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INTELITY Founder David Adelson Reflects on the First 10 Years

What I’ve Learned So Far and What’s Important Moving Forward as the New INTELITY

INTELITY Founder David Adelson Reflects on First 10 years

Looking back on INTELITY’s first 10 years, I think about how much I’ve learned as its founder and first CEO for the past 10 years. I’m truly excited about what is yet to come in these next 10 years, now that we have merged with KEYPR and have developed into an even stronger brand with a more complete, integrated hospitality technology platform. Building this business from the ground up wasn’t always easy, but it has absolutely been the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my professional life.

Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about leading and growing a SaaS company in the hospitality industry.

1. It’s about the people

A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all. – Michael LeBoeuf

Before I started INTELITY, I worked as a hotelier, which is where I learned that guests are truly the foundation of this business. It was true in the hotel business, and it’s still true now at INTELITY. We deliver what hoteliers need, but most importantly, we deliver what their hotel guests want. Putting guests first is our recipe for success.

2. Customer success is everyone’s job

The golden rule for every business man is this: “Put yourself in your customer’s place.” – Orison Swett Marden

Sales, implementations, engineering, and marketing can be functions that only the specific teams responsible for them worry about. But customer success needs to be something that everyone on the team internalizes. One thing I’ve learned along the way is that the best measure of success is when a customer or brand hires us again. We can deliver 110 percent of what a hotel needs, but if they aren’t delighted with the experience and willing to hire us again, then we’ve missed the mark.

3. Selling SaaS for hotels is fulfilling

Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius

When hotels purchase INTELITY, they buy a solution to a problem that is often very painful. Checking in with hoteliers who are using INTELITY and realizing that they’re either more efficient now or making more money as a direct result of using our tool is incredibly rewarding.

4. Remain Agile

I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times. – Everett Dirksen

Being flexible in mind, in practice, and in structure has served us well. Technology changes so rapidly. The INTELITY platform was first designed as a web experience, and then for touch screen, then mobile, and now voice. If you don’t change, you get left behind.

5. Discovery never ends

Our business is about technology, yes. But it’s also about operations and customer relationships. – Michael Dell

When a deal closes or implementation ends, don’t convince yourself that discovery is over. It’s crucial that your discovery never ends because customers will keep having new problems. Use current customers to help inform your roadmap, and make sure your tools are matching their pace of innovation.

6. It takes more than tech to build a terrific tech company

Tech is all about building human connections. – Padmasree Warrior

You need more than tech to build a genuinely successful tech company. Customers care much more about the problems your product can solve than the elegant design or ingenious implementation of your solution.

7. Celebrate the wins and understand the losses

It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. – Bill Gates

One of my favorite INTELITY traditions is ringing the bell every time a hotel goes live with our platform. Celebrating every hotel and every achievement along the way is important. And it’s just as important to understand the losses. Both the “what” and the “why” are important and what’s most crucial is reacting to those and learning to win again.

8. Maintain your integrity and vision

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. – Jack Welch

I believe that integrity and vision are among the most significant roles of the executive team. It’s so important to be able to communicate the company’s vision and reinforce it by every means possible. And when you lead with integrity, you inspire your employees to engage with the same values.

9. Don’t be the smartest person in the room—be the strongest collaborator, connector, and communicator

I think it’s important for people to stay human and remember that genuine human connection is more fulfilling than anything that technology has to offer. – Jon Batiste

Nobody does it alone. It takes a lot of people working together, so be the one helping those people function at their best.

10. It always takes longer than you expect

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy

It takes time to educate the market as to why your company and product matter. Over the past 10 years, INTELITY has created and delivered only to need to recreate and then deliver again. That’s the way it works. Success is never accidental—you earn it over time through excellence and hard work.

The past 10 years with INTELITY have been a great journey and I look forward to seeing where the next 10 years take the company. Our merger with KEYPR has created new opportunities for the company, opening the door for us to expand into the casino, cruise, luxury residential, and other emerging markets. As we move into this new chapter, I look forward to the company’s continued growth and development and am excited to see where the future will take us.

2018 J.D. Power Survey Finds High Level of Hotel Guest Satisfaction

In-room technology is critical for guest happiness; hotel service is an area where hotels can continue to increase customer satisfaction

The J.D. Power 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index indicated that hotels are definitely getting it right when it comes to guest experience, and their guests are happier than ever. According to the annual survey, overall satisfaction of the hotel industry is up eight points to an all-time high of 825 out of 1,000.

Hotels got high marks all across the board, but one area clearly associated with higher guest satisfaction is adding technology in guest rooms. While 77 percent of guests surveyed said there was a large flat-panel TV in their room during a recent stay, only 10 percent noted a tablet that provides in-room information. A TV raised guest satisfaction 12 points, while a tablet raised it 47 points.

As in-room technology becomes standard, this increased guest satisfaction may start to plateau. In 2018, the addition of a mobile app to a hotel’s offerings brought a 58-percent increase in guest satisfaction, a considerable number but one that’s down from 65 percent the year before.

“Hotels in all price ranges have excelled at ensuring their customers have a top-notch experience,” said Jennifer Corwin, Associate Practice Lead for the Global Travel and Hospitality Practice at J.D. Power. “Years of capital investment in offerings such as higher-end televisions and in-room tablets have left their mark. Now, as hotels look to push customer satisfaction levels higher, their focus should turn to service areas, particularly when it comes to direct booking.”

Satisfaction with hotel services did go up in the 2018 survey but this was lower than the increase in satisfaction with hotel product. Satisfaction with product-focused areas such as guest rooms and hotel facilities are increasing at a higher rate than any other factor (13 and 11 points, respectively). Service areas with the highest level of staff touchpoints (check-in, check-out, and food & beverage) have improved the least (5 and 7 points, respectively), and this coincides with a smaller improvement in cost and fees (5 points). Even with the significant improvement the past few years have seen, there is still room to increase guest satisfaction in areas related to hotel service.

The 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study analyzes guest responses to more than 150 questions regarding their overall experiences and includes 70 officially ranked brands in eight market segments. This year’s study is based on responses from approximately 55,000 hotel guests who stayed at a hotel between May 2017 and May 2018. The study was fielded between June 2017 and May 2018.

For more information about the 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/resource/jd-power-north-america-hotel-guest-satisfaction-index-study.

A Case for Investing in Technology During the Design and Development Process

Considering technology during the design process of a new hotel property can only promote innovative ideation and save on installation costs

The discussion about technology has changed immensely over the past several years, and hoteliers worldwide have received the message: all guests, millennial, gen z, or otherwise, want mobile tech included in their experience. While the main conversation is about adjusting to consumer needs, there’s a more prescient matter on the table for properties in development: considering technology in the design stages to stay ahead.

Businesses should be ostensibly “future-proofing” their properties, considering that technology and user expectation for more privacy and a customizable experience have taken precedent. A guest’s hotel stay is no longer just about the brick-and-mortar aspects, it’s now extended out to an entire brand experience. When it comes to designing for the modern traveler, designers need to be up-to-date with the latest in emerging technology usage when crafting a space. It’s no longer enough to flaunt location or chic interiors, hotels need to be looking ahead to build out an extra level of functionality for their tech-savvy guests.

There are easy solutions for the future-proofing dilemma that hoteliers are facing, it takes finding the best tools for the property. There are now emerging platforms in the technology marketplace that can provide guests with instant control over their experience: mobile check-in, keyless entry, streaming music, and reservation management available through an accompanying app. If hoteliers install an in-room tablet component that marries all of the things, the user desires are met for a seamless visit. The additional perk of hospitality platforms is that they do all of the above while providing the hotel with numerous behind-the-scenes capabilities to manage operations, and stay ahead of guests’ needs.

It’s far more cost-effective to consider technology in the development stages of a new property than to make changes down the road. As it stands, more than 50% of hotels are making guestroom technology upgrades a priority, so why shouldn’t this aspect of the guest experience be factored at the design-level of development? According to HT’s 2016 Lodging Technology Study, 54% of hotels are devoting more of their spends on technology to match escalating guest expectations. If tech specs are factored into the construction as a proactive measure, the costs are far significantly lower than knocking into completed walls, dealing with lock upgrades, or the associated costs that go into redoing Internet and in-room controls infrastructure. Playing with these aspects in advance invites more creativity and can save money in the short term.

Once technology factors are integrated, new levels of guest experience can be optimized. The physical flow of mobile check-in, the casual sleekness of in-room design with the tablet- these subtle tweaks epitomize how people are defining and value luxury. Additionally, there’s money on the table when considering that technology can provide upsell points tied to geolocation or time of day, or analyzing the guest’s experience for potential recovery should any hiccups occur while they’re still on the property. The LBMA 2017 Global Transitions Trends Report found that 25% of marketing budgets are spent on location-based marketing, and over 50% of brands are using location data to target their customer base. There are literally 10s of millions in ad revenue up for grabs if hotels use localization and customer targeting with in-room tablets to connect guests with local culture- neighborhood dining, must-see events, and finding various hidden gems.

Considering investing in technology during the design process of a new hotel property can only promote innovative ideation, allow hotel brands to expand on their experience, and save on installation costs. With the rise of Airbnb and the litany of problems that come with its scattershot approach to “quality,” the designers behind tomorrow’s hotels have an opportunity to elevate the brand experience by factoring in how users engage with tech.

This post was originally published on HospitalityNet

5 Benefits of Mobile Device Management for Hotels

With the BYOD trend in hotels on the rise, hoteliers are facing challenges in meeting the expectations of both guests and staff who are carrying an increasing number of mobile devices. The benefits of mobile are plentiful, but ensuring efficient use throughout an organization can be difficult.

Availability of mobile device management (MDM) to the hospitality industry has brought about improvements in this arena by allowing hotels to take control of the hotel enterprise mobile technology trend.

Mobile device management (MDM) is defined as a solution that allows for “the administration of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers, laptops, and desktop computers.” It isn’t just a hotel technology trend buzzword. As more hotels see an increase in travelers carrying mobile devices and as hotel rooms become fitted for advanced technology, such as hotel in-room tablets, enterprise mobility tools are going to continue to increase in value to simplify these hotel technology upgrades.

Remote Management of Devices

With more connected devices on your property than staff, MDM solutions assist in monitoring and managing these in a more efficient way. For instance, many hotels are now installing in-room tablets in guest rooms as a way to improve guest service and engagement. Hotel MDM is the best way to easily get these up and running, as well as perform ongoing maintenance. Using MDM in hotels, devices on the network can be remote wiped or have diagnostics run for troubleshooting.

Regulation of Applications

Hotel apps are more popular than ever and providing complimentary access to these on hotel tablets has become extremely popular in the hospitality industry. Using a hotel MDM solution, hotel management can select which apps they want to load or disable on devices across the network to create a superior digital staff and guest experience.

Data Protection and Backup

Data management using a hotel MDM solution can reduce the risk of costly incidents relating to exposure and breach. Hoteliers can use mobile device management to protect data and prevent leaks or wipe data completely from unauthorized user devices.

Expanded Security Features

Security of hotel digital networks and guest data is a top priority for many hoteliers, and there’s been discussion over how to enhance hotel security when it comes to network use, especially from mobile devices. Hotel MDM use can allow for expansion of security measures, such as requiring authentication of all devices and active monitoring of registered devices. It can also allow for tracking the physical location of devices on the network to reduce hardware theft or loss.

Establishing Network Use Policies

Every hotel should have a policy in place regarding the use of any networks, and this policy should apply to staff and guests alike. A mobile device management solution can assist in enforcing and solidifying this policy by consolidating regulation in the hands of those overseeing the network. Useful features include defining WiFi settings, setting compliance guidelines, and optimizing the function of the network overall.

Read the first part of our series on Mobile Device Management for Hotels and Hospitality for more on the specific uses of this hotel technology trend.

Hilton Looks to Replicate Success of Conrad Concierge Mobile App

Hilton is looking to bring digital guest services to its entire portfolio in the same vein as the Conrad Concierge app did for its Conrad properties.

Hilton Worldwide is looking to increase its focus on mobile technology as a way to more competitively connect with the hotel brand’s guests. Hotel mobile technology has become the premier method for hospitality to reach guests in a way that is direct and immediate. It’s also unobtrusive, given that downloading a hotel app or opting in for communication is required before a connection can take place.

In 2012, Hilton launched Conrad Concierge with number one hotel app developer Intelity as an experiment. It was the first service-enabled hotel brand app made available, and it surpassed 180,000 users in less than two years.

A number of factors, including the success of Conrad Concierge app and the surge of hotel guest demand for mobile technology, have now led Hilton to begin a roll out of a new mobile strategy to engage guests through a hotel app similar to Conrad Concierge. The roll out will include a number of Hilton’s brands, such as Waldorf Astoria and DoubleTree.

The hotel app aims to increase sign ups for the Hilton HHonors loyalty program and provide innovative mobile concierge services to guests. Mobile is also viewed as a way to be competitive against indirect room bookings using channels such as online travel agencies like Priceline. Access to a suite of mobile features will serve as an incentive to get guests to download the app.

Using the hotel brand app on a smartphone, hotel guests will be able to pick a specific guest room, use mobile check-in, open the door to their hotel room with a mobile key, and access digital hotel services.

In an interview with The Drum, Geraldine Calpin, Hilton Worldwide global head of marketing and digital, said, “We are using digital to create a better stay experience, and we will continue to innovate in that digital hospitality experience because for us it’s about a better experience.”

“In some cases, people don’t want to talk to people, so enabling digital and technology to provide guests with more choices and control over their stay is what we want to do. The big thing is how can we make that easier and with less friction for our guests.”

(Video: John Vanderslice, VP of Hilton Worldwide Lifestyle & Luxury Brands, talks to Bloomberg TV from Intelity on Vimeo.)

Are Hotels and Millennials Connecting?

Hospitality is searching to find out, what do Millennials value in hotels?

The relationship between Millennials and hotels has become a large part of the conversation when it comes to the future of the hospitality industry. This is largely due to the growing spending power of Millennials in regard to the hospitality and travel industry.

“The number of Millennial travelers is significant and growing fast. It appears by 2017 Millennials will outspend baby boomers on hotels,” said Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer of The Center for Generational Kinetics.

Many Millennials haven’t yet developed long-lasting loyalty to any particular hotel brand, making guest engagement critical between the hospitality industry and Millennial demographic. In fact, hospitality has one of the lowest reported levels of engagement with Millennials. Only 20 percent of Millennials report feeling fully engaged by the industry.

So what do Millennials want?

Hotels targeting Millennials have realized how different modern expectations are of hospitality. Impacting this has been the emergence of tech-savvy brands such as Uber and Airbnb. Such modern brands are capable of delivering a strong, multi-platform digital experience that engages target groups where they are most active – on mobile devices and on social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Digital experience is proving to have a primary impact on Millennial engagement and satisfaction, according to recent reports, and numerous industries are capitalizing on this, from retail to banking.

Mobile is currently at the center of it all. Millennials are using mobile technology to interact with brands for more convenient communication and service, a trend that doesn’t end when it comes to hospitality. Embracing mobile technology is key for hotels to win Millennial loyalty.

“It will require a redefinition of service – one that offers Millennials tremendous choice, speed and personalization based on their individual preferences. Providing such tailored service not only means accommodating consumers’ use of smartphones but for operators to leverage their own mobile devices to better serve them,” said Ray Carlin, Vice President of Solution and Strategy Management at Oracle Hospitality.

The evolution of hospitality to accommodate Millennials in hotels is evident in a number of recent developments, from the move to introduce keyless room entry to the installation of in-room tablets at hotels for self-service functionality.

New hotel brands, such as Marriott’s Moxy, Best Western’s GLō, Starwood’s Element, Hilton’s Canopy, and Hyatt’s Centric, are being created to appeal to young Millennial travelers, or at least those with the modern Millennial mindset when it comes to travel. It’s an attempt to create the kind of guest experience that will lure Millennials and build loyalty with this segment of travelers.

The common thread among these Millennial hotel brands seems to be a focus on coming across as trendy, hip, and adventurous, with in-room amenities, pared down to those that are a necessity or enhance convenience. For example, most of the best hotels for Millennials are being outfitted with limited closet and desk space, clean design, and hotel technology features such as extra electrical outlets, strong WiFi connectivity, mobile device charging ports, self-service tablets.

Price often comes up in the conversation about Millennials and hotels, with the demographic being identified as prioritizing low cost over much else.

As Millennials continue to mature and enjoy increased financial power, the hospitality industry will certainly see more changes to attract and satisfy this group in the future.