{FF_LEAD_468x60.media}
January - Mobile Technology: A Permanent Sense of Immediacy
Advancements in mobile technology continue to evolve at a furious pace. It has created a permanent sense of immediacy between hotels and their guests, and has defined how they interact with each other. Mobile check-in and mobile check-out are quickly becoming commonplace, not only for guest convenience but also because it generates savings for the hotel. Digital entry is also being deployed which allows a smartphone to open hotel rooms or guest-only areas like fitness rooms or spas, enhancing security for all in the process. Mobile service requests allow guests to interact with on-property staff from wherever they are, for housekeeping, dining or concierge services. Guests will soon be able to use their smartphones to control room temperatures, adjust room lighting, and change the channels on their room televisions. Smart controls will also allow guests to personalize their rooms pre-arrival, even selecting their choices for the mini bar. Mobile payments are also being embraced by hotels, providing guests with the option to use their smartphones to pay for all their purchases during their stay. And strategically-placed beacons allow hotels to send real- time marketing promotions directly to guest smartphones as they pass by. Most of these developments are being driven by a need to appeal to the 80 million Millennials who will soon supplant Baby Boomers as the generation spending the most on travel. The millennial generation is characterized by a preference for technology-driven, personalized experiences, and they expect hotels to provide them with up-to-date, seamless and robust mobile technology. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this mobile space, and will report on the solutions that are proving to be most beneficial for both hotels and their guests. Need to subscribe? Click here!
Mark  Heymann

Mobile technology by its nature limits face-to-face interaction between a hotel’s service staff and their guests, thereby depersonalizing the guest experience. Yet service, especially in higher end brands, is a key differentiator in driving bookings and loyalty. So how will guest-facing automation impact service levels and pricing? And will any cost savings realized through technology benefit the guest or just the hotel? READ MORE

Michael Arner

Hospitality, traditionally slow to adopt new technology, is today everywhere threatened by it. There is physical competition in the form of a glut of new rooms provided, for example, by homestay networks like AirBnb. There is virtual competition in the form of difficult-to-manage online profile and review aggregators such as TripAdvisor—which can represent low-cost affronts to an expensively acquired and laboriously nurtured brand. At the same time, there is a new generation of customers that technology has trained to be fickle with their brand loyalty, impatient with waiting for services, impatient with wanting for access, impatient in general. READ MORE

Doug  Lodder

Managing mobile connectivity at hotels has become a cumbersome affair. From soaring mobile data trends to the growing number of devices guests bring on trips, winning over the hyper-connected consumer presents more challenges than ever before. By the numbers, mobile data traffic is forecasted to increase eightfold by 2020; 81 percent of the traffic will be done via a smartphone and 80 percent of data will be consumed on Wi-Fi. This analysis flags two key takeaways for the hospitality industry: the demand for seamless hotel connectivity will only continue to expand and Wi-Fi is a sure bet for powering digital experiences. READ MORE

Jared Simon

Mobile geo-targeting is enabling the hotel industry to experience its own “Just in Time” revolution. Its use helps craft more accurate consumer profiles through location and behavioral data, which can amplify the effectiveness of current marketing efforts and open up an avenue for new efforts. And if hotels can successfully use mobile geo-targeting and clever marketing, they might be able to drastically improve their ability to fill vacant rooms—even, in some cases, at the last minute. This article delves into mobile geo-targeting and puts it in perspective for the hotel industry. READ MORE

Adam Gillespie

Hotel technology is constantly trying to catch up and accommodate guests’ interests compared to what they use at home. Each year, hotel properties are faced with evaluating and upgrading to the latest and greatest technologies to accommodate their guests, but at what cost? In an increasingly complex world, businesses need to adapt with shifting trends and technologies. The hotel industry’s landscape has responded with corporate solutions that allow for minimal capital expenditures. Previous models required capital budgeting techniques to adjust to a larger margin when it comes to acquiring critical technologies. READ MORE

Larr Gorman

It used to be that a General Manager was tied to the front desk in order to solve issues or keep track or manage a hotel. With a cloud-based PMS, a GM can technically run the hotel from anywhere on a phone or tablet. A 100% we-based system allows two way communication at the hotel, and management can stay informed on operations from anywhere. The difference between cloud-based systems and server-based networks is as dramatic as the difference between an iPhone and a land-line. Traditional phones are like anchors—they’re tied to a specific place, your home or office. READ MORE

Suman Pal

Imagine for a moment, passing guests in queue at the hotel front desk waiting to check-in while you’re heading straight to your room instead, or securing your favorite table and skipping the wait list, all without having to talk with a single staff member. No, you’re not dreaming. The day of frictionless guest service is here. Guests are demanding it. How well is your hotel embracing it? The rapid evolution in mobile, social and cloud technologies combined with a monumental shift in guest expectations has launched us into what is one of the most pivotal transformations in hospitality. READ MORE

Marc Stephen Shuster

Cyber threats have seized the spotlight in 2016. From enterprise data breaches costing millions, to the emergence of fraud and hacking as an on-demand service, to the politically-inspired interception and disclosure of the US Presidential campaign’s emails and, some have alleged, the hack of the election itself, cybercrime emerged from the realm of cyberpunk fiction and established its place as a mainstream social, economic, and political force in 2016. The rise of hacking has been driven by three factors: the pervasive use of network driven technology, the use of aggregated electronic data by companies, and the fluid resale market for stolen personal, financial, and healthcare information. READ MORE

Michael P. O'Day

For many hotel guests, the most appealing hotels are the properties that offer instant connectivity with the bandwidth capable of supporting multiple devices. As our need for faster speeds and higher quality content continues to grow, hotel guests now expect uninterrupted service putting more pressure on hotel IT building designs. As more and more guests shift to the “always connected” mindset, hotels must be able to deploy technology solutions with minimum downtimes that can grow with the increasing dependence on mobility. Hoteliers must now meet today's guest technology expectations while preparing for tomorrow by installing an infrastructure in which the bandwidth and technology can be expanded as the need arises. READ MORE

Terence Ronson

There’s only one way to view this – we live in a mobile world. Almost any consumer product or service developed today, is most likely created with a mind-set that one day it will somehow be used in a mobile manner. Consigned to oblivion are the days when we need to return to a desk to do email, go to a fixed line to make a phone call, plug into a network port for internet connectivity, have a hard-wired antenna to watch TV, or wear a wired headset to listen to music. READ MORE

Scott Schaedle

It’s no secret that mobile technology has reshaped the consumer travel experience. Today’s traveler can check in and out of a hotel without ever speaking to a human being. That lack of human interaction and direct communication is both a good and bad thing for the hospitality technology industry. From booking a reservation to leaving a review, mobile use continues to rise in the hospitality technology sector, and is not slowing down any time soon. Today, nearly 60 percent of travelers book hotels using a mobile device while 81 percent of travelers find user reviews important when considering which hotel to book. READ MORE

Court Williams

In some ways, running a successful hotel comes down to a proposition both simple and sometimes complex: delivering service that exceeds the expectations of your guests. You need to provide comfort and hospitality, but also something extra to set yourself apart from other properties. Without differentiating yourself in the market, you risk becoming just one of many hotel options, rather than the preferred choice for your market. One valuable way to set yourself apart from your competition is through embracing technological opportunities available to hotels. If you leverage mobile technology, a wealth of options are emerging that can deliver new conveniences and services that enhance the guest experience. READ MORE

Alastair Cush

A growing number of properties are implementing mobile access guest room locking systems and the apps that support them. Many chain standards mandate mobile access and independents are joining the trend. What few operators understand is that mobile access implementation has changed not only every aspect of hotel door locks but also many other areas of hospitality operations. More people are actively involved in the decision making process for hotel locks than before. Mobile access has integrated the lock process with numerous property and chain departments from sales to guest loyalty and brand marketing. The original purpose of improving guest door locks was exclusively loss prevention and security. READ MORE

Jim Vandevender

Meeting data and technology have evolved considerably since the days of the bulky ,expensive mail ordered meeting planner guides and hotel catalogues. The ways in which hotels find and book groups is far different than the antiquated methods of not so long ago. As better technology surrounding meetings and events becomes available , hotels appetites for group business seems to also increase at a parallel pace making the need to keep the related technology evolving even more paramount. The companies that provide hotels with this meeting intelligence are continually developing new and more advanced methods of gathering this sought after data to keep up pace with the demand. READ MORE

Dave Weinstein

As with so many industries, the smartphone has transformed how organizations interact with their customers. Look at the automotive industry, the airline industry, and of course, the hospitality industry. You start your car’s engine and set the climate control to the desired temperature, buy airline tickets and check-in on your flight and do the same with your hotel room, all from your phone. There is a slew of services that traditionally are offered by hotels via the “book” on the desk. The book is still there, but some hotels allow you to order via the television while others offer integrated tablets. READ MORE

Kacey Butcher

Can you imagine your bank choosing not to provide a way to check account status and transactions outside of your monthly paper statement? Can you further imagine a popular franchise restaurant only having paper take-out menus? You would be forced to contemplate what other aspects internally within the organization would make doing business with them complicated and archaic. There you find your own personal underlying immediate expectation of baseline service and operational procedures, where a decision is often made instantly to move onto the next provider. A decision to choose another provider that seemingly knows how to service customers with the utmost up-to-date standards. READ MORE

Robert Rauch

It is safe to say that social media and the marketing force that goes into it are here to stay. This is largely due to the space’s ability to continuously evolve. Just 10 years ago Facebook morphed into a mainstream business tool, Twitter arrived, the iPhone exploded on the scene and Android phones followed closely behind. This series of events spurred social growth as platforms began to fulfill needs we didn’t even know we had. Today, the number of major social platforms has reached a stable point but that doesn’t mean that there will not be continued growth in 2017. READ MORE

Michael Barbera

Virality is a social media marketer's dream. Achieving virality is a feat that few could claim. It is statistically more likely to be admitted to an Ivy League university, to win the lottery or to be struck by lightning than to go viral. Social media marketers continuously attempt to develop content that contains all of the essential attributes of historically viral posts. However, changing the default could increase the chances of virality and increase organic reach: set the honeypot. READ MORE

Stephanie  Hilger

Creating content is hard, especially with limited budgets, time, and resources. Not to mention, the content that your hotel is publishing is not only competing with content from other hotels but also with content from other brands, other industries - even users' family and friends. In the digital world, community managers are constantly trying to think of creative ways to attract and engage followers. As a social media manager, it is not always necessary to create content from scratch. Engaging content can be discovered and re-shared with your network. Often times, content curation can even be the key to increasing engagement. READ MORE

Diane Van Leunen

We hear all the time that travelers have changed. Now we’re highly-connected, mobile-crazed folks who want the freedom to choose. We want experiences, and we want to share those experiences with family and friends at the touch of a button, all in search of the next like. This is often attributed to the growing number of Millennial travelers born-and-raised on tech somewhere between 1980 (or ‘85, or ‘90 depending on who you ask) and the early 2000s. The reality is, travelers aren’t so different. We’re still dreamers and adventure-seekers. We always enjoyed experiences and we always shared them with the people we love. READ MORE

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.