Advantages (and disadvantages) of tech in the hotel industry
By: Alexandra Mundlak
The rise of the use of technology in the hospitality industry has increasingly escalated. With the evolution of technology and the advancements we see throughout the years we have also seen hotels modifying themselves, and since there’s huge competition in the hospitality industry, hotels cannot fall behind, so they have no choice but to adjust to the changes. Technology has benefited both the hotels and their guests, and although there are always pros and cons, the advantages definitely outweigh and outnumber the disadvantages.
Evolution of Technology
For instance, the majority of guests will always choose to stay in a hotel that feels relevant and up to date. Guests are drawn to convenience, and technology has helped with that by introducing mobile keys, mobile concierges, smart TVs, and room controls to list just a few adjustments.
At the same time, the fact that there are mobile concierges and room controls, per se, also helps the hotel when it comes to their sustainability. It allows for hotels to spend less money and conserve energy by installing motion sensors that automatically shut off electricity in open, unoccupied spaces or even adjust the lighting of the room based off of the amount of natural light in that specific spot.
In order to delve into all the advantages thoroughly though, the small amount of disadvantages should be recognized first.
More recently, employees have been quite afraid of losing their jobs because they believe that technology will replace them over time and one way or another. Hotel employees see it as the more technology is introduced to the hotel, the less need for human beings, and therefore a lack of job opportunities.
Although this is a valid point that has made by most hotel employees, they should keep in mind that the hospitality industry revolves around guest contentment, and therefore there could be no such thing as a hotel without a working human being.
Although technology is extremely convenient, it’s also nice to interact with someone face to face sometimes, and for them to reciprocate emotions, feelings, and a bunch of other things technology cannot. The human touch is something that will not and can never be replaced. So, the first disadvantage, the one of the job deficiency, can be checked off as resolved. When it comes to the hotel guests, the underlining con- and constant fear of hotel personnel- is that one day all technology and access to the internet stops working.
Just like everything else, technology isn’t perfect and has its defects that might still be in the works. So, going back to square one, if we get rid of all human hotel staff and rely on solely technology, and one day all technology stops working, the hotel will be deemed a failure and no one wants that. Although there are some disadvantages to technology in hotels, they’re minimal and seem quite impractical.
The Overriding Advantages
Moving onto the advantages of technology in hotels, there are an infinite amount, but the most obvious one is the progressive ease of the lives of hotel personnel. Every day their jobs are getting more and more easy due to the help of technology. From the use of chatbots, hotel personnel and more specifically the person sitting at the front desk, can pull up the information about the guest seeking help therefore helping them with what it is they want and in a timely fashion.
The precision and orderliness of the information on the computers will allow the hotel personnel help the guest’s check in process run way more smoothly than if they had to scramble through papers and hand written notes.
Some hotels even provide chatbot services in order to check in before even stepping foot in the hotel, and others provide kiosks in their lobbies to help the guests that know what they’re doing speed up their check in process. Without all these advances in technology, the line of people by the concierge would be never ending.
When it comes to the guests, everything can be found right on their smartphones. From the amenities the hotel has, to more information about the hotel, surrounding areas and things to do around town, our phones have it all. Even more so, hotels have given smartphones the access to serve as room keys and even adjust lighting and air conditioning in rooms.
Amazon’s Alexa in Hotels Today
Recently, Amazon launched an Alexa system for hotels, in which guests can use Alexa in order to ask for maintenance in the room, request items, request cleaning services, ask what the weather is like, ask for entertainment in the surrounding area, and even room service. The service Amazon designed for hotels is called Alexa for Hospitality.
It works as voice assistant technology in which you can ask it anything regarding the hotel, the surrounding areas or even things to do within the area. Even more than answering questions asked, it can also be used to adjust the thermostat or raise the blinds in the room. Marriott is going to introduce the new Alexa experience in a lot of their properties starting this summer.
Although Alexa for Hospitality seems to be more advantageous than anything, some people find it to be more creepy. Those people are the ones that were not aware that they could always choose whether they would like to have Alexa there or disable it by hitting the ‘mute’ button.
Additionally, Amazon has confirmed that hotels cannot access the voice recordings or personal information shared with the device, so anyone that was concerned about their invasion of privacy can take that weight off their shoulders and start to get to know Alexa.
Despite all of this, some hotels have partnered up with Alexa for Hospitality, but a lot have been hesitant when it comes to it and have chosen not to because not all hotels want to invest in hardware that is limited to the rooms when guests are perfectly able to use their smartphones and more specifically, the chatbot services within them in order to gather the same information and ask for the same requests as they would with Alexa, just in a more pleasant manner – at the comfort of their mobile devices.
Keeping Both Hotels & Their Guests Happy
It has become evident that technology has contributed to helping better hotels and achieve ultimate guest satisfaction. Although there are both pros and cons to technology in the hospitality industry, the advantages always end up counterbalancing the disadvantages – considering there are very few negatives to start with in the first place.
Overall, when guests feel absolute fulfilment, so too do the hotels and their staff, so the longer we keep introducing new technology to hotels, the more we’ll see happy guests returning to the hotels they had previously stayed at.
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