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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.

Article by Brittany Berger

Amazon Alexa Has Charmed Her Way to the Hospitality Industry

HospitalityTechGuru ·21 June 2018
Hotel technology spent decades catering exclusively to the staff's needs. Thanks to the commercialization of advanced tech such as AI, hotel guests finally get to enjoy the same treatment, benefiting from latest solutions in terms of both efficiency and luxury. All hail the Amazon's Echo Dot.Here's how Amazon has charmed its way to the hospitality industry top.The Echo FamilyThe super-cool AI devices that the rest of the world calls Alexa are actually all members of the Echo family. Developed by Amazon, the original Echo is a Bluetooth speaker powered by artificial intelligence that acts as a digital personal assistant, conversing with its human owners in Alexa's voice.Omitting the Bluetooth approach, Amazon has made younger members of this family more convenient and modern-looking. Dot, Plus, Show and Spot ' as they were named ' all represent a smarter generation of Echo devices that make conversation smoother with IoT, AI, NLP, and machine learning.In 2017, Echo Dot has found its way to the hospitality industry, tempting hundreds of hoteliers to install this hockey-puck-size device into their guest rooms. Thus far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with only a handful of guests asking for Alexa to be removed from the room.And this is not just any Alexa.Both the conversational interface and the artificial intelligence embedded in the Echo Dot belong to the newly developed Alexa for Business, which was created in partnership with Volara's software. Together, they help hoteliers to build an experience that is equally engaging, helpful, and convenient.Alexa for HotelsTechnology in hospitality has a straightforward purpose ' to assist management in organizing daily tasks and to make the experience more convenient for guests. Alexa for hotels is intended to do both, and the early use cases showcase not only a satisfactory performance but also a game-changing one.Because, Amazon Alexa is capable of much, much more.mycloud, a great hotel software solution, now interfaces with Alexa. The software is voice activated, and guests can simply ask Alexa for any service. In return, Alexa and mycloud will raise the request with the dedicated department and get the service delivered.For the first time ever, hotel technology has actually managed to replace staff in meeting guests' demands. As Amazon's CTO Werner Vogels states, Echo Dot is currently automating an average of 240 item and service requests and 700 guest questions about the hotel per 1,000 occupied room nights.The result: not reduced, but a completely eliminated need for the front desk services.Needless to say, the Echo Dot integrates seamlessly with modern-day hotel PMSs, thus enabling hoteliers to put concierge service on auto-pilot but still stay on top of guest requirements. Alexa boasts a knowledge base that's as large as the internet itself but also mediates between guests and the staff.For a majority of manual tasks that can be automated ' such are turning the room lights on and off, drawing the curtains, or adjusting the heat ' Alexa needs no human help. For anything else that requires an actual concierge, a guest can address her with a voice command, and she'll notify the staff.Read more at mycloud Hospitality's Blog
Article by Brittany Berger

Tips to Prevent and Manage No-shows and Cancellations

HospitalityTechGuru ·21 May 2018
At least that's how your bookers see it.Cancellations and no-shows have turned into a regular practice in the present hospitality world and at the hotelier's cost. They cause a gigantic revenue loss, aside from causing tremendous issues for relationship management, also staff booking and financial suitability. Despite the fact that eliminating them may be outlandish, there are two or three strategies that can enable you to keep easygoing guests from putting your business in critical peril.The importance of clear cancellation policiesBefore we discuss the principal strategy, Lets determine the difference between cancellation & no-show. Most guests cancel their rooms through a similar channel they've already used to book them. In the event that there's no easy and snappy approach to do that, they will choose to avoid the progression and never to show up.This leads us to the problem free user experience that must be given on all channels. Easy cancellation options hence keep an expansive number of no-shows, however regardless they don't tackle the issue of empty rooms. To kill the similar stone, hoteliers must have a clear cancellation policy.A cancellation policy is a part of the booking contract and in this manner makes the client legitimately at risk. Obviously, this applies just to strategies that are completely transparent, and that customers can read in detail before booking and formally select in through terms and conditions. That way, they are legitimately official.Pro tipConsider the possible crises that would release visitors who cancel from legitimate duties. Clearly, these are illness and demise in the family, however ought to likewise incorporate jury benefit, any type of crisis, cancelled flights, the departure date being postponed, and excess. Additionally, build up rules for taking care of them on a case-by-case basis.The deposit and cancellation fee conundrumThese approaches are great just in the event that they establish a clear cancellation time limit and charge. Most hotels enable guests to cancel off their rooms up until 24 hours before arrival; some are less adaptable and reduce that time limit to 48 or 72 hours, or to one week in peak seasons. These are generally equally effective.Cancellation fees, be that as it may, can be to some degree risky, and the same goes for deposits. As both of them can push potential guest away, numerous hoteliers choose to avoid them. The dependable guideline is to utilize fees in blend with time limits so the penalty applies just if the policy is broken.Cancellation insurance is an incredible option for this - after booking, a guest is required to make a premium payment that covers the penalty he or she would be obliged to pay in case of cancellation. At the point when the guest arrives at the property, the cancellation insurance premium is returned back to him.Pro tip Another generally utilized practice is giving discounts or extraordinary treats to guests who confirm their bookings in due time. These can be anything from a coupon for a lunch at a partner restaurant or a voucher for a free day at your spa. In the meantime, this is an incredible promoting hack to attract new visitors.Managing cancellations with hotel softwareGuest relationship management tools are utilized as a part of all guest-facing businesses, and a significant number of them are presently planned particularly considering hoteliers. These are your cloud management software systems that incorporate both hotels booking engine features and hotel check-in software functionalities.How would they help? Management software for hoteliers can establish a tough confirmation system that conveys reminders to future guests a couple of days prior to the cancellation due date. Rather than canceling the room by means of website or telephone, visitors can automatically respond to this email and confirm their arrival.In any case, this software can likewise fill in as a centralized tracking system that unifies all of your channels, in case the customer prefers to use website, email or social media for booking and cancellation. That way, you'll have everything in one place, from where you can control your calendar, installments, and policies.Pro TipIn the event that you coordinate this system with a hotel reservation booking engine, at that point you can likewise collect customer data. Regardless of whether your hotel booking engine a deposit or not, you can in any case request that your guests reveal their own data, and store it in PMS for future retargeting, follow-ups and retention tactics.Clear cancellation policies, shrewd fees choices, and PMS technology can't eradicate cancellations and no-shows, however, what they can do with most extreme effectiveness is to make a harmony between what's reasonable for your guests and what's beneficial to your business. That way, you can smile, gesture and thank your customers while never fearing that your hospitality and politeness will be taken as tolerance.
Article by Harvey Norman

Top Ten Communication Trends in Hotel Technology Innovations

HospitalityTechGuru ·11 April 2018
The communication scene has changed to empower everybody to receive the rewards of the latest technologies. In the event that you are not comfortable with these, we won't hold it against you, on the grounds that there are such huge numbers. Rather, how about we see the main 10 communication trends in the hospitality technology.Online Social Media for HoteliersVerbal exchange is the most capable type of marketing in this industry. This is the reason it has turned out to be imperative for accommodation properties to build up an ear for social media listening. Social platforms can be utilized to find out about the guest experience and rolling out vital improvements to convey better experience over time.Also, these platforms offer hoteliers an opportunity to promote their properties at extremely low costs. Regardless, social media for hotelier is the huge trend that opens new possibilities for people in the hotel business. While connecting with guests, it is vital to utilize hashtags to expand the viral potential.ChatbotsGiving data and a first-class benefit for guests all day and all night is an essential factor of customer experience today. Chatbot innovation offers new ways for hoteliers to connect with their intended interest group and increase conversion rates.Thanks to the fast improvement of innovation in this field, hotelier chatbots are free, as well as offer booking and reservation benefits other than the standard info-desk ones. We can hope to see them put without hesitation by numerous hoteliers since they don't require any coding and past specialized information. Obviously, you need to be deliberate as this can result in obnoxious experience as well. Somebody needs to monitor these discussions and be provoked to reply back to the guest.Self-ServiceSelf-service has turned into a well-known option for numerous businesses. In the wake of overcoming the customer support industry, it has achieved client benefit. People are accustomed to utilizing innovation today. This is the reason hoteliers ought to consider replacing legacy solutions for easy, simple and redundant activities in their business with automated solutions.There is an innovative solution for different guest demands. By implementing it, you won't just make your guest stay more enjoyable, however, you will likewise free your staff from these commitments and empower them to further enhance your guest experience. Fundamentally, mobile applications that guests can use to connect with services, and in addition to staff and departments.Committed Mobile AppsA committed mobile application is another approach to streamline your communication endeavours. What are the services a committed mobile application can offer to your guests? For example, they can order room service benefit without grabbing the telephone, plan a sauna or a massage, check-in or check-out, etc.Having a committed mobile application is also another extraordinary effort towards building a genuine hotel brand, one that gives benefits that meet the needs and desires of the modern traveller.Support for Smartphone'sThanks to smartphones, correspondence has never been more streamlined and available. If you need to inspire your guests, you need to do everything possible to empower them to continue their mobile phones as though they were at home.Ensure that you have the best Wi-Fi routers, sufficient network coverage on the premises, and transfer speed enough dispersed over your network hubs. Make a point to specify this on your website and social media platforms, because people nowadays include free Wi-Fi in their online search criteria. You can furnish essential Wi-Fi free with constrained bandwidth and charge for higher bandwidth capacities.In-room TechnologiesHave you perceived how the greatest airline registration looks like? People can sit back, relax, and gain access to the ideal internet connection and chargers. Make a point to launch surveys and ask your guests about their desires.It isn't just to grasp the entire new tech-savvy mantra, however, to empower the guests to engage with innovation all alone terms. Keep in mind, what is a cool gadget to somebody, is an outright need for another person. Concentrate on your target market and deliver what is expected of you.If you want to empower your guests to flawlessly communicate with you and your business, you need to consider depending on smart innovations. Smart hotel software innovation will empower your guest to connect with your services in an altogether new, captivating and memorable form.Would you come back to a hotel that recollected your favourite song and TV channel to wake up to? Obviously, you would. Furthermore, this is precisely what best hotel innovation has on the plate for hoteliers.Digital MenusFueled by spic and span accomplishments in the hotel innovation field, digital menus bring yet another change to every now and again utilized communication channel in the accommodation business - ordering. But, is there anything other digital menus offer other than the undeniable simple ordering advantage?Each order made by your guest will be stored in the local database. This data can be utilized to custom-tailor the experience for every one of your guests, subsequently empowering you to convey information-driven proposals and enable your guests to see the degree to which you to look after their prosperity. This will enable restaurants to strategically pitch and up-sell things and enhance their services, the guest's experience, and revenues.Innovation for Keyless PracticesRoom keys have been turned out to be an extremely inconvenient solution over the previous decade. This is the reason accommodation business is beginning to implement keyless in innovation. While the guests will have the capacity to open a door by means of their smartphones, you will have the capacity to get important insights into their stay and habits.Blockchain TechnologyBlockchain innovation has discovered its way into the hospitality business. Presently, it is utilized to associate hotels with guests by empowering the first decentralized markets. While this undermines some huge players in the business, for example, Booking.com and Airbnb, hoteliers consider this to be an astounding chance to be more focused on offering more moderate convenience costs.These were the best 10 communication trends in Hotel innovation. Obvious, these are set to essentially reshape the hotelier business scene. It creates the impression that none of these innovations is constrained upon hoteliers, they basically come as solutions for the needs and requests of present-day guests.
Article by Harvey Norman

Travelers Under 30: What do They Expect from Technology

HospitalityTechGuru ·10 April 2018
The hospitality industry has faced the biggest challenges when it comes to adapting to these requirements millennials have. This generation is a bit more experience focused and they tend to distance themselves from the traditional sand and sea vacation.One of the things that people under 30 like a lot is travel. From bookings to checkouts, hotel technology (such as cloud hotel management software) plays a vital role in the hospitality industry and its significance will continue to grow.Let's talk about the latest technologies applied by the hospitality industry in an attempt and bridge this gap.1. Internet of Things (IoT)Imagine entering a room and personalizing it to your specific needs in no more than 30 seconds. This is what IoT (Internet of Things) devices may bring into the hospitality industry. Hilton has already built a beta test room which includes voice control and app controls to manage various options like setting the temperature, adjusting the light and so on.Imagine having free Wifi (with the option to pay for a wifi speed boost). This will lead to seamless connectivity across devices. For example, you can use your phone to control the TV or the Boombox in your room. Hell, you can even use it as your hotel room key.Even though these kinds of rooms won't become available for the general populace in the next few years, the reactions of both competitors and consumers are very positive.2. Chatbots and AIEfficiency, availability and instant information - These three things are extremely important for hotels and other hospitality industry businesses. This is where chatbots step in to save the day. A well-made chatbot can answer all the crucial questions a potential customer might have which is especially useful during the booking process. The AI side of things allows the bot to learn and adapt it's answer, making it more reliable over time.Hotels and vacation spots get the most out of this kind of tech since they are contacted by potential guests outside their working hours, due to time zone differences, or, well, any other reason. A chatbot keeps the contact engaged and answers their questions until they are contacted by a real employee.3. Energy efficiencyAccording to Booking.com as many as 65% of worldwide travelers prefer eco-friendly lodging. Now, establishing eco-friendly conditions in a hotel and still providing a top-notch experience is a bit tricky but far from impossible. The reason why this piece of information is so big is the double value that a hotel gets out of this. On the one hand, you are getting new customers and new ways to promote your establishment; on the other hand, you save money on your energy bill. Sure it takes planning and investments. but the payoff is more than worth it.4. Wireless chargingStereotypes about millennials do exist, but when the shoe fits, it fits. To be honest, leaving a person who is used to their smartphone without access to it is like taken a wand from a wizard - This person can do wonders but not without his/her essential tool. Since Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium and agreed to add Qi charging to their future phones, it is now safe for hotels to invest in this technology.5. Chat interaction with hotel staffAs many as 39% of hotel visitors claimed to be absolutely comfortable getting in touch with hotel staff via chat. As a matter of fact, only 7% answered that they would find this form of interaction unsuitable. Some hotelier magnates like Hyatt and IHG Group have already started using third party chat apps and with great results. According to statistics provided by Statista we are going to see as many as 2.5 billion people using messaging apps to communicate which puts this transition in perspective.Yes, it seems that the future is around the corner and the hospitality industry is taking large steps to keep up. Tech is driving changes in most industries and it is no wonder that we now see the same situation here. The world is getting more connected which is a good thing for this industry - the important thing is not to lag back and adapt to new trends in due time.View Original Source
Article by Harvey Norman

The Future of Hospitality - IoT will be the Next Big Thing

HospitalityTechGuru · 5 April 2018
According to the Statista report, 42.62 billion IoT-enabled devices will be connected to the Internet by 2022. This is why more and more businesses are learning to embrace smart technology applications, especially in the hospitality industry. It isthe most successful strategy hoteliers can adopt to enhance customer service efforts.It's not hard to picture IoT in hotels because a comfortable and customized stay is the best way to improve the guest experience. But how big of an impact will IoT have in the hospitality industry in terms of high customer demands?How does IoT cater to client needs? It can do many different things such as:Customer SatisfactionIoT software is a great tool to use for anticipating customer needs and building positive relationships with them. This technology helps managers and employees better understand common customer patterns and behaviours. But it's not just that, hoteliers get a deep insight into their visitors and guests get the convenience of managing their entire experience via one digital device of their choice.Their entire journey with the hotel, from booking a room to checking out is smooth, seamless, and enabled on smartphones. But the main advantage both customers and hotels can enjoy is that IoT system applications are highly customizable. Meaning, it can be used to optimize customer service by creating a fun futuristic experience.Call-to-ActionOnce guests enter the hotel, they will receive automatic notifications regarding incentives. They will receive alerts regarding free, paid or special upgrades, as well as events being held at the hotel restaurant or bar.Virtual AssistantIoT acts as a virtual assistant and helps visitors find nearby activities and directly communicate with the staff anytime they need assistance.Personalized Customer ExperienceEvery time guests enter the room, they receive an automated personalized greeting while the room automatically switches to the last saved preference like opening the curtains, controlling the climate, playing music, and so on.In-room TabletsCustomers can use tablets to adjust room temperature, open and close curtains, access room service, look for information, book appointments, control the TV, order movies, request for extra pillows or other housekeeping services. The tablet can also turn into a VoIP phone, and schedule wake-up calls.Benefits of IoT for HoteliersAlthough an innovative customer experience sounds great, hoteliers can expect to see more benefits from IoT integration.Enhances the customer experienceFirst and foremost, by enhancing the customer experience, they can gain a significant competitive edge. Customized and quick services are an efficient way to earn customer loyalty and recommendations. Also, hotels will look innovative, comfortable, and modern at the same time which makes them more likely to attract new visitors.For example, a hotel's sound system can play pre-selected music for a particular time of the day in the background as well as in the elevators to set the desired mood. Also, the sensors can take pictures of guests entering the lobby and turn it into a personalized work of art for visitors.Optimizes the hotel expenditureSecondly, it can optimize hotel expenditures. In other words, hoteliers can note greater energy and workload savings as IoT automatically manages everything. Since the system works on specific requirements, room resources get turned off once guests step outside. Plus, the guests are able to rely more on digital devices which additionally cuts employee costs. And, best of all, the system tracks and collects real-time information such as what customers mostly buy, order, or eat to support smart business decisions.Helpful in analysisIoT can also help you draw up an analysis of your services. It enables you to see where they can be improved, what services are being used the most and what is expected of each service. This can help hotels to standardize services and bring in more features that guests will actually expect.Sync well with intuitive gadgetsAt last, it can work well with intuitive gadgets. This means that it is a worthy investment considering hoteliers can draw inspiration from it to better accommodate their guests. For instance, they can turn bathroom mirrors into an interactive display for messages, notification, etc. or use electro-responsive pillows to track the visitors' sleep cycle, blood pressure, and so on.Bottom LineThe Internet of Things will be a standard in the hospitality business. It's a service that all guests deserve, and just the right tool for hotels that they need to grow and establish market authority. With an enhanced customer experience, optimized operations, and reduced costs, hoteliers need to know that IoT is the key to long-term success.

Millennial Traveler: What do They Anticipate from Innovation?

HospitalityTechGuru · 4 April 2018
The hospitality business has confronted the greatest difficulties with regards to adjusting to these prerequisites millennial have. This generation is more experience centered and they tend to remove themselves from the traditional sand and sea vacation.One of the things that individuals under 30 like a great deal is travel. From bookings to checkouts, Wifi, free as well as high speed paid wifi, Seamless connectivity across devices like the phone to TV or boom box in room Using the phone as hotel key. Hotel software assumes a fundamental part of the hospitality business and its significance will keep on growing.We should discuss the most recent technologies connected by the accommodation business in an endeavor and bridge this gap.Internet of Things (IoT)Envision going into a room and customizing it to your particular needs in close to 30 seconds. This is the thing that IoT devices may bring into the hotel business. Hilton has effectively built a beta test room which incorporates voice control and application controls to manage different choices like setting the temperature, changing the light etc.Despite the fact that these sorts of rooms won't end up accessible for the general populace in the next couple of years, the responses of both competitors and customers are extremely positive.Chatbots and Artificial IntelligenceProductivity, accessibility and instant data - These three things are critical for lodgings and other hospitality businesses. This is the where chatbots venture in saving the day. A well-influenced chatbot to can answer all the crucial inquiries a potential customer may have which is particularly valuable amid the booking procedure. The AI side of things enables the bot to learn and adjust its answer, making it more solid after some time.Hotels and specialty lodgings get the most out of this sort of tech since they are reached by the potential customer outside their working hours, because of time zone contrasts, or, well, some other reason. A chatbot keeps the contact engaged in and answers their inquiries until the point that they are reached by a human interaction.Vitality productivityAs per Booking.com upwards of 65% of overall travelers incline toward the eco-friendly hotel. Presently, building up eco-accommodating conditions in a lodging and as yet giving a first class experience is somewhat precarious yet a long way from unimaginable. The motivation behind why this snippet of data is so enormous is the twofold esteem that lodging escapes this. From one viewpoint, you are getting new clients and better approaches to advance your business; then again, you spare cash on your energy bill. Beyond any doubt, it takes arranging and ventures. Be that as it may, the result is more than justified, despite all the trouble.Remote chargingGeneralizations about millennial do exist, yet when the shoe fits, it fits. Frankly, leaving a man who is utilized to their mobile phone without access to it resembles taken a wand from a wizard - This person can do wonders, however not without his/her essential tool. Since Apple joined the Remote Power Consortium and agreed to add Qi charging to their future smartphones, it is currently ok for hospitality business to invest in this innovation.Communication with lodging staffUpwards of 39% of hotel guests asserted to be totally happy with connecting with lodging staff through talk. Truly, just 7% addressed that they would discover this type of association inadmissible. Some hotelier magnates like Hyatt and IHG group have just begun utilizing third-party chat applications and with incredible outcomes. As indicated by measurements gave by Statista we will see upwards of 2.5 billion individuals utilizing messaging apps to impart which puts this progress in context.Indeed, it appears that what's to come is around the corner and the hospitality business is finding a way to keep up. Tech is driving changes in many businesses and it is no big surprise that we now observe a similar circumstance here. The world is getting more associated which is something to be thankful for this industry - the critical thing isn't to slack back and adjust to new patterns in due time.
Article by Harvey Norman

Easter 2018: Top Ideas for Hoteliers to Celebrate the Spring in Style

HospitalityTechGuru ·29 March 2018
Given its status as a $15 billion industry, it's no wonder thousands of businesses compete for consumer dollars during the holiday's season, as a business, though, you must make Easter be more than Easter baskets--much more! That is to say, you don't have to sell chocolate bunnies to cash in on Easter. What you do need, however, is a powerful Easter marketing strategy.Here are 10 ideas that will help you celebrate its real meaningSo, here's ways you can get your guests involved:Host Events - Many travelers prefer to spend time and enjoy the long Easter weekend with their family. Hosting exciting events and activities for all age group is important not only to score with night guest but to build the relationship in locality also.Easter Meal - If your hotel has a restaurant, hosting an Easter brunch is an easy decision. You likely already offer the special meal on regular weekends, which means all you require is a little Easter-themed spruce for the special event. Consider utilizing spring blooms in your centerpieces, including clues of pastel, and possibly collapsing the table linens into small Easter bunnies.Egg hunt - Interested in going past a traditional Sunday meal? Easter egg hunt is an excellent activity to get the family outside and moving around after filling them up with eggs Benedict. Furthermore, they can exactly as elaborate as you choose to make them. Depending on the time and resources you need to put resources into the occasion you can go as basic as hiding plastic eggs loaded with treat on-property or as complex as an off-site, technology-mediated hunt.Other thoughts - Looking for different approaches to make the occasion special for your visitors? Egg decorating and petting zoos are dependably a hit with the children (and numerous adults!). In any case, what activities you choose to offer, make sure to click pictures! They can be utilized for social media posts simply following the occasion and also in showcasing guarantee for the following year.Make a Special Package - Whatever occasions and activities you choose to offer at your Hotel, you should consider making an extraordinary Easter package to gain by the occasion. In case you're facilitating an event, incorporate tickets to it. If not, spruce up the package with Easter chocolates and breakfast at your restaurant.Promote - Once you've done all the diligent work of putting together extraordinary Easter occasion and packages, you have to promote them! Not surprisingly, special endeavors ought to incorporate strategies for social media and email.Social Media - As the event gets closer, start sharing Easter-themed content that shows how energized your property is to celebrate. This can even incorporate the background photographs or videos of staff planning for the Weekend. In addition, posts that promote your special packages and on-site activities, you could likewise hold social media contests (where followers must like and remark on your content for an opportunity to win). Invite your Facebook fans to submit their favorite Easter photos, then promise a prize to the winning entry. Ask your other fans to vote for the best photo, then give away something really cool to keep fans happy and interested. You'll also get to promote your products and services along the way. You must try these 10 effective social media tips. Email campaign - Never miss the opportunity for a good email campaign. Holidays are an incredible motivation to send a note to all guests in your database. Wish them a cheerful Easter and invite them to come down and celebrate with you.Decorate - Decorating your property is the last (and most fun!) advance for Easter weekend arrangements. The guests have committed, so now you simply need to make the place merry. Adorn the front desk and guest rooms with crisp flowers, Easter eggs, and complimentary chocolates.View Original Source
Article by Harvery Norman

Cloud PMS - A Safe Bet for Security, Liability and Payments

HospitalityTechGuru ·27 March 2018
PMS, a hotel property management software system, was traditionally defined as a platform which enables hotels to manage their front-office requirements such as billing, room assignment, booking reservations, and all the other time-consuming spreadsheet-related processes.However, this technology has evolved significantly over the years and its services now cover more than just front desk processes. Cloud hotel PMS is now considered to be a critical business solution, enabling hotel staff to deliver a smooth guest experience.In this article, you can find out more about cloud property management software, its advantages and how to choose the best option.Cloud vs. on-premisesCloud-based solutions are offered on a SaaS (software as a service) basis. Using cloud hotel software doesn't require hosting, maintaining or upgrading a server. Everything you need is a stable internet connection, and you will be able to access all of your data in real time, from any kind of a device, anywhere, anytime.Not only are cloud options much more convenient and cost-effective than the on-premises solutions, but they are also more secure, as security vulnerabilities and risks are significantly reduced when running applications via the internet.Enterprise-grade servers ensure that there are adequate firewalls, SSL, multiple levels of authentication, data encryption, intruder alerts and real-time data backup across regions to ensure business continuity.An intuitive UI and simple work-flows with complex back-ends ensure that the learning curve is smooth. The web-based design of cloud hotel software decreases the need for employee training - every member of the staff who has at least some knowledge about the internet will find it easy and intuitive.Some other benefits of cloud solutions also include:Flexibility - Cloud-based software systems can be programmed automatically to adjust to new features and updates. The interface can be customized, allowing your workers to choose any features that might seem useful.Affordability - While on-premises solutions require costly regular maintenance, cloud solutions don't require any additional labor and hardware costs, making them much more affordable.Increase in ADR and RevPAR - With cloud hotel PMS, hotels are able to manage rates and allocation of rooms to different distribution channels with a goal to help maximize rates, occupancy and revenue.Integrations - Cloud-based software allows better and quicker integrations with other apps. Therefore, with cloud PMS, more services can be used or availed by the hotel.Cloud hotel PMS advantagesThe guest experience involves more than just choosing a travel destination and the hotel to stay in - it includes booking interactions, engagement with the hotel staff, in-room experience and giving feedback on social media platforms.Because of this, hoteliers are now challenged with offering a seamless guest experience while maintaining an effective business. That is why many of them are deciding to implement cloud property management software in their daily operations, as it enables them to achieve the best possible results both in terms of their business and the experience the guest desire.There are numerous benefits of these cloud-based systems, and we will focus on some of the most important ones:Better and faster communication: Automated confirmation letters, re-arrival information, recommendations and communication during the stay, and other channels of communication like SMS, chatbots and other communication mediums - these are all benefits you will experience.Improved check-in/check-out capabilities - Your staff will be able to check guests in or out, provide guest services and assign rooms whenever there is an internet connection available.Improved housekeeping efficiency - The efficiency of housekeeping can be improved significantly with instant updates received whenever a guest checks out of their room. This enables greater flexibility when it comes to the room management, and the identification of room-maintenance requirements, making sure the rooms are in perfect condition.Integrated systems - PMS systems enable you to connect financial processes and operations by making the best use of the prebuilt integrations to payment gateways, accounts payable, accounts receivable, property infrastructure devices, and hotel industry applications.Improved customer data management - These software solutions allow you to centralize all the customer data and thus improve the accuracy and quality of guest profiles. This contributes to you developing a deeper understanding of your customers' buying patterns, in order to come up with better-targeted services.Revenue management - These tools offer features for rate management for semi-automated and manual revenue management and options for setting rates.How to choose the best option?After getting a clearer insight into how cloud hotel software can improve your business operations, it's time to make the right decision, which is not always easy, considering that there is a vast number of vendors nowadays. This is why we will provide you with some elements you should focus on before making a purchase:Cost - It's certainly important to have a system that will streamline your workflow, but the price plays an important role, too. Although cloud-based solutions are already quite affordable, you should take advantage of free trials nevertheless, to see which option suits your needs best.Integration - Your hotel PMS needs to be able to integrate with the different systems that you are using. For instance, it is important that your PMS has the ability to connect with a Channel Manager. Integration is of a crucial importance, as any system that you are using specializes in its own field of work.Features - You need to make sure that the check in/check out process is simple, that reservations are displayed well, and that the system can store all of the guest information. Except for these, it's important that your cloud PMS can provide reporting and analytics.Set up time - You should go for a solution that is intuitive to use and simple to set up, as it will make the transition to the new system painless for you and your employees. The majority of cloud PMS systems excel at this, as they don't require any complex downloads.Support and training - You should always choose a cloud hotel software system that offers 24/7 support, meaning that any of the problems you may encounter can be solved in a timely manner. Moreover, your system should provide ongoing training, so that you and your employees don't have a hard time when first starting to use the software. Support and training are also valuable for when you need to add some new features.Innovations - It is always important to check the future roadmap to see what's cooking in the PMS kitchen. New features and new innovations are what drives this market forward.To sum up, cloud hotel property management software is simply a must in today's hospitality industry. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, provide your guests with a high-quality service and increase your profits, cloud-based PMS is an irreplaceable tool for you.View Original Source
Article by Norman Harvery

GDPR, the New Regulation for Personal Data in 2018

HospitalityTechGuru ·26 March 2018
GDPR, what is it and why is it important for the hospitality sector?EU and United Kingdom currently are governed by Data protection act of 1988, this law was enacted following the 1995 data protection law of the EU, which was created much before the internet and cloud that allowed ways to share data. GDPR regulations will provide people more control over how their personal data is used, today many companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, other social media and marketing companies swap user data to provide services and GDPR has been designed to protect all EU citizens' privacy. GDPR will protect all information related to name, a picture, an email address, credit card information, banking details, timeline posts on social media websites, medical information, or a computer IP address.What is GDPR?The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is a most important regulation of the EU data protection law that will unify and strengthen data protection for individuals in the European Union. The European commission first published GDPR in the year 2012 and following 4 years of discussions, it was adopted in April 2016. This regulation will replace the existing data protection act, With GDPR in from 25th May 2018 will signify the major changes to the data protection law and harsh penalties to those who don't comply with this regulation.What will be the impact of GDPR on the Hotel Industry?The Hotels business is considered as one among the most exposed to data threats, according to Verizon 2016 investigations, data breach report - The Hospitality industry is accounted for the second largest share of security breaches, when it comes to lost cards following a data breach. This isn't a surprise with guests handing over card details & hotels processing information on a daily basis that attracts highly motivated financial criminals. Hotel software's will need to adhere to new GDPR rules and provide parameters along with access to management and IT admins to purge data that guest does not want hotel to retain. Things to consider before adapting the regulationOne of the Primary issues with a hotel is they need to deal with data discovery. Hotels receive guest payment card information through a website, phone, email at the time of checkout, SMS and WhatsApp chats, and fax etc. and this data has been often available in multiple locations. When the management is aware of where and what information is stored, they will be able to process the information to protect it.Then, Hoteliers need to secure and compile their website. The business must be having access to data stored, also they must have the ability to change or delete this information. Also, they must prove to relevant authorities their use of system activity through logs in order to track and oversee action to their network resources when necessary.Hotels should now become more cautious of their third-party partners, so they don't prove a threat to Hotels business in terms of data protection. An important regulation of GDPR is that data processors are captured by the regulations as well as data controllers. For example, if a Hotel, as a data controller is outsourcing the process of data to a third party who is not GDPR compliant, the hotel will be held responsible if any data breach occurs. Current credit card sharing practices between OTA's and hotel and other third-party service providers will need to change drastically.In order to comply effectively with GDPR regulation, it is vital to conduct regular staff training on how to securely handle card information. Educate staff, it's unsafe to write down or email card details and sensitive information. They must also be advised on how to create strong passwords.Under GDPR act, if you find your Hotel is attacked by a security breach, this breach must be reported to the authorities and all stakeholders with 72 hours of its discovery.Will GDPR only apply within the European Union?Although the fact that it's an EU regulation, GDPR act will apply to any organization, regardless of the location which is processing or holding EU citizens personal data.This regulation is causing some confusion for British Hoteliers who do not hold any EU data or do not operate their business overseas, Given the large uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The British Government announced that all UK companies including Hotels need to comply with the regulation regardless of Britain exiting the EU.What if I am not compliant?If there is complaint received by an EU Citizen, the penalties are Harsh for not complying with GDPR. The maximum fine is set to 20 million Euros, or 4% of the annual global turnover (whichever is the greater). However, this loss can be easily avoided if the hotel leaves enough time to efficiently adapt to the regulation.Hotels should start complying as soon as possibleThe reality is that hotel operators tend to keep customer information in several different places like central reservation system, web booking engines, Property management system, point of sale, e-mails, and credit card authorization forms. Simply put, in there are too many places where the data is vulnerable to theft and intrusions are possible.The need for GDPR is largely technology driven, today's guest expects a seamless experience and hence more and more technologies are sharing data, thus giving rise to data swap and possible intrusions and hacks.It is important for organizations to start complying with the regulations as soon as possible in order to ensure they are prepared for the enforcement before May 2018.Important facts and actual policy implementation requires.Internal processing - Business must provide detailed information on the need to process personal data and how long they plan to keep it. This procedure involves organized retention policy, so the business knows the status of such information.A Hotel must keep system logs, user activity logs, the technical records and obtain the necessary certificates to prove it is protecting data. These help businesses to show the supervisory and regulatory authorities the important mechanism is in place.Hotels need to include an option on the websites that mentions "opting in," which helps hotels to store guest data. Also, they must explain the section and process to enable guest to access, modify and delete their data. This poses a significant threat to information when it is help in different places.We highlight few things to consider while planning for improving securityMalware was one of the major threat and reason for 94% of breaches in the Hospitality sector. So install better Anti-Malware security, update virus definitions on a regular basis and maintain logs.When it comes to GDPR compliance, conduct regular staff training on how to securely handle card information. Educate staff, it's unsafe to write down or email card details and sensitive information. They must also be advised on how to create strong passwords.Payment gateways are one of the primary ways to store guest card details. Most hotel properties need a third party vault provider. By using these vaults, the sensitive information is removed from your custody & you are given a tokenization system that can be used for billing. By using this integration, you move the risk of storing data to a third party who specializes in doing that, and have all security controls in place to keep the sensitive information safe.SummaryAll Hotels must be prepared and comply with GDPR regulation before the deadline date, i.e., 25th May 2018.GDPR act is applicable to all the business, regardless of location who handles EU citizen Data & non-compliance will attract hefty penalties.This act is applicable for business in the UK, despite the aftermath of Brexit.Data processors are also under the radar by the regulation.Certainly adapting your Hotel to comply with new regulations will be difficult. But the outcome the benefits will improve the Hotels key performance and allow management to know where all of their confidential information is stored and ensure their customer gets a secure and satisfying service.Get subscribed to technologies that are PCI compliance and get trained so they can avoid data breaches and hefty financial penalties."Guests nowadays care about their privacy and they expect hoteliers to respect that".
Article by Norman Harvery

Where Is Hotel Technology Going?

HospitalityTechGuru ·20 March 2018
Although a lot of people have their own opinions about hotel-related technology, the fact remains that new solutions can improve the business, improve management, increase productivity and revenues; and, well, this is what matters.One of the biggest reasons why people in the hospitality business aren't so open to new technology solutions, computers and robotics is because their business relies on "the human touch" to provide great service and make their customers happy. A lot of them fear that they will lose their human touch and not be able to create one-on-one interactions with their customers.The technologies we will cover in this article are designed to give guests a better experience. It is the direction in which hotel technology is heading. If you think about it, implementing it can only help hotels improve their service.Making hotel management easierToday a lot of hotel operators are adopting modern hotel PMS and newer technologies that streamline all of their operations, help them manage their finances more effectively and deliver their guests amazing hospitality. Managing a hotel is a non-stop commitment, especially where a manager needs to take care of multiple properties.With cloud-based hotel PMS managers can access important information and perform actions whenever needed. By accessing a hotel PMS, a manager can review performance, change rates, and monitor reservations, no matter where he or she is located. They can rest assured that their system security is top tier, and at same time, they get better technology at a lower price.There is no need for manual paperwork, organization or using multiple systems to get the job done. This means that managers are faster and ready to deliver their guests the needed results in a timelier manner. A single, cloud-based and integrated hotel PMS can allow operators to connect with all hotels and coordinate between them effectively, to give their respectable guest the experience they need.IoT smart roomsMany hotels are considering implementing IoT devices, as they are very cost-effective and can improve your guests' experience. The guests need to feel like the room knows them and like they know it as well, and with this kind of platform they are able to voice control everything in their room, use a device to control lighting and temperature, and connect these devices to their smartphones to do things.One of the biggest factors for improving the level of comfort is to digitalize the whole experience for the guests and allow them to do things like they are used to doing in their everyday life. Additionally, there are many virtual room services where customers can order what they need or address issues through their mobile devices.Not only does this provide a better experience to users, but the concierge is also quicker to cater to their needs. Some hotels have already started implementing interactive elements within their rooms, where guests can move or adjust things with their gestures. For example, Smart TVs have been around for a long while, and they do just that - you can make a gesture with your hand use it as a remote.,There are many similar hotel technology solutions and although you cannot implement all of them, it's important to understand in which direction the industry is heading to improve the experience of their guests using technology.AI and machine learningSince these technologies started being applied in different solutions and became more readily available to the general public, many industries have implemented them. This is why machine learning and artificial intelligence is also a hot prospect in the hotel industry.A lot of organizations and brands are experimenting and planning on implementing AI in their hotels. There are already many chatbots that hotels use to help their current and potential customers. However, as AI is getting better and more complex, there is more potential for handling complicated tasks, and this means that hotels could be able to reduce their overhead operational costs.On the other hand, AI can be used to gather valuable data from guests. When using a management system that is integrated with all the devices in a hotel and with an AI, it can collect data, sort it and draw valuable conclusions. The more it learns about guests the easier it will be for the AI to figure out new actions that can make their experience better.These are the hotel technology trends that are expected to reign supreme in 2018. As with any other industry, technology can offer great innovations that can help brands increase their profits and make their organizations more efficient from within.
Article by Harvery Norman

The Future of Hospitality: PMS and the Rise of New Technologies

HospitalityTechGuru ·19 March 2018
Few years ago, we were excited when a hotel staff bought us the daily newspaper to our room and offered to wake us up toward the beginning of the day, also inviting us with sweet treats and a warm and kind smile. Today, all we need is the Wi-fi password.As new innovations rise, our necessities and desires continue changing, influencing hoteliers to take their guest experience to the next level and give the most ideal guest experience. The key to an extraordinary hospitality service is always has been personalized experience, yet these days that means something altogether unique than ever before. Hence, the future of hospitality business is certainly here, so read on to explore the ways the hospitality business is grasping that future.Hotel PMS as the Backbone of Effective Hotel ManagementRelatively every hotel today depends on a PMS (Property Management System) to operate and streamline the majority of their day by day activities and steadily enhance their business. A PMS has turned out to be one of the must-have tools for hospitality business with regards to manage daily task, particularly monotonous ones that require excessive time.Without a reliable hotel system, Hotel supervisors and other staff would spend the majority of their time stuck in heaps of reports or attempting to discover their way through in a pack of Excel sheets. Without an appropriate hospitality system, they would not have much time to focus on providing guest with the quality service customized benefit & personalized service.Yet, new and rising innovations are opening the doors to plenty more opportunity for productive and compelling Hotel management. They are demonstrating that there is a considerable amount of potential beyond a PMS system.This certainly doesn't mean that Hotel PMS has turned out to be outdated. An incredible opposite, keeping in mind the end goal is to take full advantage of Hotel software, you have to integrate it with new technologies that are changing the hospitality business. If you do that, you will rethink guest experience and boost your revenue, taking your business to a whole new level of success.Integrating PMS with Other software's and innovationsIntegrating your hotel PMS with other software systems is a critical step for making your data more usable. When you have information in large numbers, it can be really difficult to understand everything and deal with all of data you have available to you.When you integrate your lodging system with other important systems that depend on emerging innovations, you will approach dynamic dashboards that will empower you to have a reasonable knowledge to all of your information. You will have a total perspective of your guests, knowing precisely what they expect, enabling hoteliers to adequately deal with pricing, promoting, segmenting according to demand.Besides, you will have the capacity to build solid relationship with the guests and motivate their loyalty, since hoteliers can integrate hotel software with real-time communication tools. Moreover, you will have access to reports, analytics, and guest reviews and ratings, which will enable you to enhance your service and drive more guests.You can incorporate your Hotel PMS with a POS, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) framework, CRS (Central Reservation System), Payment gateway, Revenue Management System, Sales and Catering System, Wi-Fi, Mobile Check-In Check-Out program, door lock, accounting system etc.The Rise of Artificial Intelligence and Chabot'sArtificial intelligence (AI) is totally redefining the hospitality business, empowering hoteliers to deal with various functions that require lot of time and effort. AI-driven systems rapidly and effectively complete those functions, giving precise information reports and adjusting to guest interactions, with the goal that they can give magnificent customized service and tailor everything to particular guest needs.Incorporating your Hotel PMS program with AI system will save you lots of time and money, increase your effectiveness, eliminate human errors, and result in exceptional guest service.The most widely recognized AI application in the hospitality business is chat-bots. Chat-bots are amazing with regards to guest benefit, as they can speak with humans progressively by means of online chat or direct messaging services, giving them moment and pertinent solutions to their inquiries 24/7Accordingly, chat-bots are totally important to hoteliers; as they free up time for the staff and provide fast response that customer anticipate. Additionally, they give them customized benefit and fundamentally improve their experience, since they depend on AI, that is, NLP (Natural Language Processing) and machine learning.The Power of MobileMobile innovations are crucial for the fate of hospitality business, since they quickly engage in hotel guests and provide them with various choices for astounding hotel experience. Mobile is particularly important to millennial, as they need to utilize their smart phones to book a hotel room, pay for the room, check-in and check-out, order room benefit, peruse amenities, and to communicate with supervisors.Empowering hotel guests to consistently utilize their smart phones for all available in-room services is the thing that can definitely enhance their hotel experience. It can enable them to frame an unimaginable impression of a hotel that would make their stay incredible, as well as influence them to need to return again and appreciate the hotel's faultless service.Versatile combination with your accommodation software opens the door to significantly a larger number of potential outcomes than check-in and check-out of your hotel. It empowers your guest to peruse through the menu on their mobile phones and effortlessly make a request to be delivered to their room.They can also utilize their smart phone for all the in-room entertainment (TV, DVD, etc.), and additionally to pay for the in-room services and speak with your staff progressively. They never need to leave the space to get the service they require, which is uncommonly advantageous and exactly what travelers these days anticipate.Empowering mobile access to hotel PMS is essential for your staff also, as they can get ongoing data on their devices and fundamentally enhance guest experience. They don't need to be attached to the reception or some other spot keeping in mind the end goal to convey quick and excellent service. They can get to your hotel PMS from anyplace and take orders, charge each in-room service, manage housekeeping, manage restaurant service, and much more.This is the reason hotels need to convey mobile friendly systems, and also build mobile apps for considerably more prevalent experiences. For example, Hilton Hotels and Resorts have a mobile application that empowers their guests to book their stay, make room demands, checkout specials, and even unlock the door.However, another smart hotel programming integration that each hotelier ought to think about WhatsApp Business. It is an Android application worked for a consistent collaboration with customers, and it is ideal for sending welcoming messages to each hotel guest, introducing them with all the services you offer, giving them brisk answers all time, and giving access to your business profile that exhibits your website, address and email. This application goes past mobile in that you can send and get messages on your work area.As should be obvious, new advancements offer incredible opportunities for making a ultimate guest experience. The eventual fate of hospitality definitely goes way beyond a hotel PMS, yet hoteliers ought not just look beyond it, but instead connect it with all the exceptional tech options that are rapidly taking the hotel experience to an unheard of level.However, the human touch still remains the most critical factor for success, so finding the right balance between innovation and human touch ought to dependably be the best need of each and every Hotelier.
Article by Harvery Norman

Drive Customer Satisfaction and Direct Bookings with Artificial Intelligence

HospitalityTechGuru ·28 February 2018
The use of artificial intelligence for optimizing both guest experience and hotel processes is a popular trend that many industries began to adopt in 2017. But this year AI will dominate the market, especially in the hospitality scene.According to Hotel Management recommendations, it's important to start preparing and developing an AI strategy to take effective action toward more personalized customer care. After all, it's in the best interest of both clients and hotels, since Kalibri Labs' analysis shows that direct bookings or bookings via official hotel websites bring higher profitability for at least 9%.Why Direct Bookings Matter?Hospitality is a business in service of the people. Introducing a third-party for collaboration and communication between clients and a hotel can only lead to misunderstandings that could damage the hotel's reputation.By choosing to induce direct bookings, the hospitality business chooses to better understand its clients and enhance the customer service, as well as to:Encourage repeat visitsProvide more information and options to target customersIncrease customer loyaltyReduce service costsImprove brand valueAmplify the quality of service via mobile-led customer experienceWhat is Hotel Booking Software?A hotel artificial intelligence software is a reservation system that hotels implement for processing secure online reservations made directly on the official hotel's website or through hotel ads, campaigns, etc. The special benefit is that the system can be synced with Facebook as well, so that you can provide guests the convenience of reserving rooms via social media accounts. The hotel booking software is an ideal tool for small hotel managers who want to grow the business and increase their bookings. However, the majority of large hotel establishments use it as well, to sell rooms to capacity and to appeal to a worldwide audience. In addition to direct bookings online and through social media, the system is also able to provide additional resources to customers such as high-operating hotel representatives.How Can Hotel Automation Software Boost Direct Bookings?There are a couple of efficient ways the hotel automation system can help to maximize direct bookings. Among many software perks, you can take advantage of:The Ideal Booking Solution. Many hoteliers miss out on the booking opportunities when real-time booking is not available. However, the hotel automation software allows you to verify the availability and rate of the hotel room(s) for a particulate date. In other words, customers can immediately book available rooms and you don't have to lose booking opportunities ever again.Flexibility. Thanks to the booking engine, clients can search, select, book, and arrange the payment process within minutes, while the system automatically sends the booking confirmation to users.24/7 Availability. The software reservations are available to customers around the clock. This increases the booking chances and assures clients that the hotel is always at their service.Elimination of human errors. Third-party service providers and traditional booking processes can lead to booking cancellations and customer dissatisfaction, due to unforeseen errors with reservations. But with the use of hotel AI software, the guests can examine all reservation details before the checkout, making the bookings more accurate and free of human errors.Commission-free tool. Another advantage of automated direct bookings is that there are no commission fees. In addition, hotel managers get full control of their pricing.Reduction of employee efforts. Since the web booking program is linked with the PMS system, the whole booking process is automated and doesn't require any staff efforts. Plus, this means that there is no room for double bookings or similar issues to arise.Customer data. The software collects and holds an array of customer information that hotels can use to optimize their marketing campaigns. With an in-depth insight into your clients' personal information, you can create more personalized and alluring offers, thus increasing the rate of bookings and lead conversion.Tying Direct Booking with Pop-Ups. Once on a hotel's website, potential guests can be alerted via pop-ups about the cheaper rates and affordable booking opportunities. This is a powerful attention-grabbing tool that helps to further increase the number of direct bookings.Website Incentives. Along with the pop-up, you can offer incentives for direct booking, such as room upgrades, free room service and more, to boost the chances of someone booking a room.Mobile Bookings. The hotel booking engine also allows mobile optimization for direct booking via smartphones. This is yet another benefit for hotels, considering that the majority of the population uses mobile or tablet devices for booking their travel accommodations today.Adopting hotel booking software means investing in customer satisfaction and your brand's development. While the customers get to enjoy the convenience of 24/7 fast and easy booking arrangements, small hotels can gain the much-needed competitive edge.All in all, this system improves the efficiency, reputation, and quality of service, which is why it will soon become the industry standard and a must-have tool for growing hospitality businesses.
Article by Harvery Norman

How the Blockchain will Change the World of Hotel Distribution

HospitalityTechGuru ·23 February 2018
Adopting the blockchain platform as a means of distribution is expected to lower the costs hotels endure directly and indirectly. But switching from the current system and traditional distribution channels is another challenge that lies ahead of hotel managers and their marketing teams.The Cost of Blockchain:As hoteliers consider the benefits of switching their distribution systems to a blockchain platform, they also need to think about the cost of establishing an innovative system. This means hiring a new team of technicians, administrators, and experts who are equipped with the needed knowledge to operate the new technology.The blockchain is a structure of financial data to keep records of financial transactions. Each transaction is safely kept and no one gets to tamper with it. The blockchain has created or contributed to the creation of a new type of the internet. Where information is shared and distributed, rather than copied, digital data is becoming more available thus changing the game for a lot of industries. The information on the blockchain is always updated and reconciled, creating a decentralized network for all data to exist. Since the records kept are easily verified and virtually 100% public, hotel businesses and guests have access to all sorts of data at any given point in time. No single entity has precise control over the blockchain and this means that all parties have the same power to access relevant data. Moreover, it has no point of failure, which contributed to raising its digital value to billions of dollars.Blockchain as a Payment Method:As permanent records of data and payments are kept, both buyers and sellers are left with a lot of benefits. There is no room for hackers or unauthorized parties to access any data. This also means that all records are not to be deleted in case of an error. Buyers, or guests in the hotel business, will be able to check on the authenticity of a seller at any point.The blockchain is one of the trends that we witness as the world goes cashless. Hotel guests prefer such methods of payments as they are safer and more convenient especially when they are travelling away from home. With only 24% of people now preferring to pay in cash, the blockchain among other cashless technologies is on the rise. Hoteliers will have to accept bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies if they want to stay accessible.How Does the Block Chain Affect Hotel Distribution?In a highly competitive market, the distribution costs of hotels are always rising creating bigger challenges for hoteliers to face and overcome. This is why the need to look for, adopt and master new distribution technologies is more than just an alternative.Hotel businesses pay large commissions which increase their distribution costs in order to land more bookings. Such costs and commissions differ from one distribution channel to another but are always depriving hotels of their rightful revenues. With no other options, hotels can do absolutely nothing but agreeing to pay these amounts of money in order to stay in business.Large chains pay 15% in commission to OTAs, while independent hotels pay as much as 25% due to the lack of bargaining power. Since most bookings are made this way, hoteliers are left defenseless, sacrificing almost 25% of their revenues in order to secure more bookings. Metasearch is another expensive route to go especially for independent hotels that pay as much as 30% in commission for bookings that enable them to make more money. The amounts paid typically decrease for large chains since they naturally have access to more and better distribution channels. In other words, independent hotels who are actually striving to compete with the big players in the industry are actually faced with the biggest challenges. Although in the past, hoteliers depended on traditional travel agencies in order to secure more bookings, the commissions paid now are making this route rather questionable. The high-end large chain hotels pay almost 20% of their revenues while independent hotels pay 25% for travel agent bookings. These costs should turn such distribution channels obsolete. As a result, hoteliers need to think of alternative ways that will help them run their businesses successfully.Will Hoteliers Accept Blockchain as an Experiment?Independent hotels are going to represent the biggest pool for blockchain distribution since they typically pay a lot more through traditional distribution channels. However, there will be the cost of installing the new technology that hoteliers need to consider before giving up traditional ways altogether. This will include hiring the right talent, investing in new tools and training the right people to work on the blockchain platform to maximize profit. Since the bitcoin will disturb the medium for OTAs and other big players in the hotel business, hoteliers are expecting to face some resistance. However, most experts agree that it will be a win-win situation for hotels and OTAs. Only time will tell how all parties will utilize and benefit from the blockchain.
Article by Harvery Norman

How Digital and Human Factors Contribute to Improving the Customer Experience

HospitalityTechGuru ·22 February 2018
Because of this, it is important to start examining the potential effects that technology might have on each and every aspect of our lives. All the businesses now are quickly becoming completely automated, so we must ask ourselves how this affects our customers.In this article, we will tackle the subject of digital vs. human factors when it comes to enhancing customer experience. Read on to discover the best ways to ensure the ultimate satisfaction of your customers and achieve the success you are aiming for.Human factor in the digital worldTechnology has greatly changed the expectations of consumers, so companies are trying to use it in every way that they can, to both facilitate their work and to achieve customer satisfaction. However, that doesn't mean that the human factor should be overlooked. In fact, it is strongly recommended not to lose sight of just how the human factor is important for customer experience.According to Forrester, "companies should put human needs over technology, bring innovation into the heart of the business, rely on KPIs that make sense to what you are trying to achieve, and strike a balance between customer needs and those of employees and society".Although it is not entirely possible to accurately predict future developments in the world of technology, it is obvious even now that, in many areas of life, machines will replace humans. Even the hospitality industry is not safe with the recent developments in AI.Having said that, it is probably safe to assume that humans will still prefer to interact with other humans instead of chatbots or actual robots as nothing can replace empathy, compassion and understanding, which is something machines are incapable of. From this point of view, humans are irreplaceable when it comes to dealing with customers directly.Digital factorsWhen we talk about digital factors in the context of customer experience, we are, of course, referring to a number of technologies designed to automate dealing with clients and make the overall customer experience better. For instance, hotel managers might implement hotel reputation software to help them get an insight into their customer experience and improve their reputation and online presence.Another great example is hotel PMS which is nowadays used for a wide range of functions such as booking reservations, billing, food and drinks operations, housekeeping management, revenue management and anything else that might affect online hotel reputation management.Apart from software solutions, digital POS (Point of sale) systems have become increasingly popular in the last few years. It is said to be one of the most effective marketing methods that can help you provide your audience with engaging content related to your brand or services.Digital POS has turned out to be a great solution for all kinds of industries, as it offers numerous benefits, such as:Seamless integration - Digital POS systems can integrate with your accounting systems and manage various kinds of data.Streamlining payments - Instead of having to go through a time-consuming process when it comes to payments, this system enables you to process transactions the moment they happen.Reduction of human error - Having to track your inventory manually can be a real drag. However, with the help of digital POS, you can track sales in real time as they happen, without involving any manual work.Customer relations - Digital POS enables you to improve your customer experience by maintaining adequate staff and stock.Distribution to online channels - It allows easier distribution to online channels. Having a direct distribution channel helps you to sell your services or products directly to the end users, without the need of a middleman.Services and facilities via mobile - When it comes to in-room entertainment, more and more customers prefer to rely on their mobile devices. Radio, television and other forms of entertainment provided by the hotel are becoming obsolete to the customers as they can stream videos and music on their own devices. One survey found that up to 55% of customers said that the availability of mobile content has an impact on their decision to stay.As you can clearly see, the options for improving the customer experience digitally are practically limitless as there are many more software systems designed specifically to deliver a seamless customer experience.Finding the right balanceIn conclusion, when we learn how both human and digital factors contribute to customer experience, it is safe to conclude that the best option is the right mix between these two. Although hoteliers rely on technology to make sure their clients' desires are fulfilled, the importance of the human connection cannot be emphasized enough. The quality of interactions your clients have with your staff impacts how they will rate your customer service.According to Marko Vucinic, Senior Vice President and Acting Head of Hotels and Hospitality Group at JLL Middle East and North Africa, "Some hoteliers want to have technology features because that's what people increasingly expect, but they need to maintain a human factor as that's what guests are paying for. Hoteliers need to figure out the right balance for their particular product and decide which functions can be automated".Moreover, we have to realize that the goal of technology is to contribute to the overall customer experience, without replacing human interaction, which still remains invaluable. Digital factors add up to the experience of the guests, while human factors turn a great experience into an even better one.

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