Selecting a technology provider is an important decision. The right choice will enable you to maximize your investment in IT and accomplish your business goals. The wrong choice can fill you with regrets.
Now more than ever, guest expectations are significantly ahead of the technical capabilities of most properties. Hotels and resorts that invest in innovative technologies can increase revenue, improve guest loyalty, and reduce operating expenses.
But hoteliers need to select the correct technologies in which to invest.
It can be frustrating to deal with the multitude of technology decisions to be made, and it can be difficult to determine how disparate systems will work together.
Use this list of questions to help you make the best decisions for your hospitality business.
When selecting a technology provider, consider the following questions.
1. What services are important to me?
Strong WiFi is critical to any hospitality business as WiFi problems will invariably lead to negative guest feedback. It is not enough to wait until a guest or employee reports an issue with the WiFi. At a minimum, your WiFi infrastructure should be actively monitored to ensure that its performance is optimized.
Additionally, you will need asset monitoring, antivirus, and patch management for workstations.
2. Do I need 24x7x365 technical support?
Unlike other businesses, hospitality companies are typically busier during non-traditional business hours. Weekend visitors will not be happy if guest-impacting systems can't be fixed until Monday morning — after the guest has checked out.
You should strongly consider 24x7x365 managed IT support as part of your minimum requirements.
3. How will the services be delivered?
After the great sales pitch, visit the providers you're considering.
What do their data centers and network operations centers look like? Are they secure with advanced capabilities, or is it a couple of people sitting in cubicles? Cut through the sales hype and perform an on-site review of your potential providers.
4. Do I need technical engineers servicing my account?
Managed service providers typically have numerous clients that share a pool of user support technicians and engineers to answer questions and fix IT issues.
Having resources dedicated to your business is more expensive but it may be worthwhile to have someone assigned to your account with specific hospitality experience.
5. Which performance metrics are important to me?
Performance metrics and reports can identify patterns that might lead to outages, recurring issues, or the need for employee training. You should inquire about the types of reports available and how they will be delivered and analyzed.
6. What is my budget?
Ideally, you want to select a plan where you pay for what you use and nothing more. The technology provider should offer service plans that are flexible, scalable, and affordable.
Your needs may change in the future.
The provider should be able to create a customized package for managed services that includes precisely what you need — and nothing you don't.
7. What are the skills and scale of the technology provider's staff?
In depth, specialized knowledge is a critical requirement. The provider you select should have a mix of technical people with advanced skills in technology most critical to hospitality companies, such as electronic access control and point-of-sale. There should be redundancy among the staff to support multiple clients.
8. How will issues be resolved?
When it comes to technology, issues can result from multiple factors. If a technology provider outsources one or more elements of their service offering to third parties — backup and recovery data centers are a prime example — this will hinder the ability of that provider to resolve a client problem.
Nothing can be more frustrating for you than to deal with the resulting finger pointing.
If the provider doesn't cover the entire delivery chain, how will issues be handled between multiple vendors?
You should choose a provider that owns its own data centers and takes responsibility for resolving all IT issues, no matter the cause.
9. What guarantee does the provider offer me?
You will want to choose a provider that offers formal, written service level agreements (SLAs) that describe the obligations of the provider. This comprehensive agreement should clearly define the responsibilities of the provider, metrics as to what constitutes meeting the SLA standards, and what penalties are in place if the provider misses a provision of the SLA. As described in the agreement, the provider should have a monitoring system in place that tracks any outages down to the minute, and be able to report this information to you.
10. What is the longevity of the company?
You will want to select a provider that has decades of experience; most importantly, relevant experience serving hospitality companies. The provider should be able to provide you with a referenceable client list.
Do Your Research Now, You'll be Thankful Later
Choosing the right technology partner for your hospitality business is an important decision.
Do your research ahead of time and you'll be thankful later that you did. We hear horror stories from our clients of vendors they've used in the past who couldn't meet their needs.
Corserva understands the challenges faced in hospitality and we have been in business 30+ years. We can install and support standalone technology solutions that work within your existing infrastructure and can be upgraded in the future. We can also integrate multiple technologies to increase profitability and guest satisfaction. We own two HIPAA and PCI compliant data centers, and we provide technical support to our clients 24x7x365 from our world-class network operations center.