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Data and the Hotel

Software that enables hospitality operators to drill down into data details is becoming a necessity

Data and the Hotel

Here are two of the most loaded words in the gaming-hospitality realm: hotel software.

Systems enabling the real-time coordination of large customer data blocks and infinitely small details remain a vital sector across increasingly blended hotel casino operations. For many properties, mastering this dynamic is an operating prerequisite. For others, it is the springboard for an edge.

The short description of hotel software is that it allows hotel owners or managers to streamline their administrative tasks while cutting costs and increasing bookings. Software systems enhance the daily operations of a hotel and improve the overall guest experience.

The deeper, more nuanced view varies by property. Individual operators tailor it to their specific needs, while the collective casino hotel world relies on its overall capability. The data synergy between operators and software enables varied perks like increasing the spa privilege or providing a room upgrade to high-ranking players.

And for all tiers, managers can turn the hotel into an oasis to refresh players before they return to the floor. Pampering is paramount.

Combined hotel casino operations become so important that industry pros seek common ground to glean cutting-edge ideas.

One of their sounding boards is a website called revfine.com.

It is a knowledge platform for the hospitality and travel industry. Professionals use its feedback, strategies and actionable tips to brainstorm and innovate. This is a sensible outlet for the industry, discussing hotels of every size.

Here is the backdrop of what industry professionals are looking at, and turning into action, via the website.

From automating distribution tasks to generating financial reports, software applications make everything more efficient. This includes allowing operations to be done when staff are not available to intervene manually, and it enables property-wide data sharing.

Automation also reduces labor costs and increases productivity in other areas, depending on how hotels deploy personnel. Team members freed up to deliver face-to-face customer engagement help properties.

Review management software can boost a hotel’s reputation, saving on marketing costs, while channel managers can save on costs linked to distribution. Revenue increases can be traced to hotel software. The revenue management systems can allow operators to optimize pricing and distribution, using past and current data to accurately forecast demand. The information is available at one’s fingertips, enabling quick, timely decisions.

Marketing intelligence software, meanwhile, helps operators customize offers based on customer data, while distribution channel managers can allow operators to manage availability and visibility across online distribution channels. Improved customer experience can be obtained through mobile hotel check-in and check-out systems.

Across the hospitality industry, properties use insights like these. How they do it is based on their needs.

Building an Advantage

Who needs hotel software more than a growing company? Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park, California needs effective streamlining like never before, because its officials are thinking big.

The property just north of San Francisco has ambitious plans to expand its gaming floor, and add an entertainment theater, rooftop restaurant and a second hotel tower.

The overall expansion will add 144,000 square feet to the casino for a 45 percent increase in floor size.

The hotel addition will comprise a five-story tower with 221 guest rooms and suites located adjacent to the existing tower. The hotel’s swimming pool area also will be expanded, and the project includes a 3,500-seat theater, a new parking garage and other additions. The garage is expected to become the first portion of the expansion, with groundbreaking projected for the second quarter of 2023.

These are the best of times for the resort, a forward move that only occurs every few years in any property.

Duetto received the Gold Award for Best Productivity-Enhancement Technology at the 2022 GGB Gaming & Technology Awards

Graton could not be more well-positioned. It is ideally located 45 minutes north of San Francisco, nurtured by a heavily populated feeder market of 8 million people in the nearby area. It is not burdened by nearby competition, vying mostly with Sacramento properties to the east for a vast gaming empire.

All the property must do is master the logistics of growth. In a twist of the famous Field of Dreams movie phrase “If you build it, they will come,” Graton’s could be “They are already coming. Let’s build it.”

Hotel software plays a vital role in that.

Jonathan Proffitt, the hotel manager for Graton Resort and Casino, touts the benefit of software integrating his large property.

Rooms, restaurants, spas, the pool, entertainment and gambling come under one umbrella, which needs to be compartmentalized.

“We have been built as an amenity to provide relaxation for the guests who are gambling,” Proffitt says. “It’s a nice place for guests to get away from the craziness of the blackjack table or stop hitting the spin button for a while,” he adds, laughing. “With the hotel you can go take a shower, watch TV, relax, hit the spa or maybe go to the pool for a couple of hours.”

Proffitt says customers can call guest services, find out where they are placed in the system and obtain a reservation in as little as 30 seconds. When the hotel completes its work on an app in the near future, the process will become even faster.

“We are able to tell who qualifies for a discount room and who can get a free room, and we can also tell customers when we have opening and when we are sold out already, so we can work with them to find something that works,” he asserts.

“There is a lot of science behind that. We send out marketing offers every month. We know who has been playing, who has not been playing as strongly and how we can set up our tiers to give great deals to our customers. The different benefits can extend beyond rooms and room rates. There are suite upgrades, plus extended check-in and check-out privileges.”

Proffitt has experienced the need for centralized room operations from two perspectives. One came several years ago at Red Rock in the jammed and competitive Las Vegas market. The property fell back on demographics, heavy sales and the help of third-party sites like Expedia and Travelocity to drive revenue.

Although those entities spike traffic, they command a fee. They also can’t inspire loyalty the way a homegrown, individually tailored hotel management plan can.

The second example is here. As customers flood Graton, the facility feverishly upgrades to meet demand. QR codes enable customers to bypass the check-in line, place their phone in front of the door and enter the room, Proffitt says. Similar touch-point efficiency involves reservations at the steakhouse and spa.

Proffitt acknowledges the need for numerous hotel-software functions. He prefers to have them in one place.

Graton’s vendor of choice is Agilysys, which provides rGuestbook.

Graton uses rGuestbook for a gamut of services including calendars, updated website pictures and changing verbiage to describe customer upgrades. Proffitt touts the Agilysys support team that offers extensive availability and teaches his staff how to utilize the product.

“Connectivity is key,” Proffitt says. “In this day and age, with a resort our size, many segments tie in with each other a lot. If we can hone in on a product that brings it all together, that’s important for us.

“You are always looking to develop something that is faster, more effective at retention. We have a big return clientele that really likes what we have here.”

Proffitt says the casino has players who come there once or twice every month. He considers it a major advantage for the hotel to know what room number, type and location each customer prefers. Some want to be near the elevator. Some seek a room with a pool view. Others want relative seclusion at the end of a hall.

“We have that information, and the players feel good about it,” Proffitt says. “A customer can figure ‘I don’t even have to ask for anything; they know what I want.’”

The Agilysys rGuest Book has been a strong product throughout the industry. It is a commission-free, easy-to-use reservation system that’s designed to move guests easily through the booking process. Operators are able to book a single room, or multiple rooms at once while attractively presenting all of the promotions and options a property has to offer.

The product advertises real-time results and availability, enabling operators to sell every room. Guests receive a single confirmation, without the confusion associated with multiple confirmations from outside the PMS. The product also aids in immediate deposits.

Service enhancements are automatically suggested, including fresh flowers, a bottle of wine or spa treatments when operators integrate with the Agilysys Spa solution.

Graton has illustrated that Agilysys is a valued catalyst for success. But it’s not the only one.

Sizzling Rainmaker

Cendyn became a strong player in this space after its 2019 acquisition of hospitality heavyweight Rainmaker. The cloud-based software and services provider had been developing integrated technology platforms that drove sales and marketing in the hospitality industry.

In Rainmaker, it obtained a hotel revenue and profit optimization cloud.

The combined company has a powerful imprint on the industry.

In early December, it announced that the Maho Group has selected

Cendyn to power CRM, revenue management and business intelligence at two St. Maarten resorts, the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa and Sonesta Ocean Point Resort.

The Maho Group intends to use Cendyn’s CRM and RMS solutions.

With Cendyn’s revenue management platforms, Guestrev and Grouprev, the Maho Group will evaluate its properties’ mix of revenue and profit centers at every touchpoint in both locations.

Based on the value of every casino player in their individual segments, Guestrev will provide a demand forecast and optimized price recommendations to maximize the Maho Group’s revenue. Utilizing Revintel, the Maho Group will be able to accelerate growth through faster and easier access to the properties’ data and analytics, driven by PowerBI.

This puts another feather in the cap of the company, which offers several ways for hoteliers to utilize its technology.

In the marketing realm, Cendyn offers several products. EInsight CRM provides enterprise marketing automation and guest intelligence. eLoyalty builds long-term relationships.

FleXI is an asset in upselling. Website design and Starling, its customer data platform, also figure into the mix.

In the reservations sector, Cendyn champions Pegasus CRS, which optimizes demand across global distribution channels. This features a scalable reservation system with intelligent rate and inventory management tools.

A booking engine, call center, CRS BIA Analytics and a conversion rate optimization via Rate Match also contribute to this area.

The revenue area includes revenue management, optimization and group revenue tools. The sales element includes tools involved in proposal rapid response, interactive menus, B2B sales automation and the Pegasus Corporate Sales program.

Building on Recognition

Duetto advertises itself as being able to empower revenue teams to deploy and scale profitable strategies through real-time data integrations and automation.

Some of its major components in this realm are the open-pricing benefit via GameChanger, real-time forecasting with ScoreBoard and group business optimization through BlockBuster.

Prominent officials have noticed. The Software as a Service (SaaS) provider received the Gold Award for Best Productivity-Enhancement Technology at the 2022 GGB Gaming & Technology Awards. The winners of the 21st edition of gaming’s most respected technology awards were announced by Global Gaming Business magazine at G2E 2022.

Receiving the award for Duetto was Tim Kennedy, senior sales director, casino accounts. “It is an absolute honor to receive this award from Global Gaming Business magazine,” Kennedy said. “This is the perfect end for Duetto in a successful year.”

Officials at Duetto have long outlined a difficult casino balancing act. Many casino hotels struggle to find the right balance between comp and cash guests. They either over-comp or under-comp. With limited insight and manual processes, some casino hotels often fill up with lower-value guests or go down with empty rooms on peak nights.

Duetto’s modern revenue strategy platform helps casino hotels “balance the house” to drive optimal profitability. “Our solutions allow casino hotels to price and yield all channels, segments room types and offers independently, enabling efficient and precise rate management,” Kennedy says.

“In addition, by incorporating patron worth data into pricing decisions, casino hotels can ensure they are filling their hotel rooms with the most profitable guests and making the appropriate reinvestment decisions.”

Duetto’s casino clients see on average a 7.6 percent uplift in the first six months of running revenue on Duetto, the company asserts. Recently, one tribal casino hotel reported a 36 percent year-on-year increase in occupied rooms and a 27 percent year-on-year increase in theoretical contribution by their top-tier players.

And there are more stories like this. Throughout the industry, operators lean more heavily on outfits like Agilysys, Cendyn and Duetto. Instant data, accessibility to guests and knowledge of one’s own property create a powerful presentation.

This will remain important, especially when markets fall or when competition rises.

Casino Connection Sports Editor Dave Bontempo is an award-winning sports writer and broadcaster who calls boxing matches all over the world. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, as well as numerous PGA, LPGA and Seniors Golf Tour events, and co-hosted the Casino Connection television program with Publisher Roger Gros.

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