In this paper we will be discussing Technology, Distribution and Green Initiatives, as the 3 key themes that the hospitality industry is pursuing in order to meet the changing landscape of the future. Developing strategies around these themes is helping leading hotel chains stay ahead, as they address the needs, preferences and complexity of their growing customer base. Attending to the technology needs of the customer is done through an overview of trends on guest entertainment systems and Information management systems hotels are investing in to know, track and retain their customers. The theme on Green Initiatives provides an overview of how hotels create products and services that appeal to the sensitive and ecologically conscious side of their customer. Finally, another instrumental theme that has evolved over the last 30 years and continues to grow is Distribution, which involves mediums used by Hotels to attract new customers and communicate & build loyalty with existing customers. Introduction
The hospitality industry has heavy reliance on other industries, world economy and global travel trends. Since the boom of globalization, hospitality has witnessed a stratospheric growth in number of hotels and restaurants around the world. Major hotel chains like Accor, Marriott, Hyatt and Intercontinental have expanded their foot print across the globe. International operations contribute anywhere from 30%-40% revenue for these chains now, compared to the past where their show of strength was limited to their home countries. With growth and penetration in new markets, comes the challenge of building brand preference towards the customers, venture capitalists, owners and other stakeholders. These chains have to stay ahead of the trends and build strategies that will meet and exceed the future demands of today’s complex traveler. 3 prominent trends, around which, hotel chains continually struggle with, are Technology, Distribution and Green Initiatives. The challenge with these trends is that they require high investments and have small lifecycles. Yesterdays most talked about practice are irrelevant today; such is nature of these trends. They are dynamic and continue to evolve. Technology Trends
According to Hospitality Technology Next Gen, of the top 7 trends identified for guests, 5 are technology related (Patrick. F, 2009). Technology blends in and enhances each touch point a guest has with the hotel. It helps in fast, efficient and consistent delivery of the service while ensuring guest privacy. Today’s traveler is tech savvy and uses a variety of gadgets that help save precious time. The hotel of tomorrow must ensure that it not only catches up with traveler’s preference of gadgets, but stays ahead of the game and offers solutions that continue to delight him/her. The most important trend within technology is personalization (Patrick. F, 2009). Imagine a hotel that knows the music you like to hear, the preference of newspapers, aromas, what floor or view you like. If a hotel could deliver these details to every customer, then it achieves its objective of being a preferred hotel that meets and exceeds expectations. It no longer has a cold, standard product to offer as it customizes its services as per the unique preference of each customer. In turn, the guest feels recognized and develops a comfort factor that boosts loyalty, guest experience and repeat business to the hotel. Hotels deliver this technology by investing in advanced Property management systems. Technology providers like Micros work with large hotel chains to custom make their products in line with the hotel’s strategy. Another important trend within technology is In-room guest entertainment systems. The business traveler of today travels with at least 3 gadgets, a Cell phone, laptop and personal entertainment gadget like an iPod/iPad. Hotels are investing in technology that help the traveler stay connected and entertained ‘on demand’. The...
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