August 29 2014

The Right Hotel Technology

A hotel in Cupertino, CA recently added a robotic butler to their staff. The R2D2-like robot delivers “razors, toothbrushes, smartphone chargers, snacks and even the morning paper” to guest’s rooms. Upon arrival at the guest room, the robot calls the room to alert the guest. When the robot senses the door opening, its lid opens allowing the guest to retrieve their delivery.

In other recent travel & hospitality technology news, United Airlines recently added the ability to let travelers scan their passport via their smart phone apps when flying internationally. With the new app, travelers scan their passport page just like scanning check for online banking. After a third party verifies the passport for additional security, the traveler is provided with a boarding pass, allowing him or her to proceed directly to security for international flights.

New technology in hotels is moving at a such a rapid pace, it’s no longer a question of if technology will impact the guest experiences, but a question of how. Yet, with so many options and possibilities, what’s a technologically inclined hotelier to do?

Between cloud based, hotel mobile apps, and now robots, how does one find the right hotel technology? What’s a worthwhile innovation when it comes to technology in the hospitality industry? With some hospitality technology trends, how does one identify the hotel technology that’s going to provide the most impact? Even further, what impact are you looking for the solution to provide?

As cool as the idea of robotic butlers may be, is it really an improvement on service? As a hotel software system, does provide a measurable ROI? Can the cost of the hardware and implementation actually increase revenue? The cost of this particular robot wasn’t disclosed, but it’s probably easier for agents to drop a towel in the robot, enter a room number, and get back to serving their guests.

United Airlines’ new service also does not disclose any clear cut ROI, but it certainly streamlines an essential customer workflow. Until recently the passport verification required users to check in at a counter, adding to lines, agent workload, and increasing the potential for customer frustration. A measurable ROI might not be a key performance indicator for United Airlines, but perhaps customer satisfaction is.

No matter what hotel technology solution you’re considering—be it a PMS system, guest loyalty, or hotel app—step back and first consider the impact: any investment must either improve service or provide a return. In other words, if a solution can markedly increase service delivery to your guests, then it’s probably worth it. If the investment in the new technology can provide a return, then it’s most certainly worth it.

The best technology in the hotel industry provide both a customer service enhancement and a return on investment.

So if you’re considering robots or passport scanning as a hotel front desk software investment, perhaps consider a solution that will also provide an increase in revenue as well as a guest service enhancement.

By Bryn Joseph Williams Director of Strategic Accounts at StayNTouch, Inc.