Hoteliers Grow Customer, Franchisee Value with Technology Transformation
Legacy systems challenge established hoteliers to effectively innovate and compete with a myriad of market pressures. From OTAs to timeshares and new market entrants like Oyo, hotel executives must manage many moving parts in order to compete for customers, gain and sustain their loyalty. To compete effectively, a strong IT strategy that supports the ability to counteract competitive pressures via innovation is needed. In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at how a few hoteliers transformed their systems in order to innovate and compete, in the process helping address specific business goals.
Increase Customer Acquisition
Since their introduction, OTAs have only grown market share, and are expected to reach 41% of the US market by 2020. To effectively compete for guests, hotels must become — and remain — OTA friendly, both in the US and globally. At a technical level, this means that hotels must evolve their IT processes, creating and modifying APIs that can easily expose inventory data to meet the needs of any travel search site. And, IT processes must be agile and automated in order to continuously feed fresh data to OTAs.
At one leading hotelier, the technology team needed a process for creating and modifying APIs that could easily expose inventory data to meet the needs of any OTA. DevOps was identified as being able to play a clear role in facilitating agile methodology best practices. Working with our DevOps consulting team, the hotelier applied the Flux7 Enterprise DevOps Framework to provide a foundation for DevOps that now allows the company to rapidly design, build, test and deploy solutions, like APIs for OTAs. In the process, they have been able to accelerate their IT modernization, using freed developer and operational resources to fuel new stages of modernization and innovation. Now the hotel is able to grow its OTA rank and the “billboard effect” by creating and offering special APIs to OTAs that expose more data to the OTA system, continuously offering fresh pricing and room data that OTAs crave.
Launch Dynamic Campaigns
While OTAs play an increasingly important role in customer acquisition, a brand’s website and marketing efforts remain powerful tools for attracting and converting customers. By providing scalable infrastructure and IT automation that increases website agility, hotels can assure a reliable, consistent, and hence positive customer experience.
Moreover, technology teams can play a significant role in revenue generation by contributing to marketing efforts with infrastructure that supports the launch of new campaigns, micro-sites, and experiments. This was just the case at HomeAway where the marketing team came up with a great idea to address a concern that was keeping families at home over the holidays. Prospective customers said that they would travel if it were not for the fact that their children thought that Santa would not find them at Christmas.
As a result, Reroute Santa, a website that would let parents alert Santa of their child’s away-from-home location was born. Working with the AWS consulting team at Flux7, HomeAway was able to launch the campaign to eight different markets and seven different languages around the world while scaling to meet traffic that peaked at different times. Designed for high availability, there was not a single failure over the entire duration of the campaign, allowing it to reach over 300 million unique global viewers.
The special business relationship between brand and franchisee is predicated on the hotel’s ability to help the property owner maximize profits. For hoteliers, that increasingly means making the most of technology to address revenue and operating costs. As brands shift their strategy to ‘real estate light’, competition for franchisees grows, giving property owners more choice – and leverage – in how they list their property.
G6 Hospitality, the parent company of Motel 6 and Studio 6, is undertaking a major transformation of its technology platforms called IT 2.0 which has resulted in the successful move to a fully distributed, multi-cloud platform for distributed reservations, call center, content management capabilities, and more. By transforming its core business systems, G6 is now able to react quickly on behalf of its more than 1,400 locations.
For example, the new cloud-based HotelKey property management system has increased customer satisfaction while decreasing the technology burden on franchisees. As the system that’s used when customers check in to a hotel, the property management system is critical to hotel staff efficiency and the guest experience. The hotelier moved from a traditional on-premise, server-based, hub and spoke architecture solution that required highly customized PCs and several disparate peripherals behind the front desk to the all-new, cloud-based HotelKey property management system. Featuring a highly advanced agile enterprise architecture and an AWS back end, HotelKey is an application that runs on an iPad, making the check-in experience faster, more consistent and more engaging.
With the intuitive and flexible interface, the front desk staff can focus on the guest rather than the traditional, deep PC menus often required to complete the check-in process. Moreover, with fewer hardware components, the HotelKey app is easier to support and maintain. Whereas before the property would have to call central support to diagnose and fix critical hardware failures, (which could result in a lengthy process of ordering, configuring, shipping and reconnecting a system) now properties need only procure a highly-available, off-the-shelf iPad and download the AWS-delivered HotelKey app. With all of their data in the cloud, there is no lengthy reconfiguration to be back up and running—delivering a positive guest experience and resuming operational efficiency.
Increase competitiveness in an asset-lean world to acquire and retain franchisees by offering more revenue opportunities, and optimize operations through digital experiences that reduce overhead and grow data accuracy with technology transformation and an IT Platform that supports the Agile Enterprise.
For further information, download our Hotel Industry Services Guide today or reach out for a quote.