In Newsletter #59: ALICE Partnered with Forbes Travel Guide to Bring First Text Messaging-Powered Concierge Service to the Forbes Luxury Summit
On the back of becoming their partner for Staff Operations, we were invited to the Forbes Travel Guide Luxury Summit last month in Los Angeles. As a vendor, we were asked if we wanted to put a gift in the rooms of all the 4 and 5 star hoteliers attending the event. Bestowing our hotelier friends with physical gifts makes a lot of sense for other Forbes “Brand Officials”, like Nespresso, but what can a tech company like us give that’s relevant? After rejecting ideas like branded wine openers and the like, we decided to offer our own ALICE texting tool and a dedicated concierge. The results surprised even us (read below).
The Summit was rebranded as “Verified” by Forbes. An attempt to reposition the Forbes Travel Guide as the authority on what constitutes a good hotel experience, from booking through to checkout. Over the last ten years, the likes of TripAdvisor have put the review power in guests hands, and with it the overall assessment of which hotels provide a great experience. If we look at TripAdvisor today though, it’s easy to question how much insight the reviews really give us. Do the math yourself… so few of them are given relative to the actual number of guests staying per year in a hotel, and of those few reviews given, it’s easy to question whether the review is fake (incentivized) or prompted by an angry guest. Additionally, unlike the Ubers of this world, reviews are never given in real time, but instead a few weeks later. We get the feeling there is need for a new review process, and applaud Forbes Travel Guide’s recent moves.
We launched the API registry (see below) at HT-Next last month and there are a few big conferences this month that we will be at. If you are not on our calendars but would like to be, you can just reply to this newsletter and we will set you up:
Hope to see you there,
– Alex Shashou
A Concierge at your Fingertips: ALICE Partnered with Forbes Travel Guide to Bring the First Text Messaging-Powered Concierge Service to the Forbes Luxury Summit
ALICE, the hospitality industry’s leading operations platform, partnered with Forbes Travel Guide during their annual Luxury Summit, to create the event’s first text messaging-powered concierge service. By offering the Summit’s hundreds of attendees concierge service at the push of a button, ALICE demonstrated just how convenient and compelling text messaging with hotel staff is as a way to deliver a superior guest experience.
ALICE attended the Luxury Summit to celebrate its designation as the Forbes Travel Guide’s Official Staff Operations Technology Provider for 2018. Thousands of hotels across the country and around the world use ALICE to improve guest communication and staff operations, and, in the case of ALICE’s Forbes hotel partners, ensure the rigorous 900-point Forbes property checklist is met. In the five years since the company’s inception, ALICE has taken the hospitality industry by storm. ALICE’s vision of a single, unified hospitality operations platform that bridges communication and data silos between departments is helping the company’s hotel partners deliver consistently exceptional service and guest experiences.
ALICE was the perfect text messaging technology for the Luxury Summit, as it allowed the tech-savvy, but very busy crowd of hotel general managers, owners, and managing directors to request concierge-style services and information in between a packed schedule of events. ALICE’s Customer Success Specialist and former concierge, Valerie Coello, who was previously concierge at the Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York City, was there for every attendee’s beck and call. Coello received text requests from 24% of attendees, which included requests for dinner and spa reservations, event logistics and information, confirming RSVPs, and even a very last-minute tux fitting.
The 450 text conversations Coello exchanged during the Forbes event reveal the extent to which technology can help facilitate hospitality. Coello emphasizes that ALICE’s messaging service, which is intended to connect hotel staff with guests and vice versa, is, at its core, a way to connect people with people. “With the rise of chatbots, I think people were pleasantly surprised to receive real-time information from a real-life person and not just get an automated, impersonal response,” says Coello about attendee reception to the service. “I was able to personally tailor the message with the information provided, resulting in the attendees feeling like their needs had been met.”
Today, giving your guests a convenient way to get in touch with hotel staff and concierges has become table stakes for luxury brands, and hoteliers are increasingly recognizing that text messaging needs to be part of the mix. “Guests’ expectations are evolving and we're constantly looking at ways to communicate with our guests in the way that is most comfortable to them,” General Manager for Le Parker Meridien, Sylvie Fayolle, emphasizes. “We use ALICE for pre-arrival, to say, 'Hey, your room is ready, we're ready for you to come by the front desk to pick up your keys.' We're also continuing this interaction with them throughout the day. That has really enhanced the communication we have with our guests." Hotels using ALICE’s Guest Messaging are also finding consistent communication pre-, during- and post-stay heightens guest satisfaction and leads to increased brand loyalty.
Beyond facilitating concierge service and front desk requests, texting can be an effective channel to engage with guests in other ways, such as helping to build post-stay relationships and expedite lost and found requests. On most occasions, for example, lost and found inquiries happen after a guest leaves the hotel, clouding the memory of an otherwise possibly wonderful stay. Texting allows direct interaction between guests and hotel operators, meaning the request can be both immediate and effective. Once the item has been found, the hotel can quickly next advise next steps for the guest to secure their items back. “ALICE gives us one centralized place for all guest messaging and guest request management, which has made our lives at the front desk a lot easier,” said Stella Garces, Director of Rooms at The Montauk Beach House. “Even text messaging, which is intended for guests, has made things better at the front desk, allowing us to provide personalized service quickly. It’s evident how much our guests appreciate these new tools… .”
Head here to learn more about how ALICE Guest Messaging can improve your guest experience.
UPCOMING WEBINAR: Webinar - Upgrade to ALICE Concierge
- The Evolution of the Hotel Front Desk: Why Tech Can Only Go So Far Skift
- An Insider's Guide To Picking The Best Hotel Management Software Mews Systems
- Being Informal Is the Future of Luxury Guest Relations Skift
- With Hotels Becoming Social Spots, More Private Spaces for Guests New York Times
- The Hotel Of The Future Is Coming Ad Age
TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY SPOTLIGHT: HTNG API REGISTRY
ALICE is pleased to introduce the HTNG API Registry. Now in beta, with the public release scheduled for June 2018, the registry intends to be the one place where technology leaders at hotels can go to learn about system integrations and vendor APIs.
Unlike other industries, APIs for hospitality are not easily discoverable, which makes integration between partners difficult and projects pricier and drawn out. HTNG launched the API Registry, in conjunction with Impulsify and us at ALICE, to improve communication between vendors and make technology solutions more discoverable for hotels. “By updating how systems integrate with each other, hotels will be able to operate with greater efficiency and please guests in ways that aren’t possible today,” says Martin Zam, CIO of Impulsify and co-chair of HTNG’s API Registry Workgroup.