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11/17/2022

Hospitality Technology Announces 2022 Hotel Visionary Award Winners

Hilton, Hyatt and Life House display incredible leadership, vision and achievement with their recent technology innovations.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
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2022 Hotel Visionary Award

Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Hotel Visionary Awards. The Hotel Visionary Awards honor hotel companies for outstanding achievement, vision and leadership in technological innovation.

Every year, HT honors a select group of lodging companies for outstanding achievement in delivering technological excellence in two distinct categories: Enterprise Innovation and Customer-Facing Innovation. This year’s awards – now in its 17th year – will be presented on Dec. 6 during HT-NEXT at the Fontainebleau Miami in Miami, Florida. Our winners will also participate in a panel discussion on Dec. 8 where they will discuss their winning initiatives as well as current consumer tech trends. Hospitality Technology magazine and Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) are collaborating for a sixth year in a row to host HT-NEXT, a unique conference for the hospitality technology industry.

This is a session you don’t want to miss, so register today! (And don’t forget to check out our other amazing educational sessions!)

“This year’s Hotel Visionary Award winners demonstrate how integral technology has become to the lodging industry — creating the frictionless experiences guests demand while providing critical operational support to the workforce. We look forward to welcoming these hotel IT leaders to the stage at HT-NEXT to share their transformative tech solutions and deliver inspiration and key takeaways to our attendees,” says Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor-in-chief of Hospitality Technology.

2022 Customer-Facing Innovation Winner: Hyatt

Historically, digital keys haven’t always been simpler or easier to use than a plastic key. It can take up to 30 seconds for a guest to unlock their phone, find the hotel’s app, navigate to the digital key, and hold it to the door. Hyatt was not satisfied with the common bluetooth, in-app digital key experience and so it teamed up with Apple, Assa Abloy, and HAPI to create a completely new digital key experience. Room Key in Apple Wallet allows guests to use their digital key in two seconds or less, can be accessed for up to six hours after a phone’s battery is depleted, and is proactively updated with room changes. In hotels where Room Key in Apple Wallet has been rolled out, Hyatt has witnessed a 4x improvement in digital key engagement. Guest net promoter scores for those who use the technology are measurably higher than those staying at the hotel who didn’t use it.

"Everything we do at Hyatt starts with listening to our guests and members,” says Benjamin Weiss, Vice President, Digital Product Management, Hyatt. “We heard there was an opportunity to enhance the experience we offered for digital keys and that became our vision. We knew it wouldn't be easy, and it would require not only state-of-the-art hardware and software, but also strategic collaborations to achieve. By working with Apple, Assa Abloy, and HAPI, we built a digital key that requires nothing more than raising an iPhone or Apple Watch to the door lock to access the room, the elevator, the garage, and shared spaces in the hotel."

2022 Enterprise Innovation Winner: Life House

Revenue management is a complicated process that when done correctly offers dynamic pricing, distribution and digital marketing (especially in PPC channels). It often requires highly skilled data scientists, marketers and sophisticated software to be done well. Additionally, many of the revenue management systems currently available act more as pricing systems, meaning that hoteliers miss out on important revenue opportunities. To solve this problem, Life House built a revenue management & marketing system. The software comprehensively manages all revenue for a hotel, automatically leveraging AI-based pricing algorithms, automated metasearch marketing, and distribution. In particular, it uses metadata to direct online searchers away from OTAs and back to the hotel’s website featuring lower prices. This results in maximized revenues for hoteliers. For example, Life House manages an ultra luxury hotel in a market with very low demand. However, it was able to drive 75 percent of revenue from direct bookings, with eight times the web traffic versus the prior website. This helped increase room profit 58 percent and gross operating profit 678 percent to turn around the historically unprofitable hotel. This type of success has been replicated across the brand at both properties it owns and at properties it manages. 

“We are honored to be recognized among so many luminaries for the work that we're doing to drive positive change for hotel owners and guests. As a disruptor, this accolade makes us feel quite optimistic about the future of the hotel industry and its receptivity to modern software and change. We're excited & privileged to be helping pave the way,” says Rami Zeidan, CEO and Founder of Life House. 

2022 Enterprise Innovation Winner: Hilton

Hilton recently found itself in need of a new central reservation system. The one it had in place was more than 30 years old and had begun to severely limit the brand’s ability to meet the demand for inventory distribution as shopping traffic grew exponentially. It also consumed support resources and required a prodigious budget to maintain. So, the brand developed a new CRS in-house. The project took two years to complete, but at the end of it, Hilton became one of the first hotel companies to run its entire reservation system in the cloud. The modernized CRS system enabled Hilton to maintain ownership but also continuously deliver new solutions. This platform has enabled innovations including Confirmed Connecting Room, property-controlled bookable add-ons, near real-time revenue management and the rollout of a cloud-based PMS to almost 10 percent of the estate. And the new CRS has delivered some amazing operational savings including a 95 percent reduction in the scheduled maintenance downtime.

“As a leader in hospitality technology, Hilton is always looking for opportunities to enhance the guest experience through continued technological innovation," said Lee Graham, Vice President of Platform Architecture at Hilton. “Our new CRS system exemplifies that commitment, and we are honored to be recognized by Hospitality Technology as we seek original and creative solutions to address industry friction points.”

ABOUT THE EVENT

Hospitality Technology (HT) and Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) are collaborating for the sixth year in a row to host HT-NEXT 2022, a unique conference for the hospitality technology industry. HT-NEXT 2022 will take place Dec. 5-8 at the Fontainebleau Miami in Miami, Florida.

HT-NEXT (https://www.ht-next.com) brings together hotel technology solution providers with leaders and influencers from leading hotel companies spanning IT, finance, marketing, distribution and operations. The event typically attracts nearly 400 hospitality professionals. After the event, 87% of attendees say they meet a valuable new contact at the show, and 97% of attendees say they brought back a specific idea to implement at their organization.

HT-NEXT features emerging trends and the ability to dig in to work together to solve current industry problems. The program will feature thought-provoking keynotes, diverse educational sessions, HTNG workgroups and a technology exhibit hall for attendees to discover cutting-edge solutions.