By Aaron Shepherd, CEO and Co-Founder of APS (Above Property Services)
The legend of the Holy Grail has inspired and mystified people for centuries. And who can forget the hilarious scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where God appears in the clouds — and commands Arthur and his knights to seek the Holy Grail. This concept also applies to business as companies search for solutions with extraordinary powers.
The quest for hotel and travel companies is navigating the vast landscape of what tools and systems to use, understanding what delivers on their needs, and implementing them effectively to ensure the most return on their investments.
When it comes to the distribution landscape, there have always been two sides – supply and demand. Separate systems remain siloed as either demand providers or supply providers and thus have created a loss of marketing continuity between those systems. Updates are often done manually, a time-consuming, error-prone task.
Now, to be fair, the industry has made significant progress on the integration front over the past few years. And this interconnectedness doesn’t come easy. Even the best integrations between these systems have their challenges. And the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Incomplete data, lost connections, speed, flexibility, limited content, and the lack of true rate optimization all paint a picture of missed revenue opportunities and friction. In addition, the hotel and travel space have seen changes with consumers becoming more connected, less loyal, more informed, and channel-agnostic.
This leads us to the realization that what’s really needed aren’t siloed systems – but a single end-to-end solution that maintains both supply and demand connections in their platform. And much like the search for the Holy Grail, many technology innovators have taken the journey, but none have succeeded. That is, until now.
There Should Be No Limits on ‘Limitless’ Technology
Within the world of travel and hospitality, the product is guest service, and the goal of achieving excellent service is the sun around which the industry’s solar system of efforts revolves. With this in mind, we often look to define the appeal and/or success of a technology solution by the promise it makes to guests. Does it streamline experiences? Does it enhance important touch-points? Does it offer guests connectivity and convenience? Does it allow staff to excel within their roles? Does it boost conversion rates and direct bookings?
These questions fail to consider the other half of the equation: the business itself. Instead of limiting hotels and travel companies, technology should support simplicity and maximize the bottom line. A truly limitless platform is built upon a microservice infrastructure with the cross-application functionality and horizontal scalability of an open API set that services both supply and demand.
Similar to Amazon Web Service’s on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs, the Above Property Services platform was designed to empower hotels and travel companies with the added ability to master the supply side of the industry, as well as the demand side. Finally, with the help of the industry’s first true travel platform developed by APS, all parties benefit: consumers, supply, and demand – everyone is offered a better experience, and everyone wins.
Seamless Supply and Demand
There are countless benefits to a web service-based, multi-cloud platform that breaks hotel business functions into individual components with disparate functionality. From enhanced scalability to reduced costs, improved agility and security, the elimination of data silos, and mitigating inefficient workflows, a microservice architecture allows hotels to build a truly customized solution in a frictionless manner. But perhaps more importantly, in a world where business is usually dictated by technology, the APS platform awards hotel and travel brands the opportunity to flip this on its head and trade with any type of entity (supply or demand) in any way they so choose.
Typically, the supply side of distribution is viewed as an expense. In contrast, the demand side is considered a revenue generator – even if a hotel has to pay a 20% commission to connect to a demand generator like Google Ads and OTAs. After all, when a hotel’s goal is to maximize occupancy and bring more attention to the hotel, demand generators act as an integral catalyst to capture interest and redirect it to suppliers (the hotel). However, hotel brands can finally cross that boundary with a platform that can service both sides of the business, gaining control over inventory and increasing visibility into how it’s sold. Also, when both sides of the business have historically been mismanaged by siloes and switches, leveraging a single end-to-end platform that delivers inventory (channel manager) and bookings (CRS, etc.) can finally establish marketing continuity.
There is a world of possibilities in which distribution strategies can expand into activities, rental vehicles, and air travel, in addition to their hotel supply. In simple terms, a single travel platform that lives to process any business model, maintaining both supply and demand, enables hotels and travel companies to choose their own business destiny and be masters of their own future.