Full Support for Holiday Home Groups and Direct Access via Guest Wi-Fi
Today we are announcing the next major update to our Hinfo apps, bringing us to Version 2.4.0.
With this update, we wanted to focus on 3 major areas. Simplifying the initial setup and on-going information updates for holiday homes, expand the range of details each property can provide and further improvements to how guests can easily access your property and local area details.
Streamlining for Holiday Home Groups
With the global pandemic still at large, we recognize that holiday homes are likely to going to receive growing demand from guests want to travel within their own country.
Prior to Hinfo, there was no viable digital solution on the market for holiday home groups that manage dozens of properties each.
Our first big announcement today is that we have made our Hinfo CMS dramatically more efficient for holiday home groups.
Holiday Home Groups joining Hinfo now no longer need to provide a separate copy of details for Near Me, Local Services and Emergency Details, since these will be common across multiple properties.
We have a new 'Manage Shared Details' screen, where you can assign each property to refer to one of your other properties copies of each common section.
This will reduce the setup process by dozens to hundreds of hours of labour, depending on the size of your group.
In addition to all of this, we also rename our Ask Reception service to Ask Guest Services for holiday homes exclusively. Same is applied for Phone Reception now becoming Phone Guest Services.
If you manage a holiday home group, please send us an enquiry with the number of properties you manage.
Guest Access on Hinfo.com via Current Location
Today we are introducing two additional new ways guests can access properties on our Hinfo.com website.
Despite almost 97% of all guests accessing Hinfo via our mobile app, we want to increase the accessibility for guests to our website version.
Just like in our Hinfo apps, your guests can now search for your property on Hinfo.com using their devices GPS location. This works if you give permission to your current location for each web browser on each device you use, with many asking for permission each time.
Direct Guest Access Via Your Property's Wi-Fi
We have had increasing demand for a way for guests to access your property and local area details, as soon as they connect to your property's guest Wi-Fi.
Your property can now provide a direct link to your property on our Hinfo.com website, which bypasses the need to search for your property manually.
In a real-world scenario, you can allow your guests to connect to your Wi-Fi, enter their guests rooms username and password for their Wi-Fi allowance and on the confirmation screen, you can provide a link straight to your property on our service.
Property with a 3rd in-house restaurant, can now provide details for it.
In addition to this, we have diversified the range of menu types you can provide. In addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks menus, you can now provide an All Day Menu, Wine List, Takeaway Menu and Vouchers.
Other Minor Additions
We have added slots for Airport Phone numbers in Local Services and Non-Emergency Police Phone numbers.
Minor bug fixes and minor visual improvements have also been applied across the service.
All of this is available in our Version 2.4.0 update for guests to download now and all is included in the cost of the Hinfo membership.
Show Your Guests Videos of Recommended Local Attractions
With the bushfires in recent months spread across most of rural Australia, we decided to accelerate the development of a new section to our Hinfo service.
This is a new section accessible from the Home tab.
Properties can include details such as phone number for Ambulance and Police (great for international visitors) in addition to details for:
All Hospital details listed in the Local Services tab are also available here.
Ambulance Phone, Police Phone and Hospital details are prioritized at the top of this section to better cater for the majority of guests.
Video support is here!
Properties can now provide links to videos on YouTube, Vimeo and their own website to show guests.
Videos can be provided for Near Me Places, Near Me Events, Emergency Details and In-House Restaurants.
This takes Hinfo to a whole new level, when it comes to advertising and recommending local attracions for your guests to visit, especially compared to paper brochures.
Emojis in Ask Reception
Emojis are very expressive ways for us to communicate with each other.
We have added Emojis support for guests and reception staff to send/receive.
Guests can also use Emojis when submitting Anonymous Property Feedback.
Multiple Minor Improvements
The property name in the Home tab is now below the image, to cater for short and long property names.
All headings in Local Services can display websites, including Dentist, Hospital, Optometrist, Taxi etc.
All of this is available in our Version 2.3.0 update for guests to download now and all is included in the cost of the Hinfo membership.
New TV Section Added to Hinfo Amenities
We are feeling festive this Christmas season, of which today we are announcing our final major update to our Hinfo service for the decade, bringing us to Version 2.2.0.
We have added a new dedicated TV section to the Amenities screen, which contains 3 separate buttons. TV Instructions, TV Program List and TV Guide.
TV Instructions allows properties to explain to guests in detail, how to operate all the core functions of the TV in their rooms/apartments.
Property can include an image such as a TV remote and a list of operating instructions for tasks, such as switching between free to air and paid TV or an on-demand streaming service.
A new dedicated screen has been added for this so you can provide details in full and all text details are translatable via our Auto Translate service.
TV Program List
The program list section allows properties to list all Free to Air, paid TV and on-demand services available at the property.
Properties can list all the select channels they offer on paid TV for example, to improve the guest experience when finding a show, movie or event to watch.
The TV Guide shows guests the free to air and paid TV services (where possible) for the local area they are staying in.
This screen acts the same way as Local Weather does from the Home tab.
Order Now Button for Takeaway
Properties can now provide a direct link to order takeaway food online from the restaurants website, with the respective button being displayed.
Single Room Property Enhancements
We have included enhancements to certain sections of our service, including Ask Reception to make it more suitable for single room properties, such as B&Bs.
This release is now available for all hotel guests to use and all is included in the cost of the Hinfo membership.
Hinfo is looking after hotel guests eyes at night
Today we are announcing the next major update to our Hinfo apps, bringing us to Version 2.1.0.
Being the first major update since our Version 2 launch exactly 2 months ago, we wanted to focus on supporting the latest devices while also making Hinfo perfect to use at any time of day.
Hinfo now supports Dark Mode.
Dark Mode allows guests to view your content on a display that predominantly uses white text on a black background.
Using Dark Mode will significantly reduce the amount of brightness that is coming from the device screens, which has a positive effect when using at night or in a low-light environment.
Hinfo Dark Mode responds to the Dark Mode system-wide toggle available in iOS 13, iPadOS 13 and Night Mode in Android 10. This also works if a guest has set a Dark/Night Mode to appear on a timed basis, such as sunset to sunrise.
Support for Dark Mode on Hinfo.com is coming soon.
iOS 13 and Android 10 Support
Our annual traditional continues with supporting the latest operating systems from Apple and Google that run on your iPhones, iPads and Android devices.
We have added full support for all features to be supported on iOS 13 and Android 10.
Support for the new iPad 7th generation 10.2inch display has been included along with several other bug fixes.
This benefit is a major perk for properties who are a member of Hinfo, as it will save them several thousands in development costs just to run on the latest devices and operating systems released yearly.
Ask Reception for Hinfo.com
Guests from today no longer have to download the Hinfo.com app just to send a message to your property's reception.
'Ask Reception' is our guest messaging service built into Hinfo.
All features including read receipts and auto translate (except notifications) are included in our website version.
Our guest messaging solution now allows more guests to use the platform of their choice to communicate with your property's reception, whether its a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.
This release is now available for all hotel guests to use and all is included in the cost of the Hinfo membership.
Hinfo now translates your details for you
Today we are announcing the biggest update to Hinfo since its original launch.
This update contains many major breakthroughs and addresses the biggest requests we've had to date.
We had a lot of properties ask us if they can apply their own colours to their property's account to match their branding.
Our new personalization feature allows properties to provide colours along with selecting a text font available and text alignment.
This is reflected throughout the entire service, including buttons, alerts, etc.
If this was all we did, it would be worthy of being called Version 2. But this is just the first update.
Yes, we have added multi-language to Hinfo.
Properties can provide details for the following languages for guests including English:
- Chinese Traditional
- Chinese Simplified
We are supporting this languages today to cover 65% of Australia's international visitors every year. If your property wishes to support a language not listed, please let us know.
Hinfo automatically detects guests language in the app and on Hinfo.com removing an unnecessary step when using the service.
Now this brings us to another problem that every competitor has overlooked. You can provide the slots to include details in other language, but if it costs a lot to a) translate and b) deliver details with extra resources (e.g. paper and leather folders), no property will do it.
We have solved this problem entirely and is without a doubt the biggest announcement we have today.
That's right, we will translate your property details for your property!
When you submit your initial details and any information updates, we will automatically translate them to your preferred languages.
This costs significantly less than getting a human translator while being just as accurate and the turnaround time is a few minutes, not days or even weeks.
The breakthrough we have achieved for this feature inspired us to improve the way guests communicate with reception staff.
Auto Translate for Ask Reception Guest Messaging
Guests that do not speak and type English can now communicate with the reception staff during their stay.
Guests can now send a message to reception in their own language (e.g. Chinese Traditional), it will convert it to English for reception to see.
When reception responds to the guest's message, it will be translated back into the guests preferred language, so both sides of the conversation are in a language they can understand.
Other solutions require guests to visit reception, wait to speak to a staff member, get the translating tools out (e.g. a tablet or similar) and do a voice conversation with the device translating for you.
Our solution allows guests to read the full conversation back in their own time at each end. Guests can send a message in their preferred language from their room, by the pool of even when off-site.
We have completely revamped the way your property can manage your property and local area details.
It uses the same account details as before but has an improved navigation, works on any device of any screen size and has a few additional tools not previously provided.
The last major feature we've included today is the addition of Auto Updates.
When your property publishes information updates, the app and Hinfo.com website will check each time a guest use the Hinfo service next to see if there are any updates.
If Hinfo detects your details have been updated since the last time the guest used the service, it will download the details immediately after they open the app.
If your property now has a simple price change, change of hours or a new phone number, you can update these details for every guest in every room instantly.
We have dozens of small additions across the entire Hinfo service that makes it even more of a complete digital hotel solution.
These additions include but are not limited too:
- Further improvements to reduce download sizes for each property (particularly with images).
- Merged Facilities and Room Details to a new tab called Amenities which also allows for property's to provide their own headings for this section.
- Android Tablet landscape support. Hinfo now supports both iPads and Android tablets in portrait and landscape. This means the Hinfo software will fit your guests preference, not the guest having to change their way of doing things to suit the software.
- Added keyword search to Amenities section on Hinfo.com.
- Added email notifications for reception for Ask Reception messages for all properties.
- Reduced the Near Me stage of the initial setup to only require a name and suburb to be provided. We will complete the rest of these details for you.
- Support for up to 50 places and 50 events in Near Me.
- Create a library of placeholder images in 100+ categories to substitute in, when an image is not supplied for a Near Me place or event.
- Many visual improvements, including haptic feedback on recent iPhones, animated buttons and revamped 'Select a Property' screen.
- Near Me Event expiry dates are now optional. This is handy if an event such as a local market happens monthly but is ongoing.
- In-House Restaurants listed now can provide a separate drinks menu.
- Airports listed in the Local Services tab can now have a separate link to the Airports Schedule.
- Multiple bug fixes.
It is no surprise that we've been working on this for the last several months and we believe guests and property management will appreciate these significant improvements.
That is everything included in our Version 2 update which is available today.
There are no additional costs for every feature listed or to provide your own translated details. Our Auto Translate service for both compendium details and 'Ask Reception' is an optional extra for a very low monthly rate.
All Guests Can Now Use Hinfo.com
Hinfo is an online service that guests at hotels, motels, apartments, resorts etc. use to view compendium information via the mobile app on iPhone/iPad or Android or via this website.
Many online services you use as a consumer today including social media (e.g. Facebook), online video (e.g. YouTube) and internet banking, can all be accessed via a mobile app or web browser.
When we introduced Hinfo.com as an alternative way for guests to access property and local area details, we envisaged a world where any guest can access your property's compendium details on any device they own, so your property does not need dedicated resources tied to each room for guests to use.
In recent months we have been working to simplify our pricing structure for the Hinfo service, while allowing every guest at every property to have access to the Hinfo.com website.
The biggest factor that required us to charge an extra fee for Hinfo.com access for guests, was the significant increase in server usage, especially when you calculate the time spent by at least one guest in every room/apartment at every property.
We challenged ourselves to make Hinfo.com use as little download as possible, while providing the same great experience and we have done exactly that.
Today we have introduced a single base rate of AU$19 per month* that allows all guests at all properties use any platform they prefer to access the Hinfo service. This will also cover any additional platforms we support in the future.
All guests now have the choice of using the mobile app and/or the Hinfo.com website to access your compendium details.
* Base rate plus 40c per room per month. Total cost capped at AU$39 per month.
Hinfo now accessible via 'current location'
Today we are releasing the next major updates for Hinfo.
In the version 1.8.0 update available today, we have redesigned the way you initially access property details. Guests can now use either one of the following options to enter.
The overwhelming majority of guests are initially accessing the Hinfo app either at reception or in their room/apartment.
If a guest gives permission for their smartphone or tablet to use their current location, the app will prompt them to clarify they are staying at the property Hinfo reckons they are staying at.
When a guest gives permission to use their current location, we do not see or record the guests current location. The Hinfo app loads the coordinates for each property into the app, so it can then determine which one your guest is staying at.
First time users will require only 4 taps on the screen to use this feature and 2 taps every time after. This compares to our previous 6-digit number system which required 8 taps.
We highly recommend using the current location alternative from an ease of use perspective.
Search by Name
Guests can now search for the property they are staying at, without the need for a 6-digit number.
We recommend guests using this alternative, to type in a unique word in the property name, to make this process faster.
All Hinfo members will benefit from these updates from today for free.
Search Integrated into Near Me
Today we are releasing the next major updates for Hinfo on iPhone/iPad and Android. In these update, we have added:
iPhone/iPad and Android
Near Me Search: Guests are now able to do keyword search like they have on Facilities and Room Details, but now also in Near Me.
The Near Me Search feature is deeply integrated. You can search by name, category, address and details.
For example, you can type 'Supermarket' and it will show Coles, Woolworths, Aldi etc. depending on what the property elects to promote locally.
All of this also applies to the Near Me Map screen, with pins updating in real-time when you type a new character.
The Places and Events tabs have been moved to the top right of the screen, except on iPad which is still in the top left.
Offline PDFs: With our offline PDF feature, it was designed to reduce data usage and improve loading times for guests.
We are adding a function for it to check if your property has provided an updated restaurant menu, brochure etc. then guests will download that up to date copy when they next go to view it.
BBQ Heading is now replaced with Barbecue.
Restaurants, Pubs and Cafés in Near Me, now show a Menus button instead of brochure.
Near Me Map Pins now show categories as the subtitle instead of suburb, for easier navigation.
Download Size: This update corrects a bug from our last update, which caused a major increase in the Hinfo app's download size. This was a brief issue that was out of our control and applied to all updated apps on the App Store, but has been resolved for all apps.
Optimizations: We have also gone through the iPhone/iPad during this same update optimize the app for marginally less download.
Offline PDFs: On top of the Offline PDF additions listed above, we have also re-engineered the whole feature for Android to no longer require a guest to have a microSD card in their smartphone/tablet to take advantage of this great feature.
App Bundles: We've adopted a new feature by Google called 'App Bundles', which lets guests download and update the app with only the details that apply to their specific device. This reduces the size of the app download for initial installs and drastically for app updates. This can depend on screen size, version of Android they are running etc.
Android 9.0 Pie: This updates includes our completed transition to supporting Android 9.0 Pie, with full development tools for Android Pie having only recently been released.
All Hinfo members will benefit from these updates from today for free.