July 10, 2017
Hotels are increasingly focused on delivering a frictionless and consistent experience, not only for guests, but for employees as well. To achieve this,
hotels must take measures to integrate systems across the enterprise and customer touchpoints. Systems need to talk to each other in order to create
a seamless flow of data and provide actionable intelligence. What are the top considerations for operators looking to create a holistic technology ecosystem and help develop a strategy for integrating both new and existing technologies? In this post we’ll discuss three key considerations for successful execution of system-wide integration.
About a quarter of hotels (24%) admit that they are frustrated by the effort required to integrate systems. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2017 Lodging Technology Study this friction point stymies hotels even more than being able to deliver technology projects faster and the ability to derive ROI from technology rollouts. These days, hotel operators must satisfy the demands of increasingly digital, connected guests by providing service that is both high-tech and high-touch. At the same time, they are trying to operate more efficiently to enhance business performance and sharpen competitive edge. In order for this to happen, systems — no matter how disparate — must be tightly integrated. With hotel operations dependent on a multitude of systems— from point of sale to property management, reservations, and more — having technologies with the ability to “talk to each other” is a necessary component for businesses to improve both operational efficiencies and guest service.
“The elimination of manual steps, and thus (system-to-system data transcription) errors, enables services to scale efficiently,” says industry consultant Baker Smith, technology lead, Accenture Travel, North America and a managing director at Accenture (www.accenture.com). In turn, “the cost structure for delivering services can be driven down.”All of this ultimately, can help hotels offer more streamlined and personalized services to guests. Making such interoperability happen, however, requires a strategic approach.
Three Key Considerations for Tech Integration
1. Does the interface support web services? According to most sources, this is preferable to serial-only interface architectures because it affords the highest level of integration flexibility. It is also the type of architecture needed to migrate to a cloud platform.
2. Scalability is paramount. No matter the type of integration, every component and the system as a whole must be scalable in light of ongoing technological advancement, as well as changes in guest demands and the hotel market, according to Scribesoft.
3. The platform must match user skillset. Users should not require software engineering expertise — or any real technology expertise — to use an integrated system in their daily work. Little or no human intervention between integrated systems should be required, as this would defeat the purpose of melding solutions in the first place.
The more integrated a hotel’s systems, the greater that property’s potential to satisfy or exceed ever-higher guest expectations. Without question, integrating disparate hotel systems can be a challenge, and is not necessarily an easy process. However, the end justifies the means. Working with the considerations outlined here will maximize the potential for the smoothest possible connection between previously siloed systems, in the near and far future alike.