General managers or financial controllers have a keen sense of when something needs to be improved. But day-to-day business often does not leave them the space to initiate or implement improvements. This is due to the fact that there are often enough other important issues to deal with in day-to-day hotel operations. Individual hotels in particular have enormous untapped revenue management and cost optimization potential when it comes to implementing digital processes.
Hotel operators are constantly faced with the agony of choice: tools for digitization and the (hopefully) accompanying improvement of processes are plentiful. The market is so diverse that it is easy to lose track. The hotel should become more attractive: for the guests and for the staff. Which of the many systems and tools will take the hotel into the much-vaunted digital future?
On the other hand, existing systems overlap in functionality, don't "talk" to each other properly, or are simply superfluous. Annual subscriptions are "forgotten", cancellation deadlines are missed. In the end, you think you've done everything for digitization, but the added value doesn't really reveal itself. And if the employee who was specifically responsible for this or that system is lost due to staff turnover, the company is continually paying for digital nothing.
It seems ludicrous. Hotels are watching their ADRs and commission costs to the OTAs down to the penny. But the costs for a wide variety of tools, some of which are unused, continue to proliferate. After all, no one thinks about more efficient and cheaper alternatives anymore. In an interview, Robert Nagel from Revard Digital explains which mistakes to avoid when digitizing in the hotel and explains the importance of a good roadmap.
What role does clear positioning play in a hotel's digital strategy?
Here's a simple example: If the target group of your hotel is rather conservative guests, it makes little sense to deal with digital check-in via app or to use pre-stay emails, while a very good front office team performs this task much better in person. The digital strategy must fit the corporate culture and the guests.
What scenario do you find with your customers? What is usually the initial situation?
The system providers are naturally trying to take their services to the hotels. This is accompanied by great promises of added value. Through the implementation, existing systems become partially redundant, individual services now exist twice and three times. The high implementation costs, which are only recouped over the entire contract period, are also quickly overlooked!
What changes are we facing? What are the new distribution channels the future might bring? Which technologies will play a role in the selection of travel and hotel offers in the future? What tools will we hoteliers have at our disposal to hold our own in the market?
We created GRANT Magazine to find answers to these questions. After all, the English to grant means to provide insights and fulfill wishes .....
So ... additional costs instead of additional value?
If you don't have a common thread in digitization, you create expensive digital clutter. A sustainable digital strategy, on the other hand, reduces costs! It aligns the individual systems with each other. It improves the guest experience. And it takes into account the specific personnel situation and integrates the employees.
Robert Nagel consults hotels on all aspects of digitalization and cost optimization. Before founding Revard Digital, he was revenue manager in well-known hotel chains and individual businesses for 10 years and finally worked in a revenue management consulting firm with clients from over 70 individual hotels in GSA.
How do you approach your customers? What are the first steps?
The question I ask myself is, where does the hotel stand and where does it want to go? A good roadmap means long-term planning. For this, the positioning must be clear. This step of analysis and conception is the basis for identifying the tools that bring real added value for the hotel and for the guests.
What selection criteria often tip the scales in the identification process?
This can be well illustrated in the area of revenue management. Here, high quality and fast availability of data are particularly important in order to achieve the best possible room rate and increase profits. HQ revenue is a very fine example. This can be seen in the integration capability via interfaces. In addition, it can also be connected to legacy systems at zero cost to relate your own performance data to market data. This is very important for predicting price and market trends. A good and intuitive user experience is equally important. The HQ revenue dashboard adapts to individual user needs and instantly shows me the data I need here and now.
What does the practical collaboration with Revard Digital look like? Can you make a big difference employing our view from the outside?
It often takes an outside perspective to overcome one's own operational blindness. In digital project management, you can achieve a great deal with just a few hours a week. It's a matter of picking up all the participants inside and outside the hotel, distributing the tasks sensibly and, as the project manager, maintaining an overview and communicating at all times.
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