Industry Update
Opinion Article15 December 2017

5 Things Hotels Should Consider when Investing in Technology

By Hammad Hussain, Managing Director Tink Labs Europe

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Implementing the right technology allows hotels to address evolving needs of guests while delivering attractive return on investment

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With over half of hotels (57%)[1] poised to spend more on technology in 2017 than they did last year, hotels are looking for fresh ways to deliver high-quality experiences to keep pace with rising customer expectations.

While most hotels are generally focusing on being "smarter" and "more innovative", the real burning questions are: how can hotels make sure their investments are worthwhile in the right technologies?

1. Get to know your guests first

The concept of putting the customer first is not new, but knowing how to stay relevant requires staying up to date with their evolving needs. Implementing the right technology allows hotels to focus on modern needs beyond what traditionally makes good service, such as offering travelers mobile check-in and check-out, virtual concierges and one-touch access to room facilities.

Tink Labs' mobile hospitality solution, handy, provides hotel connectedness to guests inside or outside the property, ability to promote services that guests value, and access to guest analytics to gain a more comprehensive picture of how guests like to be served.

2. Balance technology with the human touch

Technology should be an aid, not a replacement, for face-to-face staff and guest interaction. Person-to-person communication is an essential part of hospitality. Guests expect travel tips, attentive services and friendly, personal interactions as part of their hospitality experience.

The balance is in finding technology that complements human interactions and vice versa. With handy's 'Push Messaging' feature, staff can share promotions and offers with guests, while 'handy Chat' keeps guests connected to the front desk or concierge at all times – providing tips on where to eat, what to buy, or simply to order an extra pillow in the middle of the night.

[1] According to the 2017 Lodging Technology Study.

3. Invest in mobile based technologies

Mobile technology has changed the way we live. The travel and hospitality business is no exception. Mobile makes a direct impact on how guests interact and consume. Guests expect more than just WiFi – they want all services at their fingertips at all times.

Mobile based technologies have the advantage of familiarity and convenience. With handy's preloaded apps, curated city guides and maps, guests can find out about the city, decide what to do, where to go and where to shop – with all the convenience mobile technology brings.

4. Try before you commit

The complexity of integrating multiple systems is probably the biggest problem hoteliers face when deciding which technologies to invest in. Integration difficulties, coupled with high costs, mean that choosing a solution that works smoothly with existing systems can be costly and diminish returns on investment.

More and more hotels prefer plug and play solutions to test technology and assess returns. Once the concept is proven to meet objectives (which in most cases is superior guest satisfaction) then hoteliers can think of seamless integration with their other systems.

5. Future-proof your technology investments

Think about which parts of your business you are trying to improve by using the technology, and look for one integrated system that could manage this. It might seem like a larger investment at first, but continuously updating hardware and software, and taking the time to train each staff member, can be tedious, risky and not cost effective. An integrated platform that provides for most of your innovation needs under one hood, can be a more efficient, reliable, future-proof solution.

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Hammad Hussain

Hammad leads the UK and Ireland markets at Tink Labs Europe, managing all the commercial, operational and administrative activities from the London office - the headquarters of Tink Labs Europe. Hammad has 16 years of experience across various industries and geographies, specialising in corporate and business unit strategy development, operational and technological transformations.

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