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Mr Blynk wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We are sure you’ll are busy planning your Christmas and New Year bash. Just a merry reminder that the customization options in your app, powered by Blynk, can let you a create a festive feel for your app too.

Like your hotels must be decorated, simply change the background of your hotel app to give your guests that merry Christmas feeling.

Digital Concierge - Merry Christmas

This article is from Hotel Management: Portrait of a High Tech Hotel: The Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel

The Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel

The Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel is famous for using some crazy things in tech. Well its Ibiza, you really can’t blame them.

Biometric PayTouch system

Facebook Sharing system

Guests (and visitors for the concerts) can sync their Facebook profile to a wristband that they can scan at seven pillars throughout the property.

iPads in Suites

More and more hotels are going mobile and social but none have embraced technology like this hotel.

We just read the below article on Tnooz: The Year In Review – Travelers and Hoteliers Turn to Mobile Apps. We could not agree more.

From marketing to booking to offering concierge services, 2012 was all about mobile technology. Whether for smartphones or tablets, for guests or employees, apps ruled the hotel scene, and the trend shows no sign at all of slowing down. In fact, an estimated $4 billion will be spent on near field communication devices in the coming year alone, according to Tnooz.com.

The Trends

Last week, Travelport, which provides business services to the travel industry, reported that 87 percent of those aged 35 and under, and 80 percent of those 36-45, owned or planned to purchase a smartphone in the next six months. This increased access to the internet anytime, anywhere, is changing the expectations, demands and behaviors of leisure travelers. Sixty percent of these travelers consider a smartphone to be their ‘personal travel assistant or companion’ enabling interaction to take place at any time. Both groups prefer to access pre-travel information via mobile technology, rather than through traditional devices. This indicates the importance of travel itineraries that can be integrated with other apps, and formats that are easily read on mobile devices.

Earlier this week, we reported that Expedia is seeing 20 percent of its sites’ transactions coming from mobile devices. Right now Expedia has more than 130 mobile websites and its mobile apps are available in more than 200 countries. (Notably, Expedia executives reported growth in same-day hotel booking. In March 2012, 16.6 percent of U.S. Expedia users booked their hotel room within 24 hours of departure, on a mobile device.)

In August, a Starwood survey of business travelers found that smartphones are the most popular device among overnight guests (74 percent), followed by tablets (65 percent), music players (43 percent) and laptops (32 percent). Chinese respondents were the only group to bump laptops out of the top four, in favor of cameras (30 percent).

According to UK industry website MeetPie.com, Wi-Fi will become less important with the surge in the 4G telecommunications network, and tablet sales will soar. Speaking at the 8th UK National Association Congress, Ian McAuliffe, director of content and publishing agency, Think Publishing, said: “11 percent of the UK population has a tablet, but it is expected that by this Christmas Day that figure will rise to 30 percent.” Interestingly, 100 percent of the 100 associations Think questioned in a recent survey said that they had online content and email newsletters, but only 19 percent had digital editions and mobile presence.

The Apps

It would take all day to list all of the new and redesigned apps for hotel guests here—so many have made their debut that one can pick just about any major hotel chain or company and find a mobile app to fit it. Even independent properties are getting in on the action.

But what’s notable are the apps that the hotel employees themselves use to run their business. Hotel Service Pro and SalesPro let hoteliers keep track of all their maintenance and service orders, or of sales and account data, respectively.

Looking ahead, mobile payment systems seem poised to become increasingly common in many businesses, including hotels. It may well be that by the time 2014 rolls around, a smartphone with a good collection of apps (and plenty of memory, of course) may be a necessity for hotel guests and hoteliers alike.

We just read an excellent article at HotelNewsNow.com titled 2013 – The Year Of 3 Screen Hospitality.

Some notable quotes from the article:

2013: The year of three-screen hospitality
Google projects an overall increase in number of search queries by 24% in 2013, but search data differs dramatically across the three device categories. Searches from mobile devices will experience an increase of 68%, while searches from tablets will increase by more than 180%. Desktop searches will experience a decline of 4%.

So what should hoteliers do get ready for the three-screen battle in 2013?

Begin by treating the desktop, mobile and tablet as three separate channels.

Desktop website. Make sure your desktop website is “in good health,” in order to comply with best practices in hotel distribution and to adhere to the industry’s best practices for design, site architecture and search-engine optimization. Most importantly, make sure it is compatible with the recent Google Panda and Freshness algorithm updates.

Mobile website. A hotel mobile website generates incremental revenue through mobile and voice reservations which, without a well-optimized, content-rich, property-specific mobile site, would go to the competition or to online travel agencies.

Tablet website. According to eMarketer, global tablet sales are projected to exceed 232 million in 2016, growing from 64 million in 2011. In 2013, there will be 75.6 million U.S. tablet users, up from 13 million in 2010. Hotel marketers should consider either enhancing their desktop website for the touch-screen tablet environment or building a tablet-only version of their website in addition to their desktop and mobile sites, which all should be managed via a single digital content depository-enabled content management system.

We believe that mobile and tablet will be more important for hotels sooner than estimated. We also believe that the right way to target mobile and tablet devices is through a property specific app. An app gives a far superior experience and can have more features on a mobile device than a mobile site.

 

We are avid readers of Tnooz, a popular travel tech blog. We are excited to be mentioned by them in their recent article – A startling stat on mobile hotel booking, and more travel tech news, along with other companies like Southwest Airlines, Priceline and MyTaxi. Sean O’Neil, who wrote the article, is a travel tech columnist for BBC Travel.

We also got a shout out by Eye for Travel, a leading blog on travel and tourism, in their aptly titled article – Calling room service: could you please bring me a tablet. Thanks Andrew for the mention.

Heads In Beds is a book about the insides of the hotel industry. The book is a best seller and ranked among top 150 books on Amazon. Some reviews by readers:

The title is funny, but it’s just the beginning of this factual, entertaining and even informative look at the hospitality industry.

It’s fun to find out what goes on behind the scenes at the hotel, and you know, it’s pretty much what you thought.

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We believe that the hotel industry is one of the first industries which can benefit from having a strong presence on mobile devices. The best way to do that is to have your own hotel apps. Luckily, we are not the only ones who believe in this.

We welcome a diverse range of hotels who have recently signed up for a mobile app, powered by Blynk iHotel.

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Below original article source: Hotel Insight Blog

This is why I love Hipmunk.  As you probably know, I’ve blogged about this company several times in the past, and their latest product enhancements are well worth a mention again today.  This time, they have introduced location-based searches.  We are not talking enter the city or airport and off we go – we are talking detailed locations and neighbourhoods e.g. “I want to be in the shopping district” or “I don’t want to be near the nightlife areas”.  Essentially users can now filter hotel results by traveler type and review curated neighbourhood guides to find the best hotels in the best neighbourhoods for their unique interests.  See Hipmunk’s positioning video.

Clever isn’t it?  What I like is that Hipmunk once again try to solve a problem that travellers trying to find hotel accommodation on numerous OTA websites struggle with time and time again – and this one’s pretty hard to get right.

For those who’ve not read my previous posts, Hipmunk is an online travel website using new technologies and search approaches to offer various travel options.  They created “Agony” search and sort options, claiming to ease the pain of searching for and booking flights using their rather different approach to the normal OTA formats.  Similarly, and as I’ve blogged about before, Hipmunk also have an “Ecstasy” sort to find the best hotels and home rentals.

To add some context to the latest announcement, Hipmunk announced its new hotel search product which now helps match travellers to the best hotel in the ideal neighbourhood or area for their specific interests and provides detailed neighborhood guides and local information making it easier for travelers to imagine staying in a given location.  Hipmunk’s new tailored hotels product will not only give travellers more context into booking their stay, it will also allow users to make their hotel reservation faster than any other competitive travel search site.

“Travellers are used to the hassle of toggling between hotel sites, maps, reviews, and online destination guides in order to find that perfect hotel,” said Adam Goldstein, Hipmunk CEO“Hipmunk now serves as your hotel matchmaker, and we’re thrilled to be the first travel site to offer all that information in one place to provide faster and more insightful booking decisions.”

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I never easily trust companies when they tell me the total cost of ownership of their products and neither should you trust us when we say that it costs less than $0.50 / day when you buy a tablet.

But many companies have started renting out tablets especially to travellers. The latest is that XCom Global has started renting out the Google Nexus 7 at, hold your breadth, only $1 a day. If you don’t believe us, check out their website at http://www.xcomglobal.com. This means it must be costing them less than that, right?

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Mr Blynk wishes you a very Happy Diwali :)

It’s festive season, which means more guests, more events, more celebrations. At Blynk, we are always racking our brains to help you personalize your guest experience. The customizations that we built in Blynk iHotel, helps you to do precisely that.

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