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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.

  • HFTP Report: Hospitality Data Security — Strategy for Data Protection and Regulation Compliance

    This guide from Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(R)) covers safeguards that can be implemented in hospitality businesses today, tips on how to continuously improve security and data regulation compliance.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Privacy Policies for Hotels

    This document offers points to consider in the development of a hotel’s privacy policy. In view of the multiple organisational and legal structures under which hotels operate, as well as the complexity of the third party landscape that may be part of the complete guest experience, this document serves as a guideline only.

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Direct Bookings on Autopilot: the new A.I. that knows what hotel guests want

Hotelchamp · 4 December 2018
Amsterdam - December 4 2018 - Hotelchamp today introduced 'Autopilot' - new technology set to revolutionise how hotels think about their online guest experience."Today's hotel websites provide the same static experience for every visitor, which is bizarre given how different guests and their preferences are," says Kristian Valk, CEO of Hotelchamp.Hotelchamp is set to change that with the introduction of Autopilot, an artificial intelligence engine trained to recognise and personalise the experience of every visitor to a hotel's website.Hotels already spend huge amounts of time and money on guest personalisation - from email campaigns and communication, to advertising and loyalty programs. But most if not all these efforts are funnelled to static, one-size-fits-all websites."Personalisation is already the standard that guests have come to expect from hotels. The challenge has always been how to deliver that on a website in a scalable and meaningful way," says Valk."The truth is, only A.I. can deliver a truly adaptive website experience tailored to every single website visitor. One that brings the right information, interaction or offer, to the right person, and at the right time."Hotelchamp's Autopilot is not a chatbot or 'digital concierge' - it customises static hotel websites using a range of marketing techniques and tools. With a seamless integration, the result is a living, responsive and personalised experience, guiding guests through the entire direct booking process depending on their characteristics and needs.Hotelchamp's data science team developed Autopilot using years of data and millions of A/B test impressions on what exactly convinces guests to book direct. Autopilot applies this knowledge against a range of factors; including real-time data from a hotel's website, GDPR-compliant visitor insights and behaviour, and best practices from amongst Hotelchamp's thousands of hotels.Whilst this may sound complicated, all the hotelier needs to do to activate Autopilot is literally flick a single switch."We developed Autopilot to make it easy, not just for hoteliers, but also for guests to see the best information on the website. Autopilot makes direct bookings smarter - not harder," says Valk."We believe that with this type of technology now available to the hotel industry, hoteliers can bridge the gap between the online experience and the personal service hotels are famous for - a website that knows what guests are looking for, even before they do."About AutopilotUsing an A.I. engine to identify customer segments and audiences, Hotelchamp Autopilot can automatically serve the best information for each guest.Autopilot has been trained using insights from the Hotelchamp data science team and millions of A/B test impressions. Using this knowledge and live insights from the hotel's website, Autopilot recognises and personalises the website experience in real-time to convince visitors to book direct.All Hotelchamp tools can now be controlled by Autopilot, meaning the system will only deploy the right tools at the right time to the right audience. This process happens in real-time and is entirely personalised to each individual website visitor and moment in the booking phase.Autopilot bridges the gap between the digital journey and the personal service hotels are famous for - a website that knows what guests are looking for, even before they do.
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Black Friday Wrap-up: Global direct hotel bookings surge by 103% over the weekend

Hotelchamp ·28 November 2018
Traditionally associated with US retail sales, the reach and impact of Black Friday is increasingly permeating new industries and territories. But a potentially unexpected winner appears to be hotels outside the United States.Data compiled by Hotelchamp, the online marketing platform for hotels, shows that Black Friday is becoming one of the biggest days of the year for hotel bookings. With some offering discounts as high as 55% off, Hotelchamp hotels participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers on average saw direct bookings increase week on week by 103%.The data, which comes from a range of hotels across Europe and Asia, shows that Black Friday and Cyber Monday has extended far beyond its North American origins. The culture of deal hunting that goes on around Black Friday and Cyber Monday has gone global, with some of the biggest results coming from hotels based in the UK, Spain and Singapore.Whilst many hoteliers may assume that the weekend is only relevant to US-based hotels, were seeing huge lifts in both searches and bookings from all over the world. says Kristian Valk, CEO of Hotelchamp.A number of hotels in Ireland and Germany, for example, saw 3x or 4x increases in direct bookings compared with the weekend priorThese results are specific to bookings processed direct via the hotels own website, often through flash sales that were only valid from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.With so many people browsing multiple websites looking for bargains, it provides hotels with the chance to offer the best deal when booking direct via the hotel.The largely discounted weekend also proved to be a boon for hoteliers not just their guests. Given the historic low occupancy periods that typically fall around January, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have given hotels the chance to offer guests a great deal, whilst filling rooms that would otherwise be empty.Each year, more guests from all over the world are expecting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and from a number of different industries too. Valk says. Its the perfect time for hotels to remind guests that Black Friday or not, the best deals often come direct from the hotels own website.
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Amsterdam-based Hotelchamp raises EUR4M in total seed funding

Hotelchamp ·29 August 2017
Startup secures an additional EUR2.25M from investors on top of previously announced EUR1.75MSmart technology service enhances the relationship between guests and hotels to drive an increase in direct bookingsGuests delivered with a more personalised booking experience through AI-powered technologyInvestment will be used for company growth and advancing the leading marketing and sales platform for the hotel industryHotelchamp, a marketing and sales platform that helps hoteliers drive more direct bookings on their websites, today announces an additional EUR2.25M raise in seed funding. Hotelchamp previously raised EUR1.75M in seed funding, bringing the total seed funding for the Amsterdam-based tech company to EUR4 million. Focused on delivering a personalised booking experience, Hotelchamp's technology offers a platform for hotels to achieve better guest engagement and generate greater direct revenue. Founded in 2015, Hotelchamp has signed over 1,000 major hotels from more than 40 countries, including Meininger Hotel Group, Palazzo Versace, The Mandeville and Apex Hotels. The company also has clients in the United States, Australia, Middle East and Asia, all served by a team of specialists with over 50 employees. The funding round was supported by existing angel investors and new hand-selected angels who serve as entrepreneurs within the hospitality and online industry. Prominent investors involved in this round include Nalden, founder of WeTransfer and Phillippe de Knijff and Jolanda Degen of WorldTicketCenter, among others. The investment will be used for driving further growth of the company and greater development of Hotelchamp's technology through the use of artificial intelligence. Kristian Valk, CEO and founder of Hotelchamp said: "As a hyper growth company, this investment welcomes the opportunity for driving further growth within the company and assists us in the greater development of our platform. We're focused on improving guest relations and increasing profitability for hotels. Hotelchamp's end-goal is to create a sustainable hotel industry to gain back control over their revenue, while guests get the value for money they deserve."

Boosting direct hotel bookings with personalization as the solution

Hotelchamp ·By Kristian Valk
In the past few years, we have seen an increasing effort by hotels to improve their direct channels so as to reduce their dependence on online travel agencies (OTAs). Hotelchamp's Kristian Valk writes that hotels should not get rid of OTAs and third parties but aim for a better balance to manage control over their own distribution.
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Amsterdam startup Hotelchamp banks EUR1.75 million seed investment

Hotelchamp ·24 August 2016
Hotelchamp is raking in EUR1.75 million worth of investments. With this first round of funding the Amsterdam-based SaaS-startup can continue its rapid growth and expand its client base. Hotelchamp helps hotels obtaining more bookings through their own websites. The seed investment comes from the founders along with a team of carefully selected angel investors, including a group of entrepreneurs from the hotel- and e-commerce-industry.Hotelchamp advantagesThe smart technology of the Amsterdam startup personalizes hotel websites in real time based on visitor behavior. Thanks to Hotelchamp, hotels are now capable of encouraging and convincing visitors to book a room directly. As a result, hotels will profit from significantly higher conversion rates. This offers advantages to both hotel and their guests, explains CEO and founder Kristian Valk: "Hotels become less dependent on the large booking websites by using our software on their own websites. They will have direct contact with their hotel guests, which makes the entire booking process a lot more personal."Massive chains worldwideHotelchamp's technology is already being used by hotels around the world. Most recently Millennium Hotels signed up to Hotelchamp. This hotel chain has 120 hotels in 79 different cities in Europe, Asia, the United States, the Middle East and New Zealand. Other chains and renowned names, like the Pallazzo Versace in Dubai, the Baros luxury Maldives Resort, Amber Hotels in Germany, as well as Bilderberg Hotels and WestCord Hotels in the Netherlands.Popular with hotelsHotels pay Hotelchamp a fixed amount each month to use its software. The amount depends on the number of rooms they have on offer. Hotels are not required to pay Hotelchamp any fees or commissions for bookings, like they have to do with the existing booking platforms. Growth numbers indicate this model proves to be successful with hotels. Currently the Amsterdam Saas-startup's turnover increases by 77 percent each month. Hotelchamp expects an eightfold increase in subscription fees this year.Carefully selected angel investorsHotelchamp carefully selected the angel investors they approached. Among these are several well-known internet entrepreneurs. Founding partner Investion Venture Capital brings specific expertise and experience in the field of startup acceleration, which helped Hotelchamp to realise its extreme growth in such a short amount of time.Perfect team of investorsValk: "We specifically went looking for a perfect team of investors, consisting of thoroughly experienced experts in fields such as hospitality, e-commerce, media and finance. The fact that we also have three investors from the hotel industry proves that Hotelchamp is catering to an urgent demand in the hospitality industry. Hotels want more control and more direct contact with their customers, and through our technology that has become possible".

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