Webinar: Why Being In The Cloud Is A Necessity

August 27, 2020 | Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Content, EMEA

Senior executives from StayNTouch, Navis and Duetto came together on August 26 to discuss the benefits to hotels of building and running a cloud-based tech architecture, in a webinar entitled ‘Floating into the Cloud’.

The panelists were:

  • Priya Rajamani, client service and quality manager at cloud-based PMS StayNTouch
  • Joelle Poe, vice president of product at CRM platform Navis
  • Eugene Li, senior software engineering manager, Duetto

The webinar was moderated by Frewoini Golla, Director of Marketing, StayNTouch. Together, the three industry experts discussed the importance of maintaining operational continuity, despite the challenges around us, as well as looking at the many factors to consider when adopting a cloud-based system.

To open up the debate, webinar participants were polled on the below:

In your organization, how many technology platforms are currently cloud based?

  1. 20%
  2. 25%
  3. 5%
  4. 50%

Which technologies are in the cloud?

PMS 50%
RMS 50%
CRM 78%
CRS 50%
Other 33%

The current COVID-19 situation remained front of mind for all discussions as the panelists navigated through being able to respond to surges and downturns, how cloud infrastructure continues in spite of disaster, and many other hot topics. Here’s a quick recap of the discussion.

Nature Disaster Response

Golla from StayNTouch got the discussion off to a surprising start by asking: ‘If there is a natural disaster around the hotel, how does cloud infrastructure handle that scenario?’

“With the cloud you are not tied to your location, so you can continue despite the situation happening locally. Working in the cloud gives you the ability to transition the location of your system,” explained JP.

Eugene Li of Duetto turned the question around: “If you’re not on a cloud infrastructure your on-premise single source of truth could be impacted by this disaster due to days or weeks without power and could be out of commission for a prolonged time. With cloud the chances of this happening are far diminished. Leading cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud are capable of rerouting traffic as needed and therefore the same is applied to any cloud solution provider,” he explained.

COVID Vaccine Surge

From natural disasters and power outages, Golla then navigated the conversation back to the current crisis. ‘What if a vaccine is found and there is a surge in bookings? How would the cloud adjust to user traffic?’ she asked the panelist.

All three industry experts agreed the cloud infrastructure proves greater elasticity to be able to adapt to new situations quickly.

“Being in the cloud enables you to scale your infrastructure if such a surge occurs. Amazon was quick to identify that it had to scale up each year to handle the holiday rush – after the Christmas rush Amazon still had this infrastructure sitting idle – so they lent their services to others to let them build in the cloud too – creating AWS. Scaling is not an issue at all when we are working in the cloud,” said Duetto’s Li.

“One of the biggest benefits of being a cloud solution is its elasticity. All our systems are set to auto-scale based on the load. We can upscale as well as downscale in order to conserve our utilization for when there is a need,” said Rajamani of StayNTouch.

Poe from Navis talked through a recent surge in consumer demand seen by the CRM provider, and related to COVID-19.

“We had a day in July where call volume exceeded Cyber Monday and Black Friday – people were ready to get out and get back into travel. It was unforeseen. And because we are a cloud-based technology we were able to surge that volume up and handle those calls, making sure our clients had access to all that guest data. It was a valuable moment; an unforeseen surge and we were able to scale with it,” Poe recalled.

COVID Speeds Up Cloud Adoption

After tackling the most pressing issues impacting the hotels industry today, the debate moved onto the nuts and bolts of operating a cloud-based tech stack. However, Poe from Navis did point out that many clients have sped up their cloud adoption in light of the current pandemic.

“We helped a lot of our clients to move their reservation teams to work remotely. Agents were still able to operate, answer calls, take guest questions and get guests back on property,” she added.

This ability to work remotely was also picked up by Rajamani of StayNTouch.

“Hotel operations can continue even if managers are not on site. The tech-savvy manager is logging in as soon as they wake up in the morning to check their RevPAR or occupancy, for example. You can work on the go,” she explained.

Purchasing Considerations

Wrapping up, the team considered what should consumers be looking for when considering new tech vendors?

“Cloud provides scalability as well as flexibility, the ability to partner more – here we are with SNT and Duetto, for example. The ability to integrate with other core pieces to your business is definitely something to consider,” said Poe.

“Integration is a must when working with a cloud PMS provider. In addition I would look for autoscaling, having a proven track record and extensive customer base, global presence so you are able to scale globally as well as have localized support,” advised Rajamani.

“It is also important to look at the pedigree of the tech vendor. At Duetto, we are fortunate one of our co-founders is Craig Weissman, previously of Salesforce. Our software was built with the cloud from day one. And also ask what are their largest customers? Who are their tech partners? What's the tech stack they like to use,” said Li.

Catch the on-demand version of the webinar, Floating into the Cloud - Advantages to a Cloud Tech Stack in a Post-Pandemic Era, here.

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