The Importance of Ease-of-Use in Hospitality Tech – What to Look Out for When Choosing Your Tools
It’s truly a good time to be a hotelier. Why? Because these days innovative tech tools support hospitality professionals in their tasks and make their lives much easier. Just think about the many processes you can now streamline and automate thanks to hotel tech.
With so many different tools out there, it can be hard to choose the best one. While a tech solution’s capabilities are an important factor, ease-of-use is a priority for many hoteliers today.
But what exactly makes a program ‘easy to use’? This article highlights 7 things to keep an eye out for. If your new tool ticks these 7 boxes, you’re good to go.
One of the first things to ask about any tool is how easily it can connect with other programs. Tools with an open two-way API are to prefer because they offer seamless integration with your other tech products. This makes the set-up quick and easy, and you don’t get hit with surprise costs for creating a new integration.
Since two-way integration means data gets shared between systems automatically, it saves you the time of inputting it manually. For example, Atomize offers two-way integration with leading property management systems (PMS). This means it can push optimized rates directly to the PMS and ensure your prices are always in line with the market and you have an edge over your competition.
Clear interface and overall simplicity
Look for tech solutions with a clear, easy-to-navigate dashboard or home screen where you can quickly find the functions and data you use most often. Accessing a tool’s key components should be fast and easy, so you can get to work rather than spend time trying to find your way around a maze of menus, drop-downs and sidebars.
While deep market insights and guest analytics are important, some tools show too much irrelevant information. This can make the system more complicated to use because you first have to cut through the noise to find what you actually need.
Thibault Catala, a revenue management expert and founder of Catala Consulting echoes this thought:
“New RMSs have been booming in recent years, and there are lots of different solutions available on the market. Some of these are really good. The key to their success is simplicity. The more complex RMS systems are often overcomplicated for staff. I’ve been very impressed by the simplicity of Atomize and I believe it’s very efficient and simple to use for everyone.”
Depending on the tool, there will be functions or insights you use more than others. For you to get the most out of a tech solution, you should be able to customize some of these functions according to your needs.
For example, tools should allow you to decide between using their automation options or giving manual approval first. In Atomize’s case, you can set it to full autopilot mode where rates are updated automatically in real time or choose to manually check and approve rate suggestions before they go live.
Business intelligence tools should also let you customize your compset and the data you focus on. For example, if a new hotel opens in your city and becomes a direct competitor, it should be easy for you to update your tool accordingly.
In the case of guest-facing applications, it’s important that they let you customize their appearance to be on-brand and create a smooth experience for users. Ideally, a guest will not even notice that your upselling emails or chat messages are processed by a third-party app.
True mobile-first technology means enjoying your tool’s full functionality on all types of devices. This makes it possible to use your tech solution anywhere, be it at the hotel itself, on a business trip, while you’re on the road or in an owner’s meeting.
Since working in a hotel rarely means sitting at a desk the whole day but involves a lot of work on the floor, meeting guests, interacting with staff and participating in meetings, having tools which work smoothly on mobile phones is a must.
When using this option, ensure your tech provider uses the same stringent security measures for the mobile application and you do your part to avoid unwanted access to your phone or tablet.
You want your hotel tech solution to make your life easier and save time. One thing you need in order to achieve this is accurate data, communication and reporting. When choosing your tool, carefully read user and expert reviews to see what they say about the tool’s accuracy.
For example, when looking at business intelligence tools you must be able to trust that competition data as well as your own data is accurately collected and reported. Information must be current and updated often, ideally in real time.
Marryn Gerrits, Owner of Hotel Castillo de Monda in Málaga, Spain outlines how accurate data in Atomize helps her business:
“Atomize gives us insight in what our ideal pricing is for any time of the year. It takes into account our competition, local holidays and other factors and eliminates the use of gut feeling when deciding on rates because it is purely data-driven.”
In case of guest-facing applications, find out if users think guest requests and interactions are handled well and added to the system properly. If a tech solution is unreliable and you keep needing to check on it or correct errors, you’re probably better off without it.
Tech tools are supposed to save your time not waste it. Sure, in the beginning it might take a moment to get started, but the better a tool is, the faster the set-up and on-boarding time should be, both because the support is good, and the tool is easy to use.
In day-to-day operations, the tool should be quick as well. For example, data should be collected and presented in real time or as close to real time as possible, so you always have an accurate picture of your property and its place in the market.
Guest-facing applications must load quickly and respond to the guest’s input instantly to create a smooth experience. And finally, positive results should be visible soon after implementation, be it in the form of trackable metrics like revenue, RevPAR or ADR or as positive guest feedback.
“The full integration with our PMS makes changing prices so easy. I make all necessary updates for 365 days with just one click. This saves me so many hours and I can spend this time on more important tasks, like improving the hotel’s service and doing staff training,” says Zhivko Zhelyazkov, General Manager at Central Hotel Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Support and training
While this point is not directly related to the tool itself, it can make all the difference in how well you are able to use it. It should be easy to get a hold of a customer service agent, response time should be fast, and guidance must be detailed.
Finally, check if all this is part of your monthly package since there are providers who charge extra for customer support. Especially during your on-boarding time, it is key to receive proper training and assistance with the set-up, so you can make the very most of your tool from the start. Good communication during your inquiry phase before you sign a contract is already a good sign but check reviews from existing customers to see how well they feel cared for.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you find the easiest-to-use hotel tech tool that both your team and guests will love and will bring you great results.
And don’t forget: when you’re looking for a new tool, always ask for a demo of the software, because that’s a great start to be sure you’re making the right choice.
Interested in getting an online demo of Atomize?