3 Misconceptions About Technology Platforms

By Justin Effron Co-Founder & CEO, ALICE | November 26, 2017

If you already run a successful hotel, chances are you already have some kind of hotel management system. And chances are also pretty good that someone has approached you, trying to sell you something that they claim is much better than what you are already using. If it was a unifying hospitality platform, they were right. In the 2016 book, Platform Revolution, a platform is defined as a business model that, "uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem in which amazing amounts of value can be created and exchanged." With their many different interactions, players, and services, hotels already act as a platform in many ways. This makes them ideal candidates for platform technology that facilitates the exchange of information and services between these various players and future-proofs the business so it can all adapt with more functionality as more digital technologies arise (in-room tech, key cards, Alexas, etc.).

Hotels adopting a unifying hospitality platform into their operations can not only integrate the various systems they already use, but also create a new master system that can link with guests, vendors, and more. That is a full backend that can be personalized, automated, and adapted to already established systems. Those using such platforms quickly become more efficient at communicating between departments, getting service data they have never had before, and connecting better with guests leaving them more satisfied and more likely to write positive reviews online.

Platforms have already disrupted other industries, and in some cases completely destroyed them. Blockbuster had the chance to invest in Netflix for just $50 million back in 2000, but was not able to see its potential until it was too late. The Avis Budget group made a smarter decision when it purchased Zipcar in 2013, which saved them as demand for rentals began to slow. In less than ten years of operating, Airbnb's valuation has reached higher than that of Hilton, Starwood and Wyndham, the largest hotel chains in the world.

Platforms are here to stay, but the hotel industry does not have to see it as a threat. After all, what platforms ultimately do is help facilitate services-and that is exactly what hotels have to offer.

When hotels are not using one of these systems, it's typically for one of three reasons : 1) lack of proper information about their benefits, 2) acknowledgement of benefits but misconceptions about time and effort required to get them up and running, or 3) misinformation about both benefits and costs, leading to the belief that the perceived rewards are not worth the perceived expense. But these misconceptions about platforms should not cause hoteliers to shy away from the best addition to their budget they could possibly make

Misconception #1: "The Benefits Aren't Much Better Than What We Have Now."

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.