By Rob Palleschi and Aditya Thyagarajan
If the pandemic period has taught us anything, it’s that there is a convergence underway which brings together state-of-the-art technology with sound principles of property management.
Pressures on revenue produced by uncertain forward-looking data, combined with labor shortages and price inflation for just about everything, means that in the current environment a flexible, full-service hotel tech stack delivering insights in real-time is no longer a “nice to have.”
Instead, the very ability of hotels to function profitably and productively depends on it.
As a brand operator/owner and a technologist, respectively, we bring distinct perspectives on what’s needed to prepare hotel operations for a better, more profitable future.
At the same time, we’ve identified core principles that should guide hoteliers on the journey.
Here is a summary of some of those principles.
You cannot fix problems if you cannot see them
At G6, we’ve been amazed to see how much critical information about property-level operations and performance is bubbling beneath the surface—if only it could be accessed.
For example, surface numbers may tell us that on a robust summer weekend, our property in Santa Barbara, CA, is forecast to operate below where it should be.
Reviewing housekeeping activity tells us, however, that we are overspending there.
And further inquiry tells us the reason—insufficient linen par levels to service the seasonal, multi-guest occupancy.
Correlating that data with similar information from a dozen Motel 6 properties in other locations, reveals the same pattern. And soon it becomes clear that there is a par level issue common to several locations. The scarcity of linen & terry had been consuming scarce housekeeping resources, creating a revolving property expense, in addition to delayed room availability creating unnecessary guest inconvenience.
The lesson is simple: If your property management system is not surfacing critical issues and sharing real-time data to enable you to address them, you are leaving money on the table—or worse.
Insights are useless if they are too diffuse or expensive to access
Owners and brand managers are all too familiar with the bewildering amount of information floating around the hotel ecosystem: There are many disparate systems utilized at every hotel and they do not always integrate smoothly and seamlessly.
How can hoteliers make sense of the tangle of solutions available, make the right choices, and ensure the delivery of the right insights at the right time, at a reasonable cost?
Since property management systems (PMS) sit at the heart of hotel operations, the answer lies in a PMS that delivers a complete, fully integrated suite of solutions.
Let’s be clear—even with all the progress that’s been made in hotel tech, there is not yet a PMS that tackles all property management issues in a single place. But some deliver much more than others. The one-stop platform is much closer to becoming a reality than ever before. And it’s no surprise that the most efficient, effective system is one that’s likely to be mobile-first, cloud-based and grounded in the actual needs of hoteliers.
Most important, look for solutions that are fully integrated, low capital-intensive and deliver optimum value for a reasonable per property investment.
If you are paying top dollar for unconnected technology that is difficult to integrate with the rest of the stack, you are likely spending more than you should—and receiving sub-optimum results.
Need to see it here—need to see it now
We mentioned cloud-based mobile solutions, and we cannot emphasize enough that the future is all about being able to get accurate, complete information in real-time—via your mobile phone.
Friends who work in the retail and fintec spaces are amazed when we tell them that, still today, most property managers are tethered to slow technology displayed on big screens at their desks. And that the systems and information on these big screens are many respects not fully integrated with the those on the desks of regional supervisors and brand executives.
In a business as people intensive as hospitality, it is imperative that we are nimble, flexible and as focused on guest needs as possible. That’s impossible without real-time, fully connected information.
A new kind of “grab and go” storefront at some airports now enables guests to insert their credit card in a reader outside the store, stroll into a gated area, pick up what they need and exit quickly—without stopping to total amounts, sign receipts or wait on long lines. We believe guests will demand that hotels move in a similar direction in the future.
To get there, managers will need technology that supplies information on our products (rooms) quickly, easily and flexibly—beginning at the point of reservation or sale, continuing at guest check-in and extending through the duration of the entire guest stay.
There are many mobile applications on the market that provide the ability to check in quickly, structure internal communications and help with other processes. These can have their place in the right circumstances.
What’s clear above all though is that revenue begins and ends in one place—with the guest providing it. The hotel PMS sits at the heart of the tech ecosystem and should provide access points all the tools hotels need to manage it.
Rob Palleschi is CEO, G6 Hospitality LLC. Aditya Thyagarajan is cofounder/president, HotelKey.
This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.