How Hotels Drive Efficiency and Reduce Waste with Document Management and Process Automation Technologies

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FourPoints Darlington Harbour Hotel in Sydney saved 2.5 million printed pages yearly, equating to $1.5 million savings over five years... as well as 1,500 trees saved. (Photo credit: DocMX)
By Aaron Belton, Head of Global Hospitality at DocMX - 2.2.2023

Automation and digital transformation can no longer be viewed as future buzzwords and change is already happening in new and established hotels across the world.

If 2022 is anything to go by, digital transformation is progressing at a pace even we hadn’t anticipated. Over 350 new hotels across our expanding client portfolio, from IHG and Hilton to Starwood. Marriot and Accor have onboarded DocMX solutions and another 80 hotels across Asia and Africa are expected to join the journey in 2023.

Sometimes the idea of keeping pace, upgrading standard ways into much needed innovation may look daunting. Not knowing where to start, what type of automation software is available or how best to implement are associated fear factors.

But never more than now has digital adoption been so urgent. Staff shortages can be mitigated by supporting teams with technology, making daily tasks easier and helping teams become more connected. Climate change can be addressed with paper free solutions that not only save significant costs but also enhance compliance and data security. Just a few reasons why all hospitality organizations should be looking at efficient and cost-effective ways to future-proof their business through digitization.

So for 2023, we need to refresh the rulebook for implementing successful digital transformation. Like any business change, it’s important to recognize best practice and avoid the mistakes that many may have already made.

Don’t make a bad process electronic

Persisting with the old ways of working and simply digitizing an inefficient paper-based process doesn’t make good business sense, especially if you are going to replicate it across several functions or properties. 

So the first tip is a simple one. Don’t make a time-consuming and disconnected process a digital one. Start by reviewing your policies and ask questions: does this document need to be approved by one manager, then another, or can we save time doing it in parallel? Could we reduce the time to complete the task whilst enabling access to critical information faster? Why is this done differently in each department or property? You will often find that the answer is simply because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. However there has never been a more critical time for hospitality businesses to learn to adapt, and fast. Review, analyze, automate, measure and repeat… and then and only then, streamline; set in stone and standardize across all departments, properties and regions.

At DocMX, we work with organizations to ensure the technology is tailored to their clients exacting needs, ensuring they’re fully benefiting from this opportunity to automate, standardize and ultimately see tangible financial savings. And this doesn’t have to be a lengthy or complex project, taking just a few short weeks.

Do collaborate and share resources across properties

Perhaps the second most important piece of advice is about collaboration. Hotels under the same ownership or brand should not work in silo, running off different software platforms. While digitising one property at a time is already well worth it – expanding to several properties can yield exponential savings for everyone.

Clustering, also known as complexing or shared service centers, allows organizations to make the most of standardization and automation by pooling resources in a digital shared environment. Technology can be tailored to hotels or hospitality groups’ own specific processes and policies. With several properties using a standard process and common system, finance or HR staff can support several properties at once.

Organizations currently using DocMX software have been able to automate up to 70% of revenue auditing, accounts receivable and accounts payable, thus enabling a staff member from one location to service up to three properties, and in some cases even more. In a time of staff shortages, this is a great opportunity to drive smart efficiency within your organization.

Don’t neglect data security and traceability

In today’s world of remote working, emails and video calls, sensitive financial or HR information can be open to security and processing issues. Handling this information in a secure structured system with a full ISO-accredited audit trail will solve many of these concerns. 

Implement clear data security ‘best practices’ within the organization and choose a technology platform with strong protections against any unauthorized access and data loss. In the case of cloud systems, verify where the data will be stored and under what conditions – especially because many countries require storage on local ground.

In an increasingly digital world, where the threats from hackers and malware are greater than ever before, choosing the right partner who takes security seriously should be a key consideration.

At DocMX we continually invest in our clients’ security and meet the most stringent data security, storage and recovery standards with a yearly ISO certification for Information Security. As an AWS Partner we also leverage Amazon’s best-in-class network security tools.

Do look at ways to save paper and the environment

While the guest experience is, in many hotels, already paperless, the back-office can be the forgotten piece of the puzzle. Night Audit reports with hundreds of pages, HR forms, invoices and other paperwork passed between departments, copies for reconciliation and approvals, storing all this paperwork for 5 to 20 years in line with local legislation…

This all represents many man-hours of unnecessary admin work and inefficient communication, as well as significant costs for paper, printer leasing, document archiving and long-term storage. Not to mention the environmental impact.

Based on our decade of experience, a typical 300-room hotel spends over £30,000 on print related activity each year, felling on average, one tree every week. One of DocMX’s clients, the exclusive 5-Star FourPoints Darlington Harbour Hotel in Sydney saved 2.5 million printed pages yearly, equating to $1.5million in savings over five years as 1,500 trees saved.

Don’t reinvent the wheel – partner with someone who has done it before

There is no need for costly consultants or long-winded projects in order to digitize. Capitalize on past investments and expertise developed and proven over many years by hospitality and technology professionals. Choose a technology and team with a great track record, developed specifically for the hotel industry worldwide.

There are many document management and process automation solutions out there, typically costly, ill-adapted or developed at great expense to satisfy only a handful of hotel processes. You may also end up having to purchase several different software packages, reducing efficiencies and ultimately savings.

Instead opt for a ready to go, all-in-one solution customized to your organization’s exact requirements, easily integrated with other hospitality systems, affordable, quick to implement and scalable to one or many of your properties without complication.

Aaron Belton is Head of Global Hospitality at DocMX. With over a decade of experience working with global hospitality brands such as Marriott, Hilton and IHG and more than 20 years of first-hand experience working hand in hand with hospitality professionals in Asia, Oceania and Europe, Aaron says his goal is to bring the latest technology to the hotel sector community. Aaron is passionate about innovation and currently leads the DocMX digital transformations team in London. They drive efficiencies and tangible savings to hotels affected by the pandemic whilst also developing “DocMX Wellness Chatbot” with leading Psychology professionals to support employees with their journey through Covid-19 recovery.

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