Management Companies, Brand Mandates, and the Future of Hospitality

Hotel Operations Technology

There was a push toward centralized operations even before the pandemic forced hotel companies to reduce staff sizes and shutter some properties. The trend started with reservations; today, when travelers call to book a room, they’re often sent to a remote call center instead of speaking with an employee on-property. The trend then moved to accounting, and the process of recording financial transactions is usually handled by a team in a regional or corporate office.

Today, disciplines such as revenue management and sales operate from corporate offices with team members supporting multiple properties across a portfolio. In sales, leads will come into the corporate office, and centralized sales teams will distribute leads to the individual property that best fits the lead’s needs.

Management company and ownership group operations can be hindered by proprietary or brand-managed systems that don’t communicate or share data with other systems.

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Proprietary systems can hinder performance.

In the sales world, proprietary systems, or restricted closed systems, inhibit the ability for centralized teams to visualize supply and demand metrics for each location in one central dashboard. This means they can’t get leads to the right property in a timely manner or respond to inquiries on behalf of suitable properties within a single correspondence.

The process is currently inefficient, and there will always be errors made along the way, which can ultimately lead to the wrong decisions. Brands might considering changing how they contract with specific technology providers and force their operators to install some of their core systems.

Open systems increase visibility and decrease costs.

When operators are afforded the ability to implement systems built with open APIs that can share data with other critical third-party systems like revenue management and business intelligence, they have more efficient ways to centralize and analyze data to make more profitable decisions.

So, if operators are using brand mandated systems and catering space for a small number of properties in their portfolio—for example—they should consider installing a third-party system at the remainder of their properties that can pull data from the brand’s system. Installing a third-party system can pass the data into a BI tool for a single view of their cross-property performance. Otherwise, management companies are going to be spending an inordinate amount of time normalizing data and creating reports.

A single, centralized view of data not only improves reporting, but can drive more revenue and profitability as well to aid management companies in making smarter, data-driven decisions. For example, if a major event is coming to town and the event organizers are considering several hotels in a portfolio as the potential host, a centralized view of meeting space availability and demand across the portfolio can better optimize the RFP process and put together enticing packages to drive event planners to a specific hotel. Sales teams can then move from being reactive to being more proactive in securing meetings and groups business.

The time for change.

Now is a great time for operators and brands to come together to accelerate innovations that will help property managers do better, faster, and more profitable jobs. Centralized operations require teams to access and analyze data from each property across the portfolio in a more efficient manner, and siloed, closed systems are oftentimes not the answer.

As brand partners work toward ensuring their operators are set up for success, allowing them to use the right tools for the job is critical. With the current COVID-19 environment, the acceleration towards collaboration between software providers has opened the opportunity to look at combining software that works together to meet business needs. A great place to start is making technology options available to ensure there’s a broad offering for all customers.

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Lauren Hall is the founder/CEO of iVvy, a cloud-based sales, catering, and venue management platform. She provides executive leadership for the global organization, including strategic and financial operations, stakeholder engagement, and global growth. Lauren has a background in programming, accounting, and marketing, and has successfully built multiple companies from startup to financial and strategic exit.

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