With revenues of $570.18 billion in 2017, the global hotel industry is a force to be reckoned with.
But, faced with more competition that ever before, hotels and hospitality businesses are having to strive harder to secure that all-important competitive advantage, finding new and innovative ways to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace. In recent years, it’s been a case of go big or go niche.
Large chains grow ever larger, and boutique entities are coming up with ever-more unusual experiences and concepts to attract new customers, from truffle hunting to lobster fishing.
With customers all expecting more personalised, exciting, tailor-made experiences as standard, the rush to provide such offerings can sometimes be detrimental.
Often, not enough thought is given to what back office support is needed to not only ascertain which services customers want and will pay for, but to underpin the successful delivery of these services. In short, robust back office systems are key to innovating at the customer-facing level, with even the slightest flaw in the back office function causing the overall proposition to fall apart.
In light of this, more and more hotel and hospitality businesses are reviewing their back office processes in an effort to lay the solid foundations on which to build exciting new services and experiences that are delivered consistently well.
It’s not uncommon to find a network of outdated, legacy systems in place, solutions that have been bolted together in an attempt to unite all areas of the businesses. These workarounds simply aren’t efficient enough to keep pace with the hotel and hospitality industry of today.
The time and effort it takes to amalgamate information from different departments and systems result in outdated, inaccurate information being used to inform important strategic decisions. It’s impossible to achieve a comprehensive, up-to-date view of not only the business, but customers as well, leading to ineffective, delayed decision-making.
Inevitable this lack of insight impedes hotels’ ability to provide the innovative experiences and the quality of customer service that are needed to differentiate themselves.
To rectify this back office disconnect, more hotels and hospitality businesses are choosing to unite their back office functions with a single, centralised, often cloud-based solution, that automatically pulls information together from right across the business.
This not only streamlines multiple, diverse back office processes, freeing-up valuable time to concentrate on more strategic, value-add activities, but it breaks down long-held silos of information, furnishing the right people with the right data at the right time, data that is accurate, consistent and just what’s needed to underpin a slick, customer-facing operation.
Additionally, access to an accurate, comprehensive picture of your customers, that only a joined-up system can provide, ensures the services you’re offering are targeted to meet their specific needs. By pulling together information from different areas of the business, the right systems can analyse customer behaviours, preferences, spending patterns, to name but three, helping to better anticipate demand, improving your forecasting and shaping the ideas that will appeal to your target market, all while optimising promotional and pricing strategies in line with the in-depth business intelligence that’s now available at the click of a mouse.
Where older, disjointed systems have previously held back expansion and growth plans, the right centralised system will scale-up as the business grows, growing alongside the business as well as providing the flexibility and agility to deal comfortably with any seasonal peaks in demand and service levels.
Performance management is greatly enhanced too, with a standardised solution making it much easier to compare like-for-like, be it across departments or different business sites, providing the right information to inform operational and strategic change wherever needed to boost performance.
It’s simply not enough to deliver unique and unusual services and experiences for customers. To ensure your hotel or hospitality businesses stands head and shoulders above the rest, services have to be delivered well, every time. To give your business the ability to deliver the right services, at the right margins, to the right people, with customer service excellence at the very heart, your back office processes need to be in tip-top condition. With a centralised, agile back-office solution in place, what results is a seamless back-office function, underpinning a polished, responsive customer-facing operation for increased market-share and that all-important boost to profitability.