An experienced IT support company is a vital supplement to any hospitality business. Your reliance on technology means that even a small problem could become a costly, business-threatening situation. It is therefore crucial that the IT Services partner that you engage with is an expert in the hospitality field as you will rely on them to maintain your technology, allowing you to focus on running your business and providing your guests with a remarkable experience.
When searching for an IT support company for your hotel business, there are many aspects to take into consideration. Here are the 8 most important factors:
It is important that the company you hire has a location or engineering resources near to you. For example, if you are based in London, hiring a company based in New York would be challenging. It isn’t impossible with the rise of remote support, but onsite support is incredibly important and a lack of easy access to your site means that help will take longer to arrive which, in an emergency, is something you can’t afford. When the company is local, has a local presence or has a number of existing customers close to you, you will be able to benefit from faster, more effective support. You will also be able to better take advantage of the range of expert technology resources and the investment in people that that company has made.
When you have an IT problem, you want to ensure that your support company has the knowledge and experience to resolve it quickly and with the least impact on your operations. Hotel technology comes with its own specific challenges and it is therefore hugely beneficial to engage with a company that specialises in hotel technology support. The likelihood is that they will have dealt with numerous similar situations to yours and so will be able to identify and resolve your problems faster. You should also ensure that they have experience in the software you use. They could be the top support company for Windows, but that doesn’t help if they don’t know your PMS or other 3rd party vendor technology.
In a hotel, every minute of a system being down can be costly and inconvenient to both your staff and guests. You should ask a prospective IT support company for their Service Level Agreement (SLA) or response time metrics. These encompass things like how fast they respond to issues, how quickly issues are resolved and how long it will take for an engineer to arrive if you require on-site support.
In order to ensure that an IT support company is appropriate for your hotel, you first need to realistically consider your size and your growth plans. How many staff do you have and how many guests can you accommodate at full capacity? Do you plan on expanding or opening another hotel? It is important to select a support company who have 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 larger groups or multinational chains.
5. Levels of Support
The levels of support you require will often depend on what stage your business is at. For example, if you are a new build hotel just starting out, you will need a support company that has experience in installations and one that both understands the problems that can arise and one that knows the actions necessary to avoid those. You will also be relying on them for technology resources, so they should preferably have an established relationship with 3rd party hotel technology vendors and have deep experience working with and interfacing those systems. Whereas, if you are a long-established hotel who simply require maintenance support, your main concern is whether they can work with your existing technology and whether they have the ability and experience to upgrade your systems when the time is right.
In the wake of data protection regulations such as GDPR and PCI, it is important that the IT support company you hire is familiar and compliant with these. If it transpires that they haven’t been complying with regulations or don’t know what it takes to both attain and then retain compliance with industry standards, it could have dire consequences for your business. A reputable company will also have partnerships with leading technology companies such as Microsoft, VMware and Veeam.
IT hardware, whilst being a costly necessity, can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have experience with purchasing it. Many IT companies will supply hardware to you, which can be comforting if something goes wrong as it has been approved and installed by them. It is worth asking which suppliers they use and ensuring that they have strong vendor relationships for added peace of mind.
8. Customer Satisfaction
Finally, one of the most effective ways of gauging a company’s success is to ask their current customers how satisfied they are with the service. This can be done through online research of unbiased reviews, from customer testimonials and available case studies, with the really good ones encouraging you to speak to existing customers either by phone or in person.
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.
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 in what is a competitive landscape.