What do you think of when you think of the hospitality industry?
A friendly front desk clerk? Someone coming to the curb to take your luggage inside so that you can get checked in? Free coffee in the lobby? Or a cookie perhaps?
Whatever you think of the hospitality industry, Tracy Bingham, Owner of Know Now UK, is here to tell you that beneath the surface there is much more happening than the average hotel goer will ever realize.
Sadly, from a technology perspective, a lot of what goes on beneath the surface isn’t pretty.
“The vast majority of hotels…are still relying on a shocking amount of manual work to make sure that everything connects and functions properly.”
– Tracy Bingham
So, what can be done about it? Thankfully, Tracy and her team at Know Now are experts in aligning teams and systems within the hospitality space to be truly integrated and to work together.
The Problem with Disconnected Systems
The biggest issue that Tracy sees is simply a patchwork quilt of IT systems that were never meant to be glued together.
The front desk may have regular meetings with the events team, but there is no real sync between the two, so they’re never quite sure what the other one is doing. It might not seem like a big deal, but what ends up happening is that the sales team is hugely impacted.
It is chaotic, confusing, and stressful for the sales team to approach customers without a good picture of what is happening in the hotel at any given moment.
Unfortunately, this has become the new norm in far too many resorts and hotels. It’s so hard to get everything connected and functioning that it becomes familiar and folks learn to deal with it.
“There’s always things that are going to be lost in translation when everything is open to human error.”
– Tracy Bingham
This is not a norm that everyone is required to accept.
What is the Solution?
The number one solution to the coordination problem is simple: knowledge.
When teams are knowledgeable, when they know for sure what’s going on and every team feels like they’re informed and connected, it gives a sense of power, ownership, and purpose.
On a recent project at a well-known hospitality company, the team at Know Now worked with a hotel to bring data from six different data feeds and pushed this data into Salesforce, which enabled the sales team to be very specific and personal with the customers.
Now the sales team knew if a customer wanted to book a golf day, a spa trip, or a guest room. This knowledge allowed them to manage their customer’s needs professionally.
How to Achieve the Human and Technology Integration?
While knowledge integration sounds great in principal, what are the tangible steps? What are the most significant ingredients you need to bring to synch customer facing staff with IT services?
You need to have a clear understanding of what systems and technologies you want to integrate, why you want to integrate it, and how it’s going to look before you even start the project. As the timeless adage goes, “if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
2. Look at the Big Picture:
When you can look at the whole picture, you can reverse engineer the solution and start putting policies, processes, and procedures in place to get you where you want to go.
Sometimes hoteliers have developed a language of their own, usually spoken in acronyms. It doesn’t help that IT services have another language of their own as well, and before you know it, nobody knows what anybody else is talking about. When you’re all on the same page, speaking the same language, there’s clarity in what’s happening, and that’s good for everybody.
Everybody wants to work well together. A well integrated IT structure can take your hospitality business from one of chaos and confusion to one of unity and clarity, all by aligning your IT systems together.
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