High-tech does not necessarily mean low-touch. As emerging technologies drive unprecedented change in the way hotels operate and serve customers, they must not forget that technology is a facilitator and not a replacement for guest services. New technologies can in fact enhanced guest services, improve operating efficiencies and increase revenues.
The challenge for most companies is that the pace of change is extreme, and many are uncertain about what types of technology to adopt and the best ways to create a seamless integration of systems company-wide.
Technology can facilitate things such as faster check-ins and check-outs, or faster response to service requests. But technology is only as good as its application by an organization.
Technology brought a new era of guest services in the 1990s as networking capabilities facilitated the implementation of new client server technologies.
Based on this article, in my opinion, one of the challenges is that hospitality companies, especially hotels and restaurants still running multiple computer platforms at the same time, due to the upfront investment that new technology requires. One of the benefits tough of adapting client server technologies is that applications, even where they are developed by different companies, can all read the information from a centralized database. Despite a significant upfront investment in the newest technology, hotels can benefit from a reduction in IT expenses, lower investment is computers and productivity improvement.
Another benefit of having a centralized system is database marketing, hospitality companies would be able to serve better their guest when the information they have about them is not fragmented.
Hotels are moving fast in adapting mobile technology such as WiFi, digital checkout, digital key and other technology around those lines, but the basic, perhaps the most important point of contact with guest on property (in room TV), still is an old, standalone system that doesn’t add any value to the guest stay. Doing some research, I found out that hotel guests prefer Netflix to In-Room “Porn” (Billock, “Hotel Guests Prefer Netflix to In-Room Porn,” 2017). Still, most hotels don’t even offer the option or have the technical capabilities to allow users see Netflix in the hotel room.
Although economic reasons are the main barrier for technology adaptation, more research must be done in deterring what other factors may delay technology. They include resistance to change, compatibility and perceived inability to qualify benefits.