HITEC (www.hitec.org) is just around the corner, from June 15th to the 18th 2015, thousands of hotel professionals will visit Austin, Texas to explore the latest in hotel technology. What will be on their shopping list and what trends should they be looking for?
Mobility has been on the forefront of HITEC for the last few years. 2015 saw a big boost from the major hotel brands such as Starwood, Marriott and Hilton who promoted their apps will all kinds of new stuff, from the mobile phone key to check in and check out. As a result, many smaller hotel operators are trying to answer the questions: “How can my hotel take part in this age of mobility?” or “How can I offer mobile check in and out to my guests, if I do not want to provide an app?” Another big question for many hoteliers: “Do I need a new PMS to offer mobile for both my guests and staff?”.
A central part of your HITEC shopping list and a clear answer to all these questions is definitely “the cloud”. Today’s hotel RFP’s for a new system, mostly include the requirement for the software to be web and cloud enabled. Why? While a hotel’s monthly operation costs might increase, the hotels year over year cost will significantly drop with a cloud solution (between 20% to 40%). Once your hotel software solution is hosted in the cloud, it will be very easy to expand it with mobile solutions for both your guests and your staff. I have discussed more advantages of the cloud in my recent blog post “Moving hotel software to the cloud, it’s time!”. Getting back to your HITEC shopping list. First item “Make sure the technology is provided via the cloud as a SaaS!”
Is guest and staff mobility a must for today’s hotel? And should I be shopping those solutions at HITEC. I say, yes you should! If we just focus on mobile check in and out for guests and the soft benefits such as; less work for the front desk, convenience for the guest, better trip advisor ratings, and simply the ability for hotels to offer choice, rather than forcing the guest to the front desk only. Adding to that the benefits of up sell at check in and out, has proven already that a full ROI on your monthly SaaS fees can be a reality. Add to that mobilizing your staff, for example your housekeeping team, and finding out the status of room turns from a 4 minute radio communication check between various staff into a 10sec check on the staff members mobile device, is an example that will help with turn over rooms faster and reduce labor costs.
“Do I need to replace my PMS to get truly integrated mobile capabilities?” There are solutions that extend your PMS to provide mobility, most focus on either staff or guests. Few vendors provide both. Look for those vendors that are connected to the PMS and can really manipulate the PMS with check in and out or for example room status updated. These “PMS Overlay” vendors should warrant a real time interface to your PMS.
Another important point on the hoteliers shopping list should be “ease of use”. Look for software that is designed without the need for training in mind. Previously enterprise and business software was designed with the hoop for lot’s of training and customization requests. Today’s hotel software should have a consumer based design, your staff members can just pick it and begin to use it, reducing your on-going training costs year over year.
In summary a hoteliers HITEC shopping list should focus on:
- Cloud delivered solutions
- Bring mobility for staff and guest to my hotel
- Software with a focus on simple consumer based design
- Solutions that provide proven ROI and reduce cost
Don’t forget to stop by the StayNTouch booth #423, we look forward to show you our mobile and cloud based solutions, and talk about our recent customers successes. See you in Austin!
By Jos Schaap, CEO – Founder at StayNTouch, Inc.