It is no secret that customer demands and expectations place incredible demands on businesses. This year’s Customer Engagement Technology Study, once again queried travelers to find out what customer-facing innovation resonates with them and drives decisions. The research paints a picture of a public that is primed for digital experiences.
One out of three potential guests are influenced to book a hotel room by the presence of cutting-edge technologies and the same percentage of diners will select a restaurant for takeout or delivery if they offer chatbot technology. Even when charting technologies that are not considered “emerging,” hotels and restaurants still lag consumer expectations. HT’s Lodging and Restaurant Technology Studies found 27% of hotels and 18% of restaurants claim that keeping up with guest expectations is a top challenge.
This issue’s cover story, reports on several technologies that are rapidly advancing through the “Hype Cycle.” As defined by Gartner, technologies evolve through numerous phases. The technologies highlighted in this feature are likely in the slope of enlightenment, where conservative companies remain cautious, but there is understanding of how the technology can benefit the enterprise.
This is the time to act rather than “react” to competitors seeing success with implemented innovations. We have entered an era of hyper-fast innovation. Technology is no longer defined by generations or even decades — a single business quarter can separate innovators from laggards. IT leaders must have a seat at the table to discuss business objectives and make sure that technology is a key component of overall strategy. Without that open dialogue and mutual understanding of what a brand is hoping to achieve and communicate to guests as both a digital and physical entity, a company cannot thrive in today’s business environment.