Progressive Pulse correspondent and travel expert, Frank Pond uses Tablet to book his hotels as he travels the globe, because he can get good rates and some of the best options for his hotel stays. We’ve found you can find some of the best boutique and hip hotels on the planet because Tablet keeps tabs on all of it’s locations. Pond had a chance to speak with the team over at Tablet recently and learn more about how they pick hotels as well as other areas of travel the company features like an online magazine and travel planning.
POND: How do you select your properties and locations?
TABLET: We look for personality and talent. Ultimately, our co-founder, Laurent Vernhes, has the last word on our selection, but he relies on feedback from his own personal network of travelers. We do not pay these people to stay at hotels and we don’t allow hotels to pay us to be featured on Tablet.
POND: I notice that you don’t feature many chain hotels, even those which are aiming at a hipper market. Is that because you are trying to keep the site focused on more boutique properties?
TABLET: We aim to provide travelers with the ultimate selection of hotels — whether they are boutique, budget or luxury properties, they must all offer something unique while providing a high-level of service.
POND: In terms of rating and describing the hotels, do you have people go out to the hotels or do you rely more on information from the hotelier and reports from guests?
TABLET: We select and anonymously review each hotel on Tablet, but our users determine whether or not a property stays on our site. Only actual Tablet clients can submit their feedback, and if a hotel’s overall score drops below a 16/20, we remove the property from our site.
POND: If you do have people go out to the properties, do you identify yourselves as from Tablet or is it “stealth” investigation?
TABLET: We’re very stealth.
POND: About how many properties are now participating in Tablet Plus and how do you select those properties?
TABLET: We have over 375 participating Tablet Plus hotels and add more every week. Our dedicated Tablet Plus team works directly with the hotels and provides dedicated customer service to our Tablet Plus customers.
To become a Tablet Plus hotel, the hotel must be willing to offer Tablet Plus members a complimentary room upgrade (upon availability at check-in) and three additional amenities that a regular guest would not normally receive for free.
TABLET: These descriptions help our customers find the right hotels for their mood and taste.
POND: Will Tablet be venturing into more of the travel market, e.g. consulting on whole trips, offering a way for travelers to interface with Tablet while planning their whole trip etc. or will you remain focused primarily on properties?
TABLET: We pride ourselves in being the best online hotel guide and travel agent. We recently launched a digital travel magazine, to help inspire people right at the inspiration phase of their travel planning process.
Our knowledgeable customer service team is readily available to provide more personalized trip planning at no cost. We also feature travel guides on our site that include recommendations from hotel concierges and Tablet travelers.
POND: Can you describe your annual “Tablet 10” properties in various locales and how you determine what are the most hot, hip or architecturally interesting of hotels and how your feature them in book form?
TABLET: Many a hotelier has gone broke chasing an elusive crowd, and many a “hip hotel” has alienated its following with lazy (or greedy) gimmicks. We look for hotels that connect not only with guests but with locals as well.
POND: I really enjoy reading the “lists” and the favorites of some of your celebrity and travel cognoscenti members, will we be seeing more of these in the future? Who are the most recent featured?
TABLET: Our online magazine, which houses both our Top10 lists and weekly Agenda, is ever evolving.
POND: If I wanted to stay in the most contemporary of hotels, really cutting edge, which 5 would I want to look into?
TABLET: We believe that the hotel of the future is one where a variety of people — locals & travelers — come together in a myriad of ways. We recently launched our “Rethink Hotels” design challenge to find the ultimate social hotel: http://www.tablethotels.com/en/feature-rethink-hotels
POND: What is the most exciting thing we readers of Tablet should be looking for in the coming year in terms of a property, or new hot location or anything special and new about Tablet?
TABLET: We’d like to see more social interaction between Tablet and its members, and between our members, moderated by the tools we create for them. The challenge is to harness people’s collective taste, without losing the focus that’s provided by curation.