SHIFT + DEL! Do we need a massive reset?
— 22 experts shared their view
From the days of holidex, Fidelio v6 and Micros 2700 we have for the last 30 years been adding technology upon technology in hospitality. In my last classes with my students (online), one reoccurring question was always, "why is there not one solution that can do everything". Once we discussed this more (language requirements, local fiscal reporting, support, etc…), the students got the complexity of using software and systems to run businesses. But moving forward, future managers are going to want their hospitality software to behave more like WhatsApp, Instagram or Snapchat. Download, install and work. No training or massive configuration to be done. So, where does this leave the hospitality industry? Do we keep on going with our "Lego" approach or do we need to say hold on, that's enough? Let's restart from scratch and what would that look like and how could we conceivably even do that.
Partner at Hudson Crossing
A reset? Yes, and it's already happening! Many travel companies have found it's easier to justify adding a few bodies to shore up weaknesses in their processes rather than investing in technology to automate them or fixing the processes to reduce the errors in the first place. While many of these organizations were still profitable (at least in the pre-Covid days,) creeping overhead made for economically fragile operations and opened up opportunities for new entrants to gain ground. New entrants like TripActions in the TMC space, Hopper in the OTA world, and Cloudbeds in the hotel technology arena have shown how they can start small, gain traction, and grow aggressively at the expense of even the largest incumbents. Innovation isn't just for startups though: look at how Amadeus Hospitality taught the elephant to dance with its new ABS-native central reservations system.
Well-run startups can be problematic for incumbents, but legacy companies needn't stand still. When organizations, especially those in technology where there is so much leverage to be applied, can step back to take stock of their customers' needs and apply their knowledge and resources to find points of leverage where they can innovate. In my experience the most difficult issue, and in many cases the fatal issue, is a company culture that swaddles the organization with inertia. Too often the successes that have accrued to “the way we've always done it” keep organizations from trying new things to better serve changing customer needs and expectations. What worked yesterday isn't necessarily what's best today. Find out what is, and start that reset!