By Ryan Hamilton, Co-Founder, SalesAndCatering.com and Bluebuzzard Technology Group
Within the hospitality space, groups and events represent a profitable business segment. From events to group bookings and corporate meetings, the sales and catering software hotels have in place will ultimately make or break a hotel’s ability to attract high-ticket group business. With this in mind, many hotels (independent properties and chains alike) have begun seeking more modern, cloud-based S&C platforms that provide their teams with the tools needed to attract group business and, more importantly, ‘wow’ event planners and attendees. Hoteliers today feel like they have outgrown what seemed like cutting-edge technology just five years ago in a world that changes at a supersonic speed.
So is it time for a new S&C system? Maybe you’ve known it for a while, but it’s easy to become complacent with technology and accept it for what it can and can’t do. Whether you are currently using a legacy S&C platform, spreadsheets, your email, or a combination of all of these, you are not alone if you are frustrated by its limitations or complexities. Recognizing change is needed is the first step to making it happen.
But change can be hard. And when it comes to your hotel’s S&C system – you may think switching will be just too complicated and expensive. After all, a lot of time and effort was put into your current system: implementation, customization, onboarding, and user training, not to mention the cost of upgrades and third-party integrations. Another worry is transferring your old setup and database into the new system.
But what is the cost if you don’t make a much-needed change? The truth is, You should be able to rely on your S&C technology partner to help you make a smooth and painless transition. This is one big reason to look for a partner, not just a vendor.
To determine whether or not you’re ready for an S&C system switch, read through the list of symptoms below and see whether you find any of them familiar.
1. Your Sales Team Needs More Horsepower
Let’s face it, results speak for themselves. If your sales team isn’t productively and proactively managing RFPs in a timely manner, they likely don’t have the right tools to excel at their job. Or worse yet, your salespeople refuse to use the system you have. And pandemic or not, the need to be able to work from anywhere is going to be more common than ever before. Capturing and fulfilling group business is no small task, so your sales and catering system should be capable of doing it all from anywhere, anytime.
You’ll therefore need an S&C system that can be securely accessed from anywhere and provide you with the insights you need to make sure you can support your team in the most efficient way possible. The modern solution needs to be cloud-based, from tracking and managing online RFPs and leads to creating digital proposals, sending contracts and forms, and obtaining e-signatures. The system should also be managing catering tasks, blocking guest room, generating BEO’s and so much more. Perhaps more importantly, your sales and catering system should ensure that relevant information and resources are easy to find, empowering your team to manage client relationships with ease and excellence.
With the right platform, sales and catering teams can keep lines of communication with clients and colleagues open while building high-touch, long-term relationships with customers, maintaining project visibility across the organization, and maximizing performance.
2. Your tech stack is fragmented
As your business has grown, you’ve probably added more and more software to meet your customer’s demands and expectations. The result is often a fragmented experience for your guests, team, and business.
Never underestimate the negative impact of fragmented tech stacks and workflows. Hotel sales teams need to access platforms and processes to streamline and simplify daily workflows. Team-wide productivity will inevitably be compromised if sales representatives are constantly asked to switch between different platforms or applications. You should be able to service your customer without ever having to leave your S&C platform. Hotels should seek out an end-to-end, cloud-based platform that offers a truly unified user experience.
Simply stated, if your S&C platform doesn’t save your team time, increase sales, manage everything in one place, simplify workflows, and offer in-depth reporting and ongoing platform support, it’s time to switch to a platform that does.
3. You dislike your system’s UI and UX
While we’re on the topic of the user experience, it’s important to highlight the usability of an S&C platform. More often than not, legacy systems are clunky and counterintuitive and may deter sales teams from utilizing the platform’s full functionality. Moreover, these systems are strictly on-property platforms that inhibit the freedom and flexibility that hospitality workers need to cultivate dynamic relationships with guests and customers.
According to research by Software Advice, the main reason why sales reps dislike S&C systems is that they are time-stealers and difficult to use. It’s a fact – if salespeople are forced to spend time on a complex and confusing system, they’ll ditch it, ruining the whole purpose of having a solution.
That’s why, if you consider switching to a new S&C system, it’s paramount to choose a system that’ll help your sales team quickly enter and access important information, as well as automate the essential sales processes.
Fortunately, new technology doesn’t involve a more complicated interface. Instead, new-age S&C platforms are often incredibly easy to navigate, requiring minimal training and ensuring staff-wide adoption.
After all, software is only effective if used consistently and regularly, and the sales and catering segment requires a quick turnaround. With a cloud-based S&C system that was designed with the end-user (the hotel sales team) in mind, hotels can unlock the full potential of their teams’ talent. Finally, hotels can easily manage their sales and catering workflows while spending less time in the CRM and more time where it matters most: with customers. Moreover, leveraging a user-friendly, intuitive system to standardize your sales and catering best practices also places hotels in a position to continuously scale and grow their group business segment across multiple properties.
4. Your system has been acquired or merged by another company
While disruption is a crucial part of technological evolution, the frequent disruption of tech providers due to mergers, acquisitions, and organizational changes can compromise hotel service. I’m hearing more and more concerns about these purchases and all the uncertainties they can stir up.
If your S&C technology provider has been purchased or merged, what does that mean for your business? Can you trust this new company? What level of risk are you facing?
According to Harvard Business Review, when companies merge, customer experience is often overlooked — yet it’s arguably one of the most important aspects of any company. If another vendor has bought your system and your property feels lost in the shuffle, it may be time to consider switching to a vendor with a more consistent organizational legacy.
Another frustration might be your current vendor’s lack of support and understanding.
At SalesAndCatering.com, we’ve spent over 30 years working with the same expert team to develop an affordable, powerful, future-proof S&C solution to serve the needs of hotels and backed by world-class customer support.
5. Your system is a cost rather than a revenue generator
Hotels frequently are apprehensive of new technology due to the perceived cost of replacing existing systems, and platforms with a high ticket price may be unaffordable for independent properties working tirelessly to protect their bottom line.
Fortunately, new-age technology doesn’t have to break the bank. On the contrary, it can actually save and make your property money. Some modern S&C platforms, like SalesAndCatering.com’s STS Cloud, offer a full range of group room and catering management without the per user and added overhead markups of our competitors. Not only that, but by increasing revenue opportunities for the hotel via intuitive automation, streamlined workflows, and advanced reporting, sales teams can easily collect leads, send proposals, manage bookings and plan resources for events and meetings. This empowers hotels to start viewing their S&C system as a revenue generator rather than a cost of doing business.
The best part? If you work with the right partner, switching systems isn’t only affordable – it’s easy. Since the system is 100% web-based, there is no software to install or maintain, and product updates are always delivered in real-time. With an intuitive interface, data entry is smooth and easy (even for the busiest sales and teams), and our support team offers 24/7, one-on-one support to understand and address your needs. In an era of increasingly impersonal service amongst tech providers, we prefer to stay connected with our clients while ensuring their long-term growth and success.
You can even extend your STS-Cloud functionality with ProposalPath online sales proposals, e-signatures, online RFPs, and other time-saving add-ons. The solution also integrates with many of the best-of-breed industry PMS solutions, enabling you to do your best work effortlessly.
If you self-diagnosed yourself and found a few symptoms that describe the relationship with your current S&C system, then it’s time to act – and the great news is that STS Cloud can address each of these tell-tale signs.
Ready to learn more? Click here to discover what STS Cloud can do for you.