Industry Update
Opinion Article25 August 2020

Setting Course for a Post-COVID Era in Hospitality

Advertorial by Jason Floyd, Jason Floyd is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Infor Hospitality Solutions

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As much as the COVID-19 global pandemic has thrown the hospitality and restaurant industries for a loop, it has also proven an important point about the digitalization journey: Get started now if you haven't already. Leaders in hotels, casinos, and resorts have been doing that, sharpening their focus on the kinds of technology that can evolve and align their businesses with where the industry is headed. They've been asking the essential question: How will we be doing business in the future? This assessment has set them up to be in a better position now.

A key step is uncoupling from legacy systems and their limitations in favor of the cloud and SaaS-based solutions. This enables organizations to unify everything brand-wide during a time when responding quickly to external forces is essential. A unified business data environment provides the fuel for examining markets in a more informed manner. Businesses can establish KPIs and roadmaps with greater clarity, and more intelligently invest in new technologies that integrate with each other without putting undue pressure on technology teams. Cloud environments and infrastructure also enable more scalable workflows, so hospitality organizations are better able to share resources and insights no matter where departments and team members happen to be - at home, in transit on their mobile devices, on-site in properties, or at head offices. Such flexibility, access, and scalability is proving integral to thriving in this state of sudden change.

Several key solutions for hospitality are helping organizations address challenges specific to our current situation. For hotel property management systems, for instance, developments such as mobile reservations, self-managed upgrades, and the use of mobile devices as room keys supports a "high-tech not high-touch" approach to contactless guest experiences. It supports mobile-based functionality to benefit housekeeping and maintenance staff, centralizing vital activities and empowering service staff with greater visibility of timelines, schedules, and activities. Enabled by cloud PMS, hotels can respond more intelligently and prioritize tasks to ensure strict cleaning regimens are executed consistently.

The same goes for reservations management solutions that help hotels, resorts, and casinos more efficiently manage bookings of amenities like spas, gyms, pool areas, lounges, VIP rooms, restaurants, indoor sports courts, and more to help ensure social-distancing measures. They also gain greater precision in that process to avoid double-bookings, manage overstays, account for no-shows and other considerations. Advanced revenue management solutions driven by machine learning algorithms allow organizations to examine and unlock the value in every square foot of their properties — traditional guest rooms and function spaces, sure, but also outdoor areas and even sections of the lobby that can be adapted for meeting areas. Such solutions help expand inventory in support of social distancing while also creating new revenue sources. These are just a few examples of how emerging technology, managed centrally via the cloud, are empowering hospitality leaders to weather unprecedented conditions and to envision the future a bit more clearly, too.

Here's the most important point, though. If the pandemic ended tomorrow, the value of developing a cloud-based platform with this kind of functionality would remain. This isn't just about the technology. It's about the unwavering mission for any hotel, resort, or casino to always deliver guest comfort in a welcoming atmosphere. Scaling toward where hotels, resorts, and casinos need to be, under any conditions, is always the goal. The parameters around what that means will change, as they always do. The difference will be the digital reach to quickly scale in response to shifting trends and economic realities. Consider our present times as a clarion call to hoteliers to create more visibility, deepen connections between teams, increase intelligence, and empower staff to better anticipate and be ready for that change.

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