πŸ† Let the 2022 HotelTechAwards begin!

Its September 1st and the annual HotelTechAwards officially kickoff today! 🏎  🏁 

This is arguably the most important HotelTechAwards competition ever. The last 18-months have seen the hotel industry undergo an unprecedented digital transformation.  During this same period, thousands of hotels around the world have changed ownership (or management) and the hospitality workforce has shifted dramatically.

This game of musical chairs amongst hotel tech buyers is creating opportunities for the top hotel tech companies to pull away from the pack.

What separates the best hotel tech companies from the rest?  That's where the HotelTechAwards come in: using data to measure customer satisfaction, partner ecosystem strength, customer support processes, peer trustworthiness and more to determine the most loved products in hotel tech according to the judges that matter most, hoteliers.

Almost every major hotel tech company from San Francisco to Sydney is registered to compete in this year's awards for a chance to win the most coveted award in hotel tech so make sure to start collecting reviews asap to increase your chances of winning.

Below please find a few tips to help you kick things off strong and as always, if you have any questions along the way feel free to reach out anytime via the live chat on HTR--we're here to help!

👇  Scroll down for week 1 tips 👇


Week 1 Tips and Announcements

  • Live leaderboard and coaching checklist activated: The live leaderboard and coaching checklist are now activated so registered companies can check your eligibility status and current standings in real time and get tips to pick up more points
  • Automated review manager is now unlocked for 30-days: Included with your registration is 30-days of unlimited access to the Automated Review Manager, a tool to help you save time, automate your outreach and collect more reviews.  The review manager is now unlocked in all participants dashboards so if you aren't a Premium Member and don't typically have access to the review manager--make sure to take advantage of it to save time and get off to a strong start
  • Coaching tips coming your way: We'll be sending out tips every few weeks to registered companies to checkin and help you focus your efforts on important milestones to stay on the road to victory.  
  • ✅  First target milestone target...Meet the minimum eligibility requirement of 25-reviews as quickly as possible to get a strong start and set your team up for success (you can check your status in the live leaderboard here)

Learn how to launch an automated campaign

30-day free access ends on September 30, 2021


Phase II: HT Score Poseidon Update is now live

Continued from Phase I: HT Score Poseidon Update

Phase II of the Poseidon Algorthim update is now live.  This means that the new rankings that were only vendor facing in the vendor dashboard in Phase I can now be viewed live on HTR throughout the entire site both the hotelier facing site as well as the vendor dashboard.

If you have any questions about the algorithm updates please refer to the scoring documentation or the Phase I announcement.  If you're looking for personalized tips to improve your reputation, rankings and visibility--check out the Report Card and Coaching Checklist in your vendor dashboard.



When does the 3rd and final phase of the update go live?

The final Phase III update (Client bias variable) will be rolled out with the introduction of the Client Bias ranking signal no later than 11/1.  Per the June 16th update:

Client Bias (aka. Share of Voice). Hotel Tech Report’s policy has historically been to accept reviews from multiple users at a single hotel due to the fact that every user has a unique opinion/viewpoint on software.  Having said that, collecting lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that aren't representative of your overall customer base indicates potential risk of bias.  


What is the client bias update?

We’ll use two hypothetical vendors to illustrate the importance of this algorithm patch: Vendor A and Vendor B. Vendor A has 30 reviews from 30 hotels, Vendor B has 30 reviews from 1 hotel client. 

In this example, you can see that while both vendors have the same # of reviews, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison when it comes to credibility and install base since Vendor A has 30 verified hotel clients and Vendor B has only 1. 

The Share of Voice variable will help identify potential client selection bias (aka. cherry picking) that can arise if a vendor is strategically only asking for feedback from a select number of clients versus reaching out to their full install base.


Who will be impacted by the client bias update?

Most companies will not be impacted by this update.  The only companies that will be impacted will be ones who have selectively sought to only seek feedback from lots of users at a small sample of client hotels.

*Note: You can still get a handful of reviews from a single property; however, if all of your reviews are coming from a small amount of properties the algorithm will identify this as potential cherry picking/gaming and your score will be impacted as a result

What can we do to maximize our score for the client bias update?

Just make sure you are reaching out organically for feedback to your client base instead of cherry picking select clients.  Also, take note that while you may certainly collect a handful of reviews from different users at a given hotel--if your strategy has been to try to game the system and collect tons of reviews from a single hotel (or small number of hotels) this will be identified by the algorithm update and your score will be impacted.  Hopefully it goes without saying but...make sure you're review collection is organic, representative and diverse and you are not trying to game the system by gathering lots of a reviews from only a few select clients.  

Phase I: HTScore Poseidon Update Rollout

Phase I of the HTScore Poseidon Algorithm update that was announced back in June is now live.  

Phase I of the rollout gives vendors a chance to see potential impact to their rankings and what they can do to improve before the site wide rollout to all users.  In Phase I vendors have the opportunity to see their new scores privately via their Reputation Report Card and Awards Live Leaderboard and get personalize tips to improve your score before the public rollout later this month (late August) via the Coaching Checklist in your vendor dashboard.

As a reminder, for the next few weeks during Phase I the updated rankings and scoring are only visible to vendors privately via the vendor dashboard and the awards leaderboard to make sure you have plenty of time to check your impact and take any necessary action (if needed) in advance of the update officially going live on the site.




FAQs

Will my ranking and scores be impacted?

While most companies' scores won't be heavily impacted, companies who don't have recent reviews of their products may experience significant drops in ranking and scores.  

How will I know if my HTScore or ranking will drop significantly due to the update?

Head to the Reputation Report Card in your vendor dashboard to check your HT Score and ranking relative to what you see on the front end (ie. your profiles or category pages) of HotelTechReport.com. 

See how to check your score impact


If our products look like they will drop in score or rank after the update goes live, what can we do to mitigate this?

Not to worry, this is exactly why Phase I exists to give your team time to know what to expect and pre-empt any unexpected or undesired changes.  The first thing you'll want to do is review the Coaching Checklist in the Reputation Report card which is sorted by potential impact (most important at the top).  The main reason for companies dropping in score or rank with this update is due to inactivity and lack of recent reviews so this is an easy one to fix and HTR has several resources available to help Basic Members and Premium Members quickly and easily collect recent reviews.

When will the update officially go live to the rest of the site (Phase II)?

Phase II will go live towards the end of August providing vendors several weeks of additional prep time leading into the official rollout to check their impact and collect reviews to mitigate any potential drops in scores/ranking due to inactivity.

HT Score Poseidon Algorithm Update (Q3 '21)

Hotel Tech Report consistently improves the HT Score ranking algorithm to incorporate variables and mechanisms that set out to productize buyer research and decision making criteria considered by savvy hotel tech buyers during the research, vetting and due diligence process to help hoteliers make better decisions, faster.  Similar to Google's algorithm updates, HTR periodically rolls out updates to build upon and improve the scoring methodology over time.

The core purpose of this update is not to change the importance/weighting of the various quality signals in the scoring system, but instead to provide a more dynamic, consistent, and long-term scoring methodology that ensures an accurate, fair and current perspective of products in the market based on key buying decision criteria and real time data in the HTR platform.  

The Poseidon algorithm update is outlined below in addition to tips for companies to optimize their presence, rankings and visibility.  The Poseidon update will go into effect in mid-July '21 ensuring that all vendors have time to review the update and understand the potential implications that it might have on rankings.

 

All Reviews Are Not Created Equal...

Generally speaking, this group of updates takes into consideration something that has never been factored into the HT Score before which is that all reviews are not created equal.  Old reviews aren't as important as new reviews, shallow reviews aren't as meaningful as in-depth reviews, lots of reviews from a small subset of clients aren't as representative as a few reviews from a large subset of clients and collecting lots of reviews at once tends to increase bias relative to a more sustainable long term feedback collection strategy.  Below are additional details about the new criteria that will be factored into scoring in a dynamic way:

  • Decay factor on review volume. Previously review volume in the category minimum review threshold was based on all time reviews with no difference between the important of a review from years ago to a review left today about a users current product experience.  Now, the impact of reviews towards HTScore variables will evenly decay overtime over a 36-month period meaning that reviews older than 3-years will not be counted in terms of category average volumes.  As a result, recent reviews will carry more weight than old reviews since they are more reflective of the current product and customer experience.  This decay in weight will be gradual to avoid drastic and sudden changes.  
  • Review depth.  Companies that build outstanding products that customers love develop strong communities of passionate customer advocates and product mavens who have insightful feedback about the product and take the time to engage in ways to support the development, growth and success of companies they love.  Additionally, in-depth reviews provide more value to users by painting clear user scenarios, pros and cons to help buyers on HTR better understand the product offering available to make a more informed decision.  For these reasons, in-depth reviews will now be factored in as a weighting variable (relative to review depth from peers in the same category) and an indicator of customer engagement and likelihood to recommend.
  • Client bias (aka Share of Voice). Hotel Tech Report’s policy has historically been to accept reviews from multiple users at a single hotel due to the fact that every user has a unique opinion/viewpoint on software.  Having said that, collecting lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that aren't representative of your overall customer base indicates potential risk of bias.  Therefore, we will be implementing a maximum limit of  5 reviews/property that can be counted in scoring to eliminate potential bias from a small subset of customers that may not be representative of the overall client base.
  • Customer centric processes. Companies who create a sustainable process to regularly collect reviews organically and steadily overtime indicate that customer feedback is at the heart of their organizational processes.  As a result, companies who show stable review collection will be rewarded as a key indicator of organic review collection, strong internal feedback loops and customer centricity.


Static-->Dynamic Quality Signals

Last year the v1 additional bonus quality signals were introduced to the HT Score with binary static determination.  This v1 implementation did not factor in the vast differences across products and categories ultimately rendering the quality signals with relatively little importance due to the fact that they were not dynamic.  This update takes the old static variables and makes them dynamic within each category to ensure more accurate comparisons and assessments between products.

  • Dynamic scoring updates. The following bonuses will move from binary fixed points into a dynamic scoring system relative to other products in the respective category for more accurate comparison: Global reach, partner recommendations, staying power, company resources
  • Global coverage bonus.  Historically the geographic reach bonus only factored in # of countries with 5+ reviews.  The issue with countries is that some regions have dozens of countries (eg. Europe) and some only have a handful (eg. North America) but ultimately the key factor is likelihood that a vendor will be able to service a user in the global market place.  To improve the effectiveness of the geo bonus and remove potential country inequality, a regional coverage variable will be added to the global reach bonus to provide a more accurate view of global market coverage.  Regions include: North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East/Africa, South America
  • Ecosystem health bonus. A new variable will be added for app ecosystem health that factors aggregate HTScores and ratings of all verified integration partners.  Products with the highest quality app ecosystems not only have a higher probability of being able to effectively service more users in the global market place, but ecosystem health also serves as an indicator of engineering resources, company reputation and ability to deliver a more seamless customer experience through a holistically integrated tech stack of world class products.


The Good & The Bad (Examples of both)

Good🚫 Bad
Showcase lots of recent reviews and customer feedback on your profiles that is reflective of the current product experience and customer relationships.Few or no recent reviews with most reviews from a long time ago making it difficult for prospects to learn about the current user experience.
Collect reviews from a wide array of customers that provides a representative and unbiased sample.Collect lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that isn't representative of your overall customer base and indicates potential risk of bias.
Create a sustainable process to regularly collect reviews organically and steadily showing that customer feedback is at the heart of your organizational processes and that hoteliers aren't pressured to leave reviews.All of your reviews are collected within a short period of time indicating that feedback collection is not part of your team's internal processes and that hoteliers may have been bombarded with requests creating a stressful experience for users that can lead to bias and frustration.
Collect reviews from customers in each of the key regions you serve geographically to increase chances of having strong customer feedback that is relevant to HTR's global audience of hoteliers.Collect reviews from hoteliers in a single geography which signals to the algorithm that you are a regional provider that may not be able to service many of HTR's global audience of hoteliers.
List and verify all of your integrations and collect recommendations from lots of your partners to show that your product and team are highly interoperable and come highly recommended by other top partners in the global ecosystem.Only list and verify a few of your integrations and have minimal recommendations from other vendors in the community indicating to the algorithm and buyers that your company may be fairly nascent in the market and lacks a strong partner ecosystem.


Tips to Optimize Your Rankings for the Upcoming Update

  • 💡Tip #1: Make sure you have recent reviews that are reflective of the current product experience for buyers (Related to: Review decay)
  • 💡Tip #2: Make sure you diversify your review collection and don't have all of your reviews from only a small number of hotels (Related to: Client bias)
  • 💡Tip #3: Make sure you have a consistent and organic review collection process built into your team's workflows and avoid large burst campaigns that inundate and overwhelm clients (Related to: Erratic Collection Penalty)
  • 💡Tip #4Make sure you diversify your review collection across your customer base's geographic regions to maximize your global coverage and geo bonus (Related to: Global Coverage Bonus)
  • 💡Tip #5: Make sure all of your integrations are listed and verified and you have as many recommendations from partners as you can to maximize your partner ecosystem bonus (Related to: Ecosystem health bonus)

Note: Please note that as with Google or any other ranking methodology, HTR's algorithm is proprietary and full disclosure of exact calculations has the negative consequence of leading to users attempting to game the system which is why the exact algorithm is not shared publicly.  That said, HTR is committed to providing detailed documentation as well as the Reputation Report Card in the vendor dashboard to make sure it is simple and easy for your team to quickly assess the key drivers of the ranking methodology and identify ways to quickly and easily to optimize your rankings and presence.

πŸ’§New eBook Drop: What do telemedicine, remote work and NFTs have in common?

Telemedicine, remote work, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, mobile ordering...what do all of these have in common?

Each of these trends were inevitable tech enabled shifts in the way we interact and collaborate as a species whose adoption was vastly accelerated by COVID-19.

But while rapidly changing regulation, limited staffing and required physical distancing highlighted the importance of technology to survive in the face of uncertainty, what hoteliers across the world realized is that the benefits of leveraging technology to attract more customers, communicate more seamlessly and improve efficiency stretch far beyond COVID.

👉 Download the 2021 Market Leaders Report

We created this free report packed with data driven insights, product rankings, trend analysis and tons of additional free resources to serve as a primer to all things digital to inspire HTR’s global community of hoteliers as you prepare for the recovery.

Whether you’re looking to adopt contactless checkin to make guests feel more at ease upon arrival, find a channel manager to tap into new distribution channels, upgrade to a modern PMS so you don’t have to kick the hood three times and blow on the steering wheel to check a guest in (joking…kind of) or you're just looking for a resource to share with your team to help them get more familiar with the top tech tools that are available—this report has it all.

πŸ† Top Hotel Tech Products of the Year Announced

Running a hotel is hard and 2020 was the most challenging year in history.

But with every crisis comes opportunity and here at Hotel Tech Report, we've spent the last 3-months scouring the globe for the best tech products to bring your hotel back stronger than ever in 2021.

During the 3-month 2021 HotelTechAwards period, 318,466 hoteliers across 127 countries visited Hotel Tech Report and spent more than 3,000 hours contributing 10,227 verified hotel software product reviews to help you save time, make better vendor decisions and determine the best hotel tech products of the year.

HTR's community of hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies surfaced innovative products ranging from contactless check-in solutions and next-gen guest messaging all the way to automated revenue management systems and business intelligence software.

We are excited to share with you the best hotel tech products of 2021!

View the full announcement eblast

Winners Guide to the Final Week of the HotelTechAwards!

HotelTechAwards final week game face be like...

It's the final week of the 2021 HotelTechAwards and things are really heating up 🔥 with tons of close races!

By now you've had 13 weeks to collect as many reviews and bonus points as possible, but to help you into the final stretch we've put together a guide to help you pick up last minute bonus points and maximize your chances of winning with recommendations for each day of the final week.

  • 🗓 Tuesday December 8: Launch Your Final Review Campaign!
  • 🗓 Wednesday December 9-10: Submit Verifications for Unverified Reviews
  • 🗓 Thursday December 10: Max Out Your Partner Recommendations & Integrations
  • 🗓 Friday December 11: Make Sure Your Team Has to Completed the Company Culture Survey
  • 🗓 Monday December 14: Final Checkins and Report Card Audit
  • 🗓 Tuesday December 15: Awards End, Data Freeze & Dark Period!




🗓 Tuesday December 8-9: Launch Your Final Review Campaign!

The most successful review campaigns include at least one followup and are launched on a Tuesday or Wednesday (check best practices) so with only 7-days left, if you're going to run a final campaign--today's the day! 

🧮  Review Volume Impact & Milestones

  • Minimum review threshold: Meet the minimum review threshold in your category to make sure you aren't penalized for being under the category average
  • Customer Advocates Bonus: Get the most reviews in your category to earn the Customer Advocates Bonus
  • Geographic Reach bonus: Get 5 or more reviews from 3, 5 or 7 countries to hit Geographic Reach bonus milestones
  • Tie Breakers: In races where two companies have the same amount of points when data is exported, ties are broken based on the product with the most reviews

🚀  Resources to Boost Your Review Volume

  1. Review Campaign Best Practices
  2. Top Ways to Collect Reviews for Basic Members
  3. How to Setup Automated Review Campaigns
  4. Pre-written Copy/Paste Starter Templates
  5. How to Motivate Your Team with an Internal Contest


🗓 Wednesday December 9-10: Submit Verifications for Unverified Reviews

In most cases users verify their review simply and easily right away by clicking the verification link but in some cases a hotelier may just forget or accidentally not click the verification link.  On December 9-10 the Review Manager will be unlocked for all participants to be able to submit manual verifications for reviews that were rejected. 

👉 Click here to learn how to get unverified reviews verified




🗓 Thursday December 10: Max Out Your Partner Recommendations & Integrations

Partners are a critical part of the hotel tech stack and ecosystem and you earn bonus points for the strength of your partner ecosystem via (1) verified integrations and (2) partner recommendations

🧮  Impact & Milestones

  • Verified Integrations: Make sure to list and verify each of your integrations.  Milestone bonus points awarded when you meet the average number of integrations and when you become the most integrated product in your category
  • Partner Recommendations: Reach out to partners to request partner recommendations.  Earn bonus points when you achieve 5, 10 and 15 partner recommendations for your product

🚀  Resources to Maximize Your Partner Ecosystem Points

  1. What if a company won't verify our integration?
  2. Inviting an Unlisted Integration Partner
  3. Hotelier Reviews vs. Partner Recommendations
  4. How to get partner recommendations (copy/paste template inside)




🗓 Friday December 11: Make Sure Your Team Has to Completed the Company Culture Survey

Remember, the Company Culture bonus is awarded to companies who make the 10 Best Places to Work list and is added off-platform after data is exported.  While these bonus points are nominal, they can be MAKE OR BREAK IN CLOSE RACES!

  • If your company makes the list...you get bonus points for Company Culture
  • If your company doesn't make the list...NOTHING HAPPENS!

You have nothing to lose so its worth a chance and can be what 

👉 Click here to get the company culture survey to send to your team



🗓 Monday December 14: Final and Report Card Audit

Hopefully by now you've done everything in your power to maximize your points so today is a good day to just check your Reputation Report Card to see if there are any last minute bonus points you can still pick up for any of your products.

👉 Check Your Reputation Report Card




🗓 Tuesday December 15: Awards End, Data Freeze & Dark Period!

👉 Key Dates, Rules & Processes Leading into the Announcement of Winners

Final Stretch of the 2021 HotelTechAwards

On December 15th, the 2021 HotelTechAwards period comes to an end and all companies will have had a full 14-weeks (Sept 1-Dec 15) to earn as many points as possible per the competition scoring rubric.  Please note that to ensure a fair competition for all participants, the December 15th deadline is firm and final with NO EXCEPTIONS.  


Upcoming Dates to Keep in Mind

  1. ✅  December 9-10 Review Inbox Access Period
  2. 🏁  December 15: Competition Deadline
  3. 🧮  December 16-18: Analysis and Data Audit
  4. 🌚  December 21-31: Winner Determination + Go Dark Period
  5. 🤫  First week of January: Winners Notified
  6. 🥇  Tuesday January 12, 2020: Public Announcement of Winners

Learn more about what happens on December 15th after the cutoff deadline


HotelTechAwards Home Stretch FAQs

  • (Q1) Will the review manager be unlocked again to submit last minute verifications for reviews where the user didn't click the verification link?
  • (Q2) What should I be focused on leading into the final stretch of the awards?
  • (Q3) If I'm showing in 1st place in the leaderboard on December 15th @ 5pm when data is frozen does that mean I've won my category?

Check out the answers to the FAQs




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