Being a Smart Buyer When Purchasing Hotel Technology

By Adria Levtchenko CEO & Co-Founder, PurpleCloud Technologies | February 24, 2019

Technology is significantly impacting nearly every area of hospitality. This includes obvious ones like brand and property web sites; guest reservation and communication systems; revenue management systems; and in-room Internet and entertainment as well as others that are less obvious to the average guest.

In the latter group, we can include technology for computerized HVAC systems, security systems, housekeeping and engineering, hotel operations and management, staff recruiting and other human resources functions, right on to all phases of financial planning and reporting.

Competitive targets keep moving and potential budget allocations keep growing. How can we make the right choices and successfully implement these technologies, which are expensive up-front investments and subsequently ongoing expense items, for all hospitality organizations? Areas to consider include prospecting of potential technologies, the purchasing decision, "selling" the technology to all stakeholders and those who will be using it daily, training and implementation, and identifying who "manages" the technology.

In this article, we will focus primarily on the first part of this strategic process, identifying and evaluating technologies and making the purchase decision. Among our considerations are the pitfalls that organizations should navigate around, which include avoiding costly and confusing redundancies or early obsolescence.

Stay Informed

Hotel owners and executives are busy people, being pushed and pulled in many directions. However, while any hospitality organization will have a director of information technology on-staff or by consultancy, it is important that the organization's key executives and managers have a good working understanding of the technology sphere. They will be the ones making the final purchase decisions, and, ultimately, be responsible for the results. Technology adeptness is simply part of the modern professional skill set in hospitality.

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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.