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Enterprise System Pitfalls: Summary
Today I’m wrapping up a series of posts on the broad topic of Enterprise System Pitfalls. In this series, my hope was to help shed light on the primary problems that cause us to miss budgets, fall short on capabilities, or completely fail when implementing an enterprise system. 

The Year in Review
As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to count our blessings. One of mine has been the privilege (and fun!) of being able to reach out to so many interesting companies and get them to tell me what they’re doing that’s different, disruptive, and game-changing. The list of things I have to write about in future columns has only gotten longer in the nine months since I started writing this column.

Sustainable Innovation
Sustainability can yield multiple benefits to hotels. Saving energy and water yields direct cost savings. Revenue can be generated by guests who prefer to deal with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. And many would argue that conserving scarce resources is simply the right thing to do.

Meetings Innovation
The sale and delivery of groups and meetings is perhaps the most significant and under-automated functions for many hotels. Even though groups often account for 30% to 60% of revenue, most group bookings are still handled manually for most if not all of steps, as they move from a meeting planner’s research to a confirmed booking.

The biggest enemy to any system is complexity. In a system of inputs and outputs, such as an enterprise system, more complexity means more parts are used in interaction with inputs to create the outputs. Every part that must be built and maintained costs time and money

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How Hotels Can Use Technology to Attract Millennials

by Brendon Granger

The popularity of Airbnb with millennials has been well documented causing the hotel industry to rethink how it appeals to this travel-loving generation.

Today, hotel brands are finding new ways to lure back this demographic, from focusing on localized design to providing unique, authentic experiences. 

In addition, a number of chains have started investing more heavily in technology and digital connectivity – desirable features intended to win the hearts of younger travelers.

The following list represents five technological trends that hotels are embracing to cater to this tech-savvy generation:

1. Seamless Wi-Fi                 
Offering free Wi-Fi is kind of expected these days but millennials don’t want to be restricted to only having access in their rooms. They want the ability to Skype family from the lobby, check emails by the pool or share a picture of the amazing dish from a restaurant on their Instagram feed. In short, millennials expect to be able to access the net anywhere, anytime. Providing seamless connectivity instantly ticks a big box for this generation.

There is also another major advantage of providing Wi-Fi throughout your hotel: increased exposure through social sharing. While traveling, 75 percent of millennials publish social content at least once a day, so it makes sense to make it easy for them to share photos and posts when they’re relaxing and enjoying time around your property.

2. In-room Integrations
It’s second nature for millennials to take their own technology on holiday with them, so hotels need to make it easy for them to use their own devices at any point. The ability to connect smartphones and tablets to in-room technology is becoming a service travelers increasingly expect to find.

Bluetooth wireless sound systems are a particularly welcome perk, enabling guests to stream their own playlist while enjoying an enhanced audio experience. Users are also being given the ability to interface their devices with hotel Smart TVs to order amenities and request guest services. And with advanced media hubs, personal smartphones and tablets can be hooked up to the big screen, enabling guests to surf the net, check emails or stream their own video content while lounging in bed.

3. Ordering Room Service With Smartphone Apps
While calling up for room service is by no means a big effort, hotel smartphone apps are providing a streamlined way for guests to communicate with the front desk. Several brands have invested in their own dedicated apps, including The Ritz-Carlton. As well as offering mobile check-in/checkout, The Ritz-Carlton’s enhanced app allows guests to request everything from fresh towels to a turndown service.

According to a global report by Oracle Hospitality, being able to order room service in this way is something millennials are likely to appreciate. In a survey of over 9,000 individuals within this demographic, only 12 percent said they had requested room service via their smartphone. But significantly, when asked how technology could enhance their stay, room service came out as the number one request.

4. Automated Check-in
For some time now, airports have offered travelers the ability to bypass the booking desk for automated check-in. But hotels haven’t been so quick to offer similar flexibility. 

For many travelers, being welcomed by a member of staff at check-in will always be preferable to an automated service. But this is less true of millennials: 36 percent prefer automated kiosks minus staff interaction, compared to just 19 percent of older generations.

When guests arrive at the Hyatt Union Square, New York, they’re given three different options to check-in: at the front desk, using a check-in kiosk or via an iPad with staff. This approach certainly has benefits, namely – choice. In order to appeal to all generations (and individual preferences) check-in kiosks may well end up becoming commonplace, but in a way that complements rather than replaces the traditional front desk.

5. Communal Areas with Tech
When millennials check-in to a hotel, they don’t just want to spend time in their room. They also want communal spaces to relax, socialize and work. Many forward-thinking hotels are now utilizing technology to cater to this demand, designing lobbies and common areas that guests can happily spend several hours in.

A case in point is Moxy – a brand launched by Marriott aimed primarily at millennial travelers. Its cozy, stripped-back lobbies offer plug-ins for personal devices, “furiously fast” Wi-Fi, and something called “The Guestbook”, which allows guests to post images to Instagram in real time. It represents a model that many hotels may look to follow.

In the past, guests might have left the hotel in favor of hanging out in the nearest coffee shop or co-working outlet. But through creating social spaces with technology at their heart, guests are far more likely to stay on property when everything they need is close to hand.

In Conclusion
Technology is playing an increasingly central role in the travel experience, especially with millennials. Having sophisticated in-room entertainment, access to multiple power outlets and experiencing seamless digital connectivity: these are all becoming hardwired expectations of a tech-savvy generation. As such, hotels must continue to embrace technological innovation and consider it as something not optional but essential to the modern guest experience.

About The Author
Brendon Granger

With a great passion for all things hotels, but in particular technology and a desire to help others, his role as director at Technology4Hotels allows him to do both.

Brendon has worked with hundreds of hotels to help them with their in-room technology. In the last few years he has helped them to increase guest satisfaction, strengthen guest loyalty and encourage repeat bookings as well as win awards such as the best business hotel, best city hotel, best upscale hotel and best luxury hotel in Australasia.

Always going the extra mile, Brendon began his hospitality career over 25 years ago working in five-star hotels whilst completing his bachelor of business in hotel management. He has held various management positions within five-star hotels, worked as a consultant in both hotel feasibility and technology and has an extensive background in hotel technology.

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