70% of consumers who book rooms within 24 hours of check-in do so using a mobile device.
The days of a simple registration ledger requiring only a name, address, and signature are long gone. Likewise, the days when you could attract droves of guests with little more than “Free HBO” spelled out in crooked letters on a yellowing marquee are long gone. Registration, payment, and collecting guest data all require I.T. infrastructure. Guests themselves are accustomed to connectivity and technologies that may have been luxuries just a few years ago but have now become expected.
The near-constant arrival of new technologies, applications, and accompanying expectations during the last two decades have resulted in huge changes to the hospitality industry. Yet hoteliers have consistently proven themselves to be forward-thinking and adaptable, as each new round of technology has been consistently used to spur industry growth. I.T. innovations include customer service portals that facilitate the entire guest experience, starting with booking and continuing through checkout, as well as stronger security—including electronic key technology and more powerful data security—and novel uses for social media in marketing and customer retention.
The foundation of hospitality is the customer experience. In the past, this may have boiled down to tangibles like high thread-count sheets and fluffy pillows. Now, providing comfortable accommodations is as much about the digital experience as it is the real world. Everyone lives online, so it should come as no surprise that the leading hotels have taken the lead in using cloud platforms to enhance services and business operations, and data analysis to find and connect with potential customers online. They are even venturing into AI and the Internet of Things in order to supply customers with the digital connections they thirst for.
Of course, the hotels leading the way in their markets are those with a strong I.T. infrastructure supporting their organization.
This technology foundation can include reliable networks and servers to manage customer data and business operations, cloud platforms that allow for agile responses to customer needs, and strong backup and disaster recovery systems to supply peace of mind—especially to organizations with buildings located in areas prone to extreme weather.
Since hospitality organizations handle a lot of financial transactions, an ever-increasing number of which occur online, I.T. security is a big concern. You need to be assured that the financial information your customers have trusted you with is safe, whether it is simply being stored in records on your servers, or you are holding credit card numbers to use for incidental room charges. Matters of security affect not only your networks, servers, and cloud systems, but also data that is handled on the go. An increasing (and still growing) proportion of customer transactions are taking place on mobile devices, and it is imperative that your networks be impenetrable, assuring peace of mind to both you and the guests who have entrusted their personal data to your safe-keeping.
On top of those types of ongoing business operations considerations, you must plan for the future. Leading hotels and hospitality groups are using I.T. partnerships to plan for, as well as begin to feature, cutting-edge technology that helps them stand out amongst the competition. Incorporating IoT (Internet of Things) technology into guest services—as well as to streamline maintenance—is just one small example of how new technology is being used.
JMARK has been a great partner for us. We can always rely on quick and professional assistance. The team is very willing to help at any time and we have been able to rely on their knowledge to navigate the I.T. world. We’re very happy to be working with them!
Karen, hospitality client in Missouri
“Today’s customer wants to discover, explore, experience, and most important, share. You need the most modern technology to enable that.” – Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America
In a time when technology plays a part in every aspect of the work you do, from communication to customer service to charting the past and planning for the future, it is critical to ensure that your I.T. is up to the challenge.
While it seems obvious that an unreliable network can slow down the pace of the work you are doing, bottlenecked connections and aging servers can also frustrate guests who expect the same reliable connections and speed they have in the office and at home. Even prospective guests can be hindered by a troublesome network. Meanwhile, the sheer amount of data in your care (a.k.a. “big data”) means that rock solid backup and disaster recovery plans are absolutely vital.
Of course, the speed at which technology changes can cause small and mid-sized hospitality organizations to struggle in keeping their I.T. infrastructure up to date. It is an ongoing challenge to make the best decision regarding how to budget for investments in your own information technology. It can seem cost prohibitive to keep your infrastructure current while also trying to plan for unexpected breakages and irregular growth and usage patterns that are dependent on weather and seasons—and an economy that feels outside of your control. When you’re simply trying to maintain in the present, it can feel impossible to find a way to plan out the future.
This is where managed I.T. services can be helpful. Since managed services are planned out and billed monthly, rather than as needed, they are entirely predictable. Not only will this level out your monthly expenditure by spreading it throughout the year, it will also give you the chance to plan future spending, making it easier to decide how and when to upgrade equipment and invest in new services to help your organization grow. Full-service I.T. providers can also supply vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) services to help you study, plan, and implement controlled technology growth throughout your business.
Managed services also give you access to higher tier talent than you may be able to otherwise get. An I.T. company has the freedom to hire experts with deep knowledge in specific areas rather than focusing on technicians with a wide but perhaps shallow knowledge base. Likewise, your MSP will almost certainly be able to provide you with access to better hardware and enterprise software for a lower price than you could get on your own.
The bottom line is that whether you need the full package of managed services, or are simply looking to augment what your in-house crew is capable of, you need an I.T. provider whose services and support can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business, a provider whose mission is to help you surround yourself with the software, hardware, processes, and solutions that will serve to enhance your efforts and simplify your path to success—including thoughtful human support to go along with all that tech.
For three decades, JMARK has been providing innovative I.T. solutions to some of the biggest names in hospitality. With all that experience comes extensive expertise. Our lineup includes experts not only in every facet of Information Technology, but also in the application of I.T. solutions to the very specific needs of hospitality businesses. In fact, we have a dedicated team that focuses only on our clients in that sector. We understand the challenges that hospitality service providers face in the modern era and know how to maintain continuity in the midst of the continual changes that occur in technology, regulations, and expectations—and we work diligently to bring that expertise to you.
We’ve made it our paramount priority to help you make the most of technology. To that end, we have assembled a roster of the best, most experienced engineers and technicians in the industry. With our team of specialists managing your technology—and your technology enhancing your operations—you’ll ultimately be able to deploy more resources toward serving your customers and growing your business.
The JMARK team is here to serve you by:
Most importantly, at JMARK we put people before technology. Everything we do, every service we offer, is a reflection of our People First, Technology Second philosophy. Because while we love technology, we also understand that I.T. is only useful inasmuch as it serves to empower people and enhance the work they do; work that, in turn, should facilitate growth, spur innovation, increase opportunity, and open up new paths to success.