Why are Hospitality Providers Falling out of Touch with Industry Advancements?

Technological advancements have been the go-to investment response for many industries as the benefits of adopting new time and labour-saving tools are unquestionable, yet even as one of the fastest-growing industries in the world hospitality is still the slowest to adopt these changes.

New technologies in hospitality are an abundance and this variety could, in theory, allow for greater flexibility and personalisation of tools to fit the needs of hoteliers across different backgrounds.

Yet everywhere you look, hoteliers are shying away from adopting new hospitality technology trends such as mobile check-in through a hotel booking app or chatbot-based customer support.

“As an industry and particularly from a technology perspective, generally there is a predisposition to wanting to be somewhere between 2nd place and last place in relation to new technology. I've always found the desire to be anywhere but first a fascination. Not too many businesses in the industry would not strive to be No. 1. For the most part, everyone is waiting around for someone else instead of taking a leadership position.” - Mark Fancourt, Co-Founder at TRAVHOTECH

The reasons provoking this behaviour are too many and too interconnected to fully grasp, but even then it’s important to mention the main one, the fact of the matter is, hospitality could be broken down to its most basic principles, a property owner leasing said property for a limited period of time, and the model would still work. This makes hoteliers ask themselves why fix it if it isn’t broken?

And this is where they get it wrong. What new technologies guarantee for the hospitality industry isn’t a remedy for some unnamed issue, but a chance for small and middle hotel chains to compete outside their league and step up their game in the increasingly chaotic hospitality market.

Let’s take the following example, you are managing a fairly well to do property with a strong aim at business travellers. You offer your premises to local conferences and offer a set of additional services, such as golf lessons and vineyard tours.

Based on your occupancy rates and rising revenue of the establishment your predictions for the next few years are that demand for your property’s services is likely to keep growing, so having taken it into consideration the owner opens a second location in a different city.

What follows, however, is not quite what you predicted. The second location does not take off as well as it would have been expected. Business travellers are no longer booking exclusively with hotels as many companies prefer the similarly effective but often cheaper options of Airbnb and Booking.com.

Your hotel might be the only one with a façade that clearly states the character of the establishment but every building in the area might now also be acting as a hotel. Treating this as an inevitable side effect of the current character of the hospitality industry you press on, but now you also notice a drop in the original hotel's numbers.

Read more: Guide to Innovative Hotel Loyalty Programs

Loyal guests who would be willing to stay at one establishment might not be getting the same treatment at the new location. Meetings ensue and you’re trying to figure out a strategy that would improve communication between the locations, but while this is all happening your brand’s already taken a hit that would be hard to recover from.

The idea of sharing guest profiles between locations and updating your in-house PMS is finally thrown about, so not knowing where to start you pick a more popular hospitality software provider and finally update both locations to an integrated network that can effectively share information.

By the time these changes have been fully implemented, the second location has finally found its footing and your brand has just started to recover, but you have lost years trying to fix something that wasn’t broken in the first place.

Technology in the Hospitality Industry – Have We Gone Too Far?

New technologies in hospitality are not so much an aid anymore, but rather a conductor for any future success in the industry. It is fairly easy to overlook the need for staying on top of hospitality technology trends as most hotels can function independently of change for decades.

Couple this with the need to cut down on cost as a way to compensate for the lowering of room rates and paying fees to online travel agencies, and most hospitality providers end up feeling robbed by just being in this industry, to begin with. So when sacrifices have to be made, innovation is the first thing to go.

Hospitality software can be intimidating at times. The companies who develop it go above and beyond when waxing poetic about how intrusive and easy to use it is, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re the one who has to build a marketing strategy around these tools. This, of course, comes into play when a hotelier is faced with updating their existing platform to a newer integrated PMS .

Letting go of the reluctance to upgrade technologically can be easier than it seems. Most hospitality software providers offer free trials of their services and feedback to queries as to the functions of their tools. Another way of dispensing with tech fears is by looking at what other hotel brands are doing with the software they use.

These days hotel apps are everywhere. Millennials and Gen Z-ers treat hotel apps as their go-to means of communication with the establishment, booking stays and services directly from their mobile devices allows them to make last-minute calls on their trips and it also allows you an effortless upsell.

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About Clock Software

Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.