Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine has named the winners of the 2014 Hotel Visionary Awards. Every year, HT presents a select group of lodging companies with accolades for outstanding achievement in delivering technological excellence. This year's honorees are Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, La Quinta Inns & Suites, and Red Lion Hotels.
Now in their 10th year, Hotel Visionary Awards are presented in two categories: infrastructure/back-office technology, and customer-facing/in-room technology. In order to ensure that companies from across the industry are recognized for their efforts, consideration is given to size, resources and individual market segment benchmarks. Winners are selected by HT editorial staff and members of the HT advisory board on a basis of innovation, thought leadership, execution and forward-thinking vision.
"From responding to guests' expectations online, to facing head-on the relentless increases in bandwidth consumption, to managing increasingly sophisticated IT infrastructures, technology innovation in an invaluable component in even the most human-focused service industries," says Abigail A. Lorden, editor-in-chief of Hospitality Technology. "This year's Hotel Visionary Award winners are outstanding examples of the critical role that innovation plays in hotel operations and HT magazine is honored to recognize their vision and execution."
The winners were announced at the Hotel Technology Forum (HTF) on Thursday, April 17, 2014. The 2014 HTF, held April 16-18 at Aria Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., is produced by Hospitality Technology, and brings together senior-level hotel technology executives for three days of networking and education, focusing on consumer trends, innovation opportunities, and the role of technology in empowering success for lodging companies.
The 2014 Visionary Award Winners
La Quinta Inns & Suites was selected as an Infrastructure/Back-Office Technology Innovator for its development of a Performance Management Platform integrating with its Project Lifecycle Methodology. In order to support complex environments across 20+ vendors ranging from the central reservation system, financial system, property management system and 800+ e-commerce sites, La Quinta needed to ensure SLAs were met as well as business and customer needs while supporting growing e-commerce traffic patterns and performance expectations from customers all while maintaining low transaction error rates. To achieve these goals La Quinta utilized a combination of tools including: Dell's Foglight, HP's Load Runner and Sitescope to support its SAAS model.
"We are honored to have been awarded this recognition by HT magazine," Vivek Shaiva, EVP & CIO, LQ Management, states. "It is very heartening to see public recognition of excellence in something seemingly obscure as Performance Engineering. However given the increasing adoption of Cloud technologies and SaaS based solutions, it is all the more critical that consumers of these technologies understand the enormous value, positive customer impact and risk mitigation a strong discipline of Performance Engineering can provide their organizations. We thank HT magazine for its industry wide efforts recognizing such efforts and for selecting La Quinta as a winner this year."
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group was chosen as a Customer-Facing/In-Room Technology Innovator for the creation of its global Technology Innovation Lab. The objective for the Technology Innovation Lab is to create a showcase quality facility of guest room and public area technologies. The facility is focused on guest-facing and guest-servicing platforms and systems that will help Mandarin Oriental build and operate exceptional properties. The lab is developed in a flexible showcase design to allow the desired technology, platform and concept testing while enabling the team to sell the outcome to internal colleagues as well as its hotel partners and owners.
"We feel that while bench-testing technology is very efficient the ability to show it off in a meaningful and highly designed manner can make the difference in gaining understanding and acceptance," says David Heckaman, Vice President of Technology Development. "Winning the HTF Visionary Award for our Innovation Lab is especially rewarding as it validation that not only are the efforts appreciated from within our organization but from the industry in general."
Red Lion Hotels has been named a Customer-Facing/In-Room Technology Innovator for its complete rewrite of all Red Lion Hotels Corporation public-facing websites with the primary objectives of infusing brand identity into the online experience and shifting bookings from OTA channels to the Redlion.com channel. As of December 31, 2013 the conversion rate for desktop-based browser sessions has almost doubled over the prior year and the mobile conversion rate has improved by almost five times year-on-year. Additionally, booked revenue for all Red Lion sites is up 18% year-on-year, with mobile site revenue up 846% year-on-year.
"Red Lion is honored to win a Hotel Visionary Award," says David Barbieri, Senior Vice President & CIO, Red Lion Hotels Corporation. "Our website is our most important communication medium. As such, Redlion.com needs to continually evolve to facilitate bookings and provide the information consumers are seeking, while also supporting our marketing initiatives and positioning. Our e-commerce platform needs to be innovative and deliver a consistent customer experience across all consumer devices. Technology innovations including a shopping-cart-based booking engine integrated into a responsive website framework have helped us achieve these goals."
Past Visionary Award Winners Include:
- Hyatt Hotels (2013)
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts (2013)
- Red Roof Inns (2013)
- Choice Hotels (2013)
- Flamingo Las Vegas (2012)
- Gaylord Entertainment (2012)
- La Quinta Inns & Suites (2012)
- Hilton Worldwide (2012)
- Choice Hotels International (2011)
- Morgans Hotel Group (2011)
- Galt House Hotel (2011)
- Royal Caribbean (2011)
- CityCenter (2010)
- Courtyard by Marriott (2010)
- JHM Hotels Group (2010)
- InterContinental Hotels Group (2009)
- Harrah's Entertainment (2009)
- Hyatt Place (2009)
- Thayer Lodging Group (2009)
- MTM Luxury Lodging (2008)
- The Peninsula Hotels (2008)
- Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (2008)
- Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (2007)
- Ginn Resorts (2007)
- Hilton Hotels Corporation (2007)
- Rosewood Hotels & Resorts (2006)
- Harrah's Entertainment (2006)
- MGM Mirage (2006)
- Wyndham International (2005)
- Sea Island Company (2005)
- Marriott International (2005)
- Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (2005)
- Hyatt International (2005)