Partner up for Operational success, why one partner just simply can’t do it all….
Imagine if a restaurant kitchen had one supplier supplying all the food required to fulfil a hotel’s F&B requirements. The sausages for breakfast, the beef for the tartar, the freshest fish for the special of the day or the freshly picked raspberries for that Afternoon Tea pastry. Could one supplier fit the bill? Possibly! Would every ingredient be best of breed? Probably not! With food trends changing quickly, there is a chance that one supplier, just isn’t enough. However, they will have someone in their network you can trust, who can meet the requirements and complement their offering.
It’s the same when it comes to your hotel’s tech stack. One partner simply can’t do it all because they all individually do what they are best at. The secret is to choose partners that better work in harmony together and complement each other’s products. As a hotelier, there is never a need to get stuck in a partnership battle, it’s simply down to choosing what works for you, what’s best of breed (the organic free-range type), what partners offer the best solutions and ultimately what will help the guest journey to flow more efficiently. Why would you spend time on browsing different marketplaces with 100’s of integrations (some you’ve never heard about), trying to understand, if they are good for your needs, if you can sit in the room with people who understand your local market, are trustworthy and want to share their time and experience to help you choose the best tech-stack.
Here Clio O’Gara, Country Manager for Ireland at Guestline details her three-step guide on how to partner up for operational success.
1) The Guest Journey
Quite simply, what does a great guest journey look like on paper?
It starts with a good clean booking engine. At Guestline, we recently established a partnership with Google to connect our PMS/Booking Engine directly to the search engine to guarantee a real-time feed of hotel’s rates and availability. By using this fully automated direct connectivity, hoteliers are benefiting from the increasing popularity of metasearch solutions to boost their direct distribution. Strengthening the direct relationship with the guest from the moment they search is priceless, and it helps clients to become less dependant on OTA’s.
Once the booking is complete and stored in the PMS, the CRM or upselling tool i.e., spa software kicks in to continue the relationship with the guest prior to their arrival. Solutions, such as Resdiary, allow the guest to book their romantic dinner, whilst the data automatically drops into the PMS and populates the restaurant planner seamlessly.
Pre-arrival partner tools allow the guest to pre-register, pre-pay and get all the work done in a greener manner (now that they are more environmentally conscious) before arrival, leaving the check in to be customer focused and relaxed for both the guest and the front office staff. During the guest’s stay, full integration with the POS, Resdiary and premier spa allow guest notes to flow across all tools, charges to the guest bill and with integrated payments, a close eye can be kept on the guest credit limits and pre-authorisations can be uplifted. The guest bill can be shared with the guest on the morning of departure or during their stay and paid through their own device with a secure e-commerce link.
Guest reputation management tools can be delivered to the guest moments after their departure to help understand their experience, to encourage feedback and using a two-way interface have this feedback on the PMS guest profile for future stays. CRM can maintain the relationship with the client and continue to drive offers to ensure that the guest repeats to a trusted property that they already know and love.
Could you expect all that from one partner? Surely not.
2) The Best of Breed Suppliers
Don’t be nervous of having 6 or 8 suppliers across your tech stack, the important piece of the tech menu is that they run hand and glove together. Today’s guest demands more from hotel restaurants. They imagine succulent specials and premium beef. Hoteliers are proud to ensure the guest’s expectations are met. Why is it that hoteliers put their beef supplier on a pedestal, but, when it comes to their PMS, the system that runs the operations for the entire hotel, they expect less than the best and don’t demand the same level of expectations from their technology partner? After all, a hotel PMS is the ‘beef’ of your operations.
Since Covid-19 hit, hoteliers ( GM’s or owners) have become more involved in their business than ever before. They are examining and dissecting front and back-office processes and are for the first time perhaps witnessing the frustrations that their staff have been dealing with for some time. If your technology stack is outdated or simply does not meet their expectations, the cost of ignoring could be more critical to the long-term bottom line of the business. Especially these days when travellers have full transparency on the market and rates, but also for staff, your most important asset, you want to do everything possible to retain them, starting with providing the tools they can easily work with, whether that is a reservation platform or payment solution.
My one piece of advice would be for hoteliers to evaluate how their partners are supporting them, open their minds to adopting new technology and come to terms with how it can actually improve their overall business model through the entire customer journey. PMS systems have become much more advanced with cloud offerings, open API’s, and the ability to transform the guest experience. In addition, hoteliers are learning to become more demanding of their providers and are now privileged with the option of being able to select the perfect combination of software functionality that complements the property’s specific needs, which is fully integrated and provides value for money.
3) The Benefit of Partnerships
A property management system has traditionally been the lifeblood of a hotel managing and automating any number of hotel operations, just as a point-of-sale system (POS) is the foundation for any restaurant and bar. Without either system, a hotel cannot operate as efficiently. But when these two integrate beautifully together they create a powerful partnership where everything is more efficient, from online bookings to checking in, to billing for food and beverages, to booking facilities and the check-out payment process.
Throughout the pandemic, many industries were forced to accelerate the rate at which they adopted technology. From public sectors such as the HSE adopting Covid tracing apps, test centres and vaccination rollout clinics to retail and ecommerce bringing a whole new dimension to the world of online shopping or food ordering, leaving them wondering why they didn’t take the tech plunge before.
Now imagine your own tech stack and if you had all your chosen ‘Best in Breed’ technology partners working together to deliver the same powerful partnerships across all elements of the guest journey, driving increased efficiencies and smartening up your profitability. With another pandemic, which is currently gripping the industry in the way of staff shortages, now has never been a better time to invest in the tools to ensure your hotel is not left behind.
At Guestline’s upcoming Connect event we are bringing together credible, trusted, client proofed partners all in one place to discuss how you can Fill the Gap with Tech, implementing the best technology, built by hoteliers, for hoteliers, to ensure that you are always on the menu, one dish (partner!) at a time.
Join Guestline and their partners at the Fill the Gap with Tech Connect event at the Guinness Storehouse on Thursday 24th November. For more information visit: Hospitality Conference Ireland- Connect 2022 by Guestline