October 29 2013

Change…. Pain for Gain?

Ever since graduating from the UNLV hotel school in 1988, I’ve been involved in hotel management. I made the switch to technology for hotels in 1994. After many years working in hotels, it was hard moving to an “office job”. That said, the change was worth it as the move opened up an entire new world of opportunity. As a business traveler, I was an early adopter of the Palm Pilot platform as being able to take my contacts and calendar on the road in a tiny easy to use device was game changing. Then, the Blackberry came out combining phone, contacts, calendar, email and more. Sweet! However, when the iPhone came out. I resisted. I loved the Blackberry keyboard. Every time I tried the iPhone, I thought “I send to much email via my smartphone and it the iPhone keyboard is not on par”. Then, as you’ve heard the story so many times before, a loyal Blackberry user made the change to the iPhone. Was the change hard? Yes, and I still miss the keyboard, but that’s about it. Everything else is better on the iPhone.

Recently, I went through another large change…I changed from a PC to a Mac. I made it a point to also go cloud across the board. No more backing up my “My Documents”. Very little Microsoft Office. Cloud everything. Google Docs for me. I’ll admit that this change was very difficult. I had to change the way I thought about everything having to do with work. Here I am on the other side being very glad I went through the pain of change. It was worth it!

What about hotels and how they view changing times? Online hotel review sites have again taken the marketing messaging away. Mobile booking and mobile interaction are making their mark. The question is this…are hotels staying ahead of the curve or are they way behind? Research shows that travelers are more than ready to accelerate change with 79% of business travelers saying YES…if they could check-in and checkout via mobile phones, they would. Other related industries are experiencing huge business benefits by deploying mobile technologies, for both staff and customers. Airlines, car rental, retail shops. Why aren’t hotels doing more to cater to what appears to be dramatic demand for convenience/service choice? The industry will catch up…the guests will demand it. The industry just needs time to get used to the change.