More and more hospitality organizations are discovering the power of giving line-of-business employees the tools to create their own solutions.
By moving away from expensive, pre-packaged applications to customized solutions, traditional silos between IT and line-of-business are being broken down to great success. There’s long been a growing awareness that there is life beyond spreadsheets and desktop-bound databases and that IT staff are not the only people who can build technology solutions. Now, hospitality organizations of all sizes are realizing how to harness this sentiment and put it into action.
Hospitality professionals often have good ideas about how they can improve their business and workflows. They also can grow impatient if they have to wait on others to solve business problems that are hampering their productivity or new opportunities.
Hospitality workers know their workload and have the capacity and creativity to solve issues very effectively. But traditionally, they’ve had to wait on an external IT agency to deliver the solutions on a custom level. That can negatively impact their business – sometimes in a big way.
Excel and other management tools can only take hospitality pros so far; spreadsheets and desktop databases don’t really model the workload very well. Professionals want custom apps; they want solutions that are specific to their business. But finding a developer who understands their business as well as they do is essentially impossible. So then, using a tool that enables them to create a customized app or other solution is about taking ownership of the problem and solving it themselves.
Since the person most familiar with the problem is the one who encounters it on a daily basis, why not give them the tools that are easy enough for them to use to close the gap and create the app itself? One of the key problems hospitality professionals have is the fitness of apps for the workload in their businesses. There is demand for a custom solution, but there isn’t enough supply. Finding someone who can deliver for them in a timely matter is difficult, so a tool that enables the hospitality pro take control is a huge benefit for organizations. Among other things, it’s a huge relief to the IT team, since business demands today are bigger than ever. Requirements are immense, and this creates a time crunch that IT can’t keep up with. One way to offload that key IT burden is if, instead of IT creating all these apps, hospitality professionals step in to create the apps themselves. Platforms that don’t require extensive coding experience provide an easy, quick way to address workflow, mapping of information in external sources and mobile app capabilities.
A New Option
In the past, there were two options for a business looking to automate its processes: either
buy packaged apps—which may not have all the needed features—or hire a consultant to provide custom apps. However, the rise of easy-to-use technology
This choice empowers hospitality companies to take control of their data and put it to work for them, increasing productivity, instead of employees constantly chasing it. It is possible to scale the apps over time as needed, and these apps offer strong reporting and publishing features.
A Hospitality Company Transformed
Vida Vacations is a multi-million-dollar company that sells timeshares and club memberships in Mexico. When the company wanted a better way to track its sales team’s output, it decided to create a custom app. They were having trouble tracking this information because many of its records were still on paper; some had even been lost in moves or floods. The data that was digitized was spread across Mac and Windows computers
The company chose a custom app development platform that enabled seamless integration across multiple devices and operating systems. An executive assistant with no development experience created a prototype for a mobile tracking system that featured personalized goals for each sales associate. The app manages quotas and interactions between salespeople and clients, putting all salespeople on a level playing field.
She created profiles for each sales associate and used these profiles to match them with specialized training and coaching, which improved retention and performance.
But the company’s biggest stroke of genius related to its custom app happened at the Vallarta sales office, where managers began using their custom app to gather data about the successful matches between sales reps and customers. Managers used the data to pair the best-suited sales rep with each prospect for the next morning’s meeting.
As a result, sales shot up by 12 percent. For Vida Vacations, that’s between $10 and $20 million.
The company now uses the custom app to manage information about potential hires, and time cards have been replaced with facial recognition readers on mobile devices. The company continues to use its custom app to make operations smarter and more productive as it recognizes the tremendous competitive advantage the app offers.
Hospitality professionals want to focus on creating memorable moments for their guests – not tracking down data across three spreadsheets and two computers. Custom apps improve workflows and productivity, but the IT team is already overburdened with everyday operations, so an alternate route is needed for getting the custom apps hospitality pros want. By giving hospitality pros the tools directly, they are empowered to solve real business problems, create new opportunities and even increase revenue.