Now that we’re well underway into 2013, we appear to be in the midst of a great digital endeavor; one where technology continues to silently and seamlessly pervade every aspect of our lives, arguably for the good and the bad. Yet as I reflect on the all the recent marvels that our electronic development world has brought, there is but one sweeping consideration worth addressing at this juncture.
As humans, we only have so many hours per day to devote any particular task, duty, website, social network, telephone call, television show, computer game, and so on. We appear to be nearing the physical limit that we mortals can handle while still being able to sleep, eat, spend time with our families and go to work to earn a sustainable income to support the other three. Our digital appetites are full, even though progress is still inevitable.
With our biological functions in place, we have already carved out as many technological niches as there hours to spend. Consider mobile. We have laptops for serious and professional functions. Then we have smartphones to deliver the truly portable experience, while tablets offer a medley of these two. What other niches do we presently need? What electronic goods are on the near future and ‘marketable’ horizon to disrupt these established selling points?
Now think about your social media platforms and a ‘first past the post’ mentality likely comes to mind. Facebook adequately fulfills the personal profile, status updates and messaging capacities. Although some of us may have qualms with this software, its networking power prevents mass exodus to newcomer, even if said entrant is better. Ditto for Twitter; it is the micro-blogging hub and any new website that attempts to directly imitate it will be squashed. Google Plus is a notable exception here as the company harnessed its preexisting networking power from its search engine dominance and Gmail to induce widespread participation in its social network.
With this notion as a pretense, 2013 looks to be a ‘catch up’ year. Devices will continue to improve in processing speed and functionality while prices become all the more competitive. Ergo, software will likewise improve and become more robust while also following the usual trends of shrinking both in size and cost. We appear to be entering a maturation phase.
Of course, it would be quite naïve to refute what’s happening behind the scenes, namely computerized glass for which Apple, Google and Microsoft all have various patents and multimillion dollar laboratories cooking up the next generation of commercially viable goods. And don’t forget the hand the military and such whiz kid agencies like NASA play in trickling down bold new inventions into the consumer space.
But when you look ahead to what will be launched wide within the 365 days that comprise the year of 2013, and not just as a sparkling presentation tool at some premiere convention, there isn’t much in the way of ‘novel’. For this upcoming year, I don’t see any new burgeoning electronic goods that offer a completely different utility outside of what’s already on the market. Thus, you shouldn’t worry about such novel technologies, but rather focus on the ones that are de rigueur or past the early adoption phase – smartphones, tablets, apps, websites, plasma televisions and WiFi-based communication enhancements. Be resilient in knowing that this maturation will afford you some leniency resulting from a certain rigidity in technology platforms. For now, you have time to refine your processes and sharpen your execution.
When the economic downturn hit in 2008, it was a time of scrupulous refinement and of seeking more efficient means to carry out the same routine tasks. Five years later, what’s most important is to imprint those refinements as routines themselves. It’s no longer just about striving to be cutting edge, but about embracing the technological stability that 2013 offers and ensuring that all your processes are in sync with what is now considered a standard modus operandi.
Specifically, this means that now is the time to upgrade your website to fulfill all necessary tasks while providing customers with a pleasurable electronic experience. Does your website look ‘2013 professional’ and does it have a content management system to support Google’s upgraded local enterprise and social media-activated search algorithms? Does it have a mobile-ready version for both smartphones and tablets? Have you considered a standalone app?
Furthermore, how are you utilizing software to streamline your daily routines and enhance guest service? Are you using technology in a way to hasten communication between departments so that there’s a constant dialogue about required adjustments and repairs? Do you have a social media team with an established and effective footprint on all the major channels? Have you considered apps that can enhance the on property traveler’s experience?
Just as 2013 is a year to get with the times, it can also be a year to get ahead. All of this technological prowess should be viewed from a guest satisfaction perspective. Whatever hardware or software you install, it should always add to the experience by eliminating the chance for error, making back-end processes more efficient, heightening revenue capture or augmenting what your hotel provides. Look for innovations that work with what people already use and are compatible with what’s currently trending.
It is my hope for you to be resilient in your pursuit for not only increased profits but also a truly exceptional guest experience. Now is the time to mold the existing technologies into habits that can have a positive impact on your operations.
Larry Mogelonsky (firstname.lastname@example.org
) is the president and founder of LMA Communications Inc. (www.lma.ca
), an award-winning, full service communications agency focused on the hospitality industry (est. 1991). Larry is also the developer of Inn at a Glance hospitality software. As a recognized expert in marketing services, his experience encompasses Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Hotels & Resorts, as well as numerous independent properties throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Larry is a registered professional engineer, and received his MBA from McMaster University. He’s also an associate of G7 Hospitality and a member of Cayuga Hospitality Advisors. Larry’s latest book entitled “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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