API integration: the keystone in your strategy for total guest focus

Sarah Jones, Guestline's customer success director, says tech support and flexibility are crucial

With an ever more sophisticated and expectant consumer on our minds, it’s easy to fall prey to the growing pressure to become overly ‘switched on’ in the literal sense.

At Guestline, even though huge effort goes into tech R&D, we work very hard to remain focused on the needs of our customers – the hotelier – and their guests.

It’s often easy to forget that sitting at the heart of this most exciting industry is the simple premise that, hospitality professionals are passionate about delivering a great guest experience – that’s why most of us entered the profession in the first place.

Working with our hotelier clients across the globe on a daily basis, we see that passion for the guest and their experience. We can relate to it too: more than two thirds of the team at Guestline originally came from the hospitality industry.

Total guest focus

Delivering a great experience – at every touchpoint – demands an unwavering focus on the guest, and their needs, from the moment they check-in to when they leave the property at the end of their stay.

Technology can help hoteliers achieve this total guest focus, by enabling them to streamline processes and simplify management tasks.

Modern cloud-based PMS systems give hoteliers even more scope to transfer time-consuming manual processes to digital platforms, freeing them up to direct their time and attention to the guest and giving the all-important human touch.

“Why can’t I do something like that in my hotel?”

There’s a huge appetite out there for change and experimentation. Hotel professionals can see what today’s plug and play technology is doing in their everyday lives. They can download an app to their phone and add powerful new functionality in just a few moments. They’re asking: why can’t I do something like that in my hotel?

We wanted to find out – on an industry-wide level – what hoteliers want from technology and to understand their priorities for the future. That’s why we partnered with hospitality research specialists, h2c, to develop a global research study.

One message emerges loud and clear from 110 hotel chain executives who contributed to the study: they want the future to be flexible. Hoteliers’ number one priority for their technology platforms is “better integration”.

This is a really encouraging finding, because it suggests that hoteliers have grasped a key principle of modern technology strategy: the importance of APIs. They understand the potential to mix and match and build together their integrated IT solution that matches their individual needs and equips them to deliver better guest experience.  

“The inherent flexibility of the cloud”

As well as giving hoteliers the ability to craft the technology solution that’s right for their guests, this approach to third party interfaces – combined with the inherent flexibility of the cloud – allows hoteliers to grow and adapt their IT over time in response to the business.

Service counts

So, it seems hoteliers have a vision for how technology can help them achieve total guest focus – but how successful are they at turning that vision into strategy and executing it?

One finding that gave us pause for thought was the fact that, on average, hoteliers only make use of two thirds (66%) of their hotel technology.

Whilst it’s unlikely that any business will achieve complete efficiency, it remains the case that one third of their IT investment is unused and making no productive contribution to the one thing the hotelier really cares about: the guest experience.

In our view, the missing piece of the puzzle is service. Perhaps the single biggest factor in a hotel choosing to work with us is our ability to give them expertise and support.

With so many technology choices out there – and dozens more becoming available every month – they are looking for a single vendor who will guide them through the process and take overall responsibility for delivering the technology products and services they need.

And, indeed, the h2c research findings bear this out: asked what they want from technology vendors, the hotelier’s number one priority is consultancy and support.  Without this guidance, we suspect that many hoteliers will be deterred from making the IT investments that can help them improve their guest focus.

Back to the guest

Given their work at the front line of guest service, it’s not surprising to see that hospitality professionals place so much importance on the support relationship they have with their technology providers.

“Hoteliers don’t enter the profession to become IT experts”

With so many of us at Guestline having roots in hospitality, that makes perfect sense to us. We know that hoteliers don’t enter the profession to become IT experts.

They want to leave the technology to the experts while they get on with what they do best: delighting the guest.

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