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By Wendy Zapach, Chief Revenue Officer at Optii Solutions

We’re a few weeks away from the start of HITEC 2023 in Toronto, and I'm looking forward to speaking to hospitality leaders about technology's role in the industry's future. Given the current market context with labor shortages and rising room rates, it’s more important than ever for hotels to leverage technology to alleviate these challenges. In the second installation of the “A sneak peek into HITEC 2023” series, I wanted to draw attention to the session I'm looking forward to most: Does Your Back Office Hold Up, Or Is It Holding You Back?

The session appealed to me because it focuses on a subject that is at the heart of our work at Optii, the aim being to help hotels move from outdated back-office systems to modern technological solutions. Having recently joined the Optii team, I am consistently impressed at how much hotels stand to benefit from adopting our technology over legacy operations systems.

The challenges created by legacy systems and fragmented technologies

It's important to note that legacy systems don't just apply to the pen-and-paper method, but also to outdated technologies that no longer support hotel operations effectively. 

Holding onto legacy approaches and fragmented technologies can impact the hotel’s workflow. If each piece of technology is not integrated properly, it can result in disjointed operations. Optii’s modules work seamlessly together to maximize productivity and improve communication across all departments.

Moving to digital hotel operations makes it easy to communicate and set tasks. For example, if a guest arrives early and the room is not ready, front desk staff can ask the housekeeping team to prioritize the room so that guests can access it sooner. These interventions would be much more labor-intensive without technology. When hotel technology is fragmented, these channels of communication can break down resulting in miscommunication and a lack of accountability across the hotel. 

In recent years, many hotel operations technologies have been acquired by large companies that have not renewed their investments for many years. In contrast, Optii is a specialist in hotel operations and is constantly innovating, investing, and seeking to streamline this critical area for hoteliers.

Why some hoteliers are hesitant to overhaul their back-office systems 

Having had the opportunity to speak to many managers, it became clear to me that hotel managers have a lot on their plate, and that hotel technology is not always at the forefront of their minds. In some cases, hotel managers have the misconception that technology replacements take a long time to implement and could be a distraction from the day-to-day. This doesn’t have to be the case. Unlike replacing a PMS, RMS, or distribution system, which can take months, Optii does most of the work and can be operational in just 2-4 weeks. 

Labor shortages, rising guest expectations, and inflationary cost increases can all be mitigated by the use of hotel technology. Over time, the efficiency gap between hotels can widen, giving competitors a competitive edge in a tough market environment, making it all the more important to adopt technology sooner rather than later.

The opportunities for investing in new technology

Hotel operations technology streamlines workflow across all departments which improves the productivity, accountability, and profitability of the whole organization. The return on investment (ROI) is clear, it reduces costs across the hotel while enhancing the guest experience. 

Optii Housekeeping allows hotels to do more with less. Using its AI-driven mapping system, housekeepers spend less time walking between rooms and more time cleaning rooms. Managers now have more visibility over the location of each housekeeper, making it easier to set tasks and inspect rooms. Similarly, with Optii’s Preventative Maintenance module, hotels can better track assets by their usage and repair frequency helping to support preventative measures and guide investment decisions. 

The actionable insights Optii provides are invaluable to any hotel looking to make informed decisions about staffing, asset investment, and resource allocation. Whether it's our Housekeeping or Preventative Maintenance service, we provide the information needed to forecast and prepare for future scenarios. 

Choosing not to overhaul back-office systems can lead to inefficient and disjointed hotel operations that impact guest satisfaction and profitability. Understandably, hotel operations technology is often overlooked by managers because it runs in the background and is not seen by guests. Over time, this issue will only get worse, as competitors' operations become increasingly efficient and can facilitate a better guest experience.

By having modern technologies that work effectively with each other, the hotel benefits from better communication, and managers have access to information that enables them to make informed decisions. That's why I'm so excited about this HITEC session, as the topic is vital to the future of the industry.