Gordon McClendon, Vice President/Client Relations SPI Software

It’s no surprise the events of 2020 will have a profound impact on the travel and hospitality industry for years to come. While innovation in hospitality has been blazing ahead at a rapid pace, most of the innovations are technology related. Previously expensive technologies like digital room keys are now more affordable than ever. Advances in payment systems and app capabilities mean that hoteliers and guests have powerful new options when it comes to booking, paying for, and actually experiencing a resort or hotel stay. While they may be trends today, these innovations will surely become more commonplace as the dependency on technology plays a more significant role in how the hospitality industry plans for the future.

For the past four decades, SPI Software has remained the preferred supplier of vacation ownership properties by providing world-class software solutions and exceptional customer service. To survive this long in the Hospitality Technology market, a company must be flexible enough to adapt to the changes that are constantly thrown their way. Like almost all technology, what worked five years ago is nearly obsolete today.

“If you are unable to adapt or change – especially in highly specialized hospitality technology – you won’t be in business long,” says Gordon McClendon, SPI’s Vice President of Customer Relations. “Our ability to remain the leader in Vacation Ownership software – since almost the beginning of the industry itself – has been achieved by maintaining close contacts with our customers and adapting our software to keep pace with the changes that are constantly thrown their way.”

Less Personal Interaction

Since the emergence of COVID-19, in-person guest interactions have all but disappeared and “touchless” systems have become the norm. Today, there are no conversations around the water cooler or break room, after-work happy hours are few and far between with Zoom and webinars now part of our daily vocabulary. Resort lobbies are almost empty, social activities are minimal, and welcoming owners with handshakes or hugs is not going to happen.

Stephen Green, SPI’s Director of sales
Stephen Green, SPI’s Director of sales

“So how do we share messages without putting our health and safety at risk,” ponders Stephen Green, SPI’s Director of sales. “How do we continue to be hospitable when we are unable to shake a hand, share a laugh, or simply smile at our customers? How do we interact less, while reducing “touch points,” and still provide a positive guest experience? Clearly, this is a major challenge because at our core, our industry is hospitality … which by definition means welcoming. SPI Software has systems or apps to resolve all of these problems and more.”

Checking In

Offering a mobile check-in service is one of the most useful hospitality trends for reducing the need for human-to-human contact … an especially important concept within the context of the COVID pandemic. In the past, most resorts welcomed owners in the lobby with staff eagerly awaiting their arrival and helping them plan activities. Now guests are doing everything possible to expedite or even bypass the check-in process. Kids wait in cars while parents rush to check-in and get into their units as quickly and safely as possible. For many properties, the less time spent during check-in, the more satisfied the guest.

SPI’s new PreCheck functionality minimizes face-to-face interaction during the check-in process and resolves the need for a speedy check-in. Information can be gathered prior to arrival, check-in processes can be documented, door and lock codes can be shared, and guests can be notified when their room is clean and ready for check-in. This new feature is available at no additional charge to all SPI customers who use the front deck feature of SPI’s Resort Management software. When a resort can provide a pleasant welcoming process, this sets the stage for a positive vacation experience.

Mobile Capabilities

With all the upgrades in today’s tech explosion, guests are now able to unlock the door, adjust lights or temperature, and control the television and do-not-disturb indicators … all from their mobile app. Using these apps can result in operational efficiencies by providing more efficient housekeeping productivity, knowing which rooms are ready to clean and scheduling housekeeping around the guest’s needs while avoiding in-person check ins. These mobile capabilities have been trending long before 2020, but with COVID concerns, providing these services has become a higher priority. Implementing SPI’s Mobile services can help guests as well as the sales team, housekeeping and maintenance departments, front desk, and managers. In today’s timeshare industry mobile access for resort owners is not a luxury, but a requirement!

Software Solutions

Under its flagship software product, SPI provides solutions for custom software development, marketing, sales, loan and maintenance fee servicing, receivables management, and owner services plus more. Resort operations are dramatically improved through the use of property management systems to monitor and optimize revenues, customer relationships, and cloud hosting. Digitalized guest experiences and contactless technology apps are increasingly important in how resorts manage the services they provide to their customers and can now control many aspects of the guest cycle and experience.

The future

If there is one thing all businesses learned in 2020, it is this: if you are not communicating through technology, you probably aren’t communicating at all. The trend towards digital and contactless services has gained new momentum as traditional customer-facing services are being given an overhaul, thanks to technology-assisted options. Consumers who have become accustomed to unlocking their smartphones and laptops using facial and fingerprint recognition will soon come to expect the same convenience in accessing their guest rooms. The role of technology in hospitality has drastically expanded, making IT more important to resort operators and the guest experience than ever before.

SPI has always remained at the forefront of timeshare software technology with a continual release of enhancements and new products. To learn more about software solutions created exclusively for the vacation ownership industry, please visit www.spisoftware.com or contact Stephen Green at 305-858-9505, or via email at stephen.green@spisoftware.com.

Marge Lennon has been writing about the timeshare industry since forever. She welcomes ideas for future Resort Trades stories. Contact her at Marge@LennnonCommunications.com

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