PMS vendors should make it simple for hotels to customize their software so that it makes sense for their business and caters to their guest segments. To do this, the PMS must be fast, scalable, and connect to third-party applications without any friction. This can be achieved by focusing on three main components:
As solutions become barrier free, the entire industry benefits, from hoteliers to technology providers. But perhaps most importantly, hotel guests win with better, tailored hotel experiences.
Hoteliers have the freedom to customize their technology based on guest needs and expectations
The openness of this setup allows hoteliers to have a core PMS on top of which they can add pre-integrated tools based on the profile of their guests and the nature of their business, all without having to worry about long wait times and fees for new features and integrations.
For example, the technology required to operate a staffless hotel will be different than that of a 5-star, high-touch, family-friendly resort. Both could use the same PMS, but the staffless hotel would plug in technology to facilitate seamless check-in – automated pre-stay emails, keyless entry, automatic checkouts and billing, etc. – while the resort would connect apps that personalize the experience – customized upsell packages, tools for staff to identify and address guests by name, mobile chat for room service requests, VR experiences, and so on. Both may want to connect a channel manager, BI and reporting tools, a CRM, etc. All of these technologies can be connected and running with the click of a button.
The applications that hotels add to their PMS can be scaled up or down, allowing hotels to evolve with their guest segments and guest expectations. On top of this, with a public, open API, hotels can even dream up their own app ideas and build custom solutions for specific to their hotel.
Technology providers can focus on improving the guest experience rather than on integrations
In the industry's current state, hotel technology providers are forced to allocate a considerable amount of time and resources on building integrations, rather than enhancing their products and innovating. With a public, 2-way API connecting developers to the PMS, developers no longer must worry about integrations.
This frees up time to build tools that are useful and meaningful, from optimizing hotel operations so that staff can spend more time with guests to guest-facing applications that 'wow' travelers or make their experience more seamless, to tools that help hotels better understand their guest data so that they can better personalize marketing, optimize pricing, and so on.
Because all the technology integrates and is available in one store, developers have a central place to connect and sell their technology. Within the store, apps are filtered by category and popularity, allowing new developers to introduce their technology on a meritocracy basis.
A better guest journey encourages more bookings and loyal customers
Hotel guests benefit from wall-free technology because they receive a more personalized, improved experience. It allows them to book and travel with the apps that they already love without compromising their preferences. It allows for faster booking, check-in and check-out. It allows guests to easily interact with the hotel pre-, during, and post-stay as well as update and save their room and personal preferences so that hotels can accommodate their needs without having to ask. The list goes on.
As guests have a better experience, they may leave higher reviews, and generate more business via word-of-mouth, allowing hoteliers to adjust their room rates, increase the lifetime value of the guest and to differentiate from competitors.
Barrier-free hotel technology will have a significant, positive impact on how hotels approach technology, how developers build their products, and how guests experience travel. But it is up to PMS vendors to take action. Let's make 2018 the year where we finally tear down the proverbial walls!
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Ulrich “Uli” Pillau is an entrepreneur and angel investor. He is founder of apaleo, a Munich based start-up developing a next generation cloud platform for the hospitality industry. Previously Uli was involved in building up several very successful software companies in the hotel and travel space. His companies included Fidelio Software, today the worldwide leading Property Management System for hotel chains and hotels. Fidelio was later acquired by Micros and today is part of Oracle. Subsequently he led IDeaS, a company offering the first scientific revenue management software for the hotel industry which quickly became the standard Yield & RMS system for hotels around the globe. In 2010, IDeaS was sold to SAS Institute and today is actively managing over a million hotel rooms with its software. Between 2010 and 2016, Uli was Managing Director of hetras which invented the first true Cloud PMS for hotel chains. Apart from his current venture apaleo, Uli invests in start-up companies that develop innovative software and apps for the hotel industry. He is a frequent speaker on hotel and travel technology.
Phone: +49 172 8212939