In an exclusive interview with Travel And Tour World, Carsten Wernet, Chief Executive, SIHOT expresses his views on how the global travel industry is embracing new technological means and how SIHOT is working to make user-friendly technological applications to make the work easy.
Travel And Tour World: Tell us about SIHOT.
Carsten Wernet: SIHOT is a hotel management software system now used in around 3,500 top hotels worldwide. While our headquarters are based in Germany, we also have seven offices with extensive teams providing support in Spain, Portugal and Australia.
We designed SIHOT to allow hotels worldwide to customise the technology to their property, whether it’s a leisure resort, hotel chain, mice hotel, camping or hostel, utilising our portfolio which includes a comprehensive property management system (PMS), hotel booking engine (IBE), point of sale (POS) system, and an event management (C&B) platform. We have been operating for over 35 years, and we’re proud to be partners to our customers which include global brands like Accor, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Motel One, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Meininger Hotels, and MantraHotels.
Travel And Tour World: What is the technology all about? Its benefits.
Carsten Wernet: SIHOT is a modular cloud SaaS suite which can be fully integrated, or managed as standalone systems, with complementary mobile management and guest service apps. It allows hotels to manage all operational processes with full customisation, offering a highly qualitative and complete property management solution.
Hotels can either use the wide range of tools within the SIHOT portfolio or work with other third party systems that are fully integrated into our platform, providing a huge amount of flexibility to their tech stack. We have small hotels right up to 1,200 room properties that benefit from comprehensive data reports that give intimate details of the hotel’s performance.
We have also developed the suite with solutions to meet very specific business models, for example SIHOT. Trust is an account module that enables the management of profit and tax payments for hotel investors. We also have a number of apps, including our SIHOT.Mobile for housekeeping and maintenance staff to digitalise the reporting process.
Travel And Tour World: How this technology is assisting for best guest experiences to the hotels ?
Carsten Wernet: Firstly, we have invested massively in connectivity and integrations with third party systems to ensure the free flow of information and guest data that underpins the entire guest experience. We’ve also been launching new products to facilitate the onsite guest journey, most recently we launched SIHOT.Kiosk which is a digital check-in/out terminal installed in hotel lobbies. Plus we have the guest app SIHOT. Go where guests can manage their booking details and process the check-in/out process while being able to communicate directly with hotel staff.
A major area of development is within automation, hotels recognise that technology needs to help and not be a hindrance – and SIHOT can now facilitate many processes without needing constant activation by staff members. This is freeing hotel teams to focus on the priorities around guest service and fulfilling the operational needs.
Travel And Tour World: Share with us about your collaborations to the hospitality industry.
Carsten Wernet: We are investing a lot of time and resources into developing industry and technological partnerships, in 2021 we relaunched our partner programme to provide third party systems with greater access to the SIHOT platform.
We have over 200 partners which include Siteminder channel management, Duetto and IDeaS revenue management, CRMs payment providers, reporting systems, as well as keycard and door lock systems, this list is ever expanding. Hotels can benefit from our collaborations through our free Integration Finder resource.
Travel And Tour World: How this hotel management software conveys for a safe and secured stay and meet in hotels and convention hotels?
Carsten Wernet: We built a specific module for MICE hotels to manage conferences and events in SIHOT.C&B and this is fully integrated with all our systems to provide a comprehensive management suite that handles groups, event organisation, seating, rate management, forecasting, contracts and flexible commission schemes.
With the rise of alternative accommodation and their need to be professionally engaged with the travel market, we are seeing a more diverse range of property types use our systems from serviced apartment providers to specialist glamping and nature retreats.
Our extensive mix of property within our global portfolio of customers means that we have customised the platform to meet the needs of different hotel categories. Hotels can be confident that there are solutions to support loyalty programmes, corporate bookings or managing special arrangements. Whether they’re resorts or city properties they can get off the ground running very, very quickly.
Travel And Tour World: What are your future plans to make this hotel management software more updated?
Carsten Wernet: The central product focus in 2022 is the evolution of the user interface experience to support cross-functional hotel teams and departmental objectives. We understand the challenges that hotels are facing with staff shortages and lack of skills, therefore we are tailoring the usability of the platform so hotels can quickly fulfill core functionality requirements with new staff members. We’ll also be reframing the design so that it can be set up determined by hotel category with role-based screen design to enable better usability by hotel teams.
While further developing our own range of applications we’re expanding industry connectivity as a priority. We will continue to increase the seamless integration with other systems as holistic digitalisation is essential for our customers. However, one very important factor that cannot be ignored in this endeavour, is that we ensure information security. With more and more hotels being attacked it is of utmost importance for us to make sure that our systems and integrations are protected.
In addition to our technology plans, we will be building out our human resources by expanding our local team in Austria and opening a local customer support centre in Turkey.