Cloud a boon for hospitality sector

The hospitality industry is starting to see some of the benefits of cloud computing, including benefits such as low upfront costs, minimal IT infrastructures and easy access across multiple properties.

This is according to Rory Montgomery, marketing executive of Hospitality Technology International (HTI), Africa’s leading developer of hospitality software used by more than 2500 hotels and lodges.

Montgomery says that while the hospitality industry has been hard-hit by the recession, there are new indications that overall business is improving. Cloud computing is being seen as one of the ways to further galvanise this improvement.

“We are starting to see an improvement in business, but owners are still trying to cut costs, limit budgets and minimize new spending. Faced with these continuing challenges the emergence of cloud technologies might help satisfy both sides of the fence – those that want to grow, and those that are scared to grow by increasing costs.

“Even since the pre-recession days, the cloud and software as a service (SaaS) model made rapid advancements in the hospitality industry. Low upfront costs, minimal additional to physical infrastructure and access across multiple properties are seen as major benefits,” says Montgomery.

The SaaS model allows hotels to implement new technologies while avoiding large capital outlays. It could also “be a way to boost ongoing growth while safeguarding large outputs”.

According to Gartner, SaaS growth does not show any signs of slowing down. In fact, Gartner has predicted that global SaaS revenue should reach USD12.1 billion in 2011, which is a 20.7% increase from the revenue in 2010.

Justin Colyn, general manager of Fixed Mobile Convergence at MTN Business, says: “These statistics may be indicative of global trends but considering the attention and success that cloud computing has already achieved locally, coupled with phenomenal growth rates of mobility (19.8% year on year), it is our opinion that ‘everything as a service’ or XaaS as it is known, will revolutionise the African business landscape far more.”

Thanks to the arrival of SaaS, companies no longer need to continuously purchase and invest in the latest technology solutions for their business structures. Rather – through using the SaaS platform – companies can choose services, with the required levels of capacity that are needed, in relation to their specific business needs.

“It is a win-win situation for overall business – including the hospitality industry – which is why the fast uptake of the technology industry is unavoidable. Cloud computing has already become a priority focus for  CIOs and IT managers as they no longer have to worry about servers running out of capacity, networks falling over, viruses spreading wildly through corporate networks, or any of a plethora of technical problems that can befall a company on a daily basis.”

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