The Hotel Technology Platform - What Factors are Driving Change?
As new technology solutions and trends emerge in the hospitality industry, staying in one place isn’t really an option. To meet the expectations that go along with technology-driven movements that change the game for everyone, taking a critical look at the state of an organization’s technology platform is a necessary and ongoing effort for industry leaders.
Here are a few select examples of influencing factors that hotel organizations must consider when seeking to create traction and continuity as the industry progresses into the 2020s and beyond.
Shifting guest expectations
In the last few years, articles and reports about the rise of millennials as a dominant force have been numerous, and for good reason. What they expect out of a hotel stay has been a vital force in driving how technology is planned and invested in to support a modern hotel experience. But this isn’t strictly down to a single demographic or age group. Hoteliers seek to serve everyone. Having said that, Gen-Xers and Boomers use mobile devices to check in and to use as a room key in the same way millennials do. They all expect SMS communications send to their personal devices. They want more options, less waiting, more visibility. They want more control over their experiences.
In short and with all of the generational narratives you’ve heard before, guest expectations have, and still are, shifting. That means that systems and solutions must support those expectations if hotel organizations are to remain successful. Legacy systems that perform basic functions but don’t have the adequate capacity to scale according to where guest expectations are leading need to be reassessed. That point about mobile is of particular importance, since it is mobile technology that is the key fulcrum to meeting these emerging expectations. This is true even beyond the hospitality industry.
The growing importance of integrations
An essential element to how hospitality technology platforms must scale relies heavily on integrations with both internal and external systems. This connects in all kinds of ways, from integrations with CRM, POS, PMS, RMS and other systems, to integrations with those systems in other locations. Integrations with external systems and distribution channels is also growing in importance as the ways that potential guests find and decide on the details of their hotel stay are becoming more and more numerous. Their experience in seeking out offers before their stay even starts becomes a part of their guest experience overall.
The common thread around placing importance on integrated systems is about removing the friction the whole way along the spectrum from booking, to check-in, to check-out, and review. This demands a move away from static, legacy systems and into solutions that enable more dynamic processes that help organizations be more agile and to adapt more quickly in a fast-moving marketplace. To do that, and to continue to build a unified technology eco-system across multiple properties, leading hotel organizations are forming useful partnerships with experts in the field.
Cloud solutions and the SaaS model
To support all of the above, leading hospitality organizations are investing in different models of delivering their services to guests. In large part, this means moving away from on-premises hosting where all hotel locations are just siloed data centers. What is preferable to that is the capacity to connect all locations and operations in the cloud and delivering solutions through web services via a Software as a Service subscription (SaaS) subscription model. This presents several advantages to hotel organizations.
One is greater support directly from those vendors that develop the software, and that can help to manage updates, security, and any related technical concerns without the need for IT staff on the ground at the properties themselves. Another is that those vendors in turn partner with infrastructure providers and/or invest in their own native cloud-based infrastructure to significantly reduce down times. In a 24/7/365 business like hospitality, the value of this can’t be overestimated. Yet another is greater elasticity when it comes to adding to or reducing the number of locations that require specified hospitality technology solutions. With an investment in server hardware no longer needed, that represents a significant time and cost savings.
Thinking about the future
Leading off from the point about elasticity in the cloud, creating scalability overall as new technologies emerge is vital to success, too. Specifically, this means planning the platform as an evolving eco-system rather than a collection of static solutions. SaaS and cloud-based solutions help organizations to be ready for what’s coming in addition to being more efficient when it comes to serving present needs.
What part of the journey is your business on when it comes to building a platform to anticipate where the hospitality industry is going? What are some of the advantages of replacing legacy solutions entirely to help your organization be ready for the future?
We created a resource of nine of the best reasons to replace a legacy system when it comes to your hotel PMS.
Get your copy right here.
- HMS Property Management System