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.”
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.