SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Hotels depend on technology to operate smoothly but, with the amount of turnover at hotels, many properties can find it difficult to provide adequate training for their solutions. And, like anything else, technology does at times break down. That’s where Hotel Systems Solutions (HSS)—an integrated hospitality company entering its sophomore year—comes in.
“We initially formed HSS to fill a customer service void created from long hold times, and slow issue-resolution,” explained Erik Strom, cofounder. “Hotels were, and still are, frustrated with waiting weeks or months to receive that resolution. Furthermore, hotels experience high training cost, as well as low product optimization… we created Solutions to alleviate hotels’ frustrations.”
Scott McGraw, cofounder, added, “Hotels have purchased the best piece of software on the market but aren’t always using it to its full potential. Imagine buying the super car of your dreams, but only driving around the block because you don’t know how to drive a stick shift. If you knew how to drive a manual transmission, imagine what the car could do for you. Now, apply that same thinking to your software.”
Together, the cofounders have more than 40 years of hospitality management and technology experience to provide the hotel community with integrated systems and support for Opera PMS and POS, among others. Services HSS provides include professional consulting, system installation and configuration, operator and manager training, customized interfaces, forms (RDF and XML-based), custom reporting tools, and network and data center support.
Employee turnover is a significant problem when it comes to technology tools. McGraw noted that one of the biggest challenges that hotels face is information retention. “Employees frequently move from hotel to hotel, often taking that valuable knowledge with them. Keeping staff trained and making the technology work for the hotel are key,” he said.
Strom noted that this could be especially difficult with larger tech partners. “For example, a hotel purchases the application from the partner, it gets installed, the hotel is trained, and then they are supported by people at a helpdesk that are usually not intuitive on the application. If the hotel wants re-training, it becomes very costly to the hotel, and may take many months to schedule,” he explained. On the other hand, he said, challenges with smaller partners could be that they may overcommit themselves and have slower response times.
According to Strom, HSS can help mitigate these problems through assisting hotels in re-training on applications, refreshing what they forgot, demonstrating unused features and simplifying what the hotel is already using. McGraw added, “We understand that a breakdown in technology affects the entire operation; staff has to shift their focus away from the guest to fix broken technology. Our team is able to provide timely responses and solutions, and act as their liaison in the event an escalation to the manufacturer is needed.”
One of the biggest challenges can occur because technology systems have gotten larger and more complex. “We have found a lot of finger pointing, for lack of a better term, occurs,” explained Strom. “When an issue arises between multiple technologies, each company claims the issue is due to the other’s system. So, a hotel may go back and forth between technology partners until their issue is resolved. It is time consuming for hotels, and lowers their expectations on their technology partners’ customer service.”
McGraw noted that HSS came about because of this complexity in the market. “During my tenure at NOR1 as the integration manager, I was approached by several customers who were having challenges with other interfaces and didn’t know where else to turn,” he said. “Customers were asking a nonrelated vendor to assist them because they knew I understood the product.”
Strom had this advice for hotels to better utilize their technology: “First, understand the technology you currently have. Many hotels have great applications/technology already implemented, but may not be utilizing them to their full potential. Next, make sure you know your market… My final piece of advice would be to compare future needs with what a technology partner is currently offering. For instance, evaluate employee turnover and determine if the vendor provides a cost-effective, adequate and continuous training method. We have seen many tech providers train key people on the technology, and then those people are expected to continue the training to other hotel personnel. It’s hand-me-down training from one hotel person to the next. Call the company’s support line up front. Create an issue—one that may occur often in the hotel—and see how long the response time is, as well as issue resolution.”
— Nicole Carlino
Originally published on http://www.hotelbusiness.com/Hospitality/How-Can-Hotels-Fully-Leverage-Complex-Technology/53243
With no resolution in sight, the hotel eventually tapped Hotel Systems Solutions. After a couple of phone calls between the hotel and the reservation systems’ engineering team, HSS was able to quickly identify the problem and successfully resolve the issue in less than two weeks. In the end, with the help of HSS, the hotel was able to reduce any further unnecessary costs and refocus their efforts on what was most important -- enhancing the guest experience.
Our priority is helping hotel professionals with their hospitality technology needs. If you or someone you know could benefit from our specific services, please give us a call at 818-227-5911 or visit the services page on our website.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) JANUARY 11, 2016
IGMAS Technologies today announced the addition of Opera PMS Application Support to their existing suite of Hospitality focused Service and Support Services. Joining the growing team at IGMAS will be Hotel Systems Solutions (HSS) founders, Scott McGraw and Erik Strom. Both Scott and Erik bring decades of Micros Systems experience to a new Application Support Services division. HSS will focus its efforts on providing customized, comprehensive application solutions, training and support specifically for the Opera Property Management System (PMS), PMS Interfaces, and a variety of Oracle’s other Hospitality products. The Micros-trained hospitality-experienced professionals from HSS will be dedicated, along with the other hospitality support resources, to deliver timely configuration, training, support and troubleshooting for hotels and resorts that utilize Opera. Joining forces with the IGMAS support team will allow HSS to continue to grow their national and international growth efforts in the Application Service and Support arena.
“We are truly excited about this new relationship with HSS. IGMAS has been working to build an industry-changing application services group for over a year now, and with HSS and their more than 20 years of hospitality and Micros experience, we can now provide just that; an international single source solution provider that is truly independent and unique to the hospitality industry,” said Michael Breindel, President of IGMAS Technologies.
“As a team of innovative hospitality and technology experts who specialize in providing the hospitality community with integrated solutions and support, we are thrilled at the opportunity to join IGMAS Technologies, who in their own right, have a proven success record in the hospitality industry and will allow us to vastly enhance the market we can serve”, noted HSS founder Scott McGraw. “With the IGMAS team beside us, we have the added benefit of being able to serve and support any size environment.”
“With over 20+ years of hospitality management and technology experience, our resources have successfully serviced Opera at more than 1,200 hotels and resorts across the world, including such notable groups as IHG, Carlson-Rezidor Hotels, Hyatt, MGM and Wyndham Worldwide. At HSS, we are passionate about providing unparalleled customer service and timely, affordable software solutions for clients of every size that result in valuable property savings, improved financial controls, increased staff productivity and enhanced guest experiences for our clients. We find that our philosophy meshes perfectly with the IGMAS’ philosophies and efforts.”
IGMAS Technologies, Inc. is an infrastructure consulting, management, and support organization specializing in high-quality hospitality solutions including strategic direction, project management, onsite engineering services, and comprehensive 24/7 helpdesk. For more information, visit IGMAS at http://www.igmas.com or contact IGMAS Technologies, Inc. at 877-609-8324.
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Now heading into their second year of business, HSS continues to build upon a successful platform that solves problems hotel operations face when implementing and utilizing technological systems. Challenges faced might include unresolved support tickets, skyrocketing implementation costs and lengthy wait times to get the support needed to make technological products work.
“Our approach begins with the guest experience in mind,” says McGraw. “The technology needs to work effectively to provide the guest with the best possible outcome. We help hotels optimize the products available to ensure the experience is seamless; when it is not, we also are there to help get it back on track.”
Strom and McGraw drew upon their deep-seated experience working in both the hospitality community and the world of technology to form HSS. They have successfully implemented the Opera PMS at more than 1,200 hotels and resorts worldwide, including chains such as IHG, Carlson Rezidor Hotels, Hyatt, MGM and Wyndham. Both founders are passionate about providing superior customer support and timely, affordable software solutions to help clients realize savings, improved financial controls, increased staff productivity and enhanced guest experience delivery.
“With technology, the processes and systems change frequently and the team on the ground is often left unprepared to handle the changes,” says Strom. “The need for assistance is immediate, but many times, help is not available for weeks. Scott and I have experience in both the hotel operation and technology partner side, and know firsthand the challenges from both perspectives and the ways in which the experience can be improved.”
Services HSS provides include (but are not limited to): professional consulting, system installation and configuration, operator and manager training, customized interfaces, forms (RDF and XML-based), custom reporting tools, and network and data center support. Current clients include KEYPR, for whom which HSS is a partner of choice, and also Red Lion Hotels Corporation.
Scott McGraw brings more than 20 years of hospitality management and technology experience to his role as Co-Founder and CEO of HSS. McGraw’s most recent appointment was with Nor1, where he served as Integrations and Opera PMS Subject Matter Expert. In this role, McGraw realized there was a growing need in the industry to help hotels and resorts make better use of their technology and provide them with enhanced support, tools and resources. Prior to Nor1, McGraw gained invaluable experience working at MICROS Systems, Inc. Throughout his nine-year tenure with MICROS, he held various progressive positions, gaining in-depth technical knowledge of the Opera Suite including PMS, OXI, ORS, and Sales & Catering. McGraw began his hospitality career in 1995, working in all aspects of the hotel operation for more than a decade at the Four Points Sheraton, NY. McGraw earned his degree in Hotel Management from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, and currently resides in California.
As Co-Founder and COO of HSS, Erik Strom has enjoyed a career in hospitality and technology that spans more than two decades. Strom’s most recent appointment was as IT Manager at the 650-room, Five-Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Here, Strom was responsible for the overall maintenance of the property’s technical systems, including LAN and WiFi networks, hardware, applications and mobile devices. Prior to his role at the Fairmont, Strom worked for eight years at MICROS Systems, Inc., holding progressive positions including implementation consultation and network specialist – where he learned the technical side of application (including SQL) – and network/interface installer. Before MICROS, Strom served in numerous managerial roles throughout all aspects of hotel operations, beginning in 1992, at properties in Missoula, MT; Portland, OR; and Phoenix, AZ. Strom earned a Bachelor of Information Systems from the University of Phoenix, and currently resides in Scottsdale, AZ.
For more information, contact 844-477-3827 or visit www.hotelsystemssolution.com .
Hotel System Solutions (HSS) is an independent, third-party service providing implementation, training and technology consulting services with respect to Opera PMS, MICROS Fidelio and Windows. Opera Property Management System (Opera PMS) and MICROS are registered trademarks of Oracle. HSS is not affiliated with, sponsored or endorsed by Oracle.
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