In today’s hospitality landscape, technology is a driving influence in a hotel’s appeal to guests, as they consciously seek out more tech-forward, mobile-centric and personalized travel experiences. And with an ever more sophisticated and expectant consumer on all our minds, it’s easy to fall prey to the growing pressure to stay at the forefront of the latest, innovative technology trends. However, there is a vast amount of hotel technology saturating the market, and not all of it will be right for you.
When asked what guest-facing technologies hotels will focus on in the coming year, two out of three hoteliers asked by HotelNewsNow said voice-enabled technology. The third focused on automation via mobile apps. And these may well be where these particular properties need to focus with their ideal guests. While some technology trends are elements that hotels need to survive, others are simply a fad. So how can a hotelier strategically decipher which technology they should invest in?
Get to know your guests: Succeeding in the hospitality industry means succeeding in the delivery of exceptional guest service — so when it comes to technology, the guest should always be front and center. The concept of putting the customer first is not new, but knowing how to stay relevant requires staying up to date with their evolving needs. Generally speaking, older technology solutions are not able to provide the guest insights that will empower the level of personalized, attentive service required to meet your guest’s evolving service expectations. Rather, hoteliers should look to progressive technology solutions that offer real-time, visual data analytics with actionable insights at every touch point of each guest’s stay.
Future Proof Your Investments: Regardless of what technology solutions you are thinking of investing in, one thing that every hotel needs to start with is a solid PMS backbone. With a core PMS, one that is cloud-based with open APIs can change the way hoteliers do business. Compared to traditional solutions, with a cloud-based PMS, hoteliers stand to gain from having a flexible IT infrastructure. Its’ true power lies in how seamlessly it can integrate with other systems; allowing hotels become more nimble, to connect and do business more seamlessly and can scale up or scale down operations enabling to support business growth without expensive changes to your existing systems. With a solid cloud-based PMS foundation in place, from there, you have the flexibility to integrate and build exactly what will make your guests happy, and make your property more profitable into the future.
Be Mobile, or Be Left Behind: Similar to the PMS, mobile is something that cannot be avoided in the hotel industry. It is no longer an emerging trend — it’s long since invaded hospitality territory. Mobile devices have become part and parcel of our everyday and is changing the way people perceive what constitutes good service. Consumers are coming to expect the kind of self-service, streamlined experience that mobile technology provides. They want the freedom to choose how and when they interact with your hotel, they want the ability to help themselves, to be self-sufficient. By offering guests self-service options satisfies an expanded definition of customer service now grounded by the conveniences of the instant gratification economy.
Try Before You Buy: This heading is a little self-explanatory! However, as mentioned earlier, there is a vast amount of hotel technology saturating the market. There are a lot of different providers providing a range of tools and solutions and it can be hard to decipher which solution best aligns with your business needs. Many companies do offer trials and it is wise that you test any new solution before making any final commitment to ensure that it isn’t something that doesn’t perform as advertised or is unnecessary.
While there nearly seems to be a new technological solution, innovation or trend every other day that hoteliers are expected to keep up-to-date with the reality is every hotel has different needs, different guests, and different concepts. Before investing in any new technology solution, hotels need to think carefully about the problems that need solving and what they’re hoping to achieve with the technology they plan to invest in. A key takeaway would be to focus on a building a foundation that will offer flexibility and empowers you to make your guests happy, and your property more profitable.