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How to Make the Right Tech Investments in 2024

There are three specific criteria hotel tech executives should use before making any investments this year to ensure both guests, upper management and the IT team are happy.

Technology had a transformative impact on the hospitality industry’s recent road to recovery. As we move into 2024, many hoteliers still struggle with a fundamental challenge: Which technology investments should they make in the face of an unpredictable future. For a roadmap to make informed investments, it’s important to look at what guests say they want, which technology can provide the best return on investment, and how easy a new technology can be integrated and deployed. 

The 2023 Customer Engagement Technology Study revealed that Wi-Fi continues to have a direct influence on where travelers choose to stay. Ninety-two percent of today’s high-tech travelers and digital nomads say they expect reliable and secure Wi-Fi when staying at a hotel, making it a leading technology investment consideration for 2024. 

The study also revealed that travelers are interested in using technology for guest services, including using their mobile devices for check in (66%), controlling guest room amenities (62%), unlocking their room doors (61%), and requesting services and asking questions about the property (51%). To provide these services requires a robust internet infrastructure. Additionally, 75% of travelers indicate that they are willing to pay an additional amount equal to 1 to 5% of the room rate if their technology demands are met.

Aligning to demand, let’s review the three criteria hoteliers should use for their 2024 technology investments:

Affordability & Cost Controls

Hotel technology has evolved to offer a variety of solutions across the hospitality landscape, from reducing check-in times to streamlining the reservation process and increasing efficiency of both employees and buildings. Hotels use technology to track available room inventory, oversee the state of guestrooms under maintenance, and maximize room revenue. With fewer hands on deck and individual workers increasingly more accountable for day-to-day operations, access to affordable automated tools has led to significant cost savings and higher guest satisfaction.

Some technologies creating impactful stays include chatbots and voice assistants, which quickly answer inquiries without needing to involve hotel staff. Mobile and digital options for requesting services, retrieving folios, controlling the guest room, checking in/out, ordering room service, and making mobile payments are also topping guest technology wish-lists. Adopting these technologies makes it easier for guests to request amenities or services, improve guest satisfaction and create more personalized stays. Stretched staff and the property receive the benefits of process efficiency, cost savings with the right tools in place - and happier guests to help make happier onsite associates. 

Efficiency & Value

In years past, hotels would seek best-in-breed technology providers as ideal partners to leverage their specialization and unique toolset. Today, it’s far more critical for operators to access a suite of tools through one integrated system. Yesterday’s model of disparate systems providing different capabilities has created a complicated operations landscape easily bogged down in minutia, incompatibilities, and uneven support. Today, the proliferation of single-source partnerships offering a wide swath of tools is difficult to ignore.

Many operators are finding  that working with a single-source provider for all-things technology – covering front and back of house to rooms and public spaces – can have a positive impact on the bottom line. Uniting a hotel’s technology needs with one vendor improves productivity and – if the changes are significant enough – even worker retention. In the face of continued staffing shortages, the value of technology shouldn’t be underestimated. A study from Zapier showed that 1 in 6 workers chose to leave their current job because they were equipped with insufficient technology to perform their roles. Streamlining operations and processes allow workers to do more with less while giving them time to focus on the aspects of hospitality that drive guest satisfaction. This means more face time with guests, more personal interactions, more automation and less time learning disparate tools.

Necessity & Reward

Guests are focused on accessing information and transacting business in ways that are expedient, simple, and seamless. Essentially what travelers want is convenience, empowerment, and friction-free service via their smartphones, tablets or laptops. For that reason, hoteliers should be thinking about guest-enabled service versus self-service. Guests are more willing to share personal data with hotels if they receive more personalized services, information about local experiences and onsite amenities, or if they are receiving something for the effort, such as saving money via incentives or discounts.

Properties need to safeguard this data and protect guest privacy. This will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, which ultimately leads to higher revenues and positive online reviews. According to the aforementioned study, 81% of respondents say they are likely to stay loyal to a hotel that it can trust with their personal data.

Guests have become dependent on technology to perform their work, communicate with their families, and facilitate travel. Hoteliers who have committed to keeping up with this pace of change are ideally positioned to benefit from modern technology’s ability to accommodate and exceed guests’ expectations while preparing for future innovations.


About the Author

Tammy Estes is Chief Product Officer at Nomadix, a leading provider of patented internet gateways for guest internet on-boarding and bandwidth management, wired and wireless network infrastructure, casting, Passpoint authentication, Angie in-room voice assistants, and a cloud-based telephony service for hotels.

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