Is Hotel Technology Lagging Behind other industries?
For over a decade I have heard industry pundits, consultants, other experts, and myself say that the hospitality industry lags behind other industries in innovation, investment, and adoption of new technologies. Is this really the case? If so, what are the barriers, issues, and conflicts that have led to this situation? More importantly, what should we do about it?
I'm not of the mind to accept that hotel technology is lagging behind other industries, I believe the issue is one of hesitation to adoption, not innovation and availability. As a point of reference, we had a fully functional room booking engine available for hotels to use on their websites in 2003, but it took a decade before adoption became as ubiquitous as it is now; imagine a hotel without a booking engine today (yes there may be a few laggards, but a very few).
Fast forward to today, we offer multiple variants of mobile and guest engagement tools, including mobile check-in, checkout, digital registration, mobile housekeeping, and mobile management tools, all as integrated add-ons to our Maestro PMS, yet adoption is growing very slowly. This is not a factor of price, as these tools are extremely cost-effective for our clients, but internal challenges around the project management of implementing these offerings to guests (marketing, branding, education), are often more overwhelming to plan then the use of the technology itself. This is further aggravated by concerns over security and privacy, including PCI and GDPR. Hotel technology may appear to be lagging, but this is more about hotels ensuring that the available technology is used in thoughtful and productive ways for guests, than the actual availability of that technology.