A shared understanding that cloud technology will play an increasingly pivotal role in seizing opportunities and overcoming challenges brought together the best in the business at Oracle Hospitality Connect in Singapore, which concluded its first full day on 11th December.
The company’s premier industry event, held at the Fairmont Singapore, assembled Asia-Pacific’s top hoteliers, industry experts and Oracle leadership. The forum serves to share technology best practices and address hospitality’s most-pressing topics – and the critical role Oracle’s solutions can play in tackling them.
That role will be particularly important as the hospitality business deals with two major trends: on-going consolidation and a pending economic slowdown.
“Hospitality companies, brands, have to be judicious with their investment dollar,” said Alex Alt, Oracle Hospitality’s new senior vice president and general manager. “Technology allows you to compete when the economy isn’t robust.”
In such a market environment, Alt – who took the helm of Oracle Hospitality a month ago – pledged his commitment to the following priorities: embracing a service orientation, driving product and service innovation, and executing growth. And the “end game” for it all? Help Oracle’s customers make their customers happy.
Said Alt: “I will make the guest experience my north star.”
Focusing on the guest experience is yielding Oracle solutions that will help hoteliers:
Oracle Hospitality is achieving these objectives, Alt said, because it is constantly striving to “run in our customers’ shoes” and applying “the customer lens to everything that we do.”
Nothing, perhaps, better illustrates that approach than the “better together” philosophy used in improving Oracle’s property management system, OPERA Cloud, and its point-of-sale platform, Simphony Cloud. Using the two solutions jointly epitomizes the expression “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” For example, information from a hotel’s guest profile can be shared with a waiter at the hotel’s restaurant, providing insights into the guest’s dining preferences. Similarly, guest behavior at the restaurant can be recorded and shared with the hotel, helping create a comprehensive profile of the guest, which, in turn, could be used to deliver even more personalized experiences.
In upcoming F&B product development, Oracle solutions will feature “self-service room charge,” enabling guests, for example, to purchase food and beverage from a pantry and have it automatically recorded with the hotel, thanks to enhanced OPERA and Simphony communication. Meanwhile, Simphony’s improved Reporting and Analytics offers customizable dashboards, responsive design for tablets and laptop displays, and redesigned reports with KPIs – all helping hoteliers to better understand data to improve performance.
Such enhancements take on greater urgency as many hoteliers are turning their attention to food and beverage, realizing that it’s a revenue source that has yet to be fully tapped.
“We need integration between POS and PMS. It’s very crucial to deliver the customized service that guests require,” said Thiruselvam Tholtan, group IT director, central systems and hotel applications, with MINOR Hotels.
Improved integration, in general, is an overarching theme for Oracle Hospitality, which during the past year has fully embraced an open API platform.
“What open really means is, that we’ve adopted a philosophy of realizing that we alone cannot build a product that is all encompassing to solve every customer’s needs in every situation,” said Oracle Hospitality’s Darko Vukovic. “It means that we need to partner with others, with vendors, with our customers, with system integrators, to make sure our products can satisfy your guests’ needs.”
Focusing on developing solutions that deliver personalization, reduce IT cost and complexity, and enable innovation is what yielded OPERA Cloud. It’s the answer to the question all hoteliers are facing: Customer demands are going up, but staffing isn’t. How do you allow employees to be more productive?
That’s why the property management system has been embraced by enterprises such as Centara Hotels & Resorts, which has embarked on the OPERA cloud journey.
“We are in a rapid expansion mode as company,” said Adrian Hardwick-Jones, Centara’s vice president, design and technical services. “We did not see an on-premise solution as being viable long term. And we also had a legacy system that had really outgrown its usefulness, and we needed to move forward to a new world. That was the driver behind the business decision.”