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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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Post-HITEC 2018 Takeaways – The Data Challenge and Innovation



I think this has been my favorite HITEC in a while.  Don’t get me wrong – HITEC is always a great experience, and I think there is plenty to walk away with every year.  Some things you always get from HITEC – plenty of networking, a full show floor and great educational sessions.  This year, there were a couple of things that stuck with me more than others. 
 
DATA

The first of those is data.  We live in the age of data and honestly, we have for a while.  While watching the pitches for Entrepreneur 20X, I heard the judges ask a lot about the ability to get data from the system.  Some of the vendors were, surprisingly, behind the curve.  I would have expected a few of them to be more prepared about the types of data they can extract and how that data might be able to be used. 
 
I started wondering – do we really have the ability to use data the way we need to?  I think in many cases we are still too far away for the average hotel or management company to effectively use all of the data available to them.  Here’s why:
  • Brands have the advantage.  This is a sheer scale issue.  Brands today have more resources than any average hotel or management company maybe ever will.  The smart ones are already leveraging that today.
  • Too many disparate flows of data. The challenge for the average hotel is getting all of its data from disparate sources into the single engine built to help them drive their business.  
  • Focusing on limited data streams and metrics. Because of the lack of resources (people and products) we decide to only focus on a select few metrics (financial, sales, etc.) and often fail to consider other potentially valuable metrics such as website and booking behaviors, customer travel patterns or current trends.
  • The lack of vendors and affordable products to bridge the gap. One of the biggest problems with data is the sheer amount necessary to come to valuable conclusions. Simply put, the size of the sample has to be large enough to give true predictive information. Most products that do data analysis are simply not viable for organizations that aren’t the size and scale of major brands.  While there are companies that can provide you with plenty of data analysis, there are usually three major challenges:
  1. It is so focused as to only be use in very specific scenarios.
  2. It is so broad that it can’t be reasonably applied to the organization.
  3. The pool of data contains too much information from areas that aren’t relevant.
I suppose the next question is – so what is the solution? 
The truth of the matter is that I am not sure I can provide that. I have plenty of opinions and some of them might even be good ideas!  I think if there is a way that the smart people can solve the issue the aggregation of data and the relevance of data, that might be the first step. As with any “new” solution, once the maturity level is reached, it should become viable for a larger market.
 
INNOVATION

The second HITEC thing that stuck with me this year was innovation.  It is hard not to be inspired by Entrepreneur 20X competition.  The forward thinking about ideas to engage our guests, inspire our teams and yes, even solve our problems (whether we know they exist or not!) should excite us to push forward and to think about things in different ways.  I am a linear person and the thought that these teams and their ideas can make me think outside my box is refreshing. 
 
Here is the thing about innovation – it takes time to become a solution that works.  Check out my HITEC blog for HFTP that discusses the technology hype life cycle here - http://blog.hftp.org/for-everything-there-is-a-season/.  From an innovation perspective, I want to leave you with the following thought from the blog post: 
 
“Here is where I think a great opportunity lies. Not necessarily to do all of those things that we don’t do during the expectation phase (we should get better at it), but to let the expectation phase sweep us away just a little bit. I think the expectation phase is our opportunity to challenge our way of doing business. It is our white space, our time to not just think about what we have to get done or what we have to accomplish, but to innovate.”        
About The Author
James Lingle




For more than 20 years, James Lingle has been a part of technology in the hospitality space. He can be reached at james@jameslingle.com.  Lingle is also a member of the DANNI Team.

 
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