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08/25/2022

Appellation Hotels Open with High Tech Marketing, BOH Software

New hotel brand prioritizes tech stack to ensure ROI on personalized marketing, frictionless purchases and easy-to-use BOH software.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
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Appellation Healdsburg Lobby and Restaurant
Appellation Healdsburg lobby and restaurant.

At the end of June, critically acclaimed restaurateur Charlie Palmer and Four Seasons veteran Christopher Hunsberger announced that they would be launching a new hotel brand: Appellation. The brand is meant to bring together both travelers and the local community via a shared love for food and distinct culinary experiences. For instance, each location will feature a Charlie Palmer restaurant and bar, interactive culinary demonstrations, robust experiential programming, and even residences at select hotels.

These new build hotels, however, will also be incredibly technology savvy.

“Having worked most of my career in hospitality, I’ve always said: ‘I hope that technology will catch up to our ambitions one day,’” says Ed Skapinok, Chief Commercial Officer, Appellation. “I felt for a long time, we were really limited in what we could do. But with Appellation we’re designing our tech stack the way we want from the ground up.”

Highly Customized Marketing

So, when it comes to technology implementation, what is Skapinok most excited about?

“We’re very attentive to the variety of revenue centers our brand possesses and how we can create a frictionless purchase environment for the guest,” he explains. “So, our marketing strategy is built around customization and is designed to attract the right types of customers.”

How will it work? According to Skapinok, Appellation begins to build an anonymous profile as early as a shopper's very first visit to the hotel’s website. While the company is careful to comply with all privacy laws, it quickly begins to learn and even adapt to the guest's behavior.

“Even as an anonymous shopper, the content on our website will change,” he explains. “Based on what we learn about you, our website will respond differently by adapting the content, the offers, and even the pricing you see.”

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Appellation Healdsbuerg hotel bedroom
Appellation Healdsburg guest bedroom

A Frictionless Purchase Environment

Additionally, the brand built its own web booking engine so that guests can make purchases at any of its revenue centers (spa, restaurant, culinary experience, etc.) all within the same space and at the same time without having to book a room. Why would it do this?

“Some of our local customers may never check into a guest room,” Skapinok notes. “So, we want to make it easy for community members to transact with us while also allowing us access to individual guest data. By doing this, we’re able to gather details about the lifetime value of a guest and use that information when we make revenue-based decisions.”

This goes against how traditional revenue management decisions are made: dates, room availability, etc. By factoring in the revenue centers, however, and the history that the hotel has with the guest, in addition to their likelihood to buy again in the future – Appellation can create much more accurate data sets for its yield management decisions.

Easy-to-Use Software for Employees

But Appellation also wants to employ frictionless technology for staff members as well. So, it employs a software system that allows staff members the ability to easily view reservation availability across the property, regardless of their position on staff.

“For example, if one of our barista’s is talking with a guest who happens to mention that they would love to use the spa that day – he or she can immediately look up the spa, see what appointments are available, and book it on the spot for the guest,” Skapinok explains.

While that’s incredibly useful for capturing revenue on the spot, the brand has taken things one step further by incorporating geolocation technology.

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Ed Skapinok, Chief Commercial Officer, Appellation Hotels
Ed Skapinok, Chief Commercial Officer, Appellation Hotels

“If that same guest originally made the spa appointment with the barista at 2 PM but they happen to be away from the resort doing a local wine tasting, our mobile app will use geotechnology to realize that they’re nowhere near the building and will politely message them saying something along the lines of: “We’re ready for your 2 PM spa appointment but if that no longer works for you, we have a 4 PM available today as well.”

The guest can then make the choice to keep the 2 PM appointment, swap to the 4 PM appointment, or cancel it altogether. This helps to prevent no-shows, moves guests to a time when there is availability, and provides convenience to the guest.

“When we were creating this brand, one of the very first things we did was to design our hotel tech stack. This allows us to have fewer systems, be light on hardware, and will enable our staff members to focus on guests and not on navigating a complicated software system,” he adds.