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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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Forging New Guest Connections

05/20/2014
by Eric Harte
As connected, mobile, always-on travelers become the norm, hotels and other travel providers are increasingly using wireless communications to improve services, to enhance guest satisfaction – and to drive bottom-line business performance.

Guests, staff, and partners now carry a dazzling array of mobile devices. Wireless networks are more ubiquitous. Machine-to-machine (M2M) software applications are driving a growing number of everyday transactions and guest service activities. To fully appreciate the importance of IT and networked communications, consider how a highly-connected Millennial now expect to interact with a hospitality provider.

Web-based technology often comes into play before a room is booked, when tech-savvy consumers consults social media to assess brands or shop properties. Premier loyalty members, for example, typically book a stay via the hotelier’s own website or through a discount booking channel. 

Once they reach the property, advanced capabilities allow premier members to bypass the check-in process and go directly to their room. Near-field communications (NFC) technologies are used to send hotel room key, along with welcome messages and other details, directly to a guest’s mobile device. 

A virtual concierge service may be displayed, with personalized information addressing the loyalty member’s unique preferences. The hotel may also offer an augmented reality capability that allows the guest to view hotel amenities, local attractions, and nearby services. Properties are also using these technologies to deliver coordinated loyalty program and partner affinity offers to guests before, during, and after their visit. 

Leveraging past history, forward-looking hotels recognize a premium guest, and automatically set the room’s temperature control to the guest’s specifications. If there is an issue with the climate control, maintenance is automatically notified to address the issue, and if the issue cannot be resolved quickly, the guest is automatically re-assigned to a new room. 

Those same systems can be used to stock the mini bar and pre-configure the in-room television to suit the member’s preferences. The connected property provides robust business services, including convenient cloud-based access to personal and work information – so travelers can stay connected and productive while on the move. 

Busy travelers can then check out from the room or from their smartphone. Checkout is fully automated, and once checkout is confirmed, housekeeping is notified.

Next-gen technologies also simplify the billing process. Bills can be forwarded via email or to a mobile phone, and for business travelers invoices can be forwarded to corporate travel expense accounting, along with the details needed to support managed corporate travel. 

By fully leveraging the Internet of Things, hospitality firms can streamline operations, drive innovation, and deliver a more customized, satisfying guest experience.

About The Author
Eric Harte
Vice President, Travel and Transportation Industry
HP Enterprise Services


 
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