June 27 2016

Best of HITEC 2016’s Hospitality Solutions

We’re just coming down from a high that was HITEC 2016. It’s reported that this year was one of the highest attended conferences; over six thousand hospitality technology professionals representing 65 countries got together in the Big Easy – New Orleans, to share, discuss and of course promote the industry’s best practices and showcase the latest technological advancements and innovations.
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With our third show under our belt, HITEC is becoming a bit of an annual hunt for us. From the start, New Orleans was good to us; we met friends, old and new, current clients and partners, potential prospects and colleagues, had great nights out on the town, even accepted awards! (We received an Innovative Technology Recognition Award from Hospitality UpGrade ) and although our schedule was hectic at times, in-between meetings we did manage to actually have a look around and here’s what we thought were the best hospitality solutions at this year’s event!

Booth #1825 Ariane Systems
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Although founded back in 2001 by Laurent Cardot and Michel Lavandier, with today’s traveller becoming more and more self-sufficient, there has never been a more apt time to be Ariane. A leader in self check-in solutions for the hospitality market, they provide software to streamline the check-in process, along with self-service kiosks and keycard dispensers. Having recently partnered with Elavon, Ariane has integrated Elavon’s Simplify security software into its self-service solutions ensuring that all electronic payments made via their self check-in solutions are encrypted, protecting consumers and hotel owners alike.

Any attendees who happened to stop by their booth got to try out their kiosk key dispensers first hand and create their ‘very own’ room key; haven given it a go myself, their kiosk product offering is a fast, secure check-in and check-out experience with attendees receiving their keys in less than 20 seconds!

Booth #1616 Revinate
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A SaaS start-up based in Silicon Valley with a global presence – including offices in the States North and South; Europe, UAE,  Asia and a customer base to match-Revinate’s solutions include; reputation management, guest profiling and extensive marketing. A robust approach for hoteliers to understand and serve their guest better. Their solutions can cleverly pull customer review content from thousands of online sources into a single location and also combine guest data from multiple proprietary systems—or even multiple hotels in a group. By gathering and compiling all of this information, hoteliers can get a clearer picture of their guests’ needs, preferences, and interests and as a result, they’re able to create actionable insights and market appropriately.

If you were lucky enough and/or wise enough to visit their stand during the week, you would have received a complimentary hotel marketing consultation!

Booth #1727 WindsurferCRS

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We couldn’t attend this year’s show without visiting one of StayNTouch’s newest partners, WindsurferCRS (previously known as SHR); they provide advanced and complete distribution technology and services for the hospitality industry. You know the way distribution can have hundreds of connections available to various emerging booking channels and integration can be a nightmare? – Well, WindsurferCRS solutions basically take away that headache. They also have something called the WhiteboardLabs i.e. they can create custom booking engine solutions, provide website design and development, along with offering revenue-optimizing solutions with their Revenue Management for Hire service.

And let’s admit it, although they can be useful and insightful, sometimes case studies and whitepapers can be a bit of a chore to read – but not with these guys! They had copies of their case studies at their stand in comic book form! We’ve never enjoyed reading a case study so much (may just have to borrow this idea!).

Booth #1713 hospitalityPulse

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Made up of hospitality technology veterans and based out of Santa Cruse California, hospitalityPulse has taken on the challenge of tackling and solving one of the most difficult problems hotels face i.e. room assignment. Their intelligent roomPulse and PulseLink solutions combine a mathematical model along with an intuitive user interface, to create an inventory engine that automates room assignments and ultimately streamlines the check-in process.

Their software solves all possible movements based on reservation requirements and room availabilities, resulting in more optimal upgrades being granted to the right guests. This is most certatinly a solution that every hotel property can use to boost revenue and increase efficiency.

Booth #1339 Salto

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In business for 15 years, SALTO Systems is a leading manufacturer of electronic access control solutions i.e. they create and provide smarter and innovative access control for door lock systems. Entering the market in 2001, they were the first to offer a stand-alone, battery-powered electronic lock for access control and since then they have gone from strength to strength. SALTO has always prided themselves on the fact that their solutions are easy to install and set up, cost-effective, reliable, complete and most importantly future-proofed. Their solutions allow hoteliers to control access needs and secure guest room doors without complex and expensive wiring.

At this year’s HITEC, SALTO showcased its latest innovations for the hospitality industry that included a new Bluetooth Low Energy option, AElement, a stylish RFID design wireless electronic lock that can now be opened using BLE. Their new product is an energy efficient and easy-to-manage system that’s totally wire-free and networked through SALTO Virtual Network and SALTO Wireless network.

Along with the launch of AElement, SALTO had several door locks displayed at their booth. Those who stopped by got to experience their products in action as attendees were allowed to demo their access control management electronic lock solutions!

Booth #1445 Knowcross

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Founded back in 2002, Knowcross’ solutions are deployed in over 35 countries and used by some of the worlds leading hotels. Knowcross has a number of different solutions but at the heart of them all is the ability to effectively manage day-to-day operations on the go; it’s basically your very own digital in-house communication and delegation tool. By unifying teams across departments, hotels can track guest requests, complaints, and maintenance jobs, handle queue room and turn down service, automate room selection for service and inspection etc. all of which improve communication time by 90% and result in increased staff productivity and higher quality of service.

Highlighted at this years show was a new feature to their KNOW mobile service that they recently announced; hoteliers can now gather and analyze data from guests’ social media account activity allowing hotels to serve their guest more effectively by understanding their needs better.

Booth #1837 Guestfriend

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We’ve featured articles on our own blog about the demise of the in-room phone but Guestfriend is reestablishing the relevance of this revenue stream, and makeing it even more robust by focusing on enhancing a guest’s stay. They believe that the most logical path to the inevitability of an improved hotel phone is merging established hospitality features with smartphone functionality – and that’s what they’ve done! With Guestfriend, the idea of an in-room phone has been reinvented and now it’s sexier, smarter with touchscreen functionality tailored to hospitality.

At HITEC, Guestfriend’s booth could only be described as esoteric-which was very much intentional on their part to intrigue passers -and they were effective at doing just that! A number of demo stations allowed attendees to observe their products in action showcasing an intuitive experience that maximized their ability to empathize with both guest and hoteliers.

Guestfriend is a company that has embraced the digital concept a bit more than most, so much so that at this year’s HITEC, they were one of very few companies to not supply printed marketing material but instead opting to communicate all of their products and company related info via email.

Booth # 1527 StayNTouch: And last but not least we’ve gotta shout-out our own team at HITEC! This year we were demoing the next generation of our streamlined PMS platform.

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Complicated, hard-to-use software is an all to familiar conversation that we hear from the back office in many hotels – this is something that felt we had to change! Along with providing a plethora of useful and financially beneficial features, we pride ourselves on the use of good design coupled the use of mobility (both of which put an end to all of those bad software conversations!) With these two key elements, StayNTouch’s PMS platform facilitates conversations and increases customer engagement due to a more logical and simplified design – combined with the fact that our PMS is mobile, freeing staff from the the front desk and enabling them to engage with guests’ anytime and anywhere.

And if you did have the chance to stop by our stand this week, you had the opportunity to test-drive our mobile PMS check-in and receive your choice of a smartphone stress reliever or media lounger for your trouble!

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HITEC 2016 was a blast. Here’s to HITEC 2017 – We’re looking forward to it already!