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Lodging Industry Tech Trends Revealed

At this week’s BITAC® Tech & Ops, we uncovered what technology is most important for future success.

Monday, May 06, 2013
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The hotel industry is getting supercharged with technology. Once left to the realm of an afterthought, technology utilization is rapidly increasing as hoteliers finally understand the critical nature of leveraging innovation to yield increasing profits for higher guest satisfaction and profitability.

And for an industry that’s typically last to react to trends, here at Hotel Interactive® we have to say the learning curve on how to maximize current techno trends in the hotel business is shortening. And it’s yielding profitable results.

In what ways? Well, from listening to attendees at this week’s BITAC® Tech and Operations event at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, we are seeing that improving guest experience seems to be on top of everyone’s technology list. That’s especially true with in-the-room gewgaws and tools that can create highly personalized experienced for customers. And of course social media continues to play an ever increasing role.

Using our own brand of cutting edge technology, we were able to take the industry’s pulse this morning at BITAC® Tech & Ops using a real time voting system. It gives us the ability to uncover what is really going on with critical hotel business trends.

BITAC® of course is the industry leading one-on-one meetings and relationship building event. And at our BITAC® Tech & Ops event the crème de la crème of the technology side of the lodging industry showed up in force to come together for an incredibly exciting event that serves as both an idea exchange and deal cauldron that empowers attendees to make proactive change.

A cornerstone of every BITAC® event – there are currently nine annually (http://www.hotelinteractive.com/article.aspx?articleid=25173) – are our educational panels that cut through the clutter to educate and empower hoteliers to be more successful both personally and professionally.

And at this year’s BITAC® Tech & Ops we looked to the conference’s brain trust to make the news. That’s right, we love engaging our attendees by asking attendees their opinions regarding some of the most important technology issues facing the hospitality industry today. So we thought we’d share how leaders in hospitality that attended BITAC® see the trends. Here is what BITAC® attendees believe about the issues currently affecting this side of the business today:

Are you effectively leveraging technology to lower operational costs in your hotel?
Yes - 18.8%
Yes, but we could do better - 56.3%
No, because we don’t have the budget - 11.3%
I think I could do more, but not sure how - 13.8%

What area of the hotel do you think needs the biggest technology injection?
Revenue Management - 11.0%
F&B - 5.5%
Guest Focused Technology - 58.3%
Hotel Systems such as HVAC - 7.9%
Reservations and Marketing - 17.3%

Where do you see your hotel getting the best bang for a technology investment?
Back of House - 11.9%
F&B Operations - 3.4%
Other Amenities Such as Spa - 1.7%
In the Guestroom - 49.2%
Social Media and Other Marketing Initiatives - 33.9%

By what percent has revenue management helped enhance your hotel’s bottom line during the past year?
Less than 5 Percent - 8.6%
5-9 Percent - 34.5%
10-15 Percent - 29.3%
16 Percent or Higher - 27.6%

What do guests want most from technology in hotels that isn’t internet related?
Control Guest Room Functionality from Phone - 5.1%
Ability to Create More Personalized Stays - 35.7%
Online Room Selection and Check-In - 24.5%
More Technology Driven Entertainment Options - 34.7%

What do you feel will be the next great guest focused technology?
In-room Connectivity Centers - 12.3%
In-room Video Games - 0.0%
Utilizing mobile devices for more personalized property experiences - 87.7%

What sort of apps based information do you believe would be most welcomed and appreciated by guests?
Pre-arrival information for the applicable convention, meeting, etc. – 31.9%
Pre-arrival information regarding tourism, things to do in the area etc. – 29.4%
Information regarding restaurants, activities, etc. within the hotel – 38.7%

Do you think ‘push offers’ to personal devices while at a hotel will be critical to the leisure guest experience?
Absolutely - 37.8%
Perhaps - 46.2%
Not at All -10.9%
I’m Not Sure - 5.0%

Do you feel meeting planners would pay more for better availability of technology?
Yes – 73.9%
No – 12.2%
Perhaps – 13.9%

Will eCommerce continue to steal ever greater share of marketing dollars from the advertising budget?
Absolutely -70.8%
It’s Siphoned Enough Away Already - 10.6%
Traditional Advertising Will Make A Comeback - 0.9%
I Don’t Know - 17.7%

Social Media

Social media is having widespread effect. How is your organization influenced by online chatter when developing new products and/or services?
We Depend On It - 17.5%
Somewhat Influential - 55.7%
Not At All Influential - 12.4%
We Set Our Own Trends - 8.2%
You Can Use Social Media For That? - 6.2%

Which social media site the most important to you?
Twitter - 11.5%
Facebook - 30.1%
TripAdvisor - 51.3%
Pinterest - 2.7%
FourSquare -1.8%
Yelp - 2.7%

Have you had measurable results attributable to social media whether deliberate (planned by the property) or accidental?
Yes, it works great - 11.3%
Yes, it works OK - 50.0%
No -16.3%
We’re just not sure - 22.5%

For those that have participated in social media to engage with guests: Have you had clear, concise goals, including a way to measure ROI?
Yes -29.6%
No - 70.4%

Do you think Twitter or Facebook campaigns are relevant to your business?
Absolutely for Both -39.4%
Facebook Only- 30.3%
Twitter Only - 4.0%
It’s All a Load of Hyped Up Bunk - 26.3%

Which is more damaging for your online reputation?
Horrible Tripadvisor review - 89.9%
Flickr pictures depicting bad housekeeping - 0.0%
Twitter blast of negative guest experience - 0.9%
Facebook or Pinterest post with bad pictures - 9.2%

19. Five years from now, what will most influence guest selection of a specific hotel?
Social media recommendations and promotions – 32.5%
Search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) – 37.3%
“Offline” friends and acquaintances – 2.4%
Some online application/site that nobody is yet to be created - 27.7%

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