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Hoteliers' Voice Season 4

S2E11 - 1859 Historic Hotels - the power of word of mouth

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Josh Henegar, Corporate Revenue Director at 1859 Historic Hotels, which has 10 hotels in three US states, talks about how analysing guest feedback can improve services.

ReviewPro is a useful tool for analysing strengths and weaknesses by segment. Providing guests with “perceived value” is essential as it correlates with revenues.

But the operational side of “shaking hands and kissing babies” is also vital at ground level in building positive experiences.

The hotel integrates data analysis from ReviewPro with the CRM and links it with guest profiles. The information can be used for future marketing. Finally, he explains how word of mouth through review sites is fundamental.

S2E10 - Penta Hotels - Reimagining the guest journey

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Amanda Du, Head of eCommerce from Penta Hotels explains how the company implemented digital change using an ABCD strategy. The company has more than 20 hotels across Europe and Asia.

Amanda, who has over a decade of international hotel experience, says A stands for “analytics”. Penta has to analyse its customer data carefully. B is for “business”. The company aims to change business conditions to improve the customer experience.

Meanwhile, C stands for “customers”. They must be at the core of every decision and Penta has created a series of touch points to improve engagement. Finally, D stands for “digital”. Technology is used to enable transformation and capture relevant data.

S2E9 - Payman Club - Managing Hotels & Holidays Rentals

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Na’ím Anís Paymán, speaks about the similarities and differences in managing holiday rentals and hotels. Paymán Club has nine hotels and more than 100 short-term properties.

Na’ím describes the challenges and opportunities of opening hotels during the pandemic. And he outlines how the market has gradually changed following the pandemic.

Paymán wanted to manage his portfolio using more technology. But he couldn’t find a suitable software provider. So, the company developed Zeevou, an award-winning PMS and Channel Manager, for serviced apartment providers and hotels that enables everyone to grow direct bookings.

S2E8 - NH Hotel Group - Revising the distribution culture (IHTF 2022 Special)

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During IHTF, Marketing and Distribution programme stream, Janneke Messiaen, VP Commercial Systems & B2B Digital for NH Hotel Group spoke about the company’s new model of distribution and distribution processing. She explained why they moved to a concentrated distribution model and how they devised strategies to support growth.

Janneke talked about how to get staff to buy into the changes and understand the business case. Open communication about the reasons behind every move was critical.

She described how the company built the commercial culture around market demands. For example, there should be little human involvement in quoting for small groups. The company has also devised strategies to attract corporate clients by improving databases and launching loyalty schemes.

S2E7 - The Red Carnation Hotel Collection - Digitalisation & Centralisation Strategies

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Suzie Thompson, VP Commercial of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection – which has 18 properties in UK, Ireland, Geneva and Africa - explains how they created a more centralised strategy, and unified sales and marketing teams.

Over the past two years, Red Carnation has launched 20 new websites, opened properties and reworked its sales framework. Suzie talks about creating a commercial team, digitalising global teams, working with partners, enhancing brand delivery, and optimising the guest experience.

The company won the Travolution Award for Best of Staying 2021 and also Travel Website of the Year from The Good Web Guide 2021. At Travel and Leisure World’s Best Awards 2021 it was named third best hotel brand in the world.

S2E6 - Branson Family Retreats - managing hospitality 100% remotely

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Tyann Marcink Hammond describes the remote digital management of the two brands she owns - Branson Family Retreats, which are purpose-built rentals for families, and Missouri Haus, a group of historical properties in Missouri wine country.

Proving that you don’t need to hold the hand of guests, nor be physically available 24/7, Tyann has 14 touch points ensuring warm communication with guests before arrival at any of the 55 properties.

She tells us guests can consult a digital guidebook showcasing brand, photos and logo. It contains instructional videos and explains what to expect when they arrive. Guests choose their own door codes and remote technology controls thermostats and monitors noise levels.

S2E5 - MyNext Hotels - Staffing hotels digitally

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George Gaag, Manager of myNext – hostels, apartments, hotels – talks about technology to run seasonal properties. The myNext portfolio consists of student accommodation in Austria available during university breaks.

myNext has developed a techstack that is so intuitive and easy to use that staff receive only a day’s training, with an LMS to provide access to a demo environment of the PMS and a knowledge management system (KMS) which explains how to handle various challenges.

The accommodation company has employed an applicant tracking system that makes it easier for students to apply for jobs and be screened, then interviewed on the phone. When work is available, the approved applicants are emailed automatically.

S2E4 - Future Hotels - Luxury high-end hospitality underpinned by technology

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Sotiris Kopatsaris, CEO and founder of Future Hotels and MD, Carpe Diem Santorini explains how technology helps staff to create the magic and authenticity that offers special experiences to every hotel client.

Technology is essential to make progress. But the personal touch is critical for Carpe Diem Santorini which provides luxury experiences to a lot of honeymooners.

The company uses a list of 600 innovations to benchmark hotel performance. Around 20% of the tech stack will provide 80% of the improvements in performance. The best solutions are recommended to Future Hotels. Such a rigorous approach is new in the independent hotel sector, he explains.

S2E3 - RBH Management - Digitalising the guest journey and cultural change

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With a full renovation taking place, Vibhu Gaind, took the opportunity to rework the tech stack in one London hotel. With drastic changes in hotel product and guest expectations, he was keen to make the contact with the guest more meaningful and less transaction-based.

Vibhu explains where he found inspiration and why he decided to replace the traditional lobby with a more vibrant entrance hub. Lobby ambassadors help guests to do the menial tasks while engaging meaningfully.

He speaks, too, about how the company is looking to recruit multi-skilled individuals from outside the hotel sector, and increase its focus on customer service.

S2E2 - Zetter Hotels - Overhauling the techstack for data intelligence

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Liutuaras Vaitkevicius (LV), explains how he overhauled the tech stack. He speaks about how he’s using data intelligence and working with his team to optimise performance at the company’s three centrally-located boutique luxury properties in London.

LV discusses how best to go about overhauling the tech stack, including clarifying the company’s objectives and selecting the right partners. He explains the importance of involving the whole team in making decisions. And expands on the changing trends in revenue management.

The company chose SiteMinder for distribution and HotelREZ for the GDS connections. Other major partners included Apaleo, LightSpeed Commerce, Up Hotel Agency, GuestRevu, Foresight, Flexkeeping, Xero, PACE, OTA Insight and STR Report.

S2E1 - StayCity - Underpinning revenue strategy with business intelligence

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This is a story of data and business intelligence, and how and where hotels can gather data to underpin the revenue strategy. Paolo Dona, CIO of StayCity Group explains the importance of data and business intelligence within its tech stack to gain essential insights into targeting individuals with the right marketing strategy. The goal is to move away from aggregators and win more direct bookings.

Paolo says the company was able during the pandemic to focus on the corporate side of its business. But its long-term strategy is to use data to hyper-personalise its offers, and optimise upselling, to the various groups that use its units, including families, corporate visitors and groups of friends.

StayCity Group uses Oracle Opera and works with HotelRes.

S1E6 – Joe Setchell, A Curious Group of hotels digitalise hotel services and operations

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Joe Setchell the Group Marketing Manager at A Curious Group of Hotels talks about new tech being implemented at the four properties in the portfolio: Canal House (Amsterdam), L’Hotel (Paris), Portobello Hotel (London), Cowley Manor (Cotswolds).
We discuss the use of a guest app and how they have used it to digitalise services whilst also integrating Benbria Loop within the app, which enables guests to request a wide range of services with a click including F&B, housekeeping, luggage assistance, hotel transfer etc.

For A Curious Group of Hotels, they recognised the need to digitalise the customer, from ordering to check-ins. As part of the tech change, Joe turned to Criton – however his key concern was “how do we achieve what we want to while preserving our boutique feel… Everyone has a smart phone, so it gave importance of developing the app.

S1E5 - Michael Reynolds, Maximise Revenue changing PMS in 7 days

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In this episode we speak with Michael Reynolds, a revenue and hotel tech consultant with Maximise Revenue who has worked with chains including Village hotels, easy hotels PLC as well as independent properties.

For Michael it’s about moving away from legacy systems to maximise revenue, optimise system performance and processes and enable hotels to be more savvy. As part of his Procurement research, Michael said “following experience and having to research new systems in the past, I knew the main players but wanted to look at up and coming providers to see the opportunities. It was a tick box exercise, with one main criteria being an Open API, to continue linking more and more to it. We quickly discarded a few PMS for this reason. Then a quick demo, to see how easy it is to use and how quick to onboard."

S1E4 - Jayson Heron-Smith, Cordis Hotel NZ and a unified guest platform

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In this episode we speak with Director of Sales & Marketing, Jayson Heron-Smith, at Cordis Hotels Auckland New Zealand part of Langham Hospitality which has had a big technology focus this year. Jayson talks us through the focus they’ve had on the tech stack and why they’ve made such grand investments for the future of the property.

Included in the list is Data Protection, upgrades and system changes to F&B reservations systems, a new unified guest platform including marketing databases, an online gifting platform plus a new sales & catering (Delphi) platform, as well as new data tools from the likes of Travelclick, STR & OTA insight to access additional insights.

S1E3 - Thibault Catala, The Revenue Management Tech Stack

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In this episode we speak with Thibault Catala of Catala Consulting, a revenue manager by trade with a background at IHG and Four Seasons, he talks us through his approach to developing the revenue management strategy starting with the tech stack.

We talk about his choice of systems, and what he did at The Eccleston Square Hotel London, London. “Tech is one of the key elements in the hotel structure and if it’s done correctly they can improve productivity, gain stronger revenue and develop market share,” says Thibault.

S1E2 - Robert Marusi, Turtle Bay Resort and improving fortunes with business intelligence

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In this episode we speak to the chief commercial officer for Turtle Bay Resort, Robert Marusi, previously of Hamilton Beach Resort a Fairmount Hotel Bermuda, 5 star Pelican Hill Resort – he now looks after the 400 room Turtle Bay Resort on 1300 acres of land with a organic sustainable farm, spa, golf courses, and beaches.

Robert has taken Turtle Bay Report and like the previous resorts taking it on a fast-paced journey to digitalisation moving its PMS to Opera Cloud, replacing the sales and catering platform, while implementing Amadeus Advanced, Salesforce Cloud. For Robert it’s all about customer acquisition and the need to look at metric differently.

S1E1 - Iain Jurgensen at Portavadie and the guest experience inspired by Disney

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Speaking to Managing Director Iain Jurgenseon of Portavadie which received £35m investment to become an inclusive resort, it hosts 400 staying guests across its campsite, marina, hotel and serviced apartments.

We learn how tech is an incredibly important part of the resorts wider strategy, inspired by Disney as they roll out contactless payment and high quality internet throughout, paying close attention to integrations and interfaces, and why they need to look at the overall guest experience before putting time into development.

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