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Other Industries Turn to Technology: When Goldman Met Google - ALICE Newsletter 44

In Newsletter #44:  When other industries turn to technology | A new breed of hotel company | Technology to improve the guest experience

Last week we went down to Orlando to attend the HT-Next conference (the new coalition conference between HTNG and HFTP). This is the show where the technical minds in our industry come together to talk about technology standards. The idea is that it’s a lot better for our industry if we all follow the same rules (think PMS integrations, payments, and soon...APIs).

I won’t bore you with the details on every meeting, but a few things really stood out to me. In the big dog CIO panel Bruce Hoffmeister, Marriott’s Global CIO, said the following: "ROI is difficult to judge when driving behavior vs cutting costs... and our mindset is changing to accept that. We are learning to accept that it's ok to fail small to figure out new innovation as long as we don’t setup to fail at scale.” This is a great step for our industry, one that has typically found it very difficult to make incremental steps forward (as most innovation does). Technology is often about changing behavior, especially when it comes to operations teams. Even at ALICE, we are starting to see this with fewer questions leveled at us about ROI, and more questions about how to bring up technology adoption and behavioral change in the organization.

Some other really nice takeaways:

  • On customer experience: A new position has emerged, Chief Customer Experience Officer, and it’s growing in importance.
  • On data analytics: Get the right information for the right person at the right time. It needs to serve a purpose.
  • On data security: The internet as used today is broken. And finally, everyone is accepting that.
  • On technology: Make technology seamless like you don't know you are using it
  • On innovation: Let’s ask the line level for their ideas, they usually have the best. Let them start a competition for ideas.

Below we have three great pieces. My favourite being the Goldman Sachs piece… it’s really an incredible look at how an industry might shift. So, read it, and then ask your line level… how can we change everything we are doing? 

Happy Easter,


P.S. For those of you who are interested, we’ll be hosting a live product update presentation for our clients on Wednesday, May 3. Keep an eye out for an email later this week with a link to register for either the 10am or 1pm session.    




When other industries turn to technology

Business Insider | Goldman Sachs Wants To Become The Google Of Wall Street

Why it matters: 

While this piece doesn’t pertain directly to hospitality technology, it’s still a fascinating example of how one of the most traditional industries - finance - is looking to technology to rebuild itself.

In the piece, Marty Chavez, a top executive at Goldman Sachs, outlines a radical future for the Wall Street bank; one in which their customers do not have to go through the bank’s employees to access the information they are looking for. This would completely change the face of banking. But, as Chavez nicely compares… it is no different from consumers not having to call Google to run a search (could you imagine?!).

Hotels themselves are, in some respects, similar, in that they are gatekeepers to their service offerings with staff being at the middle of the request. One wonders what would happen if instead a hotel packaged its services and gave them direct to the guest, would this look like a hotel’s mobile app or more like Airbnb? What do you think? One thing from the article is certain, the minute one bank moves the rest will follow swiftly. Again, not too dissimilar from the hotel industry.

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The new breed of hotel company has three verticals: hotels, alternative accommodation, and technology services

Skift | Everything AccorHotels Has Acquired And Invested In Over The Past Year


Why it matters: 

When we think about what a hotel company might look like in the 2020s, our thoughts turn quickly to Accor.

In the last ten years, the rise of the sharing economy, the emergence of the on-demand movement, the proliferation of APIs, the advance of platforms, and a continually strengthening China and Chinese middle class have fundamentally changed the business of hospitality. While most hotel companies have either chosen to ignore these shifts, or respond to just one or two, Accor is making quick moves, crafting a growth strategy that acknowledges and doubles down on all of these trends.

Much of this strategy has comprised of acquiring or investing in companies (in alternative accommodations, luxury, and booking platforms like Fastbooking, which allowed the company to open up it booking platform to independent hotels who are not otherwise affiliated with Accor), but there have also been partnerships (with overseas groups, like China’s Huazhu), and a truly innovative move into complementary services (which we covered in Newsletter 42). We recommend Skift’s Deanna Ting’s review of everything Accor has invested in or acquired over the past year to see  how Accor is fashioning itself as a “new breed” of hotel company.  


accor invest _ skift.png



Technology to help improve the guest experience

Smart Decision Guides The 2017 Smart Decisions Guide To Hotel Guest Experience Management


Why it matters: 

Guest Experience, Guest Experience, Guest Experience… so how does one actually manage it today?

Increasingly, the world's leading hoteliers are turning their attention to technology innovation in areas that can improve the guest experience. After all, improving the guest experience in ways that drive increased satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy can yield large financial benefits. According to estimates, a one-star increase in a hotel’s rating can translate into a 10 percent increase in bookings and revenue.

Improving the guest experience has generally meant offering better guest rooms, facilities and resources – and, also, providing better, friendlier and more personalized service. But, with the advent of next-generation technology solutions, Guest Experience Management (GEM) has reached new levels of efficiency and effectiveness, with personalization a primary focus area for improvement.

For those evaluating Guest Experience Management (GEM) solutions, or for those contemplating implementing GEM technology, we recommend The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Guest Experience Management (sponsored, in part, by ALICE). The guide reviews solutions that provide the technology foundation for enabling GEM, as well as a buying considerations list and evaluation checklist, must-ask questions, and an implementation roadmap and recommendations.





The future of guest communication