Manet Mobile Solutions (MMS) continues performing innovation on its IT platform to implement increasingly smart and flexible digital solutions for Travel industry. Thanks to its devops partner, Neboola, a new cloud platform has been implemented on Amazon AWS to drive our Continuous Improvement approach.
Neboola recently helped MMS to carry out a further step towards containerizing its digital services. The best choice in terms of costs and benefits to deploy a containerized cloud platform without the obstacle of external dependencies or legacy environments fell on ECS Fargate, the AWS branded and fully-managed container orchestration service, which allows excellent levels of scalability, reliability and cost optimization.
A few dozen yaml code lines were suitable for creating a Bitbucket pipeline to smartly automate the build and release of new software versions in the development and production environments.
Amazon AWS ECS is the simplest and most immediate way to quickly get in touch with the advantages of containerization. The choice to adopt this technology is essential to tackle the project by using an efficient and cost-effective approach.
“I am very satisfied with the results obtained thanks to the introduction of these technologies. The cost of AWS ECS service is highly competitive and the effort required to see our software up & running is minimal with respect to the traditional IT architectures. This means accelerating new features release and cutting the time to market for our ideas and our new business initiatives. This can be extremely important both for startups and for traditional companies: this approach helps to become more efficient and to emerge in an increasingly competitive industry.“
This is how Andrea Proietti, CIO at Manet Mobile Solutions, has commented his experience with AWS ECS.
There’s no question about it: the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world significantly. And now, countries around the world are seeking to carefully open up again, hoping that a vaccine is on the horizon, even as they prepare for the possibility of a second surge.
In our new normal of optimism mingled with anxiety, hoteliers find themselves operating in a very different environment than what they’re accustomed to. In short, our world has changed, and the hospitality industry is having to change with it.
The good news, though, is that technologies are able to make it easier than ever for hoteliers to give their guests first-class experiences. With hotel apps that your guests canenjoy on their mobile devices, you can provide them with the kind of service they’ve come to expect but at a distance that keeps everyone safe during COVID-related restrictions. This article describes best practices for using hotel apps to enhance your guests’ experience.
In this era of social distancing, your guests are probably going to want to limit their contact with hotel staff as much as possible. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to be face-to-face with your guests to provide them with extraordinary service.
Manet’s app, for instance, can be used directly to your guests’ smartphone or other mobile devices. With this app, your guests can access every ancillaries your hotel has to offer, from ordering room service and reserving seats for breakfast in a common area to digitally checking in and out and making payments remotely.
In addition to apps that guests can use directly by using ttheir smartphones or tablets , hoteliers can also provide proprietary digital devices that are keyed to unique services to upgrade your guests’ stay experience .
Manet devices, for example, can offer free calling as well as unlimited internet and wifi hotspot capabilities. Plus, thanks to tourist content and services available on Manet devices, your guest will always be in-the-know regarding the latest and greatest must-see attractions near them.
And travel assistants such as these can be customized precisely to your guests’ needs. They can be used to help guests research the area, locate tourist attractions and shopping and dining venues, learn about local customs, and even help with foreign languages and currency conversions.
That will provide an added bit of security, knowing that this essential device will always be charged and ready, no matter how long your guests’ adventures may be. Best of all, it is precisely that kind of attention to detail, that kind of thoughtful finishing touch, that can win your guests’ loyalty for years to come!
Customizing and optimizing your guests’ experience isn’t only about making the best use of customer-facing apps and devices. You can also deploy these tools to learn about your guests, your operations, and what you might do better to boost your revenues while ensuring your guests’ stay is the best it can be.
Manet dashboard tool, for example, provides virtually limitless opportunities to learn about your guests, their needs, and their expectations. Geolocation capabilities in customer apps and digital devices provide important data on your habits, such as identifying local attractions that your guests are most likely to visit, as well as which customer demographics are most likely to be drawn to these attractions and when.
Once you understand not only what your clients expect, but also what they like, you can provide customized recommendations, communicated immediately, and directly to your guests through your hotel app or digital device. “Heat maps,” for instance, can identify your guests’ aggregate locations once they leave your hotel and allow you to send push notifications for promotions and deals offered by partners and affiliates.
Premium features can also be offered through these apps and digital devices, providing an additional revenue stream. Guests can pay for these premium services on-demand, giving you a new tool for upselling without requiring face-to-face contact with your guests. And that not only protects your add-on services revenue streams, but it also provides the customization that ensures an outstanding customer experience.
There’s no question that life as we know it has changed since the advent of COVID-19. As a hotelier, you’re going to be serving a customer base that is, in some ways, quite different than before the pandemic. But, no matter what the impact of the virus may be, all guests want essentially the same thing: safety, peace of mind, and a good experience. And today’s technologies are perfectly designed to help you provide exactly that, no matter what the pandemic may bring. Through the use of hotel apps, you can offer your guests superb, highly customized service, with minimal physical contact. From mobile check-ins and smart rooms to pre-programmed travel assistants, technology can help you not only maintain your stellar service reputation but bring it to the next level of excellence!
Article by Luke Smith – Manet Guest Writer & Technology Enthusiast
The travel and hospitality industries are constantly growing and changing. With technology being developed every day, it can be difficult to keep up with the newest gadgets and platforms. However, it’s important to learn about and incorporate these technologies, as they have the potential to elevate every aspect of a traveler’s experience.
4 Technologies Changing the Travel Industry
Whether you’re a hotelier, tour operator, restaurant owner, or avid traveler, utilizing these 4 technologies will enhance the experiences of you and your guests, and ensure that you’re in the know on today’s tech!
Mobile Travel Assistants
Mobile travel assistants are revolutionizing the hotel experience across the globe. Rendering hotel apps obsolete, mobile travel assistants provide everything a traveler needs, all packed into one smartphone. The capabilities of these devices can’t be overstated.
Hotels are placing mobile travel assistants in their rooms, giving guests access to the device 24/7 for the duration of their stay. Mutually beneficial to both guests and hoteliers, mobile travel assistants help guests organize their trip, allowing them to make bookings, find restaurants, watch audio guides and videos, get directions, and access all the tips and tricks they’ll need to have a great time. The smartphone also works in the hotel as a tv remote, room key, and mainline phone, allowing guests to contact the concierge, order room service, and more. It’s almost hard to believe all of this can be done from one device!
Linking up with mobile travel assistant technology is incredibly beneficial for hoteliers. With an organized web dashboard, hoteliers can access data (basic, non-private data) from the linked devices. This allows them to help guests quickly, centralize hotel services, receive more feedback, and access analytics and data regarding their guests’ average routines. This means that any hotel using these devices will be able to see which restaurants, activities, hotel services, and more are preferred by their guests.
Given that mobile travel assistants also allow hoteliers to control their own advertisements on the device (creating an additional revenue stream), hotels can market the best possible services to their guests.
These handy devices are capable of providing free unlimited local and international calls, and free unlimited 4G WiFi with hotspot capabilities. Needless to say, mobile travel assistants have become a rising star among hoteliers and travelers alike.
Social Media and 360 Videos
It’s a bit of a no brainer that social media has affected the travel industry. However, considering these platforms are constantly updating, there’s always a new feature to take advantage of. Instagram has come out ahead as an important social media platform to master if you’re looking to bring attention to any destination. With viral hashtags and beautiful filters, some travelers even plan their trips according to what they’ve viewed on Instagram.
This is why it’s more important than ever to understand how to market your business, city, or event online. Some current methods of marketing on Instagram include:
Advertising through popular Instagram accounts
Extensive research regarding popular hashtags
High-quality photo and video content
Consistent content upload schedule
Giveaways and contests for likes, shares, and follows
Sharing special discounts and coupon codes
There’s a new feature being used on various social media platforms that is changing the way people in the industry are marketing to potential travelers. Three-hundred-and-sixty-degree photos and videos are allowing businesses from all around the world to display their destination and services in a more immersive, emotional, and experiential way. Luckily, with the right camera, this feature is completely accessible to any business on social media. Take advantage of this amazing tool and connect with potential guests like never before.
Virtual Reality Travel
Virtual reality technology is becoming more and more prevalent across industries, and travel is no exception. This exciting platform takes immersive marketing to a whole other level. Using video and/or 360 photos, travelers can be transported all around the world with a VR headset. What better way to market your destination than by letting people experience it digitally?
Virtual reality headsets go beyond pictures. Want to see the California redwoods? How about one of the shopping streets in Tokyo? Due to the design of the headset, people can immerse themselves in sounds and other physical sensations that make them feel as if they’ve just been flown across the planet. Interestingly enough, it’s not just parks, beaches, and other natural landscapes embracing virtual reality. More and more hotel chains are beginning to use VR to allow their potential guests to view their selection of rooms. People like to know what they’re getting into when traveling far from home. VR fills that gap.
Virtual reality is slightly less accessible than the other tools on this list, but that’s likely to change as this technology is being incorporated into more and more industries.
Packaged Travel Booking Websites
It’s pretty typical to book your flights, hotels, and activities online. What has become increasingly popular, however, is the rise of interlinked or multiuse booking websites, offering packages and deals for multiple aspects of the standard travel experience. This allows tour operators to offer clients a more convenient booking experience, and oftentimes, a better deal. Here are just a few of the reasons why booking online has completely crushed booking by phone or email:
Ability to access quick reviews
Place multiple bookings at once
Content available in multiple languages
Suggestions automatically generated
It only takes one look at the wildly popular website Trip Advisor to see the success of centralizing bookings for accommodations and events. Second only to the aptly named Booking.com, these websites have been incredibly dominant forces in the travel industry.
Almost every new piece of technology, whether intended for the travel industry or not, can be utilized to enhance the experiences of both guests and business owners. This can be in the realm of increasing your hotel’s efficiency, in marketing your location, or in simply building an experience that is more convenient for travelers. If you aren’t using these four technologies, give them a try and see what they can do for you and your business!
For years, hoteliers looking to enhance their guests’ travel experience have been using apps to make travel more convenient and personalized. However, while apps have been used by reputable hotel chains like Marriot International and Choice Hotels, they’re quickly becoming a thing of the past when compared to the capabilities of hotel smartphones like Manet.
With the proven ability to improve guest satisfaction, these devices manage to do everything an app can do and far more. The hotel smartphone, or rather, Manet mobile travel assistant, is already being used in many hotels across the world and is quickly becoming a favorite of travelers and hoteliers alike. The reason? There’s plenty.
What Is a Mobile Travel Assistant?
A mobile travel assistant is exactly what it sounds like. Someone in your pocket who can recommend restaurants (and keep you from the bad ones), help you book trips and activities, and even help you navigate the city. Devices like the Italian Manet traveler smartphones are a high-quality replacement for the apps that guests don’t bother downloading, have trouble accessing, or simply can’t figure out how to navigate. A mobile travel assistant completely eliminates this hassle. The smartphone is there for the guest in their room, packed with features, equipped with a SIM card and ready to be used for the duration of their stay.
The Hotel Master Key
There are so many small cards and devices that hotels use to enhance their guests’ experience. What if these devices were all centralized into just one smartphone? The Manet traveler smartphone can replace a wide range of hotel tech, including:
Smart TV Remote Control
Bulky Hotel Room Phone
Air-conditioner Remote Control
Room Lighitng Controller
With all these features incorporated into one device, guests can worry less about losing things they need for their stay. The convenience doesn’t stop there, however, as hotel smartphones also allow guests easy access to room service and the concierge, and are an easy and fast to use communication channel with their hotel as explained further below.
Free Calls and Free WiFi
Even if your hotel has a well-running app, what happens if guests need to use it but don’t have internet access? With a smartphone, this problem is completely avoided.
With Manet’s free unlimited local and international calls, and unlimited 4G connectivity in and outside the hotel property, your guests will never have to worry about connectivity and hidden charges.
Even better, devices like Manet can also be used as WiFi hotspots so that guests can use additional devices, like personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets, without additional charges. Talk about earning good favor with guests! With easy 24/7 access to every online service and social app they could want and need, your guests will be taken care of at all times.
The Most Convenient Travel Tool
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, Manet traveler smartphones can help every hotel guest have an experience that’s tailor made for them and their needs. Here are just a few of the features guests can access on their Manet device:
Tickets for local attractions, events, museums, etc.
Restaurant reviews, directions, and bookings
Tips and tricks to enjoying the city to the fullest
Maps and general directions
Local safety information
Texting with the Hotel
Hotel ancillary services ordering
Having all this services and data collected on just one device, without needing to search and dig around for them, allows guests to relax and enjoy their stay and time in the city. Needless to say, this new way of traveling, accompanied by a hotel smart mobile assistant is being highly praised by guests who’ve gotten to take advantage of it. Hotel smartphones are also a great solution for parents, traveling with young kids, who just don’t have the time to plan any last-minute outings without a ton of stress.
Revolutionary Service for Hoteliers
Traveler smart devices like Manet have made their debut on the market just very few years ago but are already delighting hoteliers at all levels of their industry. Here are just a few of the reasons for which solutions like Manet can enhance how hoteliers conduct business.
Feature-rich Dashboard: The Manet solution is not limited only to smart devices. It also has an saas web-based component allowing hoteliers control all of the device’s services from a well organized web dashboard and offering them an innovative CRM improving and enhancing hotel-guest communication. Through the dashboard, hoteliers and their employees can chat with clients or send them push notifications ensuring their service is both timely and professional.
Reputation Management: Manet offers hoteliers an integrated multi-channel reputation auditing system, including detailed feedback from all major travel reviewing websites like TripAdvisor, Facebook, Google, Booking and more. Furthermore, thanks to this system, hotel guests can be sent invitations to review their hotel and messages preventing them from leaving negative reviews. Improving hotel reputation has never been so easy before!
Valuable Analytics: Manet’s Dashboard helps hoteliers collect valuable data and analytics about the restaurants, events, places and activities that are favored by their guests. This way, improving guest experience and achieving guest delight becomes extremely intuitive.
Marketing and Revenue: Through Manet’s Dashboard and devices, hoteliers can easilly increase ancillary service sales thanks to easy-to-edit-from-the-dashboard mobile device service menus through which hotel guests can order food in their rooms, book airport transfers, buy spa treatments and any other service is offered by their hotel.
If you use a smartphone and have read carefully what’s written in this article, you can easilly imagine why hotel apps cannot compete with Manet Hotel Smartphones & Dashboard and why the latter are making travelers’ and hoteliers’ lives easier and happier!
If we have a quick look at the hospitality industry’s new trends (sensory and fun experiences, personalized perfumes, top chefs & bartenders just to mention some) we can easily acknowledge that accommodation facilities have become hubs of modern socialization, in addition to their role as places of hospitality.
Not anymore just locations to be lived throughout guests’ stay, hotels are increasingly becoming catalysts of the most contemporary lifestyle and consumption’s tendencies.
In the last few years, consumers’ behaviour has increasingly started being driven by environmental and ethical choices following which adopting environmentally responsible conducts has become more and more important also for accommodation facilities.
Since then this trend has only grown and a few years ago, a corporate social responsibility survey by Nielsen brought out that “more than half (55%) of global respondents say they are willing to pay extra for products and services coming from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact—on increase from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011”
Acording to Accenture and the UN Global Compact “the millennial consumer, coming from an economically and empowered by new technologies era, is driving new expectations of business. People in every part of the world see the act of expenditure and consumption as a means to enhance health and livelihood, boost community wellbeing, and shift the direction of the world (…). Today’s consumers have higher expectations from businesses addressing their needs and traditional approaches to sustainability, centred on philanthropy and CSR, may lead to customer dissatisfaction”.
How hotels can minimize their impact on the environment
Sustainable tourism demand is also a growing trend and this is the reason why the hospitality industry is moving towards ecologically sustainable levels of resource consumption. Tourist accommodation facilities adopting high sustainability standards are globally increasing.
Some of these standards are about • adopting energy-saving technologies; • choosing digital documents instead of printed ones to avoid paper waste; • offering menus with organic and Zero Km ingredients.
How hotel’s attention to the environment creates new loyalty
In their effort to increase guest loyalty, the hospitality industry players are increasingly looking for innovative ways to reduce waste. And there are really lots of benefits deriving from this eco-friendliness.
According to a recent survey by TripAdvisor, travelers who have already chosen eco-friendly hotels are at least 40% on the total!
Therefore, communicating attention towards the environment seems to have become a big competitive advantage towards accommodation facilities that are still having trouble with embracing a “green” philosophy in their ordinary operations.
How to communicate a “green” orientation
Hotels and b&bs can communicate and deliver their “green” orientation today by using many different strategies. Here are some strategy ideas:
• hotels or b&bs can dedicate a section of their official websites to their eco-friendly initiatives and policies and also make sure that their green orientation is reflected on their OTA descriptions and offers;
• accommodation facilities can ban single-use plastic items and invest in solar systems for the production of electricity and hot water
• hotels can substitute in-room brochures, maps and dining menus with smart devices containing all the related information in digital format;
The above are just some of the many things accommodation facilities can do to go green but both imporant organizational changes and considerable investments are necessary to convert a hospitality-related business into a totally eco-friendly one and not every business has the economic resources that are necessary to implement a green transformation. However every hospitality business is able to adopt low-cost measures that can make a big difference both in terms of achieving an eco-friendly appeal at the eyes of travelers and in terms of protection towards the environment.
Technology is key to most of these low-cost measures.
At the same time guests’ choices are more and more oriented towards accommodation facilities showing respect for the environment. Decreasing paper consumption and waste is a very important aspect of environmental conservation as in the last 10 years we’ve lost about 94 million hectares of forests (the size of Venezuela) because of tree use for paper production. According to the United Nations System, “despite the importance of forests, reports continue to indicate huge forests losses. Almost half of the planet’s original forest has been destroyed, mostly during the last three decades”. Very often wood is used to produce unnecessary things: more than half of cropped wood is processed into paper but only 10% of it becomes durable goods like books for example. The other 90% ends up being disposable. This paper waste has devastating effects on our planet! On the one hand natural disasters and famines are originated from compromised ecosystems and, as a result, on the other hand, planet biodiversity is strongly threatened.
How the hospitality industry can cut down paper waste and actively protect the planet
The hospitality industry could play a leading role in reducing global paper waste: thanks to technology, more and more tourist accommodations are able to replace paper with digital documents and solutions having a very low environmental impact as well as a very positive impact on guest experience and cost reduction.
The means to paper reduction in accommodation facilities are numerous but the advent of personalized smartphones in hotel rooms seems to be the real revolution in the hospitality industry allowing to cut down on paper waste for • tourist guides: on mobile devices the best itineraries, geolocated experiences and complete guides, including cities’ best attractions, are free and always accessible; • museums or events tickets: mobile devices allow guests to buy tickets in a fast and secure way; furthermore, guests don’t need paper tickets anymore as they get their tickets in digital formats on their smartphones; • hotel services: all hotel ancillary services can be delivered through smartphones; in-room dining and restaurant menus can be digitalized, eliminating the need of their printed versions; • check-in and customer satisfaction forms: any type of form can be delivered to hotel guests digitally through smart devices. This way not only tons of paper are saved but also an incredible amount of work-hours are not necessary anymore for form encoding and can be dedicated to other operations Considering all the above, the advantages brought by smart devices to the hospitality industry are evident and impact positively both the environment and the economies of accommodation facilities. Manet is committed to providing the best hospitality technology to hotels and b&bs allowing them to save paper, time and money while delivering an extraordinary experience to their guests. As a result our planet is protected and travelers are happier than ever before!
Room service has always had and still has an undeniable role in hospitality. However, recent data has confirmed that despite its indisputable importance, it’s subject to operational risks, mainly related to high numbers of required personnel and low profit margins.
As Paul Sacco (CEO and president of the Massachusetts Lodging Association) said ” Room service represented just 1.2 percent of total hotel revenue, down from 1.3 percent in 2011. And it continues to drop. The hotels do it for the convenience of the guest. Is it a profit center? No. Emphatically, I can tell you no.”
However, the answer to room service profitability issues seems to be lying in technology.
New technologies are, in fact, having a big impact on tourism-related businesses and new evidence shows that successful room service goes beyond a beautiful room and qualified staff.
Guest comfort and convenience are becoming always more important and technology, more than any other factor, seems to be key in achieving them.
The end of room service (?)
Room service represents a fundamental part of hospitality services. Despite this, it’s worth only 1% of hotel earnings, according to PFK Hospitality’s 2007 data. Since then, this percentage has kept decreasing. The Midtown Hilton, one of New York’s most visited hotels, eliminated room service in 2013 for this very reason. Many mid-range hotels followed, reducing room service, either by available hours or general offers. But, in the other hand, room service is fundamental for hotel reputation and its impact goes beyond earnings. In fact, room service is considered an integral part of hotel amenities just like swimming pools or spas: profitable or not these services shape and identify the experience offered by each hotel. Try to imagine, just for a second, during your stay in a hotel, at night, while it’s raining outside, you get hungry and you realize that the hotel’s restaurant is closed and room service is not available. The only choices you have in that case are either vending machines or dealing with the storm! Therefore it’s easy to understand how important room service is for hotels aiming at being competitive and building a good reputation.
The room service comeback
The press pointed fingers at The Midtown Hilton’s room service removal decision. Business Insider wrote “What’s the point of staying in a luxury hotel if you’re not going to be able to order breakfast in bed?” and John Fox from PKF Consulting commented “Here’s a message to hotels that are cutting room service: Suck it up and pay the labor costs for room service, or don’t call yourself a “luxury hotel.”
Guests did the same, commenting, “There are so many hotels to choose from. If everyone is offering room service, I don’t know why I would pay the same rate with no service.”
Moreover, a recent study by Statista performed on adults aged 18 to 65 brought out that room service seems to be the most important element of hospitality-related services, second only to WiFi connectivity.
The reasons behind the importance of room service are numerous. Think for example of people traveling for business and needing a late in-room dinner. Or think of leisure travelers desiring a snack while watching their favourite tv show. It easilly becomes obvious that hotels, instead of being focused on breakfast, should start focusing on 24/7 room service solutions to match their guests’ needs. After all, people go out of their daily routines when they travel so why force them to eat only at standard meal times!
The answer is technology!
The most dynamic hotels of the world have started adopting innovative solutions to adapt to the market’s room service needs and, at the same time, use room service to delight their guests.
In New York, with the “Emoji Room Service”, offered by Aloft Hotels, guests can use emoticons to place their orders. In NH Hotels’ Mood-Rooms, guests can request a wakeup service with gradual lighting increase, uplifting music, curtains that open automatically and in-room breakfast service. Last but not least, at La Quinta Inn & Suites you might be surprised to see your room service order delivered by TigerBot, a cute delivery service robot.
However, technology by itself is not sufficient to provide a good room service experience. There are other important elements to keep in mind in order to provide the ultimate room service experience.
Know your guests…
There are many ways to improve hospitality services. But what’s the best one? The answer is simple: Listen to your guests.
Instead of just pushing standardized services to them, try to understand what their real needs are. There are business travelers needing a quick breakfast very early in the morning before the breakfast buffet becomes available. There are also leisure travelers (representing a huge percentage of overall travelers) who desire a coffee or a snack while they are relaxing in their rooms and at any time of the day (or the night). The only way to satisfy the needs of the above is smart and efficient hotel room service.
…and be with them!
A very important parameter of an efficient and profitable room service is timing! Guests want their orders delivered immediately and hotels require the right time to prepare and deliver room service orders. As long as a guest is in his/her room, has available a room service menu and the hotel is ready to deliver things are quite straightforward. But what happens if a guest wants to place an order from outside the hotel desiring to have it ready and delivered at his/her return? Calling the reception, asking for the available options and costs and placing the order by phone becomes frustrating and time consuming and would simply result in an unsatisfied guest and a hotel losing orders and revenues. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore as new smart tools appearing in the hospitality horizon are giving new answers to the needs of the most demanding travelers and hoteliers. Manet is one of these tools and it’s changing the way hotels interact with their guests as, thanks to Manet devices, hotel guests can book hotel services and place room service orders anytime and from anywhere. In fact, Manet smartphones contain extensive information about all services and menus offered to guests by their hotel and also allow fast, effective and ubiquitous text communication between guests and hotel front desk staff.
Thanks to innovators like Manet, the future of hospitality looks really exciting and full of surprises and hotel room service issues, like high costs, are slowly but steadily being transformed in amazing business opportunities for hoteliers.
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