By Rentia Austin, Hospitality Executive – Infor Services at iOCO

Infor’s Master Partner in Africa (operating as a Gold Partner)

In the wake of Industry 4.0 there is no doubt that technology – both its advancements and shortcomings – is dictating the speed of change across the globe. As emerging technologies innovate, so customer expectations evolve, requiring even more innovation. This is a never-ending cycle.

Hospitality businesses must take up the challenge of keeping up with this exponential pace of innovation, or risk falling behind the competition.

To evaluate which technology to invest in, hotel management should consider the effect that technology continues to have on guest expectations. The question is twofold; how does technology impact the expectations that shape today’s guest experiences, and do these technologies support the cultural expectations of modern guests?

There are various answers to these questions, but the overarching message is that the development of game-changing hospitality technology reflects an evolving consumer culture. As customers demand more empowering, smarter technology, hospitality businesses are forced to revolutionise operations. The goal is to replace processes that put limitations on guests, effectively giving them “the power”.

To achieve this, hoteliers and hospitality establishments must embrace mobile technology. Creating a successful, scalable technology platform that supports modern guest experiences requires a few key technologies, including: cloud environments, which 61% of hotels globally are investing in; mobile-friendly integration, which offers convenient solutions to manage communications, access and services; and expanded payment support, which offers guests the freedom to pay according to their own payment preferences.

While this important power shift is being served by hospitality technology, it is essential that those who operate in the hospitality industry gain a complete understanding of who the modern guest is, and what they expect from their stay. Today’s millennials expect the technology that they use daily to be available to them when staying at a hotel. They also expect it to make their stay easier, more convenient, and more efficient, and they will return only if these expectations are met.

According to a recent Infor White Paper; “Modern hotel guests expect every process they encounter to be frictionless and manageable from their personal mobile devices. These elements are not restricted to specific generations who have never lived in a world without this technology. The values that have emerged along with them are the biggest driving forces, in part influenced by technology. This relationship between technology driving culture and cultural forces that in turn drive further technology development is vital to understand.”

In the modern hotel, communications and dialogue are enabled by hotel technology – driving messages across SMS, Chatbots and Push Notifications. However, the technology savvy hotel implements technology at all touch points. From check in apps and digital keys to mobile payment solutions, automated service, real-time information sharing, reliable access to high-speed Wi-Fi and personalised tech-driven experiences – the possibilities are endless.