Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Blakely

Ford Blakely

Founder & CEO, Zingle

Ford Blakely is the founder and CEO of Zingle Inc. As a frustrated consumer with an entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Blakely worked to find a way to make it easier for customers to interact with companies and get their needs met in more personalized ways.

As a result, Zingle was born in 2009 as the first two-way, business-to-customer communication platform. Today, Zingle empowers businesses to engage, support, and respond to customers in more meaningful and impactful ways. The Zingle platform combines artificial intelligence and machine learning with workflow automation and mobile messaging, which allows brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences in real time. Leading brands across different verticals, including hospitality, health and fitness, legal, food and beverage, retail, and more, use Zingle to increase efficiency, improve operations, and delight their customers.

Mr. Blakely has spent more than 20 years involved in startups, finance and various entrepreneurial projects. He is a Certified Public Accounting who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance from Furman University in 1997, before attending the University of Tennessee to earn a Masters in Accountancy one year later.

Mr. Blakely started his financial career at Arthur Andersen and later moved on to investment banking at RBC Capital Market, where he specialized in telecommunication start-ups and video technology companies at all stages. He then worked at LECG for six years, where he provided financial analysis and consultation services for businesses and law firms.

Please visit http://www.zingle.me for more information.

Mr. Blakely can be contacted at +1 858-213-6562 or fblakely@zingleme.com

Coming up in January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.