For any hotel to stay relevant to travellers of today, they need to be adopting the latest and greatest hotel technology the world has to offer.
However, there is a vast amount of hotel technology saturating the market, and not all of it will be right for you. Hotels need to be sure they’re not wasting money on something that doesn’t perform as advertised or is unnecessary.
Hotels need to think carefully about the problems that need solving and what they’re hoping to achieve with the technology they invest in.
Your specific goals will dictate your ultimate decision, but in general, here are some of the more important objectives you should consider…
1. Will it give my hotel global reach?
Guests won’t be able to book with you if they can’t find you, so the first concern you should raise with your technology provider is if they can make you more visible on a global scale.
Online Travel Agents
OTAs are used by millions of travellers worldwide, and thanks to the billboard effect, every one of them is a potential visitor to your website and guest of your hotel. If you’re a smaller property, it gives you the chance to compete with bigger hotels on a level playing field.
OTAs will often grant you a market manager too, who possesses extensive industry knowledge and can help you advertise your hotel effectively.
OTAs are also a platform for reviews, offering a word-of-mouth service to drive more bookings, assuming your reviews are positive (commonly three stars or above).
Even with a perfectly designed and SEO optimised website, your own efforts won’t reach the broad market that an OTA will.
If you do connect to OTAs you’ll also need a channel manager. Without one, keeping your data updated and accurate across multiple channels will become a veritable ordeal.
Global Distribution Systems
A GDS gives you access to a virtual marketplace to showcase your wares to hundreds of thousands of travel agents across the world.
It grants the opportunity to offer bundled packages with airlines and car rentals to further incentivise agents to advertise you and travellers to book with you.
A GDS can also be updated in real-time and acts as a reliable middleman, saving you time and hassle.
With a GDS you need to be sure you’re getting value for money. Are you getting access to a big enough network? Does it integrate with other common hotel systems? Are there commissions and what are the contract agreements?
2. Can it lower the cost of my guest acquisition?
Any technology you invest in should do one thing for certain; save you time. You should be saving on man hours by eliminating manual data entry and no longer doubling up on tasks.
It’s vital that your technology partner can gift you seamless integration with world leading hotel technology systems such as central reservation systems (CRSs), property management systems (PMSs), and revenue management systems (RMSs).
These integrations are important for streamlining and simplifying the day-to-day hotel processes. A PMS will let you profile your guests to learn more about them, as well provide detailed reports on room occupancy, packages, and extras that you can use to adjust your pricing strategies.
An RMS will give you the skills to remain competitive within the market. A tool with real-time intelligence, forecasting abilities, and customisable settings can give you more control over capitalising on any market opportunities to increase your revenue.
3. Will technology drive more revenue at my hotel?
As stated above, OTAs will give you the opportunity to increase your occupancy and therefore your revenue – but only if you have a channel manager that offers pooled inventory, rather than allocated inventory.
Pooled inventory allows you to give every channel, including your own website, access to all your rooms at once and if a booking is made, the total available inventory will decrease automatically across all channels.
Allocated inventory means that a specified number of rooms is allocated to each channel and once they are booked, no more can be pulled from the total inventory and the availability won’t update on other channels, creating the risk of overbookings.
Pooled inventory lets you join many lucrative platforms and run any hotel like a big chain. Additionally, it doesn’t restrict you to any single market.
For varying reasons some channels will be more profitable than others on any given day. With pooled inventory you don’t get caught out by these fluctuations. Pooled inventory will save you time, and give you a better chance of filling your occupancy and increasing your revenue, so you must ensure your technology provider has this capability.
4. Will it give you higher profit margins?
One way to increase your hotel’s profit is to drive as many bookings directly through your hotel website as possible, to avoid commission fees from OTAs or other third party booking channels.
Your website needs to be optimised for search engines, designed attractively, function with a quick load time, set up for mobile and social, and most importantly possess a booking engine that can complete bookings in a two-step process.
Your booking engine should also be customisable to fit your hotel’s brand and be integrated with your other systems like your PMS.
Direct bookings will not only increase your profit but may encourage return business because travellers become familiar with your brand when they visit your website.
The most important requirement your technology provider should address is that a booking needs to be made in no more than few clicks of the guest’s mouse.
To find out more about hotel technology, take a tour of SiteMinder’s platform today.