By Joshua Bergen
Selecting the right technology partner for your hotel is no small task. But for many hoteliers, a hard choice becomes easier when they consider one pivotal element of service: the people. Hospitality is, after all, a people-centric industry.
In the hospitality realm, it’s always been about the people who step foot on each hotel property and the entirety of their unique experience that is made up, in large part, by interactions with staff. The relationship between a hotel and its guests is absolutely paramount to its success. So, why should the relationship between a hotel and a technology vendor be any different?
Just as the guest-facing experience relies on high-touch service, the staff-facing experience depends on the technology supplier’s high-touch service. Because, in the hyper-competitive and ever-demanding world of modern hospitality, especially during uncertain times like these, hotels don’t merely need a vendor — they need a partner. And while price and functionality will always play an integral role in buying decisions, a few key considerations should also guide the path to purchase.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Industry Expertise
Let’s face it; hotel operations are complicated. So, why should the support offered to hotels by technology vendors subscribe to a format which, ultimately, doesn’t effectively serve the hotel’s service model? During your vetting process, consider the following questions:
- Where are the support and service representatives located?
- Do they work in conflicting timezones, which lead to delayed responses?
- Are your daily contacts hospitality industry experts or just generalists in tech support?
- Are there language barriers?
- Will you have access to a dedicated account manager who is there when you need help?
A great technology partner should have the breadth of knowledge and experience to understand and support your business from end-to-end. They should be able to help you maximize your investment and ensure you receive the best value from your solution well into the future.
Do Look for Responsive Support
Whether considering a new sales and catering platform, CRM, or PMS, hotels should remember that server crashes or security breaches rarely happen at a convenient time. And although we wish they never happened at all, we understand that certain malfunctions are inevitable and, without the appropriate response from vendors, hoteliers risk costly downtime.
With this in mind, it’s crucial to identify those vendors who offer a range of tangible 24/7 support options to provide assistance and workarounds as quickly as possible in the case of any unexpected situation.
Do Check References
When it comes to great service, don’t just take a vendor’s word for it. Take their client’s word for it. A technology partner should have a track record that proves they can handle whatever you throw their way.
What are their current and former clients saying about them? Do they have a robust portfolio of satisfied clients, many of whom have left satisfied testimonials in their wake? What documented achievements have they helped their clients to make? Ask the customers questions about how well the potential partner responds, interacts, and supports them and the technology.
Don’t Think Big is Better
Technology is ever-evolving, and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to every service and need. Remember, too big can be as much of a problem as too small. With this in mind, hoteliers should consider how effectively the technology providers have tackled similar projects in the past to understand the type of partnership to expect and evaluate whether or not they’re a good fit.
Remember, smaller companies tend to innovate faster without all the bureaucracy, respond to client feedback and requests when it comes to development, and focus more on providing their customers more personal attention.
Do Look to the Future
Technology isn’t meant to only address problems in the present; rather, it’s also meant to guide its users seamlessly into the future. As the hospitality industry continues to pivot, evolve, and adapt to emerging trends and demands, hotels will rely on those platforms which allow them to be responsive and agile in their approach. Not only that, but there should always be room for growth.
When vetting prospective vendors, consider the following:
- Is the platform scalable? Will it aid in the growth of your hotel overtime?
- Do they have a vision for the future of both their platform and the hospitality industry at large?
- Does the platform offer easy integrations for cross-platform functionality as your hotel grows its technology stack?
- Does the platform offer flexible packages and services options?
- Does the vendor offer more than one solution and platform?
- Is exceptional customer service a key part of their internal company culture?
The implementation of new technology isn’t simply a purchase; it’s the start of a long term relationship between the hotel and the vendor. A people-first service approach can predetermine a given solution’s success within a property and, subsequently, stands to impact the hotel’s success well into the future. Following this guide, hoteliers can identify those vendors that offer a sincere and heartfelt commitment to their clients’ success and, in turn, empower their team to do their most outstanding work while keeping their customers at the forefront of everything they do.