Strong back-end systems key to hospitality technology

Right payment, right person, right time
Hotels should ensure the back-end systems behind tasks such as payments provide a smooth guest experience. Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/audioundwerbung

Hospitality is one of the world’s biggest single industries, accounting for 10 percent of all global gross domestic product, so competing in this field is essential if you want your business to remain at the forefront and succeed.

The key to a successfully hotel business is often the guest experience—how well they are treated and how easily they can book and check out. Arguably, the front-of-house experience often is the priority but it’s not where the effort should go. In fact, all too often back-end systems get forgotten and the innovation has failed to keep pace.

And yet it’s there where all the focus and attention should go. In today’s wold of advancing technology, the magic to solve for consumer-centric commerce is actually happening in the back-end processes. No matter how friendly your front desk is, or how glossy or slick the app and online services are that allow guests to do everything from booking a room, checking in or out, ordering services during their stay and benefiting from e-loyalty programs, if the systems behind them are weak or mismatched, the guest service will be compromised. It will result in a dysfunctional and disconnected experience for the customer.

When it comes to payments, loyalty and offers, the ultra-convenient methods adopted by increasingly tech-savvy guests have to be on point. An essential part of this is making any legacy systems work together in the background cohesively to provide a seamless service.

One of the biggest problems for businesses in the hotel industry is the difficulty in accessing payment data as a result of siloed systems, legacy technology and disparate teams.

Poor quality, outdated and stifled intelligence does nothing to help a business or its customers. But for those companies looking to solve this problem, there are a new generation of front-end services that can create a seamless integration with even relatively antiquated legacy systems to provide a harmonized and fast service.

Next-generation integrated data-driven commerce platforms will resolve any disparity between front- and back-office capabilities because they provide a no-risk, high-return solution that surrounds and expands the existing tech. As a result, the tech connection can smash down silos, offering the capability to manage data flow and deliver both real-time business and consumer intelligence that will give businesses adopting them the leading competitive edge.

As guests expect more, businesses must offer more. They need to be quick to respond to market changes and innovate based on what their clients can and should expect. With the right systems, this can be done through personalization, price mixed strategies, product bundling, leveraging loyalty and managing costs.

The wider range of digital services means guests can not only choose where they go based on price, preferences and recommendations but also on quality, room size and location. The prevalence of apps for everything from major hotel chains to coffee shops shows how important it now is for consumers to do more online than ever before. Any business failing to pick up on this trend faces losing out to other more innovative competitors.

So, make sure you unlock the back-end processes and prioritize them. Re-evaluate the investment and choose a commerce partner that can work collaboratively with the IT teams to break down data silos. If they do that, they will free up innovation to deliver dynamic solutions for the ever-demanding, tech-savvy consumer.

Christopher Kronenthal is the president and chief technology officer of FreedomPay.