The traditional hotel is a place of service where hoteliers are training in service and managing operations. The ‘new normal’ as the pandemic ebbs and flows is one where hotels are increasingly dominated by technologies. This trend is often at odds with the tenets of high-touch service, and yet those companies that are early adopters are the ones that will both gain market share as well as realize sizable cost savings that can be redeployed to other initiatives.
So, what’s stopping you? Not to be too glum about it, but much of this aversion to rapidly changing or upgrading processes can be traced back to psychology. Change is scary, so we avoid it. And yet the world is moving so fast that if your organization doesn’t adopt an attitude of embracing tech then you may find yourself out of pocket someday soon.
Just think of all that’s at our doorstep for which hotels can make inroads:
- Contactless everything, including check-in, messaging and mobile keys;
- Modern payment systems that tokenize cards, minimize fraud and enable digital wallets;
- Updated user interfaces for systems so that new hires can be easily onboarded;
- Integrated operations platforms so that all department tasks are fully trackable;
- Seamless IoT room controls and NFC messaging opportunities;
- Advanced booking engines that accommodate all income streams and bespoke packaging;
- Unifying all guest data points into a customer data platform (CDP) to truly know your guests;
- AI-based tools to help with messaging, housekeeping, channel mapping and rate yielding.
And then there’s all the tech on the horizon like autonomous vehicles, robots, blockchain, advanced wellness devices and a steady push for more sustainability via technologies that curb carbon output. There’s definitely a lot that can be done, and much that should. The key is to tackle it systematically by first having an attitude of continuous improvement.
The problem we see on the horizon for hotels is that, despite the rapid progress made during the heights of COVID-19 to make everything contactless and ensure onsite safety, we are still falling behind the curve relative to where guest demands are headed.
To close with one more abrogating thought, consider Planck’s Principle. Attributed to famed physicist Max Planck, the saying goes along the lines of: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
For hoteliers, the new scientific truth is that our business is now exceedingly one centered around technology. Don’t be the opponent because it will ultimately be your demise, whether that takes a couple years or a couple decades. Rather, position yourself to be amongst the new generation.