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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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.