The first simple hotel management system was introduced back in the 1970s, allowing hoteliers to confirm on-site reservations. By the early 1990s, the first database management system was marketed, allowing for digital records, which made accessing information much easier than Excel spreadsheets. Now, the hospitality industry is amidst the "cloud computing boom". The impact of cloud-based solutions is enormous: it revolutionises how the 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. Let's take a look at some of the ways that cloud-based technology completely changes the way owners operate their hotels/restaurants.
Why is cloud the future of hospitality?
No up-front capital expenses
The ability to pay only for what you need is what makes it an attractive option for CFOs due to financial predictability and flexibility. And because there is very little risk, cloud solutions allow hotel organisations to achieve a better IT with a low budget.
Minimised operating costs
Cloud environments enable immediate and vertical integration for developers, administrators, and end users, as well as reducing the time and cost of the project. Performance adjusting, patching and upgrading are also parts of the service. Due to these inclusive benefits, organisations will spend less on technical resources, the deployment option is also simplified, thus, resulting in lower risk, and reduced costs.
Faster time to value
Cloud computing can bring profits to the organisations within just a few weeks, not months or years. The reason for this advantage is because Cloud aligns all phases of the application development cycle, with complete built-in applications, and project management services, the developers can spend more of their effort and time on customising features and other functionalities.
Read more: 7 Common Uses of Cloud Computing
Flexibility to work with multiple vendors
Legacy hotel management software hinders hoteliers’ ability to integrate multiple systems from different vendors. One of the most powerful aspects of a cloud-based hotel management system is that it can easily be connected to other software applications, even if the applications do not have the same vendor.
For the hoteliers, this capability has the revolutionary potential. They now have unlimited flexibility to work with the vendors they choose and can lump the applications together, thus creating a truly customised system that meets the needs of the organisation.
Read more: A General Look at Infor d/EPM Hospitality
Cloud applications improve the customer experience
Cloud computing enables hotels and restaurants to improve their guest experience. Some practical applications include booking systems and loyalty programs. Visitors can experience cloud efficiency from start to finish.
These benefits extend to ordering room service, booking reservations, viewing special offers or deals, logging options for future visits, and so on. Cloud computing serves the need to increase access, as customers expect this type of connection from multiple devices, no matter where they are.
As these facilities improve the services provided to guests, they gain real-time insight. Cloud data collection helps the businesses adapt to changing technology and customer behaviour. With these ongoing updates, an organisation can easily enhance its customer interactions and provide personalised services to guests.
Cloud applications improve business management
Cloud computing can reduce the overall costs and resource demands, as well as enhance the capability of the management systems. The purpose of the cloud on the back-end is the centralised booking and reservations, inventory, accounts and invoices. In addition, the cloud improves time to market and create competitive advantages in a very short amount of time.
Cloud computing is also adaptable and scalable. If you need to increase your computing power due to seasonal demand, you can easily expand your solutions around that time and then pull the scale back to normal.
Your organisation's IT department does not have to deal with patches, upgrades, performance tuning, and other maintenance tasks. Instead, they can focus on providing business value. In addition, cloud services are purchased on an as-needed basis, or a pay-as-you-go plan, to control the expenditures. These savings can help to reduce the service price for customers or can be used to improve the service.
Be cautious about "false clouds"
When considering a cloud computing solution, the criteria for distinguishing should be carefully assessed. Reliable cloud technology providers:
+ Do not: attempt to sell hardware; only run on an operating system, store data in the local machines.
+ Do: have open APIs, connect to any computer or personal device.
As the hospitality industry realises the benefits of moving to the cloud, there is now a booming market for this technology. It is time for organisations to look beyond their premises to improve customer service, innovation and business. With limited budgets and a highly dynamic market, it is important to stay ahead of the hotel information technology curve. With cloud computing, hotels and restaurants can extend the life of their existing systems with new innovations, improve the time to market at an affordable price.
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