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Enterprise System Pitfalls: Summary
Today I’m wrapping up a series of posts on the broad topic of Enterprise System Pitfalls. In this series, my hope was to help shed light on the primary problems that cause us to miss budgets, fall short on capabilities, or completely fail when implementing an enterprise system. 

The Year in Review
 
As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to count our blessings. One of mine has been the privilege (and fun!) of being able to reach out to so many interesting companies and get them to tell me what they’re doing that’s different, disruptive, and game-changing. The list of things I have to write about in future columns has only gotten longer in the nine months since I started writing this column.

Sustainable Innovation
 
Sustainability can yield multiple benefits to hotels. Saving energy and water yields direct cost savings. Revenue can be generated by guests who prefer to deal with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. And many would argue that conserving scarce resources is simply the right thing to do.

Meetings Innovation
 
The sale and delivery of groups and meetings is perhaps the most significant and under-automated functions for many hotels. Even though groups often account for 30% to 60% of revenue, most group bookings are still handled manually for most if not all of steps, as they move from a meeting planner’s research to a confirmed booking.

The biggest enemy to any system is complexity. In a system of inputs and outputs, such as an enterprise system, more complexity means more parts are used in interaction with inputs to create the outputs. Every part that must be built and maintained costs time and money



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Forty Nine Vendors Walk Into a Bar...

04/13/2016
by Michael Schubach

Last week was my inaugural visit to Hospitality Upgrade’s Executive Vendor Summit. I was a little late to this party – this was the 12th year of this annual get-together – but my first time attending. To be fair, I didn’t previously qualify for an invitation; I wasn’t a founder or C-level executive of a hospitality technology or service company (strike one) that advertises in Hospitality Upgrade (strike two) or a consultant (strike three). All that changed this past year when I began practice as an independent industry consultant and – bingo! – I made the list.  

Not that I’m a stranger to industry trade shows and educational events. I’ve seen my fair share of those over the years, including HU’s other leading event, The CIO Summit, which I attended when I was working for hotel and resort organizations rather than software engineering companies. Nonetheless, I found this experience to be unique from the vendor’s perspective: the session content generally resonated with the group, but attending the event was really about the networking. 

Think about it: vendors can keep themselves well occupied and well over budget attending everything from HITEC and HSMAI on down through the regional and specialty shows that go on all year long. But the clear focus at those events is the customer: the contact, contract or opportunity that makes all that travel both necessary and worthwhile. As a vendor, you’re not doing your job if your tradeshow/event focus isn’t completely on your customer base. Yes, vendors talk to and meet with other vendors at every gathering, but the usual purpose there is to solve a specific problem, satisfy a common customer or to clear a path toward future opportunities. There isn’t the time or the bandwidth to talk about how industry changes might be affecting them, share common concerns, update strategies or bounce a wild-hair idea off a colleague.

The Executive Vendor Summit really exists for that purpose. You’re part of a room full of very smart business people who share hospitality as their common driver. Like you, their fortunes rise and fall with the tides of availability and occupancy. There’s so much they know about what you do without being a part of your operation that it’s amazing. And the opportunity to benefit by sharing – often at surprising levels and with surprising candor – is just way too good to resist.  Everyone wins when it happens.

I used to try to level-set expectations with peers and coworkers as they sought permission to attend seminars or educational conferences. My homemade measure of the attendance value proposition was that the typical event was 80 percent recapitulation; unless you’re a complete newbie, you’ll hear summaries of what you probably already know. Another 15 percent of the event is validation – having an independent third-party confirm that what you’re doing, or what you’d like to try, conforms to industry norms or seems to be workably within reason. The real value proposition for an event lies in the last 5 percent, which is inspiration. This is when the content and the chemistry of the environment send you on to a new place, a new idea or a better approach to an unsolved problem. In short, the value of an event lies in the “aha! moment,” the opportunity for attendees to catch lightning in a bottle. For a vendor, the Executive Vendor Summit greatly increases those odds.

I would suggest that Hospitality Upgrade’s Executive Vendor Summit is one of the best opportunities available for sharing challenges, experiences, and perceptions in an environment of professional, collegial “cooperatition.”  Everyone there has great insights and has walked at least a mile in your shoes, if not run a marathon in them. Attendees come with great insights to share, important experiences that can shape your business efforts and an attitude of openness that reinforces the idea that when you win, we all win. 

About The Author
Michael Schubach




Michael Schubach is a regular contributor to Hospitality Upgrade.

 
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