Hospitality in the Cloud

The Future of SaaS Trends in the Industry

By Bernard Ellis President & Founder, Lodgital Insights LLC | July 05, 2015

According to Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Predictions for 2015 and Beyond, "By the end of 2017, 70 percent of successful digital business models will rely on deliberately unstable processes designed to shift as customer needs shift." This ability to adapt with the consumer is directly applicable to the hospitality industry, as meeting the ever-changing expectations of guests is essential to profitability. When considering which technology options can have the greatest impact on dexterity and flexibility, cloud computing should certainly be top-of-mind.

As more hotel and casino operators have familiarized themselves with the potential benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS), momentum behind the cloud is here to stay. Hospitality organizations have moved past previously associated concerns with the cloud, and it has now become a fixture and regularly selected path for IT in the industry. This progression has brought about several new cloud-related trends, all centered around achieving business goals such as increased revenue, enhanced guest services and improved operational efficiency.

Impact on Limited Service Hotels

Limited service hotel brands are a vital part of the hospitality market, typically offering room rates that appeal to budget-savvy travelers. However, because they do not have as many ancillary revenue streams as full service hotels, decision-makers are often unable to allocate sizeable funds for IT to match their larger counterparts. In the past, this has created difficulty for these properties in remaining up-to-date on business systems and potentially hindered them from capitalizing on the latest innovations.

Fortunately, the cloud provides an opportunity to change this. Many national or global organizations are choosing to invest in SaaS to provide their limited service brands with access to technology that may otherwise be beyond their reach. When the parent company evaluates potential applications, selects the vendor and equips its brands with the necessary tools to execute the project, these hoteliers are positioned to reap a multitude of benefits, both immediately and in the long-term.

Advantages from moving back-end systems to the cloud center primarily on day-to-day operations

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.