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Hospitality

The latest news from the hospitality and hotel industries

The month in hospitality: August 2018

By | Hospitality, The month in hospitality | No Comments

Every month, we round up the top stories from the world of hospitality. Covering everything from new hotel technology to industry thought-pieces to the latest travel developments, this is the month in hospitality!

Google upgrades holiday travel search, offers hotel discounts

August brings the news that Google has enhanced its flight and hotel search capabilities ahead of the U.S. holiday travel season. Simultaneously, the tech behemoth has announced plans to offer exclusive hotel discounts to paying customers of Google One cloud storage.

Aimed at assisting travellers in finding the cheapest flights and hotels at peak holiday times, the new search upgrades use historical data to identify whether fares and hotel rates are higher or lower than usual during the Thanksgiving, December and New Year’s travel periods. The tool (in the form of an infographic) is available globally both on mobile and desktop and promises to focus on fares that are at least 30% below typical prices.

For hotel bookings, Google has provided a mobile-friendly in-product price insights feature. With it, travellers can track hotel prices over time and identify if a price is lower or higher than usual. Travellers can also use the tool to compare different hotel prices during the same time period, with filters to further customise information.

Richard Holden, Google’s vice president of product management, explained the upgrades: “Six out of 10 U.S. travellers expect travel companies to give them information tailored to them based on their preferences or past behaviour. It’s not just about providing all prices and options to them. It’s about doing analysis across all those prices and options. We want to help them make the right choice for them and their particular needs.”

Get the full story at Travel Weekly here!

Independent Hotel Show Awards shortlist revealed

The shortlists for the 2018 Independent Hotelier of the Year has been revealed, and there’s an interesting mix of new and established figures to choose from. The award, established in 2012, is based on “recognising the passion of independently spirited hoteliers who drive our sector forward with their creativity and wisdom.”

Winners of this year’s awards will join the Hall of Fame, occupied by hoteliers including Jeremy Goring, Paul Bayliss MBE, Kate Levin and Olga Polizzi, and leading properties including Hotel Gotham, The Laslett and No.15 Great Pulteney.

Among the shortlist are David and Charlotte Reilly of Yorebridge House (Bainbridge), Adam Rowledge of Georgian House (London) and Claire Randall of Lucknam Park (Chippenham).

Meanwhile, the awards also published the shortlist for Outstanding New Hotel, a category aimed at celebrating “an independent hotel that brings dynamism and coveted ideas to the sector and has been operating for no more than three years.” Some of the nominees include: Another Place, The Lake (Penrith), Palé Hall (Llandderfel) and Oddfellows on the Park (Manchester).

Nominations for both awards were selected from online votes, while winners will be chosen via the Independent Hotel Show registration form and will be announced on Tuesday 16 October at the event.

You can get the lowdown on the full shortlist here.

Hospitality in the UK independent hotel awards

Ditching single-use plastic is this summer’s hotel trend

August also brought the news that more hotels are opting to phase out their use of single-use plastics. As more hospitality brands begin to focus on the environmental impact of their products and services, plastic straws have become a byword for wasteful practice.

It’s not just plastic straws that have fallen out of favour with hoteliers – brands are looking at other ways to reduce their plastic consumption. Replacing plastic bathroom amenities with reusable bottles and providing a large in-room glass-bottle of water over individual plastic bottles not only reduces waste, it reduces hotel expenditure too.

Some of the major hotels to get onboard include:

  • Hilton – Removed plastic water bottles from meetings and events at managed hotels in September 2017, the impact of which is the elimination of 13 million plastic bottles annually.
  • Marriott International – Eliminating single-use plastic from 450 hotels, including 60 hotels in the United Kingdom and replaced individual bathroom amenity bottles with in-shower dispensers in the US.
  • AccorHotels – Began to phase out plastic straws at its 125 managed hotels in the UK and Ireland, and pledges to prohibit plastic straws at its 83 hotels in North America and Central America by July 2018.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation – Offered 65,000 pairs of recyclable earbuds at 80 participating Hyatt hotel fitness centres in 2017 and pledges to eliminate single-use plastic straws and drink picks at all of its hotels worldwide.
  • MGM Resorts International – Began phasing out plastic straws at all of its hotels, starting with the Aria Resort and Casino and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas this May, which MGM estimates will eliminate about 100 million straws annually.

Find out more here.

Hospitality brands now doing away with plastic straws

Europe hotel construction pipeline continues to accelerate forward

Europe is set for another year of accelerating growth in hotel construction in 2019, according to analysis by global real estate intelligence leader Lodging Econometrics (LE). Already at the highest level since LE began recording in 2007, the total pipeline currently stands at 1,388 projects/219,251 rooms for the second quarter of 2018. That’s an impressive 18% year-over-year increase.

The LE forecast for new hotel openings shows continued growth for the next several years with a total of 367 new hotels/49,295 rooms opening by the end of 2018, followed by 383 hotels/53,030 rooms expected in 2019, and 392 hotels/60,740 rooms in 2020. Metrics for new hotel openings are also at their highest since 2007.

The countries currently topping Europe’s construction pipeline are:

  • Germany with 247 projects/47,155 rooms
  • The United Kingdom with 247 projects/36,487 rooms
  • France with 130 projects/15,198 rooms
  • Portugal with 83 projects/8,531 rooms, and
  • Poland with 80 projects/12,221 rooms.

The top hotel companies in Europe’s construction pipeline are:

  • AccorHotels with 220 projects/28,281 rooms,
  • Marriott International with 178 projects/29,740 rooms
  • Hilton Worldwide with 166 projects/26,114 rooms, and
  • Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 138 projects/23,044 rooms.

These four companies comprise 51% of the total hotel construction pipeline in Europe.

Get the background on LE and Europe’s accelerating growth here.

The month in hospitality

The month in hospitality: July 2018

By | Hospitality, The month in hospitality, Travel | No Comments

Every month, we round up the top stories from the world of hospitality. Covering everything from new hotel technology to industry thought-pieces to the latest travel developments, this is the month in hospitality!

New Build hotels are boosting the UK hotel sector

July brought news that 15,200 new hotel rooms opened last year, a 2.4% growth in hotel supply. The annual UK Hotel Development Opportunities 2018 report from Knight Frank also found budget hotels continue to dominate the market, representing 69% of all new build hotel stock and 65% of all hotel extensions.

Overall, the proportion of new build hotels increased by 37% in 2017, accounting for 66% of all new rooms in the UK hotel sector. This is great news for the industry. Although the most dramatic growth was seen in London, development is also on the rise across the UK. Overall, regions outside of London will contribute approximately 13,000 new rooms by the end of 2018, representing 62% of the total UK new bedroom stock.

The UK Hotel Development Index also named the UK’s most attractive cities, with Inverness, Brighton, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Liverpool taking the top spots. Whether the growth witnessed in 2018 will continue into next year remains to be seen, but it’s a positive sign in an industry still coming to terms with the potential impact of Brexit.

Get the full story from The Caterer here.

London street shot of a new hotel

The world’s first predictive algorithm for hotels is here

Yes, that’s right. This month the industry awoke to find that tech-hospitality specialists The Hotels Network has created the first predictive algorithm for hotels. Named Oraculo, the software marries together revenue management and personalisation to increase conversions on hotel websites, the first ever hotel product to do so. The algorithm was built using machine learning techniques by the company’s data scientists, analysing behavioural patterns based on the data of millions of travellers globally.

The software works by predicting guest behaviour and segmenting users in real-time to identify the ideal offer for each individual visitor. As a result, hotel websites are automatically customised for each unique user. While previous attempts at user-driven personalisation relied on studying previous customers’ on-site behaviour, Oraculo enables hoteliers to personalise the experience for first-time visitors too.

As the Founder and CEO of The Hotels Network, Juanjo Rodriguez, explains:

“Just as every booker is different, every non-booker is too. Oraculo is able to differentiate between low-intent and high-intent users, so the optimal message and rate can be shown to each visitor, just at the point where they are deciding on their reservation.

This results in a hugely positive impact on revenue, with a potential conversion uplift of up to 65% in the low-intent segment who otherwise may not have spent at all.”

Best of all, hotels currently using The Hotels Network existing suite of tools can try Oraculo for free on a 30-day trial basis to experience the benefits for themselves.

Check out the full story here.

Google Hotel Ads joins Google Ads

Great news for any hotel marketers struggling to manage both their Hotel Ads and other Google Ads (such as search and display campaigns): the two are now part of the same platform. The search engine behemoth announced this month that Hotel Ads are set to become a part of the Google Ads platform later this year. The company also announced it was also launching a new Hotel Center to simplify the management of hotel price feeds.

Aiming to optimise the campaign management process, the new platform has been touted as having a range of benefits:

  • Hotel groups to organize hotels by important attributes like brand and class
  • Robust bidding controls enable marketers to optimise for bidding dimensions unique to hotels
  • Smart bidding powered by machine learning to maximise bookings at your ROI goal
  • Rich reporting and familiar responsive interface available with the newly redesigned Google Ads

The new Hotel Ads platform will launch as an open beta available to advertisers later this year. Hotels looking to stay up to date on the Google Ads integration and Hotel Center launch, beta test Hotel ads in Google Ads or learn more about Hotel ads can do so by filling out this interest form.

Click here for the full story.

Using data in hospitality to optimise the booking process

Buoyant global economy means higher hotel and air prices in 2019

The rising cost of oil and a growing global economy are just two factors behind an anticipated increase in hotel and air prices next year. According to the fifth annual Global Travel Forecast, published this month by GBTA and CWT, travellers could see room prices increasing by up to 3.7%, while overall flight costs could go up by 2.6%.

Kurt Ekert, President and CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, explained: “Prices are expected to spike in many global markets even as inflation remains subdued. The future of corporate travel can be summed up as accelerated personalization – with mobile technology, AI, machine learning and predictive analytics all playing their part.”

For the hotel industry, the overall increase is balanced by discrepancies in different regions. The Asia Pacific region could see hotel prices rise by up to 5.1%, while prices in New Zealand are set to rise a whopping 11.8%. In Australia, 2019 and 2020 are expected to see the largest number of new rooms, with an increase of 3.4% of total supply each year. Like air prices, hotel rates across Western Europe are expected to rise (by 5.6%), although Eastern Europe could see a decline of 1.9%. Hotels prices in Latin America, meanwhile, are expected to fall 1.3%, with declines in Argentina (down 3.5%), Venezuela (down 3.4%), Brazil (down 1.9%) and Colombia (down 0.7%). The report predicts hotel prices in North America will increase by 2.1% with 5% increases in Canada and 2.7% in the US.

Get the full story here or download the full report here.

How to develop an agile hospitality business model

Using data in hospitality to optimise the booking process

The month in hospitality: April 2018

By | Hospitality, Industry, The month in hospitality | No Comments

Every month, we round up the top stories from the world of hospitality. Covering everything from new hotel technology to industry thought-pieces to the latest travel developments, this is the month in hospitality!

Using a Hospitality CRM to augment the hotel experience

The hospitality industry has undergone a seismic shift in the past decade, and nowhere has this change been more apparent than in the technologies used to shape the guest experience. Of course, different hotels have adopted different technologies, with varying levels of success, and nowhere is the diversity in approaches more apparent than in the customer relationship model (CRM).

The modern hospitality CRM goes well beyond creating a database of guest information; it’s about measuring how the entire structure of hotel operations contributes to the guest experience. From using data to understand how guests engage with the hotel before their arrival to developing future marketing strategies to measuring the impact of collaborations with OTAs on your ROI, the modern CRM is an essential asset not just to the guest experience, it’s integral to the continued success of your hotel.

For hotels to truly succeed in 2018, they must be ready to offer service that goes above and beyond expectations. As hospitality CRMs and personalisation tools become more common features in the industry, those expectations are only going to increase.

Get the full story from Tenfold here.

Using CRM data to develop sustainable initiatives for your hotel

AI can revitalise operational hotel dynamics

In the hyper-competitive hospitality industry, any new development that can streamline processes without damaging the hotel brand should be welcomed with open arms. While still in its infancy, AI and the Internet of Things have quickly become indispensable tools for the industry. Looking at the growing demand for automated technologies, it’s clear we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of AI’s role in hospitality.

From centralising every element of hotel operations to delivering a hyper-personalised stay for every guest, AI and machine-learning have the potential to completely redefine what a hotel is capable of. Not only this, but these technologies are fast earning a reputation as the most versatile solution to streamline in-house operations and reduce overall outgoing costs.

As hotels increasingly turn to automated processes in their search for the most affordable, flexible and effective guest engagement tool, the true value of AI in hospitality is only going to become more apparent.

Find out more from TechNative right here.

Using AI in your hotel

Technology can bring home comforts to your hotel

Technology isn’t just a means of streamlining processes behind the scenes, it’s also essential to creating an environment in which guests feel totally at ease. The traditional idea of creating a ‘home away from home’ for guests has transformed as the common features of a home become more advanced.  

Guests now bring an average of five personal devices away with them when travelling. Hotels, in turn, need to be able to cater to the additional requirements these personal devices entail.

In a world of interconnected, cloud-based networks, guests can now expect to use their own Netflix account to watch their favourite shows from the comfort of their hotel room, to enjoy the same room temperature settings as they do back home and to be able to use their own personal devices for everything from opening their hotel room door to paying for in-hotel amenities.

More and more, guests expect a personalised experience capable of catering to their unique interests. Hotels with the technical infrastructure in place to meet these interests will see their innovations repaid through more bookings, better reviews and a deeper understanding of their guests in general.

Check out the original article from Phys.org here.

A luxury hotel room, probably

Sustainable travel is only just getting started

The latest global Sustainable Travel Report from Booking.com has arrived, and it’s packed with interesting statistics with repercussions for the entire travel industry. Commissioned in anticipation of Earth Day (April 22nd), the report surveyed more than 12,000 respondents across 12 markets on everything from changing purchasing habits abroad to the eco-inspirations drawing tourists to new locations.

Among some of the highlights found in the report were:

  • 87% of travellers asked said they want to travel sustainably
  • 39% claimed that they often or always manage to travel sustainably
  • 68% of travellers intend to stay in an eco-accommodation in 2018 (up from 65% in 2017 and 62% in 2016)
  • 67% of travellers would be willing to spend at least 5% more on their travel to ensure their stay had as little an impact on the environment as possible

The report offered some valuable insights for the industry and, more generally, it proved there is a growing appetite for eco-travel. Travel agents, tour guides and hoteliers would do well to take notice and consider how they can begin to introduce sustainable elements to their services now.

Find out the full story from Booking.com here.

Lake shot with shoes of sustainable traveller

How has luxury hospitality adapted to the modern age?

By | Hospitality, Hotel technology, Luxury | No Comments

Luxury hospitality is at a crossroads: new technologies like AI and social media are changing the way we travel, but can the industry respond to the new generation of switched on traveller?

The past decade has seen a remarkable change in the hospitality industry. The near ubiquitous use of smartphones, the shift to all things digital, the growth of the sharing economy, have all had a profound impact on day-to-day hotel operations. It’s not the first time the industry has faced dramatic change – see the introduction of package holidays in the ‘70s – but never before have hotels faced so many new challenges, and opportunities, at once.

These new challenges have affected every level of the industry, but what about those at the top end of hospitality? Even just two decades ago, high-end hotels tended to adhere to a ‘traditional’ concept of luxury. Today, that concept has undergone a seismic shift. Gilded finishings, gaudy opulence and servile waiting staff are being replaced with sleek minimalism and carefully curated guest experiences.

Premium tech is essential

A recent report by Oracle Hospitality, which polled more than 2,700 U.S. and European travellers, found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. guests said it was “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience.

Whereas the luxury hotelier of the past placed a strong emphasis on face-to-face interactions, today’s hotels have a myriad of channels to communicate with guests through. This means utilising technology to provide a tailored experience and being fluent in (and connected to) whatever channel the guests most prefer to communicate through.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has also proven a hugely valuable development for the sector. With IoT integrations, guests have the power to alter the heating in their room, run a bath and even open the curtains from a single device.

Of course, there are technologies today that would be described as a ‘luxury’ feature ten years ago but now feature as standard. Keyless entry, online room selection and one-click dinner reservations have all become common features. To stay ahead of the curve, hotels not only need to keep an eye out for the latest technologies but also understand which are right for their particular brand image.

Integrating IoT technology into luxury hotel room

Consolidate your data

Gone are the days when gathering guest preferences involved an end-of-stay questionnaire. Today, hotels have a range of technologies at their disposal to understand guest requirements and, just as importantly, streamline this information into a single source.

Cloud-based CRM’s can provide a centralised platform to turn guest data into valuable insights on their unique preferences. Hotel staff can receive real-time information on anything from room service orders to a guest’s preferred dinner time. By identifying their key demographics through analytics, hotels can develop a sustainable, long-term growth plan and shape in-hotel services around guest preferences.

Genie devices gather valuable metrics on guest interactions both inside and out of the hotel, allowing hoteliers to paint a detailed picture of their guest and cater to their needs accordingly. Guest satisfaction is paramount, so those hotels that can most effectively tap into exactly what their patrons want during their stay will go on to define the new gold standard in hospitality.

Using hotel guest data from CRM to develop luxury hospitality services

Empower guests

Some things never change in the industry. Guest satisfaction remains at the forefront of every hotel process, but the means to achieve that satisfaction have evolved. One thing that stands out above all else is the need to give guests autonomy over as much of their stay as possible. Providing guests with the freedom to choose a specific room, or how to engage with staff, will increase the likelihood of a return visit and simultaneously free up hotel staff for other tasks.

While the luxury experience of yesteryear centred around supplying guests with luxury items, the trend today is to provide valuable experiences that guests can choose to consume in a number of ways. In the age of ‘individual experiences’, guests want to follow their own path. Any assistance that does come should be minimal and, if possible, provided through the platform guests feel most comfortable using.

Using translator apps abroad

Optimise promotion opportunities

With the growth of the Instagram tourist, luxury hoteliers want to integrate ever-more visually memorable experiences into their service. The power of social promotion has prompted hoteliers to seek ‘Instagrammable moments’ in every aspect of service, from distinctive dishes in the hotel restaurant to grandiose, eye-catching displays in the hotel lobby. A single photo by an influential Instagram figure could reach hundreds of thousands of followers; that’s the kind of coverage money can’t buy.

Similarly, with the growth of online booking and review sites, anyone can share their opinion of a hotel with thousands of potential guests at the click of a button. These reviews can make or break a hotel, so it’s vital every possible measure is taken to cater to their needs during their stay. This also requires staying on top of new technologies. Even one additional feature point on a review site could be enough to sway a potential guest trying to decide between two luxury hotels.

Hotel guests taking a selfie for hotel brand promotion

Personalise the experience

Guests want an experience tailored to their specific needs and, with the proliferation of data, hotels can now provide exactly that. By studying guest interactions with services, hoteliers can build up a detailed understanding of what particular guests want, and when.

Thanks to data, guests can now expect to wake up to an alarm automated to their day, dine on a breakfast specifically selected from data gathered on their previous meals and jump in a taxi waiting outside, called specifically for their day.

Guests (particularly those travelling from overseas) crave information but are more likely to seek it through an internet connection than the concierge. The Oracle Hospitality survey found that 62% of guests used non-hotel sources outside the hotel’s remit for dinner reservations and activity recommendations. The luxury hospitality brands that can harness this technology and provide a personalised, curated experience to their guests will be the obvious choice for future visits. As Jay Upchurch, Vice President of Oracle Hospitality says, “Technology can address the industry’s dual challenge of operating efficiently at scale and simultaneously providing individualized service.”

Building brand trust through your hotel

Develop your USP

The growth of Airbnb has pushed hotels, particularly those in the high-end sector, to focus their design and services on providing a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else. With travellers now able to choose from thousands of different locations, and a variety of different styles of accommodation, it’s vital hotels develop their unique brand value and express it coherently through a strong online presence.

These ‘niche-appeal’ features can cover anything, from eco-friendly design to locally-sourced food in the hotel restaurant. Although brand loyalty has been diluted by the host of online booking sites, where price and ‘bullet point features’ are often deciding factors, studies have found that customers who feel engaged by a brand are less price-sensitive. Gallup’s 2014 Hospitality Industry study has consistently revealed customers of higher-priced hotel chains tend to be more engaged than those of lower-priced brands. In fact, luxury hotel customers are twice as likely to strongly agree that the hotel they visit most frequently cares for their well-being than economy hotel customers.

Developing a niche appeal for your luxury hospitality brand
While the industry has adapted to significant change in the past twenty years, luxury hospitality still faces an uphill battle in keeping on top of the evolving needs of guests. The advantages provided by technologies like online booking, automated in-room amenities and guest data also come with challenges and increased competition. Only by staying receptive to customer interests and being willing to adapt rapidly to new innovations can hotels hope to maintain an edge in this most competitive of industries.

Woman using electric device in hotel room

The smart guide to increasing sustainability in your hotel

By | Hospitality, Hotel technology, Sustainability | No Comments

The hospitality sector is at a critical point. The industry has experienced a steady lift in revenues in the past decade but margins have remained razor thin and, in some places, have actually decreased as innovations like the sharing economy inspire travellers to look elsewhere for accommodation.

Hotels house more technology than ever before, with the average hotel room now hosting six different electric appliances. Meanwhile, guests now take an average of five connectable devices on nights away from home, all of which will probably require charging from a mains power supply at some point in their stay. In short, we’re using more energy than ever, but hotels are expected to shoulder the costs of this increased consumption. Coupled with a growing awareness of the human impact on our natural environment and increased pressure from environmental agencies, it’s never been more vital that hotels take steps to reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Woman using laptop to increase sustainability in your hotel

Whilst integrating new technology to your hotel can be a daunting task, introducing sustainable features can actually save money in the long run, particularly if those technologies improve operations efficiency and earn your hotel a reputation for green innovation.

The age of the eco-traveller

Travellers are increasingly turning to more eco-friendly accommodation as the true impact of our presence on the surrounding environment becomes clearer. A recent survey by E.On revealed that 50% of hotel guests value sustainability and energy efficiency in hotels, while almost one in five would be more likely to stay somewhere if it used renewable energy sources.

Energy efficiency represents a unique opportunity to appeal to the environmentally conscious traveller while simultaneously reducing hotel expenses.

Hotels can earn eco-credentials with guests by integrating more sustainable hospitality technology. Differentiating your hotel from the crowd can be a challenge but aspiring to some kind of eco-hotel status can open up new channels of guest and earn valuable accolades from industry leaders.

Engaging with eco-travellers through eco-hotel resources

Sustainability starts with design

It’s no secret; installing features to harness renewable energy will save you money in the long-run. The industry can benefit from harnessing renewables, including through utilising tax breaks and encouraging a more sustainable approach to daily operations. As hotels move to integrate more technology, the need for clean, renewable energy sources becomes essential to maintaining profit margins.

It might sound obvious, but ensuring your hotel is lit entirely by LED lighting can dramatically reduce your electricity output. Meanwhile, installing water aerators, allows guests to enjoy hot, clean water at up to 50% less cost.

Installing motion-sensitive lighting in hallways and shared spaces can reduce the overall amount of time lights spend on. In areas where natural light is available, look at dimming your electric lighting to reduce energy consumption without reducing visibility.

Integrating energy saving static features from the renovation-stage can lead to significant savings down the line. In hot countries, where a significant portion of energy expenditure is spent on air conditioning, light reflecting windows can have a valuable impact. Likewise, in cold countries where heating can account for up to 50% of a hotel’s energy costs, including extra insulation features like thick curtains and energy-efficient glazing can pay dividends in the future.

How can the hotel industry adapt to the sharing economy?

Cut costs with initiatives

Almost every aspect of a hotel’s daily operations can be tweaked to encourage a more energy-conscious service. Most hotels now operate on a ‘specified cleaning needs’ system. So if a guest wants their bedsheets and towels cleaned daily, they can make this clear with a sign on the door or by leaving their items on the floor. However, if they’re happy to keep the same bedsheets and towels on for the duration of their stay, they can also specify, saving the hotel valuable time, money and energy in unnecessary cleaning.

Integrating your hotel management system with a comprehensive CRM can also open new avenues for reducing energy consumption, particularly when combined with data on various hotel operations. With analytics on food consumption, cleaning, toiletries and more, hotels can the identify the least efficient areas of a hotel and incrementally optimise individual processes.

Many governments also offer a number of incentives to increase sustainability in your hotel that could lead to long-term savings. These incentives can cover anything from insurance premium discounts, to financial grants to tax write-offs.

With a Genie device in each room, gathering data on guest behaviour  – including room service orders and media usage – becomes significantly simpler. By integrating data gathered from Genie phones with your hotel CRM, you can track hotel processes and develop energy saving solutions around tried and tested means.

Using CRM data to increase sustainability in your hotel

Get guests & staff in on the act

Training your staff to take a proactive role in the sustainability of the hotel ensures it’s an all-around effort. Even simple office functions, like switching to recycled paper, or going digital altogether, will help cut down on waste.

Designate specific members of staff to manage resource consumption in key areas of the hotel, and provide regular training sessions. Make sure employees turn off lights as they leave a room, recycle waste and, where possible, share transport.

The same E.On survey also uncovered an interesting fact: guests use more energy in a hotel than in their home. Sure, guests are less inclined to watch their energy usage when they don’t pay the bill, but hotels should still incentivise guests to enjoy a more energy-conscious stay.

Given the option – and a gentle reminder – most guests will try to limit their energy usage in your hotel. Even a small sign by the hotel room door encouraging guests to turn off appliances as they leave can make a big difference to your bottom line.

Harness your eco-strengths

Hotels should strive to make the most of the surrounding environment and climate. Just because a technology becomes available doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your hotel. Solar panels on a hotel in Scotland won’t begin to pay for themselves as soon as they would in Spain. Similarly, rainwater storage technology will have limited use in a Dubai hotel. That doesn’t mean discounting these technologies altogether, but justifying expenditure on new energy-saving features requires prioritisation.

In Iceland, for instance, many hotels take energy from the country’s natural geothermal energy reserves. Several of these hotels also provide access to geothermal pools that act as ‘natural jacuzzis’. Not every hotel has access to geothermal energy, but you can utilise the local environment to reduce your carbon footprint.

It’s not just about adding new technologies. By managing your guest bookings intelligently, you can reduce energy-reliance and ensure a comfortable night’s stay for everyone. Save on heating by providing rooms that receive the most sun in winter. Likewise, try to book rooms in clusters and avoid placing guests in corner rooms (where more energy is needed to maintain a comfortable temperature). The differences may seem minimal, but by limiting heat loss throughout the year, you can boost your overall annual revenue.

Harnessing geothermal power to heat your eco-hotel

Go green – literally

Hotels have turned to green features like rooftop green-spaces and vertical gardens to increase the aesthetic appeal of their grounds. It’s a win-win scenario; hotels can showcase their environmental accomplishments and previously unappealing areas become Insta-worthy photo opportunities.

Because concrete doesn’t absorb rainwater, runoff goes into drains and other water sources. This runoff is often filled with contaminants that damage the surrounding ecosystem. Adding more green space on your hotel grounds has the added bonus of helping channel rainwater. Gardens, ponds and shrubs create areas of natural beauty while reducing the impact of your hotel on the environment.

In areas where the weather changes dramatically from season to season – for instance, in tropical countries, where periods of intense rainfall are followed by periods of water scarcity – features like tree box filters can help store water during the rainy season and distribute it during the drier months. 

Adding green features to increase sustainability in your hotel

Sustainability starts in the kitchen

Approximately 18% of all food purchased in the UK hospitality sector goes to waste. For hotels, this means lost profits and a sizeable amount of food gone to waste. Despite this, cutting down on excessive food wastage is a major challenge. Hotels always err on the side of caution, but changing guest numbers make predicting demand a major challenge.

Hotel kitchens operate to strict health and safety guidelines, so features like dimmed or motion-sensitive lighting are a no-go. Instead, look at partnering with local food charities who can remove excess food that can no longer be served. It won’t necessarily reduce your financial spend, but it will mean less food goes to waste.

Kitchens run to strict processes. That’s why it’s essential you look at how you source the food that comes into your kitchen.

By adding more seasonal produce to your menu, you can save money on importing overseas goods while supporting local businesses. Just as importantly; by sourcing food from local, sustainable suppliers, you reduce the carbon footprint of bringing food to customer’s plates and provide a taste of the local culinary culture. To learn more about approved sustainable local suppliers, check out resources like Sustainweb.

If your hotel has enough green space, look at setting some aside for growing your own herbs and vegetables. This enables you to manage every stage of the production process and limit the cost of importing foodstuffs from elsewhere. As an added bonus, you can use most forms of organic food wastage as compost. Not only does it nourish the soil, it also reduces the hotel’s reliance on external sources.

Using free data roaming abroad for national dishes

Of course, cutting hotel costs should be at the forefront of every hotelier’s actions. That doesn’t mean, however, that it should be the only reason for increasing sustainability in your hotel. We’re only just coming to terms with the real impact our existence is having on the planet. To ensure future generations enjoy the diverse wonders of our planet, hotels must take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.  The hospitality industry as a whole owe it to the guests, and the world, to do their part.

Using a hospitality CRM to manage hotel services & up-selling

How to integrate a hospitality CRM into your Hotel Management System

By | Hospitality, Hotel management, Hotel technology | No Comments

.Customer relationship management is a constantly evolving concept. While the core concept remains the same across industries – managing every engagement opportunity to build and increase loyalty – each business has its own unique requirements.

In hospitality, how you engage with your guests is dependent on a number of factors. In-house amenities, location and historic/cultural significance should all play a part in defining the right kind of CRM for your hotel.

Putting these elements aside, there are some processes every hotel should consider before integrating a new CRM model. Thankfully, Genie is on hand to walk you through the process. 

New York hotel exterior with new hospitality CRM

Identify

Aims – What is the overall goal of the CRM? Introducing a new CRM to your hotel requires coordination between all departments, so it’s vital to consider why you are changing your approach before launching into anything.

Obstacles – What elements of your current setup prevent you from creating streamlined data-flows? Do yourself a favour; identify data silos before you embark on any kind of CRM implementation. From there, you can take steps to make every aspect as transparent, accessible and concise as possible.

Channels – Which channels do you hope to integrate with a CRM? How well do these different channels fit together? By identifying the weak spots in your current CRM system, you can avoid data blind-spots with your new system.

Of course, with all that data you’ll need a plan detailing how it will flow into your CRM. Draw up exactly how you plan to manage the data, along with how you plan to turn that data into real change in your daily processes.

Using a hospitality CRM to boost sales hotel restaurant

It’s not enough to harness the information from your hotel operations, you must turn that data into actionable insights. Coordination between departments is simpler with Genie devices in the hands of select staff. Meanwhile, identifying blind-spots becomes easier and guest behaviour data becomes infinitely more accessible with a Genie phone in every room.

Establish

Targets – You’d be amazed how many businesses begin the arduous process of CRM integration without considering what exactly they’re trying to achieve.

So, after identifying your aims, you should be able to draw up measurable targets. Looking to increase up-selling in room service? Take a look at the amount you make per room per stay and the current process of ordering room service so you can begin to draw up realistic targets. By giving your team access to quantified goals, upselling opportunities become more attainable.

Perimeters – It’s important to understand your limits when introducing a CRM. As much as you would like to, you can’t control every aspect of your guest’s behaviour. A multi-department CRM can, however, give you peace of mind that every accountable facet of the guest experience is being documented and shared with the right staff.

Milestones – Break down your CRM implementation into easy-to-manage, measurable milestones. This way your staff have a more digestible set of goals and, in the event of an issue, you can more easily identify where something went wrong.

Staff – Choose which members of staff should cover which areas. While this may seem like an easy choice – surely the restaurant manager is best to spearhead the food service side – there’s no guarantee all the different leaders will work well together. Identify each member of staff’s strengths and weaknesses and build your team around who works best together, and can best communicate when there’s a problem.

Vintage hotel hallway updated using hotel CRM

Introducing a new CRM can be a stressful experience but, if done in conjunction with Genie, hotels can provide a centralised, stable platform through which to draw up shared goals, develop measurable milestones and designate specific roles.

Instigate

In implementing the hotel CRM across your platforms, there’s an understandable urge to delay it until it’s absolutely perfect. Everyone wants to launch with a perfect CRM, but you can tweak elements as the system as you go.

As you put the system into place, bear in mind the key components of each section and how they work together. Areas to consider include:

Platform integration – Which platforms are you going to include? A consistent email platform (i.e. Gmail or Outlook, not both) makes integration simpler, while a single, hotel-wide instant messaging system means your staff are always in the know. If your hotel has its own app, make sure you can integrate the data gained from guest usage into the CRM.

Of course, the needs of your hotel should inform the integrations you choose. Simultaneously, it’s vital to take account of the external needs of different departments. The kitchen, for instance, will regularly require stock and equipment orders. Communication with suppliers, meanwhile, is integral to the efficient running of the cleaning department.

Information sharing – The rapid sharing of information between different departments should be integral to your hospitality CRM. Streamlining communications requires cohesive integration of your platforms and a robust system. Above all, this CRM must ensure the right people can access the information these platforms provide.

Sales forecasts – Data gained from everyday hotel operations will make drawing up sales forecasts simpler and more verifiable. After all, predicting how the CRM will influence ancillary revenues is a lot easier when you have all the information to hand. Likewise, developing a coherent sales strategy for the future becomes more straightforward when you can set measurable targets for every hotel department.

Guest analytics – Data is the oil that makes your CRM engine run. That’s why it’s essential your CRM provides readable, actionable analytics. When your team can easily understand how to turn the insights provided by your analytics into actions, guest satisfaction, selling-opportunities and inter-departmental coordination will all come that little bit easier.

Storage – By this stage, you’ve probably considered every option for your CRM, but where exactly your data will be stored often comes as a last consideration. Storing it on local files can limit access for other departments or members of staff. Meanwhile, purely Cloud-based storage can present issues for hotels in areas where connection is sporadic. Regardless of which you choose, it’s important to regularly check and update your CRM.

Using hotel guest data from CRM to develop hotel services

As with all hospitality CRM’s, the key focus is in maintaining a regularly refurbished, accessible database. This database should be a central column of information, collating guest data, outgoing costs and staff processes. With a Genie device in every room, analysing guest behaviour is easy and non-invasive. With integrations for hospitality CRM’s, anonymised data on every aspect of the guest experience can be gathered, saved and analysed with ease.

Measure

Reflect – How close are you to achieving the goals you set out in the Establish phase? It’s important to measure your failures just as much as your successes. Where did your CRM struggle to turn that data into real insights? Which areas of the hotel provided the least data?

Of course, your CRM is about making the most of the mountains of data provided by everyday processes, so it’s vital you look at just what that data is saying.

Compare – Did some elements of your CRM work better in the winter season? Perhaps room service sales decreased during a major local sporting event? By breaking down your data into categories, you can see which aspects of service work, and which require some tweaking.

Persevere – Measuring the effectiveness of your hotel CRM is a never-ending process and requires constant adjustment. To really find success with your hotel CRM, you have to be ready to listen to the numbers.

Using guest analytics to develop your hotel CRM

Image courtesy of www.seniorliving.org

Genie devices provide analytics on the most effective sales methods, as well as the browsing behaviour of guests. This gives you the freedom to study every aspect of the guest experience and build your services around quantified successes.

Refine

So, you’ve implemented your CRM, you’ve basked in the data and you’ve measured every aspect of your service. Now it’s time to fine-tune those services.

It’s by no means an easy feat. There’s no secret formula to complete success, so take your time and make incremental changes. This way, you can trace and rectify any drop in sales or guest satisfaction without upending other vital processes.

Managing guest check in using your hospitality CRM

Genie gives your hotel the freedom to trial new offers and services to a small group of guests. With the data provided through guest interactions with Genie devices, you can measure changes against other control groups.

Introducing a hospitality CRM will always be a challenge. With forward-planning and a strong understanding of your goals, hotels can increase guest loyalty, drive revenues and start anew.

How can the hotel industry adapt to the sharing economy?

What does the sharing economy mean for the hotel industry?

By | Hospitality, Hotel technology, Industry | No Comments

As more customers opt for an Airbnb holiday, hotels are trying to adapt their model to provide a more personalised experience. But is the sharing economy really a threat to the hotel industry?

The sharing economy encourages greater transparency and, at least on the surface, seems like less of a corporate machination in comparison to hotels. For those seeking an authentic experience without the price tag, sites like Airbnb seem to offer a viable alternative. Airbnb’s annual profits (before interest and taxes and depreciation) are predicted to hit as much as $3.5 billion by 2020. While it’s essential hotels acknowledge the appeal of this new form of travel, they don’t necessarily have to shift to a similar model. 

The appeal of peer-to-peer platforms

It’s no secret that today’s traveller craves an authentic experience. On sites like Airbnb, listed properties fulfil a unique role; they’re perceived to provide an ‘authentic’ taste of local life in a new city. For hotels, this is a problem. Millennial travellers will account for half the spending on business flights by 2020; it’s imperative hotels don’t write off their value.

There’s also been a shift towards greater travel self-sufficiency as improvements in data connection encourage visitors to explore locations in their own time. People want to return with stories of discovering the local culture in their own way, not of a handheld tour around a city. The accommodation available through peer-to-peer platforms provides a level of autonomy rarely seen in hotels, who (for obvious reasons) tend to encourage a kind of passive independence in guests. For instance, hotel rooms are less likely to enable guests to cook food in the room, wash clothes or workout, as this makes it less likely the guests will use the hotel amenities.

Maid cleaning a hotel bed sticking two fingers to sharing economy

The growth of the sharing economy

Sites like Airbnb, although regularly described as disruptive – perhaps the most irritating business buzzword of the startup generation – aren’t particularly radical. Short-term holiday homes have existed in some form for over a century. Today, it’s how the property is that defines the key difference with yesteryear. The homeowner retains the rights of the landlord and the room-sharing site takes a ‘passive agent’ role. Airbnb, for example, operates on a simple, lightweight model, charging a 3% fee to the host and anywhere from 6% to 12% to the guest on the value of the booking.

Airbnb’s agility stems from its degree of separation from the actual property. The property is maintain by the property owner, so Airbnb has no need to dispatch ‘on-the-ground’ staff. This is essential to a business model spread over such a huge geographic area, but no help to established hotels.

For those in the hotel industry, the answer lies in streamlining the business model. The cost of designing, building, decorating and running a hotel is high. Meanwhile, leasing an existing building, and operating on a franchise model, provides a significantly more agile platform from which to promote a hospitality brand.

Keys hanging in the door of a boutique hotel room

What can the hotels do?

The solution to pursuing potential guests lost to the sharing accommodation economy? It’s easy to say hotels should “begin to offer a more authentic experience,” but how do they do that without losing the elements of a hotel that people enjoy, such as room service and in-hotel amenities? Just as importantly, how can hotels offer the same level of geographic and financial choice as the sharing accommodation economy?

The answer is they don’t. Airbnb can expand the supply of rooms to keep up with demand without incurring the massive costs of hotel expansion, handing them a significant advantage. Sure hotels can offer a selection of rooms, but they can’t usually offer a range of different locations within the same city. Hotels should focus on emphasising the array of services they have on offer in-house, with special promotions designed to highlight the convenience of available amenities.

Many in the hospitality industry fail to realise that, because hotels offer a radically different experience to sharing accommodation, the two can exist alongside each other. That doesn’t mean hotels can rest on their laurels, however; they still need to respond to the changing needs of guests, but they would do well to remember why the hotel is still the leading choice for holiday lodging.

Luxury hotel room with wine glasses and fully made bed

Identify your strengths

A recent report by Boston University revealed that “each 10 percent increase in supply on Airbnb causes a decrease of 0.37 percent in monthly hotel revenue.” But just because the sharing economy has blossomed in the past decade doesn’t mean the entire industry has to shift to a similar model. In fact, it gives the industry room to diversify, with some offering a high-end boutique experience and others a more natural, to-the-roots experience.

Part of adapting to new challenges is to accept shortcomings and focus on strengths. Hotels boast a wealth of strengths over their less organised, less regulated individual residences. Hotels must focus on highlighting the additional levels of service they provide over short-term lodging. Guests opting for hotels understand they can expect consistency over a ‘unique’ experience, and that’s exactly what hotels should deliver.

Don’t forget, many people still prefer hotels for the convenience and consistent standard they provide. Not everyone is looking to cook their own meals or ‘live as a local’.

Luxury hotel bar with dark wood panelling

Build brand trust

Despite their growing popularity, peer-to-peer platforms sit at a disadvantage to traditional hospitality institutions for a number of reasons. This is nowhere more obvious than in the inconsistency of the accommodation (and, on occasion, the host). Hotels have an opportunity to promote their rooms as a trusted standard. Hotels should be a home away from home. Clean sheets, hot water and a good night’s sleep should be a guarantee for every guest. Despite the fading relevance of ‘established brand reputation’ (thanks in part to the growth of OTAs), guests still expect high standards in hospitality.

For hotels, it’s imperative to build their own community culture through local marketing and reciprocal engagement. Corporate detachment is not a good look for a hotel brand in the 21st century. Businesses need to provide an open platform for guests to engage with the brand in an informal way. Social media can be a great area for this, but official hotel forums can also foster a sense of community that helps guests feel like more than just a room number. The ‘free democracy’ of the internet is only going to grow.

Woman using hotel wifi in room as a bespoke hospitality solution

What does it all mean for the hotel industry?

Peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb certainly infringe on the profits of the hospitality industry, but that doesn’t necessarily signal a death knell for hotels. The sharing economy grew from the values of trust and communities, but established hotel brands can emulate these values too.

Airbnb’s minimal regulatory controls mean trust and transparency (at least for the hosts) are essential ingredients. They might be based on different business models, but hotels would do well to remember just how far these attributes can take them.

Boutique retro hotel sign against blue sky

What does the millennial traveller expect from the hospitality industry?

By | Hospitality, Hotel technology, Industry | No Comments

Millennial travellers take almost twice as many leisure trips as Gen Xers or baby boomers. The hospitality industry must evolve to respond to the needs of their changing demographics or risk losing them altogether.

The hospitality industry lives and dies on anticipating what customers want. But according to a recent study by the global consultancy firm HVS London, most hotels are struggling to keep pace with the changing needs of travellers.

Even with advances in technology, including the advent of analytics to study browsing behaviour, the hospitality sector has struggled to keep up with the changing needs of the modern guest. That’s a problem for the industry as a whole, with the sharing-economy ready to step in to fill the void.

So what does the modern traveller expect from their holiday experience? While everyone has a different idea of their dream holiday, there are a few recurring themes the hospitality sector would do well to remember.

Authenticity

The guest experience has always been at the forefront of hospitality but today’s travellers expect a more authentic taste of the surrounding culture. As visitors strive to become more immersed in the local society, package holidays centred solely around the hotel are becoming less relevant. This is, in part, down to the growth in social media and increasing levels of cultural assimilation. After all, nobody wants to return from holiday with only pictures of the hotel pool. Guests will always respond more strongly to a hotel that acts as an extension of the surrounding settings. Features like cuisine, language, interior design and even the means of service can play a part in cultivating an atmosphere of true locality.

Travellers today are more likely to reject a location if it seems overly corporate. Instead, tourists today opt for something that better reflects the environment in which the accommodation is based. Modern guests (both young and old) tend to shun generic toys from the hotel gift shop in favour of genuine locally-made products. Likewise, hotels that opt for a uniform approach across every branch will lose out to those that offer a more genuine, locally-informed approach.

View of sunset over cliffs from luxury boutique hotel

Personalisation

Just as guests want to feel a connection with the local culture, they also expect a personalised experience. Price and location will always be a factor, but it’s essential that hotels recognise a guests individual desires and respond to those needs in a way that best suits their guest.

Of course, there’s no way a hotel can possibly appeal to the whims of every visitor. With Genie, coupled with an intelligent Hotel Management System, hotels can engage with visitors on a one-to-one basis without assigning them their own personal concierge. A guest could input their special diet specifications before arrival. The information can then be saved to their personal profile. This, in turn, spares them the rigmarole of explaining their requirements each time they order room service. Not only does this make the life of the guest easier, it enables hotels to provide customised suggestions directly to the visitor.

Millennial traveller using hotel wifi on bed in room

Technology

How do you identify and respond to each customer’s unique requirements without sacrificing efficiency? The answer; technology.

Above all else, the modern traveller wants to feel valued. Technology and, by extension, automation, holds the key to identifying individual needs and appealing to them without stretching company resources. The modern traveller expects a degree of technological functionality from their stay (unless the hotel is marketed as a retreat from the digital world) because so much of their own life is built around technology.

Staying ahead of the technology game doesn’t mean providing bigger, brighter TVs in each room, either. It means recognising the trends in the tech industry that are filtering their way into people’s lives. With the smartphone now a ubiquitous element of daily life for most travellers, hotels can increase both revenue and brand loyalty with the aid of Genie and intelligent automation.

Hotel guests using hotel smartphone to photograph sunset

Privacy

With great power comes great responsibility. The hospitality industry would do well to remember this as the surge of new technologies bring with it untold data-tracking potential. Of course, before passing guest details on to third parties, any company must seek permission from the guest. Hoteliers might be surprised by how protective guests are over their basic information, particularly in light of recent social media data leaks. Hotels should always ensure this information is handled responsibly, regardless of how valuable data is to building customer relationships.

In the age of the modern traveller, privacy extends far beyond the hotel room. Guests expect their information to be used responsibly, to ensure only relevant advertising comes their way. By using a Genie phone, for instance, they can limit the outflow of personal information and still enjoy relevant, exclusive promotions that actually enhance the travel experience.

A Do Not Disturb sign on a luxury hotel door

Freedom

Tired of the same tours, the same attractions and treading the same path as visitors before them, the millennial traveller looks to technology as the number one source of information. With this information, travellers gain build a unique experience that better reflects their own understanding of a culture. 

That’s no reason for hotels to be lax, however. While modern guests want autonomy, this doesn’t mean being left completely to their own devices. The new generation of visitor wants to explore at their own pace and in their own way. Technology provides the opportunity for guests to shape their own adventure, but also for hotels to provide support, should they need it.

As far as striking the balance between autonomy and dependence goes, it’s largely down to the hotel, the guests and the nature of the surrounding attractions. For hotels based in rural areas, providing regular transport to attractions could be essential. For visitors to a hotel in the heart of a city, guests may prefer a lighter touch. Advice on the best modes of transport, maps highlighting popular routes or digital tours provided through a Genie phone give guests the freedom to explore at their leisure while keeping them on the right track.

Millennial travellers using luxury hotel smartphone to take a selfie

The biggest challenge facing the hospitality industry today is how to respond the ever-changing needs of clients. With so many different reasons for visiting a new city, the onus is on the industry. It’s down to the hotels, the B&Bs, the villas and the hostels to effectively respond to guests’ interests in a way that allows them to define their own experience while giving them an insight into the real vibe of the local area. It’s a tall order, but the hotels hosting the next generation of traveller will be those capable of rising to this challenge.

Using mobile internet while travelling on a motorbike

Why consistent guest connectivity is the final frontier in travel

By | Hospitality, Hotel technology, Mobile data | No Comments

Staying connected in a foreign country can be a major challenge. Even with the growth of overseas data packages, visitors are often left to their own devices when they step outside their hotel. That’s why consistent guest connectivity is so vital to the modern travel experience.

With the huge strides we’ve made in wireless connectivity in the past decade, there has come a deficit in services. While connectivity is a given in our home countries, it’s a different story when we go abroad. Foreign visitors often find that getting online is more costly than they planned, a revelation which can cast a pall over even the best made holiday plans.

Connect to share

With advances in data-roaming, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be connected at all times. This is especially true when visiting a new city with so many photo opportunities begging to be uploaded in real-time. Of course, there are still areas of the world without any data coverage, but the middle of a city shouldn’t be one of them.

For those with limited memory on their device, new pics have to be uploaded to the Cloud when they’re taken, and that’s where data coverage is essential.

For visitors that want to split into separate groups to explore, finding their way back to each other without any connection can be an ordeal, especially in a new city. Data enables guests to stay connected wherever they are, which means more time to explore and less time wandering.

Girls using hotel smartphone to take a selfie

Extra security = extra freedom

By maintaining consistent guest connectivity, hotels can ensure their safe passage around a new environment and give guests the freedom to explore beyond the usual tourist traps while staying safe.

Should the worst happen and a guest’s device is stolen, the data connection can act as a locator tool to identify where it is, and hopefully, help the police locate it and return it to the owner. A device without data and with no GPS enabled, meanwhile, is essentially lost to the world.

Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people out there, and tourists can make easy targets. By ensuring they always have a direct line to the hotel, guests can check any questionable deals before parting with their hard-earned cash. In this way, hotels can ensure a scam-free holiday experience and build brand loyalty in the process.

Travelling girl using hotel smartphone with 4G data

Data means discovery

There are some that decry the growing use of smartphones abroad, arguing it’s a distraction from the many wonderful new experiences around you. It’s true, spending your entire holiday with your face glued to a screen is no way to experience a country. However, having a consistent connection and, by extension, access to a range of apps, can improve your holiday experience immeasurably.

With unlimited data, guests can roam an entire city using a reliable and accurate navigation app. They can visit the city’s best attractions, enjoy meals at the hottest restaurants and even discover hidden cultural gems off the beaten track.

Data can actually provide a lifeline to the urban explorer, giving them a means through which to discover beyond the impersonal group tours and whistle-stop open top bus experience. With Genie devices, hotels can provide unlimited data to guests and provide remote suggestions on the best venues in the local area.

Using a tablet with data abroad to find restaurants

Mobile data in hospitality

Going abroad comes with its own set of obstacles, and that’s before you even arrive. Checking the house is secure, cancelling the paper, arriving at the airport with enough time and ensuring everyone travelling has the right documentation; all of these add complications to a supposedly stress-free holiday. When guests arrive at their destination, alleviating any further stress should be a hotel’s top priority.

However, one element often goes overlooked. Staying in touch with friends and family back home without running up a huge phone bill can be a major challenge, not to mention an unnecessary headache for potentially jet-lagged visitors.

That’s why data can mean the difference between a one-time visit and a regular guest. Providing little luxuries like access to social channels makes maintaining connectivity with loved ones markedly easier, something that will not go unnoticed when they’re writing up their post-checkout review.

Man using unlimited calls and texts to call

Apps can enhance the local experience

Above all else, you want your guests to be able to experience the local area safely and in comfort. In other words, you want guests to discover an authentic side to your city. The only way to truly experience a city like a local is to live as they do.

A wander through the local streets, food in the local cafes and engaging with the locals are essential activities, but what can guests do to really get under the skin of a new city? While mobile apps won’t make or break a holiday, they can definitely help guests get acclimated to a new culture.

With translate apps, guests can become more comfortable talking to locals in their native tongue. Apps aimed at promoting local events enable visitors to get beyond the tourist traps and experience a night out like a local. Apps certainly won’t define a holiday, but when used intelligently, they can enhance the experience and give insight into native life.

Using a smartphone with international data to talk with locals

Of course, some would argue data is actually negatively impacting the hospitality industry. They point to free online calls nullifying any need for legacy phone systems, from which hotels often make additional revenue when guests make international calls. They point to the decline in guided tours and in-hotel guidebooks.

But, as they say, “When one door closes, another opens.” Data may make some outdated, money-making features seem redundant, but it also provides new opportunities for the hospitality industry as a whole. Mobile data abroad doesn’t have to be a crutch, it can be a tool to enable a new kind of informed, and more secure, exploration and create a direct line through which hotels can engage with guests. The sooner the industry embraces these opportunities, the sooner everyone will feel the benefits.