After working more than 14 years in the hospitality industry, today I can say that one of the great challenges that hotels face is how to take advantage of technology to facilitate the management of their properties, unraveling the lack of connectivity between the different " systems ”that they have in place, so that this becomes a better experience for customers and that in turn impacts costs.
The application of digital tools and capabilities to processes with a view to seeking an improvement in efficiency can be understood as digital transformation, this may sound very complex or far from an activity such as the hotel industry, the truth is that it does not and the most important thing is that can help improve customer value, uncover new revenue-generating opportunities, and reduce costs.
At this point I must say that in hospitality one of the big problems present in most properties, regardless of their size or budget, is that there is a total divorce between IT, Sales, Reservations and Marketing; here the biggest problem is that normally there is not a shared participation of all these departments in decision making for the acquisition of software and / or technology for commercial management.
In simpler words. Suppose that, General Management, Financial Management or the person in charge of IT, it occurs to them to look for a "system" for property management, but in this process they do not take into account the difficulties faced by reservations executives, or how to manage the sales needs that negotiate contracts with the agencies and less how to integrate the marketing efforts to generate a traceability of the campaigns.
Before continuing with some details that I am sure you will feel totally identified with, we are going to return to return to the concept of digital transformation and from there I hope to lead you to visualize how this ethereal concept can help you achieve the most important thing for any business, that As a former boss of mine used to say, one phrase stuck with me "in a business, any action taken must make the cash register ring."
Digital transformation is the adoption of new technologies in the different areas of the company, seeking to change the way in which processes are carried out and thereby give greater value to customers. Likewise, this supposes a change in the culture of organizations as it proposes to challenge, experiment and expose oneself to failure, by the implementation of new ways of doing things.
One of the fundamental factors for digital transformation is process architecture, Fernando Solano, senior consultant expert in process mapping, defines it as: “the set of interrelated functional activities, executed in a specific sequence by the different managers, identified within the main or support activities in the value chain of the company with the highest aim of achieving customer satisfaction, the idea is that it has a direct impact on the guest experience ”.
Carrying out a process architecture will allow you to identify which way to go, since there is no single application or technology that allows digital transformation, but there are multiple key elements to face it:
- Technology development
- Mobile or responsive platforms (NO apps)
- Process automation
Let's develop these concepts a bit:
- The cloud is a method for the management of IT resources, which allows, for example, to replace the installation of local software, networks, local servers, on the contrary, it allows the storage of data online through a remote provider, giving organizations have quick access to the software they need, new functionalities and something very important, updates, in addition, it gives the versatility of being able to access information from anywhere in the world.
- The development of technology printing the digital transformation in the DNA of the company allows it to focus investment of resources, research and development of solutions that we could say are "personalized" since they are developed according to the requirements and specific processes of the organization.
- Mobile or responsive platforms (NO apps): The cloud and technology development allow the implementation of mobile platforms, which are available through online servers, thus allowing work to be done wherever and whenever. At the same time, the platforms offer the advantage that they can be configured as responsive, which allows them to be accessed from any type of device. Therefore, it is worth making the recommendation not to spend on the development of an app because responsive platforms can be more used. There are recent studies where it was established that mobile users spend an average of 96% of their time among the 10 apps with the most daily use.
- Process automation: is the integration of software and technological tools that seek to replace manual processes, which reduces errors, improves response times, monitoring, among others. This translates into two key components for companies: satisfied customers and reduced costs.
Now tell me if not, what is the problem that usually arises in hotels, when they try to carry out a digital transformation, who assumes this is IT, leaving out the people in charge of commercial management. Much of the problem occurs because IT speaks in terms of:
While those of us in commercial management think about:
I think this can be a bit overwhelming, but I must say that it can actually be solved in a simple way, first it is important to keep in mind that the process must be led by Sales, Marketing and Reservations, but the key to simplify this and implement it is omnichannel, which is basically the integration of all channels and systems into one. In other words, it means the development of a cloud platform that integrates all the areas and departments of the hotel.
The key benefits that these efforts will generate must be kept in mind, which are:
- Time saving.
- Higher productivity.
By automating and systematizing processes and data management, it is possible to save time, in addition, it helps to improve productivity because it allows you to remove the burden of repetitive tasks, giving employees more time to focus on generating value by working more closely with the clients.