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Tackling technology: How the hospitality industry is innovating for change

Our Experience. Your Success.©

The world around us is changing at a rapid pace, as technology evolves and new ways of managing our personal and working lives emerge.

The hospitality industry is no different. New innovations are impacting daily on the way hotels, meetings and events venues operate.

In her latest blog, Kelly Cronin – director of revenue management at Interstate Europe Hotels & Resorts takes a look at the changes and how they impact on the industry.

We’ve seen some huge advances in technology in recent years, from the way we work to the way we interact with each other.

Social media, video conferencing and mobile devices have all soared in popularity and in turn, people’s expectations and habits have changed. For example, it’s now claimed humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish thanks to the ‘age of smartphones’.

So what does this mean for the hospitality industry? How can hotels, meetings and events venues adapt to meet consumers’ changing demands?

It’s all about ‘return on experience’ rather than just ‘return on investment’.

Connectivity, for example, is crucial. People expect WiFi to work and to work well nowadays.

The new generation of professionals take notes on tablets not paper. They’re juggling the meeting agenda with emails and social media updates - so just offering free WiFi is not enough, it needs to be working at a fast speed and reliable.

We know at Interstate from our customer research that connectivity – or lack of – is the biggest dissatisfier for meetings and events guests, so getting it right is of upmost importance to giving your customers a positive experience.

Changing the face of the industry

While advances in technology are a novelty for some, for the new generation of consumers and professionals, it’s the norm.

This generation is used to managing their lives through technology. They can track their exercise, monitor their sleep patterns, control their heating and lighting at home and move their finances around, all at the click of a button and often, without having to speak to anyone.

We’re already starting to see these trends emerging in the hospitality industry. Self-service hotel check-ins have become common place and many hotels are starting to allow guests to check-in online, before they’ve even left the house.

It’s a movement that’s feeding through into the meetings and events industry, too. Apps designed to allow delegates to order food and drinks, request stationary and more are emerging, giving customers more control over their experience.

For hotels and venues, it’s important to make sure they’re delivering on expectations.

While it may seem as though technology is pushing the people power of hotels and venues aside, it’s very much the opposite.

Consumers expect an immediate response when they’re engaging digitally, so staffing correctly is crucial. The need to identify potential issues and gaps ahead of time is becoming more important than ever.

The technology may allow the customer to make the order, but it’s the team who need to physically deliver and ensure things run as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.

How do you appear?

It’s important for hotels and venues to remember that nowadays, they’re more visible than ever.

Platforms like Twitter, Google and TripAdvisor mean not only can customers post their reviews and feedback publically, but potential customers can find out more about a venue prior to booking than ever before.

Therefore, delivering an outstanding experience on the day, and highlighting the key selling points of a hotel or venue online is vital, as people hop from platform to platform to compile their own opinions of the venue or hotel they’re considering booking.

There’s no doubt changing technology is creating a much savvier consumer. It’s up to us an industry to become savvier, too, and utilise the tools available to us to enhance customer experiences further.