It’s a challenge for hotels to stand out from the crowd and differentiate their offerings and what they do from what every other property does.

That’s one of the sentiments that came out of last week’s Skift Global Forum. Niki Leondakis, CEO of Two Roads Hospitality’s Hotel and Resorts unit, a boutique hotel company, said that staff at some hotels are “pleasantly unhelpful” because they’re not given the proper tools or processes to solve guests’ problems.

This week’s five startups take a step, hopefully, in the direction of helping hotel staff be helpful while also having smiles. They help hoteliers assist guests in finding other accommodations if their properties have no available inventory, help guests buy amenities when they need them, and give locals access to hotel pools and spas without being turned away at the front door.

Stayinde is a search engine that shows travelers recorded videos of hotel amenities.

>>SkiftTake: Video definitely helps tell better stories in many situations, but we’re wondering how scalable a great idea like this is.

RoomGizmo is a software-as-a-service that helps hotel staff sell and provide amenities to guests through in-room tablets.

>>SkiftTake: Put a tablet in a room and a guest is likely to notice it. Use that tablet for ordering amenities and communicating with guests and you’re a step closer to breaking a barrier.

HotelSwaps lets owners of luxury hotels barter/exchange their unused hotel rooms with other hotel members.

>>SkiftTake: HotelSwaps helps hotels sell rooms that would otherwise go unsold during off-peak seasons or times when 100 percent occupancy isn’t normal. We just have questions about how well the points currency it uses will be received by hotel members.

Dip gives locals access to pools, spas, gyms and other amenities at hotels.

>>SkiftTake: A service like this will work better at some hotels than others because, for example, some hotel pools, spas and gyms may generally be at or near capacity and don’t have room to welcome non-guests.

DayPass lets travelers and locals explore and reserve day pass experiences to hotel pools, gyms, all inclusive resorts, beach clubs and spas.

>>SkiftTake: Similar to Dip, Daypass is ideal for some properties and not a fit for others. But the thought of offering travelers or locals a one-day pass to check out a hotel’s offerings, given that day trips and staycations continue to be popular ways to travel, could turn day trippers into week-long vacation goers in the future.

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