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]

In order to provide the best visitor experience solution and increase your advertising revenue, one must know the key points to customer satisfaction. And in order to provide customer satisfaction, you must know the best marketing approach to drive deeper awareness and engagement. Interactive kiosks, digital signages, and mobile apps make up the Omnichannel solution. But do you know that every screen in the Omnichannel can produce enough revenue to pay for itself and even more?

So what are the most popular ways to drive revenue across these different screens? See below as we break out the fundamentals and then drive into real-world numbers and finally how you can get started.

Digital Signage

Do you have a high traffic area, store or lobby?  Then digital signage is a proven medium for awareness and driving revenue in many ways

  • Merchandising: This type of digital signage is meant to merchandise the end user’s goods and services, increase sales and build brand awareness. An example would be the clothing company American Eagle is featuring branded videos with music, text, and interviews in each of their retail locations and increased revenues by 10% within the first 30days.
  • Advertising: This type of digital signage advertises content for multiple brands and is aimed solely at increasing advertising revenue. In many cases, this content is both informational and entertaining. For example, travelers waiting at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport view digital signage that features diverse advertising supplied from a network operator. Generating millions of dollars a year in ad revenue for the airport.
  • Informational: This type of digital signage is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Its goal is to enhance the customer experience, expose the viewer to unknown places, things to do and sometimes to decrease perceived wait time. An example would be digital signage in hotel lobbies, bringing you local information, things to do, and getting you excited about what awaits you both on property and in destination.  Done properly hotels use this to drive revenue for ticketing, spa and restaurant reservations. Seeing increases in initial bookings while checking in.

Interactive Kiosks

Providing new engagement points for your customers and guests, driving easy sharing and navigation to new points of engagement.

  • Interactive Advertising-  Image a screen big enough to advertise and push content and video.  Then image the ability for users to click, navigate learn and transact.  You have a powerful tool to not only drive consistent Ad revenue but also provide real analytics and transaction options.   Sanibel Captiva Chamber generates over $300k per year selling advertising on its kiosks and displays
  • Ticketing and Booking-  Advertising comes to life as you provide options to engage in real-time pricing and availability.   Drive more points of revenue by ticketing to local attractions, or to hotel events and more. Partner with Ticketmaster and Trip advisor to truly extend the interactive experience from Kiosk to mobile.   Hilton Minneapolis generates over $30k per year in ticket sales through its partnership with Trip Advisor Viator ticketing
  • Reservations-  Utilizing direct systems and OpenTable guests and users can easily book reservations to their favorite restaurants and local amenities such as spa and pool services.  Offer travelers notifications on offers and share information with their groups and travel companions right from the Kiosk directly to their phone. Organizations that implement these tools see deeper guest engagement and increased revenue by convenience and relationships.

Mobile

  • Advertising Personalized – Mobile offers you the same functionality as Kiosk to generate revenue through advertising banner ads, pop ups and more.  However within most apps you can allow one to one connection of ad and ticketing revenue. By providing your customers and travelers options to engage with ad instantly through your mobile interface or social connections you provide multiple points of ad engagement.  
  • Transactions through mobile – easy and convenient and you can personalize your messaging.   With users logged in you can learn more about your customers and customize the messaging. Marriot reward members get personalized messages sent to them about events and ways to use their points for upgrades and more.   They see 5x spend increase with members using their BonVoy app

Data

What ad, ticketing or booking program would be complete without key data to help with retargeting and truly showing return on investment for your advertisers

  • Behavioral data –  Easily track how many eyeballs see their ads through people count and demographic recognition, monitor how people use the Kiosk and Mobile app, and show real-time data when people click on an ad or business
  • Profiles and information-  Connect the dots on the customer journey while getting a deeper knowledge of what your customers and travelers want.   Compile data on what is clicked by user, sharing this data with your advertisers. Couple this with demographic information and you have a powerful advertising sales tool and ways to help your business be more effective

How to pull this off:  Using the Omnichannel to drive revenue and learn more about your customers and travelers.

  1. Find an Omnichannel provider that can extend your existing systems through Kiosk, Digital Signage, and Mobile
  2. Ensure the system has an effective advertising module that will allow you to sell your own advertising or connect directly with Google DFP or third parties that will sell advertising for you
  3. Ensure the providers has experience with building integrations between existing ticketing systems or key providers to extend services without a lot of hassle and upfront costs

With proven case studies and solutions purchasing new technology for customer and traveler experiences can pay for itself within the first year.   When done right, you will have happier stakeholders, advertising partners, and customers. If you want to learn more about creating a revenue plan for your organization and how you can extend new experiences to drive engagement.   Reach out we will be happy to show you how our solution works and help you build a plan that works for your organization or business. Contact us: [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.

Excerpt: 

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] 

After all, the world of marketing has changed dramatically in the past two decades. The evolution of customer experience has changed the whole paradigm. The impetus has shifted towards customer-centric approach and keeping the customer in focus. The advent of social media, self-service technologies, and various other digital advancements has changed the shopper’s behavior. Digital and analytics have emerged as key enablers for marketing professionals and organizations are trying to harness the benefits of these advancements. The role of the customer has evolved quite significantly as an enabler in the overall success of a product/brand. The managers now require new tools to measure and understand the performance of organization in totality.

Taco Bell – Transformation of Customer Experience

An inside look at Taco Bell’s digital transformation to deliver an enhanced customer experience
“Tech and digital is in everything we do,”
What Taco Bell does best is tacos, but it’s also been deploying interactive customer experiences as well especially during the past few years. “It didn’t happen overnight but it also didn’t happen that long ago. All those industries [airlines, taxis, hotels, retail] have been disrupted and have had to innovate to survive and meet the changing customer expectation,”
“You need to think digital, not think of it as an afterthought. It should be at forefront of everything you’re doing as a company.”

Destination Alberta Model –   The evolution of the Visitor Experience

The vision for this model in Alberta is to inform, inspire and influence visitors to maximize their travel experiences and to help grow the tourism economy in all regions of Alberta. The new visitor services model supports the principles of convenient, relevant and innovative multi-channel access for visitors; maximization of economic benefits; use of the right tools and resources; and collaboration amongst stakeholders. 

In particular, the model recognizes that technology and changes in consumer behavior have altered how people access information and make travel decisions. The model builds on the need for visitor service providers to be proactive in reaching out to engage with their visitors. 

KPMG Global Customer Experience Excellence report 

This study demonstrates that the leading companies are the ones that have already found the economic value of where expectations and experience align. They are the ones that are now working to connect their enterprise in a way that removes silos and eliminates friction in the customer journey. And they are enjoying success as a result. 

The very best brands for customer experience excellence are now starting to think of their customers as assets that should be protected, nurtured and invested in. They view their customers’ loyalty as a form of equity in the company. And they are thinking about how they might start to move their customers onto their balance sheets vs a simple transactional relationship that appears periodically on the income statement as a revenue item. 

Amazon Go–  Frictionless Engagement & Experience

Amazon Go disrupts, re-invents, elevates the customer experience; this article explains how amazon is re-inventing the retail market and taking customer experience to another level. 

“By launching their reimagined grocery store, Amazon is using their test-and-learn philosophy to gauge how open customers are to this concept and refine the service based on shopper feedback and preferences,” 

Amazon has invested a great amount of time and research to perfect the experience based on consumer behavior but exposing it to the general clientele over a consistent period of time is the only way to fully understand how customers will behave. Amazon will have to iterate accordingly as small behavioral nuances shake out in store and on the app,”

YotelAir –   Next Generation of Hotel Engagement

This Hotel Review shows how Yotel elevates their guest experience; inspired by first-class airline travel, Yotel opened its first properties in London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports in 2007. An instant success with transiting passengers, the concept centers around cabin-like guestrooms, taking the essential elements of luxury hotels and compressing them into smaller, smarter spaces. Four years later, the brand opened its first city-center property in New York: a 669-key hotel with guestrooms readapted to suit the city guest. “When we launched New York, the concept underwent a revolution,” says Hubert R. Viriot, CEO, Yotel. “We had a different target audience and had to adjust the product. The property still has the same DNA – technology-driven with smart layouts and retractable beds – but with increased space and consideration. We then used what we have learned since the launch in New York for our recent openings.” 

In conclusion:

The marketing focus has shifted towards the customer-centric approach, analytics has become a crucial part of every marketer’s arsenal and has offered a  more nuanced understanding of the activities/processes. The evolution of omnichannel has deeply jolted the status quo and made marketers to rethink their strategies.  We would love to have deeper discussions on your visions and direction of your organization, how we can help you drive revenue, experience, and engagement. Call us today to learn about how you can increase your customer and guest experience and engagement. [email protected]