Gartner research predicts that the hospitality industry is projected to be the fastest growing enterprise IT sector between 2018 and 2021 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1 percent. In the past 12 months companies have shifted their focus to the interoperability of systems.
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The hospitality industry on average spends less on IT then any other industry. A 2017 Lodging Technology Study states that 53% of hotels find that outdated technology architecture and the extensive efforts required to integrate with systems are the top reasons why they hold back on investing in new technology. However, a shift is coming. Since 2017, hotels have been shifting their focus onto the interoperability of systems.
Interconnectivity within hotel systems will be able to cater to the digital expectations of modern-day travelers. With help from solutions delivering the likes of express check-in and hotel key card integration, hotel guests will be able to travel more hassle-free with the seamless capabilities of advanced technology.
The importance of integrating hotel technologies
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There are major benefits to integrating technologies within a hotel. With limitations on efficiency, competitiveness, and profitability, hotels are realizing the need for investing both time and resources in digital innovations to compete in this technology-driven world.
By integrating with Property Management Systems (PMS), seamless experiences can be provided to both hotels and guests. Guest-facing solutions on the market provide opportunities for better service on top of generating ancillary revenues. Functions of hotel Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems can also be enhanced with new technology amenities, such as smartphones that extend calling features beyond room-to-room and not just from within hotel premises.
From traveler perspectives, integration makes communication much more instantaneous, simple, and straightforward. When guests check-in, they can receive personalized touches, such as welcome messages based off of prior guest behavioral patterns to lend a warm welcome to their stay.
For the hotel, personalized features such as push messages enable staff to remain hands-off, freeing up their time to cater to other more urgent guest needs. Through linking with the PMS, a hotel’s content management system can be triggered to send out notifications automatically.
The challenges with hotel integration
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Hotel systems are designed to perform a wide range of tasks on a daily basis. When undergoing integration, hotels can face many short-term challenges, often seen as setbacks and that deter hotels from meeting more long-term needs for the future. Here are a few challenges hotels face, and how investing in hotel integration remains both desirable and necessary for hotels elevating guest satisfaction beyond the average.
There are countless legacy PMS systems still in use that lack the flexibility and compatibility to integrate with third-party systems. Both cumbersome and costly, hotels often find themselves tweaking and updating software, to fully communicate with other systems.
The solution to short-term setbacks are in fact simple more often than not. With legacy systems, there need not be a complete system upgrade. Interfaces can be put in place in between systems to enable ongoing communication. Cloud-based solutions also enable fast integration, omitting the laborious maintenance of updates. With a great many technological solutions, there are tools suited to the complexities presented by hospitality.
The outlook of hotel technology integrations in the coming years
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Hotel technology integrations will be the top priority in the next few years. A key player in the travel & tourism industry, hotels are already starting to shift their focus to technology integrations, exploring how they can best make use of industry tools to suit their needs.
According to David Turnbull, CEO of hotel data aggregation and innovation company Snapshot,
“hotels will be focusing their resources and time on vendors that permit interoperability flexibility, and open access to data that powers guest experience in the next 5 years.”
Technology integration has given hospitality the opportunities and solutions they need to help make better changes for growth and more importantly to provide a seamless experience for guests.
Integration will be embraced in all aspects. With demand on the rise from hotels for integrative platforms, significant developments on internal systems will soon be underway. A focus will be put towards bridging gaps between existing systems, services, and products. Hotels are discovering greater avenues to work seamlessly between property and staff, and smart tools are making it easier than ever to integrate with systems on a new level today.
Lodging Magazine (2018) Hotel Technology's Paradigm Shift: The Age of Interconnectivity
Hospitality Net (2018) Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Future of Hotel Technology Integrations & APIs