Freeing hotels from technological shackles to create more sustainable businesses

Jeff Edwards

Amadeus Global Hotels Group

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Technology can often feel like a barrier standing between a business and its goals. In an ideal world, all the new generation platforms and theories – big data, social media, the internet of things – ultimately connects us and enables us to make better sense of the world. In reality, vendors cannot update software quickly enough to satisfy the business world.

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But a quiet revolution is solving this problem.Open systemsare changing the way all businesses – including hotels – operate. In today’s world, innovation, flexibility, and speed are key to competitive advantage; IT needs underpins commercial agility, and open systems deliver it.

Open systems are different from static proprietary systems because (as the name suggests) it is open to all. Can you imagine a world wherehotelscould plug into IT like we plug into utility services? That’s what open systems provide – an all-encompassing IT platform that gives hoteliers the most current and cutting-edge software on a daily basis. Open systems are higher quality and more secure than static proprietary systems, as they can continually be upgraded and improved by developers. They are ‘unlocked’ so a hotelier’s system can be tailored and modified to fit specific needs, and operate in tandem with third party software. They are also eminently scalable for any size of hotel, and hoteliers can grow alongside their IT systems. Anyone who has owned an Android smartphone will have felt the power and freedom of open technology.

For hoteliers, this modular, community-led approach of open systems means IT is driven by hoteliers, for hoteliers. It means accessing shared knowledge that will enable faster responses to market changes and the increasingly diverse needs of hotel guests.

For many hotel chains, the concern is that transitioning to open systems will be an experience akin to medieval surgery, as they attempt to move away from legacy IT systems. In practical terms, the anticipated pain of any transition can have a paralyzing effect on organisations and can be enough to act as a deterrent. But open systems provide an extensive range of standards and interfaces, which enable fragmented legacy IT to be supported during and after the transition process.  This is a great example of how open systems are not just about innovation, they also enable more sustainable business operations – offering long-term, cost-effective options, rather than forcing businesses to alternate between one provider and the next, sinking costs into a shiny new system that then gradually becomes obsolete, long before the initial investment has paid off.

At Amadeus, we like to take the broadest possible view of the hospitality IT landscape. Sure, we could leave things running the way they are, and assume that hoteliers are happy (or stuck) with the status quo. But actually, we prefer to open up not just IT, but the marketplace too – so if hoteliers want to mix and match new systems and functionality, or retain some legacy systems while integrating them with new and different systems, they can. Open systems are not just another suite of products; it is like the connective tissue between joints, letting everything flex together. Ultimately, by offering open technology, we connect often disparate hotel IT systems together, and create an ecosystem that delivers the best guest experiences.

With open systems,hotelscan be freed from old thinking and technological shackles, and take charge of their own destiny.


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