Press Release: Cloud5 Teams with Routier for Emerging Guest Engagement Software Solution

Find original press release here: https://cloud5.com/cloud5-partners-routier-add-customized-engagement-software-communications-platform/

Leader in hospitality communications adds innovative guest engagement to its HSIA product suite

HOUSTON, June 18, 2018 (HITEC 2018, Booth #2519)  —  Continuing its evolution as a thought leading provider of hotel communications technology and services, Cloud5 Communications announced today its partnership with Routier, an emerging hospitality software innovator. Routier helps hotel groups and hotels empower their staff and guests with seamless communications solutions that enhance exceptional guest experiences, building high guest loyalty and satisfaction.

This guest engagement innovation allows hotels to communicate with their guests in real-time during their stay without the need for them to download or install anything on their personal devices.  Guests simply need to access the Internet during their stay as they normally would. Hotels can know in real-time if a guest is having a good or poor experience, sense guest sentiment and follow-up immediately with the proper messaging and action.

“Combining Routier’s guest engagement solution with Cloud5’s HSIA platform, scale and operational capability in North America is a winning combination for both of our companies, and, most importantly, for our customers,” said Mark Holzberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Cloud5. “This is an important additional component to our product suite that leverages the power of our guest networks / HSIA with innovative technology to provide value enhancing service to the hotels and guests we collectively serve.”

Routier’s seamless engagement, marketing and operational solutions allow for hotels and hotel groups to proactively respond to and resolve guest issues in real-time, identify and qualify guests for upsells, upgrades and special offers, streamline operations by automating formally manual processes, and deliver effective marketing campaigns.

“As we expand our presence in the North American market, we are very happy to be partnering with Mark and his team at Cloud5,” said Gal Bareket, CEO of Routier. “Our seamless communications solution tackles one of the biggest challenges facing hotels – successfully connecting hotel staff and their guests at all times.  Cloud5 gets hotel communications, and our partnership, both operationally and from a technology integration perspective, will offer hotels in North America terrific benefits.”

Cloud5 will be showcasing its guest engagement solutions, alongside its complete hospitality communications portfolio, at HITEC in Houston, June 19-21, in booth 2519.

 

About Routier
Routier creates disruptive communication technologies for hospitality businesses, including hotels, airlines, and cruises. The company’s solution transforms the way hospitality providers connect, communicate, and share information with their customers and staff to substantially improve customer experience, customer engagement, and staff performance. More information at http://www.routier.io

About Cloud5 Communications

Cloud5 Communications simplifies complex networking and support for the hotel industry. It offers a comprehensive user-friendly platform that brings together advanced data and voice solutions, including end-to-end High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA), converged networks, hosted and on-premise PBX, WAN/LAN management, network design and skilled 24/7 support, as well as contact center services. Cloud5 serves thousands of hotels for leading brands, independents and management companies, and touches millions of guests and staff every day. For more information on Cloud5 Solutions, visit www.cloud5.com, or call 877.241.2516.

How to increase hotel revenue without increasing occupancy

While there is a direct correlation between the number of rooms a hotel features and its potential to generate revenues, increasing the occupancy does not in any way guarantee better returns. That being said, there are a bevy of other efficient strategies for under-performing hotels to overcome the challenge of plummeting demands and leverage their revenue earning opportunities. Here is a list of smart tips from hospitality experts that can help hotels bolster their revenue management model and promote higher sales.

Offer more value for money

One of the major reasons why some hotels regularly perform better than the others is that they are essentially providing a greater value for money to their guests.  Travelers nowadays are more inclined towards getting better facilities and experiences and are not necessarily driven by pricing. That said, while your revenue model might not allow room for slashing your accommodation rates, it is a great idea to add more value to your travel packages by means of add on services such as free airport shuttle, adventure activities, spa services and more to attract your target audience.

Focus on social media marketing

The social media offers an incredibly efficient platform for hotels for not only expanding their customer base but also scaling their seasonal revenues. As such, it is absolutely essential for all hotel businesses to enhance their online presence and utilize the opportunity for engaging both new and existing customers. Travelers nowadays base their hotel reservation decisions on the social media presence of potential hotels. In addition to being advertised across all the major travel booking websites, hotels must also focus on obtaining positive reviews and ratings from their guests and encourage them to share their testimonials as well.

Review and revise your revenue management strategies

Revenues management essentially relies upon your ability to envision the distant future and compare the projected situations with what you have encountered in the past. To put it in other words, it is all about identifying your high and low occupancy periods, analysing your average rates and working towards striking a balance between the demands during periods of lull. It is a good idea to do a comprehensive market research of your local area and identify the occupancy generators that might help boost your hotel revenues during slow times. Collaborating with your local neighborhood organizations such as art festival organizers and such will help keep the interest alive in your services and lure more guests to your hotel when the demand is low.

Train your staff

As aforementioned, the modern age traveler prefers experiences over material luxuries. Having said that, the hotel staff plays a critical role in providing a rich and memorable experience to the guests. All the various members of the staff including concierge, housekeeping, reception, help desk, room service, kitchen and so on must be well trained to handle the unique requests of the hotel guests, and provide them a personalized experience through a more human engagement.

 

How to strategically manage your hotel brand’s equity and reputation

Ok, so you work with a hotel brand. Whether you own it, manage it, or manage just certain aspects of it, I have one question for you.

What is the most valuable thing your company owns? Is it your properties? Market share? Number of loyalty members? Take a guess.

The answer is actually your brand. Well actually it’s your brand equity which is based on customer perception of your brand name; customers associate your brand name with a promise, assurance, and a set of expectations that you must be able to maintain consistently. And when you’re managing multiple properties, even multiple extensions with multiple properties, ensuring that you’re maintaining the consistency of your brand promise becomes quite complex.

But before we get into measurement, let’s spend a few moments understanding the importance of guest satisfaction on a brand level and where guest satisfaction truly comes from.

Guests are the true determinants to whether a brand succeeds or fails and guest satisfaction has been used as a measure of operational success for branding strategies for the past 25 years (O’Neill and Mattila 2015). In fact, not only does guest satisfaction lead to repeat purchases, positive word of mouth, and guest loyalty, it also leads to higher market share, ADR, profits, and shareholder value (Prasad and Dev 2000).

But where does guest satisfaction come from? How can your brand ensure that your properties are performing at a level where no guest leaves your venue unsatisfied?

Well, let’s think about it. What makes guests happy? The location? The room quality? The amenities?

All these things are important, but nothing compares to the immense impact that quality of service delivery makes.

Your guests are happy because of the service they are given and the service is given to them by your employees. So technically, great service and high customer satisfaction depends mostly on the performance of your employees. And ensuring that your employees are motivated and passionate is not something that any brand should be confident about unless they have taken employee satisfaction into consideration when creating their brand standards and operational procedures.

In 1994, three brilliant professors from Harvard Business School introduced the service-profit chain, a methodology which demonstrates how employee satisfaction has a direct positive influence on customer loyalty which, in turn, contributes directly to an increase in revenue and profitability.

The chain is composed of several segments, all acting on a cause-effect relationship, where one event makes the other event happen.

In the next sections, you will find a breakdown of each of these segments: what they mean and how you can achieve them.

Internal Service Quality measures how much an employee’s work environment contributes to their satisfaction. Additionally, it identifies how easily employees communicate with one another inside the workplace. When you empower your employees, you see an immediate increase in employee satisfaction, hotel performance, and revenues.

Did you know that increasing your employee engagement investments by 10% each year can increase profits by $2,400 per employee?

Routier helps you invest in your employees, by empowering them with the right tools, resources, and information they need to help them:

  • Manage their tasks more efficiently and effectively
  • Coordinate with other employees within the organization
  • Engage with your venue’s guests across all channels, with one platform
  • Accomplish their own goals

Employee Satisfaction measures whether your employees are satisfied and happy at work. Higher employee satisfaction is directly linked to higher productivity, motivation, commitment, and service quality. Employee satisfaction derives from employee support and rewards offered by their workplace.

Did you know that the cost of replacing an employee is upwards of 200%? When your employees are satisfied, they are 87% less likely to leave the company.

Routier helps you identify and recognize outstanding team members who deliver quantity and quality. With this transparency, you can create incentive and rewards programs to help boost morale and motivation.

Employee Productivity is an assessment of the efficiency of your employee; it is measured in terms of output over a specific period of time. Higher productivity in the workplace will translate into better customer service and interactions.

Did you know that highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity?

Routier helps hotels measure and improve their employees’ productivity and performance by:

  • Automating staff and guest engagement processes in one central location
  • Eliminating communication redundancies across departments
  • Generating staff performance analytics, to help measure the quality and quantity of employee performance
  • Identifying patterns and trends across departments and employees, helping identify strengths and weakness in hotel operations

External Service Quality measures the quality of service that your employees deliver to your customers; customers place value on quick service and employee friendliness.

External service quality translates directly into increased profits; the more satisfied a customer is with the services offered by a business, the more likely they are to increase their spend, recommend to others, and revisit in the future.

Did you know that if a service business manages to increase its percentage of loyal customers from 76% to 81%, its net profits are expected to double?

Routier helps hotels “do things right the first time” by:

  • Measuring and monitoring the quality of service delivered by their employees
  • Relaying information to those responsible for designing the service
  • Providing staff with real-time alerts and notifications for guest issues, in order to improve issue-recovery time
  • Creating 1-central dashboard which obtains guest feedback in real-time, and translates that data into information in order to improve services and products
  • Creating a seamless engagement experience for your guests; no downloads, no installations, no hassles
  • Producing the highest engagement rates in the industry

Customer Satisfaction measures how your product or service met or surpassed your customer’s expectations. It is provides hotels with a metric they can use to manage and improve their business.

Listening to your customers is important; their feedback is gold! They’re actually teaching you how to improve your service and business so that you can make it better.

Did you know that an engaged guest with a positive past experience spends up to 140% more than a guest with a negative past experience?

Routier is designed to efficiently communicate, track, and manage all of your guests’ issues. And, most importantly, we make it as easy as possible for your customers to give you feedback and tell you about the problems they are having. Losing even one customer can have a serious negative impact on your business.

Routier helps hotels ensure that no guest leaves their venue unsatisfied by:

  • Providing employees with the right information at the right time to handle client problems promptly
  • Measure and monitor guest satisfaction in real-time
  • Encouraging guests to report their concerns, in the most seamless and easy way possible
  • Gathering guest data in a consistent and objective fashion

Customer Loyalty, derived from customer satisfaction, is exhibited when the customer continuously and consistently repurchases from you or revisits your hotel due to the positive experiences they have had in the past. Creating a loyal customer base is key to gaining a competitive advantage and succeeding.

Did you know that…

  • A 5% increase in customer loyalty can produce profit increases from 25%-85%?
  • It costs almost 7 times more to bring in a new customer than to retain an existing one?
  • That the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%, whereas the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%?

Routier helps you identify and leverage the opportunities that loyal and satisfied guests provide by increasing:

  • Referrals
  • Retention
  • Repeat visitations
  • Loyalty member enrollment
  • Upsells, upgrades, and cross-sells
  • Advocacy
  • And gathering guest information (emails, etc.) for post-stay engagement

So you see, customer satisfaction isn’t independent. It’s completely dependent on employee satisfaction and performance. If you don’t invest in your employees the right way, you can’t empower them with the tools and information they need to do their job correctly. And if they don’t do their job correctly, your properties suffer and your brand suffers.

Your brand is the most valuable asset your company owns. Without your brand name, brand image, and brand reputation, you got nothing. And that’s why protecting your brand is so important for long-term market success.

 

Travel Trends That Are Shaping The Hospitality Industry

The rise of social media, advancement of technology and the popularity of the internet has changed the face of travel so drastically and suddenly that it has placed enormous pressure on the Hospitality industry. Today’s traveler is more demanding and fickle than ever, and the demands themselves are extremely erratic and each demand is extremely different from the other. Catering to these intensely diverse demands can be prove to be quite a challenge for hotels. However, whatever the case may be, hotels have to reinvent themselves to incorporate these new trends so as to capture the emerging body of modern travelers. Here are five traveling trends Hotels need to watch out for and plan strategies to deal with effectively.

 1. Shoestring Budgets

Traveling at very, very low budgets has become a really popular thing today – and it is not just because people want to save money on travel, but because the modern traveler has a desire and experience the destinations he/she travels to in its purest form. However, the trend of shoestring budgets is changing the face of the hospitality industry as it is today, because travelers look for extremely low-budget hotels, or if it can be helped, nit stay in a hotel at all!

Hotels today need to rethink of ways to attract this new crowd, and convince them that staying at a hotel is actually a better option for them and can actually help them be the shoestring travelers that they want to be.

2. Interest in local cuisines

Today, people have become more daring when it comes to food. Gone are the days when people from culture would joke about the food habits of another culture. Instead, people are interested to get out of their comfort zone and try new food!

In-fact, food has even become a major motivation for people to travel. People today travel to different locations across the globe simply to try a different cuisine or to taste some exotic dish. The interest in food has had a major impact on traveling habits, and hotels could actually seize this trend to increase their guest-base. Hotels can regularly host food-related events and festivals, showcasing different cuisines from around the globe. The idea is to convince travelers that they can get a taste of the cuisine they are interested to try at your property, thereby pulling in more business towards your hotel.

 3. #Wanderlust

Wanderlust has become a very popular term today. Today’s traveler is interested in ‘wandering’ around the locations they travel to. Travelers today are daring, and like to go out of the usual known routes, go to places that are less-visited, and simply, to go with the flow rather than follow a rigid itinerary.

Now, this complicates things a little for hotels, because ‘wandering’ definitely would not include planning a stay at a reputed hotel in advance. Attracting and retaining a market so fickle when it comes to customer-loyalty can be quite a challenge. Hotels need to figure out how they can become pivotal points for such travelers, being available to them when they need shelter, but without appearing as an extravagant establishment that they are wasting resources on.

 4. Travel over tourism

Today, the keyword in ‘travel’. Tourism is seen more as an extravagant activity engaged in only by the privileged few. Travel – enthusiasts even go to the extent of saying that tourism does not give a first-hand experience of the locations like travel does. Whether or not there is any truth in this, the fact is the trend where people are relying lesser and lesser on package-deals and planned trips and more on impromptu, spontaneous traveling has made it necessary for hotels to rethink how they are going to capture a market that loves spontaneity over routine.

5. Curiosity for the unknown

 As we have already seen, today’s traveler loves to experience what is less-known and harder to attain. As such, you can see that today, people are showing a growing preference to visit places that are less-popular over places that are well-known as tourist-spots. Of-course, a hotel cannot actually follow the traveler around and establish itself wherever he travels to. However, hotels can pay close attention to places that are gaining popularity, and try expanding in these areas so that they can be well-established by the time the locations grow to become full-fledged tourism hubs with lots of visitors. Just as travelers today refuse to do the usual and try visiting places that are not so popular, hotels too could try and establish themselves in places that have future potential rather than places that are already flooded with hotels.

How Do Successful Hotels Get it Right?

The hotel industry is not an easy place to beat competition. Rising costs, changing demographics of the market, and the increase in the erratic, dynamic demands of today’s guest, Hotels need to really work harder than ever to be successful. Here are 7 things successful hotels do right:

1. Going an extra mile for their guests

The importance of this one cannot be stressed enough. Now, although this rule applies to all businesses across industries, the Hotel industry is one where the establishment is so intimately associated with its customers that the word used to refer to them is ‘guests’ – and this speaks volumes.

Take for example a guest that requests a member of the HR Department to book a flight ticket. Neither is the booking part of the guest’s package nor is it the HR executive’s job to handle such a query. However, if the executive goes out of his/her way to help the guest with this request, it will definitely go a long way in creating a great image of the Hotel.

A Hotel can never treat its guests with disrespect, ever (unless ofcourse, they are causing trouble to other guests or the staff). Often, requests may even seem a bit too much – either because the guest is simply being demanding or because of some kind of emergency or special need. Whatever the case may be, hotels that go out of their way to accommodate these special demands of their guests definitely win at developing stronger, longer lasting relationships with their guests – and this is exactly what a hotel needs to survive the kind of competition in the industry today!

2. Knowing their target market very well

As a hotel, simply organizing events and programs is part and parcel of your operations. However, how sure are you that your events are actually striking a link with your guests? To make sure that your efforts are translating into positive results, you must make a thorough study of the market you are trying to tap. Many factors play here – whether your hotel is a budget or luxury, whether your basic target crowd are business-travelers, backpackers, or families looking to relax – and so on.

Successful hotels organize events, programs, banquets, spreads and so on cautiously, catering perfectly to their target market. This is how they effectively translate their investments into promising returns.

3. Having a very effective team to manage crises

Nobody wants to think of negative things – and you do not actually have to obsess over the bad things that can happen! You do, however, anticipate events and situations that can lead to loss of credibility and reputation of your hotel – and as a place where there are people all the time, 24×7, hotels can be hotbeds for crises. Successful hotels are not those that 100% free of issues and problems, but those that know how to handle crises in the most efficient and constructive way possible.

The problem is that in the hotel industry, everyone is busy, and every associate has enough to do. As such, nobody has enough time to sit and analyze issues and problems, and come up with strategies to handle crises. This is where the presence of a team of experts dedicated to handling crises comes into play. With a team specially devoted to crises management on board, you will be well-prepared to navigate out of tough situations with greater ease and impact.

4. Keeping things simple

Hotels need to do away with the tedious, long processes that are in place. Even things as simple as handling a simple complaint by the guest about the food can become a painful process due to the presence of innumerable protocols and systems. Successful hotels like to keep things simple. A Hotel can run more smoothly if processes are cut short and made simple, communication channels made more open, and hierarchical structures made less rigid. Employees need to be given more autonomy so that they do not have to keep running to their supervisors for every single thing. More complex the protocols, more tangled will be the mess.

5. Incorporating modern technology wherever possible

One of the things that you can use to make hotel operations run smoother and simpler is to incorporate more technology on board. AI, for example, can be used to autonomize numerous functions in the hotel, such as keeping track of guest preferences, interests, likes, dislikes etc so that you can cater to them better.

This does not mean that existing employees will lose their jobs. On the contrary, if things that can be handled by technology are handled by machines, the people in the hotel can focus on an improved, more intensive interaction with the guests.

6. Keeping change as the only constant

One of the major things about a hotel is that it can never get stagnant with what it does. Of-course, you cannot keep changing your theme, if any, but you definitely need to go with the times. To stay ahead in the competition, you need to stay abreast with modern trends, fashion, news and so on. It can be something as simple as asking your female associates to use black nail-polish, which is an ‘in-thing’ right now.

Of-course, this is something that you need, to keep in mind the kind of guests who frequent your hotel. For example, you cannot come across as a funky, hip establishment if you are a hotel that caters to high-end guests.

7. Never sacrificing the interests of their employees

This is a golden rule of running a Hotel successfully. At all times, the management should remember that guests will come and go, but the employees are expected to be there permanently. Also, the happiness of the guests depends entirely on the people of the hotel who cater to them. As such, it is very important to never upset or hurt an employee for momentary business gains because this will definitely negatively impact your business in the long run. It can also lead to dampening the spirits of the others in workforce, which is the last thing you need happening in the hotel industry.

How to ensure your hotel staff is operating at peak performance!

When you run a hotel you know that the best way to ensure your success is by offering great customer service. The challenge then truly lies with having an excellent team to deliver that service. Your employees are your biggest asset and by investing in them you can guarantee that overall service will improve. As a business owner, it is impossible for you to personally keep every customer happy. You need to develop a system that keeps your employees happy so that they do the job for you. In an industry with one of the highest attrition rates this can be a big task, but here are a few points you should consider to ensure that your staff is performing at their best.

It Is All About The Staff:

  1. Train them well: To make sure that your staff is well prepared for the job you need to invest time and money in their training. If you have a good training program in place that equips your staff with all the required skills they will feel empowered to take on any task. A staff that knows his duty also exudes confidence and earns the trust of the customers. Investing in the training of your employees in one of the very basic criteria you need to meet to ascertain their best performance.
  2. Offer incentives: There will always be those who perform well and those who don’t do as well. Treating good performers and bad ones the same demotivates the former as their efforts are not recognized. By offering incentives to those who are doing well you not only encourage them to keep up the good work but also motivate the others to do better. Attractive gifts like a gift hamper or day at the hotel spa for the employee of the month will be sure to bring a smile to his or her face and make others aspire to make it the next time.
  3. Offer bonuses: While incentives are good, nothing motivates people more than money. Hotel staff working long hours often feel that it is all for nothing. Offering bonuses to those who have been consistent in the long run is sure to make them feel appreciated for their efforts. Let your staff know that you have a rewards program and those who meet the necessary standards stand to gain an extra month’s pay. When you deliver on that promise your employees will the clambering over themselves to provide the best customer experience yet.
  4. Have team building activities: Organizing workshops and team building activities a couple of times a year breaks monotony and gives employees something to look forward to. Aside from the obvious benefit, team building activities give your staff a feeling of belonging to something bigger. Knowing that they are a part of a team and have a support system in place emboldens people to go the extra mile. Encourage your employees to have each other’s backs and step in for each other when necessary and you will take a lot of stress out of their day.
  5. Involve them: Your staff is a valuable source of customer information. They are the ones who interact face to face with the customers on a daily basis and they know all their wants and needs. Involve your staff in business meetings and learn this information from them. What your employees know about customer needs can go a long way in improving your strategy and customer experience.
  6. Get customer feedback: If you want to know how well your staff is performing ask the people they serve. Ultimately it is the customer whose opinion matters and it is only when they are happy that your staff has been successful. A feedback form at checkout which requires the customer to do nothing more than check a few boxes could provide valuable insight to you staffs performance. A system like this would not only let you know how well your employees are performing but also gives them reason to work better. Knowing that they are being evaluated based on their service, which could lead to an attractive gift or cash bonus is a sure shot motivator.
  7. Get employee feedback: And finally, talk to your employees about their performance. If you have someone who is doing exceptionally well, ask them how they do it so you can help others work well too. On the other hand, you might have someone who is under-performing, and the best way to find out why is to ask. Knowing what is bothering your employees is the first step to making things better for them and consequently also your business.