The Effect of Technology on the Guest Experience



Our friends at Software Advice, known as a free source for reviews of hotel management technology, released a report this week on how US customers feel about technology offerings in hotels with these key findings:

  1. A combined 60 percent of respondents are “more likely” to choose a hotel that allows guests to check in and open doors with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn’t.
  2. On average, 13 percent of smartwatch owners ages 18 to 34 are “much more likely” to book a hotel with smartwatch technology than one without.
  3. A combined 37 percent of respondents are at least “moderately likely” to choose a hotel with lobby technology, such as touchscreens and check-in kiosks, over one without.
  4. A total of 41 percent are likely, to varying degrees, to choose a hotel with facial recognition technology that can identify guests and enhance personalization.
  5. Forty percent of respondents say that the primary benefit of hospitality technology should be to reduce travel costs.

As our Head of Strategy and Alignment, Gene Hopper, says, today’s travelers have come to expect a certain level of new technology in hotels. Consumers who are growing accustomed to doing anything from shopping to ordering pizza through mobile apps are comfortable using their phone to interact with staff, order food, and even make payments. Technology has always been a rapid-change sector, and the devices on the market now, as well as those expected in the near future, are seeing adoption and use faster than ever.

But what is technology about in a hotel? It is not to give the guests something to play with for novelty’s sake. Hospitality technology should not break from the heart of the industry. It should surprise and delight guests by being easy to find and use, helpful across the entire guest journey, and enhancing (not inhibiting) face to face interactions with hotel staff.

Way-finding technology is becoming a game-changer for hotel technologies, and should see an increase when wearables become key players. For guests, this means easy access to great directions to their hotel, up-to-date construction and parking information, and local information. Inside the hotel, this technology can direct guests to the amenities they seek, point out interesting highlights, and even offer real time coupons and special offers as a guest walks past a particular area of the hotel.

So the real idea here is that technology facilitates moments of delight and stories for guests to tell their friends that have always been a goal for those in the hotel business. These are the moments that bring guests back to a hotel and bringing others with them.

To find out more, view the entire report here.