Category: RoomOrders

Can undaunted, splurging guests revive hotels and resorts?

Pent-up desires have created a new breed of guest that is bent on splurging in the post-corona recovery, all hotels and resorts have to do is provide good reason for them to part with cash they have piled up during hibernating lockdowns.

So there I was, on a deckchair, perched on a slab of rock overlooking the pristine Adriatic Sea in front of me, and sparkling cliff- edge hotel pools to the right and left. Smack in the middle, was my belly, and it was rumbling.

And the scorching Mediterranean sun was making me thirsty.

Royal Hotels and Resort, Dubrovnik

I was on a brief, but well-deserved holiday in Kings Landing, Westeros – otherwise known as Dubrovnik, and I was experiencing what every single tourist at a summer hotel or resort would be feeling at least three times a day. Or in my case, all day, every day.

I was peckish, and my throat was dry. But as I was on a holiday, I was also lazy. I didn’t want to get up and find the bar or hail a waiter. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I was also still in trauma from all the COVID-19 drama. Maybe this is just a respite, a cease-fire and the war is still on. I need to feel alive, and what better way to rejuvenate than to spend like a drunken gambler in a casino. I need to live more voraciously, spend more freely.

I had my spiel ready for the owner of the Royal Hotel and Resort chain, Canadian born Tom Zovko, when I catch him. Sure, the hotel is breathtaking and all that, and he’s got five stars from me, no problem. Only a man can’t go around in wet trunks and sweaty armpits foraging for nourishment.

I want my beer. And I want it now!

However, I could tell Tom was a shrewd businessman, who oversees every nook and cranny of this 600-room oasis on the scraggly coast of Croatia like clockwork. He didn’t look like he had time to just shoot the breeze with a chatty Aussie bloke.

So, I said: “Tom, mate (I’m Australian, remember?), your resort is beautiful beyond words, but when I’m hungry, or thirsty, I get hangry, and thangry, and foosty, bla, bla, grrr!”

Tom Zovko GM of Royal Hotels and Resort

 “Your point is, Mr Salesman?” he quipped.

“My point is Tom, Dubrovnik is a tourist Mecca and it’s half empty now. Corona has devastated the industry and everyone is wondering how to bring about recovery. While you cannot influence borders and flights and travel, I have just come out of corona prison I am desperate to find the closest bar and brothel…” Sorry, wrong movie. 

“What I’m saying is, I have post corona blues Tom, and I have money, lots of money (government’s are subsidising almost everyone, including me) and I want to give it to you. I want to eat and drink, and be merry. All you have to do is give me a reason to fork over my extra dollar.”

What do you say we start the post-covid hospitality recovery by enabling the few brave guests to spend cash they have saved during quarantine?” I ended my Eddie Murphy-esque rant.

Tom was thinking:

Could this be the answer to my staffing headaches?

Could convenience be the key to a memorable guest experience?

Then I calmly explained to Tom in rational terms how RoomOrders could digitalise his entire resort and allow ordering and payment from any corner of his resort. Seamlessly!

“Just like clicking your fingers, anywhere, anytime,” I said. “And voila, your beer or finger-food would arrive before your feet.”

Tom’s eyebrow arched, I could tell he was becoming more intrigued when I told him how much extra revenue per room he could earn. It’s all about RevPAR for these hotel types, tap, tap, tap, they calculate it in their heads in a flash.

It’s a no-brainer. No CAPEX, no training. No risks or lock-in agreements.

RoomOrders creates a digital poolside or beach for hotels and resorts, like when your spouse discovers a walk-in-wardrobe in the room. Oh my God! Where did this come from? How did they do it? Amaaaazing!

I was like a stranded whale through most of my stay, and getting me to go and fetch supplies must have felt like rolling an orca back into the ocean for my wife and two daughters, 6 and 7. Understandably, it was a bit of a hike, plus I don’t think the other guests really wanted to see my behemoth gut manoeuvring clumsily up to the bar. Plus it was hot. Really, really hot.

Had I been able to order on my phone, by just scanning a QR code on my deckchair, I would have been filling my stomach with beer on tap – a fancy brand of course, I was after all at a 5-star resort.

Tom and I shook hands right then.

Luckily for my kids, Tom could not introduce RoomOrders right that moment – even though we have really fast implementation – so I spent the extra cash riding jet skis with the tikes.

Snooze, you lose.

Special thanks to Tom Zovko, we really loved the Hotel Princess and will definitely come again. I can’t wait to test RoomOrders from my favourite cliff nest above the cobalt blue sea next time.

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Has corona killed your waiter?

Has corona killed your waiter?

When the vax shores up our collective immunity, allowing the hospitality sector to truly fling open its doors to the world this summer (* looking up into the skies, please God), you will probably notice a 250-year-old mainstay of restaurant dining gone missing.

You may look around, and call out: Garçon!

And to no avail.

Nobody will be around to hear you.

Or serve you.

Just like clicking your fingers and voila!

The COVID-19 pandemic could well have killed your waiter – only figuratively speaking, I hope of course – and replaced them with your phone (most probably already powered by 5G).

Disposed of contaminated paper menus, like rubbing a genie bottle or clicking your fingers, you will simply scan a QR code, or tap an NFC tag, and order what you wish. And it will appear out of thin air: voilà!

It won’t matter where you are; in a hotel room, a rooftop bar, pool or beachside deckchair, a golf course or casino, your food or drink will find you. It’s likely that the genie will be in the form of a drone.

Seamless ordering and payment

From the first day a French proprietor of a humble soup shop invented the menu in the early 1800s, waiters have been at our beck and call, greeting us upon arrival, recommending dishes, taking and delivering our orders, filling our drinks, clearing our tables, processing our checks…

They have survived all manner of automation, including vending machines, self-service canteens, walk-through cafeterias, BYO, take-away trucks, hotel smorgasbords, bicycle deliveries and teppanyaki as well as sushi trains.

Video killed the radio star and it seems digital is killing our waiters.

But is it really? And if so, how? Or why?

While I don’t think waiters are on the verge of extinction, I’m sure their numbers will dwindle considerably in the next five years. At the end of the day, waiters cost a lot to keep and hospitality is exiting its biggest ever crisis in history since World War II.

Rather than serve, waiters that endure will probably become more like exotic, endangered creatures. They will primarily welcome or entertain – in some way or another, they will be tasked to improve the guest or customer experience.

A niche audience may pine for the past, when hospitality was a comfort, when it had a human touch.

I blame Netflix.

Everything has become on-demand.

While we grew up hanging on suspense, prolonging our desires for almost everything, like a letter in the mail or our favourite TV show every Sunday afternoon, the new generation wants everything now!

Waiters, err sorry, I mean waiting. Waiting is for losers.

Yes, waiting. Not waiters.

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We care about guest experience. Yeah, but really?

Every hotel and resort decision-maker would tell you that the most important thing in hospitality is guest experience. Yeah, but do they really think that?

Trying to run the show at RoomOrders – a guest self-service ordering and payment solution, this question has often kept me up at night.

RoomOrders is used in over 200 leading hotel brands around the world, so you can imagine I’ve gotten to know a lot of hotel owners, GMs, operations, food and beverage and IT managers. RoomOrders is also used in a lot of restaurants and bars, including chains like Burger King, so the notion I get is the same for hospitality at large.

On the other hand, I am also a glutton. I love to indulge in hotels and eat out every chance I get. So I pretty much have a good handle on what guests want too.

Honestly, I think hospitality providers do really think guest experience is foremost. The only problem is that they seem to have lost touch with what today’s guest considers a truly good experience.

Sure, contactless ordering and payment is no longer just a craze, it’s a necessity – ‘the new norm.’ And sure, everyone in hospitality is keen to digitalise, or as we like to say, bring hospitality into the new Low-Touch Economy.

Hospitality providers know this. Guests know this. Everyone knows this. And for those who don’t, the corona virus has hammered the message home loud and clear.

So what’s the catch?

The catch is that they don’t get what constitutes a great touchless experience?

It’s hard to blame hotel professionals, so many leading hospitality vendors find it easier to sell hotel-centric, rather than guest-centric solutions. Ironically, it’s the hotel-centric solutions that cost the big bucks.

A case in point, a sturdy POS system is expensive. It’s procured through arduous processes requiring negotiation and rubber stamping. And if you want to integrate cloud payment solutions for example, that would run up costs like licences, implementation, configuration, as well as staff training. But hey, this will ultimately save you cash; it should streamline operations and make management much easier.

Alternatively, you could just download an off-the-shelf solution and make life easier for the guest to order and pay on their own devices. They would even receive receipts in the mail.

It seems the secret is to strike the right balance. Not too clunky and fairly priced.

But, back to my thoughts. If guest experience is really paramount, what is the gold standard in guest experience?

I like to think that the best guest experience in the world would be something like sitting or lying down anywhere – a busy downtown restaurant, a remote sandy beach – and I could order whatever I conjured up, with just the click of my fingers. And voila! It would appear before my eyes, and I wouldn’t have to rummage through my pants or towel to find my wallet, to pay for it.

Ok, you are right, RoomOrders has not invented a genie in a bottle. But I think we’ve created the next best thing.

If you are a hospitality decision-maker, and you really care about guest experience, I would suggest you put yourself in the shoes of the guest yourself. The guest-centric solutions out there are low or even zero CAPEX. They do not disrupt usual operations, they do not require training and they vastly improve your business.

I won’t mention the bottom line. It’s astonishing what a difference digitalization makes to revenues, whether it be streamlined processes, easy monitoring, analytics and management or more than double the previous average check values.

All this sounds awesome, I know. But that’s so last year’s model for us at RoomOrders, we are not just digitalising operations for individual hospitality providers, we are already building digital ecosystems, interconnecting accommodation providers with entire communities of vendors, from food to leisure and experiences.

Imagine staying in a hotel or Airbnb in a foreign place and scanning a QR code that opens entire communities of local vendors at the touch of your phone. It doesn’t matter where you are, Brisbane, Boston or Barcelona, the same seamless guest experience – without downloading an app.

The trick is that people love technology. They just don’t love other people’s technology. They demand instant gratification and their preferred method is via their smart phone devices that they carry with them everywhere they go.

Did I mention busy downtown restaurants and remote sandy beaches?


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RoomOrders at HX New York

RoomOrders is heading to HX New York, the Hotel Experience – catch CEO Eugene B. Jones and his take on challenges facing hotels in the era of AirBnB and UberEATS. Oh, and of course, find out more about the new craze RoomOrders is leading with its concept of digitally interconnecting hotel ecosystems!

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Touchless Hotel Technology

Don’t let COVID-19 be the only reason to introduce your hotel and resort, restaurant, bar or cafe to the digital era. The future of hospitality is here, it’s contactless and revolves around your guests’ smartphone… Join leading hotel brands around the world using RoomOrders, Inc to digitally interconnect their ecosystem. #digitalmenu #digitalhotels #digitalrestaurants #hotelsandresorts #hotels #restaurants #contactlessordering #contactlesspayment #touchlesstechnology #hoteltechnology #hoteltech

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RoomOrders at HOW hotel conference

Hotels are at the centre of an ecosystem, but there are hungry sharks of disruption circling. #RoomOrders can help hotels protect and leverage their real estate by digital interconnection with their wider surroundings.

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