Technology developments and consumer behaviours affect every industry, and the hospitality industry, in particular, is the one that receives the direct hit.
The hospitality industry comprises a large group of businesses, whose main focus is on the customer's satisfaction.
Think of your most recent vacation! You took a three-hour flight to your destination, and during the trip there you stayed at a hotel and dined in the local restaurants. These services are categorised under the hospitality industry.
This multibillion-dollar industry has three dominant sectors:
This includes every business that provides travellers with a temporary place to stay. Typical examples are resorts, hotels, motels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and serviced apartments.
Food and Beverage
This area comprises businesses that can be housed within the hotel's precinct or be a separate establishment.
These businesses are restaurants, bars and cafes, tea and coffee shops, nightclubs, fast food chains, and more.
Travel and Tourism
The hospitality industry and the travel industry are closely linked, but there are subtle differences between the two.
In short, the hospitality industry provides services to tourists, locals, or to people that are coming to an area for reasons other than tourism.
The travel industry provides services to individuals who travelled to a foreign place for a period of time.
The travel and tourism sector within the hospitality industry includes travel agents, online travel agencies (OTAs), tour operators, car rentals, cruises, airlines, and trains.
Nowadays, amenities such as flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, aircon, minibar, etc. in your typical hotel rooms are considered must-haves and can no longer act as key differentiators. Many hotel chains have already implemented Artificial Intelligence with chatbots being the most popular use.
The internet brought along loads of amazing services, solutions, and products to satisfy every customer's expectation, creating a dynamic and competitive market. Platforms like Booking.com, Agoda, or Airbnb allow users to rate and leave reviews about their experiences which ultimately affect other travellers' booking decisions.
One key factor that hoteliers need to keep in mind is the purpose of digitalisation is to streamline the business processes as well as to ensure interactions never get disrupted. To design a hotel room of the future and to maintain a competitive edge, hotels must embrace technologies.
Being eco-friendly, going green, or sustainable living is a trend that is gaining momentum and does not show any sign of stopping.
According to the "Where sustainable travel is headed 2018" by Booking.com, 46% of the respondents said that "sustainable travel" means staying in eco-friendly or green accommodations. Furthermore, 87% of respondents stated they want to travel sustainably, with nearly 39% confirmed that they often or always manage to do so. With these statistics in mind, the hospitality must transform to meet up with the demand accordingly.
Well-known and innovative brands such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Seamless have long invested in their customer experience strategy – mainly through the online channels - raising the bar for providing a high-quality customer experience.
This leads to an expectation among customers that they will receive seamless, personalised, and instant services from the service providers.
Advancements of technology, in general, have long been adopted by leading companies to create a holistic digital experience on both smartphone and website platforms. Savvy customers are familiar with doing research online and perceive it as a reliable source of information.
Specifically, hotel customers today can easily book their trips through online travel agents, booking applications or hotel websites. And they expect a consistent experience starting with simple tasks like booking a room with ease.
Alongside new trends are challenges that hoteliers have to face. Managing the existing pool of talents, defining brand identity, seeking new sources of revenue generation, etc. are the areas that hoteliers should pay close attention to.
The sharing economy is the concept of sharing resources that will otherwise go to waste. Technology plays a part in helping the sharing economy to expand and make assets cheaper, more accessible than ever.
The hospitality industry unquestionably receives a direct impact from having to compete with emerging and highly promising players in the field, specifically Airbnb.
Airbnb's customers (the guests and the hosts) gain trust based on the reviews left by previous guests/ hosts. If they have been extra hospitable, a highly rated individual can earn the title of "superhost/ superguest" which essentially allows them to unlock many perks.
Even without a platform like Airbnb, travellers would still be able to leave a review somewhere else (Yelp, Expedia, Tripadvisor to name a few) which can ultimately influence other travellers' decisions when looking for accommodations.
The hospitality industry today is amidst the "cloud computing boom." The impact of cloud-based solutions is enormous: it revolutionises how managers run their hotels/ restaurants and interact with the customers.
Hotel management system based in the cloud - or simply, the system hosted by the provider's server instead of the hotel’s - gives hoteliers a scalable system to manage every aspect of the business.
When considering a cloud computing solution, the criteria for distinguishing should be carefully assessed. Reliable cloud technology providers:
The hospitality industry handles loads of sensitive data daily, from the customers’ reservation information to their flight details and payment records. Having all these private data on hands makes hotels the prime targets for cyber-attacks.
Payment via POS system
Payment by card has become increasingly popular due to its convenience. Hotel guests during their stay would make payments via their corporate cards or personal cards at least once. This essentially turns hotels into treasure troves for hackers to mine at any time.
Phishing scams and human error are among the top causes of data breaches. They are low cost yet highly effective as they exploit the weaknesses in human nature. Many attackers rely heavily on this technique to bypass the hotel’s security networks.
Also noted that not only the guests’ data is at risk, without the necessary protection, your employees’ data (social security numbers, tax file numbers, bank accounts, etc.) is also subjected to cyber theft.
Legal and ethical implications of collecting personal data
Collecting personal data from your guests also creates some legal and ethical challenges. Around 40% of travellers are willing to share their data in exchange for tailored and relevant offers, according to research by Amadeus. On the other hand, nearly 90% of customers want to control how companies use their collected data.
Privacy and data protection is the centrepiece of many recent prominent debates and legislative actions around the world.
In the realm of mass personalisation, there is a fine line between being helpful and being intrusive. And it is not only a matter of what type of data you are collecting, but also how you provide your messages or offers.
Digital transformation has huge and positive impacts on traditional businesses. The hotel industry is not an exception.
Every step of the entire guest journey can be optimised with the right technology. Hotels should aim at pleasing the customers before they even think of booking a room.
Here are 4 technology trends that will continue to disrupt the hospitality industry in the new decade.
Internet of Things (IoT): Electricity accounts for 60% of the total expenditures. Smart technology can help lower the expense as much as 20%, while at the same time improve the guest experience.
Voice-Command Technology: Voice-enable technology empowers the guests to be in control of their room conditions. Furthermore, placing orders via virtual assistants also enables the staff to respond to the guests’ requests promptly.
Augmented Reality (AR): There is a possibility to utilise both AR and its close relative Virtual Reality (VR) to increase pre-booking conversion with "long-range guest visit" function. What this essentially means is this particular function enables the “gamification” of the travel experience.
Biometrics Authentication: Registering the guest’s biometrics (fingerprints or facial features) into the hotel management system can provide guests with instant access to rooms and other facilities that they've booked without the need for keys, cards or mobile apps.
Nearly half of all online hotel bookings worldwide are preceded by a click on a mobile device. 94% of travellers utilise a combination of mobile, tablet, and desktop when planning their trips.
The “app culture” among the tech-savvy, always-on generation today makes them believe they can find the answer through an app.
The most astounding fact is nearly 80% of last-minute bookings are done via mobile. Therefore, it is inevitable for hotels to adopt a mobile-first, cloud-first approach.
According to a Grant Thornton study, guestroom technology, connectivity, property management software (PMS), payment security, and point-of-sale system are among the top 5 spending hotels made on technologies.
For hotels to thrive, the cloud is no longer a "strategic priority" but rather a "standard operating procedure." Many hotels have been using the same legacy systems for years, and they are hesitating as to why they should transition to the cloud. One major benefit that the cloud has to offer is flexibility.
The cloud allows businesses to scale instantly, whenever and wherever they see fit. Additionally, accessing the cloud is accessing the pool of endless innovative technology available.
The hospitality industry needs advanced data analytics solution to create a personalised experience for guests. Customers leave a huge amount of data behind after every stay. These data sets are multiplied by tens or hundreds of entities owned by the corporation. The era of paper records is long gone. Everything now has to run digitally and be put into databases. In order to meet these new requirements, databases should be designed to be fast, efficient, and easy to maintain.
The common database system is relational database management systems (DBMS). The traditional technique of entity-relationship (E-R) modelling and structuring a chain of tables is very popular to database administrators or designers. However, it has become obsolete and inefficient when running queries at the scale of a large hospitality corporation.
Conversely, On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) technology, one of the kinds of multi-dimensional database, represents data in a hypercube, where data is stored in a single cell which is accessible by multiple dimensions.
Advantages of multi-dimensional database design
As the customer's demands and behaviours are changing, hoteliers are in dire need of a holistic hotel property management system that enables them to complete multiple tasks at once and includes functions that take care of the strategic side of hotel businesses, too.
This has led to the rise of various cloud-based PMS as a more modern and agile tool to tackle the demand from hoteliers.
A hotel needs one holistic property management system
Cloud PMS offers effortless integration with other key systems, such as reservations management (RMS), customer relationship management (CRM), point-of-sale (POS), and amenities management solution.
More than just providing consistent services day-after-day, seamless integration of all major systems create an abundant amount of data where hoteliers can mine, analyse, and provide personalisation exactly the way the customers.
Cloud hotel PMS can help hotels cut costs
Cloud-based solutions can mitigate costly expenses due to the simple fact that no physical data centre is required. All maintenance, upgrade, storage is done in the cloud.
Also, hosting the hotel's IT infrastructure in the cloud offers the flexibility to scale up or down in an instant. The pay-as-you-go pricing can enable the hotel to keep all expenses in check, increase capacity during peak seasons and keep everything low during downtime.
Better disaster recovery
Contrary to popular beliefs, the cloud is much more secure than on-premise as upgrades, and security measurements are frequently assessed, monitored, and updated. Even in the most unfortunate case, the entire management system can be recovered quickly and function properly in no time.
Financial management lays the very foundation of a successful business. Likewise, the most successful hotels rely on fundamental financial management principles to enable them to manage their property profitably.
Technology advancements bring new challenges to the hotel finance and accounting team, specifically:
Financial management software for the hospitality industry must have industry-specific functions. Cloud-based accounting software can aid revenue managers and hoteliers as it contains these following “impossible to ignore” benefits:
With data access and technology capabilities have evolved almost beyond recognition, hotel operators today have the opportunity to achieve the ultimate promise of revenue optimisation: to sell the right space at the right price at the right time to the right guest.
In this context, space has commonly referred to guest rooms. For a long time, revenue management was all about filling empty rooms with paying guests. Today, the goal is no longer just about increasing guest room occupancy, with no consideration given to the pricing decisions in terms of the long-term implications.
Nor is it just about rooms. Business and social event function space, recreational facilities, restaurants and spas also now factor into the equation.
Price refers to room rate, which may be influenced by multiple factors, including how far in advance the reservation is booked and what the hotel’s competitors are charging. Importantly, revenue management now involves optimising profitability and not just revenue.
It means analysing ancillary revenue streams (e.g., food and beverage as well as golf, spa, etc.) along with related cost data to understand profit contributions by guest segment. For hotels with casino operations, even the “theoretical loss” (the amount of money a player can be expected to lose during their stay) can factor into the pricing model.
Guests, which may include individuals as well as groups, can be grouped using meaningful segmentation schemes. Length-of-stay is another criteria for factoring pricing. Guest segmentation lays the foundation for revenue management.
Given the sheer volume of data, it is no longer feasible for revenue managers to spend their time manually reviewing one forecasting and demand report after another and analysing mountains of data in their quest to make better pricing and inventory control decisions.
Next-generation revenue management solutions allow revenue managers to focus their efforts on more strategic tasks and allows hotels to generate better business results. The ability to automate pricing and distribution decisions makes the business case an easy one from an ROI perspective. In addition to improving RevPAR and other key performance indicators, hotels can improve marketing and sales effectiveness, generate competitive intelligence, and gain insights into occupancy trends, guest demographics, market positioning and channel profitability.
At TRG International, we offer solutions specifically tailored to the Hospitality industry.
These powerful solutions allow our clients to manage complex business changes, transform their financial management function, and enable them to grow.
Infor SunSystems is the chosen financial management solution of more than 2,200 hospitality companies worldwide. The system is designed to transform the way you collect, analyse, manage, and report financial information. More important, it can help your hotel business drive the bottom line and improve guest experience through timely and actionable insights.
Infor SunSystems is an accounting software solution deployable on-premise or in the cloud, or a combination of the two. With its flexible chart of accounts, Infor SunSystems lets you automate a wide range of operating or ownership structures, including franchising, fractional ownership, global business units as well as other holding structures.
Infor SunSystems Hospitality helps you to promote quality, consistent data throughout your organisation, enables you to stay on top of key performance metrics, identify trends, uncover problems, and grasp opportunities.
You will get predefined charts of accounts that stick to hotel structures and reporting lines such as Departments, Segmentations, Meal Periods, and Events.
You can view accounting and finance information by locations, regions, or other dimensions you use to measure performance. Or take your analysis to the next level by combining SunSystems with Infor Query and Analysis, an intuitive, easy-to-use operational business intelligence tool that allows you to obtain greater insights.
Infor SunSystems Hospitality indulges hotel users with pre-built report templates covering every need – daily revenues, KPIs, flash reports, management reports, and statutory reports.
Its intuitive toolset makes it easy to gain control over your financial information while role-based dashboards enable you to pinpoint critical insights and trends instantly.
Infor SunSystems Hospitality supports multi-currency and multi-language. The solution also offers a dual-base system, different exchange rate sets, and up to five reporting currencies per transaction.
Infor SunSystems can interface easily with other critical hotel systems, either from Infor or other third-party vendors, including PMS (Opera, Infor HMS, Starlight, Epitome, Medallion, etc.,) F&B (Check SCM, Material Control), POS (Micros, Squirrel, PixelPoint, etc.,) and enterprise performance management (Infor d/EPM, Hyperion.)
Infor SunSystems is built with compliance in mind. The system complies with not only multiple accounting standards – IFRS, IAS, US GAAP, local standards – but also industry standards such as USALI 11.
You can operate with confidence and always meet statutory requirements.
Infor SunSystems is designed to scale and adapt to quick changes. The solution can meet the needs of a single hotel or support a global hotel chain with multiple hotels with equal prowess.
The system can run on mobile devices, allowing you to access and analyse your business data in real-time, on the move, either at an airport or in a board meeting. You get anytime/ anywhere self-service reporting and can increase the speed of your overall business via a secure, easy to use the mobile portal.
With Infor SunSystems, information is stored centrally and can be fully integrated at any point in time. This enables your accounting staff at the parent company (or at the branch) to take full advantage of all the data with just a few mouse clicks.
It is no longer necessary to send information back and forth via emails. Infor SunSystems also has built-in social collaboration platform (Infor Ming.le) and documentation tools (Infor Document Management) that allows you and your staff to communicate cross-function or multi-site with ease and documents or files are centrally accessible at the fingertips.
More resources on Infor SunSystems for Hospitality
To request an Infor SunSystems for Hospitality demo, please click here.
That’s the reason why there is no surprise that some of Infor d/EPM for Hospitality's famous clients include Wyndham Hotel Group, Kempinski Hotels, Auberge Resorts, Intrawest Resorts and Hard Rock International.
With the ability of forecasting, planning, profit and loss predicting and the flexibility to manage and group multiple properties, Infor d/EPM can help hotels monitor their performance better.
Also, Infor d/EPM can integrate with other Infor products such as SunSystems, HMS and EzRMS through Infor ION® application software. This connection allows automated real-time aggregation of data, helping hotels to navigate the demand cycles more efficiently.
In addition to traditional performance management, Infor d/EPM also provides a capital planning function to track costs, create detailed budgeting scenarios that allow hotel organisations to see the risks and the potential impact of an action to choose the most cost-effective option for the business.
Furthermore, Infor d/EPM for hotels offers the ability to consolidate and learn critical information from source applications through contextual analysis built on the individual challenges of the hospitality industry. With specialised in-house functionality, Infor's customers will enjoy a cost-saving experience that involves both initial deployment and long-term usage.
To learn more about Infor d/EPM and what TRG can offer, please click here.
Designed to provide hoteliers with a next-gen cloud-based system, Infor HMS is a full-fledged management solution tailored for the hospitality industry. The solution encompasses not only the key functions of a PMS but also analytics and mobile capabilities for the top-of-the-line guest experience. Infor HMS streamlines core processes like CRM, revenue management, and incident management with its built-in capabilities.
Infor also provides its customers with tools that help unleash Infor HMS's full potential, allowing hotel staff to leverage insights and perform at a higher level. Hotel owners can choose among a warehouse of interfaces that are readily available using web services, and industry-standard data exchange based on hotel technology next-generation (HTNG) standards.
The integration with Infor EzRMS (Revenue Management Solution) allows hoteliers to automatically estimate the demand for future use of the property’s available rooms, and recommend appropriate selling strategies such as open and close rates, stay controls, open and close room categories, as well as overbooking levels. The tool is a user-friendly and forward-looking application with the purpose to maximise the revenues and values from every process of booking.
One of the most prominent integrations of Infor HMS is with Infor CRM Hospitality, making guest profiling, reservations, and folio data exchange between the two systems possible.
Infor CRM adds substantially to the values of each guest stay to the next level as it is capable of tracking guest profile data, reservation data, and revenue spent by category at each property across the enterprise.
It also supports reporting in real-time focus on guest spending by revenue category, last stay details, the frequency of stays, geographic source, travel type, and the guest booking journey.
HxGN EAM (formerly Infor EAM; enterprise asset management) can be integrated with Infor HMS via Infor ION® to assist in tracking guest service requests and providing quick and efficient responses that eventually drive overall guest satisfaction.
Hoteliers can simplify the management of sundry items with Infor HMS Sundry – available as an application for mobile devices, integrated into Infor HMS. It covers virtually all sundry items, spanning from toiletries, over-the-counter medications, and snack foods, to gift shop and vending machines performances, giving hotel owners a complete view of their assets.
To request an Infor HMS demo, please click here.
Infor OS, which is short for Infor Operating Service, is the platform Infor is using to run their Infor CloudSuites, a set of cloud-based, user-friendly enterprise solutions such as CloudSuite Industrial. Here are three major values of Infor OS.
Infor thinks highly of the user productivity, as well as user experience, and considers it as “the key differentiator.” Therefore, an internal agency called “Hook & Loop” is established to offer a place where they can define and refine the user experiences from the beginning. Now, after switching to its own artificial intelligence (A.I.) application – the Infor Coleman AI robot – Infor is able to proactively advise on what action to do next.
The second point of Infor OS’ values is the seamless integration between Infor applications and third-party applications, if necessary. To be more specific, users can connect any Infor application at any business process with Infor CloudSuite without difficulties. Users can work on-premises, in the cloud, or both. For instance, an on-premises ERP and a cloud-based CRM or enterprise asset management can work together seamlessly.
With this integration, Infor is capable of keeping track of all of the information in a secure so-called “data lake.” Hence, users can connect all enterprise data to an advanced analytics application or do enterprise search. Furthermore, Coleman AI can collect datasets, and provide API (Application Programming Interface) and feedback to applications or services. Infor Data Lake allows you to utilise your data sources to the fullest.
The third tremendous benefit of Infor OS is automation because it has Coleman, which is the perfect platform to automate and run things in the background for end-users. With the behaviour learning function, Coleman analyses how users do their job.
For example, Coleman can learn how a manager approves expenses for his / her department, and later do the work for them in the background so the manager can focus on more critical tasks.
To learn more about this powerful enterprise platform, download Infor OS brochure here.
Infor Expense Management is a travel and entertainment expense management solution. It is a suite of four integrated applications: Expense Reports, Travel Plans, Payment Request, Timesheets.
Infor Expense Management helps eliminate manual processes, supports mobile usage, social collaboration, and is available in the cloud or on-premise.
This solution automates expense-related processes and enforces policy compliance, helping you to reduce administrative costs, accidental error, and intentional fraud.
Infor Expense Management streamlines all phases of the expense reporting process and enables you to collect complete and accurate information. Consequently, you can control employee-initiated expenditure better and save more costs.
Choose the modules you need and use them individually or in any desired combination, whether it be a system for managing travel and entertainment expenses or employee time capture. Key capabilities include:
Replace your paper-based tasks with Infor Expense Management expense reports module, which allows your employees to scan and upload receipts/expense-related documents with ease.
As a result, you can reduce the time and cost of creating and processing expense reports, avoid having to re-implement or change your policies, and improve how your employees work by populating expense reports.
Infor Expense Management automates the entire travel experience, from pre-trip planning to post-trip reimbursement and enforces corporate travel policies. Furthermore, the module also enables you to gain better insights into the travel planning process to make better approval decisions and take better control of unnecessary expensive travel.
Your company can effectively track and accurately allocate employee purchases that are made immediately, which often bypass requisition and order processes. This is due to Infor Expense Management captures all the information you need to automate payment processing.
Avoid manual, time-consuming, and error-prone tasks for timely customer billing with Infor Expense Management Timesheets time-tracking capabilities.
It helps drive cost savings, efficiencies, and higher employee productivity for your company as you can create automated and accurate timesheets in a fraction of the time. Fundamentally, the Infor Expense Management Timesheets module supports both salaried and hourly employees and uses innovative workflow business rules to work alongside your company’s business policies.
To learn more about this solution, download Infor Expense Management brochure here.
To witness first-hand the true power of Infor Expense Management, request a demo here.