The sector is booming, with global business travel spend hitting a record-breaking $1.2 trillion and leisure travel gross bookings sustaining growth rates higher than GDP. However, with customer expectations changing, the industry must adapt to keep up with demands.
Back-end systems have come under the spotlight because, as the hospitality sector increases its investments in internet of things (IoT) devices in a bid to improve customer experiences (to an estimated $109 million in the US in 2018), hospitality managers are becoming overwhelmed by the challenges of integrating existing front and back office solutions. Nevertheless, this integration is essential to effectively manage costs, optimize business performance, and free up managers' time.
In response to this trend, Epicor has released iScala for Hospitality, a back office solution for restaurants, hotels, casinos and resorts. The platform is designed to enable its users to meet the unique needs of the hospitality industry by enabling companies to streamline operations by efficiently integrating all operations, from intelligent technologies, room reservations, and food and beverage, to event sales, human resources, and finance, on a single platform.
Easy to implement and integrate with most existing systems, iScala is a centralised back office management software solution that provides a holistic picture of financial and operational data. Optimal stock control, efficient requisition and robust financial management provide companies with enhanced business intelligence to help drive efficiency across all areas of the business.
Real-time visibility means that key operations are connected with front office systems, supporting features such as menu management. Designed so that managers can quickly create recipes that include ingredient quantities, preparation instructions, and any other required information and easily calculate the cost of each serving while monitoring the sales markup. As servings are sold, stock usage can be tracked to compare against actual storeroom quantities during stock counts.
iScala for Hospitality delivers a range of financial management capabilities that handle complex localised tax and currency structures and multiple languages that allow local staff to deal with the back office in their preferred language. Local requirements are also addressed with multi-company functionality that allows management of transactions in a single location or across multiple global locations.
Improving customer experience
A recent report by Deloitte covering the latest travel and hospitality industry trends points to "game-changing innovation" as a major disruptor and says that consumers have begun to expect a personalized experience tailored to meet their needs.
With improved back-end processes, managers are free to focus on building better experiences for customers. Insight from data helps to build an enriched customer view that subsequently provides a better, more personalised customer experience.
Robert Sinfield, director, product marketing at Epicor commented, "The hospitality industry is a fiercely competitive industry. Mainly driven by consumers who are using their disposable income and free time to seek leisure and adventure, which leads them to have high expectations. The challenge for growing companies in this sector is how to improve the customer experience so that guests return again and again. New technology is helping companies to improve business processes to do this. It is also generating a vast amount of data—a single source of meaningful, up-to-date information that helps managers make good business decisions and enables them to focus less on the paperwork and more on keeping customers delighted."
Lakshmi Nagaraj, global director of finance technology for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which has been an iScala Hospitality customer for over 10 years for their international hotels, said, "We have recently moved our financial systems from a distributed solution to a centralized finance technology platform at EAME (Europe, Africa and the Middle East) and ASPAC (Asia Pacific) to efficiently support our hotels and the Global Finance Shared Service organisation. It has helped us improve our productivity and cost savings. Epicor has been a great partner in this transition providing the required global support."