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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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The HITEC of Yesterday and Tomorrow

06/17/2016
by Michael Schubach

I was recently asked if HITEC is different today than it “used to be.”  This, of course, is code talking; the question less politely phrased was actually “how was it in the olden days when you first starting coming here?” Admittedly, it has been some years – OK, decades – since I first attended HITEC and the experience is admittedly different.  However, that has less to do with the evolution of the HITEC experience and more to do with how I’ve changed over the same span of time.

Nearly half of my HITEC journeys have been as an attendee, meaning that I went to HITEC representing a hotel, a resort or collections thereof, rather than as a vendor. I was there to buy rather than to sell, and the flip side of that coin is entirely different. First and foremost, attendees seeking financial approval to attend this or any other industry event usually find themselves in the position of detailing the tangible benefits of attendance and justifying the expense. That’s easy enough to do when you have a budget initiative or a mandate to purchase, install or upgrade a system or feature. It’s a little murkier when you just feel like you want to put your finger on the pulse of change, important as that might be. Rarely did my CFO send me off saying, “just go and see what you can see, come back a better person for the experience, and send me the bill.” Mostly I needed to know what I was shopping for, what I needed to better understand and how I could firm up budget expectations for projects that might be one or more fiscal years away. With that mandate, HITEC was a fact-finding mission with a particular topic in mind or a particular objective to be reached. Educational sessions were key, and the rest of the hoopla, show giveaways, vendor parties and serendipitous discoveries were icing on the cake. 

The vast remainder of my HITEC visits was as an exhibitor. In those circumstances, the show floor and booth staffing were the driving force, and everything else was collateral. For the vendors, the HITEC emphasis is on starting new relationships that can lead to new business in an environment that where the customer seeks you out rather than you having to find him or her through campaigns or cold calls. We were there to facilitate burgeoning relationships with students, lookey-loos neophytes and old hands at the industry. We were there to close add-on deals with existing customers, make time for any of our problem children and smooth over old wounds by covering them in cocktails, canapés and promises of atonement. 

The educational part of HITEC really didn’t fit into the exhibitor schedule; in fact, vendors weren’t highly sought after as presenters (or attendees) in the olden days. Then – and now, to a great degree – unidentified flying exhibitors weren’t exactly a welcome sight at your booth. At best, visiting exhibitors can be a distraction that pulls focus from the business of selling – and this is, after all, a marketing/customer event. If you’re that vendor who just dropped by to cop a quick meeting, why, you’re sure to be as welcome as a dead battery in a rental car. And at worst, booth staffers often look upon the other vendors who take time to shop the floor as if they are spies from the shadowy world of corporate espionage, there to steal the company’s secret ideas as well as all the pens.

For the last two years I’ve attended HITEC as a consultant. This is a vague in-between world, wherein you represent a client to the vendor and a vendor to the client. It can feel like a bi-directional conflict of interest, but your goal is to aid your client in successfully solving his/her business challenge by matching him or her to the vendor best suited to succeed. This process is as dicey as a newest version of anyone’s software, which is always due out early next year, no matter what the product, vendor or specific issue may be.  

All told, HITEC is and will continue to be where people who buy, make or live and breathe hospitality technology come to discover the state of the art.  New products and relationships are constantly being forged, such that an event that has basically stayed the same is forever different. Enjoy the rest of HITEC 2016 and see you again at HITEC 2017!

About The Author
Michael Schubach




Michael Schubach is a regular contributor to Hospitality Upgrade.

 
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