In this day and age, the importance of having high quality IT support for your hotel cannot be stressed enough. A hotel relies almost completely on technology, and in a business where the top priority is customer satisfaction, any glitch which could lead to unhappy customers and negative reviews is obviously something you want to avoid. Therefore, choosing an IT support company requires careful thought and consideration.
Here are some questions that you should be asking in order to ensure that your hotel’s IT infrastructure will be protected and maintained adequately.
Your IT support holds a huge amount of responsibility for your business; now is not a good time to gamble by relying on a start-up company. You want to ensure that the company you choose is established and has experience. The last thing you want to hear is that they’ve never dealt with a problem you’re experiencing and don’t know where to start to resolve it.
2. Typical Client
Asking what a company’s typical client looks like ensures that they have experience in your field and are appropriate for you. For example, if your business is a hotel, it would be deeply disconcerting if your IT support company had no other clients in the hospitality field.
Similarly, it is important to select a support company that has the capacity to support you. If you’re a 400-room hotel, it is unlikely that a one-man tech support company is appropriate for you. Similarly, if you are a 10 room Bed & Breakfast hotel, it is unlikely that you’ll benefit from a large company that deals with big brand hotel chains.
4. Levels of IT Support
Many IT companies offer different levels of support. These will come at different costs and can include:
- Break-fix IT support, which is charged hourly and can be paid either in advance or afterwards. It can also be offered at a fixed price.
- Pay-as-you-go IT support, which is charged hourly as you require it. This usually ends up being more expensive.
- Managed IT service support, where the company actively manages your IT, minimising the risk of downtime.
5. SLAs (Service Level Agreements)
SLA metrics are really useful for helping you gauge how effective a company is. These will include metrics such as response time and time to resolution and will help you understand what you can expect of your Hotel IT Support Provider.
6. 24/7 IT Support
Hotels need 24/7 IT Support and 24/7 Network Monitoring: As a 24/7 business, you need to know that you can call your support company if your system goes down after business hours. The last thing you want is for your hotel WiFi to go down at 6am on a Sunday morning and then have to wait until Monday for a resolution.
7. Contact Methods
Following on, when something does go wrong, you need to know what your options are in terms of how to contact your hotel IT Support partner. Are you able to call them? Can you log a ticket online? What is their preferred method of contact and does this work for you?
8. Dedicated Engineer
Although it might be unreasonable to expect to speak to the same engineer every time you call, you should be comfortable in the knowledge that the engineers you speak to are part of the same team. They should have the same level of familiarity with your business. You don’t want to have to explain the basics, who you are and what your business is, every time you pick up the phone.
9. Dedicated Account Manager
Having a single point in the company to contact when you have questions, concerns or even compliments is a good way of building a lasting relationship with your IT Support provider. They will be your main point of contact and will get to know and understand your business and plans and will be able to ensure that you are accommodated and catered for.
10. Contract Commitment
Most IT support companies will have contracts that tie you in for a specific period of time. If you are unhappy with their service this could be problematic, so it’s definitely worth asking about.
11. What Your Contract Covers
Many IT Support businesses will charge you extra for covering peripheral items such as mobile phones and printers, so it is important to ensure coverage if these are pivotal to your business. Additionally, although labour and travel are usually covered, custom software may not be.
12. What is Not Covered
As important as it is to ask what your IT Support contract covers, you must also take the time to ask specifically what is not covered. This will disclose to you the extras that you may be charged for which may not have been revealed had you not asked.
This may come under point eleven above, but you really do need to know whether hardware is included in your hotel IT support contract. As time goes on, technology develops and old hardware needs to be replaced. If not included in your contract, this can become a costly addition and expense.
14. IT Partnerships
To ensure that you receive the best, most up-to-date support, reputable IT support providers will be trusted partners of companies such as Microsoft, Apple and HP. Even more important in a hotel environment is whether your IT support partner has relationships with leading hospitality technology vendors, such as your PMS vendor, telecoms vendor etc. They should also be up to date on compliancy regulations specific to the hotel industry, such as PCI and GDPR.
Finally, one of the most effective ways of gauging a company’s effectiveness is to ask their current and former clients how satisfied they are with the service. This can be done through online research of unbiased reviews. Additionally, many IT companies will also have client testimonials and case studies on their website.
Cardonet have been working with hotels for the past twenty years to help them overcome their technological challenges. We have engineering bases in the United Kingdom, Europe and Southern California and our group of highly experienced engineers are available 24/7 to assist and ensure that your hotel’s IT infrastructure is running seamlessly. We would be happy to answer these 15 questions to ensure that you get the best IT Support service for your hotel.
If you are spending too much time dealing with hotel technology issues and if those issues are affecting your guest experience, call us on +44 203 034 2244 or +1 323 984 8908. Alternately, you can contact us online. We will be happy to help you overcome your hotel IT challenges so that you can improve your guest experience and set your hotel apart.