Managing the Hotel Digital World
By Mark Ricketts President & Chief Operating Officer, McNeill Hotel Company | July 08, 2018
Today, a guest can make a reservation online, never speak with any of our hotel staff in advance of arriving; check in digitally; and ask for services through cell phone texts. It's further conceivable that our housekeeping, maintenance or front desk staff might never see this guest during her or his stay; and, then, he or she checks out in the same stealth mode as upon arrival. The only trail or record of this visit will be an electronic one.
Made possible by today's best technologies, are phantom guests really the future of hospitality? It's certainly not the fondest of thoughts for a true hotelier.
We won't quite call it the Digital Divide, but we are finding that today's digital world presents a host of considerations with respect to guest interaction and privacy, as well as staff training and our own comfort level with many new and extremely powerful technologies. How do we graduate some of our older or less technically adept, but capable and valuable, staff into digital ways? Is there potential friction among those who are good at technology and others who are less so? How do we factor technology skills into the evaluation process? Is the latest technology always the greatest way to accomplish our objectives?
In this article we will consider how hospitality organizations need to use care in deploying new technologies as we endeavor to be efficient and profitable while serving guests to the best of our abilities, in a highly competitive and ambitious industry environment. In essence, the question is, how do we take advantage of everything that technology can offer us with without diminishing our own best human qualities?
The Advent of the Digital Era
While we inhabit a world of physical reality, including those vibrant but immovable objects we call hotels, and our economy still thankfully manufactures things, there is a reason ours has been called the Information Age.