Automation can make a significant difference to businesses in the travel and hospitality sector. After all, this is a sector with a high volume of manual processes, ripe for transformation through automation. So why might you be struggling to sell automation to travel and hospitality businesses if you’re a tech seller?

Automation in the travel and hospitality industry takes time-consuming, manual tasks, and turns them into aspects of the business that require little or no human input. This can be transformative for businesses in any sector, particularly so in travel and hospitality businesses such as hotels.

“Hotels have a lot of operationally vital, yet highly manual, processes,” said Stephen Burke, CEO of RobosizeME. Whether it’s updating prices seasonally, moving data between different systems or spreadsheets, or retyping similar emails to hundreds of guests every week – there is a distinctly manual nature to the world of travel and hospitality.

This means that automation can make a powerful difference in this context, and Louvre Hotels is just one example where this has been the case.

With 1,600 properties across the world, there is a huge amount of data entry involved in managing the hotel group. Mehdi Soua, CIO of Louvre Hotels Group, discovered the repetitive nature and volume of data entry led to human error, and, in turn, a lag time of getting hotels set up across all distribution and reporting systems, all of which had a significant business impact.

Partnering with RobosizeME to introduce Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into key processes, Louvre Hotels has seen a tangible difference. “A robot doesn’t sleep, doesn’t make mistakes, and can go very fast,” Soua said. Whereas previously it would take a few weeks to get a new hotel to market, it takes just a few hours thanks to RPA.

Louvre Hotels and RobosizeME are working together on a continuous basis to identify the most time-consuming, repetitive manual tasks in the business, and crafting RPA solutions to address them. “It’s good for the employees,” Soua said. “They appreciate it and are not saying it’s taking their jobs.” It means staff can do more interesting tasks and focus more on the guest experience, which also helps make hospitality jobs more attractive and improves staff retention.

Removing the risk of human error also saves hotels time and money. “One general manager of a city centre business hotel in Berlin told us that he estimates €50,000 to €100,000 in lost revenue per year due to data entry errors,” said Burke. “RPA can eliminate data entry errors and improve the balance sheet for hotels.”

So with compelling use cases such as this, why do tech companies sometimes struggle to sell automation to prospective travel and hospitality customers?


You haven’t nailed your value proposition

Focusing on the value an automated solution brings to the customer, rather than the features and functionalities, is a way to ensure the solution resonates with your potential buyers. The value of the automated solution is likely to be different depending on each customer, as the circumstances of clients in the travel and hospitality sector can be quite different. Often, the value of automation helps clients move faster, drive forward strategic aims, and do the bulk of repetitive work that doesn’t need to be done by a human.


You’re not bringing staff on the journey with you

Bringing in new technology requires cultural change within a travel and hospitality organisation. Employee engagement and buy-in are absolutely key to success. It’s crucial for businesses to engage with staff right at the beginning of the process, and ensure they have a meaningful say in automated technology that will make a difference. This will make the difference between success and failure for the tech company – are you supporting your customer with internal buy-in and training?

This starts from the point of identifying what the need is, right through to successful implementation. Ensuring staff are meaningfully involved reassures them that their jobs aren’t being replaced by technology, but rather they are being supported to have more interesting and varied roles.

“Automation is more about supporting humans and using our manpower in the right way,” said Sabrina Regner, Falkensteiner’s Director of Guests Engagement and Reservation Management. “It’s also about making it attractive for employees to work with us. If they need to do repetitive daily tasks, they won’t stay long. They need challenging and interesting tasks.”


You don’t understand the specific pain points

Automation only works if it addresses the needs of a specific travel or hospitality organisation. If you’re trying to sell an automated solution that doesn’t solve a problem for a particular customer, it simply won’t resonate with them. This can also be applied to any technology, system, software, platform or service.

If you’re selling a technology that people are struggling to understand, take a consultative approach instead. Work with them to identify areas that are causing friction in their work, and devise ways to alleviate repetitive duties and things that cause time pressures, as well as bring them greater satisfaction in their work. Understanding the stresses, strains and strategic direction a company is trying to achieve will help you identify how automation can help them plug the gap.


You’re not tailoring your approach

Every business in the travel and hospitality sector has its own challenges, circumstances and barriers to success. They’re not looking for a one-size-fits all approach; they’re looking for someone to understand their specific needs and solve their challenges. .

Ultimately, they also want an edge over competitors, so they need to feel like an automated solution is tailored to them. Work hard to ensure they understand how automated solutions can address their specific needs.


Your prospects believe they already have the answer

There can be a feeling in any business that a technological solution is not needed, because there isn’t a problem to start with. Things may always have been done in a certain way, or clients may feel that everything seems to be working fine without a new solution.

This can be a key reason why it’s difficult to sell technology to a client in the travel and hospitality sector. Even if they recognise the innovative value of a solution, they may not believe the benefits merit the investment required. Working on your value proposition and understanding the issues staff are experiencing can help address this.

If you’re finding it difficult to sell automation or another technology to a prospective client in the travel and hospitality sector, get in touch with us at Haynes MarComs to see how we can help.