Announcing Version 3.0: Food and Beverage Ordering, Guest Service Requests, Encrypted Messaging, Immediate Notifications Plus Much More
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Hinfo was designed from the very beginning, to be a cost-effective digital upgrade for all property types and sizes, to keep guests connected to your property's operations and details about your local area, wherever they are during their stay.
Since our launch in early 2017, we have continued to further develop our service to offer more value for property management and provide further resources to guests to make informed decisions during their stay.
Some of these improvements include guest messaging, keyword search, QR code access and so much more.
This is in addition to the overnight demand, to provide a contactless solution to all guests at each property, to further reduce associated time & costs for management and increase guest satisfaction.
In July 2019, we introduced Version 2 of our Hinfo service, which added support for personalized colours and fonts, multi-language support with Auto Translate integration, a new content management system with automatic information updates.
Today, we are excited to announce the next generation of our Hinfo service, which is unsurprisingly version 3.
With this update, we focused on 2 important areas of our service.
The first is to further improve upon the foundation that we have already built, which all properties can benefit from.
The second area is improving and adding additional services to create new opportunities and improve communication between your management and all your guests.
To start off today's announcements, let's start with the initial screens every guest sees when searching for your property in our Hinfo app.
Ways Guests Find Your Property
We have refreshed our apps launch screen and finding property backgrounds, to have a new neutral look and also better suit light and dark mode.
After guests select your property via either keyword search or current location, Hinfo now displays a brand-new screen for downloading your property and local area details to your guest's device.
This screen uses your property's colours and fonts and allows you to include your property or group logo on this screen (transparent background is supported).
This means Hinfo now displays your property's branding as soon as the guest has selected your property.
This is also reflected for guests using QR codes at your property, that loads your property details on our website.
Every-time your property publishes an information update, guests receive these updates instantly when they next use Hinfo.
With this release, our app will automatically recognize if your information updates include any new images and download only these updated images, while maintaining the existing images already downloaded.
This results in less of your guests Wi-Fi allowance or personal mobile data they are using on their smartphone and can reduce download for information updates by up to 80%.
We have also applied this to our Food and Beverage ordering service, which will be explained later on in this post.
Customisable Anonymous Property Feedback
Hinfo introduces another opportunity to collect valuable feedback from your guests based on their stay and is available right from the Feedback button in the Home tab.
With this release, we have completely redesigned this section to further assist properties with receiving more valuable insights based on their guests stay.
Secure Details and Other Amenities Improvements
Now, let's talk about the exciting improvements we are bring to Amenities.
Amenities allows management to include all property compendium details, including Wi-Fi details, reception hours, air conditioning instructions and so much more.
With this release we are introducing 3 major improvements.
- The ability to set a manual ordering of details on this screen. This is particularly useful if you want to promote your Room Type Description or other critical details up top.
- The option to now provide a PDF for every slot in the Amenities section, which could be the manual for the in-room TV, air conditioning, oven, or electric heater units for example.
- The biggest addition we are introducing with this release, which will tie into many other additions being announced later in this video, is support for Secure Details.
Near Me Redesign
Near Me allows your guests to view details about local places and events your property recommends guests visit during their stay.
Today, we are introducing the biggest visual and interactive upgrade to Near Me since our original release, and here it is.
We have adopted a new structure that lists each local place and event as separate tiles, rather than separate rows.
This helps to improve discoverability for guests that are looking for a particular type of location at any given moment, whether that be a local attraction, restaurant, or takeaway shop.
The average smartphone will now display 6 places/events on the screen at once, with hints for several more.
On tablets, the difference is night and day, which on an 11inch iPad in landscape mode can display up to 24 places/events at first glance.
The sorting for this section is applied automatically to all new and existing properties on our service and you can sort these manually in your property's Hinfo CMS account.
When sorting details manually, we also have an option to add up to 10 places/events you recommend most to your guests from any category to appear in a dedicated row at the top.
Finally, if your property is listing restaurants and other local attractions that offer a chargeback feature for your guests, there is also a "Chargeback Available" row, which will appear between the recommended row and first category name row.
And that is all the foundation upgrades we are bringing to our Hinfo service with today's release.
Now for the 2nd half of today's announcements, let's talk about services.
The need for fully contactless guest solutions is of greater importance now more than ever before and our aim with this release, is to further increase number of features and services you can offer to your guests, as an alternative to your contact-based solutions.
This release is our biggest focus on services to date, with major upgrades to one of our existing services and the addition of 3 brand new services.
Hinfo respects your guest’s privacy, by not using any trackers and only collecting anonymous statistical analytics for usage insights at the property’s end.
This is possible by building a digital solution that is built around collecting as little data as possible from each guest and provide full anonymity when possible.
To build further upon this, we are upgrading all conversations on our Hinfo service starting with Version 3, to be encrypted on our servers. This means we cannot read the contents of your messages, but everything functions exactly like before at both the reception and guests end.
The next big upgrade is a whole new interface for reception staff to respond to guest messages.
This interface lists all guests on the left-hand side and the conversation history of each selected on the right side, just like most other instant messaging services available on tablets and desktops today.
This new interface:
- Auto updates with new messages coming in, which are highlighted in bold on the left side,
- Use your property’s branding colours and fonts, to bring it in-line with the visuals on the guests end and
- Has a wider selection of sound affects you can choose from, for incoming messages.
The last big addition to Guest Messaging with this release and is tied into all new services we are introducing with this release, which is support for Push Notifications.
We integrated push notifications to improve delivery rates and speed when you respond to a guest message, including when your guest does not have the app opened or a consistent internet connection.
And one other nice improvement with this upgrade, is that your reception staff’s responses are now included within the notifications themselves, which is also helpful when receiving notifications on smartwatches etc.
In a prior update to our Hinfo service, we introduced Scheduled Notifications which allows for time-sensitive promotions for events happening at your property and even for the local area.
This is great for reoccurring events and those that you know to promote well ahead of time, but what about if you want to promote something to all your guests within a few minutes? That's where immediate notifications come in.
Guest Service Requests
With Guest Service Requests, we are now expanding the use cases of our Hinfo service, to be more than just a digital hotel compendium with guest messaging.
You can now allow guests to send requests to your reception for bookings at your in-house restaurant, request a time for a spa appointment, or even request various Amenities for their room such as a pillow change, change of towels or a request to clean room on a particular day during their stay.
Food and Beverage Ordering
That's right, Hinfo is now not only a cost-effective digital hotel compendium, but it can now help drive additional revenue for your property with post check-in sales.
For years, your property likely has accepted room service orders via phone, in-person, and/or printed pamphlets. Whilst these methods have worked for the longest time, there are issues with each of these whether it comes to clarity of communication, requesting orders from anywhere on-site or even an impact on the environment.
Our aim with introducing this food and drink ordering service, is to overhaul the guests end of the transaction, by creating a fully contactless and environmentally sustainable solution, that can not only be requested from anywhere your guests are on the premises, but also creates more opportunities for upselling and increase conversion rates.
Before we finish, we have many minor additions to Hinfo with this release, that we want to quickly highlight. Many of these are in response to feedback from properties on our service and we appreciate all feedback regarding our service, so we can continue to improve it for you and your guests.
- The taxi section in the Local Services tab has been upgraded to "Taxi/Ride Sharing", which allows you to link to ride sharing services available in your local area.
- In-House Restaurant Menus now have dedicated specials and snacks menu options.
- The Near Me section for all properties on our Hinfo website now has a search bar.
- Places within the Near Me section now have dedicated buttons for catalogue, menu, reservation, schedule and order now. We will also be going through all active properties on our service in the weeks ahead and update these buttons for you where needed.
- Your property can now provide details for up to 20 different room types, compared to our previous cap of 10. More room types are available upon request.
- Each room type name no longer has a character limit, thanks to our new interface for selecting the room type your guests are staying in and room type name changes are applied instantly.
- You can now opt-in to include buttons for all sections listed in the bottom tab bar within the Home tab. This includes an option for Food and Drink Ordering.
- You can provide a brief message for all guests using our guest messaging service, before they send you a message for the first time. This can be used to highlight the hours your reception staff will respond within.
- Guests will now be informed via a personalized banner at the top of the Home tab, if an app update is available.
- iPhone and iPad users that use the 'Reduce Motion' accessibility feature will now see less animations in the app itself.
- Added support for 6th generation iPad Mini with full-screen design.
- For our Hinfo CMS, we have added new buttons in the Home tab which you see after initial setup is completed, for any unread guest messages, new food order requests and/or new guest service requests.
- We have restructured the side menu in the CMS, to cater for the new sections in our service and provide a clearer understanding of what sections to complete for the initial setup.
- And finally, the publish all button in the CMS has been updated with clearer wording such as 'Publish Updates Preview' or 'Submit Setup Preview'. There is also an option in Account Details to skip the preview screen each time you publish information updates, with the button then saying, 'Publish Updates Now'.
This update will be available to everyone starting today and everything new we have announced today is available at no additional cost.
If you are not a member of our Hinfo service, there has never been a greater time then now to implement our contactless guest digital solution into your property's operations.
And if you are currently a Hinfo member, we can't wait to hear about how these updates are being received by your management and guests.