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Technology improves a hotel’s ability to provide hospitality.

Yes, we said it. Not because we believe hotels should be run by robots, but because we know just 20 years ago the success of a hotel depended as much on its ties with an established chain as it did on the quality of the rooms it offered.

Today, that playing field has been leveled, not by personalization – which, rightfully, has dominated headlines within the travel and hospitality industry as of late – but by the hidden base that supports the hotel iceberg in staying afloat: technology.

Specifically, cloud technology – the internet-based tools that provide the opportunity for hotels to compete on the global stage, with independents and chains alike. The cloud allows hotels to be where travelers are; starting from the moment those travelers plan their holiday – searching, researching, comparison-shopping, in the cloud.

Demystifying the cloud for hoteliers

Ask anyone in the hotel industry what business systems they use and you will gain an appreciation for just how fragmented and disparate the booking solutions space is in the market.

With the cloud, hotels are able to free themselves of physical infrastructure and benefit from an always-accessible platform that houses best-of-breed systems – including the hotel’s property management system, central reservation system, reputation management and rate recommendation tools, data insight platform, channel manager, booking engine and GDS, to name but a few.

Unconstrained by neither the hardware nor software that comes with on-premise technology, hotels can have one or all of those systems up and running within days, sometimes hours. The choice is theirs, thanks to the flexible nature of the cloud and its unique ability to scale – up or down.

Because their applications and data are stored in the cloud, hotels receive automatic upgrades of their systems – from new features and performance enhancements, to security – allowing hoteliers to benefit from an increased pace of innovation.

Did we mention saying goodbye to the risk of significant business interruption? Any hotel with an Internet connection has access to the cloud, through one interface that makes such things as staff training and maintenance much less onerous tasks – and major downtime, from broken systems, a thing of the past.

For revenue managers, however, perhaps the most important offering for hotels on the cloud is the low, predictable fees that come with a model that is typically subscription-based. This pay-as-you-go model removes the commission costs to the technology provider. Ultimately, this not only provides a boost to a hotel’s bottom line but an opportunity for that hotel to be connected to a greater number of booking sites and meta-search engines – to find travelers, and to be found.

Using SiteMinder technology, hotels are empowered to attract, reach and convert guests, wherever they are. Our cloud-based products – which include the world’s largest channel manager by properties, an integrated booking engine, deep PMS/CRS integration and GDS connection tools – have been designed to achieve exactly this. For hoteliers, this means lower costs and greater control.

Making legacy systems a thing of the past

The cloud has fundamentally democratized best-of-breed technology. Capabilities and systems previously accessible only to the largest hotel chains are now accessible to all hotels, no matter their size. A small, independent hotel today can be using the same cloud technology as the largest chains in the world, and have an equal opportunity to manage the increasing complexities of online distribution and direct bookings. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the large hotel chains to remain heavily invested in on-premise legacy technology and consequently struggle to keep up with the pace of innovation delivered via the cloud.

Through the cloud, hotels are equipped with one architecture that is not only powerful today but is equally prepared for the change that is inevitable in future.

According to Criteo’s Travel Flash Report, the first half of 2014 saw:

  • Mobile bookings on travel websites are growing faster than desktop, at 20 percent versus 2 percent
  • Smartphones and tablets account for 21 percent of hotel bookings
  • In-app bookings account for 12 percent of total mobile bookings made on travel websites

While this data puts the traveler in the driver’s seat, through the cloud, hotels can now look to regain control, creating new opportunities for direct traveler engagement. (Enter: personalization.)

More than 148 million travel bookings are made each year. It’s time hotels got a bigger share of that pie, and it starts with one Internet connection.

Being a part of the new, ubiquitous ecosystem

Roughly how many businesses, then, are on the cloud or are on their way? International Data Corporation predicted cloud spending would this year surge by 25% to over $100 billion.

Additionally, Cisco has forecast that cloud applications will account for 90 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2018. This may come as a startling figure for some, but perhaps not when considering that cloud applications accounted for 82 percent of total mobile data traffic at the end of 2013 – a fact often overlooked by those who forget that their use of the internet, smartphone or tablet device already puts them in the cloud: the new, ubiquitous ecosystem where travellers are and where hotels therefore need to be.

This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor SiteMinder, one of the global hotel industry’s leading providers of online distribution and direct booking technology.