Technology Affects Every Element of the Hospitality Industry, from Bookings to Management.
Gone are the days when people had to visit their local travel agent or call or write to a hotel directly to book a stay. It seems almost absurd to think there was a time when we couldn’t simply pull out our phones or log into a computer to book a hotel room, yet it wasn’t all that long ago that we didn’t have smartphones or the internet at our fingertips.
Technological advancements have revolutionized every aspect of our lives, and the hospitality industry is no different! Here are five ways technology affects the hotel industry.
The Internet Increases Competition
Before the internet, travel agents were the gatekeepers to the hospitality industry. If you needed information about places to stay, travel agents would tell you about whichever hotels they chose and let you pick from them. Today, a quick internet search will give you information about all hotels at a particular destination. Third-party intermediaries such as?Travelocity?even let you compare rates to help you choose the most affordable lodging for you.
Online Reviews Help Guests Choose Where to Stay
Hotel?reviews?are a large factor in helping people decide which hotel to book. Before the internet became a staple in our lives, the only way to know about other guests’ experiences at a particular hotel was by word of mouth. Now we can know about people’s positive and negative hotel experiences with the click of a button, hopefully minimizing any nasty surprises!
Consumers are More Educated
In olden days, you learned about a hotel based on whatever was stated on the brochure your travel agent gave you. Now you can not only?read reviews, but you can look at pictures of the hotels, visit hotel websites, stalk hotel social media pages, read blogs about people’s stays, and even get a look at hotels from the outside using Google Street View.
Technology Streamlines Operations
From an internal standpoint, technology has been a blessing to hospitality management companies and individual hotels.?The Witness Group?has utilized business intelligence software that integrates their point of sale and labor management systems seamlessly with their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Integration like this results in fewer mistakes. With the ability to communicate data points instantly, and the asset of data automation, the workflow decreases in complication and increases productivity.
The Witness Group also uses the Office 365 platform so staff can communicate and collaborate in real time. In addition to this, they have migrated their infrastructure into the cloud, reducing in-house IT dependency, allowing them to focus on business processes rather than IT needs. They also utilize procure to pay software to accommodate their growing ledger needs.
Any technology The Witness Group introduces will always have the end goal of customer satisfaction. The more analytics that are received from business intelligence systems, the more they are able to accurately meet guest needs and desires.
Technology Aids in the Guest Experience
Some hotels pride themselves on innovative technology designed to give guests a unique experience. The Henn na Hotel in Japan, for example, is one of the first to be?staffed by robots. This hotel features robot receptionists, robot porters, a robot concierge, and more. Henn na has since expanded beyond its first location: as of 2017 it operated 3 hotels, and they have announced?plans to open 10 more?by March 2019.
Henn na is not alone.?Aloft Cupertino?in Cupertino, California employs Botlr, a robotic butler who “will deliver towels to you at the pool, lite bites if you need a snack or toiletries to your room.” Guests may request Botlr’s assistance via their smartphones.
While The Witness Group does not have any robots on staff, they have taken measures to implement an in-room “living room” experience for guests. Bandwidth has been increased for each guest room, and all properties have been updated with fiber optic internet. They also offer on-demand TV channels for guests, allowing them to catch up on their favorite shows they may have missed while traveling.