Introducing the App Store API

Want to add HTR product ratings to enrich the experience for your user's in your app store, integrations page or marketplace?

The App Store API gives forward thinking media partners, app stores, marketplace facilitators and service providers API access to HTR's data set allowing approved partners to easily enrich their product with HTR ratings and reviews to add helpful context for users and bring your app stores to life. 

Learn more


Added Visibility for Premium Members

The new sub-category pages signal a shift in perspective where there is no longer an emphasis on a 'one size fits all' approach.

Instead the UX of the site is built around buyer persona segmentation and filtering tools to help buyers find the best fit for them based on their property/ies characteristics including: hotel size, property type, location and even PMS.

By putting the power in the hands of users to find their perfect fit based on data in the platform with similar property characteristics to theirs, there is no longer an attempt to make a one size fits all recommendations and as such--the default sort is no longer entirely rankings based (until a user applies their property attribute filters) and now serves as a way for Premium Members to gain added visibility on the site.

The default sort gives all members (any plan/tier) preferred placement and boosted visibility via the default sort and then sorts by HT Score.  

These new placements in the default sort are just one more way, beyond the already existing boosted visibility placements, to give members even more visibility and benefits to drive more leads.

Members will also now receive preferred priority visibility via collections product tiles in organic content produced by HTR (or guest posts submitted by our contributor network) that relate to your category or categories to drive you even more visibility in high intent content to make sure that your brand and products surface as many times as possible throughout the buying journey for your related topics and categories on the site.  View example contributor post with related member inclusion.


Special Thank You to Premium Members

By supporting the HTR platform as members you share in our vision and enable us to continue to develop educational content, tools and campaigns that strive towards our mission of empowering hoteliers to leverage their greatest asset, technology.  Together we help raise awareness that great technology is essential to staying competitive and running a modern hospitality business.  

While we are a community and an industry organization of sorts, we are also a marketing platform and place strong emphasis on performance and value for our members which is why membership is priced to ensure that if our members get even just a single lead each year that they wouldn't have otherwise, it will not only justify their investment but it will guarantee a positive ROI with additional leads, awareness and benefits all generating exponential ROI making sure that HTR is your marketing team's best investment.

With this change, users still have the opportunity to sort and filter by key attributes including the HT Score--but this default sort aims to add even more value and visibility for members at no additional cost to generate an even stronger ROI out of your membership.

Review Incentive Policy Community Memo & Updates

TL;DR

  • Several pay-per-review incident reports.  We have become aware of several vendors have been offering pay-per-review without knowing that this is against HTR’s incentive guidelines
  • This is against HTR’s guidelines and the rules of the awards.  While this is a level I infraction (least severe), it is still against HTR’s policies and therefore not permitted, in violation of the rules of the 2022 HotelTechAwards
  • Penalties for current HotelTechAwards competition. Vendors caught in breach of this policy will have the reviews from the trailing 30-days be unpublished and will not be counted towards the HotelTechAwards competition as it is against the rules
  • Several vendors have claimed not to be aware of this aspect of the incentive policy.  Several vendors have pointed out that the confusion lies in the fact that other review sites do permit this type of pay-per-review incentive
  • Implications for incentives on the community.  While these reviews are against the rules of the awards competition and HTR’s incentive guidelines, HTR will amend its policy effective January 15, 2021 to permit pay-per-review with fair disclosure in accordance with FTC guidelines.  Incentivized reviews will be clearly designated in the UI and ratings will not factor into overall averages.

HTR Vendor Community,

It has come to our attention that a handful of vendors were unaware of HTR’s policy not to allow direct incentive reviews on Hotel Tech Report so we wanted to reach out to all vendors and clarify HTR’s policies about incentivized reviews to make sure there is no confusion.

Overview of Current Policies & Perspectives on Incentivized Reviews

Since inception, HTR’s policies around incentivized reviews have remained the same which can be found in more detail via the help center.  In summary, HTR’s perspective and stance on incentivized reviews to date has been: 

  1. Reviewing B2B software is not the same as consumer goods.  When a guest is reviewing their hotel on TripAdvisor for example there are intrinsic motivations like scrap booking to catalogue their journeys, building online clout/credibility or sharing an experience with friends.  Reviewing B2B software is quite different in nature and carries lower intrinsic motivation which is why incentives are a helpful tool to gather more feedback and foster knowledge sharing.  Incentivizing a review of B2B software is similar to paying for a survey completion - compensating for a busy individual’s professional time without biasing the content of feedback.
  2. Incentives as a way to thank customers are encouraged.  Incentives are common in the B2B review space.  Companies are asking their users to take time out of a busy work day to help with their sales and marketing by advocating for their product. As such, offering an incentive is not only acceptable but we actually encourage it.  So much so that we even subsidize incentives for Premium Members and have an incentive matching program for basic members
  3. Outreach may never be phrased in a way that introduces bias.  While incentives are encouraged, there are obviously guidelines to follow to ensure that the way the incentive is phrased to the user does not introduce bias into their review.  Specifically, to date HTR has outlined several permitted and not permitted scenarios which vary in level of severity and of which examples can be found below:


Scenario

Explicit bias

Implicit bias

Policy

Infraction Level

1) Randomized giveaway

No

No

✅  Allowed

None

2) Limited giveaway

No

No

✅  Allowed

None

3) Pay-per-review

No

Yes

❌  Not allowed

Level I

4) Pay-per-POSITIVE review

Yes

Yes

❌  Not allowed

Level II


Vendor Infractions & Penalties for Pay-Per-Review

There have been three separate occurrences of vendors in the community being reported for pay-per-review (scenario 3) which is a level 1 infraction but none-the-less, an infraction and against the rules of the HotelTechAwards.  Since the inception of the annual HotelTechAwards four years ago, the rules have explicitly stated that direct pay-per-review is not permitted.  The reported incidents were Level I infractions (scenario 3) and were not found to introduce explicit bias.  Given that there have been several occurrences all claiming that the nuances of the permitted incentives were not clear--vendors identified will not be immediately disqualified from the competition however they will incur the following penalties:

  1. Vendor will have 72-hours to respond to the violation report and show that they have corrected their outreach messaging with screenshot evidence
  2. Reviews collected within 30-days of the correction will be unpublished and will not count towards the annual HotelTechAwards competition.
  3. Vendors who have been reported for breaching this guideline will be marked under close watch for up to 90-days where their account will be monitored closely and reviews will appear in a separate moderation queue where moderators will keep a closer eye on activity.
  4. Vendors in breach will only be permitted to collect reviews via the Review Manager in the dashboard for 45-days where HTR can more closely monitor their activity and outreach strategy
  5. Vendors will receive a strike meaning that any future incidents will incur more severe immediate level II penalties without option to cure


Future Amendments to HTR’s Incentive Policies

Vendors have shared 3 main reasons for the confusion around review compensation rules on the site: (a) HTR allows indirect incentives/giveaways (b) pay-per-review is permitted by other review websites and (c) pay-per-review is common in the B2B reviews space.  

Despite these points, HTR’s current (and historical) policies don’t permit pay-per-review (only randomized giveaways).  After discussing with hoteliers and vendors, we have found the consensus belief that pay-per-review should be permitted if certain conditions are met to disclose incentives to website visitors and hotel tech buyers.

The general governing body for online reviews and issues around consumer affairs is the FTC, which states the following:

  • “Knowing that reviewers got the product they reviewed for free would probably affect the weight your customers give to the reviews”
  • “reviewers given free products might give the products higher ratings on a scale like the number of stars than reviewers who bought the products.”
  • “If you've given these customers a reason to expect a benefit from providing their thoughts about your product, you should disclose that fact in your ads.”
  • “If you’re offering them something of value in return for these reviews, tell them in advance that they should disclose what they received from you.”

In light of community feedback and FTC guidelines, HTR will amend our policies after the current year awards competition to allow for direct incentives when there is fair disclosure (effective January 15th, 2022).  Disclosures will be incorporated into the hotel tech buyer user experience on the Hotel Tech Report platform.  So how will this work?

  • The write a review form will include a field for hoteliers to indicate whether direct compensation has been offered for their product feedback
  • Vendors will have a toggle in their dashboard indicating when they are running a pay per review campaign (on or off platform)
  • Vendors found to be running direct incentive campaigns without using the toggle will have all reviews within 6-months of the incident report immediately marked as ‘incentivized’
  • Directly incentivized reviews will NOT count towards the quantitative ratings averages.  Their volumes will count towards the average review thresholds and geographic targets, however, ratings like customer support, ease of use, etc. will not be included in overall ratings in order to ensure “apples to apples” comparisons amongst all vendors for buyers without the possibility of potential bias

Conclusion

Ultimately, incentives are a positive and encouraged mechanism to thank customers for their time, effort and expertise but all endorsements must reflect the honest opinions or experiences of the endorser (Source: FTC Endorsement Guides).  

Therefore while HTR will be expanding its incentive guidelines to permit direct incentive reviews, these reviews will carry a clear designation to consumers about the nature of the incentive.  Additionally, companies who have been in breach of this rule to date will receive penalties commensurate with their breach to ensure that (a) the behavior is immediately corrected and (b) reviews collected in this manner will not be counted towards the 2022 HotelTechAwards competition but will not be deleted fully from the site as they will be re-added after the competition is over with the new incentivized review designation.

Likelihood to Recommend Rating Into Focus

 Previously the review form used to capture an overall rating and a likelihood to recommend rating.  Since both were essentially two versions of an overall user rating they were duplicative which is why likelihood to recommend was (and always has) been the 'overall rating' factored into the HT Score to avoid duplicative counting of similar ratings.

In order to simplify the review form and show the more important variable front and center, the overall rating (/5) has been deprecated fully to reduce form fields and avoid capturing ratings that didn't count towards scoring and likelihood to recommend now shows in the UI in areas where the overall rating showed previously.  Likelihood to recommend has always been the most important rating in the HT Score and therefore it is being moved front and center in the UI to better reflect its significance.

FAQS

  1. Does this change impact scoring? No, this DOES NOT impact scoring in any way.  It just changes the primary variable that shows in view in notifications, the review form and review manager as the focus variable
  2. Was likelihood to recommend rating captured before? Yes, this variable has always been collected and has always been the most important of the ratings.  The only change is that it used to be on page 2 of the review form, now it is the first question on the first page.

As a result, there are three areas you will see the likelihood to recommend rating surfaced as the focused variable:


1. Moved from Page 2 to Page 1 of the Review Form


2. Moved into Focus in New Review Notifications

3. Moved Into Focus in the Review Manager


10 Feature Updates to Make Running Review Campaigns Even Easier

This week we're rolling out several new features to the review manager to help streamline your workflows and make it easier to filter through large lists.  

  1. Simplified List Management 
  2. Improved UX
  3. New Workflows
  4. Enriched Exporting


1. Simplified List Management

1a. Clear out customers that you no longer want in the review manager

  • What is it? Ability to select customers and soft delete them from the review manager without losing their event history and timeline. You can also re-add them later and their old status and activity history will repopulate in the timeline
  • How does it help? Remove customers that you don't want to reach out to for reviews to clear out and organize your review manager as your customer list grows.


1b. Clean out your review manager to start fresh with a single click

  • What is it? As you run campaigns over time the review manager continues to build up more and more customers which can make it harder to manage over time.  Eventually, you may get to a point where you just want to start over and from scratch and that's where this nifty new 'start fresh' feature comes in.  Reach out to HTR at any time and we can do a soft reset of your review manager quickly and easily to help you start fresh with your campaigns.
  • How does it help? Reset your review manager to re-start your campaigns and outreach with a clean slate


1c. Streamlined clients tab, filter by status and archived is now unsubscribed

The archived tab used to be a place where you could send customers that you didn't want to send further communications to but it showed in the flow of the review manager which was a bit confusing because it meant a customer could have left a review, but they could also be in archived.  Instead, we have deprecated 'archived' and rolled out 'unsubscribed'.

  • What is it? Simplified view of the clients tab now with statuses
  • How does it help? Filter the clients tab by status to get a quick skimmable spreadsheet view of your customers and where they are in the review collection process and also be able to easily unsubscribe/re-subscribe


1d. New customer tags to create and manage segments

  • What is it? Create custom tags that you can use to create unique segments of customers in the review manager and filter the review manager by your custom tags.  Import your lists with tags to streamline your workflows and be able to create custom segments.
  • How does it help? Tags allow you to be able to create customer segments to slice and dice your list in any way that you'd like.  Add campaign tags, geographic tags, batch tags, start date tags, property type tags, language tags or anything else you can imagine.





2. Improved UX

2a. Pick up where you left off with ease

Previously when you selected a customer in the review manager the background would scroll to the top of the page making it difficult to find where you left off.  Now, when you select a customer the background customer tile has a selected state to bookmark where you are visually and the page remains static so you can more easily keep your place.  Improvements include: 

  • What is it? Bookmarked state for selected customers 
  • How does it help? Page no longer shifts when clicking into customer timeline detail view so you can more easily keep track while switching between customers


2b. Improved customer selection UX

  • What is it? Previously the bulk select/select all feature would 'select all' that were on the tab.  That meant if you had thousands of users that (1) there would be lag and (2) you couldn't easily move smaller groupings/segments between tabs.  The select all button has been updated to now only select the customers visible on the current page you are on
  • How does it help?  Eliminate lag, more precisely and easily move customers between tabs to simplify your workflows


3. New Workflows

3a. Filter the entire review manager by campaign

When you've run dozens of campaigns and have thousands of customers in the review manager it can get really overwhelming and difficult to figure out how to filter the data to make sense in a way that is actionable, not anymore.

  • What is it? Filter the entire review manager by campaign so you can
  • How does it help? See exactly how a campaign is performing (or performed) so you can take strategic actions to execute personalized followup by segment


3b. Ability to send customers follow-on campaigns

  • What is it? Previously, once you ran a campaign to customers there was no way to run another campaign to them.
  • How does it help? Now you can quickly and easily move customers who had been in an old campaign right into the campaign setup tab to be able to send them another campaign


3c. Re-trigger verification emails to customers 

  • What is it? Manually re-trigger the verification link to be sent to customers for 'unverified' reviews
  • How does it help? This is particularly helpful if you have a client who left a review but didn't click the verification link and they're saying they never received it. Now you can manually re-trigger it to be sent to them on the spot




4. Enriched Exporting

4a. Export customer statuses to leverage in your own tools

Previously the 'export suppression' list feature only exported (non-anonymous) customers that had left a review.  Now, this export includes all (non-anonymous) customers from all tabs of your review manager along with the tab they're in (aka their status) so you can import this data to your CRM or other external tools.

Subsidiary Membership Cap

Last year we rolled out subsidiary memberships for companies with multiple subsidiaries to be able to be able to purchase membership for multiple of their companies at discounted pricing for up to 3 companies.

Today we're rolling out a max spend cap on subsidiaries so that companies who purchase their primary base membership and additional discounted subsidiary Silver Memberships have a cap of 4 additional subsidiaries and any additional subsidiaries beyond 4 (plus the primary company's membership) get free Silver Membership included at no additional charge and still get all of the benefits of Silver Membership (view benefits).

Are you a company with 4 or more subsidiaries? Reach out via the live chat on site to get heavily discounted membership portfolio wide.



Here's how it works for all inclusive portfolio wide Silver Membership:

Company
Membership
Pricing
Benefits
Primary Company
(base membership)
Silver AnnualStandard pricingAll
Subsidiary 1Silver Annual
50% offAll
Subsidiary 2
Silver Annual
50% off
All
Subsidiary 3
Silver Annual
50% off
All
Additional SubsidiariesSilver Annual
FREEAll

📬 Introducing the New Lead Inbox

Introducing, the all new redesigned lead inbox with a new clean design, enriched leads, premium member discounts, deal size calculations, a customizable metrics calculator and more.

  1. ✅Redesigned and simplified inbox design
  2. ✅Enriched lead details (phone number, PMS data, multi-prop)
  3. Dynamically calculate lead deal size calculations and company metrics like ROI and estimated revenue based on your company's internal metrics
  4. Premium Members now get 50% off all leads
  5. ✅ Added targeting to reveal lead PMS data prior to accepting


1. Redesigned and simplified inbox design


2. Enriched lead details with phone number, PMS and multi-property

Please note that if you have CRM forwarding turned on it will continue to work with the new form fields.  If you have Zapier followup automation setup to map fields and automate followup, you can now add the new fields to your integration.


3. Deal sizes and customizable metrics calculator

Dynamically calculate lead deal size calculations and company metrics like ROI and estimated revenue based on your company's internal metrics.  Learn more about how lead metrics and calculations work


4. Member discount increased from 30%-->50%

The 20% increases nearly doubles the previous discount amount available to members of 30% and is included for all members (on any plan) and doesn't require any plan upgrades or increases 🙌


5. Added targeting to reveal lead PMS data prior to accepting

2022 Budget Season Buyer's Guides Sponsorships Now on Sale

TL;DR

  • What is it...Once a year limited availability sponsorship opportunity for a single vendor to be the exclusive sponsor in each category of HTR's official budget season buyer's guide
  • What's included...High quality turnkey co-branded content, exclusive native advertising placement in your category for a full year on Hotel Tech Report and 1-year content license to leverage the guide throughout your marketing to generate leads
  • When is it available...2022 Budget Season Buyer's Guides are open for sponsors to reserve beginning June 1, 2021
  • Limited availability...Since there is only one spot per year in each category, guides are offered on a first-come-first-served basis
  • A few reasons to become a sponsor...Buyer's guides are one of HTR's best value offerings because they not only include turnkey content production but sponsorship also includes year round exclusivity as well as targeted native advertising front and center to own your category for a full year on HTR.  Budget season is still a few months away so now is the time to solidify brand visibility.  Standing out with a clear message to buyers this budget season is going to be absolutely critical in what is sure to be a noisy world of COVID recovery marketing.

👉 RESERVE YOUR CATEGORY 👈



Related article: Buyer's guide sponsorship FAQs

What is a buyer's guide?

The goal of the budget season buyer's guides is to create a living document that continues to evolve year over year becoming the ultimate primer for each category.  HTR partners with one sponsor per category each year to be the exclusive sponsor of that year's budget season buyer's guide.

While the design and production of each buyers guide is handled by HTR, sponsors are featured prominently throughout the guide and on Hotel Tech Report for a full year through the following year budget season and additionally are able to contribute ideas, insights and content to infuse the guide with their unique expert perspective on the category.

Key Dates & Deadlines

*Underlined = sponsor involvement

  • May 1 -June 1: Premium Member early reservation period
  • June 1-June 30: Regular registration period
  • June 14 - July 6: Partner questionnaire completion period
  • June 15-July 15: HTR designs and produces buyers guides drafts
  • July 15-July 30: Sponsor feedback and content collaboration period (Round 1)
  • August 1 - August 8: HTR implements round 1 feedback
  • August 8 - August 15: Sponsor review period and final revisions (Round 2)
  • August 15 - August 30: HTR implements final revisions
  • September 1: Guides go live as they finish production and begin being promoted on HotelTech Report and sponsors receive hard copy along with 1-year content license
  • Sept 1, 2021-Sept 1, 2022: 1-year buyers guide placement and promotion on Hotel Tech Report through 2022 budget season


Buyers guide sponsor FAQs

  1. What does it mean to be a sponsor?
  2. What are the benefits?
  3. What is the process once my company registers?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. Is there a performance marketing model available?

Hosted Reports Live Report Limit Reinstated

The rollout of the New Credits & Ledger System brought members more flexibility to use their post credits towards any type of post (eg. press releases, hosted reports or guest posts).

In a short period of time we have seen a flood of hosted reports from a handful of vendors which has caused a few unintended side-effects including (a) other member's reports to get buried and lose visibility (b) dilution of the diversity of the content in the reports library (making it less valuable for hoteliers).

As such, HTR has decided to revise it's policy regarding hosted reports to include:

  1. Members may use their post credits flexibly towards various types of posting
  2. Members may upload new reports using post credits available on their account
  3. Members may post as many hosted reports as they'd like
  4. Members may only host a certain number of hosted reports at a given time in the reports library and this number is based on the number included with your plan (which can be viewed under your plan benefits in the membership portal of the vendor dashboard)

This hybrid policy allows for some of the benefits of flexible posting credits of the new system while also retaining the merits of the initial policy including equal visibility for member content and a diverse array of content for hoteliers.




FAQs

Why is This Update Beneficial for Hoteliers and Vendors?

Ultimately this slight policy update allows all vendors to retain the flexibility of using their post credits towards any type of posting while also ensuring that the report library remains diverse with fair visibility to all members.

  • For hoteliers...ensures that the reports library contains a diverse set of value add content from various member companies across a wide array of topics and categories
  • For vendors...ensures that it isn't a constant race to constantly burn through credits adding more and more new hosted reports to try to keep up and capture mind share in the hosted reports library.  It also ensures that a single vendor (or small subset of vendors) can't hijack the reports library fully and allows for all members to gain visibility for their content.

Have My Benefits Changed from My Plan?

No.  All membership plans include a set number of reports that can be live at a given time in the reports library to capture downloads.  You can find the number of hosted reports that your company can have live in the reports library by viewing your membership plan benefits in the membership portal.


Why Has the Live Report Limit Been Reinstated?

Unfortunately in a short period of time we have already seen an unintended side effect which has been a flood of hosted reports from a handful of vendors which caused other member's reports to get buried.  In addition to hijacking visibility from other members' content, the flood of reports posted from a handful of vendors has diluted the diversity of the content in the reports library on the site making it less valuable for hoteliers.

As such, HTR has decided to reinstate the live report limitations based on membership plans to allow for some of the benefits of flexible posting credits of the new system while also retaining the equality and diversity that came with the initial limit on the number of live reports a single company can host in the reports library at a given time.

This hybrid approach allows for the flexibility of the new credits system while also ensuring that all members get similar visibility in the reports library and that the downloads library retains diversity to increase the value proposition for hoteliers.


What Has Changed About the Hosted Reports Posting Policy

  • Policy #1 (Old Policy): Members had a specific # of hosted reports and they could have that many hosted reports live on the site at any given time
  • Policy #2 (3/10/21- Ledger System Updated Policy): Members receive flexible post credits instead of set quantities of each post type.  Members could then use flexible post credits towards hosted reports with the limit lifted as to the number of simultaneous hosted reports they could have live in the reports library to capture downloads at a given time
  • Policy #3 (4/5/21 - Revised Hybrid Policy): Vendors may use their post credits towards uploading as many hosted reports as they'd like; however, the limit as to the number of simultaneous reports a single company can have live on the site has been reinstated based on your plan

Subsidiary Memberships

Is Your Company a Premium Member with a Subsidiary and You Want to Unlock Membership Benefits for Your Subsidiary without Purchasing a New Membership at Full Price?

Premium Members can now receive discounted Premium Membership for their subsidiaries to access member features, benefits and exclusive discounts without having to purchase an entirely new membership for the separate company.

  • Silver Members: Get 50% discounted Silver Annual Membership for additional subsidiary companies you would like to access member benefits, credits and discounts
  • Gold Members: Includes free Silver Annual Membership for up to 1x subsidiary company
  • Platinum Members: Includes free Silver Annual Membership for up to 3x subsidiary companies

Learn more about discounted subsidiary membership

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