Service is key! Technology is only as good as your use of it.
Hotel companies are faced with an ‘abundant of riches’ when it comes to channel management
technology options. This has placed hoteliers in the position of being able to be picky and to
choose the exact right solution for them.
While it is clearly necessary to first get the checks in the boxes with respect to technology,
it is still insufficient to guarantee an optimal online distribution strategy.
Indeed, you could go even further. In a mature channel management technology market,
you are likely to find a number of suppliers that fit your technological specialization criteria
(they are specialized for your combination of PMS / CRS and key channels).
Service as a specialization
The real difference between one supplier and another is no longer found in their specific
technology or software offering, but in the level of service that is wrapped around it.
The technology is simply the means to the end of releasing more time for the hotelier’s core
mission – maximizing the guest experience – without neglecting revenue potential.
In this context it is crucial not to confuse ‘support with service’.
The formal definition of ‘support’ is “enable to function or act”. Support is essentially the basic
technical/usability guarantee you have a right to on the purchased product.
Support refers to the suppliers commitment to fix bugs, provide you with software updates, answer any user questions to the extent agreed in our contract, etc. ‘Service’, instead, is defined as “the action of helping someone”.
Of course you are going to get ‘support’! But will you get ‘service’ and its close business relation: consultancy? Will someone really help you in the broadest sense of the word? Technology is only as good as our use of it. Anyone who has ever struggled with their new smartphone or office software package knows, new technology, rather than help save time, often starts out by consuming more time. And even then, after spending a significant amount of time learning to use the new technology, we often end up only utilizing 10- 20% of the power of the tool in question (and by implication only 10-20% of the potential return on our investment). That is, until someone comes along and stays with us for a period of time to help discover what else might be useful for us and then – step by step – shows us how to unlock the rest. Technology is nothing if we are unable to put it to optimal use for our specific situation.
Finding the right service orientated online distribution partner
Optimally leveraging channel management technology to achieve the underlying objective
of more successful revenue management and distribution while consuming less valuable ‘guest
experience time’ depends on finding a real partner, a partner with:
- Explicit service mission that goes beyond (technical) ‘support’
A partner with a mission that goes beyond the software sales and focuses
on the post-sale process of working together with you to optimize and
fine-tune your distribution.
- Genuine “we are always there” attitude
Partners that offer real peace of mind by quickly, efficiently and without
excuses resolving the daily problems that occur -like overbookings- instead
of reaching for the contract to check whether they are obliged to help.
- Hospitality experts, not just hotel distribution experts
The condition of providing superior service is a real understanding of your
guest or customer that goes beyond the immediate need they might
have or express at this particular moment. Similarly, seek out online channel
distribution partners who do not only understand hotel distribution, but
understand hospitality. Partners who do not just have good developers, but
hospitality-trained consultants (from key hotel schools and previous ‘in hotel’
careers) who really understand your daily challenges - to what ‘end’ they are
the means - and can help resolve these pro-actively. Look for clues in the “our team”
section of their websites and key words that show they understand that this is, in the
end, about “proactively optimizing guest experience without neglecting revenue generation”.
For more than 16 years, SmartHOTEL has been helping hoteliers navigate the exciting world of online distribution. From our office based in the Netherlands, our team serves independent hotels, hostels and chains worldwide by providing channel management and tailored online distribution solutions. A lot has changed over the last years, but our goal remains the same: simply connect hotels to the world. For any questions regarding our services, please contact us at email@example.com or call +31 (0)182 75 11 18.