More than ever, hoteliers have access to an incredible amount of data spread across a variety of individual systems. To help simplify and consolidate this data, emerging technology platforms and intelligent integrations will enable easier access to consolidated information, paving the way for incredibly personalized guest experiences. Erik Muñoz, chief commercial officer at Vertical Booking, sat down with Klaus Kohlmayr, chief evangelist at IDeaS, to talk about how technology-enabled personalization is changing the hotel industry.
Klaus Kohlmayr (KK): What is your opinion on personalization in the industry?
Erik Muñoz (EM): When we talk about personalization—and I think it plays into revenue management as well—we have to talk about data. In terms of personalization, let’s just use a very common example. If you’d like to personalize a guest’s experience when they are booking a spa, let’s use the historical data we have on all of their spending habits and preferences, so when they are booking it feels like a “welcome back.” If any technology supplier wants to really apply personalization techniques, they can do that if they have the data.
KK: Considering that so much data is siloed, is the first fundamental step to move data where it can be consolidated, aggregated and accessed easily?
EM: To get to that, let’s just talk about property management systems (PMS) and central reservation systems (CRS). PMSs tend to be and generally are the primary systems at the property level for operations. But as far as having a single record of a guest profile and all their spending behavior across different areas, today’s CRSs have that data in a single location instead of having to look at siloes like PMS and CRS data.
KK: Considering the benefits of centrally localized data on the cloud, do you see PMSs going away in the near future?
EM: Actually, I don’t see PMSs disappearing; I see them morphing into a solution that manages the hotel business—called a hospitality management system (HMS). Say you are the owner of a property with 80 rooms in Austria and someone asks you what system you are using. You say “an HMS.” When they ask you what that is, you say, “well, I do check-ins, I have a website, I distribute with Trivago and Booking.com and it is all there in my system.”
I honestly believe that within five years I’ll say, “Remember when we used to talk about CRS, GES, GMS and all these other acronyms? Now it’s just HMS.”
KK: Do you believe that hotel shopping and booking will evolve into customer-choice shopping, where consumers will be able to buy and pay for only the items and experiences they want and value?
EM: Every single booking engine does add-ons, but the ones I see as more interesting provide dynamic add-ons based on what has already been selected as well as the guest’s history. So, if you’ve booked this package, and I know this package doesn’t include this or that, dynamically I shouldn’t offer you the standard list. So, I think there’s a lot of intelligence now and a lot of innovation in the space, which is exciting.
KK: What do you see just beyond the horizon in the next five to seven years?
EM: I think there will be more intelligent integrations and platforms that will enable other platforms. Small cloud PMS start-ups will integrate with CRSs, and other intelligent integrations between cloud natives are going to make it a beautiful marketplace. We may not have eight dominant suppliers across the market, but there are going to be a lot of very intelligently designed and engineered cloud PMSs with intelligent integrations that actually form a really flexible and affordable solution for hotels within different geographies.
The next seven years will have fragmentation, which is good. IDeaS has so many integrations and that’s key, because you are actually enabling better revenue management at more properties. I think that’s the future.
Klaus Kohlmayr challenges strategic processes, stimulates thought-provoking conversations and reinvigorates the future of revenue management and pricing within the hospitality and travel industries.
A natural contrarian, Klaus has challenged the status quo for over 20 years. He re-joined IDeaS from TSA, where he led the company’s global commercial, operations and strategic partnership initiatives. During his previous stint with IDeaS, he started the company’s global consulting division -- leading a team that partnered with top hotel companies. Together they pioneered the industry’s first group price optimization and function space revenue management proof-of-concepts in a real-world environment.
Klaus developed his passion for the hotel industry at the Hotel Management and Catering School in Villach, Austria, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management. An advocate of lifelong learning, he has since studied business at Henley Management College, real estate investment and asset management at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration; and finance and strategy at the Singapore Management University.
Klaus has been an active participant in various advisory boards, including HSMAI in Asia Pacific and the Americas, and the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, Singapore. He not only loves to challenge the status quo, but wholly welcomes being challenged in new ways of thinking.
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