Oracle Hospitality sells the world's most widely used hotel property management system. But it has ambitions to expand into additional services. Senior executive Laura Calin says her company is upending entrenched processes by rolling out fresh solutions, migrating to faster and smarter platforms, and drafting new commercial models.
Hundreds of the travel industry’s most technology-savvy executives will gather for our second Skift Tech Forum in San Francisco on June 27.
Skift Tech Forum, which will take place at the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel, explores key trends and disruptions that impact revenue and drive the e-commerce and technology strategies that power retailing, distribution, and merchandising decisions in travel. Expect insightful conversations from a broad range of speakers, including CEOs and top executives from Alaska Airlines, Amadeus, Expedia, Google, Uber, Marriott, Carnival, and Oracle.
Coping with unprecedented volumes of data, hotel companies face challenges with disparate data sets stored across various systems that don’t talk well with each other.
Oracle Hospitality, which sells the most used hotel property management system in the world, aims to do more to help address these issues with new tools and commercial models.
Skift chatted in-person with Laura Calin, vice president of strategy and solutions management at Oracle Hospitality, about the company’s plans. Note: We’ve edited this interview for brevity. It’s a prelude to Calin’s appearance June 27 at the Skift Tech Forum in San Francisco.
Skift: Has Oracle Hospitality’s strategy or direction changed recently?
Laura Calin: Yes. We’re looking at expanding our platform. Everyone expects us to be very good at property management. But we aim to surprise the industry by becoming more ambitious with distribution tools. We’re also going to address more pain points for our customers, like sales and event management.
Skift: Oracle acquired Micros, where you worked for about 20 years, and formed Oracle Hospitality in 2014. How’s that integration going?
Calin: We’re finally realizing the goal of bringing the best of Oracle into the hospitality industry in a customized way. Oracle has about 3,000 developers who have built solutions for all types of Fortune 500 companies.
Already we’re now running our applications on Oracle’s latest and greatest cloud infrastructure worldwide.
Something I’m excited about is Oracle data integration platform, a solution suite that helps ensure you extract the highest value from data. We’re embedding that into our offerings for hospitality. Right now we’re configuring it — creating a developer’s portal with open APIs [application programming interfaces, or a method of sharing data] and guided links and so on — and we’ll test it with partners soon.
We are also undertaking a very tight, hospitality-specific, vertical integration with Oracle’s CX [customer experience] solution. That is a customer 360-degree data management platform linked to a marketing cloud, a sales cloud, a social cloud, a loyalty cloud, a sales cloud, a services cloud, and so on.
Many of our customers are already using CX for, say, their marketing efforts. What we’re doing is stitching it together more tightly with all of our hospitality services.
Skift: Does Oracle Hospitality play nicely with third-party tech providers?
Calin: We have a firm belief that with the pace of innovation we should try to create an ecosystem rather than have a closed garden. To do that we need to make sure our platform is easy to integrate with and easy to use to create brand new solutions.
We’ve made great strides here. More than a year ago, we opened up many of our APIs. We’ve made connectivity easier. I was with a colleague yesterday, and within two hours, he was able to meet a request from Alice [an Expedia-backed hospitality operations tech provider] and connect Alice to our dashboard for our customers.
Skift: Startups sometimes complain that Oracle Hospitality charges high “tolls,” or fees, for lack of a better word, to access your data feeds. That may discourage them.
Calin: Our commercials are definitely changing. We had focused on getting the technology platform right first.
We’re still fine-tuning. Earlier this year we supported a hackathon led by Hospitality Technology Next Generation to see how easy it was for developers outside the industry to build things on what we offer.
We need to bill in a different way to be more open. We’re planning to come up with what I think will be very attractive commercial models to help eliminate all that pain and friction.
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Photo credit: In 2016, Oracle bought the Marriott Hotel in San Mateo, California. The hotel continues to take bookings from the public under the Marriott franchise brand and uses Oracle Hospitality's Opera cloud-based property management system. Oracle uses the hotel part-time for training and group events because it is only about four miles from its main office. Marriott San Mateo