With the rapid pace of technological advancements and the fast rate of implementing it into everyday life, people need the latest IT facilities. They demand this from hotels as well. But the industry has always been lagging behind the needs, not being able to offer the latest advances in technology. Now management has started to take note of the guest’s needs and is aware that technology is a very competitive advantage and is starting to adjust their strategies in consequence. Boutique hotels offering sci-fi levels of technology are starting to emerge and may be prefiguring the future of hospitality as a whole.
With technology advancing now faster than ever before, everyone needs and demands using the latest technological means just to survive. Such is the case in the hotel industry too, especially in the upper-class and boutiques hotels area of the market. With hotels always lagging behind other sectors in adopting new IT systems ( PLUGGED IN, 2009; Buick, 2003), keeping the pace with customers’ demands becomes a pressing issue to hospitality providers. This problem is acknowledged by the players in the industry, being debated in trade-specific publications, conferences and academic literature. There are two sides of the use of technology in hotels: “back of house” systems (property management systems, revenue management systems, internal control instruments etc.) and technology that is used directly and mainly by the consumers. The following review aims to put the current technological state, future trends and most pressing issues of the hotel and hospitality industry into perspective. II Literature review
The newest trends in the hospitality industry show an emphasis on the experience delivered to the customer and not so much on the tangible aspect of the product. With the service sector beginning to dominate the world’s economies, there is a growing concern on delivering meaningful, memorable customer experiences (Meyer and Schwager, 2007). This can be seen from a practitioner’s point of view with The Ritz-Carlton Hotels Company, which prides its self with becoming an “experience and memory creator” (Nixon and Rieple, 2010). The next generation of clients demands continual technological updates for every business and personal user and hotels often can’t keep up the pace. Property owners are understandably reluctant to renovate as often as needed to support the latest technology, meaning major renovations never happen often enough to keep the tech-crazy guests satisfied (Russ, 2008). No longer are people going to hotels to experience something new, but hoteliers are looking at guests as technology consumers and supply little more than the average customer demands (Freed, 2010). The use of modern technology can help hotel employees deliver a service of better quality and also enhance the stay for guests by satisfying their needs, thus creating a better all-round experience. This view, however, is not unanimous across the whole of the industry. Even though 82.4% of managers believe that IT is important for increasing customer satisfaction (Brewer et al, 2008), they also worry that the benefits provided by investments in technology are not as high as expected (ITGI, 2007). Research shows that companies around the world are losing out on their investments because they can’t derive sufficient value from these investments in IT (Bowen, Cheung and Rhode, 2007; ITGI, 2007). Value from IT can be defined as a function whose primary focus is delivering the promised benefits (Mathe, 2009) and as a provider of strategic, informational and transactional benefits (Gregor et al, 2006). Therefore, all definitions show that value added by IT leads to successfully achieving business goals and strategies. So a contradiction appears between managers’ beliefs and actions. The majority is certain IT helps their organization but has failed to fully take its benefits yet. Customer satisfaction with the hotel begins...
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