The New World of Hotel Platform Usability is Here — Source: Above Property Services (APS)

In Q2 of 2021, Apple captured 75% of all global profits from smartphone sales. Compared to its rival, Samsung, Apple exceeded Samsung by 25% in revenue share and 62% in operating profit. Of course, you don’t need to be an expert in the realm of technology to recognize Apple’s continued dominance of the market – the brand is a household name, and not only in the start-up valley of Palo Alto. Around the world, Apple is widely hailed as a true digital innovator – one which has been so disruptive and influential that its products have become undeniably (and perhaps, irrevocably) woven into our everyday lives.

However, Apple is especially interesting to technologists and technology vendors due to its continued success and because it is a real-time, continuously evolving example of the power of usability. Even set against worthy competitors, like Samsung, who may arguably produce better products (from a technological standpoint), Apple often reigns supreme in the eyes of the consumer. As you might have guessed, the reason for this is that Apple offers unparalleled usability. Design specifics and feature innovations aside, Apple products are simply easy (and often, an outright pleasure) to use. So easy, in fact, that we live in a world where a three-year-old can, with little guidance, learn to navigate an iPad. As a result, even as competitor products hit the market with cutting-edge features and new functionality, many consumers will still instinctively reach for the iPhone, which is nestled amongst an entire ecosystem of other seamlessly integrated, user-friendly Apple products.

Looking at this example, technologists should glean a significant takeaway: technology can only be as great as its usability because technology is ultimately defined by its user experience. Now, can this lesson be applied to the realm of hospitality technology? Absolutely it can, and it should.

The Hospitality Industry Has a Labor Problem

There is no denying it – the hospitality industry has a staff turnover problem. Despite being one of the largest employers in the world (pre-pandemic), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some hospitality businesses, such as QSRs, routinely experience 150% annual staff turnover. The hotel and motel industry, specifically, reports a staff turnover rate of 73.8%, which is even more alarming when compared to the turnover rate across other sectors, which sits between 12-15%. What’s more, the pandemic intensified the cycle of hotel staff turnover, as key talent left the industry during closures and, in some cases, have yet to return.

Understandably, this reality can make it difficult for hotels to consistently meet guest expectations, especially in the “new normal” of the post-pandemic world. Fortunately, technology promises to relieve this burden, in part, by offering operational support and automation. Property management systems, self-service kiosks, revenue management systems, etc., all help automate operational touch-points that may otherwise take up too much bandwidth from a staffing perspective. With the use of key platforms, hotels of all size and scale can better support their staff and ensure their attention is focused where it matters most: the guest and the maintenance of brand standards. However, the desired impact of technology cannot be realized if the technology in question lacks usability. Usability and user adoption are two sides of the same coin; if a platform is not user-friendly, how can any hotel expect its staff to leverage it effectively?

A New Era of Hotel Technology

It might seem, at first glance, obvious that a platform has to prioritize usability – and yet, hospitality technology has historically neglected this fundamental consideration. The complaints associated with legacy platforms are well known and, at the top of the list, sits a lack of usability. The platforms of the past were commonly cited as being ‘clunky,’ ‘counter-intuitive,’ or, simply, overly complicated. As you can imagine, platforms that are difficult for employees to embrace and use are ill-equipped to help offset labor shortages – they also make it challenging to train new employees and continuously scale your hotel as desired.

Now, more than ever, hotels require user-friendly, flexible tools to help their staff thrive in a non-cookie-cutter environment. Just as no guest is the same, no hotel is the same; it’s time for technology vendors to truly cater to the needs of hotels the same way those hotels cater to the needs of their guests. A rigid platform that lacks UI and customization opportunities is not the tool that hoteliers need today or in the future. The disregard for interoperability is an earmark of the past, and it has no place in hospitality’s future.

Instead, hoteliers should seek out those platforms which prioritize usability and scalability by leveraging flexible digital architectures, like microservices, to afford hotels a more innovative, cost-effective, and user-friendly solution. In simple terms, the best hospitality platforms are those which adopt an approach similar to Apple by offering a genuinely seamless and user-friendly experience that is free of the operational bottlenecks of competitors and legacy platforms of the past. After all, the basic tenets of good service management is to first take care of your employees and empower them with data and insights. This is only possible with APS, not the legacy property systems.

To be genuinely best in class, a platform should adapt to the hotel – not the other way around. The only platform that is truly suited to the future is the platform suited to the hotel it promises to serve and, with this in mind, it’s time to usher in a new era of hotel platform usability.

About Above Property Services (APS™)

Above Property Services (APS™) 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. 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.

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Steve Lapekas
Above Property Services (APS)

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