Hospitality Technology and Forced Migrations: A Bad Break-Up Story
By Ryan Hamilton, Co-Founder, SalesAndCatering.com and Bluebuzzard Technology Group
A hotelier's decision to invest in technology is not merely a purchase; instead, it marks the beginning of a relationship between vendor and customer. One party provides the service and/or software, and the other party leverages it to enhance their offering. The engagement, if successful, is long-term in nature and represents the vendor's ongoing commitment to that client as their business evolves and grows. Of course, in the realm of hospitality technology, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution. Hoteliers worldwide build their preferred stack of applications and platforms that promise to create an effective ecosystem of connectivity and customer support. In many cases, property management systems offer access to various built-in solutions and vendor partnerships to address their client's CRM and sales and catering needs throughout their engagement.
However, time and time again, hospitality professionals arrive at the same inflection point when a large technology provider decides to sunset a solution in favor of a new product, update, or in-house solution. Suddenly, hotel operators find themselves considering the question - is migration the only path forward? If the solution they are being transferred to is inferior to that which they've already come to know, trust, and rely on, why would they want to pay a premium price? What if they weren't ready to part ways with the solution that the larger provider is migrating away from? Don't hoteliers have a right to consider their options before committing to a solution that they did not seek out or vet?
This is a familiar concept when we look to popular consumer examples such as Apple. The multinational technology provider is ever-growing and ever-evolving; their brand is, in many ways, looked to as the epicenter of innovation. And so, it has become relatively commonplace for Apple to announce a new product or upgrade on an annual basis. As new operating systems and iPhone models are released, consumers frequently complain that their formerly loved devices are deemed obsolete. Apple repeatedly leaves older generations behind, and, sometimes, this means leaving consumers behind as well.
While this might be understood as the cost of entry to Apple's world of innovation and their latest and greatest offerings, it's essential to recognize that hospitality plays homage to a much different landscape. As any hotelier can attest to, some hotels will keep primary systems in place for ten years or longer. Our industry cannot afford to be resistant to technological change, but our path to digital transformation is paved with mindful transitions rather than forced migrations. To this effect, the hospitality realm is, at its core, a myopic and relationship-based industry. Unlike upgrading from an iPhone 11 to an iPhone 12, hoteliers consider upgrades and provider changes carefully and, preferably, without the associated timelines of an end-of-life notice.
Hoteliers, Have You Considered All Your Options?
When a migration is on the horizon, hotel operators are encouraged to evaluate their options' full scope. Are there other solutions that offer the same feature-rich capabilities but at a lower price-point? Are there other, smaller technology vendors that may forge more intimate and personalized relationships with their clients? In this way, a mandated migration represents an opportunity for hoteliers to reevaluate their existing vendor partnerships and determine the best platform fit for their needs moving forward.
First and foremost, identify the current and future needs of your property. What pain points does your team encounter regularly, and is the proposed solution the best fit to mitigate those problems? If not, is there another provider better suited to address those needs? Will your property be offered attentive, high-touch service and solution customization? If not, is there a more flexible solution available? Consider the following questions:
- What problems does the solution promise to solve?
- Is the solution cloud-based?
- Is the interface user-friendly?
- Will it empower a more streamlined guest experience?
- Is free transition-assistance/training offered?
- Is the solution customizable?
- Will it seamlessly integrate with your existing tools?
- Is the solution custom-designed for hospitality professionals?
- Does the solution offer complete functionality at an affordable price?
In the realm of hospitality technology, hotelier loyalty is earned - not given. It is the responsibility of technology vendors to provide best-in-class solutions; it is not the responsibility of hoteliers to adhere to a migration path that is not suited to their continued success and growth. Hoteliers, it's not you… it's the vendor. Don't be afraid to break-up with a provider that is no longer serving you if a proposed migration is not in the best interest of your property.
"We tested STS Cloud at one of our properties to see if it would handle the operation. It did an excellent job of automating our processes; plus, it was more cost-effective. The biggest difference was the level of collaboration between our team and STS. Every suggestion or request that we made was fulfilled."
Laurie Guidry Manning,
Director of Sales and Marketing, The J Collection
If you are currently experiencing a migration challenge, please feel free to reach out to the team at STS Cloud. We understand the challenges you have to face regarding forced migration, and we are here to help.
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Phone: +1 847 488 0225