Technology is such a ubiquitous part of everyone’s life now, it’s hard to remember that just 20 years ago, smartphones didn’t exist. Nor did Facebook. And people would never have dreamed they could book a hotel with a couple of clicks online. Now there is tech for every sector, apps launch daily and services are improved through greater interconnectivity and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
This explosion of tech has brought with it brand new sectors and partnerships that could never have existed before. Hoteliers want and need to use tech, but they often don’t have the time or inclination to understand the marketplace. Meanwhile, tech companies may be fantastic at developing new solutions, but sometimes struggle to bring it to all the markets and territories that would benefit from it.
So an industry has developed around tech reselling with people and companies who are experts at understanding which tools and apps are in the marketplace, which ones best suit a particular need, and which ones stack well to produce a suite of solutions that support and streamline a particular industry.
Additionally there’s the chance for sector-specific tech vendors to work together. By aggregating their client base they can increase opportunities for sales across shared markets whilst growing their access to new territories.
Tech is becoming increasingly important in the hotel industry. Properties are adopting multiple solutions from property management to business intelligence solutions to booking engines in order to manage their operations more effectively. Opportunities exist for partnerships to flourish between tech providers - working with interfacing solutions - to market to hotels collectively.
Tech resellers and partners can sell to individuals or to businesses but it’s a crowded, competitive marketplace, so what does it take to become a really successful tech reseller or vendor partner?
Do your homework
Spend time analysing the technology market. Learn the wants and needs of customers and compare the relevant products before deciding which ones you will suggest to your clients. Consider how a partnership might enrich your existing product by offering an attractive package for hoteliers, without having to design it yourself. Look for companies which are experts, not only in your industry sector but also in the challenges that sector is looking to solve.
Customers will expect a level of expertise and to be able to trust your recommendations, so you’ll need to be confident in your understanding of their issues and of the products you’re promoting. This adds value both to your clients and to the tech companies you’re partnering with.
Take a look at your vendor competitors and how they work. Will you adopt a similar approach or can you find ways to differentiate yourself and offer an even better package?
Develop a niche
There’s too much tech out there to be an expert on everything for all people, so you need to develop a specialist understanding of a specific need. Know your customer. What are the challenges their businesses face which you can help to solve? Which companies are early adopters of tech or are undergoing a digital transformation process? Which hotels could benefit from greater automation but need support to onboard solutions? Where are companies ditching legacy tech in favour of cloud-based solutions?
Framing the answers to these questions around partner companies with solutions that interest you will help you narrow your focus and build your sales arena.
In the hotel industry digital transformation is picking up speed. It’s an ideal time for companies with tech which shares an API to work together to provide a suite of solutions for hotels who are ready to adopt a best-in-class stack. Vendor partners can package products to create a better offer for hotels. These have the potential to increase profit margins by onboarding two solutions at the same time.
Become an expert
Your role as a vendor partner or tech reseller is to help bridge the gap for customers in their understanding of the available solutions that might support them or their business. What best meets their needs and how will it integrate with the way they work?
This demands a thorough understanding of the products available in your niche, what they do, how they interface and what level of support is available. Working in a co-vendor partnership increases your understanding of their solutions, their support service, their updates and how their product interfaces with your own.
But the learning never stops. New tech launches and updates all the time so you’ll need to stay up to date on what companies are developing and which players are entering the marketplace. No one wants to be recommending tech that will be obsolete within a couple of years.
Having this level of expertise will dramatically increase your chances of building a successful business because customers can trust and rely on your recommendations and will return to you when they need an upgrade or a new solution. Use your partnership to bring a broader offer to customers. Having a range of solutions alongside your existing products makes you more competitive.
Choose your partners
Having decided on your niche and familiarised yourself with what’s on the market, you now need to choose your tech partners whose products you’ll be recommending. Ask around. Who are others working with and why? Do you share the same customers? What’s popular and what’s up and coming? Who offers the best support and aftersales training? Who has a suite of solutions? Who has a good reputation and good connections in the industry where you’ll be selling? Which companies have a strong team of technicians developing and improving their products? Will there be mutual benefits that ensure you’re better together?
Don’t forget to factor in price. Customers like best-in-class solutions but they will have a price-range in mind for their investment. If you’re recommending they exceed their budget, come equipped with great reasons why this solution will offer the best ROI.
Once you’ve narrowed the list, spend time getting to know your potential partners. Who is a trusted name in the industry and who will work with you to find customers? Who best aligns with your own company ethos? Who will support you and your clients? The best partners want you to succeed as much as they want you to recommend their solutions.
Get the word out
Build your online presence and develop your platform. Become known as an expert in your niche and a reliable partner to your customers. Word of mouth and client recommendation are key to being a successful reseller or vendor partner, both for the tech companies you collaborate with and the customers you serve. Set out your stall, offer advice and freemium services to help potential customers build a relationship with you. Be available so that clients can see the level of expertise and support they can expect from you.
The right vendor partner can also help to build market awareness of your packaged solutions and service by promoting your partnership to their online audience and existing customers. By pooling your platforms you build market awareness for both companies.
Finally, think about how you can deliver service above and beyond to your existing customers by partnering with the right company. Combining solutions could help you increase your service, giving you a competitive edge. How can you box solutions together to boost features and utility? How will you work with partners to develop marketing resources and sales leads?
A strong partnership is based on mutual support and a drive to help each other succeed. This means good communication and sharing of opportunities.
Fornova’s Partners Program comes from a desire to support more of the hotel industry to thrive. We bring the best available data and intelligence solutions and a drive to help our vendor partners build successful, future-facing businesses that offer the best service to our mutual customers. To find out how you could become a Fornova Partner and grow your business with our support, visit our Partner Program page.