Few things have created wonder and confusion, like technology. From guest-facing widgets to back-office automation, the technology world has delivered countless solutions designed to save time, create efficiencies, and increase personalization. At the same, time these solutions have often led to countless headaches. While the outcome often falls short of the promise, the outcome is also often an improvement from the original situation.
Examples of these outcomes are present in every facet of our hospitality lives. They have helped us generate higher revenues, provide better work situations for team members, and provide more comfortable guest stays.
Over the past 10 years, various third-party tools and brand initiatives have revolutionized revenue management. What was once the province of insightful above-property leadership has been usurped by sophisticated computer algorithms that process countless data points to determine optimal revenue strategies. Moreover, these tools have helped the hospitality industry avoid the destructive price declines historically associated with economic downturns. There is little doubt that these tools have also greatly benefited the upside as operators are given real data to back their ADR growth plans.
Another great growth and opportunity area centers around accounting and business intelligence platforms. Since keyboards and monitors replaced 13-column paper and calculators, people have sought faster access to actionable data. We now get immediate access to revenue numbers, mid-month financial reports, and endless slices of operating expenses. Despite the real challenges of deploying these systems, the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. The days of making critical decisions based on half-baked data are gone. Operators have deep data pools to complement their market experience while making forecasts.
Technology has had an equally profound impact from a team member’s perspective. The proliferation of mobile payment platforms has helped hotels pay their associates according to their desires. Historically, individual jurisdictions have defined pay periods. Technology platforms now allow employers to offer on-demand pay for a nominal fee. Additionally, we can access several tools that help automate tipping throughout our hotels from housekeepers to servers. These tools help to reduce payment friction and increase overall associated satisfaction and retention.
As noted above, technology solutions have made us better across the board. We serve our guests with greater precision and personal touch. We realize greater RevPAR across our hotels. We deliver better information to decision-makers about operating efficiencies. We provide customized payment scenarios for our associates. There is no doubt that technology has improved our industry. However, we must move cautiously, open our eyes, and remember that we are a human-centric business focused on improving the lives of our guests, team members, and partners. Let’s not forget our human touch.
By Andrew Carey, Chief Executive Officer
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