Hotel technology is changing and for the better. These changes should bring about greater operational efficiencies and allow the hotel to reach out to the wider world.
Of course, like many other things in life, the Internet has brought the ability to allow enterprises to get ‘connected’. For so long, the only piece of software that the hotel had to worry about was their Property Management System (PMS). This would be sitting, if you were lucky, on a server in an air conditioned room, along side the telephone exchange. In many cases, most likely it was a broom cupboard. I remember the days of Fidelio and the nightly ritual of changing the tape backup when I was a young Hotel Night Manager.
All of a sudden, many systems came along that helped with the booking process, impacted operations and improved our ‘communications’ with colleagues and customers, from web booking engines, something called a ‘channel manager’ and yield systems. But each system ran in isolation and they were so many frustrating times when I wished that I could bring all these disparate functions into one. As you can imagine, there are still several hotels like this.
Then the cloud happened. Would this finally solve our problems and allow us to use one ‘platform’ for everything? Perhaps. Yet, there seemed to be a difference in how different vendors were moving. New innovators into the market began developing software that was designed to operate in the cloud, while others just transferred their existing systems and placed them in huge data centres. There is such a difference and here we ask: what is the difference between cloud native and cloud hosted?
These are applications that have been specifically designed to be used within cloud environments. An example of a cloud environment – you may have heard of Amazon Web Services. One of our technology partners, Clock Software, is hosted on Amazon Web Services. Therefore, this setup allows the system to be offered as software as a service (SaaS), meaning that you pay a monthly subscription depending on level of functionality required, rather than paying up front for large licence fees. This should easily allow hotels to start using modern, smarter software within strained cash-flow budgets.
What are the other advantages of using cloud native software:
- Setting up the system is much easier and takes less time. Means no expensive fees are incurred bringing in system installers for weeks at a time.
- In conjunction with the point above, no hardware or additional software is required to be installed on site.
- This environment allows the software developers to quick deploy system upgrades, which are available to all users, not just the privileged few who pay for it.
It’s like moving MS Excel 97 from your PC or laptop and hosting it on a big server sitting in a big warehouse.
In hotel terms, and this may sound extreme, but you should get the picture. You take Fidelio from sitting in your broom cupboard, place it on a data centre server and setup a remote connection on all of your desktops or via a ‘thin client’. Yes, you could argue that it runs in the ‘cloud’ but I would never dream of using Fidelio in running a hotel in today’s climate.
A necessary consideration for today’s hotelier, as so many business operations take place online and the impact on the business if it is breached can have major implications.
It has been argued that cloud native software is more secure than on-property applications. If you software vendor runs their application on something like Amazon Web Services, then take a look at their security page and you can see how they take security so seriously.
For hotels, the most serious consideration should be given to complying with PCI DSS security standards. Pardon? These are the standards enforced by the credit card industry as to how card details are stored and processed. Therefore, your system and business processes must ensure that they are compliant with these.
With Clock Software, security and compliance with PCI DSS comes as standard. As a customer, you do not have to pay more for this as an additional system module. The entire platform is designed from scratch to be compliant.
Want to know more? Then contact us for a chat.