Choosing a new technology provider for your hotel or vacation rental company is a bit like choosing a new family dog. There are many variables to consider. Will this pet be the right fit for the household? Does the pup sleep a lot or does he need to hike up mountains? How much energy will your family be investing on a daily basis? And the expenses! Is this breed prone to medical issues that will add up over time? It can feel like such a huge and exciting occasion to choose a new family member that sometimes the transition that happens when the puppy comes home is overlooked. Will we crate train? Are we going to lose sleep when the pup needs us in the middle of the night? Can we leave her alone for very long? These are essential, lifestyle-altering issues.
The same goes for bringing on new technology. You meet and review and meet some more. Then suddenly after making a decision on a technology, you find yourself rolling out a massive—sometimes enterprise-wide—change that requires many hands on deck and a substantial amount of time. Sometimes in the relief at having chosen a provider, hotels, and vacation rentals forget to plan for the even bigger task of implementation. Preparing for a technology shift is critical to success—and sanity. Think of this guide as a companion to our checklist for choosing a new technology provider. One that is sure to help make the transition smoother.
☐ Audit your tech stack
Consider the following questions. Will this technology integrate with my PMS? What is my objective that my other technologies can’t fulfill? Are we seeing a return with our other systems and expenses?
☐ Identify your internal implementation manager
Have one point of contact on your team who funnels information out to the tech provider and recruits internal support.
☐ Line up the staffing support
It’s a major undertaking in change management to implement new systems and processes, especially when it impacts multiple departments. Be transparent with your teams. Clarify the intention to move on new technology and gain their buy-in from the beginning to develop a game plan and timeline.
☐ Seek available resources from the technology provider
At NAVIS we provide on-site setup and training during implementation, as well as Professional Services and additional education to ensure a comfortable transition and training for all of your teams. Consider this when you’re choosing a provider, and then double check that you are using the full range of resources the technology provider offers (though we believe a reputable provider will be up front and on top of this!)
☐ Loop in IT
You’ve done a great deal of research into solutions that can help achieve your business goals, but your new technology has to play nice with your company’s existing applications, networks, and security infrastructure. Your IT team will play a big role in implementation as well as ongoing troubleshooting of technical issues, so leverage their expertise and make sure they’ve vetted the solution from an IT perspective.
☐ Sell it!
You’ve got leadership’s buy-in, but make sure all areas of your company that may be impacted by this technology are with you. When new systems come as a surprise and potentially cause disruption in how people are expected to perform, they need to be part of the entire process and excited to drive results. It’s important to let everyone know how the technology will benefit their own individual duties and performance.
☐ Start training right away
The better you understand the best practices and functionality of new systems coming in place, the more efficient your one-on-one time and on-site implementation will be. You’ll know the questions to ask and have a better idea of which areas may see friction before it becomes a reality.
Technology implementation is just as much about communication as it is about the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes programming, and integration. Communicating the value, the timing, the resource needs, and the investment internally is well worth the effort when the technology helps you communicate with your guests. Treat the implementation with the same care you have used in selecting a provider, and the process will be smoother and more productive.