Guest Post: The tech gap - why all-in-one software solutions are the dinosaurs of our age

Guest Post: The tech gap - why all-in-one software solutions are the dinosaurs of our age

In an ever-changing world of guest demands and expectations, API-first technology and MACH architecture are taking the industry by storm, allowing unprecedented levels of innovation and diversification. Martin Reichenbach, CEO and co-founder of Apaleo, walks us through the tech gap and why those still using a traditional or legacy PMS are behind the curve.


In the world of hospitality technology, time flies faster than ever.

What used to take a whole decade to become outdated can become redundant in less than a year. Guests now expect the tech in their hotel to be as good, if not better, than what they have at home, and increasing inroads into predictive customer service tools and personalisation means this technology is advancing all the time.

Progress is so fast these days that it has changed the way companies produce these tools — as well as how operators acquire them. Software companies have become specialists, developing a narrow focus in one area, doing less but doing it better. 

That’s what is behind the quiet revolution that is finally offering the industry a future-proof approach to procurement — a pick-and-mix menu of constantly-evolving solutions. No longer are hospitality companies forced to buy all-in-one software, plug it in and watch it become obsolete. Now they can purchase single tools from hundreds of companies and drop any that don’t live up to expectations in a heartbeat. 

The result is a ‘tech gap’ — a world in which the ability to pick and then combine all kinds of software tools casts a long shadow over legacy platforms. It’s both a threat and an opportunity for operators, as those who don’t move with the times will find themselves falling behind even faster than before. But what does this brave new world look like, and how do providers ensure they’re not left behind? Enter MACH architecture.

What is MACH architecture?

If you haven’t heard of the acronym yet, it’s only a matter of time before you do. MACH stands for Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless and it is endlessly customisable. It offers the ability to plug all kinds of tools into one central open hospitality platform, a best-of-breed approach, that permits endless flexibility. They can also combine them with their own unique features, for bespoke solutions that allow them to differentiate their product from the competition. Operators are no longer trapped with the same services and software partners forever. It’s the difference between refreshing your tech stack once every 10 years and once a month.

Maximising performance 

All-in-one systems may seem appealing at first, they might be easier to use and quicker to implement, but they always come with trade-offs. If a vendor falls short in any area, it could impact an entire operation. With a best-of-breed approach, hotel operators can team up with specialised third-party vendors offering top-notch products that outperform the alternatives. They can trial and test new solutions in a matter of days, without having to wait weeks for a new integration. The result? Guests walk away with an amazing experience, and overall efficiency gets a major boost. Let’s take Lindemann Hotels for example. By utilising industry leading tools like Straiv and Bookboost, they’ve moved 60% of check-ins online and automated manual tasks like invoicing and guest communications, saving their team around 120 hours per month.

For operators who want to go a step further, MACH architecture empowers operators to build their own technology solutions, eliminating dependence on their PMS’s roadmap and addressing the technology gaps these systems often have. Simply put, by leveraging APIs and headless capabilities, hospitality brands can take charge, building their own tech solutions that align precisely with their unique business model – and they won’t need to settle for the less-than-perfect solutions of their old PMS.

By bolting together off-the shelf tools and adding those that they develop themselves in house, innovative serviced apartment brand Limehome has been able to create a unique and staff-less guest experience, onboarding new properties at speeds previously unheard of. The company boasts a 90% occupancy rate and has clocked up 400% growth over the past two years – a feat that would be impossible with legacy software.

The agility advantage

Over the past few years, we have all witnessed the importance of agility in our operations. We’ve seen operators struggle to adjust to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, attempting to diversify quickly and implement contactless technologies into their property management systems. It was the brands that could seamlessly adapt their tech stack that were most successful.

But it’s not just global events like the pandemic that call for this level of flexibility – industry specific challenges can be equally as disruptive. Staff shortages in our industry have been enormously challenging but those already using MACH architecture have been able to navigate this issue with greater ease. Operators using a best-of-breed approach will usually enjoy fully automated processes for things like payments, reservations and guest communication, taking staff out of the equation when it comes to repetitive tasks. They had no need to scale back operations like some competitors. In difficult times, these capabilities can be the difference between success and failure. 

In a world where change is the only constant, flexibility is crucial and it’s never been easier to build a hospitality business and give guests a great experience. A best-of-breed strategy, facilitated by MACH architecture, offers hospitality brands the fluidity they need to adapt to shifting expectations – staying at the forefront of guest preferences, no matter how they evolve.