What is Happening in the Tech World for Hotel Chains?

EHL Editorial Team | 19 Dec, 2016

Technology is providing guests and hotel owners with capabilities never seen before. It speeds up, personalizes and puts power back into the guests’ hands. Tech is also revolutionizing the tasks and services expected of hotel managers. 

International hotel chains face their own challenges, including staying relevant in the face of globalization. Part of this challenge requires evolving with technology. Hotels that avoid upgrading and updating their tech capabilities stand to lose customers who are looking for amenities like free Wi-Fi and in-room mobile devices. At the same rate hotel managers who press forward with technology are able to save time, as well as money.

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For example, take the booking process for hotel guests. Every customer who reserves a room online represents one less task required of hotel management and staff, which saves them time and boosts the hotel's bottom line. Online booking also offers benefits including access to big data, along with the aggregation of guest information to be used for research and marketing.

Once tech-centric guests have booked their room, they want to have as much control over their experience as possible. This is where a digital concierge comes in handy. Marriott Hotels have had such a service since 2015. Mobile Requests allow guests to request room service, wake-up calls, access the rewards program, and other such services – all from the chain’s mobile app.

Claudio Salgado, AEHL 96, Marriott Senior Director of Design Development Operations Asia Pacific.

Another innovative approach to guest access is the use of keyless hotel room entry. Rather than dealing with keys or cards that are both cumbersome and costly, international hotel chains are using mobile devices to unlock hotel rooms. As it stands, three out of four travelers say using their smartphone is critical. One in three admit using their smartphone more often when traveling. By implementing digital room entry, hotel management is taking advantage of exactly that - it's a win-win for both sides of the industry!

In terms of the upcoming trends to expect for international hotel chains, it’s clear that technology is at the forefront. According to Hospitality Net, younger generations in particular are pushing for more tech use in hospitality, and Millennials will expect ultra-personalized services when staying in hotels.

This can be met through online booking options, social media engagement, mobile apps, as well as software as a service (SaaS). Each of these tech applications allows users to interact with hotels according to their own needs, such as finding rooms within their budget and chatting with concierge staff from their devices.

The way people think, consume, live, and perceive reality is changing rapidly. What will be the impact on hospitality? Discover EHL's Lausanne Report.

As hotel managers decide which technology solutions to implement, it’s time to discuss ongoing tech training for staff. For decades hospitality workers have focused on customer service skills, marketing, security, sales, and hotel operations. Those qualities, of course, are still essential for those working in international hotel chains. However, the skillset is evolving in line with increased demand for technology in hotels. An understanding of information technology, social media and online communications tools is now integral to the competencies sought after for hotel chain staff.

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