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Michael Blake

Technology continues to advance in the 21st century with an increasing expectation that industries stay up-to-date on cutting-edge trends. The fourth industrial revolution we're moving into is making a monumental shift to embrace: intelligent personal assistants, augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. We've seen hotels already dip their toes in these subjects with voice controls in the guestroom, virtual reality tours in the pre-booking process and delivery robots moving through hotel hallways. This article will zero in on the benefits and uses of AI as well as a look toward the future. Read on...

Robert Rauch

Today's primary travel market is no longer Matures or Baby Boomers. It is Millennials. How can we keep up with this changing landscape of mobile technology, younger travelers and today's booking patterns? We must use comprehensive personalized content, a loyalty plan that includes customer relationship management (CRM) and optimize our marketing spend by building a community of travelers. We as hoteliers need to think like a customer. And today's customer is increasingly likely to use a mobile phone to do everything. Assuming we all have web sites that are optimized for mobile, do we have a compelling story? Read on...

Derek Peterson

Whether you've been in the hotel industry for a few months or a few decades, you know that technology has had a significant impact on the guest experience. Online bookings, mobile check-ins, hotel apps and the prevalence of social media have fundamentally changed the hospitality industry at an unprecedented rate. IT is now front and center to business operations and a top priority for large chain establishments and mom and pop hoteliers alike. In the years ahead, technology will continue to exert its massive influence on hospitality, with the launch of 5G playing a lead role. 5G represents a paradigm shift in connectivity that will catapult hotels into a new era of guest services and operations. Read on...

Luke Pfeifer

How do guests want to interact with your brand? It used to be we focused on feedback from the guest after they departed to correct any issues before they told friends and family at gatherings. Then it changed to capturing their feedback before departing so they didn't go home and post unfavorable reviews on social platforms and travel review sites. Now of course, with more mobile, technology-minded guests, they can post feedback instantly, perhaps before they've had a chance to understand the entire situation. All the more the reason why hotels and resorts today must be incredibly responsive, in real-time. Read on...

Ahmad Ouri

The bells and whistles of Connected Room devices are hard not to notice. There are machines literally calling out to you by name. The clamorous attention is well-deserved as the technology has immense possibilities for functionality, ease of use, and work efficiency. But how can your hotel keep from investing in shiny promises that don't deliver or are destined for a museum slot next to the Betamax player? Follow these key adoption practices to get the most value from Connected Room and ‘wow' guests with new technology. Read on...

Todd Davis

As technology improves, hotels must often re-assess their current technology to see if it stacks up to their needs and to the competition. A common example is switching from a premise-based PMS to a cloud-based system. Taking advantage of the increased revenue opportunities and savings that come from modernizing your hotel management software is essential for any size property. If it's time to upgrade your PMS, you may have a list of questions for any vendor you consider. Here are the answers to some of the top questions hoteliers should ask before switching to a new PMS. Read on...

Scott  Watson

Going mobile isn't just for hotel guests. Mobile technology has rapidly grown into the perfect solution for the busy hotelier. Mobile-powered hoteliers have the freedom to get out from behind the computer screen to interact with associates and guests, while still feeling connected to the continuous flow of data that is critical in making informed decisions that contribute to a hotel's success. And when it comes to organizing and making sense of big data, smart back-office service providers are developing mobile tools to simplify the process of managing hotel operations and putting financial data in the palm of your hand. Read on...

Scott Schaedle

At the heart of the hospitality industry's tech-driven evolution, one truth remains: customer service reigns. The challenge for hotels, then, becomes navigating the current of mobile technology to keep up with the demands of today's modern traveler while bridging the gap between hotel management, staff and guests - all in the name of white-glove hospitality. Increasing guest satisfaction doesn't start with the guest, but rather the internal players that shape the guest experience, whether they're guest-facing or not. Today's travelers operate in real-time, so your teams should too. Read on...

Joey Yanire

Hotel guests today know that technology is available to identify them and where they are, what they are interested in, as well as who their friends are. So, they expect their hotel to also know who they are. There are multiple systems that can communicate to provide this recognition, but most properties are not able to convert this data into personalized service. This lack of guest identification costs hotels millions of dollars in lost business as guests continuously explore new hotel brands and independents to find the recognition and personal experience they expect. When guests feel welcome they value their stay, become loyal clients, and generate revenue. Most properties have the capability to provide a personalized experience if they simply combine the data at their fingertips. Read on...

Teri Howe

An incredible meal will be forgotten if there are mistakes or delays during service. The most beautiful property will be forgotten if busy staff are ‘missing in action' and inadvertently test guests' patience too far.One need not remind hotel executives of the criticality of continually evaluating our vision - and execution - of guest service. This is part in the DNA of industry leaders. A less common trait of this same group is an appetite for exploring technologies that might accelerate or enhance the ability to deliver a quality, personal, exceptional guest experience. Hospitality traditionally trails other industries in adoption of - and the creativity around - new technologies. Read on...

Tom O'Rourke

In the hotel industry, we are so busy talking about selling more rooms, more food and more beverages that we often overlook how effective the channels we use to market these offerings actually are. Many hotels still use outdated and ineffective marketing channels. Mobile applications provide hoteliers with a totally new channel through which they can interact with their guests on a more personal level, which increases guest satisfaction and loyalty as well as hotel revenues. Mobile apps offer countless opportunities to connect with guests that were not possible before the 2008 debut of the App Store on iTunes and subsequent adoption of mobile applications by smartphone users. In the past seven years, mobile app technology has exploded and hotels are set to benefit from it. Read on...

Felix Boos

Are you approaching customer feedback reactively, trying to patch up holes in order to prevent damage to your reputation? Or, are you using it as a source of information to help you become more profitable? If the latter, then you need to know and understand the different channels for feedback, and select and combine them according to your needs. The tools to measure customer experience and satisfaction are key success drivers for your business, but in many cases, these tools are not used to their full potential. Service-driven businesses must optimize their way of listening to their customers in order to receive timely and objective feedback. This helps toward improving customer experience and, in turn, your business' profitability. Read on...

Kacey Butcher

Can you imagine your bank choosing not to provide a way to check account status and transactions outside of your monthly paper statement? Can you further imagine a popular franchise restaurant only having paper take-out menus? You would be forced to contemplate what other aspects internally within the organization would make doing business with them complicated and archaic. There you find your own personal underlying immediate expectation of baseline service and operational procedures, where a decision is often made instantly to move onto the next provider. A decision to choose another provider that seemingly knows how to service customers with the utmost up-to-date standards. Read on...

Dave Weinstein

As with so many industries, the smartphone has transformed how organizations interact with their customers. Look at the automotive industry, the airline industry, and of course, the hospitality industry. You start your car's engine and set the climate control to the desired temperature, buy airline tickets and check-in on your flight and do the same with your hotel room, all from your phone. There is a slew of services that traditionally are offered by hotels via the "book" on the desk. The book is still there, but some hotels allow you to order via the television while others offer integrated tablets. Read on...

Alastair Cush

A growing number of properties are implementing mobile access guest room locking systems and the apps that support them. Many chain standards mandate mobile access and independents are joining the trend. What few operators understand is that mobile access implementation has changed not only every aspect of hotel door locks but also many other areas of hospitality operations. More people are actively involved in the decision making process for hotel locks than before. Mobile access has integrated the lock process with numerous property and chain departments from sales to guest loyalty and brand marketing. The original purpose of improving guest door locks was exclusively loss prevention and security. Read on...

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.