The Hospitality Tech Stack

Chris Stock, Managing Director of Percipient, looks at the increasing importance of building a set of integrated technologies in creating value for owners and operators.

It’s no secret that digital has come to represent a lever for profitability in the hospitality industry. Agility and flexibility have come to the forefront as metrics of success, replacing traditional measures which relied upon things staying relatively constant year after year.

In a world where very little stays the same for very long, those leading the way in the hospitality industry are embracing digital as a means to deliver new services, better meet customer expectations, optimise the guest experience, and carve out competitive advantage.

The Right Tech Stack

In embracing digital as a differentiator, the concept of a tech stack, a set of technologies which are stacked together to facilitate seamless data flow, foster collaboration and deliver one version of the truth, has gained a lot of attention in the hospitality community in recent months.

Creating a modern, integrated set of applications spanning all core functions, from finance, HR, operations and maintenance to PMS and CRM, is intrinsic to driving visibility and a live picture of the business. Equipped with this live, integrated set of insights, hospitality businesses can react to trends, mitigate threats and capitalise on opportunities in the moment, giving them far more control and confidence, and carving out a distinct competitive advantage.

With personalisation as part of the customer experience on the rise, the insights a robust, modern tech stack brings are of immense value. From helping guests plan their stay, to enriching their experience and delivering services based on preference and previous purchases, the cohesive view facilitated by a fully integrated stack of modern applications is fundamental.

APIs: The Fabric of the Modern Tech Stack

APIs have been a game changer in facilitating easy integration and two-way information flow across modern applications. Legacy systems have no place in the modern tech stack, as a need for manual intervention or workarounds typically leaves companies not only vulnerable to inaccuracies but also delays which hold the potential to impede planning and decision-making. Similarly, there is little point in having great systems in each hotel or entity if they can’t connect to deliver organisational-wide insights.

A Case in Point

In 2020, Hastings Hotels, the largest hotel group in Northern Ireland operating seven luxury properties, discovered that finding a platform which can deliver a consolidated view of its diverse portfolio, was paramount in enabling the kind of in-depth management information necessary to enable faster, more informed decision-making within the business.

CFO Peter Gibson explains:

Planning for the future can be tricky at the best of times, never mind amid a global pandemic. Using Sage Intacct, we now have much-improved visibility of higher-quality information. We can slice and dice the data, according to hotel, or department, and identify trends and anomalies across, say food and beverage, housekeeping, spa services or customer service. The availability of these insights on an intuitive dashboard means that minimal skills are needed, but that everyone has up-to-date information from which to perform their role to the best of their abilities.

Everything within Sage Intacct is preconfigured and data can be categorised according to location, entity, accounting period or currency, in a couple of clicks. Flexible enough to drill down into specific areas without the need to navigate a complex route to accessing information, and scalable enough to support mergers and acquisitions, or simply bring new vendors on board easily, Sage Intacct facilitates a common chart of accounts which is incredibly intuitive to use and based on USALI. For example, new entities can be set up instantly with configurable rules for inter-entity transactions, bank accounts, and more. They can simply inherit the group’s existing lists, process definitions, and charts of accounts, or new ones can be created. Crucially the system leverages APIs to integrate with all other systems, thus bringing all insights from across the business into simple-to-navigate dashboards.

De-Risking & Future-Proofing

We live in times where bad technology decisions not only stall performance but can impede the value, and potential expansion, of a business. In isolation, technology will fall short of delivering value, but a scalable, cloud-based system such as Sage Intacct, as the foundation of a modern tech stack, can represent the difference between success and failure.

Scaling the Tech Stack for Future Growth

The right tech stack is important, not only in the successful running of the business but in times of consolidation. In the event of an acquisition, investment, or expansion, essentially whenever the valuation of the company comes into play, optimising the value of newly acquired hotels, and delivering returns in line with expectations is crucial. Where management companies operate different hotels with different systems, there are inevitable roadblocks in the way of the all-important synergies and collaboration needed to thrive.

What is certain is that the foundations from which to build out the right capabilities must be scalable, flexible and foster collaboration. This is where the hospitality tech stack comes into its own as a real value add for owners and operators alike.

Sage Intacct Partner for Hospitality

For more information on how Percipient can help your hospitality business to succeed with Sage Intacct, get in touch or call us on 01606 871332.

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