“Going digital has gone from a luxury to a necessity because of COVID-19”

Aeijaz Sodawala, CEO of eZee Technosys, talks to BW Hotelier about the transformative role that technology has played during the pandemic and the innovations brought by the company.

Tell us a bit about your market penetration in South Asia in terms of number of customers, turnover and profit?

Aeijaz Sodawala: In South Asia, we are predominant in Malaysia. Of more than 22,000 customers worldwide, more than 12,000 are located in South Asia, contributing significantly to our revenues and profits.

Over the past two decades, South Asia has become a global tourist hotspot, thanks to its scenic spots and cultural diversity. As the industry recovers from the severe impacts of the pandemic, we strive to equip South Asian hospitality businesses with our ecosystem of cutting-edge hospitality technology. In addition to our stronghold in India, Malaysia and other countries, we plan to strengthen small and medium sized hotels across the world with our experience and brand awareness. We want to extend our reach to other continents where hotel companies want to extend their processes.

What do you think is the perception of automation by the hospitality industry?

AS: Mid-size hotels and other budget hotel establishments weren’t particularly in search of automation until last year. They were hesitant to adopt technology beyond necessity. So, until now, only luxury properties have used technology in the best possible way. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed the scenario for the hospitality industry. Contactless services have become a new standard in the conduct of hospitality businesses, and the demand has changed dramatically. Today, hotels are trying new ways to improve the on-site guest experience while paying exceptional attention to their health safety. Automation in operation through technology has allowed the hospitality industry to adapt to the unprecedented situation, going beyond its perception of automation. Thus, the digital switchover has gone from a luxury to a necessity at the present time.

Can you tell us more about the long-term ROI of digitization?

AS: At eZee, we focused on developing digital services long before the pandemic. Our focus was diversified for digitization. The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need for and the possibility of digital hospitality. Today, with contactless service as the new standard, eZee offers a series of software and services, performing exceptionally well, responding precisely to the most critical demands. For example, we launched eZee Panorama digitally to meet the ever-growing needs of websites for hotels and restaurants. Another notable example is the self-service customer portal that is part of Hotel PMS. It allows the customer to check in, to stay, to leave without any physical interaction.

The return on investment is customer safety, customer engagement, brand reputation, a unique customer experience and contactless hospitality. The return on investment of digitalization for hotel technology providers and consumers is exceptional. It is digitalization that has helped the hotel industry survive the pandemic and build the confidence of travelers. With constantly evolving artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), and the invasion of robotics in the industry, the standards of hospitality have been raised. Digitization has also helped properties enable the automation of interconnected day-to-day operations. Additionally, its role in multidimensional analysis of user data has helped hoteliers extract user behavior and choices. And this is the most important return on investment of digitization.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted eZee Technosys? Has there been an increase in the demand for automation? Are there any innovations you have made as a result of the pandemic?

AS: At eZee, we handled the situation in the best possible way thanks to a positive mindset and our technological prowess. We have worked together with the motivation to help our clients in these difficult times. Indeed! The demand for automation has naturally increased. We were ready to turn our ideas into digital reality, and the pandemic allowed us to meet the distinct demands and needs of these. Innovation has been the backbone of eZee. He has consistently led us to perfection. Contactless hotel services and hotel revenue management and marketing services are the most prominent innovations digitally launched by eZee Technosys. In addition to our exceptional range of products, we can now equip our customers with these ingenious services. For eZee, customer feedback and expectations are fundamental factors to focus on when it comes to delivering exceptional user experience and satisfaction. We draw on the experience of our clients and the results of periodic market analyzes to stay ahead of the game.

In short, what are the hotel technologies offered by eZee Technosys?

AS: Since our foundation in 2006, we have continued to develop and improve our offers to facilitate the operation of accommodation units. Our software solutions include:

  1. eZee Absolute: A cloud-based PMS that automates front-office, reservations, accounting, guest check-in / check-out and other necessary daily hotel operations.
  2. EZee reception: An on-site PMS that manages bookings, group bookings, housekeeping and more.
  3. EZee reservation: This is an online hotel booking engine that helps hotels acquire direct, commission-free bookings from their website.
  4. eZee Centrix: This channel management system automates the complete distribution of a hotel’s inventory and the management of rates on OTAs and other connected channels.
  5. eZee Optimus: An online POS Restaurant which manages orders on site and online.
  6. eZee BurrP! : A full on-site restaurant point of sale that seamlessly handles restaurant orders, invoicing, payments and more.
  7. eZee Panorama: A hotel and restaurant website builder solution with additional features like hosting, SSL certificate, dedicated web designer, etc.
  8. Review – Online review management software: This software helps you collect, manage and respond to reviews from online platforms like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Booking.com and others.
  9. Revenue management and marketing services: With property valuation, demand forecasting and other parameters to aim for visibility optimization, experts maximize property income and performance.

What innovative suggestions would you like to give hoteliers on how to keep business afloat and survive the recession caused by the pandemic?

AS: The adoption of contactless technology is one of the crucial innovations that I want to offer hoteliers in the current situation. It is the need of the moment and capable of transforming their business into a successful one to fight the losses caused by the recession caused by the pandemic. Automated operations through the highest degree of technological involvement are the essential way for hoteliers to remain competitive and earn the trust of customers. More personalized options, adherence to safety and health protocols, and a digitized approach will help keep businesses afloat, which is what hotel customers today are looking for.

It can be difficult for hoteliers to overlook cloud technology, which has the greatest potential to conquer the industry in the years to come. This change may seem difficult at first, but switching to it now will keep them up to date with the pace of the industry. The future of the hospitality industry needs a forced shift to digitalization and the adoption of innovative methods will only make hospitality businesses thrive in the changing times.

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