Walking the line between just enough technology and too much technology
By: Drew Rosser, VP of Enterprise Sales, Sceptre Hospitality Resources
When I started in the electronic distribution industry back in early 2000 a booking engine on a hotel’s website was a rather new and innovative thing. In many cases when calling on hotels I had to ask if they had a website. On a few occasions I had hoteliers tell me the Internet was a fad. I’m sure those individuals are not heading up their hotel’s Internet Marketing Strategy today.
Rather incredible how much things have changed. None of us can imagine a hotel without a website or not using a booking engine. Now with a multitude of different interfaces between various systems a hotel can operate at such a more efficient way than ever before, thus allowing a hotel to truly maximize rate value and occupancy.
All of these efficiencies and technological innovations have created a hunger for more—more operational efficiencies, access to more data, more insight to what hotel consumers do. What they do on the hotel website, what they do once they check in. What they do once they check out, what they say via social media. As a hotelier how can I tweak my rates based on various conditions or scenarios? What is my competition doing?
PMS< CRS<IMS<CRM<RMS<CMS<IDS<OTA<GDS I am sure there are more acronyms but you get the picture. So many different technology providers, new ways of doing things and new data reports are inundating hoteliers. A hotelier barely has enough time to get comfortable with a new report before they are shown another and another. Sometimes I feel as if hotels are looking for that silver bullet. That one thing that will change everything and open up the floodgates to sold out nights and maximum rates. The trend now seems to be offering device specific rates, such as a Mobile only rate or rates based on geographic locations. Hoteliers are being sold ideas that make no sense. Why would you do any of that?
Certainly, there are revenue management strategies that need to be adhered to. A hotel or hotel chain needs a well-designed and easily navigable website with an excellent booking engine but at some point too much technology, too much data, a too convoluted revenue management strategy is just that, too much. If as a hotelier you don’t have enough time to truly go through and understand all the reports you are paying for, you have too many. If you go through them but don’t understand what action to take based on the report, you don’t need it. My point is that you should not let technology get in your way. It should be an asset not an impediment.
There is no silver bullet. Hoteliers must go back to being hoteliers. If your property isn’t clean, if your staff isn’t helpful and courteous, there is no system that can help you.