In an interview with Mirko Gudelj, Vice President Business Technology at Protel hotelsoftware GmbH from Dortmund, Germany, we talked about the importance of digitalization in the hotel and tourism sector and what the advantages of its use in the race against the competition are.
“If we consider that foreign and domestic guests nowadays find their hotel accommodation online, we must know that they also expect their entire guest experience journey to be digital. Digitalization enables communication with the guest, opens the possibility for an upsell that provides additional income and, most importantly, provides the opportunity to mark the guest as a ‘repeat guest’, and if there is a loyalty program available, hoteliers can create long-term cooperation with guests”, Mirko Gudelj claims.
If we compare Croatia with more advanced tourist countries, at what level of digital development are we and how successful are our companies when it comes to digitalization?
In Croatia, just like in most of the world, digitalization is mainly reserved for groups of hotels and segments of four and five stars. We do have some great examples of digitalization in Croatia because some hotel houses already have entire departments dedicated exclusively to digitalization. It is also noticeable that during the last year, due to the COVID pandemic, a lot of focus was put on digitalization because the goal was to minimize contact with guests.
What are the real challenges when it comes to implementing digitalization in tourism?
Very few integrators can offer a complete solution from just one manufacturer in which the hotel system (PMS), booking engine, CRS, and web and mobile applications are fully integrated. The digitalization process often results in connecting to many different systems in order to cover the entire guest experience journey.
What is your biggest project related to Croatia?
Our currently largest project is the creation of a guest-centric cloud system that offers out-of-the-box options and an integration interface (API) for advanced users. Creating such a system requires very large teams and architects who define the architecture and integration between different modules. No matter how well you plan when it comes to projects like these, an extra pair of hands is always needed because the focus is always on the time to market. We also worked on such a project with Serengeti, one of the largest Croatian software development companies, whose development team knows how to choose the strategy that is best for the current project.
What are the advantages of working with external partners such as Serengeti?
The advantages of working with external partners are primarily related to the know-how and agility when it comes to creating teams that must have a clearly defined project task and a project manager with a clear role, which is what Serengeti has a lot of experience in.
What are your experiences with Serengeti's team, how did the processes go?
We have been using the SCRUM methodology for a long time, which is why the onboarding process was quite fast. Serengeti managed to put the teams together according to our requirements without any difficulties and, most importantly, there were no changes during the project phases.
What do you think the future holds for the hotel and tourism industry, in which direction will the digitalization process unfold?
The current market trend is systems that offer integrations among the various systems used in tourism. These systems (enterprise service bus) can simplify the integration process so that everything goes towards creating a market store – similarly to what you have on your mobile phone. Once integration between systems is simplified, I expect there to be a larger number of hotel houses, developers and companies that will place their applications in the tourism segment.
Webinar - Hospitality and Technology
For more detailed insight about the cooperation between Protel and Serengeti take a look at our webinar.
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