If you are in Hospitality and avid reader of industry news, these are confusing times. The internet is filled with articles about the top trends in hospitality.
Guess the next trend in hospitality?
Sustainability. Safety. Hygiene. Contactless. Voice. F&B Delivery. Robots. Chatbots. Virtual Reality. Mobile Check-in. Local Experiences. Healthy & Organic Food. Staycations. Digitalized Guest experiences. Personalization. Solo Travelers. Integrations. Internet of Things. Lean Operations Management. Mobility. Remote working. Business Travel or rather the lack of it.
And the list goes on...
Different blogs highlight any variation of the above trends while some of them steer the reader to the product they want to actually sell.
The truth of the matter is that the world has changed forever post COVID-19. Many of the tech “trends” pre-covid has become tech “realities” post covid. The “Great Reset” as described by the World Economic Forum is real. Things have changed forever.
Hotel Technology Trends Summarized
Now, if one were to aggregate most of the above trends and think of them in terms of enablers, we can think of two:
Contactless Technology Enablers :
- Mobile Check-in
- Digitalized Guest Experiences
- Internet of Things
Lean Operations Enablers:
- Integrations & Open APIs
- Remote Working
We might have missed some of it but the point remains that any technology which enables lesser use of physical touch points, enables straight through instructions and at the same time helps in making hotel operations more efficient – both in terms of cost as well as productivity – are something which can witness growth.
However, we need to be aware of 2 points:
1) What trends stick in the industry?
We should not confuse between something transient and something which is permanent. Hotels is all about personal touch and giving guest bespoke experiences. COVID-19 has introduced additional processes in hotels which make interactions with guest very impersonal and at the same time raised housekeeping and administration costs due to the increased focus in cleaning and sanitization.
We need to be aware that many of these practices might be removed once the threat of COVID-19 recedes completely.
2) Un-contactless Technology
The word contactless technology means technology which does not require an actual interaction between the initiator and the receiver. On the face of it, this is against the very philosophy of hospitality. However, not every contactless technology can be judged similarly. Using digital guest experiences in-room makes sense as the face to face interaction element was anyhow absent.
However, taking an order from a guest seated at a restaurant, conversing with the guest, trying to upsell, making the personal touch is still the preferred choice of contact in many hotels – even during Covid19. We believe that just because a technology is contactless – does not mean it would be become a trend.
Technology that kills or automates a personal experience need not become a trend. Investing in such technology should always be done with caution.
“Technology that kills or automates a personal experience need not become a trend. Investing in such technology should always be done with caution.”
As Hoteliers navigate through the array of technology solutions available, one needs to understand the impact of these trends also depends on the unique factors affecting their hotel. Size of the hotel. Business or Leisure. Star rating. Complexity of operations. Full Service or just Bed and Breakfast. And so on.
Understanding which trend would fit in just right in their hotel is just what every hotelier should aim for.