Why Investing in Hospitality Technology is Investing in Good Business

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | November 17, 2014

As the wider hospitality industry continues to face a slow recovery, savvy hotel owners and managers should be looking inwards during this time with a view to ensuring that the technology they use to help run their facilities are best suited for the roles they have to perform.

Whilst many international hotel organisations have used the economic downturn to adequately plan for the future through improved levels of technology and staff investment, many others are not heeding the warning signs and are instead shedding costs wherever possible – which can lead to disastrous consequences.

No one knows for sure if the current ‘green shoots’ being reported in the media will lead to a rapid or sustained economic recovery, but all pundits agree that there is definitely some recovery and eventually the situation will improve. Will markets return to normal? The question to ask is what’s normal in the post GFC era? ‘Normal’ in 1996 meant something completely different to ‘Normal’ in 2006.

Progressive hospitality organisations that have currently heeded the warning signs that dynamic markets and changing industry requirements are part of the new ‘normal, ’ and have taken the time to update or invest in the right technology and training, will be better placed to effectively conduct business in the market place of 2010, 2011 and beyond. To quote Bob Dylan ‘The times they are a changin.’ Hoteliers across the globe need to ask themselves - what are they doing to position themselves for this?

In consideration of how investment in hospitality technology can support business growth, rather than being an added cost, or unnecessary financial burden, to a hotel – it is important to look at what operational efficiencies the technology can bring, including any improvements in staff activities and morale that can be delivered and how the technology will ultimately benefit the hotels revenue performance.

There are many technologies that tick all of the above boxes, including:

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.