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5 ways your PMS should be helping you naviagate Covid (and Post Covid) landscape

  1. Providing the correct Self Check-In options

Self Check-In is a generic term that has been floating around Hoteliers to-do lists for a while. It mostly settled somewhere towards the bottom.   Meanwhile “Seamless Digital Guest Journey” seems like the most recent buzz-phrase that has sprung up around the Covid-19 Pandemic. Whilst Pre-registration seems like the poorer cousin of the aforementioned. And then Pre Check-In sounds like it may be associated with an airline.

In reality they are all versions of the same thing.

However not all Check-Ins are created equal.

Your PMS should facilitate different Check-In options that work well for your property.

HotelTime have several options available to suit different types of property with different requirements.

These options range from

  • HotelTime’s own Self Check In module,     to
  • Integration with ‘Digital Journey’ specialists AeroGuest     to
  • Open API’s for Kiosks (such as x) and other Third parties whom facilitate check in as part of their product (such as Criton)      to
  • Integration with Mobile Phone key cards (such as Salto)      to
  • Integration with Document Readers (such as Granus)

  1. Protecting your staff

“If you look after your staff, they will look after your Guests”

Richard Branson may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But its hard to argue with the sentiment. Whilst your guests may be reticent about returning to travel activity – your staff will probably feel the same.

So how can your PMS aid you to make your staff feel more safe?

In HotelTime Modules such as our ‘HSK App’ and ‘FOH reports’ means that all members of staff are able to access the information they need and update the system from their own device.

No printed reports for running the 10@10 meeting, no need for Housekeeping to touch phones in the room or visit reception after section cleaning and no need for printed Breakfast reports to be touched by many hands.

  1. Guest Communication

Guest expectations are changing fast and regularly. New government regulations released at giddying speed. Hotels are adapting and Innovating more than ever.

Its crucial that you are able to communicate all the hard work you are putting into making your Hotel as safe (yet hospitable) to your Guests.

With Guest profiles and reservation information stored there the PMS seems a good place to manage this.

HotelTime offer their Hotel Concierge module allowing pre, post and during stay emails – as well as guiding the guest through the online check-in process.

However – as always we acknowledge that all hotels are different and some may prefer a different solution. Therefore our open API allows your CRM  provider to connect to and the depth of data transfer will allow for super-charged Guest communications.

You are working really hard to make you hotel Covid -secure ; so let your guests know about it.

  1. Cloud based access: Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

 

During Lockdown life was anything but ‘normal’.  However some things were able to continue as normal.

Logging into your Gmail account. Watching something on Netflix. Making a playlist on Spotify.

In 2020 and all the crucial data and information contained in your PMS should be constantly available.

Whether it be due to another government enforced lockdown (lets hope not) or due to you taking that well deserved holiday on the beach (lets hope so!) – access should be anytime, anywhere.

If your PMS is not in the cloud it should be.

Enough said.

 

  1. Enabling sophisticated Revenue management

There are many unknowns surrounding Covid-19 and its impact. 1 things is clear – it has impacted global demand for Hotels.

However, as always, the localised picture is different. Rural locations have reported booming demand. City centre locations are pivoting to new business models. Demand patterns can vary wildly according to government regulations or flight operator announcements.

So how do you price your hotel in this challenging environment?

Your PMS should allow you to quickly and easily conduct in-depth analysis of your business – enabling you to make informed decisions and connect to your choice of Revenue Management and/or Distribution partner.

HotelTime has an advanced reporting module allowing you to create reports and analyse the data you need at that moment. Additionally deep integrations with Revenue management systems such as Atomize or Hotel Partner and market leading distribution platforms such as Siteminder allow you to price dynamically and distribute intelligently.

 

  1. (Bonus: Not doing a sub-standard of any of the above by trying to keep it ‘in-house’)

It can be tempting for PMS to try to develop the platform in all areas to keep their clients happy (trust us – we know!!). But this can end up in a “Jack-of-All trades but master of none” situation. If your provider doesn’t have the right solution for you in their suite of products – they should connect to a 3rd Party that does.

HotelTime offers a fully featured PMS with complex functionality for hotels of all sizes. Meanwhile our open API’s allow you to connect to your choice of 3rd party to build your chosen Hotel Tech Stack.

 

Automation in Hospitality

HotelTime Solutions - GDPR

Hospitality is a Vulnerable Industry: A Closer Look at GDPR

FORMAT OBSOLESCENCE: SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR DATA

Every time a new music format takes over the market, we lose 90% of the albums, singles, and demos previously recorded. From 8-track tapes to cassettes, from vinyl to CD, from MiniDisc to mp3, fifty years after its original recording, you can still stream Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever on Spotify, while 9 musicians out of 10 never survived this evolution.   Just like music, data moved from support to support over the years and, by now, chances are that the average hotel possesses Gigabytes of data all over external hard disks, USB sticks, servers, clouds or, even worse, paper. And, whether they like it or not, they will have to let a lot of these data go. For good.

 

WHERE’S THE BUG? GDPR SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES WITH Y2K

In 1999, Y2K bug reshaped the technology industry. “The sheer scale of the problem, coupled with the fact that the entire world was up against a hard and inflexible deadline meant that organizations around the globe were forced innovate and change the way they conducted business in an unprecedented way”, wrote Roman Stanek, Founder and CEO at GoodData. What makes GDPR different from Y2K, however, is the fact that companies were way less prepared to face the imminent deadline than they were 18 years ago.


THE NUANCES OF GDPR

Another huge difference is that, unlike Y2K, the GDPR is subject to human interpretation, and lawyers are known to have a hard time when dealing with new laws, mainly because of the lack of precedents. If the regulation is an attempt to increase data protection and security, in fact, the definition of personal data itself is remarkably broad. And with the risk of huge fines, human interpretation is no bueno.  It is true that, for too long, hotels kept a pirate approach with data, but would you risk up to 4% of your annual gross revenue because of legislative nuances? First of all, what are exactly personal data? Unlike sensitive data (information about race, political views, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), personal data are simply the ones that indicate a specific individual. The main problem is that they are not limited to the person’s name. In fact, address, date of birth, email address (both personal and professional), phone number, IP address, and cookies are all considered personal. You’ve probably already read extensively about the topic, maybe joined a few webinars or even consulted with your lawyer, so you have a good understanding of what GDPR implies: you need your guests consent in order to use their data, this consent needs to be explicit and unambiguous and, more important, guests can ask you to delete all the data you have about them.

 

A VULNERABLE INDUSTRY?

Even though interesting, this is just theory.  “When it comes to data, the hotel industry is very vulnerable”, Marion Roger, Senior Vice President Operations at Upflex, once said. According to Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, for example, hotels account for 92% of all POS breaches. Guests book online, join loyalty programs and share a ridiculously high amount of personal data while traveling, and GDPR will not only affect the way hotels interact with their guests, but it will force them to review their company policies and procedures tout court.

HotelTime Solutions - GDPR

HOW WE CAN HELP?

Now, more than ever, hoteliers must make sure that guests data are well protected. That does not simply mean knowing which PMS user has access to what kind of data, but it also means protecting the actual storage where data are.  With on-site systems, hotels must suddenly deal with questions such as: “is the server room with the secured (locked)?” or “Who has got physical access to the server?” or “ Is the server on the same network as the public hotel wifi?”.

With cloud-based system, on the other hand, these IT problems are completely outsourced. All the local IT challenges, simply, disappear. HotelTimeSolutions, with its native cloud-based, secure system, is your ally in this new challenge. We have dedicated staff and technology to protect your guests’ information. We understand that data belong to the customers and that we are here to take care of it, and we built HotelTime Solutions with this approach in mind way before GDPR was even introduced.

Get in touch today to know how we can help you secure your data in our cutting-edge property management system!

The days of Leonardo Da Vinci are over: The current state of hotel technology and infrastructure

INTRO

“The days of Leonardo da Vinci are over”, wrote social scientist Etienne Wenger, adding that “today’s complex problem-solving requires multiple perspectives”. Even though the original quote refers to human interaction and team working, it can be easily applied to every ecosystem where communication and synergy are not only possible, but preferable. This is obviously the case with hotel tech, especially in today’s particular landscape, where problems are, in fact, “increasingly complex” and “multiple perspectives” are needed in order to solve them. And one of the problems hanging over hoteliers’ heads like the proverbial sword of Damocles is, unsuprisingly, the tech infrastructure one.

THE EVOLUTION OF TRAVEL TECH

If you have been in the industry long enough, you may remember when the infrastructure specifications required to keep all the hotel’s technology interconnected were minimal. Software used to be way more insular than today and third-party connectivity was not at the top of vendors’ priorities, who were more focused on developing new features from scratch to have a competitive advantage. Software (and, to some extent, hardware) worked individually and they rarely contributed to the success of the hotel as a whole.  Over the years, anyhow, it became clearer that the strength of any hotel software is directly proportional to the number of third-parties it can flawlessly connect to. The current average tech vendor approach, therefore, became increasingly decentralized, with more and more features outsourced to third-party systems, rather than developed internally.

THE INNOVATOR’S DILEMMA

The PMS industry is a perfect example of this new trend: instead of developing advanced features (such as, let’s say, reputation management systems, RMS or CRM) internally,  more and more vendors started focusing on what they do best, leaving the rest to external third-party software, to whom they connect via direct integration or API-connector companies. But here’s the catch: because, even though this is currently a pretty standard practice, over the last decade new systems started to be created at an alarming speed, generating a wide gap between the real needs of hoteliers, established technologies and overhyped Next Big-Things. Our industry is experiencing, a real “silicon obsession”, and it is important to stay grounded and remember that all that glitters is not gold, especially in tech, where adjective such as disruptive are overused and the risk of a bubble is always lurking on the corner. In travel, you certainly don’t want to be a laggard, but it turns out that you don’t want to be an early adopter either. This does not mean that you should not innovate or be over-conservative, but choosing the wrong tech provider or blindly running towards anything glimmering could be risky, as you could be left with a piece of unusable technology just one year from now.  According to several studies, the average lifespan of a software is around 6 to 8 years, with increased longevity for larger programs, so picking your infrastructure should be a decision not to take too lightly.

HOTEL INFRASTRUCTURE: A ROADMAP

Key criteria, when leaving an old provider, integrating a new one or upgrading to newer systems are:

  1. INTEGRATION:

Will this new technology flawlessly integrate with your existing infrastructure? Remember that the strength of any software is proportional to the number of third-parties it can connect to;

  1. MOTIVATION:

Will this technology still make your day-to-day work easier one year from now? Next-Big-Things come and go, often without leaving any trace behind but you will still need to extract booking window data next year;

  1. REGULATION:

Is this technology compliant with new laws? The hospitality industry has always been data-centric, so you want to avoid bad surprises when it comes to new data regulations;

  1. PRACTICALITY:

Is this technology easy-to-use? Switching to a new software is easily one of the most stressful, yet important, decision you have to make: possible data loss, staff (re)training, etc. Make sure not to go through this struggle in vain;

  1. ROI:

We all want to increase our ROI with every business decision we take, and the choice of technology is no exception. Even though it is harder to measure the return of a software than the one of, let’s say an Google Ads campaign, this factor should not be overlooked;

  1. LONG-TERM VIEW:

According to Statistic Brain, 1 out of 2 startups go out of business within five years from its creation, and travel startups are no exception. Do some research on your providers before choosing them.

WHAT CAN HOTELTIME SOLUTIONS DO FOR YOU?

At HotelTime, we know very well that “more connections” usually equals “better system”,  but we want to make sure to integrate highly reliable, selected trusted partners only.  We strongly believe that hoteliers should have full control over their hotel tech stack, but we are also concerned about the security of your data. Our open platform (and our business model) makes it very easy and quick for us to connect with the right partner for you, so you can get the integration you need, with partners that match our security and quality standards.

Have more questions? Get in touch with a HotelTime Solution specialist today here.