The hospitality industry has always embraced technology, and the modern guest expects no less. Guests want simpler ways to interact with services and want to be informed and communicated within better ways and in any language. 

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Hotel room service has always been a tough sell. It’s expensive both to order and to operate, looks extravagant on a business traveler’s expense report, and for most people, goes against the very point of travel: to get out and explore new sights and cuisines. Room service revenue industrywide is down more than 25 percent since before the recession, according to CBRE, a commercial real estate firm.

Although 80 percent of guests expect hotels to have an on-site restaurant, only 72 percent will use it, and only for breakfast. And even though many hotels offer a room service menu (many 24 hours a day), 81 percent of hotel guests say they would never use it. In the future, room service deliveries from external companies are predicted to rise by 83 percent.

Hotels, then, have a problem. They either need to fight back, banning food deliveries and making room service more appealing and affordable, or embrace the lifestyle shift and encourage and collaborate.

Several hotels already have a mobile application to streamline their services, to be able to check-in and check-out through the telephone, request room service, communicate with the hotel staff, as well as find local information and order food. 

An interesting fact is, on average, a hotel spends 2 dlls per day on printed paper per day: menu, hotel information etc.  Switch to a digital format has the facility to update information directly, reduces printing costs, time and improves its service.

The best way to fight back to the food delivery industry is with the right omnichannel strategy within the hotel. Each channel available at the hotel leads and facilitates the guest to improve their service and increase preference, revenue, and loyalty.

Kiosks and display screens showing the special of the day will surely encourage guests to reserve a table at the hotel’s restaurant or ask to something at room service. 

All available consumer channels from Mobile, digital signages and kiosks around the hotel have the facility to communicate and update at the moment, giving the guest the ease of ordering, booking and enjoying in the comfort of the hotel without having to resort to a food delivery app.

As well, well organization need to look at how digital food ordering can decrease costs, and increase point of sale purchase.   Providing guests with pictures and upsell opportunities as well as prescheduling ordering.    

Are you planning to grow your Omnichannel ordering capabilities? Send us an email and we’ll be more than happy to share with you what we have done and how we can help you accomplish your guest experience goals. [email protected].  For special revenue calculator simple send us an email we will help you show management the potential of digital ordering.

Over the last several years, many brands, especially those in the travel space, have realized the importance of UGC being integrated into their web platforms. Destinations, hotels, airlines, cruises and many more have sought to take advantage of the one intangible, yet highly powerful advantage that UGC provides – inspiration. The reason why 56% of travelers say UGC is the content that they want the most is because they want to feel inspired by what peers and people who share the same interest are doing and experiencing. 

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For airline and hotel brands, especially, UGC is effectively used to drive more direct bookings, engaging consumers with inspirational content early in the buying process to help keep them on the website and avoid the risk of sales going to third parties. UGC is also used heavily in advertising, replacing standard and noticeable stock imagery with new and unique visuals. This significantly drives up conversion rates in almost all cases. Destinations use UGC galleries on their websites to provide authenticity and to help call out the uniqueness and advantages over competing markets. 

However, the Omnichannel is changing this as mobile increases and people are engaged with interactive and digital signage options, marketers need to be aware that the connection points they use on web can drive a whole different level of purchasing and experience for travelers and guests.  Today’s consumers want to engage and experience when they want and, on the device, they have with them. 52% of travelers say that their primary device for researching while on vacation is their mobile phone. By exposing UGC galleries, you help engage, and educate on the many great things other travelers have done or want to do while traveling.   


For hotels and resorts, exposing UGC galleries to guests while on-property can lead directly to more amenity spend. If your hotel has an app, or PWA (progressive web app), there is almost certainly always a section that lets the guest navigate through the hotel amenity information which includes real imagery, usually, an image pulled from the hotel’s website. To provide more inspiration and drive more revenue, hotels need to implement UGC within these sections to provide unique, fresh, and up to date. 

Digital Signage, Kiosk and Mobile, well placed helps increase engagement reduce perceptions of wait times, show rich imagery of travelers enjoying restaurants, hot spots and attractions or relaxing and rejuvenating at your spa. These images provide inspiration to guests, and a lot of times result in new guests engaging in the same behaviors as the peers who influenced them. 


For destinations, now that they’ve already succeeded in getting the visitor to their destination, their focus needs to shift to driving more business to their constituents and stakeholders. Chances are that most visitors will already have their accommodations booked, but numerous studies show that most visitors don’t start to make their plans and build their itineraries until arriving at the destination. This creates a perfect opportunity for destinations to leverage UGC in order to drive visitors to local restaurants and attractions. Digital signage within visitor centers and high traffic areas, whether it be a single display or a number of them.  Touchscreens and free-standing kiosks are always great devices to expose UGC on for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious we’ve already covered, to influence and inspire other visitors to engage in the same behaviors that they are visually seeing on a screen. But second, this gives the destination a better chance of collecting data from visitors that they can use for marketing purposes. Visitors standing within a visitor center may be drawn over to a kiosk because of UGC being used as a “screen saver”. By influencing that visitor to interact, destinations have now significantly increased their chances of having them fill out a digital guest book with email/city/state/zip code information, answering a few survey questions, or building an itinerary for their 3-day trip. All of this data can be funneled directly back into the destination’s CRM, giving the marketing team valuable information that they can use for both retargeting and personalization to drive future visitors into the market. 

To summarize, UGC is a powerful tool for web, but sometimes overlooked is the potential to integrate UGC on direct in destination and on property engagements.   The power of inspiration and connection can shape perception, get them more involved in amenity and destination experiences that drive better reviews, increase travel spend and keeps them coming back year after year.  If you have or are looking for a way to build and share User Generated Content, reach out we integrate with many of the top tools and have UGC options built directly into the OmniPlatform. [email protected] or call 833-300-6664

Progressive Web Apps are re-inventing communication and customer behavior evolving the approach to the client in a personal way directly through links, websites, and social media.  Adoption of hospitality apps has consistently been low, however with new browser-based technology you can promote and download apps, that are lite, easy to use and don’t require users to go to app stores. 

With this advancement and the connection of the Omnichannel, you can now connect guests through any channel and desire. Mobile food ordering, check-in, mobile key, and more help drive the consistency of their experience through their personal device while allowing you to promote one service at a tie.

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Bottom line, mobile helps you service your guest better, allows you to learn more about them and provides new ways to generate revenue.   Uber and other digital offerings are going to continue to impact your bottom line, it’s your time to realize you can compete and drive better tools for better loyalty and return visits.  Here is a shortlist of items to consider as you look to mobile and the Omnichannel.

User profile integration
Most of the applications for booking are personalized, that is, they employ a user profile to provide authorization and personal data storage. This ensures better UX and, thereby, increases user loyalty to the app. Moreover, this creates opportunities to store previous routes, payment card details, as well as hotel loyalty system points.

Hotel directory. Wayfinding
The catalog is perhaps the most important function of your future application. Here you must provide your users with the utmost information: directions, and how to get around.  Easily displayed options for special offers and events are great during this point.

Room service ordering.
Increase room service and on-property ordering by up to 30%, learn more about your guests and provide them the tools they want to use.   A well-designed digital menu option integrated to your PoS will reduce costs, errors and typically pay for itself with the first 12 months.  Not to mention real-time price updates, specials, promotions, and seasonal menus.

Push notifications.
Push notifications are a great way to inform your current about offers (for example, linked to the user’s current location), regardless of whether the app is currently active on the user’s smartphone or not.

Social media integration/ User Generated Content
Ensure the fastest way to engage and learn more about your guests, provide them options to share and engage and learn more about your destination and hotel. 

Mobile Check-In, Mobile room key.
Easily allow guests to get right to their room and start experiencing your hotel and destination.  1 of the top 3 features as a must-have selected by Oracle study of over 3000 guests. This combined with Mobile key options allows you to engage with next generation and provide desired tools for the business traveler.  

Artificial intelligence chatbots.
Chatbots will help you provide instant interaction with users, reducing the time to reach the hotel operator. Solutions based on artificial intelligence are considered the most advanced – they are capable of replacing living operators in 9 out of 10 cases, and guests are becoming more acclimated to voice activation tools like Alexa and more.

Definitely, the range of opportunities and functions offered by a progressive web app continues to grow and will continue to offer more solutions for the hotel market. If you would like to more information or want to create your custom Progressive Web App, contact us today. [email protected]

From Hotelier to Experience Agent:

My Journey, What I am seeing as the world and economy changes.

In an early morning conversation with a 30-year hospitality veteran, he explained to me that he has been talking to some of his colleagues about how I am attempting to open a hotel with no experience, whatsoever.  His demeaning tone resonated with me because he was one of almost 5 hoteliers who told me that not only was I not qualified, the concept wouldn’t work and without the knowledge they had, I was sure to fail.   

Now I am a positive and confident person, but it causes deep thought about why some hoteliers feel or think the way they do.  I couldn’t have more respect for the people and organizations that run hotels. There are fundamentals to this business and many of them pull it off very well.  However, I started to think – would I be considered a hotelier as I open my new brand? What does that really mean anyway? Well, the definition is a hotel owner or manager, that’s literally it. Nothing deeper, nothing about service or experience.  

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What might help is, to tell you how I came to open my first hotel. I have been providing technology services to large hotel brands around the world for over 15years.   Not only am I familiar with the operations of hotels, I understand the systems and how antiquated most systems are. Technology seems to be something that most hotels have little understanding of and due to this lack of knowledge they keep focusing on how hotels have operated for the last 50 years. One issue with this is that the economy is changing, the guests are changing and their desires, connection points and needs have changed.   

So how do I know things are changing, besides my extensive work connecting systems and solutions for hotel, travel and retail industry?  It’s simple. I read. Below I reference many of the top organizations in the space that are paving the way with extensive research. But you don’t have to go far to see the best brands in the world have embraced technology and the fundamental changes it offers to hoteliers. IOT, Voice, and Mobile Communication from keyless entry to guest and staff communication. When Hilton announced that TruHilton was its most profitable brand of all time, I knew things had changed forever. Marriot being the leader in this area has been testing voice, along with many other mobile guest experiences and is now easily 3 to 5 years ahead of everyone else.

My perspective of this industry is not just solely focused on what I am seeing on hotel side, but also retail and travel in which we work with some of the biggest, hippest brands in the industry.   My recent visit to Seattle changed everything for me and reaffirmed everything I was already aware of. Here are the key things I realized:

  1. Frictionless Engagement- Amazon Go- As I parked myself outside and experienced the store in Seattle, I watched a steady flow of millennials walk into the store, slide their phone on a turnstile, pick everything they want and walk right out. The attendant present was only there to simply watch and attend to anyone who asked to pay with cash.
  2. Society and Consumer behavior- Two doors down, next to a donut shop was a dispensary called ‘The Joint’, where I watched people walk and buy joints like they were big gulps. Quick, easy and on their way.
  3. Evolution- Macy’s, one of our beloved customers, whom I have the utmost respect for and honestly, I feel it’s my mission on whatever I can do to ensure they stick around.  I found out they were closing their Seattle store after 95 years. Guess who pushed them out, and even more who was buying their block-long prime real estate and building? That’s right, Amazon!

So, you know what maybe I am not a hotelier, I haven’t put together spreadsheets and set in long meetings or went to conferences that talk about things that are 5 years behind.   Maybe I am something different. Maybe I will call myself an Experience Engineer, focused on providing the foundational things people love about hotels and building a hotel that is as far as possible away from the other things that make it old and outdated. Our hotel is comfortable, frictionless, technology-centric and lastly, destination and experience-focused.

I will open each hotel as consistently as possible while adhering to the things that make the space and destination great.   We will reach our guests by social media, online, and key events that connect music, art, food, and attractions through personal devices and interactive touchpoints.   

This will not be just a Hotel, it will be the Next Hotel. It will be the first of its kind Hotel Incubator open for business, full creative expression. We aim to be part of a community that lets us introduce and test solutions, technology, and concepts in our quest to evolve the industry I have grown to love.

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I am dedicated to helping the industries we serve. Everything we do to improve each day is built around our philosophy and values to continue learning and spreading that value to all we encounter.  If I can help your hotel or organization, or you just want to keep in touch to know how this journey is going or what I am learning, don’t hesitate to reach out.

At a glance:

I have started and grown several businesses in the software and technology space, some have been amazing some have been gut-wrenching.  As I explore every part of the value of the markets and organizations I serve, I continue to look for how we can drive the deepest value and experience.  With the launch of OmniExperience, I realized that our focus on a product set and the industries where we can make the most impact was what truly inspired me.  It didn’t take away the complexity, but it ensured that we had a deeper understanding and that what we built truly can drive the most value for our brands and their customers.  What better way to understand this than to open my own hotel, restaurant, and retail stores? One at a time of course, but my commitment to the industry is to bring together people, partners and truly set the stage for honest conversations, research and the search for building exponential organizations.

Douglas Ralston Profile 

Written by Doug Ralston, an omnichannel technology pioneer, and hotel owner.

References: 

https://www.hospitalitynet.org/file/152006269.pdf

http://www.oracle.com/us/industries/millennials-hospitality-hotel-info-2985694.pdf