Is Technology the Secret to Successful Hotel Franchise Partnerships?

As any hotelier knows, the hospitality industry is awash with household names and hotel brand giants that boast global recognition and an ever-growing portfolio of properties. These are the hotels that travelers often know and love and actively seek out. Beyond guest appeal, these brands also entice the interest of emerging industry leaders and hospitality professionals who wish to benefit from a reliable business model attached to a recognizable and trusted brand name.

The last decade has seen a continued shift in hotel ownership. The franchise model helps mitigate much of the associated risk by paving the way for eager entrepreneurs who wish to lean on an existing brand’s marketing, operational expertise, technology, and supporting infrastructure. Franchisors come to the table with a long list of promises, including higher profit margins, lower entry costs, a wealth of resources and established brand standards, vetted technological infrastructure, etc. To this effect, roughly 80% of branded hotels were franchised operations.

Throughout the pandemic, franchisees benefitted from brand assistance in the form of franchisee-support packages and brand-wide direction for new policies and standards. Unsurprisingly, those hospitality brands that actively invested in their franchisees by offering hands-on support and heightened communications, and reformed best practices and guidelines are better equipped to recover and, once again, thrive in the post-pandemic landscape.

However, some franchisees come to question what value a franchise partnership offers them. They contemplate discharging a big brand name in exchange for the increased autonomy provided by an independent name and boutique property.

Now, more than ever before, brands must examine the support they offer their franchisees to grow and scale into the future. For many, the best way to solidify relationships with franchisees is to invest in technology to give franchisees the tools they need to thrive.

Accelerated Tech Demand for Franchise Owners

Franchises are increasingly relying on technology to automate operations and drive business success in their properties. However, the hospitality industry is often slow to adopt new technology and processes. This is, if anything, the ultimate bottleneck faced by hoteliers who wish to remain one step ahead of guest demands but simply lack the appropriate technology to do so. The pandemic challenges, in many ways, have been a pressure cooker for the advent and adoption of new technology. With evolving guests demands, labor shortages, and competitive pressures, hotels are investing in digital tools that effectively streamline and optimize hotel operations.

While no shortage of platforms promise to enhance the guest and user experience alike, mobile, cloud-based technology is becoming especially paramount to the success of any hotel brand and, in turn, franchisees. User-friendly, mobile-friendly platforms that boast a multi-datacenter architecture, push notifications/alerts, real-time data, and unlimited customization allow franchises to effectively manage their property from the palm of their hand. A more connected digital ecosystem empowers a more connected team. Next-generation technology helps free owners from the limitations of its legacy systems and allows properties to benefit from increased efficiencies, staff productivity, enhanced response times for guest service, revenue optimization, data-driven insights, and more.

APS (Above Property Services) brings that unparalleled power of enterprise-grade, chain-level functionality to the entire suite of a leading hotel brand to support its growing network of more than 1,400 corporate-owned and franchisee properties. By developing a custom mobile app for franchises, owners and managers can access the company’s state-of-the-art partner platform for optimizing hotel sales and consumer-facing operational performance. Access to a wide variety of modules is present through the app such as revenue management, content and channel management, reservation services, guest communications, and call center management.

Perhaps more importantly, hotel brands can leverage technology to ensure brand integrity remains intact. At the same time, affiliates look to rebuild their staff and, in the meantime, must find ways to do more with less. In a sense, core hospitality platforms, such as the CRM, RMS, and PMS, that are built upon a cloud-based and flexible microservices infrastructure empower franchisees to make real-time decisions and changes that were once exclusive to boutique hotels. These platforms allow hotel chains and their affiliates to evolve beyond the formerly rigid confines of the traditional, cookie-cutter “big brand” model to offer something unique and responsive, in accordance with guest and staff demands. Franchisees are, after all, looking to the parent brand to guide the way and usher in marketing and service best practices that will differentiate their property from its competitors. In this sense, if a hotel brand cannot provide its affiliates with the cutting-edge tools, resources, and processes required to remain competitive in an ever-changing market, what stops that franchisee from deflagging and forging its own independent path?

Moreover, from the guest perspective, hotels that utilize cutting-edge technology to remain in line with guest preferences, such as self-service touchpoints in place of traditional touchpoints, are more likely to leave a lasting, favorable impression. With an increased focus on public safety and cleanliness standards, hotel brands must work quickly and effectively to ensure their properties have the updated tools and processes necessary to maintain a safe and clean hotel.

The takeaway is quite simple: When hotel brands provide the best technology to their entire portfolio, they give themselves a profitable competitive advantage that keeps hotel owners happy and keeps guests coming back.

About Above Property (APS)

Above Property® is leading the charge to deliver innovative, scalable, and services-oriented platforms for the global travel industry and other related verticals. We think differently, and we are constantly innovating. Above Property Services (APS) offers the only platform that can evolve seamlessly in response to industry demands, with credit to a microservices architecture that empowers continuous development and refinement.

Built from the ground up, the APS ecosystem empowers continuous development and refinement of your critical business processes via a unique microservice architecture. Designed for performance, flexibility, security, and stability, the future-proof framework is up and running quickly, delivering a scalable, cost-effective solution that can work with or replace your existing tools and investments. APS is a platform that adapts to you – not the other way around.

Powering both large and small companies, we understand the industry’s challenges in the past, and we have developed a platform that is suited for the future.

Steve Lapekas
Above Property LLC

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