By Shelley Rueger, Vice President of Quality, ALICE
Hotel operations software is the ultimate tool for hoteliers. It streamlines task management, unifies departments, and maximizes teams’ time and energy. But for operations software to have an impact on your hotel’s teams and guest experience, it needs a strong foundation.
In order to make certain that ALICE’s hotel operations software helps you provide the highest quality experience for your hotel guests, ALICE’s software development teams have instituted the following hospitality industry-leading processes and procedures.
Everything we do at ALICE is intended to produce the best management software for our customers. This platform has technological offerings designed to be user-friendly, useful and will become a crucial part of your hotel staff. Having hotel technology makes a huge difference in customer experience and being able to communicate with all departments in the hotel, in real time. Having hotel software is just the first step in having smart technology, the next is having hotel technology that is reliable for hotel management.
Have a Customer Centric Development
As mentioned, the first step is having hotel technology. So, before you worry about whether your software is working correctly, worry about whether it does what you want it to do in the first place. After all, if it doesn’t do what you need it to do, it really doesn’t matter if it works or not. Software development is complicated and it is terribly easy to get things wrong.
In order to ensure that ALICE meets our customers needs, we take a lot of care in all the stages of our development process. Our product managers and designers do in-depth interviews with both existing and potential customers, and market research at the beginning when requirements are being defined. Designs and proof of concepts are shown to customers for feedback. Throughout development as questions arise, those questions are taken back to customers, when possible.
Then once we have something that is ready for customers to use, we roll out to a few beta customers and get their feedback before releasing to all customers. All of this gives us higher confidence that we’re actually solving the problem the customer wants solved. For ALICE, it all comes down to working with our customers and putting them first in everything we do.
Use Agile Methodologies
In the hotel industry, agile methodologies have become the norm in software development teams for good reason. Using Agile increases quality and allows teams to provide value to customers more quickly. ALICE uses Scrum as its development methodology. At its core, Scrum guides teams to work on small chunks of work that can be delivered to customers for feedback in short periods of time on a regular, reliable schedule.
We can then iterate and make improvements over time that build on what has been delivered. This process can be seen with our Housekeeping product. We initially delivered a set of functionality that was enough to solve the core needs of a Housekeeping product and we initially supported only one PMS integration.
Over time, we’ve added to our feature set and we’ve expanded the number of PMS integrations. We were able to get ALICE Housekeeping out in the world, get feedback on what did and didn’t work for customers, and understand the process it takes to make changes as time goes on.
Apply Automated Behavior Driven Development and Testing
ALICE is complex and has a lot of features and configurability that allows us to serve many types of properties but there is a downside to this complexity and configurability - it can be easier than we’d like to break existing features when we introduce new ones.
In order to reduce this risk, we have a large set of automated tests that we run on every build of our product. These tests run through our features and make sure that they continue to work as we, and our customers expect. Automated tests can run through the features faster than any set of people, no matter how dedicated they are.
Practice Performance Testing
Another key development practice is performance testing. Performance testing ensures that software works correctly under the usage that is expected. It’s one thing for software to handle one small hotel’s demands on a weekday and another to ensure that the software will handle a large hotel or even more importantly, many large hotels on a holiday weekend.
ALICE tests all of our software at levels higher than we expect to see in real life. This helps us detect any problems that we might see and prevent them from impacting our users.
The ALICE team takes pride in providing high quality software to our customers and everything we do is architected so that we have the best chance of doing that.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how ALICE creates reliable technology for your hotel to run smoothly.