It is no secret that the hotel industry has always lagged behind in adopting new technology. We consistently struggle with introducing innovations to streamline operations and increase efficiency. Ten years ago, Micros Systems ruled hotel POS systems and was the starlight of the integrated operation of the front desk, room service, hotel restaurants and bars, and spas. Fast forward to today, not much has changed. Why is this so?
Lack of incentive to replace old technology
The significant base of technology, both hardware and software, already installed within the industry, remains a major obstacle to hotel management. Admittedly it was costly to set up and it took a lot of effort to train the staff and integrate it into a daily operational routine, so managers are reluctant to go back to the drawing board. The technology might be outdated, vulnerable, incapable, even unreliable, but as long as it is adequate, there is often little incentive to replace it. If a piece of the technology was to breakdown, hotel managers are typically more worried about the availability of the obsolete utility required to return the old system to normalcy, than taking the opportunity to install newer technology.
Management teams that aren’t tech-savvy
There are very few hotel managers who really bother about, know how to use, or are interested in bettering their technology. Most of them feel their priority should be maintaining good client relationships and an appealing property. However, they are missing out on one major point: the clients now seek technology in hotels – whether it is reliable WiFi, USB-sockets to charge their phones or a mobile app to order room service – as part of the guest experience.
Priority debates among owners/managers/franchisers
Hotel groups often have a very strict set of restrictions when it comes to what the hotels can and cannot do, leaving very little room for experimentation. Similarly, franchisers priorities tend to change abruptly and quite often, causing disruption up the chain. One reason for this is that most franchisers base their decisions on guestroom and public sentiment rather than actual needs. Throw in the often-present “branding campaigns” from the management and the consequent disruption to technology, and you start to see why most hotels have retained their old systems for so long.
Fortunately, all the three are challenges that can be solved as long as there is collective goodwill. It is time we realise that technology is not just a cost centre, but a fantastic opportunity to improve both the hotel efficiency and the guest experience. We’ll talk about that in more details in another article. Be sure to sign-up to our blog to be notified!
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