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HTF 2023: HT Debuts Revamped 2024 Lodging Technology Study

Experts from Agilysys, Marigold and Tabit discuss what these new data points mean for the industry during the 2023 Hotel Technology Forum.
HTF 2023 research panel
HTF 2023 research panel
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During the 2023 Hotel Technology Forum, Robert Firpo-Cappiello debuted some new stats from our 2024 Hotel Lodging Technology Study. For the 2024 study, Hospitality Technology decided it was time to revise the questionnaire used to poll hoteliers and asked three industry leaders to come on stage and discuss their thoughts on some of the new data points. Those industry leaders included: Don DeMarinis, Senior Vice President, Sales, Agilysys; Mark Samardich, Strategic Account Executive, Marigold and Nadav Solomon, President & Founder, Tabit Technologies

Guest-Facing Technology

To begin with, HT's survey asked hoteliers if they thought guests felt hotel technology was “empowering” or if it was a source of friction. Overwhelmingly, the majority of hoteliers (71%) responded that guests were enamored with technology. 

But when it comes to guest-facing technology, such as mobile check-in, DeMarinis warns hoteliers not to lose sight of what really matters to that guest: choice. Some guests want to check-in and speak with a person at a front desk and ask a lot of questions about the hotel, the city, the amenities, etc. Other guests just want to interact with as few people as possible. In both cases, hoteliers are creating loyalty by giving the guest what they want.

“Where you get into trouble with guests is when you take that choice away,” DeMarinis explains, “and force guests to wait in line or force them to engage with a mobile check-in experience.”

Employee-Facing Technology

HT's survey also asked hoteliers how their workforce felt about the hotel technology systems they’re required to use. While the majority of hoteliers felt that staff members were relatively happy, 42% responded that their employees consider employee-facing technologies as a friction point.

“I think with this study [reveals] the value of modern technology and investing in modern platforms,” DeMarinis says. "Think about your best front desk employee. If you put a crappy piece of technology between them and the guest, it creates a terrible experience for them and a high amount of friction. You’re putting them in a position where they feel like they’re failing 100 times per day. That’s tough and why employees are pushing back on technology that is not intuitive or easy to use.”

Solomon agrees, adding that the employees who are using these legacy technologies are digital natives who are expecting the hotel’s internal systems to mirror the smartphone technology they’ve grown up on. But legacy systems aren’t anything like a smartphone and are very hard for them to navigate. When they spend so much time just trying to use the enterprise system, they’re not able to spend any time creating special moments for the guest. 

Top Lodging Technology Initiatives

HT's study also asked hoteliers to indicate their top lodging technology initiatives. Top responses included driving guest loyalty (80%), increasing employee productivity (76%), enhancing data security (76%) and improving analytics (72%). 

When reviewing these statistics, Samardich praised hoteliers for making guest loyalty a top lodging technology initiative. Loyalty drives engagement which gives hoteliers the opportunity to learn more about their guests and understand them which then drives a more authentic relationship. And the more authentic the relationship, the more likely consumers are willing to open and engage with hotel's marketing efforts. In fact, Samardich says that his company sees personalized emails have a 75% open rate and a 26% click-through rate. 

Hoteliers not only have a huge opportunity to engage with current loyalty members, but also to create new ones. According to Samardich, 58% of consumers are not tied to any particular hotel loyalty program.

“That’s a lot of upside for us to be able to take advantage of. Getting folks to be in that mindset and be more brand associated, developing a relationship with our customers and learning more about them so we can offer better services – the right services – is hugely important. Customers want you to know them, recognize them, and reward them – but I don’t think we do a great job of that.”

Top Lodging Technology Challenges

When asked in the survey what their top technology challenges are, 69% of respondents indicated integrating with legacy systems was a major concern alongside a lack of skilled technology expertise internally (54%) and the inability to derive ROI for technology rollouts (43%).

According to Solomon, hoteliers and technology vendors should take a serious look at why “lack of skilled technology expertise” is being reported by hoteliers as a major problem. 

"We cannot change the type of people who work within a hotel,” said Solomon. “It [appeals to] a specific type of person who loves to interact with people and create experiences. They’re not techies. It’s not their responsibility to be a techie. It’s our responsibility as technology companies to help them [do their job] better."


These are just a few insights from an incredible session. To hear the session in full, click on the video below!

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