Hospitality Tech: What It Is and How It Works

Hospitality Tech: Two coworkers happily looking at a laptop together.

Today, every industry leverages technology. From healthcare to marketing, agriculture to aerospace, there isn’t a single sector that doesn’t use technology in some way to operate and grow their businesses. And of course, that includes the hospitality industry, which relies heavily on an array of hospitality technology.

Hospitality technology (also called “hospitality tech,” “hospitality systems,” and “hospitality apps,” among other names) is crucial for hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel agencies, and any other member of the hospitality industry. And more often than not, those industry members rely on several hospitality technology providers each day. The system a hotel uses to check a guest in is likely different from the system it uses to manage employee paychecks, for example.

Clearly, hospitality tech is an incredibly expansive field, with various types of systems, companies, and users within it. In this guide, you’ll uncover the ins and outs of hospitality tech, from the different systems available to the industry’s latest trends to the general meaning of hospitality technology.

Ready to get started? Keep reading for everything you need to know about hospitality technology.

What is hospitality technology?

Hospitality technology can be defined as any system, software, or other technological method used within the hospitality industry. In other words, you can think of hospitality tech as any type of technology that can be used within the hospitality industry, from electronic keycards to proptech software.

That said, because it’s such a broad field, there isn’t one universal hospitality technology meaning—the definition can shift depending on which systems you’re referencing or the software user.

Unsurprisingly, hospitality technology has evolved and expanded throughout the years as the industry has grown and as technological advances have generally surged. Just like you can now use your phone to text a friend rather than writing them a letter, hotels can now rely on modern solutions to run their businesses even more smoothly.

And while hospitality tech might seem like a modern development, its history is more storied than you might imagine. According to the University of Central Florida, one of the first uses of hospitality technology dates back to 1894 when in-room telephones were first introduced by the Netherland Hotel in New York City. From there, hospitality technology innovation has only continued.

Later in this guide, we’ll cover more of the biggest hospitality technology trends and innovations taking place in the industry today.

What are the different types of hospitality tech, and what do they do?

As you might guess, there are numerous types of hospitality technology, meaning there’s no shortage of options for your property group or hotel brand to consider. In fact, many hotels and resorts opt to use multiple different hospitality systems—one for revenue optimization and invoice management, one for securing guest reservations, another for staff scheduling and housekeeping, and so on. (That’s why many hospitality software companies integrate with other types of software—more on that below.)

All that said, where should property operators, owners, and managers begin? Here are some of the different types of hospitality technology, and a brief overview of what each hospitality app generally does:

Property Management Software

When hoteliers hear the term “hospitality technology,” the first type of software that comes to mind is likely property management software (PMS). This versatile type of hospitality platform performs a variety of functions depending on the software in question, but most systems are designed to simplify a hotel’s daily operations. For instance, property management software typically enables teams to easily check guests in and out, manage reservations, monitor daily room rates and availability, and so on.

Hospitality Tech for Finance and Accounting

Several hospitality systems focus on the finance and accounting side of your property or portfolio’s business. This type of hospitality platform allows accounting and finance teams to access the information they need, such as payment volume over a certain period of time or which invoices have been paid and which ones haven’t.

Hospitality Tech for Payments

Some hospitality technology providers focus solely on the payment side of your property’s business. While that might sound granular, this type of hospitality platform encompasses a wide array of functions. Use this type of hospitality tech for guest room payments at the front desk, creating and sending custom invoices for meetings and events, providing flexible payment plans to clients, food and beverage payments at your on-site restaurant, and more.

Hospitality Tech for Event-Driven Businesses

If your property deals with any sort of event-driven business or group sales—weddings, meetings, corporate business, government contracts, small group sales, room blocks, you name it—you’ll likely need a hospitality platform to manage and optimize that revenue stream. These hospitality apps streamline contracts, custom proposals and invoices, payment tracking, venue reservations, and even inventory management for properties—basically any aspect of event and hospitality management.

Marketing-Focused Hospitality Technology

If one of your property or portfolio’s goals is to increase the amount of qualified customer conversions, turn to hospitality technology providers that also provide marketing support. Make sure any platform you choose follows the latest hospitality technology trends so as to optimize on your marketing efforts, like featuring your hotel on the social platforms your target audience is on.

Some marketing software for hospitality teams also include solutions like pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, in which you pay a fee for every click that goes to your site from a paid ad. Other marketing efforts focus on SEO, whether via organic search optimization of your property or via paid search ads. These campaigns are measured and tracked by click-through rates, on-site conversion rate increases, revenue growth, and more.

Other Guest-Focused Hospitality Technology

While you could argue that every type of hospitality platform is guest-focused, some types of hospitality tech are especially partial to guest interactions at your property. For instance, some software helps streamline guest surveys and housekeeping requests, making for a positive event and hospitality management experience for everyone involved.

Of the hospitality systems listed above, some of the options may fit into multiple categories or could be considered its own unique type of hospitality tech. For instance, some hotel management software can be used to check guests in and secure new reservations. Meanwhile, some proptech platforms can streamline financial operations and bolster your hotel marketing efforts.

What are the biggest hospitality technology trends?

It’s obvious that there are many types of hospitality technology—but how are those systems shifting and evolving with the needs of today’s consumers?

Ever since the first in-room phones were introduced over a century ago, there have been countless instances of hospitality technology innovation. From electronic keycards all the way to online reservations, the industry has continued to advance and provide modern tech offerings to their guests—and keeps doing so today.

Some of the most prominent hospitality technology trends include:

  • Guest-focused benefits: Hospitality is centered around providing a great service or experience to guests, and modern hospitality technology trends keep that focus top of mind. Some examples of those trends include digital check-in services and keyless entries, and top-notch security systems, per the University of Central Florida.
  • Smart technology: Hospitality tech is getting even smarter. Several hotels and resorts are bringing in the smart technology that you’ve probably seen before in your home or other public spaces, like voice commands and automatic lighting. The result of these smart hospitality technology trends? A more pleasant guest experience and more efficient hospitality team.
  • A focus on sustainability: Another important priority that more and more properties are investing in: sustainability. Smart technology often overlaps with this important focus. For instance, some hotels have guests text housekeeping to let them know whether or not they would like their room cleaned that day. That one action can domino into several positive results for the environment. For instance, if a guest doesn’t want their sheets or towels swapped out, that’s one less load of laundry to do—now multiply that hundreds or thousands of times. Other efforts, such as smart lighting that only works when people are in a room, cut back on electricity consumption.
  • Mobile-friendly capabilities: A whopping 97% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, with 85% owning a smart phone, according to a fact sheet from the Pew Research Center. Suffice it to say, a vast majority of hotel guests depend on their phones, which explains the rise of mobile-friendly hospitality technology. From guest-facing platforms like mobile hospitality apps to important software teams depend on for their daily operations, mobile-friendly hospitality tech is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Of course, this list of hospitality technology trends will continue to progress and advance as time goes on. But generally, it’s smart for users to consider hospitality technology innovation as a priority when considering new platforms to use.

Who should use hospitality tech, and how can they benefit from it?

Property operators, asset owners, and hotel brand teams can all benefit from implementing hospitality technology. Here’s a brief look at some of the team members and roles who can benefit from using hospitality apps:

  • Asset owners can experience a positive return on investment, higher profit margins, and increased operational efficiency.
  • Operating brands can bring in more guests to the properties they manage while keeping everything organized.
  • Regional or area vice presidents can better grasp what’s occurring at each property they manage even when they’re not physically there.
  • General managers can boost their staff’s collaboration and efficiency, all while driving increased revenue for their property without any extra effort from team members.
  • Finance team members can quickly and easily get the information they need without needing to ask team members all the time. Rather than sending frequent “what’s the status of this invoice?” emails and pings, some software for hospitality allows finance admins to directly locate the information they need, such as invoice statuses, payment volumes, revenue per available room, and more.
  • Sales representatives and account managers can close more deals for their property without any extra sales effort, thanks to helpful hospitality tech tools. These tools can include an increase in enhanced proposals, more effective contract processes to finalize deals faster, enhanced invoice payment methods, and so on.
  • Marketing roles can bolster a hospitality app’s marketing support to further enhance their own marketing efforts. For instance, one common marketing campaign from hospitality technology companies includes driving increased site users and page referrals to your property’s site, resulting in an increase of customer conversions. That can be done via PPC campaigns, search engine optimization and paid ads, and editorial and social media spotlights.
  • Catering sales managers and associates can ensure any event-driven business at their property is signed and paid for with ease, elevating the customer experience and making their jobs easier.
  • Other on-property team members like front-desk managers or housekeeping staff can stay organized and aligned with the rest of the team, leading to better overall event and hospitality management.
  • Hotel guests will notice a multitude of benefits, whether that’s an easier check-in process, a simple process for signing and paying for an event they’re hosting, and more.

Of course, there are many other roles that benefit from using hospitality apps or software that may not be listed above, but it can help to get a quick picture of just how many team members can appreciate the use of hospitality technology at your property or portfolio.

Hospitality technology considerations

Because there are so many different hospitality software companies available, it’s understandable if it feels overwhelming trying to decipher which ones are the best for you, your team, and your property or portfolio.

To help you narrow down the list, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re researching the best hospitality apps:

  • Think about who on your team will need to use the hospitality app. If you’re hoping to standardize hospitality tech across a large property—or across a portfolio of multiple properties—it’s key to think about which team members you’d like to use the platform. Asking various staff members about their biggest challenges as well as areas of opportunity, then using those considerations to pick a hospitality app, can help ensure you pick the best one for your entire team.
  • Look into how easy it’ll be for the hospitality app to integrate with existing software and processes. The goal of adopting new hospitality technology is to make your team’s life easier and your business growth larger. It’s instrumental, then, that any hospitality systems you’re considering could integrate into your team’s existing processes and software without too many headaches or pain points.
  • Consider the latest hospitality technology trends. Ensure any hospitality systems you’re considering follow any innovative trends or come with any features that would make a noticeable difference to your team, like ensuring it has mobile-friendly capabilities or can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Ensure that the software’s benefits align with your business objectives. It’s important to confirm that the main benefits of any hospitality systems you’re considering match up with your overall business goals. For instance, is it a broad goal to increase revenue or the amount of events at your property? Then look for hospitality tech that can effectively increase customer conversion rates and overall revenue. Are you hoping to increase your team’s efficiency and collaboration? Then prioritize hospitality systems that make cross-department communication tasks simple or take tasks off of staff members’ to-do lists.

In addition to keeping the above considerations in mind when you’re researching hospitality technology companies, it’s important to discuss the details of how the system will work with your specific property or portfolio group. A great way to do that is to sign up for a demo or consultation with a member of that hospitality app’s team. That way, you can get a closer look at the platform and how well each respective hospitality software company will work with your team.

Benefits of ROH’s hospitality tech

Once you’ve considered your hospitality technology requirements and what you’re looking for in a hospitality platform, it’s time to narrow down on which hospitality software company you want to partner with.

ROH is one of the best hospitality technology providers to consider. Our hospitality platform enables the top hotel brands and property groups across the continent to drive increased revenue, customer conversions, and true collaboration.

Plus, as a multi-functional hospitality platform, ROH provides a wide array of benefits and features for your team, from modern payment options to helpful finance reporting to standardized event-driven business operations. And as a cloud-based hospitality software company, you can use ROH even when you’re not in the office.

In short, our hospitality technology helps teams do more with less. Here’s a look into ROH’s hospitality tech features, and how they benefit your property or portfolio:

  • Branded, mobile-friendly invoices and contracts: ROH makes it easy for properties to create custom, branded, digital invoices and contracts for any custom quote, whether that’s for a corporate meeting, room block, group sale, or something else. Best of all, customers can pay in seconds from their phones if they’d like.
  • At-a-glance data and insights: Quickly understand invoice statuses, payment volumes, and more across your property or your entire portfolio with ROH’s high-level data and insights.
  • A standardized dashboard: Ease collaboration between sales and finance teams with one centralized dashboard. From a CFO to a general manager, anyone can log in and find the information they need in one place without needing to ask other staff members.
  • Detailed financial reporting: Gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on across your portfolio, from payment volumes to active invoices at each property.
  • Easy integrations with other systems: ROH easily integrates with other systems that your team might already rely on, such as Delphi or Sertifi, for example. Our dedicated customer success team ensures that activating ROH at your property or across your portfolio is an unbelievably simple, pain-free process for your entire team.
  • Real-time notifications, actionable reminders, and proactive management: Dial up your team’s efficiency and streamline operations with sales tools that make it easy to keep everything on track. ROH sends team members real-time updates when clients have paid an invoice or signed a contract, in addition to actionable reminders if you need to do things like follow up with a customer on a payment or countersign a contract. Plus, ROH automates follow-up to keep everything simple for you.
  • Card on file functionality: Finally, you can securely store a customer’s credit card information in the same system you use to charge it for payments. As a PCI DSS Level 1 Compliant provider, ROH takes data protection seriously and ensures that all information stays safe-guarded.
  • Ability to offload payment disputes: Unforeseen payment headaches like payment disputes, cancellations, and refunds eat up a lot of your team’s time and energy. When you partner with ROH, you get to offload those burdens to our team of experts, allowing your team members to get back to what they love about hospitality.
  • Exclusive marketing support: As a ROH partner, you receive exclusive access to marketing support from Carats & Cake. That means if your property or portfolio hosts any social events like weddings, you can make our marketing efforts yours. Specifically, your property will benefit from our millions of monthly social impressions and expert community of event planners and vendors. As a result, we find that ROH partners convert an average 80% of new customers.

All of these benefits work together to deliver transformative results for your property or portfolio: On average, our partners see a 15% increase in revenue managed through ROH and a 4.5x return on investment (ROI). What’s more, our team of experts can ensure that our platform works with your existing processes so that your team benefits from effective solutions that work well for them.

Our team would be happy to chat with you about how ROH can drive transformative growth for your property or portfolio—just book a free demo to learn more.

How to learn more about hospitality technology

Want to dig into hospitality tech even more? There are plenty of helpful educational resources to get started. For starters, ROH has ample hospitality technology articles that offer a crash course into everything to know about the latest in hospitality tech, from management software to proptech to hospitality technology news.

Hospitality technology articles from other publications and resources can deepen your learning further as well. Well-known publishers such as Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and TechCrunch report on the latest hospitality technology news, upcoming hospitality software companies, and hospitality tech startups to keep on your radar.

Other industry-specific outlets such as Proptech Outlook share helpful hospitality technology articles as well. There are also educational and government sources that share insightful hospitality technology articles and data, such as hospitality and tourism departments at universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the Pew Research Center, Statista, and others.

To learn more about hospitality tech and how ROH can drive conversions, revenue, and collaboration for your property group or hospitality brand, schedule a free demo.