Revolutionizing the Guest Journey: Is Your Tech Stack Up to Par?

Gregg Hopkins

I believe hospitality is about people helping people, a process that technology can enhance and support in the form of robust infrastructure and tools the workforce can learn and enjoy using, while delivering the experience guests have grown accustomed to when on vacation or on a business trip.  As a result, every hospitality organization should make it a priority to evaluate their existing technology stack, process workflows, data infrastructure, and security to ensure it adequately supports both internal distribution, sales, and operational controls, and the hotel’s desired guest facing experience during the guest journey while meeting today’s guest expectations.

Hospitality customers no longer simply accept the role of technology in their experiences and transactions, they demand it.  The high rates of adoption suggest that hospitality organizations that have yet to fully implement mobile, self-service, two-way messaging, and other technologies that today’s customers require, are at a significant disadvantage.  In addition, there is increased interest in artificial intelligence, biometrics, process automation, and voice-enabled technologies that just a few years ago seemed a little out of reach.

Albert Einstein was quoted “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”  While I am no Einstein, I begin each technology assessment by asking the question “Are we merely re-platforming the existing processes and data, or are we embarking on a true guest transformation journey where we challenge the status quo?”

An effective hospitality technology stack should focus on the following seven (7) core areas of the guest journey while delivering a “data process flow” to facilitate the required operational capabilities that aligns with the hospitality provider’s desired guest experience with consideration for future requirements:

Each system in the technology stack should be assessed for key capabilities across the following areas:

  • Technology:  Does the current system meet all security and privacy requirements?  Is the current system able to easily integrate to other solutions via documented APIs?
  • Data:  Does the current technology stack capture the correct information within the individual applications and from integration with other solutions to provide KPIs to effectively manage the operation?  Is the business able to fully leverage the value of its most valuable core asset - guest data and customer profiles?
  • Process:  How does the data flow between disparate systems?  Does the data support operational processes? Are there any manual processes involved?  Are there any labor efficiencies to be gained?
  • Economics:  How much does the existing system cost?  What percentage of revenue is being spent on technology?  According to Hospitality Technology’s 2023 Lodging Technology Study, “... a substantial increase in IT budgets as a percentage of overall revenue is good news after years of fairly consistent decline in this important metric.  A year ago, it stood at under 3 percent. Today, it stands at more than 4 percent. While hotel tech leaders still cite lack of sufficient IT budgets as a major challenge, we are tentatively optimistic that technology is increasingly recognized as a revenue driver. Further, 69 percent of respondents plan to increase IT budgets in 2024.”

Based on these capabilities, when performing a technology assessment, the overall objective is to arrive at an organizational consensus concerning:

  1. Systems which are, and will likely remain, suitable including identification of significant process and data shortcomings and operational gaps meriting attention.
  2. Systems which already are or will become unsuitable including an indication of the possible urgency of replacement.
  3. Areas where a system would be highly beneficial but are not currently implemented.
  4. Prioritization and deployment timeframes of enhanced, upgraded, and recommended new systems.

The assessment should not only address the technology transformation, but the impact of new and innovative technology.  Time must be allocated to work with the key stakeholders of the organization to assess, refine, and optimize processes, workflows, management systems, and people that are affected by technology change and help ensure a smooth transition.

While a technology assessment may certainly be conducted with internal personnel, I often discover that the necessary expertise, experience, and relationships required for this initiative are not present, and an outside consultant is well served for this task.  

In today’s world of constant technological change, a technology consultant should provide you with an initial overview of the potential future technology stack and approach with reliable guidance on the necessary technology components, infrastructure, and costs to provide operational efficiencies for an exceptional guest journey and effective distribution, sales and operational controls, and management analytics.  A technology consultant will:

  • Provide guidance and a roadmap that allows organizations to avoid common pitfalls and costly surprises.
  • Help businesses gain a competitive edge by leveraging emerging technologies, reducing the risk of costly mistakes, increasing the likelihood of guest satisfaction, and making more informed decisions with data through analytics, artificial intelligence, and other data technologies.
  • Working with existing technology vendors to mitigate current gaps and operational encumbrances.
  • Identify areas of technology waste and inefficiency, leading to cost savings and improved employee productivity.
  • Mitigate cybersecurity risks, protecting sensitive data and ensuring data compliance with relevant regulations.

Interested in learning more? I am planning to publish a series a “deep dive” articles on the technology components in each of the seven (7) phases of the guest journey over the upcoming months.  Be sure to follow Get Hoppy Consulting on LinkedIn for updates or email me at to discuss your organization’s tech.


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