Technology for the hospitality industry should be all about “hardwiring happiness,” according to a senior industry figure.
While the current experience often includes long queues, paperwork, poor Wi-Fi and other areas of friction, true hospitality should be about empowering employees to delight guests.
Lennert de Jong, president for hospitality at Planet, says that the industry needs “up to the millisecond technological innovation” that can adapt and respond to rising consumer expectations and decreasing attention spans.
De Jong, who was speaking at ITB Berlin earlier this month, believes providing hospitality is becoming increasingly complex but that technology is available to address the friction.
“Hospitality is supposed to bring joy, but it brings frustration and it can feel like frustration, not happiness, is hardwired into hospitality systems. So against the background of rising expectations and lives peppered with wow moments, we run into this hotel guest experience still today of tedious queues for check-in, paperwork you have to fill out, bad biros and receipts you have to keep in your wallet, if you have a wallet. If you don’t, you lose."
He adds terrible Wi-Fi to the mix as well as televisions that don’t work and disconnected booking and payments systems all leading to disappointment for customers despite the millions invested by hotels in the experience.
De Jong, who spent six years with SynXis prior to joining CitizenM, says some travel companies are managing to create great experiences for customers, citing Delta’s initiative to alert customers that are likely to miss a flight and instantly rebooking them, and bluetooth technology from KLM helping passengers get to their gates on time.