The Digital Transformation of Hospitality: Why the Right Technology is the Bedrock of Great Guest Service
By Aaron Shepherd, CEO and Co-Founder of APS (Above Property Services)
What is the bedrock of great service? This is a question that any service provider should be well equipped to answer, but there is, perhaps, no industry more deeply rooted in the art of service than hospitality. Hotel and travel brands are, after all, in the business of experience; specifically, experience as a service, and today’s guest expects best-in-class service at every turn. So, let me ask you again, hoteliers: what is the bedrock of great guest service? The answer, if you ask me, is quite simple: technology.
Right now, the stakes for hospitality brands are higher than they ever have been. Guests want it all from pandemic-era cleaning standards and heightened safety consideration to luxury amenities and offerings, high-touch service, enhanced personalization and convenience empowered by self-service touch-points. At the same time, the hospitality industry faces a labor shortage that leaves countless hotels struggling to attract and/or rehire the talent required to consistently deliver on brand promises. In simple terms, hoteliers are expected to do much more, with much less, and there is only one way to accomplish that and maximize efforts in a meaningful manner – technology.
The digital platforms which often took a back seat in the past, are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but, rather, a ‘must-have’. Technology isn’t just the bedrock of great guest service in the modern age, it’s the undeniable key to a post-pandemic future, and sustainable and scalable success within a hyper-competitive landscape over the coming years.
The Digital Transformation for Hotels is Overdue
It’s essential, especially in today’s landscape, to shift away from viewing technology as a cost of doing business, and instead consider technology as a way to drive business forward. Digital platforms such as the new-age hotel PMS, CRM, and RMS are meant to accelerate, scale and improve upon the core processes and offerings of a brand and, in the realm of hospitality, new technologies can bring operational efficiencies into the fold that empower hotel staff to better anticipate and address guest needs. In this way, guest services and technology aren’t separate entities. They work together as a cohesive unit to raise and maintain brand standards across hotel properties.
To this effect, McKinsey reports that 85% of executives said their company has significantly or somewhat accelerated the implementation and adoption of technologies, and 95% of digital leaders have implemented considerable cloud capabilities to remain competitive. Research also reveals that ‘work overload’ reduces productivity by 68%, making it vital to invest in new technologies that can help boost productivity by eliminating commute times, administrative tasks, and other monotonous jobs. With this in mind, 70% of organizations have a digital transformation strategy or are working on one, and 70% of companies stated that “using tech to simplify workflow and manual processes” to reduce costs is the utmost priority in the future.
In the wake of the pandemic, it’s important to note that the organizations that saw the most success while dealing with the pandemic reported a variety of technology-related capabilities. Specifically, 75% said they could fill tech jobs during the crisis, 67% said they were more advanced in using technology than their peers before the crisis, and 56% said they were the first movers to experiment with digital technologies. As we move forward into a recovery period, hoteliers must look at the post-pandemic landscape under this same lens – how can technology help address the labor shortage? How can digital platforms be leveraged by hotel staff to better serve guests at a time when hospitality service standards remain under a microscope? What does a digitally transformed infrastructure look like in the realm of hospitality?
Choose Your Tech Wisely
We’ve established the vital role technology plays in the guest service landscape both now and in the future, but now the question becomes, what technology should hoteliers invest in? Are all digital platforms created equal?
The answer, as you might have guessed, is no. The need for digital transformation across hospitality is alive and well. Still, only some platforms and tech ecosystems offer the scalable efficiency to unlock enhanced guest service and revenue opportunities. Moving away from the limitations of legacy platforms, hoteliers should seek out cloud-based solutions developed by technologists with deep knowledge and understanding of the unique demands placed on the travel and hospitality sector. The speed, flexibility, and stability of any prospective platform should be vetted before adoption, considering the ways in which that solution will integrate seamlessly with existing platforms. When considering the adoption of new hotel technology platform aimed at empowering excellent guest service, hoteliers should consider the following questions:
- Is the platform fully customizable and future-proof?
- Does the platform adapt to your property’s unique business needs?
- Is it cost-effective? Does it require additional fees, including integration, interface, and upgrade costs?
- Is the platform available from anywhere, on any device, at any time? Mobile access is absolutely key to any platform.
- Does the platform guarantee to be available 100% of the time, with no scheduled downtime?
- Is it cloud-based? Or do you have to buy servers and maintain them yourself?
- Does it enable/empower continuous development of your critical business processes?
- Does the platform utilize a microservices infrastructure that allows for easy integration?
- Does the platform manage single image inventory across properties with speed and agility if dealing with reservation management?
- Does the platform offer real-time, automatic revenue optimization, with robust revenue strategies, removing the need to monitor rates 24x7?
- Can applications work together as a cohesive technology “stack” that creates a seamless, “all-in-one” ecosystem?
- Does the platform offer enhanced, ‘hands-off’ stability to ensure staff members do not need to focus on technology but instead focus on the guest?
The takeaway? Service industries like hospitality must leverage digital tools to improve guest service, operational efficiency, and maximize revenue opportunities.
As we prepare for 2022, the technology hotels decide to implement today will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their business, so choosing wisely is essential. Technology needs to deliver not only scalability, speed, and powerful features - it also has to support all aspects of service delivery to ensure world-class service.
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About Above Property (APS)
Above Property® is leading the charge to deliver innovative, scalable, and services-oriented platforms for the global travel industry and other related verticals. We think differently, and we are constantly innovating. Above Property Services (APS) offers the only platform that can evolve seamlessly in response to industry demands, with credit to a microservices architecture that empowers continuous development and refinement.
Built from the ground up, the APS ecosystem empowers continuous development and refinement of your critical business processes via a unique microservice architecture. Designed for performance, flexibility, security, and stability, the future-proof framework is up and running quickly, delivering a scalable, cost-effective solution that can work with or replace your existing tools and investments. APS is a platform that adapts to you – not the other way around.
Powering both large and small companies, we understand the industry's challenges in the past, and we have developed a platform that is suited for the future.