It’s that time of year again - hotel budget planning season. While it may not be the most exciting or festive of seasons, a hotel’s business, or any business, cannot survive without a budget! You’re the expert on your hotel’s budget from knowing your hotel on the inside and out, but with every budget planning season, comes new technology and updates to existing software and tools, which is where we’re here to help. While strategies vary depending on your hotel type, technology is applicable to every hotel and must be considered when determining your budget for the upcoming year.
Each department within a hotel is equally important whether its food and beverage, housekeeping, or sales and marketing, and all are deserving of appropriate budget allocations, but as the world continues to modernize and become increasingly technology-dependent, it’s a department that simply cannot be overlooked. As a hotel data platform with a hospitality application marketplace, we know a thing or two about the most up-to-date PMS options, add-on technology tools, and the most important digital channels for your hotel brand, so we’ve put together a list of ways your hotel can invest in technology while benefiting from the data within your very own hotel.
1. Investing in a PMS that is well suited to your hotel, if you haven’t already
Shifting to a cloud-based system is critical to future-proof your hotel with new technology. On-premise and legacy based systems can’t integrate as easily as cloud-based systems and the future is seamless integrations.
A PMS can make or break your hotel’s performance as there is a wide range of PMS types available in the industry, but not all of them are suited for your hotel. Whether you’re an independent hotel or a chain hotel, there are many different options for your hotel type with cloud-based PMS, all-in-one type PMS, specialized PMS, and so on. As hotel technology develops and integrations between the technology types increase, it is becoming more important for your hotel to use a PMS that can integrate with these new technologies. According to Hotel Management, on average, hotels change their PMS every seven years, so investing in a new PMS is a major decision for a hotel and should not be taken lightly. However, if you are still using an older PMS that has minimal integrations, when the time to upgrade does arrive, it is key to consider a PMS with increased automation, so your operations will become more seamless, your revenue management will become even easier to manage, and you can access PMS data through other cloud-based devices. Not only will you be able to benefit from the new add-on systems that are becoming easier to use and more readily available for hotels, but you can also increase the return on your investment by selecting a SnapShot-friendly PMS as they grant access to SnapShot’s APIs. The well-documented APIs allow you to build a customized dashboard, connect systems, and create new analytics measurements to use as needed.
2. Investigating add-on applications and tools to your PMS that could widen the range of your hotel’s operations and improve performance
Once you have a PMS that works for you and your hotel, your options for online applications and technology open up to a continuously growing range of technology solutions. Your hotel’s budget for add-on applications doesn’t need to be too high as technology solutions have a wide range of price points. Some applications are even free of charge while others offer free trials, month to month subscriptions, or annual subscriptions. SnapShot Marketplace offers many applications and tools at a range of different price points for your hotel’s individual needs. You will find applications that provide restaurant management services, online reputation dashboards, hotel messaging tools, BI tool for analyzing guest reviews, OTA commission trackers, upselling tools, and more. For instance, if your hotel and its staff are having difficulty communicating with guests before,
during, and after their stay, there are applications to assist you with this issue. Bookboost and MyStay, on the SnapShot Marketplace, are messaging platforms that offer a variety of services to hotels to accelerate internal processes of communicating with guests and meeting their needs to improve guest relations. Bookboost allows hotels to consolidate all messaging applications into one platform and increase direct bookings, raise RevPAR, and improve guest satisfaction, while MyStay reaches guests before their stay with a welcome SMS, increases revenue through room, spa, and F&B upsells, generates detailed guest statistics for data analysis. Whether the applications were created by SnapShot or by third-party developers, all apps are accessible to hotels using one of the many integrated PMS partners. Investigating add-on applications and tools to your PMS that could widen the range of your hotel’s operations and improve performance. For larger hotel chains looking for a wider spectrum of integrated solutions, on top of their PMS, there are also many existing distribution solutions that incorporate POS, CRS, and channel managers, in addition to PMS, like Shiji Distribution Solutions.
3. Data team to manage your hotel’s data if your technology cannot do so
Managing your data is critical to properly improving internal processes and guest experience. If you can’t change to a new PMS yet, there are hybrid solutions that can help get you started and ready for future technology and the eventual shift.
If your hotel prefers to be on the more traditional side when it comes to technology or if it’s not feasible to improve your existing PMS, don’t worry too much as you still have options. While you may not have the funds to install new technology software at your hotel or multiple hotels, you can still invest in people who can provide similar services. After all, the hotel industry is dependent on its people, and there is an entire field of data scientists who are trained in working on a hotel’s data analytics. Instead of upgrading your entire hotel’s software, approve of one person’s access to the new technologies and let them bring the data analytics to you. For example, if a data-focused employee were to utilize a data platform that gathers and structures the data, they would be able to collect and harmonize data from your hotel’s multiple systems and sources to find better data solutions for your business. Learn more about what how a data platform could benefit your hotel if your hotel is missing out on opportunities from easy-to-use and accessible data analytics from the blog post we to dedicated to help you understand.
4. Guest-facing applications
Depending on the type of hotel you operate, your guests will vary from ultra tech savvy to less frequent technology users. For hotels with guests who prefer smart rooms and mobile check-in, it would be wise to allocate a portion of your technology budget to developing or improving your hotel’s mobile app or any guest-facing technology you may be using. For instance, Hilton’s Hilton Honors application allows guests to unlock their rooms through the Digital Key, select which room they would like to stay in, order food and pillows, and even book Uber rides. For guests who are looking for this type of seamless technological features, it is well-worth Hilton’s investment in their mobile technology to include mobile features in their technology budget. By streamlining the check-in process, hotels can improve guest satisfaction and remove more customer annoyances they may experience. Mobile applications also allow guests to choose how many human interactions they would like to experience at a hotel whether they want to be completely technology free or completely connected through applications.
In a study conducted by Zebra Technologies, it was discovered that 68% of hotel guests prefer smartphone check-in options - that’s over 2/3 of hotel guests. Furthermore, according to another recent survey conducted by StayNTouch, Travel Tripper, and TrustYou, 41% of hoteliers interviewed still do not offer their guests a technology check-in method and 70% of respondents never or only occasionally achieve upsells or upgrades at check-in. Additionally, 68% of hoteliers recognized the need to improve their mobile technology in order to improve the overall guest experience. Not only does mobile technology that allows online check-ins or keyless room entries grant your guests with an effortless guest experience upon arrival, but it also allows your front desk agents to focus on other pressing tasks throughout the day.
In 2017, a study conducted by Hospitality Tech found that 57% of hotels planned on spending more on technology. Given the speed of technological developments and upgrades, this number is likely to increase in the years to come. Technology will only become more important to hotels and their guests. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Customer Engagement Technology Study, 65% of guests claim they are more likely to return to a hotel and pay higher rates if they provide technology they consider as important. By increasing your hotel’s budget for technology, your hotel’s revenue will increase, guests satisfaction will improve, and your hotel’s operations will run more smoothly. While it’s more time-consuming and costly to update your hotel’s infrastructure, inventory, and interior, technology can be improved for less and offer more returns. Take a look at the industry-changing applications on our Marketplace and you might just get a bit more excited for this current budget season!