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The hotel industry is going through a unique metamorphosis where next-generation innovations are completely changing the landscape when it comes to attracting and retaining guests.

Today’s hoteliers are going beyond just having an iPod docking stations in guest rooms to creating new systems for catering to the BYOD traveler, as well as to a new category of guest called the “Invisible Traveler.”

In recognition of this new era of hotel innovation, Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine recently named the winners of the 2013 Hotel Visionary Awards.

Divided into two categories – Infrastructure/Back Office Technology Innovator and Customer-Facing/In-Room Technology Innovator, the winners were acknowledged for their outstanding achievement in delivering technological excellence.

Here’s a quick rundown of the winners:

Hyatt Hotels was selected as an Infrastructure/Back-Office Technology Innovator for its development of a Group Bill solution, which allowed for a number of operational savings through the integrating of both point of sale and property management systems.

Red Roof Inns was selected as an Infrastructure/Back-Office Technology Innovator for its efforts in overhauling its legacy-interfaced environment. The ultimate solution was a convergence of its PMS and CRS technologies into one consolidated solution.

Choice Hotels was chosen as a Customer-Facing/In-Room Technology Innovator for its development of an alerting system that would help in expanding the reach and impact of Amber Alerts. The project leverages the company’s web-based property management system, choiceADVANTAGE, which is installed at more than 5,100 Choice hotels nationwide, to work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts has been named a Customer-Facing/In-Room Technology Innovator for its development of a brand-consistent, user-friendly virtual concierge, Conrad Concierge. Conrad Hotels & Resorts seamlessly integrated the guest-facing components of the service with the property management system to create a common platform that would facilitate requests from guests to the end provider, leveraging mobile technology in order to improve customer service. 

What makes these awards unique is that both back-end systems and concierge-like services were considered.  We will be seeing more hoteliers embracing innovations that completely change the way guests interact with brands.  Again, this will entail the use of both back-end systems for better targeting potential guests with truly personalized offers, combined with in-room and concierge innovations that will create lasting loyalty.

Congratulations to all the winners for their forward-thinking vision and thought leadership when it comes to hospitality IT.  This is certainly an exceptional time to be in the hotel industry as new technologies are about to forever change the idea of guest service, as we know it.