Increasingly, hotels are choosing a wide range of technology solutions to assist with virtually any task, from onsite property management to front-desk to housekeeping. If implemented correctly, technology can help a hotel run more efficiently, allowing employees to continue focusing on what matters most — their guests. From the standpoint of software developers, the task is to build sleek and intuitive systems that bridge the technology-related generational gap among staff, as well as guests.
“The last 12 months have been about managing the changing industry and its workforce,” says Tanya Pratt, VP of Strategy and Product Management at Oracle Hospitality. “As a technology vendor, we’ve had to adapt to the new ways hotels are doing business and make our technology easier to learn. It must be robust and comprehensive to support different business models and highly customizable to support different levels of service delivery.”
Sebastien Leitner, VP of Partnerships at San Diego-based Cloudbeds agrees. “The hospitality industry has been experiencing a generational change [prior to the pandemic], but it has accelerated over the last two-and-a-half years,” he says. “[We’ve entered an era] of digital-savvy employees who are looking for a user experience that’s similar to their iPhones.”
With nearly 40,000 hotel installations worldwide, Oracle Hospitality’s OPERA Cloud Property Management can manage guest preferences, room inventory, rate and more while displaying key metrics without crowded spreadsheets. Most recently, BWH Hotel Group integrated its central reservation system (CRS) with OPERA Cloud Property Management, making it easier for any hotel within its portfolio to improve operations. Additionally, the OPERA Sales and Event Management (OSEM) allows hotels to streamline conference and banqueting operations and maximize revenues.
On a smaller scale, Cloudbeds enables properties to compete alongside the biggest hospitality brands. Recently, the company released Whistle for Cloudbeds, an enhanced guest-engagement solution to drive revenue and guest satisfaction and streamline internal operations.
In Canada, Cloudbeds customers include Ranging Elk Adventure Lodging in Fernie, B.C. and The Picton Harbour Inn in Picton, Ont. In fact, Scott Walcott of Walcott Hospitality said The Picton Harbour Inn made an additional $60,000 in just six months with Cloudbeds Pricing Intelligence Engine (PIE), according to Cloudbeds’ website.
Undoubtedly, choosing the right software can be a daunting task for hotel operators, but Pratt says the key is to start with the guests in mind.
“What kind of experience does the hotel want its guest to have? What is the essence of the brand they want to convey? Are they all about quick and easy options and fast check out? If so, they should consider technologies with a guest-facing component,” explains Pratt. “If the hotel is focused on a highly-personalized experience for the guest, they should choose technologies that are intuitive and highly efficient. In order for service to be delivered consistently, it needs to be easy for somebody to deliver it.”
Leitner adds, “Hotels want to make sure they choose a product that is future-proofed. They need to choose a software product that is flexible and will help them grow. Data that is modular and can connect to other products and services will help them scale,” he says. “We have a lot of properties in the hybrid-hospitality space, so as their property size or count increases, the platform has to be flexible enough to grow alongside the business.”
The rapid adoption of technology solutions has generated increased access to consumer data. While this is a benefit to provide memorable guest experiences, it must be done in a subtle way that doesn’t invade guest privacy.
“It’s all about observing, understanding and asking the right questions to create a guest profile that allows the hotel to understand what is meaningful to the guests and how they want to be interacted with,” says Pratt.
BY NICOLE DI TOMASSO