Friday, August 26, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 8/26/16

The right Property Management System a key factor in hotel success: Study

A study conducted by Starfleet Research is reporting that over one-quarter (27 percent) of the hotels that have not upgraded their PMS during the last three years, will be doing so sometime in the next twelve months. The release of the 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems was announced this week by the research firm. The research data was collected and compiled from across 212 different hotel respondents in diverse geographic locations, hotel properties, and organizational size. Full Story Here:


US Hotel Occupancy Up Slightly - 0.3 Percent To 71.3 Percent - Week Ending August 20th - 2016

STR is reporting positive performance figures for the U.S. hotel industry for the week of 14-20 August 2016. When compared to the same time period last year, industry-wide occupancy edged up by 0.3 percent to 71.3 percent for the week. Average daily rate climbed 3.2 percent to reach $124.11 by the end of the week. Revenue per available room showed a growth rate of 3.6 percent, to finish the week at $88.50. Full Story Here:


Are travelers losing the hotel booking wars?

Research by Triptease indicates that three out of four travelers believe online travel agencies offer the lowest hotel room rates. However, in the ongoing price war with the big hotel chains, OTA’s are being undersold by the hotels via direct booking channels. The winner clearly is the consumer as hotels attempt to gain back control of their revenues by avoiding the 15 to 25 percent commissions they pay to the OTA’s. Full Story Here:


Report: Average booking value of direct nearly double that through third-parties.

According to findings by SiteMinder, hotels are on average gaining almost twice the value for bookings made through direct channels than those they receive via third-party channels. Based on the results of 43.5 million reservations during a 12 month period which ended June 2016, the research was conducted with the company’s 22,000 hotel customers. The report stresses the importance of hotels to keep a balanced distribution strategy while focusing their efforts on direct booking channels. Full Story Here:




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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hotel Keyless Entry Technology

Having spent the better part of their day standing in lines, confined into small spaces, and crowded together with others; nothing could be worse for the weary traveler than to face more of the same at the hotel they have booked. Or, once already settled in their accommodations, coming back to their room after a long day to discover they have misplaced their room key and must now return to the front desk for a duplicate. Today’s travelers have already become largely comfortable with technologies which could eliminate such travel hassles. The proliferation of smartphones and associated app technology offers solutions with the potential to create a truly seamless customer experience for hotel guests.

These innovative technology forces, coming from both within and outside of the hospitality industry, are merging to streamline the hotel guest experience from when they check-in upon arrival to when they leave at check-out. One means of accomplishing this goal is the mobile hotel room key. This technology, when combined with mobile check-in, will bring the level of hotel guest convenience to new heights. The traveling public is now utilizing smartphones to manage every detail of their travel. Consumers have grown accustomed to connecting their entire lives through their mobile devices, as well as saving time and money in the process. As mobile hotel room key technology sees greater adoption and hotel guests see the benefits, it will become expected by them.

Hotel guests are not the only ones to benefit from this technology. There is much to be gained for hoteliers as well. Mobile hotel room keys provided to guests via a mobile check-in procedure will free up front desk staff to concentrate on those guests who need assistance with any issues which may arise during their stay. Also, the hotel guests who want a full service hotel experience can receive a greater degree of personalized attention. 

Security has not been an issue for hotels that have rolled out mobile hotel keys. The technology is more secure than plastic key cards and does not suffer from the commonly encountered demagnetization problems. The digitally issued keys will only function with a specific phone which is linked to a specific account, assigned a specific room number. The keys are secure as long as the guest is following proper personal password procedures.

Hotels that provide their guests the level of choice and convenience offered by mobile keyless entry consistently receive higher scores on travel review sites. Which in turn leads directly to higher hotel revenues.


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Friday, August 19, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 8/19/16

Southern Lodging: Uncertainty grows among US hoteliers

The Southern Lodging Summit was recently held in Memphis, Tennessee and the keynote panel speakers reported growing concern and uncertainty in the U.S. hotel industry. While overall performance has been positive, there are some troubling indicators however. Financing, supply growth and distribution concerns were pointed out by the panel of hotel company executives as factors currently impacting U.S. hoteliers. Full Story Here:


New Loyalty Program Rankings Reveal a Growing Points Divide for Travel Brands

U.S. News & World Report released the results of their annual travel rewards rankings, indicating a change in results. The Best Travel Rewards Programs report has, since its inception in 2013, ranked Marriott Rewards as number one. But the 2016 rankings are shifted with Wyndham Rewards now number one. Wyndham completely restructured its rewards program in 2015, greatly simplifying it in the process. Since the re-build Wyndham Rewards has added an additional 7 million members. Full Story Here:


US hotels saw 6% growth in direct bookings, online and mobile, in Q216

Research released by the travel technology company TravelClick shows a significant rise in direct hotel bookings. When compared to the same time period in 2015, second quarter direct hotel website bookings rose by 6 percent. This data indicates a much higher growth rate for brand site bookings over online travel agencies. OTA’s posted a 3.3 percent growth rate during the same period. Future reservations for the third quarter show 33 percent are on brand website and 21.6 percent are through OTA’s. Full Story Here:


US Hotel Occupancy Down 1.5 Percent To 73.1 Percent Week Ending August 13th - 2016

Mixed results were reported by the U.S. hotel industry for the week of 7-13 August 2016. According figures published by STR, industry-wide occupancy dropped by 1.5 percent to 73.1 percent. This is when compared to the same week last year. Average daily rate climbed up 2.6 percent however, reaching $125.98 by week’s end. Revenue per available room increased as well, rising by 1.1 percent to $92.12 for the week. Full Story Here:


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hotel Self Service Check-In Technology

Hospitality has traditionally been slow to adopt innovative technology, particularly in regards to customer-facing functionality that is usually performed by humans. Changes within the industry are already underway and hotel guests are now predominantly using their mobile devices as travel aids which help them manage every facet of their trip. These industry changes are also being driven by a growing trend and demand from a segment of consumers for faceless, yet efficient, transactions from the brands they patronize.


Self Check-in Via Mobile Device

The example has been set by a number of other industries for self-service. Consumers have become comfortable with the technology thanks to its ubiquity in retail, banks and airports, for example. To an increasingly larger segment of the population, self-service is their actual preference wherever they are given the option by businesses. It is the growing expectation by many in the traveling public that, not only should they be able to able to view and book their hotel stays from their mobile devices, but have the ability to skip the lines at the front desk with mobile check-in.

Although a number of hotels and chains have implemented self-service kiosks in their lobbies, the traveling public demands a much more personalized technology solution as a result of the explosion of mobile smartphone use. The hospitality industry is firmly rooted in the traditions of excellence in service, making many hoteliers uncomfortable with the very concept of self-service for hotel guests. However, the purpose of empowering guests with the functionality to check themselves in is not to take away from the personal touch, but rather enhance the level of service they receive when they are on hotel property.

A small number of hotel brands have rolled out mobile check-in options for their guests. Most by utilizing either chain or property specific mobile apps that their customers can download to their smartphones or tablets. Another method offered by some hoteliers is to have the guests check-in online and then receive a text when their room is available to them. Another current practice for some hotels is to offer self check-in options only to loyalty club members. Whether this becomes the standard or hotel brands are forced to provide self check-in to all guests, remains to be seen.

Ultimately, mobile self check-in is yet another indication of the desire on the part of consumers for more choices in their lives. Hotel guests are building the momentum of change within the hospitality industry, carried along and made possible by innovative technology. 


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Monday, August 15, 2016

Self Service Technology For Hotels

The hospitality industry is being transformed by a number of outside influences which are shaping its future. The rise of mobile technology and the ubiquity of smartphones, in confluence with the emerging Millennial Generation travelers, are driving this transformation. One piece of this change is the adoption and implementation of customer self-service technology in hotels. Hoteliers have been generally slow to adopt self-service technology, but this is beginning to change.

Travelers have traditionally sought a high level of face-to-face customer service from the hotels in which they choose to stay. This is changing however, especially among younger travelers and business travelers. Hoteliers on the other hand have been largely eager to please their guests through delivering excellent customer service to the utmost of their abilities, usually meaning in-person and face-to-face interactions. Technology is creating new customer demands on hotels and the hospitality industry.


Self-Service Kiosks

The air travel industry was an adopter and took the lead in regards to self check-in, using self-service kiosks. In addition to self check-in, air travelers have had the ability to also drop off luggage, and be early issued boarding passes as well. The adoption by air travel, and other industries including banking, has created an unprecedented level of expectation among travelers and the public in general. The airline self-service kiosk provides a model for how the hospitality industry can follow suit with similar technology. 

Besides concerns for the lack of personal touch, hoteliers have been hesitant in implementing new self-serve technology because of fears that guests would not understand their use. This has proven incorrect wherever the technology has been put into practice as long as it is intuitively designed. Self-service technology does not replace hotel staff. It frees them from their desk to truly provide a much higher level of custom service to their guests. Besides convenience and service, the new technology can increase choice and personalization for each hotel guest. All of these factors have resulted in dramatically enhanced customer satisfaction among travelers.

The bottom line for hoteliers who are willing to adopt self-service technology is the resultant higher level of guest brand loyalty, leading to revenue increases stemming from its utilization in hotels.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 8/12/16

Why Delta’s Computer System Failure Is a Sign of a Much Bigger Problem

A power outage resulted in the cancellation of thousands of Delta Airlines flights over the course of several days this week. The outage brought the second largest airline to a halt, creating chaos for travelers. The outage points toward a much larger issue looming over, not just the airlines, but many hotels as well. The aging computer technology utilized by a large number of travel companies. The 20th century legacy systems hosting data for travel brands will be an on-going problem going forward until they are replaced. Full Story Here:  


Average booking value on direct hotel websites nearly double that on third-party channels: Siteminder report

The value in revenue from direct booking on hotel websites is almost twice than that generated through third-party booking sites. This is according to research conducted by SiteMinder. In a study of 43.5 million reservations worldwide, over the course of 12 months ending in June 2016, direct bookings accounted for an average of $600 in revenue. This is in contrast to the $340 in average revenue per booking generated by OTA’s. The report stresses the need for hoteliers to focus their efforts on generating more direct bookings via their hotel website. Full Story Here:


STR: US hotel results for week ending 6 August

The U.S. hotel industry saw mixed results the week of 31 July 2016 through 6 August 2016. When compared to the same time period last year, industry-wide occupancy dropped by 1.6 percent to 75.6 percent for the week. Average daily rate climbed by 2.7 percent to reach $127.69 by week’s end, however. And revenue per available room was higher by 1.1 percent as well, reaching $96.59 by the end of the week. Full Story Here:


Reservation Pace Decline Signals Stronger Headwinds For Hoteliers

TravelClick has published the results of their July 2016 North American Hospitality Review (NAHR). The report shows the number of new hotel bookings is dropping, but average daily rates are higher than the same month last year. New bookings have dropped by 3.6 percent when compared to last year’s figures during the same time frame. The twelve month outlook projects transient bookings to rise 3.2 percent and average daily rate for this segment to go up by 1.6 percent between July 2016 and June 2017. Full Story Here:


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Friday, August 5, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 8/5/16

Direct now cheaper than agencies for majority of hotel searches

Research and analysis conducted by Triptease is now indicating that hotel brand websites are now offering their inventory at lower rates than those listed on OTA’s. A study of more than 200 million hotels worldwide compaired prices from intermediary websites and supplier-direct sites found 53 percent of hotel websites are offering rates lower than those found on intermediaries. Triptease also discovered that when OTA’s are priced lower than direct websites, it is not by much more than $1. Full Story Here:


Cracking the Millennial Travel Mindset: Surprising Insights on Attitudes and Behaviors

A study released by American Express provides valuable information to help hoteliers understand the largest travel segment. The American Express Future of Travel found Millennials to be much more optimistic than Baby Boomers regarding future travel. 52.8 percent of Millennials are expecting to travel more frequently during the next five years, opposed to Boomers at 32.1 percent. The study also found similarities between the two generations in regards to the value of human interaction. 89 percent of Millennial travelers believe personal service is irreplaceable. Full Story Here:


Americans not redeeming their travel rewards: CPA survey

A Harris Poll survey of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted by the American Institute of CPAs has uncovered the fact that Americans are not using their travel rewards to save on air fare and hotels. Only 15 percent of Americans have ever paid for all or a portion of their travel with reward points. Regarding their last vacation, only seven percent redeemed points towards even a portion of the trip expenses. Only 1 percent paid for the entire trip with points. Full Story Here:


STR: US hotel results for week ending 30 July

Compared to the same time period last year, the U.S. hotel industry posted mixed numbers the week 24-30 July 2016. Occupancy decreased by 0.2 percent to 77.3 percent at the end of the week. But average daily rate was 4.6 percent higher, finishing the week at $130.20. Revenue per available room climbed by 4.4 percent to end at $100.65 for the week. Full Story Here:


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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hotel Data Security Technology

When guests stay at a hotel, whether for leisure or business, there is a level of data privacy which is expected from Hoteliers. The nature of the hospitality industry makes that expectation highly personal, when you consider customers are making the decision to pay for what amounts to a temporary home for a period of time. So, when that privacy has been violated by an unauthorized data intrusion, like it has a number of times recently to hotels in an extremely embarrassing way, the damage can be profound for both hoteliers and their guests alike. 

The nature of hospitality also makes hotels particularly enticing targets for hi-tech thieves to breach their data. Everyday, new guests arrive at hotels, bringing with them personal and credit card data that cross multiple complex systems. Frequently, these systems are composed of software applications which may have been un-securely integrated, increasing vulnerability. Everything from reservation systems to hotel Wi-Fi can be potentially zeroed in by hackers, with the point of sale systems being the target in the overwhelming majority of cases.

The consequences of security breaches of hotel customer data go beyond mere embarrassment. The costs to hoteliers can be significant, both directly financial and in terms of reputation damage to the brand. If travelers don’t feel as if their private information is safe, they will simply book their stay somewhere else. Hotel guests should feel confident in the hotel’s data security measures.

Ramping up data security has been a long time coming for most public facing industries. This has also been especially true for hospitality. Hoteliers need to begin by ensuring all network systems are fully secure. Customer payment security must be made a priority at all levels. Every step of the booking and check-in process must be payment industry compliant for all credit and debit card transactions. Hotels must implement the new chip-based technology in order to safeguard the credit card information of their guests. Hotel staff must also be fully trained and strict protocol put in place for them to follow in regards to handling credit card information.

Hotel customers are usually seeking overnight accommodations either to escape their everyday lives and find solace in vacation time or needing to be on the road for work. Either way, hotel security of their personal information is the last worry they need to face when they are away from home. Hoteliers must protect the private information which has been entrusted to them. 

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Driving Hotel Call Center Direct Booking

The recent moves within much of the hotel industry to implement special rates for loyalty members should put renewed emphasis on the importance of the voice channel and hotel call centers. The implementations of these rate changes are part of an overall effort on the part of hoteliers to increase revenue through direct hotel bookings. Intended to take back some of the revenue which has been given up to the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), hotels are endeavoring to reestablish booking connection with their most loyal customers while engaging new ones as well. While the sales model of hotels has relied heavily upon online channels, both via brand websites and OTAs, the voice channel remains a vital tool for hoteliers in their efforts to steer customers away from booking hotel stays through non-direct channels.

Many sources estimate that as much as 75 to 80 percent of hotel revenue is produced through voice channels, particularly in the case of independent and higher end chain properties. The hotel call center can provide a much more personal and efficient link between the brand’s website and the customer. A preponderance of calls is now generated via mobile, by way of the click-to-call feature. This gives website users an avenue to continue booking direct because they may have become confused or are having some other issue trying to book on the brand’s site. Giving website users this option can greatly reduce booking abandonment. Other callers are deal-driven potential guests trying to beat the rates offered by OTAs. Whatever their motivation for calling, these callers must be successfully converted in an efficient and cost effective manner.

The Above Property Call Center module allows agents to be more productive and provide the highest level of customer service by combining workflow efficiency with visual communication. The module takes full advantage of Above Property’s Distributed Reservation System or your existing reservation system to allow agents to efficiently sell as well as up-sell revenue generating products and services.

Through our extensive information data store, agents have full access to rates, inventory, points of interest, and mapping software to ensure the highest level of customer interaction. Operating in a fully distributed cloud environment, the Above Property Property Call Center module can integrate with existing systems as well as take advantage of the full suite of complementary modules within the Above Property Travel Platform.



  • Visually communicative
  • Access anywhere
  • Workflow optimized
  • Analytics, metrics, and feedback available in real time
  • Works with existing systems 

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