Automating and digitising should no longer be viewed by the hospitality industry as buzzwords - as this is happening in hotels across the world this very minute. The idea of adapting and keeping pace may be a daunting experience for some - not knowing where to start, what type of automation software is available, or how best to implement it in the organisation.

In order to guarantee the sustainability of the hospitality industry, all organisations, big and small, should be looking at efficient and cost-effective ways to future-proof their business through digitisation, however there are five key considerations to make:

1. DON'T make a bad process electronic

Persisting with the old ways of working and simply digitising a paper-based process doesn't make good business sense, especially if you are going to replicate it across several functions or properties. In the current climate, businesses need to be able to do more with less and streamline where possible; saving resources, increasing staff productivity and maintaining a five-star experience for guests, pandemic or not.

Therefore don't simply make a time-consuming and siloed process electronic. Review your policies and ask questions: does this document need to be approved by one manager, then another, or can we save time doing it in parallel? Could we reduce the time to complete the task whilst enabling access to critical information faster? Why is this done differently in each department or property? You will often find that the answer is simply because "that's the way it's always been done". However there has never been a more critical time for hospitality businesses to learn to adapt, and fast. Review, analyse, automate, measure and repeat... and then and only then, streamline; set in stone and standardise across all departments, properties and regions.

At DocMX, we work with organisations to ensure the technology is tailored to their clients exacting needs, ensuring they're fully benefiting from this opportunity to automate, standardise and ultimately see tangible financial savings. And this doesn't have to be a lengthy or complex project, taking just a few short weeks.

2. DO collaborate and share resources across properties

Hotels under the same ownership or brand don't have to work in silo and run off different software platforms. While digitising one property at a time is already well worth it - expanding to several properties can yield exponential savings for everyone.

Clustering, also known as complexing or shared service centers, allows organisations to make the most of standardisation and automation by pooling resources in a digital shared environment. Technology can be tailored to hotels or hospitality groups' own specific processes and policies. With several properties using a standard process and common system, finance or HR staff can support several properties at once.

Organisations currently using DocMX software have been able to automate up to 70% of revenue auditing, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable, thus enabling a staff member from one location to service up to three properties, and in some cases even more. In a time of belt-tightening and staff shortages, this is a great opportunity to drive change within your organisation.

3. DON'T neglect data security and traceability

In today's world of remote working, emails and Zoom, sensitive financial or HR information can be open to security and processing issues. Handling this information in a secure structured system with a full ISO-accredited audit trail will solve many of these concerns. Implement data security best practices within the organisation, and choose a technology platform with strong protections against any unauthorised access and data loss. In the case of cloud systems, verify where the data will be stored and under what conditions – especially because many countries require storage on local soil.

In an increasingly digital world, where the threats from hackers and malware are greater than ever before, choosing the right partner who takes security seriously should be a key consideration.

At DocMX we continually invest in our clients' security and meet the most stringent data security, storage and recovery standards with a yearly ISO certification for Information Security. As an AWS Partner we also leverage Amazon's best-in-class network security tools.

4. DO look at ways to save paper and the environment

While the guest experience is, in many hotels, already paperless, the back-office can be the forgotten piece of the puzzle. Night Audit reports with hundreds of pages, HR forms, invoices and other paperwork passed between departments, copies for reconciliation and approvals, storing all this paperwork for 5 to 20 years in line with local legislation...

This all represents many man-hours of unnecessary admin work and inefficient communication, as well as significant costs for paper, printer leasing, document archiving and long-term storage. Not to mention the environmental impact.

Based on our decade of experience, a typical 300-room hotel spends over £30,000 on print related activity each year, felling on average 1 tree every week. One of DocMX's clients, the exclusive 5-Star FourPoints Darlington Harbour Hotel in Sydney saved 2.5 million printed pages yearly, equating to $1.5million in savings over five years... as well as 1,500 trees saved!

FourPoints Darlington Harbour Hotel in Sydney saved 2.5 million printed pages yearly, equating to $1.5million savings over five years... as well as 1,500 trees saved!— Photo by DocMXFourPoints Darlington Harbour Hotel in Sydney saved 2.5 million printed pages yearly, equating to $1.5million savings over five years... as well as 1,500 trees saved!— Photo by DocMX
FourPoints Darlington Harbour Hotel in Sydney saved 2.5 million printed pages yearly, equating to $1.5million savings over five years... as well as 1,500 trees saved!— Photo by DocMX

5. DON'T reinvent the wheel - partner with someone who has done it before

There is no need for costly consultants or long-winded projects in order to digitise. Capitalise on past investments and expertise developed and proven over many years by hospitality and technology professionals. Choose a technology and team with a great track record, developed specifically for the hotel industry worldwide.

There are many document management and process automation solutions out there, typically costly, ill-adapted or developed at great expense to satisfy only a handful of hotel processes. You may also end up having to purchase several different software packages, reducing efficiencies and ultimately savings.

Instead opt for a ready to go, all-in-one solution customised to your organisation's exact requirements, easily integrated with other hospitality systems, affordable, quick to implement and scalable to one or many of your properties without complication.

For more information about DocMX visit:

Aaron Belton
Head of Hospitality