In 2021, Charlestowne Hotels will be celebrating 40 years of hotel management. The brand, which began as a small management company working with independent hotels concentrated in the Charleston area now represents more than 50 properties in diverse markets across the U.S. During the last 40 years, Charlestowne has seen technology revolutionize the way hotels are run. Here, HT goes down memory lane with Johnathan Capps, vice president of revenue, and Max Spangler, corporate technology & systems manager, to better understand where hotel management technology started, how it has progressed and where it may be headed.
What kind of technology was available for hotel management companies 40 years ago?
When Charlestowne Hotels was established 40 years ago, our founder and CEO Everett Smith purchased a small inn located in Charleston, SC. At that time, human labor was the core technology used – physically moving and manipulating data through the various components that made up the property’s technology. Systems were large, expensive, closed and located on-site only. Software was tightly coupled to hardware and Minicomputer-based systems at the time cost between $80,000 and $100,000. As hotel technology followed the broader trends in computing, costs began to come down and innovation was on the rise. Still, by the mid 1980’s, a PC-based 5-workstation system sold for around $10,000, including hardware and software.