When you hear the word automation, for many people it conjures up images of a future in which advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robots might take over jobs previously performed by humans. The notion of automation generally remains ossified in this physical, machine-replaces-labor frame and is perceived as another step toward automation-led obsolescence. The reality however is much more nuanced.
Automation in everyday life
Discussions about automation all too often focus solely on distant possibilities. However, the idea of automation isn’t necessarily a modern one – the word itself is synonymous with efficiency. The theory behind utilizing automation technology has been around for centuries. Throughout history, there is evidence of different groups of people attempting to use automation to solve everyday problems they faced. Surprisingly many people don’t realize the scale of current automation and the many aspects of our lives that are subjected to automation everyday – your washing machine, the dishwasher, bus doors, even the humble ATM. Even though they might not be advanced, or overly obvious, all are examples of automation.
In recent years, automation has become more specific and refined to fit certain industries. The idea of the ATM, for example, has advanced further thanks to automation. With banking and payment apps, carrying cash is becoming a thing of the past. Consumers can now bank online and complete a variety of payments, whether it's household bills, purchasing products online, or paying for a coffee – it can be done at a simple click of a button or tap of a phone. Similarly, other phone apps allow us to streamline many everyday processes from shopping lists, paying a cashier, ordering pizza, managing smart home devices such as heating cycles, lights, alarm systems etc. In addition, a family member can be using the same application, allowing you to share lists or functionally of app, whenever, wherever.
It’s the same in a business
Automation is everywhere. It cuts across everything we do. By leveraging intelligent software to perform any number of ordered steps and workflows, it lets us function more efficiently and freely, making our lives easier. Now, let’s talk about applying those same principles to business operations – specifically the hotel business.
You can improve a hotel by improving beds, renovating rooms, adding new F&B options, etc. But if you want to improve a hotel’s operations, you begin to look at those processes that are required to keep the hotel business running: marketing, sales, housekeeping, front office staff, maintenance, etc.
For hotels, automation can unlock more revenue, lower costs, increase productivity, provide a better experience for both staff and guests and generally make an operation run more smoothly and profitably.
While there’s a broad spectrum of processes that can be automated in a hotel, one area where automation can drive more revenue opportunities throughout the guest journey is upselling, specifically early check-in and late check-out.
Hotel automation begins with an open platform like apaleo
At ROOMDEX, one core of our vision is automating many steps in the room upgrade and upsell fulfillment and offer all our customers a free 2-month trial. With apaleo that all became very easy, the integration project efforts were a breeze. It took very little time to complete a robust full 2-way interface. More importantly, apaleo offers any integration at no charge to its own customers, which enables hotels using apaleo to truly have a free trial for any service they may want to test and try. Furthermore for hotels, deploying ROOMDEX is only a few clicks of effort, apaleo’s app store facilitates an automated activation in minutes, not seen in most of the other PMS systems out there.
Early check-ins and late check-outs are easy upselling features
Early check-in and late check-out are two of the best upsell offerings to enhance guest service and increase revenue – but they are also one of the most under-optimized areas of hotel management. Why? From a lack of technology to pricing questions to simple communication, there are a number of hurdles. To upsell is to break the normal check-in and check-out flow. Hoteliers then need to make an extra effort to coordinate between departments. It is daunting for hoteliers to synchronize housekeeping, room allocation, and guest arrival and departures for a special case like an early check-in.
While upsell software solutions exist, until very recently they required extensive manual intervention – which defeats the purpose. Hotels have to constantly update the upsell price manually and often have to add and approve the upsell in the PMS. The static price points can often result in too high or too low conversion. And the biggest issue is that most solutions do not check inventory. So even if you sell an early check-in, if availability is not verified, the sale may not be fulfilled, leading to a poor customer experience. These kinds of headaches result in hotels’ reluctance to offer early check-in and late check out. They effectively wash their hands of it – ultimately leaving money left on the table.
Upsell automation done the right way
Upselling is too valuable to abandon just because it is too difficult to do well. At ROOMDEX we’ve built a tool that automates this whole process. We automatically check if the room is available, message the guest, and quote the optimal price. Our UPGRADE OPTIMIZER can:
- Automatically analyze your inventory each day to identify unsold rooms that are candidates for early check-in and late check-out
- Calculate the optimum price to charge the guest based on room availability
- Send an offer to the guest at the right time for optimized conversion
Automating upselling is a savvy way to improve your business operations. It allows you to remove any risk of human error by eliminating the disconnect between departments. Not only does all revenue drop to your bottom line but you provide flexibility to your guests. And the best part is you don’t need to do anything – everything is automated. It turns out that automation is your new best friend.
ROOMDEX automates, monetizes and ultimately simplifies the hotel room upgrade process by putting the power of choice in the hotel guest’s hands. Founded early 2020 by Jos Schaap, Pierre Boettner and Denis Bajet, 3 industry veterans (Ex. MICROS (now Oracle Hospitality), StayNTouch, Shiji and Nor1) who together bring over 90 years of hotel software experience around integrations, PMS, revenue management, BI, mobile, self service and upgrade optimization software. The first product “Room Upgrade / Upsell Optimization”, has delivered high margin revenue and ROI to hotels in LOW and in high occupancy periods. ROOMDEX has signed over 5,500 rooms and 60 hotels. Find more about ROOMDEX on www.roomdex.io or subscribe to our mailing updates here.
Posted byJos Schaap