You did it! You decided to provide your guests with a mobile application. However, now it is time to find the right vendor that will provide you with existing solution or develop the new one based on your needs. I prepared a checklist with areas you should cover when making a decision about which vendor is right for you. So let’s jump into it!
Functionality and adaptability
Does the application include all features you dreamt of? If not, you will be either limited in what you can do or will have to pay additional money for the development of other features. The problem here is that the company might refuse to develop these features for you. So, there will be additional difficulties for you to get these features done/find another vendor to develop them. If you are looking for branded application, is the vendor capable of providing you with white-labeled application?
The possibility of integration with other systems
We covered the topic of integration in one of the previous posts. So shortly put, if the application cannot be integrated e. g. with your PMS system, your staff would have to operate 2 or more systems separately. If the company provides you with an API, integration could be done.
Will company provide you with the prepared application or will you have to do the whole configuration on your own? If company configures the app for you, is there any additional fee or will they do it for free?
The perspective for the near future
Ask your company for the future plans about the functionality. If company lacks the vision, you will probably stay in the same place for a long time. As the needs of your hotel and its guests evolve over time, this might limit you in the future.
Updates and upgrades (maintenance)
Will your vendor upgrade and update your application over time? Will he provide you with the current version of the system? Is it included in the standard fee or do you have to pay additional fee for that?
Is there any support available? If so, is it available 24/7 or 8/5? Is it in the language you use? What is the expected response time? Does the price include support or do you have to pay any extra support fees?
Is your vendor going to teach you how to use their mobile app? If so, in what form? Does the vendor have videos, manuals, blog posts, or will he train you in person? Is it included in the price or do you have to pay extra training fee?
Yeah, the price is important. We discussed price in the previous points, however the price of standard license is the basic expense you have to pay. Word of caution: the lowest price isn’t certainly the best and the highest price isn’t always associated with the best vendor. If the company charges you literally nothing for its services, either expect hidden fees or there is a serious assumption that company will fail on the market because earnings will not cover its costs.
Is your contract time-bounded (e. g. 1 year) or you can end it anytime? What are the terms of contract termination? Are there any penalties associated to termination?
In order to make it easy to evaluate, I created a document in .pdf that can be used for evaluation. You can download it here for free:
Please follow these instructions:
- In costs, please fill the amount of potential costs you might be charged (if applicable)
- Set the importance of the criterion (1 – Not at all important, 5 – Extremely important)
- Set the score (1 – Absolutely terrible, 5 – Absolutely awesome)
- Multiply importance and score and mark down the number as weighted score
- Sum up the total costs and total weighted score
- Compare it with other vendors
Based on the cost and score, you will be able to compare the vendors and choose the most suitable one. I hope it will help!
Are there any criteria you would add to make the choice more precise? Let me know in comments and I will definitely update the checklist.