Top Hotel Technology Trends for 2018

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Gone are the times, where hotels & motels business was a place for travelers to lay their heads away from home. But for anyone who is in the industry for recent years will know the role of technology and how it is drastically changing the hospitality industry.
Most activities are relying on technology directly or indirectly, which makes IT more important for Hotel operations and guest experience than more before.

So here we share few top Hospitality technology trends in hotel business today. Think of which makes sense to you and if you see an opportunity go out and begin planning accordingly. After all, in hotel business every advantage counts.

1. Social Listening – Guest share lots about their stay experience, but they always don’t say it directly to you or on feedback forms. Also the hospitality business is mostly influenced by word of mouth and online reviews every day. This is one of the most important trends in upcoming years for hotels to invest in social listening tools. Social listening tools will help hotels understand the guest behavior and jump into a conversion with guest. Some of the social listening tools also help you gain competitive edge.

2. High Speed Internet – Whether they travel for business or pleasure nowadays guest bring every bandwidth sucking device like smart phone, Tablet, laptop, e-reader they own. Guest expects to connect all these devices quickly and reliably as they used to get connected at home. It’s a huge strain and one of the many best hospitality brands are working on. The demand for bandwidth in hospitality is only going to grow.

3. Service Automation – Today guest prefer technology over the human interaction for simple tasks. Remote check-in & check-out is the most popular and hospitality technology businesses and hotels have started working together with apps that lets guest order and services right from their smart phones and tablets. The service automation is becoming the basic guest request and this can be done by right automation technology, which will enable staff to concentrate on enhancing guest experience.

4. Demand for extended stay will continue to grow –Airbnb will continue to be threat to the Hotel industry, but reality is that Airbnb is equating the evolution of the hospitality market in the modern day. This has made an outside impact to think about how we travel.

The extended stay segment is focusing on future expansion with room revenue of close to $11 Billion in 2016.

5. Expansion of technology in Revenue Management – The technology is constantly changing and is ever evolving with the recent one being increased presence of automation. Revenue management system with automation has added advantage and most preferred by Managers. Automation increases the efficiency and helps managers focus on strategy & driving profitability.

6. Increased direct Hotel Booking – Hotel managers know that key area to drive profitability and to steer guests away from OTAs & book Hotel directly. This increases brand loyalty and regenerates business. It also offers a unique opportunity for marketing the Hotels directly to customers, it also offers deals and up sell additional room services and room upgrades.

OTAs are one of the important sources for a Hotel reservation, but they only come next to the direct bookings for a hotel that is looking at maximizing profit seriously. But why guest need to book directly on the Hotels website, is there a benefit if guest book directly instead of an OTA? What are advantages is the one area the Hotel managers will have to focus on providing guests with more advantages in order to encourage direct bookings with help of hotel software.

7. Data will still be a game changer – One of the main trends of 2017, we are at the end of another year, but for lots of hotels, data is still under –appreciated and under used. In a hotel industry where providing great customer service is always a key factor and in a industry where guests are highly demanding and have high expectation utilizing data effectively has a very high impact on how hoteliers provide customer service. To get to know guest better customer behavior data is the key to provide unmatched guest service which ensures building brand loyalty.

8. A continuing shift in focus of mobile – As the year marked yet another significant rise in mobile interactions and bookings and is said to be evolving in the upcoming years. 2018 will see a sharp rise and greater transactions via mobile devices. Mobile responsive websites and booking sites that delivers high performance will notice a significant rise in revenues.

For this reason, Managers will be planning to ensure that hotel websites are updated constantly and are optimized to deliver unmatched customer engagement, performance.
2018, will be one of the action packed year for Hospitality business. We have mentioned some of the important trends that is to be coming into hospitality technology. We wish these trends will help driving success to your Hotel Business.

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5 Ways to Serve the Food to the Guest in Hospitality

American Service or pre-plated service.
Pre-plated Food and Beverage benefit implies that the nourishment is served on the guest’s plate, arranged in the kitchen and conveyed to the guest. This kind of Food and Beverage benefit is regularly utilized as a part of the restaurant where Food and Beverage benefit is required to be quick or formal. The plates are constantly served from the right side.

This type of service is suitable for:

A la carte services, banquets, menus, single parts inside a menu (first course, mains, treats and so forth.)

English Service / Silver service
Food is expedited platters by the server. Every guest has a pre-warmed plate on the table. The waiter serves from the platter, always from the left side onto the guest’s plate. For “supplement” benefit the server replenishes new platters from the kitchen.

This kind of Food and Beverage benefit is appropriate for:

  1. Small Banquets, gourmet al carte eateries, “supplement” benefit, family lodgings & events with guest of different age.
  2. Silver service is the name given to the most astounding standard of table service. This typically includes serving at table. It is frequently performed by a silver administration “server” utilizing administration forks and spoons from the guests left. In France, this sort of administration is known as “English Service”.
  3. Silver service is always served from the left.
  4. Meals are served to the guest from platters, not plated in the kitchen.
  5. The guest to the host’s privilege is served first.
  6. The Service proceeds clockwise.
  7. Plates are cleared from the right.
  8. Glasses are stacked in a corner to corner to the privilege and away, with wine (by course) all together, and then finally, water glass in front.
  9. Guèridon benefit/Service from a trolley with warming components

The platters from the kitchen are exhibited to the guest/host, at that point the server puts the platters on the sideboard/trolley with warming components. The hot plates for the guests are placed in-front of the platters. The server serves everything from the diverse platters onto the hot visitor plates and conveys every single arranged plate until the point that every visitor has its plate. The platters are presented from the left side; the plates are served from the right side. The server serves every visitor utilizing an administration spoon and fork. This sort of Food and Beverage benefit is an extremely rich administration system and necessities proficient servers and time.

This type of Food & Beverage service is suitable for:A la carte service, banquets.

Voiture benefit/Service from a chilled or warmed trolley

Fortes or every day special/sets are exhibited from a moveable (once in a while warmed) trolley, and served on a chilled or warmed plate. Servings of mixed greens, cheddar or desserts can likewise be served from the trolley.

This kind of Food and Beverage benefit is appropriate for:

Business lunch, joined with smorgasbords or informal breakfasts to help the kitchen amid crest times

  1. Buffet service
  2. Buffets cook cold or hot sustenance and refreshment things.
  3. Buffets can likewise be a piece of a menu like a plate of mixed greens, first course-, or dessert buffet.
  4. Buffets can be themed, for example, an agriculturist, American-, or International buffet.
  5. It depends likewise on the time like a breakfast, early lunch, or lunch buffet.
  6. Or it can be even a refreshment, aperitif, alcohol, or respite buffet

We separate between self-serviced and served buffets. Self-serviced buffets are worked a restricted way. The guest picks first the plate, at that point the main courses, took after with the hot things, wrapped up by the treated area.

This Food and Beverage benefit is other than the lodging additionally observed in mechanical bottles, universities, healing facilities or cafeterias. The guest may need to purchase coupons. In some cases, sustenance is shown behind the counter and the guest may demonstrate their decision to the counter chaperon.

This type of Food & Beverage service is suitable for: Large banquets, festive banquets, single courses or parts of a menu.

Above ways and use of technologies(hotel PMS/restaurant POS) in restaurant/hotel can enhance quality of services too! So, try mycloud POS – cloud-based POS which can do improvement in all F&B operations of any size property.

Channel Management is Fundamental to Hoteliers

Hoteliers, now more than ever, need to concentrate on revenue and distribution management. The industry not only faces corporate budget tightening, but flight costs have increased and the decreasing value of world currencies plus job uncertainty has affected tourists’ spending budgets.

Last year, more travelers continued to book their travel using web booking engines. The success of Online Travel Agents (OTA) and the expansion of the online/offline press referring people to internet led technologies have enticed consumers to the cyber travel market.

Hence, it is the priority of any hotelier during this time to ensure yields and occupancy remain high, making the most of the sales channels available to maximize revenue over the coming years. With reports that RevPAR is dropping, hotels need to think intelligently and maximize on the tools they have to ensure the business remains strong.

Today, consumers are influencing room rates more than any time in history. The internet – with multiple price comparison websites and booking channels – provides a choice. The savvier consumers get; the more likely rates will continue to fall. However, if hoteliers take control of their presence and rates online, revenue managers can make more accurate forecasts to identify occupancy and rate levels to ensure sales are on target. In 2016 hotels were managing an average of TEN third party websites to distribute rates and inventory, five years on and the average is 25.

The challenge for many hoteliers in managing these channels is to ensure accurate rates and inventory allocation to optimize each channel to increase sales and maximize revenue. There is no point selling across the internet for the sake of being online; it must be approached intelligently to avoid the mismanagement of rates. To make the most of the internet and online distribution channel revenue managers should look at technology to save time and make money.

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By utilizing cloud-based tools to manage the distribution of rates online, revenue managers can ensure rates are accurate across all third-party websites, allocate rooms to the channels providing either a greater return or greatest number of bookings, and forecast future rates and occupancy levels. mycloud HOSPITALITY technology has been developed to ensure time spent managing online rates is reduced to improve productivity and reduce human error. mycloud Property management system, (hotel PMS Software) can give you a snapshot of all online sales activity in a single screen, manage rates and rooms on third-party websites then make all the relevant changes you need to increase yields.

At this time, hoteliers need to turn to technology such as hotel software to help them through this down-turn to remain competitive. Solutions and systems to support the revenue manager are constantly being developed that will reduce time spent distributing rooms so more time can be allocated to managing the hotel.

Without a doubt the travel industry will pick-up much quicker than it had in the past, with the rise of Eastern economies and larger worldwide travel markets, knowledge of price and availability will be fundamental to hoteliers. Further with the internet becoming a leading factor in booking travel, it is essential that it is the key platform to sell rooms. However, at the same time, the internet is a world of its own, which is broken into its own segments and markets so it is essential hoteliers know who its customers are and how to reach them – being on any third-party website isn’t going to provide the expected return.

As we have seen throughout the media and even in our own industry – belts have tightened and the economy is not as strong as it was – but we know that we have recovered before and should prepare for when it does. In the meantime, it is essential to focus on making the most of what you have by optimizing sales by using the internet to benchmark and allocate rooms efficiently to achieve greater occupancy and therefore increased yields.

 

The Conflict: Online Travel Agencies versus Hotels

For many years, travelers have gone onto online websites like Priceline, Expedia and booking.com to find and reserve hotel rooms or flights. However, over the last year a direct booking war between the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and hotels has only become more intense, as they both battle one another for direct access to travelers. As hotels did not have the right technology and commissions were reasonable, it was completely normal initially. Fees paid to OTAs are now higher than ever, at nearly 25 – 30 percent in some cases, and contracts have become horrendous. Nevertheless, a definite is that hotels have clearly stepped up their game in the last year to steer bookings through their own website. Read on to know more.

The bond between OTAs and hotels / hotel chains has been under growing pressure for some time. While OTAs have simple and user-friendly websites offering a range of hotel options for the traveler, they are not quite able to build brand loyalty. For price conscious tourists, they would go for that hotel option that satisfies basic needs: a place to sleep, wireless internet connectivity (increasingly) and perhaps, breakfast. What about the other traveler segment, the one who actively seeks out the hotel brand they long to stay in, every annual holiday?

A research by Morgan Stanley projected that the global hotel business saw revenues of $570 billion in 2015, and of that amount, OTAs collected roughly $16 billion in commissions. With the online titans merging and possibly narrowing their hold on travel bookings, globally popular hotel chains are now offering unprecedented benefits to attract travelers to book directly on their platform: check-in before even arriving at the hotel, Wi-Fi, free meals and even the ability to choose a particular room – one of the many standout perks Hilton offers its direct-booking guests.

There’s a lot at stake. Eliminating the intermediary not only saves on commissions, but also means that hotels can be in direct contact with their guests. This means hotels could then build guest profiles of certain desires and spending patterns, to assist in attracting them in the future. Moreover, hotels introduced loyalty programs to get guests to book directly with them, with reward points and exclusive benefits like lounge access, room upgrades, etc. Hilton’s multi-million-dollar ad campaign ‘Stop Clicking Around’ proved to be a success, as they promoted a 10% concession and free Wi-Fi for loyalty members who booked direct. By doing so, loyalty program members also earn reward points and many of them do not wish to give them up, so it could be a great lure.

Nonetheless, the OTAs took a step ahead and responded, and Expedia in particular did a great job at it. First of a kind, the travel company promoted a hotel’s discounted loyalty rates next to standard rates. Provided guests enter their credentials they get to avail this special rate, and instant enrollment into the scheme was possible as well for guests wishing to join – allowing them to book on the channel, and not necessarily on the hotel’s website.

On the contrary, competing with OTAs on price itself is not too simple. A traveler’s assumption could be incorrect sometimes, that hotels could offer better rates if booked direct. In reality, rate parity clauses exist in contracts with OTAs, disenabling them to challenge the OTA – even though OTAs constantly battle out each other, killing the transparency in rates. It’s more than just the room price at the end of it all, it’s about what more could be offered by the hotel as additional perks.

In conclusion, the book direct war is not anywhere close to an end as OTAs and hotels are in a constant clash for travelers’ bookings. Hotels encourage guests to book direct by using a variety of incentives like loyalty based extras and upgrades. OTAs as well have stepped up by eradicating rate transparency. As mentioned by Morgan Stanley research in the simplest form, should OTAs win the war, they will be able to gain a larger share of bookings and drive up the distribution costs for hotels. Should hotels be victorious, the efforts taken to increase direct bookings would simply boost hotel brands, at the expense of OTAs. A long term price war without increased focus on experience or additional benefits, would see a drop in daily hotel rates and would eventually mean the traveler wins, as they continuously hunt for the best deals.

Millennial Kids Changing Global Travel

A growing segment of the global travel industry is the youth fragment. According to a report by The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and World Youth Student & Education Travel Confederation (WYSE), they generated US$ 165 billion in 2010, with the figure expected to double in the forthcoming decade. This emerging division of the worldwide travel industry has made travel specialists ponder on a rather different business model, shifting the focus on experience as well as ensuring that the millennial kids are connected throughout their stay.

The influence of globalization and technology has led to youth valuing experiences and the feeling of ‘being connected’ over traditional hotel frills. Thanks to the free internet program, Facebook for example, is now available to smartphone users in selected countries. The young travel community wants to experience the place they reside at and hence, wants a place with a local touch. Hotels that can help them connect with local, traditional and authentic places as well, fulfills their desires after all. From the looks of it, quite many hotels have hardly changed the way they operate over the last decade, still consisting of the same in-room conveniences, check-in process and high-rise, heavy curtains. A young traveler is no longer looking for white-linen service or stewards to carry their luggage up to their room. When the modern generation of young travelers enter a hotel, they want to be connected with a steady internet connection, feel entirely at home and be in a setting where they can experience something.

With the support of the World Wide Web, an 80’s or 90’s kid now also has access to unprecedented information, easily accessible from a desktop, laptop or even a mobile device.  The internet has also multiplied the opportunities for social interaction through travel. With social media and budget-travel tools like Airbnb and Skyscanner, they found out that travel wasn’t nearly as expensive or challenging as previously thought of.  Looking at friends’ photographs of past trips on Facebook or Instagram, viewing TripAdvisor’s ‘hidden gems’, arranging to stay with locals or getting tips from numerous travel blogs, helps young travelers to bond before, during and after their trip, redefining the global travel scene.

For those hotels that have changed, regardless their size, it has been for the better. Receptions for instance, have become smaller in size, and communal and get-together areas with a mix of comfy sofas, work and meeting spaces, have been on the increase. Guests are able to sit wherever or serve themselves with what they’re craving the most, as the formal divider between lobbies and restaurants are now nearly non-existent. Rooms are now smaller as many young travelers spend majority of their time in social places.

In conclusion, these young travelers are looking for a home-away-from-home. They thrive in environments where they can be part of an experience by networking with the people that live there as well as staff. Satisfaction can be derived when they drink coffee surrounded by other people in a reception, rather having a coffee machine in their room – hence being involved. Internet and social media platforms have aided these young lads in changing the traveling scene around the world.

So for those hotels still operating as they were a decade or two ago, they need to adopt more and more technology if they want this business, the technology must help them get exposure across the globe. Hotels must also be sensitive to online social discussions and comments to ensure their brand is not losing out. Technology today helps hoteliers and the cloud is a boon to such properties who aspire to have similar solutions like five-stars, but do not want to bear that much capital expenditure.  Do consider cloud-based hotel pms solutions and see what fits your needs and helps you grow.

The rise of the small and mid-size independent hotel

A family vacation on a resort island in Maldives, a friend’s get-together in Ibiza, or even a team business trip to Singapore, travelling has always been something that everyone looks forward to. The last two decades or so have seen the global population rise, lifestyles have changed, an increase recorded in earning and spending power and youth as well have more access to funds, as they undertake part time work while studying.

More importantly, the hotel industry prospered over the years and international hotel chains established hotels like never before. According to Statista, as of January 2016, Marriott International group was on top of the list with the most number of hotel rooms, amassing 1.1 million rooms globally

small and independent hotel .

A large branded hotel has grown from the challenges that have confronted independent hotels in recent times. Without a big brand’s financial aid and scale, small hoteliers have no other option but to work harder to succeed. Moreover, independent hotels quite frequently lack an international sales force, a central reservation system or nation-wide popularity available to chain hotels, making them even more reliant on the pricey online travel agencies to drive bookings. Should you be the owner of a small hotel, and if you had thought of financing expansion or renovation for instance, you’d know exactly that pay back rates from lenders are no way close to affordable.

However, be frightened no more as traveler perception is changing. Vacationers are not quite looking for that chandelier above their dining table but would rather pay the premium for a memorable experience. Luxury is now shifting from having to being with consumers, transitioning from retaining a luxury item to experiencing luxury. Whilst travelers admired the consistency of a notable hotel chain, knowing that the next Marriott they stay at will always look like the last Marriott they stayed at, it is not quite the same now. They are looking for genuine, local experiences and want culture as part of their stay, which small, independent hotels like yours can offer.

Because of their global operations, quick changes within the hotel chain’s group are not possible and hence, small hotels now have an advantage. By integration with their local communities, independent hoteliers are able to provide these authentic experiences for their guests. There’s no complying with any other bigger brand, allowing such hotels to provide guests with the exclusive and one-of-a-kind travel experience they want.

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Wondering how you could adapt as well? Here are few ways. As Mendes Cavin (Founder & Managing Partner, Miners Hospitality) puts it across in his article on Hospitality Net, create experiences. Take the spa experience into their rooms, offering them a variety of gels and soaps. Go the extra mile and a new experience in luxury is crafted for your guests. Moreover, keep it exciting at all times. As a hotelier, keep on differentiating yourself to stay ahead of your competition – provide basic internet access at no additional charge or even offer a better deal or package, that incorporates an authentic native experience to the guest.

Additionally, innovation and tech has brought about numerous solutions to solve issues and ease daily operations, keeping the hospitality business lively at all times. Almost every other hotelier has had to give the slightest of attention to the cloud – capitalize on it. Earlier hotels had to spend piles of cash to get basic technology solution to run their business, but now with cloud there is no capex and smaller and mid-size hotels can get world class Cloud based PMS solution, this advantage levels the playing field for these properties and now they can be better connected and can better control guest experience. This business-building resource that was not anywhere close to accessible or affordable for an independent hotelier, is now obtainable with just a few clicks for set up.

Yes, to operate as an independent hotel is quite a challenge, but the future for hoteliers like yourself is bright. Embrace your individuality, it might be an awful time or the best time of the year, but for independent hotels, change is happening for the better.

Evolution of PMS within the Hospitality Industry Catering the Needs from Big To Small Hotels

By M Dave

Irrespective whether your hotel is a small boutique hotel with 20 bedrooms or a magnificent luxury hotel with 100+ bedrooms, having a comprehensive multi-functional Property Management System (PMS) is critical for every hotel entity. The market is flooded with plethora of PMS which are designed to meet the needs of small and big hotels alike. However the big dominant players in market like Brilliant (i-Tesso) and Opera (Micros) have very robust systems designed to more suit the operational needs of large hotels, but practically we can’t really use those PMS to streamline daily operations at small and budget hotels.

The main issues being that most of the features will be redundant in small hotels and it will also involve heavy financial commitments by small hotel owners. If one actually analyses it makes more sense for small hotel owners to reinvest into expansion plans within their hotel to make their property more competitive Hence, the question is do small and budget hotels with about 20 bedrooms really need any kind of PMS?

The answer to this question is ‘Yes’. All big and medium hotels can afford to go for a robust property management system to look after their operational aspects including guest bookings, online reservations, food and beverage costing, accounting, report generation, sales and marketing, HR and payroll, maintenance management and quality management. But on the other hand a small hotel needs to have a PMS which would help them to automate some core day to day basic operations.

With small hotel business gaining ever increasing importance every year, due to their great customer service and quirky style, they have become a very significant part of the service industry in last few years. Small technological companies like Prologic First have seen this market potential and tapped it with very innovative software’s like mycloud hospitality (http://www.mycloudhospitality.com/).

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This software helps small hotels to have a comprehensive PMS and at the same time is very friendly to their pocket. Such software just requires a tablet or a computer along with internet connection to just get started with managing their properties with features like accounting, POS, reservations and reporting all on a single screen. This will help them to tackle their operational issues like lack of skilled manpower, higher attrition rate, revenue leakage and pilferage due to the absence of proper accounting software, customer care and inventory management.

Loads of such software’s are available now in the market like mycloud hospitality, Room master, sabee app etc. The good thing about the cost of such software’s is that they are available on a monthly payment plan with as little as £2 per rooms. Some notable features about mycloud hospitality software that I came across while researching to give an idea is as below:

  • Little or no up-front investment and quick start-up
  • No long term contract and easy exit option and
  • Low investment, low risk
  • Quick implementation
  • Needs little or no training
  • Secure access from anywhere
  • High availability
  • A comprehensive Front Office service
  • Round the clock support

This highly user-friendly and scalable software is capable of streamlining and automating operations for small hotels just as they need it. So, if you are facing some operational snags while running your small hotel operations, you may consider trying a free demo of mycloud hospitality software by Prologic First or any such software available in market which is a smart way to manage your properties.