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The underappreciated city of Minneapolis served as host for the 2019 edition of HITEC (produced by HFTP) which wrapped up its most recent four-day run on June 20, 2019. In the days and weeks leading up to the event, meeting solicitations and party invites filled my inbox at a growth rate any VC or entrepreneur would envy. As a first-timer to this international hospitality technology behemoth, it became apparent that HITEC actually begins a few weeks prior to when that first request or invitation lands in your over-stuffed inbox.

Time is limited. Once it’s gone, you can’t gain it back. Similarly, once a room goes unsold for a night, it will go unsold forever. There’s no way to recover that loss, because there’s no way to go back in time.
 
Many hotels fight this limitation by trying to sell as many rooms as possible. If all the rooms are completely booked, time no longer becomes a factor. But most don’t have the luxury of being at-capacity every single night. That’s why last-minute booking apps are growing in popularity in the industry, where hotels can make the most of each day. These apps specifically target guests who don’t plan far in advance, seeking accommodations from one week to one minute later.
 
There are several different ways your hotel can benefit from using last-minute booking apps in your business strategy.

IoT is Coming, Jon Snow…
Posted: 05/21/2019

Hospitality is prime for the coming advent of the various devices that make up the Internet of Things. Estimates show the industry now represents 17.5 million rooms worldwide and savvy guests are demanding more personalization and an overall improved guest experience along their connected travel journey and belief is that IoT can bring this to reality. 

The forces driving local search rankings are constantly changing. But recent studies suggest that in 2019, four key factors make up the local search algorithm. 
 
The most significant factor is Google My Business (GMB). If you’re not on it, get on it now.

The robotic revolution in the hospitality industry might seem to have taken a step back. This January, the famously quirky Henn-Na Hotel in Japan fired half of its 243 robot staff. The robotic workforce reportedly irritated guests and frequently broke down.



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ADA Compliance: Is Your Website in Violation?

02/10/2016
Is your hotel website ADA compliant? If not, you could be in serious violation.
In 1990, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At that time, the public Internet did not exist. But two landmark cases heightened oversight of government and advocacy groups, and set the precedent that public websites that offer a service need to comply with ADA standards.

In 2008, Target Corp. settled a class action lawsuit filed in California by the National Federation of the Blind, who claimed blind people could not access information on the retail site. In 2012, Netflix, an online video streaming service, settled a suit filed by the National Association of the Deaf and other plaintiffs in Massachusetts that led to online captioning on content provided by Netflix.

Today, ADA advocates and regulators include hotel websites as those requiring assistive technology for disabled browsers and prospective guests to access the sites. The ADA was strengthened in 2010 when it was updated with the “accessible design” regulations. Although the revision impacts hotel properties, technology is a category of awareness, including an accessible website on which all people can learn about your hotel and make a reservation.

According to the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, one in five non-institutionalized civilians in the U.S. have at least one disability. One in five is a huge number, and it is really not surprising that the ADA compliance regulations would finally come to play online for the public sector. 

In an opinion letter dated Sept. 9, 1996, The U.S. Department of Justice states:

“Covered entities under the ADA are required to provide effective communication, regardless of whether they generally communicate through print media, audio media or computerized media such as the Internet. Covered entities that use the Internet for communications regarding their programs, goods or services must be prepared to offer those communications through accessible means as well.”

Basically this means that the ADA doesn’t just apply to the physical world, but also to the cyberspace world as well. 

What does this mean to you?

If you are looking to create a new website or want to revamp your existing hotel website, please keep ADA requirements in mind. 

It is important to work with a web development team that is knowledgeable about not only what is new with the ever-changing technological advancements of web design, but also can 100 percent guarantee ADA compliancy to give you a stress-free hotel website. 

The cost of making a site ADA compliant does not have to be expensive. Building a new site is easier than retrofitting an existing site, but the key factor is the design team’s knowledge about accessibility. An ADA compliant website will have closed captions to videos, and include audio to descriptions. If an image is also used as a link, the alt tag must describe the graphic and the link destination.  The key, of course is to find a web design company that knows the ins and outs of creating the perfect site the first time around to save you money in the future.
 
These are just a drop in the bucket of technical additions that must be retrofitted into existing or added to all new websites. The good news is that hotels that implement these accessibilities on their websites can earn back the cost as well as new revenue from online bookings by disabled customers. Of course, your hotel will receive positive online feedback as well, which we all know goes a long way for repeat and future bookings. 

The most inexpensive way to create an award winning and profitable website is to do it right the first time. Take the time to do the research and increase your site to a whole new market waiting to book your next room!

About The Author
Nimesh Dinubhai
President
Websrefresh


Nimesh Dinubhai completed his studies in 2003 and launched Websrefresh to help businesses grow their ROI. He also owns two Arizona hotels, one of which earned the Historical Hotel Award in 2014.

 
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