Ranking highly on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index, a rating system based on quantity, quality and recency of customer reviews, is the best way to draw new customers to your hotel. Knowing that responding to reviews can entice others to write their own, the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin jumped 26 spots to become the highest rated hotel in the city. But how exactly did it happen? Read More »
So HITEC 2013 is in the can. I can comfortably say that for me, this was the best HITEC in many years. I figured I’d close out the year with a few topics that sprang forth from my brain post show, in no particular order:
Sessions and Keynotes
This year, the session and keynote topics converged very tidily with my own personal interests. It was actually pretty easy to put together a full palette of educational panels and presentations to fill each and every day. In the past, it’s been a challenge for me to fill my days without just mindlessly wandering the show floor looking for something to do or someone to chat with.
Take it for what it’s worth, but I actually extended my planned stay and put off a day of vacation to attend a session on in-room technology the last morning. That’s good planning and I, for one, hope it continues!
The Old Guard
The old guard companies were represented in force as usual. It was good to see that the whales aren’t resting on their laurels; they’re pushing forward with new products and improving the robustness and stability of current offerings. This hasn’t always been a given year over year. While I’m notionally a vendor by trade and not an hotelier, I think this is a great thing for hoteliers, a trend I hope continues. … Frankly, it’s refreshing. Read More »
The REALLY Big Show
The “rise” occurred on Tuesday afternoon and It was a REALLY big show starring senior people from Facebook, Google, Trip Advisor and Room 77. The stage was groaning with all these heavyweights in one place. Cindy Estis-Green did a great job in getting each to discuss their strategies of:
She had two pundits that started the Q&A into a frank and lively discussion. Read More »
Cloud computing, which has upended business models from music to movies to medicine, has now reached the hospitality industry in the form of hosted property management systems. These new cloud-based systems eliminate the need to purchase expensive hardware (including servers, networking equipment and data backups) and allow owners and managers to monitor their properties from any device with an Internet connection.
When hotel operators hear about this, one of their first questions is about security. How can they trust their sensitive data is secure when it’s somewhere “out there”? Read More »
The Power of Online Bookings, Mobile-Friendly Web sites and a Unique User Experience
There’s no question that the Internet has taken center stage as the hotel reservation method of choice worldwide.
As price sensitive vacationers turn to third party reservation systems for the best deal and last minute travelers turn to their mobile phones for on-the-spot hotel bookings, the use of travel agents and dial-in phone reservations continues to rapidly decline.
In an increasingly digital world, it is now second nature for most travelers to start their search for a hotel destination from their PC or mobile device.
The Internet has made it quick and easy for travelers to research properties, read reviews, compare rates and find availability, all from the comfort of their home – or from anywhere for that matter, from their mobile phone, tablet or laptop computer.
More than ever before, independent hotels and chains need to stand out online by customizing their own proprietary channel to attract and maintain loyal guests.
To gain a consistent stream of online room reservations, hotels must offer a web site that focuses on their property’s unique brand, while offering customers the ability to see rate types, room availability and purchase a la carte add-ons or pre-built packages.
These eye-catching, custom sites are vital for independent properties that lack the branding power of large chains. They ultimately result in direct bookings, eliminating 3rd-party fees and thus, increasing revenue.
When looking to develop a unique online experience with the creation of a custom booking engine, hotels should also look past the reservation itself and think about other online functionality, such as e-mail and CRM. A booking engine that can communicate with guests through pre and post-stay e-mail messaging or reservation confirmations is of added benefit to both hotels and their guests.
Internet technology news giant Mashable predicts that 98.3 million travel bookings will be made on the Internet this year.
When looking at the top 30 brands, online hotel bookings accounted for 57 percent of all reservations made in late 2010. That is an increase of 19 percent since 2006 according to an eTRACK report and speaks to the urgency for hotels to get in the game with a custom site that caters to online room reservations.
As online travel reservations have reached their highest peak, smartphones have enabled a new form of Internet-based room booking to step into the spotlight, adding to the complexity of developing a successful Internet marketing strategy. Read More »
A Survey of Hotel Guests Shows What Technology Features are Important to Them When They Travel
The integration of technology into our everyday routine is seamless — used in communication, design, decision-making, orientation and entertainment. With mobile smart devices in our hands, and media and information up in the cloud, there are limitless possibilities for access. This is a game-changing development for the hospitality industry, opening a new avenue for delivering personal guest services efficiently and with ease in the guestroom.
Before HITEC each year, one of the most frequent questions asked is, “What cool guestroom technology is going to be shown this year?” Because so many companies use HITEC as their product launch location, I can never answer that question definitively.
So, I decided to conduct a survey, not of what kinds of guestroom technology would be at HITEC, but of what the industry thought should be in a guestroom. Following the survey results, I am also interjecting into the survey results some ideas of things that I would include in my ideal guestroom. Read More »
Bob Bennett is president of Starr Technology Consulting. He is the 2000 inductee into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and is a member of the HITEC Advisory Council.
What’s the best way to establish and maintain a relationship with a vendor/service provider?
Work with the vendor to improve their product by offering up suggestions and also providing some design specifics without charge. Be willing to test new releases. In return, you will often get your priorities addressed first.
Also, be a good reference for the vendor. If you can’t honestly give a favorable reference, tell the vendor why and give them an opportunity to rectify the issue. Read More »
Jon Inge, CHTP, ISHC, is president of Jon Inge & Associates. He is a 2006 inductee into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and is a frequent contributor to trade publications like Hospitality Upgrade.
What’s the best way to establish and maintain a relationship with a vendor and/or service provider?
Aim for a true partnership from the start. Don’t try to squeeze the last cent out of a vendor’s price. They need to stay in business to support your system, and you want them to smile when you call for help. Respect honest misunderstandings and work towards a common resolution that both can live with. Read More »