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Manet mobile for car rentals

How smart mobile assistants are changing the car rental industry

During the last decade the travel and car rental industries have gone through many changes. These changes have been driven mainly by a growing environmental awareness and by technology.

Environmental awareness and technology are expected to be the main drivers of change in these industries for the next decade too. In this article we are going to describe how.

How technology and environmental awareness are changing the car rental industry.

On the on hand, environmental awareness is pushing the global car rental industry to replace more polluting vehicles with greener ones. Diesel cars are slowly but steadily being replaced by cars running on petrol and, especially in the last couple of years, on electricity.

Moreover, in the next 10 years, electric cars are expected to replace even cars running on petrol.

Internal combustion engines will be banned very soon and electric mobility is going to be the new standard in the car rental industry.

On the other hand, car rental fleets are getting increasingly technology-rich and digital-centric.

Services like online real-time booking, GPS navigators or in-car Wi-Fi hotspots, once on-demand ancillaries, are becoming today included-by-default services in every car rental operation.

The list of digital services offered to car rental clients is long and constantly growing.

However, the latest trend in digital services offered by car rentals today seem to be smart mobile assistants.

Let’s see what they are and how they impact the car rental experience both on the client and on the service provider sides.

What are smart mobile assistants

Smart mobile assistants (SMA’s from now on) are mobile devices packed with services that are very useful to car rental clients and, more generally, to travelers.

These devices are very similar to normal smartphones but what differentiates them from the former is that their software and hardware are developed to meet the needs of innovative car rental companies, like AVIS Greece and Autovia and their customers.

So let’s see now what these needs are and how smart mobile assistant services satisfy them.

Smart mobile assistant features and benefits for car rental clients

The following are the main features provided to car rental clients by smart mobile assistants

  • Internet connectivity: when traveling we all want seamless internet connectivity so that we can stay in touch with colleagues, family and friends. Sometimes our smartphone is not enough to provide us with this connectivity either for technical reasons or for data plan limitations. This is where smart mobile assistants come to the rescue as they can be used as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots with unlimited internet connectivity
  • International calls: phone calls can be quite expensive when we roam abroad with our domestic mobile telephony plan. However, when, during our trip, we rent a car equipped with a smart mobile assistant, international roaming phone calls can be made without incurring in extra charges as SMA’s offer them for free.
  • Road assistance: imagine that you’re traveling abroad with a rented car and suddenly it breaks down or you get involved in a car accident. If your car is not equipped with an SMA, calling the road assistance, explaining where you are and getting help (often in a language you don’t speak well or don’t speak at all) can be quite a challenging experience. However, if your car is equipped with an SMA all you need to do to get help is just tap on the road assistance icon. Immediately, your SMA will call the road assistance and send them your gps position so that they find you and assist you promptly.
  • GPS navigation: there’s no need to explain why GPS navigation tools included in SMA’s are must-haves for car rental customers. Just imagine how difficult and time consuming can be driving around a city you’re visiting for the first time or finding an open gas station at night and abroad without a GPS navigator.
  • Travel tips: so you’ve finally reached your holiday destination, you pick-up a car at the car rental desk and you’re ready to discover all the best places to see and things to do. But you don’t know what these places and things are! If your rented car is not equipped with an SMA you can either ask locals for advice or use Google to find some clues. These solutions can often be time consuming and misleading making you lose precious time of your vacation. However, if your rented is equipped with an SMA you’ve got your holiday destination in the palm of your hand as your smart mobile assistant certainly contains a comprehensive travel guide with all the information you need to enjoy your vacation.
  • Utility and safety tips: where can I find an open pharmacy at night? What is the local police emergency number? Where is my country’s embassy located and how do I contact it? These are just a few of the questions you might find yourself asking in case of trouble during a holiday abroad. SMA’s can give you the answers to all these questions as they contain all the information anyone might ever need to face an emergency when traveling.

Smart mobile assistant features and benefits for car rental companies

The following are the main features provided to car rental companies by smart mobile assistants

  • Better communication with clients: SMA’s are equipped with a SIM card and have local phone numbers. Therefore they can be used by car rental managers to communicate with their clients at any time and without violating their privacy as they do not need the clients’ personal mobile numbers to get in touch with them.
  • Better client experience: equipping cars for rent with SMAs provides car rental clients with strong communication tools, a lot of information about their travel destination and absolute peace of mind in case of emergency. As a consequence they are provided with a better overall travel and car rental experience. A better experience means happier clients. Happier clients leave more positive reviews and positive reviews bring in new clients!

The future of car rentals

Smart mobile assistants are just a small (but significant) first step towards a constantly evolving car rental industry. In the next decade, electrification, mass car sharing and self-driving vehicles are going to be the main trends for car rentals. Beyond the next decade, who knows, maybe renting a flying car might be the new trend to watch!

In the meantime, while waiting to experience all this amazing change, the best thing you can do is rent the car you like, get in the driver’s seat, fasten your seatbelt and activate your smart mobile assistant. You’re going to love the way you travel with it!

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Traveler data protection

Amidst the troubles the tourism industry has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime has been an unfortunate additional concern for hospitality companies and travelers alike. Cybercriminals have taken the crisis as an opportunity to prey on fear and the virtual shift at a time when we need online systems more than ever. This puts guest information at risk.

From credit card numbers to itineraries, your data should stay perfectly safe during your travels. After all, everyone deserves a peaceful break from the stresses of the modern world. Fortunately, hotels and tourism-related apps are becoming increasingly aware of threats and are taking the necessary steps to protect guest information.

Protecting your own and your hotel’s guest data comes down to understanding when that data is vulnerable and using the right tools and software to prevent unauthorized access. This article explores how hospitality-focused apps are stepping up to provide information security so that travelers can take advantage of digital travel tools without having to worry for their data security.


Vulnerabilities in Guest Information Processing

A variety of information is collected during travel and hotel visits. From the first instance of searching for appropriate accommodations and onward, travelers submit their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card details.

Meanwhile, hotels increasingly rely on digital tools and practices like mobile check-in and smart assistants. This means additional data transfers over digital networks. These smart systems offer an improved guest experience, but they can also come with risks if not properly protected.

Fraud and data theft are unfortunate occurrences when using technological platforms and, while some systems are better than others, no network can completely guarantee absolute safety from a data breach.

Hoteliers and their guests face threats like:

• Theft of personal identifying information.
• DarkHotel hacking attempts through spear-phishing scams and peer-to-peer network attacks.
• Ransomware and DDoS attacks.
• Point-of-Sale system breaches.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers have more than doubled their attack attempts. Pandemic-related phishing schemes and social engineering scams have thus become common practices. Therefore, to keep tourists safe and at peace today, hoteliers must adopt security measures that mitigate cybersecurity risks so that they can also focus on all other pandemic-related health safety measures that are necessary to guarantee their guests a safe and pleasant stay.

Hacker breaching data – Photo by tookapic on Pixabay


How Hotel Apps Help Secure Data

Few industries are still unsupported by helpful mobile applications today. The hospitality and tourism industries are among the most served ones! Hotel apps enhance the guest experience at just about every stage of travel, from bookings to guest management and travel tips. But what are tourism apps doing in terms of cybersecurity?

Apps like Manet provide both guest convenience and information security right from the check-in process and on, offering a secure platform for travel assistance and contactless service. Here are just some of the other ways tourism apps achieve this security:


Securing Mobile Check-In

Digital room keys are one of the revolutionary tech innovations powering contactless service and virtual guest check-in. In the time of social distancing, these systems can be immensely helpful in maintaining health and safety standards. But they can also present digital threats, especially where credit card information is involved.

Fortunately, however, tourism-related apps like Manet, address these threats and have implemented security standards to better protect guests against any vulnerabilities in the system. Frequent updates, user authentication, and consistent tests of the Internet of Things (IoT) lock systems all help maintain mobile check-in procedures to keep guests and their information safe.


Educating Travelers and Providing Alternatives

Hoteliers recognize that when it comes to traveler data, guests want to feel like they are in control of their own privacy and security. Hotel apps can make this possible by educating guests regarding cybersecurity best practices. Whether it be through comprehensive guides to logging in safely to guest WiFi or information on how and when the hotel will contact guests, these applications can make a big difference in ensuring traveler data safety through education alone.

However, traveler-focused tools should also consider alternatives to guest WiFi. For instance, the 5G wireless network is emerging as a faster and more effective way to access the internet. Mobile app developers are recognizing the need for 5G compatibility in hotel and tourism applications and tools, allowing guests to utilize these networks without relying on vulnerable guest WiFi. Manet, with its smart travel assistants, has always been at the forefront of ensuring the compatibility and availability of network options like these to help keep traveler information secure.

Manet Smart Travel Assistant
Traveler using Manet Smart Travel Assistant


Revitalizing Security Tech

Cybersecurity technologies are improving all the time. In the course of application development, hospitality and software companies are applying these new technologies to improve encryption and data storage processes on mobile devices.

For example, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are getting increasingly good at modeling, predicting, and catching potential data breaches. The use of these tools from the application development process onward inspires more thorough security practices to secure mobile app code from the backend. Then, encryption techniques can also be broadly instituted to secure the platform for the end-user.

Tourism-centered applications and digital tools are fueling better security through better processes and highly-trained information systems professionals who add value through their cybersecurity expertise. Modern tourism requires an extensively digital approach, so these professionals are key to constantly improving mobile hospitality applications to offer cutting-edge security.

Thanks to skilled cybersecurity professionals and highly secure travel and hospitality digital tools travelers can kick back and fully enjoy their stay knowing their information is safe.

Happy tourists – Photo by Jill Wellington on Pixabay


A Safer Future for Tourists

In the face of widespread industry troubles like pandemic and cybercrime, tourism app security is an absolute travel necessity. Not only can secure technology help hoteliers flourish, even while COVID-19 rages, but it can also help them establish high digital protection for business guests who often have to work remotely while traveling.

With the future of the travel industry dependent on the security of guest information, implementing protections from the app development stage to the check-in process helps making safe travel possible even in a world full of digital hazards. For hoteliers, implementing in their processes a secure and proven hospitality application may make the difference in hotel reputation for guest data security.


Article by Luke Smith – Manet Guest Writer & Technology Enthusiast

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guided tours

Different people have their preferences in terms of travel. Some like to do the searching of itineraries on their own when they get to their destination. Others prefer just to sit back and let a travel company assist them during their trip.

Guided tours have their perks for people who travel in groups or for those who backpack or travel solo. For some, it makes for a more immersive experience when they’re on vacation. It also consumes less time in terms of preparation because they arrange your itinerary during your trip.

We all have different needs when it comes to vacation preferences. The great thing is, we have options that can we can benefit from. Let’s look at the one being discussed now to learn how guided tours can make traveling better.

Source: Unsplash

More time for the sights

When you sign up for a guided tour, you’ll have more time to enjoy the beautiful sights of your destination. Most travel and tour companies have their own or a partner that provides transportation for the guided tour. Some invest in travel vans or a bus for sale to use for city tours.

Since you are on a guided tour, it means you’ll follow a schedule of places. This allows you to see everything you want in a time-efficient manner. This is also perfect when you only have a limited time to cover a lot of ground.

On an open roof tour bus or a boat, you’ll get to pass through many different places that are not on your itinerary but are worth checking out. You can take photos of them and include them on the list of places to visit for your next travel.

Source: Unsplash

Learn more about your destination

The guides that accompany you on tour are knowledgeable about your destination. Most of them are trained by their companies or locals who’s lived there their entire lives. If there’s anything you want to learn about the destination that you haven’t Googled yet, the chances are they know about it.

You can learn about the culture of the place from their perspective and insights. They’ve got insider knowledge that you don’t know about, and they know so much more about certain facts, details, and nuances that only locals know. Your vacation wouldn’t be complete without picking up new stuff, and you’ll find those on a guided tour.

That’s the immersive experience that most people look for. It’s one of the things that makes signing up for a tour worth more than the money you paid for it.

Manet App - Digital Concierge
Manet Mobile Smart Travel Guide

Experience digitally-assisted tours

You’ve probably used navigation apps on your smartphone once or twice before. Take that to the next level and get on a tour that uses mobile travel assistants.

Mobile travel assistants are optimized to upgrade travel experiences. For example, Manet provides innovative travel software that can make traveling convenient. Their mobile app serves as a digital companion where you can do everything, from scheduling itineraries to language translation.

Through the use of technology, your guided tour can be even better than you ever thought it would. You can have the smooth and hassle-free travel you desire in the palm of your hand.

Source: Unsplash

Safety and comfort

Traveling on a tour is safer than doing it on your own, especially if it’s your first time and you’re alone. You’re guided, and you’re with a group of tourists that are in the same boat as you are. You’ve got more people to ask for help from and talk to if in case you need to go in a different direction for a little while.

Your tour guide will inform you about which areas to avoid. There are sketchy and risky areas in all destinations, and it’d be wise for you not to explore them.

Wrapping up

Signing up on a guided tour has its positives that’ll make for a better vacation experience. If you’re up for it, try one to see how it works for you.


Author’s Bio:

Rosette is a freelance writer who loves to travel and go on road trips. Setting off the road for over 5 years now, she’s developed a habit of looking for the best transportation services to give her a one-of-a-kind experience on the road. Today, it has become her hobby to read and write about transportation comfortability, safety, and luxury.

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Hotel sign during winter

Winter is coming. Or, it may be already here, depending on where you live. Some areas of the continent have already seen their first snowfall. If you own or manage a hotel, winter always comes with a few trepidations and potential setbacks. But, this year, things might already feel worse than ever.

winter hotel
Image by Ivana Mariankova from Pixabay

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge hit on so many industries, and the hospitality sector has been severely impacted. While hotels have been heroes in times of need, with some housing first responders and healthcare staff, paying guests haven’t been as prominent this year. Part of that is due to travel restrictions because of the pandemic — the UK just implemented another strict travel ban to mitigate the risk of new COVID variants. Therefore, many people just aren’t going out and travellingtravellersthey usually would out of fear.

On top of the pandemic, winter weather can play a huge part in how slow the hotel business can be this time of year.

One way you can navigate the winter months and not only stay afloat but find success, is to use a hotel app. You can expect a digital transformation within the industry in a post-pandemic world. People will want a personalized experience and access to different amenities in the palm of their hand. You can get a jumpstart on that transformation by using your app now to get through the winter.


Make Your Guests Feel Safe

Unfortunately, winter is also commonly known as flu season. This year, that can have an impact more than ever, since COVID cases are still spiking in certain parts of Europe and the world beyond. While the best way to prevent the flu is to get a yearly vaccine, people can reduce their chances of getting sick by:

• Staying home if they have symptoms
• Washing their hands frequently
• Staying socially distant from others

Those tips might sound familiar, as they’re the same rules everyone should follow for COVID-19. While people have the responsibility of taking their health into their own hands, they also want to know the places they visit are doing their part to keep things hygienic, too.

public health best practices
Image by Klaus Hausmann from Pixabay

As more people start to travel again, you can give your guests peace of mind by keeping your hotel safe and clean. Disinfect surfaces and rooms frequently, and make sure your guests know the efforts you’re putting forth. Additionally, you can provide information about social distancing and best practices to stay healthy.

All of this information can be provided to your guests via your app. You can even let them know when their rooms have been cleaned, and every safety measure you’re taking to keep them healthy during their stay.


Keep Your Staff Informed

Your hotel has already undoubtedly had to go through some changes this year because of the pandemic. In winter, even more changes can occur in a matter of hours. It’s important to be able to communicate with your staff as effectively and efficiently as possible.

If a disaster occurs from a winter storm, you’ll want everyone to know quickly. It might be a burst pipe, a broken furnace, or damage to the actual structure of your building.

Whatever the case, you will need a direct line of communication with your employees. You should be able to inform them of what is going on, what your expectations are, and what they should be doing.

online training course for hotel staff
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Your app can help you do that, so there is no confusion as to what the recovery plan is. Your employees can stay safe, and you’ll be able to communicate digitally to make sure your hotel gets back to business as quickly as possible.


Attract Guests Throughout the Winter

Despite COVID, threats of bad weather, and other wintertime setbacks, it’s more important than ever to continue to market your hotel. In Prague and Rome, where the hospitality industry was significantly hit by COVID, the revenues per available room (RevPar) dropped by 78% and 86%, respectively for during March 2020. If your business is on the line, finding ways to keep guests coming throughout this cold season is crucial to keep things running.

Thankfully, having an app and getting on board with technology is a great way to start. You can market yourself through your app, and people will learn more about you from the palm of their hand. Customizable services are a great way to attract people to stay with you, especially when they can control those services on their phones. Some ideas for custom amenities include:

• Different room types to choose from
• Minibar options
• Various bathroom product brands
• Access to streaming services on the television
• Access to different areas of the hotel, including the pool and gym

Everyone wants a customizable experience, and they don’t want to have to make a phone call to the front desk or ring for room service all of the time. In today’s digital world, including as much information and as many services as possible on your hotel’s app can make a big difference in how you market yourself to travelers.

The possibilities are truly endless with a hotel app. From amenities and information about your business to suggestions on things to do and places to visit during a stay, you can give guests full control over their experience with you. During the upcoming winter months, that can be a crucial technique to help your hotel stay afloat and see success again.

Article by Luke Smith – Manet Guest Writer & Technology Enthusiast

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empty hotel corridor

As predicted by world’s leading virogists , after the initial covid-19 outbreak, a second pandemic wave has followed in autumn 2020. Today we’re right in the middle of this wave, we can’t predict when it will end and experts say it might be followed by a third one.

Governments and health organizations have taken new measures in an effort to flatten the contagion curve. These measures have inevitably put the world economy in difficulty for a second time and, as during the first pandemic wave, one of the most affected by the covid-19 industries was again the hospitality industry.

Travel restrictions, national anti-contagion measures and the fear of being infected have practically eliminated all flows of leisure or business travelers. As a consequence, hotel bookings, as during the first pandemic wave, have collapsed again and hotel companies all over the world have gone into crisis.

However, in every crisis there are hidden opportunities and during this second pandemic wave, the biggest opportunity that emerged for hoteliers was that of covid hotels.

What is a covid hotel?

Covid hotels are accommodation facilities where covid-19 infected people, who do not need hospitalization or are asymptomatic, can quarantine until they until they get over the infection. These people cannot be hospitalized, as they would occupy precious hospital beds needed by severe covid-19 patients, and cannot either return to their homes, as they would risk infecting their cohabiters and loved ones.

man in quarantine for covid 19
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

This is why local health organizations and governments have requisitioned hotels in order to transform them in quarantine facilities that can help hospitals optimize their bed capacity and covid-19 infected citizens transition into normal life without the risk of infecting their peers.

A new business opportunity for hoteliers

Covid hotels represent a new big business opportunity for hoteliers affected by the recent pandemic crisis.

Hoteliers who decide to transform their hotels into covid-hotels can keep generating revenue until the pandemic crisisi has ended and tourism starts recovering again. However, managing a covid-hotel is not as simple and straightforward as managing a leisure or business oriented hotel.

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

Covid hotel clients are people who cannot leave their rooms, cannot come into physical contact with other people or with hotel employees and therefore they need food&beverage delivered to them daily as well as good phone and internet connectivity in order to communicate with their loved ones and work remotely.

It’s easy to imagine that, today, there are no hotels built keepin a covid-19 crisis in mind. That’s why most hotels are not organised to meet covid-19 safety measures and quarantined people needs.

For example, today most hotels will find really hard providing their clients with a 24.7 fast internet connection as well as with an efficient real-time food&beverage ordering&delivery system. Imagine how much a hotel’s internet connection can slow down when all its guests perform videoconferencing or movie streaming at the same time throughout all the day.

Imagine also how difficult can be for reception employees to receive and dispatch room service orders for breakfast, lunch and dinner for all their rooms at the same time.

Therefore the question arises spontaneously: how can hoteliers overcome the above mentioned difficulties and transform their hotel into a covid hotel in order to adapt their business to the new market scenario and manage to get over the current crisis?

The answer to this question is quite complex. However it can be summed up in 4 words: thanks to Manet technology!

Let’s discover more about this technology in the following paragraphs.

How can Manet technology help covid hotels meet staff and guest needs?

What is Manet?

Manet is an advanced mobile assistant and concierge packed in a smartphone and designed to replace traditional hotel room telephones. Among its features there are unlimited internet connectivity, unlimited worldwide calling, public health and safety tools, 24.7 voice and text communication with hotel reception and advanced service ordering and booking tools allowing on, one hand, hotel guests to have their hotel’s services at their fingertips and, on the other, hoteliers to satisfy guest needs and manage hotel facilities at best.

Manet Mobile Smart Travel Assistant
Manet smart mobile assistant and digital concierge

So let’s see how these features can provide fine solutions to covid hotel needs.

Digital communication and entertainment

Each Manet device works as a very fast wifi internet hot spot. Therefore, covid hotels equipped with Manet can provide each one of their guests with an individual fast and efficient internet connection allowing them to surf the web, perform videoconferencing, work remotely and stream movies or music without experiencing internet connectivity lags and drops.

Food order and delivery

People who quarantine for covid-19 in covid hotels need food delivered directly to their rooms more times per day. With Manet devices, menu and order management become easy and straightforward both for guest and hotel staff as the Manet platform includes a smart food order management system that enhances the guest food ordering experience and facilitates order dispatch on the hotel staff side.

room service delivery
Image by Franck ROCHETEAU from Pixabay

Guest-reception communication

Manet devices include smart voice, video and text communication channels aimed at enhancing guest–reception communications. Guests can choose either to call, videocall or text the reception and receptionists can also send one-to-one or one-to-many push messages to their guests. All these options make communication easy and safe for guests and hotel staff as they can choose the communication channel that best fits their needs and their mood without any physical contact that could increase covid-19 infection spreading.

Easy and constant communication with health professionals and authorities.

Last but not least, Manet devices provide their users with real-time public health notifications, issued by local health authorities, as well as with public safety numbers that can be reached with a simple screen tap. Thanks to Manet devices it is also very easy to find and communicate with hospitals and pharmacies located near every Manet-equipped covid hotel.
Moreover, Manet devices have a built-in function allowing their users to request an in-house doctor visit, book an appointment at the doctor’s studio or even schedule a doctor-video-consultation at their convenience. This way they can have continuous medical assistance and feel safe during quarantine.

To sum up, the second covid-19 wave is a reality we must all deal with. A reality that has created lots of problems to solve as well as new business opportunities for hoteliers, hospitality professionals and covid-19 patients who need to quarantine away from hospitals and from their homes.

Once again, the most important problem solving factor, in this new tough scenario mankind is facing, is the same one that has helped humanity overcome the biggest obstacles encountered in the last decades. This miraculous factor is simply technology!

Article by Athanassios Karaiannis, Digital Marketing Specialist

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Cloud computing - Manet Mobile Solutions

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.

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Hotel room

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.

Tourists during covid-19 times
Photo by Victor He on Unsplash

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.

Contactless Service

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 App - Digital Concierge

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.

Going Digital

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.

Manet App - Digital Concierge

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.

All your guests need to do is grab the digital device that will be ready and waiting for them in their rooms and then hit the road! Plus, if you want to take your service to the next level, you might provide a lightning-fast car charger or Bluetooth speaker to take along with them.

Mobile travel assistant charging in car
Photo by form PxHere

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!

SaaS Tools

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.

Manet Dashboard

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.

The Takeaway

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

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Traveler using technology

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 is a powerful destination marketing tool
Virtual reality is a powerful destination marketing tool

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:

  • Convenience
  • Ability to access quick reviews
  • Coupon codes
  • 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!

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Manet Smart Travel Assistant

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. 

Hotel apps
Hotel apps are a thing of the past

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.

Smart Travel Assistant
Mobile travel assistants improve hotel guest experience

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: 

  • Room Key
  • Smart TV Remote Control
  • Bulky Hotel Room Phone
  • Air-conditioner Remote Control
  • Room Lighitng Controller
Hotel Master Key
One key for all hotel appliances

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.

Manet wifi hot spot
Mobile wifi hot spot

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
Manet Smart Travel Assistant
Manet Smart Travel Assistant

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.
Manet Hotel Dashboard
The Manet Dashboard

The Verdict

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!

Visit www.manetmobile.com to discover more!

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Sustainability in hospitality - Manet Mobile Solutions

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.

The future of hospitality is green

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.

Digital documents in hospitality

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;

Technology in hospitality helps save the planet

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.

Paper waste in the hospitality industry

Paper waste

A hotel guest generates about 1 kg of waste per day and almost a third of this waste is paper

Waste generated by hotels

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.

Manet Hospitality Technology

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!

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