February 12, 2020
Sometimes it is nice just to take a moment to reflect. Unfortunately, right now I am reflecting how great my relationship was with my 6-year-old laptop which I am in the process of replacing. Honestly, is there anything more frustrating than getting a new laptop and trying to bring everything over? There are always a few surprises, like finding passwords and missing documents.
But enough of my venting. As I reflect and sort through the old to transfer what I might need, I think about all the people from the industry who I have gotten to know. Over the years, we have produced 15 Executive Vendor Summits which brings the senior executives of the vendor community together for two and half days. We also have produced 18 CIO Summits which bring the hotel technology leaders together. So often when someone who is new to the industry starts in one of these executive roles, they are told they should reach out to me. It isn’t unusual for me to provide an introduction to one of their peers since I seem to know most of them pretty well.
Connecting people is truly one of my favorite things to do. I recently had a conversation with Jeffrey Cohen the relatively new CIO at Sonesta Hotels and Resorts about joining a company that has gone from 80 hotels to more than 300 in the shortest amount of time and when the RLH deal goes through in April it will be 1,200. His stories were amazing. Yes, when I reflect on the great people from the industry, I know it really is a high of sorts and I am thankful.
The Executive Vendor Summit has been on our minds here at Hospitality Upgrade. We are moving forward for an in-person event in Nashville in June. It has been a long time since people have shown this level of excitement over attending an event. We are doing everything safely, meaning attendance will require proof of testing or vaccination. The interaction at the EVS is so unique I have told everyone the reason we are being so careful that attendees are COVID free is that we know after 15 years of doing these events there is no way six feet of separation is going to work with these attendees. Moving forward with an event in June hopefully the stars align correctly, and this will be great. So many have reached out about the EVS, and it inspires us to make it great. If you are part of the vendor community and would like to join us, please reach out to Kim at [email protected]. It has always been our annual thank you to our customers and partners and we look forward to a very unique event this year. I can only imagine the pandemic stories that will be shared.
Doug Rice follows with his Definitely Doug column that looks at the money the hotel industry is leaving on the table. Definitely an interesting read. There is quite a bit of industry news following Doug and it is great to see positive things happening again. The consensus is the recovery is coming but might take a bit longer than we had hoped. However, considering what everybody has gone through over the last 10 months as long as it happens optimism will reign supreme. Let’s get started! I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what and our attempt to make you smile. We will always try!
It’s Not Just a Room – Part 1
Most hotels today sell using a model that has changed very little for the last 50 years. The customer selects a room type and maybe a rate plan, an arrival date and number of nights, and confirms a booking. This works fine when all the guest needs, is a bed and shower. But for those looking for more, hotels are leaving money on the table.
The typical guest could not say how a deluxe room is different from a standard one or why they should pay more for it. If they ask the hotel, they probably get the classic answer, “location and view.” On the other hand, many guests have specific needs for which they would happily pay extra. For a couple on a romantic getaway this might be a king bed, a fireplace, and flowers and champagne on arrival. For a family it might be a connecting room for the kids or proximity to the pool. For a business traveler arriving on the red-eye it might be a 7am check-in. Some of these may be nice-to-haves that the guest could live without; others may be essential. Unfortunately, few hotels even try to sell these things ahead of time – even though it may mean they will lose the business to competitors that do.
If we did not already know it, the pandemic has reinforced that the room is not the main driver for many guests. In North America and Europe, COVID has shifted the business mix toward the leisure drive market. Upsell software company Oaky told me that in Europe, where many hotels have only a few parking spots, they have seen a new phenomenon where guests book several hotels, send email inquiries to each about parking, wait for the first hotel to confirm it, and then cancel the others. And many more guests are taking “staycations” where they spend most of their time socially distancing at the hotel rather than exploring the destination city. Oaky cited data showing that in-hotel spending was much higher in 2020 than in prior years. This was not just due to a change in mix from business to leisure; repeat guests from prior years were also spending more.
This column and the next one will focus on efforts by software vendors to enable the sale of “what the guest wants to buy” as opposed to the “standard double-double” or “deluxe king” that most sites are prepared to sell. Two distinct approaches are worth understanding: attribute-based selling (ABS) and non-room product selling. In the real world, these can overlap and support each other, but there is a lot of meat in each one, so I will cover ABS this week, and non-room products in my next column.
For years, many in the industry have talked about ABS. You can simply Google “hotel attribute-based selling” for a good sampling. Some software providers view everything a hotel might sell as an attribute, but this is marketing-speak. Oxford Languages defines “attribute” as “a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.” By this definition, guest rooms may have attributes such as bedding configuration, a particular size or layout, a fireplace, a work desk, a balcony, an ocean view, a high or low floor, or proximity to the elevator. A meal plan, a massage, flowers sent to the room, or super-fast Wi-Fi are all products that can be presold to be sure, but they are not a “characteristic or inherent part” of a room, meaning they are not attributes.
Recent Technology News, from Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online
People on The Move
– VENZA Leads the Way to Economic Recovery in Hospitality
VENZA hires from within appointing Dominique Williams to customer success manager shifting from senior customer success coach and appoints Richard Ross to accounting manager from a part time accountant to this new fulltime role. VENZA secured capital in Q2 2020 to expand its operations and is now hiring for multiple positions.
Guest Management Systems
– El Palace Barcelona Books in for Customer Service Excellence with Infor
Infor announced that the five-star hotel El Palace Barcelona has chosen Infor Hospitality Management System (HMS) and Infor Sales and Catering (SCS) to help provide a premium customer experience.
– Oracle Cloud Supports Arlo Hotels Growth in a New Age of Hospitality
Hotel guests in New York City and Miami are experiencing a home-away-from-home vibe at Arlo Hotels with the help of Oracle Hospitality OPERA Cloud Property Management.
– Twin Peaks Lodging Growing and Set to Thrive Through the Pandemic with Maestro PMS
Independent full-service spa hotel in Ouray, Colorado, leverages the full Maestro solution to provide contactless kiosk check in, mobile housekeeping, digital reg card, and mobile spa scheduler keeping guests and staff safe while positioning for expansion.
Reservations & Distribution
– Agilysys Announces State-of-the-Art Enhancements to Its Online Reservations Solution – rGuest Book
Agilysys, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGYS), a leading global provider of next-generation cloud-native SaaS and on-premise hospitality software solutions and services, today announced the latest enhancements to its commission-free, direct-channel online reservation solution, rGuest Book. The product’s latest innovations extend its functionality across the enterprise with flexible new capabilities to further enhance the guest experience and grow revenue.
Revenue Management & Analytics
– Botanique Hotel Prague Blooms with Infor
Infor announced that Botanique Hotel Prague, a newly independent lifestyle hotel in central Prague, has implemented Infor EzRMS. The application provides a centralised revenue management software solution that delivers an intelligent, dynamic, and consistent view of optimal potential revenue for the hotel’s 214 rooms.
Guest Facing Technology
– Virdee Partners with Shift4 Payments to Facilitate Contactless Transactions
Technical integration provides customers with industry-first virtual guest engagement and enables adoption of contactless, customer-centric interactions.
– Bacau Bay Resort Coron Teams Up with INTELITY to Deliver a Mobile-First Guest Experience
The first Filipino property to implement the INTELITY platform, Bacau Bay Resort Coron will prioritize long-term guest safety and satisfaction through contactless, mobile technology.
– Zoox Smart Data Continues Global Market Expansion with New Strategic Partnerships in Europe and Asia
Zoox Smart Data, an international provider of technological solutions that harnesses big data to build customer profiles from existing Wi-Fi networks, has announced a series of strategic partnerships that will provide more seamless access to its targeted advertising capabilities in Europe and Asia.
– Enchantment Group Selects GCommerce as New Digital Media Partner
The three properties add to the growing list of luxury resorts with which GCommerce has been engaged to enhance digital marketing strategies and generate direct bookings.
Communications and Infrastructure
– Four Seasons Selects Nonius to Implement Wi-Fi and Managed Networks Solutions
The Four Seasons Hotel Madrid invested in a robust and scalable multiservice networking solution to provide high-quality Wi-Fi connectivity to the guests and connect securely and reliably the multiple hotel IT systems.
– Seascape Beach Resort Selects SONIFI to Upgrade Guest Internet Bandwidth and Coverage
When Monterey Bay’s Seascape Beach Resort wanted to enhance its Wi-Fi network, they turned to global technology provider SONIFI Solutions for a cost-effective solution that exceeds guest and hotelier expectations.
– Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis Partners with Hotel Internet Services to Provide Guests with Seamless Wi-Fi Access
Newly launched resort offering unique desert spa experience ensures guests can obtain peace-of-mind by providing reliable online capabilities whenever and wherever needed.
Food & Beverage
– Lodging Interactive Launches DiningClick – ADA Compliant Catering Menu Services to Replace PDFs
DiningClick was developed to assist hotels and restaurants with their efforts to remain compliant with the various global website requirements for serving the visually impaired.
– Grand Okanagan Resort in British Columbia Selects Clear Sky Software for Better Control of Beverage and Tableware Inventory
This bar code-based software, hardware, and services solution is helping the Grand Okanagan Resort save time and control inventory with greater efficiency.
– Smoky Cabins Vacation Rentals Embracing Digital Tipping by youtip
Independent lodging operator is making it easy for guests staying at its 41 rental cabins to leave digital gratuities for housekeepers and receive feedback on service and accommodations.
– Knowcross Announces Integration with SABA Hospitality to Help Hotels Enhance the Contactless Experience with Guests
Partnership to provide hotels with advanced tools capable of overcoming a range of service challenges posed by COVID-19 and the evolving guest journey in the hospitality industry.
– Stock Exchange Hotel Selects ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions to Maximize Security Abilities with VingCard Essence Door Locks and Mobile Access
ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions with its industrywide status as the leading innovator of hotel security access technology, has been selected by the Stock Exchange Hotel to implement VingCard Essence door locks equipped with Mobile Access.
Hospitality Events and Association News
– AHLA Names Marilou Halvorsen VP Government Affairs & State Relations, Announces Promotions
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced a new addition to the staff and several promotions, continuing to strengthen government affairs operations and leadership initiatives.
– HSMAI To Honor the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds of 2020
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMAI) is proud to recognize the brightest minds in the hospitality industry with the 2020 HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in sales, marketing and revenue optimization.
Piqued Our Interest
IHG Hotels & Resorts Releases Insights into Future Travel
Hybrid Event Content: Engage In-Person and Virtual Audiences
These European Countries Are Launching Vaccine Passports
US Adults Added 1 Hour of Digital Time in 2020
And now for you-know-what.…
According to a news report, a certain private school in Upstate New York was recently faced with a unique problem… A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the restrooms. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night the caretaker would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back. Finally, the Headmistress decided that something had to be done.
She called all the girls to the toilet and met them there with the caretaker. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the people who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine the yawns from the little princesses). To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the caretaker to show the girls how much effort was required… He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.
Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.
There are teachers…………and then there are educators!