Hospitality professionals from all over the US have all come together at the conclusion that ‘technology will lead hospitality in the near future.’ The thing is, the future is already here. Yes, we are living the times’ hoteliers, technology managers, and academics have been talking about for the last ten years.
It’s unfortunate that a pandemic eventually had to make owners realize the wonders technology can do for their guests. Legacy systems are simply inadequate in a time people are glued to their smartphones and highly involved with digital services.
Just consider smartphone technology, a 2019 CWT research identified that:
- The more experienced travelers are, the more likely they are to use mobile to book travel
- When booking higher classes (for airline travel), travelers are more likely to book on mobile
- The closer to the departure date, the more inclined travelers are to book on their smartphones
- Business travelers are more likely to book hotel rooms over their smartphones when they are at home
Google identifies in consumer travel research across nine countries that consumers search for hotels & travel like they search for clothes. Why are we discussing all this? Resorts and country clubs need to imminently start re-evaluating their basic technology systems.
Smartphones are a core part of the travel & hoteling experience today. From marketing to onboarding guests and delivering services later on during the stay, the guest technology experience is greatly tied to the small computer in our hands.
Consider the Marriott Bonvoy app which has gone from booking a hotel room to becoming the central guest journey console for tourists. From booking rooms anywhere in the world, opening your room door with Bluetooth, and ordering food online the Bonvoy app delivers everything from tours, rewards, amenities, and room service.
Resorts & country clubs already employ several critical technologies that require constant attention and security. A property-wide WIFI network, POS machines, business centers, smart room appliances, back-office equipment, etc. all require a robust security policy & design to ensure both guest devices and data is highly secure.
While we are on the subject, technology has not only proven to provide more convenience to guests at resorts, but it is also a source of massive insights for business. Guests leave a trail of data breadcrumbs for hoteliers to follow. From their room service requests to shopping habits hoteliers can predict when they will have dinner to where they would want to visit.
Analyzing and understanding big data has already been mentioned by a large number of professionals and academics. The sheer number of advantages that A.I. & data-driven science brings for hospitality requires deeper interest especially from resorts & country clubs. Predictive marketing, preventive maintenance, cloud-based property management, and robotics are just a few leading-edge technologies breaking through in resorts and country clubs.
Technology has already proven at hotels, resorts, and country clubs just how effective they can be to achieve economies of scale. The deployment of energy conservation systems, waste management, and green power are already transforming hospitality businesses for the good.
A number of hospitality franchises are already investing in solar power, composting waste, and power management systems for efficiency.
Robotics are completely changing the way hospitality will function amid the coronavirus infection still active. Some hotel franchises had begun to deploy robots even before the COVID19 pandemic began. Here are some amazing examples to look into:
- The ‘Botlr’ room service robot at Aloft Hotels
- The Luggage Bots at Sheraton Chicago
- The Xenex Germ-Zapping Bots at Westing Houston Medical Center
- The fully automated Yotels New York
The development of intelligent property management, revenue management, inventory management, and staff management systems is also assisting large scale hospitality businesses to reap efficiencies. Cloud-based & mobile-enabled systems that can be managed from practically anywhere allowing hoteliers great versatility over operations.
One major reason that resorts & country clubs should consider upgrading their tech infrastructure is the sheer number of digital transactions and data being stored on their databases. With notices being issued by the FBI, the WHO, and PwC for imminent data breaches, hospitality companies need to be on their toes.
Prevailing data privacy laws including the EU’s GDPR have already fined Google, Facebook, Marriott, British Airways, and several other multinational companies for data protection irregularities.
PCI Compliance offers a universally accepted and subjective set of rules that also address technology in addition to securing payment systems. NIST offers its own highly sophisticated cybersecurity framework for businesses to enact for robust data security & digital privacy.
This is really when things start to get confusing, therefore, this is where a technology management partner comes in for resorts and country clubs. Regardless of technology type, a hospitality technology manager is essential to build synergy among different technology systems.
There is much more to hospitality technology management companies than just hardware and monthly compliance checks. Today, guest experience management and personalization are trending mantras in the industry.
Managing the experience of every guest through various digital services like mobile apps, websites, smart rooms, robots, signage, etc. is a complete area of expertise in hospitality. Technology managers are also essential to manage the liabilities that can incur in the process of delivering highly automated service experiences.
There is a digital age upon us like never before, and with COVID19 still prevailing hospitality must invest in new digital solutions for the foreseeable future. The impact of robotics has already surprised hospitality, with mobile apps making way for highly personalized experiences managed through technology.
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