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HITEC 2015 Wrap Up

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Our team had a great time at HITEC 2015 in Austin, Texas, last week. They all had different thoughts to share on industry changes since last year, but the overwhelming sentiment was that hoteliers are more tech savvy than ever before.

“This year, the consumers are much more educated on what is possible through mobile apps.  Last year there was a lot of tire kicking and shopping features.  This year, they came with a mental list of must have items, and were well versed in discussing it. It was a much more focused group that was shopping mobile as well as lobby this year.

“HITEC 2015 brought the brightest minds in hospitality technology to Austin.  It was refreshing to see how well educated and focused on the product they were.”  ~ Kristen Tsitoukis

“It was amazing to see the difference in the questions and understanding that the buyers had this year.  Last year, mobile seemed like a ‘cool idea’ and not really defined. This year, they knew it was a must have and understood the type of questions they needed to ask.  It was interesting to see how far they had come in just a year. It spoke to how quickly the industry changes and how we must always be ahead of the curve.

“We had competitors congratulating us and buyers telling us our product was the best they had seen on the show floor.  It was an awesome feeling.” ~ Elizabeth Robinson

“HITEC allows for a large platform to build your network as well as work with today’s leaders.  Being able to see the transformation in technology is inspiring and it is exciting to be a part of the pivot happening in technology as a whole. Most importantly, for me, HITEC also allows for today’s leaders to grow and build the future of our industry with the students in attendance who will be the leaders of tomorrow.” ~ Daniel Salazar

5 Things to Experience at HITEC 2015

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It’s been a busy few weeks at Monscierge headquarters gearing up for HITEC. We are looking forward to seeing our old friends and meeting new people in Austin, and our developers have pulled out all the stops to put the latest technology in the hands of HITEC attendees.

This year, you will be able to:

  1. Open our hotel door with a mobile phone using Assa Abloy’s Vingcard RFID technology
  2. Use the guest requests feature of our app to make requests from the refreshment stand
  3. Put our two-way SMS messaging to the test to see firsthand how easily staff and guests can communicate
  4. Experience local recommendations, wayfinding, offers, and meeting and events technology at your fingertips
  5. And our special offer available only to HITEC attendees – SMS messaging for your hotel, free for the month of July

Stop by and visit us at booth #2405.

Two-Way SMS Communication and the Hotel Guest Experience

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True communication is a two-way street, and has always been a staple of great hospitality. That is why it is so important for the latest digital communication tools to encourage interaction lest the conversation of the past becomes the megaphone of today.

We all know that careful listening to guests not only helps the guest in question, but future guests, as management gauges what is working and what is not.

Including two-way communication in your guest-facing app benefits your staff, your guests, and your ROI. Not only can guests make requests directly to the relevant department, they can also be kept updated on the status, decreasing frustration as they wait. Aside from the obvious benefits, providing two-way SMS communication can enhance just about every aspect of a stay.

During travel, hotels with nearby road construction can alert guests about delays or where to park. Guests can give the front desk an arrival time, make their preferences known, and ask for directions if needed, which decreases the pressure and frustrations of a check-in queue.

Aside from making room service or housekeeping requests during the stay, staff can also be made immediately aware of any problems the guest may have. This allows the hotel to resolve even the smallest problems (the kind that may not warrant a phone call, but will show up in a review later) quickly, increasing reputation and loyalty.

As most people know how to use a smartphone, the learning curve for this type of technology is much better than innovations of years past. However, you may want to spend some time training your staff in text responses to maintain the level of warmth and friendliness guests are used to seeing in face-to-face interactions. For more information, check out the Cornell Hospitality Report – The Mobile Revolution is Here: Are You Ready?

Hotel Technology: Booking and Loyalty

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Technology can play an important role in revenue for hotels, both in terms of booking and retention. It’s no secret that today’s travelers want to be “met where they are”, not physically, but digitally. The world of telephone books and calling around for openings has long passed us by, and the old-school internet searches are being replaced by information that can be grabbed with the swipe of a finger at a moment’s notice.

Until recently, hotels have concentrated expanding revenue exclusively through bookings streams. With the advent of online booking agencies, they are now losing a garnered customer loyalty. Traveler preferences are moving quickly toward mobile and tablet for research, and trust has gone up in these devices for shopping and booking. For hotels, this means that a mobile presence isn’t so much a game-changer as it is a means to stay in the game altogether.

Utilizing proper technology channels to communicate with guests, hotels will maximize on-site revenue, upsell in-room services, and remain engaged with customers, all of which goes back to loyalty and retention as well as revenue.

The revolution of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) means hotels must also bridge constant communication, and not just in terms of staff-to-guest contact, but also a staff-to-staff capacity, because hotel staff have resorted to using personal devices for workflow management and even to communicate with guests. This results in better efficiency, increased communication between everyone involved in your guest experience, lower turnover, and again revenue and retention.

In order to provide all of these benefits, hospitality companies must have a single fully networked technology platform that manages value creation, provides a method for product consumption, allows for quality control, and is scalable across all properties within a portfolio. For more information on mobile in travel, please check out The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research report, “The Mobile Revolution is Here: Are You Ready?”.

 

New Hospitality Study: The Time for Mobile is Now

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Over the last few months Gene Hopper, responsible for strategic relationships at Monscierge, has been working with the Center for Hospitality Research to study the use of mobile for an upcoming Cornell Hospitality Report.  This has been an exciting project and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute.

To gather information, Cornell surveyed people across multiple demographics about the use of mobile during every phase of travel. Questions involved mobile usage across the guest journey, as well as privacy concerns and perceived value. Expected findings include which devices travelers rely on for planning a trip, communication preferences, social media usage, and various technology touch points during travel.

Further studies will also cover app adoption and usage, hotel vs. OTA website visits, and device-specific information.  The publication of the first study is expected to be released this week and will be sent to 100,000 of Cornell’s contacts. If you would like to view this report, you can add your name to the list by emailing info@monscierge.com.