Investing in Technology Innovation - How Much is Enough?
In the first viewpoint of this panel, several experts weighed in that the Hospitality Industry does not properly invest in technology innovation. Apple spent about $15 billion in research last year alone… or 5.5% of its annual gross revenue. We ask ourselves these questions: Is this level of investment purely in R&D also necessary in our industry, and is it possible to get that kind of money? What's your take?
Without proper investment in research & development of “future” tech there is no path enabling hoteliers to achieve their goals. If you think about the number of hospitality technology companies that are out there you can already see we probably spend close to what Apple and other tech giants spend in relation to a “percentage of revenue”. Brands and management companies should not be responsible for this type of massive R&D efforts - leave that to the technology experts. Companies like Amadeus, Oracle, Shiji and Infor are all spending money on innovating technology solutions for the industry. That's not even taking into account the $10's of millions of dollars invested in start-up firms whose ideas fuel R&D that help reshape the technology landscape in our industry.
Hotel brands, management companies and owners need to work alongside hospitality technology companies by sharing their goals and visions so that everyone is on one accord. This way R&D dollars will be allocated and spent in a way that will most benefit the industry. We need to break down the vendor/customer transactional interactions and create meaningful “trusted partner” relationships to truly achieve more together. Hoteliers should give direct and meaningful feedback to their tech partners and in turn should listen with an open mind so that both parties can help craft the best direction.
It requires both sides to cooperate and work together - assigning less blame and working together to shape a better guest experience.