As we near the end of the year, I got together with our team to reflect on what has been happening in the world of Avvio in 2017.
We started the new year with a bang at HEDNA’s Global Distribution Conference in San Diego, swiftly followed by getting together with around 200 of the UK’s top General Managers at the Master Innholders’ annual conference in London, where Frank Reeves, our Co-founder and CEO, and Rich Tuckwell, Avvio’s Global VP of Sales and Marketing caught up with many familiar faces at the event.
After establishing our new US office in 2016, and with plenty of demand coming from North America for Avvio’s services, we flew to the Bahamas for the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, where we signed new clients from some of the Caribbean’s most exclusive resorts. This is a new market and has already proved successful with a number of hotels, resorts and accommodation providers moving to Avvio for their booking engine, web design and digital marketing services.
With three new starters joining our Sales and Marketing team in the Spring, we put them straight to work at various trade shows and events throughout the UK and Ireland, including Travel Technology Europe where we met hundreds of hoteliers to demonstrate how we can increase their direct bookings by at least 25% through our guarantee. We also revisited the annual Showtel event with the Irish Hotels Federation at the beautiful Lyrath Estate where our Conversions specialists met with current and prospective clients to provide advice and support.
Avvio remains the most innovative provider on the market, with our commitment to improving our services to clients through quarterly software updates. We continuously improve our booking engine to ensure that you can maximise your direct bookings. New feature highlights include improved reporting tools, strikethrough pricing, enhancements to the vouchers module, SSL security certificate and mobile only rates. We also rolled out new integrations with partners such as Availpro, HotelPartner, Guestline and RateGain. Avvio’s booking engine remains one of the most secure on the market, and consistently performs at 99.99% uptime, keeping your hotel bookings safe and dependable.
As we headed towards the summer months, our European roadshow events began with HSMAI region Europe. We visited eight cities, and met with over 300 hoteliers where we demonstrated how creating an emotive journey with your guest can not only increase loyalty and revenue, but can have a significant impact on creating a strong reputation. Our involvement with other events was focused on presenting the benefit of creating a personalised booking journey – we met with influencers at the British Hospitality Association Summit, HITEC Toronto and the Serviced Apartment Summits in London and New York.
June saw the official unveiling of Avvio’s long-awaited new development; Allora – the next generation of booking engine, and the world’s first to be powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Allora was announced at HEDNA’s Global Conference in Dublin where Frank and Alex Gibson, from Dublin Institute of Technology presented the future of travel technology using AI, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Our awards cabinet has slowly been filling up, with Avvio taking home gold for Ireland’s Most Innovative Supplier at the Gold Medal Awards. Our Global VP, Rich Tuckwell, was recognised as one of the industry’s Top 20 Extraordinary Minds by HSMAI Europe at their annual ROC event in Amsterdam. Avvio’s Digital Team were also rewarded by Google for their outstanding results receiving a Google Agency AdWords award, which came shortly after our full accreditation as a Google Premier Partner in late 2016. And to top off the year, we were announced as an award winner at the annual HSMAI Adrian Awards for our work with the Temple Bar Hotel to grow their direct bookings through our innovative digital marketing partnership.
The winning doesn’t stop there, as we celebrated the achievements of many of Avvio’s partner hotels and accommodation providers winning awards in 2017, including Cheval Residences, Ashford Castle, SACO, Marriott and Apple Apartments. Congratulations to everyone again!
In September, Avvio launched a new whitepaper ‘Power of Personal’; taking a deep dive into the topic of personalisation and explores how AI can help your property grow direct bookings, as well as improve guest satisfaction, by providing a unique experience at every stage. This report was generated in conjunction with International Hospitality Media, publishers of Boutique Hotel News and Serviced Apartment News, and featured examples of great use of personalisation to improve the guest experience.
We also continued our close working relationship with many industry bodies such as HSMAI, HFTP, Irish Hotel Federation and Institute of Hospitality. These organisations provide Avvio with an opportunity to learn more about this fast-paced industry, ensuring our technology remains at the bleeding edge.
October 5th was a landmark day for Avvio as we launched the next generation of booking engine. Our Software and Engineering teams developed the new platform over 18 months, and now Allora is a world first – as the platform uses artificial intelligence to enhance the website experience for every visitor, and encourages potential guests to book direct through sophisticated AI tools. Read more about Allora’s features at www.allora.ai. The full public launch of Allora came at World Travel Market London, where Frank gave a keynote presentation on the future of travel through AI – drawing in the largest crowd at the Travel Technology Theatre for the whole event. Our VP Rich followed this up with a presentation at HX: The Hotel Experience in New York later in November.
As the end of the year approached, Avvio’s busy Creative team delivered another ground-breaking web design project, this time for Adare Manor – Ireland’s latest 5-star restoration. We worked closely with Adare Manor to ensure that the website performed exceptionally, but also told a story about the rich heritage of the hotel to create a memorable experience for bookers. The Creative team also implemented exciting websites for MHM Muthu Hotels, Great National Hotels and Resorts and the MRK Collection to name a few.
Avvio’s teams continue to grow, as we improve the effectiveness of our client-facing departments. With two new senior sales representatives for the Irish and Iberian markets, we hope to build on the established reputation we have in these two regions, whilst continuing to grow business in the UK, Europe and the Americas and continuing to develop our technology for a very exciting year ahead.