02 Aug 2013
A few days back, I gave a lecture on ‘The Future of Hospitality’ at IIHM Ahmedabad. It was a fantastic experience to share with the students, the impact of technology on the hospitality industry.
The idea was to give them an insight into new technologies which would have mainstream adoption by the time they graduated and joined the industry. The main topics were:
- the impact of social media
- cloud computing
- the internet of things
- virtual experiences
- new input interfaces like voice, touch and gesture
- the mobile revolution
While everyone seemed to know everything about social media and the mobile revolution, it was fun to give them an insight into other topics like cloud computing and the internet of things. Being in the technology business, for us it is normal to follow companies who are trying to connect door locks and bulbs to the internet. However, it was fascinating to see their reactions when they saw videos of such devices and how they could transform the hotel room of the future.
The lecture got me wondering that it would be a good idea to have similar sessions with hoteliers also. Everyone is so busy in taking care of daily activities that this would be a refreshing insight into the future and may give a fresh impetus to early adopters to differentiate themselves from the competition by implementing some of these new but existing technologies.
Sunny Goenka, Co-Founder, Blynk.
Highlights from the article in EyeForTravel.
There is no magic formula for achieving a high ranking on TripAdvisor but what we do know is that a meticulous approach is essential. A big part of that is hiring great people, people who love to serve.
Whether hotels like it or not, they cannot ignore TripAdvisor. Not only do people today write reviews, they also read reviews in the course of planning a trip. Not all happy guests will write a review but it is increasingly recognised that people are more likely to write a positive review than a negative one. That is more than enough reason to take the satisfaction of guests seriously.
29 Jun 2013
We have been very busy. See below and you’ll know why. Congratulations to our below customers for having their mobile apps on the Apple and Android App Stores. Blynk looks forward to mobilizing them.
Hotel Holt, Iceland
Hotel Holt, a small 4 star hotel on a central but quiet street in downtown Reykjavík. They have a sincere dedication to making a visit to Reykjavík an unforgettable one. With only 41 rooms, they are able to connect with their guests and give them the personal attention they would only dream of in a large chain hotel. With beautiful artwork all around and Iceland´s premier restaurant on the premises, their guests are sure to have an experience that will leave a special place in their heart for Hotel Holt.
Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Thailand
PATHUMWAN PRINCESS HOTEL is one of Bangkok’s leading 5-star hotels, situated in the heart of the city. The hotel’s location is unique, sitting adjacent to MBK Center and opposite Siam Square. Surrounded by Bangkok’s best retail and entertainment facilities, guests really are spoilt for choices. The Pathumwan Princess Hotel is not just another 5 star hotel. It is an award-winning luxury hotel with distinctive refurbishments in chic urban motif reflecting a high-variety of city living emotions.
Clarks Inn, New Delhi
With a history spanning over three centuries of glorious tradition, this is the story of an Indian business house that, till date, embodies the unique ethos of its birthplace, Varanasi. Today, the Group is a leading player in textiles, manufacturing, international trade and hospitality, consisting of companies such as Banaras House, Indian Textiles, Great Value Travels, Great Value Hotels and the Clarks Group of Hotels.
Lotus 8, Kerala
Lotus8 A’part Hotel, lies close to Kochi, the Queen of the Arabian Sea and the commercial hub of Kerala, the southernmost state of India. It is just at a stone’s throw from the main gate of the International Airport at Nedumbassery. The universal appeal of this apartment hotel makes it equally alluring to the business executive, the family tourist and the individual traveller. The true paid tariffs for actual duration of stay, reasonably fixed to fit the middle class traveller, with royal comforts and ultra modern amenities, will be a bargain deal for the tourist/traveller.
Golkonda Hotel, Hyderabad
The Golkonda Hotel Hyderabad is an exclusive Business Chic hotel located in the heart of Hyderabad at Banjara Hills, Masab Tank. It is about 30 minutes away from Hitec City. The Golkonda Hotel Hyderabad is an ideal hotel for both business and leisure traveler and is very close to the Hyderabad International Airport.
Kanan Beach Resort, Kerala
Kanan Beach Resort – Kerala, the natural and homely Ayurvedic beach resort in God’s own Kerala at northern district Kasaragod, stays in between Kanhangad and Nileshwar. Kerala which is situated in the southern part of India is globally famous for its scenic beauty of greenery.
Emarald Hotels, Kochi
Proud combination of elegance, tradition and comfort coupled with modern business facilities expected from an international standard hotel. Exceptional hospitality and guest comfort combined with fine beauty and tradition marks the beauty of Emarald which is why they are the best hotels in India.
Boulevard 9, Nadiad
Whitefield Spoon Restaurant, Royal Orchid Suites, Bangalore
Hotel Royal Orchid Suites is an unmatched five star hotel where you can feel a buzz of business along with comfort and tranquility. Friendly hotel in the heart of Bangalore, which is favorite among global travellers.
Hotel Royal Orchid Suites is recognized for all round excellence and unmatched level of services to business and leisure travellers.
Highlights from the article ‘Google for Hotels: Q+A with David Zammitt, Google Travel Industry Manager‘.
Not just a search engine anymore, Google has dramatically extended its presence and influence in the online travel space in recent years. New features include Hotel Finder, Google+, a revamped Maps application and Local pages, greater prominence of reviews and ratings, and redesigned YouTube brand channels.
Hotel Finder has a number of innovative and exciting features to help users select the hotels they are interested in more quickly. As I said, our goal is to get our users from intent to action as quickly and as smoothly as we possibly can. Hotel Finder does this through the use of detailed search, maps and live hotel rates and availability. We feel that this provides valuable leads to both suppliers and OTAs.
If an advertiser is looking to include their properties on Hotel Price Ads and receive the clicks on their own sites, they may wish to consider one of our Integration Partners, including several leading CRSs (Customer Reservation Systems). This ensures that even small individual properties or chains can have their price and availability showing on Hotel Price Ads.
Highlights from the article ‘Show These Mobile Usage Statistics To Any Travel Executive Resisting Change‘.
Travelers are switching from desktop Web browsers to smartphones and tablets in droves, but some travel companies have been slow to adapt to the change in traveler behavior.
Check out these half-dozen noteworthy statistics about mobile adoption.
30 Apr 2013
Highlights from the article ‘Tablet Usage Growing In The Hotel Industry‘.
Hotels are beginning to move into a more eco-friendly direction to save energy and money. Hotels encourage you to reuse towels, bed sheets, and bath robes a few times before they dispense new ones. Major hotels are looking to differentiate themselves from the competition by providing VIP members with iPads, giving you the bible on a Kindle or booking your entire stay on your tablet.
The San Diego Bayfront and the Boston Marriott Long Wharf are doing very interesting things with the Apple iPad. The hotels are providing the concierges with tablets to provide inquiring guests images of the restaurants, clubs, and tourist attractions that they’re recommending. “Today, all of our concierges have most of their restaurant choices and tourist attractions on the iPad. In an old-fashioned hotel, they’d flip through a three-ring binder,” says Marc Hoffman of Sunstone Hotel Investors, which owns 26 upscale chain hotels.
Many hotels are beginning to provide guests with tablets in their room, which goes far beyond just playing a round of Angry Birds. The New York Plaza hotel has outfitted all of the suites with iPad tablets that allow you to order room service, make restaurant reservations, give wake up calls, check your airline schedules, and even print your boarding pass.
Many hotels are starting to give guests free access to newspapers on any tablet they might have via Press Reader. Instead of buying issues or subscribing to the service, they will give you free access to over 1,200 international editions, which is a boon to international globetrotters that could care less about the local paper left outside their door.
Tablets in hotels are starting to catch on in a big way. A new study found that 53 hotels across the USA found that 82% of guests who had access to the in-suite tablets used them an average of 11 times per stay.
At Blynk, we are spending lesser time reading newspapers and watching TV news channels and are getting more and more of our daily news dose via newsletters and blogs.
Since we make mobile apps, it was ironical that our older newsletter did not look so great on mobile phones. Our latest newsletter design is more beautiful, more modern and best of all, is responsive. That means it scales as per your device screen and so is optimized for mobile phones and tablets.
We look forward to your feedback and we hope to continue sharing tips on how to serve your guests in a blynk.
24 Apr 2013
While hotels are actively collaborating with online travel agencies (OTAs) for business, they are often forced to pay large commissions and adhere to conditions set by OTAs. With customers increasingly engaging the services of OTAs to plan their travel arrangements, you may find yourself in a catch 22 situation. The solution as well as challenge is convincing customers to favor your website for bookings over OTAs. The good news is, there are some ways around it. Here are a few techniques you can use to limit your use of OTAs or completely eliminate them from the picture.
1. Special benefits
Special offers and targeted benefits can encourage users to book directly on your website. You can provide value-added corporate bookings, discounted holiday offers and other incentives. Always make sure you explain to customers that your special rates and offers are applicable only when they book directly. In this case, you have a competitive advantage as OTAs face limitations when advertising their offers.
2. Seasonal use of OTAs
You can partner with OTAs on short-term contracts. For instance, you could completely stop OTA bookings during peak seasons when the demand is high, and rely on them during the slower months. During in-demand seasons, you can bank on customers to find you through your website or leverage any other hospitality solution to locate you. To improve your visibility online, you can invest in search engine optimization and social media marketing techniques.
3. Mobile apps for hotels
In a day and age when consumers are accessing information on-the-go, it makes sense to have a unique mobile app for your hotel. You can use this app to encourage your customers to make reservations, get information about special offers and stay abreast of your news. Over a period of time, your app would become self sufficient while you drive quality traffic to your website. A leading e-concierge and e-menu provider for the hospitality industry such as Blynk can provide you effective marketing solutions to attract direct bookings.
OTAs may no doubt be a popular choice but that doesn’t mean you cannot play your hand. Smart planning and execution can help you get your customers back in a real and meaningful way.
Highlights from article in ArabianBusiness.com.
The ‘invisible traveller’ is emerging as the newest profile in the hospitality industry, describing those who want to be self-sufficient during their trip, according to new research by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the largest hotel groups in the world with brands including InterContinental, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, and consultancy group, The Futures Company.
“Think of this scenario,” the IHG-Futures Company report says. “A booking has been made online. Once the guest arrives, they let themselves in… they use room service – not the restaurant – or consult the menu and place their order at a table fitted with an intelligent touch screen.
“The next night, they order a gourmet BBQ basket – and cook their own food. They’ve carried out their own extensive research about the local area and amenities, so don’t need to ask the concierge staff for their advice.
“In the room, thanks to content downloaded on a personal media device… in-room entertainment options will evolve. We are likely to see ‘Bring Your Own Devices’ come to the hospitality industry in 2013 – much as they’ve come to the workplace. This will enable guests to personalise their experience.
“Playing music from your own MP3 collection or watching films recommended by your friends takes away the anonymity of the traditional hotel room. Indeed, recent innovations such as Apple’s social TV make it possible to imagine that in the coming years, guests will watch TV in their hotel room ‘together’ with friends back home.”
A small number of hotels around the world have started trialling the independent check-in system. Depending on its success, it is likely to be gradually rolled out globally by next year.
Read the complete article here.
Highlights from article in USA Today.
(Photo: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago)
The iPad has revolutionized the way many travelers work and relax in hotels since Apple started selling it three years ago.
So, with the device’s third birthday in mind, Hotel Check-In asked a variety of travelers and hotel industry workers to identify the top ways that the iPad and tablet computers have changed the lodging experience. Here are their picks:
1. Replacing old binders, hotel directories and menus.
2. Less to pack.
4. iPad as tour guide.
Read the complete article here.