Expert Insights: Major challenges to Guest Technology Experience

The hospitality industry is becoming increasingly reliant on technology to provide top of the line service to its guests. However, the implementation of new technologies is not without its own challenges. We asked seasoned industry professionals, “What they think are the major challenges to the guest technology experience today?”

Mychal Milian
General Manager / Director of Complex Operations
Dania Pointe Marriott Hotels

“Cybersecurity poses a significant challenge in ensuring a secure guest technology experience in hotels. Additionally, the wide array of multiple technologies and programs creates more work for front-facing teams, limiting their time to engage with guests. Streamlining applications, automating tasks, and enhancing functionality can alleviate this challenge, allowing more meaningful interactions between staff and guests.”

Mohammad Haider
Director of Front Office Operations
The Elser Hotel

“Biggest thing I would say with the newest technology is that yes it supposed to make everything easy and seamless, but the savvy guest is still getting to know the product, so I always urge our Guest experience agents or our Bell person to do a room orientation. It’s always crucial to ensure the line level staff is trained over and over the product so anytime guests ask for help troubleshooting any team member can step in.”

Karen O’Neill
Co-Founder- Rational AI
GAIN Advisor

“The pandemic forced a major shift in the guest journey for hotels. Some may view this starting with their arrival at their hotel and their check-in process followed by their experiences and journey during their visit. Technology related to this portion of their journey may still have challenges but ultimately continues to improve and provide better service to the guest with sophisticated mobile check in tools, keyless entry, exceptional guest messaging solutions to provide a modern concierge and operational software to ensure their preferences, priorities and experiences are met swiftly.

While these are all fantastic improvements to service our guests; let’s also shift to consider the guest technology limitations or challenges first around the booking process–the first step in the guest journey experience in hotels. 

With the rise of OTA’s and the somewhat demise of the traditional “travel agent” many guests have and continue to take the booking experience into their own hands–ultimately allowing them the power of choice. Yes, Hotel companies have streamlined and continuously improved their loyalty programs and we are seeing the rise of interesting functionality like ChatGPT, but research continues to show, most travelers are unsatisfied with the available options to book hotel rooms creating damaging effects and booking abandonment. Up to 85% of visitors have not completed their reservations!  Also, in order to circumvent this tremendous loss and more importantly an unsatisfactory experience related to guest technology, I believe delivering attribute-based solutions (ABS=shopping for the consumer/guest and selling for the hotel/hotelier) a rational approach to merchandising hotel rooms is also the ultimate personalization engine, generating immediate revenue gains for our industry but more importantly—also ensuring the guest needs are met. Over half of travelers would pay more if they could have guaranteed room features. Shifting to an ABS model at the booking engine level would certainly help overcome the guest technology challenges.”

Larry Mogelonsky
Managing Partner
Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd.

  • Think strategically. Understand your objectives.
  • Look at a total solution. Or tech stack rather than a single solution.
  • Invest the time in planning before diving in.
  • It will not happen overnight. You need time.
  • Have an attitude that encourages change. Involve everyone and do not silo decisions.

Mohammad Shoaib Ziaee
Director of IT
Advanced Hospitalities Technologies

“Some of the challenges that hotels face when it comes to technology experiences:

  • Keeping Up with Technological Advancements: Technology is constantly evolving, and hotels need to stay updated with the latest advancements to provide cutting-edge experiences to their guests. Adopting emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, contactless check-in, or smart automation, requires proactive planning.
  • Integration and Compatibility: One of the significant challenges is integrating various technology systems within the hotel environment. Ensuring compatibility and seamless integration between property management systems, guest experience platforms, in-room technology, mobile apps, and other hotel systems can be complex and require significant effort.
  • Balancing Automation and Human Interaction: While automation can enhance guest experiences, it is essential to strike a balance between technology-driven processes and maintaining the personal touch of human interaction. Some guests still prefer traditional service elements, and hotels need to cater to their preferences while integrating technology.
  • User-Friendliness and Simplicity: Technology should be intuitive and easy for guests to use. Complex user interfaces, unfamiliar systems, or confusing controls can frustrate guests and hinder their overall experience. Hotels need to prioritize user-friendliness and simplicity in their technology offerings.
  • Data Security and Privacy: Guest technology experiences involve the collection and storage of sensitive data, such as guest preferences, contact information, and payment details. Hotels must prioritize data security measures to protect guest privacy and prevent data breaches.

Addressing these challenges requires careful planning, ongoing training, and support for staff. By understanding and proactively addressing these challenges, hotels can enhance their technology offerings and improve overall guest satisfaction.”

Robert Rauch
RAR Hospitality

“I believe the next level of technology for the guest experience is robotics. Our service robots from Relay Robotics are great but if they could actually communicate with our guests, the heightened guest experience would truly be the next level. Further, the vacuuming robots that we have from Tailos need to be enhanced to react to guests in the corridors more effectively. Both companies are working diligently toward these ends.”

Ramesh Gokal
Hospitality Consultant
Plan B Solutions

“Guest technology in most hotels in my experience range is dependent on the technology supplied by the hotel’s brand. As the industry trends towards more virtual service interactions with the guest, the technology will have to be primarily user and hotel associates friendly – both in useability and functionality.”

DeLance Woods
Food And Beverage Operations Manager
Hilton Hotels & Resorts

“What I’ve experienced, when it comes to challenges of technology with hotel guests is connection issues to the public Wi-Fi inside the hotel. Sometimes, the connectivity issues be the guests phone carrier and sometimes it’s the hotel internet connection. We also use QR codes in guests’ rooms. Some guests have trouble scanning the QR codes. Sometimes it’s users’ errors and sometimes their devices don’t have the feature to scan QR code unless the customer downloads an app.”