By Warren Dehan
Hospitality is built on the development and nurturing of personal relationships, extending beyond interactions with guests to include other hoteliers and even vendor partners. Hotel and resort owners and operators know that it’s not always enough to deliver positive results to customers, sometimes it’s more important to develop a connection with guests when providing service. This mentality can be a challenge for technology partners who have been conditioned by other industries to deliver results without emotion. However, company culture defines the way partners work together, and technology companies can learn a great deal from hospitality’s service-driven ethos.
One thing hotel technology partners must be mindful of is the increasing complexity of software used throughout the industry. They should remain patient with operators who are stepping outside of their comfort zones to use technology they are unfamiliar with. Furthermore, many independent chains and boutique hotel groups operate without the benefit of an internal IT department, and for them, it is crucial that the technology supplier be a partner they can rely on to help solve problems in a collaborative and solution based approach.
Here are four culture attributes a PMS company must possess to help ensure your hotel’s success:
- Be Adaptable
The service-oriented nature of hospitality creates an environment where many small-scale changes are taking place industrywide, from adapting to new guest booking patterns to creating new avenues for communication with travelers. In an environment like this, it is important for vendors to be open to receiving constructive criticism to improve service and make the most of current market conditions.
Conducting business in the service arena requires some degree of humility, and sometimes well-intentioned efforts can backfire due to the way they were delivered, or other unforeseen factors. Receiving free feedback can be invaluable, whether it comes from an industry consultant or your hotel partners. Opening your offerings up to occasional scrutiny from those who use them every day can help provide inspiration to improve your products and services going forward, and even more effectively navigate your chosen business segment.
- Be Accessible
Tech partners will always struggle with visibility due to the nature of the space they operate in, so it may be necessary to find ways to “walk the floor” with your customers the same way hotel GMs do. Since contact with hotel partners occurs most often when things have gone awry, the most efficient answer to this concern is for tech providers to make it easier for hoteliers to reach them.
Direct text chat has seen runaway growth in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic, and it provides several benefits as a means of communication between hotels and tech partners. For one, tech chat allows users to be more deliberate with their messaging, reducing confusion in the long run. Additionally, all communications over text can be easily recorded and shared, helping with future technical issues and assisting with troubleshooting. Lastly, it is the ideal method for sharing e-learning materials, as users can retain them for long-term reference.
- Be Resourceful
Knowing your customer is everything, so why not consider hiring former hospitality workers for training and support roles? Your technical support personnel are more likely to help resolve customer issues in a reasonable manner if they walked a mile in their shoes. The hotel industry is currently going through a labor crisis, and it is important to make an immediate connection with hotel partners.
Former revenue managers, salespeople, and GMs are perfect for these positions as they are fluent in hospitality lingo and already possess the service mindset to help other hoteliers find the solutions to their problems. Hospitality and technology are continually becoming intertwined, and connections such as these will be necessary to sustain future success as the level of complexity in a hotel’s day-to-day business continues to increase.
- Be Hospitable
Hospitality employees are typically friendly, outgoing, likeable people. Many of them were attracted to hospitality for its focus on people, and the desire to provide a high-quality experience. They love solving problems and making others’ lives easier. Technology providers should strive for the same qualities in our own offerings. If, culturally, your organization’s people are pushing to do a better job every day to better serve customers, and go above and beyond when the opportunity presents itself, they are in the right place.