By Glenn Wirick
It’s been hotly debated within the travel technology industry whether putting all of your eggs in one vendor basket, or spreading those eggs around, is better. Essentially, is a “one-stop shop” technology provider better than having a “best-of-breed” strategy that includes the use of many different technologies, services, and platforms?
Which is the right choice for your business? And does it even matter?
It does matter. A lot.
Hoteliers deserve control of their technology, simpler solutions and outstanding service providers. While “one-stop shop” once meant that a single technology vendor offered all of the components of the solution, services, and support, today’s one-stop shop is about being a single source of support, services, and expertise to help customers in their business journey. Within the hotel industry, it can be extremely challenging to rely on a solution that is delivered by only one technology vendor. As the marketplace matures and new technologies emerge, there will always be the requirement to integrate primary systems with secondary and periphery platforms. However, the systems that enable hotels to increase profitability should be central to their technology strategy, and thus, a one-stop shop environment has become the preferred choice.
When looking at primary systems such as a CRS, CRO, call center support and booking engine, it’s clear that they are all highly complementary to one another and really should be procured from a single provider. Since each one of these solutions focuses on driving revenues, the hotelier can work in close collaboration with their solutions provider to leverage their combined domain knowledge to enhance the implementation process.
Highly regarded for their customer-centric service, support headaches are also more likely to be minimized in the one-stop shop scenario. Typically, a single-source solution is easier to buy, tailor and customize to your unique needs. You can also expect to hold one single vendor accountable for any issues that arise with your software. This eliminates the “finger-pointing” to one vendor over another. Using a single vendor essentially gives you a one-stop-shop for your solution fixes and upgrades. The hotel or hotel group can also depend on a dedicated account executive to help them use the platform at its optimal level and assist with any support issues.
There is a plethora of companies that litter the side of the ‘hotel technology highway’ that attempted to do it all but were never able to succeed. They strained to overreach their capabilities and failed to focus on their primary mission. A single-source tech provider can be a great way to go if the company has a focus on driving visibility and revenues but doesn’t want to be all things to everyone.
When it comes to the best-of-breed consideration, hoteliers must ask themselves several critical questions. Will the systems integrate as well as each provider claims they will? Do each of the systems within their stand-alone environment work as effectively as part of a larger collective? Finally, who do I call (and who is accountable) when something goes wrong? This is not to say that best-of-breed strategies are not the right position to take. One must determine if the systems are primary to their success or just in the periphery. If indeed they are on the periphery such as mobile check-in solutions, guest engagement (texting) platforms, and so on, then yes, having these as best-of-breed solutions does make sense. If one of the systems were to collapse, it would not have a detrimental effect on operations or revenues in the short term. However, if a hotel’s CRS or PMS system were to crash, the negative impact would be felt immediately.
While all of these elements can be significant, diving into the deep end without first learning to swim will result in failure. No doubt, the debate will continue as hoteliers continue to embark on the technology journey – weighing the pros and cons of one-stop versus piecemeal best-in-breed vendors. The result will always come down to one inevitable conclusion. Rarely is there a one-size-fits-all answer. The question is, which one is right for you?
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