How to Consolidate Hotel Technology After an Acquisition
The hospitality industry is no stranger to mergers & acquisitions. In fact, it seems that every few months we hear about a new big purchase; most recently Hyatt purchased Two Roads Hospitality, and earlier this year, Wyndham bought LaQuinta. At TrustYou, we are no stranger to our customers’ buys and buy-outs. And a topic that inevitably rises to the surface is: what hotel technology will we keep using, and what do we need to change?
During this transition process, it will be critical for hotel groups to understand how they can optimize and consolidate hotel technology. But with so many programs in today’s hotel tech stack and so many vendors to consider, it can be quite an overwhelming task to get all properties onto the same systems. PMS, IBE, GSS, oh my!
While we can’t help make the decision for you, we can help shed some light on what to consider when given the overwhelming task of identifying and implementing new hotel technology among your new or updated portfolio group.
Consider all-in-one solutions
With hotel technology, sometimes less is more. When the hotel technology industry boomed, hundreds of different vendors came to the market with a product. While some products solved for multiple problems, many just aimed to solve one big issue. As the hotel technology space has grown, however, many vendors now offer all-in-one solutions.
There are many benefits to an all-in-one platform. For example, when considering communication platforms, would you rather use one vendor for email, another for text, and yet another for internal task management? For many hotels, consolidated communication, from all guest and channels, in one inbox, can mean maximum efficiency and less room for error.
In addition to staff efficiency, the process for onboarding and setup can also be more streamlined when using less product overall. Onboarding of multiple products and the training needed is all provided by one company with dedicated resources. This can limit frustrating or lengthy onboarding sessions, and allow for high-quality customer service.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, consolidating technologies can help save you money. TrustYou is the first and only platform to integrate all guest feedback solutions into one, integrated platform. And when our customers decide to purchase more than one product in our platform, they can “bundle and save”, mainly due to the fact that once you are a customer, adding on additional products does not usually require much more maintenance. Therefore, both sides benefit from a secure partnership, for a reasonable cost.
Connect your hotel technology
Apart from choosing all-in-one solutions, it’s important to also consider how each newly acquired software connects with the rest. In today’s tech-driven world, hotel systems need to be perceived as a puzzle, where each piece has to fit perfectly with one another. This ensures the seamless transition of data, maximum efficiency, and higher personalization. Whenever the guest profile is disconnected from feedback, the result is a limited or even no guest insight and a less personal experience.
As we have previously discussed in our Tech Stack eBook, the majority of hotel systems - whether we’re talking about PMSs, channel managers, CRMs, IBEs - are interlinked through APIs. While each individual system has its own functions, the data that they store and manage needs to have a constant flow, in order to not meet a dead end and result in missed opportunities and wasted potential. This is why the integration between systems is crucial and ensures that information is automatically transferred and handled, up until the point where it delivers the best possible results.
Given that hotel-guest communication is crucial when talking about satisfaction rates and positive experiences, TrustYou’s Guest Messaging solution also pairs with hotel PMSs. As a result, hoteliers can easily communicate with guests in real-time, through a multitude of different channels, and at the same time, develop and oversee guest profiles, past experiences, conversations, and feedback. With the addition of guests’ phone numbers, for example, the guest profile can be linked to social profiles, allowing the hotel to further nurture guest loyalty.
Create a clear onboarding timeline
While there’s no easy way to consolidate hotel technology, especially among multiple hotel groups with different processes, vendor selection can make a huge difference.
TrustYou is experienced in conducting global programs and onboarding clients of various sizes. We’ve also successfully developed and conducted change management and user migration programs. Based on our experience, we recommend 5 step roadmap to guarantee a smooth transition, a high user adoption and effective use of the new platform.
The plan begins with a set of Workshop iniziali with key stakeholders. We strongly recommend involving all relevant stakeholders right from the start, both from the relevant hotel companies and the vendor. Giving due consideration to the issues surrounding the project and recognizing the appropriate involvement and management of stakeholders is almost always a critical success factor. We advise to continually engage stakeholders in the project, making them part of the launch i.e. “ambassadors” and allowing them to share the success upon roll-out.
Virtual workshops are followed by the Implementation Phase. This step enables the vendor to ingest all the requirements defined in the virtual workshops and determine setups and workflows in the back office to support regular rollout cycle.
Once processes are established, a Pilot Phase is conducted before rollouts to ensure all critical steps are working, and to iron out any “bugs” found in the process.
As pilot phase enables you to identify areas of improvement, the next step, the Rollout Phase can carry a wide range of rollouts - from small rollouts onboarding couple of hotels to large launches of hundreds of properties at once. Based on our experience, we recommend a tiered rollout strategy beginning with corporate/regional teams and leading to property level initiatives. First, rollout HQ users before corresponding hotel users to familiarize them with the tool and enable them to successfully handle inquiries about the tool from their respective hotel teams.
In the final Post-Rollout Phase regular feedback loops are established between both stakeholders to support ongoing strategies.
All in all, the most important part is your hotel chain’s desired end result. After considering all the steps, you should be able to better determine the right partners who can help you reach your goals. With the wide array of hotel technology available to you, while some sacrifices might need to be made, you should not have to compromise in order to be successful.
Learn more about the hotel technologies available to you in our ebook.