Research: Planning lags for industry technology
Research findings indicate that while hoteliers anticipate digitally savvy and sophisticated hotel guests by 2020, planning for hospitality industry technology remains outdated.
Recent research findings indicate that while hoteliers anticipate digitally savvy and sophisticated hotel guests by 2020, planning for hospitality industry technology remains outdated.
This finding was one of the conclusions from ‘The Hotel Industry in 2020’ conducted by ESSEC Business School professor Peter O’Connor, IDeaS Revenue Solutions, Revinate and SiteMinder. The study compiled survey results from hundreds of leading hoteliers around the world, and the results of a ‘visioning’ session with hoteliers and consultants held during World Travel Market (WTM) London in November 2016.
“The combined research explored anticipated hotel guests of 2020, as well as the technology needed to cater to their needs,” Dr O’Connor saidl. “We wanted to hear directly from hoteliers about how the future traveller would look, and the measures needed to prepare for them.”
According to Dr O’Connor, participants anticipate guests who are ‘digital natives,’ who rely primarily on mobile devices to engage with hotels before, during and after their hotel stay. Key differentiators included flexibility, value and control, all predicted to be influencers in guests' purchasing decisions, over human interaction.
When asked which technology hotels could not be without in 2020, respondents named those already implemented in many hotels, including revenue management systems, customer relationship management systems, property management systems, channel managers and emarketing solutions. By contrast, expert panelists – largely operational managers and consultants from UK and European hotel properties and technology arenas – nominated middleware, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems, predictive analysis tools and management dashboards to have more integrated views of the guest, along with messaging solutions and Bluetooth beacons to drive deeper engagement.
The panelists suggested that a key roadblock to implementing these systems industry-wide was highly-siloed customer data. Other roadblocks included data protection and privacy issues as well as overall industry conservatism with few hotels pushing boundaries and most tending to stick with well-established systems in the marketplace.