Hotel technology. It’s now paramount to a hotel’s success in the digital age. And yet, it’s still a baffling mystery to many of today’s hoteliers.
To help demystify hotel technology for all the hotel managers, marketers, and owners out there looking to modernize their businesses to keep up with the times, we’ve put together a basic guide on the topic.
And here it is.
Introduction: What is hotel technology?
Hotel technology is the collection of tools and techniques employed by hotel professionals to accomplish business-related tasks by technical means.
Given this definition, tools as primitive as the dumbwaiter and techniques as basic as operating said dumbwaiter would be considered hotel technology. However, hotel technology has evolved by leaps and bounds in the last few years. When we speak of hotel technology today, we’re increasingly referring to the electronic, computerized, and digital tools and techniques being developed for and used in the hospitality industry — tools and techniques designed to help hotels keep pace with changes in commerce and consumer behavior.
In other words, hotel technology now lives in large part online. Which means that hoteliers access and engage with hotel technology online to do everything from marketing their properties to distributing their rooms, managing their daily operations, processing reservations, and everything in between.
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Part 1: Basic technology for hotel operations & management
To run your hotel efficiently, keep track of guest reservations and staff activities, and put your full focus on your guests by simplifying operations, there’s one core piece of hotel technology you need.
Property management system
What it is: The all-in-one solution for hotel operations. It provides you with a dashboard and calendar for managing your housekeeping and reservations, processing check-ins and check-outs with a single click, and controlling your availability and rates.
When you go for a cloud-based system (and we recommend that you do), you can access your property management system on any device, from anywhere.
How to get it: There are several tech companies that offer comprehensive property management systems. For its ease-of-use, hotelier-centric approach, and cloud-based technology, we recommend Base7booking’s. (Especially since you can get it with their booking engine; see Hotel booking engine below.)
Part 2: Basic technology for hotel marketing & online visibility
To reach travelers online, you need to make your hotel visible online. Here’s the basic hotel technology that gets this done.
Metasearch marketing with a hotel profile on trivago
What it is: Your profile is the digital listing for your hotel on trivago, a global hotel metasearch that millions of travelers use to find their ideal hotel. By building up your profile with your hotel’s description, details, and images, you can promote your hotel to a growing online audience of hotel-seekers.
How to get it: You can claim your profile by registering (at no cost) on trivago’s metasearch marketing platform for hotels and other accommodation providers.
What it is: Think of your official hotel website as a digital storefront for your property. It’s the online address where people can go to find out about (and peruse images of) your hotel. Your hotel website can also serve as a booking portal for travelers (see Hotel booking engine below).
How to get it: While some hotels have the means to develop their own websites, there are several free and paid hotel website builders available on the market. Selecting one to use is a matter of hotel size, budget, and preference.
Part 3: Basic technology for hotel distribution & direct bookings
Here’s the technology you’ll need to distribute your rooms online, through direct and indirect channels.
Hotel booking engine
What it is: Your booking engine is what lets your guests complete their reservations for your hotel online, on your hotel website, for example. Guests can select the dates of their stay and their room type of choice, add their personal and payment information, and submit their booking request directly to you.
In other words, if you want direct bookings, you need a booking engine.
How to get it: To have a booking engine, you’ll need to work with a technical partner or connectivity provider. This is a company that takes care of building your booking engine, as well as the connections between it and your direct distribution channels.
Choosing the right booking engine provider depends on the individual hotel. For a small to medium-sized independent hotel, we recommend Base7booking.
What it is: The tool you can use to keep track of your availability and rates and sell your rooms across all your direct and indirect (OTA) channels. You can use it to increase your occupancy and avoid overbooking.
How to get it: Through a hotel technology provider. Ideally, the same provider you work with for your booking engine will also supply your hotel with a channel manager.
Part 4: Next-level hotel technology for competing online
Ready to give your hotel a competitive advantage online? Here’s the technology you’ll want to look into.
What it is: A tool that lets you monitor the room rates of your competitors throughout the year and benchmark your own prices against them. It’s the essential hotel technology for developing a profitable and agile pricing strategy to give your hotel a competitive position in the market year-round.
How to get it: Upgrade your trivago profile to PRO. You’ll gain immediate access to Rate Insights, trivago’s comprehensive rate shopper for hotels. The upgrade also comes with data on your audience of travelers, as well as advanced marketing features for your trivago profile.
What it is: The feature that lets you connect your booking engine to your trivago profile. With Rate Connect, you promote your direct rates on your profile. Which means you can encourage travelers to book through you — and not an OTA.
How to get it: You’ll need a profile on trivago and a booking engine (such as the Base7 booking engine) that’s connected to trivago. To find out more about Rate Connect and how to get started using it, click the button below:
Compete with booking channels
For more information on hotel technology, check out “Glossary: Hotel Technology and the Online Distribution Landscape” and “The 10 Distribution Solutions Every Hotel Will Need to Compete in 2018.”
And be sure to drop us a line in the comments section below. Feel free to leave questions, concerns, or article requests. We’re always happy to hear from you.
Featured image: Greenhouse Cowork