The time has arrived for your hotel: you’ve worked with painstaking care through the due diligence phase, and after thoughtful deliberation you’ve purchased a new technology to enhance your operation.
By Glenn Wirick, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Pegasus Solutions
There’s perhaps excitement, or a renewed sense of relief. But…wait for it…it’s not over. Now comes the moment of truth. Hospitality-tech salespeople are no longer ringing your line, nor are you enduring the onslaught of PowerPoint presentations and demos. Rather, push has come to shove and it’s finally time to implement this new, fantastic, life-changing technology.
Naturally, a few hiccups may occur during the implementation phase, whether during installation or during training. This is normal and to be expected, but easier to work through with the right partner – after all, hotels are complex. But once the system is up and running, the goal of both the hotelier and the technology partner is for ongoing smooth sailing.
When something goes wrong with your hotel technology, everything grinds to a halt. This is when service and support are the lifeblood of your operation. To keep your hotel running, it fundamentally comes down to the support from your vendors. Support allows you to operate your hotel (bonus if it’s worry-free!) and optimize your business.
Here are five considerations every hotelier should have when weighing technology partners, and respective support agreements.
- Does the tech support group understand not only the platform, but your business? Too many times support groups are handed the keys to the features and functionality of the system, but their understanding of how it applies to a hotel is limited. If this is the case, immediately ask to speak with someone in authority to ensure you are a top priority.
- Does your account manager not only try to keep you satisfied – but also moves the needle on service? Account managers should be seen as long-term partners, proactively helping you improve your hotel operations. When you invest in a relationship with the right account manager, you can see huge differences in the hotel performance and in the general management of your account. Account managers are there to help.
- Does your vendor quickly respond when you solicit support? Ensure your vendor will truly deliver on the service promise. For example, what are the ways in which you can contact your vendor, and what are the expected turn-around times in communication and service? Is your vendor available by phone 24 hours a day? What about via email? Be sure to understand exactly how to communicate with your vendor, and the anticipated wait times.
- Does your vendor provide technical support, service-related support, or both? For example, if you are using a call center for the technicalities of reservations fulfillment, also be aware that agent responsiveness (or service) is key. Demand that the reservations fulfillment come with agents who can adapt to challenges like no availability for a requested room type – and can answer location-specific questions about restaurants and other area landmarks. If they fully understand the landscape, reservations agents will better engage the callers, increase spend, and get that booking even when the King Room initially requested isn’t available.
- What exactly does your service level agreement (SLA) state? There are many different sections to your SLA. Hold your technology partner accountable for fulfilling their side of the agreement. SLAs are in place so that you feel comfortable with the level of support you will receive - but they are also there to measure the support and keep everyone honest.
The best technology partnerships are built upon mutual respect and trust. Before getting into a committed technology vendor relationship, ask questions, delve deep into the SLA, request references, and talk to your peers. Choosing the right technology partner can reduce your operational headaches, increase revenues, and boost competitive advantages.