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Staying One Step Ahead in an Increasingly Connected World

Jessie Burgess, CIO& Head of Digital Commerce at G6 Hospitality, parent company to Motel 6 and Studio 6
Jessie Burgess, CIO& Head of Digital Commerce at G6 Hospitality, parent company to Motel 6 and Studio 6

Jessie Burgess, CIO& Head of Digital Commerce at G6 Hospitality, parent company to Motel 6 and Studio 6

As technological capabilities advance quickly across industries, the traditionally conservative hospitality sector has been forced to ramp up digital services to be able to adhere to changing customer expectations and achieve key business objectives. As a result, G6 Hospitality has taken a bold leap forward by announcing a series of strategic tech partnerships to make its Motel 6 and Studio 6 operations more agile and reduce overhead costs. While some legacy hospitality companies have been hesitant to embrace technology,G6 Hospitality has positioned the company for future success by capitalizing on innovation.

Clinging to Legacy Systems Comes at a Cost

Sometimes technology is presented as “getting in the way” of a company's history, but it shouldn’t be viewed that way. G6 Hospitality sees technology as a true enabler for our Motel 6 brand. We've made the decision that technology should enhance what we do best and make it easier for us to accomplish our goals.

Unfortunately, many legacy hospitality companies have trouble letting go. Institutional knowledge and processes are often established over time and embedded into every part of an organization. Changing these processes can result in disruption across several areas.

In addition, most guest- and staff-facing systems are tied back to a database that can be decades old. The more technologies that are rolled out, the more interfaces are added to that database. This anchors the company to the old system and makes it risky, time consuming and expensive to replace. Ultimately, however, a company’s success can be hampered by clinging to legacy systems.

Technology Should Support Business Objectives

To ensure we remain true to our Motel 6 brand promise, G6 Hospitality uses a disciplined framework that ensures new technology projects prioritize our business objectives. The first thing we do is look at current business demands, the needs of our user base and the market as a whole—all prior to introducing a technology solution into the discussion. Then we build a Critical to Return assessment and we align our desired business outcomes with the influencing activities that could help drive those outcomes.

This is where technology enters the discussion—as a vehicle to influence and enable business results. From there we implement a change or technology —when and wherever it is most impactful —to drive the desired outcome. For all of this to work, we must define that business outcome really well at the very beginning of the process.

To Build or Buy?

With any tech initiative, we always ask very early on: Should we build or buy? To answer that question, we often ask another: Are we going to be the best resource to build this? When the answer is yes, it's because there is a distinct competitive advantage that already exists within our team and that advantage can be enhanced for our business when we build that technology ourselves. But sometimes bringing in best-in-class partners who specialize in a specific area is a better option than building it in-house.

An example of G6 partnering for best-in-class technology is in our use of AI in our reservations call center.  As part of our ongoing commitment to meet and exceed guest expectations, G6 Hospitality engaged Afiniti to intelligently route callers making or modifying hotel reservations. By analyzing call histories and other CRM data, the Afiniti Enterprise Behavioral Pairing™ algorithm predicts patterns of interpersonal behavior and matches guests with G6 Hospitality team members best equipped to serve them.

We also recently moved our entire core platform including our CRS and PMS to the AWS cloud. Our original CRS was built on a 20+ year old IBM Informix database and our PMS was a 10+-year-old system that we inherited from previous ownership years ago. We decided to partner with AboveProperty and implement their fully-distributed cloud CRS as well as with HotelKey for their cloud-based PMS. We elected to build our core foundational microservices architecture ourselves in the AWS cloud so we would have full control of any components now – or in the future – that would need to be plugged in or unplugged.

Now that we've created our microservices core and moved it to the cloud, we want to do the same thing with our entire digital booking platform which includes our mobile websites and mobile app. We know the mobile experience is very important to our guests, and we want to make sure it is fast, clean and personalized. We can accomplish that in new ways by tying the digital experience to our modern, backend microservices architecture.

The Future of Technology in the Hospitality Industry

The expansion of IoT and having a smart hotel is really intriguing and exciting. It will allow operators to know how systems are used, how fast they wear out, how they operate at their peak and when systems and processes fall away from optimal performance. This knowledge could be transformative for staff in operations, procurement and finance, and it will allow hotels to drive efficiency and profit. But for that data to be effective, your company must have a well-defined data strategy. IoT devices can produce a lot of data, so, to maximize effectiveness, your company must be an advanced consumer of that data.

The hospitality industry is evolving rapidly, but the need to provide excellent customer service will never change. Executing a comprehensive technology strategy is just one of the many ways G6 Hospitality is creating consistently positive experiences for our Motel 6 and Studio 6 guests and driving ROI for the business.

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