Industry Update
Opinion Article26 May 2020

Hotel Technology: The Answers

By James Harrison, Hospitality Technology Consultant at HotelTCS

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I Don't Have The Answers

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Anyone who follows my personal posts on LinkedIn will have recently seen me sharing a lot of truths. This is going to continue in a similar vein, albeit focussed on Hotel Technology. The truth is, as of early May 2020, we don't have all the answers. We may have some, but not all of them.

I talked in March about Corona Virus not stopping hotel technology. While the premise of my article was about virtual conferences, seminars and talks, Hotels as we know them, and the technology in them are now stopped for sure.

Hotels In A Post COVID-19 World

As COVID-19 tore through the world, the hospitality industry was irreversibly changed. Initially impacted in a way no one could have predicted. This was swiftly followed by a realization that things will never be the same again.

There is now an acceptance that a new era will soon be upon us, and that the restrictions which exist now, maybe in place for some time. People, of course, have begun searching for answers.

As with any situation, surrounding yourself with people who offer expertise is certainly a good start. What has surprised me, is the number of people who seem to have the answers.

Hotel Technology Will Save The Day

Maybe it will. Also, maybe it won't. Because we don't have the answers. Yet.

As a technologist, I do have a hope that strategic application of technology will help us when it comes to getting the hospitality industry back on its feet.

There are some applications that have already helped us for years, these will continue to play a pivotal role, that's for sure. Now though, we will be looking for even more. Technology that not only exists, but is well executed, easily supported, and most of all, user-friendly.

Most likely we will be looking for things like:

  • Thermal Imagining cameras - Detecting those with high body temps
  • Contactless payment terminals
  • Customer/people counters
  • Guest heat-mapping/Geospatial sensing
  • Tracking applications
  • Housekeeping robots
  • UV-C cleaning
  • Digital check-in
  • Many more….

My point is though, we don't know. We don't know, until we try them, with guests in place. In our hotels. The thing is, guests in our hotels is something we don't really have right now (Apart from in a very small number of cases).

We live in unprecedented times and I believe that assuming we have answers now would be a little naive. What we have at the moment, are options. Considering where we could be, options are not a bad thing to have.

Hotel Technology Options

Now if we look at the list above, and the many more suggestions people will make as options, and not answers, we can form a plan to get to the answers. Hotel technology has often fallen behind other areas of technology. Now, in a post-COVID-19 world, it is likely that we will be pioneers.

Our list of options is going to need some trial and error because right now, we don't know exactly what will work. We can hazard an educated guess for sure, but we've never been here before. This is uncharted territory.

So, what will you do? Let me know what you think the answers are in the comments below. Let me know what hotel technology solutions you will use when starting your recovery? If you had to recommend a solution to a hotelier, where would you focus your attention?

Like I said at the beginning. Plenty of people out there are ready to tell you they have the answer. Well, I speak the truth, and all I know for now, is that the only answer is to work together.

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