Back to top

Presentation: The Hotel Tech Revolution: Why you should modernize your tech stack now?

May 2024 Presentation for Cloudbeds Connect event with Stripe in Phuket about modernizing tech stacks for hotels

Presentation: The Hotel Tech Revolution: Why you should modernize your tech stack now?

It was a great honor & privilege for The Percentage Company to have co-hosted the Cloudbeds Connect Hospitality Tech Forum event in Phuket with our partners at Cloudbeds and Stripe at Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town on the subject of Modernizing Hotel Operations in Thailand.

Over 100 hoteliers, 8 amazing panelists, 3 insightful presentations & an amazing drinks reception! Our sincere thanks go to Giggi Borin, Nichakorn Jinarak, Note Worapat and the whole team at Cloudbeds, as well as the amazing team at Stripe – Pei Yu, Yongyos Khongchana & Chloe C.!

I also want to thank our EPIC panelists Bill Barnett, Passarin Kanjanatep, Maxim Tint, Terra Trakulparirak, Ivan Cintado, Steven Hopkinson, Miki Sherry, Saharat Jivavisitnont (Sears), who generously gave time in their busy schedules (some flying in) to help get the ‘tech modernisation’ message out there to our fellow hoteliers in Phuket.

Without further adieu, here is my speech from the event:

Cloudbeds Connect Phuket Event Speech: 7th May 2024

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen! 

It’s an absolute pleasure to be here today, co-hosting this event with our partners — Cloudbeds & Stripe. I’d like to thank our co-hosts & all the panelists who have given up their time to share their insights with us today!

My name is Edward Kennedy – I’m a techie & a hotelier. My first visit to Thailand was 1992, but in 2007, a family friend bought the Le Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, so I came over for a 2 week IT consulting project to upgrade the hotel network and upgrade their Tech Stack from Fidelio to Opera PMS… My trip ended up lasting longer than i expected… I’m still here…

Hotel digital marketing agency

Since then, I’ve worked with dozens of hotels of all types in the IT, sales & marketing space & co-founded the percentage company in 2018. We’re a hotel digital marketing & technology agency based here in Phuket and we provide a range of services focusing on improving sales performance and driving efficiency using technology. 

the percentage company clients

In the last 6 years, we’ve provided software & services to over 600 hotels in more than 82 locations across the world…

Digitalization in hospitality

Let’s get on with the matter at hand! This is a huge topic to cover, but I’ll do my best to give you some important takeaways…

Traditionally speaking, the hospitality industry has been very slow to adopt new technology and invest in Technology. Research from Mckinsey a few years ago had hospitality third from the bottom of all industries in digitalization. On average, the hotel industry spends just 2.5% to 3.5% of net room revenue on technology, whereas OTA’s like Expedia spend 55%, is there any wonder why the direct channels are being canibalised?

However, the rise of cloud-based solutions & artificial intelligence are now widening the gap between the tech haves and tech have nots, so the time to modernize is definately now. 

AI news: hotel booking through tech

Why should modernize your tech stack now?

Old tech vs modern tech

Let’s look at some of the positive and negative aspects of tech modernization, the future of hospitality tech and try to explain why you should start investing in tech now to help Improve the guest experience, Increase efficiency, and grow revenue. Let’s dive right in →

In the not-so-distant past, hotels relied on manual processes—paper-based reservations, handwritten guest logs… I might be showing my age here! Times have changed and so must we!

From analog to digital, from manual to automatic, the landscape of hotel operations is rapidly changing fueled by amazing innovators, some of which are here today! 

I’m not just talking about the adoption of cool new tools, I’m talking about taking a holistic view, redefining your approach to sales, marketing & technology to move your tech stack from the cost column to the revenue column. streamline your processes for the modern age, elevate your guests’ experiences & prepare your data for what’s coming …

We believe in partnering with the very best solution providers as they can be force multipliers, and can help us hoteliers spend more time & resources on what matters most, the guests…

Tech stack on hospitality

So where do we start with hotel tech modernization? 

Start at the foundations, the tech stack. A hotel tech stack is made up of the various software systems that you use to operate your hotel and deliver services to your guests, such as property management systems (PMS), channel managers, booking engines, payment processors, CRM platforms, guest messaging systems etcetera.  

We’re primarily a hotel digital marketing agency but we found some time ago that for your growth strategies to be implemented properly, you need the right technology in place to empower that strategy. Therefore, a huge part of our business is also tech stack consulting & implementations.  

A modern and dynamic tech stack should consist of a centralized cloud-based core and have the flexibility to add and remove functionality or apps that add value to your operation, without adding huge cost! (similar to a smartphone)

This framework means that a team like The Percentage Company can relatively quickly & cheaply design & build applications & integrations to enhance your tech stack & customize it for your needs! The possibilities are literally endless.

time to go to the cloud

We’re in the midst of a hotel tech space-race with some amazing solutions available for hoteliers covering every accommodation type and every budget. this has not always been the case. But there’s one thing that almost all the legacy and new hotel tech providers now agree on… the time to move to the cloud is now….

What are the potential opportunities for hoteliers moving to the cloud & away from on-premise tech stacks?

Let’s have a quick look at the potential opportunities for us as hoteliers of moving to the cloud & moving away from on-premise tech stacks: 

AI advantage: easier and faster implementation

1. Easier & Faster Implementation

Implementation of cloud systems is far easier and faster. You don’t need experts to travel to your hotel and install complicated systems onsite. Cloud-based solutions do not even require any installation or hardware. 

AI advantage: reduced costs

2. Reduced Overhead Costs

That lack of hardware means reduced overhead costs – not just for the implementation but also ongoing costs. Most of that stuff packed into your server room can go! Cloud solutions remove the headaches of managing hardware & reduce overall cost of ownership. We have cases where hotels have saved 70% over 5 years…

AI advantage: easier to move

3. More flexibility of movement to change systems

Cloud solutions also make it far easier to move to a different solution if you’re unhappy. You don’t even need to uninstall anything. For hotels, that flexibility keeps the system providers on their toes and always improving their platforms.

AI advantage: access to new features

4. Faster Speed to Market for New Feature Development

You know that PMS feature you wanted for ages or that bug fix that hasn’t been deployed? Fixing problems is far easier with cloud-based solutions. You also get access to new features as they’re developed. Some legacy providers don’t update their systems at all! Not naming any names of course…

AI advantage: data safer and less downtime

5. Better Security & Less Downtime

You may think hosting on your own servers at your hotel is better for security, i assure you, it’s not! your data’s far safer hosted by experts using the best engineers and technology. downtime is far less also!

AI advantage: better sale and marketing

6. Better Sales & Marketing Insights

This is too big to cover today, but cloud systems provide: 

  • Better data insights for your sales team.
  • Increased revenues with dynamic pricing, upselling & cross selling.
  • Enhanced marketing with more targeting and personalization

AI advantage: more automation

7. More Systems & Process Automation

The automation available from cloud based systems like cloudbeds, means you can reduce costs, help solve workforce challenges & focus on face-to-face guest interactions instead of boring repetitive tasks.

AI advantage: more user friendly

8. More User-Friendly

Cloud solutions designed to work in a browser are often more user friendly, intuitive & easier for training. I’ve installed modernized tech stacks at 25+ hotels in Thailand & can tell you the usability makes a huge difference. You’re also more likely to find much better e-learning materials & video tutorials.

AI advantage: availability and scalability

9. Limitless Availability & Scalability

Cloud solutions offer availability & scalability. there could be a power cut to the whole island and you’d still be able to run your system effectively via a phone or tablet onsite to check guests in. These systems can also scale, almost without limit.

AI advantage: connectivity

10. Systems Connectivity & Integration

As I mentioned, connectivity is one of the key advantages of cloud based systems. Solutions with open API mean you can quite easily integrate with other world-leading solutions from stripe, to QuickBooks, to lighthouse, to lightspeed and of course, the percentage app! 🙂

Whether an accounting system, POS, RMS, CRS, bi or CRM tool, there are literally dozens of innovative plug-and-play tools available to be integrated without the need for hardware. You get the benefits of integrations straight away & the savings stack up if you have multiple properties…

AI advantage: access to your data

11. Access to your data

Remember earlier, I mentioned the importance of data for the revolution? Well, the AI tools of the future will need access to large amounts of high quality data. 

Ask yourself: Does your current tech stack provide that platform for you?

Well integrated cloud ecosystems offer far more access to your data, giving you far more insights into your hotel operation. Now is the time to eliminate your data silos & start centralizing your data so that you can use it to optimize your commercial & distribution strategies, optimize your resource allocation and empower your teams with data.

What are the challenges for hoteliers when modernizing your tech stack?

challenges with modernizing hotel systems

I don’t want to make it seem that you can bask in some kind of tech driven utopia, it’s important to acknowledge that challenges lie ahead. There are challenges with operating legacy systems going forward & there are challenges related to modernizing your systems also. Here are some of the key issues we need to be aware of: 

AI challenge: time investment

1. Modernizing hotel technology takes time

Modernizing your systems & approach takes time as you need to research the solutions available. We regularly hear from clients, “why would we want to change our systems? we had it for years, it does the job”, “changing systems is a headache” they’re right, but now it’s about future-proofing & not getting left behind. Changes are coming & they are coming fast. If you don’t have the right people in-house to assess this, engage a consultant for an assessment, gap analysis & setup a phased implementation plan.

AI challenge: financial investment

2. Modernizing hotel technology takes financial investment

Many clients have also asked about the cost & ROI of going cloud – my response is: 

In this case, ROI stands for more than just return on investment, it also stands for … Risk Of Inaction 

From a risk vs reward perspective, it’s better to jump in now & face the risk of being wrong, than deal with becoming obsolete further down the line. Your tech stack can be a competitive advantage or a disadvantage. We need to consider tech investment as more than just a cost, it can be a cost saver & revenue generator. 

AI challenge: new tech developments

3. It can be difficult for hotels to keep pace with new technology

Staying on top of the latest tech developments can be a challenge, especially for smaller operators with limited resources. but as hoteliers, now more than ever, we must be ready to adapt. Invest time to learn about new technology in our space or engage outside consultants to provide guidance 

I can think of at least 1 company based in Phuket who can help! –>

AI challenge: the right tech stack

4. It can be difficult for hoteliers to choose the right tech stack

Let me be clear – there’s no perfect tech stack, in any industry! it’s not about finding the perfect tech stack, it’s about finding the right tech stack for your needs. 

Find systems that will invest in their platforms & grow with you. ask yourself: do your systems keep you agile? do they provide cost-effectiveness, flexibility & functionality? 

I’ve worked with dozens of systems & can tell you there’s a huge difference between a good tech stack & “just a stack of tech” – – – but looking forward, connectivity should be at the core of the decision making process.

future trends of hospitality tech

What are the future trends for hospitality tech?

What’s the future of hospitality tech? Two words – Artificial Intelligence. 

Now the term “AI” might conjure images of the terminator’s Skynet or agent smith from the matrix, but don’t worry! I think there’s at least 18 months before that happens… But depending on who you talk to, AI is either the savior of the human race, the end of the human race or something in-between.  

But if I break out my crystal ball, I would say one thing’s clear, we can expect widespread adoption of AI across finance, healthcare, manufacturing and yes, hospitality and AI will become significantly more capable and sophisticated over the next 5 years. Here are my key predictions: 

Traditional PMS processes will change

Tech stacks with more unified data control with open API will be best positioned going forward. The hotel of the future will need access to its data to leverage AI properly. a space-race of software interoperability is just beginning.

The job market will change

This is unavoidable. there’ll be extensive automation of tasks, but this just means we can focus on what matters: the guests’ needs. Getting rid of boring manual work will create a more fulfilled workforce… tech has been changing the job market since the 18th century industrial revolution but the pace of change is increasing, so we need to modernize.

The hotel guest experience will change

With robotics to voice controls to IOT connectivity to immersive experiences & augmented reality. AI will also become far more capable and sophisticated. The possibilities for innovation in our sector are endless. 

BUT – The fundamentals will not change

Hospitality will always thrive on human connection & interaction. I can’t replicate genuine care & empathy, yet… 

Overall – the future of hospitality is bright, fueled by innovation & driven by human interaction. Navigating this revolution can be a complex undertaking, so that’s why we at The Percentage Company act as a tech Sherpa – helping guide hotels through the landscape of options, helping you select the right tools for your operation to make your operation more efficient, save you money & help future-proof your operation.

AI hospitality challenge conclusion


So, in conclusion… for those who are still awake … In the coming 5 years we can expect a tech-driven paradigm shift in hospitality & those who move with technology will no-doubt thrive. 

How can we set ourselves up for success? Conduct a detailed assessment of your needs, be ruthless in gathering & centralizing data (with consent) and stay informed about the latest technology. 

AI will for sure change the hotel experience for guests and staff but it is not here to replace the human touch which makes hospitality special – it’s just a set of tools to help us be more intelligent, elevate our guests’ experiences, streamline our operations, and improve our profitability. 

Embrace technology now & lead the charge by being proactive & using its capabilities to position your hotel for success in the landscape of tomorrow.

Thank you!

the percentage

Written By:

[email protected]

Co-Founder & Director at The Percentage Company. I started working on websites in 1997 and have been a full-time techie since 2001. I'm committed to leveraging the latest technologies and digital marketing techniques to drive efficiency & improve online sales for our hotel clients. I have a 20+ year track record of success in growing independent hospitality & real estate brands.

Follow us