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

A new approach to corporate Internal/Corporate communications

Large lcd/led displays, smart screens, informational kiosks, video walls and door display impress visitors without a doubt — but another powerful benefit of digital signage is its impact on corporate internal communications.

  • Digital signage enables organizations to display important and time-sensitive messages in a way that captures viewer attention by providing a visual experience — and one that can be audio and interactive as well.
  • Due to the enhanced sensory experience of digital signage, viewers not only pay attention to the message, they remember it. Studies indicate that visual messaging leads to greater retention than text-only communication.
  • While digital screens can be placed anywhere in a facility (or group of facilities), messages can be controlled centrally and through the cloud, ensuring that corporate communication is consistent and adheres to all requirements for branding, conformance, etc.
  • Centrally controlled digital networks also facilitate real-time communication, having incalculable value in emergency situations.
  • In addition to improving emergency response effectiveness, real-time communication of performance versus goal and other data that monitors organizational KPIs — gives managers and work teams the ability to improve efficiency and results.
  • Digital signage for corporate internal communications gives employees a sense that the organization is professional, forward thinking and efficient. When outdated billboards and posters are used to convey corporate messages, the opposite impression may be left on the workforce.
  • Digital signage messaging is easier to convey than sending mass emails that may never be read and avoid wasting paper on newsletters or notices.
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Uses of Digital Signage for Corporate Communications

Organizations use digital signage for a host of communication need. Here are a few popular applications:

  • Performance dashboards. Monitoring KPI data is widely used in call centers, but also is effective for manufacturing operations and other facilities where safety, nimbleness and/or tactical responsiveness are important for success.
  • Safety messaging. By adding animation and other visually engaging elements to safety communications, messages are better internalized by staff.
  • Training information. Visual, interactive training information speeds the learning curve and facilitates better retention. Furthermore, when training is “gamified,” it better conforms to the training style preferred by younger, digitally native trainees.
  • Wayfinding. Digital signage, meeting room door displays, and interactive kiosks help trainees and visitors from other locations feel at home — and help them get where they need to go on time.
  • Motivation and employee engagement. Many organizations display motivational messages periodically, which can have a powerful cumulative effect. Employee engagement can be improved by communicating corporate news relating to employee recognition, notable employee and company achievements, status of corporate initiatives, etc.

A powerful digital network consists of the right choice and positioning of screens, the proper supporting hardware and software, a sophisticated communication strategy, content creation, training and testing. If you’d like to explore the potential of digital signage for corporate communications in your business, please contact us today. We are eager to learn more about your needs and develop a strategic plan to implement, upgrade or enhance your system.  [email protected] 

An Omnichannel- eCommerce perfect strategy it’s about being everywhere at all times. Because that’s how people are increasingly shopping: Fragmented, hopping from device-to-device, and channel-to-channel.

Omnichannel eCommerce is essential to every market that’s why you need to make them work together as one, delivering the freedom to search and buy from anywhere, at any time. Also, customers should be able to check the status of their orders and check the availability of merchandise at any particular store. In short, they are able to control their own customer experience based on their needs, schedules, and preferences.

It´s all about Software- Omniplatform

Omni Platform is an integrated Customer Communication Management tool focused on providing a multi data, device and social medium marketing solution for Customer Experience. The platform provides your team a simple content management solution and asset control to build stronger connections with Brand, Customer Satisfaction, Retention, Revenue and Reductions in cost.

Omniplatform allows to understand customer conversion rates, demographic data and traffic patterns. It’s totally focused on what customers are doing in each channel, conversion rates, the demographic profiles of the customers,” and how they feel while they’re shopping.

This is a point where website, social media, mobile, Google, Facebook and all other channels become connected.  Allowing connection points to turn into points of transaction and education. This is the goal of a omnichannel strategy to extend consistent branding and transaction points no matter the medium or device.

Omniplatform and 3rd party integrations

How can OmniPlatform help: Accomplishing the goal is not an overnight conversion it takes a strategy based on turning existing data points and channels into this point of transaction.  The first step is to find a centralized solutions to consume and extend data. CMS system and responsive design can help with some mobile engagement however on mobile site is usually a reflection of the overall website, the content or experience is not personalized enough to the device.   Then as you get into the other channels it usually reflects the design and navigation of whoever sets it up not thinking about the connection of these different solutions. To transform to the omnichannel you have to start with an understanding of devices, then of channels. Mobile first was the start of this but now you have to understand that you will have Kiosk, Digital Signage, Mobile, Tablet etc.   Then you have to understand how these interfaces connect, OmniExperience can help you with this migration without having to change your infrastructure just rethink the strategy and extend relevant content by device, location or time of day. Click here to learn more and for a free evaluation.

Solutions between Omni platform and Salesforce

Salesforce has evolved from a standard CRM platform, to an all-around solution in managing marketing, sales, social help desk and more. 

With the arising competition on the destination side, unique visitor experience plays a vital role to outstand the others. These are some of the digital solution that can integrate with your existing CRM to:

  • Allow visitors to get as much mapping, events and listing information as possible
  • Provide guest an omnichannel solution where they can transfer data from the touchscreen devices to their mobile or email
  • Provide real-time analytics and people count
  • Allow ticketing and local purchases for revenue generation

By allowing our Omniplatform to work as a middleman between these 2 systems, we instantaneously provided a more personalized approach to visitor’s informational needs.

The integration provides easy backend access and secured data transfer for the local management while extending solutions to Kiosk, Touch, Digital Display and Videowall technology.

Check out our Case Study of the integration of Salesforce for Macys

Solutions between Omniplatform and Revel 

With over 8 years of leading the iPad Point of Sale (POS) Platform, REVEL has definitely taken e-commerce platforms to matrix inventories a level higher. Their solution offers a full suite of features that enhances small scale to large enterprises’ productivity and sales conversion.

We introduced the industry’s first e-Commerce system made especially for Travel and built for the Omnichannel. A full e-Commerce Revel solution for kiosk and mobile applications. This integration converts Revel’s Point of Sale (POS) to a product-based-Commerce solution, that caters to attraction-based ticketing, as well as souvenirs and actual physical goods, on-site.

Here are some of the highlighted features of our partnership:

  • Integration with OmniPlatform, Revel and FreedomPay for a more unique experience. 
  • OmniChannel Solution – full solution accessible across different touch devices, inclusive of their own personal mobile devices.
  • Kiolytics – our custom analytic system providing real time statistics and extensive reporting
  • 24/7 Remote Technical Support assistance and on-site technical visits, if applicable

Check out our Case Study of the integration of Revel and San Francisco 

Solutions between Omniplatform and Shopify

From the blooming $2.3 trillion e-Commerce sales in 2017, a $2.2 trillion increase by 2021 is expected based on Statistic’s report. We aim to help our retail customers integrate their Shopify stores directly to Kiosks, Touchscreens and mobile devices.

Omniplatform Integration of existing Shopify stores into robust touch and mobile engagement options without having to redo or rethink how the platform is used, or how inventory is managed.

We created a solution to fit any retailer’s strategy and budget built for the next generation of consumers.

  • Easily Integrate an existing Shopify store to any Kiosk or Mobile option
  • Dedicated branding and navigation to create consistency of connection and commerce
  • Allow multi-channel selling – enabling customers to manage purchases at the kiosk or on their personal devices
  • Social-based selling and UGC – connect customers and consumers through social channels in-store
  • Integrated, easy to install hardware options from table top, standing and wall mount
  • 24/7 specialist that can monitor and support both software and hardware

Check out our Case Study of the integration of Shopify for Volcom  

Omniexperience is the only company can have proven experience to build a truly integration solutions across any of your marketing channels with a full and complete strategy for personalization and better profiles for your current and future customers. Contact us and we will help you formulate a solution that fits your needs and goals. We love what we do and are here to help you find a solution that complements your existing systems, affordably and quickly. 

[email protected]

 

An investment made in technology to deliver an improved visitor experience and generating better revenue goes hand-in-hand. Therefore, the shifting industries of travel, hospitality and retail need to understand the need for delivering a better guest experience and the ways in which it can benefit their organization.  The culmination of these solutions help travelers and customers engage on their terms and allow you to build brand value and revenue 

Customers don’t just glance—they engage

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Digital Signage has Reach and Saturation

  • 70% of Americans say they’ve seen a digital display in the past month
  • 52% say they’ve seen a digital sign in the past week
  • 47% remember seeing a specific ad or message
  • Recall jumps to 55% when talking about outdoor digital billboards
  • 80% of shoppers say they have entered a store because a digital sign caught their interest

Self service Kiosk is changing the industry

PWA- Progressive Web Apps Improving engagement through mobile devices.

  • The Best Western River North Hotel sees 300% increase in revenue with new Progressive Web App.
  • Uber´s PWA was designed to be fast even on 2G. The core app is only 50k zipped and takes less than 3 seconds to load on 2g networks.
  • Trivago saw an increase of 150% for people who add its PWA to the home screen. Increased engagement led to a 97% increase in click outs to hotel offers. 
  • Grand Velas Rivera Maya resort increased its Black Friday conversion rate by 53% due to its progressive web apps ́s speed and notifications.
  • Ad clickthrough rates increased 3x on Wego ́s PWA. They’ve seen 26% more visitors and 95% more conversions overall. 

Contact us today to learn about how you can easily implement tech solutions to help increase customer experience and engagement.  We can help you through a phased approach step by step, to easily integrate these solutions into your existing customer-facing processes.   [email protected]

Artificial intelligence and chatbots are having an impact across every industry, and retail is no exception. Across the value chain, AI is making roles more efficient and effective – from using real-time video footage to analyze foot traffic and flow to analyzing social media images at scale to recognize trends as they’re starting.

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The AI Impact

Artificial Intelligence can serve as a boon for retail companies that gather and possess customer data. AI can derive meaningful conclusions from a massive amount of data and help companies to create personalized shopping experiences via highly-structured webshops, intelligent in-store bots, and online chatbots.

By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017. (Gartner)

Digital Racks for Apparel & Fashion Products

With the help of AI technology, apparel retail brands can create touchpoints, digital kiosk or touch displays where the customer can be able to find the right style, without having to shuffle through a pile. Customers can instantly see how a dress would look and combine it with other items and can browse through recommendations based on their preferences and style quotient.

All this will not only enhance the shopping experience but will help customers to choose from millions of options, which is currently not possible due to space constraints inside a physical store. With AI, a store can be converted into a bustling repository of design and draping ideas that users can choose from. Also, stores will be able to gather deeper insights into consumer behavior, optimizing their product portfolio for much better retail experience delivery.

Robotic/digital assistance will be a reality

Using AI, smart analytics and natural language processing technology, retail stores can give customers the power to get instant support, inside the stores. By placing Kiosks and touch screens, stores can help customers locate an item, get answers to their queries and find out how a product can make their life easier.
With the help of customer service bots powered by AI, stores can reduce their manpower costs and provide 24×7 assistance to the customers. Not only will it improve customer service levels but will definitely attract more buyers to the store in 2019.

Better Customer Support via Chatbots

AI-powered chatbots are enabling retail brands to engage customers, efficiently. With the help of chatbots, brands can handle thousands of queries simultaneously, without having to employ a large workforce.

A consumer-facing survey by marketing firm Uberall indicates that 20% of consumers surveyed are “very interested” in chatbot experiences from brands. 80% indicated that they have had “generally positive” interactions with chatbots.

AI has a ton of potential across a number of different functions on the retail market, however prioritizing what matters to your business is crucial to getting the most out of any new technology. Time and time again, the one thing everyone in this industry will agree on is that bottom line improvement require, first and foremost, a clear understanding and ability to adapt to customers’ ever-changing needs in advance. AI provides this capability; now is the time to start using it.

Call us today to learn about how you can easily implement AI solutions to help increase customer experience and engagement.  We can help you through a phased approach step by step, to easily integrate these solutions into your existing customer-facing processes.