Barrier #1: Siloed Platforms Create a Disjoined Guest Journey
What do you notice about the hypothetical guest journey presented in the introduction? The guest interacts with the hotel through a myriad of digital and physical touchpoints, utilizing several different personal devices (desktop, mobile phone, tablet, etc) and hotel platforms (IBE, PMS, guest messaging system, digital payments, keyless entry, etc). If all is working properly, the customer will experience a seamless guest journey from platform-to-platform and touchpoint-to-touchpoint. This unified journey not only makes for a convenient and pleasant trip, it also lays the foundation for a guest profile that personalizes the entire guest experience. Once a guest is recognized by a hotel’s technological ecosystem, it is better able to deliver the guests’ ideal room and rate combinations, amenity preferences, and custom requests.
Conversely, siloed platforms and disjointed tech stacks make enhanced personalization almost impossible. There’s an old adage in the hospitality industry: “If you have to ask a longtime customer ‘have you stayed with us before,’ you have just reset your relationship back to zero.” The same applies to the digital space. If a hotel’s ecosystem cannot identify a guest from touchpoint-to-touchpoint and from device-to-device, it won’t be able to develop the comprehensive guest profile necessary to properly anticipate the guest’s preferences and tailor the hotel’s messaging and offerings.
Choosing a PMS with an open-API architecture lays the necessary conditions for seamless integrations, but hotels have to go further to build a truly unified and personalized guest journey. Ideally, PMS platforms should be built on a native-cloud foundation like Amazon’s AWS, which offers unparalleled speed and reliability, and can automatically scale its performance upwards with increased usage. Powerful and simplified webhooks are another necessary enhancement. Unlike traditional APIs, which only function when a request comes from outside applications, webhooks automatically send data when initiated by a triggering event. The result is like having a thread leading directly to the proverbial needle in the haystack, allowing the platforms to have the exact data that they need, exactly when they need it.