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?
Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Founder & Director at NextGuest Digital
I see three main reasons why hospitality technology is lagging behind other industries: 1) Reluctance to invest in digital technology: This reluctance to invest in digital technology comes from the lack of understanding that we are serving technology obsessed travel consumers who demand a hotel technological experience be equal or better to what they have at home. In this digital age, hospitality technology goes way beyond the flat-screen TV or the property PMS, and should focus on guest-facing digital technology applications and devices like streaming media hubs, voice assistants, messaging capabilities, mobile-first property website, personalization technology, and one-to-one pricing and marketing applications.
2) The technology and data fragmentation in hospitality is another big challenge and impediment to progress the industry faces today. The typical hotel uses a myriad of vendors that do not talk to each other, and in many cases do not even know each other. Guest data lives in multiple “data islands” that do not talk to each other: PMS, CRM, CRS, Social Media, Web Analytics, Marketing Data, and BI. Very few properties and hotel companies can boast a single view on customer data with live data feeds from ALL touchpoints with the traveler.
3) Lack of proper education and professional development opportunities on digital hospitality technology and the latest technology innovations, trends and best practices. How many hospitality schools today teach hospitality technology courses? Almost none.