Sponsored article by Warren Mandelbaum, senior sales director EMEA at Ideas.
Whether ditching a subpar revenue management system (RMS) provider for something better or implementing automated revenue tech for the first time – change is hard. But not changing could be disastrous for hotel businesses hoping to remain competitive and run efficiently and profitably in the new industry landscape of 2021 and beyond. Keep reading for tips on navigating the tech change for your hotel and overcoming the pain and obstacles of implementing a new RMS.
Navigating change management
After a year of massive upheaval, it's time for the hospitality industry to brace for a year of tremendous change. For hotels, this includes charting the course through some seemingly intimidating technological shifts. If your revenue manager is currently tethered to an Excel spreadsheet, it's high time to consider enhancing your revenue process with advanced automation. Or if your existing revenue tools leave you feeling less than confident in your pricing decisions and forecast accuracy, now is the time to re-evaluate.
Whatever your hotel's current revenue tech situation may be, once you recognise the need for change, it's important to identify your allies and see who is ready and willing to jump in to help ensure a smooth transition.
People as an element of change
Will you need buy-in from your colleagues? Who is an "early adopter" you can count on? You'll need to manage who is excited about change, resistant to it, and neutral or uninterested. Hold everyone accountable and seek feedback from your department and others so everyone is aware and on board with the changes to come. Don't be afraid of or discouraged by resistance. Use this opportunity to educate anyone who seems to be resistant to adapting to new technology. Sometimes people fear change because they don't know if they will be able to adapt to or like the change. Frame it in a way that changing an RMS is a way forward that will be user-friendly and make lives easier.
Technology is dynamic, so the people embracing the new tech should be excited about change. A new RMS can deliver what an outdated spreadsheet can't. It'll give you granular data, predictive analytical tools and more data sources. You can take a bird's-eye view and tackle forecasting and decision-making when it comes to market segments, room types and rate codes faster and more holistically.
Process as an element of change
Foster a culture of ongoing learning. For a smooth transition, document the whole process and the new rules and expectations that come with a new or upgraded RMS. Who at the property can spearhead the system integration process? Make time for team members to take online courses to ensure company-wide RMS readiness. If you don't currently have a process for revenue management standards, now is a great time to start. For any colleagues who may fear change, having general SOPs in place can alleviate worries or stress. It helps keep everyone organised and accountable, and it's a way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Have a company culture of data integrity, and at the same time, a culture that encourages being flexible to changing processes. If something worked well before but it no longer makes sense, say goodbye to it. Predictions are still predictions, and the best way to use data is to know that people change and so should processes. Having an RMS that allows you to be flexible alleviates stress and encourages agility even during our most challenging and unpredictable times.
No more tech implementation pains
A Towers Watson study shows only 25% of employers sustain change management gains. What must you do to be part of that minority? Successful change happens when people have a vision, so have that singular vision as a company, but don't be afraid to change it either. Surround yourself with colleagues who are motivated and understand why change is important, and if they don't, take the initiative to "sell" the change. If you need help, get support and commitment from mutual stakeholders. Once you have these ingredients and your action plan, you're ready for new tech.
A new RMS represents freedom, control and clarity. It means freedom from outdated systems and control of analysing data – no more multiple versions of the same Excel sheet. There is clarity gained in having one single version of truth for your property. A new RMS also leads to freedom from emotion when approaching data and control and clarity that comes with intelligent, data-based decisions.
When you effectively manage the people behind the change and the steps to get there, you'll remove any barriers to onboarding new technology. Even during uncertain times, we can prepare ourselves with the best tools in our toolbox – the right people, the right processes, and the right technology. Instead of fearing change, embrace it and use new data-driven strategies to get you there.