Like it or not – the hospitality industry is looking to technology in hopes of improving the guest experience and therefore encouraging a stronger bottom line. There are many schools of thought on this subject from those who say “you can’t replace that personal touch with technology”, to those who are looking to replace staff with robots.
Those are extremes, and no matter which way you are leaning, it is important to know what is available to you as a hotelier and to understand what the implications are of embracing or ignoring the trends.
There have been a lot of studies done to evaluate expectations by today’s traveler. Some are obvious – wireless internet access, electronic door locks and in room entertainment to name a few. So how do you as a hotelier measure “what is enough”? It is important to know what technologies are available, and just what the impact on the guest experience might be. Keeping informed of what the marketplace and the competition is doing – are good places to start in this evaluation.
Alternatively, you can find surveys that will give you an idea of the expectation of travelers. However, keep in mind these surveys are only samplings, and don’t measure the overall market. Software advice recently released the results of their survey. To view the results – click this link.
The best rule of thumb would be to spend some time measuring your specific market. Are your guests mostly transient or business travelers. Business travelers might have higher expectations as far as technological “tools” available might be concerned. Mobile check in, online room service, online concierge might be tools that would appeal to a guest who has had a long day and just wants to disappear into their room at the end.
From the perspective of return on your investment in technology services, it is understood that the more times you “touch” a guest, the more opportunity you have to improve the experience. Through a number of the technology tools available on the market today, you have the ability to continually connect with the guest and read the response to insure that it continues to be positive.
However, all of that being said don’t forget that the most valuable tool you have is the spirit of your property. Staff that are happy, that smile and greet each guests warmly will never let you down. It has also been said that the more technology you employ to insure your guest’s comfort – the higher their expectation. It is always important to stay abreast of new and evolving technologies to be better equipped to meet the needs and demands of today’s more sophisticated guest. It is all up to you!