Running a hotel today is becoming increasingly complicated, especially if operators try to go at it alone. Simply put, there is no way for hotels to offer all the capabilities, amenities, and services guests are accustomed to without access to a myriad of partnerships. This challenge is even more pronounced when considering back-of-house operations and the growing need for hotel operators to have access to revenue management, reputation management, direct guest communications tools, and more. Further complications arise when considering each of these systems relies on unique integrations, data standards, and metrics for tracking performance.
Unfortunately, no such system today gives hoteliers access to every capability they desire for optimal hotel performance. Still, a growing community of technology partners is willing to work together to help operators achieve their desired results. The best way to remain competitive today is through reliable partnerships with trusted technology companies who share your property’s common goals.
Before operators start down the road to forming and benefitting from technology integrations, thoroughly audit your property’s current capabilities. After this, operators should determine their end goals and how they would like to use technology to achieve them. Operators across the industry are also factoring cloud-based platforms into their integration strategy in order to improve mobility across each property while using new technology. It’s a good idea at this stage to speak with current technology partners and other hotel operators to get a sense of how they are using technology to assist their day-to-day business.
Once hotels have determined their technology goals, it’s time to meet potential partners.
Activating Elusive Value
From revenue management to staff management, technology is enhancing how hotels operate to make them more efficient. Part of this is giving operators access to more detailed and pressing information, which is delivered in a way that allows operators to act on these insights quickly. If different hotel departments share this information freely, it will be easier for hotels to act on opportunities, such as last-minute upticks in group business.
In a connected commercial organization, data analytics and revenue management technology can provide a bird’s-eye view of all the trends impacting hotels. This enables hoteliers to make more informed decisions when purchasing amenities, setting rates, and prioritizing work. The running theme behind these innovations is technology’s ability to make the impossible manageable.
It’s beyond the scope of most hoteliers’ capabilities to keep track of every new trend impacting hospitality, particularly when considering the rapid rate of change influencing the industry, without the help of data analytics technology. For example, today’s revenue management tools can collect seemingly disparate data points, connect them, and contrast their most relevant aspects with historical data and recent booking trends. These capabilities can help hotels make split-second decisions based on actionable insights and capitalize on travel trends as they emerge.
Keeping up with these trends is challenging for hotels to manage consistently in a limited labor market such as the one hotels are operating in today. It also requires firm partnerships that allow different hotel departments to collaborate and swap information freely. Hospitality technology requires a connected commercial organization to thrive in today’s unpredictable marketplace. Travel today remains dominated by conflicting trends, such as price sensitivity due to inflation and a steadfast commitment to spend during holidays and significant events due to a rash of “revenge travel” from leftover COVID blues. Each of these trends can lead to rapid, unpredictable shifts in traveler booking behavior which hotels are often unprepared for without advanced insights.
Furthermore, despite being cut off from each other internationally due to COVID, our decisions feel like they carry more weight internationally than ever before. Shifts in demand in some markets will directly impact others, such as whether China will. Technology partnerships are necessary to tap into the data that can direct hoteliers to maximize returns on these trends at the right time, in the right market, and for the right price–and, most importantly, to quickly make strategic adjustments to avoid potential losses.
Collaboration has become a significant focus across all of hospitality, including between internal teams, just as much as third-party partners. Operators realize that the traditional hotel infrastructure doesn’t allow information to flow freely from one department to another. Many hospitality leaders are taking steps to break down these barriers and increase communication and collaboration property-wide.
It feels like just yesterday that hotels treated their attached restaurants like separate businesses, but today that strategy is leading to a loss in revenue. Without the ability to share critical information about hotel and restaurant purchasing decisions, guest preferences, and more, both businesses have been left to fend for themselves when they could support each other. This same attitude is now being shared across every department, and hoteliers must continue pushing technology partners to adopt this mentality.
Sharing data helps everyone. With better access to hotel purchasing data, the hotel’s marketing team can better aim their sales efforts at guests willing to spend, increasing their rate of capture on property. When revenue management is aligned with marketing, they can better strategize with other departments to maximize rates as the specific dates approach, elevating your hotel’s profitability in short order. When operations teams know what to sell, whom to sell to, and where to focus their efforts for maximum impact, your hotel will execute to the best of its ability in every area and truly hit the limits of its potential.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Working intimately with hotel organizations all over the world, Digna Kolar boasts a strong global background in hotel operations, revenue management, consulting, and strategic pricing. As Director Industry Consulting at IDeaS, Digna leads a global team of professionals assisting hospitality companies of all sizes to build and enhance their total performance and price optimization capabilities. Prior to joining IDeaS, Digna spent 11 years at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with roles that included regional head of revenue management for Japan and Korea, the Middle East and Africa, and global pricing implementation and business integration manager.