Lots to do with integrations, a great market map of the direct bookings technology for hotels and much more.
How big is your hotel marketing stack
There are different opinions on where hotel technology is heading, will it head towards larger all-in-one systems, or will it move towards smaller applications interconnected to a larger central data structure. From a technology side, I believe the latter is better, from a hotel manager side I can understand that the all-in-one is better. This chart on the hotel direct marketing technology stack by Fastbooking isn’t the complete list, but it shows that we are already live in a world of specialized applications. And no matter how big, all-in-one systems can’t cover all bases. The question remains, how to make managing all these applications as seamless and integrated as possible.
Integrations, is it finally happening?
The conclusion by a Larry Mogolovsky after attending HITEC this year was that this is the year of integrations. If this turns out to be so, it’s incredible progress for everyone in the industry. I posted Larry’s article on LinkedIn and what I found the most interesting was the comments showing how many people are working to solve the integrations issue. There are some really interesting solutions in the making that deserve being checked out.
Voice doesn’t work, well
Voice assistants aren’t very good. I have a Google Home and I love it, at a speaker. It plays music and does that extremely well. But the recognition of my commands are only about 70% right (and I give simple commands). It gets only about 60-70% of my Spotify playlist commands right. 60-70% for technology like that is practically useless. An Irish friend of mine living in the US with a mild Irish accent tells me Google Maps doesn’t understand street names unless he puts on a fake American accent. One would think this dismisses Voice and chat assistants. Quite the contrary, before e-commerce was a threat to retail, everyone dismissed it too. Now is the time to invest into voice and chat assistants because there’s no denying they will take large market shares in travel research and shopping.
Warning signs from the Retail Industry
As hoteliers we're lucky because only so much can be replaced by digital experiences. The retail industry is facing a much deeper disruption, but we can learn from them. How guests use digital devices to enhance or modify their experiences, how they communicate, how they will buy, are all trends we can and should learn from. How we can improve check-in, check-out are the obvious ones. But there's more. This article is a great read I recommend if you're up for envisioning the changes to come.
The return of Micros
Skift's recent article on how Oracle Hospitality is going for a come back in the industry is a great view on what happened in the last few years since Oracle bought Micros, if I had to critique the article I would say it totally omits to talk about money, the costs of the system, the integrations, the old model and the new model. A decisive factors that will change the way hotels will use the system. As I mentioned at the outset of this email, all-in-one systems have a benefit. But on average hotels use only 20% of their PMS' features. So betting everything on that model doesn't seem totally right. To Oracle's advantage, no PMS has any many integrations as them, but nobody charges as much as they do for those integrations.