Hoteliers have often had to deal with legacy computer systems at different stages of their life cycle, with rigid and outdated functionality. The cloud computing race in 2019 appears to have a decided multi-cloud spin. Donald Gasper discusses cloud technology and software as a system (SaaS) with two of the experts.

Hoteliers are limited by both the age of the technology they use and the high fragmentation of their technology portfolios. Justin Ricketts, senior vice president for Software Engineering at Sabre Hospitality Solutions, says the SynXis platform solves this dilemma in two important ways:

First, because the platform uses a single code base and because that code is written in a way that dramatically reduces the cost of change, SynXis can be enhanced and reinvented continuously. Therefore, SynXis customers always have the latest software and capabilities without having to upgrade or switch technology partners, he claims.

Second, large platform providers like SynXis can eliminate the integration challenges inherent with fragmented technology solutions. “It’s expensive to build and maintain a vast number of application interfaces, and these interfaces are often fragile and break, resulting in a less optimal guest experience.”

Open source platforms

It can be strongly argued that open source platforms are more secure than closed systems for a number of reasons, Ricketts says.

Open source is constantly peer reviewed by a large population. With more sets of eyes on the code, security holes are easier to identify and fix.

Also, patches are more quickly applied in an open source scheme as there is no need for the patch to be prioritised and slotted for a release by one specific vendor.

As it relates to a business model, there is nothing inherently less secure about open systems compared with closed systems if a strong review and certification process is in place.

If the underlying platform is designed securely and the additional capabilities that are contributed by the community are scrutinised to ensure they meet security standards, there is no reason to accept a higher risk profile in order to gain the benefits that open business models can provide.

When it comes to modern platforms, most are not purely open or closed. Almost every platform consists of a mix of proprietary and open source components. The key is to design the platform and the supporting processes with security in mind from the very beginning whether the system or any given component is open or closed.

Modern platforms like Sabre’s SynXis provide both technical and economic scale. Because these platforms are designed to handle massive transaction volume they can more easily handle the increased volumes and spikes that any given hotel may experience. Also, because these platforms require very large capital investment, the cost per unit of compute is substantially less than what even the largest hoteliers could achieve. This saving is passed along to the users of the platform.

Sabre’s solutions provide value on a standalone basis but together they create an ecosystem that is seamless for the hoteliers, more cost effective, and, most importantly, allows for the delivery of a seamless guest experience.

Managing expectations

Ahmed Youssef, Executive Vice President for Corporate Development & Marketing, Hospitality, at Amadeus.

Ahmed Youssef, Executive Vice President for Corporate Development & Marketing, Hospitality, at Amadeus, says that many independent systems, either premises or those claiming to be cloud-based, do not integrate with additional technology solutions. Data silos prevent hospitality professionals from having a comprehensive view of their business and their guests, which limits a hotelier’s ability to adapt to changing market demands and manage guest experiences and preferences in meaningful ways.

Outdated and non-integrated technology poses a considerable challenge to creating memorable guest experiences and personalisation. A personalised experience is something every guest expects who visits a property. Hotels that want to succeed must anticipate guest needs, understand previous stay preferences and challenges, and proactively address these using data, analytics and business intelligence.

Managing these expectations can put a considerable strain on resources at a property if you don’t have the right tools. Switching to a cloud-native solution reduces the burden on team members, as well as reducing the cost of managing and running possible outdated IT infrastructure. Cloud-native solutions don’t rely on hardware that can crash. Instead, cloud providers manage the entire platform, providing both hardware upgrades and software updates that keep properties running smoothly.

Many properties can also see a lower impact on budgets as a result of the savings in IT hardware, staffing and maintenance costs. With a cloud-native solution comes consistency in pricing with a subscription-based product, as well as access to the latest software releases as soon as they’re available.

Hospitality professionals need cloud-native solutions that can be scaled up and down to accommodate fluctuating demand, as well as higher ease of integration across systems. These combined benefits allow properties to focus on what matters most, the guest experience, Youssef says.