With all of the innovative and exciting ideas for hotel technology out there today, it can be difficult to find a technology partner who can suit your needs. The question is, can you believe the hype? Whether you’re choosing a company to partner with for the long haul, or a specific product, deciding which factors matter most to you and your brand can be a little overwhelming.
This is a guide to help you maneuver through the new landscape of hotel tech.
Top 10 Considerations in Choosing a Technology Partner
- What are you trying to achieve? Never sacrifice the guest experience for the latest gadget. Most new technology can provide a “wow” factor, but in the end, guests should want to use it, find it easy to use, and it should enhance their stay and help foster an emotional connection to your brand.
- Is your provider better at marketing than technology? Self-promotion does not equal substance, so look beyond the brand.
- Have you spoken with any of their clients for a real insight? Part of looking beyond the brand is finding out what other clients have to say. Even a great piece of technology with high reviews may not be the perfect fit for your brand, so ask the questions that matter most to you.
- Have you assessed projects they’ve completed for other clients? Visit other hotels and try the technology as a guest. Is it intuitive? Does it deliver what’s promised? As a guest, does it make you want to come back and tell your friends?
- Is the technology dependent on expensive, onsite infrastructure? Or is it piggy backing on your existing infrastructure with expensive API fees and limited functionality?
- Are there signs of innovation or just reworked 3rd party ideas? If you are going to stay ahead of the curve you will need a tech company that sets trends rather than follows them.
- Is the technology open and flexible in its structure? If you want a stand-alone product, do you want the ability to integrate other systems in the future? Find out exactly what applications you will need, what added expenses they may include, and how flexible the technology will be over time.
- Is this a one-trick pony or are there other exciting products in the pipeline? Choose a partner you can depend on for future innovations.
- Can they really do what I need them to or are they just saying “yes” to everything? Be aware of how technology products work in the hands of the user. Are these products already proven or are they still in development?
- Are you investing in the right hardware? Liam Walsh,Monscierge Managing Director, EMEA, has these considerations to keep in mind when choosing hardware:
Where is the technology going to be deployed – no good putting a tiny screen in a public space. Public spaces need a large format display.
It’s important that the displays are designed for commercial use – high load, heavy use, able to run 24/7. Consumer products used in this way will often fail quicker than commercial grade hardware which is designed to last more than 4 or 5 years in most cases.
Too small – not visible, low usage.
Too large – privacy issues
ADA / DDA compliance
Smaller screens may require multiple units to be installed to accommodate ADA/DDA accessibility. Lower unit costs are offset by needing 2 or 3 screens.
Like most other things, you get what you pay for. Cheaper, older types of touch technology do not offer a guest experience anywhere close to what people have come to expect after a few years of using smartphones and tablets (Projective capacitive touch technology.)
Computer module (aka media player)
Cheap modules will increase maintenance costs, decrease user experience (slow, laggy graphics)
By the way, you can read up on Liam Walsh, who contributed the bulk of this article, here on our site, or follow him on Twitter.