How 26 Billion “Internet of Things” Devices Will Impact The Hotel Industry

By David Tossell Vice President, DataArt | March 08, 2015

Part 3 of a series of 5 articles on the digital guest experience

You Say You Want a Revolution? Just watch the travel industry for a few years and you will get one…

Back in 1993 I started my career in travel marketing at a time when airlines paid 10% commission plus overrides – which travel agency owners felt was still too low of compensation. The "state of the art" in travel technology was still in companies like Sabre, Amadeus, PARS, Apollo (remember them?), etc. Prodigy, CompuServe and GEnie were dial-up services who were for the Dungeons & Dragons-playing set and AOL was smaller than those 3 trailblazing companies.

By the end of the decade, in just 7 short years, the travel world was turned completely upside down.

  • Airlines that were not at 0% commissions were quickly on their way there,
  • AOL had already peaked and was losing share to cable and DSL providers,
  • Online travel distribution was poised to be the travel industry revolution of the 2000's.

So what does my dragging you for a trip down my memory lane have to do with the digital guest experience? Well, I think it is a good way to ask you to prepare yourself for yet another revolution that is already impacting the hotel industry and will only continue to accelerate in the coming decade – the "Internet of Things".

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.