There are tons of information out there about the PROS and CONS of SaaS (Software as a Service), but not so many take a good look at the hospitality industry. Whether you are a new starter or an existing business shifting from in-house IT infrastructure to online services, there are things you should know and consider in advance to ensure your cloudless future with your new cloud hotel software. IT technology, though being a vital part of the hotel management, might not enter the top competencies of a hotelier, especially in smaller properties where dedicated IT staff is not provided. Here are some thoughts on the matter that might prove helpful.
"Push your business technology into the cloud and get back to focusing on your core competencies."
What is SaaS and does it come from a thundercloud?
SaaS is a delivery method by which applications are hosted outside the property, in the so called cloud, and users access their apps via Internet access and browser.
- Low cost. The main and undeniable advantage of this new platform is that the costs of the business for IT infrastructure in the meaning of servers, network, maintenance, data backups and storage capacity are actually set to zero.
- No location, no equipment. Other revolutionary change that SaaS brought to the world is that business apps became accessible from everywhere, at any time, just using an Internet-enabled device.
- Automatic software updates without any interaction by the customer. Remember the last time your system administrator came and told you a new update was released? In the cloud, you are always logging in to the last updated version of your hotel PMS.
Will not dwell more on these benefits of the cloud software, as they are already well known and frequently referenced in any information source. Just one more thing to add -
Scalability and price optimisation
Less discussed is the ratable cost of cloud hotel software. Speaking particularly about hospitality, the price of many online hotel management systems is defined per room/per month. Thus, seasonal properties can optimise their expenditure by paying only for the months they are active. In other words,
hoteliers can replace long-term investment in hardware and software with much more bearable monthly operational costs.
Some cloud based property management systems go even further by pricing a lot of features separately and allowing their customers to enable/disable them. This means that hoteliers can adjust even the functionality range of their management software according to their current needs and pay only for what they have really used. If cost saving is the King these days, fair pricing must be the Queen.
A fact's a fact: technology has changed our mindset
What also remains underrated about SaaS, or cloud computing, is its acceptance. The new generation of employees, the ones that have Facebook profiles from their early childhood, so to say, are more likely to embrace the new look and operation logics of the cloud applications. It is not because they are less intelligent or not willing to work, but simply because this is how the most contemporary software and online platforms are designed. On the other hand, mastering the web based hotel management software could take young employees as little as just an hour.
For those who remember the replacement of command line based software by graphical user interface, cloud technology is the next achievement of a comparable rank.
And while talking about generations, the above also applies in full to hotel customers. Most people are almost addicted to the ability to buy online, bank online, reserve a seat in the cinema online, even check-in for a flight via Internet and so much more. They seek innovation and fancy any attempt to enhance their customer experience through technology. By adopting a web based hotel management system, you will definitely get that confident-modern-hotelier image that builds trust and respect. Because cloud technology provides much more space for accommodation of modern guest services - digital services, guest interaction, mobile features and engagement and more - compared to a legacy software.
Not "Please proceed to the front desk", but "Let me come and provide the service you want".
Cloud software removes fixed locations and space limitations. Online applications work everywhere, anytime, without wires and connected hardware. With this a receptionist can just take a tablet, or even a smartphone, and turn it into a portable front desk to provide services wherever they are needed. Or a manager can preview the reports from yesterday from home, drinking their coffee. Cloud solutions could even work on guest mobile devices, no matter whether the owner is in his hotel room or on another continent.
Many software providers are pushing their cloud based solutions and focus on their development more than legacy software. The reason for that is that cloud software is generally considered to become the core technology soon. It is easier to deploy and maintain, cost saving and allows developers to offer more attractive products to the hospitality business. Besides, any new achievements of third party technologies are expected to be compatible with the cloud based software solutions.