SILVER SPRING, MD—Choice Hotels International Inc., one of the world’s largest hotel companies, has announced the launch of SkyTouch Technology, a new division that develops and markets cloud-based technology products to help hoteliers industry-wide improve their efficiency and profitability.
Choice has been building its technology on a cloud-based platform, choiceADVANTAGE, since 2003, so that hotels could operate without expensive technology, said Ric Leutwyler,
president of the new division.
“Over the years, it has been evolving to include more brands, countries and languages. There is a robust property management system (PMS), choiceADVANTAGE, and a rate management centre with 5,500 hotels (close to 300 in Canada) and 50,000 users.
“Others in the industry were watching as Choice made these moves. There is a real market because no one has cloud-based technology at this level. I was brought on to bring this technology to the marketplace.”
“Since its introduction by Choice Hotels in 2003, choiceADVANTAGE has set the industry standard for ease-of-use, functionality and affordability,” said Stephen P. Joyce, president and chief executive officer of Choice Hotels International.
“choiceADVANTAGE has been so effective for Choice franchisees that other hoteliers, including chains and independents around the world, have asked to use it. It’s a big milestone for the company that we can now offer a similar system via SkyTouch Hotel OS.”
SkyTouch Technology launched with the market introduction of SkyTouch Hotel OS, a new property and rate management solution that draws on the choiceADVANTAGE property management system for handling reservations, guest stays and rates on any device with an Internet connection.
Marketing the core platform
“What we are marketing is the basic core platform,” Leutwyler told CLN. “We are taking the core technology and bringing it to the marketplace without the Choice connections.”
SkyTouch Hotel OS offers many of the same functions of the choiceADVANTAGE property and rate management platform, as well as the ability to connect seamlessly with other systems used by chain and independent hotels.
But at the same time, Choice franchisees will continue to enjoy the exclusive benefits of choiceADVANTAGE, including integration withChoiceHotels.com, Choice central reservation systems, the Choice Privilege loyalty program and other Choice systems.
“We believe that launching SkyTouch Technology as a separate line of business apart from our core hotel franchising operations gives the division the independence it needs to offer custom solutions and high levels of support, service and security to all its users,” Joyce noted.
Leutwyler is an accomplished executive whose career has included hospitality, technology and entrepreneurial experience. He calls SkyTouch his “dream job” because it combines all of his past experience. He has assembled a team of over 100 people with more than 1,000 years of combined hospitality experience.
One key feature of SkyTouch is an ideas portal, where users can submit and even vote on ideas. “Sixty-two per cent of our enhancements have come from [user] ideas. We have a huge customer base, and they’re very engaged,” said Leutwyler.