Webinar Replay

The Real Economics of Hotel Guest Engagement

Paul Peddrick Hello and welcome to the webinar today. We are talking about hotel and guest engagement, specifically how hotel, how guest engagement techniques are having an impact on hotel revenue and costs, people in our industry talk about guest engagement quite a bit. I think it is a pretty broad concept though. It seems to appear to mean any sort of interaction between the hotel and guest. Done perhaps outside of the traditional front desk check in action. Kind of everything else kind of falls under the category of guest engagement, I guess so. So I guess here’s a kind of maybe a silly question. So why do we wanna engage with guests? I mean, this is actually a really key question. Is it to convey a level of service? Is it to create a better guest experience which is like in another very broad term that we everyone throws around a lot or is there a commercial benefit in engagement IE to get this guest to spend more and and actually I would argue that all guest engagement ultimately has a commercial goal. Whether it be immediate sales or long term reputation development, guest engagement is an attempt to raise hotels above being just a commodity, just a place to spend the night. But we all know that. What the current challenge is in terms of providing guest engagement or engaging with guests or increasing service levels and that’s the labor shortage right now guests, I mean hotels worldwide are struggling with the labor shortage and that’s. Because of the pandemic, it’s also coupled with the fact. That, you know, even. Though ADR is OK, you know occupancy is quite low. So there’s an economic impact there as well. You know, the traditional human service interaction becomes tough when you have less humans to provide that interaction. So enter digital guest engagement. So new technology is providing new ways to generate value for the guests and in fact provide labor efficiencies for the hotel at the same. As just a side note, I was in a Dallas. I guess it was a couple weeks ago. And listen to a very interesting presentation by a gentleman by the name of Adam Sachs. He works with tourism economics and these guys track trends that impact travel and tourism and he basically said what we’re all probably seeing at our hotels and that is that the leisure transient. Business is leading the recovery and you know business is lagging business travel. And as I said, ADR seems to be actually holding up pretty decently, but occupancy still is terrible and really bad for like large urban environments as well. But what that really means, in my opinion, my personal opinion is that there’s a greater focus now on competing for those few leisure travelers that are out there. So the question is, is can a strong digital guest engagement practice? Give hotels a competitive edge and hopefully we can learn from that. Learn that from our panel today. The first one I’m going to do is I’m going to let go around the table and everyone introduce themselves and then we’ll get right into it. So Angie, I’m going to. Go ahead and start with you. Angie Andresen All right. Thank you. My name is Angie Andresen. I work for study group and I’ve been with Shiji for three years as a senior director of global product. At Shiji, we provide technologies to the hotel industry, to food and beverage, to retail and to travel and transportation. We you’ll hear us say that we serve guests, work, consumers, eat, sleep, shop, stay and play. Prior to Shiji, I work for Micros Oracle for 14 years. And I’ve worked in many parts of hospitality, from getting my start. I’m actually working in restaurants and then crossed over to the technology and the food and beverage space for both hotels and restaurants. So between Micros and Oracle and Shiji, I’ve worked in implementation of POS, actually got my start installing 9700 in hotel. I’m a very long time ago. And then from there I lead teams in implementation, account management and now product management for the. Last eight years. And then since we with Shiji, I’ve expanded my work in hotel technology through working with our SPA and Golf product team. So I appreciate the invite and I look forward to the discussion today. Paul Peddrick Thank you. Thank you very much. Robert, how about you tell us, introduce yourself? Robert Stevenson Thank you, Paul, and thank you for inviting me to this panel. It’s an exciting topic and a great timely topic. I’m Robert Stephenson, CEO of INTELITY. I’m actually a little bit more junior in terms of time and hospitality tech. I’ve been in about 5 years, but the company I’m running INTELITY is an emerger of two prior. Companies has about 15 years of hospitality, tech experience and my prior life is an interesting mix of entertainment and platform technologies with big companies like Facebook and Sony and building businesses that have. Been involved in selling to. So really excited to be here. Great topic and looking forward to it. Paul Peddrick Thank you. Thanks very much. Evan, let’s go to you. You might want to grab your click on your mute. There you go. Evan Chen Hi all I’m Evan. I’m one of the founders at Akia. My background paradox Akia is all in consumer messaging, so it’s at Facebook for four years where my team worked on products like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. After that I moved over to our started Akia to really bring messaging over to the hospitality industry. We do we facilitate all the communication and back and forth between hotels and their guests through text messaging. Through that, we deliver technology that we call mini apps. These are apps that can be delivered over text messaging don’t need to be downloaded. Don’t need to be logged into anything like that, and through that hotels can do upgrades, upsells. They can sign, registration cards, whatever that it is. They need to customize their their customer journey. Paul Peddrick Thank you, Evan. And then Marvin. Marvin Speh First, thanks for thanks for having me, Marvin. One of the founders of RoomPriceGenie and we enable hoteliers to. Automate their room pricing. So we ultimately believe in a world where every hotel prices their rooms dynamically with the help of data doesn’t really fit perfectly into the customer engagement kind of box. But you will see in a second. Why automating your pricing will help you to actually improve the guest journey because you. Have more money at your. So yeah, that’s what we do. So we believe that we can empower our hoteliers worldwide to get equal chances to grow their businesses and to fulfill their dreams. Paul Peddrick Thank you, Marvin. And then finally, Jos let you introduce yourself as well. Jos Schaap Thanks, Paul. Yes, Sir. My name is Jos Schaap. I’m the CEO and Co founder of ROOMDEX at ROOMDEX. We are focused on automatic. The process of room upsell earlier arrived in late departure and guest services, so anything that you want to offer to your guests along the digital way prior to arrival during stay or the last day of the stay prior to room next, I found that stay in touch PMS and sold that in 2018 to prior to that I was for. Almost 18 years at Microsoft Wireless, responsible for all hotel opera, PMS, CRS, BI and so on, development so got a little bit of history in this business and I’m looking forward to the conversation. Speaker Right. Paul Peddrick All right, so I want to kind of set the stage by talking a little bit about maybe a little bit about the past and how things have evolved in terms of guest engagement, specifically kind of focusing on digital guest engagement. Robert, your company INTELITY, you know, I was looking on your website, it seems like you guys. Have been doing something like this since 2014, maybe earlier. And it looked like based on the old press releases that you kind of the company started off in sort of in with in-room iPads. So I guess what I’m curious about is you’ve probably seen this concept of digital guest engagement growing. Over time, and I’m interested in seeing what in hearing about what you have seen in terms of kind of the, the, the, the evolution of guest expectations, maybe that’s a reflection of the evolution of guest use technology or or what have you, what are you? Thoughts there? Robert Stevenson Yeah, great, good, good question, Paul. Yeah, we’ve been doing digital guest engagement since the dawn of the iPad and even before the idea was originally, you know, iPad type stuff in, in public lobbies. And then moving it to the guest room and now it’s. Very mobile so. It’s been 11. Almost 12 years now, sort of pushing the envelope as much as can be done. But over that period of time, we’ve seen a lot of change right to sort of get to your question and that change has not only been driven by hoteliers and guest demands, but also by other aspects of travel, right. If you think back. Over a decade ago, what did you have in terms of ride sharing? You know, getting in the car with some foreign person you’ve never met and, you know, actually doing that through your mobile phone? I mean, is it kind of radical concept that nobody really envisioned would be part of day-to-day life? Same thing with airlines. I mean, airlines are very complex navigation experience technically from a security standpoint. And you know scroll scroll about 10 years ago and people thought of it as, hey, I have an airline app so I can pull up my rewards account or something like that. It was the. The concept of no. I’m gonna go from my bedroom all the way to my destination and just hold my mobile phone the entire way. And that’s really. The only thing that I need. Today, right. So quite radical transformation across travel and that’s influenced hotels quite dramatically as well, right. Hotels have sort of been known as kind of late adopters to technology and maybe something where it just sort of reluctant to maybe mess with the guest experience if they’ve got it down to a science and they’ve got their exact flow that they want and they believe. The the right approach, but then these technologies have kind of prepped in going from I would say call it sort of simple booking capabilities, simple rewards capabilities either either on a mobile device or perhaps a tablet and a lobby or some kind of situation like that to actually going to what we call an intelligent full flow, the ability to. Grab the guests really from a mobile standpoint on Ingress all the way through to they’re checking out and they’re getting their folio and then you’re maintaining contact. With that guest either on mobile or through e-mail or some other CRM mechanism and so you know, we’ve really gone from very simple engagement to very complex engagement. I think the guest is demanding it because they’re expecting it from other sources. You’re also looking at younger generations that have started to travel. They’ve got more disposable income. You know they’re out traveling, you know, younger generations, naturally are going to be more digitally disposed and more, you know, more digital citizens. That’s what they grow. Up with and so you see that kind of guest side push, but you can also look at it from the hotel, your need standpoint as well, which has only been heightened by the pandemic, which is hey look we we can’t afford necessarily to have a big line in the front of the hotel on check in the hotel next door doesn’t have that line because they’ve been able to move people through a digital check in. Process or they’ve been able to alleviate some of the some of the questions back and forth. That are going on, you know, I look back from my entrance and into this space and we were deploying mobile apps, of course, at that point in time and we used to pin notifications on the app of like, messages from the hotel. Like is this gonna pre COVID which everybody is now used to getting the COVID message of wear mask keeps physical distance. The number one message, the one that people clicked on the most, was Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi. Password and you know hotels would tell us all the time. You realize how much time that saves us, where people will calm down, maybe the front desk forgot to write down. The Wi-Fi code. Maybe the guest missed it in the room, but the ability to just bypass that 30 second one minute question that can happen hundreds of times a day is a real efficiency driver and. So from the hotel. You look at it from that standpoint, some revenue opportunity, but an efficiency driver and an ability to alleviate everything kind of center. On beleaguered or busy staff, right. And so you’ve got the guest expectation, you’ve got the, you know, point of view coming from other areas of travel and then you’ve got the hotel, your need that have kind of driven this, this transformation. Paul Peddrick Yeah, I think it’s interesting that when you see like kind of an evolution of where you see, oh, here’s an enhancement to the experience and then very quickly it becomes an expectation of the experience. And then if you’re not proven. Having that, then you’re the one with the long line or you’re the one who’s answering the phone giving the Wi-Fi password and so therefore you’re not adding to the guest experience. This is like the dare I say that with this word, the new normal is providing that kind of level of digital engagement. Robert Stevenson 100%. Paul Peddrick So Angie, I thought what was interesting is. He was Robert kind of referenced airlines and in other verticals I know that Shiji has in your introduction Shiji kind of touches not just hotels, but you know retail and food service spaces. When you look across Shiji’s kind of portfolio of. Products and industries it serves. Are you seeing any crossover in terms of digital engagement technologies or strategies or things of that nature? Angie Andresen Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s there’s often crossover between these different verticals and particularly with hotels. And food service. So I think if you. Really look back. You could say that. The digital experience for both hotels and food services, it really began with being able to book a table and with being able to book A room. Online right for restaurants, it was the. Advent of open. Table in the late 90s and for hotels. It was OTA. Restaurants, they’ve really been trying to get into the digital experience in front of the gas for decades. It’s been with digital menu boards to get point of purchase messages across or with kiosk in quick service restaurants for self ordering or even guest facing devices for ordering and table service restaurants. And then they’re doing the. They were originally doing these things because they give you a 20 to 30% uplift in sales. And then restaurants, they’ve also been in the online ordering and delivery stays for. Over a decade. Now, but the current times have led to the acceleration of guests facing technology adoption. So since early 2020, digital engagement technology, it’s really experienced a new level of velocity for restaurants with aiming to really solve the trend of contactless. Everything I know in the US, it’s very unlikely to find a quick service or casual restaurant, small or large, without the ability to order food online. They all had to go online for pre ordering the food and delivery in order to survive. Life. But now with everyone. Back to business. This technology is really here to stay and it’s not really a nice to have anymore. It’s a must have. Paul Peddrick Yeah. I mean, I think I think that one of the things you mentioned, I think the, the the lesson that can be learned from the restaurant industry is that card value basically is a lot higher in a self-service environment, you know and and and as you pointed out, you know this is something that restaurants are seeing you know very easily which is why. Angie Andresen That’s true. Paul Peddrick Not only is it that the guests want the self-service, but the restaurants want the self-service too because their ticket prices are going up. Angie Andresen And so that’s why I think we’ve also now we’ve seen hotels working towards deploying this similar guest facing technology, if it’s in their food and beverage outlets, we’ve started to see kiosks for grab and go or mobile ordering of food and BYOD fashion, all is really on property, digital engagement, touch points. And then now as you mentioned in. Opening, we have these hospitality wide issues of Labor shortages and lower occupancy and now I think differently rather than just the uplift we can look toward this technology to help support those really like transactional pieces to help capture incremental revenue. So I definitely think there’s a crossover for with digital engagement. From a food and beverage perspective, for sure for sure. And then I agree with Robert here. So as technology becomes more and more part of our everyday lives and as other in the other verticals, retail, food and travel. As they lean further into this digital engagement space, the guests expectations of convenience of everything mobile in the palm of their hand, it’s just going to carry into their pre booking and their property digital experience. It’s becoming an expectation of life. Paul Peddrick So, so, Evan, Angie was talking a little bit about, like sort of, you know, the efficiencies and makes me think about automation. And I know your company leans very heavily into automation and artificial. So why? Why do you think from your perspective, do you feel that digital guest engagement is so ripe for automation? Obviously, we’ve talked about the labor shortage. Is that the primary catalyst here or is there something? Evan Chen Else to yeah. So I wouldn’t say. That the labor shortage necessarily is the primary catalyst on on automation. It is. It has been very helpful and and sort of demonstrating some benefits of automation prior to the. Mimic automation lends itself very well to hotels because as Robert had mentioned, there are very common inquiries that guests often have. And so by automating a little, the small little administrative things away from people’s days, folks at the hotel can spend a lot more time engaging with the guests in the right ways. You know, building more personalized experiences, creating better experiences for their, for their guests, post pandemic, you know? Sure, labor shortage has has sort of highlighted automation as a way to get back in business and and streamline the operations and the check in process. But as far as like. Bringing messaging and automation to the travel industry and to travelers goes. I would say. I would say a lot of a lot. It’s more of stars and aligned right. Robert mentioned again earlier how consumers, they wanna do their entire travel with with their mobile device and that that goes into what happens when they’re on properties. Well, and so consumers these days are using messaging a lot. I think we’ve gotten to a. Point with our mobile devices where we’re not necessarily downloading apps for businesses anymore. I think that’s that. You know, people don’t really do that as much these days, but text messaging is, is and communication through messaging is still very, very common. And so by combining all of these together by having the ability to by moving communication from, from telephone to text messaging it, it creates a lot of opportunity for automation, right? It’s much easier to parse out text based messages than it is to figure out how to have a robot answer the phone. Paul Peddrick Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I, I made me say I did not let the audience know that we also are open to answering any questions that the audience has. If you go into zoom, there is both a chat and a QA function. So if you have any questions for the panelists, please go ahead and put them in there and. We’ll see if we can get to them. We have a bunch of stuff to cover, but I would love to talk about what you all are interested in. Marvin Room Price Genie operates in the automation space. They do automated revenue management. Where do you see the connection between automation and improving the guest experience? You sort of previewed that in your introduction, so I’d love to. Hear you expand on that. Marvin Speh They actually really enjoyed what what Angie, Rob and Evan had to say and also what you said in your intro because we already touched up on three really important points. To me, one of the points is. The job of hotel you is not anymore, just whenever the guest is on site, it’s just expanded so much and there’s so much more that you can do. And Angie mentioned very briefly what is a must have and what’s nice to have, and actually a lot of the things that are pre and post arrivals are more turning into must haves than they’ve ever been must haves before. So while before it was a. A pretty cool thing to have. Now you actually have to have those things and. Lastly, we actually the hoteliers are in the business for being hosts. So we work with a lot of independents. And the reason why they run a hotel is because they love. Being a host so now. You have the being the host while the guest is there, but you also have to take care of the other things around, and that’s exactly where automation comes into play. So we as technology providers, we are there to make our lives. Easier to allow you to expand your scope of work from pre arrival to post, say by using technology and by whatever by using automation. That’s exactly what we were there for and where revenue management or price automation comes into play. It’s in order to do all that, you would first need to look at running your business profitably. So oftentimes by getting your prices right, there’s so much extra money you can make. And oftentimes when we speak to independents and we speak about, yeah, I can make this. Much extra money. They’re like, that’s maybe greedy. Am I being greedy? I’m a host I wanna. Get the best for my guests. I don’t want to take as much money out. Of their pockets as I can, but what? It really is, is. The more money you have, the better experience, the better off an experience you. The offer and that’s the way you need to think about it, because all those things cost money obviously, but it’s the money that you need to invest to stay relevant. The way we see it is in the market, there are money making tools and their experience enhancing tools and what we do with room pricing is money making tools. So you can afford all the experience. Planting tools and ultimately those things go hand in hand. If you want to. Improve your business. Paul Peddrick I mean, I think ultimately, you know the impact that you guest experience tools have on your reputation has a direct impact on, you know your downstream pricing. Right. It’s absolutely connected. So since we’re talking about revenue, yeah, let’s talk about like how hotels can really move the revenue needle. And in the digital guest engagement sphere, and I know this is an area that room ducks is really. Focused on, you know, hotels still need to make up some revenue despite the fact that they are maintaining the high ADR. But occupancy is not good. So they need to make up revenue. What’s interesting is when you think about digital guest engagement, you know, people have been sending out. Pre arrival promotional emails. For a while now, I mean probably, since you know, 2000s, that’s been the pretty common practice, particularly with resorts. But they haven’t really necessarily been super effective like my question would be, how can hotel your sort of sharpen the stick as it were to make the Preval pre rival engagement more effective for them commercial? Jos Schaap Yeah, I’m actually. I had one of those free arrival emails on Sunday. I’m in Stockholm right now and I travel to Stockholm on Monday. So Sunday I got a very nice e-mail from the hotel I’m staying in. Actually very nice e-mail with lots of information about the city I am in about the hotel when I’m arriving, when I’m leaving. All that kind of information was in there. There was a check in button somewhere. There was also some reference of some stuff that things could be brought up front, which is breakfast. Or something else, but it was very hard to find that information in that beautiful e-mail. So I think that’s one of the points that that hotel should think about. It’s the first thing to do is really make sure that when you want to tell the guests something that you focus on what you want to tell the guests. So if you want to do a pre arrive e-mail. That talks about the hotel. And all the services it provides then that’s one you can do that. But if you want to actually get the guests to also purchase something, you have to make the guest aware of what’s available and you have to do that in advance and you have to do that in a very clear and simple manner, I think in order for them for you to get the guests not only know what’s there, but actually. Also purchase some of it. Taking that a step, that step back is that at the time of booking, the guest sets a you know, they set sort of a budget for themselves and what they want to spend on the room, they’re going to stay at. So let’s just assume they want to spend $150.00 for the room. They want to stay in. So then they’re going to go on. The website of. The hotel, or Expedia or wherever and they look for a room that’s. It’s their budget, so 100 and. $50 they purchased that room and they’re happy with what they’ve purchased. As they get closer to arriving and traveling towards the hotel, they get excited, so the excitement builds up in their minds. You know it’s it’s. Basically another good time to make them aware of. Something So what we call. Our guest tension curve it’s sort of you if you can get the guest multiple times, if you can get attention to the. Of the guest multiple times between booking and arrival, you have more opportunities because there’s a lot of psychological information that’s going on, but there’s also a lot of habits that happen once, once the guest has purchased. So as an example, if I’m getting two or three days close to arrive. And my budget was $150.00 for the room and I booked it two weeks ago. I’ve kind of forgotten that I’ve totally forgotten, but I’ve forgotten that I spent $150.00. So if you now go in there and you have a better e-mail that kind of or a text message or something else that communicates more about the additional things the guests can purchase. Not only to give you more revenue, but also to give the guests more comfort. Then you create an opportunity because the guest has forgotten they’ve already spent $150.00. Now you’re going to offer at the next level will not for $200.00, but you’re going. To say it’s only. $40 more to get to the next level. Now the guest things I’m spending 40, they’ve forgotten about the 150 quote UN quote. So they take the 40 and that then goes on during the stay. The pre arrival you can then at that same point in. Time off early arrival, late departure. You could then also bring in guest services which at that point in. Time could be breakfast. You may think well, but they’re going to go to the hotel and breakfast anyway, yes. They do or they might, but if they walk to the breakfast, to the hotel and they see a Starbucks across the third of of the hotel, they may decide the next morning not to have breakfast in the hotel, but just go across to the Starbucks. If they had purchased the breakfast one or two days in advance, they’d already purchased a breakfast. They wouldn’t see the Starbucks to take the breakfast. So it’s basically, you know, to the points. Evan Ng, Marvin and Robert earlier. You have to communicate and you have to make the guest more aware or continuously make aware of things that can be done. So without, you know, without making it too obvious without pushing too many emails and without pushing too many things to the guest. And if you do that, then I think you can give the guests a much better. Experience one and at the same time you can generate A substantial amount of more revenue. Another simple example is a, you know, a bottle of wine. We have hotels that use this guest services component and all they do is really selling bottles of wine. You think well, it’s just a bottle of wine you gotta lift to the room. But you know you do that once or twice a day, and now you have 30 forty $50 more in just selling bottles of wine. Would you guess that otherwise bought a bottle of wine? Maybe if they looked at the, you know, the digital components that are in the room, maybe if they looked at the paper, that’s hard to find in the room. But if it’s right in front of their face, presented to them at the right time. It’s a higher opportunity and it’s much more opportunity for the guests to take it and then actually? Paul Peddrick Buy it? I mean, I think that, you know, guests are so condition. And it’s probably because of, you know, online travel agents to be scanning the list of of hotel rooms, looking for the best price. And so therefore, once they feel that they have accomplished that goal, they’ve gotten the selection that they wanted. They feel they’ve kind of siloed that transaction. They’ve they’ve won that transaction, that transactions over that’s done you know, a week later when they they’re they’re looking at a new offer. They’re not thinking about that, that that original transaction anymore. It’s a whole fresh opportunity for. So Marvin. Genie’s system kind of piggybacks on revenue management outcomes for room pricing right now. So as an example, they’re taking a yielded room rate and then adding some additional controls to derive a dynamic price for an upgrade. Of what? Of some kind? I’m interested. This is obviously an evolution from flat pricing that you would see on that. Most hotels have like you go to the front desk and they offer an upgrade. What is the, what’s the revenue management perspective on yielded ancillary guest pricing, guest service pricing? Whatever it might be, rather room upgrades or what have you because it seems it seems to me like you’d be like a natural thing to follow, but we don’t really see a lot of it out there in the industry. Marvin Speh Yeah, it’s very. Good question. And I think you can even take this question a step back and ask it for the room pricing in general. I mean everything where you can apply use data, you have to define what the price should be is great because you will make more money. What we do is using data to price the room. Correctly and what yours does is using data to price that upgrades correct. And in different scenarios you would want to have different prices. If you’ve sold all your budget double s and you have a lot of premium double s left, you’d obviously want the price of the upgrade to be a little bit cheaper because you want to empty out. You want to free up some budgets and you want to get people to pay more for the. But then there are other scenarios where you maybe don’t want that where you’d rather. Want them to do? Something else? So it’s just as it is with room pricing. It is also with upgrades if you can put some dynamic and some intelligence behind it, you will just be more successful and you will make. Even more money with it. So it’s basically it’s also guiding guest decisions. So what we do at room pricing, we price room types independently and if there is a lot of demand for specific room type that has an effect on the gap between the spoken room club and the next one. So if you see that there’s a lot of demand for again for the. Budget the price of the budget would get close to the price of the premium, so there will be in the booking process will be more driven towards the gap to the premium is not too high. I’m going to. Get it? So then you push more people into the premium level groups and. Then will that will increase the gap the gap? And so everywhere where you can intelligently and automatically use data to make better decisions you. Should apply it. Paul Peddrick No, it’s just anecdotally, I was at the gas station the other day and you know the, the premium was the same price as the middle tier octane gas because obviously there no one’s buying the Super premium because gas prices are going up. And so literally you can have the much the better the quality. Product for exactly the same price just because they’re trying to to, to manage their inventory, not not unlike the hotel needs to. So Andrea kind of going back to you and in Shiji it’s. If you go to. The website it’s, you know, honestly over the last, you know like six years or so, it’s really grown its portfolio of products and now as you mentioned you’re working in some more of the ancillary. Services of like sort of, you know, the golf and things like that. I also notice that you guys are also in, in, in payment solutions. It seems like this is like the development of a tool set for generating ancillary guest revenue. You know, how does you know? Kind of does this pre arrival engagement fit into a more of a holistic product development strategy procedure? Angie Andresen Yeah, I definitely think so. And like you were mentioning, we do have a really broad portfolio at Shiji and it really does touch many parts of the hotel business and it can help cover that digital guest journey from pre stay all the way through post day. And so I think one thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet. If you think about. It the guest. Experience really starts before that booking process even begins. And so one of the things that a hotel needs to understand and that we can do is help understand their guest sentiment and identify opportunities to improve that guests first impression digitally, right? So that’s one of the. Ways, But the portfolio of Shiji products, they’re really aiming to. Comma commingle and solve that single guest itinerary as well. So when a guest is booking a room, they may also be looking to book, spa, golf and other activity. When the guest starts to shop, that’s really the opportunity to make these additional services available to the guests pre stay during booking and because if I’m booking on property, I’m likely booking all property too. So it’s really important to encapsulate all of the activity that hotel has to offer at the. Time of booking. And to raise awareness that they exist, we we also have the concept of golden profile or a single guest profile where our hotel can know everything about their. Before they arrive on. Property and then. So what would be important is to then leverage this information so they can help personalize that guest experience and then potentially capture incremental revenue. And so as Josh mentioned, focus pre arrival emails are more effective and better than maybe generic. So if you have a segment of. Guests coming to your. Property that you know have previously played golf with your brand. You could target these guest profiles and let them know the availability of tee times during their stay and provide them a direct booking link. And so the pre stay information can be sent to a customer positioned in a way of. Planning their stay. But also tailored to what the hotel knows that the guest enjoys. Based on available. So that guest preference data and the history, it’s all really stored to help hoteliers run better guest engagement strategies in communication. So really the shipping platform, it does contain an ecosystem to cover the bases of the digital guest journey. But at the same time, we are very open to external. Systems as we build with an API, everything type approach. Paul Peddrick So you have anything to say about an API? Jos Schaap I talked about that yesterday at the event, but no, I was gonna. I was gonna kind of tag on what Angie was saying about, you know, the multiple touch points and the timing of the offer. And then I think intelligence robots companies been around for a long time and started with. Probably one of the first ones. I think with the mobile app, when the iPhone came out, if I can recall it correctly and now my arrival at the hotel here was again a manual arrival at the front desk at the fill in the form, there was nothing being sold to me. And I think that devices or applications that are prior to arrival, whether they are just to. Sell something, or maybe to have the guest check in or pre-check in offer additional opportunity to make a guest aware and IE purchase something and then also once they’re on site. There is additional opportunities while they’re in the room and I was kind of wondering what you know, kind of piggy being what Angie was saying about all these touch points, kind of what Robert Roberts position is on that from a from a multi touch point of view. Robert Stevenson Yeah, it’s a good point, yes. And and and Angie, I think the multiple touch points, absolutely, I think it’s not only about hitting the guests at multiple times, but it’s also the vector at which you communicate with the guests. So we have talking about chat services and texting services. One of the things that’s very popular on the intelligent platform is. You’ve got a specific activity that’s happening at a certain time in the hotel and a broadcast to the entire guest population, or a broadcast to a specific group code. You know those kinds of things in terms of the vector in which you approach the guests, because what’s going to happen is, you know, some people are going to hone in on that e-mail and we’re all in hospitality. Like here. So we’re scanning everything that the hotel’s doing as we’re coming in and we’re checking and seeing what the latest is, what technologies they using, which ones are. Why not? But you know some guests are going to bypass that, and they’re gonna pay attention to the e-mail. I think you know, I think we’re all sort of in alignment that there’s a new sort of set of how much money I can spend once I get to the property and that some of the money. In terms of. The booking has been forgotten, but also some guests are gonna be paying attention to e-mail. Some are gonna be paying attention. Maybe more to the text message, some might be paying attention to the push message and trying to optimize that or and or provide the hotelier the choice and how they wish to sort of approach it. So giving them the data revenue manager operations, people sort of being able to. Like that data make a smart decision on, hey, this is really working in terms of guest engagement and then returning the ROI, I mean the obvious go to points are upsells and you know getting people up sells on you know on the check-in sort of process. But the other obvious one is obviously food and beverage you know where. Where can we hit people with food and beverage in a smart way like similar to the Starbucks example a little? A while ago is the best method for doing that. Trying to grab them through a pre arrival or is the best method for doing that trying to hit them in the morning when they’re actually making a decision right? You see, for instance, we do tablets in rooms in addition to the mobile apps. You see that they’ve set perhaps their alarm clock and you know they’re up at 7. Does it make sense to hit? With a, you know, like a lazy advertising called a Daydream, advertising on the tablet showing they’re really nice waffles, or they’re really nice pancakes kind of coming across the tablet and like. The restaurant downstairs has this delicious looking breakfast. Let me sort of go and sort of passively, you know, cheese. The guests who bring them downstairs to do that. So casinos are really good at doing this kind of stuff. It’s finding the right vector, the right time of day, the right sort of audience to sort of narrow and suck people into a buy or an upsell type of decision. But at the end of the day it’s similar to what we’ve all sort of said here. I think you. Know it’s it’s providing the hotel, the tools. Providing them the option to either move in an automated fashion, which I think hotels appreciate particularly right now, but also providing it, and they can do it in a non autem any way the the human mind like hey, you know something really cool is going on in our hotel. You know, an algorithm might not catch this. Let me override the AI’s doing a lot of my work. And do it myself in this specific instance, right? Paul Peddrick So we have a question from the audience, Alan Young, where do loyalty programs now fit in the world of driving ancillary guest revenue? Are they still a need to have or can implementation of revenue generating platforms that are personalized take the? Place of old style loyalty programs. Implementation of revenue generating platforms that are personalized well, that’s the personalization piece is the interesting part. You know is it can is personalization will it have the. Would it have the same impact in terms of what a loyalty program have? Would you be booking a particular hotel because they, you know they have a personalized revenue generating? Platform, you know, basically personalized offers and stuff like that or so. So is, is, is this? Is this kind of? Personalization and automation is this going to replace load the programs or is it a way to maybe empower or make better loads of programs? Marvin Speh I think it’s it definitely goes. It definitely goes hand in hand because the one is for the individual stays experience and the other one is thinking about the next day. And I would say they could benefit from each other, but I wouldn’t say that one replaces the other. So both are fulfilling a different purpose. So I wouldn’t say that they replace each other, but I’m keen to hear what the. Robert Stevenson Others have to say I agree with Marvin. I think it they do go hand in hand. They’re part and parcel kind of of of the same sort of outcome you’re trying to. You can get the guests to return, but you’re also trying to, you know, make their guest experience really good, so that they want to return not only just for rewards, but also because the experience was good. I I will say on that personalization that it can’t come off as fake, right? You know, rewards programs are very kind of scientific, mathematically driven, you know look by stay at this hotel so many times I’m going to get a free night or. You know, I’ll boost in my in the quality of my room. I think, you know, people are kind of trained and to understand that I think on the personalization side, it’s going on in subtle ways across the entire sort of travel experience. We talked about that in airlines and ride sharing and things like that a little bit earlier where those industries are more advanced personalization in the hotel space. If we do it. You know it can’t feel fake, right? Like ohh, well, they just. They had five bottles of wine available and they recommended one of five for me. Big deal, right? Like I could have chose that bottle of wine. You know, maybe there I got a view of the pool versus a view of the garden or something like that. You know it. Yes, it’s maybe it’s personalized, but it it really you know I think that’s just the basics. It really needs to go beyond that, right? What do people really wanting to experience in their hotel stay is? Jos Schaap It is it. Robert Stevenson A full leisure stay, is it more of a business stay? Business Traveler probably wants to get in and out. Maybe they wanna get meetings done. Maybe they need to know that the conference room is available. You know the very specific needs as a business traveler versus a leisure traveler who might just be like show me what you got. Tell me what the city is all about and really going beyond the very basics of personalization. You know and and and the 222 approaches go hand in hand, but the personalization one can’t be treated as just sort of like a a mathematics game of of, oh, we’ll recommend one of five lines, right. It has to go beyond that. Paul Peddrick Yeah, you went dark. Jos Schaap And yeah, I’ll be like. I love you and talk here. Paul Peddrick Yeah, it’s it’s dark in Sweden activity. Jos Schaap I guess so. Yeah, that’s weird. Sorry about that. Paul Peddrick Guys, does anyone else have any comments on this? I think it’s, but what occurs to me is that one of the when people talk about stale old loyalty programs, one of the reasons why stale old loyalty programs. Or such is because there’s always this tension between. How much you can offer for loyalty without, you know, digging into discounting too much. And I don’t want to get too far off on the tangent. But but but. But I sort of think that digital guest engagements from I think provides a way to maybe make the delivery of benefits more effective. Loyalty program and you know, I think it’s I think digital get the tools that we’re talking about here that that we’re advocating for. I I I think their application is in loyalty myself and not just necessarily a a replacement per say. I think it could be in the future, but it’s hard to say. Marvin Speh But it’s not a great example that by just saying of old styloid to programs that there is even here, there is a lot of room for improvement. Paul Peddrick Well, I mean, certainly. Marvin Speh Yeah, speaks for itself. The question speaks for itself, there is a problem there, yeah. Jos Schaap No, I think you know. Angie Andresen I’m I. Paul Peddrick I think there definitely is. I mean I. Think oldest Dale is is absolutely. I I think it’s. I think the loyalty has been, is is a real challenge because I’m a member of, you know, a million different loads of programs. I’m loyal to to to none of them, necessarily. I think you’ll also get into a situation where with hotel consolidation like you go into a city, you can’t help but be loyal because you’re the only hotels there are going to be Hiltons or Marriotts anyway. And so it’s like all of a sudden, like, loyalty is not really loyalty much anymore anyway. I just that’s in the side though. Jos Schaap Yeah, but I I think you know some, some, some form of digital personalization creates. I mean Lord’s not the right word that maybe creates is maybe not the right word. It definitely creates more commitment or more satisfaction from the guests if they if you can give them something that you know you think. Or, you know, and it’s not going to be 100% right, but it could give them something that they want and you offer to them when they need it or close to that time frame. Then you create something, you create something special. I think you create something unique that may be more powerful sometimes than just the plain old loyalty program that the. Paul Peddrick Yeah, that’s fair. So so I think that I think everyone’s here would agree the guest digital guest engagement is a good thing. Let’s talk about barriers to adoption, you know, yes, you said you checked into your hotel and you there really was very little effective digital engagement going on. There’s probably a few different reasons for that. I would argue that one of which would be technical barriers. Yes, is there anything you can speak to in terms of your perspective on technical barriers to setting up digital guest engagement? Jos Schaap I mean, I think one of the big ones that is out there is that they’re, you know that the the main platform of hotel has PMS still charges a lot of money just to connect something to it. So you know. Like there’s 55 vendors on this call that would be 5 licenses to get the whole thing up and right and working. And I think that is something that has to change. And you know, some of the newer European measurements are changing that by offering connectivity, either no charts or very limited charts. So I think so that that’s one issue. But I think it’s also. The mindset and the urge, I think, or the urgency which somehow yes can advance and to actually to make you know, make the the digital jump. Yesterday I was in a conference and the keynote speaker was talking about everything changes within five years, so you need to act now, not wait until next year, whether you have money or no money. You don’t need a lot of money to put something digital in place, because it’s really fast-paced so you can do that. Fairly quickly should. Just make the efforts, I think to get to that. You know, because I remember last year, everybody was talking about contactless, 11 scope was started hitting. Everything needs to be contactless check in, check out all needed to be remote. But I’ve I’ve continued to travel throughout the last 12 months and I think the 10 hotels I stayed in, none of them offered mobile check in, for example, and none of them really offered strong digital engagement and. Israel hotels all over Europe and not not sorry mostly of the US and two in Europe. I find that kind of striking because there is a lot of technology available to implement those things in in a small or in a big way, which is the way you look at, but you’ve got to start somewhere and. Think if you can find a solution that allows you to create some more engagement with your guests digitally prior to arrival. You, your, your. Beginning the way to to make a good win for both the guests and the hotel. Paul Peddrick So Evan, I’m. Interested in your perspective on what? What you see is technical barriers that you’d like to see sort of resolved or come down in order to get better user adoption and? I’m also. Well, let’s just start with that. For now, yeah. Evan Chen So I mean I think y’all hit the nail on the head. There a lot of what we see as technical barriers generally integrations into into PMS not only are there super old ones where it costs are going to like to get integrated, but there’s also. Dozens and dozens of these, I think at this point Aquas integrated into over three dozen PMS just to just to support the industry. And they all have varying levels internally, we have different tiers of integrations for each PMS and that enables different types of capabilities. Now this group has talked a ton about, you know, and you mentioned the type of information that we’re capturing around each guest. Like you can you can consolidate. The wealth of data but you need to integrate into into something to be able to make use of that data and that ties into the loyalty programs, right. So at the best level of integration that that Akia has as an example, we. We don’t need necessarily need a loyalty program because we know that the guests come like four times and so you can personalize messaging and and personalize. So over many apps relevant to the guest profile or the loyal guests to. The joy golf. You know render different components within our mini apps depending on. I guess profile looks like etc etc. And at the worst level of engagement, we have none of this data right. The best we can do is is shoot them a text message and and, you know, do a little bit back and forth, send some share information and really, you know, not do much more than than open up the the line for communication. And then so I mean, either we see a lot more. Consolidation within or within the space. Or or. And I know there are some standards around API’s but in in reality we don’t see that we don’t see that too often. Paul Peddrick So we’ve got roughly 7 minutes left. So we haven’t been able to get to all the questions. But so I want to I want to make sure that we hit just a couple before we we wrap this up. You know in terms of like return on investment. And people are in terms of investing into automation, how do you kind of measure return on investment? And I pose this to to Marvin, since you’re heavily into automation. Marvin Speh For us from a revenue management side, there’s always two things. It’s the time saved and the money made. So return on investment is not only how much extra money to have in your pockets, but also how much extra time do you have freed up to take care of. Other things, and that’s really what we look at it from a pricing perspective, from revenue management perspective. Obviously we make you a lot of more money, so. On average, we. See that around 20% revenue increase is possible because you go from not doing much to suddenly doing a lot or having a machine do a lot, but you always have to keep in mind that freeing up your time. Because it is the most crucial resource that you have is essential as well, and that’s also when it comes to deciding and what technology you invest in. It’s really also asking the questions. What tasks am I doing currently or what tasks should I do that I don’t have time for that? I spend too much. Time on and as soon as you learn that. Technologies your friend that it helps you run a Better Business because you can have a computer take care of many things that. You can take care of yourself. Then you will think differently about the return on investment. So sometimes from a money perspective, yes, I can give you numbers. What other clients experience but every case is different and that’s the same for I guess for what he does it’s similar. I can tell you experiences that other others made. Your return investment is going to be heavily dependent on what you personally are doing at the. Moment so it’s. Always a mix between time and money and the time factor is actually a really important one that you should not forget. Paul Peddrick Robert, let’s go back to barriers. You, your company has probably been encountering the usual argument about service culture. Like, you know, if you’re you’re providing these tablets and these apps and all these different ways for people to interact without having to talk to. Person is there still? Are you still out there? Seeing a cultural reluctance to go digital in terms of providing? Service levels is there. Is there still? Does that still exist? People still say I people, you know my guests will want to talk to my see my face. I mean do. You hear that a lot. Robert Stevenson Yeah, COVID been miserable for everybody on the planet, I think. Well, the one thing that it has done in. In regards to your question, is it? You know, has trained everybody that like, look there is. A need for digital capability everywhere, right? Like whether it’s a QR code for a restaurant menu or some of the more advanced things we were talking about. So I think you know post COVID, we have no barrier to hey, a digital option needs to be available and I think that it comes back to the hotels preference and we never recommend installing intelligent. Platform and saying. Hands off. No more staff and you’re not gonna greet anybody or anything like that. You have a guest of both pathways, right? And a non digital. Pathway and a more digital pathway, right. And you let the guests kind of decide, you may have some resorts, you may have some specific properties that are really into the culture of the face to face interaction showing people the property taking them to their room, particularly on the luxury or upper upscale sort of level and that’s gonna continue to exist. There’s going to be able to appreciate that, and there’s going to be operations and revenue people that say that’s what makes the difference here. That’s why we. Charge more ADR and we don’t try to get rid of that, but I do think we’ve reached particularly post. COVID a level. Of you need to have a digital pathway, whether that’s just a web interface that’s very friendly or chat. Sort of product installed or full intelligent installed where you’ve got digital touch points across the entire guest day. I think we’ve come to that is to use the conversation earlier. That’s really table stakes today. You kind of have to have something, may not be super elaborate, but you need to have something in. Place that allows people to. To move in that direction, I also say that ratings standards, you know AAA and the diamonds and and Forbes and the stars, you know, as you get to those upper levels, they have requirements in in that regard, right. Paul Peddrick That’s interesting. Yeah. Robert Stevenson You know? Like, you’re not gonna get a 5 star property if you’ve got no digital anything, right? Paul Peddrick That’s nothing. Robert Stevenson Not going to happen, right? Paul Peddrick No, that’s really interesting, Angie. So we’re we’re we’re getting towards the end here. I’m gonna. I’m gonna kind of finish. You, you know, you Shiji is a global company and you know in many different markets, are you seeing different kinds of adoption rates for digital engagement and different parts of the world or are you seeing obviously serve many different types of hotels? Or is adoption based on hotel class? Like maybe what Rob was implying was like maybe the Super high in luxury, you know are reluctant to do it, but now they are obliged to do it. Like how do you see adoption globally? Angie Andresen So I I don’t necessarily think it’s always related to geography as you just mentioned, he’s traveled internationally and in many of the hotels he’s encountering, they’re not having these digital touch points that you’d expect. And as Robert mentioned, if you go to a five star hotel, you’re going to expect a higher level. Of service of even maybe these digital touch points. Then you would do a. Lower star. So I think that those both of those things I think are a factor as well. But also if hotels are looking to adopt digital engagement technology, they have to also make sure that they’re building on a solid foundation. So Joe’s comment from the CEO that he heard speaking this week. Everything changes in five years. You can put something in SAS in place very quickly. Well, not always because a barrier to adoption could be you’re running an. Older tech stack. Or maybe that tech stack you’re running. It doesn’t have the endpoints needed to connect. With the digital partners. And with that alone, you’re not be able to. That’s fast. So and then it depends if the foundation you’re sitting on is a closed or open ecosystem and then another point adoption rate, they’re really just not about the tech capabilities either. The velocity, adoption and rollout it also depends on how easy a solution is to implement or to train new staff. If that training curve is steep, it could cost the hotel twice as much in just time alone. So I think it’s a combination of these things that determine adoption globally of specific technology. Paul Peddrick Well, it’s the top of the hour. We’ve been speaking for an hour, and I would really thank all of our panelists here. Just wanna let the audience know that as usual, this webinar has been recorded and we will upload it to the room deck site later today and you’ll receive an e-mail with the link as well. If you have any further questions, any, any, even specific questions for specific panelists, please go ahead and send it out to info at room decks dot IO and we’ll make sure it gets into the right hands and your question gets answered again, thank you panelists very much and I hope everyone has a wonderful day. Jos Schaap Thank you very much. Robert Stevenson Thank you. Jos Schaap Thanks everyone. Robert Stevenson Thank you. Thank you. Bye, bye.

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