All industries are constantly changing and developing and it seems that this is largely driven by technology and its advancements in the hotel industry. Inspiring leaps ahead in digital technology are meant to make things easier for people who work in the hotel industry, but sometimes these changes can seem more complicated and require more resources.
More resources could be extra staff or extra finance and that finance mostly goes towards new technologies and/or staff training to be able to use them.
But although it can seem that technology is the driving force behind this change, this isn’t really the case. If you look a bit deeper you’ll see that what is really changing the face of the hotel industry are its consumers.
Consumers’ tastes and desires for hotels and the travel industry are constantly changing and customer satisfaction is always evolving. It’s consumer needs that necessitate new and innovative methods of technology in hotels for them to be able to connect with each other and create a desirable experience overall.
However, a report from Hotel Executive has also highlighted that the infrastructure of modern hotels is completely different from the way it used to be. In the past large hotels had vice-presidents who ran multiple departments in the business, which could have ranged from finance to marketing and from human resources to administration.
Now, it is more likely for large hotels to have a number of different vice-presidents who specialise in one area, for example you might have a vice-president of technology and another of finance. It’s also likely that they won’t have the title of vice-president but are more likely to be a department head instead.
In a similar vein, a lot of industries, including the hotel industry, outsource a lot of their work when it comes to things like marketing and advertising. In the past most, if not all work was done in-house and this again represents a wide range of industries, not just the hotel industry. But, as things have changed and developed over the years, hoteliers have realised that it is worth outsourcing a campaign to a marketing, PR or advertising company to produce high quality advertising that will reach their desired target audience.
While a hotel will have a marketing department, those within the team may not possess the knowledge or skills to run a successful social media presence or marketing campaign. It is by realising that this is an important tool to reach their consumers, that hotels will look outside its walls and to people who are skilled in these areas.
Social media in particular is becoming one of the most important tools for hotels to capture the attention of an audience who are increasingly reliant on digital technology. By having a successful presence online presence and one that is easy to reach, hotels have the chance to improve their relationship with their consumers. Having a platform that allows customers to speak directly to a hotel – or any business – and to be able to receive a swift response makes people feel heard and does wonders for customer satisfaction, before they’ve even set foot in a hotel.
As customers’ interests and needs in hotels evolve, so too the hotel industry must adapt and find a way to sustain itself, it’s a bit like Darwin’s idea of natural selection: if the industry can’t change to suit the consumer then new options will open up that the consumer will ultimately prefer.
Airbnb and couchsurfing are good examples of the new services that grow out of changing consumer needs. With the new generation more interested in travelling to places to get a proper feel of the local area, things like Airbnb are perfect ways for visitors to ingratiate themselves fully into the culture of a new place and enjoy a more authentic holiday experience.
Customers may expect a similar level of local influence when they stay in hotels too, from locally sourced food and drinks in the hotel bar and restaurant to someone who lives in the area working behind the front desk who can advise them of places to go that are off the beaten track.
Technology in the hospitality industry is playing a huge role in the transformation. In order to make themselves competitors in their own changing industry, hotels need to gather information on trends that could affect their industry including technological and cultural advances. Similarly, they should work to collect data not only on what their competitors are doing, but what other industries are doing in general to serve the interests of their consumers to see if it can be adapted for their own model.
Although technology, advertising, services and products are for consumers and seek to present them with things that have never seen before, it is the consumers themselves who remain the driving force behind the change in nearly all industries.
So much is now a basic requirement in the lives of consumers, for example Wi-Fi and wireless check-in for hotels and apps to control lights and open doors, that it leaves consumers looking for things that they haven’t seen before. As long as consumer needs continue to change then the hotel industry will continue to follow suit.