Technology Trauma May Cause Guests to Need the ER—Emotional Recovery

By Roberta Nedry President & Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | January 18, 2015

Please press "1" if you are frustrated, please press "2" if you are annoyed and please press "3" if you just want to SCREAM about technology replacing human resources and decision making!!!

According to Professor Stephen Hawking, one of today's pre-eminent scientists, when asked about the progression and greater impact of technology, he recently told the BBC, "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." He continued with, "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded." Yikes, could our hospitality leaders and employees actually be superseded?

Professor Hawking's potential forecast may seem dramatic, questionable or at least a very distant possibility to some. Yet, the issue of today's tremendous innovations and applications of technology in so many arenas, including hospitality is; how are the humans who direct, support or manage that technology doing when all does not go smoothly and how are they using their "biology" to do things the computers and software can NOT do?

How many times are hospitality and business leaders and their teams alienating loyal guests and potential customers due to a disconnect between technology solutions and human interactions? With exciting technologies emerging in all areas of hospitality and business daily, how are hoteliers preparing, managing and training their teams to ensure the personal touch is not lost Are the humans and technology performing as a team or two separate roles? How are they ensuring that reactions, responses and emotions do not also become automated for guests and especially that their employees are not all superseded by machines? And, when technology does cause some form of trauma, how well are employees trained to send guests to the ER and deliver an emotional recovery?

The Answer: Mobilize and train human beings to come to the rescue!

As technology continues to inspire new ways to interact and support guest preferences and needs, so should the humans behind that technology continue to inspire and reinforce ways to interact and support guest preferences and needs to complement and enhance not compete or disengage with that technology.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.