Tendencias del sector

Cómo el plug-and-play está transformando la experiencia de incorporación tecnológica en la hospitalidad

Petra Hancz

Petra Hancz

How plug-and-play is transforming the hospitality technology onboarding experience

Adopting hospitality technology used to be an incredibly painful process but the sort of plug-and-play ease that consumers enjoy at home now dominates the scene for hotels and serviced apartment operators too.

A long time ago, all-in-one Property Management Software (PMS) was the future but property managers were ultimately always frustrated that they couldn’t access hotel automation solutions that moved with the times. These systems would be slow to update, lack functionality and customers would always be at the mercy of a single vendor, held back by how fast they could innovate. 

However, a new breed of API-first platforms is changing all that, and the constellation of apps they unlock is central to how this type of open hospitality platform aids companies throughout their growth phase — from first changing their hotel tech stack to the ease with which they can onboard every new technology tool from then on. 

The advantage of  API-first platforms lies in swapping out one-stop-shops for a foundational platform that allows property managers to connect a seemingly endless combination of technology tools, which all speak to each other. These apps are plug-and-play and, through APIs, they’re all designed to work together. 

This solves a big pain point for hospitality operators. In fact, a study by h2c in 2023 revealed that system integration remained the biggest challenge for more than 73% of hotel chains trying to digitise operations. 

The impact for hospitality operators is two-fold. 

Firstly, changing the combination of tools in the tech stack is very straightforward and, in many cases, is as easy as flicking a switch. But that doesn’t mean new tools should be adopted lightly. There are other considerations, such as staff culture and training that you will need to consider each time you change your tech stack. 

Secondly, setting a new hotel live when you already have a property management platform in place becomes easier. Adding a property to a PMS used to take months — and then you still had to train the staff who were going to work there. That timeline has been reduced to days, or even hours in some cases. Extensive integrations and seamless data sharing means it feels like you’re adding to something that already exists, untroubled by the heavily manual requirements that characterised the onboarding of hotels 20 years ago.

So what should you think about before adopting an API-first property management platform and embarking on each new integration? 

  • Make sure you’ve got clearly defined objectives. What do you want to achieve, and is a new piece of technology the only way to achieve it? Objectives might include automating payments, guest satisfaction or reducing operational costs. 

  • If something goes wrong with a particular tech tool, you’ll want help from the people who designed it, so make sure you ask the vendor how they will support you after adoption, and whether they’ll help you train your staff. They’ll also be able to tell you whether there’s anything in your tech stack that it won’t currently integrate with, but this is becoming increasingly rare. 

  • Training times on modern platforms are far lower these days but make sure you factor in the time and resources staff will need to familiarise themselves with the new tools.

  • Finally, test the new tool at a small number of sites before you commit to fully embedding it in the business. You’ll learn important lessons in no time at all and it will reduce the risk of frustrating staff who need the tool to work effectively from day one.

A fantastic example of effective deployment is McDreams Hotels. The chain created a dedicated project team when it switched its PMS out for Apaleo. The team brought people together from all over the business to solve all the challenges that needed to be addressed. This gave them the opportunity to customise Apaleo's features to meet their specific needs and create a comprehensive change management strategy for the business and staff.

The significance of plug-and-play

Ultimately, plug-and-play API tools allow today’s hospitality leaders to create highly integrated tech stacks that automate processes, enhance guest experiences, and optimise operational efficiency. And they can achieve all this with speed that would have been unimaginable even a decade ago. It means there’s no barrier to modernisation but the usual project management challenges still apply. 

It’s also worth being aware that not all APIs are born equal. Apaleo’s API infrastructure uses ‘webhooks’ that unlock real-time data to reduce server load, making your property management system faster and more efficient. They also ensure data consistency and accuracy across all systems, from the PMS to the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) and Central Reservation System (CRS). 

Plug-and-play means you’re able to bring the best-in-class applications together from inside and outside the hospitality industry, spanning revenue management,  accounting, CRM, housekeeping, and guest services tools, all facilitated by APIs.

It’s a brave new world in which innovation doesn’t wait for third-party vendors but with that comes a landscape that changes faster than ever — and with it guest expectations. 

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