Automation in the hospitality industry continues to evolve and represents innovation at its finest. Automated processes promote hoteliers to build financial and operational success within hotels that are necessary to remain competitive in the market. Hoteliers can bring their focus back to guests by reducing tasks from their ever-growing to-do list by opting to use automated solutions.
What Are Outdated Manual Processes?
Many manual processes are still being used by hoteliers, which puts a delay in their workflow and causes them to often be inefficient. For example, many companies still use manual invoice approval processes that are unnecessary with the technology that can be accessed today.
Manual Accounts Payable processes are one example of outdated processes that automation brings a solution to. Having to manually enter and code each invoice repeatedly can be time-consuming and can have major consequences if imputed incorrectly. Employees can instead focus on more front-facing items to appease customers and save time and energy on the back end.
Having automated coding provides an accurate picture of your hotel’s financial health and helps immensely with multi-property portfolios. By implementing proper automated AP workflow, you have now eliminated time-consuming tasks and turned them into automated tasks with minimal human involvement, but you also want to host this information on one highly secure platform.
Cloud-based technology has the ability to host a software platform or service remotely so anyone can access information from anywhere, at any time. Many companies have outdated platforms that are inefficient before adopting the trend of cloud-based software, which can transform a company while improving functionality. Cloud platforms allow updates to be delivered faster while also importing any data needed in real-time.
Automating Hotel Operations
Hoteliers can improve hotel operations through automation in a number of ways, including implementing channel managers, hotel upselling software, modern property management systems (PMS), chatbots, dynamic pricing tools, and more. The goal of automating operational processes is to increase efficiency, streamline efforts, and increase revenue.
Having operational processes automated can help your hotel manage recurring and administrative tasks, taking that workload down from hours to seconds and allowing efforts to be allotted elsewhere throughout the hotel to elevate guest satisfaction. It is important to understand that automation takes the focus away from the process and places it on the results. Yes, processes are important, but by taking away the manual labor of these tasks, employees can focus on the results that can provide on the labor tasks they are required to fulfill.
Another automated process, which is a crucial piece in the hospitality industry, is Intelligent Imaging. Not only does this robust feature save time and ensure accuracy, but it uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to help read invoices and to learn a customized workflow for invoice entry – offering hoteliers tremendous amounts of labor dollars saved. Expanding on this functionality helps streamline data entry and improve a hotelier’s accounts payable workflow. Having “touchless” technology that functionally relies on optical character recognition to eliminate manual workloads is beneficial. There is no need for hard copies and it will help speed up AP processes.
Hoteliers should allow labor to focus on where it can provide value and let automation do the rest. A hotelier’s main priority is to make the customer happy, so why not focus on more front-facing items instead of back-office needs that can be automated?
Automating Hotel Financials
Hoteliers who invest in having their accounting and financial processes automated also reap the benefits of today’s technology. AI and automation have advanced incredibly over the past few years in the hospitality industry, making it possible to receive and evaluate data from multiple sources quickly and have a fast turnaround in decision-making. A strong automated accounting solution helps hoteliers analyze and track financial data points while also providing transparency for day-to-day operations.
Think of all the tasks throughout the back-office of your hotel that can be sped up through automation. It’s a lot, isn’t it?! You have Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Bank Reconciliation, Approvals, Night Audit, Daily Reporting, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of what automation can help with. In fact, studies have found that hoteliers can save up to half an hour a day, per hotel, just through automating daily reports.
How Does Automation Help with Payments?
Utilizing payment automation is a major benefit in the hospitality industry. By using electronic payments, you can easily track deposits, invoices, and all payment history in one place. No more physical checks that could be lost, invoices being misplaced, or having to file documents properly or they’re gone. Automated payments make processes easier as you move away from checks and instead to virtual credit cards, ACH, etc.
AI can also play a large role in pricing algorithms because it can recommend rates and even set them automatically based on competitors in the industry. This real-time dynamic pricing showed hotels unrealized revenue opportunities to help increase profitability. Solutions for pricing and business intelligence are essential to improve processes, but having some human involvement is also needed for direction. Automation assists employees in guaranteeing the system aligns with each hotel’s goals.
Why Stay Updated with Automation?
It can be hard to stay up to date on recent technology, as there is something new released each day. This offers something we did not have before, and determining if it would bring value to your hotel can be difficult. When looking at new automation tools, ask yourself these questions:
- Will it enhance the guest experience?
- Will it improve my margin?
- Will it help the longevity of the business?
- Will it increase employee morale?
- Should I partner with technology-specific solutions?
If you did not answer “yes” to any of these questions, the timing of the investment might not be right. However, if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is most likely a worthwhile investment in automation to improve your hotel operations. It is also important to note that finding a solution for your needs cannot always be found in one program.
Building partnerships helps create a well-rounded tech stack that will work seamlessly together to produce results. Technology partnerships range and have many focal areas that hoteliers need. You want to partner with those who are invested in your success and will help you find the proper-fitting partners along the way. Having a strong community helps promote success and allows you to develop your programs efficiently as times change.
Why Should You Automate Hotel Processes?
In today’s time, in the hospitality industry, it is vital for your hotel to be seamlessly integrated throughout all facets of business operations. In order to get a bird’s eye–view of what is going on in your hotel and how to quickly and proactively make adjustments to meet your financial goals, automation is a must-have for every hotelier. Opting for automation will also lead to a more productive team, creating happy guests.