Modern challenges in the hotel industry call for modern solutions. Technology is the one-way hoteliers can stay ahead nowadays, by streamlining their operations and expanding their offering.
Yet, few hotel GMs have the knowledge to maximize the potential of these available resources or the resources to employ an in-house team to do it for them.
The best way to ensure that the complexities of enhanced technology work for your hotel is by implementing an automated, integrated hotel tech stack.
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What is a hotel tech stack?
Before delving into the intricacies of a hotel tech stack, it’s important to understand what a tech stack is in general terms.
The term originated in the software development community, where it’s also known as a solutions stack, data ecosystem, or technology infrastructure.
In the simplest of terms, one could refer to a tech stack as the bridge connecting your hotel to the marketplace. A group of technologies working together to make something happen, i.e., a combination of technology services that run one application.
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What are examples of tech stacks?
In hotel terms, one part of your tech stack would include all the systems that communicate with a central point to ensure you don’t end up with a dreaded double booking. Another portion would see to it that your dinner reservations are recorded and catered for.
What if a traveler books accommodation with dinner included? Ideally, both systems should communicate with each other seamlessly and instantly to enhance the customer experience.
As a hotel manager, you need access to all this information at a glance, so it’s vital that all your separate systems ‘report back’ to a central hub, a property management system, a CRM, or a communication service platform.
What is a typical hospitality tech stack?
Nowadays, the cloud is an excellent platform for centralizing your operations. It provides a secure, scalable platform for high-speed software integration and updates, unlimited storage, and is an excellent place to back up data safe from cybercrime and software failure.
There are many cloud-based systems you can use in your hotel to streamline your operations and enhance the customer experience.
These are some of the most common ones:
Your Property Management System lies at the heart of all these interrelated segments, and more. It must interact with each one to provide a real-time overview of hotel operations in an instant and on demand.
Scalability is the most important consideration when choosing a PMS, it must have the capability to integrate seamlessly as you grow your business and onboard new or revised software.
A Property Management System structures and keeps track of every aspect of your hotel including day-to-day operations, direct bookings, marketing, revenue management, and customer relations. In this way, it ensures you remain competitive amid the technological advances in the hotel industry.
Hotels need to be able to manage information to organize the house, improve customer service quality, and grasp all upselling opportunities. CRM software is an on-point way for hotels to learn more about guests and predict patterns and behaviors—which is the bread and butter of seasonal strategies.
Great CRM products connect to PMS solutions, enhancing the scalability of data collected and design customer-first campaigns to boost bookings.
A powerful booking engine is a backbone for hotels. It can allure travelers visiting into closing rooms and integrate with other channels to provide real-time quotes and ensure there are no bumps.
It also increases hotels’ independence from OTA commissions by optimizing direct bookings and prompting more conversions—more guests, more revenue, more positive reviews, and more returning guests.
Omnichannel Service Platform & AI booking assistant
Travelers are spread throughout multiple communication channels, and hotels had to broaden their reach way beyond phones and emails to keep in step with the need for information on-demand. But too many channels can easily get out of hand.
One of the biggest benefits of the omnichannel service platform is that all channels are interconnected, offering a seamless and consistent experience to travelers, no matter their channel of choice.
Another bonus with this type of software is that it can keep track of all guest communications and assist agents in providing on-point information as well as locating travelers ready to book.
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Guest reviews are vital for monitoring your performance against your benchmarks and gathering information to help you improve your offering.
Guest feedback software provides hotel managers with real-time input on guest’s likes and dislikes, so they can take steps toward turning negative feedback into a positive experience on the spot.
If you manage to do this, you can avoid dreaded negative online reviews and ensure repeat business for your hotel.
Staff Collaboration Tools
With so many employees to keep track of, hotels cannot rely on paper checklists and spreadsheets to ensure seamless operations.
Advanced timekeeping, roster management, and payroll software are vital for consistently excellent performance, and transparency, and enhance employee job satisfaction.
A central communications hub to keep staff updated and informed goes a long way toward interdepartmental interaction. This ensures the smooth operations that are so central to creating memorable guest experiences.
When your systems integrate, you empower your staff to work together toward a common goal. For instance, a front desk team member can collaborate with sales by entering leads or advise housekeeping of a guest’s special request instantly and without leaving their post.
Your housekeeping department must know instantly of any changes to bookings, guests checking out, and arrivals. It’s the only way they can ensure each of your customers arrives to an immaculate room that meets your housekeeping standards.
Automated housekeeping technology integrated with your staff communications portal and booking engines ensures they can manage their workflow for best results.
This software also helps keep track of the departments’ performance to indicate areas where there’s room for improvement, understaffing, or miscommunication.
Money Management Systems
Every business needs some sort of accounting software to help manage their income and expenses, account for money moving through the company, and to keep the auditors happy.
A cloud-based system makes these complex calculations a lot easier by extracting data from all your income streams and your expenses.
Point of Sale Software for Hospitality
This software manages payments received for bookings, meals, excursions, spa treatments or anything else customers might book either in person, through phone calls, or online.
It integrates with your accounting system via the cloud to ensure your figures are always up-to-date and avoid double handling.
This software tracks the money you spend to keep your hotel running. This could include food purchases, advertising costs, or cleaning costs.
Many of the best ones have image processing capabilities that allow you to take pictures of your receipts and save these for future reference.
These advanced technologies can scan for necessary data like invoice numbers, dates, and amounts, and record them on your accounting suite. This saves you the hassle of manual entries and keeps your records up to date for speedy resolution of queries.
Which Is the Best Tech Stack?
There is no single solution that suits every accommodation establishment. Yet, there are some key features you must consider when building or upgrading your tech stack.
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These are the things you can’t do without:
A tech stack cannot exist without integration throughout. Real-time updates must re-route to the correct department instantly so that personnel can take the appropriate action. For instance, your maintenance crew needs to know immediately when a guest is having problems with their air-conditioner.
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Reporting and analytics are vital to gaining an overview of recurring problems, customer booking trends, and employee performance. In this way, they can help you improve your employees’ performance, deal with ongoing obstacles, and reach out to new markets.
Automation is the most important benefit of technology today. It ensures real-time updates, accuracy, and instant access to the information you need.
Automatic updates alleviate the need for time-consuming manual record keeping, messaging and analysis. This leaves you free to focus on the customer and ensure your guests enjoy a personalized and attentive stay at your hotel.
Don’t overburden your employees with cumbersome, complicated software. Technology that’s easy to use means they can do their jobs faster and more accurately.
Comprehensive training will ensure they can maximize the technology available, so you get the best benefit from your tech stack.
Wrapping up the Benefits of a Tech Stack
When you have access to real-time information, you can make better business decisions and enjoy faster results. Automation helps increase your efficiency by saving you time, and you can almost eliminate the vagaries of human error across your operations.
Thanks to all the above, you can look forward to saving money, attracting more customers, and growing your hotel business when you implement an integrated tech stack.
About the author: Robert Nienaber is a keen adventurer, family man, and seasoned marketer with years of experience, particularly in the travel industry. He is the man at the helm of marketing one of Windhoek’s most popular properties, Arebbusch Travel Lodge and the acclaimed Arebbusch Pizzeria. Robert is strongly committed to introducing accommodation establishments to the intricacies of digital marketing and helping them thrive by means of brand, yield and revenue management to drive direct bookings at the highest possible rate at the lowest possible cost.