AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Conversations: DocMX
Aaron Belton, Global Head of Travel & Hospitality at DocMX joins Joanna Todd, Head of Accommodations and Lodging for for AWS Travel and Hospitality, for a broad-ranging discussion around how AWS Partners are helping customers build resilience and prepare for what’s next in travel and hospitality.
During this unprecedented time for the industry, we have been inspired by the innovations that have been born out of disruption and will impact and improve the way we fly, eat, stay, and experience our world for years to come. Now more than ever, AWS wants to help customers succeed by connecting them to AWS Partners with deep AWS technical expertise and proven customer success to help travel and hospitality organizations build a resilient business and accelerate innovation. That’s why we’re honored to have DocMX as a launch member of the brand-new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency.
Joanna Todd: Describe your company, the types of travel and hospitality work you do, and key travel and hospitality clients.
Aaron Belton: At iT4 Australia, we are dedicated to driving operational excellence in the hospitality industry. Our flagship product DocMX is a SaaS document management and process automation technology that can be moulded around any business. We specifically designed DocMX to enable hotels and other hospitality players to digitise their ways of working – without the complexity or costs typically associated with leading-edge enterprise solutions.
Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Accor, and many other medium to small operators are saving vast amounts of time, valuable resources, and money with DocMX.
DocMX ingests information from various third-party systems and mediums, using rules-based machine learning and artificial intelligence to capture the relevant information to process onto automated workflows. DocMX enables our customers to automate time-consuming manual tasks, standardise efficiencies in different business areas, share workloads across dispersed locations, and securely store information utilising AWS technology in compliance with local legislation. No more chasing information around the office taking you away from more value-add activities!
JT: Many companies across travel and hospitality have been managing through a period of unprecedented disruption. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during this recent period and how have you helped clients manage through them?
AB: The biggest challenge for ourselves is to convince hospitality organisations to invest in new and disruptive technology, to change the status quo, and to reinvent themselves during these unprecedented times when cash preservation and liquidity are critical. This is not just because of reduced occupancy or future uncertainty for the hospitality industry – but also because of the tendency to stick to traditional operating ways that have been extremely successful over many years.
We have worked with our customers to help them in the short term, for their long-term benefit. Over this uncertainty period, we have been providing our technology at favourable cost and payment terms, or even withholding invoicing for a set time. This way, our customers continued benefiting from the efficiencies and savings delivered by our solutions. We were able to reduce our costs thanks to the agility and flexibility AWS affords our technology. Since clients are charged only for what they use, in a time of lower occupancy and activity we were able to produce significant savings, and immediately pass them on to our customers.
JT: It’s been an incredibly difficult time for travel and hospitality companies, but we’ve seen many companies investing for the long run. With all the uncertainty, why has your company chosen to invest in travel and hospitality at this time?
AB: DocMX is not a product of this pandemic: our vision and commitment to the industry is and always has been a long-term investment. We have been continually developing and improving our technology over the last 15 years, hand in hand with hospitality professionals, to streamline and automate various operations within the hospitality industry. As a result, we are now able to offer a solution very specifically aligned to this vertical, integrating with virtually all hospitality systems and delivering proven operational savings. Time savings, environmental savings, and significant monetary savings underpin every project we undertake. This is the bedrock of everything we have achieved and will achieve in the future.
JT: In the face of the current disruption to the travel and hospitality industry, we’ve observed incredible innovations coming from across the industry. How has your company innovated through these challenging times on behalf of your customers and what are you most proud of?
AB: I think that the pandemic has only highlighted our foresight and how businesses of all natures should be operating: with agility, utilising the latest intelligent automation tools, and embracing their environmental responsibility. The digitally empowered teams of our customers can do more with less, collaborate remotely, and are overall more resilient in the face of the current disruption. Our solution is simple and agile, so we’re able to quickly add new features as required, for example to help hotels manage paperless check-in, or log personal information for contact-tracing in line with the latest government requirements.
We believe our greatest achievement is identifying this requirement many years ago, working with innovative global organisations and very different cultures around the world to streamline hospitality processes. Being one step ahead, we have built up expertise and the right technology, and now stand ready to drive innovation and help more hospitality organisations future-proof their operations.
JT: The travel and hospitality industry is incredibly resilient. As you look toward recovery, what role does technology play for your company moving forward? How do you see technology enhancing the customer experience and improving operational efficiency?
AB: Gone are the days of “we’ve done this before.” Organisations now need to do more with less – stand still and you get taken over! We have developed over many years an understanding how to process hospitality data in the most efficient way. Simply making existing processes electronic is not enough. In a typical hospitality organisation, digital transformation too often still means separate systems in each department, with almost no communication: Property Management Systems, Food and Beverage (F&B), Sales and Events systems, Housekeeping, Payroll, HR processes, paperwork, emails … There is a need for better collaboration to solve problems faster, no matter the origin of information.
DocMX brings information together into a single, easy-to-use interface, giving hotel staff instant access to support the guest experience. Let me give a few concrete examples. Automated end-of-day reports and audits save time for the Finance team; emails on hand for Front Desk and Accounts Receivable; F&B can answer queries faster and more accurately; Events information is processed to Accounts Receivable with fewer errors for faster payments; Accounts Payable is automated, with rebates, comp rooms, refunds all electronic in a single interface. Instead of administrative tasks, staff get more time to focus on what they are good at – being hospitable!
JT: How does building on AWS allow you to prepare for whatever the “new normal” in travel and hospitality will look like? How does the new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency help companies do the same?
AB: Our DocMX technology is embedded within the AWS infrastructure, allowing rapid, secure, reliable, and scalable implementations across virtually any global location. With AWS, we can deliver enterprise technology without the expense normally associated with such solutions, making it viable even in these times of disruption. Our cloud solution is easy to implement and to use – no expensive consultants, onsite travel, or hardware required.
The AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency highlights innovative and trustworthy travel and hospitality technology providers. It further validates our expertise and ability to implement leading-edge digital solutions at sensible costs, bringing significant time, money, and environmental savings – that we can guarantee.
JT: What makes you excited for the future of travel and hospitality? As a traveler or guest, where are you looking forward to visiting next?
AB:Our excitement is knowing that many hospitality organisations now understand the clear requirement to digitise processes and change. At iT4, we are at the forefront of this opportunity, with a proven technology, experience and a case history second to none. We understand hospitality and are committed to this opportunity, to drive efficiency, reduce overheads, and develop environmental savings.
As for future travels, I am currently located in the UK so looking forward to visiting our offices in warmer locations – like Malaysia or Australia!
Aaron Belton is the Global Head of Travel & Hospitality at DocMX. He has over 20 years of first-hand experience working hand in hand with hospitality professionals to streamline operations in Asia, Oceania and Europe. Currently based in London, Aaron leads the DocMX digital transformations team, driving efficiencies and tangible savings to hotels affected by the pandemic.
DocMX is a unique document management and workflow solution specifically designed to save time and money by automating processes within the Travel & Hospitality industry.
For more information, visit www.docmx.io
Learn more and team up with AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency Partners.
See more Partner Conversations and industry insights on the AWS Travel and Hospitality Blog.