Skift Take

Oracle Hospitality's first acquisition under new top boss Alex Alt takes the hotel tech giant deeper into guest-facing interactions before guests arrive at a property, not just once they reach the front desk.

Oracle Hospitality confirmed on Wednesday that it planned to acquire Nor1, a hotel tech startup focused on upselling guests before arrival and at the front desk.

The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal or how long it will take to close. Santa Clara, California-based Nor1 has disclosed raising $29 million from venture investors like Accel and Plug and Play Tech Center, corporate venture investors like SAP Concur, and private equity, since its founding in 2004, according to Crunchbase. SAP Concur and Plug and Play Tech Center are confirmed to be still invested.

The deal represents Oracle Hospitality’s first acquisition under Alex Alt, who became the unit’s top boss in November 2019 when he became senior vice president and general manager.

The companies sent messages to their customers on Wednesday saying that the acquisition will broaden the reach of Oracle Hospitality’s cloud-based property management system. Nor1’s merchandising tech helps hotels to provide personalized offers before and during a guest’s stay.

For Oracle Hospitality, the deal would extend its offering in guest-facing tech. Most hotel companies only use Oracle Hospitality’s property management systems, which help them manage their operations, with few using its offerings that touch guests directly, such as a booking engine and integrations with messaging tech providers.

For Nor1, the deal theoretically offers a chance for its upsell offerings to be scaled up and more widely available. Oracle has the largest share of the hotel operations software market worldwide.

Right now, many hotel companies use a variety of tools to try to persuade people who have booked a room to upgrade to a suite, book a service in a spa, or buy another amenity. But most require manual work by hotel staff to customize the messages. Nor1’s tech automates much of the upsell process, reaching guests via a hotel’s website or by a pre-arrival email or text message.

Nor1 also has a product for check-in merchandising that works at the front desk or via a mobile-check-in interface. It uses tech to figure out the optimal offer to make a guest at check in.

An Oracle Hospitality spokesperson declined to comment on the deal or how it might potentially deploy Nor1’s tech.

While users of Oracle Hospitality are already able to use Nor1’s services in conjunction with its products, a tighter technical and commercial integration could make it easier for hoteliers to pitch guests with upsell offers, merchandising offers, service offers to guests while the guests are at a property. Until now, hoteliers have primarily used Nor1’s products to market to guests up until the point of a guest checking in.

Other companies that expose guests to pre-arrival upsell offers include Oaky and Roomdex.

For more context, see Oracle Hospitality’s New Boss Sees Gaps in Its Hotel Tech Portfolio

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Tags: loyalty, mergers and acquisitions, Oracle Hospitality, upselling

Photo credit: Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Hospitality, spoke at the company's customer conference in Singapore in late 2019. Oracle Hospitality confirmed on Wednesday that it planned to acquire Nor1, a hotel tech startup focused on upselling hotel guests. Oracle

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