Hotelier Q&A: The Hotel Tech Stack And the Best Hotel Tech Investments
A lot can change in just a few years – especially in the hospitality industry. For today's hotelier, creating and maintaining a hotel tech stack is a constant challenge. David Tuza began his career in hospitality as the 10th employee at a then little-known company called SiteMinder. Pretty soon, the Australian-based company known for its cloud-based hospitality software had gone global, expanding to over 400 employees with over 22,000 hotels under its belt.
After spending seven years at SiteMinder, Tuza joined Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited as their Technical Operations Manager, where he lives and breathes everything hotel technology.
We sat down with him to learn more about the tools he can’t live without and took a peak at what his hotel technology stack looks like.
TrustYou: Tell us about a day in the life of a Technical Operations Manager.
David Tuza: I’d say I’m a bit of a generalist. I’m responsible for maintaining all our websites, performance reporting, bug fixing, supervising our developers and our design agency. I act as the interface point with some of our other teams and work with sales to make sure they’re getting the leads they need from the hotel. I help integrate our websites with our reservation system. The day-to-day varies.
TrustYou: What’s your best hotel technology investment?
Tuza: The best investment for us has been a product we just purchased called Siteimprove. We were using a couple of products previously to do things like SEO, curating content etc. that were taking way too much time. It’s been really good at policing the content on our website, policing our SEO. We’re making slow, incremental improvements in terms of our websites’ SEO and accessibility.
TrustYou: You touch lots of different technology. How many technology tools do you use to manage your hotel’s operations? Which ones can’t you live without?
Tuza: I would say about five on a daily basis and probably 10-15 every month. The ones we can’t live without are Siteimprove for sure. TrustYou is critical for us – reputation management is a huge concern especially for large hotels positioned in competitive environments. Google analytics is invaluable to us as a hotel group and to my job personally. Without it, I wouldn't have any idea what's going on with our websites.
We use Oracle’s OPERA software as the Central Reservations System (CRS) for all our hotels and it’s also the backbone of all of the websites. It’s also the point of sale software at both our hotels and food & beverage venues, and provides us with distribution tech for GDSs, OTAs, and more.
I know our distribution team works with SiteMinder on a regular basis - having that distribution tool is a pretty important thing for us. There are lots of OTAs and nobody wants to be spending hours and hours managing those.
TrustYou: Are you investing in any new hotel technology in 2017?
Tuza: We’re always looking to invest more as intelligently as we can and to squeeze that extra little bit of value out of technology. Personally, I would like us to invest in more auto testing software. When we release new functionality, we of course make sure it's fully tested but we don't have a dedicated QA team. So with technology specifically for this, every time we need to push out new functionality, we would have a suite of tests to pass, and ease the burden.
TrustYou: What’s one technology trend you’re keeping your eyes on in the New Year?
Tuza: One trend that is always near and dear to my heart has been meta search and I mean stuff like Google hotel ads, trivago, TripAdvisor, etc. There’s a lot in the space right now and there are some tools that will connect you to meta search but I can't say it's particularly been done well. I think it's a challenge for a traditional hotel company to integrate something new like meta search into their usual suite of channels. Hotels work with traditional sales channels like GDS and OTA channels for ages and ages but meta search is new.
The traditional domain of hotel marketing is not meta search. Even for a revenue manager team, the idea of CPC (cost per click) is pretty foreign to them, because typically in sales you’re paying for commission – the cost per acquisition. CPC is a new field and I don't think it's been gracefully integrated in normal hotel operations. We’re buying a service that does that but I want to see it done better and I’m waiting for someone to shake up the space.
Learn more about David Tuza's hotel tech stack in this infographic: