Is Hotel Technology Lagging Behind other industries?
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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?
For decades the big hotel companies try to create new services, designs, brands, loyalty programs in order to grow mainly through franchise contracts. They try to convince investors, banks and owners that their brand offering is unique. The problem though is, more or less everything is about the hardware, the hotel product itself and not about the customer, the guest. And since the big ones are the bench mark for the smaller ones this affect the whole industry down the smallest individual property.
Over the last 20 years especially OTA's introduced a completely different approach to the hotel industry. Instead of having the product in mind, they have the guest, the booker as their centrepiece and they try to do everything to attract them on an individual level with customized services, sales and marketing actions, websites, content etc.
Hotels are way behind the digitalization and this not because of budget constraints. The CEO's have to understand that the world has changed, and individualization is everything and it comes from the data around us. To use data, the organizations must be adopted first to become customer centric, new organizational structures and decision-making processes to run a Central Data Management strategy must be in place and this is only doable if the CEO understands this and leads the necessary change process. Today this is not the case, IT, Marketing, E-Commerce, Operations are fighting against each other instead of working together.