June 01 2015

App Your Service?

As HITEC rolls around this year, there’s going to be plenty of hotel apps out there. Apps for guest devices. Apps for staff. Apps for booking. Apps for tablets in rooms. Marriott just released a brand new app that allows you to request amenities and services to your rooms. Let’s put a stop to it.

Why are apps so great for consumers? The internet of things. Your Instagram photos post automatically to facebook. Foursquare check ins can post automatically to twitter. You can control your Uber driver’s playlist from your Spotify app. With services like IFTTT you can automatically connect thousands of platforms. Open APIs allow open integration.

Imagine if our industry’s apps worked the way our industry’s do. Imagine accessing your guest’s facebook likes in their guest profile on your PMS. What if your sales team could quote rates based on a Klout score? Shouldn’t concierge recommendations have real time OpenTable availability? What if a request for a shoe shine went directly to the bell station, or a request for towels directly to the housekeeper on the nearest floor?

Hotel technology has historically been fragmented, and remains as such. How many vendors do you currently work with? How many channels currently distribute your inventory? How many serial ports are there on your interface server? The more closed apps we release the further we continue fracturing hospitality technology. Twenty bucks says the new Marriott app doesn’t hyperlocate housekeepers by floor nor integrate to real time availability in their aged proprietary PMS.

By distancing our existing technology from the new mobile platforms, and not integrating to the existing platforms, we’re going down the same road we’ve been down, just in HTML5 instead of on an AS400. New technology in hotels should be about fewer apps and more integration.