Local development of the software for any vertical doesn't necessarily mean a large cut in cost, but there are bound to be more savings than expenses. Take into account the alignment, implementation and the support. There will be more savings in the long run than not. Khalid explains, "The software that is primarily used has been developed by American and European companies. Pakistan's software industry hasn't developed a solution that meets cater to a Hospitality Management System thus far."
Khalid goes onto explain the reason. "The Hotel industry in Pakistan is fairly small in size, ranging from 5 grand hotels, though this is changing. Pakistan's IT sector can surely bring an innovative HMS, but it won't be economies of scale -- this is something the sector needs to figure out whether developing something so complex for such few customers makes business sense for them."
But where a niche exists and the market size is small, perhaps there is hope that once Pakistan's economy picks up, so will the size of the business. Where budgets are limited, it might take more effort on the part of the specific sector, but perhaps the establishment of a link with a university or institution to help with the capacity building aspect along with the knowledge transfer might help solve more problems than meet the eye.
Are you being served?
So what impact has technology made on the hospitality industry? "Technology has changed the total experience for the guest. The experience begins much before he actually reaches the hotel or even flies into the intended destination. From the time he goes online to search for a suitable hotel, the repute and usefulness of the hotel has started. He can shortlist the hotels by filling in various parameters such a geographical proximity to a landmark or site price range, specific features or facilities."
Besides, comments Khalid, there are many hospitality portals and GDS channels that can make booking for you. "The Hotel website has to be Search Engine Optimized and well designed so it is easy for the world to find you in a simple search query. The guest can select the hotel, confirm the booking and make payment electronically, so this process isn't much different than purchasing any other service." When a guest reaches the hotel, continues Khalid, he can check right in because a click of a button converts his reservation into a booking. "He gets a plastic card instead of metallic key and can go directly to his room. If the guest has a history in the hotel's Property Management System, we'll customize the room and his stay based on the trends he stored during his last visit." This includes the room temperature, choice of his favorite television channels, favorite amenities, cookies, flowers and other selections in the room. "It's the little things that make the difference."
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.