If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this business, it’s that you can’t stay still. And that’s true now more than ever as we all grapple with the pandemic’s roller-coaster progression. Guests’ needs are always changing, and you need to evolve.
It’s a statement that resonates with us, considering the significant expansion we’re currently undergoing. For the past five years, our business – Iconic Hotels by Geocon, the largest independent hotel group in Australia’s Capital Territory – has been expanding at some pace. Our portfolio has grown from three to nine hotels, with a luxury brand, Autograph Collection, opening late last year and another Abode hotel set to debut in September.
We realized we could no longer rely on our on-premise systems to support our guests’ needs and property management requirements. Specifically, we needed a cloud-based property management system that would simplify day-to-day operations, provide a 360-degree view of the business, reduce IT costs, and allow efficient integrations – giving us the freedom and capability to bring in new services and features to better serve our guests.
Which is why we queued up the deployment of Oracle Hospitality’s OPERA Cloud platform. Based on OPERA, the hospitality industry’s leading enterprise solution, the cloud platform offers an intuitive user interface, functionality for all aspects of hotel management, secure data storage, and hundreds of key interfaces to meet the needs of hotels of all types and sizes.
In a nutshell, OPERA Cloud is the best hotel management system I’ve ever seen – clean, light and uncluttered. With other systems, you need to go through several different screens to do one thing. With OPERA Cloud, my employees and I can do anything from anywhere, on site or off. The first, noticeable improvement we noticed compared with the on-premise version of the software was the single dashboard, which provide managers with a complete overview of the brand’s properties.
From an operations perspective, the hotel’s housekeeping staff can now provide updates on whether a room is clean or not using a tablet or smartphone – without the need to inform the front desk like before. It has made room turn-around, across all our properties, much more efficient. But that’s just an example of a single benefit. The mobile nature of OPERA Cloud profoundly has changed how we do business across the board, because it untethers all of us, freeing us to execute our jobs from wherever we’re most needed.
And although improving guest service was the principal business driver behind our decision to move to the cloud, reducing IT costs was an important factor, too. For us, this has manifested in several ways. For example, we no longer require a dedicated team to manage the IT system. We don’t need someone to restart or back up the server or to take care of its security. We’ve saved the cost of having at least two IT managers. In addition, we’ve lowered the headcount on the central reservations team because of improved efficiency in entering reservations.
Now, we’re prepared to continuously improve everything we do – and offer – at our hotels. We’re looking into rolling out the Opera Payment Interface, a payment gateway that will allow credit-card machines to be integrated with OPERA Cloud. Plans also are underway to implement some of the software’s functionalities on tablet computers, enabling guests to fill in check-in information on a tablet instead of on paper and eliminating long lines at the front desk.
We’re breaking down old models and finding new ways to serve our guests, everything from effortless self-check-in to putting room keys on people’s smartphones to using deep learning to tell us what’s most important for our visitors.
Oracle Hospitality helps us understand our guests and what they want. In a changing industry, it’s good to have a partner you can count on.
Watch the full video interview: