There’s no question that the key to profitability and competitive advantage in today’s world is embracing technology. However, it can be difficult for hotels to identify which technologies will pay off in the long run.
When it comes to investing, the old saying “you have to spend money to make money” rings true. While most technologies require an upfront investment, the right solutions can result in considerable cost reduction and savings for hotel operators.
Technology directly impacts many aspects of a hotel including how efficiently your employees work, how well you serve your guests and how quickly you can adapt to unforeseen changes. Streamlining workflows, making data-driven decisions and future-proofing your current technology infrastructure can affect your bottom line in a significant way while improving the overall guest experience.
Productivity is a focus for every business. The more productive and efficient your employees are, the more time they have for other tasks. The current staffing shortage in the hospitality industry has proven to many hotel operators just how valuable an employee’s time is.
As a people-driven industry, there is often concern that adopting new technologies means replacing the human touch. Rather than viewing technology as an opponent to the workforce, these solutions can actually be used to make existing employees more productive.
Using technology to streamline and automate repetitive tasks frees up employees to focus on other areas that bring more value, like ensuring they deliver an excellent level of customer service. Technology can also be used to enhance communication between employees, allowing staff to work faster, make fewer mistakes and stay aligned with business goals – all areas that can drive a profitable bottom line.
Enhanced operational efficiency
Sustainability efforts have gained momentum in the hospitality industry over the past few years and will continue to be important going forward – especially among guests. Many of today’s guests are looking for brands to care and invest in initiatives that are important to them, which often includes more eco-friendly practices and policies.
There’s also a significant cost to ignoring sustainability efforts. According to Energy Star, America’s hotels spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy. This accounts for 6% of a hotel’s operating costs. A 10% reduction in energy consumption would have the same financial effect as increasing the average daily room rate by $1.35 in full-service hotels.
The emergence of smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) gives hotel operators the ability to become more energy efficient, benefiting guests and their bottom line. Hotels can utilize smart thermostats and sensors to monitor fluctuations in occupancy and respond accordingly by turning off the lights or raising the temperature. These technologies allow hotels to run at an operational level while providing advanced analytics on energy patterns and guest consumption to drive enhanced decision making.
An added bonus of investing in smart technology is the impact it has on guest satisfaction. Smart thermostats and lighting controls give guests greater control over their stay with a touch of a button. These technologies can also store guest preferences allowing hotels to set the air, lights and even TV to their preferred settings during future stays.
Implementing smart technology may require a larger upfront investment depending on if your hotel is an existing property or new build. However, it’s important for hoteliers to remember that sustainability efforts will increase cost savings over time while also making a positive impact on the environment.
Technology will continue to evolve and play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of hotels as well as the guest experience. The pandemic showed us that hotels with a strategic technology plan in place were able to adapt quicker to the sudden operational changes required to survive. Legacy technology systems and hardware will continue to face more challenges than hotels with modern technology infrastructures in place.
Guest preferences are also constantly changing and hotels are under pressure to accelerate the adoption of these trends quickly and seamlessly. The right technology partner can help hotels identify what technologies they should invest in to ensure their property can adapt to unforeseen changes without the need for additional time, money and resources. Investing in a technology plan now drastically lowers the outgoing technology costs, even if the initial bill is higher to begin with.
The emergence of cloud technology has opened the door for even greater scalability across a single location or multiple properties. Cloud computing offers speed, flexibility and security that allows hotels to transform their day-to-day operations to meet changing needs. It also supports the demand for mobile-centric technology and provides more options when it comes to infrastructure.
Deciding to invest in modern technologies can be difficult, but hotel operators will quickly see the long-term cost savings and increase in guest satisfaction for years to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Kiser serves as the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President for World Cinema Inc. (WCI). With over 20 years of experience, she oversees the financial processes, forecasting and planning for the company. Barbara is passionate about the hospitality industry and the success of WCI’s hotel partners.