With increasing mobile and Internet penetration amid Covid-19 pandemic, technology innovations are not only crucial for customer engagement but also for overall business management. Here are the must-have technology platforms for effective franchise management
As the pandemic-driven crisis is getting beyond imagination and affecting business models, organizations are becoming more reliant on technology to achieve operational excellence. As per a recent study, 67 percent of brand owners and managers believe that technology has a direct impact on increased revenues.
“With the help of advanced machine learning and AI tools, we are able to derive the best pricing mechanism in the industry. Moreover, multiple app-based solutions ensure hassle-free operations at our hotels while delivering a quality-assured experience to our guests. Every hotel or asset that becomes a part of OYO’s chain, witnesses an increase in average occupancy from 25 to 65 percent in just three months,” highlights Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO, OYO Hotels and Homes.
Let’s investigate the technological advancements that are enabling effective franchise management and business benefits.
The key performance indicator of the franchisees is among the most important data-set a franchisor must monitor. New technology platforms have made tracking KPI easier and effective than ever before.
Brands like OYO have developed their operating system offering sophisticated features including express check-in, check-out, online procurement, and inventory management. The OS offers apps for housekeeping and audits as well as solutions for multiple hotel management aspects like expense management, staff training, and engagement along with performance reviews and incentives for the hotel staff. “We also offer Co-OYO app for complete visibility of cash flows, business performance, pricing, customer reviews, and recommendations. We have seen a 60 percent reduction in the number of owner-related queries since the introduction of the Owner App,” states Agarwal.
Not only do KPI monitoring applications allow franchisors to monitor the health of their entire system, but it also lets them quickly provide support to the locations that need it.
New point-of-sale technology offers a host of benefits that extend well beyond the convenience of quick and easy payments, particularly when combined with applications, like automated marketing and integrated accounting.
“A robust POS system combined with a back-end automated marketing system can determine how often a particular guest visits a store and then back-market at key intervals to bring them back to the store more often,” emphasizes Krishnakant Thakur, Co-Founder and COO, Charcoal Eats.
A POS system, ideally with a built-in CRM and integrated accounting gives both sides of the brand’s ownership crucial insight into the store’s financials. The right grouping of software can help brands and franchisees get a sense of how, when, and why they are performing well or poorly.
Covid-19 has made social media highly crucial for consumer marketing strategies, and franchise brands are taking advantage of social channels in many creative ways. One of the benefits social media offers is geofencing, which lets you promote offers to customers who are nearby. The ability to capture impulse purchases that social media offers is quite essential for any retail or F&B business. With a number of features and filters that social media platforms offer, engaging a customer has become easier than ever. A great engagement campaign coupled with an excellent product or service ensures any brand to win customers.
But social media’s benefits are not limited to consumer marketing; savvy franchisors have used the same applications to open new doors in their development strategies. “Now, social media is universally considered essential, and it has completely changed the way we reach and connect with our prospective franchisees,” shares Thakur.
Mobile services have grown from a good-to-have option to a baseline expectation among consumers. A take-away restaurant without an online ordering system and a mobile app risks business against its mobile-friendly competitors.
Mobile apps and online platforms can help franchise owners save money on staffing while offering a new level of flexibility and freedom for customers to order, schedule, or buy. OYO is one such brand that is extensively leveraging mobile apps to deliver excellence to customers as well as its franchise partners.
Besides a consumer app for seamless hotel and travel bookings, OYO offers the Rocket App, which enables demand managers to make bookings for guests and identify the right set of hotels. It also offers capabilities to carry out rate negotiations for corporate and other specific contracts.
Sophisticated inventory management tools are enabling brands to bridge gaps arising from the unpredictability of demand and supply. The food service industry has specifically benefitted from these tools as minor losses, if repeated, can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line. “Inventory management tools allow restaurant owners to achieve the granular insight and comprehensive control over their inventory as well as virtually every other aspect of their back-of-house operations,” says Thakur.
In fact, automating the back-end operations enable owners to spend more time interacting with customers, executing innovative campaigns, and driving sales.
Agarwal of OYO claims that they create tremendous value for franchise partners through capabilities around supply chain, renovation, operations, and distribution, all of which are supported by a full-suite of technology solutions. “In fact, we enable asset owners to increase their earnings 16-times on an average.”
OYO’s Property Manager, a tablet-based app, acts as a one-stop app for managing all daily functions of the hotel – bookings visibility, sales channels, customer requests, housekeeping, and finances. In addition, OYO utilizes its Krypton app to audit hotels and assure an excellent guest experience.
Hence, it is evident that technology is playing a crucial role in achieving operational and service excellence, both for franchisors and franchisees.