The amount of software that is available to hotels is increasing every year, and many of the newer technologies are extremely useful in terms of saving time, increasing operational efficiencies, improving the guest experience, and even cutting costs. Because the hospitality industry is fuelled by providing positive customer experiences, it’s crucial that all technology is kept up to date and properly managed. Hospitality technology is needed to run all hotel management company systems, including back office, guest and meeting rooms and property. But according to Hotel Technology’s report “The Frictionless Future of Hotels,” 24 percent of hotels are frustrated by the effort required to integrate systems. This challenge is hindering both their return on investment and their ability to quickly deploy technology projects. Adding new software should serve to simplify, rather than further complicate operations, and the services should add to the guest experience.

Here are three things hotels must consider when adding a new technology to the mix in order to ensure that they are choosing the right solutions.

Start with the right infrastructure
To ensure hospitality technology functions seamlessly, businesses need highly skilled support staff to manage infrastructure and guarantee the right levels of power and storage for uptime and availability. Guests no longer consider Wi-Fi a perk. Rather, they expect quality internet without too many interruptions. High-density Wi-Fi is a must-have for conferences and meetings. Hotels should also be able to efficiently offer access to audio-visual and digital facilities. To up their game, hoteliers can also create more intelligent buildings with converged local area networks. According to the 2017 Hotel Technology Study, the biggest pain points for hotels currently are a lack of sufficient IT budget (39%) and the burden of maintaining the existing infrastructure 37%. Cloud-based software solves these pain points. Cloud-based solutions are generally easier to set up and maintain, accessible from anywhere and tend to be more cost-effective than on-premise systems.

Balance automated vs. human operations
Newer technologies automate many processes and hotel operations, from check-in, to mobile key cards, to bots that help you during the booking process. Embracing these applications can drastically cut down the amount of time spent on operational tasks as well as increase the speed in which you serve your guests. But not everything can and should be automated (we still work in hospitality, after all!), and finding the right balance between automation vs. human interactions will depend heavily on the profiles of your guests. The right mix of technology needs to fit the needs of your business as well as the needs of your guests. New technology should be easy to build upon, should improve operational efficiency and should allow your staff to focus on delivering the perfect guest experience.

Cloud Systems Simplify Systems
Hospital Technology notes that by 2018, over half of hoteliers will be running the following systems in the cloud: revenue management, property management, customer relationship management, central reservations, sales and catering. Cloud platforms offer a more simplified integration process, the study states. Outsourced concierge services are another area where IT support can enhance the customer experience. Request management technology can connect service providers with in-house staff and operations, notes Hospitality Net. The technology provides better communication and valuable guest data that can be stored with the guest’s profile to enhance their stay.

The importance of hospitality technology will only continue to grow. Deloitte predicts 2018 will be the year travel companies think beyond the devices, applications and capabilities, instead focusing on the customer experience they want to deliver and the role IT support services can provide in making that happen efficiently and effectively.

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