Hotel Tech Report | Tech Concierge Interview With Jordan Hollander

Hotel Tech Report | Tech Concierge Interview With Jordan Hollander

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Hi, my name's Brendon Granger. I'm  the technology concierge. Today I'm   joined by Jordan Hollander from hotel  tech report. Hey Jordan! How are you?   I'm doing awesome, thanks for having me Brendon.  Thank you. It's an absolute pleasure. As we're   saying off camera, it's taken us a little while  to coordinate a time, but I think it will be   well worth it absolutely sending outlay's  easy time zone wise once you figure it out.   It's actually not too bad. It's a reasonable  time here, it's not like 3 A.M on Sunday and  

it's still really… which is good. I love what  yourself and your brother Adam have done with a   hotel tech report. I mean… and I'll get you to in  a sec… I love the fact when looking at your site,   you said, you created it to help, educate,  engage, and advise hoteliers on technology,   so that they can take advantage of it and it's  very similar to the philosophy behind the Hotel   Technology Concierge Series(T4H), where we try  and help, educate hoteliers on technology. So,  

tell us a little bit about the hotel tech report,  Jordan. Yeah, totally. So, I think what we do is   not so different from what you're doing for your  hotel clients and I think, ultimately what we saw   in the market is that there are not enough Hotel  technology concierges in the world and that lots   of hotels lack this kind of information and  a steward to bring them an unbiased opinion   about what solutions they should be using in the  market. So, as a result of that they, kind of,   we're very reactive in what we found in the early  days of Hotel tech report, maybe PMS broke or   maybe they lost a payment integration or a variety  of other reasons, maybe it's just a sales person   that a tech company reached out and they were beat  reacting to that sales message. So, what we found   was that hoteliers were not super proactive  and how they were thinking about technology   from a holistic perspective and it wasn't their  fault. They just didn't have access to the right   information tools and resources to start on that  Journey because they're super busy handling guest   needs and dealing with operations and reporting  up to ownership and management groups. So, what we   did is, we wanted to make it really easy for them  to figure out what are the Solutions in the market   for a specific query, what are users saying about  those, what are their peers saying. So, obviously  

you have hotels, a lot of hoteliers will rely  on feedback from their peers, they go to local   industry events if they have breakout meetings,  lunch sessions with their local GMS for example,   but we wanted to help hoteliers really get that  information at scale. As software became a really   globalized industry and so it's all tech report,  the easiest way to describe what we do is we're   Trip Advisor for hotel software, Hotel owners and  managers and operators, come on our site, they   write reviews about the products they use, they  have a rigorous verification process to ensure   that those reviews and that content is authentic  and unbiased and it's not being influenced by   vendor interference and then their peers come on  our site and are able to see, well, when you close   that deal that sales rep reached out to about what  is the experience actually like and so everything   that we do in our lives, whether we're booking  a trip, or looking for a restaurant reservation,   we're reading reviews and our mission with Hotel  tech report is to bring the power of transparency,   trust and Community to help Hotel Tech buyers who  are, when you think about it the stakes of a hotel   technology decision are way bigger than where  you're going to eat lunch, and we spend hours   reading about where we're going to eat lunch.  So, when you think about potentially hundreds of   thousands of dollars, Australian over a multi-year  period that you're locked in, and the opportunity,   cost of other systems, this is a massive decision,  this is like halfway to getting married and so you   should have all the information, you need to make  a great decision around that and that's what we   provide. That's fantastic, and it's a great site  I've read lots of your reports myself and you're  

right, I will visit the site and there are PMS  vendors that I'm unaware of that are very highly   rated. It's a wonderful thing, and I think you're  right, I've heard it said before we spend more   time planning our holiday than we do our life and  there's a great analogy that we spend more time   planning lunch than we do our next property  management system. Often... You just come,   I see it hotels will just go out and start getting  demonstrations from vendors, and then get pricing,   and it's the vendors that they know that your  site allows them to actually identify vendors   that they're potentially aren't aware of, but get  some feedback as well, narrow things down, it's a   great site. Yeah! Absolutely! Jordan, the pandemic  ,we've heard a lot about the pandemic exhilarating   technology they say, I think, it was Mackenzie  that said we've progressed at least seven years.  

I know, the hotel industries progressed. Do you  think we've had the same push as far as technology   goes, as the pandemic progressed us 10 years,  for example? Yeah, great question. So, I think   there's, what..., like the first thing that we do  when we look at the progress of technology is like  

just looking at our own Google analytics data, and  so just looking at that as a proxy for like demand   for hotel software and so in March of 2020, I  think, we had something like, I think, we had   less than 40,000 monthly users on Hotel Airport,  last month we had 245,000 month users. So,   that's more than 500% growth in demand for hotel  software using that data point as a proxy, and so   like anecdotally when we dig into why that is, I  mean, I think, it's pretty clear that wherever you   looked in the hotel organization you're looking  at teams being scaled back and we're still having   kind of Labor shortage challenges. So, what can  you really do if..., and remember these guests   are paying multiples of what they were paying  before the pandemic. So, I guess we're paying   more than ever and the teams have less staff to  service them. So, what can a hotelier do, you   can try to ship things around operationally, you  can try and figure out more efficient routes for   your housekeepers. There's all these things that  you could try to do operationally, but ultimately   the real lever that you can pull to become more  efficient and actually understand what's the   difference between this operational strategy  and that operational strategy is "technology",   and so, whether that's team collaboration  tools to help staff members multitask better,   whether that's more automated Revenue Management  Systems9RMS) to help with dynamic pricing in   real time based on new market data and future  demand data all across the organization. It's  

about getting more efficient, even when you look  at sales organizations, obviously business travel   has kind of fallen off and it's still not really  where it was before the pandemic, but there's   all these other types of group travel that have  picked up like family reunions of people who want   to reconnect after the pandemic, or small breakout  meetings if a company has a headquarters in a city   but no one's going into the office and they want  to incentivize people to connect with each other,   or do team building activities, or brainstorming,  they'll often go to hotels for an off-site. So,   when you look at legacy sales processes of like,  oh! We have JP Morgan come in every single year   at this time and it's the same group, well, when  that changes you need to be really efficient in   the sales software that you use to figure out, how  am I going to change my prospecting strategies?   How am I going to go after... instead of companies  that are visiting San Francisco, how do I go out   to the companies in San Francisco? So, technology  is really the only tool that hoteliers have,   or really anyone in any type of business when  you're short staffed to become more efficient   and increase productivity. Yeah, fantastic. There  are some great points there, Jordan. I think   you're right. Staffing shortages are a real issue  and unfortunately, I don't see them that going   away anytime soon. I think, we need to leverage  technology, you're right. The market has changed,  

we see it here in Australia, whether rightly  or wrongly somebody was suggesting yesterday.   Perhaps we kept our borders closed a little bit  too long, our International visitors are not back,   corporates are not yet traveling in the numbers. I  think, I was listening to something yesterday that   said it'll be 2026 before we get back to that  1.5 trillion dollar value from business travel,   and technology, I think, has got to help us pick  up the slack to deliver the service, as you said,   rates... certainly here in Australia and US as  well, are above what they were in 2019. Although,   obviously occupancy is down but things are good,  and guest expectations are extremely high as well.  

Absolutely! So, what is the number one  piece of technology in your mind that   perhaps a hotel should be looking at to help?  Yeah, I think it really depends on the hotel,   the market segment, the region, there's obviously  a lot of variables that come into it. I think,   it's all about figuring out where your bottlenecks  are, so like, for example, if we're talking about   a luxury resort in the Maldives, we're probably  going to be talking about a different solution   than a budget hotel in Northern California,  and so one of the tools that I think is really   interesting and compelling from the luxury side is  a company called "self-book" and the reason that I   think self-book is so interesting, I'm not sure  if you've heard of them, but basically they've   built this graphical user interface overlaid onto  some of the legacy booking engine and CRS software   and it allows this modern booking experience that  feels like you're booking a hotel that feels the   same way that you're paying for goods on a Shopify  platform and so it increases conversion rate for   hotels, it streamlines the payment flows by having  mobile wallets, accepted local payment methods,   and it really helps hotels capture more demand  in their market and Market their services. So,   it breaks that competitive advantage as  well as increasing the conversion rate   on the website and ultimately when you can  increase in conversion rate on your website   you could spend more on ad dollars because those  ad dollars are driving more profitability and so   I think that's like one really interesting tool  there's a bunch but I think ultimately when we   think about technology unfortunately there's  a lot of cool stuff out there that we... that   I know we'll talk about later in this, but the  property management system is the ultimate place   that every hotelier has to look. You have to  think about, is my property management system  

innovating building new features? Does it have an  easy user interface when I turn over new staff?   Does it have the Integrations that I need?  What's the payments infrastructure look like,   and so thinking about your property management  system as like before I go to level two,   I'm like what are all these kind of really cool  tools that I could add to make my hotel more   efficient? You're going to get bottlenecks if you  don't have the right property management system   as the core of that tech stack. So, that's always  where we recommend starting, and so once a hotel   has a really effective property management system,  let's say that they're using Muse, for example,   they'll know all the different Integrations that  are available from views and then we can start   picking the ones that are going to drive their  business goals. But ultimately for us it's less,   we really want to encourage hoteliers to be  proactive instead of reactive about their   technology and so rather thinking about something  that, oh! We heard this hotel that's just down the   street. We want them to always... we encourage  our audience to always start with what are the   business problems, or opportunities that we want  to go after this quarter and then fill out, fill   in the technology that can meet those. So, if you  want to drive more ancillary revenue, you might be  

looking at a mobile ordering solution like Samba  who I know you work with, or you might be looking   at upselling software like Canary, or Okie, and so  it really depends on like what are your business   goals and for each hotelier within the hotel  it's also going to vary. So, it really depends on   who is the Persona? What are their specific goals  that they're driving towards? And then aligning   the technology around those goals. That's a  fantastic answer. I love the fact as you said   the PMS is still the core and you need to make  sure that you've got a strong PMS these days it   probably should be cloud-based to give you maximum  flexibility. The point about usability is a great   one because with the turnover we're seeing, you  want your staff to be able to come in and pick   that system up as quickly as possible, potentially  by watching a couple of videos rather than having   to go through a formal training session with your  vendor. I hate to say, I worked for PMS vending  

years ago and I started in the installation  section and I'd spend nine hours a day training   people on how to use the PMS, so it's that complex  back then. The world has changed a lot, it's like,   I always say, it's like you don't need... you  don't need a training session for an iPhone and   that's where all design should ultimately leave. I  was in the Apple store the other day and they were   doing a tutorial on how to take pictures which was  interesting, but you shouldn't need that. They're   probably some tips and tricks to taking better  pictures, I think, the cameras on phones have   become so complex, now there are so many things  you can turn off and on, and delayed timing,   and night mode. It can be confusing actually.  Totally! So, you're absolutely right, and I think,  

the same thing goes for like a PMS, like it needs  to be easy enough to pick up and be intuitive for   the staff who's turning over we obviously are in  an industry where there's a lot of Staff turned   over and now more than ever, and so it needs  to be easy enough for someone to pick up as an   elementary user or an introductory user, but then  what that also allows is every other user to skip   past level one and start focusing on more advanced  Integrations, workflows, maybe it's like figuring   out how to credit Saba orders onto the folio, so  that no charge is made, or maybe it's taking Apple   payments adding it to the folio and deducting it  so like what are the things that are going to make   a more frictionless guest experience and provide  better data to the hotel to make better decisions,   and so it allows those Elementary users to  get into the funnel and use the software   without needing training but then it allows  the advanced users to really go to those PMS   companies and develop more advanced workflows and  automations. Yeah, that's a great point. Jordan,   it's being said a lot that the hotel industry lags  behind from a technology point of view. I think,   it was Max that highlighted, McKinsey said that we  rate just above hunting, in our use of technology.   So, we're at that bottom of the list. Why  do you think it is that we lag behind?  

Yeah, I think it always breaks down, I think,  this kind of dovetails from our last question,   in hospitality you have multiple users or user  personas of a product. So, the example that I'll   give is like a revenue management professional  is not using the same tools as a marketer,   as not using the same tools as someone in Ops  and now there's more overlays and Integrations   between those but you have multiple users that...  and so there's this operational complexity. Even   within operations you have, let's say 50 users  using a tool, and let’s say its hotel kit,   or Alice for team collaboration. You could have  50 users, 100 users at a property using this so   it makes it really challenging to test new things  because you then have to get 100 users tracked...   trained onto this new workflow. Whereas, if you  look at e-commerce, for example, maybe you have a   marketing manager at a 10 million dollar revenue,  denim company they're gonna sign up with a new   Google ads optimization tool and they can try  that themselves. Whereas, in hotels, many of these  

tools rely on multiple stakeholders. So, it makes  it really hard to try, test, iterate. So, the   decisions, kind of, get slowed down and I think  that leads to a less rapid evolution in terms   of those technologies, and it obviously makes it  harder for the vendors to try some of those new   things. So, I think that's one component...  that's not really anyone's fault. It's just   kind of a characteristic of the business.  Yeah! I think, all in terms of complexity,  

like you also look at distribution. So, if you  look at kind of the big banks, travel agencies,   the direct bookings, the OTAs, there's so many  just different distribution players that all   have different payment methodologies, different  transaction flows, different payment terms,   and so everything in the booking flow becomes  more complex. So, it's like just to be able to   provide a new innovation like self-book, you now  need all of these integrations to be able to work   just to sit at the table and so there's less  self-books that are able to come to market and   obviously that means that the ones who do come to  market are well resourced and they're getting some   nice traction which is great, and then the last  piece, I think, is like high turnover. So, when   you have a hoteliers that are leaving a property  one foot out the door heading to the next one,   it's harder for them to stick around and try a new  initiative and so, I think, like a higher turnover   industry traditionally has more trouble investing  in technology. We see it in our own business,   if we're in the sales process with a prospective  client on the software side and we're in it for   three months and then the marketer or whoever it  is, if it's a stakeholder leaves the company, it   kind of puts that decision on ice, now we have to  go figure out who's the next stakeholder. I think   a lot of these software companies are dealing with  something very similar where it's kind of like   you're building these relationships over a long  term, but you might have a bit of a revolving door   in certain properties, or markets, or segments,  and so it makes it really hard to deploy that   new technology and ultimately the hotels are the  ones that get hurt because nobody wants to make   that decision and be the one who's responsible  for it if there's no real long-term skin in the   game for them on the other side. Yeah, that's a  really interesting point. I've never heard that  

last piece mention that turnover has an impact,  but it does. I mean, you're right. Some of the   sales cycles are a year, or so and I think that  turnover is only being heightened as a result of   post-pandemic changes I can think of a couple  of companies that I've been dealing with that   literally on a Friday you are talking to somebody  and then the following Friday they're no longer   at the company, and you're right, you're starting  from scratch again and doing that education piece   potentially because what we see they're short,  sometimes there's not even a handover. So,   you are literally starting from scratch and having  a complete brand new conversation with that person   about the particular technology and how it could  benefit from them which does make it really   difficult. Totally, and again, I think, it's  really not the fault of those employees. I mean,   I think when you look at hotel groups, there's  a super high correlation between how employers   treat their teams and their people in terms  of those hotel brands that have really great   relationships with their teams and innovation and  their ability to make long-term progress towards   more efficiency, better results. It's because  those employees feel ownership in the business,   they're presumably paid better than at other  groups and they feel like a real kind of...   they feel this owner mentality that you don't feel  if you're kind of getting minimum wage, and like   you just came in and you're doing the basics  and your owner treats you like crap and it's   all about that employee and owner relationship  and this isn't unique to hotels, any business   that's able to empower its team to compensate  them fairly and provide them the bandwidth to   take risks and take a long-term view are going to  innovate much faster than a company that is risk   averse preach their team poorly and underpays  them you're just going to find that kind of   revolving door. I think, as an industry it's our  responsibility to compensate better to treat our  

people better and to give them the ability to take  strategic risks, obviously within reason that had   a long-term focus instead of strictly that kind of  short-termism. Yeah! That's a great point. Yeah,   I think, as an industry we have to do some  work. Unfortunately, you've probably heard entry   into hospitality courses, our future management  numbers are down as a profession. We're, sort of,  

not in favor anymore and I think we need to change  that, we need to somehow rekindle the fact that   hospitality can be a career and it can be a great  one. It gives you so many opportunities to travel   if you wish to do that, so... Absolutely! Good  point. Jordan, we talked about obviously lots of   different systems in hotels and interfaces have  always been an issue. I think, we're making some   progress. What are your thoughts? I mean, are we  getting better at interfacing between systems?   Yeah. I think, undeniably we're getting better,  I mean, I think you look at legacy players like  

oracles advancements or cordeck. I think, protel  and SMT and building their App Store interface,   and... that we power all the reviews  and protel's App Store as an example.   I think that you see the Legacy companies that  are really taking incentive in this like we even   hear from competitors of some of those companies  commending them on the moves they're making just   because it's better for the industry. Then you  also have third-party integration tools happy as   being kind of the gold standard in integrations,  where it's basically like if a vendor doesn't   have a dedicated build onto a PMS API, happy has  a universal API that the vendor could build to and   get specific data points from those vendors in  a secure way. So, I think both like internally   at the companies and externally and then the kind  of newer like next-gen companies like amuse and   just API from APIs have been a focus from day one,  and making sure that their App Store ecosystem is   healthy and that people can develop new solutions  on top of theirs. I think, some of those newer   players have started with that mentality and not  at the cross ship Legacy technology that they have   to evolve from, but that's all natural course of  evolution and technology, and I think some of the   leading players like Oracle have done a great job  of really putting that into focus, shining a light   on the integrations program and really kind of  stepping things up to the next level in the last,   even like 12 to 18 months. That's a great point.  Yeah, I think, it's always going to be a bit of  

challenge but you're right, people like Muse have  done a great job in encouraging the industry. I   suppose, setting the gold standard really.  Particularly, if you're a muse customer and   you want to try something, it's quick and easy  to actually try a new product without any costs   involved, or time. Right. That's often an issue  we see with some of the systems. Yeah, I think,  

the one area where we still lag a bit is the  user interface around Integrations. So, like the   example for a kind of like broader software the  gold standard would be zapier. So, zapier allows   you to basically, without being a developer, you  can connect tools and set up dedicated workloads   and I think, our industry has a ways to go in  terms of building out those templates, or those   menu items if you will, to say, okay, when a guest  checks in on Muse, I want this to happen in Oaky,   that then triggers this promotion on a sweet pad  tablet, and so it's like, I think there's still   not the graphical user interfaces and templates  built out which makes those Integrations more   rigid, and by making it more rigid, it means that  there's a less ability of the hotel leaders to   be creative and the kinds of things that they're  testing, and so I think in this next five years,   it seems like the wiring and the infrastructure  is there now. I'd love to see companies in their   partnerships starting to get more creative around  visualizing, and giving options to hoteliers   around what different workflows they want to see  between those tools. Yeah, okay. That is a great  

point. Yeah, it's something a tool like zapier  for the hotel industry would be fantastic. Jordan,   voice assistants! They were popular at high  tech, I think in 2017, 2018, probably a year   or so after they came out on the market. I have  got my thoughts and I've got an article coming   out actually next week, but I just wanted to get  your thoughts. Do you think guests are ready for   them? Are guests expecting voice assistance in  the room? And, is there any benefit, and ROI?   So, I think, when you go to like the Vegas  properties here in the US, you're starting to see   them more my personal opinion. I mean, it's clear  that voice is taking a larger and larger share of   search. I'm not... like personally I'm a little  bit biased. I'm not like a big Siri guy. I haven't   really adopted voice myself in a major way.  So, personally when I go to a hotel and I was,  

as I try to think about that exact question  before I try to think about like... so to   be totally honest, I unplugged the device when I  get to the hotel for privacy reasons. Yeah! And,   I'm not one of those people who’s like a freak  about privacy and I need all my data... I actually   don't care if as long as I'm getting enough value  out of something, I am totally happy to give up my   privacy. I have nothing really to hide and... So  what when it comes to like Google, for example,   they're providing me Google Docs, Gmail. I don't  mind them having access to all my data. Those are   such valuable tools to me, and I think when  it comes to voice, the account regulation   just isn't there yet, like I would almost rather  text or use like a web app to order a hamburger   at the hotel then like talk to Alexa, or Siri,  or whoever... whoever's a voice assistant. So,  

for me personally it's just that calculation of  okay, well, if there is a company listening to   my conversation. I know it's highly improbable.  In the hotel, am I getting enough value from this   for it to make sense and the answer is probably  not yet, but I could see a world in the future   where it does get more efficient and it's more  integrated into all the different IOT systems,   but then there's also the component of, kind  of, like picking up all the commands within   a hotel. If you're using Siri you learn all the  commands that you really need in a day and then   you use it over and over and over again. When  you get to the hotel like you don't invest...   maybe you have like a little card that tells  you what you should be saying to the device,   but most of the time what I've done is like, it's  like playing music but it's like not my music,   it's kind of maybe... it's like maybe it's accent  radio or something, and so yeah, the cost benefit   analysis just hasn't penciled out and I think a  lot of consumers probably feel the same way in   terms of like not wanting to be listened to but  again millions and millions of consumers maybe   even billions at this point have smart speakers  in their homes. So, I think it'll become more  

and more natural for people, but I don't know  if it's that much better than a web app, or a   messaging system then it's really just a matter  of preference. Yes, that's a really great point.   I think, your point about convenience is a good  one. I'm a Google avid user. There's Google just   piped up actually… and I've actually signed up  for a lot of the beta stuff and I have location   services on, and every month Google gives me  a report of how many kilometers I've flown,   and driven, had in restaurants and I find it  convenient. Even the other day, my daughter's   learning to drive in here, in Australia. You have  to clock up 120 hours, and it needs to be kept in   a logbook and we were actually driving from  Melbourne to Sydney and she forgot to write   down what time he left a particular location,  we're just looking Google history and it tells   me you were here at 7:05 p.m. It's crazy and it's  so accurate, but I think you're right, I was and I   am, I'm a self-confessed geek. I won't say the  word but I've got five of those devices here,  

I've got lights connected, I've got lots of  things connected, I love it. Yeah! But still it   can be very frustrating technology and I think  you need to learn how to use the technology,   and guests when they get to a hotel, they don't  have the time or the inclination. If you get to   a hotel, and it's late and you want a burger or  something you could easily pick up the phone,   or you could just... as you said use a web-based  app scanner code and have it delivered to you   quickly and easily. So, it's that... where is  the benefit from the guest point of view. I think  

somebody even said to them, they might be right as  we move to more of a bring your own device. Maybe   in the future, it is your device and your voice  assistant that you're happy with. Be it Siri,   or Google or Bixby, for example, somehow that  integrates with the hotel to give you a better   experience. Yeah, absolutely! Going on than  robots, we talk about robots and I suppose we  

talk about AI because I know there's robots that  are physical in nature like Rosie from maybot that   are actually helping clean rooms by vacuuming  function areas and then we've got robots that   are actually doing keystrokes actually completing  night audits behind the scenes as well. Where do   you think they fit in? I suppose we can treat  them as two separate things, the software-based   robots as in that Ai and then potentially the  physical robots. Where do you think they play a   part and how long before you think we see them  become relatively mainstream? Yeah! I mean,   I think a lot of us watch the Tesla kind of  consumer robot demo last week and it's clear   that robots, I mean in that capacity are still  pretty far off, and I think the hotel industry   will be further off in consumer robots again  just because we use them in our homes day to day   and if they could provide that kind of convenience  and value it's going to add so much more value at   home than it would in a hotel environment. So, I  think that kind of like futuristic robot concept   to take time. To your point about keystrokes, I  think robotic process automation is a huge value   add. There's so many manual reports, exports,  transfers of data between systems that can all  

be automated, and are being automated, and so  I think that's happening in a huge way. We’re   seeing like... you probably saw actable. So,  it's the combination of Alice, Transcendence,   hotel effectiveness, and profit sort, and so  they're basically taking the data from the   input systems like a labor management system and  correlating it with the data in a PML from profit   sword and so now you can actually see how changes  in labor are affecting your costs of labor on your   PML in semi-real time and this is still early  days but like that's something that a management   company would have had a team of analyst trying  to do in the past and those analysts would have   spent most of their hours on data entry and  standardization and cleaning and now that part's   done and now they can get creative with that  data and same things that we saw in the hedge   fund world all does we have algorithmic trading  so I think we're going to start seeing more kind   of transfers of data and then also using machine  learning and AI to understand that data better   and recognize patterns that the human eye might  not have recognized, and we may not even know why   or have a hypothesis about what caused a certain  change in the PML but the computers and artificial   intelligence can tell us that. So, I think that's  a huge area for improvement that the technology  

is already there ready to go and now it's just  applying it to this market. I think when it comes   to kind of... I would say like dumb versions of  the Tesla robot, so like the Robotics are really   taking hold in repetitive highly labor-intensive  environments. So, factories those kinds of factory  

line environments, industrial settings where  it's a really challenging work environment,   really repetitive process and really taxing on  the human body and so I think when you look at   hotels one of the hardest jobs obviously  is housekeeping but housekeeping requires   so much nuance with different room types and  different... every room is different, every room   is in a different condition, every turn requires  a different level of service, and so I think, it's   still a ways off before we have a housekeeping  robot that could really make a dent in that role.   I think, like in general hospitality, I think  that somewhere like a multi-location franchise   business like McDonald's or Chipotle, those types  of environments will be the first hospitality   businesses to see more of that robotics coming  into it because it's really like a factory line   in the back of those restaurants, and so I think  hotel restaurants are obviously mostly geared   towards more of bespoke experiences and so it'll  take a little longer but maybe dishwashing robots,   obviously during the pandemic. We saw UV light  robots that would kind of sanitize rooms. Not so   sure how necessary that is, or was, but it's every  hoteliers can make that decision for themselves,   but I think those kinds of environments and  specific use cases are where we'll see it in terms   of like physical hardware robots. Yep! Behind  the scenes, as you said dangerous, dirty and   repetitive tasks. Yeah! Definitely. Jordan, what  would be your three top technologies for 2023?   Yeah, so I think, Self-book as I mentioned before  is the company that is just we tried to invest in   them and they close their initial round before we  got in so I'm still a little bummed about that,   but what they've done is just like building  over the Legacy infrastructure and creating   modern experiences without requiring hotels to rip  out anything has been super impressive. I think,  

the user interface design and conversion has  been something that's been lacking in the hotel   industry for a long time. So, it's really cool  to see that they've been picking up some amazing   hotel groups really quickly because of the value  that they're providing and I think their roadmap   looks really interesting coming forward, I can't  talk too much about. I mentioned actable. So,   that's the team at ASG where, for disclosure, I'm  an advisor. So, I am a little bit biased but I   think what they're doing, the reason that I said  yes to those guys. I think, what they're doing  

is really interesting and to the point earlier  about Zapier for hotels and having those workflows   and hoteliers can actually see and build those  different connections between their tools and   how they work. I think, what ASG is doing with  actable is really interesting because they're   connecting the inputs and outputs software and  I think that's been the problem with a lot of   data that we have in the hotel industry, is it's a  vendor that's providing analytics and thousands of   dashboards and then it's like okay, well what do  we do with that? And, like if we don't... but now   it's to the point where like someone at a hotel  could say, well, what if we have our housekeepers   skip every other floor and then let's just watch  what happens to our housekeeping line on our PNL   over the next three months and set up a test so I  think really giving hoteliers the tools to like,   make those strategic decisions or changes in  their operations, and then track it into their   actual business outcomes is really interesting.  We're starting to do some work with stripe who's  

like the Global Payments provider like the 100  billion dollar company from Ireland but what   they're doing is a lot of our clients who are  the hotel software companies like the channel   managers and PMS's are built on stripe and stripe  is providing them the ability. So, historically   the way it would work is like a PMS would have to  integrate with 14 different payments processors   and each region would have two or three that the  hoteliers could choose and then there would be   a lack of coverage. So, it's like maybe a PMS  wants to sell into Australia but now they don't   have those Integrations yet. So, they're kind of  like bottlenecks and can't serve that market and   then Australia is missing out on this great new  system. So, stripe basically does all the blocking   and tackling for these tech companies, when it  comes to payments. So, chargeback risk modeling,  

alternative payment methods, global compliance and  now it's like all these companies are able to just   start building their software and deploying it  globally, which is really cool and so we're seeing   a lot more companies get on the wagon with that.  The other cool thing is that stripe allows these   companies to monetize their payments, so instead  of paying a payments processor three percent and   monetize their payments by the way, in a way  that doesn't impact the hoteliers, there's   no additional cost to them and the software  companies are getting more resources. So, instead   of payments processor getting three percent now  vendor can choose a split with stripe based on   negotiations. On the back end the hotelier still  pays the same three percent are usually actually   even lower but now the vendor is getting one  percent of that and they're able to invest   that back into R&D which ultimately builds more  features for the hotelier without the hotelier   paying for. So, it's like a win-win and that's  something that we're seeing a lot of companies   in the PMS and channel management space get into.  I think, there's a company called Hierology out of  

Chicago that does a full stack applicant tracking  system and purpose-built hiring software for the   hotel industry plus for multi-location. So,  they do car dealerships and a couple other   verticals as well but for restaurants and hotels.  I think hotels have historically thought of HR,   as this administrative function, it's like we're  gonna put a sign on our glass window in the front   of our hotel that says "we're hiring", I'm like,  then we're going to have someone who signs up on   all the hiring documents and make sure there's not  sexual harassment, or all those other important   things but then it's like there's no actual hiring  strategy and I think we all know that like talent   is the most important determinant of business  success, and so I think a tool like pyrology can   help hotels be more proactive about their hiring  strategy. So, those are a few. There's a lot of   cool stuff going on the market. Going back to your  question about has the industry advanced? I mean,   we're seeing tons of capital come into this  market like never before, that's really why   it's takes some of these advisor positions with  private equity and Venture Capital firms trying   to help them see the opportunity within the  hospitality industry and bring more resources in   so these companies can grow the ones that you and  I both work with and we're seeing a ton of that   we're seeing a lot of consolidation. So, smaller  companies getting bolted into bigger companies  

that can help them grow faster and deploy some  really cool niche tools into a broader set of   hotels. So, there's a lot of kind of musical  chairs going into this but the pile is growing,   hoteliers are getting smarter and there's just  so much cool stuff going on in the industry right   now. Wow! You're right. There is some really  cool stuff there and I think, yeah, it's just   going to benefit the industry. It's great. It's  great to hear. Jordan, a personal question. If   you could have anything printed on a t-shirt,  what would that be? I mean, judging based on my   t-shirt right now, I think, I probably wouldn't  print anything. I'm like a plain shirt guy.  

That's fine. I think... I like to keep it  simple. Yeah, black t-shirts are just one   of those key items that you can just pull  out, and put on, and look good all the time.   If I wasn't doing an interview then I'd... I  actually have a whole bunch of these same shirts  

and my daughter's like, oh my God! Like why don't  you have something... Steve jobs, he's like full   on a pair of jeans, and I've got like four of  these shirts that are identical with a collar,   and I just like them. They just, they're good. As  we wrap up, any final thoughts or advice regarding   technology that you'd love to give hoteliers.  Yeah, I think it really all comes back to being   proactive about how you think about technology,  don't let a sales pitch persuade you. You should   try something, don't do it because someone in the  hotel next door is doing it, like those are all   reasons why you might want to explore something  and you get educated and we always encourage   hoteliers, it's like constantly be getting demos,  I mean, from Netflix CEO Reid Hastings would tell   his employees to go out and constantly interview  at other companies so they can know their worth   and I think if you kind of like grab that into  hotels it's obviously a very extreme kind of like   way to think about employment but if you grab  that into hotels, like if every hotelier should   be trying new products every month and getting  demos and building relationships with the software   companies and that's how they're going to get  educated on what's out there but when they think   about decisions it shouldn't be based on those  relationships, it shouldn't be based on any of   that other stuff I mentioned. It should be based  on what's their goal right now and then framing  

everything around how do they meet that goal and  maybe technology isn't the right solution to meet   that goal in a specific case. I would argue that  nine times out of ten technology is probably the   solution but starting with the framework going  towards a business goal, and operational goal   solving a pain Point, fixing a gap, filling a  gap, and then figuring out how technology... if   technology is the right solution of how it plays  into that. So, just really being about being   proactive and not reactive in their strategies.  Yeah, some great points. Yeah, technology,   I would agree nine times out of 10 but it can't  solve all problems. You're quite right and I  

think your point about being proactive is an ideal  one following things like hotel tech report is a   good way for people to keep up to date with what's  going on, obviously looking at guest complaints,   looking at bottlenecks within their operation,  and how they can streamline those. Totally. And, I   interviewed Max Stuckiff a while ago, and he said  we need a person within a hotel that he called   it a technologist. They're not necessarily a geek  but they're a person that can actually look at the   operation and look at technology and work out how  that technology can actually benefit the operation   and I think that's a role that I see is lacking  in hotels at the moment and even more. So,   because, I think, as we started the shortage in  labor at the moment means that everybody's got   their sleeves rolled up and they are in the  thick of it, and what I'm seeing is that a   hoteliers from general manager write down a so  busy obviously looking after the guests making   sure that everything's perfect that they're not...  to be honest, they don't have the chance to be   proactive at this point in time. Totally, and I  think it's the same with any management like you   look at most public company CEOs and their whole  job coming on is to make their job go away. So,  

we should be able to be pulled out of the equation  and the business should run efficiently without   them and I think GM still just because of what  a lot of these manual processes of the past are   still forced to be super tactical and I think what  we're going to see over time is an iteration of   or evolution of what Max was saying in terms of I  don't know if it's necessarily a digital role but   I think as GMs can be less focused on day-to-day  revenue management strategy because the tools are   there less focused on, ad strategy and marketing  budget because the tools are there less focused   on sales because there's more visibility into that  operation then they can start kind of disrupting   themselves and start thinking about getting more  proactive and thinking about the future instead of   thinking about today and yesterday and how to  handle those things. So, I think, it's really   just kind of specialization optimization and  automation and then that will free up the GM to   almost look like a... in a tech company, a product  manager, and the hotel is their product. Yeah,   that's a great analogy. I love that. Jordan, it's  been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for   your time. Thanks for having me Brendon, glad we  can make this happen. Excellent! Thanks Jordan.

2022-10-19 02:09

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