In today’s complex and fast-paced hotel environments, technology integrations and interoperability are not just part of an ongoing trend. They are now more than ever proving essential to ensuring heightened hotel business performance and the meeting of modern hotel guest expectations.
According to a Smart Decisions Guide, as many as 91 percent of hoteliers view having highly compatible technology as key to success in improving property performance. Today, although many industry professionals continue to use legacy solutions due to their long-term reliability, hoteliers are increasingly discovering that such platforms are unable to integrate or communicate with newer technologies cost effectively, if at all. At the same time, the sheer mass of new solutions and integration options now available can often leave hoteliers wondering where to even begin.
To provide the industry with a clearer understanding, what follows is a list of key steps and system integration capabilities that should be top of mind for any hotelier’s success strategy in 2022 and beyond.
Start With Bringing Your PMS into the Cloud
As the primary platform responsible for managing a vast range of property operations and services, PMS solutions are rightly often regarded as the beating heart of a hotel business. To ensure maximum operational efficiency and the accuracy of information, a hotel’s PMS must first be able to effectively communicate with other software and systems, many times supplied by different vendors.
With a cloud-based PMS solution, hoteliers are no longer tied to an inflexible platform that may only be compatible and able to communicate with an extremely limited number of third-party platforms, if at all. In contrast to legacy solutions, a cloud-based PMS can offer a hassle-free approach to integrations and operational scalability thanks to being designed as an entirely online software solution. Without requiring any server hardware upgrades or system updates made onsite, cloud-based PMS technology provides the unique advantage of being able to effortlessly integrate with platforms such as digital key services as the need arises.
Importantly and as newer technologies become available that often require a PMS integration, a cloud-based solution can offer instant compatibility via a simple software update that is performed automatically by a provider and that sidesteps the risk of hidden integration complexities or costs. With industry technology advancement occurring at an ever-faster pace and as more guests come to expect a frictionless hotel stay experience, cloud-based PMS platforms will prove critical to a hotel’s ability to maintain an adaptive and competitive business.
Guaranteeing Seamless Communication in the Age of Covid and Labor Shortages
Today’s hoteliers are no stranger to the fact that the fallout of the pandemic has led to the overstretching of employees and their ability to swiftly communicate with guests as their stay unfolds. This has led to a rise in popularity for text messaging platforms promising to streamline such communication needs by compiling them into a single source where employees can keep track and manage all progress.
However, key to the ability for text messaging solutions to provide their intended results is integration with a hotel’s PMS. Otherwise, hotel staff will only find yet another platform that they have to manually manage in order to prevent guest communication-related tasks from slipping through the cracks. By performing a PMS integration, hoteliers instead can automate many routine communications with guests based on their current stage in the hotel stay journey. This can include text messages sent to guests prior to arrival, during check-in and once they depart. Other examples further include automatically providing guests with experience recommendations during the course of their stay, such as details on spa services, bar drink specials, bike rentals and tour guide options to name a few examples. This not only leads to the potential to increase property revenues without requiring staff involvement, but allows hoteliers to provide a more personalized experience that meets individual guest expectations.
Leveraging Integrated Data to Harness the Power of Guest Personalization
With more than three quarters of consumers preferring to side with businesses offering personalized experiences and as over 70 percent of guests report being satisfied as a result of service personalization, hoteliers have yet another factor to consider in order to maintain a competitive business. Pressed for time and the need to deliver fast service, however, many properties can routinely struggle with finding the resources to tailor offerings according to the preferences of each and every guest.
Fortunately, hotel systems can serve as data banks of valuable information on the unique expectations of individual guests. The key is to identify which platforms provide useful analytics and how such systems can be integrated in order to provide staff with a single, comprehensive and easy-to-access source of information. Topping the list for vital integrations in this regard is inter-compatibility between a property’s PMS, loyalty program, point-of-sale and CRM platforms. Through such integrations, hoteliers can create far more detailed guest profiles that include analytics on purchase history, service requests made during previous visits, guest budget constraints and more. By including an integration with a hotel’s loyalty program in particular, hoteliers can instantly and effortlessly gain a full analysis of which guests should be earmarked for preferential treatment and which promotions are applicable to them in order to further boost satisfaction rates while increasing property revenues.
Without requiring the time-consuming need to manually compile such information, such data can automatically be shared with a CRM in order to instantly tailor the sending of promotional campaigns. This ensures both heightened revenue-earning potential and the likelihood of successfully catering to individual guest desires and expectations.
Ensuring Seamless Guest Experiences Means Adopting Integration-friendly Access Management
While cloud-based PMS integration abilities offer several guest experience and efficiency enhancing benefits, they are not the only ones that should top priority lists for hoteliers seeking to provide a more personalized, secure and convenient environment. Also vital to meeting ever-growing demands for instant guest satisfaction and peace-of-mind are cloud-based security access management systems that can keep pace with changes in guest preferences and hotel security requirements. Significantly and as with their PMS counterparts, such platforms can eliminate any future need for a system overhaul whenever a security vulnerability is discovered or if a new access management feature becomes available. Unlike traditional access management platforms using onsite servers, a cloud-based platform can continue to receive automatic software updates to consistently ensure high-level security.
As advancements continue towards improving guest convenience during the check-in process, a cloud-based access management solution is also essential to adopting newer digital key integration capabilities that are set to become widely expected by guests throughout the industry. For example, a hotel equipped with a cloud-based access management solution and a digital key platform can now enhance their service offering by providing guests with the additional option to store and use electronic keys within digital wallets located on their personal device. For guests, this notably sidesteps the need to open and navigate a potentially unfamiliar mobile app in order to gain guestroom access. For hoteliers, instant compatibility between their access management system and a new digital key service offering importantly means no unexpected compatibility challenges or costs as they work to stay ahead of inevitable shifts in industry trends. To ensure a fully seamless and hassle-free experience for any future potential integration, hoteliers should likewise keep an eye out for more advanced digital key solutions which themselves are able provide a range of integration capabilities with.
With hoteliers increasingly recognizing the value of smart technologies such as in-room thermostats or lighting, a cloud-based access management system can also prove highly valuable in staying ahead of future smart device integration needs without requiring an upheaval of operations each time a new smart technology offering becomes available. Using an API made available by solution providers, this notably can be achieved without having resort to the hassle of creating a complex patchwork of systems which can often result in operational silos and an inability to fully experience anticipated results.
Always Have a Plan for the Future
While each of the discussed integrations should indeed be prioritized by hoteliers, the ever-evolving nature of the hospitality industry and shifts in guest service trends means that operational needs can and will continuously evolve. To stay ahead of the curve and to avoid the angst and cost of constantly having to upend operations by replacing core systems, hoteliers more than ever need to ensure that any adopted platform possesses the scalability to adapt to unforeseen future developments quickly and easily.
Key questions to ask any solutions provider include determining what their long-term product roadmap is and how it can adapt to future advances in technology. As more and more solutions are required to become integrated in order to address rising guest service requirements, hoteliers should require providers detail as to how their solution can seamlessly integrate with third-party platforms, regardless of whether such platforms currently exist or will be released at some point in the future.