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Marriott Selects Volara as the Official and Exclusive Partner for Its Voice Pilots

Volara 11m
Volara - the voice hub for the hotel industry - announces that it has been selected by Marriott International Inc. as its official and exclusive partner for its pilots of voice technologies. Volara's software provides conversation management and secure integrations for 98 percent of the hotels using Alexa technology in the United States today.Marriott will benefit from Volara's software that enables voice-based conversations with their guests to be managed in real-time on any natural language processing platform. Marriott will also benefit from Volara's patent-pending Accuracy Engine that ensures guests receive the information or service they requested, and its secure integrations hub, which provides a voice interface for the existing technologies used in the hotel.As part of the relationship, Volara will be launching an integration with Marriott's proprietary work order management system. This integration will enable guests to request hotel services just by speaking.Marriott is using the Volara platform during its evaluation of Amazon Alexa technologies at the Marriott Charlotte City Center and Marriott Irvine Spectrum in October."Volara shares Marriott's commitment to guest privacy and the need to deliver quality experiences," said Scott Hansen, Marriott Senior Director of Guest Technology for Global Operations. "Making sure our guests are inspired and engaged during their stay is important to us. This partnership will help Marriott evaluate opportunities through voice that will guide our approach to better serving guests in our hotels.""Volara is proud to be partnering with Marriott International to bring voice-enabled experiences to Marriott's guests," said David Berger, Volara CEO. "With our technology, guests at Marriott hotels will be understood by voice technologies like Amazon's Alexa more accurately and securely than they are at home, resulting in an improved guest experience that ensures they get what they want when they want it."

New HTNG Workgroup: Improving the Guest Wi-Fi Experience

HTNG charters a new workgroup to help hospitality companies deliver an optimized Wi-Fi experience for guests. Hospitality companies currently do not have an accurate, consistent or objective measure of the Wi-Fi or the high-speed Internet access (HSIA) quality from a guest's point of view, making it difficult or impossible to utilize real time data or historical analysis for evaluation. Due to this, hotel companies are not able to effectively identify a positive or negative guest experience.This results in reduced guest scores, owner frustration with brand standards, negative experiences with technology ecosystem providers and the inability to effectively manage this component of the guest experience.HTNG's Improving the Guest Wi-Fi Experience Workgroup will develop industry recommendations to standardize and measure the key performance metrics that utilize real time or historical data to give insight into, and ultimately predict, an excellent quality of the guest experience (for Wi-Fi).The group will focus on allowing hospitality companies to increase guest satisfaction, adequately prepare investment strategies and improve the consistency of service delivery across their respective footprint. These recommendations will also create new opportunities for software and hardware vendors to provide to the industry.The kickoff teleconference for HTNG's Improving the Guest Wi-Fi Experience Workgroup will be held on Thursday, October 4 at 09:00 - 10:00 AM CST. To sign up, HTNG members can visit the Improving the Guest Wi-Fi Experience Workgroup page and log in to join.
Article by Martin Soler

Food for thought: A recap of Click by booking, technology and guest experience

Soler & Associates 5h
Guest experience and technology are regularly reported as one and the same. They're not. Great human relations and guest experience are. But technology should give humans more time to spend with guests, and that's where things are interesting. Here's a mid-week recap for some thoughts.Food for thought.How much technology do we need?Because technology and digital disruption are a thing, there are companies and thinkers that try to turn everything into a technology problem. But do we really need technology everywhere? Turning off the lights in a hotel room with a switch is still a lot easier than through an app or a tablet. Trying to wedge in tech solutions everywhere doesn't necessarily make the guest experience better. What we need to do is focus on the guest, many things can be improved with better technology and often that might be little things in the background that the guest will never know. But just like improving the plumbing in a hotel, those little things that guests never notice can change the experience and compounding those little things will make a big difference.TECHNOLOGY EVERYWHERE + FOCUSING ON THE GUESTOn TripAdvisor's new platformDespite an unclear press release and futile attempt to take the new social TripAdvisor out for a spin, it is clear that adding that level of personalisation to a review platform isn't just some marketing spin. As soon as one attempts to recommend a solution one needs much more personalisation than a simple ranking. But the odd thing is why now? Why would users want to give away more data now, when many are trying to rebuild their right to privacy? The comments on this linked in post below point to some critical issues with the platform. Even if few believe in the chances of success, it makes sense. The timing of the launch and the fanfare with which it was launched with remain, however, hard to understand.FRAUGHT WITH OBSTACLESMessaging and Automation are Much More Than Marketing.Messaging and automation are hailed as the future of digital marketing. But it's a lot more than that. Messaging is one of those technology pieces that can improve guest experience at all levels. But without the right level of automation, it is also one that can make a mess out of things. Sending a message to order room service is so much easier than calling, holding, ordering, waiting. But how can the system route the message to the right person? Done right this isn't just about marketing, it's about serving the guest based on their needs. Having guests hold the line while they're being connected is one of those "process before guest experience" workflows that could (and should) disappear. But then, there are always some who prefer to pick up the phone :-)MESSAGING, AUTOMATION AND AIRLINESThe Guests KnowsThe research customers do today before buying or booking is second to none, they know things. But how are hotels improving the internal processes to reflect that? Front desk indicates where the elevator is and what time breakfast starts, but soon guests will know that already. Speaking to someone at front desk who rattles off a script might not be a lot better than getting a text message (that is not the solution). A great hotelier once told me they trained staff to welcome guests as if they were being welcomed to their home. Do you tell your guests what time breakfast is or where the restrooms are before they ask? Guests know a lot these days, the best solution isn't necessarily more technology but more intelligent conversations. If they don't ask for breakfast maybe they don't care, or they know.INFORMED DECISION MAKINGClick (by Booking), a recapClick just finished and below is a recap by someone who was there (I wasn't). An interesting event and a very welcome one. Some interesting takeaways, Booking's CMO discusses how guest journey has changed and the level of intent online is very low thus they need to increase personalisation. And how people expect instant gratification on getting their questions answered. Booking's CEO explained that travel research takes more time than the trip itself which is a problem they're trying to fix. There is a whole lot more and it's worth reading. The event seems interesting but unclear as to who the audience is and what they should be getting out of it. Is it tech companies, if so why? Is it hoteliers, but then why all the inspirational speakers? In any case, great to see the community building at Booking.IN THE SUGAR FACTORY WITH BOOKINGTell Trends, mainly for executivesThe quarterly magazine, Tell Trends, will be going out soon to select people who purchased their editions. The magazine is approximately 50 pages of experts taking a look at the major trends of the hotel marketing and tech industry. Those who don't have the time to read the daily news and want to understand where things are going.SIGN UP FOR EARLY ACCESS

Meriton Suites partners with ReviewPro

ReviewPro 5h
Barcelona, 26 September 2018: Meriton Suites have partnered with ReviewPro to centralize the management of online reviews. The group put great value upon guest experience and recognize the vital importance of online reputation and guest reviews. ReviewPro was chosen because the group wanted to centralize feedback, and also have the ability to streamline and track follow up tasks according to department."After comparing with other software, we decided upon ReviewPro for a number of reasons: the centralized information, a system that is easy to use and understand, and the speed and efficiency at which reviews are updated on to the system, allowing real-time assessment of our ranking and what our guests are saying about us" Says Saxon Woodbury, Regional Hotel Manager NSW, Meriton Suites."Meriton Suites is an innovative serviced apartment brand that is well respected in today's hospitality landscape." Commented RJ Friedlander, CEO of ReviewPro, "We are delighted about the partnership, and pleased to provide them with guest satisfaction metrics and tools to help them to continue to exceed guest expectations."Meriton Suites have implemented the Online Reputation Management solution from ReviewPro, which will help them to monitor and respond to online guest reviews from one central dashboard. The brand is very focused on guest reviews and places high importance on guest satisfaction to prioritize operational and service +34 93 452 0069About Meriton Suites: Meriton Suites is Australia's largest owner-operator of hotel rooms with 18 great locations and over 4,500 suites conveniently located across Sydney, in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. Meriton Suites are an award winning brand and have continually been ranked the best in each location on many traveller review websites. Known for rooms up to three times larger than a typical hotel room, Meriton Suites has been the market leader in apartment style hotel accommodation for over 10

Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel 26 September 2018
The Problem: At the beginning stages of the travel planning journey, visitors have shown intent to travel to your destination and are clicking on your marketing ads, however, these people are still browsing and shopping around – not yet ready to make reservations and using valuable marketing dollars.

How to make your hotel's book direct offering unique

SiteMinder Blog 25 September 2018
In a world dominated by big brands and businesses, where standardisation is the path to efficiency, customers consistently look for something out of the norm. This is clearly the case in the travel industry; it’s one of the major reasons Airbnb has been so successful.

Hotelogix to exhibit its suite of multi-property PMS at ITB Asia 2018

Hotel Tech Report 25 September 2018
Hotelogix, a leading cloud-based Hotel Property Management System provider has today announced its participation in ITB Asia, 2018 from 17th to 19th October in Singapore. The company plans to showcase its enterprise-grade cloud-based Property Management System for multi-property operations during this event at booth No – B37.

Latin American giant TOTVS signs on as SiteMinder's 250th PMS connectivity partner

SiteMinder 25 September 2018
The largest enterprise technology company in Latin America, TOTVS, has entered into a partnership with SiteMinder to become the 250th property management system (PMS) provider that will connect into SiteMinder's market-leading hotel guest acquisition platform.The partnership, which comes one day ahead of the ABAV Expo in Sao Paulo, will allow the 2,500 hotel users of TOTVS's PMS - CMNet - to enhance and automate the distribution of their rooms to the vast sales channels that are available through SiteMinder's platform. SiteMinder's channel network includes more than 350 of the world's top-performing online travel agencies, wholesalers, global distribution systems and online booking engines, including Latin America-based Despegar, and PriceTravel.Claudio Cordeiro, hospitality director at TOTVS, says, "While cloud technology and newer trends such as artificial intelligence have certainly grown across the region, many hoteliers remain unaware of the benefits of automation - and the fundamental need to invest in technology. Our partnership with SiteMinder is about aligning with another true leader in the hotel technology space, to educate hoteliers that it is not only the day-to-day operation of their hotel property that they can manage through their PMS, but their entire distribution and online marketing strategy."TOTVS has dominated the Latin American travel industry, in particular, in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. It now joins SiteMinder's fast-growing, global network of PMS providers that offers hotels a single system from which to manage their guest and booking data."Hoteliers have endless potential, no matter where they are in the world, but often feel hindered by the limited amount of time in their day; time that is often spent trying to make technology work rather than delighting guests with the memorable experiences they love to create. SiteMinder's partnerships with PMSs the world over are our commitment to giving hoteliers not only more time, but more revenue and cost savings in acquiring guests. We are thrilled to welcome TOTVS, a perpetual innovator for hotels of all sizes to gain the efficient, integrated solutions they need to compete in an industry fraught with fragmentation and siloed data," says Mike Kantor, Senior Director of Global Partnerships at SiteMinder.About SiteMinderAs the leading cloud platform for hotels, SiteMinder allows hotels to attract, reach and convert guests across the globe. We serve hotels of all sizes with award-winning solutions for independents and groups alike, wherever they are in the world.SiteMinder's products include The Channel Manager, the industry's leading online distribution platform; TheBookingButton, a wholly-branded booking engine for direct bookings via the web, mobile or social; Canvas, the intelligent website creator for independent hoteliers; Prophet, the real-time market intelligence solution that takes the guesswork out of pricing rooms; and GDS by SiteMinder, a single-point of entry to a six-figure network of travel agents and the world's major global distribution systems. With more than 30,000 hotel customers and 600 of the industry's top connectivity providers as our partners, today we have presence in more than 160 countries on six continents. For more information, visit TOTVSA provider of business solutions for companies of all sizes and which deals with management software, productivity and collaboration platforms, hardware and consulting, TOTVS is the absolute leader in Latin America's small and mid-sized business market. With about 50 percent market share in Brazil, it was ranked by Interbrand as the 20th most valuable brand in the country. In Brazil, it has 15 branch offices, 52 franchises, 5,000 distribution channels and 10 development centers. Outside Brazil, it has seven branch offices and five development centres in the United States, Mexico, China, Taiwan and Russia. For more information, visit

What makes Pinterest so shoppable?: Q&A with Product Manager Tim Weingarten 25 September 2018
We spoke with Tim Weingarten, a product manager at Pinterest, about the platform's inherent shoppable, its evolution into search, and what's next.

Finding the Perfect Balance at Bellerive CC

Club & Resort Business - Feature Articles 25 September 2018
After reaffirming its status as a major golf championship venue, the St. Louis, Mo. club will now return its focus to the other half of its ongoing mission: providing a family-oriented, full-service atmosphere around the big events.

AccorHotels Deploys Infor Revenue Management Solution across France

Infor 25 September 2018
Infor, a leading provider of industry-specific cloud applications, today announced that its revenue management solution dedicated to the hospitality industry, Infor EzRMS, has been deployed by AccorHotels in France.This is part of a global project and aims to replace the existing solution that will disappear soon and that had been installed in nearly 150 Accor sites in France. EzRMS is currently in place in 212 hotels in France, throughout the territory, allowing each of these establishments to benefit from a better visibility on the customer demand when it comes to room booking, and then to adjust their forecasts based on a dynamic approach and self-learning algorithms."We wanted a solution that could easily be interfaced with both our existing PMS (Property Management System), as well as with our AccorHotels CRS (Central Reservation System). The goal for us was to offer and recommend to all our establishments a single unified solution," said Anne-Lise Lefeuvre, Head of 'Digital Projects, RM Tools and Methods' at AccorHotels France. "The rich functionalities of EzRMS, from a multi-criteria reporting point-of-view, but also in terms of forecasting and associated recommendations, combined with a competitive cost reduction factor, were at the origin of the project.""Infor EzRMS is ideally suited to AccorHotels' needs as it is integrated to the Infor Hospitality suite of solutions," said Wolfgang Emperger, vice president, Infor Hospitality, EMEA, India and LATAM. "Infor EzRMS is designed to help hotel managers to maximize their revenue by automatically calculating demand forecasts and recommending appropriate sales strategies based on schematic data, timeframes and the number of customers per room.""Concretely, based on pre-defined criteria and dynamic algorithms, EzRMS allows us today to generate recommendations regarding prices, schedules and associated offers, and then to orchestrate them for each of our hotels and our distribution channels," added Lefeuvre.The deployment of the solution, which happened smoothly during the first semester of 2017, was divided in several combined training sessions (lasting a few days each), followed by individualized follow-up (hotel by hotel) to ensure that each institution was able to take full advantage of the potential of the EzRMS solution."At a time where omnichannel and the 'any customer' are key factors, the implementation of such a solution was critical to allow us to efficiently manage each of our hotels and to gain profitability," said Lefeuvre. "In addition, we have just launched two new projects aimed at improving the forecasts for our 'group' customer segment and to optimize the recommendations for the 'non-hosting' segment (organization of seminars and catering)."

GJP Hotel & Resorts Invests in Infor Software

Infor 25 September 2018
Infor, a leading provider of industry-specific cloud applications, announced that GJP Hotel & Resorts Group is implementing Infor EzRMS, a revenue management solution used for demand modeling and forecasting, to help better manage revenues and help build a successful revenue strategy across all its key hotels in Brazil.Competition is increasing in the hotel sector and, as such, it is essential for hoteliers to understand and react to customer behavior and business trends to ensure that customers are always offered the right product, at the right price and at the right time. Revenue Management is a discipline that is practiced in many hotel chains around the world and, now with the cloud-based Infor EzRMS, GJP Hotel & Resorts can maximize their potential.Infor EzRMS enables GJP Hotel & Resorts to improve their performance and decision making based on transactional data from the hotels' reservation systems. This data helps them understand their guests booking and spending patterns and therefore optimize the availability and price of all their room types and rates. Over the last three months, a team of five Infor specialists have been implementing the software and training the team. GJP Hotel & Resorts can now use detailed analytics in the cloud and improve efficiency and accuracy by abandoning traditional spreadsheets.Infor EzRMS, developed to manage and optimize hospitality companies, is now installed in over 6,800 hotels globally. The solution forecasts demand, recommends proper sales strategies and helps maximize performance and profitability."I already knew Infor, in fact used their applications in the past. Current hotel scenario was the right time to work together. Infor team was great, helpful and with excellent technical knowledge", states Juan Andrade, Revenue Management Director, GJP Hotel & Resorts. "Our expectation is to increase revenue with the analysis of the new reports and adjust and enhance our sales offer to guests."GJP Hotels & Resorts also benefits from the Infor EzQuote group revenue displacement analysis module that helps them understand whether to accept group requests considering the Infor EzRMS forecast and whether revenue might be lost or gained by accepting the group. Additionally, Infor EZ Region, the multi-hotel module which provides centralized group-wide analysis for any of the hotels defined by the user, enables GJP Hotel & Resorts to consolidate data from the hotels and analyze the best revenue opportunities with a rapid comprehensive overview of all hotels."Infor's EzRMS solution is specially developed for the hospitality sector. IT enables companies such as GJP Hotels & Resorts to meet their needs and quickly adopt management revenue strategies with a system simple to use as Software as a Service," said Delfo Melli, account director, Infor.The project is currently in its final stage, integrating with an existing third-party system used by GJP Hotel & Resorts.About Grupo GJP Hotel & ResortsGJP Hotels & Resorts is a Brazilian company with presence from North to South of the country. It was created in 2005. It has 2000 employees who work night and day to guarantee best experience to guests.GJP has more than 3,000 apartments available to guests around Brazil, as well as modern event centers and leisure infrastructure.
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Article by Jos Schaap

Takeaways from the 2018 Guest Experience Assessment Report: Better Alignment of Tech & Value for Guests

StayNTouch Inc. 25 September 2018
The relationship between hospitality and technology is ever-evolving as the demands of the modern guest continue to redefine the industry landscape. With the on-going need for guest personalization and value-driven service, the most successful hotels will be those who allocate more of their budgets for technology that actually aligns with delivering a better guest experience for all types of travelers. This may empower a self-service model for some guests, and high-touch, personalized service for others. To gain a better understanding of current guest assessment trends and technological, guest-centric advancements adopted by industry leaders, StayNTouch, Travel Tripper and TrustYou recently released an extensive study of worldwide hoteliers. The survey provides an overview of key guest experience trends to watch moving forward into 2018 and beyond while highlighting the areas in which some hotels may be lagging behind. Utilizing this information will allow hotels to better adjust their strategy for catering to, and connecting with guests in a way that instills long-term true loyalty, revenue growth and success.Key Findings: - 41.33% of respondents do not offer guests a choice of check-in method, despite this being a popular guest expectation/preference. - Only 30% of respondents felt strongly about their ability and effort to promote upsells and upgrades at check-in, signifying a common trend of missed revenue opportunity. - 74.67% of respondents say that they respond and resolve standard guest requests either quickly or very quickly. - Overwhelmingly, respondents indicated that email and phone were the primary means of communication. This highlights an area for improvement, as in-person interactions are often the ideal environment for establishing more personalized rapport with guests. - 68.46% of respondents recognize that they need to establish or improve their use or adoption of mobile technology. - 48% of respondents acknowledged that they are finding it challenging to capture or utilize guest data to personalize the guest experience. The investment in technology today is much more complicated than it was 20 years ago due to the advancement of our technological world. As we analyze current trends and popular behavioral patterns of the modern guest, it becomes evident that prioritizing the purchase of guest-facing technology should be paramount. After all, sites like Tripadvisor, Yelp, social media channels and more have empowered guests to make their own buying decisions based upon the crowd. Hotels today are in competition for guest loyalty and without the support of guest-centric technology to empower their service offering, empower their employees and ensure guest satisfaction, hotels can expect fall behind the leaders of the pack.[Webinar] How to Adapt Your Hotel's Offerings to Meet Guest's Expectations Give Your Guests the Power of Choice As we've noted before, recent studies show that 70% of guests prefer to use their smartphone to speed up check-in and services, and 67% of travelers are "more likely" to choose a hotel that allows guests to check in and open doors with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn't.To limit your guest to one method of check-in/out is to turn guests away from your hotel entirely in this modern world. Give your guests the power of choice, and ensure they continue to choose your hotel over the competition. Get on Board with Mobile It is more important than ever before to capitalize on the rise of mobile technology and empower guests with the ability to choose their preferred service model (self-service, low touch or high touch). Mobile technology for the hospitality realm includes (but is not limited to) mobile check-in/out, mobile keys, concierge, reservations, alerts, custom hotel apps and more. With 68.46% of respondents to our StayNTouch survey recognizing that they need to establish or improve their use or adoption of mobile technology, this is an ongoing movement that needs to be adopted at a faster pace to keep up with guest demands.Not only does mobile technology appeal to each guests' desire for personalization, but it empowers your staff to serve each guest better the way they truly want to be served. Enhance Your Service Model with the Modern PMSIn the past, PMS systems were never seen -- instead, they were firmly stationed behind the front desk with a server buried in the basement. While these on-premise systems served their purpose, their capacity to truly enhance a hotel's operation and guest engagement were limited in nature. Today's PMS, however, has the capability to do a seemingly unlimited number of things to directly impact guest satisfaction. With mobile-optimized, cloud-based systems that provide comprehensive, actionable insights at a glance to all hotel staff, the modern PMS allows guests to choose how they want to interact with a hotel property while freeing up staff to build relationships with guests one on one.Considering the majority (~52%) of respondents acknowledged that they are finding it challenging to capture or utilize guest data to personalize the guest experience, investing in a modern PMS system should be top of mind. Further to the enhancement of guest engagement, advanced PMS tools will help your staff to better understand and leverage guest data for personalized service. And in terms of capitalizing on revenue opportunity, modern PMS software often offers built-in prompts for upselling and upgrade opportunities.Having these capabilities as an integral part of your operational model by means of an advanced PMS tool is of incredible value to your hotel and should be prioritized accordingly.
Article by Lauren Hall

Groups and Events: Disruption is on the Agenda for Hotels in 2019

iVvy 25 September 2018
The emergence and subsequent evolution of transformative, industry-shaping technology cannot happen without some disruption. It's a now-familiar scenario, when we reference the likes of Uber and Airbnb, in which a brave new player comes into the mix to offer a service or product that does things in a way that no one else has (successfully) attempted. Disruptive innovation within industries is often what keeps them alive, bringing forth new ideas and processes that allow companies to continuously cater to modern consumers. The hospitality realm is admittedly notorious for lagging behind other industries in terms of adopting new technology and is, at times, in need of a disruption. This becomes especially apparent as we look to the group and venues segment, specifically. Years previous, the Internet Booking Engine and Online Travel Agencies revolutionized our industry. The process of booking a trip and hotel transitioned from one which was owned primarily by travel agents and uninformed inquiries to one which was independent, convenient and efficient. Booking an upcoming trip was no longer a chore; rather, it was an opportunity to effectively vet viable options online and book a room with the guest's desired attributes (high floor, away from elevator etc.). While this disruption proved to have staying power to become the new industry norm, the group booking segment has failed to catch up... until now. As any hotel sales manager can likely contest, the group and venue segment often represents an under maximized revenue stream -- but why? Is it due to lack of leads? Not at all. In fact, a recent survey (Groupize stat) showed that hotel sales teams are managing an average of 25 leads per day. That's 750 leads per month; 9,000 leads per year. As you can imagine, the problem that exists within this process has nothing to do with the number of leads but rather, the number of qualified leads and the tools available to managers to effectively address those leads. Interested parties are knocking at hotels' doors, but what if staff can't get the door open?In fact, it's well documented that 75% of proposals are being won by the first five properties to respond and 37% of planners cite bad communication as the number one reason they go with another property during the proposal process. Rather than confirming bookings, sales managers are so often stuck in 'process limbo', scrambling to manually sift through and reply to an unrelenting influx of (largely unqualified) leads and RFPs in a timely manner. If it sounds like a somewhat impossible process, that's because it is. Managers are expected to be quick and efficient as they work to identify and convert relevant leads -- a demand which requires online technology that, for a very long time, didn't exist. As a hotelier, you might wonder -- why is this so integral to my revenue stream? We still manage to secure some group bookings, are we really missing out on much? With projections that the event tech market will grow to USD 9.28 billion by 2020, and 300 million room nights attributed to meetings in 2016, it's hard to imagine it's taken this long to streamline the group booking process. 300 room nights amounts to nearly $50 billion in confirmed bookings -- which if you ask me, sounds like 50 billion very compelling reasons to care about the group and events segment. So, what does the future of group and events look like in the eyes of a hotelier and digital-savvy planner? Gone are the days of static "Groups and Meetings" sections on websites with an RFP form. Prospective customers and your staff alike need a more advanced, responsive and ultimately digital solution. After all, we are catering to the age of the online consumer, which means we, too, need to be online. Group planners (whether corporate, or an individual burdened with booking the next 'girls trip') need to access group booking details online -- with rates, live availability, property rules, group communications and all other relevant details displayed through an easy to navigate, online platform. This enables global visibility for hotels, the opportunity for tailored marketing efforts, 3D tours of event space, instant RFPs, online payment and invoicing and live booking management. A process which was previously consumed with communication delays, misinformed inquiries and unqualified RFPs has finally been streamlined for both planners and hotels. Finally, hotels can effectively control rates and publish up-to-date availability online, which empowers sales managers to invest their time in the more pivotal touch points of the guest booking process. This inspires a more efficient, revenue-conscious process as planners are able to access the information they need more quickly than they would via phone or email, and sales teams are freed up from the dreaded RFP flood. With online group booking technology in place, planners are awarded the instant gratification of online booking, with access to all required attributes (audio visual, food, beverage etc.). This in turn, enables managers to focus on the provision of a more personalized, timely booking experience. After all, providing more attention to the details that do require personalized handling leads to extraordinary customer service and a better chance of repeat business. It's about time, don't you think, that group bookings caught up to modern demands? Finally, meeting and event spaces can be booked as seamlessly as a guest booking a room. Disruption is definitely on the agenda for hotels in 2019, and it's headed straight for the groups and events segment. But this isn't just any disruption, this is the long-awaited solution to a problem faced by hoteliers and planners for years. With a responsive online platform in place for the group booking segment, hotels are empowered to succeed and capitalize on a largely untapped revenue stream, whilst better appealing to and connecting with planners around the globe.

Machine learning: A deep dive

By Jai Govindani
Hotels sit on a lot of data. Can all this information be used to make accurate - and more importantly, useful - predictions of guest behavior? Jai Govindani walks us through an example.

Leisure Pass Group brings multi-attraction technology to North America

PhocusWire 25 September 2018
Attraction pass provider Leisure Pass Group is opening up its custom management platform, known as Leisure Pass Operating System (LPOS), to its North American partners.

Now Available for Download: Smart Hotelier's Guide to 2019 Digital Marketing & Technology Budget Planning

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog 25 September 2018
With budgeting season comes the time to analyze digital marketing initiatives and plan for trends that may arise throughout the year. When constructing your budget, think about upgrades your property needs to make regarding digital technology and marketing strategy.

Podcast: #1 - Your top five: from instant gratification to the rise of the aparthotel

Click by 25 September 2018
In our first episode of your top five, our audio articles cover how instant gratification is changing the way we deliver services, the rise of the aparthotel, transforming your restaurant into a destination, last-minute bookings, and improving your guest review score.

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba launches hotel porter robot

Hotel Management 25 September 2018
Chinese commerce firm Alibaba's artificial intelligence arm A.I. Labs has created a hotel robot that also can be used in hospitals, restaurants and offices. The porter-tron will be capable of anything from delivering meals to guests and returning laundry—while interacting with customers through voice command prompts, touch and hand gestures.
Article by Divya Bhat

How effective is a Hotel Reservation System in upselling your Hotel Rooms

Hotelogix 25 September 2018
Upselling is a common way for hotels to generate more revenue. Whether you are a small, family-run hotel or a multi-property brand, it is just as efficient an option for every property type. Upselling is when a hotel prompts additional services to guests, such as a session at the spa, a breakfast buffet, etc. But hotels can also upsell rooms (otherwise known as room upgrade) to guests with the same intention as with upselling. Both of them not only help improve guest experience but also contribute to the hotel's revenue. While there are several hotel upselling strategies, in this blogpost we will only discuss ways to upsell hotel rooms with the help of a Hotel Management System.But let's understand how to approach a guest with an upselling suggestion. How to determine which guest will prefer what type of an upsell? The simple trick is to use the guest history feature of your hotel's PMS. A robust PMS will allow you to look up all the details of guests who have stayed with you in the past. When they revisit your property, you could easily upsell a hotel room to them by looking into their preferences listed in the guest history data. Let's say, the guest is a smoker and chose to move to a room with a balcony, the last time he stayed with you. This detail is recorded in the PMS and will come in handy, in case the guest revisits your property in the future!Now let's get back to the topic- How can a Hotel Management System help you upsell rooms? Is a Hotel Reservation System powerful enough to enable hoteliers to upsell rooms? We'll find out very soon but before that we've handpicked a few of the most reliable ways to upsell rooms with a Hotel Management System in place:Restrictions:When we say restrictions, what we mean is that hotels can set restrictions on the minimum bookable nights or minimum bookable rooms. In other words, an online hotel reservation software can help you upsell rooms based on the number of nights a guest intends to stay with you (the length of stay) or based on the number of rooms a group of guests wish to book. An upselling opportunity is presented in such cases.Minimum Bookable Nights:This is a great strategy for hotels to upsell rooms to guests who stay for more than one night. If a guest books a room for 5 nights, then you can upgrade him to a better room for the sixth and seventh night! You could throw in an offer around this and run a promotional campaign too. Everybody likes a freebie or an upgrade, especially when it comes with no strings attached.Minimum Bookable Rooms:The approach is the same as for the above strategy except that in this case the factor that will present is the upselling opportunity is the number of rooms booked. If a group booking comes your way for 10 rooms, you could upgrade them to better rooms for a nominal price. This is a lovely way to delight multiple guests in one shot. And honestly, it wouldn't cost you an arm and a leg, but it could fetch you a dozen of amazing reviews!Hotelogix gives hotels complete flexibility in defining your restrictions based on your hotel's needs and target audience. Your front desk staff will have access to all the restrictions on their dashboard, as these can be pre-defined in the background.Packages :With a Hotel Management System in place, you can not only pre-define as many packages as you want, but also customize them as per need. While designing a package, you will have to keep in mind the season, your target audience, their spending capacity, your hotel's offerings, etc. Taking into consideration of all these factors will help you get closer to your guests' expectation and delight them. You should, ideally, have separate and unique packages for your corporate guests, your leisure guests, your millennial guests, etc. Make them as focused as you can to deliver maximum delight.Now, how can a package help you upsell your room? We'll tell you. Consider a couple who wants to spend their anniversary at your property. The most obvious option is for them to book a room and then add on whatever services they wish to avail, during their stay. The other way of doing things (the clever way) is by offering a couple's package or an anniversary special package to such guests. No, we aren't asking you to offer them added services for no cost and incur losses! What this means is, simply give them the experience that they don't even know they want, and they will pay you.This couple, who earlier knew no better than to simply book a quiet, serene room now has a booking with you for a package that gives them a much better, cozier room, a spa session, a candle-lit dinner (and what have you!) for a tad bit more. It's not that they don't want to spend that much more, it is simply that they weren't aware of all the offerings at your hotel. By designing a package, you encourage guests to not just upgrade rooms but also to give you more non-room revenue, thanks to the services and activities you will include in the packages! So, it isn't simply upgrading rooms, but also an upselling activity overall for your hotel!Long stay discounts:Hotels can also increase chances of upselling, and thereby their revenue, when they offer long stay discounts. When a corporate guest or a leisure traveler makes a reservation that runs into weeks, you could use that to lure them to upgrade rooms. When such a reservation comes in, you could offer them a better option of a room for a nominal extra charge. This could work wonders because long-term guests take comfort more seriously than vacationers. Shelling a few extra bucks wouldn't be as big a deal as living in lesser comfort!Shoulder nightsThis is a very commonly used hotel reservation strategy where hotels don't make their inventory as transparent, in order to lure guests to spend an extra day or two. For example: Let's say a guest wants to make a reservation for a deluxe suite for two nights, a Tuesday and a Wednesday. The hotel front desk realizes that this is a great opportunity for the hotel to upsell, as midweeks are when they get least amount of reservations.So, in order to increase the number of reservations, they implement the shoulder nights strategy. The front desk staff gets in touch with the guest saying they will not be able to honor the booking for that particular room-type for those exact nights, unless the booking included a day or two before or after. The staff would, of course, add that they would offer the additional nights at a lower price than what the guest was to pay originally. The guest, normally, would accept the offer and agree to add an additional night or two as it works out to be a good deal for them too!Room Upgrades :This is the most commonly used strategy to upsell. In this case, the front desk staff or even a social media ad would inform the potential guest that the hotel would upgrade their regular room for a luxury suite (or whatever upgrade the hotel offers) for just a few extra bucks.HOW EFFICIENT IS A HOTEL RESERVATION SYSTEM IN UPSELLING ROOMS?Here's the real deal. The purpose of a Hotel Reservation System is quite self-explanatory. It does not come equipped with all the other features that can support the upselling process. Only a Property Management System can do that. An HRS isn't as feature-loaded, nor as dynamic. You could use the HRS as a dashboard to gather how many rooms are booked, vacant, available, etc. But the nuances that make a hotelier's life easier are only available in a PMS. Think of it this way- A Hotel Reservation System is a subset of a Property Management System.The general myth surrounding small and mid-sized hotels is - that they do not need the advanced features of a cloud-based Property Management System. I would even go to the extent of saying that small and mid-sized hotels need it more than chain hotels. Simply because they need the online visibility more as they lack the luxury of a brand name, the marketing budget and so on. Smaller hotels need a PMS to not only upsell their rooms but also to connect with potential guests online.So how does one go about creating restrictions, designing packages, long stay discounts, etc. for guests on an online hotel reservation system? How can a Property Management System help you upsell your rooms through packages? Almost everything related to upselling can be predefined in the back end which the front desk can access in one click. Customizing restrictions, packages, etc. as per your requirement can bring in immense benefits to you.Hotelogix cloud-based hotel management system helps you out with your reservation-related tasks but it is also capable of so much more than that. From guest management to nurturing guest loyalty, from expanding your sources of bookings to integrations with revenue management systems, business intelligence tools, reputation management, accounting, POS management, etc.- Hotelogix is the PMS your hotel needs.Go ahead and get in touch with us to know just that and more and we'll show you just how simple and effective these upselling features are! Get a free trial of Hotelogix cloud PMS or reach out to us on and we'll be happy to run you through it all.

Latin American giant TOTVS signs on as SiteMinder's 250th PMS connectivity partner

SiteMinder Blog 25 September 2018
The largest enterprise technology company in Latin America, TOTVS, has entered into a partnership with SiteMinder to become the 250th property management system (PMS) provider that will connect into SiteMinder’s market-leading hotel guest acquisition platform.

For ecommerce brands, the race is on for top spots in voice search 25 September 2018
Smart speakers, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, aren't going away--which means new opportunities for voice search. Brands should act now to stay on top.

H-Hotels Group partners with Duetto for revenue strategy

Hotel Management 25 September 2018
Europe’s H-Hotels Group has partnered with Duetto to maximize profitability across its portfolio of 61 properties in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, ahead of expansion into other European destinations.

Marriott Maracay Golf Resort adopts new security technology

Hotel Management 25 September 2018
Marriott Maracay Golf Resort, a luxury property situated in central Venezuela, has partnered with Assa Abloy Hospitality to implement the latest industry standards in security access technology. With the installation now complete, the property has advanced security functionality with VingCard Signature RFID door locks, Elsafe Zenith electronic safes and the Visionline access-management solution.

A hotel technology acquisition checklist

By Larry Mogelonsky
Nowadays, hoteliers are so inundated with technology that the tasks of prioritization and selection have become far more than just daunting; research and procurement are practically a job title unto themselves. Unless you have specific objectives with a firm plan and budget in mind, you'll easily be intimidated by the sheer volume of options for consideration. With this in mind, Larry Mogelonsky simplifies the journey through this process by defining hospitality technology according to four checklist categories - so you can keep an eye on the bigger picture.

Nordic Choice Hotels selects Alice to standardize hotel operations

Hotel Management 25 September 2018
Nordic Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel groups in Scandinavia with 190 properties, is the Nordic and Baltic region master franchisee of Choice Hotels International.

Are You Asking 'Who Moved My Hotel Revenue?

Duetto Research Blog 25 September 2018
The hotel industry is changing at breakneck speed. New disruptors are constantly entering the space. Think online travel agents, Airbnb, Google, Facebook et al. If you don’t continue to evolve, you will fall behind the industry.

eTravel World 2019 at ITB Berlin: Call for papers online

Messe Berlin GmbH 25 September 2018
At the eTravel World 2019, ITB Berlin will again be hosting a three-day seminar programme on the topic of digital trends in the travel industry. As in previous years, a certain number of sessions is open to candidates who can apply for them via the call for papers. Speakers have until 31 October 2018 to submit their ideas for fascinating topics. In the course of eTravel World, ITB Berlin is looking for case studies and examples of best practices relevant to digital marketing/eCommerce, sales, social media content, as well as innovative developments ranging from the digital transformation within SMEs to artificial intelligence and robotisation. Topicality and relevance will be among the main selection criteria.On ITB Wednesday, as part of at the event program of the new Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment, a session under the same heading - the TTA Forum - will be held for the first time at the eTravel Lab in Hall 7.1b. This will take a look at apps and technologies for the online tour operator market and also examine the sensitive area of transaction costs and margins. With the number of reservations via mobile devices rising all the time, industry experts will be highlighting how traditional booking platforms can secure their share of the existing market.Applicants are also invited to suggest examples of best practices and topics for discussion at the Hospitality Tech Forum, which will take place at the eTravel Lab as well. Potential topics include the use of new technologies in the hotel room of the future, customer journey experiences, review and rating management strategies, and how digitalisation is affecting guests and employees.The eTravel World is part of the ITB Berlin Convention and has established itself as an important think tank for innovative ideas on mobile solutions, travel technology, social media and digital marketing. During the show specialists will be meeting up with decision-makers and executives, media professionals and bloggers, start-ups and new media specialists from 85 countries. Overall, ITB Berlin expects around 11,000 visitors to attend the eTravel World next year.Full details of the eTravel World's call for papers and a link to the application forms can be found at Candidates have until 31 October 2018 to submit their ideas for topics.

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