As 2021 approaches, hoteliers are putting together their budgets and thinking about the improvements and upgrades that they can make in their tech stacks for the upcoming year. Just like buying a car, choosing a college, or deciding where to live, there are a lot of considerations that go into purchasing hotel software.
Hotel software can come in many forms; hotel operations software, property management software, reservation software, keyless entry, customer relationship management software, and reputation management software, to name a few. The categories and types of hotel software are endless, and within each category, there are countless solutions.
Technology has made its way into almost every hotel department, and it plays a large role in hotels, whether guests know it or not. There is obvious, guest-facing technology at hotels, such as check-in kiosks or in-room voice controlled devices, that guests are very much aware of. But there is also staff-facing technology that guests might never realize is being used.
Whether it’s guest-facing or staff-facing technology, expanding your hotel’s tech stack can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. So back to buying a car or choosing a college …what information do you need to make a decision? Honest opinions and feedback from trusted sources, recommendations for where to start your search, and a clear understanding of what YOU are looking for, are all essential pieces of information.
We know it can be overwhelming so we created The Hotel Technology Buyer’s Guide, Top Tools to Support Lean Teams. Download ALICE’s 35-page comprehensive Buyer’s Guide with tips, product recommendations, reviews, and more.
Has 2020 changed the need for technology in hotels?
The need for technology in hotels has been apparent for the past decade. Hotels have been slow to adopt technology, but COVID-19 has accelerated the need for it to be implemented as soon as possible.
The pandemic has created an urgent need for contactless hospitality, which connects guests and hotel staff while reducing face-to-face interactions. Contactless hospitality solutions include voice enabled guest engagement software, guest messaging software, and online ordering systems for room service and hotel restaurants, among others.
Common misconceptions about technology are that they make the experience less personal for guests and that they replace hotel staff. Good technology shouldn’t do either of those things. Personalization and excellent guest service are the cornerstones of any hospitality industry business, and software that replaces that is very misguided.
2020 has brought on a myriad of changes and surprises. COVID-19 falls squarely in the “bad” category, but the acceptance and adoption of hotel software is a good thing.
Know what questions to ask
Before any big purchase, it’s best to ask questions. But do you know which questions to ask? Your goal is to ask questions that will give you information not only about the product you’re purchasing, but also about the company you’ll be working with. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Company Questions
- What will your product do for my hotel?
- How long has this product been on the market?
- What’s the ROI?
- Do you have any customers who are willing to chat with us?
- Do your users find your product to be user friendly?
- What’s included?
- How long does it take?
- What’s the cost?
- Will we have a dedicated person or team?
- What is the average response time?
- Do you have more than 95% uptime?
- Who are your partners?
- Which products are you fully integrated with?
- How much will you charge every time we need to integrate to a new system?
- How long will it take if the integration isn’t already complete?
- What are your security and compliance certifications and features?
- Upgrades and Updates
- How often will updates and upgrades be available?
- What is the process to implement these updates with as little disruption as possible?
CHECK IT OUT: We also have a full list of the top questions to ask when buying hotel software in one of our recent blog posts!
What are other people saying?
Word of mouth, personal recommendations, and endorsements are impactful. In ALICE’S Hotel Technology Buyer’s Guide, all of the recommended products (Beekeeper, BeyondTV, ReactMobile, Silverware, and Volara) come with endorsements from hoteliers like YOU. Getting positive reviews and honest feedback from hotel industry professionals is telling. Hoteliers live (and die) by reviews. They know the importance of what a good review can do for a hotel, and the same goes for hotel technology.
Reviews are important. Hotel Tech Report is the premier global research platform for hotel technology, and it has helped more than 650,000 hoteliers and investors research technology solutions for their properties. They gather reviews from users around the world.
“As properties age, paper copies of everything end up getting lost, damaged, or becoming obsolete which is another great benefit of ALICE being a repository of information that can evolve with the property.”
-ALICE User, Whistler, Canada
Not all of the challenges of 2020 in the hospitality industry that have been brought on by COVID-19 are temporary. In fact, many of the changes have been long overdue. Contactless and touchless guest journeys have become more and more popular, and will only continue to grow in popularity.
The need for hotel technology and contactless hospitality will prevail into the post-COVID era, and lean teams (whether purposeful, or as the result of tight budgets) will learn to triumph with the support of hotel technology.
Hotels aren’t going away. The core fundamentals of hospitality are not going to change. The hotels of the future will have no room for error in service delivery or guest experience. And technology is only going to continue to become more vital.
Independent properties, branded properties, small and large hotels can all benefit from hotel technology. ALICE’s Buyer’s Guide is available for any and all hoteliers.