There’s no doubt that cloud computing is on everyone’s mind these days. It’s a “buzz word” that has been knocking about for quite some time now – used to describe the use of networks of remote servers, accessed over the Internet, to store, manage, and process data. But, many people still do not fully understand it and are somewhat skeptic. And it’s not hard to see why. Cloud proposes a far more cost effective, efficient and easier way of life – but what we know, from history, is that technology projects are complicated, expensive and require an IT team. However, with the cloud this isn’t the case – and we’re here to debunk some myths you may have heard and to fill you in on the real truth and benefits that the cloud can deliver.
- The cost is way too high: In this case this statement couldn’t be more further from the truth. Unlike the traditional model of needing hardware, servers, installation of software on desktops, licences, maintenance fees, a secure room onsite etc. with the Cloud there is no up front investment required, instead you simply subscribe or ”rent” software as a service (SaaS), such as your PMS – all of which are managed and supplied by a third party servicer provider and are accessed over the internet. It’s basically like a utility bill i.e. with cloud computing, you only pay for what you need.
Because it requires no upfront capital expense, it represents significant cost savings, is less risky and provides a fast return on investment. It allows hotels to move from Capex to Opex and lower costs associated with running a PMS (any savings can be allocated towards guest services.) At the same time, with less onsite IT infrastructure, you also reduce your energy consumption and therefore make an additional cost saving.
Another benefit of Cloud and SaaS is that hotels can choose to go with whatever service provider they want and can easily switch providers at anytime without any additional cost and can scale up or down depending on requirements.
- My data, it’s not secure and what if something happens, I can’t access it: The truth is, Cloud actually makes data more secure. With Cloud, your data is stored securely and remotely (by specialised technicians) instead of in an on-site physical location. All your data is mirrored and backed-up continuously, and data transfers use the same encrypted protocol that is used by banks (now, that’s pretty secure!). These guarantees are in place to ensure that nothing is ever lost.
In terms of connectivity, your PMS runs on secure servers that have multiple failovers to ensure uninterrupted service. And not only that, but Cloud allows for the automating of data transfers between systems working alongside each other; this integration streamlines processes property wide and eliminates tedious and time-consuming manual data entry task and avoids any risk of hiccups that often happen with manual upkeep.
- IT won’t be able to update the system: Truth is, old legacy systems are not very reliable, need constant updates and require manual intervention – which can be costly, require a lot of planning and may even involve some downtime (which can impact your business). On the other hand, with the Cloud there is no need for manual updates. You no longer need to experience delays, anxiety or sleepless nights ahead of an upgrade/software deployment. Your software provider automatically updates your system without any interaction needed by the customer. When updates and/or upgrades are available, they are immediately deployed to you at no cost. With the Cloud, you are always logging into the last updated version of your hotel PMS.
Less stress, time and money is wasted with a Cloud PMS solution. No longer do you need to concern yourself with the “latest version” or the scheduling of updates; your software provider handles all that for you – so you can get on with spend more time focusing on your business.
- It’s too much hassle to learn a new system: Truth is, it’s your current legacy system that is dull, complicated and requires constant training. Cloud based PMSs are not only built with newer technologies (meaning most of the hard graft that requires technical skills is now handled by the Cloud provider) but they are designed according to user behaviours and with the hotelier’s mind-set behind the product. This means designs are simpler and more user friendly making it much easier for staff to understand and to become comfortable with its functions very quickly; this not only saves on training, it also allows even non-tech savvy people from all levels within your hotel to gain access.
Also as all data is treated in real time managers are able to remotely monitor operations, access reports and measure staff performance anytime, anywhere. It also means Operations Managers do not have to “close” the day and can freely navigate and make changes at any time for any day.
- It’s not worth the cost: At the start we touched on the infrastructural cost savings to be made (which are substantial) but Cloud allows for more revenue making opportunities / can help create new revenue streams.
While Cloud streamlines core systems such as a PMS and POS, it also integrates these systems with innovative and interactive guest-facing technologies – and, in doing so, provides a prime opportunity to capture powerful guest data for a highly personalized service. Guest information such as, stay status, requests, preferences, spend on property etc. is automatically updated and tracked in the guest profile.
As a result, not only can staff push more upgrades and upsell more easily but for hotels with their own app or mobile website, they can promote real time offers and sell customized relevant ancillary products and/or packages to the right customers, at the right time in their journey and at their moment of decision (all based on the availability of those additional streams on a hotel-by-hotel basis!) – the Cloud can even service customers even when they are not checked in!
(We’re only summarising additional financial benefits here! Check out our blog on how technology can increase revenue for Hotels to learn all the possibilities!)
- It will hurt the quality of service by encouraging guests to opt for self-service: Truth is, Cloud actually allows for staff and guests to interact more and also gives guests a choice of service – whether that’s via the front desk or using their phone. Providing a choice of service allows guests to dictate what kind of experience they want to have at your hotel.
With a more competent and intuitive system in place staff can be more responsive in a quicker and more efficient way.
And following our previous point, Cloud allows for mass collaboration of guest data across systems, providing real time actionable insights of guest preferences. This allows the delivery of relevant and timely personalisation resulting in greater overall guest satisfaction.
Is a cloud-based property management system right for you? Probably, considering all the benefits it could bring for your hotel. It represents a faster, more flexible way to get a new system up and running and is easier maintain. It streamlines operations, reduce costs, save time and frustrations, and helps to improve overall guest experience.
All round it’s an ideal tool for hoteliers – some would say that Cloud is made for the hospitality industry.