Today’s hospitality industry depends very heavily on technology for all activities. Technology has overtaken day to day operations so much that the software that provides you with a competitive edge today can become a necessity tomorrow.
A study showed that in 2015 on average 4.9% of hotel revenue was allocated to the IT budget vs. 2.6% in 2014. Similarly, software accounted for 12% of hospitality IT spend but is forecast to grow at 7% pa from 2015-18, outstripping other segments and 22% of hotels earmarked migrating to the cloud as a top tech priority in 2015.
Hotel tech stack – What is it?
Over the past decade, hotels have rapidly increased the use of tech and it has become a priority for many hotels to build a good tech stack. What is a tech stack you ask? A hotels tech stack consists of a group of software program or apps that are designed to work together to manage the hotel’s operations, sales & marketing, revenue and all other activities.
According to a report latest research by Skift, Hospitality IT map has 4 major divisions. They are Marketing & Distribution, Property Operations, Real Estate Development and Finance & Accounting. Out of which the first 2 are departments that involve guest interaction, whereas the other 2 are primarily concerned with the hotel’s internal functions and management.
Hotel technology relies very heavily on a stack as there are multiple systems which might be based on different technologies that need to work in unison. Here are a few must-have techs for your hotel.
Marketing Analytics and Promotions
A digital marketing software that tracks the hotels’ online presence and helps maintain the social media pages. There are a number of softwares that are available today that help in creating websites, landing pages, manage email marketing, social media reports etc. Online presence to increase brand awareness of the hotel, social media pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Hootsuite and many other sites for a promotional purpose are very much necessary for a hotelier.
Here are few factors that need to be given importance to:
- Customer Relationship foundation: To gain the trust of an existing or a potential customer a hotelier needs to be understanding and needs to be quick in actions. CRM tools help the hotelier organise, automate and synchronize every interaction with the customer. Also, guest feedback is very important to know the sentiments of the guest. These responses can be mapped to the CRM which could help the hoteliers tailor the next stay of the guest according to the feedback given previously.
- Hotel Website: A hotel needs constant updates on its website. Ensure that the website is responsive and easy to navigate on the desktop as well as on mobile. Online booking facility, posting latest blogs, travel tips and guest experience insights would give more value to the website. A booking engine on the hotel’s website would be another prime tech necessity for a hotelier that would help reduce the commissions paid to the OTA’s. Optimizing the website along with a booking engine would increase direct bookings for the hotel.
- SEO: Every hotel marketer needs to ensure the hotel website has a good ranking on search engines. This helps increase bookings and gives quality visitors that can be tracked and used for re-sell.
- Social Media: Social media is ever changing. Targeting customers on social media as well as engaging with the right audience can be done precisely over social media. Promotions, seasonal discounts, special events etc can be featured and advertised well on this platform to attract more booking from existing customers as well as build new ones.
- OTA: For increased bookings and brand awareness hotels need to be listed on the top few pages of the OTAs. This can be done with reputation management and feedback management products that help increase the reviews and online presence.
According to EyeforTravel, the number of millennial travellers will increase by 50% by the year 2020 and Google has found that 66.67% of those travellers are comfortable planning their travels on a smartphone. Guest Experience should be made a seamless process from pre-check-in to post checkout. Creating an automated process, to make the guest feel free, feel at home is the new trend to increase the guest experience.
This process can be ensured when the hotel uses 3rd party applications that are useful for the guest to make their travel planning. The hotel staff needs to have a fair knowledge on how to make the best and most out of these apps. We at KePSLA provide business solutions to enhance the guest experience by providing pre-check-in, pre-checkout and post-checkout services that help the hoteliers maintain the good online reputation and stay connected with their customers.
Property Management Systems
Any hotel or group of hotels require a property management system to manage their front office activities such as booking reservations, managing room rates, guest check-in/check-out, room allotment, billing etc.
However, as technology has evolved in the hotel industry PMS has a deeper insight into guest experiences as well. A hotel PMS can impact the complete guest experience by integrating with onsite operations such as pre-check-in, increase housekeeping efficiency with instant updates via mobile devices, pre-checkout, restaurant reservations etc.
Channel Management Systems
To avoid overbookings, or a mishap in bookings the hotel inventory needs to be updated across all the distribution channels which include direct online bookings, travel wholesalers and OTAs. Managing all the booking channels manually can be a full-time job. This process can be automated by using a channel manager.
There are many technologies that act as an extension to your property management system which allows you to manage tasks from any device seamlessly. This could help keeping track of reservation details of check-in, check-out and in-house guests which could help the housekeeping department in choosing a viable time to clean.
Also, managing a payroll for a hotel can be a huge task for the management. There are many organisational and departmental levels in a hotel, so are the number of employees. Onboarding an employee and allocating a payroll for them could be a time-consuming process. There are solutions that offer payroll, benefits, HR administration, compliance support, Accounting and a technology platform to cut off the time-consuming tasks and concentrate on guests to make a memorable stay.
All these are the most important elements that build the tech stack of the hotel. Every element has its own independent role to help a hotel function successfully.