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A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

As somebody who’s helped to grow a company from 13 people to nearly a thousand, I know very well the excitement that comes with having a mindset focused entirely on growth. Every newly acquired customer, every new office and every milestone means the gap between you and your nearest competitor is that much bigger and that much harder to overtake.



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Post-HITEC 2018 Takeaways – The Data Challenge and Innovation

by James Lingle


I think this has been my favorite HITEC in a while.  Don’t get me wrong – HITEC is always a great experience, and I think there is plenty to walk away with every year.  Some things you always get from HITEC – plenty of networking, a full show floor and great educational sessions.  This year, there were a couple of things that stuck with me more than others. 
 
DATA

The first of those is data.  We live in the age of data and honestly, we have for a while.  While watching the pitches for Entrepreneur 20X, I heard the judges ask a lot about the ability to get data from the system.  Some of the vendors were, surprisingly, behind the curve.  I would have expected a few of them to be more prepared about the types of data they can extract and how that data might be able to be used. 
 
I started wondering – do we really have the ability to use data the way we need to?  I think in many cases we are still too far away for the average hotel or management company to effectively use all of the data available to them.  Here’s why:
  • Brands have the advantage.  This is a sheer scale issue.  Brands today have more resources than any average hotel or management company maybe ever will.  The smart ones are already leveraging that today.
  • Too many disparate flows of data. The challenge for the average hotel is getting all of its data from disparate sources into the single engine built to help them drive their business.  
  • Focusing on limited data streams and metrics. Because of the lack of resources (people and products) we decide to only focus on a select few metrics (financial, sales, etc.) and often fail to consider other potentially valuable metrics such as website and booking behaviors, customer travel patterns or current trends.
  • The lack of vendors and affordable products to bridge the gap. One of the biggest problems with data is the sheer amount necessary to come to valuable conclusions. Simply put, the size of the sample has to be large enough to give true predictive information. Most products that do data analysis are simply not viable for organizations that aren’t the size and scale of major brands.  While there are companies that can provide you with plenty of data analysis, there are usually three major challenges:
  1. It is so focused as to only be use in very specific scenarios.
  2. It is so broad that it can’t be reasonably applied to the organization.
  3. The pool of data contains too much information from areas that aren’t relevant.
I suppose the next question is – so what is the solution? 
The truth of the matter is that I am not sure I can provide that. I have plenty of opinions and some of them might even be good ideas!  I think if there is a way that the smart people can solve the issue the aggregation of data and the relevance of data, that might be the first step. As with any “new” solution, once the maturity level is reached, it should become viable for a larger market.
 
INNOVATION

The second HITEC thing that stuck with me this year was innovation.  It is hard not to be inspired by Entrepreneur 20X competition.  The forward thinking about ideas to engage our guests, inspire our teams and yes, even solve our problems (whether we know they exist or not!) should excite us to push forward and to think about things in different ways.  I am a linear person and the thought that these teams and their ideas can make me think outside my box is refreshing. 
 
Here is the thing about innovation – it takes time to become a solution that works.  Check out my HITEC blog for HFTP that discusses the technology hype life cycle here - http://blog.hftp.org/for-everything-there-is-a-season/.  From an innovation perspective, I want to leave you with the following thought from the blog post: 
 
“Here is where I think a great opportunity lies. Not necessarily to do all of those things that we don’t do during the expectation phase (we should get better at it), but to let the expectation phase sweep us away just a little bit. I think the expectation phase is our opportunity to challenge our way of doing business. It is our white space, our time to not just think about what we have to get done or what we have to accomplish, but to innovate.”        
About The Author
James Lingle




For more than 20 years, James Lingle has been a part of technology in the hospitality space. He can be reached at james@jameslingle.com.  Lingle is also a member of the DANNI Team.

 
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