What is the Technology Bus and should you get on board?
Technology is playing an even larger part than ever before in the hospitality industry as a direct result of the pandemic. It’s being explored in new ways to support social distancing and a contactless guest experience. Paper-based in-room compendiums and room service menus have been replaced with QR codes which allow the guest full access to a range of facilities via their own mobile phone. Many hotels are implementing web check-in and in many cases, extending that further to keyless entry, again using the guest’s mobile phone. The ability to deliver these services ideally requires integrated or interfaced systems within the hotel.
The Property Management System (PMS) has been the mainstay of hotel technology for many years. The PMS’s job is to manage room inventory, room allocation, check-in & check-out, guest folios and settlements. However, over time the role of the PMS has grown and it has become the hub, managing the interfaces with all of the other systems used in a hotel from central reservations, door locks, POS, PABX, WiFi and Pay TV.
Interfacing has traditionally been a difficult and costly exercise and is an issue which the industry has been working to address for some time. In fact, Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) was founded in 2002 as a not-for-profit trade association to develop standards for interfacing in the hospitality industry and has certainly helped. Today many vendors are now embracing open API’s or standards, which make interfacing easier. However, the PMS is still generally the hub and the interfaces are based on one to one integration.