SAM gathered feedback from resort operators and suppliers to compile two easy-to-reference lists of questions aimed at 1) pinpointing your internal needs and goals, and 2) assessing the capabilities of potential suppliers. We hope you’ll find them to be a useful resource.
A list of questions to help you conduct an internal assessment of your resort’s tech trajectory and prepare to engage with potential suppliers.
What is our current process for X (ticketing, F&B, ski school, retail, etc.)?
How does our process stack up against the service standards set by businesses outside our industry?
Are there gaps in our process that cause friction for guests or staff?
Why do we want to improve this process?
Are we looking to improve the guest experience, improve efficiency, and/or make things easier for staff?
Do we want to save money?
Would a new solution help with staffing shortages?
Are there certain pain points that need to be addressed?
What happens if we don’t change? Will staff be angry/happy? Will customer expectations be unmet?
Who should be involved in this conversation?
Do managers/frontline employees think a change is necessary? If yes, what would they like to see changed? In their ideal world, how would this process be operated?
What department(s) will get a new tech solution? Who from that department should be involved in the discussion?
What other department(s) will be impacted (i.e., IT, accounting, other departments sharing software or hardware)? How will they be impacted?
Who will be the project lead or decision-maker? Who will be responsible for the RFP process?
Have we included frontline staff who interface with customers and existing software?
Have we solicited appropriate input from guests about wants and expectations?
How do we want to improve our processes?
What are things we cannot live without (i.e., true dependencies for safety, security, finance, CRM, etc.) in our new technology solution? (Needs)
What items would be nice-to-have but aren’t essential? (Wants)
How will a specific software work between departments?
How does it talk to the systems we’re already using?
What do we currently have in place for hardware? (Know this before speaking with a provider.)
What limitations and boundaries do we have with hardware?
Is there duplication of data entry that can create more opportunities for error?
How will our investment age?
How much money and what resources can we invest in an implementation?
Who will be paying for the change? A department? The guest (through commission structure fees)?
When it comes to ROI: Are we going to sell more? Spend less on labor? Retain guests? Make employees more productive or satisfied? Are the non-monetary benefits greater than the financial investment?
When do we want to see an ROI?
What are our financial constraints?
Can the financial commitment or software implementation be divided into smaller pieces to spread it out over multiple months, seasons, years?
Are there grants or low interest loans available?
Will the provider finance based on usage or business levels?
Who can lead this implementation and at what cost? Is he or she available?
What solutions achieve our goal?
Does a solution meet all of our needs and most or all of our wants?
Does it make sense financially?
Have we done a thorough assessment of the supplier? (See “Supplier Assessment,” below.)
When and where will implementation happen?
When is the best time to implement?
What resources will need to be dedicated to this project, and for how long?
When must vendor resources be scheduled?
How far back from the date of completion goal must orders be placed?
What is the tech savviness of our staff and/or guests? Will they need training and/or tools to adjust?
Will implementation happen in phases?
Where will the back end of the system be installed?
Where will the front end reside?
Who needs to be on-site to facilitate? What resources will be needed from team members for implementation?
You’ve conducted your internal assessment that determined what your technology needs, wants, and goals are, which informed your request for proposal that was sent to suppliers. After narrowing down the field, now it’s time to make sure any potential supplier can tackle all of the things on your list. Here are some pertinent questions to ask any prospective vendor before signing on.
Please provide a list of references that we may contact.
Who else in the ski industry is doing this? Are they in a similar market? Did they have a similar transition?
What is the best example of your solution already in place?
How have other areas seen a return on their investment? May we contact them?
What other markets do you serve?
Is the ski industry a priority?
Please provide financial references to show that your company is healthy and sustainable.
How big is your company? How many employees do you have?
Where do you see your product in five years? What does the company’s future look like?
If there is one thing you could change about your software, what would it be?
What are the payment terms?
Over how many years span?
Will I have to pay in the off-season?
Can I pay during cash-flow-heavy months?
If commission based, when will I see the money?
How are your reports detailed to make sure I understand how much I owe you?
Do updates cost additional? Are they automatic?
What other solutions does your platform already integrate with?
Can we use existing hardware—servers, PCs, gates, scanners, printers, etc.? Do printers and other peripherals connect via USB, serial, or IP?
This is the most important information we use for reporting—can your software run similar reports?
What database information will transfer? Can we see sample transfers prior to going live?
Please provide details of your support organization.
Is tech support available 24/7, on weekends and all holidays?
What time zones do your support personnel operate in? Are our business hours the same as yours?
How can we contact you? Email, phone, chat, communication apps?
If support is not available 24/7, what is the methodology for emergency escalation?
Do you send someone to be on-site in case of issues during implementation or the first week of operation with the new system?
What training services can you provide?
What is the timeline for implementation?
How will we prioritize what we’re going to do first, considering shipping times, additional peripherals, or cables?
What can we do to make this transition as easy as possible
for our guests?