Over Memorial Day weekend I laced up my running sneakers for a five-mile race, my first competitive outing in four years. My goal was to increase the consistency and duration of my, what can best be described as, sporadic fitness routine. I dreaded race day. Not only was I frustrated that I would have to position myself in a slower racer corral, but the racing authority had sent notice that earbuds were not permitted. The prospect of a slow, silent slog listening to my huffing and puffing was not inspiring. Surprisingly, sans musical distraction, I enjoyed the run and even knocked a few minutes off my anticipated finish. Without a recorded beat setting the course for me, I found my own rhythm; my steps were efficient; I was more aware of barriers ahead and was able to navigate them methodically without impacting pace.
While putting together the stories of the 2018 Hotel Visionary Award winners for this month’s cover story, I found similarities in how they achieved the innovations for which they are honored. None happened overnight; they ignored “noise” that often surrounds technology; and all have plans for further improvement.
This year’s victors include two companies (Caesars Entertainment and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts) with chat initiatives, but with unique approaches and objectives. EAST Miami focused on streamlining guest experience with its integrated technology stack of customer-facing innovation. Hilton’s Connected Room brings efficiency to guests, but places equal importance on how it improves operations for staff. Nordic Choice Hotels takes the bold step of implementing blockchain technology to create an ecosystem for digital booking. While the pace of technological change is rapid, winners focused less on speed and more on purpose. For some, this meant slowing down and taking a different approach. In doing so, they found the perfect solution for their guests and organizations.