Home // Features // Elements // ONES TO WATCH: Technology 2017

ONES TO WATCH: Technology 2017

Following on from our successful series last year, we have hand picked a selection of innovative firms to watch out for in the tech space. In this year’s ‘Hotel Owner Ones to Watch’ we take a look at some of the technology companies working to improve the independent hoteliers bottom line

Mi-Room

Wi-Q Technologies is an award-winning technology company that has revolutionised mobile ordering within the hospitality industry with the first cloud-based, fully scalable and common systems integrated solution. Delivering unrivalled functionality through an HTML platform, in a little or no Capex SaaS model, the software enables customer-centric features including choice of language, allergy and dietary requirements and multiple payment options as well as instant ROI to venues via up-selling, loyalty and data-driven marketing tools.

The product

Mi-Room is Wi-Q Technologies’ in-room mobile ordering software specifically designed to make guest room services more accessible and profitable. Unlike an app that requires downloading, Mi-Room can be accessed in seconds via any internet-enabled mobile device, allowing guests to use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops to browse menus, place orders and make payment or charge the bill to their room.

Along with enhancing guests’ experience, Mi-Room’s brand customisable software provides an ideal platform to increase upsell opportunities, easily managed through a back-end system that facilitates real-time updates to menus and pricing.

Mi-Room also conveniently integrates with common payment providers as well as hotels’ existing POS software, including Oracle Hospitality Simphony, for seamless implementation without affecting current business operations. It can be in place in less than two weeks from point of contract and thanks to a low-cost SaaS model, venues can experience an increase in revenue from day one.

Steve Delaney, director of Red Eye Coffee Roasters, said: “We literally went from nothing to a platform that’s in-sync with our brand, does everything we need and made us go – wow! The feedback from staff and customers has been excellent, and as well as the reduced waiting times, the figures speak for themselves.”

INFO: www.mi-room.com or info@mi-room.com or 0203 637 2808

High Level Software

Renowned for its cloud-based property management system, High Level Software (HLS) is the UK’s fastest growing hotel software company. Since its launch in 2013, HLS has gone from strength to strength, recently securing an exciting new joint venture with hospitality technology giant, Zonal Retail Data Systems.

With a shared passion for innovative and ground-breaking products, along with outstanding levels of customer service, the combination of Zonal and High Level Software, will take HLS’ cloud-based property management system to the next level. This will allow the company to service larger multi-site operators whilst continuing to listen to, and deliver more for, its existing customer base.

As managing director Rhys Swinburn explains: “We built our business on ground breaking technology, our understanding of the UK hotel sector and a passion for customer care. We always aim to stay one step ahead and it’s this continual investment in our people and our technology that truly sets us apart.”

With the support of Zonal, HLS plans to accelerate its PMS product further to provide a strong alternative to mid-sized players. The company recently expanded its development team and aims to launch a range of exciting new features including:

  • A fully responsive booking engine and mobile app
  • Customisable pre-and post-stay emails
  • Photo gallery with image editor
  • Rate module to allow for occupancy-based pricing
  • Group functionality to allow:
  • Central reservations
  • Multi-site reporting suite
  • Multi-site rate management tool
  • Google Analytics functionality
  • Improved two-way EPOS integration

High Level Software’s mission for 2017, together with the backing and support of Zonal Retail Data Systems, is to revolutionise the hotel bookings industry by becoming technology market leaders and ‘One to Watch’.

INFO: www.high-level-software.com or 0333 0033 320

SALTO Systems

World leaders in wire-free, wireless and cloud access control solutions since 2001, SALTO Systems is the access control choice for over 10,000 boutique, luxury and chain hotel customers. The company manufactures the most technologically advanced electronic access control solutions in the market enabling doors to be simply and quickly updated, restricted or deleted remotely. Every day in over 90 countries, over 15 million people use SALTO products to provide total control over who is able to access what, where and when at all times.

SALTO enhances the guest experience and maximises hotel security while enabling customers to enjoy all the advantages of operating virtually ‘keyless’ properties that are secure, as well as smart to own, operate and manage. The company’s state-of-the-art electronic access control systems include XS4 and XS4 Mini models which are simple to install and totally wire-free, AElement its revolutionary RFID wireless hotel lock, JustIN its new mobile key technology that allows guests to use their smartphone as their hotel room key, smart energy saving devices, locker locks and more. So whatever you want to secure and control in your hotel or resort property – SALTO Systems can do it all.

Mike Clare, Stanbrook Abbey Hotel, said: “We like the sleek looks of SALTO and its reliability. As a fully integrated access control solution it allows us to run the property smoothly and securely, and we can utilize its additional capabilities in the future if and when we wish.”

INFO: www.saltosystems.com or 01926 811979 or info.uk@saltosystems.com

Rointe

Rointe has been one of Europe’s leading electric heating and domestic hot water manufacturers for over 30 years with a clear philosophy committed to innovation and quality. The company’s commitment is to give customers quality products which are more technologically advanced than any other heating product on the market.

Rointe’s energy smart heating products offer healthy comfortable and steady heat. Its new Fuzzy Logic Energy Control technology, helps its radiators achieve an equivalent ratio of consumption of only 38% of its nominal power during a 12 hour working period. That means, the other 62% of nominal power is saved.

Visit www.rointe.co.uk and see the company’s latest release: the ground-breaking D Series range of products. Unlike other heating products, D Series is the only one on the market which have WiFi built inside so there is no need for gateways or intermediary devices. Simply plug them in and connect with the Rointe Connect App and then you can control them whenever you want from your reception desk, from your office desk or wherever you are in the world.

Thanks to the new True Real Power energy consumption meter installed in all the D Series  products, you can also see the real daily, monthly or annual heating consumption from your smartphone, tablet or PC. You can even check how much your heating will cost you by introducing your price per kWh.

Anton Treacy, manager of Treacy’s Hotel in Enniscorthy, Wexford, said: “D Series allows us to control the bedroom setting from reception, anytime, anywhere. This is vitally important when controlling the businesses running costs. Our customers say that the new radiators provide a lovely, very comfortable heat and ambient feel. They also can rise the room temperature quickly which is greatly appreciated.”

INFO: 01432 598 019 or sales@rointe.co.uk or www.rointe.co.uk

mycloud

mycloud was developed by Prologic First, a private company with 15 years experience delivering end-to-end technology solutions to the hospitality industry across the UK, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. More than 1,600 clients in over 30 countries use Prologic First’s WISH, Touché and Web Prol’IFIC brands.

mycloud has been developed to provide a smart, integrated, simple-to-use, cloud based hospitality solution specifically designed for SME accommodation businesses. It helps small and medium hotels (up to 300 rooms) maximise profitability and optimise revenue with no initial capital outlay required while providing users with a huge amount of customisation to suit their hotel’s unique needs.

mycloud has four key features:

  1.   Hotel Management: comprehensive cloud based online hotel management software to manage hotel operations including reservations, check-in, check-out, guest history, feedback and travel agents
  2.   F&B Management: point-of-sale software that helps hotels sell more, serve better and reduce costs
  3.   E-distribution: optimises global online visibility from a single dashboard with integrated mobile hotel booking engine and channel manager for increased revenue and efficiency
  4.   Social Tools: collects customer reviews from all sources and gives a detailed view of what people are talking about to aid customer insights

Sandeep Chawla, hotel manager at The Watermill Hotel, said: “mycloud PMS is a supremely efficient tool which is proving invaluable. Our favourite feature is the seamless integration with TripAdvisor. Upon checkout, TripAdvisor automatically generates an email inviting them to leave a review, allowing our team to focus on giving guests the best possible service.”

INFO: www.mycloudhospitality.co.uk or 020 3129 9340 or info@mycloudhospitality.co.uk

Hotelchamp

Hotelchamp provides the key solution to boost direct bookings and build guest relations – Hotelchamp is creating a sustainable future, whereby hotels are less dependent on third parties and have more control over their revenue, profitability, customer engagement and data. By adding personalisation and persuasion methods to hotel websites, Hotelchamp is making guest experiences unique for every visitor. Along with the use of smart technology, the company’s dedicated team of conversion specialists continuously analyse and optimise the results to increase hoteliers direct revenues and customers relations.

Hotelchamp’s Solution:

The award winning solution has been successful for over 1,000 hotels in more than 30 countries thus far. They have all seen a significant increase in their direct bookings and increased website visitor conversion rates.

Hotelchamp’s clients achieved:

  •      Impressive increases in direct bookings
  •      Improved guest engagement
  •      Personalised customer experiences

Philip van Slooten, online specialist at StayOkay Group, said: “With Hotelchamp’s technology, we can easily convince our website visitors that booking with Stayokay has many advantages. From their efforts and expertise, we have increased our direct bookings which is great.”

Ric van Holthe, commercial manager at Hotel Casa, said: “We learn every day from working together with the team of specialists from Hotelchamp. The effective tools and personal support has led to a massive 38% increase of our direct bookings.”

Hotel Perfect

Hotel Perfect offers a comprehensive suite of hospitality software products that help UK independent and boutique hotels manage their properties efficiently and effectively. Hotel Perfect’s Cloud-based solution eliminates the need for expensive hardware and is accessible from anywhere in the world.

The team is made up of hospitality professionals offering UK support 365 days a year and the company’s in-house development team gives it the ability to constantly evolve and develop to ensure that Hotel Perfect, and therefore its customers, always stay ahead of the game.

  • Charge restaurant bills directly to guest rooms with Hotel Perfect’s Hospitality EPoS
  • Check how your business is performing in real time with Hotel Perfect’s  KPI Dashboard. This gives you real time KPIs and sales metrics which means you can respond to trends with confidence
  • Automatically flex your rates based on occupancy levels with its Dynamic Pricing module
  • Drive more direct bookings and effectively communicate with hotel guests after the reservation process with Hotel Perfect’s Direct Booking Engine and Guest Relationship Manager
  • Save time with Hotel Perfect’s fully integrated Channel Manager, connecting to over 500 OTAs

Hotel Perfect believes in partnering with third-party providers who are leaders in their market. By working together, customers gain an all-encompassing hospitality package. This includes spa and leisure, table management, secure payment processing, door locking and relephone interfaces.

Kevin Wood, group managing director at Oceana Hotels, said: “We love the Hotel Perfect system, and I enjoy the close and successful working relationship that we have with the team. I look forward to that relationship continuing.”

INFO: 0843 309 1601 or sales@hotelperfect.co.uk

Hoist Group

Hoist Group is the complete hospitality partner for hotels, health care institutions and public operations. With more than 20 years of proven hospitality experience, Hoist Group is the market leader in innovative high speed internet access, conference services, TV and content solutions, PMS and back-office software as well as other guest-facing amenities. Many hotel chains, flagship independent hotels and public hospitals have entrusted their IT to Hoist Group. Based in Sweden, the company has offices in a total of 17 countries in the EMEA region.

Hoist Group is your one and only hospitality partner. What differs it from the competition, is the fact the company doesn’t deliver just internet access, TV solution, property management system or hotel locks. It delivers it all while maintaining the highest technology standards and providing full training for its products. Moreover, Hoist Group understands how important support is for hotels, where guests expect issue to be solved swiftly. That is the reason Hoist Group offers 24/7/365 technical support via its in-house Network Operations Centre. Furthermore, as a full service provider, they take care of the installations being performed quickly, thoroughly and aiming for full clients’ satisfaction.

Patrick de la Mar, rooms division manager at Royal Garden Hotel, said: “Our partnership with Hoist Group began almost six years ago. We are not only looking for a supplier, but above all a partner who will not only support our vision but who we can have a strong working relationship with. Proposed by the Hoist Group solutions for reliable and strong WiFi and interactive TV fit perfectly with this image.”

INFO: www.hoistgroup.com or 0207 348 6770 or info.uk@hoistgroup.com

handy

handy, the innovative flagship product from Tink Labs Limited, is a new benchmark for travel technology. When implemented as an in-room solution through hotel partners, handy combines the functionality of a personal smartphone and hotel in-room phone services into one fully integrated device. Each handy smartphone is customised for the hotel property and provides guests with unlimited internet, local and international calls, as well as an interactive city guide and one-click access to the hotel’s concierge and amenities. handy, a proven service in Hong Kong and Singapore has had unanimously positive reviews from both hotel partners and guests. It is now available also in London, Paris, Istanbul, Bangkok, Macau and Dubai, and is currently undergoing global expansion to the world’s top travel destinations.

FOR GUESTS: handy is the ideal mobile companion for the modern traveller

  • Unlimited local and international calls
  • Free internet access
  • Destination-specific content
  • On-the-go hotel concierge service

FOR HOTELS: handy helps hotels boost revenue and gain untapped guest insights

  • Call-to-action features suite to drive revenues
  • Comprehensive guest analytics package
  • Seamless integration with hotel PMS networks
  • Integrated TripAdvisor guest feedback system

Ramesh Arora, managing director at Montcalm, said: “Having deployed across all of our hotels over the past six months, I’m happy to say that it’s succeeded in both enhancing our guests’ experience and unlocking new revenue opportunities for us. Our guests can rest easy knowing that they’re in good hands when looking for places to go or things to do, and we can involve ourselves in helping them more than ever. It’s a virtuous cycle, really – increased engagement begets better service, greater income, and ultimately a deeper understanding of how we can work best for our guests.”

INFO: www.handy.travel

Guestline

Guestline’s unique, cloud hosted suite of solutions for the hospitality industry increases revenue, streamlines operations and lowers costs. Guestline provides end-to-end property management, channel distribution and digital marketing solutions to a range of hotel groups, independent hotels, serviced apartments, management companies and pub companies. Fully integrated and cloud hosted, the solutions are easy to install and quick to deploy with low cost of ownership. With offices in the UK and Thailand, Guestline’s systems are used in 20 countries across five continents and enables properties of all sizes to achieve maximum occupancy at the most profitable rate.

Guestline’s mobile friendly, scalable, functionality-rich systems support properties of all sizes, enabling it to focus on delivering exceptional guest experiences whilst managing business performance from a browser. Fully supported 365 days a year, Guestline solutions are fast becoming the systems of choice across a range of hotel groups. Continually developed and with an extensive list of third party integrations, Guestline is one to watch. Regular software upgrades and new product releases are automatically delivered online – quickly and remotely, at no extra cost. Repeatedly recognised for providing exceptional support, Guestline is a company with the users’ needs at its core.

Innkeepers Lodge, managed by Mitchell & Butlers selected Guestline for its 51 sites. The company said: “Guestline’s user-friendly interfaces, transparent reporting and enhanced control of rates and room inventory were some of the many factors taken into consideration when we evaluated the marketplace. We’re delighted to be working with Guestline.”

INFO: www.guestline.com or 01743 282300 or sales@guestline.com

Forbes Professional

Established in 1926, Forbes Professional is a family company that provides innovative hotel TV, audio and guest communication solutions, with a comprehensive same/next day engineer response service. The company’s expansive nationwide infrastructure enables it to deliver a uniformed, streamlined process for all account management or service requirements, with even multisite operations being allocated a single point of contact. From planning stages and site surveys through to content development, installation, set-up, and product training, Forbes ensures that its clients make the right procurement decisions and that their new technology is fully optimised. Forbes has a solid understanding of industry trends and deliver an end-to-end audio-visual solution.

Forbes Professional has developed a fully customisable solution for high impact guest communication that is delivered directly to the guests’ in-room TV screens. It provides an impressive welcome page and enables hoteliers to blend promotional and informative content with live internet streams. This is a cost effective interface that eradicates the need for in-room stationery and also represents an advertising space that can be sold to local businesses. The company can design, build and manage the content as required. Every element is built to client specifications, so as to be entirely consistent with the hotel’s brand image.

John Badley, general manager at Dalhousie Castle Hotel, said: “Forbes provided thoroughly professional process from planning to installation that focused on our specific requirements.”

INFO: 0345 070 2335 or info@forbes-professional.co.uk

eviivo

eviivo describes itself as being “for anyone with rooms to sell and a story to tell”, that is to say the company is focussed on independent hotels, B&Bs and guest houses with under 50 rooms. A brief look on its website shows clients ranging from converted windmills to shepherds huts and canal boats. eviivo works with over 6,200 hotels across Europe, providing them with what the company describes as “the original ALL-in-ONE booking suite”.

About eviivo suite:

So what makes eviivo suite? The company says it’s about its focus on smaller properties and the simplicity which it offers:

  • It focuses on a beautiful and simple to use diary which provides all the info a hotelier needs in one, glanceable screen
  • Most key actions, from charging a credit card to opting in to an OTA channel to contacting its customer support team can be accomplished in just one click
  • The company spends time building deep integrations with major OTAs like Expedia, Laterooms and Booking.com, which means it can offer the most flexible array of cancellation and deposit policies supporting over 10,000 different scenarios, but make it all simple and manageable for the small hotel.

The company’s customers seem to agree, on TrustPilot it has a score of 8.8/10 with many praising the simplicity of its software, how easy it is to generate bookings and the quality of its support.

The Saracens Head Hotel in Swindon said: “eviivo has been one of the best things we have ever done; more online bookings, easy to use and a wide range of things to help sell rooms like special offers and customer feedback.” – Horizon Hotel, Ayr. “We received our first booking after the first day of going live with eviivo and have seen overall occupancy levels increase.”

INFO: www.eviivo.com or 0203 103 3500 or enquiries@eviivo.com

Clarity Hospitality

Clarity started life as Total Hospitality Solutions, which was founded in New Zealand in 1992 to create and provide application software, primarily to the hospitality industry. The company’s software assists hotel staff and management with reservations, reception, floor services, restaurants services, event management and other hotel functions. Clarity aims to provide the best in hospitality application software with the functionality and high performance to meet the demanding needs of today’s hospitality industry.

Clarity Hospitality has three aims for your business:

  1. Increase productivity – With streamlined, efficient software making complex tasks simple, you’ll see a sharp rise in productivity and get more done each day
  2. Make the most of your opportunities – Whether it’s a one night stay or a complex business event, improving your ability to provide a top class experience is key to repeat and referral business. Clarity Hospitality Software is a fantastic foundation for hospitality business improvement
  3. Increase profit – Increased productivity and maximising your daily opportunities leads to increased profit. Efficient business tools make for efficient and profitable businesses

Clarity believe its software is the basis of building long-term relationships with its clients. The company listens to its clients to provide excellent support and proactive development to ensure that they enjoy the benefits of the best. Software and services include a hotel manager; event manager; central manager; online integration; point-of-sale; systems integration; and installation, training and support.

INFO: www.clarityhospitality.co.uk or 0330 043 0719

CityStasher

The Sharing Economy’s growing significance has largely been to the detriment of hoteliers, but this is slowly changing. As the sector matures, opportunities are now arising for hotels to improve their profits and their brand awareness by embracing novel business models. A new entrant, CityStasher, helps you to make a profit by storing luggage for non-guests. 

CityStasher is an online platform which connects tourists with local businesses who can store their luggage. The company covers marketing, insurance and customer support, and the platform is totally compliant with most any security policy (adaptations can be made for any extra requirements). Hotels make excellent hosts and even a little space behind the desk or in the office to store five bags a day could generate over £4,000 a year – while a larger space for up to 20 bags can see revenues of over £16,000 annually. Listing on the website will also improve your hotel’s online presence and your listing is an ideal platform to market any offers.

One hotel near London Victoria is projecting incomes of over £7,500 this year from CityStasher. “We had a bit of space in our luggage-storage room, now we’re seeing a profitable return from it. CityStasher takes care of everything, making it easy to use.” There are no sign-up or subscription fees, so it’s free to try and any earnings will go straight to your bottom line. CityStasher aims to limit the number of hosts in each area, so register your interest in hosting soon.

INFO: info@citystasher.com or 020 3355 3544 or www.citystasher.com

Chic Retreats

Chic Retreats is a reaction to mass-market and impersonal travel booking sites. Since Lulu Townsend, the founder, set up the company it has specialised in offering a beautiful curated platform of small independent hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses that exude style, charm and deliver a high level of personal service. They are places that deserve the attention of discerning travellers and are often ‘secret’ locations, only known to locals. It’s not about conforming to star ratings. The Chic Retreats marketplace is where hosts tell their unique stories and retain flexibility over booking, deposit and cancellation terms.

Chic Retreats mix advanced technology with sophisticated digital marketing to maximise bookings. They promote hotels across multiple distribution channels; a high visibility SEO optimised website and mobile site, a beautiful annual publication, weekly content driven newsletters, blogging, paid social advertising, paid search, Pinterest, Facebook competitions, meta-channels, PR and more. Hotels offer price parity and at least one unique benefit, a ‘Chic Treat’. Chic Retreats charges a small participation fee which is reinvested in promoting hotels, plus commission on bookings. They prioritise innovation and work with partners such as Google, who sponsored the company’s move to Google Cloud Platform, and a growing number of channel manager partners.  

Jude Horrod, owner of 5 The Lawn, said: “5 The Lawn are delighted to be associated with Chic Retreats, from our launch in 2013 to the present day, their service to us has been unrivaled. Immensely grateful for putting us out there in a way only you can do –  thank you Chic.”

INFO: partner.chicretreats.com or 020 3397 8335

Avon Data

Avon Data is a hotel management software expert with 30 years’ experience developing innovative technology to make running hotels easier and more profitable. The company’s property management system (PMS) Hotel Executive, which can be installed on-site or hosted, helps hoteliers manage every aspect of the business more efficiently. A number of useful add-ons integrate seamlessly with Hotel Executive, including Avon’s EPOS system, sales channel management, online bookings, event management and guest engagement. The company’s systems enable hotels to streamline both front of house and back office operations and focus staff time and effort on enhancing customer service.

Hotel Executive has several key features which set it apart from other hotel management systems:

  • Guest engagement – this can automatically send up to four expertly designed, branded emails during and after the booking process to ensure hotels maximise up-selling and marketing opportunities
  • Dynamic pricing – this function enhances profitability by altering rates according to availability, or revenue achieved, ensuring a maximum yield from every room.
  • PCI compliance – Avon Data developed HE-Secure Plus through which card details can be taken and fed into the system but are stored securely by WorldPay. It also enables deposits and payments to be taken automatically without card details being stored on-site
  • Customer service – as a family company, Avon Data provides clients with a personal service that is rare within the industry. This why so many of Avon Data’s hotel clients have been using their services for more than a decade

Camille Greacen, Stay Original Co, said: “Hotel Executive offers all the functionality we require and more, and the quality of support offered by their team of experts is excellent. The transition to a new PMS system has been smooth and we’re now efficiently able to manage our room rate strategy thanks to Avon Data’s Hotel Executive.”

INFO: www.avondata.co.uk or sales@avondata.co.uk or 0330 2231456

AccuBook

Established in 2007, AccuBook is one of the few software suppliers to the hotel and B&B industry that offers a full all-in-one software package which includes a brand new feature rich cloud diary, website, booking engine and channel manager. Widely regarded as one of the easiest to use and best supported solutions on the market, AccuBook now boasts over 400 customers in the UK and Ireland. AccuBook’s customer base ranges from four-room B&B’s, hostels and glamping sites to 100-room hotels. The company doesn’t have any setup fees, training costs or fixed term contracts. With a price point to suit every budget and accommodation type, AccuBook is a solid choice for an integrated solution all under one roof.

AccuBooks’s products and USPs:

  • Try before you buy, with a three-month free trial available, you can test drive the company’s software with no obligation afterwards
  • Full UK & Ireland based support via phone or email. Unlimited support when you need it for no extra cost
  • A brand new integrated Cloud-based diary, website, channel mangaer and booking engine from one supplier
  • A true low-cost solution to suit all budgets
  • Better than that you don’t ever need to reinvest in new software. Because AccuBook’s solutions are cloud based, they are updated monthly with new features which you can avail of free of charge
  • AccuBook does all the setup for you, and full training is provided free of charge

Kee’s Hotel have been an AccuBook customer for the better part of 10 years. Paul Patton, general manager at Kee’s Hotel, Stranorlar, Co Donegal, Ireland, said: “The Accubook system is very easy to install and very quick to set up. The Accubook Channel Manager, website and booking engine has been a godsend to our business, and over the years has allowed us to grow our online business tenfold.”

About Tom Davis

Tom Davis
A graduate from Staffordshire University with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies, Tom enjoys photography and is a keen cyclist. Please do drop him an email with any potential new story ideas.

Check Also

FEATURE: Aberdeen’s balancing act

Known as the ‘Oil Capital of Europe’, Aberdeen has long enjoyed strong occupancy and high …

Why not sign up to the Hotel Owner Daily Briefing?

Join our mailing list to let Hotel Owner deliver the latest news from across the UK hospitality industry, directly to your inbox.

We have added you to our list! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription.