News for the Hospitality Executive
Vancouver, Wash. (Jan. 18, 2011) – "If you build it . . . they will come." What was once the hospitality industry's mantra for hotel development has now become the marketing mantra of hoteliers nationwide who are using Web- and Mobile-based amenity ordering tools built by GBCblue to market property items to guests before and during their stay. GBCblue's PCI-compliant Online Amenity Ordering Service has proven to increase amenity revenues, boost staff efficiency by directing all orders online, perfect order accuracy, and provide a secure environment for credit-card transactions processed through GBCblue's PCI Compliant Network Operating Center. This Online Amenity Ordering Service is just one platform available through GBCblue’s Online Room Interactive Ordering Network (ORION). Once the Online Amenity Ordering Service is launched, hotels and resorts have the ability to add other ORION platforms such as Room Service, and Concierge guest-ordering solutions.
"We built it . . . and consumers everywhere are buying from it . . . even before they arrive at the hotel or resort," said Joe Adkisson, GBCblue Executive Vice President. "We listened to our customers' concerns regarding their non-PCI Compliant processes for chargeable amenity ordering by non-guests and meeting planners for guests arriving at, or already onsite, a hotel or resort. Then we created the Online Amenity Ordering Service to allow hotels to pre-sell items from food to flowers, signature apparel to spa baskets – virtually anything the hotel wishes to offer. The result has been an explosion in new revenues and a significant rise in hotel amenity orders; displaying full color photos of the amenity and offering hotels that ability to suggest and pair products based on the end users preferences is enabling hoteliers to rapidly drive up the average amenity check.
"Since we launched this service, our properties have enjoyed a 40 percent to 60 percent increase in amenity sales after adopting ORION," he said.
ORION is a transaction-based system that allows guests using their own personal devices to interact with an unlimited suite of hotel products and services. Through ORION, hotels easily create their own customized, branded Web-based property portals. These portals allow guests to directly interact with property services, such as ordering amenities, room service and concierge-assisted transactions right from their laptops, PCs in the hotel's business center, or the guests own smartphone.
A Splendid Surprise
"Buying a hotel amenity no longer has to be done on-the-spot or via the phone," said Kim Seidel, GBCblue Major Account Representative. "GBCblue now makes it possible for guests -- and friends and family of guests -- to pre-purchase items and have them waiting upon arrival. A husband can pre-purchase a dozen roses for his traveling wife; A mother can pre-purchase a birthday cake for her child; A bridal party can pre-purchase a bottle of champagne for a honeymooning couple; A business traveler can pre-purchase golf apparel for the group he will be hosting on his upcoming visit; And, a meeting planner can pre-purchase a gift basket for event delegates or use the system to pre-order delegate gifts and have the charge posted to the group folio rather than a personal credit card. The possibilities are endless, as are the revenue opportunities."
Seidel said Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is using the Online Amenity Ordering Service across several of its brands, including: Westin, W, Sheraton and Luxury Brands. The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa located in the heart of Waikiki and the first hotel opened in Waikiki in 1901, has been using the service since 2008.
From a drop-down bar on the Moana Surfrider Web site under the Rooms & Suites tab (http://www.moanasurfrider.com / roomsandsuites/inroom), at www.StarAmenities.com, and also via a custom iPhone app created just for the property by GBCblue, guests simply click on the type of amenity they desire. Amenities available to purchase via credit-card include: Fruits, cheeses, chocolates and combinations; First Lady of Waikiki amenities basket; Moana Lani Spa products; A Birthday Cake; Wine & Spirits; Flower Arrangements; and a Taste of the Islands, which includes Boxed macadamia nuts, Hawaiian ginger and coconut, whole sliced pineapple and more. Other amenity categories also are available.
"Before we adopted the GBCblue Online Amenity Ordering Service, we were living in the stone age -- in 2008," said Brian Hunnings, Moana Surfrider Director of Food and Beverage. "Just three years ago we faxed forms to people who placed orders over the phone, obtained their credit card information and signature, and then after receiving their forms back, we would manually input them into our system. It was an operational nightmare. Today however, the GBCblue Online Amenity Ordering Service is indispensible. It's given us tremendous flexibility by eliminating the need to have a person on duty to process amenity orders. Instead we can spend time with more pressing guest issues and our customer-service scores are soaring because of it.
"Even better than the system's ability to increase staff efficiency is its ability to increase amenity sales," he said. "Since we partnered with GBCblue, our amenity sales are up about 40 percent, and they continue to rise by 20 percent year after year. When you couple that with the system's ability to virtually run itself -- requiring little to no maintenance -- it's one of the best investments we've ever made. Mahalo Nui Loa [thank you very much] GBCblue."
PCI Compliant Transactions
"What makes the GBCblue Online Amenity Ordering Service such a success is our compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards," Seidel said. "This requires all companies that process, store or transmit credit-card information to maintain a secure environment and be able to pass rigid evaluations. GBCblue's ORION solution allows consumers who 'click' the 'purchase' button to process their transaction in a secure environment. GBCblue processes more than 3 million transactions a year and has never had a reported instance of credit card/ID theft or data breach since the company began more than seven years ago.
"Without this service, consumers would be required to either email their credit-card information to the hotel and request that a service or amenity be purchased OR provide their personal credit-card information over the phone to a hotel representative," she said. "Neither of these options are secure nor are they error free. By allowing the consumer who is purchasing the amenity to use an automated, PCI-compliant system, it frees up hotel staff to be more guest-centric and it also eliminates any human error associated with writing down erroneous credit-card numbers or entering customer data incorrectly."
For The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection resort also under the Starwood umbrella, the minimal monthly fee is well worth the investment, according to Todd Raessler, Resort Manager. The AAA Five Diamond Scottsdale, Ariz., property features 10 restaurants and lounges, a championship golf course, a world-renowned spa, nine pools, numerous retail shops, 11 tennis courts, a $25 million art collection, a two-acre Cactus Garden and much more. Therefore, offering an outlet for online amenity ordering is an amenity in itself.
By clicking on the "Purchase A Guest Amenity" tab on its Web site (www.thephoenician.com), guests are taken to a private GBCblue-operated site that mirrors the property site using a vanity URL. Here guests are welcomed to The Phoenician's exclusive pre-order amenity website "specially created for those who wish to order unique items in advance of their arrival or perhaps as a gift for someone" staying at the property. Culinary items and beverage choices are presented, along with items from The Centre for Well-Being Spa, The Phoenician Golf Shop, Brady's Floral Gallery and more. An identical service is available on a mobile platform.
"GBCblue's Online Amenity Ordering Service is flexible and convenient," The Phoenician's Raessler said. "It enables us to offer a wide array of amenities that in turn helps our guests to customize their resort experience. If we have guests celebrating special occasions or milestone events, their friends and family can also go online and surprise them with a gift or amenity that has been pre-purchased through the system."
Making a selection could not be easier, he said. Guests simply choose the item they wish, choose the quantity, list any special instructions and add it to the cart. Items must be paid for in advance and require a credit card for final purchase. It's important to note delivery times so the property can prepare for the guests' arrival, as some items require additional preparation.
"This service has become an invaluable tool," Raessler added, "especially since the system is set up to remove the guess work from determining pairings. For example, the system may suggest a glass or bottle of wine with a dinner entree or suggest including flowers with a bottle of champagne. We are extremely pleased with the service, and so are our guests."
To learn more about GBCblue's Online Amenity Ordering Service, visit www.gbcblue.com. Information also is available on GBCblue's Room Service and Concierge programs – also available to hotels at when the Online Amenity Ordering Service is purchased.
GBCblue is a leading innovator in guest computing technology and support services and is trusted by major hotels in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K. and the Caribbean. GBCblue is focused on providing the hospitality industry with the finest remotely managed, self-service, automated business centers, public computing, in-room applications and fully hosted web-based property guest portals. GBCblue supports both Microsoft and Apple operating systems.
GBCblue’s ORION system allows hotel operators to easily create their own customized web-based property portals. These portals allow your guests the ability to directly interact with property services, such as ordering room service, amenities or other property services right from their laptops or web-enabled phones. The new GORION product is an iPhone/iPod touch/iPad application that puts the power of the ORION portal directly in the palm of your guests. With direct integrations available into POS, PMS, CRM and CMMS systems, you can streamline your guest services and increase staff productivity while providing your guests with the highest level of service.
Discover what GBCblue can do for you to add incremental revenue and reduce costs at www.GBCblue.com , call sales at 1-888-GBCblue or email email@example.com to request a personal call back.
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