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News Why aren’t we building tons of new COVID-related features? You can already do it all in Inntopia…today.

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photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

Today I want to quickly talk about a really important question I keep getting as the 2020/21 season gets closer.

So here’s the thing. In response to COVID (you might have heard of it) a lot of software companies are working like crazy to crank out contactless, capacity-related features. As they do, I keep getting asked:

“Gregg, what new features are you guys working on?”

My answer surprises people at first, but they quickly get it. Because more and more, my reply is this.

“We’re working on some cool ones, but not as many as you’d think simply because all of the challenges resorts keep bringing to us can already be solved with Inntopia AS IS.”

This realization is hard for me as a marketer (I love a good feature or product launch), but it’s awesome for our users. Because if there was ever a season where we don’t want our industry using a bunch of untested features…yeah…this might be it.

“We can already do that…”

Listen, technology is not perfect in the resort industry. We all know that. But I’m blown away by how many times a resort brings us a tough COVID-related challenge and one of our account managers says, “Oh, we can already do that using ____ and ____.”

Let me share some examples.

Contactless / Kiosks: Inntopia Marketing Cloud already gets the codes you need from the POS. And converting those IDs or values to QR (or other) email-embeddable codes is something we’ve been helping clients do for…what…5+ years now.

Capacity Limits & Restrictions: Just set up an Inventoried Product within Inntopia Commerce. You can control limits and availability by day, product, booking window, price, and a bunch of other things.

Hard Quantity Caps: Also very simple. Set quantity limits for individual products, a specific pricing tier, days, or other factors from your Inntopia Commerce account.

Avoid Crashing Your POS: Build products directly in Inntopia Commerce so our heavy duty servers handle all the traffic/searches. Then, map your integration so it pushes transactions in real-time to the POS. That way, the POS only has to keep up with transactions NOT shopping.

Speaking of which, can we stop blaming the POS for crashes? If you use a system that forces the POS to handle a bunch of stuff it wasn’t designed to handle (big spikes in searches and shoppers, etc.), then…well…it doesn’t exactly seem fair to blame the POS.

Passholder / $0 Reservations: Create a zero dollar product (this product can have it’s own quantity limits, btw) and limit access to this product by passholder status in the database, promo codes, pass ID numbers, and more.

Let me make another important point really quick. Inntopia didn’t design “products” to be rigid concepts based on tickets, rooms, rentals, etc. But, because the system gives you so much control over products, tickets, rooms, etc. (among many other things) are easy to create.

Timed Tickets & Slots: So, to that point, products can be created based on any combination of time and day and activity that you want. Just create a time-based product for as many slots as you need based on what concept your team came up with.

Randomized Lotteries: Segmentation + send limits are just one way to do it with email and our SMS platform has a random sweepstakes feature baked right in. Combined with transaction details the database already grabs, you can also filter out recent/past lottery winners.

Lottery Restrictions: Need to make sure only lottery winners can buy certain products? Set up what we call Sub Promo Codes for the winners in Inntopia RMS. You can also control redemption further by date (and many other things) if needed.

Categorize Products: Product categories are baked right into Inntopia Commerce. These categories can even be displayed on your Inntopia YieldView storefront.

Schedule Arrival Times: Set up $0 products for various time slots and hide the payment form during checkout. Then set quantity limits for each slot based on capacity. This could be used for tickets or lodging and doesn’t require integrating to a PMS/POS.

Sell Retail Products: Again, products aren’t rigid. You can sell a retail product and keep it separated in it’s own category just as easily as you can create a ticket or rental. You can also sell these right alongside your lodging, tickets, and other products.

Customized Dynamic Pricing: We start with historical data, build a customized model based on your performance, but then check in regularly to adapt as the season progresses. We were doing that before COVID, but this year that custom, flexible approach is critical.

Proven vs Untested

I’ll stop there. Yes, new features are fun, but there’s something to be said for being able to solve all these problems using existing, proven features instead of having to scramble to build untested features right before a big, uncertain year.

And there’s also something to be said about having access to a platform with that level of flexibility once the season is underway and you have to adapt/pivot over and over again.

Some food for thought as the 2020/21 season approaches.

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Tyler Maynard
SVP of Business Development
Ski / Golf / Destination Research
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Doug Kellogg
Director of Business Development
Hospitality / Attractions
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