After success in the United States and considerable demand to bring ALICE to other markets, ALICE is coming to the United Kingdom with a special promotion for the company’s first 50 UK hotel partners.
After success in the United States and considerable demand to bring ALICE to other markets, ALICE is coming to the United Kingdom with a special promotion for the company’s first 50 UK hotel partners.
Justin Effron, Alex Shashou, and Dmitry Koltunov knew that something was missing in the hotel hospitality industry, so they set out to discover what is was. ...The three visionaries...launched ALICE in October 2013. It is a hospitality operations platform that helps hotels consistently deliver exceptional service by providing one system for guests, front-of-house and back-of-house staff to communicate and work together on. The company’s mission is to improve the hospitality experience through customer-driven technology.
The editorial staff of Hotel Business has selected six rising stars in the hospitality industry - among them, ALICE's co-founder and President, Alex Shashou.
Hello Scout’s New York launch came via a partnership with ALICE, a N.Y.-based operations platform for hotels. ALICE partners received early access to sign up for the five pilot spots, which were all claimed within just a few days. Hello Scout says they prefer working with ALICE hotels since communication within the hotel is smoother and more efficient.
The "concierge and front desk service in your pocket" is allowing hotels to deliver unparalleled customer service.
Software must be set up and used properly to succeed; accomplish this by assigning a system champion, sticking to an implementation process, and instill continued monitoring of the process.
The hotel of the (near) future, should be able to communicate with real-time messages to prospective or in-house guest, generating more revenue and increasing guest satisfaction. This is why we recommend great solutions by companies such as ALICE, and a host of others.
The communication between the hotel and guest is being handled by the ALICE mobile application, allowing guests to track any problems and manage their relationship with the hotel.
Alexander Shashou, president of hotel operations app ALICE; Alexandra Zubko, co-founder of direct booking platform Triptease; and Marc Heyneker, CEO of reputation manager Revinate, gave their opinion on where the hospitality technology opportunities lay.
Questions and conflicts surrounding messaging adoption at hotels challenge service delivery in the digital age, and present operations teams with new obstacles. The result is often an unpredictable experience for the guest and a compromised delivery of genuine hospitality. The industry is in for a wild ride.
While we’d probably cut these response times in half or maybe more before we start to get frustrated, the importance of this survey lies not in how long people are willing to wait for a response to a hotel service request made by text, mobile apps, email, or social media. It’s the fact that more hotels need to be paying attention to these channels and instituting better standards for addressing requests that come through them.
"Forbes Travel Guide and others routinely grade hotels according to their response times picking up the phone to answer a guest request, so isn't it time we understand what online response times should be like as well?"
Remember Alice from the Brady Bunch? She was the wise, warm “go-to” housekeeper who was on top of everything that was going on. You could depend on her in any situation... she always knew what to do. Well, Alice was the inspiration for the new hotel platform, ALICE. Built from scratch with input from hotels who already want to be customers, ALICE provides a 360-degree view of everything that’s happening in your hotel.
ALICE, Expedia are much more than a hunch and team up to create a blended family of mobile app solutions.
"A lot of the fear in hospitality is that technology takes away from [delivering exceptional service]. No. The point of the technology is to better empower staff to deliver better service and better empower the guest.”
“What we do is provide a platform that allows you to offer a guest multiple ways to engage with you [the hotel], but centralize it so the hotel can manage it, dispatch it appropriately, and respond,” explained Alexander Shashou, co-founder and president of ALICE. “It should be up to the guests how they message a hotel and hotels shouldn’t force it one way or the other. Any channel you don’t offer is a barrier to you offering service to your guest.”
One of Skift’s stated aims is to demystify and dejargonify the travel industry. As part of that aim we are launching our first ever travel industry mapping project, what we’re calling Skift Travel Tech 250. These are the 250 travel tech companies that are shaping the modern day travel experience.
"By actually putting a technological measurement tool in everything you operate, you allow your staff, your management, and all your operations to be thoughtful about how to run that hotel. The by-product of having ALICE in all your departments is you’ve now installed a massive measurement tool that can allow you to gauge your quality of hospitality. That’s where we want to be, we want to allow hotels to be smarter, not just to operate faster."
The platform model offers plenty of lessons for traditional hotels. How can hotels harness the power of platforms to seamlessly unify their operation and realize huge gains in revenue, efficiency, and guest satisfaction in the process?
"We’re focused on taking away the mundane from the staff experience – taking away all the logging and duplication through three different systems – allowing the team to work in one place, and for communication to flow through the hotel."
#1 - ALICE
ALICE features both department specific apps (Staff, Guest, and Concierge) as well as an overarching suite you can use for better operating efficiency across your property.
"Companies such as ALICE have built smartphone apps that connect staff and guests directly, and help businesses streamline their concierge operations."
Concierges also say texting is helping them better serve their guests. Noah Lemaich is chief concierge at Sixty Hotels on the lower east side of Manhattan, which uses a system called ALICE.
“Texting is something all people are used to, so it is not only convenient for them but allows us to convey information in an easier way,” Lemaich says. “For concierge services, it is more efficient to use texting rather than give them a piece of paper with a dinner reservation or directions, for example. We can text someone an address, they click it, and off they go.”
HITEC 2016 entered the record books as one of the highest attended conferences with 6,395 hospitality professionals representing 65 countries. Eager attendees flooded the showfloor to visit the 867 exhibit booths showcasing the latest in hospitality technology products and services. The HITEC exhibit hall featured hundreds of companies announcing new products and showcasing their signature technologies. Some of the hot topics and themes among the exhibiting vendors included: Internet of Things, robotics, mobility, payment security and improving communication and service.
Companies such as ALICE are offering the option to network an entire suite of services at a hotel through a single smartphone app, simplifying the process.
"Boutique hotels used to buy products from three entities in order to offer this kind of service," said Alexander Shashou, founder & president of ALICE. "If it's all under one umbrella, you can understand what guests are doing at every interaction in the hotel."
“The idea behind a mobile workforce is not only being trained in multiple roles, but if the bar is busy, why do you have five people standing at the front desk?” said Alex Shashou, the cofounder of ALICE. Shashou points out that airports have already done this to an extent. “I often see the person who checked me in at the gate also letting me on the plane.”
Like Uber, Seamless and Netflix have done in other industries, it’s now possible to make transactions fully digital and improve delivery efficiencies. This is true both on the guest side and on the staff side. Alex Shashou, president of ALICE, said that tests at two hotels that use ALICE’s software have seen up to 50% efficiencies in housekeeping and maintenance simply from moving to mobile staff communication via the app.
"Ultimately, ALICE empowers hotels to increase team efficiency and communication, enabling hotels to deliver higher levels of service to their guests. A platform that keeps staff and guests on the same page is imperative in this day and age. Guest engagement technology is a highly competitive space right now, and only a few are having an impact. Keep a look out for this company."
"To grow ALICE from three of us to 30 people, and to get through the early stage hurdles, we had to find a way to prioritize learning as a team. So we started an office book club. No other tradition has had more of a positive impact on our culture, our processes and our product."
"Third-party on-demand providers such as ALICE are already allowing hoteliers to satisfy guest requests for room service, house-keeping, tickets, dinner reservations, even booking a private jet as part of a mobile digital interface. Furthermore, hotel management can monitor all requests and services from a 360-degree vantage."
"We pride ourselves in having an interface that always feels like you are communicating with an intuitive, warm human that cares about you. ...We are not the only one ... ALICE, a hospitality software company, is creating communication and workflow management tools to improve hospitality in hotels for their guests."
"We have a real opportunity to grow our network. To help more hotels and build a community for our hotels to learn from one another. Right now we are in a position where we can offer hotels the opportunity to try our product with no risk. We are confident that once they are using ALICE they will become a valued long-term partner."
"[With ALICE] you’re giving guests the luxury of choice for how they make the request, but you’re giving the staff one system to manage them,” Shashou says.
"Three years ago, we embarked on a very ambitious project: to build a software platform that can solve the barriers to delivering exceptional service in hotels today," said Justin Effron, CEO of ALICE. The Series A allows the startup to work with many more hotels and new markets, he explained, adding: "It also repays the faith that our initial hotels have shown in working with us as a startup."
"ALICE, which allows hotels to manage and complete guest requests across various service departments with ease thanks to its intuitive host of mobile suite products, announced today that it had closed a $9.5 million Series A funding round."
"Our challenge is how do you simplify letting guests choose how they communicate with hotel staff but at the same time bringing that all to the same back-end,” said Shashou. “The bounds of hospitality have changed. This platform has the ability to transcend hotels and [ALICE] is working heavily with residential units and work spaces as well."
"The software solves major hotelier operational pain points and it’s easy to see how they are able to save hoteliers money and man-hours. Alice puts the entire hotel operating system into the palm of a consumer’s hands through their own devices."
"Hotels are really good at knowing about you before you arrive, and have a really good understanding of you when you leave (reviews, etc.),” said Shashou.“When you are with them it’s a gray area. ALICE helps fill that gray area with technology, an additional connection to your guests."
“It makes sense to offer mobile staff in every department, not just the front desk,” said Alex Shashou, co-founder and president of hospitality operations platform ALICE. "Mobile staff is able to build relationships, direct the guest and perform the transactions the guest wants all at the same time.”
Expedia also announced an investment in ALICE, a software-as-a-service provider that enhances the hotel guest experience, and also gives hotels a workflow management tool to improve operations…. "It addresses the little things, like the light bulb that's burned out and gets into a review," said Arthur Chapin, vice-president Global Product at Expedia. "With 30 million user reviews, a lot of these little negatives get through."
"Media coverage, to date, has fixated on Alice’s consumer-style mobile app that guests download — which can let guests order services like room service and late check-outs via text-messaging style communication, among other things. Yet it’s the back-end technology that enables a hotel to manage requests efficiently that has also excited Expedia Inc. ...Expedia’s investment in Alice signals that mobile devices have changed the game for on-property and in-market services for hotels."
"Over the last several years at Emergence Capital we have seen an exciting new set of companies emerge that offer cloud solutions within a specific industry vertical — collectively known as “industry cloud” companies. The opportunity is enormous."
"Hotel operators may have come late to the smartphone app party, but it’s starting to look like they’ll be the last to leave. If hotel companies have their way, you’ll soon be able to interact with booking, with onsite staff, and even with your room directly through your phone—and with far more capabilities than ever before."
"Founders of tech-enabled startups, particularly those that are disrupting industries with high-touch customer service requirements, are used to this challenging line of questioning (whether it is during an investor meeting or when they are pitching a panel of investors at a startup event). I recently coached a founder to respond with "we will have challengers in our vertical, but unless those same competitors invest in their customer service at the high level we have, it is unlikely they will succeed" the next time she faced that gnarly question."
"ALICE, the leading mobile service-on-demand enabler for the hospitality industry, announced today the launch of its partnership with Bttn, the creator of the Simplest Internet User Interface in the World. Working together, ALICE and Bttn bring a whole new level of instant, personalized services to the guests of boutique and high-end hotels and hospitality providers."
"Both the Marriott and Virgin Hotels, which is starting to build its own chain, have launched proprietary apps that allow guests to access services, often well before they even arrive for check-in. But many brands still rely on the ubiquitous hotel radio or several different software systems to run different parts of their operations, and all that tech doesn’t necessarily speak to each other. Which is where Shashou is trying to squeeze into this increasingly crowded space — with a cloud-based, off-the-shelf product that connects all of the back-office functions on a single platform (that costs $8,000 to $15,000 a year for a subscription)."
"Founded in early 2013, Alice gives hotel guests access to a concierge 24-hours a day from their mobile phones. It also has the ability to connect guests with other members of the hotel, based on the settings, and replaces the expensive radios housekeeping uses to let engineering know there is a "plumbing issue" (clogged toilet) and the engineer uses to let the front desk know "it has been taken care of" (painstakingly plunged and wiped down with sanitizer)."
"Long gone are the days when luxury hotel services meant personal touches, such as a butler on hand taking care of your every need. There’s a surge of mobile solutions, such as the recently released mobile App, Alice, expanding hotel luxury service to include a concierge in your pocket. From booking rooms, spa treatments, and dinner reservations, to ordering your favorite champagne, hotel guests can upgrade their services directly from their smart phones."
"We’re unifying all the operations under one system, which allows you to have efficient communication from guest to staff, from staff to staff. We want to simplify service, so we’re breaking down the barriers that exist inside the hotel."
"The business of bringing customers what they want when they want it is no longer reserved just for premium services, but increasingly expected of economy brands as well. Service on-demand delivers a seamless experience by consolidating the process of discovery, order, payment, fulfillment, and confirmation."
"Too many hotels are still serving guests with low-tech methods, the trio realized. So, ALICE began as a hand-held concierge service. The request begins with a guest’s mobile device and ends on the staff mobile device, giving ALICE complete domain control to ensure quality fulfillment."
"From a New York-based startup, ALICE, is being rolled out at luxury properties like the Gansevoort, Parker Meridien, Hilton, and The Setai. Unlike Incentient’s SmartTouch, the app is downloaded onto a guest’s iPad (hotels can also provide a preloaded loaner iPad, or guests can access a Web portal on their laptops). But what ALICE touts as innovative is that all conversations are happening in real-time. That means that when a guest asks for something, the hotel’s employees see it immediately, while at the same time a manager is also monitoring the activity to either ensure it’s quickly met or if he or she needs to make improvements in the service."
"The idea is to build that one solution for the entire hotel. And that’s a pain point that they’ve experienced: From an ownership level, if you’re running 100 hotels, 1,000 hotels, it’s a very hard operation to manage if you’re having to use five different systems to find out what’s happening on a property-by-property level."
"Any frequent visitor to hotels would agree that ALICE really is A Life Improving Customer Experience. The platform seamlessly allows hoteliers to provide mobile services to their guests. Typically, a hotel is running multiple legacy systems across their departments that are not connected, and make for very disconnected operations across the entire hotel or hotel chain. ALICE solves this by creating the first operating system that sits on both the front (guest) side as well as the back (employee) end."
"Not only does the startup offer the guest-facing element but it also promises to take care of the back-end management processes. Even if a request is not made via the app, the idea is that it will still be fed into it. A further positive that Alice offers is the ability for hotels and their guests to communicate with each other as soon as the booking is made enabling properties to provide a much more targeted service."
"Mobile platforms are likely gaining traction due to the sheer convenience they offer hotel guests and employees. Hotels that have integrated with the Alice application allow their customers to discover and request amenities and services from their mobile devices, both before and after arrival at the property."
"By integrating discontinuous platforms and focusing on front-of-house-friendly interfaces, ALICE syncs and simplifies the service loop. And it does it all through a guest’s mobile phone. At check-in, guests are prompted to download the app."
"As technology develops, more and more hotels are building apps that allow guests to request services and amenities on their smartphone. But a company called ALICE is taking it a step farther: allow hotel staff to track and complete each service request on a single mobile platform."
"What we think is the game changer is the backend,” says Alice investor Nnamdi Okike from 645 Ventures. “That was more compelling. It’s bigger in terms of customer purchasing and much more sticky over the long term. They’ve brought on a range of different hotels and we view that as a good validation that this service is in high demand."
"A newly launched mobile app called ALICE is looking to make dealing with hotel staff a lot easier for both guests and hotel management. On the back end, ALICE provides a monitoring and management tool for hoteliers to check on everything from room service and cleaning to the thousands requests that front desk attendants field daily."
"The app is already in several high-end hotels, including Sixty LES, Gansevoort Meatpacking and the Skyline Hotel in Manhattan. Guests can use the app to request services, but the same app acts as the fulfillment and management platform for workers confronted with the requests. "We started as a mobile concierge platform for guests, but quickly realized that there is an equivalent, if not greater, need in efficiently managing the fulfillment of that request."
"We have a number of novel components in our system that gives us a competitive advantage, and we needed to protect that as a business. As a global startup with operations on three continents, we have a need to get smart on IP protection within each region quickly and we need to track all of our IP and trademark licenses across each country we operate in."
"Guests love to work with it; because of how simple and enjoyable it is to request something you want and get right away. We are very proud that Floris Suite Hotel is the first property on the island that is featuring the ALICE application. We’re at a point in time where technology can actually achieve personalization on a much larger scale. This system is a great tool to enhance the service we provide to our guests."
"... ALICE should bring you everything you want at the touch of a button. Such as: ordering room service from the airport, requesting turndown service, making on or off-site dinner reservations, booking a spa treatment, scheduling an in-room blowout, and reserving bottle service at the hotel's top-level Plunge Bar + Lounge."
"Wish you could order food at your hotel, like you can at home on Seamless? Want to send a quick text to have your car pulled up from the garage? Shouldn’t the folks that give you a temporary place to stay 365 days a year be able to do as much as you can do from your home? Hotel systems are a tough market to enter, but if my next guest experience leverages what I’ve seen, I’ll be an unpaid Alice evangelist for a long time to come."
"ALICE aims to improve guests’ experiences while streamlining hotels’ operations to make staffs’ responses quicker. Guests at these properties will be prompted by check-in staff or email to download the app. Hotels guests only need to download the app once and then log onto each properties’ page using their room number."