The amount of software that is available to hotels is increasing every year, and many of the newer technologies are extremely useful in terms of saving time, increasing operational efficiencies, improving the guest experience, and even cutting costs. But with a sea of vendors and offerings, it can be complicated, stressful and time consuming for a hotel to choose which solutions will best fit their business needs.
Adding new software should serve to simplify, rather than further complicate operations, and the services should add to the guest experience. Here are three things hotels must consider when adding a new technology to the mix in order to ensure that they are choosing the right solutions.
According to the 2017 Hotel Technology Study, the biggest pain points for hotels currently are a lack of sufficient IT budget (39%) and the burden of maintaining the existing infrastructure (37%). Cloud-based software solves these pain points. Cloud-based solutions are generally easier to set up and maintain, accessible from anywhere and tend to be more cost-effective than on-premise systems.
A little bit further down the list (but not much) of pain points from the aforementioned study is the effort required to integrate systems (24%). Building integrations can be a long, arduous process, but without them, it is difficult for your hotel to access, understand, and improve upon guest data – you end up operating in data silos. Choosing software that is already pre-integrated gives you a solid foundation where you can make sense of key data that influences revenue management decisions, distribution strategies, and customer relationship information. It allows you to build out robust guest profiles, better predict the future and ultimately, better serve your guests.
Many hoteliers, particularly revenue managers, spend hours building, tweaking, and re-building reports in Excel to analyze their data. Those files are sent around, edited, commented on, and so forth. Not only is this incredibly time-consuming, but it increases the likelihood of errors and confusion (what is the final budget? The one saved as V10? V_FINAL?). Technology such as SnapShot Analytics provides broad reporting solutions that many departments or managers can use. Having all this data, already analyzed and at your fingertips allows you to quickly adjust pricing, services and react to the market. And it frees up time for your staff to focus on more pressing issues.
Newer technologies automate many processes and hotel operations, from check-in, to mobile keycards, to bots that help you during the booking process. Embracing these applications can drastically cut down the amount of time spent on operational tasks as well as increase the speed in which you serve your guests. That said, not everything can and should be automated (we still work in hospitality, after all!), and finding the right balance between automation vs. human interactions will depend heavily on the profiles of your guests.
At the end of the day, the right mix of technology needs to fit the needs of your business as well as the needs of your guests. New technology should be easy to build upon, should improve operational efficiency and should allow your staff to focus on delivering the perfect guest experience.