The Path to Successful Change Management – FAQ with an Expert

Change is rarely easy. In hospitality, keeping up with trends and technology innovations is not only a must but the actual key to surviving within such a competitive environment. New generations of travelers arise along with different demands and expectations and new hotel tech is developed and perfected every day. Darwin was not wrong when referring to the survival of the fittest, even though we are now downsizing the concept to fit the business area. In hospitality, you either adapt to change or you risk to become obsolete.

Since the topic of change management is one that we tackle whenever onboarding a new client, we wanted to share the insights of the entire process. We talked to an expert on the matter, Mike Steinberg, who is TrustYou’s Project Manager for Enterprise Services and is in charge of the change management process of our biggest clients. We asked him the most pressing questions about what hoteliers face when making a software change, what are the challenges of the process as well as the benefits, and what is TrustYou’s unique approach towards service excellence throughout the onboarding process. Here’s what we had to say:

What is usually the biggest concern that hoteliers have when considering the change in software?

Naturally, there are various concerns that come with changes in software and processes within the hotel industry. The more often a software is used by different stakeholders (e.g PMS), the more change-adverse the end-users tend to be. It’s understandable, after all, especially on a large scale, because hotel workers already have so much to juggle with on a daily basis. I’d say the main concerns are the gap in productivity that can occur due to the adaptation to a new software and the learning period, as well as the increased complexity. Users will never want to switch from a user-friendly solution to a hard-to-use one. Also, there’s the matter of unmet expectations: users fear that the new software will not increase the value of its operations and fall short in terms of expectations. Another big concern that I have noticed is in regard to integrations: hoteliers want to be certain that previous existing integrations will work seamlessly with the new acquisition and the fear of it not performing as expected can hold them back.

What is the most challenging part of the change process and how can it be properly handled?

When a hotel decides to change their software, they are looking for an increase in value. The new software is expected to be better, faster, more user-friendly, and provide an overall better experience with better results, compared to the previous one. The challenge lies in communicating this message transparently across the entire organization and ensuring that the transition and adoption phases are as smooth and as fast as possible. This can be tackled efficiently through transparent internal communication and trainings within the hotel, as well as a well structured and efficient onboarding process with the new partner. I’d say that overall, honest communication between provider and buyer is crucial.

What are the best and most impactful assets of a modern hotel software solution?

Due to automation and the possibility of seamless integrations, the hotel industry is now trending towards efficiency in terms of hotel management. This is why, in my opinion, one of the most impactful assets of an efficient hotel software is compatibility and integration capabilities. Data needs to travel fast, to transform, to be turned into actionable insights, and this can only be done with the aid of multiple solutions. A stand-alone software can only go so far. For example, guest data is shared between the PMS or CRM and ORM system, which shares competition KPIs with the RMS, which in turn influences the pricing displayed on the booking engine. All solutions exchange data in an efficient manner and a software that cannot cope with this networking rarely produces much value to the hoteliers. My advice would be to always keep in mind the connectivity options between PMSs, CRMs, RMSs, ORMs, channel managers, and IBEs – these are the pillars of a solid hotel network.

How can hoteliers ensure a seamless transition from one system to another?

Through a change management culture: a natural approach to the transition to new software, which brings many new learning and changes with it. A culture that is open to change (e.g. through trainings, workshops, open communication) eases the adoption process of new technologies and this is something that pays off in the long term because changes are and will always be necessary. Here’s what I strongly suggest:

Understand the value behind new software solutions: Ask questions that are meant to unveil the benefits of the change and the new software and clearly discuss the use case intended for that specific solution in order to manage expectations.

Share a snapshot of the current integrations and the desired ones: When browsing for new software solutions, it is important to make clear the desired integrations that the new software should fulfill with its provider. Does your software provide seamless integrations with my systems A, B, and C? What are the requirements and steps to be taken to ensure this integration? Make sure to address every single question before making an acquisition.

Focus on learning: Just as internal training, external trainings are great ways to speed up the learning curve. It is now crucial to look for software solutions that not only provide benefits from the technical perspective but also provide a strong customer support and that ensure a smooth transition and onboarding onto your new solution.

What is the most important stage of the transition process? (research, preparation, implementation, training?)

All stages are important. The devil lies in the details and missing any of these stages might result in unpleasant surprises further down the road. It’s important to research the potential benefits of a new software, to prepare the staff and the other existing software for the transition. And also to look for a partner/provider that will provide first quality assistance throughout the implementation stage, as well as during the entire usage period. 

What is TrustYou’s approach toward change management?

We think there is no “one size fits them all” approach towards change management. Every business is different, everyone expects and needs different things. This is why change sometimes comes with uncertainty, especially in such a complex landscape as the one of software solutions. Reducing this uncertainty and advocating for transparency and knowledge sharing are principles that foster change management and help remove barriers. These are the exact principles that we use to guide our work. It is important to focus on both short-term wins as well as an overall strategic vision and end results. It is equally important to focus on the questions to be answered when addressing change: why (needs), what (solution), how (implement and sustain). 

How does TrustYou help clients make the switch from their previous feedback solution to ours?

We take it step-by-step and make sure that we support our clients during every single stage of the change process. Here’s a short overview of how the change management “project” works within TrustYou:

Research: We provide detailed product descriptions, consultations on the IT landscape and integrations, provided by technical experts. We also ensure communication with various key stakeholders, as well as software demos for a proper product discovery and understanding.

Transition: TrustYou provides a clear onboarding plan with diverse milestones to ensure a smooth transition into the new software solution. A dedicated team ensures no questions remain answered and facilitates an open feedback approach, where the customer can openly express any questions or concerns.

Implementation: We guide the customer through the implementation phase with a dedicated onboarding team, product trainings, and learning material to ensure an early user adoption.

Constant support: With dedicated and professional client success and key account management teams, TrustYou ensures to always have two ears open for customer questions and feedback. Regular calls, on-site visits, dedicated online trainings, chat support, and multi-language email support are some of the many methods TrustYou employs to ensure that the collaboration does not stop at the delivery of the implementation phase.

To learn more about the change management process of a feedback management solution, make sure to check out our free resources: Quick-Start Guide To Software Solutions For Hotel Chains and Go-To Guide for Enterprise-Level Implementation.