Is it a bird? Is it a plane? We know it’s definitely not a superhero, but the cloud is very close to being one. In this post hoteliers can learn what it means to be ‘in the cloud’ with key points to consider before changing their systems.
It’s no secret technology is a hotelier’s new best tool. To be in the cloud, to have cloud services or to be cloud-based are expression commonly heard when hoteliers are looking for tech products and services. The cloud is basically the Internet, and hosted services or products become available to anyone with Internet access. It works in a similar way to your email and social media platforms. No downloads, no installations, and direct updates without a click.
According to Gartner7, office suites, digital content creation, and business intelligence tools are the top three growing areas of cloud-based software in 2016. This increase is a response to the wide needs that can be solved through the cloud. Some of the solutions for hotels are property management systems, booking engines, channel managers, housekeeping systems, sales, and catering, or activity schedules, among other. All in the tip of your fingers from mobile devices and computers.
As a consequence, unmanageable and inconvenient hardware and infrastructure needed before is no longer necessary, reducing operational costs and freeing space and time for other activities. Although time is not an abundant resource for hoteliers, moving to the cloud means gaining some time and flexibility at work. Until now, it was not possible to check-in and out guests from the lobby, confirm reservations from the bar, and overview housekeeping from a smartphone, a laptop and/or a tablet.
Some cloud characteristics are very appealing to the hospitality industry. With so many different solutions in the market, we have made a checklist of the essentials and compare before you decide to go to the cloud.
Where is the cloud?
Although we have said the cloud is essentially the Internet, there has to be a physical location where the information is stored and connected to the Internet. For example, our Base7booking servers are in two different highly secured locations in Zürich, Switzerland. Facebook has one of its many data centers in the edge of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, and Apple has different servers in California and Oregon in the United States. Coming back to our servers, by having two different locations we can rely on having the information constantly running even if one of them is down due to maintenance or overload.
What happens if there’s no Internet?
You want to make sure you’re information is available both online and offline, and the servers are constantly updated with your guest registrations, calendars, invoices, and housekeeping. Some cloud providers like Google Drive offer offline access to documents, assuring the next time users have a connection the files update on their own. Our users have multiple daily backups and can use Base7booking offline with the latest information saved on the server.
How safe is the cloud?
Data encryption and backups can save your life. Encryption is the most effective way to secure data and only users with a key or code can read and access the encrypted file or cipher text. Our users can count on triple encryption, and as we mentioned before multiple daily backups. Safety is a top priority.
How much help do you have?
Support before, during, and after transitioning to the cloud is essential and you definitely want to have support during the process. During migration, hoteliers will want to provide all the necessary information to the cloud to have it available and complete. Finally, some support is essential once you’re totally functioning on the cloud. As you can see, help and support is always needed. Enquiring about how often, at what time, and through what medium the providers offer support and help to users is key. In Base7booking we also provide training to the hotel staff who will use our systems before and during onboarding, and provide 24/7 support to our users via Skype, chat, email, and Zendesk.
These are the main points to observe and compare when looking for hotel solutions. The impact hoteliers can see in their daily life and operations can be huge with the right tools.
Do you have any questions related to cloud services? Let us know in our social media in Facebook or @Base7booking, and we’ll do our best to help you.