After 15 years supplying a range of hardware, software and services to the hotel industry I have become increasingly aware of the challenges hoteliers face in taking advantage of the various technology investments they make.
Why is it that hoteliers struggle to adopt and maximise the potential from guest facing technology investments, after taking that leap of faith? Perhaps there are a variety of reasons for this, ranging from the way they are procured to the people that eventually operate the solutions. In new construction for example, many systems when purchased during the construction cycle are impacted by over-runs and delays and they find themselves being watered down, or what is euphemistically referred to as ‘value engineered’. What this generally means is that the value that is identified or required by the operator in the specification requirements are removed as budgets are squeezed.
In the event that these software products do get installed and go into operational service, many solutions are at the mercy of staff change-overs, from opening to operational teams, or just ongoing churn. Vendors find it increasingly challenging to provide operators with the necessary ongoing education and support to get the best from their investments. Many of these suppliers have to be focussed on where their next contract is coming from instead of enabling their existing users. Few vendors have customer success teams and understand how to help their customers to maximise the benefits of their technology.
A year or so ago, this led me to start thinking about creating a business that could provide optimisation solution and services to hoteliers for their guest facing systems. The business would offer a consistent source of expertise that could assess, recommend and action a series of improvements based on data. The data would need to be extracted from disparate software systems and could then be turned into opportunities to improve guest experiences and communication, as well as, drive new revenue streams and save costs. An additional ongoing benefit would be to reserve some of these savings to invest in future solutions. However, after considerable deliberation, I decided not to take this path at this point, as I felt the maturity and readiness of the market was not apparent. Perhaps I was just barking up the wrong tree?
So, what are the easier options for hoteliers to improve their competitiveness and profitability? A common objective of most hoteliers is to minimise costs by tackling overheads. The need to reduce costs is always at the forefront of any businesses mind. Operational efficiency improves profitability and when an industry has seen top line revenues eroded this becomes even more critical.
So, I have decided to turn my attention to operational cost reduction first, before tackling more complex technology challenges. I believe a managed service, where state of the art technology is used, can achieve this without the need for hoteliers to invest in solutions they are unfamiliar with. After all technology is massively valuable when it is complemented with services that enable hoteliers to make informed decisions.
‘Where is the low hanging fruit?’ I here you ask, I believe it is in your utilities. In markets with a multitude of suppliers there are brokers that can help you negotiate the best deal for you, but they fall short at being able to help you minimise your operational costs by improving the performance of your specific properties. Even if you have a well implemented BMS solution I am certain you still have concerns about the cost of energy being used in all of your rooms and public spaces. These systems, even if implemented well, will become less efficient over time. Guests and staff alike leave appliances on or running when out of the room. Public areas often re-configured and are difficult to manage and often systems are competing against each other or are not optimised to meet the specific requirements of the space.
There are solutions delivering these services and improving energy efficiency in other verticals. Solutions that CRITICALLY connect people, processes and assets to optimise building performance. These providers enhance all environments by continuously monitoring systems to ensure the best operational results. Such technologies, processes and services would deliver energy efficiencies, improve guest comfort and extend the asset life of your building, benefitting from reduced maintenance costs and complexity - not to mention meeting the CSR and Green initiatives you have already set in place.
If you would like to find solutions to improve your energy efficiency click ‘Like’ or send me a comment with your email address to discuss your concerns and needs. In my next post I will be delving deeper into the causes of inefficiencies and discuss the various approaches to making cost reductions.