The research and evaluation process is one of the most important steps when implementing a new technology system. By asking the right questions during this process, hoteliers can better determine which tool or solution will best fit their needs and deliver the benefits they are looking to achieve.
The following are 7 key questions to ask of potential hotel tech providers, which will help hoteliers truly evaluate the solution and determine if it will be the right choice for their property.
1. How easy is it to implement? Will there be any downtime?
Time is money. Depending on what kind of tech solution you are planning to implement, downtime or delays could impact the operations of your hotel, or a guest’s experience. You’ll want to dig deep here, and really understand the exact steps and requirements of the implementation process, and any downtime or disruptions it may cause. This will help you plan accordingly, and perhaps time the implementation to occur during your property’s low season or overnight.
2. What level of customer service can I expect?
You really realize the importance of customer service when your system crashes during a busy period. Finding a hotel tech provider who is committed to providing excellent service and support will be key to the success of your implementation, and after your solution is active. So make sure you understand the level of support you’ll receive not only during the implementation process, but once the system is live and running.
Look for access to a 24/7 support centre, and tech support reps who are experts and truly understand your business.
3. Is the technology platform secure?
Security and compliance should be front of mind for any hotel tech provider. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards apply to any company that accepts credit card payments. To ensure the security of customers’ payment information and other sensitive data, hoteliers need to make sure that their PMS provider is PCI-compliant.
In addition, new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations require businesses to take certain steps to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens. The GDPR applies to any hotel that processes data from EU customers, even if the hotel is located outside of Europe.
Ask your tech providers about their security and compliance certifications and features, and if they’ll fit the needs of your property.
4. What reporting features are available?
Make a list of all reports or dashboards you run using your existing tools or platforms, and then also put together a “wish-list” of all of the data or reporting you wish you had access to. Go through all of the datasets with your potential hotel tech provider, and confirm which reports or reporting features will be available to you, if they can be run off live data, how often they can be run, if they are easily exportable to other documents, and if there are any restrictions.
5. How often will updates and upgrades be available?
As technology continues to evolve, hotel tech solutions will need to keep up by offering regular system updates and upgrades. It’s important to have a clear understanding of how often these upgrades may be available, and what the process will be to successfully implement these upgrades with as little disruption as possible.
6. How easily can it be customized or personalized to fit the needs of my hotel?
Every hotel has different requirements: what might work for one property may not work for another. So think: what might you offer that is unique to your hotel, and which tech solution will be able to accommodate that unique offering or scenario. It’s key that you invest in a solution that can be customized or personalized to fit the needs of your property or your brand, and how it operates.
7. Will it integrate with any other third-party technologies?
A hotel PMS needs to be able to communicate directly with the many other third-party systems used by your hotel; this seamless integration of multiple technologies will help hoteliers optimize their operations and improve the guest experience
Make sure you have a thorough understanding of all of the interfaces and integrations that your potential hotel tech provider offers, and how they can help tie your third-party systems together.
Once you have all of the answers you need from the hotel tech provider that you’re considering, you can make your final decision and plan the implementation for when it makes sense for your property. Once your new solution is live and running, you’ll soon see positive results and the improvements in the operation of your hotel and guest experience.
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