As hoteliers shift more and more toward becoming data scientists, the amount of data needed – and available – is growing at exponential rates. It’s critical that this data is stored somewhere easily accessible in real time for operators and technology systems, while at the same time kept safe and secure.
A cloud environment gives businesses the ability to scale rapidly without worrying about data security, allowing them to instead focus on what differentiates their business. But not all cloud environments are built the same. Amazon Web Services is a leader in the space, providing a highly reliable and scalable platform that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world.
As Head of Worldwide Business Development for AWS’s Hospitality division, David Peller helps hospitality businesses build and run applications efficiently and effectively. Based in Singapore, Peller moved to AWS after leading strategic partnerships in the Asia Pacific region for Booking.com, where he oversaw distribution and third-party partnerships.
Duetto recently caught up with David to discuss the advantages of building and operating in the cloud, particularly on AWS’s platform.
Q: How should hoteliers determine whether to build or buy their tech solutions?
Peller: Hospitality customers, and hoteliers in particular, are driven by both enhancing the guest experience and driving efficiency through their operations. Against that backdrop, and ever-changing expectations from guests, hoteliers face significant competition for their investment dollars. Based on the specific strategy for any individual hotelier, it might make sense to build or customize a solution specific for that business. Amazon Web Services, for example, provides building blocks enabling customers of any size to innovate rapidly – to build and run applications efficiently and effectively. Alternatively, there are many successful AWS partners and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that build and manage hospitality-specific solutions on AWS.Q: How does the cloud speed up the technology integrations process?
Peller: Integrations – technical plumbing for the hospitality industry – can involve lots of different parties, physical and virtual connections, supporting multiple interfaces, data streams and more. Cloud services can accelerate these efforts in many ways through the rapid provision of services, which can scale automatically based on demand, automation and leveraging all of the associated security capabilities.
Q: What are some industries that are ahead of hospitality in cloud tech adoption?
Peller: You might be surprised just how many hospitality companies are very far ahead in their cloud adoption journey – customers such as Choice Hotels, G6 Hospitality, and global ISVs such as Duetto are early adopters of cloud tech adoption. In terms of who is really ahead, it is less about a company’s industry and more about the type of business. AWS supports a large number of digital native businesses – those that built their business from the ground up leveraging all of the advantages of cloud. These companies include Airbnb, Deliveroo and OYO Rooms, for example.Q: What do some of these industries have that hospitality is missing?
Peller: There is no doubt that cloud has become the new normal. The stage of cloud adoption today has less to do with the industry or business sector and more to do with leadership, engagement and the starting point for the individual enterprise. For an existing business with a legacy technology footprint, there is certainly some effort involved in migrating from on-premise to cloud, though that effort is typically well worth it. With a clear sense of purpose, effective leadership and change management, we have seen hospitality companies rapidly adopt and lead cloud best practices.
Q: What does the next generation of hospitality technology look like?
Peller: Hospitality systems have traditionally been monolithic applications operating on-premise. The applications can be difficult to maintain, as business requirements evolve and institutional knowledge and skills dissipate. Managing on-premise infrastructure typically increases operating and management costs, needs to be sized for the peak utilization and creates issues around backup, recovery and product development. Builders of hospitality technologies today are taking full advantage of the cloud to design applications with smaller footprints, using micro-services to decouple dependencies and provide much more flexibility and agility to iteratively develop best-in-class solutions. Leveraging new tech enables customers to direct technical resources to where they can have most impact, and benefit from the breadth of services, agility, scalability, security and global reach.Q: What are some technologies that have the potential to disrupt the hospitality space?
Peller: Disruption comes in all shapes and sizes – from new entrants into a market, changing habits of guests and emerging technologies. I would say though that the greatest disruption from any hospitality provider would be the failure of any of its mission-critical applications – such as a central reservation system, property management system or point of sale system. As customers adopt cloud to build greater reliability, availability, scalability and security into their services, this risk certainly diminishes.
Q: How are hoteliers today managing all their available data and making it actionable?
Peller: Progressive hoteliers have been AWS’s Hospitality Data Platform – a data lake built on AWS. The platform enables customers to efficiently and effectively ingest, store, manage consumer data from across the enterprise, to drive actionable insights and outcomes. It is true that in some businesses, data remains stuck in silos, whether constrained by internal gatekeepers or traditional technology systems. Those hoteliers that can get a single view of their guests, with actionable insights, are much more likely to surprise and delight guests – and build long-term loyalty.Q: How is AWS helping the hospitality industry avoid all-too-common data breaches?
Peller: Amazon and AWS are vigilant about our customers’ privacy and have implemented sophisticated technical and physical measures to prevent unauthorized access. We have a world-class team of security experts monitoring our systems 24/7 to protect customer content. It’s also important to point out that customers can choose to encrypt their content as part of a standard security process for highly sensitive content. AWS provides tools customers can use to encrypt their data at rest or in motion, or customers can choose from a number of supported 3rd party security solutions.