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Think about the moment when you first enter your hotel room. Look around: Does the room tell you anything unique about the hotel where you are staying? Or is it all beige walls and double beds with white covers, and you have to walk back outside and look at the sign on the hotel’s facade to even remember where you are?

Hotel guests commonly bring multiple devices with them during their stay. However, many hotel environments don’t provide easy access to charging outlets. This situation can lead to a guest feeling more than inconvenienced. A recent survey found almost 90 percent of people "felt panic" when their phone battery dropped to 20 percent or below.

Spam is one of the major problems that most hotel website owners face on regular basis. It is a bad practice used by spammers to persuade the page rank of a site.

GBTA recently partnered with AccorHotels to conduct a study investigating the role of loyalty in managed travel programs in Europe with the goal of understanding how loyalty programs currently fit within company travel policy and what opportunities may exist in the future.

People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 



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That’s Your Opinion… sort of.

12/08/2016

In the 20 years that have passed since I first heard the line, I have believed in the inherent truth of that statement. Now, I am having second thoughts. I don’t disagree with everyone’s high opinion of their own opinion; what I now question is whether everyone’s opinion is their own. The truth is that we may not be in complete control of the conclusions we draw. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but the opinions we hold – the thoughts that define us unique individuals – can be primed by external signals, subliminal suggestions, and any number of subtle cues. We are complete with our unconscious need for acceptance, our social biases and preconceived notions. The human brain is very powerful at manufacturing its own reality.

In an episode of Radiolab (“Choice”, Season Five, NPR, available in podcast), Malcolm Gladwell of Outliers, Blink and The Tipping Point fame, reviews a number of strange phenomena associated with independent thought, personal opinion and free will. Malcolm’s findings: there’s very little independent, personal or free about any of it. Among my favorite observations:

In one experiment, psychologists would play word association games with test volunteers. When the words “wrinkled,” “bingo” and “Florida” were on the word list, volunteers would invariably leave the room walking significantly slower than when they entered. How often does the power of suggestion suggest something we don’t even really hear or acknowledge, but act upon nonetheless?

 A second example engaged volunteers in a game of Trivial Pursuit, but before the round began, half the players were asked to take a several seconds to think about “professors.” The remaining players were asked to spend the same few seconds thinking about “soccer hooligans.” The outcome: those who thought about professors predictably won the game. Contemplating hooligans was a sure indicator of pending defeat. Does perception create reality?

Finally, there was a study done at Yale University to see if it were possible to sway opinion without word cues or idea suggestions. In the Yale study, participants were asked to look at a picture of a guy named Joe, ready a brief biographical paragraph and then answer a brief inquiry: “What do you think of Joe? Do you like him?”   

The hook on this particular study was nothing obvious; the participants all looked at identical photos and read the identical text. No additional information or prompting was given but as the examiner arrived to meet the respondent, s/he came into the room carrying an armful of books and papers, a briefcase or bag and a cup of coffee. The examiner simply asked the respondent to please hold the coffee cup for several seconds while the interviewer got settled. Half the respondents held a regular cup of coffee and the other half held a cup of iced coffee. Can you guess the results? Those who held the hot coffee overwhelming liked Joe and those who held the ice coffee overwhelming didn’t care for him.

In fairness and disclosure, this study has not been discredited but it has produced different results in different trials, so don’t bet the ranch on the results. What is interesting is what can influence us at a primal level. Psychologists see basic human survival needs – and therefore a preference for – warmth and nurturing in those we have around us. This physical warmth-equals-survival combination is so instinctive in humans that temperature stimuli can influence our “rational” judgment.

We’ve long been told that attitude influences outcome – a case of mind over matter. More often than we realize, subjectivity is not as simple as inserting your point of view. A person’s output, propensity to be swayed and even the ability to preform can be influenced by the imperceptible. Those of us who worship at the altar of data and objectivity forget that those are just abstract concepts. Our interpretations are colored by what we need, what we feel and what our parents believed to a much greater extent than we often acknowledge. The next time you’re surprised by the depth of public opinion or the outcome of an election, remember that people don’t suddenly arrive at where they are by the means they think of as their own free will. To paraphrase the Snow White’s evil queen, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall – we are our history after all.”

About The Author
Michael Schubach




Michael Schubach is a regular contributor to Hospitality Upgrade.

 
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