The Unique Technology Challenges Faced by Large Hotel Chains (Part 2 of 2 Part Series)
by Binu Mathew, CEO of IDS Next
Bangalore, September 25, 2019: The hospitality industry is on a path to technological innovation, and it shows no sign of changing course. Technology is — and will continue to be — at the core of a hotel’s operations and the hospitality experience both in room, before and after the trip. As hotels around the globe face mounting pressure to keep up with or, better yet, remain ahead of evolving technological demands, vetting and selecting emerging platforms becomes integral to a property’s success. With this in mind, we’ve developed a two-part series to address the unique technology challenges which large hotel chains face. In Part I (link to Part I) we spoke to the need for ease of integration and implementation, a centralized provider and high-touch support and service.
In Part II we will continue that discussion, considering the needs of large hotel chains as they look to grow and evolve their brand well into the future.
Large hotel brands are continuously expanding — multiple properties will proudly boast their flag and, as such, scalability is integral. While the primary purpose of new-age technology is to align hotels with modern guest demands, these platforms also allow hotels to grow and evolve in a timely manner. As hotel chains continue to grow through acquisitions or while building new properties, their technology partners need to assure them that long-term, agile scalability is not just possible, but guaranteed.
Is the platform cloud-based? Can it be implemented globally? Does it effectively automate critical processes and improve the staff experience as well as the guest experience? Does it offer customized tiers of service for both small and large-scale, growing properties? Can the use of that platform help to future-proof a hotel? Ultimately, even the most fabulous hotel with the most innovative leaders can fall behind if one, the key ingredient is missing: scalability.
The digital age is challenging hotel brands around the globe as guest expectations continue to evolve — accelerating industry norms and transforming best practices. While hoteliers face no shortage of challenges working to keep pace with continued technological transformation, investing in the right all-in-one hotel ERP platform and provider will enable easier and more efficient operations across all the departments of a hotel, driving guest service and boosting the bottom line.
Hotels with Multiple Brands
During a time where hotel brand consolidation is happening at a rapid pace, it is incredibly important for hotel companies to look for partners that can fulfill their technology requirements whether they be minimal in solutions design or a platform that can easily manage the largest hotels in the world. Marriott, with the acquisition of Starwood, now has approximately 30 different brands from limited service hotels all the way through the most luxurious hotels like the St. Regis properties. Each individual brand has its own specific set of requirements and this makes for a complex technology environment.
No one wants to say it, but price has become one of the determining factors when it comes to a hotel company choosing its next technology partner. When a technology partner understands this and makes the effort to produce a solution and price model that meets the needs of each hotel brand but also understands that each brand may have widely different profit margins, this can truly be a winning combination.
Cloud and On-Premise Delivery
Cloud technology is becoming the norm related to the implementation of hotel technology. The speed, flexibility and enhanced security offered by cloud computing allow businesses (regardless of size) to transform and evolve their operation in exciting ways. This trend moves in tandem with the increasing demand for mobile-centric technology and more versatile operational solutions for hotel infrastructure. In the case of EM, cloud computing boasts a great deal of influence – as businesses can potentially expand into those new areas without having to invest in local infrastructure. In a sense, the implementation of cloud technology has created a virtual workspace across the globe.
While this is an exciting concept, it’s imperative to identify whether hotels have the infrastructure in place to support (and benefit from) a cloud platform, or if the system needs to reside on-property.
Are those prospective hotel partnerships ready (and equipped) to shift away from legacy systems and adopt new processes and virtual infrastructure, or are they still residing too many steps behind? Is the infrastructure viable enough to introduce a cloud platform or does the system need to reside on-property? Also, chains or groups that operate in the EM have unique needs.
In some markets where the infrastructure is not quite ready for prime time, many hotel companies will require a mix of both cloud and on-premise software. Having a single source provider who can deliver its solution in the manner that the region dictates gives the hotel company a true partner that can grow with their business and the changing technology landscape.