It is an important time of year for the hospitality industry in the Middle East. The region’s industry has witnessed a strong recovery of 78.6% occupancy rates over last year and the holiday season continues to hold tremendous promise of high tourist traffic and increased occupancy. With the highlight of the year- Dubai Shopping Festival 2012 fast approaching, hoteliers need to brace themselves for round-the-clock services as they run at nearly 100% occupancy. Here will be integral for them to relook at existing business procedures to ensure efficient use of resources and enhanced guest experience.
Technology for Better Hotel Management
Technology is a key driver of business growth for the hospitality sector across segments. While hotels leverage technology, hoteliers need to remember that mere adoption of innovation does not suffice. Effective implementation of required hardware and software proves beneficial only if the hotel ERP is adequately aligned with the hotel’s business needs.
Advances in software technology enable departments such as, sales, human resources, inventory, accounts and front office operations to access business intelligence (BI) analytics and reports. In addition to this obvious benefits, it also helps hotel managers cross-sell/up-sell products and services and also enhance guest experience through personalized services.
Tools to Help Hotels Multi-Task
Today’s technology is equipped with user friendly interfaces that hasten operations; tools like point-of-sale (POS) systems have easy billing with multiple window options. PMS’s provide a single screen check-in for guests, speed up front desk operations and can be configured to efficiently manage energy usage in rooms.
Along with easy interfaces, centralized technology enables hoteliers to efficiently manage operations across departments and chains. An integrated PMS captures guests’ information that is gathered at check-in and makes it access at multiple touch points. Features such as these enable hoteliers to pull up guest information and leverage it to offer personalized service, such as choice of rooms and meal options. At time of check-out, software solutions in combination with cutting edge technology like RFID also assist to keep track of pilfered linens and other items.
In 2010, tourist arrivals to the Middle East increased by 14%, registering a total of 56.6 million tourists. The positive outlook of the year ahead will place an impetus on the adoption and implementation of CRM tools as well. Luxury hotel chains in the Middle East already offer rewards and loyalty programs for customers, however, with the advent of social media, CRM tools have been revised to track discussions and reviews on hotel properties.
One of the key challenges for large hotel chains is to stay connected with their managers on-the-go. Hand held devices like PDAs enable hoteliers to stay connected with ongoing activities at their property and an integrated PMS system sends out automated updates to improve communications.
‘Wow’ your customers
Hotel lobbies have also witnessed transformation to “wow” customers and create a lasting first impression. Most lobbies are now equipped with touch screens, free Wifi and other attractive e-tools.
The Middle East is largely known for its luxury hotels and top notch services. A technology trend that has become fairly commonplace is to have guest rooms equipped with iPads to interface with room-service and housekeeping. Taking this to the next level, guests will soon be able to use smart devices and especially designed applications to request for services they would like to avail within the hotel property. Most hotels today offer free Wi-Fi services as well which is a necessity for business travelers.
The hospitality industry has much to gain from technology and while seamless check-ins and check-outs have already become reality, technology is helping create a sense of familiarity and personalized attention long before a guest arrives, and increased guest loyalty to ensure they keep coming back.
Chandrasekar R, Vice President – Operations (Middle East & North Africa), IDS NEXT
Chandrasekar is a multi-faceted professional. From a dedicated software developer he has climbed the corporate ladder to be Vice President, Sales for the Middle Eastern region. Out of his 30 years of rich experience, he has spent 18 years with the IDS family. RCS was instrumental in setting up IDS’ operations in Bahrain and revolutionizing the UAE market! A compulsive global business traveller, RCS is an avid music lover and a voracious reader and a charm to have around!
About IDS NEXT
IDS Softwares Pvt. Ltd. “IDS NEXT”, is a global leader in providing ERP and total technology solutions for the Hospitality and Leisure industries. With a track record that spans over 24 years, we have earned the trust of over 3000 customers globally with a strong presence in 40 countries across South Asia, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. IDS NEXT’s clients include a host of prominent hotel chains including Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, ITC Fortune Group, Royal Orchid Hotels, Pride Hotels, Ramada Hotels and others.
IDS NEXT’s portfolio of capabilities include Strategic Consulting, Business Outcome Services, Custom Design and Development, Total Technology Solutions and a range of next generation software products that addresses the hospitality industry, such as independent hotels, chain hotels, business hotels, resorts, clubs, service apartments, limited service, spas, cruise liners and restaurants.
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