2018 In Review – A Year of Progress
…And One Big Announcement for 2019!
2018 was easily the most challenging and rewarding year since I started Odysys. Every year has ups and downs and 2018 was no exception. However, by every measure, 2018 was a success. I’m proud of how hard the team worked, what we accomplished, and our impact on the innkeeping industry.
Now that 2019 is here, I have never felt more confident in our company. We have the team, the platform, and the knowledge to achieve our company mission: Help busy Innkeepers save time, save money, and book more guests.
I would like to take a moment to review some of the major industry challenges, our accomplishments, and one big announcement!
From GDPR to ADA compliance, 2018 threw some interesting things at us. The following are a few that stand out for me:
- Industry Education – We were fortunate to be asked to speak at almost every major national and regional industry conference. However, each conference reminded me of how much work we have to do. Unfortunately, there is just too much confusion around a broad range of topics in our industry. From local search to SEO, and OTAs to ADA compliance, it’s a lot to deal with. That’s why I have made industry education one of my top priorities for 2019. Starting today, expect more educational content (webinars, conferences, whitepapers, blog posts, etc.) from us.
- GDPR – The announcement of EU’s General Data Protection Regulation marked the first widespread “Freak Out” of 2018. In my humble opinion there were way too many knee jerk reactions to the news. Looking back this was a clear case of our industry not fully understanding what the implications are. I’m not attempting to downplay the importance of GDPR, but rather, comment on how we (the innkeeping industry) reacted to the news. Much of the reporting on GDPR (both within and outside of our industry) was well intentioned, but certainly overly dramatic. Unfortunately, sensationalist “click-bait” blog posts, and “the sky is falling” webinars were the norm. Again, improved industry education should help reduce innkeeper anxiety when the next major challenge arises.
- Website ADA Compliance – The news about Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits represents the second major “Freak Out” of 2018. Again, my intention is not to downplay the importance of ADA compliance. I am not a lawyer, so take the following as my opinion. These reported “lawsuits” are not really that at all. They are simply predatory behavior attempting to shakedown many different industries, including ours. I am well aware of actual lawsuits with larger organizations. But, the majority of activity within our industry amounts to nothing more than a shakedown for cash. This is another area where improved industry education can help.
- OTAs – In my opinion, Online Travel Agencies were easily the most polarizing topic of 2018. Love them or hate them, OTAs are here to stay. And moving in 2019 the OTAs have there own competition from the likes of Google. But the biggest eye opener for our industry is Expedia’s “bait and switch” efforts. Fortunately for our industry, a class action lawsuit has been brought against Expedia. Like many of you, I am keenly interested in where this goes.
In 2018 we learned much and used that knowledge to improve every aspect of Odysys.
- Assembled an Incredible Team – I have never worked with a more talented group. Period. Please don’t take that statement as flippant hyperbole. From customer success, to marketing, to sales, to development, and even interns! This group is absolutely amazing. I anticipate more growth in 2019. Another goal for me is to continue to hire the right people. Teammates who are passionate about this industry, eager to learn, work hard, and are kind. Know of anyone you think fits that bill? Let me know!
- Odysys System – In early 2018, we started the process of a complete rebuild of the Odysys platform (more on this below). At the same time, we had to balance enhancements to the existing system. Looking back on our release schedule, the amount of updates we launched is simply mind boggling. What we accomplished is a testament to the team’s passion for this industry and hard work.
- InnSpeak Podcast – As I mentioned above, industry education continues to be a major hurdle. To that end, we launched the InnSpeak Podcast. To my knowledge, it’s the only weekly podcast focused on covering industry events, news, and innkeeper stories. Interested in getting involved? Let us know!
- Customers – The wonderful thing about our company is being able to work with so many interesting, thoughtful, and friendly people. I want to thank each of you for being part of the Odysys family!
Ok, now for the BIG news! As I mentioned above, we began work on a whole new chapter of Odysys. Today I am excited to announce the release of the new Odysys system! What’s new you ask? Well let me tell you!
- Completely redesigned user interface
- Completely new website builder powered by wordpress
- New dashboard with actionable metrics
- All new social publishing tool
- Integration with local search marketing and analytics
- Integration with Google Ads and analytics
- Integration with Reservation ReCapture and analytics
- New search engine optimization analytics
- Improved competitive analysis tools
- Save time with improved marketing automation tools
- Enhanced ADA compliance tools
- Enhanced website speed tools
- And much, much more!
We decided to rebuild the Odysys system for several reasons:
- Feedback From Customers – Your feedback has always been important to us and contributed significantly to this update.
- Full Featured Marketing Does Not Have to Be Expensive – We believe the marketing automation, analytics, and a great Customer Success is the key to delivering on our company mission. We also believe that technology and cloud-based software provides significant benefits over the traditional agency model. Those benefits include: Lower costs, data driven marketing strategy, and the ability to quickly implement new features.
- Our Industry is Changing, We need to Be Ahead of the Curve – If 2018 taught us one thing, it’s that our industry continues to change rapidly. With the new iteration of Odysys, we can continue to help busy innkeepers save time, money, and book more guests.
We will begin the process of transitioning customers to the new system this month. You will receive more information on this shortly. And best of all, this update will be completely free for all customers!
2019 and Beyond!
2018 was a year of progress at Odysys. We assembled an amazing team, we continued to push our platform in new ways, and we did all of this while having a bit of fun!
I cannot wait to see what we will accomplish in 2019.