The New Role of Hotel Management Software
Career Path : Hotel Management
The hospitality industry has undergone rapid changes in recent times, and none more powerful than those brought about by digitization. Most recently, the hotel management industry has been pivoting around two new trends: the rise of “cloud-based” or remote software management, and the needs of the hyper-connected traveler.
The New Traveler and Social Media
Travelers’ expectations are shifting in tune with the digital revolution. Wi-Fi is becoming standard, with 78% of consumers reporting free Wi-Fi as a factor in booking decisions. Conversely, budget-conscious travelers no longer mind giving up the “complete” experience – gym and pool access, for example – to save a little cash.
Travelers have also come to expect a more personal relationship with their accommodations. Direct communication via hotel blogs and social media has begun to replace the traditional OTA-augmented model, with franchises creating teams solely for the monitoring of social media profiles. An establishment may gain an edge by acting as its own OTA; customers will remember the site that helped them find other lodgings, when their own hotel was full.
Software as a Service
Rather than having to worry about the hefty start-up costs once required for digital infrastructure, hoteliers are turning to web-based solutions – applications which need only a server and a monthly service charge. Software as a service doesn’t require a complicated start-up assembly or hardware maintenance, but the fixed fee may offset potential gains.
Still, modern management software – especially all-in-one, integrated packages – offers unified, synchronized access to a franchise’s Big Data, increasing productivity and preventing the hassle of the fragmented infrastructure. Computer networking schools are beginning to consider the clunky local assembly a thing of the past; there’s an app for practically everything, from property management to payroll records.
With more and more information being stored online, the concerns are rising over the security of customers’ information. A recent study analyzing the level of security provided by different hotel software infrastructures revealed a depressingly mixed bag. Hotels with older systems were targeted most often, but many instances involved users’ personal connections, rather than hotel servers themselves.
Establishments who serve high-risk clients (those who deal with sensitive information) should consider installing virtual local area networks (VLANs), which afford the same security as a physically local network, with the added benefit of keeping servers securely out of hackers’ reach.
The market for remote management software is both prosperous and diverse, with newcomers dominating and computer networking schools adapting. Software developers now offer everything from mobile-based room service menus and concierge access to hotel management training and to-do lists for maintenance workers. In the short-term, this means more confusion in the marketplace, as buyers struggle to make intelligent decisions about a dizzying array of untested offers.
For those who can afford to wait, though, the newly energized market will shrink with competition, leaving hoteliers with a wealth of quality offerings.
Overall, things are looking up for the hospitality business. New technology enables managers to see more clearly where opportunities are, and how to connect to their customers. The industry is far from immune to the integration trend, and may just benefit from it.
Visit Academy of Learning College Alberta for more information on hotel management training.