Budget season is well and truly upon us. Hotels everywhere are in the throes of preparing their annual budgets – if not close to completion. While there are many facets to every budget, each year, technology is taking up a bigger portion of hotel sales, marketing, and operations budgets. Why? Because consumer expectations are growing and technology has become imperative to enhance the guest experience. Today, guests expect technology to be at their fingertips throughout their stay, align with their smart devices and enhance their experience with your property in a way that is convenient, instantaneous and personal.
With a velocity of change in technology that is extraordinary, and a continuous myriad of investment opportunities and possibilities, how should hotels begin to prioritize tech spending for the coming year? Here are 3 key areas we think every hotel should consider this budget season to help plan for a more profitable 2019.
- Get a Cloud-based Property Management System: If you haven’t already moved to the cloud, maybe now is the time to include it in your budget. Cloud technology enables hoteliers to invest in powerful, modern, mobile-centric PMS systems that not only help them enhance guest engagement but also streamline operations, realize new revenue opportunities and boost productivity. Cloud-based technology is always up-to-date, never at risk for failure, and can be accessed for any device type, giving your team the flexibility to make smart decisions about hotel resources and operations fast, no matter where they are.
To top it off, the financial benefits of a next-generation PMS are multifold. Cloud eliminates the upfront purchase of hardware and offers affordable subscription /’pay-as-you-go’ plans meaning hoteliers can move expenditure from Capex to Opex – which can be very freeing to a hotels budget. Cloud solutions also enable faster feature development, automatic software updates, minimum downtime, and low maintenance when compared to traditional on-premises PMS. Cloud helps to streamline operations across the organization, providing better management controls leading to increased staff efficiency and reduce operational costs.
- Provide Mobile Check-in: Most people now have smartphones because of the ease of access they provide to just about anything a person could want or need – so naturally, consumers are beginning to demand that hotels let them do more with their phones, and increasingly see their mobile devices as the key to making their entire stay more convenient. In fact, a recent survey has demonstrated that over 60% of guests say that it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue to invest in technology that improves the guest experience while another study found that the simplification of tasks to be the most important factor in the mobile travel experience – in particular, check-in.
Check-in can be quick and painless at times, but travelers want the guaranteed convenience of a frictionless experience. Mobile check-in is the gateway to that ideal experience. It ensures guests can quickly proceed to their rooms without spending time at the front desk – not only dramatically improving the customer’s experience with your property, but it also frees up front desk staff to service
- Do more with your data: Hotels have long amassed a goldmine of data but have underused it. But investing in a business intelligence tool can give you the edge to deep-dive into all the data you collect at your hotel and put it into perspective for you in such a way that you can make amends to the already existing strategy, help reduce your operational costs, increase your revenue and find ways to make your business an all-around success.
A hotel BI tools allow hoteliers to get a holistic view of business – and when integrated with your Cloud PMS, you can get consolidated data in the blink of an eye. By investing in and exploiting BI tool to derive insights that are most relevant to you, at the right time, will fetch you welcomed results.
While traditionally hoteliers have been hesitant to request budgets for hotel tech either due to the complexity of a current system in place or the immediate ROI potential of newer solutions seeming vague and difficult to define – technology budgets that include innovative mobile-centric solutions should be looked at as a long-term, revenue generating investment that will position hoteliers to adapt and grow with evolving guest demands.