Here at Apaleo, we understand that adopting new tech can feel like a terrible hassle. Weeks of research, discovery calls, demos and negotiations take up a lot of valuable time.
After that, the real work starts. Once you sign, it’s time to configure and implement your new tech. If you’ve ever done this, you know it can again take weeks or longer. When it comes to your PMS, it used to be normal for this process to take months. And nobody questioned if it really had to be this way.
But today, thanks to API-first technology, it no longer has to be like that. Let’s look at how that works and why this development is long overdue.
Legacy systems are tried and tested but they come with their own challenges. For example, Capgemini identified the reliance on slow legacy systems as a cause for businesses to miss both revenue and cost-saving opportunities.
According to Alpha FMC it even keeps businesses from innovating. 67% of their study participants cited legacy systems as the reason for not following through on digital transformation plans.
When you work with or roll-out a legacy PMS, you’ll likely come across the following issues that slow you down and hamper growth.
Time-consuming communication with vendors
The majority of hoteliers who use legacy PMSs have horror stories to share about slow communication with their vendor. That starts with an endless back and forth during set-up and it continues throughout the relationship. The numerous discussions in hospitality-related LinkedIn groups and Reddit threads only scratch the surface.
Of course, it’s necessary to iron out all the details and configure a PMS properly. But when days go by between responses, even the roll-out of one small property can take months. It’s clear what that would mean for a large hotel with event spaces, F&B and recreation facilities, and a long list of rate codes. Then compound that time for a hotel chain.
Need for physical set-up
Most, if not all, legacy PMSs require support staff or account managers to manually set up many of the system’s elements. That means the hotel can only begin using the system once the supplier’s staff has physically activated the new property on site.
On top of that, lengthy training is often necessary to ensure all staff can get the most out of the new PMS. Given the typical shift schedule at hotels, it can take another few weeks until all employees receive the needed training.
The bottleneck is typically the busy schedule of the vendor’s project management team. Since you can’t control when they’ll have an open slot, there’s no way for you to move things forward more quickly.
Separate roll-out for each property
In Skift’s 2021 Digital Transformation Report, David Peller of AWS highlights how important the ability to flexibly deploy and scale tech services has become. However, most PMSs, even cloud-based property management systems, can’t enable you to go live at several properties at once or in quick succession. Instead, you need to start the time-consuming roll-out process from scratch at every hotel in your chain.
These challenges and their implications for hotels made us decide to bring self-service technology (SST) to hotel tech. After all, it’s already widespread in other industries and areas of life.
In the B2B domain, HubSpot offers self-service marketing software and Shopify provides SST for e-commerce businesses. In the B2C arena, you’ve experienced it at airport check-in kiosks, ATMs, or hotel website chats, among others.
No matter where you apply it, SST’s goal is always to make a (tech) tool more flexible, accessible and customizable for the user. In other words, it’s meant to provide the desired outcome and satisfy people’s love for instant gratification.
That inspired the Apaleo team to create the industry’s first hotel PMS that combines proven practices with a self-service approach.
This is where our innovative API-first technology comes in.
It allows a new property to complete the technical side of set-up within hours rather than months. With systems built for self-service, hoteliers can handle the remaining configuration independently with remote on-demand support. This means that for the first time everything depends on the hotelier’s schedule and desired pace for the roll-out.
Sounds great in theory – but how does it look in practice?
Simple, self-guided set-up
Apaleo’s self-service capability makes it simple for the property manager to sign up for a demo environment with sample bookings and start setting up the tool.
This is how Arnold Linares, Group Revenue & Distribution Manager of Zetter experienced the switch to Apaleo: “To kickstart operations and grow the existing brand, we knew we wanted to move away from the traditional providers like Protel and OPERA because these legacy systems take months when undergoing migrations. Setting up our technology stack with Apaleo was quick and seamless.”
No dependency on on-site support
A modern, cloud-based property management platform like Apaleo can make all set-up functionalities and settings available directly in the user interface. Among other things, this includes creating sub-accounts, custom fees, time slice definitions and more.
A cloud-native system also has the advantage that it’s accessible on any device at any time. That goes for you and the vendor’s team. As a result, all support is remote. Apaleo’s team can consult, onboard, help the properties go live and answer any service questions through video calls and a vast library of user guides. That’s a safety bonus in times of COVID-19 and it significantly reduces response time.
Easy multi-property roll-out with templates
Nobody likes to be stuck with redundant tasks. Apaleo’s multi-property platform offers the possibility to create a set-up template from any property. Now you can simply duplicate all settings for a new property instead of having to restart from square one. This goes for rate plans, services, cancellation policies and fees, automation and invoice settings, age categories, and more.
Many of our partner hotels find this step so easy, they even do it without us. For example, Vivere Stays rolled out Apaleo at its 25 properties within only six months - and all that during the pandemic.
Quick set-up of an entirely new tech stack
The Apaleo PMS application is built on an API-first architecture making all data, settings and go-live functionalities available in the API. This makes it easy to connect to other hotel tech tools without incurring extra set-up or integration fees. You can even leverage our public documentation and network of developers to create custom features as needed on your own. This takes self-service tech to a whole new level and allows you to form the perfect tech stack for your property.
Arnold Linares from Zetter experienced this first-hand when he implemented Apaleo: “The complete migration took under three days for all our properties. Now, Apaleo is at the epicentre of our tech stack. We feel that we have the freedom to create our own tech stack and practice a lot of trial and error without risking too much, and we really like that.”
The benefits of this new kind of roll-out experience are numerous.
You can manage the implementation according to your schedule and lose no time going live. The fast roll-out extends to the connected apps, letting you create a modern tech stack and a digital guest journey in no time. This benefit compounds when you leverage the templating option for multiple property roll-out.
Such a simple system also has advantages for your staff. New team members quickly learn the ropes and overall operations become more efficient. That gives your employees more time to breathe and focus on human interactions with guests, despite the major challenge of staff shortages.
Sammi Hosseinijan, Managing Director of Signature Hotels, experienced this when he made the switch from a legacy PMS to Apaleo in only a day: “Our team was surprised by just how easy it is to use Apaleo. After only a few hours of training, our employees, who had been working with the legacy system for years, quickly became comfortable with the new system.”
This API-first technology is the disruption we’re bringing to the industry. The goal is to make tech do what it was meant to do: make your life easier and save time.
That’s why Apaleo offers a flexible roll-out process. You can either follow our structured migration, onboarding and training schedule or do it your own way. Whatever works best for you, we’re here to guide you as a partner without nickel and diming you for it.
And since we believe that support should be part of the product, we never charge for a single hour of professional services and have no implementation or training fee. All that plus our guided onboarding and orientation process are included in the basic monthly subscription. For you, that means full transparency and continuous support, but no hidden costs or surprise fees, ever.
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There’s no shortage of hotels and accommodation providers worldwide, but not all are created equal. A fair few are happy with the status quo, and accept slow growth in return for comfort. But there are others who are keen to innovate.