Connected Hotel The #1 Source for Hotel Industry News Fri, 21 Jun 2013 13:43:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wi-Fi as an Opportunity, Rather Than a Cost Fri, 21 Jun 2013 13:40:36 +0000 hotel wifi sucks 2

In a recent article, My Love & Hate Relationship with Hotel Wi-Fi, author, Om Malik, shares similar laments as fellow business travelers – hotel Wi-Fi stinks (usually). Even paying for an upgrade doesn’t guarantee adequate bandwidth; as more people are streaming more data (music, video) and downloading and uploading more content (cloud storage, etc.) older hotel networks simply can’t keep up.

And who can blame them, really?  Most hotels struggle to fund technology investments, specifically infrastructure to supply more bandwidth. We’ve talked a lot about tiered bandwidth plans as a way to recoup some of the costs, but the upgrade absolutely must be worth the cost.

Malik, a frequent business traveler says,“I almost always take the upgrade option, paying more for more bandwidth only to find that it still sucks. Unless these guys get their act together and build high-quality robust networks, they can’t really expect people to pay up.

Hotels must recognize this as an opportunity – guests are telling them exactly what they want: more bandwidth. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but investing in bigger pipe and better network infrastructure now will ensure you win guest loyalty.

Does your hotel wrap up Internet fees in hotel room costs? Why or why not?

Meet Jason Hinze, Eleven’s High Trust Teamwork Award Winner Thu, 20 Jun 2013 14:08:44 +0000 Jason has been with Eleven since June of 2012. In that short time he has volunteered to do any job available. He is knowledgeable on all of ElevenGC and ElevenOS products and services. Jason Hinze also handles all the daily toner and page count management, and is currently working toward network support.JHinze_2013

Anytime someone in the support team needs help Jason is the first to volunteer and, in many cases, working well into the evening to resolve an issue. Jason is the ultimate team player. He would be an asset to any organization. Eleven is fortunate to have him on board – a welcome addition to our talented team.

For Jason’s never ending hunger for learning as well as the responsibilities above, Jason Hinze was given our Core Conviction Award for High Trust Teamwork.

Fave Food:  Tacos

Fave Movie: The Godfather

Fave Band: Frank Turner

Power Animal:  Dog

We will continue to introduce members of the Eleven team throughout the year so you can better get to know the Eleven team.

Could “Splitting” Your Brand Yield More Revenue? Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14:20:12 +0000 Dual Brand Hotel

In a recent article, they give a perfect example of how splitting a hotel into two brands can reap benefits for a hotel. The example they use, MainStay Suites in Port St. Lucie in Florida, was reconfigured to include a Sleep Inn. It acted as a reprieve for retirees in the winter and a way to appeal to the drive-by traffic as just a place for a night’s stay.

Could split-branding work for your hotel? Here are 6 factors to consider when it comes to dual branding:

  1. 1. Guests: Start by conducting a survey of your guests to accurately define your market’s level of diversity; there may be no fit for another brand at your hotel.
    2. Seasonality: Each brand should adapt to changes in season uniquely, yet cohesively – i.e. certain events may cater to one brand but not the other.
    3. Technology: Utilize technology to maintain your diverse guest room needs – maybe offer tiered bandwidth to cover both sets of guest needs.
    4. Budget: Budget allocation will drive the ability to serve guests; be sure you can allocate enough money to cover the second brand’s costs.
    5. Staff: Hire suitable employees for each brand; to maintain clarity of message and overall strategy, employees should be married to one brand, not both.
    6. Flexibility: Make it easy for guests to make the switch between brands and/or upgrade amenities.

    Whether you split your brand or not, one thing is for certain, hotels need to be proactive about attracting upcoming generations. For example, one way to diversify your offerings without completely adding a new brand is to designate a portion of your guest rooms to meet the latest in cutting edge technology. Splitting your tech offerings allows you to take a more strategic investment in technology and better match guest demand.

What technology will you invest in next? How many guestrooms will you test it in first?

Hospitality’s Latest Hot Tech Topic: “SoLoMo” Wed, 12 Jun 2013 13:45:25 +0000 SoLoMo

SoLoMo is an acronym for social, local, and mobile. Today’s travelers are constantly connected through smartphones, seemingly ubiquitous Internet access, and nearly constant access to social media. The convergence of these technologies makes it easier for even the smallest hotel to connect with guests.

The “SoLoMo” trend has become even more powerful in the last year as consumer behavior has changed, including these shifts:

  • More people connect to the Internet through mobile devices than on desktops or laptops
  • Virtually all consumers (97%) search for and learn about local businesses online
  • 78% of small businesses get at least one quarter of their customers through social media channels

Read two other takes on SoLoMo here and here.

How do you use SoLoMo? 

Eleven Welcomes Cyndi Shepley as Senior Vice President of Sales Fri, 24 May 2013 13:12:16 +0000 Cyndi Shepley_profile picWith over 30 years of hospitality sales and marketing experience, Shepley will play an essential role in expanding the Eleven’s customer base and product portfolio. Shepley brings an extensive background in developing and leading sales teams within the industry. In her new role, Shepley will oversee sales efforts for Eleven’s entire product line, including ElevenBC and ElevenOS.

“Cyndi is an excellent addition to our executive team and we’re very fortunate to have her on board,” remarked Dan Meub, Eleven’s CEO.

Shepley was the VP and GM at Hospitality Solution International (HSI), a division of Micros. Prior to HSI, Shepley was the Director of Business Development at InfoGenesis, a leading developer and marketer of enterprise software, services and solutions to the hospitality and retail industries.

“Her extensive background in hotel technology along with her sales and general management experience will help us continue to accelerate Eleven’s growth and emergence as hospitality’s guest facing technology standard,” Dan Meub commented.

“Eleven embodies my values for exceptional products and services while leading the industry in technology solutions,” said Shepley.

See the original release here.

The New Multiscreen Environment Wed, 22 May 2013 13:22:51 +0000 computer-tablet-phoneTwo recent articles grabbed our attention this week:

In Vizergy’s Digital Marketing for Hotels and Resorts in a Multiscreen World (available through sign up). The white paper talks about 4 screens, including:

1)    Television

2)    PC (desktop or laptop)

3)    Mobile phone

4)    Tablet

The Truth is in the Numbers: 2013 is Undoubtedly the Year of the Three Screens in Hospitality by Hotel Technology Resource, who mention only 3:

1)    The desktop

2)    Mobile

3)    Tablet

What does this Mean for Hotels?

These articles tell us there are more screens but more personal devices, too. This equals scalability in physical assets hotels offer on premise. We’ve already begun to see smaller, more integrated business centers and lobby computers amongst high business traffic properties and we only expect this trend to continue as more of us bring our own devices.

Future for Two?

Also on the horizon, televisions and desktops are becoming one in the same. These and personal computing categories will eventually converge. With products like Google Glass causing quite a stir, this could be right around the corner.

What’s Significant Now

Both articles note television and desktops are still ruling our time. However, while we watch television or use our computers (desktop or laptop), 77% of us are also using another mobile device at the same time. So don’t count mobile out when you can double your impact.

What do you think will come first? A convergence of desktops and televisions or better mobile devices that will allow us to be mobile connected while we do absolutely everything?

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6 Tech Trends to Watch Wed, 15 May 2013 17:20:17 +0000 Tech Trends HDR

In this recent Hospitality Net article Calum McIndoe writes in detail about 6 trends that are revolutionizing hotels, which we summarize here:

1. The Cloud: software as a service is definitely helping unload a lot of unnecessary physical hardware and file storage.
2. Mobile: smart phones are changing the way we interact with our environment and the travel industry is seeing huge impacts here.
3. Social Media: as the new instantaneous review system and carrier of word-of-mouth recommendations, social media cannot be ignored.
4. Personalization: it is easier than ever to customize the guest experiences with location-based technology, social media, etc.
5. Integration: new advancements in software allows properties to combine operating systems, meaning better reporting and fewer operating costs.
6. Globalization: the ability to adapt to other cultures quickly and efficiently is surely a competitive advantage as more brands expand internationally.

Click here to read the complete article.

Which of the above have you taken advantage of so far? What’s next?

Turning Trends into Opportunities Fri, 10 May 2013 13:12:14 +0000 Opportunity Ahead

Recently published survey results about lodging tech trends done by Hotel Interactive reveal some great opportunities for hoteliers. We drilled down the data to summarize what you should be focusing on as far as new technology in your hotel:

·     Leveraging technology to lower operational costs

·     Providing better guest-focused technology

·     Getting more technology in guest rooms

·     Using technology to create more personalized guest experiences

·     Offering more technology driven entertainment options

·     Finding mobile technology for more personalized property experiences

·     Adopting informational apps for activities within the hotel

·     Gaining more technology for attracting meeting planners

As Hotel Interactive points out, the hospitality industry is historically slow to react to trends, and we want to start changing that. There are countless opportunities to grow profits and increase guest satisfaction with hotel technology, the trick is to choose just one or two trends and adapt quickly.

What hospitality technology are you coveting most? Why?

The Free Wi-Fi Debate Wed, 08 May 2013 14:02:23 +0000 As published in this article, 67% of European hotels offer free Wi-Fi, more than hotels in the US.  However, it’s not just about “free” – adequate bandwidth must also be part of the conversation.OLDfreewifi

It’s been said that the U.S. dominates in the bandwidth game. Several other countries are in the Internet dark ages –people are still reporting dial up connections!

Commenter, Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, said it best in his breakdown, which we summarize below. It’s not enough for Wi-Fi to just be free, it must meet performance requirements of users.

  • User Interface: the sign on process should be simple and straightforward – guests should just have to agree to terms of use and click to sign on.
  • Security: does the system appear safe to login to? Further, would you trust putting your email and banking information on it?
  • Speed & Capacity: sufficient bandwidth at all times of the day is a must. No one wants to wait more than 10-20 seconds for a page to load.
  • Availability: is the Wi-Fi signal consistent between the guest rooms and the main lobby? Spotty service is a sure way to upset guests.
  • Cost: if you do offer paid upgrade options, the offer must be worth it; premium guest Internet users should be able to stream video, etc.

We believe that free Wi-Fi certainly has its place in hospitality, but we can’t ignore the rest of the picture – bandwidth, user experience, security, etc.

Do you offer free Wi-Fi? Why or why not?


Meet Shaun Gardner, Eleven’s Support Team Lead Fri, 03 May 2013 14:42:19 +0000 Shaun has been with Eleven for only a year and half and has become an integral part of the team. Stepping up and acting in this leadership role for the past several months; it’s no surprise how quickly he was promoted. Recently promoted from Technical Support Specialist we know he will thrive in his new role of Support Team Lead for all ElevenBC products.Shaun Gardner_3.21.13

In his relatively short time here Shaun has taken the initiative to become well versed in all of Eleven’s products including our guest Internet management software, ElevenOS. He also acts as a back up for our Senior Systems Engineer. It is a pleasure to have him as a member of the Eleven team.

Everyone at Eleven appreciates Shaun’s welcoming personality and take-action attitude. He never waits for someone else to follow up; he gets to the base of any issue and has a passion to see projects to completion.

Fave Food: Sandwiches!

Fave Movie: They Live

Fave Band: Boards of Canada

Power Animal: A sheagle: half shark and half eagle.

We will continue to introduce members of the Eleven team throughout the year so you can better get to know the Eleven team.