How to Future-Proof Your Hotel
By Margaret Ady, Co-founder of Apaleo
Baby-proofing is big biz. But why? The truth is that not that many children stick their fingers in sockets and get burned. Sticking those covers in outlets is insurance against the trauma and cost of something that could happen. Nowadays, parents just do this. It's an inexpensive part of the process that makes sense in order to minimize the risk that an unstable little toddler machine will end up in tears, or worse.
What if, instead of cutting essential services, hotels looked to solutions that actually make service and efficiency better, in a more cost-effective way? We call this future-proofing. Because cutting off the electricity is no way to keep toddlers from burning themselves, but that's essentially what hotels do when they cut services and reduce maintenance. And limited service hotels are some of the properties most in need of future-proofing. A study of tech innovators in the hotel sector found that almost 60% of innovators fall into the upscale/luxury segment (2018 Lodging Technology Study). Limited service properties frequently feel the constraints of budget along with increasing expectations from guests and, as such, they become the technology "laggards."
You don't have to lag behind the rest. In fact, you can do things that will keep the lights on and protect your investment for the future, a future no doubt full of new supply and greater guest demands. There are (at least) four ways you can future-proof your property.
1). Cloud-based everything
The Lodging Technology study notes that the "hotels of the future," the innovators, have plans to make all systems—get that, ALL systems—cloud-based by 2019. Comparatively, only 33% of the laggards have plans to just have their PMS in the cloud. Moving systems to the cloud reduces maintenance times and increases efficiencies, making it possible to easily connect with other cloud-based systems.
2). Don't cut service. Change it.
Who wants to be tied to a computer and what good does it do anyone, anyhow? When you give staff the ability to work from computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc., they can move freely around the property. This means that they can have more meaningful dialogue with guests, perhaps solving a guest issue before it even becomes an issue. Guest service improves as staff becomes more present and available on property. And they are just faster at basic jobs.
3). Automate some processes
Make sure guests can do all the things they want to on whatever device they want to use. Many of your guests are completely mobile at this point, so not only will their ability to check-in and check-out via mobile and deal with issues via messenger influence whether they want to stay with you, but it will also make their overall experience better. For hotels, this can vastly increase efficiencies that will keep you from needing to cut service costs to save a buck.
4). Scale up, scale down, or sideways
This may be the true differentiator that allows your property to shoot ahead of the competition in the coming years. At apaleo, for instance, we connect to any other technology you want to use so that you can scale however you want to. Revenue management system? Yup. CRM? You betcha. Upselling tool? Plug 'er in. In-room voice control? Sure. Some crazy app that you built yourself? Go for it.
Nearly 50% of hotels planned technology enhancements for their PMS in 2018. The PMS is, reportedly, the most important system in terms of receiving budget and enhancements. Many hotels assume that PMS improvements are an expensive overhaul, but that's only because the old-school PMS are loaded up with features that not every hotel needs. This perception can make it difficult to even undertake the research for a system that works when you already find yourself pinching pennies at the end of the day; however, this is exactly what will keep your property competitive in the long term. Because of the way a system like apaleo's is built, this kind of future-proofing doesn't cost a lot and will end up bringing in more revenue through efficiency and better service. Take the time to dig in and see what's available for your core systems now that will keep the lights on and serve your property well into the future.
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Hotels need the right technology and systems to manage all the complexities of their business. At the core of these systems is the property management system (PMS), which manages hotel inventory and reservations, rates, accounting, invoicing and payments, and more. Then there are all the additional systems like CRM, CRS, upselling, review monitoring, distribution and channel management, forecasting, business intelligence reporting, and so forth. Hoteliers rely on all these tools yet struggle because many of them don't integrate.
apaleo's PMS platform connects all these systems quickly and seamlessly. As the first PMS which is purely based on a fully open 2-way API, hotels can grant applications access to all the information stored in apaleo, as well as allow them to write back data to the PMS. apaleo's public API allows hoteliers to innovate without major risks, integration hassles, long wait times and hidden fees. Developers and software vendors can easily connect to apaleo, and hotels can even develop their own, custom apps with ease. Applications are housed in the apaleo Store, opening the possibilities for hotels to connect to pre-integrated, innovative apps - guest facing or staff facing - with one click. Learn more at www.apaleo.com.