Another day, another major hotel chain moving services from servers to the cloud—or else launching a mobile initiative for consumers — two of the top hospitality trends of 2013.
Today it was revealed that the UK portion of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has selected the cloud-based Simphony from MICROS Systems as its next generation point-of-service enterprise solution at 61 British properties.
Says the release:
[The tool provides] centralised management tools. Prices can be updated instantly across every property at the touch of a button, while improved business intelligence capability will provide consolidated reporting for all of the hotels, ensuring that food and beverage sales can be tracked, monitored and analysed.
A single, centralised database provides support for customer relationship management and intelligent promotions and targeted marketing.
Meanwhile, luxury hotel chain Kempinski has been piece-by-piece migrating its operations from server-based enterprise software to solutions hosted in the cloud, especially software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in particular.
In September, Kempinski moved its mail from Novell GroupWise to Google Apps. It has also been moving its PMS services to Amazon Web Services.
Kempinski tapped Cloudreach to handle the porting over to a hosted infrastructure.
The company believes that by switching to the IaaS and managed services for as many of its applications as possible, it will achieve a savings of 40% over the cost of running a server-based IT system (*by 2015, compared with 2010 budget).
The hotel chain used to rely on 140 servers for its corporate and shared applications.
Says the company:
From the GDS side, we work with myFidelio and we still have hotels working on extranet with some third party Internet companies. We are in the process to implement RateTiger Channel Manager to automate the third party websites control (Expedia, booking.com, HRS etc.) and reduce the operations maintenance time.
On the consumer tech front, IHG today launched a mobile enrolment program for new Priority Club Reward members, which the chain says is the first of its kind for a hotel company, and is powered by RapidNFC (Europe's largest near-field communications provider).
Says the release:
Guests at selected hotels in the UK can now fast track the PCR registration process by using their smartphone and an NFC chip or QR code.
By simply touching the tent card located in selected hotel reception areas, with their NFC-enabled smartphone, guests will be redirected to IHG’s PCR registration webpage.
A QR code is another means of registering, whereby users will scan the QR code using the dedicated app to be instantly redirected to the registration form.
As these and earlier coverage suggests, the cloud and mobile are clearly the two key themes of hospitality tech in 2013.