IT ‘stitch-up’: Hospitality managers misled with long agreements and hidden costs

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Management

The IT crowd: Only 10 per cent of managers say they are completely happy with their IT system
The IT crowd: Only 10 per cent of managers say they are completely happy with their IT system
The majority of hospitality business managers believe they have been ‘misled’ by IT suppliers and are now saddled with upfront and on-going spiralling costs which were not transparent from the beginning.

That’s according to new, independent report from hospitality technology expert Caternet, which looks to expose and expunge many of the technology frustrations felt across the hospitality industry.

Sixty-four per cent of the 180 managers surveyed in the report said they were deceived by IT companies, with many claiming that their system costs too much but they are now tied into long-term agreements which are difficult to get out of.

“The findings here are frankly unacceptable,” said Caternet’s managing director Jerry Brand. “But they are equally unsurprising given the lack of industry support in terms of quality assurance at sales time, and the lack of truly integrated, modern solutions.

“No one likes a ‘stitch-up’ in any shape or form; it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  Supplier-customer relationships are a two-way thing, they’re about trust and honesty with a few good manners thrown in, or at least they should be. “

Unhappy customers

Cost and margin management remains a prime concern for the industry but this is also tarnished with feelings of disappointment for 81 per cent of managers who are unhappy with their IT system. 

Only 10 per cent of managers say they are completely happy with their IT system.

Brand added: “When promises are made about cost, performance and contract terms, people expect these to be transparent from the very start.  Sadly, these findings are a reflection of outdated, old-fashioned ‘sales’ approaches where the earth is promised simply to close the deal regardless of the reality. 

“In an economy where the struggle to control costs and make margins is a prime concern for many, anything that makes this harder to achieve is very counter-productive for business.”

Have you been ‘misled’ by an IT firm? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts on the issue. 

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3 comments

Use an expert!

Posted by Tim Butterworth,

Having spent 15 years as a Hotel GM and nearly the same in Hotel technology I can see both sides of this argument. Its clear that there are a lot of suppliers that make promises but are unable to deliver. The fault is not always on the supplier and many hoteliers must shoulder some of the blame as ultimately they made the decision to buy in the first place. It’s also a fact that new technology is invariably going to be expensive and when faced with a large bill to pay now – many hoteliers opt to buy in installments (many thinking probably that they would not be there anyway in a few years when its getting old!) and this is where the sour taste often comes from. We all know that he latest and greatest today gets really old after a 5 – 7 year contract – but at the time a 7-year contract seemed to be the best deal.

Hoteliers do a great job selling rooms and providing service to their guests but they should not be expected to be experts in hotel technology as well. My advice to GM’s and Hotel owners is to stand back a little, and invest in some independent advice. A hotel technology consultant will in many cases save you money in the long term. They will be able to help, evaluate and advise, using their expertise in the technology space, to ensure that the Hotelier is well informed and spends their money wisely.

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Unsurprising!

Posted by Stuart Coetzee,

This isn't surprising news at all! There are so many cowboy outfits out there that promise the earth, then aren't able to deliver on those promises. Yet when it comes to a choice between a cowboy outfit and a professional organisation, operators are being easily swayed by the cheaper cost without doing extensive and detailed research on the product they're offering. Or, because their finance teams didn't set aside an appropriate budget for their IT and have had to go forward with a solution or company that can't meet their needs.

This is despite IT (and subsidiary systems like Reservations, EPoS, Stock, HR, Accounts etc) being completely mission critical. If used properly with the correct implementation, systems are able to provide a return on their investment within 5-6 months and provide clear benefits to your top line and customer service. Despite this, they're often right at the bottom of the priority list!

This year we've had 12 new clients sign up with TISSL after installing other EPoS systems first because of the errors made in the initial selection process. As they say in the construction trade, buy cheap, buy twice!

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Overpriced IT

Posted by Chris Windram,

Currently, we supply numerous Hotels and Catering establishments with their IT infrastructure and telecom solutions. It is something that we work very hard at to ensure that the solutions we provide for our customers is second to none and without the hard sale. We work closely with the IT dept/General Manager to ensure all eventualities are as the venue requires with total transparency on the pricing. What you see is what you get. We want to build strong relationships like the F+B industry as customer service now plays such an important part in product selection, whether that be an IT solution or where to go for Dinner.
I would be more than happy to talk with anyone who wants an impartial view on their Telecomunications and IT infrastructure without the 'Waffle'. Please contact me at chris.windram@gps-enterprise.com and I will be more than happy to help.

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