Only hotels can fix hotel tech and 4 more stories
Only hotels can fix hotel tech
The saying goes: As long as the market continues to demand it, providers will supply it. And aside from Apple removing headphone jacks, that saying is pretty much true. So it goes with hotel tech. Everybody knows and everyone agrees that open APIs and fair pricing systems are better. But the change is still slow to materialize. That change will only come when hotels begin to demand it. If we want better hotel technology systems we need to start demanding it from the providers. And hotels know how to do that.
Hoteliers overcoming tech issues
There are several ways the future of hotel technology can go. Enterprise type all-in-one solutions or an interconnected stack of best-of-breed smaller solutions. But Red Lion Hotels seem to have built a solution that will work no matter where the future goes. By creating a layer that manages the connections between providers they can control their data and thus get the best of both world. It is a similar solution to what citizenM built and hotel groups that have the resources should learn from it.
We really need to improve booking systems
A few years ago, working with a great design team, we had identified that the biggest failure in hotel websites is their booking engine. The very concept that one needs to leave the hotel's website towards another website (booking engine) to complete the booking is a lesson in bad e-commerce. Heck, even TripAdvisor, Google and most other metasearch providers agree. Yet every single hotel website does it. Reminiscent of the era when hotel websites were brochures with a reservations as an after-thought. Seeing this beautiful website from 86Cannon reminded me that we really have an issue here. And it's not a hard problem to solve, there are plenty of coders out there who can build the booking journey into the website today.
A technical look at GDS and Systems
The recent outage at Delta and Southwest airlines seemingly came from their antiquated computer systems. But Jeff Hall in this article, explains that quite to the contrary it wasn't the old systems that broke down, rather it was the systems in between that manage the communications between the old and the new. Many who have attended my talks know I have very little love for the GDS system. While I might be wrong about the security of those systems, I will say that if we keep hanging on tooth and nail to them, we'll never create newer and better solutions. Yet, it bears knowing that these old systems are stable.
What it takes to build a hotel tech startup
Working with hotel tech founders, I get to see the gritty life of startups first hand. Yes it is romanticized as freedom, creativity, fame and fortune. But reality is almost none of that. This interview with a hotel tech startup founder gives some of the cold hard realities that accompany going out on one's own (with co-founders) and bringing an idea to the market. It almost always has some elements of fun, but it carries with it a massive burden of overcoming seemingly impossible problems. Thankfully some people have the courage to do it.