How to build a digital ecosystem using the example of the hotel industry

Business Development Director at TeamJet Hotel Management

There are tons of services designed with one goal in mind: to facilitate the development of business. However, without proper integration, these tools might cause problems such as data inconsistency and inability to fully control the process of communication with a client.

What kind of problems may emerge due to the inconsistency in services?

Ineffective management of data

If tools aren’t integrated properly, even small companies may face big problems. For example, if a company uses different messengers to communicate with clients and has no aggregator to put this data together, this information might be lost, duplicated or damaged. This is even more important for big companies as they need their services to be integrated in order to support a database, prepare reports and make analyses.

Deterioration of the work with clients

When a company struggles with problems caused by receiving information from different sources and keeping data at different platforms, this could work as a brake for operations and affect interaction with clients. It is highly possible that a company won’t be able to react fast enough to a client’s message or notice any feedback if the service isn’t connected to a database that processes such information from a client.

Wasting of time and resources

If a business doesn’t combine its services into a single system, it should spend twice as much energy to manage each of its platforms. As a result, costs for technical maintenance and the time necessary to find certain information go up. The hotel industry often reports difficulties in the integration of its property management system (PMS) with the CRM system designed for sales, which requires double processing of such data.

Discontent of staff and production loss

When each service operates on its own, this brings headaches to a company’s employees because they have to enter data into several platforms and be able to work with different services where interface and functionality may be quite distinct.

Key principles of an ecosystem construction

The ecosystem approach isn’t something absolutely new and some industries have used it for quite a while. However, in the hotel industry, like many other industries, this is still a challenge for both hoteliers and vendors. This is why we believe that it is important to determine the main principles that an ecosystem should meet in order to serve the goals of the business.

  • An ecosystem might be constructed with elements provided by different suppliers. Sometimes, only some of the products offered by one supplier serve our interests, so you want to search the market for more effective and interesting solutions. You can build an ecosystem on your own with the help of different IT products. For example, a hotelier would need PMS for online booking, CRM to collect data from clients, a personnel management system, a sales service and an online interface for communication with guests. All these components can be provided by different vendors, although they should work as a well-tuned mechanism.
  • First of all, never forget that you are building an ecosystem. The first step would be determining who your suppliers are in general and then choosing those who are going to be your suppliers. You also want to ensure that the solutions you need can be synchronized with each other. Talk to your new contractor to learn whether its products can be integrated with other services. This must be one of the key criteria for choosing a vendor.
  • Articulate your requirements to an ecosystem and choose the right technological platform that supports the integration and functions you need. For example, if you need CRM with the database, it should be integrated with services for effective communication with clients, systems for accounting finances, goods and services, collecting applications from clients and analyzing data.
  • Start integrating each service into a single system. A digital ecosystem must be built based on universal technologies that help integrate different services with each other. Sometimes such integration can be conducted by a company on its own with the help of standard interfaces and protocols. Often companies from one sphere adjust their solutions with each other in order to strengthen their positions. For instance, this is exactly what our company did. We have adjusted our solutions for big PMS with the purpose of making it possible to work with our system for all hoteliers.
  • After integration, test the system and train your employees. It is very important that the ecosystem can be easily controlled in order to react to changes and problems emerging during the work in a rapid manner.
  • Pursue quality, not quantity. The newly established system should be ready to be added by new functions and services that might be needed in the future or at least have a technical opportunity to do so. I would recommend sticking to the principle of the superiority of quality over quantity. You may want to build a unique system that perfectly meets your requirements rather than pursue every possible technology. Some solutions can duplicate each other’s functions, so a company has to have a crystal-clear understanding of what kind of function it needs and whether a certain solution can meet these requirements. For example, there may be a lack of some functions like checklists, reports, instant messages and other details important for a company’s executive in different personnel management systems.
  • A deployed ecosystem must be flexible enough to adjust to changes related to the development of a business or emerging of new updates within specific solutions. Support and update the system in order to make it more effective and resilient. Analyze user behavior within the ecosystem to better understand what services are more popular and what can be improved.

When a company takes its time to choose better service and pay attention to not only what kind of tasks a product can solve, but how they can be integrated into the existing business system and how they would interact with each other, this helps to create a digital ecosystem where all services operate smoothly like a single mechanism.

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