Better and More Profitable Guest Relationships

RoomKeyPMS 15 November 2017
Vancouver -- RoomKeyPMS announces the launch of its new, premium feature, "Profile Match and Merge", that will be available to all client hotels starting November 14, 2017. This feature will allow RoomKeyPMS users to immediately harness the power of unified guest data from multiple guest stays into single, rich, complete guest profiles.RoomKeyPMS CEO, Tim Major commented, "Good quality, usable guest information is central to creating a great and profitable hotel guest relationship. Poor quality guest history and preference information misses the opportunity for great guest interaction. This prevents hotels from delivering the best and most profitable guest engagement before, during, and after a stay."Mr. Major further commented, "With an increasingly competitive hotel marketplace, it is our goal to make the advantages of easy to use, cutting edge technology available to RoomKeyPMS clients, so that their businesses can keep pace with the growing trend of personalization, invisible automation, and guest self-serve".With little to no training, hotel properties ranging from economy to boutique will be able to:Make guest information a #1 priorityImprove marketing resultsLeverage team effortsAutomate the guest data function making "merging and purging" a near-automated taskKeep pace with new technologiesThe new RoomKeyPMS Match and Merge feature takes advantage of artificial intelligence available in Microsoft Azure cloud technologies to intelligently suggest potential duplicate guest records. This allows users to unify guest data from multiple stays into single, rich, complete profiles.To learn more about "Profile Match and Merge" view our YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iLfpOagqj0 or for more details visit our website at: https://roomkeypms.com/products/features/artificial-intelligence-guest-profile-matching-merging/About RoomKeyPMSRSI International Systems Inc. is the developer of RoomKeyPMS, a web-based Property Management System (PMS) that incorporates a fully integrated Online Reservation Booking engine and seamless real-time connectivity to the major Global Distribution and Internet Distribution Systems. RSI markets its RoomKeyPMS and a number of other proprietary "hosted" software solutions to a wide variety of Hospitality Industry clients around the world. For more information, please see our website at www.roomkeypms.com.

RateGain brings real-time, big data Intelligence to Airline pricing

RateGain 15 November 2017
London, UK -- RateGain announces the launch of AirGain, a real-time airline pricing intelligence solution that collects and analyzes airline fares for diverse categories and attributes across multiple distribution channels. With AirGain, an airline aims to solve such critical business challenges as inaccurate/delayed pricing, understanding ancillaries pricing, and tackling the airline rate parity issues.RateGain CEO, Bhanu Chopra says, "Airlines are increasingly pressured by diminishing margins and hyper competition from digitally driven online travel companies. Pricing Intelligence is not an option anymore, if an Airline want to sustain, let alone upping their game. Real-time Pricing intelligence with AirGain is like watching their playfield from 30,000 feet, yet, being able to dive right into the problem area whenever needed."AirGain captures pricing data in real-time and represents it in form of visual insights on Airlines' comparative position, market dynamics, yield per departure, rate disparity alerts and much more. A SaaS based product, AirGain easily integrates with top revenue management platforms. Based on Microsoft Azure platform, the solution is scalable for future data needs and deployments.Anand Medepalli, RateGain's Chief Product Officer says, "Airlines are restrained by legacy systems to process and monetize Airfare big data. Revenue Managers can leverage real-time insights from this data to fuel their pricing and revenue strategies. With AirGain, the intent is to redefine how pricing intelligence is gathered and utilized."RateGain is seeing significant interest from airlines in this next generation price intelligence solution and is pleased to have already signed two contract with a leading European Airline company.For more details, visit AirGain.About RateGain RateGain helps hospitality and travel companies make more revenue every day.Founded in 2004, RateGain now has 12,000 clients around the globe including hotels, online travel agents, airlines, car rental companies, cruise liners as well as tour operators and wholesalers. RateGain's cloud based software helps organizations with rate intelligence, price optimization, seamless electronic distribution and brand engagement.In 2014 RateGain was funded by TA Associates, one of the most respected and oldest private equity firms in the world.RateGain currently has over 550 employees who work passionately to deliver unsurpassed value for their clients through cutting edge software products and stellar support.For more information, visit www.rategain.com.

VIDEO: PhocusWire PundIT Show - Episode 4

PhocusWire 14 November 2017
Deep breath. After a day of pitches from startups, PhocusWire's PundIT Show returns to take the temperature of three delegates at The Phocuswright Conference. The fourth outing features Simon Lenoir (Rezdy), Nathan Bobbins (Travelport) and Fraser Ellacott (RentalCars Connect). This episode was recorded on Wednesday 8 November 2017.

Customer-centric hotel payments: Are you missing an opportunity to get more direct bookings?

By Diederik Van Gool
As hotel brands desire to grow direct bookings and additional ancillary revenue streams to get ahead of others in the race, their next big challenge is to offer a customer-centric travel service that supports guests throughout their journey - from inspiration, booking and payment, to transfers, check-in, stay and departure. As Worldpay's Diederik Van Gool explains, embedding a customer-centric payment eco-system can be a key enabler for this vision.

Why is travel tech so risky, according to investors?

PhocusWire 14 November 2017
During a roundtable discussion of investors at The Phocuswright Conference, Bob Kaufman, founder and CEO of ConnexPay, made a bold and interesting statement. Travel companies go in the same category as adult entertainment or gambling, because of fraud risks, Kaufman claims. And even though startup travel tech venture investments have been at their fourth-consecutive high this year, disruptive forces are threatening their reign at the top, and that gives investors cause to pause.

Angie Hospitality Selected to Present Voice-Assistant's Hotel Guest Wi-Fi Innovation at WBA Wireless Global Congress

Angie Hospitality 14 November 2017
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Angie Hospitality, creator of the world's first voice-based guest room assistant and in-room Wi-Fi access solution developed specifically for hotels, has been selected by WBA (Wireless Broadband Alliance) to present at this year's Wireless Global Congress in New York City. During the four-day event, which is scheduled to take place November 13-16 at The Roosevelt Hotel, Angie Hospitality's CEO, Ted Helvey, will present Angie's comprehensive suite of capabilities at two invitation-only sessions, with a focus on its secure PAN (Personal Area Network) guest Wi-Fi functionality.The annual Wireless Global Conference showcases innovative technological solutions in wireless services, bringing together senior-level executives from a multitude of industries. Chosen by show officials to showcase Angie Hospitality on the conference's prestigious Innovation Stage, Helvey will conduct a six-minute presentation on the solution's advanced Wi-Fi capabilities on Thursday, November 16 at 10:55 a.m. Also selected to participate in this year's WBA Accelerator Program, Helvey will again present an overview of Angie's capabilities to a panel of leading industry experts and investors at 6:50 p.m."As the use of voice-activated technologies is continuing to expand in the consumer electronics market, travelers are beginning to expect the same convenience in their hotel room when they are away from home," said Helvey. "We developed Angie from the ground up as an enterprise-class, cloud-managed solution that is purpose-built specifically for hospitality, and we packaged it with a robust and easy-to-use cloud-managed Wi-Fi feature set that provides what every traveler needs and what hotels struggle to provide - simple, secure and easy-to-use connectivity for all their devices. We are honored to have been selected by WBA to present our solution at this elite global forum."With a focus on not only introducing advanced voice-based guest service solutions to the hospitality industry, but providing secure and robust in-room Wi-Fi networks in every guest room, Angie is the world's first voice-activated, enterprise-class solution built specifically for the hotel environment. The solution offers hoteliers and their guests a 24-hour interactive voice- and touch-based guest room assistant that maximizes operational efficiencies and revenue for the property, as well as increasing guest satisfaction. Angie is currently being implemented at multiple hotel properties in the U.S. and will be available for general distribution in Q1 2018.For more information on Angie's full suite of capabilities and options, please visit www.angie.ai.

Buying Considerations for Your Hospitality Revenue Management Solution, Part II

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 14 November 2017
As mentioned in a previous blog post, there are several key buying considerations when evaluating which next-generation revenue management solution is optimal for your property. A few key considerations include technology integration capabilities, channel management and optimization, customization to user and property needs, and group sales optimization.

How hotels and airlines could apply RM to surprise and delight

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration 14 November 2017
Hilton is considering ways that revenue management techniques could be used to improve customer satisfaction, and there are opportunities for airlines too. Tom Bacon reports. Many service-focused organisations identify opportunities to ‘surprise and delight’ customers as a key vehicle for driving increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Revenue management and pricing in both hotels and airlines, however, sometimes seems to go in the opposite direction ie. ‘Surprise… by charging a new fee!’

Laurent A. Voivenel - SVP MEA & India For Swiss-Belhotel International - Speaks At HITEC Dubai On PMS In 2020 & Future Of Guest-Facing Technology

Swiss-Belhotel 14 November 2017
Dubai -- Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, participated today in a panel discussion on the future of PMS and guest-facing technology at the HITEC Dubai organised by Naseba and HFTP. Others on the panel - that was chaired by Jyoti Narang, Partner, WayfareVC - included Ingo Dignas, Co-Founder, CEO Xnprotel; Nigel Hattersley, Sr. Director Technology MEA, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Samir Abi Frem, Corporate VP, Rotana Hotels & Resorts.Laurent drew the panellists' attention to the constraints faced by hotels in terms of budgets available for technology upgrades and installation. He stressed, "We all know investing in technology helps to reduce operation costs, increases efficiency and results in better business conversion and profitability. Yet, budget is the biggest constraint and challenge in technology upgrades. In our business technology is taken as a cost rather than an investment. Often hotel owners' and operators' technology priorities are not in sync, and in many cases at odds."According to industry reports, in the hospitality sector, IT spending in the Middle East is considerably lower than in regions like USA. Laurent said, "This is mainly due to large number of smaller, independent properties in the Middle East which do not enjoy massive tech budgets like big brands. Until recently PMS has been the single biggest technology investment by hotels. However, there are other technology priorities that hotels in the region need to address such as higher internet brand-width for faster speed, seamless integration of mobile technology and upgrades of in-room entertainment systems. Also, Data security is extremely critical, particularly compliance requirements for payment cards in the era of mobile."Integration has become more and more complex and dense with distribution costs increasing year on year. Laurent stressed, "Future PMS with cloud computing will accommodate easy integration with other software applications, even if these applications don't share the same provider. The all-in-one business solution is ideal for small hotels that integrates direct booking technology, channel management technology, and property management technology all into one system. The PMS, the central reservations system (CRS) or channel manager and the revenue management solution all need to seamlessly connect and share data -- preferably, in real-time. A roster of partners is the way forward for solving such issues as data security, network bandwidth and cloud computing."Most importantly, Laurent believes, "Technology is a two-way process and needs to have a conversation engaging customers to offer a personalized experience that makes travellers' lives EASIER, SIMPLER & MORE CONVENIENT. We need software that can keep up with the changes. Architecture and development practices that support frequent updates enable today's next generation system to stay with changing hospitality business practices."For further information visit http://www.swiss-belhotel.com

Hilton Launches Incubator to Fast-Track Guest Innovations

Hilton 14 November 2017
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) today announced the opening of its Innovation Gallery, a first-of-its-kind incubator and experiential showcase for cutting-edge product developments that will shape the future of Hilton hospitality.Open to invited guests including Hilton Team Members, hotel owners and technology partners, the 4,300-square-foot gallery brings together all elements of Hilton's innovation process. It is a physical space where conversations between thought leaders, design experts and hospitality professionals deliver new products and solutions for Hilton's guests.Located next to Hilton's global headquarters at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, and designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, the award-winning architecture firm's in-house design innovation studio, the gallery showcases a variety of technologies, design elements and dining concepts, ranging from noise-cancellation and sleep-inducing devices for guestrooms to more functional and sustainable materials. The products on display have been recently launched or are under testing, with many developed through Hilton's partnerships with companies in various industries, including IBM, LG, Amazon and Tesla."Innovation has been in Hilton's DNA since entrepreneur Conrad Hilton purchased his first hotel and pioneered the industry nearly a century ago," said Jon Witter, Hilton's Chief Customer Officer. "Today, we honor our legacy of innovation with the opening of the Hilton Innovation Gallery - a space for us to incubate, test, scale and showcase the products and processes we're creating to enhance our guests' experiences and redefine the future of hospitality."The Innovation Gallery ExperienceHilton has created an immersive experience in the gallery, which mirrors the guest's experience of a hotel by embedding custom architecture, experiential technologies and cutting-edge materials throughout. Upon entering the space, visitors will make their way through five experiences including:Product Showcase: A space for visitors to interact with physical and virtual products that Hilton is exploring for use in hotels. Examples of current installations include Nightingale, a noise-masking product; Somabar, a personal mixology solution; Meural, a customizable digital art display; and Pilot, a real-time translation solution.Food & Beverage Concept Studio: This show kitchen offers an opportunity to experience and showcase the latest restaurant concepts developed by Hilton's Food and Beverage team, along with technology to film and webcast.Virtual Reality (VR) Stage: A dedicated space for visitors to use virtual reality headsets to experience new Hilton concepts. At launch, visitors will be able to view model rooms from two of Hilton's newest brands, Tru by Hilton and Canopy by Hilton.Darkroom: A progressive model guestroom dedicated to showing cutting-edge material technologies that have the potential to yield better quality, sustainability, design interest and operational returns.Innovation Theater: The nucleus of the gallery serves as a gathering space to brainstorm, collaborate and intersect around innovative ideas. The design highlights the functionality and social aspects of a modern gathering space while leveraging immersive high-end presentation technology solutions for sound and lighting.Hilton designed the Innovation Gallery to showcase its culture of creativity and continuous drive to employ meaningful innovations that ease and enhance every aspect of the guest experience, from smartphone capabilities such as Digital Key to rooms enabling integrated entertainment. The space also showcases the company's focus on creating new hotel brands that match travelers' specific needs, such as Tru by Hilton for young-of-heart travelers seeking an energetic but relaxing environment and Canopy by Hilton, a modern boutique lifestyle brand.

The best of hotel tech from the 2017 PhocusWright Conference

Triptease Blog 14 November 2017
Anticipation is always high leading up to the PhocusWright Conference. What new ideas are being pitched? Which startups are getting traction? Who will be the next disruptive influence on the travel industry? Below are a few of the best hospitality startups we came across at the event. These companies are driving the type of innovation that can really impact hotels.

Are Hotels Gouging When Doubling, Tripling Or Quadrupling Rates? | forbes.com

Forbes.com 14 November 2017
It's a world of supply and demand in a free marketplace, but something just doesn't feel right when a hotel doubles, triples, quadruples or quintuples its room rate during certain occasions.College parents know the feeling. Many have done a double take when searching for a reasonable rate and finding much higher rates for a room during a football weekend, homecoming or graduation.Of course, it's not just hotels in college towns. Many, if not most, other hotels also boost rates during special occasions or periods of high demand for rooms.

The Digital Transformation of the Hotel Industry

Laurent DELPORTE 14 November 2017
I recently met with Julie Grégoire, General Manager of Sofitel, Pullman and M Gallery France, to discuss the ways in which the Accor Group was approaching digital technology What are your views on the role of digital technology in the hotel client experience? Where are you taking the digital experience and what are you hoping to establish? Digital technology in hotels has vastly transformed the way in which clients search for hotels, find them, and share their experience.
Article by Robert Meza

In-destination is worth billions but without mobile, forget it

The ENTERTAINER FZ LLC 14 November 2017
The in-destination market has long been ignored in favour of the flights and hotel booking business. From a money-making perspective, this doesn't make much sense - the reason most people travel is for unique experiences on the ground. Until recently most travel companies ignored this vast opportunity, or simply used tours and activities as a means to upsell.But now the reality is that mobile technology has advanced enough to become the driving force of the in-destination market. The pipes are now in place to deliver seamless instant digital experiences from suppliers to smartphone devices.Changing timesLet's take for example Expedia, which moved its T&A Local Expert division onto its app in 2015, betting big with a $6.4 million investment for US promotion. Booking.com launched its app-based Booking Experiences initiative in 2016 allowing travellers to instantly book and pay for attractions. According to comments made at this year's Phocuswright Europe conference, they have been testing in a few key markets, and the results are so far quite positive.Even Airbnb has caught on and launched its Trips platform last November, hawking "live like a local" experiences hosted by experts oozing cool factor. You might have even seen its new marketing collaboration with Millennial-minded VICE, sending lucky winners to trendy destinations such as Cape Town, Paris and Tokyo, for once-in-a-lifetime hyper-local adventures.Figure it outAccording to Phocuswright, which has extensively researched the in-destination market, travel activities, tours, attractions and events alone were worth about $135 billion worldwide in 2016 - dining and shopping not included.Elsewhere, new research from eMarketer shows that desktop travel bookings are sharply declining in the US with mobile sales set to total $75.85 billion this year, up 16.7 percent from 2016. Global travel, tourism and hospitality are clearly manoeuvring in this direction, so best to hop on board or get left behind.There are several innovative startups already attempting to stake a claim in this evolving space, such as Musement in Europe, and Klook in Asia, and of course established non-traditional OTAs such as Tripadvisor, which acquired Viator, tours and activities engine considered the first in this field.To be sure, Airbnb's Trips platform and others present healthy competition, but the market is wide open and large enough that it could still be anybody's game.Plenty of roomAfter all, most travel players did not start pursuing mobile as their primary play until recently. A "mobile-second strategy" ensures that mobile always comes, well, second. Expedia admitted to a "mobile-second strategy" until its 2015 shift.The in-destination sector will grow to suit what customers are craving - on-demand, on-the-go access - whether larger OTAs or innovative startups shine enough of a spotlight in there or not.Large and fragmented supply, together with basic technology and this lack of direct attention from the big fish, are a budding opportunity for companies who aren't afraid of risk-taking and real ingenuity. Mobile companies that take the time to carefully connect the dots within the sector, forming widespread networks and lasting relationships, will be in a prime position to reap some pretty powerful benefits.Mobile applicationsMobile is pushing innovation in the in-destination market like never before. Bigger brands are beginning to seek out new ways to entice and delight customers during their travels. For example, a telco that sells tourist SIM cards could use a mobile in-destination platform for added value, whereas airlines could benefit from such a platform as a means to connect with customers via loyalty programs.Consumers want to use their devices to explore, experience and share their travel. In the age of instant gratification, there is no reason why companies should not meet these requirements. At the end of the day, it's the things that people do on holiday that inspire travel in the first place. Those are the travel moments they value - arguably, much more often than a stress-free flight or even a nice hotel room.Building an in-destination mobile experience requires a lot of working parts to synch and align - dining offers, day planners, guides, and instant booking of tours and activities, or what have you.And customizing for specific partners, whether telcos, airlines or even financial institutions who want to connect with customer loyalty, adds another layer of sophistication and opportunity.But in the long game of trendsetters and trend followers, it's important to know which side you are on. In that way, the work can be very well worth it.

All around the room

By Fraser Hickox
In the hotel room, guests face a dizzying number of different touch points where they come into contact with technology. And in terms of how easy these human-tech interfaces are to find, then understand, and ultimately use, nearly all of them can be said to have room for improvement. Hong Kong-based Fraser Hickox takes us on a tour of the guest room, sharing his observations and insights.

Shinhwa Theme Park at Jeju Shinhwa World Selects InvoTech Systems to Manage Employees' Uniform Inventory

InvoTech 14 November 2017
LOS ANGELES, CA -- InvoTech Systems, Inc. announced that the Shinhwa Theme Park at Jeju Shinhwa World in Jeju, South Korea implemented a uniform management and control process with InvoTech's RFID Uniform System. InvoTech is a leading provider of software management and control systems for laundry, linens, and uniform operations that increase profitability for hotels, resorts, theme parks, sports arenas, and convention centers. InvoTech has implemented Uniform Systems world-wide that include Universal Studios, Sea World, LEGOLAND, 20 Century Fox Malaysia, Bollywood Dubai, and Motiongate Dubai. The InvoTech System installed at Shinhwa Theme Park of Jeju Shinhwa World provides 100% accountability for approximately 25,000 uniform pieces. Click here for more information on InvoTech's Laundry, Linen and Uniform Systems.The InvoTech RFID Uniform System eliminates the daily task of physically separating the different types of uniforms, hand-counting and manually-recording, reducing labor costs and human error.The system benefits include cutting labor costs, eliminating losses, reducing purchases, and lowering laundry expenses. The InvoTech Uniform System establishes organization, control, and accountability. Shinhwa Theme Park is just one part of the 2.5 million square meter Jeju Shinhwa World, Jeju's first premium integrated leisure and entertainment resort that includes hotels and resorts offering over 2,000 premium rooms, M.I.C.E facilities, Lionsgate Movie World, Jeju's largest retail and food & beverage complex, an adventure water park, a destination spa and a foreigners-only casino upon its full opening."We worked closely with the InvoTech's team to install the new UHF-RFID Uniform System," said Rowena Koh, IT Director of Jeju Shinhwa World. "Our uniforms, as one of the key elements in giving visitors a good impression, are an important asset. The RFID technology allows for multiple uniforms to be processed simultaneously and automatically, and the recordkeeping and reporting is also automated. This helps boost our operational efficiencies.""InvoTech continues its global business expansion with the RFID Uniform System installation at Shinhwa Theme Park," said Oswald Lares, Director of Sales at InvoTech Systems, Inc.InvoTech has over 500 of 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. About Jeju Shinhwa WorldSpanning an area of approximately 2.5 million square metres (26.9 million square feet), Jeju Shinhwa World is Jeju's first premium integrated leisure and entertainment resort. Opening progressively since 2017, Jeju Shinhwa World will house a variety of world-class leisure and entertainment facilities. Jeju Shinhwa World Hotels and Resorts offers over 2,000 premium rooms supported by M.I.C.E facilities for full meeting and conference needs. YG Republique, operated by YG Entertainment, features a bowling club and cafe with design input from Korean pop celebrity G-Dragon; and the first outdoor theme park Lionsgate Movie World is built around top-grossing movies such as The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Saw franchises. The project also includes Jeju's largest retail and food & beverage complex, an adventure water park, destination spa and a foreigners-only casino, etc. Among these premium facilities, Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World and Shinhwa Theme Park was opened in April and September 2017 respectively. Upon its full opening, Jeju Shinhwa World will become a world-class integrated leisure and entertainment resort in Asia. Click here to find our more.

Mirror Image and KEYPR Announce Strategic Partnership

KEYPR 14 November 2017
LOS ANGELES -- KEYPR, the leading cloud-based technology platform for the hospitality industry providing an integrated end-to-end experience for guests and staff through embedded and mobile devices, announced today they have formed a strategic partnership with Mirror Image to create the industry's first cloud-based smart mirror, REMi. REMi is a "virtual butler" for the hospitality industry powered by the expansive KEYPR platform.REMi, which launched yesterday at BDNY, is the industry's most comprehensive guest experience hospitality platform. In-room technology has advanced dramatically but no one has yet harnessed the power of mirrors to showcase revenue driving services and amenities. Mirror Image has over 25 years of experience serving the hospitality industry as a trusted source for custom mirrors, backlit mirrors and artwork, catering to all segments of the industry so this move to expand their offering to feature integrated technology is a natural step."I have been developing this project for years and it's something our customers have been asking for and I'm thrilled to be launching this labor of love at BDNY," said Glenn Neugarten, CEO of Mirror Image. "The team at KEYPR really connected with the vision and partnering with them really accelerated the project. Technology is always a conversation within the FF&E space and we have made great strides towards combining aesthetics with functionality and look forward to further pushing boundaries with both design and technology."REMi is highly customizable; hotels will be able to purchase the smart mirror on its own or the complete package which features a mobile app, in-room tablets, keyless entry and GEMS (KEYPR's proprietary back office Guest Experience Management System)."The team at Mirror Image has a fabulous reputation within the industry for their product quality, breadth of offering and customer service. When they came to us with this idea, we didn't hesitate. With the KEYPR platform powering the REMi concept, we have dramatically expanded on the most advanced and integrated in-room technology offering on the market."REMi is now available to order and will begin delivering Spring 2018. For more information, to request a catalogue or a demo, contact iamREMi.io. For appointments or more information, please email info@keypr.com.

IDeaS G3 RMS Gives New Revenue Opportunity to Resorts and Hotels with Component Room Optimization - an Industry First

IDeaS 14 November 2017
MINNEAPOLIS -- Though ubiquitous in resorts and hotels today, component rooms and flexible inventory are a tricky business for revenue managers. These unique rooms have traditionally required manual pricing and constant oversight - and are often undersold because of their complexity compared to standard rooms.To help hoteliers maximize profit potential, IDeaS Revenue Solutions has added a new capability to IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (IDeaS G3 RMS), the industry's most widely used revenue management solution. Powered by SAS analytics, this new IDeaS G3 RMS feature allows revenue managers to optimize all combinations of room types and build a revenue strategy specifically for flexible inventory - all based on guest demand and price sensitivity.IDeaS G3 RMS is now the only cloud-based revenue management tool that automates component room price optimization. Combined with sophisticated pricing and inventory control decisions, powerful forecasting and interactive reporting dashboards, component room pricing showcases IDeaS' commitment to solving the unique and complex business challenges facing hotels and resorts."Resorts and hotels are threatened every day by new entrants into an already competitive arena. Component rooms, or virtual room types, allow hotels to better serve their guests through a personalized experience that meets the unique needs of each guest," said Sanjay Nagalia, chief operating officer for IDeaS. "By helping hotels understand which components of a room to sell and at what price, we enable our clients to build a revenue strategy that gives them a competitive advantage in their market and an upper hand when it comes to pricing at the room type level for both group and transient business."The new capability allows resorts and hotels with component rooms to account for larger or premium room types and optimize their business strategy based on the most relevant market data and demand indicators. With IDeaS G3 RMS, revenue managers now have the confidence to automatically price and offer fully flexible inventory in order achieve the greatest profitability and business mix for their property."This technology has enabled us to look at inventory by type or segment and actually make decisions to yield room types uniquely across different channels," said Agnelo Fernandes, senior vice president for Terranea Resort. "Terranea is very unique, with 582 keys and a mix of rooms, suites, villas, casitas & bungalows. We find ourselves diving into IDeaS for every decision, and that has helped us become a lot more efficient. IDeaS helped us understand pricing, availability and demand for each room in order to optimize profitability."Click here for more information about IDeaS G3 RMS.Tweet this: @IDeaS_RevOpt #RevenueManagement system is first to allow hotels & resorts to automate component room pricing. www.ideas.com/about/news About IDeaS With more than 1.6 million rooms priced daily on its advanced systems, IDeaS Revenue Solutions leads the industry with the latest revenue management software solutions and advisory services. Powered by SAS and with nearly three decades of experience, IDeaS proudly supports more than 10,000 clients in 111 countries and is relentless about providing hoteliers with insightful ways to manage the data behind hotel pricing.IDeaS empowers clients to build and maintain revenue management cultures - from single entities to world-renowned estates - by focusing on a simple promise: Driving Better Revenue.IDeaS has the knowledge, expertise and maturity to build upon proven revenue management principles with next-generation analytics for more user-friendly, insightful and profitable revenue opportunities - not just for rooms, but across the entire hotel enterprise. For more information, visit www.ideas.com.

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