Ask the Experts: Jon Inge, CHTP, ISHC

A Consultant’s View of the Hospitality Technology Industry

Jon Inge, CHTP, ISHC, is president of Jon Inge & Associates. He is a 2006 inductee into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and is a frequent contributor to trade publications like Hospitality Upgrade.

What’s the best way to establish and maintain a relationship with a vendor and/or service provider?

Aim for a true partnership from the start. Don’t try to squeeze the last cent out of a vendor’s price. They need to stay in business to support your system, and you want them to smile when you call for help. Respect honest misunderstandings and work towards a common resolution that both can live with.

What can be done on the user end to be prepared for a system/or equipment upgrade?

Top priority is to have a senior-level operations executive sponsor the upgrade and promote it to all affected departments ahead of time. Be as clear as possible with the vendor about your environment, goals and expectations, and verify theirs — no one wants surprises. Review your operation to take advantage of enhancements the upgrade will bring, and train your staff in them before you go live. Insist that all staff affected by the change receive training on it first, especially the managers.

Name three areas within hospitality technology that are evolving the most?

  1. Revenue management, becoming more marketing-oriented in its approach and needing much more and better-integrated data to react quickly and accurately in an increasingly dynamic and granular marketplace.
  2. Hospitality management systems, becoming ever more comprehensive, more tightly integrated with other on-property systems and moving to the cloud.
  3. Guest-interaction software, in which I include customized e-mail confirmations with links to buy upgrades, on-property guest-request rapid-response systems, and intelligent post-departure notes and electronic surveys.

Since you’ve been in the industry, which technology do you think has changed hospitality the most?

A combination of the Internet and Web Services standards. The former for allowing supreme flexibility of access to systems and information and the latter for facilitating integration of both. Our systems are infinitely more capable and more accessible as a result.

What is your favorite hospitality-related mobile “app” that you use?

Trip-It. It accepts my online booking e-mails as simply as can be imagined by combining air, hotel and car data into one itinerary. It also adds useful and relevant information and then provides instant real-time updates on changes. Very well thought out and well-presented.

This Ask the Experts was featured in the January Issue of the HITEC News Flash.

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