Professional Comment

Replacing Hospitality Software – A Sticky Situation

Infor’s Paul Griffiths looks at how hospitality businesses can tell if they should be reassessing their software solutions (

Stability is important. Hotels and resorts have guests they need to serve right now, today. Hospitality software solutions help them do that by taking care of the basics: reservations, check-ins, folios, and check-outs, along with a staggering variety of in-house services and their associated charges.

Essential software like a hotel PMS is pretty ‘sticky’ that way; it’s easier to stick to what you’ve got than it is to change. Why fix what isn’t broken?

But, five years from now – perhaps sooner – the way guests engage with hospitality providers will likely look very different. Innovative solutions and platforms will be necessary to scale to that new paradigm, whatever it may be. So how do hospitality organisations know when it’s time to start planning for that? How do decision-makers know when it’s time to get unstuck? Here are three considerations to help answer that question.

1. Start with business needs, not new software features
With all the new products and features you read about in the industry publications, it can be easy to confuse shiny objects with important trends. One way to discern the difference is to decide what your goals are as a business.

What observable, measurable business problems are you trying to solve right now? Which challenges are you likely to face in the future, and when? Deciding where you are and where you want to be will give you a solid rationale for how much you need to change and how soon you need to do it.

2. Consider what’s best for guests
What factors make your offering attractive to guests? Where are you winning when it comes to things like online reviews, repeat visits, and increased guest lifetime value? Where are you not winning? How might new hospitality software measurably improve how well you serve guests?

Understanding the relationship between your software systems and the guest journey helps you envision your future needs. Considering guest-centric factors like easy check-ins, self-managed ordering and upgrades, mobile-friendliness, and other elements will help you enhance your organisation’s capacity to grow and meet continually evolving consumer expectations.

3. Maintain continuous communication with your technology partners
Your relationship with your technology partners should be another factor to help you decide on what to keep and what to replace. Technology partners can often be as “sticky” as the products they support. Like judging those products, considering the sticky situation of an established vendor relationship involves examining how well you and your partners are aligned with your goals.

What steps are your partners taking to develop and match product features to the business objectives you’ve outlined? Are they responsive to your suggestions and questions? These are important issues to consider since your future business successes may rely heavily on your relationship with partners who can either enhance or hinder your efforts.

Don’t let technology lead. YOU do that

Here’s an important distinction: a hospitality software upgrade or replacement should not be a strategy. Instead, it should be a considered tactic that’s matched with the business objectives you have proactively identified. Your way forward is best when it’s led by you and other decision-makers in your organisation, and not by third-party offerings and timelines.

Getting unstuck isn’t necessarily about technology. It’s about actively challenging your status quo. That process should involve honest discussions with partners and colleagues about how you will continue to serve guests in a changing industry landscape. From there, you’ll be able to map out and act upon a dynamic plan to greet the future, whether that means a new system or not.