You can’t even watch Netflix in most hotel rooms. This is changing at select IHG Hotel and Resorts, one of several industry-wide updates announced over the past few weeks.
Several high-profile hotel companies have entered 2023 with technology partnerships to modernize operations and services.
The introduction of technology is in line with what CEOs have said about increasing modernization plans shortly as they look to rebuild their financial footing from the pandemic, though progress has been slow overall.
This is an important topic that we continue to follow in 2023.
More recently, Marriott International partnered with Groups360 on software that simplifies the process of booking rooms and spaces for meetings and events. Historically, this can be a time-consuming process, given the need to book meeting and guest rooms separately, given the discounts that often come with this type of business.
Using this software, organizations can view the best available group rates and inventory online before booking. For smaller events, the organizers can make their choice and book right away. For larger events, organizers can review available inventory before requesting a booking. Marriott is testing the software at more than 1,500 hotels in the US and Canada and plans to expand it during 2023.
“This offers our group customers what they told us they are looking for, which is a much more convenient and efficient booking experience,” Drew Pinto, Marriott’s Global Head of Sales, Distribution and Revenue Management, said in a statement. Tennessee-based Groups360 already provides Accor, Hilton, IHG, Omni and Premier Inn services.
Apart from the general lack of modern digitized operations, another criticism from experts is that hotels lack even the basic amenities that people are now accustomed to having in their homes, such as smart TVs with streaming services.
IHG Hotel and Resorts is addressing this challenge with a new partnership with PPDS, the company that supplies Philips products to companies in the hospitality and other sectors. Through the partnership, Philips MediaSuite TVs will be installed in selected hotels earlier this year. The TVs are equipped with Chromecast, allowing guests to cast content from smart devices to their TVs. IHG brands include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, the Holiday Inn family of brands, Crowne Plaza, Voco and Hotel Indigo.
Other recently announced partnerships include:
Shiji Group, a Beijing-based company that provides a range of hotel software solutions, said it recently partnered with OTH Hotels Resorts and Bluesun Hotels & Resorts and continues to expand its existing partnership with Hyatt.
Maho Group, which manages a portfolio of hotels in the Caribbean, recently selected software company Cendyn for customer relationship management, revenue management and business intelligence at two of its casino resorts. Among the new features, the platform will allow resorts to track individual guest preferences to offer personalized services designed to increase customer loyalty.
Late last year, Hilton said it had connected its hotel’s digital system to the distribution system provided by Amadeus, creating a better connection to share data such as credit card information, cancellation policies and meal plan details. This faster transfer of information gives Hilton the ability to more efficiently scale operations and release new features faster, the company said.
Niche Heli-Skiing Bookings and Software buys first resort
With years of experience providing a booking platform and software for heli-ski operators, technology company Heli has acquired its own real estate to expand in a new way in the industry.
Heli-skiing, or helicopter riding, is a type of off-road skiing in which the skier lands on top of a mountain in a helicopter.
According to Andy Culp, CEO of Heli, almost every heli-skiing company in the world lists and sells their equipment on the Heli website. Heli was focused on the extremely niche area of heli-skiing and then expanded into other types of adventure. Heli also offers server software that operators can use to run their businesses, raising a total of $4 million in venture capital for this part of the business.
Heli recently acquired the Great Canadian Heli-Skiing and Heather Mountain Lodge in British Columbia, Canada for an undisclosed price.
“We have every chance to start buying our own assets,” Culp said. “This is the first thing we’ve ever done. We’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”
By acting as consultants to heli-ski operators, Heli has access to a wealth of information on both sides of the market – what it takes to run a business and satisfy customers.
Many of these businesses are independently owned and these owners will eventually want to retire, which is where Culp sees an opportunity. It is also a way to unite part of a fragmented industry.
“We are deliberately focusing on our existing business, ensuring the continued success of our first acquisition, and we are actively and continuously evaluating the many opportunities that life and this industry provide.”