November 14 2013

Beautiful Hotels, Clunky Software!

As you arrive at the hotel, you enter through a large ornate door held open by a sharply dressed staff member. The marbled lobby floor leads to an impressive space that conveys luxury. Preparing to check-in to this lovely establishment, you approach the impressive front desk, which just may have been beautifully hand-carved by craftsmen in a far away country. Once there, you approach friendly staff members who after warmly greeting you, proceed to spend the next few minutes face down looking at their computer screen…and that is where the warm experience becomes cold. Besides that, have you ever looked over the counter to take a peek at the software being focused upon (instead of focusing upon you)? The design, look and feel of today’s software that runs hotels is NOT appealing.

I’ll say it… generally speaking, it is clunky.

Why is this? Companies like SalesForce.com and Workday have shown to the technology world that enterprise software can look good and can be easy (easier) to use. For some reason, the hotel software industry has not put resources behind design and usability. Perhaps the question in the minds of the producers of such technology is this…what does design and usability get my customers (the hotel staff)? Is there a business benefit? Well, to that question, I answer that there is an obvious business benefit. Enabling the front desk clerk to focus on engaging the guest rather than trying to click, type and fumble though the software leads to a better check-in experience and thus a higher level of guest service. Beyond that, most hotel systems, from PMS to CRM require an exorbitant amount of training just to get a staff member up to speed. Software with excellent design and usability offer the ongoing added business benefit of reduced training costs.

So come on hotel industry…demand more from your software providers! Its time to demand it… a functional, appealing and easy to use software, so you can keep your well trained staff focused on your guests instead of your software.