Now in the second quarter of 2022, a good project to undertake is to look at how you can better align your hotel’s technologies for the summer peak season as well as for beyond. Having consulted with properties on their tech stacks, here are some opening considerations:
- Automation is astronomically important so as to reduce labor costs, mitigate ongoing staff shortages and buffer the bottom line;
- In the travel recovery reshuffling, many hotels that boomed during the pandemic may experience pullbacks while others that laid dormant may surge in demand, with technology at the heart in either case insofar as managing erratic occupancies without compromising on service;
- The world continues to go digital with an increasing expectation for such amenities as app-based guest communications, virtual concierge and the flexibility to check-in via mobile;
- The coming decade will see a mental shift from RevPAR to thinking in terms of TRevPAR with the goal of maximizing revenue on a per guest basis and the only sure shot to that end being rich data integrations built around a central guest profile hub like the PMS or CDP/CRM;
- Coming out of the pandemic, travelers are saturated with offers, ads and newsletters, so the only way to break through all this noise is to, again, develop better integrations and guest profiles that sales and marketing can then use to devise enticing offers and one-to-one promotions;
- Many tech providers now overlap in functionality, allowing your organization to consolidate the chosen vendors as a means of decreasing costs, deepening integrations and making it easier for managers to learn all the features available on every platform.
With these six macros on the mind, there’s a clear case for empowering your IT department to fully scrutinize your tech stack and see what can be done to bring everything under as few houses as possible. Consolidation has many benefits, and luckily suppliers are working hard to make two-way connections easier and expand the range of capabilities so that you now only need a few select software suites and seldom any middleware to run your operations.
Where do you begin? Before adding or subtracting anything, you need to understand what you already have. Work with your IT team to develop a master spreadsheet that lists off all technologies—software and hardware—along with versions, contracts, integrations, set-up costs and ongoing costs. From there, condense this down to a diagram that gives a snapshot that any executive can reasonably understand.
From there, you need to determine the bedrocks of your tech foundation—those pieces at the middle of the diagram you simply cannot do without. These are likely the PMS and the POS. However, a concurrent task is to query managers in each department to determine what they like and dislike about the platforms they use, as well as what features or abilities would make their jobs easier.
Gathering all this information then making decisions about what changes to make may take several months. In fact, it will likely be a continuous endeavor, revisited every quarter. And in case it wasn’t clear from the greater forces mentioned in the opener, the time to start is now.