With his expertise in IT, Davis knew for a fact that cloud computing was their kryptonite even though the technology was very much at its infancy. By 2005, Davis and his team conceptualized, funded, developed, and launched the next generation property management system (PMS)—Choice Advantage™. Within a few years, Choice Hotels successfully implemented the new PMS in over 7000 hotels with nearly a quarter of a million users. Observing the massive impact the technology made on Choice, the firm decided to make it available to every hotel across the globe, which led to the launch of SkyTouch Technology. Established in mid-2014, SkyTouch offers a cloud-based hotel operations platform that allows hoteliers to achieve growth, improve operating performance, and enhance the guest experience – while being able to rapidly evolve with ever-changing customer needs. In this interview, Todd Davis, the Chief Executive Officer of SkyTouch Technology shares some insights about his organization and the features and functionalities of their offering.
In your interactions with the CIOs of leading companies, what sense do you get of the challenges they face while managing properties and how is SkyTouch Technology effectively addressing these issues?
There are many challenges that CIOs across the hospitality landscape face on a regular basis. Despite recent technological advancements, many hotels still adopt and utilize outdated on-premise hardware infrastructures which are expensive and cumbersome to maintain. While many organizations wish to move to the cloud, operational hurdles and a clear understanding of the benefits of the cloud abound. Also, many leaders have security concerns about their data in cloud environments. However, we are able to show them that PCI compliance is possible and their data can be protected in the cloud, and cloud-based systems are far more efficient to operate and optimized compared to outdated on-premise technology. One of the best aspects of using a cloud-based system is that hoteliers and their employees can access it from anywhere on any device at any time. As we were one of the early adopters of the cloud technology, we made it a point to always stay ahead of the game. In 2016, we migrated all our platforms to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and continue to deploy all our solutions within it.
PMS being the heart of hotels, we ensure that our offering can be run on ‘any device, anywhere for any transaction’
Currently, we are trying to address industry issues pertaining to employee turnover and technology integrations with hotels. In many cases, hoteliers are observing over 60 percent employee turnover, so we are constantly investing in the design of the system to make it as easy to learn and easy to use as possible. The simplicity of our PMS enables employees to perform tasks instantly without having to spend days in training. This has saved many of our customers time and money, since they are able to get a new employee trained in as little as two shifts. Secondly, because hotels have a multitude of disparate systems, CIOs always face issues regarding technology integration, especially when it’s a global company. We are addressing this pain point head-on with our new /CONNECT API - to the extent that operators and our technology partners can integrate much faster than ever before.
Please walk us through your Property Management Solution on the basis of its methodology, features, and benefits involved.
We’ve had a tremendous amount of experience operating in the cloud. Today, our entire stack, with all of its functionalities and feature sets are delivered via Amazon Web Services. This has eliminated the need for us and our clients to invest in the hardware and other incumbent technology in deploying and running our platform on premise. Furthermore, we ensure that our offering can be run on ‘any device, anywhere for any transaction.’ In addition, our on boarding program has been designed with ease of deployment in mind. We are able to have 300 hotels up and running with our platform in 30 days; the migration is seamless and fast. We have also tailored usage scenario-based training materials such that the customer would not have to devote extra time in training their staffs to begin using the system. In other words, we have online as well as integrated training within the system via our SkyTouch University and SkyTouch Customer Community portal.
Our hotel operations platform comes with group and revenue cycle management (RCM) components. The system being relatively ‘open’ is compatible with a number of RCM offerings in the market. We have also rolled out the SkyTouch/CONNECT API that enables other applications to interact with the SkyTouch Platform seamlessly. It gives hoteliers to the capability to incorporate the technologies they’d need.
What does the future hold for your organization? Any footprint expansion plans or platform enhancement strategies that you can shed light on?
In the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed a 40 percent growth rate. To keep up with our clients’ expectations, we are looking to expand on our strategic technology partnerships, especially focusing on integrations with systems such as CRMs and POS as an example. We are also working on leveraging machine learning and analytics technologies to provide real-time transactional insights to our customers so that at the end of the day, they are able to make efficient and fast business decisions.