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Rob Jones
Written by Rob Jones
September 11, 2017

9 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in the Cloud: Hospitality Industry Edition

Across the board, the hospitality industry is feeling the gravitational pull of cloud-based technology and all of the benefits it represents in a changing business landscape. To stay competitive, leading brands in the restaurant, hotel, and food services spaces must take a serious look at emerging technology in the cloud, and consider deepening investment in it. Because times have changed.

cloud illustration, pixabay.com

The benefits of the cloud are far-reaching. Sometimes it’s easy to miss even some of the biggest ones. To help to frame some of the advantages of the cloud for the hospitality industry, here’s a list of 9 things in no particular order that perhaps you didn’t know you could do by switching operations and data management to the cloud.

1. Pay as you go and for only what you use

With the cloud, there are no specified limits for usage and capacity beyond what actually gets used, with pricing often based on numbers of users and/or terminals on the location level. If that data storage and transfer usage needs to scale up or down according to unique requirements, cloud platforms are designed to be elastic without any additional cost. 

This means that if a company has an exciting new pilot project focusing on a specific group of hotel or restaurant locations that results in a spike in data usage, or if that same company scales back data usage later on, costs associated with that usage do not fluctuate. This results in more efficiency, less pressure on the forecasting side of things, and a more efficient use of resources.

2. Get no cost remote POS system upgrades

POS systems in the hospitality industry are routinely targeted by hackers. Regular software updates help to protect POS systems and more easily allow for scalable functionality, too. In the cloud, they come at no extra cost and often include new features and security measures to further deter breaches.

The responsibility to take care of this is not on the brand. It’s on the SaaS provider, like Vivonet for instance, who update systems remotely when new versions of software become available. Maybe this is less like something you didn’t know you could do in the cloud. It's more like something that a brand doesn’t ever have to worry about again.

3. Push global changes across all locations instantly

When you’re running a new time-sensitive promotion at several locations, or if you need to apply new taxation rules to locations in specific states or provinces, being able to push updates automatically yourself can be a challenge. With the help of cloud-connected enterprise management tools, managing global changes to POS and kiosk platforms is far easier.

The cloud also takes the onus of updating them off the individual locations. The more individual servers there are to manage, the greater the chances that vital changes will go live too early, too late, or not be consistent from location to location. In the cloud, that scenario is avoided, allowing brands to push changes globally at just the right time and with 100% accuracy.

4. Reduce energy consumption and the costs associated with it

In the cloud, you can scale up operations and use less energy at the same time. This is because servers are shared on a global scale as needed, not in local data centers or locations that also require strict environmental controls to add owned energy consumption costs to the mix. 

The global nature of the cloud means that energy consumption and its associated costs are a part of a greater economy of scale without having to physically add any new machines to achieve the same capacity. The fewer the number of servers you manage, the lower your energy bill is going to be. With the cloud, you aren’t managing any.

5. Free up physical space 

Real estate is a significant portion of an individual location’s overhead. Like any resource, it makes sense to optimize its use. When a chunk of it is dedicated to supporting an onsite server, that puts an unnecessary limit on how that space is allocated. 

In the cloud, on-site servers in hospitality locations aren’t an issue, and the valuable floor space at each location is freed up. How do you then use that extra space? Any way that adds the most value. When you don’t need a server room in a location, a floor plan that supports other priorities, whatever they are, is much easier to justify.

6. Add new servers in minutes, not months

In the past, expanding capacity has often meant investing in new machines that may or may not be immediately available. Sometimes, it even involves physical construction of new data centers. This is expensive in all kinds of ways, including a requirement of more time as well as more money. 

In the cloud, if an organization needs to add the equivalent of a hundred or a thousand new servers, that’s an exercise that happens in the cloud in minutes, with capacity only limited by the magnitude of the internet itself. And you’re getting all of that without one shovel breaking ground to build a new data center.

7. Create integrations with new applications right away

When a game-changing application that integrates with a POS system is made available, hospitality organizations must be able to hit the ground running. That means fast and seamless integrations that include loyalty programs and payment partners across multiple locations.

In the cloud, and in partnering with a SaaS provider like Vivonet, the pressure to do this easily, quickly, and efficiently is transferred from the brand to the provider. Fast and frictionless integrations in the cloud via API help brands expand their offering and crystalize their strategy around engagement much faster than ever before. 

8. Balance strict security measures with easy access to data

Cloud-based IaaS and PaaS providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and their partners build in security measures unique to the cloud to create an effective and evolving firewall. This has enormous implications for business leaders who manage multiple locations, and who require access to up to date to reports wherever they happen to be without fear that the information will be intercepted. In the cloud, the brand is not alone in striking this balance between access and security.

Through cloud-based DaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS partnerships, staying connected to data trends in real-time and being able to do so securely while working remotely is changing the way business leaders do their jobs, and for the better. Having secure access to data and to reporting with this level of confidence, and from literally anywhere in the world that has an internet connection is how agility is now defined.

9. Reallocate administration time to improving the guest experience

Operations in the cloud help brands to streamline processes. When it comes to important activities in the hospitality space, like frequent inventory-taking, the cloud allows management at hospitality locations to update reporting much faster through tablet-based input and inventory-specific reporting applications. Locations can make that information available to leadership right away, too.  

With those time-savings in place, location management has more time on the floor to directly engage with guests. This helps location managers add more personal contact to the guest experience. It means more meaningful activities to build empathy, get valuable feedback, and to help build the brand from the ground level every day. 

Cloud-based tools and a beneficial SaaS partnership

When it comes to things you didn't know you could do in the cloud, some key themes running through everything we've talked about above has been about reduced costs, easier access to data, increased speed, and decreased wait times to deployment. But another important thread to follow is the ability to lean on partnerships with allies who understand your industry and its key business goals as well as the technology involved in achieving them. 

We at Vivonet have our feet in both worlds; the emerging technology that makes operations in the cloud easy and secure, and in the day-to-day challenges of the hospitality industry itself.

We’d love to hear about your plans to build on your technology platform, and discover ways we can help you achieve your goals. 

If you haven't started this conversation with us yet, it's easy to do. Just click the button below to get started.

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