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Every cloud has a silver lining

Once upon a time a discussion about clouds was all about the weather. But today it’s far more likely people are talking about their latest computer app.

A whole new meaning of ‘The Cloud’ has entered our language. Dictionaries now not only define the cloud as ‘A visible mass of condensed watery vapour floating in the atmosphere, but also as ‘… A network of remote servers hosted on the Internet and used to store, manage, and process data in place of local servers or personal computers.’

When most of us get up we check the weather forecast, see what our friends are up to on Facebook or Twitter, ask Siri for the fastest route to our next appointment, all of which is coming from The Cloud. From a business perspective the reality is that if you're not in The Cloud you're in for stormy weather.

The Cloud has become the ‘new norm’.  At the end of last year it was estimated that 90% of businesses in the United Kingdom were using at least one cloud service. It would be surprising if it were not the same for Australian businesses.

The big question is why? The simple answer is that cloud computing increases efficiency, makes businesses more competitive and most importantly, more profitable.

Someone who has had his head in the clouds for more 30 years and is an undisputed leader in the hospitality software industry is Peter Buttigieg, the Founder & Managing Director of RMS one of Australia’s largest and best known computer reservation and property management software developers.

Peter started in the days when “typewriters ruled the world” and computers were some new-fangled machine that many believed would never catch on. He developed what was the first on-line reservation system in Australia. Over the next 30 years Peter steered his business into what is now a multi-million dollar enterprise with more than 5000 customers worldwide relying on RMS systems to manage their business.

Always ahead of the pack and leading the charge by adopting early operating platforms, RMS has always been an industry pioneer and as such the move to The Cloud was a natural progression.

With the advent of The Cloud Peter saw the enormous potential for the Australian accommodation industry. No longer would properties need to invest in expensive computers that constantly need upgrading, not to mention the high cost of in-house IT departments to ensure they didn’t go down.

“Another significant advantage,” says Peter “is that with a cloud based system all your data is constantly and securely backed-up. So even if your computer has melt down you can fire up a new laptop and be back in business in a flash!”

There is very little doubt that The Cloud is revolutionizing the accommodation business, as it is with the majority of industries, but it remains a mystery to many property owners and managers Says Peter. “I don’t think they fully appreciate  the incredible advantages cloud computing offers.

For the accommodation industry it has always been about satisfying the customer. We live in a world of instant gratification and customers want it NOW.  They want to do it when it suits them and The Cloud allows them to book in anywhere, any time, and any day of the week.

“More and more customers are simply using their mobile or tablet to find the best deal from any one of dozens of on-line booking sites. They book, confirm and pay no matter where they are and no matter what time of the day”.

For managers, it couldn’t be easier to be in The Cloud. “No longer chained to their office desk, occupancy reports, financial details and management data are now just a click away”, says Peter.

Recently, internet giant Google has introduced its own booking channel and RMS was one of the first Australian companies Google approached to be incorporated into its system.

“The Cloud is, without doubt, the new wave of the future and the benefits are obvious”, Peter says, “Cloud computing is simpler, cheaper and much easier to use.”

RMS has just launched its latest fully integrated product suite aptly titled RMS Cloud – mobile, cost effective, integrated and easy to use - it is everything that a modern cloud based product offering should be. “Totally cloud based, it offers the complete package and depending on your needs can include point of sale interfaces, Book Now Buttons for instant booking from your properties website, not to mention seamless booking channel and revenue and reputation management interfaces”, says Peter.

“The costs, as well, are far lower than the expense of setting up and maintaining (and worrying about) in-house systems.  And when it comes to smaller operators, suddenly they can afford what was once only the realm of the mega chains.”

So with the arrival of The Cloud, anyone can enhance the customer’s experience and satisfaction – a truly satisfied customer is one that is likely to come back time and again. Money in your pocket!

As a wise man once said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory”. But there is much wisdom in getting your head out of the clouds and putting your business in it.

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