Transforming Hotel IT Management
Wednesday 3rd August 2011
Transforming Hotel IT Management
Update on the Amadeus Hotel Platform – Helping hoteliers keep up with the speed of change
Today, more than ever, business transformation is the key to success in the hospitality industry. Launched in 2010 and built around one single comprehensive database and available as a Software as a Service model (SaaS), Amadeus Hotel Platform, a centralized above-property solution, combines central reservation, distribution, property, content and revenue management systems into one fully integrated platform with a single and real-time view of the hotelier’s entire activity. So, what has been the reaction to this platform? We put the question to Fabrice Marchand, Head of Product Strategy and Marketing Hotel IT at Amadeus.
In a market going through recovery, there are obviously a lot of interest from hoteliers to look at new available technology solutions that will support their business growth and evolution. Hoteliers focus their attention on technology that would simplify their processes and allow them to better serve their guest. They need to be more efficient when it comes to on-line distribution and supporting their growth strategy while keeping costs down. Amadeus Hotel Platform gets significant interest because it offers a fully integrated solution based on new generation technology. It combines in one single database the key systems that are PMS and CRS, together with call center, distribution and revenue management. It is available as a single database platform combining all these components. However, we understand that hotel chains may have interest in one or more components rather than the full platform. Some chains may want to change either their PMS or CRS or their revenue management systems. Amadeus can provide the components of Amadeus Hotel Platform in a modular way so hoteliers can run one or a few of the components in combination with their other systems. Ultimately, over time, they can then migrate to the full platform. For some chains, it may be more interesting to make a bigger change and move away from their current fragmented infrastructure to a new one in one go. For others, it may be easier to go step-by-step and we allow that flexibility.
How are hotels responding to the offering?
Buyers’ interest usually depends on the size of the chain. The bigger chains usually operate their own technology. Their immediate interest is to take advantage of new technology in some areas which are important to them and this can vary from one chain to another. So, before they make big changes they usually consider components. In the past 18 months, we have seen a lot of interest from hotel chains in what everybody calls cloud-based PMS or above property PMS. Scalability is also a hot topic. We have heard concerns about the pressure coming from the increasingly high number of shopping requests from on-line distribution channels. As more and more transactions come from online channels, hotel CRSs are experiencing transaction peaks that they have not seen before. They are looking for technology that will allow them to absorb all that incoming traffic. Amadeus Hotel Platform brings two components as part of our CRS application - Channel Hub and Search Engine - which were specifically developed to bring the scalability and reliability required to transact the increasing number of rates and availability request combinations coming from any distribution channel while guarantying very low response times. Many of the big chains are looking at these components to respond to changes in distribution patterns and to be more responsive to online requests.
If we look at the mid-sized chains worldwide, they usually look at the entire platform and how the integration of CRS and PMS applications together with distribution capability will change the way they work. There is high interest from this market segment which is very open to outsourcing technology.
What are other concerns of hoteliers that you are trying to address?
We are addressing four key concerns. The first relates to the guest experience: helping hoteliers be closer to their guests and better respond to their needs before, during and after their stay. How they can better personalize their offer to suit the evolving needs of their guests.
The second concern relates to brand value. The hospitality industry is mostly a franchise industry where there is a lot of competition to attract and retain hotel owners and guests. The value that the brand delivers to the hotel owner and the guest is therefore important. For hotel owners, it means efficiency in operations, distribution, staff productivity and bringing costs down.
The third business concern is that of globalization, including expansion and consolidation. When companies are expanding to new territories, do they have the size and the technology to reach these new territories? When they merge, do they have the capability to merge their systems and address new business problems that they will face?
Finally, I come back to the explosion of distribution channels traffic. This is creating high concerns on how to be fit and prepared.
How do you see the future of property management solution?
We are seeing a very strong move toward centralization, cloud-based applications and virtualization where the technology at the property will be much “lighter” than it is today. Data centralization is the future. The capabilities of the PMS will evolve with that. Today, the PMS is a property management system and a mini-reservation system with its own data, whereas the PMS should be a property management system and a sales channel. As a sales channel, it should rely on centralized data for rates, availability and guest profiles. It will take reservations, which will be centrally stored. Should it be called a PMS any longer? Probably not. Within the Amadeus Hotel Platform, we call it a property desktop because it encompasses property services and access to central resources.