At the time, the hospitality sector was lacking a quality, stable management platform with outstanding support that didn’t compromise and so, we created Skyware,” says Palloni.

The hospitality industry has been engulfed in whispers of a technology overhaul for years. We were told that the sea of legacy platforms that essentially ruled the hospitality landscape would finally be abandoned for modern alternatives.

But with each passing year, promises of widespread digital innovation were quietly broken, as countless hospitality brands held on to their original, legacy systems long past their expiration date.

The tech-driven updates which promised to mend workflow breakdowns, create new opportunities, and enhance the guest and staff experience in equal measure were, more often than not, knocked further down the list of hoteliers’ priorities.

That is until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As the global economy and any opportunity for travel came to a collective standstill, hotel brands, specifically independent hoteliers, found themselves at the impasse our industry has been circling for years.

Of course, the hotel PMS (property management system) is the heartbeat of any hotel’s digital ecosystem. I recently had a chance to sit down with Bob Palloni, CEO and co-founder of Skyware Hospitality Solutions, to discuss this new era of hospitality technology.

Skyware Hospitality Solutions, which offers properties an all-in-one, full-service enterprise hotel, and resort solution, is raising the bar standard for modern hotel property management software.

Skyware was initially brought to life in the Spring of 2009 to solve an industry-wide problem. “At the time, the hospitality sector was lacking a quality, stable management platform with outstanding support that didn’t compromise on features, functionality, or flexibility – and so, we created Skyware,” says Palloni.

“Without the innovation, convenience, and scalability offered by cloud-based platforms, hotels would be unable to adapt to the market, reduce costs, support their staff, maintain service standards across all touchpoints, and meet current guest demands. Today, our solution has evolved to incorporate a full-featured hotel PMS, activity/spa scheduler, restaurant/retail POS, and a responsive online booking engine all within a single database.”

When asked what differentiates its solution from its competitors, Palloni highlights three core advantages to the Skyware platform: cloud-based and on-premise offerings, built-in modules, and unparalleled support.

“While we offer a cloud solution, we also offer an on-premise option, which is the same product, but installed locally at the hotel. This was an important business decision, as it allows us to provide a lower cost solution to those markets that do not have stable internet,” explains Palloni.

“Our modules (i.e., POS, Sales and Catering, Activity Schedule) are all built in-house, from the ground up, to be part of the Skyware ecosystem. It’s all about leveraging information and hospitality technology to create unique guest value in new and innovative ways. If hoteliers get this right, they can successfully compete in today’s digital economy.”

It’s no secret that continued adherence to legacy systems and processes is a detriment to hotels around the globe. Still, according to Palloni, there are two glaring issues today facing legacy systems (and their users).

“Hotels that fail to update their core systems are unable to respond to changes. It may seem redundant to mention this because it’s been the talk of our industry for some time now, but even in the face of widespread innovation and digital reform, we see some properties white-knuckling their grip on legacy technology rather on hospitality,” shares Palloni.

“The hard and simple truth is legacy systems deployed on the property have a longer rollout time for updates than browser-based systems. More importantly, the ability to securely access a legacy system remotely has always been a challenge that only gets more difficult to overcome. At the same time, competitor properties adopt more modern, streamlined solutions.”

Travel trends and guest expectations have changed, and, with this in mind, platform providers must ensure their solution can empower hotels to circumvent industry challenges.

According to Palloni, self-service quickly emerged as a key focus for their platform, specifically, mobile functionality. “Early on in the pandemic, we identified mobile (self check-in) as a key factor in the success of hotels moving forward,” shares Palloni.

“At the time, a number of vendors chose to roll out kiosk check-in, but we felt this presented another unnecessary risk due to the volume of individuals using a lobby kiosk. Mobile check-in, on the other hand, simply requires the guest’s own phone, which simultaneously prioritizes convenience, autonomy, and health/safety in a COVID-cautious world.”

With travel demand returning to pre-pandemic levels, independent operators are understandably optimistic about the momentum now carrying our industry forward after such a significant downturn.

With this momentum expected to continue in 2023, Palloni sees great opportunity for properties that balance pandemic-era best practices with more traditional markers of guest service.

“While the pandemic is finally behind us, it’s important to recognize that many travelers are still looking for the assurances that the pandemic ushered in. At the same time, those guests also want to see the return of old services, such as daily room cleanings, bed changes, etc.,” Palloni notes.

“I also think hotels need to change their rate-setting mentality. In many cases, travelers are now booking their trips 3 to 4 weeks in advance instead of the pre-pandemic trend of 2 to 3 months. With this in mind, the way rates are set needs to be adjusted across the industry.”

As for the future of Skyware, Palloni expects its platform to make a major splash in the full-service market. “Since we can provide a full range of services at a lower cost, we are targeting properties that offer additional services to their guests,” he explains.

“The campground/RV market is also, in our opinion, an underserved market. It used to be that the RV market was made up of “Mom and Pop” owned properties. But that is now changing; it is expected that the RV industry will contribute over $140 billion to the US economy in 2023, and to better serve their guests, they need a more robust and feature-rich system, like Skyware.”